my morning was spent at the porter square post office, waiting in line (half a dozen customers deep) to mail off that package to frances. by sheer coincidence my neighbor jen was also in line. the cost of shipping was much less than i anticipated, mostly because i managed to fit all the clothes into a smaller box a few days ago.

after a quick bagel for lunch, i left for the community garden to clean up my plot for the season. i pulled up all the dead plants, restapled the chicken wire trellis, collected all the tomato cages, pruned the raspberry canes, and dug up my rosemary. even though i wore gloves, i still managed to get some scratches on my upper arms (most likely from the raspberry thorns). looking back at the cleared plot, the garden looked brand new, and i actually felt inspired for next season. the good thing is i have all winter to strategize. i may still have time to plant some garlic bulbs, although nothing special, probably whatever i can find at the supermarket. not sure if any garden places are still selling garlic bulbs this late in the season. i may also want to build some frames for next year, get some raised bed action. if nothing else, it should make my garden look less messy, and hopefully keep the garden association from complaining too much like they did this year.

my father's been reading a lot of ebooks. he's been doing it from his laptop, which is kind of cumbersome. i think it was my aunt who suggested he get himself a kindle, or even an ipad. the ipad was too much, both in terms of ability and price; for the same amount he could buy a brand new PC laptop. the kindle seemed like a better fit, especially since the latest kindle 3 is the cheapest model yet ($139 for the wifi only version, the 3G model is more expensive), and finally supports chinese text (without hacks), which is what my father reads. because of e-ink technology, a kindle can also theoretically go without recharging for a whole month. he'd been wavering on buying it until he saw an article about the new kindle in the chinese newspaper. i ordered it through my amazon account yesterday afternoon; with my assortment of gift cards i actually got the kindle for free. even though i selected the longer free shipping option, i was surprised to receive an e-mail last night letting me know the kindle had been shipped and would arrive on friday (today).

i went to the cafe in the afternoon when the kindle finally showed up. i took the magna great divide for the very first time. the bike looks like it'd be a great ride, but it actually felt slow and tight. the front gear cable i fixed yesterday worked initially but then just got stuck in the middle gear. it has front suspensions but i could still feel it whenever i went over a bump or a small pothole. changing the rear gears didn't seem to help. looks can be deceiving apparently. later i looked up the bike specs online. the great divide was selling at target for less than $100, an it shows. it's weird because the bike itself looks nearly brand new, but it rides differently compared to the trek and the bianchi. i'm probably going to retire this magna and throw a little bit more cash at the trek to make it my everyday bike.

the kindle 3 is bigger than a paperback but smaller than a hardcover, and about the thickness of a magazine. the new black color in this 3rd generation model makes the kindle look even sleeker (although it is actually a bit smaller than the last model). it arrived already registered to my account. amazon doesn't sell any chinese novels (at least not yet), so the only way to get chinese books into the kindle is by sending it as a .doc attachment to the special kindle e-mail address, which then converts the document into a kindle file and wirelessly transfers it back to the device. the most amazing thing about the kindle is the screen, which is like nothing i've seen before. e-ink reminds me of an etch-a-sketch, but with 16-levels of grey. it's a display that completely mimics paper, in that the brighter it is the clearer it looks, and darkness makes it completely unreadable since there's no backlighting like traditional LCD/LED screens.

a "hidden" feature that i only learned about recently while researching was the fact that the kindle can actually surf the web since it can access the internet through wifi/3G. the rendering isn't all bad, based on the webkit engine, just that everything is in black & white greyscale. actual surfing can be a bit slow as the screen "redraws" and navigation - because the kindle doesn't have a mouse - works by dragging a slow cursor across the screen using the five-keys. but in a crunch and given a high level of patience, web surfing is totally possible. internet access is probably more useful for reading articles in online newspapers and blogs.

for dinner i heated up some frozen chinese dumplings my mother gave me before i left the cafe. i boiled the water first in the electric kettle to give myself a head start.