essentially my whole day was spent waiting for dinnertime so i could go over to my parent's place and have a belated chinese new year hot pot with my family. there wasn't anything good on television so i was forced to watch basketball. i ate some more leftover tacos for lunch (very suspect at this point, i waited to get sick) and then drank some old milk (adding a generous portion of autocrat coffee milk syrup to mask any foul aftertaste). i read up on the history of laos. i took a shower. i printed labels for some dvd's.

before dinner i heard my mother talking with my aunt and uncle about my trip. it's nice to have people worry about me, saves me the trouble of doing that myself. they gave me another birthday present, some water purification tablets for my travel. my 2nd aunt gave me a red money envelope even though i said i was too old. once during the meal the conduction plate suddenly turned off: it's probably a safety feature to prevent itself from overheating, after a few minutes we were able to get it working again. i ate so much i was guaranteed to have an upset stomach.

my father and i paid a visit to my godmother's place, where her nephew was visiting for a few days before returning to taipei. we were there to see him, where word on the street is he's the quintessential gadget guru. we wanted to ask this oracle about portable digital photo storage devices. he said they're everywhere in taipei, some as cheap as $80. i couldn't believe it, since i was ready to pay $500 for something similar. he showed me an ad in a chinese computer magazine, and drew out a map as to where to go in taipei to find these things, along with his e-mail. armed with this new info, we went back to belmont and did some research online. it's true that there are such devices that sell for $80, but you have to buy the hard drive separately and they don't have color LCD screens to view the photos. the reason i'm going through all this is because the epson p-2000 i ordered back in december still hasn't arrived yet, so i've decided to get the flashtrax instead, which isn't as sexy, but it does the job, and for the same price i can get 80gb of storage versus 40gb. so that comes out to about 1000 photos a day, which is a good number to have.

my father thinks i should also bring a spare camera. i've got my old trusty nikon coolpix 950 but that thing is all metal and weighs like a brick and i don't want to be carrying that around for 3 months (especially if i won't even be using it). so i'm thinking about maybe getting a smaller camera, but at this point i don't have the money to spend on another camera (the flashtrax will pretty much eat up all my camera money). if my 4500 breaks, i'll just to have to improvise, maybe get (gasp) a disposable camera or something. i'll make an offering to the god of digital photography before i leave, pray that nothing happens to my equipment. i'm more worried about theft than anything breaking (i mean, i dropped the 4500 a few times already, and it still keeps on ticking, so it's pretty indestructible).

once i came back home, i canceled my p-2000 order and bought the 80gb flashtrax from B&H photos, along with a spare battery charger.