waking up earlier than usual in the morning is already traumatic enough; having to drive an hour on the highway down to norwood just compounds the matter. as i was leaving i bumped into my mother driving to the supermarket. the gps kept telling me to go on the turnpike but i ignored its prompts, making my way to I-93 south before the GPS finally reroute the path i wanted. i thought i'd be late but i arrived exactly on time. the meeting with the client went well. despite being only 70% done with one interactive and not even having started on the second one, we still had enough to talk about. i presented from my macbook pro, more becoming more and more my all-purpose work machine as my two desktop computers slowly become obsolete. 2 hours later we were done, and i went to collect some hardware: the install computer and a touchscreen. the interactive also included a 40" monitor but i didn't want to be responsible for such an expensive piece of equipment so i left it with the client.
i already knew i was going to ponkapoag bog after the meeting. with the weather so nice and the bog just a few highway exits away, it was an opportunity i couldn't resist. besides, after working so hard yesterday, i figured i deserved a short break. and i visit the bog at least once a year (more like a pilgrimage), and i haven't seen it yet this season. i came prepared, already had all my naturing equipment including rubber boots for traversing the sometimes flooded boardwalk and a windbreaker jacket in case there were a lot of mosquitoes. the only problem was i had thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment in the car. that's why i brought a blanket to cover up the boxes. normally i'd park outside the reservation, by the side of the highway, and then walk 20 minutes to the bog, but i decided to drive in today since i've seen car traffic on the gravel trail. i also didn't feel safe leaving the car so far away, especially not with all that precious cargo. plus i didn't want to do too much walking on my foot.
outside the bog is a large wooded parking lot, across from a YMCA camp. a high-school-aged counselor came up to talk with me when i got out of the car. he asked if i was visiting the camp, and i said no. he said the parking is for camp business only, but he didn't mind if i parked there. the only thing is occasionally the ranger comes around and tickets unauthorized cars, so he told me that was a possibility. i thanked him for his advice, slipped into my rubber boots, and headed down the boardwalk.
although i got a few bites, for the most part it was surprisingly mosquito free, despite all the recent rain. i figured it'd be very wet but the water level was actually slightly lower than normal. didn't see anything new, with the exception of some yellow-eyed grass and identifying some swamp loosestrife. found some rather large cranberries in the bog field, ate a few - crunchy, juicy, sour.
of course one of the main reasons to visit ponkapoag is the chance to see three different types of carnivorous plants: the pitcher plant, the bladderwort, and the sundew.
i spotted my initial sundew by accident early on, when i noticed some flower stalks poking out from the sphagnum moss carpeting either side of the boardwalk. following the stems down to the base, i saw the tiny sundews. most of the sundews at ponkapoag grow at the last bog field before the boardwalk ends. the sundews there are much bigger and healthier, although this late in the season, most of them have already disappeared. not sure what time of the month, but i've been to the bog where sundews were everywhere. today however, they were easy to miss if you didn't know where to look. in the wet undergrowth of the cedar forest portion of the bog is where i found the bladderworts. not particularly sexy (unlike the sundews), only of interest to carnivorous plants lovers. and finally the pitcher plants. not as many as in past years, but they're also easy to miss and don't grow in large fields like sundews.
sundews are one of my favorite natural things to photograph. they're really tiny but they photograph well if you can down to macro scale. unfortunately that also means shallow depth of field, and i rarely get a good sundew photo that successfully show all the glistening drops of sticky dew. i could've probably spent the whole day talking sundew photos, but i try not to do it for too long because it leaves me in a vulnerable position, on my hands and knees with my face practically buried in the moss. fortunately there was nobody else in the bog today.
not much dragonfly activity today. in years past, i've seen some rare dragonflies (at least to me) that i've never seen in any other places. it's also late in the season; the only dragonflies that are out are the red/yellow meadowhawks. i also saw one of those large darner dragonflies, but those things never stop flying so i didn't even attempted to photograph it.
once i made it to the end of the boardwalk, i turned right back around and started heading out to the parking lot. what that camp counselor told me about the ranger sort of made me nervous and the whole time i kept on wondering if i'd gotten a parking ticket and probably cut short my stay. i was relieved to find no ticket on the car once i got back out.
i drove to the cafe to return the car. i had some late lunch there before receiving a call from the motorcycle repair shop informing me that my bike was fixed. actually, they didn't really do anything to it, all my concerns were minor enough that they weren't worth fixing so it seemed. i drove the car to my place briefly to drop off the computer equipment, grab my helmet, and then head back to the cafe. i also brought along one of jesse's aloe vera plants, figured it could get more sun exposure at the cafe than in my house.
my father went with me to arlington to pick up the motorcycle. i honestly didn't think i'd be getting the motorcycle back today. i figured it was one of those things where i had to actually go down and demonstrate to them what was wrong with the bike so they'll understand what needs to be fixed and then the bike would stay in the shop for another week so it could get repaired once again. someone pulled up my invoice and listed the repair items. i was just waiting for the punch line, when they tell me how much "not getting anything fixed" was going to cost me. so imagine my surprise when the guy told me there was no charge. greater boston motorsports went from being a questionable bike repair shop to my favorite shop in the world.
outside with my "not fixed" bike, i talked with another mechanic and explained what i originally wanted repaired: mainly to lower the rear brake pedal. he came out with a torque screw and actually tried to lower it for me but it was too low so he set it back. resigned to the fact that i'll probably have to learn to ride with a slightly higher than normal rear brake pedal, i got on the bike and rode home (my father following behind me for part of the way). but here's where it gets funny: although the pedal was still a bit high, it was actually lower than what it was before, to the point where it wasn't that bad anymore. and here's the kicker: even though they told me i had nothing wrong with my handlebar alignment (with i understood as they didn't bother to fix it), when i looked down i saw that they had re-aligned the steering for me, free of charge! that was the service i paid $90 before but discovered they didn't do a good job the first time.
arriving in porter square i stopped by the locksmith to get a pair of motorcycle keys made ($5.25), to replace the one that i bent back in june.
and before going home, i paid a visit to the garden. last time i was here was two days ago so i didn't think too much had changed. but since that time, a few more cosmos have sprouted, my thai chili peppers have started to turn red, two more tomatoes have ripened (i'm leaving them on the vine until i need them), and one of my sunflowers has bloomed.
finally, watched night 2 of the DNC. i was really impressed with hillary clinton's speech, and sort of forgot why i didn't like her. that part where she said, "Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him?" that was some powerful jedi mind trick. i also loved her crack about the republicans holding their convention in the twin cities because it's hard to tell the difference between mccain and bush. had she been the democratic nominee for president, would that have been so bad? i think i would've been angry, and probably threaten to vote republican or sit this election out, but come november, i would've most likely voted for clinton, just because the alternative would be the greater of two evils. now all eyes are on bill clinton for tomorrow night, see what kind of speech he's going to make. will he be gracious and beloved, like the old bill, or spiteful and bitter, like new bill?