funny how guilt can be a great motivator; at least that's how i interpreted the situation this morning when my upstairs neighbors surprised me by shoveling the sidewalk and the backyard. actually, i think it was paul who did most of the shoveling; he's the more considerate of my two upstairs neighbors (the other being steve). of the one time last year that my neighbors actually brought out the trash, i think it was paul who was responsible. anyway, i've done all the shoveling for the past 3-4 snowstorms, not to mention nearly a dozen parking spots i helped dig out (at the risk of seeming immodest, a most selfless act given i don' t even own a car). paul and steve were due for some shoveling is all i'm saying; i'm happy to know they did the right thing, even though it meant waking me up again earlier than usual (around 7:00) with all the in-out foot traffic.

i've been reading a george washington biography by ron chernow. i picked it up on a whim, having not that much interest in this founding father, but now i can't seem to get enough. i've purposely avoided going to wikipedia to find out anything about washington so that his life story will be more of a surprise. i admit, like a lot of people, i don't know too much about the man: i knew he came from virginia; was a landowner who had slaves; fought for the british before fighting against it during the revolution; appearance-wise, i knew he was tall and wore false teeth that made him never smile; i remember the story of the cherry tree, which i'm more inclined to believe was just a myth perpetrated by washington admirers. and that's pretty much all i know about our first president.

while making some lunch today, i overloaded the circuit breaker. i didn't notice at first, but then noticed none of my kitchen appliances were working: electric kettle, toaster oven, microwave. not only that, but that same circuit also runs my 2 aquariums, each with its water filter, lighting, and heater. usually an overloaded outlet just pops the GFCI button, and i can reset it by pressing it back in, but today for some reason it turned off the circuit breaker in the basement, forcing me to go out and flip it back on.

the hasty pudding parade in harvard square in honor of julianne moore never happened today. i invited bruce but he decided to skip it, which in hindsight was the right decision. i got there early (1:45) so i could scope out the area. i even picked the most perfect spot to stand, on top of a fence railing, balanced against a street sign, with a cushion of snow should i slip and fall. i should've realized something was wrong when i didn't see the usual crowd of people before the parade. no spectators, no participants, just empty. hoping my suspensions were wrong, i wandered around harvard square taking photos since i still had more than half an hour to kill. finally by 2:30 - the official procession start time - when i noticed nobody was coming, i figured the parade was probably postponed due to the snow. dejected, i made my way home. when i got back i quickly checked online and saw the update: julianne moore was still coming, but the parade would be cancelled. no reason was given, but i assumed it was snow related. i should've checked before i left, but i figured there was no way they could cancel it, with the snowfall already stopped, the streets already plowed, a clear blue sky overhead, and a bright sun slowly melting everything. to make myself feel better, i convinced myself that julianne moore isn't as great as last year's recipient, anne hathaway. now that's a pretty lady.

i got together with bruce so he could help me take some photos of myself climbing on one of the giant snow mounds dotting the neighborhood, for the sake of posterity. i thought it'd be solid, but the topmost layer was still soft due to the 8" of snowfall that fell overnight. the view from on top of the snowy plateau was pretty spectacular, like a bird's eye view down the street.

later i helped bruce dig out his car. having not shoveled yet this whole day, i felt deprived of my normal post-snowstorm ritual. after i was done with that, i dug out a small pathway from house to the street.

in the evening i left the house once more for a lecture at the harvard museum of natural history titled "heads up! how and why the amazing human head evolved to be the way it is" by daniel lieberman. earlier a reminder e-mail was set out informing people that the lecture would go according to schedule despite the snow. walking down my street, i caught bruce in his study window reading a book.

for whatever reason, the lecture was very crowded tonight. the auditorium was to capacity, and i think some people were even standing because they couldn't find a seat. although the speaker was funny and engaging at times, when he started talking about the comparative morphology of hominid skulls, i actually started nodding off. some of the tidbits were interesting, but not one of the better lectures, despite the immense crowd. during the Q&A session, about a third of the audience bolted for the exit.

i had the last of my corn and sausage chowder for dinner. later in the evening i helped julie troubleshoot her crashing photoshop CS4 problem via telephone and instant message. turns out it was a font issue (for the time being at least).