my daily weblog writting routine has been drastically altered since my laptop went into the shop thursday afternoon. i'm used to writing in the living room with the television on, alternating between the chair and the sofa. my macbook pro is also a faster machine versus my desktop mac, which makes image sorting a breeze. i just can't believe i used to work off of a first edition white ibook (G3 500mhz), which is even slower than my desktop machine. past few days i've been spending more time in my bedroom, just to be near a computer. now with the new roommate, it's even easier to be a recluse, the both of us hiding in our respective bedrooms, leaving the living room a dark and empty place. he has it good now that i put in a tv in the guest bedroom; when he moves to his permanent apartment, the place won't be furnished. however, i think internet access is more important to him than cable television: one of the first things he asked me last night was if i had wifi, and whether or not it was unlimited. here in america, he can surf all the websites that are banned back home in china!

i spent 4 hours painting this morning, redoing the trims in my parents' kitchen from ivory to white. the edges of door frames were the least fun but i seemed to have a knack for the crown molding around the cabinets and could paint them without getting any smudges on the ceiling. i paint in complete silence, uttering the occasional swear when there's a mishap. later i stopped by the cafe for some lunch, where my parents told me that zhu lei's girlfriend was locked out of the house earlier and my father had to let her back in with his spare key (she didn't have my number so she couldn't call me and her boyfriend was sleeping off his jet lag so he didn't hear her frantically ringing the doorbell).

back at my place i was surprised to find it empty, which seemed weird, because normally an empty house wouldn't surprise me in the least. now that i have a roommate, i start missing the little things. things like being able to go to the bathroom with the door open, or not have to worry about sharing food. i complain but the bottom line is i make a little money by converting my house into a hotel. it's easy income and all i have to do is grin and bear it for about 2 months. i still haven't had a chance to really talk to zhu lei: maybe after his girlfriend leaves this weekend, he and i can chat. it's nice to know who your roommate is.

feeling a hankering for some ginger chew candy, i drove out to trader joe's down magazine street to grab some snacks. i then went down memorial drive to the petco next to the galleria mall. i picked up some nice driftwood ($10 for a big piece) along with 5 glowlight tetras ($1.95/each). they were having a fish sale and the neon tetras i saw 2 days ago had been completely sold out. coming back home, i stopped off at julie's place to pick up some more salsa peppers. just back from the vet, she told me her cat might have cancer. i also bumped into her roommate kim, whom i haven't seen in a while.

before i could add the glowlight tetras i did a water change on the 7 gallon minibow tank. i got careless and gulped down some dirty aquarium water when i was siphoning it out into the collection bucket. afterwards i boiled the drift wood to kill off any snail eggs that might be hiding inside. the smaller piece i put into the male guppy tank, but the larger piece i submerged into the minibow, which may be a bad idea because now it seems there isn't a lot of swimming room for the tetras and the barb - although there's definitely more hiding spaces. the newly-introduced glowlight tetras seemed genuinely freaked out in their new home, and all of them huddled together in one corner of the tank, shaking with fright and breathing heavily.

the next thing i want to get is some java moss. my idea of creating an underwater garden never did take off, and i seem to be growing more algae while my aquatic plants are slowly dying. i need to seriously restock my vegetation again, hopefully have enough growing to rob the nutrients from the algae. i'm not as obsessed about aquariums as i was earlier in the year, but one of my dreams is to get a long 20 gallon aquarium and combine my 2 separate guppy tanks. i'd then install a more powerful light source so the plants can grow better.

zhu lei and his girlfriend finally came home, but went back out again to get some groceries at star market. i gave them my shaw's card so they could get some discounts; zhu lei's girlfriend - who seems to wear the pants in the relationship - told me, "no thanks, we can get one on our own." i told them to take it anyway, just in case.

for dinner i ate the leftover pizza from last night that was intended for zhu lei. i finally managed to take a shower, which i haven't done since wednesday night, since i caulked the bathtub yesterday (had to wait for it to dry). later at night when i went to go use the bathroom, the floor was soaking wet. apparently they shower differently in china. i spent some time towel-drying the tiled floor and hanging the bathroom rug on the kitchen trash can to dry. hopefully my house guests will figure out what went wrong so i won't have to say anything to them.