today i was going to the boston caribbean parade, something i look forward to every year. for some reason there are two caribbean parades, one in boston, one in cambridge. they used to be on the same weekend, but now they're spaced two weeks apart, the boston one happening before labor day, the cambridge one happening after. in my opinion, the boston parade is the better one, with crazier processions, and more photo opps.

while catone (3rd instar) was busy feeding this morning, cattwo (1st instar) was still molting into its next instar. i was afraid that catone would eat so much that it was accidentally eat the still-molting cattwo as well, especially now that catone was feeding closer and closer to cattwo. a leaf change would be in order once cattwo finished its molt.

i left cambridge by 11:15am. there was a little confusion as to when the parade would start. in years past it was always 1pm, but their official website said 12pm, though another affiliate website said 11am, and when i watched the news yesterday, the reporter said 11am as well. i figured if i got there at noon it'd be a safe time, regardless when the parade was starting. i went via the jamaicaway of death. it'd been a while and i missed my exit on perkins street so had to turn on the next available left and ride up centre street that way.

i arrived a bit before noontime, parking the motorcycle at the intersection of marcella and washington street. MLK jr boulevard is the usual staging ground, but when i arrived it was still mostly empty, just a few parked semi trucks with people slowly preparing their costumes. in fact, the street wasn't even closed, and there was car traffic in both directions, which made me nervous. i walked down to warren street and found some shade in the shadow of a building. it would appear that the parade wouldn't start until 1pm, and knowing what i know about these parades, it will most likely begin even later.

i spotted that grizzled old press photographer i see all the time; in fact, i saw him last weekend at the fisherman's feast. i see him all the time but if he recognized me he made no acknowledgement and neither did i. close to 1pm a convoy of black SUV's arrived, where mayor walsh and the police commissioner showed up. later governor baker appeared as well (i've never seen the governor at any caribbean parades) but left as soon as the parade started.

the parade finally kicked off at 1:10pm, with all the politicians leading the procession. after they went by, it was another 20 minutes before the rest of the parade finally showed up. as a seasoned pro, i knew to bring earplugs to these events and i put them on before the speaker trucks rolled by. there was a tight congestion of parade marchers and i was shooting randomly initially. i decided to follow this large group, pick out some interesting subjects, and return to the end of the parade. shooting alone gave me the flexibility to go where ever i wanted.

i finally returned home by 4pm. cattwo had finished its molt to 2nd instar and chewed a little hole around the area where it shed its skin. the milkweed leaf seemed crowded and old (6-day old, dry and yellow in spots), and since i had those 2 new leaves i gathered in belmont yesterday, i decided to swap out the leaves. getting the caterpillars to move onto their respective leaves was easy, just sort of nudge them with the edge of the new leaf. i then separated out the caterpillars into individual jars.

my parents were already grilling when i arrived in belmont by 4:30pm. earlier they'd gone on a supply run (costco, restaurant depot) and got two big slabs of st.louis seasoned dry rub ribs. they also sliced the monster zucchini that'd been growing in the garden and grilled some of that as well. for dessert we tried the manufactured flan they got from restaurant depot. it had a thick overly-sweet consistency, a texture that was dense like jello or congealed fat. there was also a bitter aftertaste, a wholly unpleasant experience, compared to the real flan i make.

i came home to find both monarch caterpillars had been feeding on their respective belmont milkweed leaf. catone (3rd instar) managed to eat out a big chunk from the side, while cattwo (2nd instar) a discreet arch. both caterpillars began eating about where i put them on the new leaf, weren't picky as to where to eat. cattwo was still busy feeding while catone had once again stopped for the night and crawled to the center of the leaf to rest.

photographing the daily progression gives me a chance to play around with my external flashes. i actually have a lot of flashes which i almost never use. besides the canon 580EX II (purchased back in november 2007 for $350), i also have 3 compatible flashes i bought in china during my stint in chongqing. the most flashes i've ever used in a single setting is only 2, when i have the capability to rig up 4 remotely controlled flashes.

i took a bath but it was unsatisfying as the water was only lukewarm. afterwards i drained the tub with a plunger, after noticing the tub draining a little slow recently.