even though karen cleaned yesterday before she left, i still had to do my own pass at cleaning. for one thing, i had to revacuum the room. the rubber padding on the back of two small carpets have started to turn to powder from aging. i figured i could still use them, but at this point they shown by thrown out. but what happens is underneath the carpet is a fine layer of dried rubber dust that needs to be thoroughly cleaned up. karen also never seemed to understand how carpeting works, often times bunching them up in her room, kicking the dust around everywhere. while i was at it i vacuumed the rest of the house. later i had to unclog all the hairs trapped in the vacuum head.
my father called this morning, said my aunt finally received her comcast internet kit, and asked if i could help her set it up. after a grilled cheese sandwich and some mango kefir for lunch, i called my aunt to make sure she was home and went to her place in west cambridge via motorcycle. temperature was in the upper 60's but the sun was out so i just wore a t-shirt.
setting up the comcast internet is fairly easy, i've done it a bunch of times. it's even easier nowadays since you don't even need to call, once everything's connected you log into the wifi network with the provided hostname and password (found at the bottom of the router/modem) and it just goes to a captive portal page asking you to enter the account number. the modem resets and 60 seconds later you have internet access. because of her assisted living status, my aunt was able to sign up for a service called essential internet, which is only $10/month for 10Mbps/1Mbps with no equipment fees (although there are some taxes and regulation fees). true, it's a bit slower than what i have (25Mbps/5Mbps), but i pay $70/month. another option for her would've been DSL, but you also need to have landline phone service (not sure how much that costs a month) plus DSL's idea of high speed internet is just 1Mbps. at my aunt's current speed that should be more than enough for her needs, which is chatting with her family and friends on line and watching streaming chinese programs.
my uncle was also home, preoccupied with his religious self-studying. my grandmother was still asleep. she finally got up to use the bathroom. i was going to wait for her to come out so i could say good bye, but my aunt told me sometimes it takes her a long time so i left.
my plan was to go to belmont to water the garden, but first i had to return home and grab the bag of bean sprouts my mother asked me to get for her on wednesday but i forgot to give her. when i arrived at the cafe my father was just about to go to chinatown for a zongzi ingredients supply run (bin bin just put in an order for more sweet dated zongzi) so i went with him.
coming back on storrow drive my father took a wrong turn and we ended up on commonwealth avenue cutting through traffic in kenmore square and the BU area, returning finally via memorial drive. approaching the cafe, he once again missed the street we usually turn into and we did a big loop to finally get back to the cafe.
i stayed long enough for my father to go and pick up my aunt and grandmother and bring them to the cafe. my godmother was visiting in the early evening to bring some food she made for my grandmother. i could've stayed for some food but i had somewhere else to be.
that somewhere else was the harvard stadium, to see the best buddies challenge, or billed as "Tom Brady Best Buddies Football Challenge & Guy Cooking with Best Buddies, Celebrity Chef Food and Wine Festival, Presented by Pepsi-Cola and Shaw’s and Star Market". i found out about it a few days ago, and was surprised to discover that tickets to see the tag football game was actually free. the ticket was nothing more than an anonymous-looking e-mail instructed to be printed out. besides tom brady, there were some other celebrities, including fellow teammmates julian edelman and danny amendola, and sports radio personalities scott zolak and christian fauria. there was also olivia culpo (amendola's girlfriend, former miss universe), and for some reason model charlotte mckinney. a few politicians as well, including congressman joe kennedy III and governor charlie baker. to see the game was free, but to attend the food festival hosted by celebrity chef guy fieri costs money. i was not interested in seeing guy fieri.
doors to the event opened at 5:30pm, so i had about an hour to kill. i debated whether to walk there or bike. it's actually not that close, about 1.6 miles, and would take me half an hour to walk there, when it'd take me probably 10 minutes biking. so i decided to bike. i left about 5:20pm. as to be expected, there was a long line of cars trying to get into the stadium. i was cruising down the bike lane, except for the few occasions when people were pulling up to the curb to let off passengers, and then i had to navigate around them.
i was probably the only person who biked there, as almost everyone else arrived by car (parking was free anyway, i could've came via motorcycle, but that would've probably taken longer as i'd be stuck in car traffic waiting to get in). i locked my bike near a metal railing by the front entrance. the stadium is shaped like a big U and i had to walk all the way to the other side to get in. there was a bunch of security at the door. nobody checked for tickets, but i had my bag checked twice. i didn't have anything in my bag other than my panasonic lumix camera (i left my bigger camera at home, didn't know their photo policy; besides, the lumix has a longer 40x zoom anyway). inside the stadium was a few promotional kiosks, either getting people to sign up for mailing lists or selling t-shirts ($35/pop). there were no ushers, i just walked into the stands. there was already a lot of people there, but still plenty of places to sit on these cement steps. i picked a spot near one of the 20-yard line.
the game was supposed to start at 6pm, but it ran a little bit late. the announcer never took time to introduce any of the celebrity participants. they simply began the game once everyone was on the field. i wasn't sure about the rules of tag football but soon found out. two teams, red and white, one representing pepsi, the other star market (which one i didn't know, i think red was pepsi). tom brady was center for both teams, playing the role of quarterback. there was no tackling, a simple two-handed tag would finish the play. each quarter a new set of players would enter the field. there was also no kicking except to start the possession. after a touchdown they would always try to go for 2-point conversion.
it was a little weird seeing professional football players (like edelman and amendola) mixed with professional athletes mixed with civilians (like politicians, news reporters, players' girlfriends) mixed with children. some of the kids played really well. the civilians played the worst, especially the women with zero football experience and rarely caught any catches even though brady was generous enough to throw to them on occasions.
the highlight was watching brady throw live in person. having never been to an actual game, i've only seen brady in action on television. when he threw to non-football players you can see him going easy. it's when he was throwing to his teammate receivers did you really get to see the kind of power he has with his throw. in the second quarter julian edelman came on the field, and in just 3 quick successive catches he easily scored a touchdown.
it was also interesting to see brady use his feet more than in a typical game. they always got the smallest kids to try and tackle brady so he wasn't just standing there, so often times he was running, but would always manage to evade his kid tacklers, even faking them out at times.
i left before the 4th quarter was over, hoping to beat the rush. it was an easy bike ride through harvard square. for dinner i ate some zongzi.