spent the better part of the day cleaning up the house. besides vacuuming, besides cleaning the bathroom, besides playing with all sorts of sprays, i also washed my bed sheets, water changed the aquariums, pruned my sick lucky bamboo, organized my bedroom bookcase, took out the trash, and vacuumed beneath the sofa cushions. my place hasn't been this clean in a while. i even took a quick trip to the somerville target where i bought a red tablecloth. that's when i saw the $30 ticket on my motorcycle. "parking without a resident or guest permit" was the violation. that irked me to no end. apparently it's the work of some newbie meter person because i've parked my motorcycle outside my place for the past 5 years and have never gotten a ticket before. fortunately the city of cambridge allows people to contest tickets online. i wrote to them, "explain to me how i'm supposed to put a resident sticker or a visitor's permit on my motorcycle?" i hope the traffic department quickly resolves their mistake so i never have to hear about it ever again.

in between cleaning i was watching next on my computer, that movie with nicholas cage based on a philip k. dick short story about a man who can see into the future. it also stars jessica biel and julianne moore. verdict? interesting premise, terrible movie. cage's hair is horribly distracting, his ability to see 2 minutes into the future is fraught with logic holes, moore seems to be slumming and reprising her clarice starling role, and even having an eye candy like biel can't save the film. not to spoil the ending, but it's one of those disappointing "it was all a dream" that seemingly invalidate everything you just watched.

during a particularly inspiring bout of cleaning, the doorbell ran and a woman was at my door. she said something about battered women shelters, asking me to donate some money. i told her what i tell all solicitors, "sorry, i'm unemployed," which is semi-true. she wasn't willing to take no for an answer though, and added, "can't you give anything? even $5 would be good." i said no again and closed the door. normally i wouldn't even bother answering, but for some reason i thought she might be a neighbor. i was kind of peeved that she'd violated the sanctity of my sunday afternoon to ask for money, no matter how worthy the cause. i'm seriously thinking about getting one of those, "no solicitors" sign to put on my door.

in the early evening rob dropped by unexpectedly, minutes before my family were to show up. he'd biked here, his $10 ride splayed out on my front steps. he was in the area for work reasons and decided to pay me a visit and also to get hooked up with some sweet software action. i quickly burned him a cd before ushering him out the door.

besides my parents, my godmother as well as the hsus came over (the parents, their daughter vanessa, and their granddaughter). the hsus brought me a present, some bags of costa rican coffee and some chocolate-covered coffee beans. i haven't seen mr.hsu since the fall of 2003 when my father and i went to costa rica. i think he was in boston last year october but i'd just missed him since i was coming back from china. my godmother made most of the dishes; my parents made the giant stewed meatballs and i made some fresh jalapeño bread (for some reason it only rose 50%) as well as the flan for dessert.

their 7-year-old grand daughter finished dinner early (she had a lot of sushi earlier so she wasn't especially hungry) and ran off into the living room to watch the disney channel, some spanish-language shows, and finally shrek on TBS. close to 10pm everyone left. only then did i have a chance to check the red sox score online, matsuzaka losing to randy johnson. the yankees on the other hand continue their winning streak to 6 games.

i finished out the night by ordering a kingston 4GB 133x compact flash card ($35 after rebate with shipping), in preparation for the parade photos i'll be taking the next time i visit new york city.