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john carpenter arrived at the house around noontime. this is the extent of my social awkwardness: i didn't leave the house the entire day just so i wouldn't accidentally bump into him while he was working. plans of grocery shopping, watering the garden, all dashed because of him. fortunately i had enough to eat in the house that i didn't need to go out, and the garden could go another day without watering given how much it rained early yesterday morning.

when john carpenter finally left by 6pm, only then did i take a peek outside to see the work he done on the front porch. it's okay, apparently he had some biege paint which he used to prime some of the bare wood, but also accidentally painting over some blue slate areas. on the left side of the stairs one of the wooden panel is not completely flush. i did notice he worked on our side gate yesterday, nailing a piece of wood to the post to keep it front falling apart. i wonder if that was a freebie?

i felt much better this morning, my fatigue was gone. it rained overnight, the cool moisture breeze blowing into the bedroom window. the patter of rain drops was noisy but i didn't mind, it's been a long time since we heard rain. boston ended up getting 0.9" of precipitation. i don't know how much of a dent it'll make in our drought numbers. rain is good, but too much rain too fast means it doesn't penetrate into the ground and most of that water will just run off into the sewers instead. our next scheduled rain event looks to be on friday.

john the carpenter finally arrived today to do some little fixes around the exterior of the house. he was supposed to be here back in june but that never happened. i already paid steve my share of the bill, but he never cashed the check. john kept rescheduling, from days in july, to the latest being last tuesday, then postponed to thursday, then finally to today. the sort of work he's doing doesn't seem so hard, i could probably do it myself if i had the DIY inclination, but it's easier just to pay someone who has the expertise. he started with steve's backyard door before moving to the front porch. there's some wood rot along the right handrail and i watched as he pried apart the pieces with a small crowbar and a hammer.

i motorcycled to belmont in the afternoon. i brought the wood filler so i can patch the bare wood window frame in their bedroom, which has been unpainted since the window was replaced during my yearlong china sojourn. the surrounding walls also need to be sanded and repainted.

after dinner i returned home. for the first time, the weather felt a little brisk with temperature in the 70's. could be time to bust out the longsleeves for those evening rides. when i got back i took some photos of the front porch, was in a state of disrepair. i figured john will come back tomorrow to finish the job.

cristina came home later in the evening around 7:30pm. i haven't seen her since saturday afternoon, when i left her at the galleria mall, more than 48 hours ago. she ended up spending several hours at the mall before finally returning home. along the way she stopped at whole foods and said that it was cheaper than organic produce back in spain. later on saturday she went to a barbecue followed by a reggaeton night dance club. sunday she left the house by 7am, so i must've just missed her when i woke up around 7:20am. instead of going straight to quincy (as was the original plan), she went to rendezvous with the friend who was driving who just happened to live on elm street, across the train tracks from our place. i thought they were going to provincetown, but they ended up parking at falmouth and taking the ferry to martha's vineyard instead, bringing with them their own lunch/dinner. obama might've been still on the island, and there was also a sailing boat event, so traffic was pretty crazy. elsewhere, hillary clinton was holding a fundraiser at p-town, so a busy time to be on the cape. she returned home by 11pm but was surprised to find me already asleep (i went to bed at 10pm).

only today did i hear the news that somerville is banning plastic bags next week. cambridge already enacted this ordinance back in march, but i hardly do any shopping in cambridge. somerville however is where all my markets are located (star market, market basket, rite aid). i usually use canvas shopping bags for groceries (a habit i actually picked up from a roommate long ago), but every once in a while i like to get a few plastic shopping bags so i can recycle them as small garbage bags. now it looks like i will need to buy small trash bags as well.

it was cold enough tonight that i slept with the window closed. i tried not to sleep on my back to prevent myself from snoring (and subsequent dry mouth). i look forward to seeing what my doctor has to say about my condition on wednesday.

AUG

21

2016

i'm not sure why but i feel absolutely drained today. maybe a combination of waking up too early, not being able to sleep because of my sinus congestion, eating very little, and finally the humidity. it feels like the flu but other than fatigue i'm not showing any other symptoms. it's the sort of fatigue where i can't ball up my fists and the bottom of my feet hurt when i walk on them. hopefully a good night's sleep will get me back on track.

my sinus condition is causing me to have dry mouth. i've heard of dry mouth before, but snicker every time i heard it. dry mouth is a thing? but apparently i have it. although i can breathe through my nose, there's enough congestion that while i'm sleeping my body will automatically switch to mouth breathing. yeah, i'm a mouth breather! and when that happens, it leaves my throat and mouth super dry when i wake up in the morning. mouth breathing also causes me to snore something fierce due to the obstruction in my sinus, and i find myself making strange whistling and wheezing noises, loud enough that it wakes me up several times throughout the night. all this i'm hoping to talk to my doctor about come wednesday. the congestion is also making me cough again.

cristina was going down to the cape cod for the day. i knew she came home last night because i saw her bedroom door was closed when i got up to use the bathroom around 5am. she was supposed to be in quincy to rendezvous with her friends at 9am, so i was listening to see if she'd wake up. by 8:20am i finally got out of bed to see she was already gone! she must've left very early (i was up by 7am because sunmeng was texting me).

i didn't have the energy to walk down to the community garden to water the plants nor water my own backyard garden. with a strong storm arriving early in the morning tomorrow night that will hopefully dump at least half an inch of rain, i figured a day without watering wouldn't be too bad.

i left for belmont. instead of taking the motorcycle (i'd already covered it up), i took my bicycle instead. the bike ride wouldn't be so strenuous if it weren't for those darn hills along the way. even when i took it easy, i still arrived pretty sweaty.

today was the last day of the rio olympics. as far as sports events, there was just a few, the last one beginning a finals basketball game between the US and serbia. everything was gearing up for this evening's closing ceremony. there was free showtime this weekend so my mother was watching mostly that instead. i feel asleep on the couch and later moved to my parents' bedroom. i watched some how it's made before falling asleep. earlier i was outside watering the garden.

back at home, i watched a little bit of the olympics closing ceremony. a lot of empty seats, some athletes already went home (like the swimmers), and it was raining throughout. still everyone seemed to be having a good time. at 9pm i began chromecasting the latest episode of the night of via HBO go.

feeling unusually tired, i went to bed around 10pm.

i invited cristina to come see the red bull flugtag with me on the charles. we were in no hurry to leave because the event lasted until 3pm, so we left close to noontime, when the flugtag had already begun around 11am. i had a feeling it was going to be crowded, and even in the website it warned people to arrive early. my plan was to see the event from the opposite side of the charles river, riding past by MIT along the way (which cristina hadn't seen yet). i wasn't the only one with that idea, and as we got closer to the longfellow bridge, we began to encounter ever increasing amount of people.

from across the river, the flugtag was actually hard to see. the only way i could see it was using the 30x zoom of my lumix digital camera. it wasn't all that exciting anyway, and after i saw one vehicle launch and then drop into the river, i figured i'd pretty much seen it all already. we tried making it into boston across the longfellow, by the further we got, the more crowded it became, until it was impossible to push the bikes through. in the end i threw the bikes over the barricade so we were back out onto the roadside bike lane, where there was no pedestrian traffic.

from there we made our way to chinatown, another place cristina hadn't visited yet. we parked our bikes outside the chinatown gate.

we wandered around a bit before getting lunch at pho hoa. afterwards we went to c-mart on lincoln street where i got some longans on sale ($10/4lbs.) and some guava.

the easier way to return was by charles river bike path over the hatch shell bridge, but that was were the flugtag was still ongoing, and i didn't want to run into the sea of people again. instead we returned via longfellow, on the other side, where was only a pedestrian walkway, but far fewer people. we made it over by going over beacon hill, which was quite the uphill slog, but cristina managed to keep up.

once we crossed longfellow, i decided to take a detour to the galleria mall, just to show cristina where it was. i had no intention of visiting, but since we were already there, cristina decided she'd stay and do some shopping, while i returned home instead. i helped bring back her leftover vietnamese vermicelli. the route back was fine until i hit the stretch of beacon street closest to my house, now reduced to a dusty dirt road. i ended up riding on the sidewalk, fortunately there weren't many people.

i took the motorcycle to belmont. earlier my parents had gone to the burlington market basket and brought home a bag of fried chicken. the longans turned out to be a good purchase, as my mother kept saying how sweet and delicious they were.

i asked my father if mary ever showed up yesterday. he said eventually she did. i asked him if he knew where she was living. he said in some harvard housing. he told me that he told her to get psychological help when she returned to shanghai. not sure what her response was.

later when i went home, cristina had already left. i didn't see her the rest of the night when i finally went to bed.

a friday where utterly nothing happened except a visit to the garden and a trip to the supermarket for snacks. i ran into dave again while watering. besides his own plot, he's responsible for 2-3 plots where the owners have decided to take extended leave for the summer.

for dinner i heated up my leftover vodka sauce and half a box of rigatoni, which turned out to be way too much. cristina came home around 9pm, hanging out with coworkers (eating emac and bolio's near fenway).

my old crazy roommate mary texted and called me last night via wechat around 12:30am. i wasn't going to answer it because it was her, and i sure as hell wasn't going to answer it being that it was so late at night. who knows, it could've been another nervous breakdown, and i didn't want to have any part in that. then this morning at 10:30am i received a text message followed by two calls, none of which i looked at or answered. finally out of annoyance and curiosity, i read her messages. the first one - from last night - was written in english. she basically asked if she could have her suitcase back, the one she let me borrow. this was the suitcase i had every reason to return to her, but when my parents asked her about it when she abruptly moved out of my place, she said she didn't want it anymore. i figured letting me have it was the least she could do after trashing my house. so i wasn't expecting her to contact me 3 months later asking to have her suitcase back. the other message was written in chinese, and i figured it was just a repeat of what she wrote in english.

i was going to confer with my parents for advice. i had no immediate use for the suitcase, and technically it still belonged to her. i figured i would just leave it on the side of the house and have her come pick it up at a certain time so i wouldn't have to even see her. but before i could reach my parents, my father called me, asking for the whereabouts of the suitcase. apparently i wasn't the only person she contacted, as mary also got in touch with my parents about retrieving her suitcase. i told my father i had it and that i was just going to leave it by the side of the house, but he said he already spoke to her, and asked her to pick it up from the cafe, for one final moment of awkwardness before we hopefully never see her again.

i got the suitcase from the basement. it's actually a very nice suitcase, a chinese brand (binhao) hardshell luggage, and i'm actually a little sad to see it go. mary retrieving her suitcase also gave me the change to return the USB backup drive i found in her bedroom. but i wasn't going to give it to her without making a backup first. not that i'd ever spy on her, but if her craziness ever starts some shit again, i like to have some insurance that we can at least track her down in china. my father arrived before to pick up the suitcase before i could finish copying. after i successfully made the backup, i threw the usb drive into the luggage and my father took everything to the cafe.

mary was supposed to pick up the suitcase around 2pm but when i called my father at 4pm she still hadn't shown up yet.

i had some yogurt granola for lunch, taking some of the blueberries cristina had bought from last weekend. although it didn't seem that hot, the temperature today broke 90° again. in the afternoon i walked down to the community garden to water the plants. i picked another container of thai basil leaves, a container of cherry tomatoes and thai chili peppers, and finally a bag of garlic chives. when i returned home i watered my backyard plants as well (paul being away on the island this week, and can't depend on steve to do anything).

i got a swedish postcard from wangyang today. i could tell she doesn't often send postcards because she forgot the most important thing, which is the date. often times the date sent can also be found in the postage stamping, but for some reason this postcard arrived unstamped.

it was hot enough that i decided to take the motorcycle to belmont (less strenuous). my father had watered the garden but he always seems to miss the perennial beds on the sides of the house, and without proper watering, those perennials might be live to next year, not to mention the foxglove seedlings, or the larkspur seeds i scattered in certain spots. so i went out and watered those neglected spots.

rest of the afternoon was spent in the darken living room watching olympics coverage: first a rebroadcast of the team synchronized swimming event, followed by an NBC documentary on romanian gymnastic coaches the karolyis. i didn't know their story of defection to the US from soviet bloc romania, nor leaving a young daughter behind that would only be reunited with her parents in the US a few months later. that got us interested in gymnast nadia com─âneci and seeing all her greatest perfect scoring 10.0 moments via youtube (all at the young age of 14). i like that she rarely smiles, a farcry from the forced smiles of modern olympic gymnasts.

for dinner we had xuelihong noodles. i came home around 7pm, finding cristina in the kitchen trying to make a heated burrito over the frying pan. i went back out briefly to star market to see if they had anymore seedless grapes but they were all sold out. i spent the evening watching the pats preseason game against the chicago bears. jimmy garoppolo started again, as tom brady was absent due to a scissor blade accident involving his thumb. the head qb-backup qb relationship is a strange dynamic. the backup can't be too good, otherwise it puts the job of the head qb in jeopardy. yet at the same time you want the backup to do well, because you don't want to see your team lose. i suppose in the end having two great qb's is a problem many teams would love to have.

it's great to have a roommate with a fixed schedule. when i wake up in the morning, cristina is gone. i don't even hear her as she's getting ready for work. compared her to some recent past roommates: mary had a weird schedule, sometimes would be at home working, or come home in the early afternoons, i never knew when i'd see her; ana was simply lazy and sometimes wouldn't go to class, and once her classes were over she was here all the time during that final month.

i watched as a quartet of newly-moved-in coeds hauled a cache of street furniture back to their apartment. one girl didn't seem to be doing anything, but she had the important but unsung job of documenting their adventure on the phone.

i plunged the bathtub today, after noticing it was draining a bit slow the past few days. i cleared it up last month, and even used a chemical cleaner. i hope this doesn't become a routine, but even if it does, my plunger game is strong and i got the drain quickly gurgling again like normal.

i finally finished reading ted chiang's short story "story of your life" after being excited about the arrival trailer, which is a film based on the story. the premise of the story is highly interesting but the story itself is sort of meh. why the movie studios thought it'd be a good idea to turn it into a movie has me confused. i'm still curious to see the film, but i can't imagine it'd do well at the box office, as the subject matter is rather dense, and the human story is sort of melodramatic.

it was crowded in the garden, as joel was there, as well as the woman who has the plot in front of mine. i don't like her very much (i never remember her name and i don't even recognize her when i do see her), she doesn't make very use of her garden even though it's one of the best plots there is. most of the things she grows are perennials, and she neglected them for weeks on end.

the hot weather is like steroids for the eggplants. they don't grow very tall, nor produce a lot of leaves, but i think they save all their energies for making eggplants, and i can't wait to harvest them, as i already see several flowers. the larkspurs have also started to blossom again; i think they weren't really dead to begin with (even though they produced so many seeds), all they needed was a steady drink of water to come back to life (at least some of the plants; others are actually dead). the garlic chives will soon flower as well, which will gave the bees something else to eat during the late summer early fall.

i've been meaning to take out my old coolpix 4500 for the longest time, but i always forgot to look for it. even when i did find it, it's been out of service for so long, all the batteries were dead, so i had to wait impatiently for one of them to charge enough so i could use it. what got me thinking about my old camera was seeing all these amazing cloud formations for the past few weeks. i'm the kind of person who stops to take a cloud photo whenever i seething cool in the sky. and what cooler way to photograph clouds than with the infra red fisheye attachment?

i charged up the battery for half an hour, which was enough juice for me to use the camera for a little while at least. i had my coolpix during a time when i didn't know the harmful effects of DEET so all the markings on the buttons had long since been smudged off. so the first few minutes was just me trying to reacquaint myself with the controls. how do i enter shutter mode? how do i set the ISO? how do i put the camera in fisheye setting? and finally, making sure i set the date and time. for some reason i had some problems focusing so many of the photos were blurry. i also shot in HI mode initially, which saved the photos as TIFF files, which took a few seconds to save, and not worth the time (shooting in FINE mode is good enough).

i bicycled to belmont, stopping a few times to snap some infrared fisheye photos, but not taking any detours to catch pokemons.

AUG

16

2016

cristina did not get murdered or abducted as i'd feared. it took her a while to respond to my late night text, but she said she was at a party, so i knew she was at least okay. she finally returned home around 2am. i was still awake in bed, playing around with the prisma app.

i ran into bruce twice today. the first time was when i saw him from my window and i went out to intercept him. he told me about his cataract, which is related to his double detached retina surgery he had last fall. we went to go check out the newly paved beacon street when it began rainy heavy drops and returned home before we got soaked.

the second time i met bruce was when i came back from market basket. i told him about the fancy retina lenses they have nowadays, but unfortunately most are not covered by insurance, so it's an out-of-pocket expense of a few thousand dollars. but who wouldn't want bionic eyes? an intraocular lens not only allows you to see again, but many times with restored 20/20 vision. we parted ways once it began to rain again. a girl with an umbrella walked by me as i locked up my bike. i smiled but that's when i noticed she was sobbing for some reason.

as for my market basket trip, the sky looked very threatening the whole time i was there, and i wanted to get back home before the next rain burst. in the parking lot i came across a new pokemon, a magnemite. it's been a while since i've seen something new (part of the reason is i haven't been actively hunting).

cristina came home in the early evening. i hadn't seen her since sunday night (today being tuesday). she told me about her commute and her workplace. she was annoyed that they had a dress code (because she occasionally shadows other doctors in seeing patients) since she only bought casual clothes (jeans) and would need to buy some new clothes at some point. she also filled me in on what happened last night. she'd actually returned home after i got back (she was out getting some wine), but i was taking a shower so she left again afterwards. she went to go meet a guy she knew from her couch surfing network. he lived in the south end and travels a lot (apparently he's a writer of some sort) and invited her to his rooftop home overlooking boston for a barbecue and hot tub experience. unfortunately cristina ended up getting lost as google map took her on a destination 2 hours outside of the city. she finally did make it back to boston, her friend had to come pick her up. the "party" ended up being just him with another guy (highly suspicious) but cristina ended up staying there for a little bit.

we got to talking about spanish siestas which made cristina decide she wanted to go take a short nap. while she was sleeping i began cooking, making my vodka sauce pasta. i had no plans on sharing dinner with her because 1) she doesn't eat onions and 2) she's a vegetarian (and my sauce contains ample amounts of prosciutto). she woke up 30 minutes later and said she'd try some of the sauce with some ready-made raviolis she boiled in a pot.

i scared her with my portion-sizing: i ate enough pasta for 4 people at least. i told her this was american style. we spent the rest of the night watching olympics coverage before she went to bed around 11pm.

cristina was gone this morning by the time i woke up around 9:30am, as was to be expected. i spent the early hours enjoying the solitude, having a bowl of special K vanilla and almond cereal for lunch. sometime in the afternoon i walked down to the community garden to water my plants. i was supposed to gather some thai basil and garlic chives, but i forgot my scissors and bag, and by the time i realized what was happening, i was already too far gone to turn back. once i returned home, i changed clothes and rode my motorcycle to the garden, this time with my scissors.

the eggplants i'm growing are different from the one at my parents' garden. their variety is a japanese ichiban, which has pretty dark purple/black stems. the ones that i have are green stems. even the flowers look different. ichiban blossoms resemble oversized nightshade flowers, while my garden eggplants has pale pink flowers with more petals. when i got the seedlings there was no description on the label other than "eggplant" so i'm curious to see what the final fruits look like.

afterwards i rode down to the cafe to help my 2nd uncle sign up for an online bank account. i submitted an online a few weeks ago, but the bank replied back saying it needed additional information before they could authorize the account. turns out i made a mistake on the mother's maiden name. not knowing my uncle's mother's maiden name, i used my grandmother's instead. when the info didn't match, that's what caused the account creation to get flagged. once i got that resolved, the bank told use to expect a confirmation e-mail later today.

i finally found out the paint colors to my house. it would've been easier if we kept some of the original paints, but fortunately i have a habit of documenting everything and managed to take a photo of all the used paint can lids before they were tossed out. they are as follows: cabot colors slate gray (house), benjamin moore colorbook hot apple spice (windows), benjamin moore colorbook woodstock tan (trim).

i helped my parents print out a few more signs, as they had tossed the old ones i made since the cafe renovation. they will also be serving pepper buns (hujiao bing) and tea eggs now.

we finally ate the ichiban eggplant we harvested yesterday (paired up with the thai basil i collected from my own garden earlier). my father was impressed by how seedless it was despite being a mature fruit.

i returned home around 7pm, catching cristina trying to get into the house as i pulled around the street to park my motorcycle. when i got inside the house, she was gone, so she was probably leaving when i saw her. i thought maybe she'd gone out for a run because she wore her sneakers (but probably not the case because when i saw her she was wearing denim shorts). then when it got later, i thought maybe she went out to dinner with friends (spanish people eat dinner very late, typically 10pm), but as of now (12:30am) i still don't know where she is. i might need to text.