marco tried a twinkie for breakfast for the very first time this morning, further adding to his american experience. while he went out for a run, i made a quick trip to the cafe via motorcycle to drop off some ac moore coupons for my mother. after he came back and showered, we rode our bikes into copley square to catch the annual speedo santa run.

i tried a slightly different route, go down a public alley (parallel to newbury street) off of arlington next to the taj boston hotel. we arrived with 30 minutes to spare and decided to check out one of the frequent protests happening nearby. at first we thought it was an occupy boston demonstration (which by the way the tent city down by south station was finally removed by the police this morning at 5:00), but turns out it was a russian rally against putin's naked power grab. it wasn't the only protest however; also vying for public sympathy was a small falong gong exhibition (with the usual graphic depictions of chinese religious persecution) and a hispanic union rights march. by coincidence we bumped into anya and rob, participating in the demonstration.

the weather was ideal for photography, that sort of bright overcast. it was cold but only because we were standing outside for nearby an hour; the speedo santa run ran late by half an hour, beginning finally at around 1:30. it seems like each year more and more people run this event. i shot with my 70-300mm telephoto on boylston street but switched to my 17-50mm medium range lens when i ran across to newbury street to catch the run doubling back. the procession is so long nowadays that the frontrunners already passed by the time we got to newbury street.

maybe i've said this in the past, but the speedo run goes by so fast, it's hard to capture everything that's interesting. even with the increased participation this year, i've probably only snapped just a fraction of the total photoworthy sights.

afterwards marco left for home since he needed to be back at MIT around 2:30 to do some more lab work. i went back to the russian protest hoping to find anya and rob but they were already gone. i retrieved my bicycle and returned to cambridge via the skywalk across storrow drive between dartmouth and clarendon street. i then went up the mass ave bridge towards central square, to elias and amanda's place for a movie marathon.

having not had lunch yet (i had 2 microwave-heated glazed donuts for breakfast), i went wendy's for my customary spicy chicken sandwich combo. i also visited the nearby liquor store and bought a sixpack of woodchuck hard cider (partly because i wanted to try some for myself).

i've always been one of the first to arrive at these movie marathons, so it was a new experience coming in mid-marathon. normally the movie marathon happens in october (like the jeff bridges movie marathon of 2010), but was postponed when elias and amanda were vacationing in greece. in attendance when i arrived: jaime and leslie were there with their daughter, and so was mike kelly and yvonne (surprised to see yvonne there so early, she usually comes later). in a bit of coincidence, i met my old coworker pal sam, who knew amanda from working with her at the kennedy school.

the theme was "2nd chances: the best of previous marathon losers." i was hoping star man would be in the mix but it wasn't. i'd already missed the first movie, zero effect (1998) (the other choice was amelie). when i arrived, the iron giant (1999) was playing (beating coraline). had i known, i might've shown up later, since i'm normally turned off by animated films.

the next movie was never let me go (2010), beating out moon (2009). i voted for the former, since i've already seen moon and didn't want to see it again. i've always thought never let me go was one of those english period dramas with a love triangle story, so i was surprised by the scifi theme. it's well-made and thought-provoking, but a bit of a downer. the best part for me was actually discovering the film had a scifi premise, and a shocking one at that. once the reveal was made, i was hooked, although i couldn't quite understand why nobody ever ran away or fought back (i know that's vague, but i don't want to spoil anything).

troll 2 (1990) was the overwhelming choice, beating out pan labyrinth (i think the audience was looking for something campy after watching the dense never let me go). i've heard about troll 2 and the wanted to see it out of curiosity, but after having seen it, i wish i could have the time back. this movie is bad bad, not good bad. maybe good just to see once, to set a bar for future bad movies. from acting, to story, to special effects, and even the monsters, terrible across the board. although if i had to choose, kid peeing on the dinner table and corncob sex with popcorn finish were memorable moments.

time bandits (1981) won out over timecop (1994), even though i voted for timecop. i've seen both movies before, but can't remember the last time i saw timecop and needed a jean-claude van damme booster. i figured it'd also be a lighter fare and i needed something to cleanse my visual palate after troll 2. time bandits wasn't bad, although i've seen it enough times that there were no surprises. the swinging cages towards the end is still one of the most suspenseful action sequences in movie magic history in my opinion.

the last movie was a choice between 2 westerns: wild bill or tombstone. i've seen tombstone a bunch of times on cable so i voted for wild bill, but with everyone leaving, i figured it was a good time for me to go as well (and not have elias just run the final film for my sake).

although sam won the trivia contest, since he left early, i became the de facto leader (since amanda was disqualified being the spouse of the host). for my prize i picked the cupcake-flavored dental floss. mike who was right behind me in the trivia contest grabbed the iron giant dvd.

biking home, it was my first time using the superflash. i had a hard time getting it to clip on my bike though, with the frame of the rear rack getting in the way. i may have to mount the light one of the side stays in the future.

i managed to catch the 11:00 news and got some updates on the triple homicide-suicide that happened on the cambridge-belmont border. the pizzutos used to live just a few houses down from us. i was in the same grade as their older daughter, and my sister was friends for a time with the younger one. the father (one of victims) owned waltham fruits and my father (who was the same age) used to buy supplies from him (i went to the warehouse a few times as a kid). after their daughters graduated from college, they moved away, but i guess they still had family in the area (like the house on grove street). this news is so terrible i can't stop thinking about it. and the fact that i'll go by the crime scene every time i visit my parents' makes it worse.