there was an unexpected rainstorm early this morning. i didn't think i'd be able to go out except the weather report forecasted a rather nice day with slight clouds. later in the morning the rain stopped and the sun started to peek out.

first order of business was to mail out my broken lens. i never know which forms to fill out at the post office so i basically filled them all out. even then i made the rookie mistake of not writing the address on the box.

priority mail postage (14 oz.)$4.90
delivery confirmation$0.65
insurance ($560)$7.30
(total) $12.85

next i went to the cafe to get my father to sign off on some paperwork before i went down to the insurance company in chinatown to file a new policy. because my father has some prior points on his insurance, adding his name onto my policy meant a premium increase, but only by $20.

motorcycle insurance
(annual policy for cambridge)

the advantage of having a chinatown insurance company is it's within walking distance to the boston registry of motor vehicles (in the former combat zone no less). A110 was my number, with an estimated wait time of 21 minutes. i was a little worried at first because the numbers were counting off from A190, but it reset back to A100. the RMV is the great equalizer and it's a terrific place to people watch, since you really do get a cross-section of society. where else can you see upper class corporate executives sitting elbow to elbow with local townies?

registration, title transfer, plate fee$70

returning to town, i stopped by the cambridge city hall to get my resident parking permit - pretty much the whole reason why i went through this ordeal to re-register the motorcycle. i was reading the requirements and realized i didn't have my proof of residency (it wasn't enough that the motorcycle was already registered in cambridge). so i went home to get some mail with my name and address on it. i went online to see if any clients were trying to get ahold of me, but realized i didn't have internet access. i went outside and saw a comcast van. i talked to the guy and he said the cable switch fell off from the telephone pole so nobody had cable access until it got fixed. i left the repairman to his job and switched out the license plate when i got the chance. after that was done, i went back to city hall with my laptop stuffed in my backpack in case i find a free wifi spot to check e-mail.

question: does anybody know what's that symbol in the center of these new MA license plates? i see it all the time when i'm riding, it reminds me a DNA double helix strand. at first i thought it was a vanity biotechnology plate, but i saw it in the new plate that i got. maybe it means "the strands of history" or some other vague symbolism.

the resident parking permit turned out to be free (otherwise it's $8) because the guy behind the traffic office counter checked their computer and saw that i already paid for a visitor's pass. since you get one guest pass when you get a resident parking permit, they didn't charge me again. i casually asked the guy what i should do with the parking sticker, since i can't put it on the motorcycle (it's one of those reverse stickers that goes on a window). "oh, maybe you can just carry it with you." what? that's just proof that even the people who work there don't know what to do about motorcycles. back outside, i tried my laptop and was lucky to find an open wifi signal. i got in touch with client S and was happy to find out there were no fires to put out during my brief absence.

resident parking sticker$0

there was one more thing i had to do: get a new inspection sticker. it's kind of stupid because i just got the motorcycle inspected back in april, but that's what happens when you get a new plate. i went down to union square and got it taken care of.

motorcycle inspection sticker$15

it felt good to come home and park in front of my house and not be worried about getting another ticket. now that i'm immune from getting any further parking violations, i almost want to get another ticket, just for the satisfaction of being able to tear it up.

my father left a tomatillo plant on my doorstep and i walked down to the garden to add it to the plot. i also cleared out a patch to start some sunflowers and some shasta daisies. the instructions said it'd take them 2-3 weeks to germinate from seeds, so it'll be august before i see anything. in hindsight it would've been better to start them indoors during early spring but i'll see what happens. i'll be happy just to see a single plant, regardless if it survives into the fall or not.

everybody loves 3D gardening!

i collected a ziploc bag full of raspberries before coming back home. these are the most amazing raspberries. not a hint of tartiness, just a mild sweetness. i'm starting to think they might be an heirloom variety of some sort because i've never seen raspberries like that before.

in the evening my mother brought my aunt and grandmother for a visit. i gave them a slide show of my china photos (i don't think anyone's ever seen the entire slide show from beginning to end - we only got as far as litang) before we had dinner at my place (i didn't cook, my mother brought food over). my sister came by as well. after they left, i brought out the trash, thinking that it's trash day tomorrow. the empty curbsides made me realize that it's still monday; trash day isn't until wednesday morning.