going away, even for as little as a weekend, always makes everything seem new again when i return home. unfortunately it didn't take long to remind me i'm currently hosting one of the worst roommates to have ever stayed at my place. friday morning it was a batch of hair in the sink. today, it was a soaking wet bathroom floor with bonus strands of hair. i used to have a rug but had to take it out when it kept on getting awful roommmate stains.

to make things worse, after picking up the wet hairs, my hand smelled of unwashed feet. just 2 more weeks and then she's gone. roommates tend to get better with time, as i slowly train them into adjusting their bad habits. some roommates arrive already trained, others require a lot of work. LJ is one of the latter. regrettably, she's gotten even worse. if these chinese astrophysicists are supposed to be science ambassadors to the countries they visit, i think the people's republic is doing a poor job.

i've noticed i've been waking up earlier and earlier. for the longest time my default wake up time was 10:00. before you gasp and express your outrage over my supposed laziness, bear in mind i don't go to bed until 2-3am. however, i've been sleeping earlier these days (around 1:00), and with early sleep comes early rise.

i made a late breakfast of a bagel sandwich with the leftover smoked salmon i had in the fridge, washed down with a can of seltzer. in the early afternoon i paid a visit to the community garden. it was supposed to be a quick stop, but i bumped into jeff and we got to chatting and i didn't make it back home until 3:00.

in gardening news, the other delphinium - the healthy and tall one - finally bloomed. i thought it'd have baby blue flowers like the first one, but this one has deep purplish blue flowers. there's something magical about blue flowers, a color that isn't often found in nature. on more than one occasion i've heard people growing a flower garden with only blue flowers.

no new zucchini although a pickle-sized squash looks like it might be ready by week's end. i did pick the one cocozelle squash; it had an unusual barbell shape. i'm disappointed with the cocozelle output: this is just the 2nd cocozelle while the zucchini will be up to 5 by this weekend. my one acorn squash plant located in the back wedged between tomatoes and raspberries is desperately searching for sunshine by sending out long tendrils, all the way into my main pathway. so far, no flowers; a late summer will probably be the only way i'll se some acorn squashes (i also have some planted in the belmont victory garden; they were planted much later than this one but they have the advantage of far more unobstructed sunshine).

while picking off some red cherry tomatoes, i noticed the small dark barrel shaped objects on some of the tomato leaves. it took me a few seconds to realize what they were (caterpillar droppings), and a few more seconds to find the caterpillar. its green camouflage was pretty effective but all i had to do was look for the part of the tomato plant that had no leaves. the size caught me by surprise; i was expecting something smaller. it was a tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta), about 3in long with the thickness of a vienna sausage.

after taking a bunch of photos, i removed the hornworm (wearing gloves of course, i wouldn't touch that with my bare hands) and was going to throw it out in the garden refuse bin when i had a change of heart. previously it was eating my best boy tomatoes, which i couldn't allow; but one of my cherry tomatoes is very overgrown and the hornworm could feed on one of its outgrowth without making a dent in my overall cherry tomato harvest. just i just relocated the hornworm, hoping it'll pupate soon.

it's hard to see in photographs, but this particular hornworm has an unnatural bluish green color i've only seen in toothpaste. long time readers might remember i had a tobacco hornworm back in september 2007. that one was much greener, and freckled with white dots. this one is much paler in color, with no dots other than the false eyespots covering the spiracle breathing holes. maybe it hasn't reached it's final instar yet, and will develop the spots when it matures (although i'm afraid to think it could be even bigger than what it currently is).

elsewhere in the community garden i was checking out some squash plants of other gardeners. only a few others were growing squash; none had plants bigger than mine though. some snipped off the leaves; not sure why they did this, maybe because they were infected with mildew or more possibly invaded by squash vine borers.

i went to the cafe to give away my squashes (the zucchini i harvested last thursday and the cocozelle i harvested today) and to drop off the lychees and longans (i saved a 3 lbs. bag of longan for myself). my mother already returned home (via bike) so i took the lychees/longans and brought them to belmont.

turning a corner onto huron avenue, i heard people shouting my name. i saw my godmother, jack, and his girlfriend waving at me frantically from their car. they asked if i was going to belmont, i said yes.

my mother said the longans were good but ripe and needed to be eaten soon; she thought the lychees were a bit rotten, and found a few sour rotten ones. she told me she already finished season 3 of breaking bad and asked if i brought the 4th season with me. since my computer was at home, i used my sister's laptop to download the first episode of season 4. i was going to leave by that point but stuck around to see gus deal with walter. i left by 5:00.

i should've suspected something when i saw my godmother and company, especially given the fact that jack was in a suit. turns out they were visiting the cafe to tell my father that jack and his girlfriend went down to city hall today and got married! they also bought some celebratory pastries which i picked up at the cafe before returning home.

i ended up having some pastries for dinner, no cooking required.

i finally decided to back up my hard drives. i've been avoiding it because it takes a long time to copy over terabytes worth of data. but something awful happened: my 1.5TB drive, which was already partially corrupted, ending up dying completely, no hope of salvage. most of that data can be replaced anyway (shows, movies, pdfs) but i lost some old project files. i became suspicious when the new 2TB i'd just formatted a few minutes ago was starting to misbehave as well. after several tense hours, i finally figured out the culprit was the thermaltake SATA docking station. regardless of whether i connect via USB or eSATA, it has a tendency to corrupt the drive. it even corrupted my old 2TB drive to the point where the computer wouldn't recognize it when i used the docking station (it'd asked me to format) but i got it to work my placing the drive in a much more secure firewire enclosure.