midway between central and kendall square julie realized she left the tickets for the red sox game back at home. after performing another check of all her pockets, we got off at kendall square and took the train back to davis square 4 stops upstream. i waited for her at the station while she ran back home to fetch the tickets. kenmore station was crowded with red sox spectators and the station smelled like guys (not really a stink, maybe i was picking up all that testosterone). when we finally got to fenway park, the game had already started. security put a lovely pink bracelet on my bag after they checked the content. julie got an ice cream ($4) while i got a bottle of coke ($3.75), before we made our way to our seats out by right field underneath the canopy.

despite our belated arrival, we only missed the first inning. unfortunately that was probably the most exciting inning when the red sox scored their first run, other than the other run that came later in the game. they were playing the detroit tigers, last season's american league champions (the tigers would eventually lose to the cardinals in the world series however). tim wakefield was the pitcher and we could just about see him from our obstructed view seating (first base however was completely eclipsed by the steel no.9 post).

can you spot the sole yankees fan? or the man checking out a woman's boobage? or how many people are wearing red sox clothing? number of people on cell phones? number of people drinking overpriced beer? or the rare black fan?

going to the game isn't so much about watching the game - when the players are just an inch tall, there's no audio commentary to explain what happened, the food is outrageously expensive, and the constant up and down of heads is worse than a crowded movie theatre - as it is about just soaking up the ambience of american baseball culture itself. even julie was listening to the game on her AM radio, otherwise it's hard to follow the game when you're actually there. i go primarily to people watch and for photo opportunities. the last time i went to a red sox game was with dan's friend mike back in the fall of 2005, a re-scheduled afternoon game out from the bleacher seats.

i never sat out by right field underneath the canopy before ($27/seat); despite the obstructions, it still afforded us some good viewing, particularly a nearly sideview of the pitcher mound to home plate, which gave me a better appreciation of exactly how fast a 90+ mph fast ball can go. i even saw tina cervasio come out and do her occasional game insights for the telecast.

it was my first game with my dSLR camera and telephoto lens, so it was like shooting fish in a barrel when it came to photo opportunities. i watched people trying to get the same shots i was going for but with regular 3x point-and-shoot digitals or even camera phones, so it gave me better appreciation for the equipment i had. the only problem with a telephoto lens is it's so obvious: i had people looking directly into the barrel because they could see me pointing right at them.

as far as games went, it was a boring one, which seemed to subdue the crowd. i only saw one instance of a beach ball and nobody was really into a rally wave towards the end of the game when several frat guys were trying to motivate the crowd. not even a chanting of "yankees suck" could get the crowd excited. the game was probably only interesting if you were a detroit tigers fan, which the man in front of was (but he kept it pretty quiet, which was smart, despite his tigers cap).

i don't know any tigers players other than gary sheffield, former yankees red sox killer. whenever he came to bat the crowd would boo him. for a team of relative unknowns, they seemed to be doing pretty well against the red sox. in the 3rd inning they scored 4 runs while in the 8th they added 3 more.

the red sox tried to rally in the end and i'm sure people were hoping for a repeat of saturday's heroics, bottom of the 9th 2 outs 5 run walk-off victory, but it wasn't meant to. the last few innings people were already starting to head out the stadium, particularly after it started raining (it didn't affect us since we were underneath the canopy).

after the game, we shuffled with everyone else out of the ball park. we took the long way back out to kenmore square, passing the corridor of players' parking, with fleets of large shiny SUV's parked outside. originally we thought we could walk to chinatown to get dinner (by then it was already 10pm) but we decided to try the indian place right next to the station.

i ordered the lamb vindaloo, which the waiter warned me was very hot. spiciness is a relative term and normally i have a pretty high threshold, but my lamb curry turned out to be hot enough that i couldn't taste anything else. afterwards it was an easy commute back to cambridge-somerville.

i made it home close to midnight, the sky flashing and thundering ominously. i brought out the trash. i spent the rest of the night waiting for the burning in my stomach to settle down.

the promise of sunshine and 80's degree temperature seemed like a lie: when bruce and i headed out to do some naturing this morning the temperature was in the 60's at best and the sky was a grey overcast that seemed to be threatening a possible rain shower. the night before i'd decided we'd visit the sudbury memorial forest as we headed out to route 2. i'd been there twice before, once on purpose, once by accident. along the way it actually started drizzling a little bit, but stopped by the time we arrived at hop brook marsh.

it didn't take us long to discover the place was teeming with hungry mosquitoes. the females were impatient for their drink of blood before they can lay their eggs and to them we were probably a walking source of food. fortunately i had the foresight to bring my bug spray, the less toxic cutter advanced outdoorsman with picaridin instead of DEET. i got a few bottles when i went to china but didn't really have any opportunities to use it until now. by the time we arrived at duck pond i'd already received a few mosquito bites and began to spray my hands and head. it worked at first, keeping the mosquitoes at bay (although they kept on circling, like tiny insect vultures), but later i got a bite on my hand anyway, either because the picaridin wore off, or it was a particularly gutsy mosquito. not sure how much more effective picaridin is over DEET, i'll have to field test it some more (but i'm definitely bringing DEET as a backup next time). bruce refused to spray down, which was either very foolish or brave, but he wasn't the one stopping repeatedly to take photos (which instantly made me a target for feeding).

sudbury memorial forest was particularly sparse in wildlife, which may just have to do with the bad weather as well as being still a bit early in the season. we did see a lot of pink ladyslipper leaves, which in a week or so will be covering the forest floor in pink orchids. at duck pond bruce spotted a large black snake; by the time i got a chance to look it had already splashed away (if i had to guess, a northern water snake). out in the pond there were a pair of noisy canada geese as well as a great blue heron.

the first thing we came across was a good-sized vernal pool. unfortunately it was pretty devoid of life, unless you count all the mosquitoes. at the western bridged end of duck pond i collected some duckweed in a jar, to raise at home. from there we walked down to the abandoned train tracks. crossing the scary wooden bridge we arrived at the large sand pit. from the southeastern edge of the desert loop we saw a spotted sandpiper down below on hop brook.

in lieu of substantial wildlife we did come across some very fragrant spring blooming flowers. there was one particular kind of flower that seemed to be highbush blueberries that were extremely fragrant with a touch of spicy clove. elsewhere (near the scary railroad bridge) we came across some pleasant smelling pink and yellow honeysuckle-type scrubbery.

down heron spur we followed the trail southeast to the other parking lot on dutton road. along the way we walked by a marsh that had a surprising number of warblers. we saw both yellow-rumped as well as the yellowthroat (aka the masked warbler). instead of backtracking our way through the mosquito-infested forest, we decided to walk on the road back to where we parked the car.

wouldn't you know it, as soon as we left the forest, the weather cleared up and the temperature started to get warmer. coming back, we briefly drove through what looked to be maynard center, admiring its large renovated mill complex. when i got back home i quickly took a shower and checked myself for ticks.