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first order of business this morning was to go down to arlington center and drop off the signed contract plus deposit ($500) to hire ranch roofing to redo our roof. steve actually asked me, "what now?" regarding the roof repair, when in fact he should be spearheading this project. why am i the designated "adult" in our condo relationship? so even though i was slightly annoyed, i still volunteered to drop off the documents (i figured if i asked steve to do it, it simply wouldn't get done).

what i didn't plan on was the weather to be so damn cold. for the first time this season it felt wintery. sure, there's been plenty of cold nights, but this was the first daytime occurrence of winteresque conditions. it was cold enough (30's) that i had to dig out my thermal underwear. after getting all bundled up (including my mittens), i took the motorcycle to arlington center.

i'm not sure how large ranch roofing is, but our contact person who came to do the estimate doesn't even live in massachusetts (he lives in new hampshire) and isn't the person who actually does the work. there "office" appears to be a shared business rental space. the door was locked when i arrived so i just left the envelope in the mail slot. returning to my bike, i came across a jeans store that specialized in used denim. prices were pretty cheap and had they been opened i would've investigated, but apparently they're only opened on saturdays.

coming back, i stopped by the beacon street walgreen's to pick up some vaseline men skincare lotion ($4.99). for some reason i ended up going with the fragrance free variety (i already have a bunch of scentless moisturizers) when i really wanted something with a bit of smell. i recognized the woman behind the register, this unsmiling lady who issued me my walgreen's card. she did not look like she wanted to be working there at all, and immediately thought about the walgreen's survey i filled out a while back, and how i unknowingly answered that their employees were friendly and helpful. the man in front of me was returning a 79 pill case but he didn't have a receipt and didn't understand why the store couldn't just give him back his money in cash (in coins). his drama created a line half a dozen deep. finally ms.angry face took noticed and opened up another register at the nearby makeup department. the cashier here was much friendlier, a pretty russian girl. i unknowingly paid with a credit card when their machines were having verification issues so fortunately i had some cash on hand.

next i went to market basket to grab some chicken sausage and a box of cream puffs. it was during one of those rare non-busy periods. the man in front of me in the 12-items-or-less checkout line was the sort of guy who wears shorts on a really frigid day just to show people how cool he was. he could probably pull it off because he seemed impervious to the cold with the amount of hair on his bare legs. i have a high tolerance for the repellent but his furry legs made me gag. even more obnoxious, he was flirting with the cashier girl. when she told him she didn't know who aerosmith was, he was incredulous and began serenading her with the toxic twins' greatest hits. seeing how i was unaffected by his charm, he tried to goad me into a reaction, but i pretended not to hear him.

a prospective roommate got in touch with me today. he's actually one half of the astrophysicist/nanotechnology research couple that's been referring all my previous european roommates. i'd never meet them before but i feel like i know them through reputation. apparently their research is over and they're returning home to spain, but david still needs to come back to cambridge on a few occasions for work at MIT. fortunately his stays will only be 1-2 weeks at the most, but his schedule is sporadic, and i may give up the guest bedroom to someone who can stay here a bit longer (like 1-3 months). i told him as much but guaranteed him a 2-week spot for the end of february.

of course the big event of the day was the general election. normally i vote in the early afternoon, when the voting stations are empty, but drew insisted that i wait for him to get out of class in the evening so he could come with me and witness the american election process in action. so i waited all day long even though i was itching to cast my vote. watching the news and seeing the long lines at other voting stations, i actually went down to my voting location to see if there was any lines (there wasn't). so i was a little bit irritated when drew called me at 6:00 to let me know he wouldn't be watching me vote after all, but instead attending a lecture at MIT.

i immediately raced down to the voting station to make up for lost time. i was afraid of the after work crowd, but there was no lines and i managed to find an empty booth (although the place was a bit more crowded than usual). after casting my vote (they must've ran out of stickers because i didn't get one), i returned home, where i picked up a copy of the baby book (sears) lying on the sidewalk.

a special occasion requires special occasion food, so i rode down to davis square to order some wings. i knew the place was under new management, but now they renovated the inside so people can actually eat there. the menu boards were all LCD screens and there was an influx of korean dishes. wings seemed to be just a small subset of a much larger menu now. i was worried they'd change the recipe but was relieved when i got home that their wings are still the same.

so the rest of the evening i was parked in front of the television watching the election coverage, eating my wings, drinking my hard cider. later i opened up my laptop and used the usb digital tv tuner so i could watch two channels at the same time (also i could do screen captures of the local network broadcasts off of the computer).

my broadcast of choice was MSNBC, but the coverage just isn't the same, not since they broke up the 2008 team. norah o'donnell was now with CBS, and who knows where contessa brewer is (she was my favorite). of the national broadcasts, CBS had the cleanest election graphics, while ABC the messiest. ABC also had the committee of pundits, just like CNN, while CBS went with the more subdued 3-person anchor team. NBC had the most gimmicks, with their interactive electoral college board manned by chuck todd (confusing as hell when suddenly it looks like either obama or romney had won the race, they should disclaim those segments with a "hypothetical" label), the ice map, and blue/red lit rockefeller plaza.

massachusetts senatorial race:

we heard the cheering from outside the house minutes before we saw the announcement on television: elizabeth warren had won the senate race. scott brown was very gracious, quickly making his concession speech, knowing that he may very well have another chance at the senate should john kerry be picked as the new secretary of state. some are even saying that scott brown might take a crack at the massachusetts gubernatorial race happening in 2 more years. we haven't seen the last of brown!

network television coverage:

the announcement that obama won the presidential race came right during elizabeth warren's victory speech, 11:15, as the networks interrupted their broadcast to make the announcement. "did this just happen?" i muttered to drew as i switched from CBS to NBC to confirm the news. it came right after obama was the projected winner for ohio. some of the other channels were still holding off on making an official call. we could hear wild cheering outside from several neighboring households.

mitt romney's concession speech:

while the obama supporters were dancing and cheering, the romney supporters were stunned and silent. there was a long wait for romney's concession speech. with a race this close, they wanted to double check that what the mainstream media was reporting was true, maybe to verify with their own operatives in the battle ground states. rumor has it that romney was so sure he would win, he didn't even write a concession speech, and was spending the time to quickly draft one up. as sad as it was for him and his supporters, i still don't feel too bad for romney, being that at the end of the day he still has more money than the average american can hope to earn in their lifetime.

it was getting late (1:30) and drew couldn't hold out anymore so he went to bed. minutes afterwards obama finally came out to give his victory speech.

obama's victory speech:

i wasn't paying attention to obama's speech until the very end, which is where he usually winds up with a big finish. i wasn't disappointed, he concluded with an inspiring closing. he held his victory rally at the mccormick center, which was where i spent my day when i went down to chicago over a month ago. so in a strange way i felt like i was there too!