tree sparrow



there must be a name when two great tastes taste great as one. today i discovered stamp collecting goes well with birdwatching. when my friend alex left town many years ago, he left me a bunch of stamps. coincidentally, many had images of birds on them. the first one is of a japanese white-eye AKA mejiro, a bird native to the japanese islands. i've actually seen some before, when i visited tokyo back in february 2005. next is the eurasian tree sparrow. they kind of look like regular sparrows, except they have black sideburns and a brown cap (the ubiquitous house sparrows have a grey cap and no sideburns). both are non-native species: while house sparrows can be seen everywhere, tree sparrows are only found around the st.louis area. kingfishers are beautiful birds (brilliantly colored, like hummingbirds) but they seen elusive. i can remember seeing them around claypit pond by my old high school. more recently, i think i saw one flying around a pond in acton last year, and i definitely saw one when i was in jianshui (yunnan), china, at the confucian temple. finally, the kestrel, one of my favorite tiny raptors. i've only seen this bird once, in the marsh fields around alewife. (to see more japanese bird stamps, visit the japanese bird stamps website.)

i made myself a big hearty lunch today. i've been having this weirdest craving for french toast for some reason, and finally got enough ingredients last night to make some (basically i just need some sliced bread). along with that i cooked up some kielbasa sausages. the combination of the sweet toast (topped with powdered sugar an maple syrup) with the salty sausages was just perfect. i washed everything down with a fruit smoothie. afterwards i just felt satiated, with the afternoon sun radiating into my bedroom, knowing that it was cold outside but warm inside.

how cold exactly i'd find out soon afterwards, as i got dressed and ventured outside to cash a check. i went out the back door, checking the outdoor faucet along the way to make sure the water was turned off so the pipe won't freeze and burst during the winter (my upstairs neighbors had already turned it off). the air outside was brisk and without gloves my hands would start hurting after a few minutes. it was invigorating though only because such daytime wintery bitterness is still relatively new, but i'm sure i'll get sick of the chill soon enough. in the sky i noticed some strange clouds and stopped to take some photos. i went to the ATM kiosk on mass avenue before backtracking and going to rite aid to buy some dental floss and cough drops.

in the early evening i performed a water change on two of my tanks, the male guppy tank and the tetra tank. the male guppy tank could use a few more changes. where it's currently located the afternoon sun shines on it for a few hours. the problem? massive algae bloom all over the inside walls. i just recently tried taping a piece of dark construction paper on one side to block out some of the sun, don't know how well that's going to work. hopefully as the sun shifts its position on the horizon the sunlight won't shine directly on that tank anymore.

zhu lei was out most of the day. considering how cold it was, i figured he'd be home all day today. maybe he went over to a friend's place. i personally like to tell roommates when i go out, and more importantly, about when i'll expect to come back. zhu lei does share my belief, because he leaves without saying anything. it's not that big a deal, and he's not obligated to report his whereabouts to me, but i like to know, just so i can figure out how much alone time i can have. i shouldn't be complaining too much, he's moving out in 2 weeks, and i'll have the place all to myself again. at this point we've basically ironed out most of the kinks, established a rhythm if you will. however, there's still a few things that irk me, and i have to get it off my chest, only because i love disseminating gossip.

for one thing, he keeps on stealing my bananas! i think when he first moved in, i had some bananas and i told him to help himself. ever since then, he thinks he has a green light on all my bananas. it's not that he eats them - that i don't mind. it's that he'll eat them all, at least one a day, until there aren't any left. there's been times when i feel like i'm buying them just for him, and i'll have one, and in a few days they'll all be gone because he ate them all. at least leave one! a courtesy banana! okay, so, bananas. it's kind of trivial, and i don't want to waste my breath talking to him about it, considering he'll be gone soon, and his new place is miles away from the nearest super market and he won't have easy access to bananas and he'll be suffering from potassium deficiency malnutrition or something.

the second thing is actually something that is a little bit more serious, but once again not worth my time confronting him with. the problem is i think he's still not used to american food. partly it has to be with his foreign digestive system, and partly it has to do with his poor cooking skills. you ask me, how do i know all this? well, because he makes a mess whenever he uses the bathroom. when i say mess, i mean i've seen truck stop bathrooms cleaner than the explosive fecal residue left inside my toilet bowl. i can understand if he didn't see it - not like i look back every time and check the toilet to see if i've flushed successfully. but the thing is, he knows he's doing this (because he's uses the bathroom afterwards, and flipped up the seat cover, and the evidence is everywhere) and just doesn't give a shit (or does, depending on how you want to pun this). i've known about this for weeks and haven't written about it because it's kind of embarrassing but i was just in the bathroom scrubbing down the toilet because of him so the disgruntledness is still fresh. maybe he just doesn't understand the concept of cleanliness. if he's lived at home most of his life, and then lived in a dorm, maybe he's never thought about how bathrooms get cleaned. it kind of shocks me that he doesn't understand if he makes a makes, there's not a janitor who comes by and cleans it up, and that i end up having to pick up after him.

anyway, 2 more weeks. after this weekend, one more weekend to go, and he's out. i wonder if people are ever curious about that fact that i'm badmouthing my roommate and if he'll ever find out about it? i never told him i have a blog, but it's not that hard to find: google my name and it comes up in the search results. i am a little bit concerned if he ever did discover it, only because i don't want to hurt his feelings. but if he took the time to read it, everything i write is true, and if nothing else, maybe it might make him change some of his bad habits.

in the evening i made some hot dogs for dinner. most entertaining show of the night wasn't on television but rather outside: i heard loud yelling and i looked out my window and saw a woman in a black evening dress sprawled out on the side of the road with a friend on either side. apparently she fell down and was making a big spectacle of getting back up.