i had an itchy pain in my left nostril today that i thought was the onset of another allergy so i used some nasal spray before going on. later when i was feeling around my nostril, i noticed a painful polyp. immediately i thought: sinus cancer! they're going to have to amputate my nose, i'll be cambridge's own tycho brahe. i kept touching it all day, downgrading it to some sort of sinus infection. by evening the bump had disappeared. medical crisis adverted!
i dropped by the cafe (via motorcycle) on my way to belmont. by father rode the 10-speed into work today, but just left the bike outside unlocked. nice knowing you, bicycle! pau's friend roberto and katarina were there having lunch, i said hello before leaving.
nobody was home in belmont, not even the dog. i went there to grab my macro lens which i accidentally left behind yesterday.
since it was such a hot day, i watered the plants. the biggest drawback of the rain barrels is the slow watering speed. usually we just use the watering can, but to completely water a 4x8 raised bed takes many trips, and each time it takes several minutes to empty a full can. using the traditional hose is so much faster. another way to water with the rain barrel is to connect a hose to the spigot. this only works for the larger plants, because the water then comes out so fast that it's easy to drown the smaller seedlings. the hose also has to be low to the ground, otherwise the force of gravity prevents the rain barrel water from coming out.
why can't we get any of the basil plants to survive? i don't know what's causing them to wilt and die. too much water? too little water? poor soil conditions? bad seeds? at this point i'm close to giving up on growing any basil in the garden.
i returned to cambridge and did some more work on the newly acquisitioned bikes.
since the rear wheel of the raleigh 3-speed was basically beyond saving, i figured at least i could still remove the hub gear, which seemed to be fine. in the process, i basically disassembled the bike down to its frame: i took off the shifter, removed the fenders, detached the wheels, and pulled off the tires and inner tubes. seeing the rear rim in all its rusted out glory was something scary. the rust on the outside can be brushed off, but it's the inside rust that's impossible to fix. i took took another look at the hub gear: it's a sturmey archer S3C - 3-speed coaster brake hub.
ideally, i want to clean the hub gear and put it back onto a set of brand new rim. this will also give me a chance to lace my own wheel. i have a mechanical engineering degree, i should be able to do this! the front rim is rusted as well, but not as bad as the rear wheel; i still might be able to salvage the front rim.
i knew the trek 850 had problems with the chain, but after another inspection i discovered something else: one of the chainstay has a rupture. i'm guessing this happened when water got inside the frame and then froze and expanded. i'd love to ask a bike repair person if there's anything that can be done about it. at this point i'd just wrap it up with duct tape. the frame still seems sturdy enough, and the damage can only be seen from the bottom of the bike.
as for the chain itself, it was still stuck after blasting it at several points with WD-40. finally i decided to break the chain. i used the chain breaker on my bicycle multi-tool. i was surprised to see the pin so shiny and new when i pushed it out. even with the break, the chain still wouldn't come off. i had to break it again at another point before i finally managed to coax the rusty chain free.
having had my fill of bike work, i gathered up all my tools and went inside. tonight i was making barbecued chicken pizza, and suddenly realized i didn't have any cheese. so i bicycled to market basket to grab a few things. when i got back i started preparing the pizza dough with the bread machine. the dough recipe: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp yeast, 1/2 cup of warm water, 2 tbsp of olive oil. dough setting takes 1:30. with 30 minutes remaining, i noticed the dough was much too dry. i added another 1/4 cup of water and reset the machine. this time was much better, and i stopped it after an hour.
while i grilled my 3 chicken breasts on the foreman, i rolled the dough into a flat circle. later i chopped the onions and garlic; the garlic i tossed with the cubed chicken breasts and barbecue sauce. the cheese i used was some 4-cheese pizza cheese. i also added some hot pepper rings. into the 475°F oven went the pizza for 15 minutes. the result was pretty good, although i'm not happy with the crust. maybe it has something to do with the wheat flour, an entirely uninspiring substrate. the pizza was very gooey, more like a meat pie. i ate it with a fork, unable to lift a slice without having it fall apart. later, on my second slice, after it'd some time to cool, was i able to hold it in my hand like a real pizza.
i hadn't seen my roommate since this morning. the defiling of the bathroom continues. he left his pants and underwear on the bathroom floor when he went to work. who does that? i lifted up the garments as if they were toxic waste and dropped them in his room. also the medicine cabinet mirror is caked with flecks of dental floss detritus. i busted out the windex and spent some time polishing the mirror to a pristine shine. when bram finally returned home after 10:00, he told me he was going to his parents' place in new jersey for the weekend, leaving tomorrow.