i put in a different used inner tube, hoping this one might work better. i've tried so many at this point, i've sort of lost track which one is which. installed onto the frame, i inflated the wheel and set the bike upright, waiting to see if it'll deflate.
i made a quick lunch of unicorn cereal and a salty tea egg before riding the fuji to my parents' place before 1pm, where we were going to visit zhangyu and his wife, who just returned to the US 2 weeks ago. earlier my parents were at the social security office adjusting their retirement benefits. they didn't realize they needed an appointment and ended up waiting 3 hours (nearly noontime) before somebody saw them.
riding to burlington, i took photos of the many solar panels on the houses along the way. with so many solar companies, buy or lease choices, and many panel brands, each installation looks different. i even spotted a literal solar farm, a field of tilted panels next to a farm house.
not wanting to arrive empty-handed, we stopped by the burlington h-mart to buy a box of asian pears as a gift. my parents also finally found bubble ice tea taro powder, which coincidentally happened right when i started asking them if they thought we'd find any of it here.
with the assistance of google, we found a shortcut from h-mart to binbin's place, without needed to get back onto the highway. we arrived around 2:30pm.
zhangyu and his wife are here in town from northeast china to take care of their two grandchildren while binbin and jason go to work. they're staying the maximum amount of time allowed by their tourist visa, which is 6 months, in which time they will go back to china while jason's parents come and take their turn taking care of their grandchildren. my parents were just visiting zhangyu in shengyang last month, and now everyone is reunited here in the US.
only infant lucas was home, while anderson was off at preschool. zhangyu's wife was not only recovering from a bad cough, but just recently slipped and fell outside the house and was also hobbling around the house with a limp. they brought lucas into the kitchen (where we were having tea) when he woke up, but he started crying when he got too slow, scared of strangers, but would stop suddenly when further away, only to look back with curiosity. after he got used to us he wasn't crying anymore, gesticulating wildly and smiling.
we left shortly after 4pm, wanted to beat the traffic, but the direction we were going was against the flow of cars, so we didn't need to rush after all.
as it was still warm with plenty of daylight, everyone was outside working on their own project. my mother was raking the front lawn of dead leaves and grass after seeing our next door neighbor had done the same. my father was in the garage trying to see if the battery was still usable before taking it out for replacement. i was trying to unscrew the cones-spacers-nuts from the broken wheel axle after i let it soak in some WD-40 since yesterday. i was able to remove a few, but the nuts still seemed stuck. i used a vise to get a better grip. one of the nuts loosened before i could vise it, the other one loosened easily when i tapped it with a 15mm cone wrench while gripped in the vise. with all my parts ready and the replacement axle arriving yesterday, i'll be able to put back together the rear wheel hub tomorrow.
it's the 3rd consecutive day of all-time record production with 49.24kWh. the graph lines look nearly identical, but despite the fact that 6kW seems to be our production plateau, everyday the length of daylight increases by a few minutes, so in theory we should be making a bit more energy each and every day until the summer solstice, which isn't until 2 more months, so we're looking forward to more record-setting days.
my parents salted the fish fillet they bought from h-mart before frying them. i'm sort of picky when it comes to fish, but salted fried fish is one of my favorites. actually, the steamed drumsticks tasty fishier than the fish themselves.
back at home, when i went to go put my bike away, i checked the rear tire of my cargo bike: flat again! working in the dark illuminated intermittently by the motion detecting LED light bulb (i had to wave my hand in front of the light every 40 seconds to turn the light back on), i replaced the inner tube one more time, this time with the kenda tube, which minutes ago i'd checked in the bathtub and discovered another tiny hole which i patched (3rd patch). not sure if this will hold but i'm feeling optimistic.
i pulled off all the reflective mylar panels so i could give my seedlings a thorough watering and fill the gravel trays with water. tomatoes are doing well, the peppers and eggplants still seem tiny. i need to divide up my thai basils at some point. normally i'd just thin them out, but i kind of want more basil so i'm looking to salvage some seedlings and replant them in individual pots.
i've been eating kvikk lunsj, which frances told me is norwegian kit kat. i don't know why, but the chocolate bars are stamped with images of storks.
i got out of bed around 9:30am to wait for LSH to show up at 11am so we can go get dim sum in chinatown before watching the boston greek parade in copley square at 1pm. after a shower, i tidied up the house a bit, didn't want it to look too dirty. li showed up early at 10:45am. he asked if he could use some chain oil as the chain on his bike was slightly rusty from disuse. li told me he invited another friend to dim sum, who was meeting us in chinatown. we left by 11am. it was a crystal blue sky day, with temperature in the upper 50's lower 60's. i only wore a dress shirt which was a little chilly in the shade but downright hot when in the full sun. we arrived at hei la moon by 11:30am.
we got a table in the windowless basement, which can feel claustrophobic, the heat of so many bodies combined with the heat from the kitchen. unlike last time, we got an aisle table so cart access was easier. we started ordering, li texting his friend to figure out where he was. peter showed up soon afterwards, a chunky chinese guy. originally i assumed they knew each other from their astrophysics studying, but they're actually badminton friends, peter affiliated with harvard medical doing bioinformatics research at dana-farber. i found out he's originally from hunan, but actually more canadian as his family immigrated to vancouver when he was 8 years old. if he never told i would've never guessed, as he seemed whole china chinese, without any hint of american/canadian. he's fluent in chinese, as he was in the 3rd grade when they moved, so he can already read and write (unlike me, where i only managed to pick up bits and pieces over the years).
as we started finishing our dim sum, there was a horrible chemical smell filling up the basement, like a mix between gasoline and burnt plastic. customers were covering their mouths while the manager looked apologetic but did nothing to let us know what was going on. after we finished paying, we quickly left before we could be poisoned by the fumes. turns it the smell came from road crew laying down new asphalt on beach street, its fresh noxious odors steaming outside.
peter came here by T, so couldn't get to copley square as quickly as us on bikes. his only choice was to walk, but he thought it'd probably take 40 minutes, but google map told us just 20 minute. li decided to walk with peter, while i rode off on my own, with less than 15 minutes to spare before 1pm. i didn't have a clear route, but traffic was light, and i ended up riding on the sidewalks most of the time on wrong one-way streets, using the john hancock building as my beacon.
the greeks don't mess around, and the parade started promptly at 1pm at the far end of boylston street, while i waited at copley square. i texted li to let him know the parade was happening. though the weather was very pleasant, i've learned that bright sunny days make for terrible photos as people's faces can become easily obscured in harsh shadows.
my father delivered the set of larger socket wrenches this morning on his way to market basket. inside was the 1" socket, which fits perfectly with my freewheel remover. after he left, i went to the backyard to try my luck with the freewheel. my initial attempts were unsuccessful, the freewheel was just too rusted shut to remove. it needed some lubricating pretreatment but i couldn't find my can of WD-40. i went out again to give the freewheel another try, this time stepping on the socket wrench handle with my foot. it gave a satisfying crack as the freewheel started to loosen. thankfully i had the foresight of greasing the threads when i initially installed the freewheel, i think that was real reason why it came loose. from that point it was just a simple matter of unscrewing the freewheel. the front side - the side i soaked in evaporust - was rust-free, while the back side was still rusty. i brought it inside and cleaned it up with some degreasing foaming spray before resoaking the entire freewheel in the used evaporust, rusty side down.
the rear tire of my cargo bike had gone flat. the tube was bad apparently, which wasn't surprising given it was a used patched tube. i took it out and submerged it in the bathtub to check for leaks. sure enough, it was leaking where the patch was. the leak was in an awkward place, very close to the valve, so difficult to patch. when i tried to remove the patch, it ended up creating an even bigger hole as the tube itself instantly deflated with a puff of dust.
fortunately i had another tube, the one that was originally in the wheel, which also had a leak. i did the same thing with this tube, dunking it in the bathtub. the leak was pretty obvious, a spot where bubbles were coming out. it was strange though, the puncture was on the inner side (facing the hub), when typically it'd be on the outer side (facing the road). i patched it using a glueless patch sticker, which i've never used before. the weird thing about this tube is that it's embossed as a kenda 26 x 1.9/2.125", but it's printed as a sunlite 26 x 1.50-19.5". i installed it in the tire, inflated, then mounted back onto the bike.
i made a salmon bagel sandwich for lunch with some of the norwegian salmon frances gave me. fresh salmon itself wasn't enough, as i also put some salmon cream cheese with capers and onion slices.
the ball bearings arrived today. i realized while i was waiting for the replacement inner tube to arrive for my old wheel, i could first put together the axle, packing in some new bearings. i went to get the axle, trying to figure out how to unscrew the various nuts, spacers, and cones. that's when i realized something: the hollow axle rode itself had sheared off! that would explain why everything came loose (including ball bearings) when i pulled out the quick release rod: that was the only thing holding everything in place. fortunately axle rods are cheap and can be easily replaced, except my nuts-spacers-cones seem to be rusted solid on the rod and can't be removed for the time being.
it might've been my imagination but the rear wheel on the cargo bike looked a little flat. i decided to pump it full of air again.
i found another 26" rear wheel in my basement. it was mounted on the truing stand and there was a reason for that because it had a lot of wobble. i wouldn't be able to use this wheel (it didn't even have a freewheel), but i could reuse its axle. the axle on this wheel was a little different, it had metal dust cups that screwed onto the axle rod. but i was hoping the rod itself was compatible with my cargo bike. it was only after i took everything apart did i see the rod was very different.
i put the wobble wheel on the cargo bike while i brought in the replacement (5-speed) wheel inside so i could true it. i noticed here was a bit of wobble earlier when i tried to mount the wheel.
around 7pm i went out to michael's to get some rubber cement for the old-style vulcanizing patches. the kit came with a tube of rubber cement already, but in my experience, it dries up after that first use, so i wanted to save it for an actual emergency. when i went to the back to get the bike, i was disappointed to see that the rear wheel was flat again, despite putting in an old promising inner tube. maybe i punctured the tube while installing it, but my new theory is i think there's something inside the wheel rim itself that's puncturing the tube, i'll investigate tomorrow if i have the time. so instead of the cargo bike, i took my fuji road bike instead, bringing my lights as it was beginning to get dark. i had a 50% off coupon so a container of elmer's rubber cement was just $2. i came home and patched up the tiny hole i discovered in the 26x1.5" inner tube.
i heated up another slice of baked ziti for dinner. actually, i put it in the toaster oven when i went out, and by the time i got back half an hour later, it was ready to eat.
i took out the rusty freewheel from the evaporust solution. the results were amazing, it's almost like magic. the back of the freewheel looked pretty corroded when i saw it this morning, but now it looks practically new except for the black spots. from now on i'm going to look for rusty objects just so i can clean them up using evaporust, i can't recommend it enough.
in the late morning i went down to the basement to take my bike wheel out of the rust removal solution. what i saw was pretty startling: the rust was gone! the freewheel had also seemed to change colors, before it was a dull black speckled with reddish brown rust, now it was silver speckled with a few dark stains. the largest cog still had some rust on it and that's because it probably wasn't submerged in the evaporust. once i get the freewheel removed, i can properly soak it again to remove and final bits of rust. but evaporust really works!
i microwaved a slice of baked ziti for lunch. as it was not only rainy outside but cold as well, there was nothing to do but stay inside the house. i left the house in the early to attend a lecture at the harvard natural history museum. i bumped into bruce, who was on his way to buy a burrito for dinner.
the lecture was "a dive into the northeast canyons and seamounts marine national monument" by scott kraus. located 150 miles off of the coast of cape cod, it's a hot spot of marine life. kraus was a good speaker, and slides of animals i'd never seen before was a treat. i learned that fin whales are naturally asymmetrical in their colorations, dark on one side, light on the other, perhaps as a way to herd fish. i also learned that not much is known beaked whales because they dive so deep and stay underwater for so long, not even photos of them underwater, their activities instead extrapolated from echolocation data.
i had another slice of baked ziti for dinner, this time heating it for about half an hour at 350°F in the toaster oven.
after soaking in the evaporust solution overnight, it was time to check on the status of my bike chain and hex wrenches. i was sort of underwhelmed by the bike chain condition. it didn't look like new and the metal seemed darker than before. only after washing and drying the chain did it look a bit better. as for the wrenches, there wasn't a lot of rust to begin with, but what little rust they had were now completely gone. one thing i noticed is the treated wrenches are lighter in color than the untreated. i wonder if the evaporust stripped off some protective coating, but that coating wasn't working very well to begin with if the wrenches can still get rusty. but overall, i wasn't exactly impressed with evaporust.
after installing the chain back onto my cargo bike and oiling it up with some triflow oil, i decided to treat the rusty freewheel with some used evaporust. i tried removing the freewheel with a freewheel removal socket, but i only had a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers and i couldn't get enough force. while i unscrewed the axle nut and removed the axle rod, i heard things falling out of the axle. it took me a few seconds to realize they were the loose ball bearings that live inside the axle. a bunch of them scattered to the ground, i managed to find most of them, but i'm sure i'm still missing a few.
unable to remove the freewheel, i followed the evaporust instructions for treatment large objects so i soaked some paper towels and wrapped up the freewheel. that's when i realized i could just easily turn the wheel over and soak the protruding freewheel in a small container of rust remover. i ended up using the pre-soaked rust removal paper towels on various rusty areas on my cargo bike.
sometimes with bikes, the more you fix, the more things break. fortunately i've done ball bearing work in the past, so it wasn't new to me. unable to find the missing ball bearings meant i'd have to order some new ones. you can't just order one or two, they only sell them online in bulk. i ended up paying $5.95 for a package of 144 1/4" sunlite brand carbon steel ball bearings. i figured i'd replace all of them (18 total, 9 on each side), and would still have enough to upgrade a few other axles as well. my only fear is once i package everything up, i'll discover something else wrong (like maybe the axle itself needs replacing), and it's going to take even longer to fix. i've done a lot of work on my trek cargo bike, but it's definitely more about functionality than looks. it's at a point now where a simple 4-digit combination lock would suffice for security as i doubt anyone would ever want to steal that junky bike.
i continued fixing my sister's computer, this time backing up all her files from the external memory card drive. yesterday i found an app that allowed me to merge all her photos (iphotos and photos databases). i wanted to erase the memory card but just needed my sister to verify that i backed up all the files that were important to her. in the end i managed to clear up enough memory on her main hard drive to give her nearly 20GB of free space.
i biked to market basket for some groceries. i noticed the replacement rear wheel working much better now. before, the freewheel wouldn't spin on its own in the reverse direction, so whenever i pushed the bike, the pedals would also rotate along with the rear wheel (hitting me in the shins). i thought maybe this was just a characteristic of the wheel itself, but turns out that's not normal. anyway, after i've been riding this wheel for a while, something must've loosened up because it doesn't do that anymore, the freewheel spins freely now. unfortunately, the tire was a little flat, so i pumped it before i left. it means the replacement tube is not the best and needs to be replaced with a new tube at some point. maybe it went flat because i was carrying so much weight back on saturday.
despite all the puffy clouds, there was also periods of intense sun. conditions were good enough to produce 39.45kWh of energy, the best production within the past 9 days. tomorrow looks to be a raining day (already put the bike away in the basement) so i'm not expecting much solar activity, but after thursday we've got a stretch of sunny days so here's hoping we break another single day record.
since the day was still nice, and i'd be stuck home all day because of the rain, i rode down to the cafe to return my sister's computer. ikea finally delivered her couch and she was assembling it in the living room. i helped her move the couch before leaving.
i made baked ziti for dinner. i've never had baked ziti before, but i always hear it mentioned when it comes to italian food. ingredients-wise there wasn't that much: $4 for a pound of 85% lean ground beef, $1.99 for a bag of shredded mozzarella, $1.89 for a 15 oz. of ricotta cheese, a $2.50 jar of classico tomato sauce, and a box of barilla ziti pasta for $1. everything else (onion, egg, parmesan cheese) i already had at home. much of the recipe reminded me of making lasagna, instead of layering the flat lasagna noodles, i just blended the cheese and egg mixture with the pasta once it finished cooking. the first layer was meat sauce, followed by a layer of cheese pasta. another layer of meat sauce, another layer of cheese pasta, followed by a final layer of meat sauce, before sprinkling half the remaining mozzarella and half the parmesan as a topping.
the final baked ziti was okay, but bland. i used too little beef (should've gotten 2 lbs. of ground beef), so there wasn't very much meat sauce, mostly just cheese and pasta. typically with lasagna i can eat two slices once fresh from the oven, but after just a single bland slice i was done. i wanted to watch the expanse on syfy, but i couldn't get it to stream live through roku (no such option) or online from their website (said my flash plugin was out of date when it wasn't). at 10pm i did stream the latest live episode of the americans from the FX roku channel.
i tried evaporust on my bicycle chain. the chain itself didn't seem all that rusty after i took it off my cargo bike. maybe because i recently oiled it and rode the bike a few times, which is typical how i get rid of chain rust. i also wiped down the chain with a rag to get rid of any residual grease. i found a small enough plastic container to hold the chain and poured in some evaporust. i'm a real klutz when it comes to pouring so of course i spilled some on the floor. but being that evaporust is supposedly super safe, i wasn't that worried. i poured enough just to cover the chain.
later i added a few hex wrenches i had lying around that had a tiny bit of rust. the evaporust solution went from clear to yellow to rusty brown then almost black as the day wore on. looking at the chain and the wrenches, i didn't really notice any improvements, but in order for maximum rust removal, i'd have to let everything soak overnight (12 hours).
i biked down to the cafe in the afternoon to help my sister do her taxes at her place. it was pretty much done the minute i input her single MISC-1099 form last night, but i just her to take a look. it ended up taking almost an hour because she wanted to input some donations, which made no difference in the end regarding the amount she had to pay (federal) and her refund (state), including several $1 donations. since the local post offices were almost closed (the only one opened was the main office at south station), my sister e-filed: free for federal, but $25 for state. it didn't send the first time, but after i applied the turbotax updates, it send out successfully. i returned home by 4:30pm.
my replacement tire arrived today, a day earlier than expected: the kenda K-193 kwest commuter wire bead SRC/PRC black 26" x 1.5" ($17). and though not advertised, the tire also has a reflective strip which i didn't have on any of my previous kenda tires. if i could, all my tires would have reflective strips: it's just an additional layer of passive safety. if this new tire works well, i might order another one (with reflective strip) for the front wheel.
i brought home my sister's macbook pro to fix. i wasn't planning to work on it until later, or possibly even tomorrow, but i don't often get to play with other macbooks besides my own, so i was curious. also there's something about a misbehaving mac that's irresistible to me, i've yet to face a broken apple computer that i wasn't able to fix.
the macbook had 2 hard drives: the original 128GB SSD and a 128GB memory card semi-permanently embedded in the SD card slot. the computer also had two operating systems: 10.9 and 10.11. 10.11 is the one i wanted, but every time i booted into the system, the computer would act weird. first, it was incredibly slow, second, it'd always automatically open up the same apps, finally, whatever changes i make wouldn't take because the system would freeze up whenever i tried to restart/shutdown. all of these symptoms made me think it was a malware/virus issue. the only way i could do any work on this machine was to boot up in the 10.9 partition. it was only after i opened disk utility did i discover the problem: i thought 10.9 was on the memory card and 10.11 on the SSD, but it was the other way around. the reason why the 10.11 partition was so slow was precisely because it was running off of the memory card, something i didn't believe could be possible.
after making that discovery, the solution seemed obvious: upgrade 10.9 on the SSD to 10.12 (OS X sierra), backup the files on 10.11, erase the 10.11 drive, copy back all the files. the app store allowed me to download the installer for OS X 10.12 (i could also jump from 10.9 to 10.12 without having to install all the incremental versions) but i didn't have enough memory on the SSD drive. so i backed up all the music files (around 25GB), erase half of it to make space, then installed 10.12 from a thumb drive OS X installer i prepared last night, so i didn't have to waste time downloading it again.
today we produced 26.83kWh, a little bit more than half of peak production. it was the first day of significant production after 2 days of single digit energy generation.
i ate late, around 9pm, making a salad and roasting some asparagus.
julie texted me at 8:12am this morning to let me know she was skipping watching the marathon outside as the weather was just too nasty today. that was my thinking as well, and i'm glad she cancelled. the problem wasn't the torrential rain, or the cold temperature (30-40's), but rather the intense winds. rain and cold i can handle, but if it's very windy, that's going to make it a struggle holding an umbrella as well as a camera.
steve sent me an e-mail this morning. it's never good news when i receive anything from him. he told me that his 2nd floor bay window roof was leaking, had been leaking since this past winter, when during one particularly bad rain nor'easter, water was just pouring into his living room from the roof. he wanted to repair it before his tenants arrive mid-may. he already got an estimate, $3750. that seemed high for a little patch of roof, given that it cost us $8960 to replace the entire roof exactly 5 years ago (during the height of marathon bombing hysteria no less). a second option would be to patch it temporarily, with a more permanent fix at some future date. it took me an hour to craft the perfect response, but the gist was we should patch it immediately, then get additional estimates, as the proposed cost from ranch roofing (who did our main roof replacement) seemed a little high. he replied back, ALL CAPS for some reason, agreed to what i wrote, said they didn't have time to research other roofing companies (though i'd be welcomed to do so), said they'd contact ranch roofing to do the temporary patch.
i watched live marathon coverage on television, while listening to the pitter-patter of steady raindrops on my windowpanes. a part of me still wanted to see it in boston, rainy days make for dramatic snapshots, but conditions were just too terrible. in fact, my parents didn't open the cafe today, figuring they wouldn't get any customers given the bad weather. it could be worse, at least it's not snowing like in some other parts of the US experiencing the same weather system. good thing about running in the pouring rain: nobody can see you cry and nobody can see you pee.
the woman winner turned out to be american desiree linden, the first american woman in 33 years to win the boston marathon. conditions were so rough that all the top contenders dropped out mid-race, and american women took 7 of the top 10 spots, with only one ethiopian in 9th place. linden looked gaunt, and was seen shivering after the race in her skeletal frame once the adrenalin wore off. on the men side, the winner was japanese yuki kawauchi, nicknamed the "citizen runner" because running is just a hobby, as he works full-time in a regular office job and doesn't have any endorsements. kawauchi seemed like a fun guy with stories to tell, but he only spoke japanese, and the translator was slow to translate, so much was lost in translation.
i finally tried the unicorn cereal i bought a few days ago. it's okay, your typical generic sugar cereal taste, it's more about the novelty of eating unicorn cereal than anything else. i also had a tea egg and a few gold nugget oranges.
the storm didn't stop and picked up in intensity as the afternoon wore on, darkening the sky and driving the rain horizontally into the house. i imagined buckets of water pouring from my neighbor's ceiling.
i went out for another harvard asian studies lecture, "ideas and ideologies competing for china’s future" presented by mareike ohlberg and kristin shi-kupfer - two germans from the mercator institute for china studies (MERIC), one of the leading international think tanks on china. shi-kupfer took every opportunity to show off her chinese, while her partner was more subdued. two different people i didn't know waved to me only to sheepishly pull back once they realized i wasn't who they thought i was; i must have a doppelganger lurking at harvard. once again, the topic was more interesting than the actual talk. the gist of the talk was about an online poll they did with 1500 chinese (back when polls were still legal) regarding how they saw china's future. there were some interesting ideas, especially one professor who saw that china was perhaps trying to recreate the technocratic surveillance state of east germany.
it was still raining substantially before and after the lecture. i tried out my largest ace teah umbrella (46"), which didn't seem all that large once deployed in the field, but kept me drier than my typical umbrellas. with its 10 ribs i was more confident it wouldn't invert in strong winds, but i also didn't want to try my luck.
it seemed almost surreal when it was revealed today that michael cohen's secret 3rd client is none other than sean hannity. michael cohen the criminal lawyer (emphasis on criminal), self-proclaimed fixer, helped trump hush mistresses, helped RNC fundraiser elliott broidy cover up the pregnancy of his own mistress, and now we have sean hannity. even though he denies it, it's become the norm for trump supporters to blatantly lie in the face of truth, so we can only assume it's something equally scandalous.
my sister called me in the early evening, said the turbotax software i gave her wouldn't install on her system because her OS was too old (10.9, system requirement was 10.11+). "then you can't use the software," i said, which made her immediately hang up. i called her back, asking why she was only now doing her taxes with it due tomorrow, and she hung up again and turned off her phone. i tried calling her back more than a dozen times. finally she texted 30 minutes later apologizing. i called her back and tried to troubleshoot her computer issue. either the hard drive was damaged, the system corrupt, or just infested with malwares. for some reason she had 2 systems installed on her machine. the one that had OS X 10.11 was the one with the problem. for some reason the whole time she kept blaming me even though i was trying to help her, "ever since you upgraded my system, nothing worked," as if it's my fault that she's only now doing her taxes. she hung up on me again. i called her back and left a voicemail, warned her if she ever hung up on me again, she'd be sorry. i got her on the phone once more. long story short, even if she got her laptop working, she's has to work tomorrow, so won't even have time to do her taxes, so she sent me her turbotax files from last year and i said i'd do them for her, and then go over them tomorrow afternoon before sending it out. somehow i just knew that eventually in the end i'd be doing my sister's taxes. it makes me so angry, because this is something she should be doing herself, and if i help her instead of letting her learn her lesson, she's only going to repeat her mistakes again. and with taxes due tomorrow, i'm essentially forced into help her, or let her pay the fine, which i know my parents would eventually have to pay as my sister has no money. honestly, it doesn't take me that long to do her taxes, and if we're not doing any deductibles, i can have it done in just a few minutes using her old records. but it's the principle of it.
it was almost 9pm when i finally got off the phone with my sister. i didn't have dinner yet and made a chicken caesar salad with the last of my leftover grilled chicken breast.
last night i began reading the song of achilles by madeline miller. i couldn't put it down, finally forcing myself to go to sleep by 3am. the prose just seems poetic, using simple words to convey deeper meanings. she name drops a whole bunch of famous ancient greek characters and i found myself looking them up on wikipedia, which accidentally spoiled some plot points. how i came across the novel was through a book review in entertainment weekly about her latest work, circe. the reviewer gave the novel a good grade, but said it wasn't as good as her last book, the song of achilles, which got my intrigued enough to do a search.
i speed walked to harvard square in the cold freezing rain (temperature in the 30's) to catch the next bus to belmont. by the time i got to the station my leg muscles were aching but there was no bus in sight, it must've just left. so i sat and waited, next bus wouldn't arrive until almost 20 minutes. but the bus hadn't left yet, it was just late, so everything worked out.
my mother made some chicken noodle soup for lunch, roasted some shelled hazelnuts in the toaster oven.
i helped my mother upgrade her dramafever account ($50/year) so she could watch commercial-free (that was her biggest gripe). an additional unintended but welcomed benefit is the videos are all HD quality when you have a pro account. unfortunately not all the shows have chinese subtitles, but enough do that she can watch for a while before running out of chinese subtitled shows.
after dinner i took the bus back home to cambridge. it was still cold and still raining. just imagine: the marathon runners tomorrow morning will be running in weather similar to this. rainy nights in the city makes for pretty photos, and i took out my camera mounted with the 28mm f/1.8 lens to take a few snapshots.
james comey gave his first interview tonight on ABC (10pm) in advance of his book coming out next week. the actual interview was probably only a third of the show, the rest being exposition and biographical fillers. comey said trump wasn't physical unfit to be president, just morally unfit to do so. he also gave a surprising answer, said he didn't want trump to be impeached, but rather prefer him to be voted out, thereby answering the will of the people instead of the whims of a few politicians.