i was lucky that my father was in the neighborhood this morning and could give me a ride to the porter square post office so i could mail off frances' wedding gift package to norway: otherwise, i would've had to walk with a large 22 lbs. box balanced on the top of my head.

there were two clerks at the post office today, which sped things up a bit. when it came to my turn, the woman took one look at my box and said, "i can't lift that. next!" she had a cast on her arm as well as being pregnant. i had to wait a few minutes for the other clerk to finish up with his customer before he got to me. after weighing the box and letting me know how much it'd cost to send it to oslo, he gave me a few forms to fill out. i then had to wait until he was done with his next customer before he could take care of me again. the final cost was $90 with additional insurance, slightly less than what i calculated online.

with just 2 days left before he departs for china and taiwan, alex dropped by to get some more traveling advice. i let him borrow a few more china books and lent him my traveling elastic clothesline and laundry kit (small scrub brush and a bottle of powdered detergent). i told him i'd get him my money belt by tomorrow. he came with his other new lens attached to his canon 40D, the canon EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS telephoto zoom lens. it has about the same range as my 70-300mm telephoto, but 50% smaller, so less conspicuous.

after alex left, i rummaged through some camera bags and found my old infrared filter. with a 52mm diameter, it perfectly fits my 60mm macro lens. these DSLR's aren't designed to take infrared photos (unlike my old nikon coolpix 4500), so i can't see anything through the viewfinder, but it'll still take a usable photo. the only trick is i have to focus blindly, so it's a bit of trial and error to get a clear photo. i want to do some more infrared photography this season.

i went to the garden to check up on my plants after the past 2 days of rainstorms. i brought along 3 of my tomato cages to stake into the ground. i was dismayed to see some damage but it wasn't unexpected. weird thing was none of it was weather related though. one basil plant had been torn apart (squirrel?) and another had several leaves chewed by a slug. a cilantro seedling looked like some animal try to uproot it but gave up. other than that, everything else looked fine. i caged my 3 tomatillo plants before i left.

on my way home i stopped by bruce's place. in his mailbox was an expensive ($50+) monk book he ordered from europe. we discussed the private lives of monks and his upcoming weeklong vacation in san francisco before i left.

i took a shower and then spent some time working on the grease stain in my everyday carrying bag. i zapped it with some stain remover last night but the grease spots were still there. i then added a dab of tide laundry detergent and scrubbed the stain with a brush. after it dried, the stain was pretty much gone.

i also cleaned out my minibow aquarium today. originally i was just going to scoop out some protein scum on the water's surface, but before i knew it, i was elbow deep in the tank, scrubbing off the algae and siphoning out a bucket of dirty water. normally i'd just dump the water outside because it makes good fertilizer, but because it was already dark, i just flushed everything down the toilet.

i had this new hot and sour ramen that i got from chinatown a few weeks ago. i was surprised by the color of the noodles; normally ramen noodles comes as an opaque yellow brick, but these particular noodles came as a brownish semi-translucent puck. turns out it was something called potato threads. i couldn't taste the potato, it was just like cellophane noodles though. the ramen had a good taste with its hot and sour flavor. unfortunately i overdid it with the sourness (i also had some sichuan style kimchee) so i had this burning sensation in my stomach afterwards (it soon passed).

i watched the game 5 between the cavaliers and the magic. there was good reason to believe cleveland would win tonight. cavaliers had home court advantage, the magic had already won 2 consecutive games, it wasn't a must-win for orlando, and the magic would probably prefer clinching the conference championship on their home court instead. the game started like every single game in this series: cavaliers came out scoring, getting a big lead, but then it was like they ran out of steam or the magic just kicked it into overdrive because then suddenly orlando comes back to tie the game and then take the lead. fortunately the cavaliers regained the lead towards the end of the game and time ran out before the magic could stage another comeback. i don't like how towards the end of the game, lebron james is always the guy to take the final shot. every possession in the final minutes was him trying to score. i think that shows a level of disrespect for the other players on his team that he doesn't trust them enough to make the game winning shot, or maybe he just wants all the glory to himself. i keep thinking about how the celtics would play the final minutes, and any player on the team could just as easily be handed the ball for the final shot. not so with the cavaliers. they live and die by lebron james, and if cleveland doesn't advance, there's only one person to blame.

sophia e-mailed me sometime after midnight saying she was stuck in waltham at her friend dawn's place and wouldn't make it back until tomorrow morning.