i then proceded to bike to belmont after a 2 month hiatus. temperature was just around freezing, but after biking to the supermarket and back, i was already warmed up. i didn't bother with a hat and left my layers opened. i did wear gloves though, my hands did get cold. just as i thought, the bike lanes were all snow covered, so i biked on the edge of the lanes in the streets. it all felt very familiar as i returned to my routine. i did strain a bit when i had to go uphill and when i finally arrived in belmont i was drenched in sweat. fortunately i brought a change of clothes and took a quick shower. my mother made me some noodles for lunch.
with people scheduled to arrive around 5:00, my mother and sister were still in the process of cleaning up the house. once they left for the cafe to pick up the food, i put away some final items in the small bedroom.
i could've cared less about dinner; the most important thing today was the football game beginning at 3:00. in order to pass the time i played some more skyrim. i finally figured out the way to get to the eldergleam tree was to use the nettlebane knife to clear a path through the blockade of roots. once i collected the sap, spriggans appeared and managed to kill me off. after i resurrected, i quickly switched to my battle axe and made quick work of them. if only i had maurice jondrelle! his less violent solution to sap collecting would've spared me from having to deal with the spriggans. he wanted to come and see the sanctuary for himself so he tagged along. unfortunately he was an uncontrollable follower and during my fight with trolls i accidentally killed him. oh well! after that i made it to bonestrewn crest, marked on the map with a symbol that looked like a squid or a multi-horned goat. turns out that's the symbol for dragon's liar! this was an ice dragon. in my first encounter, i ran like the wind, all the way to windhelm. unfortunately the dragon followed me the whole way and managed to kill me. on my resurrection, i drank a cold resistant potion, poisoned my arrow, and climbed to the highest point in my attempt to bring down this dragon. a couple of things worked in my favor: lydia my housecarl follower would occasionally distract the dragon while i shot arrows at it; for some reason wolves, giant rats, and even spriggans kept on showing up, as they all became dragon fodder; every once in a while the dragon would land (to feed?) and that's when i'd switch to my two-handed axe and hack away. it took about 3 landings + hacking before i finally killed the dragon. finally, i walked all the way to windhelm (where i encountered a tiger) before taking a wagon ride back to whiterun.
finally at 3:00 the game started. the new england patriots didn't win as much as they survived their AFC championship match against the baltimore ravens. new england had a bunch of turnovers, from
2 3 brady interceptions (although one was negated due to a ravens penalty) to a strip of danny woodhead on a kickoff return. baltimore seemed to have only one turnover, a flacco interception. nevertheless, the patriots managed to win, on what can only be called a miracle, a missed 3 point field goal attempt by baltimore in the final seconds of the game. i felt bad for the kicker, they're probably going to run him out of town. that spared me from having to endure an overtime, not sure if my heart could've handled it. rob gronkowski looked like he broke his ankle but let's hope it's only a bad sprain. this game was close, and i hate to see the pats advance because they were just lucky; but there's been some other close wins in the past, in the end a win is a win. i can't believe the pats are going to the superbowl again!
when is the chinese new year anyway? lunar calendar is confusing. i just know it's the year of the dragon, which is supposed to be auspicious, if you can believe good luck follows a 12-year cycle. chinese new year eating is more conservative, i don't eat to capacity. the king of food holiday is still thanksgiving. next time my parents will invite people over for food won't be until the summer, maybe a backyard barbecue.
after dinner i gave binbin's boyfriend some photography tips and let him play around with my lenses. i taught him the importance of aperture and off-center focus. hopefully my pointers will make him a better photographer.
after all the guests were gone (earlier my father took home by great uncle and my 2nd uncle; next to leave was my aunt and uncle; finally bin bin took home my 2nd aunt), i watched the final minutes of the giants-49ers game, now in overtime. had the patriots lost, i would've been rooting for san francisco just because i didn't want to see new york in the superbowl without new england. the giants got lucky and after a series of back-and-forth turnovers, they got a break and ended up with the ball in field goal position. 3 points later it became official: a superbowl rematch between the patriots and the giants! i like new york's story book end-of-season rally and post-season triumphs, but new england is looking for redemption. more practical-minded fans would've liked to see new england against san francisco just because it seemed like a better strategic matchup for the patriots, but for any fans who still cringe when they think about the 2007 lost, they can't sleep at nights until the patriots can beat the giants in another superbowl.
when it finally came time for me to bike home close to 11:00, i discovered my bike lock had once again frozen (like it did this morning). i had to pour some hot tap water into the mechanism to unfreeze it. i wonder if this is a common problem with u-locks, or maybe because my lock is a little broken. this time around i had more problems with hills, i could feel the muscles in my thighs groaning and my lungs tearing up. i wonder if i'll feel the pain tomorrow? but finally i'm getting some much deserved exercise.