temperatures today soared into the high 60's today. i cracked open a few windows to air out the house and then spent the early afternoon in the backyard working on the bicycle. bikes are great for anyone who likes to take things apart and see how things work. they remind me of computers in that they're one of the few useful things around the house that you can piece together from scratch. unlike computers though, bike parts are a lot cheaper and self-powered by the rider.

i removed one of my bike pedals today just to see if i could do it. i wanted to take off the other one but it was on way too tight. i used a simple adjustable wrench which works but i accidently scuffed up the crank arm. for best results, a dedicated pedal wrench would prevent scratching, although the adjustable wrench works too. i gave the detached pedal a nice cleaning in the sink, regreased the thread, and put it back onto the bike. my pedals don't seem to spin very much anymore, which probably means the bearings inside need to be adjusted. either that or get a brand new pair.

i took a bunch more photos of the bicycle today, for personal reference. i've been reading up a lot on bike repairs, but the problem is i never have the bike in front of me for identification purposes. hopefully with these new photos i'll have a better sense of what needs to be fixed. at the very least i feel like stripping down the bike so i can give it a thorough cleaning. there's still an awful lot of rust in the crevasses where i can't easily get my hands into to clean. i still want to replace the chain and the rusty broken chainrings; learn how to replace the gear and brake cables; remove the derailleurs to clean and then readjust them; and to paint my bike frame.

my roommate was at home for the first half of the day. i was hoping for some quiet time, but instead he came into the living room to take apart his laptop again, this time to fix his broken embedded webcam. he finally left for work around 1:00 while i was still out in the backyard. i got a chance to insert the painted shingle shims into the base of the light fixture. i saw a lost honey bee crawling on the ground and put it in the sunlight to help it warm up. how can there still be honeybees in december? maybe it's a confused queen, emerging from a short hibernation due to the sudden bout of spring-like weather.

my roommate's canon t1i finally arrived today, along with an 8gb SD memory card. i accidently opened the package thinking it was one of my orders until i saw what was inside. what did come for me was my slime digital tire gauge. it looks like a fancy child ear thermometer. i got it because it can read up to 150 psi. however, it's not a very gadget because apparently you can't replace the battery. once the battery is dead, i guess you're supposed to go buy a new gauge. i went down to the basement with my handheld tire pump to test out the gauge. it's hard to properly inflate and bicycle tire and check it at the same time, because every time i check the pressure some air escapes. i did discover that my tires were very much under-inflated. i did do a test ride after pumping them up to the proper pressure, but i'm curious to see the difference.

in the afternoon client S contacted me about some debugging work. the job looks straight forward enough, about a full day's worth of coding. it'd be nice if the project was longer but i'll take whatever work comes my way while waiting for client N to get back to me with feedback. i actually wouldn't mind if client N didn't pay me this year; that way i can defer the taxes until next year.

it suddenly occurred to me that it's already december and i've yet to put up my single strand of LED christmas lights. there's isn't much holiday display on my street but i'd like to do my part, even though i have no religious affiliations. i first switched out the power strip with one that had an actual surge suppressor function. that particular protector has a single plug that's on regardless if the strip is on or off. that's where the lights will be plugged in. unfortunately it was already dark by the time i got around to the lights; i'll put them up tomorrow.

my roommate came back home close to 7:00. apparently he never received my e-mail alerting him to the arrival of his camera. i thought it was strange he wasn't playing with his new toy as soon as he saw it, until i learned he was charging up the battery. after dinner (he and his beef stew noodle soup, me with my can of baked beans) he finally brought out the rebel t1i (500D). it's 3 generations removed from my canon rebel XT (350D), all of its strengths, none of its weaknesses, with many new features. the larger LCD screen is breathtaking, focus points are more responsive, and the viewfinder image is large enough to manually focus. i love the sensor that turns off the LCD when it detects your face is to the back of the camera. the lack of a dedicated miniature LCD readout for setting info is a little strange, but one that i can grow to not miss. we shot a brief HD movie and played it back, which was weird because i'd never actually seen a digital SLR camera behave like a camcorder before. if i had $700 lying around i'd get the t1i in a heartbeat. actually, it may be better to wait until 2010, when the next iteration of the t1i comes out, possibly with 1080p HD video resolution at 30fps (the t1i is 1080p at 24fps, slightly choppy). but if i was going on any extended vacation trips, i would buy the t1i before i left.

say what i will about my roommate, but we have very pleasant and deep conversations. tonight i gave him a quick tutorial on how to use his new camera. later i planned out an itinerary for him when he goes to new york city saturday morning. we ended up talking about traveling in china until we experienced yet another blackout around 2:00. it was bedtime for me anyway. while he went out back to smoke one last cigarettes, i light a few candles. the blackout wasn't very long, just 15 minutes, but i'm sure he'll let his coworkers back in china know just how backwards we are here in cambridge with our spotty electrical grid.