as if purposely to make myself as miserable as possible, i went to bed last night beyond 4:00 knowing i had to wake up a few hours at 8:00. even though i only had a few precious hours to sleep, they were not very restful because i kept anxiously waking up to check the time on my cellphone (i don't like being woken by the alarm). with minutes left before the appointment time, i hastily threw on some pants, wrapped myself in a big jacket, and went outside, where my 80-year-old neighbor kate and the pruning guy marc were already outside. not only was it early (for me at least) but the temperature was also a frigid 17°F.

we stood outside a few minutes, waiting for everyone else to assemble. moments later jen crept out of her house. like her husband franz last time, she was carrying her daughter in a baby bjorn, her get-out-of-jail-free card in case the tree pruning meeting ran too long. we then began the monotonous task of looking at the backyard elm tree, a process repeated so often through arborists and prunists that there was nothing they could say that i haven't already heard before.

renee came out to join us even though she said she had a conflict. she was heavily bundled up, a scarf obscuring most of her face. from my periphery i could see she wanted to say something to me, maybe whisper conspiratorially on how lame we were having yet another tree meeting, but i ignored her. if there was one person to blame, it'd be her. renee ducked back into her house just as quickly as she came out when we decided to walk around the block to see the tree from kate's property ("i'd already seen it before," she said). by that point jen had put her daughter back inside the house and came out to meet us as we started walking.

from kate's house we could see a hole in the tree. not just any hole, but one you could see through to the other side. that's probably not a good thing. jen left soon afterwards. i stuck around a bit longer, only because kate was talking and i didn't want to be rude and run out. marc asked if he could use the bathroom. kate continued to talk. i helped marc out and myself by finally making my exit.

when i got back to the house, there was an envelope waiting for me. steve must've been watching us from inside his house and as soon as we left, he made his move and delivered his house key. i finally checked my e-mail. there was one from steve, saying he couldn't make it to our tree meeting because he had an 8:30 teleconference call on his cellphone. it was strange that he explicitly mentioned his cellphone, because normally he's not very forthcoming with details, and i still don't know where he went off to this weekend. maybe he just didn't want me to call him in case i felt the urge to chew him out for not joining our tree pruning party. and how convenient he just happen to have a conference call. next time he lies he should make it sound more convincing.

harvard hasty pudding announced today the winner of their woman of the year award: marion cotillard. why her? i was sure it'd be jessica chastain or maybe jennifer lawrence. maybe cotillard was the only one available. regardless, weather permitting, i'll get a chance to see her in the parade next next thursday afternoon.

it was unusually warm inside the house, which is the direct result of the weather being so cold outside. i continued working on client N's project. when the mail arrived there was also a package waiting for me. i already knew what it was: a belkin USB hub ($13.75) and another sandisk 32GB memory card ($24.96). i popped the memory into my 60D dSLR and began shooting some videos. the difference was noticeable: no more prematurely stopped videos because of chugging saves. once or twice i did see the "saving in progress" meter pop up but it never stopped film. only once did it stop prematurely, after i was shooting for a few seconds, but it was the only time so possibly a fluke (or maybe i'd just shot a long video and the camera was still trying to save it onto the memory card). i ran a disk speed test on the card: 10 Mb/s write, 20 Mb/s read, about the same numbers as the microSDHC, but slightly more consistent, rarely dipped below 10 Mb/s write speed. it's still not as fast as the 8GB transcend card i have though (15Mb/s).

so it's starting to look like maybe the speed issue really does have something to do with whether i use a microSDHC card with adapter or a normal SDHC card. it's weird though, because the microSDHC card works fine on the lumix ZS20, i've never once had a video suddenly stop because it couldn't save fast enough. just to be sure i tried the microSDHC card on the canon 60D: it'd shoot for a few seconds, but then suddenly stop. i'm also wondering if now with a working memory card i can shoot more photos since it should be able to keep up with the fast frame-per-second.

in the early evening i went upstairs to check out the leak. i'm surprise it's still leaking despite the patch on tuesday. i know we got some snow on wednesday, but it's all melted. steve thinks the water is coming from soaked insulation inside the wall of the roof. his place is especially susceptible because there's no attic and his ceilings go directly up to the roof, so if there are any leaks they come directly into his house. as far as i'm concerned though, this is all internal repairs, which steve will have to pay out of his own pocket 100%. i noticed my ladder was inside his house.

i finally took a shower in the evening, before finishing off the last of my spaghetti for dinner. i ate while watching the 2-hours series finale of fringe. i wasn't even paying attention, this final season has been sort of weak, and the ending wasn't anything memorable. i'm glad it was able to get a series finale, a lot of shows never get that honor before the networks pull the plug.