i had a fear that my roommate would miss his morning flight to hawaii and i'd find him still at home. so i was relieved when i woke up to find him already gone. first thing i did was to inspect the guest bedroom. i was surprised that the room didn't smell all that bad. looks like i won't have to throw away the mattress after all. i removed all the bedsheets for washing. my roommate also cleaned up, everything packed in his large suitcase, ready for moving when he returns. i'll probably move his stuff for him come june, as a courtesy.

i went outside and moved his bike. this gave me a chance to see what was wrong with his falling left crank arm (being somewhat of an expert on crank arms after doing some work on my trek recently). the threads on the attachment bolt seemed fine. the problem was the crank arm itself, the square hole was a bit worn, like maybe the arm was loose to begin with and slowly grounded up with each rattle. i tightened up the crank arm and the bolt, hopefully that will fix it. i also pumped his tires while i was at it.

with the weather so nice (70°F) it was an adventure day. i wanted to 1) get some fried chicken for lunch in dudley square (roxbury), 2) visit the arnold arboretum (jamaica plain), and 3) return to boston to get some cheap produce at haymarket.

i left my house via bicycle around 11:00. i only wore shorts and a t-shirt (and my helmet!) and wondered if i should've brought a jacket but soon i warmed up. i took the trek: even though it's my heaviest bike, i needed the baskets for when i go to haymarket. i passed through inman square, down columbia street to MIT, went across the mass ave bridge, cut through northeastern university from symphony hall, then followed the southwest corridor to roxbury crossing. from there i got off the path and headed east on malcolm x boulevard to dudley square at the intersection of dudley and washington street.

i didn't have a lot of cash but fortunately there was a citizens bank. i used the outdoor ATM to get $60. i was here to visit kennedy fried chicken (2360 washington street, roxbury). this chain sometimes go by different names (due to its notoriety as a popular urban spot for trouble); the sign outside just said "chili dog grill & ghicken". when i saw the chicken items on the menu boards though, i knew i was in the right place. i ended up getting the 3 piece chicken combo with fries, biscuits, and a drink for $5. the two men working behind the counter seemed to be of middle eastern descent. an interesting thing about this place is they also sell cigarettes, and a man ahead of me in line ordered some newports along with his chicken. a fat man in a suit came into the store and shouted, "how much for fries?" the man behind the counter ignored him. "you speak spanish?" the suited man shouted, maybe confusing middle eastern for hispanic.

i took my food and ate at dudley square plaza about a block away (that's where i parked the bike). there was nobody else around on this triangular piece of green real estate, an island surrounded on all sides by busy traffic. kennedy fried chicken was actually pretty good, but maybe it's because i haven't had fried chicken in a while. fries were already salty so i didn't need any ketchup, which was included along with several packets of hot sauce (which i didn't use either). i ate on a metal bench underneath a tree, watching the traffic go by. i finished a drumstick and ate half a thigh before i was full; i closed the box, saving the rest for later.

back on malcolm x boulevard, i returned to the southwest corridor bike path. there was a lot of well-dressed pedestrians around roxbury crossing, and later i realized it was graduation day for roxbury community college. i debated whether to stop and get some photos of folks in their fancy duds but decided to continue on my trip to the arnold arboretum since i still had a lot to do.

the last time i came to the arboretum was the end of last summer, when i biked down the whole length of the southwest corridor for the very first time. i was hoping to see some spring flowers, but the season is already over for some flowering favorites like the dove tree or the lilacs. however paulownias are now in season, and likewise peonies. i visited the climbing vines and shrubs section of the arboretum for the very first time (i always seem to miss it when i come).

it was a 9 mile trip from my house to the arboretum (not factoring in the dudley square detour); it'd be another 9+ miles return trip. back on the southwest corridor, i made it all the way to back bay station, before taking a white-knuckle ride (shoulder to shoulder with car traffic) through the streets of boston starting at copley square (where there was a farmers' market that didn't interest me), through parts of chinatown into downtown crossing and government center, to finally haymarket.

the pickings are still slim at haymarket but things are slowly improving as we begin to approach the summer. strawberries are definitely in season and you can buy a box for a dollar. a fellow customer scolded me for cutting the "line" when i tried to pay for my 2 boxes of strawberries - "excuse me, i was here first," she said sanctimoniously - i just stared at her, obviously a newbie who doesn't realize common etiquette doesn't apply in the free-for-all known as haymarket. i also found a seller who had kale and i bought two large bundles for $3.

returning to cambridge, i decided to go the quicker route over the longfellow bridge instead of the more scenic charles river bike path; it'd been a long day and i just wanted to get home and rest. i went to the cafe first to drop off a few things (cilantro, scallions, ginger, strawberries, kale). the 4 mangos i bought ($3) were slightly bashed from tumbling in my bike basket; when i got home and ate one it tasted fine though (they'd make great mango lassi).

after a shower i finally did a load of laundry, washing all the sheets. i cracked open the guest bedroom window before i left this morning and now most of the smell was gone. just to be sure i lit a sandalwood cone from my dragon incense burner. my roommate left some empty boxes and i was surprised to find one for a nikon 5100 (16 megapixels, swivel display, HD videos). looks like he bought a camera after all ($700 with a kit lens) for his trip to hawaii. i wonder what kind of photos he'll take having never used an SLR camera before?

i finished the rest of my kennedy fried chicken as a late lunch/early dinner (linner?), then heated up a canned soup for actual dinner along with some scallion bread my father made. i settled in to watch the celtics-76ers game. boston dominated early, and during halftime the talking heads were already crowning the celtics possible championship contenders. then the second half happened. boston lost an 18 point lead and philadelphia won the game in the final minutes. it was so sad i turned off the television before the game was officially over, knowing that boston already lost. now the series is tied 2-2. i guess the only good thing is there'll be more basketball to be played. at least the heats' implosion gives me some comfort.