i've biked to the wellington circle plaza before, but that was across the wellington bridge (mcgrath highway/fellsway). the hardest part was traversing the bridge itself, which was too narrow for both bike and pedestrian traffic (fortunately nobody else was on the bridge at the time). i've never tried biking across the mystic valley parkway bridge though, and which may actually be an easier route with less traffic.

so after making a small revision for client R, i left my house by 2:00. the google route (4 miles, i printed out a single page map just in case) involves first getting myself to ball square, via elm-willow-highland avenue-highland street-boston avenue. following boston avenue, i continue until i reach harvard street (right next to the familiar tufts science and technology center), then down harvard street to the mystic valley parkway bridge. the bridge actually has bike paths that circle down below so one can easily cross to the other side without having to cut across traffic, but i didn't know it at the time, so i cross the parkway the hard way, by waiting for the light to change on locust street. i then went locust-riverside-commercial to get to harbor freight tools.

i got a 40 piece drive socket set ($3.49), 72"x80" moving blanket ($4.99), and a pair of industrial ear muffs ($1.99). i had coupons but those items were already on sale, so i don't think it made any difference. at that price the socket set isn't the best, but it's good as a spare (which i'll probably give to my father since i already have a craftsman set already).

coming back, i followed the northern side of mystic valley parkway until i got to the bridge. that's when i finally figured out the bike path beneath the bridge to get to the other side. from the bridge i had a nice view of boston across the mystic river. it gave me a chance to play around with my telephoto lens. i've been thinking about getting a canon-refurbished 60D camera upgrade, along with a refurbished 18-200mm EF-S lens. i would've preferred a range up to 300mm, but canon doesn't have one like that and the closest third party lens (tamron 18-270mm) has some sharpness issues. there's a 20mm gap in my lenses collection: from 17-50mm to 70-300mm. it's a pain for parades because i can only shoot normal range or telephoto, and each time i switch i have to change lens.

an 18-200mm would be the perfect walking-around lens. currently my walking-around lens is my tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, but i don't get any telephoto zoom. that's why most times i also carrying my telephoto lens with me as well, which can make for a heavy camera bag.

also at the intersection of harvard and main street i saw some unusual flowers. large orange heads on tall stems (4-5ft), at first i thought they were sunflowers but they're like nothing i've ever seen before. further research when i got home makes me think they might be giant teddy bear sunflowers. i might grow them in my own garden next year as an alternative to my usual sunflowers.

since i already successfully went one way, i figured i could wing it on the return trip. i ended up getting lost and riding southeast on winchester street (the consecutive dead end streets abutting the railroad was confusing) until finally coming out on broadway. from ball square onwards i was in more familiar territory and came home via highland road-hancock street. the sky was grey all day but doppler radar showed no storms until later in the evening. nevertheless, at one point i felt some troubling raindrops, but they soon stopped.

i had some steamed meat buns for lunch but was hungry again when i got home so i had 2 more as a pre-dinner snack.

the microwave door bracket arrived in the mail today. it cost $2.50 plus $4.99 for shipping (absolutely hate it when shipping is more than the actual cost of the purchased item) but i used up some amazon reward points and ended up only paying $1.21. it's for my broken samsung microwave but the part is actually manufactured by whirlpool (DE64-00210A DOOR-KEY; i guess they share similar parts). the bracket itself looked like a cheap plastic hanger you'd get when you buy department store clothes. on closer inspection, i noticed something that looked like there'd been a hook has been snapped off. damaged replacement part!

figuring before i complain to the seller i should check to see if i can still make do with the broken replacement bracket, i brought up the old microwave from the basement and pried off the plastic frame behind the door. i inspected the old bracket (that i put back after supergluing and then taping together the pieces) and saw it only needed one hook (to grab a spring) so maybe i lucked out and don't have to send the replacement back. my repair to the broken bracket is usable, but the door has a tendency to stick.

when i removed the old bracket, i noticed it too had a mysterious piece missing, so maybe it's intention. i installed the new bracket in a matter of seconds and just like that, the samsung microwave was fixed! in fact, it seems better than the original, with the door now swinging open readily with no sticking.

drew came home in the early evening 6:00). he made his usual pasta with salad for dinner after picking up some quick ingredients from star market. tonight's the last night this week i'll see him because he's leaving for the airport tomorrow after he's done teaching. he won't be back until monday night.

i heated up the rest of my chicken broth for dinner, made some rice noodle soup. alex facetimed me from japan, told me he'd been out of work for a month but was waiting for a potential job offer in malaysia. we chatted for well over an over, despite several instances where we lost audio and i had to communicate with him through written notes.