i'd decided to go via bicycle days ago. i'd picked a circuitous route that i thought would be a short cut involving many back roads and one way streets. i ended up not going that way because i didn't have time to memorize the complex directions. i had on a windbreaker but even that was more than i needed on this warm day (60's). by the time i arrived at the client's office, i quickly stripped off my jacket because i was so hot. it'd started to drizzle again and i quickly rang the buzzer to be let inside.
the meeting was to go over our preexisting project and for me to check out their spinning object rig. i had a lengthy conversation with mark over a free lunch. we meet a few times but i never really knew what he did, other than the fact that he seemed to be the hardware guy. turns out he's a mechanical engineering degree as well. but the thing that was most interesting is apparently he's an avid biker and commutes to work on a single speed bike. i asked him if he had any advice on bike tools and told me what i already knew, that multi-tools aren't as strong as individual tool pieces.
i finally left client P after more than 2 hours later. the rain had stopped and the sky was blue. the roads were still wet though, and i had to carefully swerve (making sure there weren't any cars behind me) to avoid puddles by the side of the road. cutting through the outskirts of harvard square i stopped to admire the rows of parked bicycles, especially the ones with milk crates.
my roommate was not home when i got back. i went out a short time later to park sales bike shop to pick up a few more items: a bicycle tube (24 x 1 3/8" a.j. boston brand, around $7), a new chain (1/2" x 3/32" model Z51 7 sprocket 18-21 speed KMC chain $12.99), a patch kit (pyramid brand, 6 vulcanized patch with cement and sandpaper, around $3), and a tube of grease (park tool brand, polytube 1000 $7.99). i also asked for a replacement tire but they said they'd have to special order it because it's not a common size. apparently 24" x 1 3/8" are usually found on wheelchairs - not on bicycles. i also asked about chain tools, knowing that i'd probably order it online, but wanted to see if they had any to recommend (i didn't recognize the brand they were showing me).
with the bicycle safely stowed away in the basement, i took the motorcycle to the cafe. i stayed there until it got dark and came back home around 5:30. i knew my roommate was back from the light in the guest bedroom.
he ventured into the living room in the evening while i was watching basketball and surfing the web. i felt a little antisocial but decided to be friendly and closed the computer. apparently he did go to the office today. i found he watches the NBA in china and even recognized dwight howard on the magic team. from there we had a discussion about american sports, weighing the popularity of basketball, football, and baseball, and how we don't watch soccer like in the rest of the world. my roommate was heating up the soup he made last night for dinner while i ate my toaster oven pizzas. we continued talking over dinner, this time about getting into college in china versus the united states (apparently in china it's mostly just based on a single national test score). my roommate also finally paid his rent, asking me for a receipt in return so his company back home can reimburse him for the expense. i used the opportunity to ask him to spell his out his chinese name.
this new roommate - mister jiang - is still kind of a mystery to me. while his smoking and the fact that he hardly ever goes to his office annoys me, he keeps to himself most of the time. surprisingly, he's passed one test that all past astrophysicists have failed: the test of keeping water off of the marble countertop behind the faucets. more often than not, my temporary houseguests will fail to properly secure the shower curtains so what happens is a pool of water collects on the countertop and eventually rolls onto the tiled floor nearby. apparently jiang doesn't have that problem. the areas around the toilet have also been dribble free. jiang also does something most other roommates don't do: he leaves his things in the bathroom. past astrophysicists, they keep everything in their room, including things like bath towels, soap, and shampoo. this roommate not only has his toiletries in the bathroom (which i have no problems with; in fact, i find it kind of normal), but he also took one of my drinking glasses from the kitchen and used it as a stand for his toothbrush and toothpaste. feeling a little bit more comfortable with him, i told him i could take out tomorrow to show him around boston if he wanted. he said he'd rather explore the city on his own, having that independence of just wandering around.
i finally did end up buying a dedicated chain tool online (park CT-5). it wasn't through amazon so i had to pay some shipping, but i also managed to find the replacement tire i needed, and some spoke beads. once i get my hands on the tool i can finally replace my chain. and once my tire levers arrive i can replace the worn-out front tire.