i made major progress in cleaning up the basement. i managed to pile more of my stuff in the center of the basement, providing even better access to the rim joist. i also took down all these wooden planks hanging from the ceiling racks. stacking them up down below felt like a game of reverse jenga, or maybe even possibly old-school tetris. once the insulation gets done, it's going to be fun restacking these planks back onto the racks.

this center configuration is nice because i can park my bikes along the side of the walls. i might think about keeping this configuration afterwards. when alex moved to japan he left so much of his things at my place; i think a quarter of all the boxes are actually his stuff. maybe one day he can reclaim them but i get the feeling he won't bother.

i threw out 2 more CRT television sets. nobody uses them anymore, and even if they did, you can receive analog broadcast anymore and need to invest in a digital-to-analog converter box. easier just to buy a HDTV and be done with it. i've got 2 more sets, one in the basement, and one in my bedroom which i occasionally use. someday soon i'll be getting rid of those as well.

air conditioners are another sore spot. i have a real old unit in the basement, it works, but it's big and heavy and probably not that energy efficient. even the smallest cheapest AC window unit is better than that one. i want to toss it but AC's are one of those appliances that require a $25 a disposal permit from the city. i noticed steve and paul have 3 AC units in their stack of stuff, sitting there rusting away and gathering dust and cobweb.

the one thing about our basement i've noticed is it's surprisingly critter free. with all the stacks of wood on the floor, you'd think that'd be a termite invitation. and plenty of hiding spaces for rodents, but when i was cleaning, i didn't see a single mouse dropping or any signs of insect infestation. at most, a few spiders and centipedes.

i've got most of the cleaning out of the way. steve and paul still have some tables up against the walls, but those aren't very urgent and can be moved easily. they have far less stuff than i do (but maybe simply because they have more spaces upstairs). tomorrow i'll do a bit more cleaning, see what else i can toss out for trash pickup wednesday morning.

john and i are planning a road trip to the great smoky mountains national park (GSMNP) the third full week of may, and today we were swapping e-mails, coordinating the details of our trip. the thing to do is to rent a cabin, which are surprisingly cheap ($100 night) for something with high wooden ceilings and amenities like fireplace and hot tub. but turns out that's not entirely true, as they then tack on a bunch of fees (damage protection, travel insurance, reservation, cleaning) which nearly doubles the price. it makes more sense if there's a group of people, but for just 2 guys it's a little bit much. so we mutually decided it'd be best if we just stay in cheap motels, minus the viewing and the amenities, but with wifi, and close to local restaurants.

i wanted to plant my rosemary in the garden, return to belmont to do some watering, and visit the library to look for travel books, but i ended up doing none of those things. i did go across the street to star market to buy some häagen-daz ice cream (2/$5, nearly cleaned out, i got a carton of vanilla and almond) and annie's white cheddar shells (88¢) on sale. i was also very tired in the late afternoon and slept for half an hour at 5:30 on the couch.

for dinner i got a chance to use up my leftover bread and celery by making myself some tuna fish and bacon sandwiches.

my parents called me in the evening, a rare occurence ever since they left for taiwan. it wasn't entirely altruistic though, as they just wanted to make sure i was coming to pick them up at the airport wednesday night.