ah, my first full month of unemployment! i started the month with my house in relatively good condition, and i finished the month with the house kind of stripped down, a lot of construction equipment and material everywhere, waiting for more work to be done. at least renovation work was finally started, i was finally able to track down a general contractor. in july i went to walden pond twice, which i think is a low number, because summer is synonymous with beach and water, i still yearn for more of that action. saw some independence day fireworks, had my first tapas experience, did a lot of home renovation work, did a little furniture shopping. a slow movie month, only saw mib 2 and pumpkin (not counting the time i snuck into the bourne identity, which i've seen already last month), despite the fact that there are a lot of movies out this summer worth seeing. being unemployed is not conducive to frequent moviegoing, particularly if you want to save money, or, say, have a sizeable mortgage to pay off. i found out i have a nevus, and my replacement nikon coolpix 950 arrived, only to discover it was also broken, but then i got another replacement which seems to be fine. i attended a re-employment options seminar, which didn't turn out too bad, and i finally did some swimming, albeit flipper-assisted.

on this last day of july i'm feeling antsy. i'm thinking, "will my house ever get done?" this paint stripping business takes a long time. at most i can do maybe a window a day (there are a total of 11 windows, 10 of them needing work), which doesn't make sense, because in my mind i can picture myself doing a couple of windows a day. it's not as simple as haphazardly clawing away at the paint though, quickly tearing it down in pieces. rather, it's meticulous work, making sure not to damage the wood underneath. and that heat gun! on a cold day it wouldn't be so bad, with the windows open and a nice cool breeze, but in the dead of summer, on a heat wave day, with the heat gun blowing air hot enough to melt paint, it's pretty laborious! but you know, when you put so much time into fixing up a house, when it's all done, it feels more like home than just moving into a place that's already fixed. so i keep on reminding myself, in order to stay motivated.

today i did a little furniture shopping. the lesson learned today is never underestimate the value of large retail store furnitures! i'm talking about places like target, k-mart, staples, office max. say what you will about them, how they have a reputation for being cheaply made products, but sometimes they have some good stuff, and you can't beat the price! especially when you're trying to furnish a condo with stuff while unemployed! this morning my father and i went to the office max at the brighton mills shopping center. i saw a corner desk advertised online for $40 and wanted to take a look at it. it was a nice little solid wood desk, lacking some shelves, but pretty in its simplicity. i wasn't sure if i wanted to get it quite yet so i didn't buy anything from there. however, that can't be said for the k-mart next store. in recent years there seems to be a resurgence in general stores. i can remember a time when you wouldn't want to be caught dead in an ann & hope or a bradlees. nowadays these places have a hipper image, especially target, with their blitzkrieg young and trendy marketing campaign. i bought a simple solid wood shaker style dining table set ($180, a table with four chairs) with two additional chairs($30/each) and two barstools ($20/each). i had to get sales associate kevin to drive the pneumatic powered tray cart to carry all that stuff to the register.

later, i found myself at the house, the usual. now that i've logged some house hours (short of living there), i'm starting to get a real sense of how the rooms light up throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. one thing i didn't realize is how dark the place is during the summer. the few times i saw the place before i bought it were during the spring, with the sun still low on the horizon, casting more natural light into the southern facing rooms. during the summer, with the sun high overhead not to mention all the leaves on the trees, my place gets kind of shady. which isn't a bad thing, because it definitely keeps the house cool during the day (well, at least before i fire up the heat gun and warm everything up). still, the sunlight down come in somewhat, and i now know the times when certain rooms will be lit up. for instance, the kitchen, from 1-2pm, it's as bright as can be. later, probably for 30 minutes after 3pm, the master bedroom becomes the brighest room in the house. what i also didn't expect was the northern facing living room to be so bright throughout the day. i think that might have something to do with the abundance of windows (one bay window, 2 side windows, and another window on the wall, not to mention light coming in from the front door window). once i bring the living color a few shades lighter than the current preexisting green, it's going to be even brighter.

when my shift was over i went to my parents' cafe, where i met mr.koh, an elderly gentleman, a regular visitor to the cafe. he got a kick out of the fact that we both had goatees. he had his for almost 2 decades, to commemorate the passing of his wife many years ago (my goatee? it's to commemorate the fact that i'm too lazy to shave). we talked goatees, he told me that he can only grow a goatee, no moustache or sidehairs. i guess i'm lucky then, i can have a full beard if i want (which is what happened this past winter, see my previous remark about being lazy). we then talked a little bit about his past, how he's also a graduate of the pretigious whampoa military academy, a pilot in the nationalist army, he fought against the japanese and then later against communist china. he briefly touched upon his past exploits, how one time japanese shot down one of the planes he was flying with, and during the chinese civil war, on a bombing mission into shanghai, communists bombarded his squadron with soviet imported surface to air cannons. i don't know very many chinese veterans, it's always interesting talking to them. later our conversation degenerated into the proper use of toilets and the importance of personal hygiene and good posture, which became my cue to leave.

my back is slightly sunburnt from yesterday, but not too bad. i didn't realize this, but i bruised my ass when i beached myself coming onshore crossing walden pond. speaking of which, last night while digging up some info about walden pond on the internet, i discovered that you're actually not allowed to swim across the pond. it makes sense, because it's dangerous, if something should happen, you'd sink 100+ ft into the water. oh well! too late now! my first real swimming experience should be fraught with perils, i would expect nothing less. i think there were also great white sharks and giant squids in those waters.