cleber came back today. despite the cold weather, the man will still not wear pants. he told me because he has to climb the ladders all the time, he works better in shorts. he's definitely more hardcore than me. he did a lot of detail stuff today, including the red doors and the red foundation. i think all he has left to do is the porch, and he can't do that unless it's 60 degrees or above because he's oiling the wooden steps. i ran into steve's house today (his back door was unlocked) to get the visitor's parking permit for cleber, but he told me he discovered he didn't need it because the meter people won't ticket him because of his commercial plates.
the past few days i've been getting a lot of kernel panics on my macbook pro. not sure what's causing it, but maybe it's because i've been operating with just a few gigabytes of free storage space. it happens when i run my bittorrent client and then do something else, like surf the web or watch a movie. what will probably cure my problem is if i do a completely new system install. i have a copy of snow leopard but i haven't installed it yet because of incompatibility issues with the version of director that i use. one of my pet projects is to build a cheap hackintosh. i'm shooting for around $500. if i have a fast desktop machine that means i'll enjoy working from my spaceheater-heated bedroom once my house becomes a living fridge when winter arrives.
on the warmest day of the week (51 degrees), i went out to run some errands. i went to the porter square post office to mail off some state quarters to my friend an tao in shanghai. you might recall that i already did this a few months ago. turns out i wrote the wrong address (it's in chinese for crying out loud!) and the package got lost in a country of over a billion people. so today was my second attempt, after recollecting all missing quarters. for a change, the post office was empty (normally there's a line). when the clerk saw that i wrote "coins" on my customs form, he told me he couldn't mail it to china, because apparently coins are on the contraband list. i'm sure if he wanted to he could've done it (since i've done it before), but the guy was really anal about the rules. apparently i could only send the coins if i used priority mail, which was $30, more than what the coins were actually worth. i didn't sweat it too much, since there are other post offices, but it meant more of a hassle for me. so i went to the post office in union square. this time instead of writing "coins" i wrote "book" to draw away suspicion. i asked the clerk if i could get some different stamps, since an tao is also a stamp collector. "I could give you 9 $1 stamps," she said, totally defeating my original purpose. "don't you have any $5 stamps?" i asked. today must've been national "post office employees giving me a hard time" day.
next i went to the cambridge comcast office on sherman street to ask about senior citizen discounts for cable (for my great uncle). he's paying $7/month for standard cable, but once comcast completes their digital transition, he'll need to pay $60/month if he wants to keep his channels. there's essentially no cable competition in cambridge, so comcast can pretty much charge whatever they want. i know obama is working on fixing health care, but when he's done with that, he should work on repairing essential services like the high prices of cellphone, cable, and internet. anyway, the agent told me my great uncle could qualify for a 10% discount, but even that's stil $50/month.
i went to the cafe where i had some beef noodle soup for lunch before i continued with my errands, this time going to the watertown home depot. i've got a bunch of little improvement projects: stripping and repainting the bathroom door, fixing the basement insulation, and removing the rust from my bicycle. i bought $30 worth of supplies.
danger seems to follow me where ever i go, especially when i'm on the motorcycle. while waiting for the arsenal street traffic light to change, i noticed the taxicab behind me was awfully close. it was unusual but thought nothing more of it. suddenly i felt my motorcycle shuddering, like maybe the engine had stalled. i looked behind me and saw that the cab had actually ran into my motorcycle! when the light finally changed to green, i pulled over to inspect my bike. the cab driver, to his credit, also stopped as well, instead of just driving away (although i made sure to memorize his license plate number). he aplogized profusely, and was pointing to his head, like maybe he was blaming his brain. it was just a little bump and the motorcycle was completely undamaged. "you're all set, no damage," i told him, tapping the hood of the cab to let him know everything was okay.
back at the cafe, i went with my father to the comcast office to switch my great uncle to digital service, but because the cable bill is in my father's name, we needed to pay $10 for a name change, or cancel the account completely and do a reinstallation. so basically a lot of bureaucracy and unnecessary fees. we decided to think about it some more.
cleber was gone by the time i returned home, but he came back a little bit later, probably out getting some more paint. my father swung by my place on his way to market basket and i tagged along so i could pick up some grocery items. i licked my fingers at the produce aisle, trying to open up a plastic bag, and tasted something awful (maybe because i was touching all those cans and bottles of paint remover at home depot). cleber was painting our two front doors when i got back. gerry had also dropped by when i wasn't here, leaving the visitor's permit in my mail slot. cleber didn't leave until 7:00, when finally there wasn't enough light for him to work anymore.
for dinner, i ate a boxed lunch my mother had prepared me (leaving my macaroni and cheese leftover for tomorrow). later i watched glee, but i wasn't paying attention because i was busy assembling my wii (i'd taken it apart to install the mod chip and never put it back together until now). i downloaded a few episodes of modern family, having read some good reviews about the show. it's actually a pretty funny and original show, i highly recommend it.