i went to the puerto rican parade in boston today. the last time i went was in 2018, with my old roommate GC. the last time i went was in 2019. the parade was on hiatus all throughout the pandemic (2020, 2021), so this was its first time back (2022). the biggest change is now it doesn't go through copley square anymore; instead it's been relegated to roxbury, which seems to be where all the hispanic-caribbean-themed parades are situated, with the route finishing at franklin park. there hasn't been much parading this year, as things are only now getting back to normal after 2+ years of pandemic distancing (despite coronavirus variants still very much active within the population - case in point joe biden, who had his second bout of covid). the only other parade i went to this year was the greek parade back in may, and that was a bit lackluster. typically there's the pride parade in june which provided a lot of photo ops, but because of infighting amongst the various LGBTQ groups, there was no pride parade this year.

anyway, woke up at 9am to get ready. the parade didn't start until noontime, so the latest i could leave was 11:30am but i wanted to get there a bit early so i can scope out a good vantage point for shooting. i was going to forgo breakfast/lunch, but decided to make myself an instant cup of noodle soup before i left. the hot noodles made me sweaty as hell. the only lens i packed was my 55-250mm, which is great for shooting long distance parades. i figured if i needed a wide angle, i'd use my phone. because it was sunny, i set the camera to aperture priority f/8 ISO 400, had no problems with exposures. i also packed my gopro and my fuji 3D camera. i filled my contigo mug with some ice water to keep myself hydrated. i left by 11:20am, taking the fuji bike, inflating the tires before leaving.

my bike route was basically crossing the mass ave MIT bridge into boston, then connecting onto the southwest corridor bikepath by northeastern university. i haven't biked in that direction for a few years now, but knew there was some new bike lane infrastructure that made it a look easier to travel. i arrived at the staging area by cedar street and columbus avenue by 11:50am. i'm glad i took the bicycle and not the motorcycle, because it allowed me to ride where ever i wanted, the police couldn't care less. they'd already closed off section of columbus avenue by then, so i had the whole street to myself as i looked for a good photo spot. i originally went as far as egleston square, but decided there'd be too much waiting for the parade to arrive, so i went down a bit farther towards the parade itself. they'd installed new silver line "stations" on man-made island platforms, which was the perfect perch to stand and shoot.

to their credit, the parade started pretty much right on time. leading the parade was a police escort of bike cops, followed by what appeared to be a military marching band. behind them i saw mayor michelle wu, as well as congresswoman ayanna pressley (now sporting her bald look).

there were prancing horses; goya music float; various beauty pageant reinas; local hispanic language tv network telemundo; noisy mopeds; even noisier custom cars with a wall of speakers in the trunk; indigenous island people costumes; children cheerleaders; colonial costumes (those seemed awfully hot and uncomfortable); and a convoy of cars to end the parade. the cars were the most puzzling; yes, many of them were customized, but there were also cars that seemed like normal cars decorated with PR flags; what they essentially created was a puerto rican traffic jam to finish off the festivities. i didn't bother waiting for the cars; so i started heading back home by 1pm.

on the way back, past inman square, my contigo mug fell out of bag and tumbled out onto the road. almost a dozen cars sped past it, narrowly crushing the mug. it would've definitely damage the mug, but i think it would also damage the car by exploding. it was a miracle that the mug didn't get crushed. after the cars all passed, i went to retrieve it. there were a few dents on the bottom, but all and all it wasn't that badly damaged. when i got back home i put ice water in it and it still insulated well.

after stashing the fuji bike back in the basement, i took a quick shower before leaving for belmont by 2pm. it was nice being in the motorcycle, not sure if i wanted to do anymore bike riding today. the thin handlebars of the fuji bike left red welts on my palms, i hope they don't blister up.

i found my mother alone in the living room with the AC turned on watching some indian movie on netflix. she told me my father was outside burning his tent stove again on another hot day. i went outside and found him sitting on the plastic picnic table underneath the maple tree sorting through the cilantro seeds. he had the sprinkler on to water the back lawn, but i turned it off because it was futile at this point to revive the grass. i didn't stay outside for long, did a quick tour, picked up a few hot peppers, then went back inside the house where my mother made some wonton soup. there was also a bitter melon salad which i ate all of it. i don't usually like bitter melon, because i don't mind when they're raw because they're crispy, and combined with the right spices and oils, you can have an interesting bitter-salty-sweet-spicy-sour dish.

while eating my wonton soup, i browsed to cnn.com on my phone and saw the news: bill russell had passed away, age 88. later i learned that nichelle nichols AKA lieutenant uhura had also died, age 89. two black icons passing away on the same day.

later in the afternoon my father cooked up some whole shrimps. he fried some last weekend on the grill but the burner wasn't hot enough so the shrimps weren't very crispy. time he fried it using wood fire from the tent stove, which had a much higher temperature. the shrimps came out much better this time, but he forgot the two most important ingredients for salt & pepper shrimp, which is the salt & pepper. we added them later but it wasn't the same. my father vowed the next time he makes fried shrimp they will be perfect.

my mother was running out of shows to watch on netflix (she only watches the shows with chinese subtitles), having exhausted all the indian movies and all the real crime documentary series. she ended up jumping onto amazon prime to see what new shows they have to offer (amazon prime exclusive shows normally all have chinese subtitles). i asked her if she'd seen reacher, which was a show i recommended a few months ago, that i thought she said she'd already seen. but apparently she was mistaken, and after watching the first episode, she was hooked.

my father cooked dinner as well: long bean stirfry with bacon, reheated mini vegetable cakes, and reheated teriyaki & pineapple chicken meatballs. i returned home afterwards.

the front and back yard looked especially parched, and plants were starting to wilt, so after i dropped off my stuff, i watered everything. apparently there's a carpenter ant colony underneath the locust because a bunch of ants stormed out when i watered the tree. i also watered the backyard, and got two mosquito bites out of it for my trouble.

my crescent knife has a tendency to stick when i try to flip it open. so i got some triflow oil that i use to lube my bike chain and added a few drops to the pivot point. it still sticks, but now opens a little bit better. hopefully the oil will work itself into the mechanism and eventually the knife will spring open better. compared that to my old kershaw knife, which flips open effortlessly. my father pointed out that the kershaw has a spring on the inside, that's why it can spring open with more force.

it's the last day of july and we did not set a new solar production record for this month. it was close though: we ended with 1288kWh for july, while the all-time record for july was 1290kWh set back in 2018 the very first year we had solar. that was with a mismatched inverter that clipped our production all that year, so the actual production that year is even higher. i suppose that's the one silver lining of all this drought: we got a lot of sunny days despite of it, and made a ton of electricity.