tomorrow i plan on being $4000 poorer when ranch roofing finally come to replace our roof. there's a whole lot of roofing action on my street, with no less than 2 houses also getting their roof replaced/repaired. i went out and dragged all the garbage bins into the backyard to give the roofing guys room to work. i also placed skewered on all the emerging hostas locations, so they might not get trampled (hopefully). whatever i have to pay, steve has it worse: he's responsible for $6000 plus a few thousand more to replace all 8 of his skylights, none of which i'm responsible for.
my parents needed sesame paste. not sesame oil, not sesame sauce, but sesame paste. that gave me the excuse to ride the bike into boston to check out the marathon before visiting one of the asian supermarkets in chinatown. i actually wasn't planning on seeing the marathon this year, not with my bum shoulder. i always watch it from heartbreak hill (20 miles mark) but decided it might be interesting to see it at the finish line for change. so after eating some yogurt while watching the end of the women elite race, i left around noontime.
the weather today was perfect for running (50's) but cold enough that i wore gloves. i didn't wear a helmet because i didn't want the extra weight of carrying it around with me. i bought my camera bag so i could take my canon dSLR.
boylston street was blocked off to car traffic starting from arlington street all the way to mass avenue. i parked my bike at the intersection of providence street and arlington, and walked down boylston towards copley square. i only got as far as berkeley street before the barricade prevented me from going down any further. i turned left on berkeley, watched the finished runners being funneled at the intersection of berkeley and st.james, and then returned to arlington street.
i rode my bike a few blocks and parked at the intersection of arlington and stuart. from stuart i made it as far as clarendon street (admiring some nice doorway carvings at 300 stuart street), before heading up to boylston, behind the trinity church. i wanted to get closer to the finish line one more street down, but with all the pedestrians and barricades, it was nearly impossible.
i watched as the finished runners received a mylar blanket, a marathon medallion, complimentary water and/or gatorade, and a gift bag containing snacks and goodies. i left around 1:30, following boylston back to berkeley, then to stuart to retrieve my bike. i managed with my broken collarbone, although i couldn't sling my camera across my left shoulder, so i just wore the strap around my neck.
i followed arlington to the washington street c-mart. the place was surprisingly busy; maybe a lot of people got today off, which is patriots day, a local holiday. after a long search i finally found the sesame paste. everything else was snacks. i got onto the charles river bike path and went to the cafe, arriving there by 2:30. after dropping off the sesame paste, i continued to belmont.
my aunt called me at 4:30. i didn't recognize the number so i didn't pick up, but when i went to check my voicemail, i couldn't get into my mailbox, as if the verizon network was down. minutes later my father's phone rang. my aunt asked for me and wanted to know if i was in copley square. when i said no, she sort of just hung up, as mysteriously as she called. i thought maybe she was down in boston watching the marathon and wanted to know if i was down there as well. i tried calling her back but she didn't answer.
then at 5:00 i turned on the news. i wasn't even sure what was going but there seemed to be breaking news. bad news about the marathon. still not quite sure what had happened, but i told my parents to turn on their television because (i'm guessing) there might've been an explosion. at first i thought it was an accident (like a gas main break) but after a minute i realized what they were saying was it was a deliberate act, that somebody had set off not one but several bombs near the finish line around 2:50.
it didn't really freak me out because i was never that close to where the bomb eventually detonated; the locations were hard to get to from where i was on arlington street. had i stayed there an hour later though, i would've definitely had heard the bombs explode, seen the smoke, and watched the ensuing panic as people ran away in fear. it was weird watching the footage on television, because those were familiar places, and it almost didn't seem real. some people died, and many were injured. as badly as i feel for the victims, i feel just as badly for the runners, where nearly a half of them were still running when the whole marathon was cancelled. people from all over the country and world, who've been training for the past year, their dream of finishing the boston marathon never realized. and regardless of the outcome, these bombings will change how public events will be organized in the near future, as everyone become a bit more paranoid about their safety and potential dangers.
there was no footage of the actual carnage, but the descriptions from eyewitnesses made it seem like a war zone, and aerial shots from helicopters showed the pools of blood after all the victims were taken away. my sister - who normally could care less about the news, particularly tragic news - was glued to the television as well because she knew somebody who worked in the area, and kept trying to call with no success.
after dinner, back at home (i found a pair of ipod earbuds near where i usually park my bike), i watched some more news, since that was the only thing that was on on any of the local channels. seeing the footage repeated over and over again, i kind of grew numb to it. nobody knew anything at this point, the reporters were just reporting in circles. there was also all sorts of rumors that were being broadcasted as news. like the fire at the JFK library, which turned out to be unrelated. or that they had a suspect at one of the hospital who was a saudi national (that sort of unverified racial profiling made me groan when i heard it) who turned out to be just another victim.
taking a break from the marathon tragedy, i caught the series premiere of defiance, the new show on the scifi (syfy) network. the first hour of the premiere reminded me of deadwood, that feeling of an outpost town with people making up the rules as they go, with a town sheriff and his often-used jail. the show also had a doctor who vibe, with the myriads of alien species who all behave very human-like. defiance does feel a bit artificial in the overly-ambitious way it's trying to market the show through a video game tie-in, invent languages, and even alien music. i'll tune it to see a few more episodes, but the premiere didn't knock my socks off.