it snowed about another 5" overnight by the time i woke up this morning. i was happy to learn that my upstairs neighbor was already outside shoveling the sidewalk. maybe they felt guilty because i'd been doing it for the past few snowstorms. the snow was still falling when i left the house and headed towards belmont. i bumped into dennis digging out his car. earlier he went biking around the charles river and asked me if i would mind taking a few photos of him with his winterized bicycle. he pulled out a canon digital point-and-shoot in a ziploc bag from his jacket like a magician. later he pulled out another one, a waterproof film camera. i got a chance to see his nail-studded finnish snow tires. the spikes are actually on the outer edges of the tires, not in the middle like i thought. he said i could try it out one of these days but i'm afraid his bike is too tall for me and i don't want to get poled in the crotch.

snow presents all sorts of interesting photo ops, but i was rushing to get to my parents' house and only had time to take a few random snapshots when i arrived in harvard square. i had my camera with the telephoto lens and kept my equipment dry by tucking it inside my open winter jacket. i didn't have to wait too long before i caught the 73 bus (usually on sundays there's a 20 minute wait). i figured it'd be a scenic ride into the suburb but the windows of the bus were caked in so much road salt that it was nearly impossible to see outside.

i had to open the blinds so hailey could see me outside shoveling the snow otherwise she'd bark. while my sister and mother were inside the house, i cleared out the front steps, the sidewalks, and the driveway. i didn't mind, gave me an excuse to be outside in the snow, and to get some exercise. i noticed some of the newer neighbors didn't bother to shovel the sidewalks. these will probably be the same kind of neighbors who won't mow their lawn in the summer. later my mother came out to clean the snow off the car and my sister took hailey for a walk around the block. she let the dog run around in the backyard afterwards. by then the snow had pretty much stopped. hailey loves running in the snow and loves to chase after the snow dust she kicks up. but like a child, she doesn't know her limitations, and my sister had to bring her back inside the house when we saw her shivering, even though she wanted to stay out and play in the snow. my mother commandeered my laptop so she could do some online shopping. she was also raving about the new pedegg she got (which, according to the recent issue of consumer report, is actually better than a pumice stone in exfoliating dead skin).

watched the last regular season game of the new england patriots versus the houston texans. the patriots looked like they had command of the game until the final quarter, when they inexplicably gave up a few touchdowns to let houston win (pyrrhic victory anyway, since the texans would eventually get eliminated from the playoffs later in the day). but the defeat wasn't the biggest story of the day: wes welker is out for the season, ruptured his knee on a play. ironically it wasn't even due to a collision (and anyone who's watched him perform this year knows he can take a hit), he just planted it wrong and a split second later he was down on the ground. they say it's the same kind of injury that tom brady had last year, and it took brady a year to get back. unfortunately a wide receiver does more running than a quarterback, so the risk of re-aggravating that knee when he does come back is that much greater. is it just me, or does it seem like new england can't catch a break these past few years? first, they've been hemorrhaging good players like crazy, whether because of guys going elsewhere, retirement, or trade. they go a perfect season in 2006-2007, only to lose in the superbowl (against the vastly inferior giants, who aren't even in the playoffs this year). the beginning of 2007-2008 tom brady goes out for the season after his knee injury. despite the fact that the patriots made a valiant comeback with backup QB matt cassel, they still couldn't make it into the playoffs. now this season, seems like the team finally has a chance, but now welker goes down. it was already going to be a tough playoff with a healthy welker, but without him, i really don't think new england can go all the way, especially seeing how they've been playing up to this point. other teams still respect the patriots because of what they've done in the past, but new england is very much vulnerable.

when my father came home, we tried to light that metal hand warmer of mine. he had some coleman white gas in the garage, which is the kind of fuel used in burning lanterns. after pouring some white gas into the flask, we put back the burning element. after a few squirts of white gas into the element, we lit the element. it went up in a big flame at first, but soon subsided to a glowing burn. we put the lid on the hand warmer and slipped it inside the cloth pouch.

it worked at first. it wasn't so hot that you couldn't touch it with your bare hands, but rather it had a soothing warmth, like a small hot water bottle. my father tucked it inside his shirt pocket within two layers of fleece outerwear and he could feel himself getting gradually warmer until it was unbearable enough that he had to remove some layers. the only downside was there was a dent in the hand warmer that apparently leaked fuel. we kept the warmer upright but could still smell the evaporating fumes (they were pretty strong, a few whiffs made me slightly light-headed). soon after i put it in my own shirt pocket, the fire went out.

my father tried to seal the dent with some solder but the melted metal just wouldn't bond to the chrome finish. i was afraid the hand warmer would explode because there was still some fuel inside and the thing started to warm up fast from the soldering needle. at this point the hand warmer is probably a lost cause. i'll probably go buy another one though, one with a platinum catalyst that doesn't actually release flames.

my father actually thought i bicycled to belmont. when he realized that i took the bus instead, he gave me a ride back to cambridge. the sidewalks were clear for the most part, but i went out and cleaned it up some more before sprinkling a layer of salt.