in order to get used to this dell mini hackintosh, starting today i'm going to blog exclusively from this machine. the hardest thing to get used to is the screen size. my macbook pro has a 15.4" 1440x900 screen compared to the dell mini 10.1" 1024x600 screen. that's less than 50% of what i'm normally used to seeing. i didn't think it was a big deal but a smaller screen definitely cuts into productivity. on the other hand, a bigger screen means a heavier laptop, so that's the trade-off. the 2nd thing i'm still getting used to is the keyboard. i think the smaller functions on the left side of the keyboard (tab/cap locks/shift) is throwing off my balance and i find myself typing one letter row skewed. the slower CPU speed doesn't really bother me. it's not noticeable when performing common tasks like surfing the web or typing. it takes just a little longer to create thumbnails for my photo catalog, and when i tried to play back a 1080p video i shot with my canon 60D, the playback was very stuttered.

making the dell mini work-able also meant copying over my preference files for my usual apps (bbedit, transmit). i also imported my photoshop actions (they still work, even though i'm going from CS6 to CS4), i've got one for fast saving a batch of thumbnails and another one to create wiggle gifs.

i went to rite aid to check the status of my prescriptions. it didn't feel right that i couldn't pick them up until saturday, and i think they only meant the typhoid vaccine, which they have to special order. the pharmacist told me to check again tomorrow, but the rest of my prescriptions were ready to go. i was confused at first when i only had to pay $10 for 2 antibiotics (250 mg azithromycin and 500 mg levofloxacin) and a dermatitis ointment (0.05% betamethasone dipropionate), but a check of the receipt showed that each item cost only about $3. i think when i switched over to neighborhood health plan - which has a higher monthly premium - i also got a reduction in my drug co-payments.

one of the things on my to-do list is to recaulk the bathtub. it's something i have to do every 6 months because i keep on getting penetrating mildew that can't just be washed off. i'm only doing it for my spanish tenants arriving sometime in september. so after a shower, i dried the walls and edges along the bathtub, then pulled out the old caulk with an awl and a razor blade. i've been using silicone caulk just because it's better for waterproofing, but i don't think it makes any difference in keep away the mildew, it comes back right on schedule in approximately 6 months. i had an old tube of caulk that i wasn't sure if it had solidified on the inside, but that was the least of my problems as i couldn't find my caulking gun. i will have to caulk later tonight, so it can dry overnight and be ready by morning. stripping out the old caulk in a warm bathroom made me all sweaty, so i ended up taking another shower.

i've been trying to get my parents to have a barbecue during june with no success. now with my grandmother returning home to san jose california tomorrow afternoon and this being the 4th of july - a traditional barbecue holiday - it was the perfect time to finally have a barbecue.

since i only have the bicycle now, i tried to go as slow as possible to my parents' place. but it's impossible to climb hills on a hot day (the heat index was over 100°) without breaking into a sweat.

my happy arrival in belmont quickly turned sour as i butt heads with my sister. she likes to keep the house as dark as possible. during the summer the excuse is to prevent the hot sunlight from penetrating into the house; while in the winter the excuse is to prevent heat from escaping through the windows. while there is some validity, you can't keep the house pitch dark like a troll's cave throughout the year. so i opened the blinds on the northern facing side of the living room, and pulled the curtains on the southern window, while leaving the blinds closed. my sister came in and went crazy. i tried to reason with her but she wouldn't compromise. so i told her she could have her damn windows and that i was going back home and slammed the door as i left the house. i was a quarter of the way home when i realized i forgot to grab the caulking gun so i went back. by that point something must've happened because my father was in the living room with all the blinds wide opened. and my sister - as vindictive as ever - decided not to join us for barbecue and celebrate our grandmother's last day in town. at least she didn't take the dog this time, but i think her decreasing circle of friends are sick and tired of her running off to their place whenever she ends up on the losing side of an argument. i just hope that when i'm not here that she doesn't drive my parents to a premature death with her nagging and uncompromising ways.

rite aid pharmacy called me again, said the typhoid fever vaccine would take at least another week to arrive. i told the pharmacist i was leaving on monday. i said i would try cvs and walgreens to see if they have any vivotif in stock, and if yes, i could transfer over the prescription.

i like barbecues but don't like them when it feels like 100° outside. i figured we'd cook the food outdoors, but eat indoors with the air conditioner on. however, everyone decided to brave the hot weather and eat outside. it wasn't bad in the shade, although the late afternoon sun shining on my back didn't help me cool off, and i was constantly afraid of mosquitoes (got a few bites anyway, smacked one as it was drawing blood).

after we finished eating we finally retreated to the cool comforts of the living room. my 2nd uncle was dropping hints that he wanted to leave, despite everyone else wanting to savor the last remaining moments with my grandmother. finally my father drove them home, but my mother was so angry with my 2nd uncle's behavior she said she'll never invite him over ever again.

returning home covered in sweat, i took a quick shower and changed into some clean clothes (actually just my underwear, too hot to wear anything else). i then dried the walls and bathtub edges, and then around 11:00 i began caulking. the old tube of caulk was stuffed up, and it took me 10 minutes of working with an awl to finally get it to eject its silicone plug. the actual caulking went pretty quickly, and i wore glaves this time, having learned my lesson that silicone caulk is a skin irritant. i did get a little sweaty, but unable to use the shower, i just took a sink bath with a wash cloth.

i thought about heading down to the MIT bridge to see the fireworks, but decided against it. the nocturnal heat and humidity, the crush of humanity, all contributing factors for me to stay home and watch it on tv instead, with the delayed sounds of explosions coming in from the open window.