waking up late this morning (i didn't go to bed until 4:00 last night), both my calves were sore, aftermath of a day wandering new york city yesterday. after some french toast & sausages for lunch, i rode the motorcycle to belmont to meet up with my father so he could help me change the oil on this relatively warm january day (temperature in the 40's).

we started first by draining the old oil from the engine. i was surprised by how dark it was when it poured out of the crankcase into a drainage pan. i've seen darker (like when we finally changed the oil on my old honda rebel after 2 seasons of neglect) but still it was surprising because i didn't ride all that much this year and the oil was clean coming out of winter storage since we replaced it before putting away the bike in the garage. we also swapped in a new oil filter. i bought it a year ago (genuine honda OEM) but didn't replace it last season because i couldn't find it. the oil filter came with a removal cap which uses the same size as the drainage bolt (smart design, just need a single sized wrench to do both jobs).

with fresh new engine oil i could still ride the motorcycle. when the time comes for me to put away the bike for the season, i won't have to do it then. there just doesn't seem to be any snow in the forecast though. a storm is coming on thursday but it's arriving with a warm front so here in boston it's going to rain. after a few dry cold days, the weather looks to warm up again (into the 40's) for next week. at this rate, i could still be riding the motorcycle in february, which is actually scary. i think everyone will breath a sigh of relief when we finally get our first snowstorm of the season. i think even people who normally hate the snow will welcome it just to experience normal seasonal weather pattern for a change.

returning to cambridge, i received a callback from a police detective. i found out over the weekend that my next door neighbor margot's house got robbed last tuesday. apparently the thief entered through a first-floor side window that had an air-conditioner installed. recalling what i did that day, i actually remembered seeing someone suspicious hanging around outside our houses. it was a cold day and there was a tall black man (in his 20's) with a hat and trenchcoat ringing the doorbell of margot's place. i thought it was weird for someone to be soliciting door-to-door in the middle of the day when most people aren't even home. i paused to see if he was going to ring my doorbell, but he stood on the sidewalk, seemingly preoccupied with a phone call. i also thought it was strange he didn't have a clipboard or packets of literature, which most solicitors carry. i didn't think much of it until i read about the burglary. later i called the assigned detective on the case but he wasn't at his desk so i left a message. having watched too many crime dramas on television, i imagined he was out with his partner shaking down a perp or following a lead on his way to solving another crime.

i finally finished the last of my reuben sandwich, using up the remaining 2+ week old corn beef. the meat was kind of iffy (it had that stickiness of spoilage) but i rinsed it in the sink and threw it on my sandwich anyway, hoping that the foreman grill would kill off anything bad. i'm happy to report i didn't get sick.

taking out the trash, i was incensed when i saw my upstairs neighbors had dumped all their recyclables into my bin. not only that, but there was already bags of garbage in the normal trash bin. tired of them treating me as the live-in janitor, i wrote them a note (hoping not to be too passive-aggressive) asking if they could occasionally bring out the bins instead of waiting for me to do it, especially given that most of the trash the past few weeks have been their's (like last week, when they filled both recycle bins with several cases of empty wine bottles and even now my bin smells of alcohol).

hoping to take the sting out of my complaint note, i also told them about something else i noticed this evening: someone had pulled down the screen on my kitchen window. it caught my attention because just a few weeks ago i specifically remembered pushing the screen all the way up. that could only mean one thing: the burglar who robbed my neighbor margot also tried to get into my house as well! fortunately i'm paranoid about locking my windows so the thief wasn't able to get in. still, it goes to show what kind of neighborhood i live in. when i talk to the detective tomorrow i'll be sure to let him know.

i completed watching all 12 episodes of season 1 of showtime's shameless (US version) plus the first episode of season 2 (which just started this past weekend). my favorite character is karen jackson, the ambiguously underaged nympho girlfriend of phillip "lip" gallagher. jane levy (of suburgatory fame) was also in season 1 as mandy milkovich, sister of the neighborhood bully and beard for ian gallagher; because of her new ABC show, her character was replaced by a different actress for season 2. shameless to me is like a modern day brady bunch, about a family of 6 children (although fiona, the oldest child, is actually 21+) who get into all sorts of mischief and hijinks. but unlike the wholesome misadventures of the bradys, the gallaghers steal, lie, cheat, etc. with a drunk father and a missing mother, but it's all done with such style that you can't help but to root for this picaresque clan.

The High Strung - "The Luck You Got"