the biggest news this year, as far as i'm concerned, is barack obama becoming president. i still don't quite believe it. he's been getting a lot of bad press recently because things aren't improving as fast as everyone hoped they would, but he's got a tough job with just too many problems to solve and things like the economy takes time to get better. nevertheless, i think obama is still an inspiration, a symbol of what america stands for, that we're a nation where anything is possible.

i got a chance to visit birmingham (alabama) this february as part of my work. up until then, the farthest south i've ever gone was atlanta (also for a business trip). i just love it when work and travel can be mashed up. then in march i spent a few days in san francisco, my only mini-vacation of the year, courtesy of jesse' hospitality and living room couch. also in march i found a new obsession: glass insulators! so much so that i ended up buying half a dozen on ebay.

in may i bought another lens, the canon EF-S 10-22mm wide angle zoom, the kind of coverage common for photojournalists, which is what i secretly want to be. try to guess which photos in this posting were shot with the wide-angle! july was an eventful month for me. first, i got locked out of my house. i ended up breaking inside through a bedroom window that i'd previously thought was impenetrable. then in mid-july i nearly cut off my right thumb in a knife accident (thankfully i'm discovering i'm more left-handed than right). through these mishaps though, hopefully i've learned some valuable life lessons!

this was the summer where i did a lot of gardening, despite a whole month of june in near overcast. i basically gave up on my community garden plot, but instead put all my green thumb energy into my parents' backyard, where we rejuvenated the old garden (drastically pruning back the backyard maple tree in the spring also helped). we grew all sorts of vegetables, but it was mainly the squash and corn show (including the night-flowering calabash/hulu gourds).

at the end of the summer i finally a high blood pressure drug that seemed to work. at the start of the year i was on atenolol, which from years past i knew pretty much didn't do anything. my doctor switched me to lisinopril, then added chlorthalidone, but switched once again to avapro once i developed a persistent cough. avapro worked, but i changed health insurance in july and my new policy didn't cover it, so i was finally put on diovan, which is similar.

starting in the fall, my upstairs neighbor and i finally had the house painted. it was something we've been talking about since i first moved in back in 2002, but we finally did it, thanks mostly to be for shopping for the right painter and later some general contractors to do some minor repair work. even though i love the new paint job, the whole experience left a bitter taste in my mouth because my neighbor didn't do any leg work, and we still ended up paying more than i originally budgeted.

i had some more motorcycle drama this year. last year i broke my foot in a bike accident, and this year i suffered another accident in august. about 2 weeks later i bought a new used motorcycle with the insurance money when they deemed my old 2000 honda rebel 250cc as a total loss (not before i reached a personal milestone of 10k miles of riding). the new bike was a 2003 honda shadow spirit 750cc, 3x as powerful as my old bike. i began to regret the purchase as soon as i bought it. i love the power but hate the size, an additional 200 lbs of chrome and engine. the bike looks beautiful though, and i finally got a chance to try out a beefier motorcycle. then when i finally decided to put the bike away for the winter, i ended up dumping it at my parents' driveway and pinning myself underneath for a few seconds. i'm still on the fence about whether i want to sell the bike come next spring, and go back to a 250cc.

at the same time i was going through my motorcycle drama, i rediscovered a new interest in bikes, this time bicycles. it just seems like a win-win: free mode of transportation and exercise in the process (especially since i've only gone running a handful of times this year). the fact that it also doesn't pollute was just a small bonus. i think once i installed the milk crate, i made the mental leap from bicycling as recreation to bicycling as something utilitarian. i immersed myself in everything bicycle related and began to notice them more and more when i pass them parked on the streets. bicycles also allowed me to get my hands dirty doing repair and maintenance work.

finally, i ended the year with another obsession: restoring mortise locks! i became intimately acquainted with paint strippers, brass brushes, and steel wool.

the revolving door of roommates was also another big story this year, a grand total of 6 (not counting the times when jesse and john visited). friends got married (joel and sara, alex and miwa), friends moved away (eliza, dan and cymara), and friends had babies (andrew and maura). i didn't do as much naturing as i'd like this year (although i made up for it with my local gardening exploits), but i did find a few more new nature spots, including the greenways, hamlen woods, and pod meadow (mostly in wayland).

i don't know what's in store for 2010, but hopefully it involves refilling my nearly empty bank account.

a quick snowstorm blew through the area before noontime, coating the landscape in an inch of snow. i went out and shoveled after it stopped later in the afternoon. my roommate had already left by then, heading into boston then later to a party. i had a plate of salad for lunch with some thousand island dressing along with a banana. figuring i deserved a special treat to celebrate the end of the year, i had a few more slices of blue cheese on crackers. in the evening i went chinese food delivering with my father. we figured it'd get pretty busy but it wasn't that bad. i had some goat noodle soup with chinese sauerkraut for dinner at the cafe, which closed early tonight. during a lull i went out and shoveled the parking lot.