i wish these housesitters were my real upstairs neighbors instead of the ones i actually have; they're quiet as a mouse and i managed to sleep soundly this morning, something i haven't experienced in a while. i woke up before my roommate, who seems to sleep even later than i do on the weekends. i walked to the dollar store to get a fresh supply of toilet paper (24-pak charmin basic $11) and a bottle of lemon-scented ammonia ($1.25, for cleaning the stovetop burners).

i then got on my ross and went to the cafe to check out a letter from the bank for my parents that my 2nd aunt was freaking out about late yesterday afternoon. it was just a simple W-8BEN form (certificate of foreign status of beneficial owner for united states tax withholding) that needed to be filled out. i took the letter, scanned it, and then mailed it to my parents who are still in taiwan until the end of next week.

i heard that suzanne collins' the hunger games was a quick read (written for young adults) so i downloaded a copy to see what all the hype was about. i'm of the opinion that collins got her idea from the japanese battle royale, but i have no doubt that the american film version will be much better than the japanese film version, based on the fact that i've never seen a japanese pop movie that made any sense (more style than substance). the hunger games the book isn't bad, even though much of it has already been spoiled because i didn't think i'd ever read the book so i didn't shield myself from all the spoilers ramping up to the movie premiere next weekend. displayed on my kindle, it's in big type for some reason, which makes for even faster reading. i'm already 1/5th done with the book, i'll probably finish it before the movie comes out in theaters, should i want to join in the mass hysteria and see the film.

after making his customary noodles for lunch (but that's dinner food!), my roommate left for the office (on a saturday!). he also asked me where he could buy a helmet. i pointed out a few local bike shops but told him he'd find something cheaper at the somerville target. he was riding his newly-acquired giant bike which i brought out earlier for him from the basement. i let him borrow my combination cable lock.

after my roommate was gone, i had a long uninterrupted session in the bathroom reading the hunger games. after a shower, i decided to head into boston to get a few things from haymarket and then chinatown. i knew it'd be insane on st.patrick's day but part of me wanted to see this annual spectacle. i took the ross. in the spirit of the holiday, i also wore my dublin ireland t-shirt.

the city swarmed with young adults wearing green. you could easily tell where the bars were because there'd be a long line of people waiting outside to get in. in boston common i saw someone play the bagpipes. outside quincy market, young girls performed irish dancing. there was a hula hoop display near the samuel adams statue. the crowd of people spilling into the streets made driving a nightmare; i even overhead one boston police officer swearing as his patrol car got snarled in the congestion. i got a few things from haymarket before leaving (cilantro, scallions, grapes, garlic).

next stop was chinatown, where i was jonesing for some smelly tofu. unfortunately when i got to taiwan cafe, there was a large sign on the door saying they were renovating for the entire month of march. i ended up settling for some spicy porkchops from chinatown cafe. returning to cambridge, i peddled up beacon hill and around the state house to bowdoin street then cambridge street to get back home.

along the way i was passed by a girl riding a thin road bike. she only managed to pass me because she blew by me while i stopped at the lights. this made me annoyed for some reason, even though it shouldn't. i tried to catch up but 1) her bike seemed to be faster, and 2) she had a reckless abandon when it came to traffic lights. in the end i resigned to defeat, although later i did pass some people, which made me feel a little better.

after a shower i ate my spicy porkchop. it was only 4:00 but i knew once i finished i wouldn't want anymore dinner.

the mailman rang my doorbell to delivery 2 large packages. i was completely baffled to their content because i couldn't remember ordering anything. maybe my roommate order them? but they were in my name. checking the return address on one of them, i knew that one was bike equipment of some kind, but i couldn't remember what. it felt heavy and metallic.

turns out it was the sunlite-brand touring bike vintage style handlebar ($12.50) i ordered from aawyeah.com, a new online bicycle parts store i discovered last week. maybe it's a promotional thing, but they have free shipping on everything (no minimum), which stock already heavily discounted. i was a little leery at first, seemed like it was too good to be true.

i've been trying to get my hands on a set of north road style handlebars for a long time. i even tried to remove it from an old raleigh frame (except it won't come off). the cheapest one on amazon.com is through a 3rd party seller, a pyramid-brand touring north road steel bicycle handlebars, $9.33 with an additional $7.49 in shipping (nearly the price of the handlebars). i wasn't sure if the two were the same, and the one on aawyeah.com didn't mention any north road style, nor did the photo help at all because it was taken at a weird angle that made the handlebars look like a splayed horseshoe. but for only $12.50, it was worth the risk.

so when i took the handlebars out of the package, i was ecstatic; it was exactly what i wanted, that classic north road swept-back shape (it's probably the exact same one sold on amazon.com just under a different brand name). their are lighter alloy varieties but they cost more (about $30+ depending on brand).

i'm so happy with these handlebars that i think i might want to order another set for some possible future conversion (like the fuji). the one i have now will be used on my trek. i also got a pair of handlebar grips, hunt wilde pistol style grips in black ($2.91), which look like the ones i have on the fuji. i just didn't realize how small they are; they fit me fine because i have small hands, but placed on the new handlebars, there's so much more available real estate. i also couldn't exactly fit them on, maybe they're the wrong size.

the other package turned out to be the 5 lbs. worth of activated carbon ($18.99) for my aquarium.

my roommate came back home around 7:30. besides the office, he also went to target where he bought some bike lights, a bike lock, and a helmet. the helmet ended up being too small (he has a large head, 24.5") and i said he could return it. for dinner he had these packages of perdue chicken parts that he didn't know how to use and asked me for advice. i told him he'd have to marinate them first. "how long?" he asked. i told him overnight in a ziploc bag, using some salt and olive oil. that meant he couldn't have his chicken so he ended up eating his noodles again. around 8:30 he again, said he was going back to the office. hard core! he came back around 11:30.