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my father called me a little bit before 10am to let me know he was dropping off the 2 tomato and 1 eggplant seedlings. these were plants i started before i left for china, but they emerged stunted, and have been sitting in their tiny pots for months. instead of throwing them out (which seems like a waste), i figured i could plant them in my own community garden plot since i had some space. sure, it's very late in the season to be planting tomato seedlings, but if we get a hot summer going into a hot autumn, i could still harvest a tomato or few in late september early october.

since he was here, i got my father to help me remove the freewheel. i found tools yesterday - a 1" socket and corresponding socket wrench. i quickly removed the rear wheel from the bike. while i braced the wheel upright, my father pushed down on the socket wrench. with one strong push he managed to loosen the freewheel. that wasn't very hard! although in the process, i accidentally dropped one of the skewer springs, which feel through a crack in the wooden deck. i crawled underneath the porch briefly but couldn't find it in the dirt and dead leaves. the last time we removed the freewheel (november 2011) it took a feat of herculean strength to get it off. this time around it was much easier, and i wonder if it's because last time i applied some grease on the threads before i installed the freewheel. the last freewheel lasted about 5 years, which isn't bad, given how i ride that trek year-round. if i have to replace the freewheel every half decade, i think that's a good bargain.

once the freewheel was off, i could work on it on my own time. instead, i ended up going with my father on a supply run, first to the chelsea market basket, then the frozen dessert supply shop across the street.

this was another chance for me to play car pogo. here's the list of pokemons captured in order of appearance: pidgey, weedle, weedle, drowzee, horsea, mankey (first), drowzee, oddish, drowzee, krabby, drowzee, pidgeotto, omanyte (first), jynx (first), pidgey, rattata, pidgey, and spearow. that's 18 pokemons just from a roundtrip car ride, and 3 first time pokemons. my favorite has to be jynx, which looks like a pokemon in drags. prior to that my favorite pokemon was the drowzee, but they're so common now, i seem to capture at least one a day if not more. later just from the living room i captured a machop (first) and a clefairy. it was fine for me to play in the car because i was the passenger; imagine someone driving and pogoing at the same time? my father said it's only a matter of time before somebody gets killed because of pogoing and driving.

i after i returned to the house around 11:30am, i was in the backyard working on my bike. i crawled underneath the deck again and using my iphone flashlight, was finally able to locate the skewer spring. it wouldn't have been a big deal if i didn't find it; i lost one before, and i just removed the spring from an older bike. installation of the new freewheel was pretty routine, i cleaned up the hub a little bit (with a toothbrush and some triflow oil), greased the thread, and spun on the new freewheel. with rear wheel back on the bike, everything seemed, but i won't know for sure until i ride it.

since i was already out, i took out the fuji bike and oiled the chains. i learned my lesson! you ride with dry chains, you end up ruining your cassette/freewheel. i also cleaned the bike frame with some WD40. i didn't finish up until 12:30pm. i ate some market basket chicken wings for lunch.

in the mid-afternoon i walked down to the garden to water my plants. since this heatwave began, i've been going every day, but it's also just an excuse to pogo. one of the gardeners (the one who lives right next to the garden) approached me while i was there, asking about the delphiniums. this is the 3rd person to ask me about them, i'm glad my profusion of colors didn't go unnoticed. i gave her some seeds and told her to help herself to some more if she needed to.

something i've been meaning to do for a while is to get myself some good decongestion medicine. there's something wrong with my sinuses. i can breathe and smell just fine, but i still have this blockage sensation in the back of my throat, like a ball of phlegm. no amount of spitting can dislodge it. i notice it the most at nights, when the fluids sort of settle and affects my breathing. it also makes me snore something fierce, the obstruction creating a whistling effect in the back of my throat. it's gotten so bad that i actually wake myself up, thinking i'm hearing voices when it's just weird noises passing through my airways.

this gave me a chance to test out the trek with the new freewheel. i noticed something was off right away when the gearings felt loose. i switched to the larger cogs but couldn't switch back down. on the bright side, the chain never once slipped off the freewheel.

i rode down to rite aid to get some mucinex-d. it has 600mg of guaifenesin to thin and loosen mucus, and 60mg of pseudophedrine to clear the congestion. on my way back on traveled down somerville avenue, riding on the sidewalk so i could get close enough to a string of pokestops by the park. somebody that put out a lure at conway park. when i looked around to see who it was, there was nobody. you figured whomever set the lure would be there collecting on the pokemons. anyway, i stayed there for several minutes, collecting half a dozen drowzees. i had enough candy so that when i got home, i evolved one of the strongest drowzees to a hypno (like the wild one i saw yesterday but wasn't able to capture in time).

i took the mucinex-d (2 tablets). i can normally feel the effects of cold/allergy medication, but not so much this time, probably because i was at home. it did seem to clear up the congestion somewhat. one side effect i noticed later in the evening was my nose started running a little bit. i take that to be a good sign, body trying to get rid of the mucus.

i worked a little bit more on the bike. so now the problem isn't with the chain or the freewheel, but with the shifting and gearing itself. the shift cable is old and rusty, i should replace it, but i wonder if i could also change the derailleur, as it seems to have lost it's springiness. but i retightened the cable and did some minor adjustments, i'll ride it again tomorrow to see if it still misbehaves.

my shark rocket vacuum (HV301) finally arrived ($125 + $8 taxes). i watched as the UPS van sat outside my house for several minutes. when the delivery guy finally came out, i opened the door to greet him. it came in a box a lot bigger than i expected. the main body looked like a very large handmixer. the extension tube is fairly long, about 2.5 ft, and can't be retracted. the standard vacuum head is fairly heavy, but it is powered once connected to the main body. i never used a hand-held vacuum before, although this particular vacuum doesn't quite fit the standard categories: too big to be a true hand-held, but too light to be an upright.

i casually tested it out on my living room carpet. i was surprised by how easy it was to use, and the vacuum head seemed to be rolling on the rug, even though i don't think it has any motorized wheels (the brush is however motorized). glancing at the dust cup, i was very surprised by how dirty it was. all that from my carpet? i vacuumed a few weeks ago, when i still had my parents' dyson canister. but a dirty cup is a good thing, because it means the vacuum is really working. i then went through the kitchen, which also has some rugs.

another thing i noticed is how long the cord is, 30ft total. i can plug in from the living room and reach all the way to my bedroom, something i couldn't do before with my old vacuum. true, the cord doesn't retract, but i'm used to vacuuming with the cord out anyway, so it's not a big deal. storing away the vacuum takes a few more seconds to tie the cord to the extension tube (which has hooked designed for holding the cord) but it's not a big deal.

i thought the shark rocket used cyclone technology for suction, but looking at its design, i don't think it does. that doesn't diminish from it's vacuum power however, i think it does just as good a job. it doesn't have as much suction strength as the dyson though, because with the dyson it'd actually lift my rugs, but it didn't do that with the rocket.

another good thing about the rocket is it doesn't use bags. having used a bagged vacuum for all these years (eureka mighty mite from my college days, so over 2 decades), i will never go back to bags ever again. bagless is the way to go, even though the dust cup does look a little grimy after so many uses.

it also came with some attachments: dusting brush, pet/upholstery tool, crevice tool, and dust-away + pad. the dust-away attachment seems like the least useful; it looked like a flat vacuum head with a dusting pad attached to the pad. for some reason it's powered, there must be a smaller brush inside. supposedly you use it on hard floor surfaces, but the standard head works fine on those as well. i don't think i'll ever use the dust-away. the upholstery tool looks like a squeegee, but if i wanted to vacuum the sofa, i'd use the dusting brush instead. too bad there's no clip on the extension tube to attach some of these attachments for easy access. they did provide a drawstring bag to store all these extras however.

the shark rocket is also like a cleaning transformer. besides using it as an upright vacuum, you can also remove the extension tube and use the vacuum more like a traditional hand-held. you can even attach the vacuum head directly to the body, for a mini vacuum. the long extension tube is good for reaching ceiling areas to get rid of spiderwebs.

all and all, i really like the shark rocket. in fact, i sort of regret convincing my parents to get the dyson canister last year, because i think the shark rocket fits there needs better. the dyson is just too bulky, and using it is always a spectacle. the dyson is a marvel of engineering however, but at twice the price over the shark, the rocket is a better deal, and cleans just as well. maybe i'll let my parents try the shark, and if they like it, i'll trade it with their dyson.

for dinner i ate the last remaining portion of my grilled chicken along with some romaine lettuce and croutons. i didn't have caesar salad dressing so i used blue cheese instead. i spent the rest of the evening watch DNC coverage on tv and the web.

tonight bill clinton gave the prime time speech. after hearing him talk about hillary's qualifications, i'm starting to think maybe she was the better candidate compared to barack obama! but under his administration she was able to be secretary of state for one term, which added even more experience to her resume. i don't think there is a more qualified candidate to be president, with both domestic and international experience, in the private and public sector. i think she'd make a great president.

i sauntered to the community garden in the early afternoon, enveloped by the heat which wasn't that unpleasant actually. i believe today marks the 5th day of our heat wave, with forecast saying we won't be out of the 90's until friday. it's not that bad because we still get cool nights, with temperature dropping back down in the 70's. you crack a bedroom window open and it feels pretty nice. besides visiting pokestops and collecting random pokemons, i was also there to collect some delphinium seeds. armed with my leeatherman scissors and a ziploc, i managed to collect a bag full before finally watering my plot. the sky looked like it was ripe for rain, and thick clouds even blotted out the sun for a time.

i returned home to work on my bicycle. when i left the house earlier, there was a small package waiting for me on the doorstep. my freewheel tool had arrived. unfortunately i didn't have a combination wrench large enough to accomodate the 1" nut. the only thing that could grip it was a pair of pliers, and i couldn't get a good enough grip to turn the freewheel remover with any significant force. i would have to search for something at my parents' place, but if they didn't have anything besides an adjustable wrench, i was prepared to buy a 1" stanley combination wrench from sears for $16.

i arrived in belmont a little after 3pm via bicycle, nearly passing out from the heat. my mother was surprised i didn't take the motorcycle instead since it was so hot, but i had already covered the motorcycle in anticipation of possible rain showers later in the evening. i wasn't pogoing as hard as yesterday, but i did stop a few times to visit pokestops and collect pokemons. there are stops all along the route i usually take to get to belmont; i'm trying to find most optimal way where i can tap a few stops and still arrive in a timely manner.

i went with my parents to the waltham ocean state job lot. this gave me my opportunity to pogo from a car. it was pretty exhilarating to have pokestops rushing past me at top speed. but if i work fast enough, i can tap it and collect my rewards before i'm out of range. then there are the pokemons. it was like pogo lightning round. as long as i tap the pokemon in time, it doesn't matter if we drive away, it's still locked in until i either capture it or it escapes. i didn't see any new pokemons, but i did catch a bunch of ones i've already had. and since the route to OSJL runs along the charles river, i collected a bunch of water pokemons as a bonus: krabby, goldeen, seel. i encountered a hypno but didn't have time to tap it in time before we drove by it.

i returned home after dinner to watch the first night of the democratic national convention. guest speakers included sneator al franken, sarah silverman, cory booker, michelle obama, elizabeth warren, and finally bernie sanders. on my door was a sticker from UPS, said they were unable to deliver a package (my new shark rocket), and they'd come back tomorrow. my vacuum dreams will have to wait another day.

i thought it was going to be the first day since i've been pogoing where i didn't find a new pokemon. but i managed to evolve a kakuna and got a beedrill, which i didn't have before. the streak continues!

for somebody who has a tragic history with knives, it's ironic i'd go out and get myself another knife.

i thought about skipping the community garden work day this saturday morning because it was already so hot and the blistering dermatitis on my left hand was itching something fierce. i also didn't sleep well the night before, my first floor neighbors across from my bedroom had a noisy box fan in their kitchen window so i couldn't open the window nearest to my bed. without access to the cooler night time air, i tossed and turned, trying to find that cool spot on my mattress. nevertheless, obligation compelled me participate, plus i needed to be down there anyway to water my plants, and visit some pokestops along the way.

a lot more people showed up at the community garden than i anticipated when i arrived around 10:30am. i signed in and picked a job for myself from the garden to-do list: empty the compost bin beneath the mulberry tree and then move the empty bin to the other side of the garden. i got myself a small shovel and some rubber buckets and began working. others were weeding the paths, or pruning the common beds, or reorganizing the tool shed. i worked until 11:30am, chatting with joel and watering my plot before leaving. during that time, an eevee managed to escape, but i caught a pidgey, a rattata, and a kakuna, finally capping it off with my first dratini (cp 99).

back at home, i took a quick shower before taking the motorcycle to belmont, stopping by the gas station at the intersection of walden-mass ave to fuel up ($5). this is how much i ride the motorcycle these days: this was my first time getting gas all year, as i was still riding on the fuel i had in the tank from last december's storage.

my mother made some egg pancakes for lunch. after i finished eating, i went outside to wash the motorcycle. as a consequence of parking underneath trees in the late spring/early summer, my bike was coated in sugary droplets of tree sap. i've been meaning to get it washed but always forgot about it. as i still had a lot of sudsy car wash mix in the bucket, i also gave the honda element a quick wash as well. later i got a bath towel and dried my bike (so there wouldn't be any water stains) and the car. finally, i got some rain-x and treated the mirrors and windows. when i came back inside, my mother had made some belgian waffles, so i had a second lunch in the middle of the afternoon.

i looked for my freewheel tool but it's been so long since the last time i used it, it really could be anywhere. a search of the sun room (the most likely place) turned out to be fruitless, so i had no choice but to order an new online from amazon for $8, due to arrive sometime on monday.

on a hot day you need to water more than twice to keep tender garden vegetables (like cucumbers) from wilting. the solitary eggplant in my parents' backyard has produced a flower, so hopefully we'll be eating garden eggplants soon. for dinner we had noodles mixed with a medley of pork, beef, and garden kale. afterwards my father fixed my 2nd aunt's electric kettle: turns out one of the terminals inside the kettle was loose, which resulted in the heat building up and melting the terminal shrink wrap. my father tightened the terminal connection and the kettle is back to working again.

we waited for the thunderstorms to arrive but it must've skirted by belmont. at most the sky looked threatening and we felt a few drops, but then the sun came out again. it was one of the hottest days but once the storm pass through, temperature suddenly plunged into the lower 80's. when i motorcycled back to cambridge, i noticed a lot of leaves and small branches littering the roads.

it felt like an oven when i came home: 85┬░F indoors while it was a cool 78┬░F outside. i went about stationing fans throughout the house, trying to circulate the cool air inside. a package was on my doorstep, my raspberry pi arrived. it wasn't due until the middle of next week at the earliest, so it was a pleasant surprise.

i pieced everything together in the kitchen (also so i can document the unboxing and assembly). i stuck the heat sinks to the chips, then put the board inside of the plastic casing. finally i inserted the 32GB memory card, preloaded with the raspbian OS. i dug out my wired mac keyboard and my usb wireless mouse, and connected the pi to my HDTV. i was worried maybe it wouldn't recognize my input devices (particularly the mouse) but everything worked effortlessly. first time booting, i was asked to install the system. i already input my wifi information, so beside raspbian, it also gave me the option of installing some additional OS's (pulled from the internet), so i decided to include OSMC as well, the open source media center. i waited as it took a little while to install everything. once it finished, it rebooted and gave me the option to choose which OS i wanted to start with, so i picked raspbian.

raspbian felt very much like using a very stripped down version of OS X. a couple of things i noticed: first, the screen size. stretched to 1920x1080 pixels, i had a hard time seeing everything on the screen as every appeared so tiny with so much screen real estate. i can't imagine doing programming at this resolution. then there was the issue of the wrong time in the menubar. i tried to change it and the only thing i managed to do was fix the date and the timezone, but no place to manually adjust the time. i did manage to get my apple bluetooth trackpad and my bluetooth keyboard to pair up with the pi, very easy. raspbian has a barebone browser which was a little slow, so i wanted to see if i could download a better browser. i went to the google chrome website and it identified my system as OS X and allowed me to download a disc image file. that was the extent of it because it couldn't open the dmg.

i then restarted and booted into OSMC. i was underwhelmed by raspbian, but had a better experience with OSMC, which felt like a very sleek media player. it didn't recognize my bluetooth devices, so i was forced to use the wireless mouse, which took some getting used to, especially once i figured out that right click meant return/previous. for some reason OSMC managed to give me the correct time once i selected my timezone. i played some movies from a USB thumb drive, worked effortlessly.

i did feel like after spending all this money for a raspberry pi, i essentially got a glorified media player. i can't imagine programming directly on the pi, since the user experience leaves something to be desired. i think i'm more inclined to develop on my mac and port over to the pi.

later i chatted with alex, who's been doing a lot of network pi stuff recently. he uses it to automate a lot of his online downloading (via newsgroups). i asked him if he was playing pokemon go, which was just introduced to japan this weekend. i told him enough about the game that got him intrigued to possibly try it out.

someone from comcast called me this morning with a deal on internet and cable. i cancelled my cable at the end of june, but apparently comcast wants me back in the fold. i thought it was a scam at first, and almost hung up, but was intrigued by the deal. i currently pay $77 month for internet alone, but the deal they were pitching me was $80/month for faster internet plus 50 cable channels and HBO for one year. it sounded too good to be true, and fortunately this wasn't my first time dealing with a comcast sales representative, and eventually i found out why it was this cheap. so the deal is only good for a year, after which the price goes up by $15 (i somehow doubt that). the 50 channels doesn't include a few like fox sports, so i wouldn't be able to get all my sports. but the deal breaker is the channels are only standard definition, not HD, which costs an additional $10. the fact that they charge people an additional amount for HD is criminal, since most people have HDTV's. the rep didn't tell me this small detail and i had to dig it out myself, and when i called him on it, he agreed with me that the deal wasn't that great after all.

i knew something would go wrong. even if i had all the right tools, removing the old freewheel assembly from the rear bike wheel would require some sort of feat of strength in which i was grossly unqualified for. alas, i didn't even have the right freewheel removal socket tool. i had all the others - cassette removal socket, crankset removal socket - i was just missing the freewheel socket. my immediate reaction was to go online and order another one - about $9 - but decided i'd check at my parents' place first, since that was the last place i saw the freewheel socket (5 years ago).

i bought some clothes online through the gap. they had a 40% off everything sale, i got 2 pairs of shorts, a pair of mustard khakis (not the best color, but they were on clearance, i figured they'd be my everyday pants that i wouldn't have to worry about getting dirty), and a polo shirt.

after finishing a bowl of raisin bran cereal for lunch (i'm on a raisin bran kick all this week), i walked down to the community garden to water my plants...and to play a little pokemon go. it was a hot day, with the official temperature reading for boston at 98┬░F. i brought my gardening gloves because the dermatitis on my left hand has gotten pretty bad (i broke one of the blisters and now it's oozing) and i want to make sure i don't touch anything that could be causing it, like the rubber handle of the water sprayer.

i left the hose running while i weeded the garden, making sure to give my plot a thorough soaking, so i wouldn't have to come back over the weekend. during my garden visit one of my incubating pokemon eggs hatched, delivering a tentacool, my first.

elsewhere in the community garden:

around 4pm i went to star market to pick up some groceries. in the parking lot i came face to face with a koffing pokemon, which i'd never seen before. i hit it with the pokeball twice before it ran away, i'd never seen that behaviour either. later in the evening i came across a eevee in my living room and that also managed to escape. maybe now that i'm a level 8 catcher, pokemons are becoming harder to catch, and sometimes they might even escape.

for dinner i cooked up the 2 pieces of chicken breast i let defrost in the fridge since this morning. i slathered them with olive oil, kosher salt, and cracked peppers, and grilled them in the foreman. i saved one cutlet but ate the other one as part of my chicken caesar salad.

around 10:30am my father delivered the final piece of my flan order: all my ramekins and a large pyrex dish. i didn't start making the flan until after 12pm (which in hindsight was a mistake). and why was i making flan? because the people my sister is cooking for this weekend requested it. she told me about a few weeks ago and asked if i was willing to make it. she said she could pay me but i told her i'd do it for free.

i'd be making 14 flan (6 for my sister's guests, 8 for myself), and i needed to scale the recipe which is set for 6 servings: 12 eggs, 8.4 cups of milk, 3.5 tsp of vanilla extract, 1.17 cups of sugar, 0.58 tsp of salt, and another 1.17 cups of sugar for the caramel. unfortunately i made a mistake in my math: i only needed 7 cups of milk, so i added 1.4 cups more than i needed.

i did something different this time around: i mixed the eggs with the sugar and salt first, before adding the vanilla and milk. this allows the course texture of the sugar to completely break apart the eggs. usually when i mix everything together, i get little chunks of eggs still floating around; doing it this way ensures the eggs are popularly blended.

mixture blended, ramekins in their hot baths, it was time to make the caramel, half a cup of sugar at a time on medium heat. this is the most difficult part of the recipe, but i've done it enough that i knew what i was doing. i don't want to scorch the sugar, and when i pour the caramel into the ramekins i had to work fast, because it quickly solidifies. and put the pan back on the stove, i make sure to clean the caramel off of the lip where i poured otherwise it could drip to the outside of the pan and scorch that way.

once the caramel layer was in place, it was time to pour in the mixture. i ended up with a lot of leftover mixture, which immediately raised the flag that i miscalculated the portions (and how i found out i added too much milk). i ended up having two large cups of leftovers, which i saved as slightly-unsafe natural egg nog. into the oven went the flan for one hour. it was 1:15pm. all the prep took an hour, so i regret not starting earlier.

one problem with using the oven during the summer is it makes the room even hotter on an already hot day (90's). since i was already heating up the house anyway, i decided to do a load of laundry as well while i preparing the flan.

earlier in the late morning i went outside to move my motorcycle. a small rat greeted me on the sidewalk (at first i thought it was an unusually large mouse). what does it say about the local rat population when rats can be seen in the daytime? it frozen for a split second, surprised by my appearance, then quickly scurried underneath a contractor truck parked outside. 2 rivers was the name, specializing in plumbing repairs. the owner of the truck can out of a house and said hello. i grunted back, still a little dazed by an early morning rat sighting. "nice bike," he said. i asked him if he rides. he told me he owns a harley, and takes it up to maine on a 3+ hour ride to visit his daughter. we got to talking and he told me about his highway crash that happened last october. nothing broken, but he did slide several yards and rashed his arm despite wearing padding. only damaged to his bike was a wobbly brake pedal and a broken tail light. as we left ways, i told him my name. "john," he said referring to himself, "john miller." this makes him the 3rd john miller i know.

while the flan was in the oven, i went to the community garden to water my plants. 4 pokestops along the way, 4 pokestops back. i caught a weedle, a horsea (my first), and two pidgey. i came back right when the first hour was up. i set the timer for another 30 minutes as the flan wasn't done yet, followed by another 30 minutes. during that time, i went out for another walk, this time looping around star market and out to the somerville community garden. just a lot of pokestops, no pokemons, except for a kakuna (my first wild capture, i'd already evolved one earlier) and an oddish. during this time i made it to level 8, and was gifted a lure module, as well as being able to pick up razz berries, which supposed makes it easier to catch pokemons.

after 2 hours of baking, it was time to take out the flan. the 6 flan on the topmost layer were okay, they pass the knife test, but not as burnt as i'd like. the 8 flan on the bottom layer were still a little water, but i can't imagine they need more baking after 2 hours. there was some browning, but not as much as the topmost layer, and none of them had the beautiful golden brown of past flans. i think they'll be a littler watery, but that makes the flan more tender. it's mostly because i added too much milk, which prevented the flan from having a more solid texture. next time, double check the math!

i arrived in belmont by 3:30pm. as is my habit now where ever i go someplace, i open up the pokemon go app to see if there are anything interesting around. i sort of take it for granted that living in the city, with a lot of urban landmarks, there are there plenty of pokestops and gyms. the scene from belmont is slightly different however, essentially dry pokemon town, with the only pokestop and gym found on the cambridge-belmont line. it sucks to be a pokemon go player living in the suburb.

i helped my father finish installing the new fence we started working on yesterday afternoon. there was a small batch of bamboo we still needed to dip up before further lowering the trench and digging out the post hole. what we hadn't planned on was uncovering a bumblebee nest. one of them stung me yesterday, and the back of my hand still hurt. the nest must've been around the fence post and my father and i were both chased out of the area multiple times. finally my father had enough and went inside to get the flyswatter. there was just 2-3 bumblebees to deal with. we managed to swat two which seemed to solve the problem.

next we ran into a second problem: while digging out the bamboo patch, we discovered it's a lot more extensive than what we first thought. there were several strands of underground rhizomes, like buried cables. any other time we might've been tempted to just leave them be and solve the problem through herbicide, but the runners would prevent us from digging our trench, so we had no choice but to pull up all the rhizomes, which turned out to be a lot. the both of us ended up being covered in dirt.

once the bamboos and some random tree roots were dug up, we could finally dig out trench and post hole. we didn't go down far enough because once we installed the fence and saw it from a distance, it's obvious that it's uneven. my father said it was good enough, but i told him if we were going to put in a new fence, we should do it right instead of just good enough. so maybe next week we'll pull out the post and reset the fence so it's more level.

after dinner i helped my mother look for a cheap flight to taiwan for my 2nd uncle who wants to return to taipei next month. when we checked last night there were airfares for as little as $570, but when we checked again tonight, the cheapest fares had all gone up by $200. after a long research, we decided to wait until tomorrow morning, so my mother could buy the ticket with my 2nd aunt present, so we wouldn't have to do it over the phone. i left around 9pm.

packages were waiting for me back at home: the new replacement shimano bicycle freewheel i bought on tuesday ($13.95), and my articulating suction-cup mount from ebay ($2.79 + $1.99 shipping).

i did something later in the evening: using pokevision, i discovered a golbat that i didn't have within a 7 minute walking distance on the somerville side of the track. it was due to despawn in 10 minutes which gave me some time to capture it. so i put on my shoes and ran outside with my phone. what's really surreal is seeing all these other people wandering around outside, looking for pokemons as well. many were in groups, i was the only solo catcher. i went to the designated location but there was nothing there. dejected, i walked home, but not before fighting a gym at the junction of elm and somerville avenue. it lasted only a few seconds, me pitting my CP 237 kingler with some CP 1200+ champion. i thought i was doing pretty well but with a single attack from my opponent i suddenly lost. so much for my first battle! i want to join a gym because it's the only way i can earn pokemon money to upgrade my equipment, but to join a gym i have to rank up and have better fighting pokemons. maybe the life of a gym fighter is not for me. maybe i'm better off just playing the game as a collector. it's also sort of dangerous to be wandering around by myself at night, with my attention buried in my phone.

i ended up ordering a vacuum cleaner online, the shark rocket (HV301) for $127.49 through kohls. shipping was free, but i still had to pay $7.97 for taxes. i ended up paying what i would've paid when the same vacuum was on sale during prime day (actually maybe a bit cheaper). back then i didn't get the vacuum because i didn't like that the cord was retractable. but the shark rocket has so many great reviews, it seems i couldn't go wrong, so when i saw it for sale again, i decided to get one. i've been living with a vacuum in my house and it's a weird feeling. not like i did a lot of vacuuming back when i had a vacuum, but now that i don't have one, it's all i can think about.

still later, i bought a knife on amazon, a kershaw 1605 clash, for $20 (not including taxes). as a guy, i feel like the thing to do is to carry around a knife in your pocket all the time, because you never know when you might need to use it. the only EDC (every day carry) knife i have right now is an old buck knife. it's big and clunky, gets the job done however, but i sort of have a bad history with this knife because it was the same knife that nearly sliced my thumb off. the kershaw clash has an assisted opening which makes it easier to open, and i've heard good things about the company.

i woke up at 7am for my 8am dentist appointment in allston with doctor huang. i left the house by 7:30am and arrived with minutes to spare. i gave myself some time to calm down before heading upstairs. i thought it'd be just a consultation, but after taking a look, doctor huang started working. "what will you be doing?" i asked him as he shot me up with novocaine. i thought there was no way to save the tooth and the only recourse was a crown, with or without a root canal. but he told me he could patch it up, so i trusted his judgement and sat back to enjoy the dental ride.

it's always a little strange getting dental work; i can't see what's happening but i can feel it. and from what i was feeling it seemed like he cupped my molar into a mold and filled it with several layers of light cure resin composite. i'd never experienced that before, he was shining a little blue light into my mouth. after an hour he was done. the charge? $152. i'm not even sure how he came up with that number. better than the $1250 crown without root canal that doctor guan wanted to charge me. it will be a dark day in dentistry when and if doctor huang retires. i didn't tell doctor huang that i went to go see another dentist, but i wonder if thought it was strange that my teeth were so clean (since i had a cleaning last week). i asked him if i needed to invest in a waterpik, he said i could just use a softpick and gave me a sample packet before i left.

today i made it to level 7.

i finally broke and ordered a raspberry pi online. it was $57 on sale (normally $68), and included the newest iteration of the pi (3 model b 2016, cheapest which sells for $36 standalone). packaged by vilros, it also came with a clear plastic case (typically $6, $7 with heat sinks), a 32GB microSDHC memory card (typically $12), a pair of miniature heat sinks, an HDMI cable, and a 2.5A power supply (typically $8-10). the only thing i didn't need was the HDMI cable (i have a bunch already). i actually only paid $28 because i had some amazon points i managed to use up.

after finishing my potato salad for lunch, i rode the trek to market basket in the early afternoon to pick up some groceries. i caught my first spearow in the parking lot. on my way back home i took out my phone to see if i could find any pokestops along the way. biking is the best way to make a lot of grounds in a short time. it's not as easy to pick up pokemons when you're biking - unless they happen to appear right around a pokestop. i noticed it yesterday but i'm beginning to see it more and more, just of people playing pokemon go. the demographics tend to skew young, and at least in camberville young adults. people who are older play in cars, i see plenty of people pulling over to the curb playing with their phones in a way that makes me suspect it's pokemon go. at the beacon street community garden - which happened to be a pokestop - i encountered a scyther. it took a few balls to capture it, but as soon as i did, the server went down and my capture never registered, just a frozen ball.

i live in an area where i'm surrounded by pokestops and gyms, but none close enough that i can tap from my house. the closest pokestops still are about a block away walking. i decided to walk the community garden, which passes no less than 4 pokestops, courtesy of a nearby park and an elementary school. even the garden itself (a public space) is a pokestop. this was actually my first time playing pokemon go while walking (rather than biking). i tried not to look conspicuous, but people who are playing can probably spot other players. i picked up a bunch of pokeballs and eggs, and collected a few more pokemons. i decided to explore a bit more and see if i could circle the block, visiting even more pokestops. that's when i noticed a pokestop radiating confetti, which i learned is what happens when a pokemon lure is activated at a stop. so i turned back, hoping to score some pokemons. i looked around to see who casted the lure but didn't see anyone. there was a metapod and spearow, but i already have them, so i didn't bother collecting.

back at home, i decided to test out a pokemon incense, which apparently attracts pokemons for 30 minutes (unlike a lure, an incense is private). i read that it spawns more pokemons if you're walking compared to if you're just stationary, so i paced around the house, trying to trick the game into thinking i was actually out walking. there didn't seem to be that many pokemons, but i did catch a paras crab and a drowzee. that game me just enough experience points to attain level 5, which i can finally battle at the gyms. i also had to choose my team and i went with blue mystic.