my alarm went off at 8am, waking up early to see the head of the charles. but i wanted nothing more than to sleep, so i snoozed my phone for another hour, didn't think it'd be a great loss to miss some singles and fours. when i finally got out of bed around 9am, i used the bathroom and took a shower. that's when i noticed li was also up, but in his room. i knocked to ask if he was interested in seeing the head of the charles, but either it was too early or he was busy with work, so he told me maybe later. i left via fuji bike around 9:38am.
it took me 10 minutes to get to the charles river along the JFK bridge, my usual location. i should've came earlier, as there was already a crowd on the bridge, but i still managed to get a spot, although it wasn't ideal, shooting from the side and a distance away from the rowers going underneath the bridge. i should've also brought my 70-300mm telephoto, as i only had my 18-200mm lens. i watched from there until 10:25am, catching the end of the womens youth coxed quads and the start of women's youth eights. i then decided to go elsewhere for photos.
that elsewhere turned out to be by the eliot bridge, by the part of the river where it narrows a bit. i thought the place would be crowded but there were actually plenty of spots right by the shore to take photos. in fact, i was here with julie back in 2011, and the photos i took of the head of the charles were some of my best, as i could get very close to the water at the same level as the passing rowers.
i stayed along the banks of the charles river for as long as i could, seeing the end of the womens youth eights, then all of the parent/child doubles and men and women's youth doubles. there seemed to be a category for every kind of combination!
i finally left after 11:45am, to go to my next event, which was the halloween dog parade on the esplanade. i'd told li about it this morning, and said i'd come back home if he was interested in going, but from his unenthusiastic response, i decided to go on my own instead taking a home detour (i didn't have the time anyway). it took a little while to walk to where i parked the bike, going through a gauntlet of mostly white and affluent spectators.
i didn't starting riding until 11:55am. google maps said it'd take me nearly 30 minutes to ride to the esplanade, but i was hoping that was a conservative estimate. the parade was scheduled to begin at noon, but i was hoping it'd run late, as often the case with parades. my trip was made a little easier because a stretch of memorial drive is closed on sundays. once i crossed over to the boston side of the river, there was a little bit of pedestrian traffic on the narrow pathway, so i wasn't able to go as fast as i'd like, but i still made good time, arriving in 20 minutes, 12:15pm. i could feel my leg muscles hurting from the strain of fast biking plus all the hiking i did yesterday.
i was there for the very first halloween canine promenade on the esplanade back in 2011. i only remembered it because i was searching for old head of the charles photos and realized the promenade happens on the same weekend as the regatta. since then, halloween dog costume social events have become quite trendy, and there are in fact two more halloween pet parades happening next weekend. the dog promenade has changed since the inaugural parade 6 years ago. now you have to pay to participate, which seems kind of lame given the promenade would be nothing without the dogs (if anything, dog owners should be paid for bringing their pets, though they now give owners a complimentary gift basket of treats). it also used to start earlier, at 11am, but now the parade begins at 1pm (though it was advertised at 12pm, that's why i raced down from harvard square, afraid i'd already missed it).
just by chance, i bumped into paula with her dog gilligan dressed up as a coffee cup. i must've passed her earlier but neither one of us recognized each other until now. she was sitting on a bench with 2 young gay men who didn't have a dog. while we sat, some people with yogurts in an ice wagon came by and gave us free samples. paula said her friend claire said she might come, but wasn't certain since she was coming from melrose. as for her husband daniel, he's gone on a month long research trip on a boat out of new zealand.
the promenade began at 1pm. paula and i parted ways so she could join the parade while i raced ahead of the procession to take photos. there was a good turnout of costume dogs despite the admission fee. the best costume that paula and i both agreed on was the little pug dressed as a pilgrim in a mayflower stroller. paula said she was at another dog social event yesterday, and the same pilgrim pug was there. there was just a single bumblebee costume, when i remember there were several the last time. there was a wizard of oz ensemble (minus a toto since the dog was dressed as the cowardly lion), and a weak wiz ensemble.
paula and i were joking that there wasn't a trump costume, until it was revealed that the stylish woman wearing the red dress and stiletto heels was in fact supposed to be melania and her little dog donald. the emcee was great - kennedy from mix 104.1 FM radio (dressed in a unicorn onesie) - really funny and witty when introducing each of the costumed dogs. thinking it'd take a while before the winners were announced, i opted to leave, but came back when i heard they were ready to present the winners. the best group costume went to a clue ensemble, while the best overall costume when to a shiba inu dressed as a starbucks barista. i didn't agree with either choices.
with that i finally left. i went home across the MIT bridge. crossing the charles river, i could see crew boats on the side of the river going towards harvard square. i was tempted to stop and take some photos but i already had enough: 2000 from just the head of the charles, another 1000 from the dog parade. i got home around 2pm. li wasn't home. i took a quick shower to rinse off the sweat then took the motorcycle to belmont. the patriots game was the night game so there was no rush to get home to watch football.
my sister had some leftover lamb she bought for a client and cooked it using the instant pot pressure cooker my parents bought a few months ago but never used (still in the box). i didn't realize that instant pots come in different sizes when i ordered it off of amazon prime, so everyone was surprised by huge it was, since apparently i got the largest-sized 8 quart duo80 model. my sister uses her 6 quart instant pot for her personal chef work all the time, so she's quite the expert on pressure cooking. i saw a little bit of what she was doing, it all seemed very simple, just chop up some ingredients and put everything into the pot. half hour later, delicate tender lamb stew was ready, which under normal cooking conditions would've taken hours.
instead of having the lamb for dinner however, my sister wanted persian takeout, which my parents obliged. while the three of us got the kubideh ($11.95), my sister had to go with the most expensive item on the menu, the soltani ($17.25) which is a combination of kubideh and a sirloin steak barg skewer. my sister ordered and went to go get the takeout along with her dog. the sirloin ended up tasting a little off, the kubideh was a much better deal. i only managed to eat have, saving the rest for tomorrow. for some reason the rice always gives me the burps.
i found li back at home watching wild wild west through netflix. close to 8pm i asked him if i could watch sunday night football. patriots was playing the atlanta falcons down on foxboro, a superbowl rematch. i was a little worried when new england didn't score on their opening drive, but neither team scored in the first quarter, perhaps just jitters. patriots did much better in the 2nd quarter, scoring 2 touchdowns and a field goal, to put them up 17-0. new england is hard to beat once they get a 3 possession lead, and the falcons weren't helping themselves either, just couldn't score any points. patriots tacked on two more field goals and it looked like atlanta was in danger of getting shut out when they finally scored a touchdown with just 4 minutes left. the game was also strange in that a thick fog swallowed up the stadium. normal cameras were useless, so they resorted to the wired cameras, which gave an unfamiliar view of the field, more of a QB POV, which ended up being a much cooler vantage point.