julie texted me at 8:12am this morning to let me know she was skipping watching the marathon outside as the weather was just too nasty today. that was my thinking as well, and i'm glad she cancelled. the problem wasn't the torrential rain, or the cold temperature (30-40's), but rather the intense winds. rain and cold i can handle, but if it's very windy, that's going to make it a struggle holding an umbrella as well as a camera.
steve sent me an e-mail this morning. it's never good news when i receive anything from him. he told me that his 2nd floor bay window roof was leaking, had been leaking since this past winter, when during one particularly bad rain nor'easter, water was just pouring into his living room from the roof. he wanted to repair it before his tenants arrive mid-may. he already got an estimate, $3750. that seemed high for a little patch of roof, given that it cost us $8960 to replace the entire roof exactly 5 years ago (during the height of marathon bombing hysteria no less). a second option would be to patch it temporarily, with a more permanent fix at some future date. it took me an hour to craft the perfect response, but the gist was we should patch it immediately, then get additional estimates, as the proposed cost from ranch roofing (who did our main roof replacement) seemed a little high. he replied back, ALL CAPS for some reason, agreed to what i wrote, said they didn't have time to research other roofing companies (though i'd be welcomed to do so), said they'd contact ranch roofing to do the temporary patch.
i watched live marathon coverage on television, while listening to the pitter-patter of steady raindrops on my windowpanes. a part of me still wanted to see it in boston, rainy days make for dramatic snapshots, but conditions were just too terrible. in fact, my parents didn't open the cafe today, figuring they wouldn't get any customers given the bad weather. it could be worse, at least it's not snowing like in some other parts of the US experiencing the same weather system. good thing about running in the pouring rain: nobody can see you cry and nobody can see you pee.
the woman winner turned out to be american desiree linden, the first american woman in 33 years to win the boston marathon. conditions were so rough that all the top contenders dropped out mid-race, and american women took 7 of the top 10 spots, with only one ethiopian in 9th place. linden looked gaunt, and was seen shivering after the race in her skeletal frame once the adrenalin wore off. on the men side, the winner was japanese yuki kawauchi, nicknamed the "citizen runner" because running is just a hobby, as he works full-time in a regular office job and doesn't have any endorsements. kawauchi seemed like a fun guy with stories to tell, but he only spoke japanese, and the translator was slow to translate, so much was lost in translation.
i finally tried the unicorn cereal i bought a few days ago. it's okay, your typical generic sugar cereal taste, it's more about the novelty of eating unicorn cereal than anything else. i also had a tea egg and a few gold nugget oranges.
the storm didn't stop and picked up in intensity as the afternoon wore on, darkening the sky and driving the rain horizontally into the house. i imagined buckets of water pouring from my neighbor's ceiling.
i went out for another harvard asian studies lecture, "ideas and ideologies competing for china’s future" presented by mareike ohlberg and kristin shi-kupfer - two germans from the mercator institute for china studies (MERIC), one of the leading international think tanks on china. shi-kupfer took every opportunity to show off her chinese, while her partner was more subdued. two different people i didn't know waved to me only to sheepishly pull back once they realized i wasn't who they thought i was; i must have a doppelganger lurking at harvard. once again, the topic was more interesting than the actual talk. the gist of the talk was about an online poll they did with 1500 chinese (back when polls were still legal) regarding how they saw china's future. there were some interesting ideas, especially one professor who saw that china was perhaps trying to recreate the technocratic surveillance state of east germany.
it was still raining substantially before and after the lecture. i tried out my largest ace teah umbrella (46"), which didn't seem all that large once deployed in the field, but kept me drier than my typical umbrellas. with its 10 ribs i was more confident it wouldn't invert in strong winds, but i also didn't want to try my luck.
it seemed almost surreal when it was revealed today that michael cohen's secret 3rd client is none other than sean hannity. michael cohen the criminal lawyer (emphasis on criminal), self-proclaimed fixer, helped trump hush mistresses, helped RNC fundraiser elliott broidy cover up the pregnancy of his own mistress, and now we have sean hannity. even though he denies it, it's become the norm for trump supporters to blatantly lie in the face of truth, so we can only assume it's something equally scandalous.
my sister called me in the early evening, said the turbotax software i gave her wouldn't install on her system because her OS was too old (10.9, system requirement was 10.11+). "then you can't use the software," i said, which made her immediately hang up. i called her back, asking why she was only now doing her taxes with it due tomorrow, and she hung up again and turned off her phone. i tried calling her back more than a dozen times. finally she texted 30 minutes later apologizing. i called her back and tried to troubleshoot her computer issue. either the hard drive was damaged, the system corrupt, or just infested with malwares. for some reason she had 2 systems installed on her machine. the one that had OS X 10.11 was the one with the problem. for some reason the whole time she kept blaming me even though i was trying to help her, "ever since you upgraded my system, nothing worked," as if it's my fault that she's only now doing her taxes. she hung up on me again. i called her back and left a voicemail, warned her if she ever hung up on me again, she'd be sorry. i got her on the phone once more. long story short, even if she got her laptop working, she's has to work tomorrow, so won't even have time to do her taxes, so she sent me her turbotax files from last year and i said i'd do them for her, and then go over them tomorrow afternoon before sending it out. somehow i just knew that eventually in the end i'd be doing my sister's taxes. it makes me so angry, because this is something she should be doing herself, and if i help her instead of letting her learn her lesson, she's only going to repeat her mistakes again. and with taxes due tomorrow, i'm essentially forced into help her, or let her pay the fine, which i know my parents would eventually have to pay as my sister has no money. honestly, it doesn't take me that long to do her taxes, and if we're not doing any deductibles, i can have it done in just a few minutes using her old records. but it's the principle of it.
it was almost 9pm when i finally got off the phone with my sister. i didn't have dinner yet and made a chicken caesar salad with the last of my leftover grilled chicken breast.
last night i began reading the song of achilles by madeline miller. i couldn't put it down, finally forcing myself to go to sleep by 3am. the prose just seems poetic, using simple words to convey deeper meanings. she name drops a whole bunch of famous ancient greek characters and i found myself looking them up on wikipedia, which accidentally spoiled some plot points. how i came across the novel was through a book review in entertainment weekly about her latest work, circe. the reviewer gave the novel a good grade, but said it wasn't as good as her last book, the song of achilles, which got my intrigued enough to do a search.