it was so cold in my house last night that i had a hard time falling asleep. when the inside feels like the outside, that's a clear sign that maybe i should initiate the heating sequence. my face felt icy and i wouldn't have been surprised if i saw my breath. i slept in a fetal position, making my body into a tight ball to preserve precious body heat. when i checked the thermometer it read 57 degrees. i was hoping i could hold out until november, but with the daytime temperature hovering in the 50's and the nighttime temperature near freezing, my passively heated house wasn't going to get warmer anytime soon. maybe if i was living alone and wasn't expecting any guests i could've delayed the inevitable, but with a roommate at the mercy of my residential thermoregulations, i had to do the right thing.

so early this morning i vacuumed out the forced air vents (bathroom and bedroom were the dustiest) and went down to the basement to turn on the furnace. i didn't have a barbecue lighter and i wasn't about to stick my hand into the narrow opening to start the pilot light. instead, i lit the end of a bamboo skewer and stuck it into the furnace. the gas ignited with a soothing woosh noise. i held down the pilot knob for 30 seconds before turning it to on. the flames branched out to full and in a few minutes the fan would be blowing, circulating hot air throughout my house. i went back upstairs and put my feet over a warm air vent. one of the greatest feelings in the world.

i went back to the head of the charles today, this time parking on hawthorne street. studying my photos from yesterday, i had a few new ideas and improvements regarding my regatta photography techniques. i caught the youth eights, master singles, and the collegiate eights. i was a little bit off-center of the anderson bridge facing the direction of the finish line, but as people started leaving, i slowly inched my way up until i was in the center again, like yesterday. [more photos eventually]

i caught my roommate watching tomb raider in bed when i got back home in the afternoon. i told him i turned on the furnace this morning so our days of suffering will now be over. while i was eating a can of heated raviolis straight from the pot, my roommate was extolling the virtues of closed captioning television and how it's a great way to learn english. he got dressed and went down to the charles river to shoot some head of the charles footage for his boston video travelogue. i left soon afterwards myself to my parents' place for dinner.

nobody was home went i got there, just hailey locked in the kitchen. she seemed back to normal, jumping up on me and barking until i let her out into the backyard. my mother called saying she'd just left the house so we probably missed each other by mere minutes. both my parents came home a little while later, going back out to get some burger king for dinner. my mother had a booklet of BK coupons and ended up buying an assortment of sandwiches and onion rings for around $20. i surprised myself by wolfing down an entire double whopper. by the time left the temperature had dropped down to 44 degrees. i was dressed for the weather, with my thermal underwear beneath my jeans and my hoodie beneath my motorcycle helmet, so i hardly felt the freeze.

tonight's showcase naturally was game 7 of the red sox devil rays game. by now it's already a foregone conclusion that the red sox lost this game. to be honest, i think the red sox should've been eliminated back in game 5. it was a miracle we won, so anymore after that were just bonus wins. had the red sox won tonight, it would've been one of the greatest steals in baseball postseason history, probably setting the tampa bay franchise with some deep psychological trauma, and added to the red sox mystique. but tonight the universe swung back into balance again, and the team that should've won earlier finally won it for real. the fact that they had to go 7 games with their division rivals the red sox will justify their victory if they do indeed win the world series, since you can only become a champion by beating the champion. at least there won't be a riot in downtown boston now that the red sox season has finally drawn to a close (weather's too cold anyway, but never underestimate the will power of drunk frat guys and townies). with the loss of our offensive clout (manny trade, lowell injury, smellsbury underperforming) and our defensive ineffectiveness (supposed team aces beckett and lester imploding in games 3 and 4), we were lucky to go as far as we did. for all those red sox fans feeling sad tonight, just grab your commemorative 2004 world series dvd and rewatch it again to wallow in our glory days.

my game watching was interrupted by my roommate, which in retrospect was for the best. first he wanted to ask me if i had anymore state quarters so he could finish his collection. so far he's at 36 and needs 14 more to complete a set. a friend of his from china has also asked for a similar collection. the funny thing is he gets lost in all this numismatic pursuit and kind of loses sight that we're still dealing with money here: he takes my quarters but i don't get any quarters back. another thing when dealing with china roommates is this: besides being incapable of apologizing, they're also incapable of offering gratitude. the word "thank you" is foreign to them. having spent some time in china, this doesn't really bother me too much because i know it's a cultural thing. it's just something i've noticed. later, after he took some of my quarters, he wanted to have a conversation comparing the health care industry between china and america. "this game is sort of important, i have to watch it," i told him, but he didn't seem to understand, despite the fact that my eyes were glued to the tv the whole time. i did learn that employee health insurance in china doesn't include family members. children are insured independently, usually through their schools. in a surprising twist of logic, babies and toddlers often get overlooked since they're not covered by any institutions unless the parents made an effort to buy insurance for them. when babies get sick and rack up a large medical fee, often times parents end up paying out of pocket for those services.

tonight's second highlight was another episode of mad men, which i watched at 1am. i thought it was the season finale but it's actually the second to last episode. a huge chunk of don draper's past is revealed (it has something to do with that mysterious woman who shows up at his used car dealership and seems to know he's not who he says he is). to see don in a personal relationship with another woman that isn't of a sexual nature is jarring, to say the least. peggy gets a huge office upgrade and that relocation scene where she's talking to joanne after joanne's fiance rapes her in the office the night before is just absolutely heartbreaking. it's so heavy in subtext that i need to join a mad men support group just to clear my head. i can't believe the finale is next week. there's no way they can resolve everything within just another episode. i wish there was a mad men universe where all the shows would be mad men all the time.