with less than a day before the official start of the spring season, some of my seeds have sprouted. i knew that already from yesterday - a single tomato seedling - but it wasn't enough to turn on the grow lights just yet. this morning more seedlings emerged so i finally unleashed all 320 watts of fluorescent magnificence. it's been a week since i planted and so far it's been tomatoes (best boy and cherry), the basils, and surprisingly the daisies (shasta). basils normally are the first to germinate - i seem to remember 5 days being the norm. they're slow this season - they're only now starting to poke up some hairy roots and i haven't seen any baby leaves yet. the daisies sprout so readily that i definitely want to plant more of them instead of the 6 i have now. at this rate, i can have my tomatoes in the ground by april (especially if this warm weather keeps up).

one worry is that it's kind of hot and humid inside the grow closet, and a bit stuffy. i'll have to rig up some sort of air circulation system once the seedlings begin to mature.

while taking my morning shower i noticed my roommate had re-adjusted the shower head last night when he took his 3rd shower in over 2 weeks. as annoying as it is, it won't be a big deal if he only showers once a week. what's more baffling is the adjusts that he makes. for a guy who's 5'10", he likes the shower head angled downwards for some reason (more taller roommates like it higher). he also likes the water in a concentrated stream, like a prison shower. i want to ask him about it but i want to pace myself because i've only just recently discovered he doesn't like to be clean.

my default trek 800 mountain bike (the grocery getter) was one that i inherited from a chinese astrophysicist living at my great uncle's place who returned to china. before that time i was riding my bianchi (with 24" wheels). he actually might've purchased it from my neighbor ed during his occasional yard sales. i've put in a lot of additional work into that bike: replaced the crankset1, replaced the rear cassette, all new brake and shifter cables, new chains, new bike seat and post, new tubes and tires, added fenders, added a bell, and added a rear rack only to be replaced by a wald twin rear baskets. there really isn't that much more to replace.

the one thing i never liked or rather wished that i had was a better handlebar. i like a more swept-back style (the north road i've been yammering about for weeks now) while the current handlebar is the standard straight mountain bike style. it's also rusted all to hell; i tried to clean it up one time with a steel brush mounted to a rotary drill but it didn't do any good. i like it in that it's kind of a theft deterrent, because one look at that rusty handlebar and you want nothing to do with that bike.

once i replace the handlebar, i also want to replace the shifters and the brake levers. the shifters still work, but i prefer thumb shifters. the brake levers are also working but they're lose and every once in a while the cable comes out and i can't brake momentarily; figured safter to replace them. the handlebar stem seems okay but the bolt for the pinch clamp is really corroded and i haven't yet tried to unlock it. if it doesn't work, i'll need to replace the stem as well (get one that has a detachable clamp and adjustable risers). i'm also going to replace the v-brakes; they're rusty, the noodles have fallen apart, and they don't strike the rim evenly (i had to use different sized washers to balance them out). finally, the pedals need to be replaced as well.

once i'm done with this latest series of overhaul, the only original thing on this bike will be the frame.2 the amount of money i've spent to fix this bike i could've probably bought a new bike instead. but i learned a lot about bicycle maintenance from working on this one.

it was another gorgeous warm day, with temperature officially in the 70's but it felt more like the 80's or higher because it was just so hot outside. i kept all the doors and windows shut because i wanted to maintain the cooler air inside the house. i had nothing better to do so i went to the cafe to drop off some extra cilantro and scallions i bought from haymarket. i then went to belmont where only the dog was home. i let hailey out to go to the bathroom and watered the garden (raised bed 1). so far none of my peas have sprouted yet; it's been 11 days since i planted them (they're supposed to emerge in 7-14 days).

i had time to inspect my ross road bike. i've been thinking about adding some fenders, but the problem is the frame doesn't have any eyelets. fortunately that can be easily remedied by using c-clamps. there's definitely enough clearance above the wheels.

speaking of wheels, i'm wondering if i should replace the tires, which i've noticed have a lot of worrisome cracks. the only thing is the wheels themselves aren't in very good condition anyway, with a lot of rust and pitting on the rims, so it's really a matter of replacing the entire wheel (rims, tires, maybe the tubes are still good).

back at home, i cleaned up the chains and gears on the ross bike with a rag. i really should do this on all my bikes. i used to just oil the chains but over time the chains and the gears start to accumulate a lot of black greasy grime that needs to be removed (or maybe not; maybe they serve a protective barrier from rust). a rag is definitely the tool to do it. in the past i would've just used paper towels, but they tear easily. i should really wear gloves though, because it's a dirty job. i like using the rag as a dental floss to get in between the sprockets of the cassette. there's stil some gunk in the chains but i hope they'll just fall out naturally the next time i ride.

i thought my roommate would come home late based on what he said last night about not having enough time to cook on monday, but he came home around his usual time around 7:00. he's developed a habit of asking me all sorts of cooking related questions, even things i'd consider common sense items. like tonight he asked me how he should reheat his leftover chicken. "microwave?" he asked. "how long? 5 minutes?" i told him 3 minutes should be enough. the fact that he knows almost zero about cooking makes me very nervous when he actually does cook in the kitchen. especially after his friend gave him a bunch of chinese cookbooks, which are all stir-fried based recipes.

as for me, i had some leftover mexican chicken soup for dinner. i'm already sick of it.

finally, after a day's worth of research, i ordered all the necessary parts for my trek overhaul (about $60 worth of parts ordered from 4 different places):

SRAM TRX MTB trigger shifter set (7x3)
portable electroluminescent wire 10ft (white)
XLC alloy 4 finger MTB v-brake lever set
classic solid black handlebar/lowrider grips
PROMAX replacement v-brake set
$20.22 (AMAZON)
$ 7.49 (AMAZON)
$ 9.82 (AAWYEAH)
$ 8.29 (EBAY)
$14.00 (DX)

the shifters took a long time to pick. i finally decided against the shimano altus shifter/brake combo because they just seemed too bulky. i settled for the SRAM TRX which is much smaller and very similar to the shimano alivio which i love. normally you're not supposed to mix SRAM and shimano parts but the TRX shifters are specially designed to work with shimano derailleurs. since these are just shifters, i had to buy separate brake levers to go with them.

handlebar grips took another long time to decide. those hunt-wilde pistol grips i got earlier in the week have a 3/4" diameter which don't fit on my new handlebar (i think they're actually for children handlebars). what i needed were some standard 7/8" grips. almost all the ones i saw on amazon were very long for some reason (5"). i finally found some on ebay that have that retro pistol grip look (i guess they're called lowrider grips in the parlance) and are only 4".

1 actually, the crankset on the trek 800 is still the original. i got it confused with my bianchi, which i did replace the crankset for.

2 not entirely true: the frame *and* the crankset are still original. and also the kickstand. and the wheels (not the tires or the tubes though).