after exploring some old code with the help of a flash decompiler (how does this magical application work? i wonder), i left for belmont in the mid-afternoon after calling my parents to find out they were halfway back from their weekend in new york city.
autumn in the garden:
we still haven't taken apart the garden yet, probably waiting until the first killing frost, which happens in early october for suburbs and early november for the city (belmont is sort of in between). a lot of things are dying, drying, or changing colors. the few flowering plants are still going strong though: the morning glories and the moonflowers are still busy producing new buds, as well as the zinnias, the cosmos, and the nasturtiums. the only flowering plants to have succumbed to the colder weather are the cypress vines.
i found an old korean cucumber lying on the ground having fallen of the vine. we're trying to save some seeds, but these plants are such vigorous producers of cucumbers that it's hard to imagine them anything other than hybrid types. but just in case they're heirlooms, some seeds will be saved. i brought the cucumber inside and cut around the perimeter lengthwise so i could then easily crack it open. inside there were just a few dozen seeds, which i scooped into a small bowl filled with some warm water. after a few days, the dead seeds and the pulp will float to the top, leaving the hopefully viable seeds at the bottom. we still have a few seeding cucumbers on the vine, so in case these don't work out, there are some more. of course we won't know if they're any good until mid-summer next year, after these plants start producing new cucumbers.
my parents finally got back in the early evening, taking a bus from harvard square so nobody had to go pick them up. they brought back a bunch of foods from the new york city chinatown, which we had for dinner. they told us about their museum adventures and eating there way through the flushing chinatown, but mostly complained how tired they were from all the walking.
i motorcycled back home to an empty house. i turned up the heat and got settled, parked in my usual chair, with a tall glass of hot tea and my macbook pro to warm my lap. pau came home before 8:00 - with katarina in tow! since thursday, she's been here every night. a short while later, roberto showed up as well. katarina brought a sandwich while pau cooked for roberto.
since it was a "school night" they made an early evening of it, with roberto leaving around 10:301 and katarina2 an hour later. then something unexpected happened: pau apologized for inviting his friends over, said he never bothered to ask me if it was okay. i'm not sure what brought on this unforeseen act of contrition. earlier in the evening he actually discovered my dummy website page, the one i use to communicate with people when i don't want them to find out about my blog. so i wonder: did he discover my blog anyway?
the fact that i can be a catty bitch when it comes to dishing about roommates is based on the assumption that they never discover my weblog. i try not to gossip too much, but the blog does give me a venue to gripe some grievances. of all the astrophysicists i've had over the past 4 years, i've only told my secret to one roommate, and another roommate discovered the blog by accident (after i accidently wrote him an e-mail using my normal account). for the most part, with china roommates, i'm safe, because they not familiar with the intricacies of social networking and personal online searches, and they just have a tendency to not ask too many questions. none of them are on facebook, or flickr, and they can't imagine anyone would keep a blog.
but with my latest roommate, i feel it's just a matter of time before i'm discovered. a simple google search of my name brings up the weblog on the first page.3 being that i'm dealing with an astrophysicist here, it's not too difficult for him to put 1+1 together and realize his every move while under this room has been potential weblog fodder.
at first when pau asked if having his friends over was a problem, i lied and said no. but a few minutes later i modified by response. "if your friends drop by every once in a while that's no problem, but if they're here everyday... it stresses me out a little bit." i told him how usually i live alone, so having one roommate is already "unusual," so when there's even more people, it can get "more unusual." i told him my ideal roommate is somebody who's not completely antisocial, but also somebody who's not so social that they're bringing people over all the time. "i'm the more social," he said with a laugh. he told me back at home it was very common for him to invite friends over without even thinking about it, but confessed the past few days even he was starting to get tired of his friends. "i like living here, and i don't want to do anything that would jeopardize it," he said. he asked if his morning showers were a problem. i was a bit confused, but said not at all. he was concerned that maybe his daily showers was putting a burden on my hot water bills. i told him if anything, he was taking less showers than the minimum, since i take at least 2 showers a day (morning and night).
it was basically a lot of airing of tiny grievances, but not even that. we were just figuring out the boundaries, clarifying some rules.4 i left our conversation feeling that pau may in fact be one of my better roommates. i'm still curious to know if he discovered my weblog, but sooner or later he's bound to find it.
1 even though roberto lives the farthest of these three astrophysicists, he refused to ride his bicycle to work. he's afraid of getting into an accident, and damaging his laptop which contains all his research data. he actually has good reason to be fearful: he personally knows 3 other researchers at his workplace that've been in bicycle accidents (collision with cars).
2 i had a nice long conversation with katarina. she was born a few years before the berlin wall collapsed, so she doesn't actually remember it happening, but her family actually lived on the east side, and all her relatives have harrowing cold war stories. even now, there's still some social-economic disparities and prejudices between east and west germans. she also talked about germany's role in the european union and how it has to shoulder a lot of the burden of weaker union countries like france (with its ongoing riots over raising the retirement age from 60 to 62) and greece (deep in debt).
3 as least it used to, before i got outranked! i just did a search, and now i'm on the second page.
4 i also asked him if he needed anything in his room, like a dresser. he said he was fine, and that the only time he's ever in there anyway is to sleep. i told him about my idea of installing a loft bed and adding a small sofa, just to make it seem roomier. he was for the idea, and said if i wanted to do it i could during the time of his stay.