i went to the porter square post office in the afternoon after frances noticed her package was still in the sorting facility almost a week later when she checked online. the postal clerks verified it had left cambridge, but as to where it was now, they couldn't be sure, until the package gets scanned. most likely it was in new jersey, the final stop for northeastern packages before they get sent overseas.

my other reason for going out was to test the GPS capability of the ZS20. it did take a while to acquire a signal (about a minute), but once acquired, subsequent acquirements were much quicker, dependent on how much of the sky i could see. i then went on another crazy romanesque architecture tour through parts of cambridge and somerville.

st. james episcopal church (cambridge):

next up was saint ann's church (somerville). it took me a while to find it, with my pencil directions on a piece of paper. google directions sent me on a circuitous route (willow-highland-central-pembroke-sycamore-evergreen-thurston), when they should've just sent me directly to the intersection of medford and thurston street. i even went all the way up to broadway, climbing a hill to see if i spot any telltale church steeples (i couldn't).

st. ann's was the church i wanted to find but not the church i saw that one time i was on broadway street and saw this impressive steeple. it's an okay looking church, mostly brick, without too many interesting details. it was also next to a school, and i was there right when the children were getting out, and i felt a little self-conscious hanging around outside a school with a camera.

i then climbed uphill again, trying to find the location of this fabled steeple i saw a while back. i traveled the wrong way up the one way sycamore street, crossing over one of the many ubiquitous somerville train track bridges. i pulled over partly to admire the view, but also because a police car was racing down the street with sirens blaring, and i didn't want to make it seem too obvious that i was riding up the wrong way.

once i reached highland avenue, i could see not one but two tall steeples: the first unitarian church (1899) and the first universalist church (1916).

i remember the first unitarian church because i bought my used microwave from the apartment right next door back in june. this church has some romanesque features like the use of large stones and arched windows and doorways, but there wasn't any polychromy and no interesting carvings. the tower features clock-faces on all four directions, something i'd never seen before in a church (non-functional unfortunately).

across the street was the first universalist church. i'm not sure what the difference is between unitarian and universalist. from a distance it looks very romanesque, but upon closer inspection, the walls are plaster/cement, with brick arches instead of ones made from cut stones (like the unitarian church). it currently functions as a freemasons lodge. the 1916 church was designed by ralph adams cram, a prolific architect who also designed the old john hancock tower (1947, the one with the changing blue/red light).

returning home from somerville heights always reminds me of a pachinko game, because i never come down the same way twice, and it usually involves a lot of meandering around before i finally come out onto somerville from one of the many exiting streets. this time i came out around beech street, home of the famous round house.

my front brakes were a little loose so i readjusted them when i got back. carrying the ZS20 in a lens pouch, the camera suddenly tumbled out onto one of the rear baskets, denting and scratching the camera on one corner. oh well, so much for returning this camera. this is why i can't have nice things: it doesn't take me long to scratch up a new gadget.

taking geotagged photos on te ZS20 is only just the beginning: the camera can also display the images on a semi-detailed map and be able to tell you from what town the photo was taken and the closest landmark. i can see how this can be useful but i'm still a little irked by the fact that it won't work in china (which is where i'd like to vacation one of these days).

i finally finished that hollow book i was working on. cutting out the pages with an x-acto knife can be kind of tedious and imprecise. one way to speed things up is to use a oscillating dremel saw. not only is it much quicker, but you can get creative with different shaped cuts. however, i don't think it's worth it to buy an oscillating saw just to hollow out a few books.

my upstairs neighbors are gone for the weekend and they've asked me to empty the bucket from the leaking roof. i thought this was fixed when the roofing guys came on tuesday to put in a temporary patch. steve sent me an e-mail in the evening, asking me to come upstairs to see the leak. why? how hard can it be to empty a bucket? he said he'd leave a note and a key, but i never got it, so he must've left the key inside his house.

an hour later he wrote back saying he wouldn't leave until tomorrow morning, and asked me to come upstairs before he left so he could show me what to do. that got me kind of annoyed. there's another neighbor tree pruning meeting tomorrow at 8:00. steve hasn't been to any of them, even though it was his idea that we should pitch in to cut down the overgrown elm tree 2 houses over from us. so he can't attend this meeting even though he has time to show me how to empty buckets? and where exactly is he going this weekend that he can't even tell anyone?

so i wrote him back saying that since he's here tomorrow morning, he should attend the tree meeting in my place, since i went to the last one. as for his suggestion of knocking on my door to show me what to do with the buckets? i told him i'd be asleep all the way until the time of the meeting. i never heard back from him.

for dinner, it was day 3 of spaghetti with meat sauce. there's one more serving left, reserved for tomorrow night. i'm just about to hit that pasta threshold when i can't eat anymore.