it's too hot to blog. i just want to lie down and die so i don't have to suffer this heat anymore. of course the heat wave here in boston isn't as severe as elsewhere in the country, but still, with no air conditioning in my house, it's pretty unbearable. i can't even count on the temperature dropping at nights, since the past few consecutive hot days have heated up the ground enough that it's only marginally cooler at nights. and it's a humid heat too, everything feels sticky.
i can't let the heat stop me from completing my errands with just a weekend before i leave. i went to CVS to see if they had any vivotif, the typhoid vaccine. sure enough, they carried it, but the prescription rite aid faxed over wasn't legible so the CVS pharmacist told me to come back later in the afternoon.
while taking the ladder down into the basement, i took the opportunity to adjust the motion-sensing lights. they were angled too high up so they shone right into the eyes; i turned them down a bit so they're not as blinding.
next up was taking a photo for my china visa and taiwanese residency card. i already had a good set of passport photos, but they're from 2 years. i wanted one more recent. with my camera, flash, tripod, and a white poster board, i proceded to take a new photo. it wasn't easy and i ended up taking several dozens, even moving into the bathroom because there was better light there. and even after i got a photo i liked, i still had to adjust it in photoshop to get the proper color balance and white background. i was also in a race against time, as my grandmother was set to due around 1:30. i quickly through the passport photo file on a USB thumb drive and went to the cafe to see my grandmother off.
my grandmother's jetblue flight was at 4:40, so she didn't have to leave until 2:00. my sister volunteered to drive to the airport, but she's reliably unreliable, so i was on standby just in case. my mother and 2nd aunt went as well, along with my 2nd uncle (the one banned from future family dinners at my parents' house). my grandmother didn't want to take my sister's SUV because she has a hard time climbing onboard (it's not exactly the most senior citizen friendly ride) but she didn't anyway. then mysterious my sister disappeared. at first we thought she was in the bathroom, but there was nobody there, and everyone began to get a bit frantic, fearing that she flaked out again. turns out she went to the nearby florist to buy some flowers. this was a totally unnecessary gesture as my grandmother was already carrying a lot of things and didn't need the additional burden of a bouquet. my sister could feel me glaring at her and defensively told me to STFU. and with that they went to the airport. i don't know when i'll see my grandmother again.
i biked to the fresh pond staples to recycle a used laser printer toner and to get $2 off on a future store purchase. i then went to the copy center to get my visa photo printed out. working behind the counter were 3 of the laziest print shop employees. when i asked one of them about printing, she pointed to the self-serve copy/printing machine. when i told the machine couldn't read my USB drive, they asked if i used a mac and deduced i'd formatted the drive incorrectly (it was formatted in exFAT, which is a PC format, but apparently their machines can't read it, i didn't bother trying to explain the difference).
so i had no choice but to bike back home in the blistering heat, passing by a pair of portapotties ripening in the sun (i can't even begin to describe the unholy smell). i took a quick shower - not exactly to get clean but rather just to cool down. i reformatted an USB thumb drive, copied over the photos once more, and then biked back to fresh pond, this time cutting across danehy park as a shortcut.
this time the copy/printing machine recognized my files, but it only printed out on matte paper and i wanted glossy, so i had to wait until the 3 employees were done talking before one of them "noticed" me and asked if she could help (even though i was there 20 minutes ago). i paid for my printout ($1) and left.
CVS pharmacy called me earlier, said my prescription was ready, but there was something wrong with my insurance. so next stop was back to the porter square CVS. they must've copied my insurance policy number wrong because when i gave it to them again, it went through this time. i was told there'd be a 15 minute wait. i feel like they only say that to force you to browse the rest of the store. i ended up buying a can of mango ice tea (99¢). once my name was called, i paid for my prescription and left. the cashier recognized me from earlier and asked me about my trip (it's not everyday you get vaccinated for typhoid).
back at home, i took another shower before heading over to bruce's place to see him one last time before i leave. there was AC in his house and for the next hour i didn't have to suffer the indignities of the heat wave.
once more at home, i took my first dosage of the typhoid vaccine, which is basically weakened live salmonella bacteria. one thing i noticed was the instructions to keep the capsules refrigerated. woops. at room temperature (and beyond) they lose their effectiveness. my next dosage is sunday night, but i still need to take 2 more doses but those will happen after i arrive in taiwan. how will i keep these capsules cool? maybe i can keep them in an insulated tumbler filled with cold water. i hope it won't look too suspicious going through the x-ray machine. i'm still wondering if i really need to be vaccinated against typhoid. i don't think i ever was in my previous outings, and nothing bad ever happened other than the occasional very mild traveler's diarrhea (which i remedied via loperamide).
the replacement foscam webcam arrived today. i quickly set it up and discovered that this one was also broken. not as bad as the last one, but when i turn it pointing to something bright, it will crash the camera and on more than one occasion causing it to self reboot. i did find out from the foscam forum that many people are experiencing the same thing. apparently the cameras manufactured recently have some sort of defect in the sensor that's causing the crash issue.
nevertheless, i went down to the cafe around 7:00 to test the camera there. there wasn't as many crashes compared to the first camera, but it may be just because it wasn't as bright anymore. we did see it crash a few times, but it didn't freeze up or reboot and we were still able to control the camera and bring back the video with a refresh. my father said to test it out for one more day during daylight, and if it still crashes like before, he'd return it on monday after i leave.
later in the evening i remembered to call my credit card companies to let them know about leaving the country for a few months. i'm not sure if it's even necessary, because i didn't do it the few times i went to asia, and nothing more suspicious than an ATM charge somewhere in bangkok, and my credit card company never suspended my account. but better safe than sorry, and suddenly finding myself unable to access my money overseas.
for dinner i made myself another sandwich. in order to stay cool, i hopped into the shower whenever i could. there's still a lot of stuff to do in the house but it's just too hot to move around, maybe the weather will improve by tomorrow, but i believe the heat wave is upon us for the entire weekend. i'm tempted to install the AC just for a day, and then move it back down to the basement when i'm done packing. i can't work under these conditions!