i got my NFL playoff schedule all screwed up: i thought the first game was at 1:00 when it didn't start until 4:30. in the meantime i had a chance to try out the massaging chair at my parents' place (everyone was out on a supply run) and let hailey into the backyard where she amused herself by tossing a frozen tennis ball in the air and catching it.

i arrived via bicycle. it snowed a little last night, but not even enough worth shoveling. the streets for the most part had already been treated, although there was still some snow in the bike lanes. i tried to avoid patches of ice or at least slow down when going over snowy bumps. i took a shortcut across grove street playground, which turned out to be a bad idea, as the grass field was a frozen wasteland of cratered footprints. i managed to give my groin a good bashing before i finally made it to the other side.

i was toying around with the garmin 295w and discovered its built-in capability to take screen shots (something my father figured out independently as well yesterday). i tried manually installing city navigator china 2010.21 maps but with no success. one version was a chinese language version (which the nüvi didn't even recognize) and another was a locked version from russia (didn't work either).

besides GPS, what else can the garmin nüvi 295w do? glad you asked:

it can check the local weather! and probably the weather elsewhere as well (but i didn't try). it'll even give a 6-day forecast. it's getting this information from the web. if only it can show a live animated doppler radar feed, it'd be the perfect portable weather station.

the 295w can check your e-mails: text with an option to display HTML e-mails in the browser. what's cool is it can also display different languages (like chinese in this case).

there's a calendar feature. i like how it not only highlights the day, but also has a hand-drawn circle graphic.

and probably the second most useful feature besides the GPS is its ability to surf the web with a mini webkit browser. i would only use it in an emergency because the screen is so small, but it's good to know it's there. the browser will also display different languages (just like e-mails, but not the maps, which is always in english).

i was happy to see the seattle seahawks play the first game. i knew them from watching last sunday night's game. i was rooting for seattle because of the pete carroll connection (former patriots coach). they have the dubious distinction of entering the playoffs with a losing record (7-9) while teams with winning records failed to advance (it's all because of how the NFL is configured into divisions). their opponent was the new orleans saints, which surprised me. it was the game of irony, the team with the losing record hosting last year's superbowl champions. the seahawks had a big lead going into the second half but the saints came back to almost win it, but seattle finally got the upper hand. i'm not sure how far they'll manage to go but i enjoy their underdog story.

we had chinese dumplings for dinner, which meant i'd be consuming massive quantities of chopped up raw garlic (dooming me with bad breath for the next few days). i also presented my homemade ginger ale, with new and improved spicy formula. there was so much carbon dioxide that it took some time to open as i slowly allowed the gas to escape. it was so carbonated that it looked like i was pouring out foam. the ginger-chili pepper combo was a hit, and my sister even tried it (she has a low hot food tolerance), suggesting i could try selling it from the cafe. but you'd have to be a real masochist to enjoy this powerful elixir; afterwards i could still feel my mouth tingling and an unsettling churn in the pits of my stomach. despite the success, i feel like it's still missing something. for the next batch, i'm going to use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar, to see if i can add some additional flavoring.

i rushed back to cambridge so i could catch the second playoff game of the day between the jets and colts. it'd started to snow again and the streets were white with pristine powder. it wasn't too much though, about 1/8" of an inch, i just made sure i didn't make any tight turns and kept my eyes opened for possible slippery spots. it was actually kind of fun, as i made fresh bike tracks in the unmarked snow.

i got home by 8:20, with the game just starting. new england had rivalries with both teams, so i didn't want either team to win, but from a purely practical standpoint, it was better if indianapolis lost because they traditional give the patriots more problems than the jets. so only under this strange logic was i able to root for new york, our bitter division rival. it didn't look good in the beginning, when the colts pulled out ahead, but the jets fought back. in the second half, it was a tense back and forth between the two teams. when adam "former patriot" vinatieri kicked a field goal to put the colts head with less than a minute in the game, i think a lot of people figured the jets were done. so i was pleasantly surprised when new york managed to gain some serious yardage with just a few plays, close enough for a winning field goal of their own, which they completed.

in the course of a single saturday, two teams favored at the beginning of the season to possibly go the distance have been eliminated, the reigning superbowl champions saints and the perennial playoff contending colts.

i lost 2 more photos tonight! so i don't think it's because of the memory card. one was of some chinese dumplings, the other was of my shoes, to show how little splashes there were. the evidence is pointing to my camera as the culprit. i reset all the settings and changed the battery, maybe that'll prevent it from eating up photos. if that camera really is broken, i'll have a legitimate reason to get a replacement.