i knew there was something fishy about the guy interested in my free surplus game board boxes. first, he was responding to my posting around 2:00 in the morning, always a bad sign when your buyer doesn't keep normal hours. his e-mail was terse, with no mention of where he was coming from nor his phone number. all he kept asking was when i'd be available for pickup. when i told him the times, he said he couldn't do any of them, and gave me some times he could be available. finally i just told him i'd leave the boxes outside, and he could come pick them up anytime. (that ended up not happening).

it's interesting being on the other side of craig's list. i've always been a buyer, never a seller. as a seller, i'm looking for buyers that seem genuine and offer me some details like location and number. don't ask me when i'll be available, give me some times i can work from, or better yet, be readily available yourself. oh, also, use a real name. my buyer just went by the letter E, which was another sign he couldn't be trusted. his e-mail was also anonymized, but that turned out to be a new craig's list feature that started in february.

around 11:30 i took david into chinatown for some dim sum. we biked - him riding marco's old trek, which was small for marco, but a good size for david. he seemed to be really enjoying himself, getting back to his biking roots, and said one of the things he missed most about living in cambridge was the biking.

david had never been to the boston chinatown before, nor had he ever had dim sum. after locking our bikes near the chinatown gate, we went to china pearl. the place was surprisingly non-busy on a weekend, perhaps due to the influx of other newly-opened dim sum joints. since david was an adventurous eater, i made sure he got to try the chicken feet and the tripe, both items he really seemed to like.

although david insisted on paying, i ended up treating. i told him if i ever visit spain, he could treat me to some food. the bill was about $23, which is less than the last time i came here.

we wandered chinatown a bit more to soak up the ambience, before returning to our bikes (for some reason i thought they'd be stolen) and riding down the empty greenway to haymarket. david ran into a lab coworker who was having lunch in the north end.

haymarket was also a first for david. he didn't get anything, but i bought a pound of red chili peppers, a box of blackberries, and a couple of scallions - all for just $3. i also grabbed a small crate of clementines for an additional $3.

from there we got onto the charles river bike path and went to MIT via the mass ave bridge. david asked if i wanted to see his lab and i said sure. it was long stretches of narrow hallways populated with liquid nitrogen tanks. windows looked into labs that featured impressive looking equipment, the sort of stuff you'd see in a movie. afterwards he took me up to the MIT library, and we played around with some stroboscopic demos. finally he showed me the crystals he's growing in his lab. they looked nothing more than dust but each speck is precious and he'll try to mount them onto a substrate to take back to spain.

before i left, he also gave me a collapsible pushcart he had in his office. he didn't need it anymore but felt bad just throwing it out. i told him i'd leave it in my basement and maybe give it to somebody who could use it. he also had some crutches but i didn't have enough space on my bike.

while david continued to work in the lab, i came back home. after gathering up my things, i left for belmont for dinner. earlier my parents had gone to the wrentham outlet mall hoping to get some coach purses for my taiwanese relatives, but it was a futile trip as nothing was on sale.

my 2.5" IDE hard drive enclosure arrived today. installing the 80GB IDE drive took just a few seconds. the drive mounted up without any problems. it was completely filled with photos from my 2006 china trip, as well as movies i'd uploaded to pass the time (6 episodes of the now cancelled sitcom series teachers starring justin bartha - the wisecracking sidekick from national treasure - and sarah shahi). i was originally going to wipe the drive and use it as a portable backup, but now i think i'm just going to leave it as it, sort of like a time capsule of my time spent abroad. 80gb isn't a lot these days anyway. my combined memory cards for my various digital cameras add up more than 80GB. nowadays they have 2TB portable hard drives that sell for just $100. the enclosure also came with a faux leather pouch, but the plastic smell on that thing is so strong i'll probably just throw it away unless i want to get sick from the fumes.

i made it back to my house at the exact same time david came back. i noticed the tire tracks going into the backyard but didn't think much of it at first so was surprised to find him locking up his bike in the dark. he left again soon afterwards, to meet up with some spanish-speaking friends in harvard square for dinner around 9:00. he invited to come but i was fine staying home.