breaking news this morning was the death of venezuelan president hugo chavez, 58. i first really became aware of hugo chavez when i saw the documentary the revolution will not be televised back in february 2004. the film has since been argued to be a piece of pro-chavez propaganda, but the facts can't be denied: chavez survived a coup attempt because of his overwhelming support amongst the venezuelan poor who demonstrated in the streets demanding the return of el presidente. since that time though, he's been one of the most vocal opponents of american hegemony, especially since the US administration has made it clear that chavez isn't one of their favorite world leaders since he won't play nice with business interests (probably american business interests). despite all the talk, i still admire chavez. in a time when it seems like the rich are getting richer, here was a leader not afraid of big business, who genuinely helped the poor people of venezuela. american news barely covered chavez' death, buried behind stories about a dog with had to be euthanized for biting a child and a medford teenager who got lost in main woods. the spanish news broadcast were more aware of the gravity of the situation, and devoted much of their broadcast in covering chavez.

my neighbor dennis finally went ahead and cut down the tall tree growing in his backyard. he mentioned it back in the fall, and i've seen him talking with pruning guys. apparently that no parking sign on my block was to give the crane some space to work. here is an example of being a responsible neighbor. no threat of lawsuits, no getting all the neighbors involved, and definitely not getting neighbors to pay more than your share who don't even live next to you. i can't wait to tell dennis about our little tree pruning story. i haven't heard from the group in about a week, i wonder if anything happened.

renee wrote me an e-mail last night apologizing for the damage her roofers made on my house and said she spoke with the foreman who promised her they'd repair everything. i was hoping something would happen today but nothing did. i'm actually not very optimistic those guys will do anything, but they should at the very least make an attempt. i'll probably get fixed better if i do it myself (it's actually quite easy, but requires some special tools), but they should at least take responsibility for their actions.

inspired by my electrical wiring work yesterday, i went ahead and started working on the light switch in my foyer. the timer switch controls the foyer light while the toggle switch controls the porch light, when in fact it should be the other way around. first step was prying off the cover plate and pulling out the toggle switch so i could see what i'd be working with.

i then went into the basement to turn off the electricity in the foyer. some of the circuit breakers are labeled while others aren't. i found one labeled "living room closet fx" and figured that was the most likely candidate. i flipped the switch and came upstairs. the foyer light was still on. so i went back into the basement and flipped "front hall living room fx". that seemed to do the trick, but i made sure with my neon 2-wire voltage tester (do they even make these anymore? a search on amazon shows either the non-contact version that looks like a fancy pen or a big multimeter).

with the electricity finally off, i removed both switches (timer and toggle). but i had to stop for the time being because i was meeting lisa for lunch at noontime.

i met lisa at pho n' rice. could this be true? the last time we met was over 6 years ago, when we had lunch at tacos lupita (for some reason i thought it was oxford spa). the thing i didn't forget was i still owed her a lunch because i forgot my wallet the last time. i got the grilled chicken vermicelli bun, lisa got the crepe. i'd never seen the vietnamese/thai crepe before, like a normal crepe but fried and stuffed with southeast asian goodness (i'm definitely getting it next time).

after lunch i came back home and continued working on the light switches. it was just a simple matter of hooking them back up, pushing them into the switch box, and putting on the cover plate. i went into the basement to flip back the circuit breaker and came upstairs to test the lights. i was worried that maybe they had to be wired in a certain way but they both worked fine.

david told me this morning before he left for work that he wanted to make a spanish omelette for dinner. so he came back from MIT a bit earlier than usual (8:00) after stopping at the super market and wine/cheese shop. he showed me a big rip in one of his jean legs from getting caught in the bike chain. he bought a bottle of red wine (spanish, viña real, 2009 rioja), some manchego cheese from his home region of la mancha, some serrano ham, and some sourdough bread. as for the spanish omelette, it was just a few simple ingredients of potatoes, onion, salt (to taste), olive oil (for frying), and eggs. david was a real omelette expert, and told me as young as 6 he was helping his mother to cook. even though he wasn't satisfied with his creation, i thought it came out pretty well. it tasted like a big thick puffy omelette stuffed with home fries and some onions. we each had a quarter slice (although i could've easily eaten half, i have no portion control). i kept wanting to see some bacon or at least something more savory on the inside (like a cheese), but it was quite good nonetheless.