more accurately, cleaning up the stove, which used up most of my cleaning time. i removed the burners and put them in a large ziploc bag with a cup of ammonia; i read that the fumes work miracles in removing those hard-to-remove grease stains. i left it to soak in the sink for most of the day.
i made an omelette (with goat cheese and salsa) for lunch today using my new ceramic-coated frying pan. it definitely has a high degree of non-stickiness: my omelette was sliding around the pan and dangerously close to gliding out onto the countertop. i was worried about staining the white surface but after i cleaned it up there wasn't a single spot.
for my 2nd hollow book i wanted to get creative and add a magnetic latch to keep the cover closed. this involved cutting out a pair of matching recessed holes for the thin rare earth magnets. i then glued the magnets inside the holes with white glue; not sure if they'll hold, since the strength of the magnet is stronger than that of simple glue.
i tried truing one of the wheels from that free jetter bike but i didn't have the right size spoke wrench. i have so many bikes now that fixing the jetter isn't high on my list of priorities. i'll reassemble the bike tomorrow morning and put it down in the basement (it's been sitting in my kitchen for months now).
i replaced the front brake pads on my trek 800 yesterday; today i'd replace the rear brake pads. unfortunately a lot of the bolts were rusted shut. first was the bolt clamping the brake cable. i dripped some triflow but it wouldn't budge. i could've just cut the cable, but the cable was still good and i didn't want to waste it. eventually i did managed to loosen the bolt. next were the brake pads. they were rusted shut as well. no amount of triflow or turning with a hex wrench would release them.
then i heard the stirrup snap off. oh oh. that meant i'd need to replace the brake arms themselves, which i would've had to do eventually since i couldn't remove the brake pads. the brake arms came off easily, except it took a while removing the attachment bolts because the rear baskets were in the way so i could only turn the hex wrench a quarter at a time. unlike the front brake pads, the old rear brake pads were still in surprisingly good condition. i gave a few more attempts but they were stuck on the old arms.
i'd purchased some replacement brake arms ($14) back in march. since my brakes were still working, i didn't have a need to replace them until today. the old brakes definitely had some issues. for one thing they were uneven, so i compensated by using mismatched washers on the brake pads. i also used different tension settings on the brake arm springs.
after installing the new rear brakes, i gave the bike a quick wash with some degreasing spray and a sponge. i also retightened the rear basket attachments. i really thought my idea of using spacers was the solution, but today i noticed the screws were coming loose again. i moved the lockring washers to the outside, maybe that will do something.
i called my mother in the afternoon asking if i could borrow the car so i could move my current's roommate stuff to his new place. she said my father would help me move late tomorrow morning after his doctor's appointment.
since i wasn't moving today, i took the opportunity to run the self-cleaning cycle on my oven (i didn't want to run it if i wasn't home). i did it because the oven needed cleaning, but also because it'd heat up the house which was feeling cold after several days of clammy weather.
despite my rule of never leaving the oven unattended, i went out briefly to buy some twizzlers from rite aid and detergent from market basket. it also gave me a chance to test ride the trek 800 with new brakes. the rear brake is especially responsive now that the new brake arms are hitting the rim evenly. i bought some red vines instead of twizzlers, since they're advertised as the "original red twists." i don't think i've ever had red vines before and the only time i've heard of them is from watching big bang theory. unfortunately they taste pretty awful, with a dry bubble gum flavor.
i replaced the rear shifter cable. i kept the cable housing even though they were a bit tattered just because they seemed to be original schwinn parts. while playing around with the rear derailleur earlier i must've done something to it because it started working again. still, i wasn't completely sure, but once the replacement cable was put in place, i managed to shift into the various speeds effortlessly. now the only thing that needs to be fixed is the front brake; one of the brake arms is slightly bent, causing the brake pad to be pushed onto the rim at a weird angle. at some point in this bike's life it must've collided into something. i think i can bent it back with a wrench but i need to remove the front basket in order to gain access.
i stopped the oven cleaning at 6:00, after 3 hours. i tried opening the oven door but the safety feature prevented me from doing so so soon after an oven cleaning cycle. i also dumped out the burners and poured the ammonia down the drain. the fumes were pretty awful and stung my eyes a bit. the burners didn't seem to be any cleaner. i did manage to wipe a little bit of the grease off with a sponge, but there were still grease stains. i ended up scrubbing them down with a brillo pad which worked much better and there weren't any noxious fumes. once the oven was cool, i could open the latch again. inside was some white ash, which i cleaned up with a wet sponge.
once again, new england weather ruined another astronomical observation! granted, the venusian transit isn't as exciting as a full-blown solar eclipse, but when i heard the next one wouldn't be seen until another 100 years, that piqued my interest. what wouldn't you know it? cloudy all day, no sun in sight. the most i could do was watch it online.
for dinner i made another batch of risotto. by then the burners had time to dry and i was able to ignite them to do my cooking (when i re-installed the burners after i washed them, they wouldn't light up).
game 5 between the celtics and the heat was on tonight. pundits across the board predicted a miami victory, so i was prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best. i almost didn't want to watch the game, not sure if i could handle the stress. but i'm glad i did watch, because boston pulled off an unlikely victory, taking the series to 3-2 and returning home for game 6 on thursday. celtics are in a good position right now, provided they can win again at home, which the pundits all agree isn't very easy to close out a series. the pressure will be on boston because should they lose on thursday, the heat will regain the advantage with a game 7 back in miami. tonight let me relish in the stunning victory, but it's definitely not over yet.
my old friend gary called me right after the game. i haven't spoken to him in more than 6 years, but he still had his old number because i saw it on the caller id. i thought maybe he wanted to talk basketball but he just wanted to chat in general. at 11:40 at night. i humored him because i haven't heard from him in a while, even though i was missing some important post-game analysis. i found out he opened up a auto body shop in lowell a few years ago but currently in the process of selling it. i think we stopped being friends because he was too chatty and i suddenly remembered why. 30 minutes later i lied and told him i was going to sleep just so i could get back to my sports.