depending on which local weather forecaster you trust most, the snowstorm on new year's eve will leave anywhere from 3" to 7"+. one thing i've learned about playing chicken with mother nature (especially in new england) is i always lose. instead of taking a gamble and hoping my bike won't get buried in snow, i decided to cut short my winter riding season and return the motorcycle to storage.

before i did that though, i could at least enjoy one final day of riding, to close out 2008. temperature was dry and in the mid-40's. a little bit chilly but i was pretty well insulated (hooded sweatshirt beneath my helmet, construction worker style). i stopped off at the nearby ATM first to get some cash before heading into chinatown. a trip into the city is as easy as crossing the street when i'm riding the motorcycle because i can pretty much park anywhere. a little wedge of space at the end of the street is a perfect parking spot. my first stop was the chinatown cafe (262 harrison avenue) to get some R45, the spicy fried pork chop on rice ($6.90). it's not particularly fancy but it's one of the most delicious things you can find in chinatown.

leaving the cafe, i chatted with a man in a truck who had some motorcycle questions. he wanted to know what i was riding because he wanted to get into it next season. i gave him the lowdown, told him the advantages and disadvantages of a bike like mine, and recommended he take the rider's course. the weird thing he was just parked in the middle of the busy road while we talked. cars were driving around us, honking their horns, but neither one of us cared.

the main reason that i was in chinatown was to pick up some hot pot ingredients from ming's market (1102 washington street, south end). the security guard thanked me for leaving my backpack by the front of the store (saved him the trouble of asking me). they had everything i wanted except for the sichuan hot pot sauce but i called my mother and she told me they already had a jar. with that i paid and made my way back to camberville via kendall square.

my foraging wasn't done yet, as i made one last stop in union square somerville to pick up a head of napa lettuce from the korean supermarket (they sell the cheapest napa lettuce because it's a staple for making kimchee). there was a fire engine and an ambulance parked outside, something was going on inside the store but it was still business as usual. there was a huge line 10 customers deep and it took me 20 minutes of waiting before i managed to pay. i couldn't fit the 8 lbs. worth of lettuce in my bag so i just clipped it to a strap and held it between my legs as i rode back.

it was 2:30 by the time i made it home. my pork chop with rice was crushed because it sat at the bottom of my backpack but it was still edible and warm. having not eaten yet, i pretty much inhaled my lunch. i ate so fast, i could feel the food congesting in my stomach. i washed everything down with a glass of coffee milk while catching some MSNBC.

i didn't have any time to spare though since my mother was waiting for me at the cafe to help her order some clothes online for my taiwanese cousins. before i could do that though, the ace hardware store in porter square called to let me know that my kleertemp thermometer had arrived. i went to go pick it up, waited several minutes before customer service came out with my order and some release forms to sign. heading to the cafe, i cut across the walden street bridge for the first time in almost 2 years (the city of cambridge finally opened it up).

at the cafe, my mother told me the jacket she wanted to order for my cousin suddenly run out of the size she wanted. she made me call a few local stores (burlington, natick) and ask if they had any in stock (none of them did). with that bit of business finished, i went to belmont. after greeting hailey and letting her out into the backyard, i went out front to wash the salt off my motorcycle and but it back into storage, after having just taken it out less than 24 hours ago.

in the evening when my parents both came back home, we had some chinese hot pot. the special occasion was my mother's birthday tomorrow, although we won't be celebrating it then because my father has to work. even my sister managed to come home briefly, eat some hot pot, then left soon afterwards. hot pot always gives me the runs soon after i eat it and tonight was no exception, although it could've also been the expired carton of egg nog i finally finished.

my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. i stuck the kleertemp thermometer on the back of my kitchen door, it's pretty sweet and doesn't look like it'll fall off anytime soon (that was the problem with my last suction-cup outdoor thermometer). when my roommate came back home, we chatted about the recent israeli bombardment of gaza.