a brand new week, and my upstairs neighbors are staging another rendition of early morning stomp. this may sound cruel, but i wish nothing more than to have one of them (or both) be stricken with some debilitating disease preventing them from ever walking again. i swear, there are some mornings where it sounds like they're purposely moving furniture around, denying me my beauty sleep and forcing me to plot their eventual murder. should that day happen, this post will mysteriously disappear because i don't want to leave any evidence behind.

the one good thing is if i ever have a normal office job that requires me to wake up early in the mornings, they could act as by backup alarm clock should my own alarm fail to go off.

when my roommate finally left this morning for work, i used the bathroom, took a shower, then cooked breakfast in my underwear (by cook i mean i toasted a bagel with some cream cheese). i tossed out my old broken 14" samsung television (who knows, maybe somebody will take it for parts) and picked up a plastic wedco gas container that a neighbor had tossed out. it looked good at the time, but its kind of useless without a functional cap (i could salvage the detachable accordion spout though).

i left for julie's place in the late morning to continue fixing her machine. figuring maybe a defective drive was causing her other startup disk from booting up, i decided to selectively pull out cables. it took a while to isolate the offending drive, made more difficult by a seemingly impossible-to-remove hard drive chassis. when that one drive was finally disconnected, the other backup drive booted up just fine. other than a few essential applications, most of her data was on this drive as well (from a prior backup earlier in the summer). before i headed out, i left disk warrior do a catalog rebuild of her bad drive. best case scenario it fixes it, worst case the drive is about to fail, but at least so can still salvage any un-updated work for the time being.

about to leave on my motorcycle, i had a heated argument with my mother over the phone. the whole family including bing bing were down at the verizon store in the burlington mall about to enter into another 2-year contract (after finally being free of a previous contract). i told them to discuss it with me beforehand, but they seemed oblivious to the fact that it seemed like a pretty bad deal. it was more expensive for one thing, and it continued to support my sister's blackberry habit with an undeserved phone upgrade. i went to belmont, where i continued to have this argument with my mother. i told my mother that my sister shouldn't be allowed to have a blackberry when she's functionally unemployed and that my parents should stop paying for her $40/month habit on top of their already exorbitantly priced cell phone contract. i nearly had a stroke trying to convey my strong objections over the phone, and i seethed over the idea that my sister had once again talked my enabling parents into spending more money on her own behalf. the dog was coming over to make sure i was okay because i was about to pass out. finally i managed to convince my mother to hold off, crisis avoided for now.

when my mother came back at home, i had another talk with her. i said i didn't have a problem with them extending their contract with verizon, but at the very least my sister has to pay for her own portion of the bill, since she's the only person on the family account that uses the web and does any sort of texting (much to my chagrin; i think texting at the family dinner table is beyond rude).

with my sister at some doctor's appointment, my parents and i ordered some pizza. my mother seems to be on a domino's kick, even though i think their food is so-so at best. we continued experimenting with the toppings, trying to find the best possible 2-choice combination. my mother selected pepperoni and jalapeno peppers with white sauce, while i went with a bacon and garlic with marinara sauce. i went with my father to pick up our order, where i briefly confronted him about his not-so-secret return to smoking.

back at home, i finally took some electricity measurements with my kill-a-watt meter, given my recent craig's list acquisitions:

appliance(s) watts
ikea antifoni desk lamp 2 (off), 36 (on)
ikea antifoni floor/reading lamp 4 (off), 42 (on)
aroma AWK-115S water kettle 1250 (though listed at 1500)
honeywell twin window fan HW-628 52 (super), 47 (high), 42 (low) (2x when running both fans)
comcast digital adaptor box 4
20" samsung television TXG2045 48 (snow image)
20" emerson television/vcr EWC1902 50
holmes HAOF-90UC 10" 3-speed blizzard table fan 38 (III), 32 (II), 27 (I) (oscillating mode makes no difference)
motorola cellphone recharger 4
macbook pro 14 (charging in sleep mode), 36 (on)

i *hate* any sort of appliance that still sucks power even when it's turned off. certain electronics i understand, like a cable converter box that needs to download the latest television schedules. but a lamp? why does a lamp need to have standby power? that's the dark secret of the antifonis. i may have to put them in the basement, i can't bear to use them.

another surprise: although the 20" televisions are rated 70-80 watts, they actually only use about 50 watts. and the samsung and the emerson are about the same, so i may want to switch back to the samsung if i haven't already gotten used to the emerson tv/vcr combo.

finally, i figured out the electric kettle uses 1250 watts of power to boil water. a check of the label at the underside of the base revealed it's actually rated at 1500 watts. i think that's the maximum wattage for a small US appliance, limited by our 120 voltage. in europe and asia however, with their 220 voltage, they get double the boiling power.

not sure what was going on with the garbage, but it stank so much i could smell it even with the lid on. it smelled like fermentation, this acrid ammonia stench that nearly made my eyes water. my roommate didn't seem to notice, hanging out in her room with the kitchen garbage directly across her open doorway. i wonder if she tossed some raw meat into the trash. whatever the case may be, i ended up tossing the garbage a day early.