i managed to make it around the charles river without stopping today, but at a slower speed, and working through some cramping issues that at the time i was sure was a heart attack. despite the fact that i didn't stop to walk, there was only a 2 minute improvement over my usual time. i did eat a banana before i left the house, so i don't know if that helped or hurt me.

my sansa express mp3 player broke again while i was running, the power button jamming up inside the case. i took it apart to fix it but pulled too hard and accidently detached the tiny power and display cables. when i pieced everything back together, the display wouldn't turn on anymore. that's when i went online looking for a replacement mp3 player. there is of course the ubiquitous apple ipod, but i wouldn't want anything less than a nano and at $130 for the 8gb, it was more than what i was willing to spend. what i really wanted was just something small i can carry with my while running that played mp3's and has a radio (something none of the ipods have). these days, since almost every single gadget out there can play mp3's, i figured i could find one cheap, like $20. i went on ebay to look for any sansa express deals (most online stores don't carry them anymore since its an outdated model). even a refurbished version was almost $30, and i wanted something even cheaper. i really like the simple OLED screen on my old sansa express, so that's where i focused my search. i found a few, all chinese knockoff brands i've never heard of before. they even sort of resembled the sansa express, but none were designed as well. i sort of like the MEEIelectronics MiniMee player, and even though it too was almost $30 (including shipping), at least it was smaller than my old player. i bookmarked the link. later during the day, on a whim, i tried the broken sansa express and it started working, like nothing happened.

i went to the cafe to see what kind of goodies my aunt brought back with her from taiwan & california. some family friends i'd never met before were also there as well. the husband was actually from tengchong, yunnan, china, but grew up in neighboring burma, and later went to school in taiwan, before coming to the united states. after they left, i went back home to my place as well, a backpack full of imported snacks.

i made it home in time to catch the red sox season opener on television, postponed from yesterday due to the rain. during the off-season i'd grown jaded of baseball, with all the steroid scandals and the player salary negotiation ugliness. but it certainly made it easier to get back into baseball when the red sox started out strong, with pedroia knocking out a homerun with his first at-bat.

the motorcycle cover i ordered last week finally came today. i got the medium nelson-rigg deluxe all-season cover, in black and silver, featuring the tri-max UV-treated polyester and ventilation panels to eliminate condensation. while i was trying it out on the motorcycle, my neighbor franz saw me, "finally!" neighborhood handyman ed came down the street as well, "best decision you ever made!" i was afraid the medium would be too big, but it fit perfectly. there was a cheaper all-black model but i wanted the silver so cars could see it when they're backing in to park. i had a motorcycle cover a few summers back that was actually a tarp for a barbecue grille. i used it a few times but it was a mess, too big for the motorcycle, and collected water and debris after each rainstorm.

"your partner died," ed said to me while i was outside. "huh?" danny, the owner of the eponymous diner at the end of my street, passed away last week due to complications from pneumonia. i couldn't believe it. i'd see him all the time, we'd wave to each other whenever i passed by his store to run an errand. he seemed healthy, it's pretty shocking. and pneumonia? even i've had it before, it's sort of like the flu but with more coughing. how can any die from that? i did notice over the weekend a bunch of people congregating outside dressed in black. apparently they held a wake, and i thought it was just folks getting out of church or something. i'm starting to think that corner commercial space is cursed. it has a high turnover rate; when i first moved to the neighborhood, it was a mexican cantina but soon became a pizza joint. a few years later the pizza place left and the diner moved in. now this. they haven't closed the doors but have shortened their hours. i think they still get good business, a lot of blue collar guys go there for lunch and on weekends the place is packed with brunchgoers. still, i'm pretty sad danny is no longer there, greeting me whenever i go by.

for dinner i had some sao bing along with some spicy pickled radish my aunt had brought back with her. i caught the return of fringe. anybody else watches that show? it takes place in boston and name drops a bunch of area landmarks and towns (allston and somerville were both mentioned tonight), but it's completely not shot in boston. another thing: nobody has a boston accent (maybe because none of the actors are boston natives either). i guess a show like spenser: for hire (filmed entirely on location in boston) only happens once in a lifetime. afterwards i caught the second episode of cupid.

did my neighbors come back from their south american vacation? they're not due back until thursday, but i heard footsteps upstairs. it's weird because i didn't catch anybody come in, and usually i notice them slamming their front door and then stomping up the stairs. i was tempted to ring the doorbell but had no reason to other than my naturally suspicious nature. since i didn't see anybody leaving with the television or stereo equipment, i figured it wasn't a burglar.

nick lowe - "so it goes"