i left the house just once today in the morning, to pick up some more canning jars for my final batch of quince jelly. i went to the assembly square k-mart, a trip i don't look forward to due to all the road construction and having to pass through heavily-congested union square.

the rest of the day was spent coding. i was in serious programming mode, working from the desk in my bedroom. it was also good because i could close the door and turn on my space heater, quickly warming up the room. the assortment of toasty beverages helped too, including teas and hot chocolate. as far as home office conditions goes, it was actually kind of pleasant.

i stopped working close to 6:00. my mind has a tendency to shut down once it gets dark outside. i decided to work on one of my personal projects, installing new shifter cables on the work-in-progress bike parked in the kitchen.

this involved working with a dremel tool, my very first time. i had to use it to cut the housing cable. i only discovered this a few weeks ago, but bicycle cable housing are actually a composite of metal, plastic, and rubber materials - making them a little difficult to cut, or at least cut cleanly. of course they make special cutters for such purposes, but i didn't think it was worth investing in a special cutting tool if i wasn't going to use it all that much. i read online of people using a dremel tool instead, so i borrowed my father's this past weekend.

i first did a trial test, cutting off a small piece of cable housing.1 the smell of melted plastic and rubber mixed with flying sparks from the wires inside. confident with my dremel skills (or at the very least having proof that it was possible to cut through the cable) i began slicing the actual pieces of housing, using the old housing to figure out the proper lengths.

looping the actual shifter wires through the shifter barrel adjusters was a little difficult. the front shifter seemed to be easier since the wire didn't loop inside as much, but i just couldn't snap together the adjuster. i finally managed to close it after a length struggle. the rear adjuster was harder because the wire had to loop around inside some more. i managed to snap together that adjuster as well.

the gear cables i got were part of a kit ($14.99) made by clark's, an english company. they're supposedly pre-lubed and maintenance free, and the guys at the bike store said it'd be the last shifter cables i'd ever buy. it included a lot more parts than i actually used, including 10 plastic ferrules that didn't seem to fit on anything and a piece of thin polyethylene tubing. it didn't come with instructions and i couldn't find any additional info online. i did use the rubber o-rings though, putting them onto the exposed cables (supposedly to protect the bike finish, even though it's a junk bike).

i thought about ordering a set of new brake pads, but now i think i'm just going to reuse the old ones, despite their rusted appearance. i really don't want to spend anymore money on this bike, given that there's another one in the basement (in much better condition, more rideable, with front suspensions).

pau came home briefly with katarina, before leaving again to see the celtics game in boston. i watched the game on television, against the milwaukee bucks. it was actually a pretty good game, closely matched (celtics played yesterday, so they were probably tired), and even went into overtime. celtics ended up winning and paul pierce reached the 20,000 points milestone (all played in a celtics uniform).

1 (indexed) shifter housing is actually made from bundles of parallel wires, while brake housing is made from a spiral coil of metal.