what do people like to do on sundays? if you're me, you're going on another risky appointment to the middle of nowhere to meet some unknown person selling something off of craig's list.

still feeling the burns of my last sunday outing, i was afraid for another disappointment. apparently i never learned my lesson, and i went ahead to the chosen location without first finalizing all the details. the item in question was a used pc radeon 9700 pro graphic card. i already have two, but neither of them worked for what i wanted to do with them, which is to flash the firmware and convert it to a mac graphic card. i wrote the seller 2 weeks ago, never heard back from him, figured he already sold the card, no big deal. then suddenly last week i got a reply e-mail. when i asked him half-jokingly what took so long, he said he was just busy with work. we arranged to meet at a particular dunkin' donuts in woburn on sunday afternoon, 1pm. he even suggested the time change, as i had originally proposed an earlier time.

i asked for a telephone number, in case i don't find him, but he never responded. that should've been my first warning. then when i wrote him yesterday to confirm our appointment, he never wrote back. that should've been the second warning. finally, on a whim, i googled his name, mohammad afzal. imagine my surprise when i came across a wikipedia entry. mohammad afzal was part of the 2001 attack on the indian parliament and is currently in jail awaiting a possible death sentence. my third warning (albeit a bit of racist paranoia at play).

nevertheless, i got ready this morning and headed up to woburn, 12 miles away. it took me half an hour to get there, with traffic and whatnot. i got a cup of white hot chocolate and sat outside on my motorcycle, sipping my drink in the hot sun, waiting for my mystery seller to show up. 30 minutes went way. unlike last time, i couldn't even call him back because i didn't even have his number. with egg on my face, i headed back home. at least my drink was cheaper this time around.

it wasn't a total lost. the weather today was gorgeous, probably one of the top 10 days of 2008 in terms of awesome weather. it gave me an excuse to ride the motorcycle through towns i don't normally visit (stoneham, woburn). on my way back i lost my bearing slightly and ended up in medford center. not a problem, i recognized where i was, close to my alma mater tufts, with davis square just a short distance away. however, what i didn't anticipate was the memorial day parade cutting across somerville down highland avenue. now normally i love parades of any kind, but there's something slightly somber about memorial day parades, which never really piqued my interest. however, seeing that i had no choice, i pulled the bike over at one point and made my way into the crowd just to get an eyeful of the festivity. the organizers really lucked out this year because today was picture perfect parade weather. and despite my misgivings, there were still photoworthy subjects to be had. unfortunately, i didn't have my telephoto lens, and without it i wouldn't be able to get any good parade photos. slightly disgusted with my own lack of foresight, i left minutes later, going as far as mcgrath highway before i could a route to cambridge that wasn't blocked off. returning from union square, i passed by the now-blooming paulownia tree on beacon street and got off the bike to take some photos (i recommend anyone living in the camberville area to visit the tree and enjoy some paulownia while you still can).

later in the afternoon, on my way to belmont for dinner, i passed by the cafe. i found my great uncle there and we had an interesting chat about last night's basketball game. after he left to go home, my father said he had something to tell me. i know from past experiences that these are usually bad news. he told me that he and my mother and sister went up to salem this morning and got a dog from the animal shelter. i was so angry i didn't even say anything and stormed out of the cafe, on my way to belmont. my sister was outside walking the new dog on the lawn. i didn't even bother looking at them, walked straight into the house to yell at my mother who was in the kitchen. she told me yesterday that she and my sister were going to go visit an animal shelter. i tried to talk her out of it, and i think she said they weren't going, but i knew she was lying. i knew if they went, there was no way they would be coming back home empty-handed.

this all started because suhan asked for his dog back. never mind that he doesn't have the capacity to take care of any dog, especially a husky, a breed notoriously difficult to raise even for seasoned dog owners. the way he understood the arrangement was as soon as he graduated from school (which was last weekend), he could get the dog back. that was always my secret wish, and i purposely didn't bond with the dog so when that day came there wouldn't be any emotional attachment. however, that wasn't the case with my father and sister, who wanted the dog from the beginning. in the end, some bad words were said, and the husky was returned to her rightful owner. this sudden dog vacuum felt like the lifting of a tremendous weight, but not everyone felt the same as i did. not sure the exact details, but my sister only gave up the dog because my parents promised they'd get her a new one, like she's some little kid and not a thirtysomething adult.

so fast-forward 48 hours later after the loss of the old dog and in comes a new dog. it wasn't even the dog that my sister e-mailed me a photo of yesterday, a message i promptly ignored. the dog in that photo was a keeshond mix, and as much as i'm against my family getting a dog, i had less objection with a keeshond, partly because that was our last family dog. the dog my parents and sister ended up choosing was an 8-week-old female black labrador and hound dog mix. not sure what kind of hound dog, but if it's a bloodhound, then this mix would be a labloodhound. she pretty much looks like a black labrador puppy, with a white chest (which happens in purebred black labs as well, but it's not a desired trait). they picked her because she seemed the most obedient, smart enough to bark to get her owner's attention when she needs to use the bathroom, otherwise a quiet dog. she's a sound sleeper, and even with people around playing with her, she can still sleep (at one point i thought she was dead). she also had really soft feet because she's just a puppy, the padding on her paws not yet worn rough.

i was angry my parents didn't discuss their decision with me beforehand. adding a dog to the family should be a family decision, although i would have definitely vetoed it. given the choice though, i wouldn't have gone with a labrador (i like more compact medium-sized dogs), but it's a breed i can at least tolerate. they didn't get the keeshond mix because her owner had to transport her from another state and for some reason there was a 4 month waiting period. my mother said maybe we could get that dog too but i told her that one dog was already more than enough. already i see this dog differently; for one thing, there's no possibility that one day the dog's real owner will come and take her away. for another, "hailey" seems like a better fit, although i'm still opposed to the idea of my parents and sister owning a dog. she's definitely calmer than the husky, an easier disposition. rescued from an animal shelter is also the responsible thing to do. plus she's a mix breed, which hopefully means less health issues normally found in true purebreds.