the local voting station is only 2 blocks away from my house as i walked down to cast my vote in the special state election to pick a new massaschusetts senator. i'm not a fan of martha coakley but voted for her anyway as the lesser of 2 evil (3 evils if you count independent candidate joseph kennedy who's only reason for existing is because he shares the kennedy name though not related). scott brown ran a slick campaign (the "independent voice" despite being a republican) but i don't think he has much substance and would potentially derail the national health care bill if elected.

it was sleeting again, but i had my umbrella. i went down to harvard square to cash in some traveler's checks. i had a bunch saved up from 4 years ago, but since it doesn't look like i'm going to be doing any traveling in the near future, i figured i could put them to better use (like paying bills). the teller windows at the harvard bank of america are actually located in the basement. a bank concierge intercepted me when i came down to ask if he could help me with anything.

i love looking at bicycles and i'm getting better at reading them. take this bike i saw parked on oxford street. it was secured to a cherry tree with a cable lock. those things are pretty easy to cut, so the owner wasn't too concerned about security. the helmet was tied to the cable and placed over the seat in some sort of attempt to keep the saddle dry. i noticed also the seat is held in place only by a quick-release lock (making it super easy to steal). no rear rack means this bike's primary purpose is for getting around and not for hauling cargo. the rims on the wheel could also use a washing (they look a bit greasy).

"multi-channel service disruption" was the phrase comcast used to describe what was happening with the cable when i called them this afternoon to complain. i could make out some images but everything looked pixelated and frozen with broken audio. it only affected the main cable box, while the 2 digital transport adapters (DTA's) in the bedrooms were still getting reception. so i relocated my base of operations to my bedroom while waiting for comcast to fix the problem. i called a few more times, once to automatically reset the box over the phone (didn't do anything), another time to ask somebody if the problem was fixed yet since they no longer had the pre-recorded message. it's not just me, but neighborhood-wide. a bad night to be without cable service with important election results being broadcasted later in the evening.

besides the election coverage, there was nothing really go on tv anyway. to pass the time, i played a few new wii games. resident evil 4 is an oldie but goodie. i used to be pretty good but i haven't played in a while and was quickly mobbed by angry possessed villagers. i then decided to try muramasa: the demon blade, a side-scrolling japanese import. the gameplay seems pretty retro but the graphic is pretty cool, with a lot of traditional japanese mythos influences.

in the end, martha coakley lost the senate race. out of about 2.2 million massachusetts residents who voted today, scott brown only won by 100,000. a victory nonetheless, and a pretty substantial one given that a month ago nobody even knew who he was and everyone thought coakley would coast to an easy win. however, the win isn't a republican mandate; it's not like massachusetts never vote republican before (witness our slew of republican governors like weld and romney). brown was also helped by his own personal charisma pitted against a weak democratic opponent who had trouble connecting with common folks and mistakenly assumed she'd win in this abbreviated special election campaign schedule. coakley did do extremely well in the greater boston area, winning with lopsided margins (cambridge voted overwhelmingly for coakley at 84%). but further out in the suburbs they preferred the brown. how will democratic senator kerry get along with new republican senator brown? will they be frenemies? the good thing is the brown senate seat is only until 2012; democrats will have another chance to regain it soon. however, what this means nationally in terms of spoiling the democratic agenda is yet to determined.

as of this evening my cable service was still down. i called comcast one last time after midnight. a technician named john was troubleshooting with me over the phone. there was no longer a service disruption notice for the area, so he was thinking maybe it had something to do with the coaxial cable coming into the house. he had me wiggle the cables and sent a remote refresh command but the channels were still garbled. so he scheduled a real technician to come by tomorrow to fix it. "between 5-7 today," he said, which got me a little confused until i realized he meant "tomorrow" between 5-7. could it be possible that the john i was talking to wasn't based in the US? (but he did say good night when we hung up.) he also gave me a single day credit since mu service was interrupted for most of the day, and told me if the technician doesn't come tomorrow between 5-7, i could receive an additional $20 credit as part of comcast's new on-time guarantee policy.