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i woke up this morning to get ready for the boston carnival parade. due to the pandemic, it's been 3 years since the last parade in 2019. i thought they'd have it last year - since cambridge had their carnival parade in september - but they didn't. unfortunately, i read due to infighting within the parade organizers and the dance groups over money, many of them have decided to opt out this year, despite the long absence. regardless, i was still going to go down and check it out, always good for some photo ops. the weather this morning was on the grey side and in the 70's. greyish mute weather is always better for lighting, and the cooler temperature melt i wouldn't be sweating all day.

lessons learned from past carnival parades: i brought my 18-200mm lens and my 55-250mm lens. i also packed my fuji 3D camera and my gopro, though i didn't use any of them. i always get there too early, so i purposely left later this time - around noon. even the parade flyer said they wouldn't start until 1pm, so i wasn't in any rush. i didn't bother with any sunblock, i've been out so much this summer, plus my running, that i already have a dark base coat, resistant to burns. this was my first carnival parade with my transition lenses, so at least my eyes would be protected from the bright sun (if it came out). i brought along a contigo container of ice water, and of course i never go to a carnival parade without my earplugs. i also decided to get there via motorcycle, less strenuous than riding a bicycle, but a bit more involved since i had to follow traffic rules.

since i'd get home late, i had an instant cup of noodles before leaving. i ate while studying my route: memorial drive across the BU bridge, onto the riverway, looping around before jamaicaway to washington-huntington onto heath street, straightaway to columbus avenue, down columbus through egleston square to franklin park, up elm hill avenue to homestead st, my usual parking spot. google map told me it's take about 30 minutes of riding.

once i left, i soon hit a snag: memorial drive is closed on saturdays now, not just sundays. i tried getting to it from hawthorn street, but had to detour onto mt.auburn, making my way through harvard square (crowded with incoming students and families), to mass avenue, to central square, to cambridgeport, finally onto memorial drive from western avenue. that detour added 10 minutes to my time.

from that point on it was smooth sailing. the loop to get onto heath street was a little tricky, but i still had memories of it from last time. heath station area (mission hill) is a bit treacherous as it features surface-grade trolley tracks, which can be dangerous if my motorcycle wheels get jammed into them, but fortunately there weren't any cars and i went slow enough until i crossed over the tracks. columbus avenue was familiar territory, i was just there a few weeks ago for the puerto rican parade. i went through egleston square, towards franklin park, before i hit a detour: they closed off seaver street inbounds.

so i took a left on walnut ave, turned right into the first street i could find (abbotsford), kept going until i hit humboldt avenue, took a left, then right down wyoming street, to find myself on warren avenue. i took a right (towards franklin park), and took another right when i saw a church and what looked to be promising park spots. i didn't realize it as the time, but this was elm hill avenue, the street i was trying to get to originally. it was 12:45pm by the time i arrived.

from there i walked the parade route backwards, up warren avenue, towards the staging area on MLK jr boulevard. they had the usual crowd of politicians, and since its an election year, there were campaign signs everywhere in the neighborhood. i saw michelle wu, congresswoman ayanna pressley, and new boston plice commissioner michael cox. in year's past i'd see governor baker, but he was a no-show this year (his final year in office). i was kind os surprised gubernatorial candidate maura healey didn't make an appearance, but her path to victory is all but assured with no democratic challengers in the primary and the republican party floundering in liberal MA with its heavily anti-trump sentiments. i also saw CACAB president shirley shillingford, who's been running the parade for more than 3 decades. dianne wilkerson was there too, the disgraced former state senator who went to prison for over 2 years for bribery. she waved to me when i took her photo.

i walked down mlk jr boulevard twice: once to get an idea what was in store, a second time after all the politician caravans had started marching (about 1:20pm), and the rest of the parade was still a no-go. at one point i saw michelle wu dancing, which was a stiff and undignified shamble, thankfully she's a better politician than she is a dancer.

i tried to move around more, which was easy given how slow the parade procession was moving. as far as i could tell, there only seemed to be a single dance group - socaholics. there were a few other flatbed trucks, but they were either promoting a club or some other social gathering. one of them even featured a bubble truck, a first. later that same truck started passing out packets of holi color powder (i'd never seen that before either). people were tossing them into the air, mixing it with water to get it to stain. i slowly backed away as i wearing a white polo and didn't want to get caught in the colors (are the washable? seems like they'd stain).

having attended a bunch of these carnival parades, a lot of it can start looking same, year after year. but this allows me to experiment, since there isn't an urgency to capture everything. my strategy is this: i usually find the prettiest girl in a group, and focus on her. trying to capture everything is just too daunting. i'm also always on the lookout for something interesting, something new.

i stayed until 3:30pm before leaving. yes, there were less parade participants this year, but the crowds were just as large, maybe even larger, as locals were looking forward to the return of the carnival parade. hoping next year they can iron out their differences. i wondering if the cambridge carnival parade in a few weeks will be any larger this one. do the organizers of the cambridge carnival also have a beef with the various soca bandleaders?

i promised myself if i ran late (after 4pm), i'd go straight to belmont via brookline-allston-brighton, instead of trying to cut through boston. but since i was still relatively early, i decided to go home first. it was actually the easier path, since i was just retracing my steps from earlier. crossing the BU bridge and getting into cambridge, i even stopped by the memorial drive trader joe's to look for frozen edamame beans (they don't seem to carry them anymore). i got home a bit after 4pm. i packed up my things and left for belmont, arriving by 4:30pm.

my mother was still at the cafe and also returned home soon afterwards. she said they bought two steak & cheese subs from the nearby pizza shop for lunch, and my sister also got an anchovy pizza. nobody seemed to want to cook, so my father and i decided we'd get our own steak & cheese subs from the nearby pizza place. i ordered online via google and was able to pay this time (last time through the grubhub portal it wouldn't accept any credit card orders). i got two steak bombs ($10.50 each)- which sounded like the classic steak and cheese but with additional peppers, onions, and mushrooms. we waited half an hour before picking up our order.

my father split his steak & cheese sub with my mother, who had a few bites before switching to a salad she'd prepared for herself. i thought the steak bomb was okay, but a little bland, could've used more salt. afterwards we also had some cold mung bean soup.

i didn't even bother going into the backyard today. i did however check on the status of my mustard seeds growing inside rockwool cubes. the very first cube, my father moved the tray away from the window, and that lack of sunlight killed the seedlings. the two additional cubes however, two mustard seedlings are growing fine. i pulled out the wilted dead seedlings and added a single mustard seed to the rockwool. i'm going to set up the basement grow room tomorrow so they can have better growing conditions than just sitting on the windowsill.

i got back home by 7:30pm. instead of sort through all the photos i took today, i ended up do retroactive blog updates, trying to catch everything up by the end of the month. i didn't start processing my photos until 11pm.