this is how i've been going to sleep the past week: listening to either a downton abbey or the americans podcast while playing angry birds on my hand-me-down itouch. i've also been sleeping late (3-4am), a few days were heat related insomnia, and a few more were perhaps overindulging in caffeinated black tea. now that my upstairs neighbors are back from where ever they went starting mid last week, the noises are back too, but they haven't been too bad and i've managed to sleep through them. summer is traditionally the quietest season since they're away pretty often. next week they're renovating their kitchen so i expect to be woken extra early. i may end up sleeping in the living room if it gets too noisy.

how is this even possible? i ordered my memory upgrade from newegg yesterday, and in less than 24 hours it arrived on my doorstep. i'd selected their cheapest free super eggsaver delivery service which takes 4-7 days but ended up getting next day delivery for the same price of zero. the only thing that could even be better would be same day delivery (which would totally cut into one of the advantages of brick and mortar stores). could amazon do something like that here in boston? since they'll begin charging state taxes come late fall (amazonpocalypse for seasoned online shoppers here in the area), this will clear the way for them to have local warehouses, which would speed up delivery time and keep existing shoppers wary of paying taxes.

i opened up my macbook pro today. it was super easy, removed 11 screws (standard philips head, not any sort of proprietary shapes) to take off the back cover. the hardest part was actually getting off the cover. i wanted to be careful, to make sure i wouldn't accidental break any clips, but once i finally give the cover a slight yank, it came off without any problems, nothing broken.

macintosh hardware design is pretty elegant, both outside and inside. i spent a few minutes admiring the guts of my laptop. with a canister of compressed air i blew out the dust from the dual fans. hopefully that's enough. if you've never done it before, compressed air flying through a laptop fan sounds a lot like a kazoo! zzpp zppp zzzppp!

removing the old memory and installing the new memory was pretty simple. they easily pop out and easily pop back in, unlike past memory upgrades for older machines where i almost need to brake the clips in order to remove the chips. i wonder if it voids my warranty to self-install RAM on these new MBP though?1 i can always put back the old memory if i need warranty service, nobody would know. i got g.skill memory chips, a weirdly-sounding brand i'd never even heard of and probably why they were so inexpensive. but they did get some nice reviews, people had successfully installed it on their MBP's, and it came with a lifetime warranty (which may not mean anything). if they work, i don't care what brand they are since i won't see them once they're installed.

my MBP restarted just fine, and now shows i have 8GB of memory.2 i haven't noticed any increased performance just yet, but i'll find out later today when i have all my apps running (photoshop, bbedit, transmit, media pro, quicktime player, stereo splicer interim). the laptop isn't as hot underneath, but unfortunately it's still a bit warm. i may end up removing the built-in fans and gain access to the heating fins for a more thorough cleaning.

john got in touch with me today. he read i was in the market for a mini laptop, and wanted to give me his 4-year-old dell mini 1011 which he's getting rid of after having recently upgraded to a macbook. it's definitely the right size and weight to be a perfect travel laptop. it runs a little slow compared to new machines, but my primary use for it is to store photos, so speed isn't that big a deal. the screen resolution is a bit smaller (1024x600 compared to the current standard 1366x768) but i don't mind. it doesn't have USB 3.0, but i'd only use the USB to backup my photos onto an external hard drive (assuming if i even bother to backup) and since it happens at the end of the day, it wouldn't be a problem to let it run in the background. an additional perk: the 1011 (provided it's the 1011v version) can be turned into a hackintosh. i would probably upgrade the hard drive (from 160GB to 1TB) and increase the RAM (1GB to anything higher).

i went ahead and opened back up the MBP to give the fans a more thorough cleaning. i removed the fans to get to the heating fins. each fan has 3 star-screws, which is a bit more special, but i had a set of star screwdrivers. the fins weren't particularly dirty, but i blasted them with some compressed air anyway. maybe this will make my MBP run cooler. when i first got the computer, the bottom was stone cold. what a difference 4 months can make!

i've got my kombucha fermentation going right now that i can drink about a glass of the kombucha a day. because the culture is alive, the flavor is never the same. sometimes it's sweeter, other times it's more tart. the first batch had a hint of honey, other batches more yeasty (like beer). it also smells different. an empty glass can smell like skunk beer, or, like i noticed today, the distinctive urine odor of the new york city subways.

originally i planned on doing some naturing today. i'd even picked the spot, upper mill brook reservation in wayland, to look for some gaywings. but before i knew it, it was already around noontime, and i wasn't even ready yet. besides, the weather today was kind of cold, with temperature never reaching beyond the 60's and with a strong breeze. i then thought about going to chinatown to look for a stainless steel lid for my distillation expert. i even measured out a length of string which was the diameter of the 5 gallon stock pot. but my mother told me my father was making a chinatown run tomorrow and i could hitch a ride.

my first time working with photoshop CS6 since the 8gb memory upgrade and i'm noticing the difference. images just snap open, when in the past they might take a second or two. this isn't exactly an accurate measurement though, since my apps run slower over time. besides, the MBP was already a fast machine anyway, i can't imagine 2x the original memory would make that dramatic a difference. time will well.

somebody from the belmont garden committee contacted me. the e-mail was a bit accusatory, threatening to revoke our plot since we haven't done anything with it. they must've checked the plots early saturday because by late saturday afternoon we did a lot of work in our garden. i wrote back, listing all the things that we've done and will do over the next few weeks. the tone in her response e-mail was quite different, more welcoming and complimenting our garden last season.

in the late afternoon i was tending to my seedlings. today i officially shut down my grow closet for the season and moved everything out onto my backyard deck. with the oak tree already leaved out, i don't get much sun. a little dappled sunshine comes onto the bench in the mornings, and a few hours of sunshine in the late afternoon on the western side (ever since we chopped down that elm tree). 98% of all my plants will be going elsewhere; i'm just leaving 3 cucamelons for myself and a some snapdragons.

i also took some more notes about the 2 bikes i'm trying to sell. the hardest part is writing a pair of compelling ads and figuring out how much i should charge each of them. originally i figured $100 a piece, but these bikes don't run. only a bike fixer would want these but they probably know the true value so i won't be able to sell them for too much.

my mother came by my place around 5:00 with my grandmother and 2nd aunt. she was bringing my grandmother over to take another bath. while my grandmother was washing up, my mother told me about a job opportunity in chongqing china, to teach english for 2 months at a company my father's friend was in charge of. i'd get free room and board and a stipend. if all goes according to plan, i could leave as early as the end of the month. true, i've been thinking about traveling, but not until this autumn at the earliest (and not back to china, more like central asia or south america). plus this wouldn't exactly be a vacation, i'd have to work, doing something i know nothing about (but teaching conversational english, how hard can that be?). i would be able to travel afterwards. maybe i won't have to leave until july, because i still want to paint my parents' house and oil my backyard deck before i go.

after they left, i made myself a simple ham and cheese sandwich.

1 apple documentation "recommends" upgrades be performed by apple-certified technicians, but doesn't say it's required. so i think i'm okay with the warranty (still 8 months left).

2 i didn't realize it at the time, but the MBP can accept 16GB of memory. not that i would've gone that high, since 16GB is also 2x more expensive compared to 8GB. but hopefully 8GB is enough! if i really want my computer to scream (as in fast), i'd replace the 500GB hard drive with an SSD drive (or remove the CD-ROM drive and add a secondary SSD drive in its place).