in their quest to be the world's most annoying upstairs neighbors, paul and steve were stomping in their kitchen this morning, right above my bedroom. i wasn't as angry as i ought to be, partly because i actually went to bed sort of early last night (if you can call 2:00 early) so managed to get about 7 hours of sleep before the noises began.

i found my roommate already up, eating his cocoa krispy cereal in the living room while watching spongebob squarepants. i turned up the heat for him, didn't want him to suffer needlessly. the rest of the day he was in and out, first to harvard square to stock up on harvard souvenirs, then to the supermarket to get a few grocery items to last him for his remaining stay here.

i actually managed to work a few hours this morning. originally the due date for the finalized code was next thursday, but then it was bumped up to tuesday, and now it's monday, since people are leaving for the year end holidays. so basically i have to work this entire weekend. there isn't too much stuff and i still have a pretty upbeat outlook on the code (i'm not at that point yet where i can stand to look at another line of actionscript).

it wasn't that cold today, with temperature hovering in the 30's. i did some bike repair, repositioning one of the brake pads on the rear wheel that i suspected was rubbing up against the rim, and put on the washers for the tail light bracket that i forgot to install the first time around.

i left for belmont in the mid-afternoon, right when pau was starting to cook some pasta for lunch. he said later tonight he was meeting some spanish astrophysicists for drinks and invited me to come along; i declined his offer. i bumped into jeff on prentiss street and we had a long chat before i continued on my way. on huron avenue i picked up an analog taylor bathroom scale something had left on the curb.

the first time i rode the trek 800 i thought it was fast; but now after a few more rides, it's beginning to feel slow. not that there's anything wrong with the bike; i've just grown used to it in the less than 2 weeks i've been riding it. there's still a little bit of the motorcycle biker in me, yearning for some real speed and not have to eat dust from every single car on the road. i just have to remember that bicycling - at least for me - isn't about the speed. i have speed: it's currently sitting in storage in my parents' garage until the spring. still, i'd love to try a faster road bike one of these days. looks like i'll be trolling the craig's list pages for a cheap roadie.

i let hailey out into the backyard when i got to belmont. passing through the sun room, i could smell new wood before i even saw it: the broken windows had finally been replaced. the contractors originally said they'd be here before thanksgiving, but finally got around to fixing it a week before christmas. they did a pretty good job, and the new windows look good. the sashes of the windows are actually metal, but everything else is wood. that's the only part i don't like (the originals were all wood). but these new windows are better designed, less obtrusive, and easier to open. the wooden frames need to be stained and sealed at some point. i'm hoping it can wait until after winter. not too many days for paint/stain/sealant to dry.

walking around the backyard, i found a thin disc of ice frozen on top of a plastic bucket lid. it was full of ice bubbles and a maple leaf was frozen inside as well. it looked so awesome i ended up taking a bunch of photos. i also discovered that some animals (most likely squirrels) had tried to eat the unwanted gourds i left out in the garden. i'm surprised they were even able to bit through them because they were rock hard; but when i picked one up, it was actually soft now, maybe the cold weather had seasoned it. whatever animals that tried to eat them didn't eat much though. they probably found it as unpalatable as i did (super sour).

i biked home after dinner. i forgot my helmet (left it in cambridge), so i didn't have my helmet lights. but i still had my tail light, and my head light, which is just a superbright flashing flashlight. it's actually so bright and obnoxious i'm kind of embarrassed to use it. i have no doubt that cars see me though, at least when they're approaching me from the front. i just don't want to blind them!

pau wasn't at home of course. i was surprised to find a letter addressed to me. only after i opened it did i realize who it was from: one of my ebay sellers with a packet of 10 cable ends. they looked nothing like the photo so i went online to see the original listing just to be sure. they were different from the photo, but down below was a text description of what they actually look like. i wanted to give the seller a bad rating for false advertisement, but the seller seemed to be fixated with getting a 5-star rating, asking me in his e-mail message to talk to him first before giving him anything less than 5 stars, and included a note along with the cable ends reiterating his desire to get nothing less than 5 stars. i ended up giving him his 5 star rating, but wrote on his feedback, "maybe a photo next time to show actual product, but cheap & good nevertheless." moments later he wrote me back, seemingly angry with my feedback even though i gave him a 5 star. "it would have been more appropriate for you to have emailed me to tell me that," he wrote. and then went on a tirade about how he doesn't have a camera that can take photos of something that small, and in the thousands of sales he's made, nobody's ever complained about his misleading photos. i wanted to write back but decided against it. this was obviously an insane person, and the less communication i have with him, the better. next time i'll make sure to read the whole listing and not base my purchase on the photos, which may or may not be of the actual merchandise.

i programmed for a few more hours into the evening. i'm leaving the hardest part for tomorrow, which might not be a good thing, but i've essentially fixed 70% of all the bugs by tonight. if i can get everything done tomorrow (i may not have a choice anyway), my monday will be pretty free.

finally, here's a photo of my emerging sand collection: