once the roommate was gone, i got dressed and rode my bike up to the somerville home depot. it's not a fun ride, requiring traversing always-busy union square and then navigating across mcgrath highway through the hills of somerville-charlestown. it's a hassle on motorcycle and it's a hassle on bicycle. the weather was in the 40's so it wasn't cold and the sky was sunny with nary a cloud in the sky. once i got there, i made a bee-line to the towers of seed packets, already crammed together in a neglected fashion to make room for more lucrative merchandise. after much browsing i got the following:
only the beets and the dills are new, everything else i've grown before. actually, these are all new squash varieties, but i've had my fair share of squash experience (particularly in battling the nefarious squash vine borers).
next i wandered to the garden tools department to check out the prices on transplanters. there was a nice one with a lovely soft-grip-gel handle, but it was too expensive; i'm probably going to buy a cheaper fiskars set online (which also includes a trowel and a cultivator). how i've been transplanting in the past is if i can't borrow a neighbor's digging tool i'd just use my hands.
i finally found where they keep the plugs and stoppers, in the little drawers with specialty parts like fancy screws and widgets. i need these things in order to roll my own brita filter (by refilling the activated carbon inside). the plastic plugs look a little permanent and might not be easy to take out. the stoppers come in either rubber or cork. i don't like the rubber because it might impart a rubbery taste to the water; likewise, i don't want to drink little bits of cork. but at least i know where they are now. next step is to drill a hole of the proper size in a used filter and get my hands on some high quality activated carbon.
finally, i checked the dimensions and prices of the wooden planks. all their long boards of the proper size for building raised beds are premium fir trees.
some french toast and kielbasa sausage for lunch, washed down with a fruit smoothie. my father was on his way to market basket and i tagged along. i would've probably gone tomorrow, but this saves me the trip. the only thing i really needed was some paper towels, but i also got a bag of oranges and a pound cake.
in the afternoon i finally filled up those plastic containers with dirt and planted the seeds. i ended up with 48 containers: 12 tomatoes, 12 hot peppers, 6 cypress vines, 6 morning glories, 6 basils, and 6 korean cucumbers. only the tomatoes and peppers were from seeds i bought this year; everything else were seeds i harvested in the garden from last fall.
the packet of tomato seeds was especially stingy, with only 17 seeds that resembled pieces of earwax. i could only plant a single tomato seed per container, hoping they'd all germinate. the hot peppers packet was more generous, with way more seeds that i can ever use. i ended up planting 3 seeds per container. because they're mixed, i won't know which ones i'm getting, but hopefully i can sort them out once the seedlings come up.
the homegrown seeds i kept from last season i decided to plant just to see if they're still viable. actually, all of them could be grown outdoors, but i have plenty more left over so once i know they're able to germinate successfully, i'll sow some directly into the garden. basil seeds are tiny, like poppy seeds, and cypress vine seeds remind me of mouse turd. the korean cucumbers are the ones i'm most curious about. they were the most prolific vegetable of last summer, and it'd be great if we can get a repeat performance this year. i'm just not sure if they're weren't F1 hybrids and this F2 generation will produce plants unlike their parents. also, there could be come cross-contamination with some nearby regular cucumbers (although there were so few of them, i personally doubt it).
i watered each container from the bottom up by dunking them into a bucket of water and letting the soil soak gradually. that took a while, but once i was done, i finally planted. now all 48 pots are in my grow closet, awaiting germination.
i tried to install windows 7 on my macbook pro through boot camp but was unsuccessful. my internal dvd-rom drive hasn't been working for a long time, so i figured i could boot up the installer disc through an external firewire burner drive. wrong. apparently boot camp's implementation of the windows OS won't boot from an external source. without a working internal dvd drive, i'm basically screwed. so i did the next best thing: i went online searching for a replacement drive. a few places had them, but they were all used, and even then it cost $130 and up. so i looked on ebay and found some more promising and cheaper options. i found a good deal for $50, a used drive but genuine apple product and free shipping as an added bonus. the catch though was the seller was based in HK. looking around some more, i found a few more cheap deals, all located in HK/china. was this a scam? but the seller had a good rating. the product history also revealed that already 35 drives had already been sold. after some thinking, i decided to go for it, didn't have much to lose since my current drive is already broken. it won't arrive until 2 weeks but hopefully i'll be able to install windows 7 at that point.
victor came home around 7:00. i heard him frying something in the kitchen, which made me wince. he put the fan on the window, but took it down immediately after he was done, while the smoke still lingered in the air and drifted into the living room where it stayed. a cursory peek in the kitchen didn't show any oil splatter, but maybe because i was too afraid to take a closer look.
victor showed me some of his research today for the very first time. something about "mah-SEEF" star formation until i figured out he was saying "massive." he had some radio telescope data that showed colored blobs where they once weren't before. he received some new findings that seem to validate his research and might allow him to get more valuable observation time.
while i was talking to victor i noticed he had cut his hair. the young man is a master with scissors. i noticed he didn't have a shaver or a razor but brought along a large pair of scissors. he uses that thing to trim his beard (when he had one that is) and now to cut his hair. it's not a very flattering style though, he basically just clipped off his bangs so it now looks like he's wearing a hair helmet.