with my former spanish roommate pau coming over for dinner later tonight, i spent most of the day cleaning up the house. that's actually the best way to force oneself to clean, by inviting guests over. i even installed the air conditioner finally. it was just sitting in the kitchen. i didn't want to carry it down to the basement only to bring it up again during the next heat wave. today was already pretty awful, with temperature in the mid 90's and high humidity. and since pau was coming over, he wouldn't have to suffer the sweltering conditions inside my house once i had the AC installed. my only issue with the air conditioner is once i turn it on, it's hard to turn it off. it's like a drug, it just feels too good. i did turn it off a few times, only to turn it right back on minutes later as soon as i felt that stickiness.

i also had a chance to do cleaning up beyond my house: i called new york life to see if i could pay off my future premiums with the dividend i'v accrued over the past 2 decades; i also called ultrasafepest to see when they'd return to my parents' place and replace the wooden stakes with termite traps (it's been over 2 months; they said they'd be back in 6 weeks; i just got sent to voicemail, never heard back from them).

i caught the federer-del portro semifinal match, which turned out to be another marathon game of tennis. federer ended up winning; later british andy murray won his match against djokovic, so the stage is set for a wimbledon rematch, which is going to be *awesome*, can't wait!

despite the insufferable heat, i biked into boston to get some longans from chinatown and some specialty herbal flavored sunflower seeds. i had at least the foresight to bring some water with me. every time i came to a stop light, i would pant from exhaustion, the veins in my head throbbing. i went to the former super 88 supermarket first, where i found my special sunflower seeds. unfortunately the price of longans seemed to have gone up (almost $5/lbs.) so i ended up not getting any.

i then went to the c-mart on lincoln street, going an advanced short cut route from washington to oak street west, to taylor, to hudson (going down the wrong way on a one way street), finally to kneeland then lincoln. this particular c-mart still had longans at the $3.33/lbs. price. i ended up getting almost $25 worth of longans, along with a jasmine ice tea drink which i used to refill my insulated tumbler.

i wasn't planning on going to haymarket, but since i was already so close, i took several side streets to get to atlantic avenue then traveled down the bike path until i reached north street, where i then walked my bike into haymarket. i ended up getting 6 lbs. of rainier cherries (still in stock, $12), some pluots (10/$2), and a box of blueberries ($1, for my morning granola yogurt mix).

coming back via hampshire-beacon street, i suddenly noticed the new hubway station close to the intersection of beacon and kirkland street. funny, i didn't notice it when i headed into boston; it must've been installed sometime this week because i don't remember seeing it either last weekend when i went to boston and back.

it's kind of exciting that there's a hubway station so close to my house (a check of the station map shows there might be some stations that are even closer on somerville avenue), i'm definitely more tempted to try it out now. however, my enthusiasm is only tempered by the fact that i already have a bike (at least 11 actually, if you take a quick peek in my basement). i'm also worried about the feasibility of trying to retrofit a bicycle culture onto a city infrastructure that can barely support it. just take a ride on beacon street where the station i saw is situated: it's been repaired so frequently that the road surface is a bone-jarring series of unevenly patched asphalt. maybe not so noticeable in a car with good modern suspensions, but on a bike it's quite painful. nevertheless, happy to see hubways finally made it to cambridge and somerville.

my parents later made a quick stop at my place to pick up some longans and rainier cherries.

pau got in touch with my back in late june, regarding finding a place to stay between july 26th and august 19th when he returns to cambridge to finish an astrophysical project he started the last time he was here (when he hadn't yet earned his PhD). i would've loved to have my back in his old room, but unfortunately LJ doesn't leave until august 7th. he ended up finding a place on harrison street with 2 other postdocs, close enough that we're practically neighbors. originally we thought about going out to dinner, but i suggested i could make something instead, thereby avoiding the lines, money, etc. that something will be the italian sausage risotto i made earlier this week.

i reminded pau that we'd be eating american time (7-8pm), not european time (10pm), so he said he'd come around 7:00. i actually saw him riding his bike to star market to get some dessert (ice cream and chips). later i saw him again, walking his bike this time since he was carrying too much groceries to ride. i met him outside just so i could check out this loaner bike some girl let him borrow. it's tall ross road bike with very thin tires. the wheels need to be slightly trued because they wobble ever so slightly, but enough that it rubs against the brake pads, which could also use some replacing. i showed him the schwinn super sport which i told him he could borrow, but he seemed to like the more aggressive road styling of the ross, despite the performance issues.

we had a lot of catching up to do. it was interesting for him to see the things that weren't here before, like purple-blue led lights in my hall closet or my green digital clock in the living room. the last time he was here was the final 3 months of 2010, and he remembered how cold it was; this time around the weather's much warmer, but maybe a bit more humid than his liking, although he'd take hot and humid any day over cold and snowy.

we ate the chips he bought as an appetizer, and i brought out the rainier cherries and longans, neither of which he bad before. cherries at least was familiar; longans he'd never encountered. he guessed they were lychees, which is close, but longans are similar only superficially. he liked both, and wanted to save the seeds so he could grow them back in barcelona.

we were chatting so much, i didn't make the risotto until late so we didn't eat until almost 9:30, closer to european dinner time than american time. LJ came home around 10:30, arms heavy with shopping bags. when i told her pau worked at the astrophysics office as well, she instantly perked up, and the 2 of them talked for a few minutes in this technospeak that might as well have been an alien language. this was also my first time hearing LJ talk in english. she did well, although slowed down when the conversation strayed from anything non-astrophysics related. apparently they work in similar field of research and knew several of the same people.

LJ came to me with a fan in her hand. at first i thought it was the new fan i put in her room to replace the one she broke; i decided to overlook the accident, since that original fan was slightly broken to begin with, and not make her have to pay for a new one. but turns out she was showing me a new used fan she bought on craig's list, from the same seller she tried to contact on rainy tuesday but wasn't able to due to technical problems. it's a holmes 8" lil blizzard fan: slightly smaller than my original holmes, but this one oscillates as well, so functionwise it's the same. she apologized that it was kind of dusty and kind of small, but i was impressed that she went through and got me a replacement fan, and thanked her for all her trouble, told her it wasn't necessary. she said it was the least she could do.

pau left close to midnight. i let him borrow a bike headlight and a bike lock. i told him he could come by after LJ leaves on tuesday morning to do his laundry (spare him from having to use the laundromat). he said he'd be interested in the midnight bike ride next saturday.