my mother sent me an e-mail message this morning saying that they found my father's missing nexus 7 tablet. then when i was taking a shower, i got a call from the travel agent, letting me know that my china visa was ready for pickup. i was actually kind of worried that they wouldn't give it to me, since i overstayed my visa the last time i was in china (overstayed by almost a year!). but that was using my special taiwan-to-china entry passport. now i have my china visa, i can leave for china at any time (i just need enough money for airfare and a bit for spending).

the only problem was i forgot where i left the visa receipt. the travel agent specifically told me that i needed it in order to get my passport back. i'm sure if i showed her my driver license she'd have no problem in returning my travel document, but better to follow the rules. what followed was like a game of family feud: top 5 answers, name someplace where i might've put that receipt. in my backpack? wrong! in my camera bag? wrong! in my stacks of paperwork? wrong! but i finally found it, it was on my refrigerator.

i called ophthalmic consultants of boston today to make an appointment at their cambridge office (mt.auburn street). the last time i was there was december 2009, nearly 6 years ago. doctor hsu is still there, i managed to get an appointment with him for thursday morning 9am. i wasn't expecting an appointment so soon, but that means i can get new glasses that much quicker. i don't think i've mentioned this, but my eyes have been getting progressively worse. not so much my near-sightedness, which seems to have stayed the same, but i'm starting to have a bit of far-sightedness as well, getting old!

i also called MGH to get one of my expiring prescriptions (losartan) transferred over to CVS. not sure how long that'll take, but hopefully by the end of the week.

i discovered one more bicycle crash injury: my left shin hurts. i think it happened when i banged it up against the frame of the bike as i fell down. it only hurts when i press down on it, which is never. thank god for hard bones! but it goes to show how much more badly i could've been injured. just scratches to the face is almost like a gift.

as much as i'm against the idea of turning up the heat during the daytime, it was so cold outside today that i had no choice but to warm up the house. instead of 68°F, i only turned it up to 65°F and stayed in the master bedroom for much of the day, where it was a toasty 72°F.

i spent most of the day setting up michael's macbook pro. the 2015 15" retina display macbook pro is a thing of beauty. i thought my relatively new mid-2012 15" macbook pro was something special, but this new machine makes my MBP look like a dinosaur. first thing i noticed was how flat and sleek it was; it helps that apple did away with the CD-ROM drive (something i did back in october when i swapped out the CD-ROM drive with an SSD upgrade). then when i finally turned on the computer, the retina display is a thing of beauty. it's hard to quantify, but the screen just looks sharper and crisper, like you could almost drive into the image. say what you will about apple, but they make the best laptops in the world, hands down, puts all other laptops to shame. i also like the fact that there's a USB port on both sids of the computer; on my MBP the USB's are bunched together on the left side, which is an obvious design flaw since it's impossible to connect 2 USB devices side-by-side. and finally i tried out the force touch trackpad. if you didn't tell me it was force touch, i would've never known, because it feels like the trackpad is clicking when i press down on it, but when i look closer, the trackpad never actually moves, it's all an illusion. how can you use any other machine once you've experienced this new MBP?

i was installing parallels and then windows 10 so they can run their PC-based outlook customer database. i can't remember the last time i used outlook (maybe the late 90's?) but i thought it was a simple free download from microsoft. but apparently it now comes bundled with microsoft office, so i ended up having to find a copy of office just to install outlook. it was all a little scary because i've never really used parallels before. i've played around with it briefly on my own MBP, just to see if it'd work, but it still seems very alien to me, even though it's essentially merging the mac and PC experience.

my mother called me in the early evening with news that the perspective renter has decided she wanted to live at my place. i figured she wouldn't move in until february, which would gave me a little less than 2 weeks to get used to the idea of having a roommate again. but the tone i got from my mother was this shanghai lady wanted to move in tonight if possible, which was out of the question. that just made me angry, because i felt like i was being forced this position. i told my mother to give me some time to decide. it meant having to clean the house, which i already did before they came to see the house yesterday, but i'd also have to tidy up the guest bedroom, which i've taken over since alfonso returned to spain before christmas.

a little bit later my mother called again, said this shanghai woman would stay at my place temporarily, only for the next 10 days, to try out the place, and maybe look for someplace else in the meantime. so does she want to live here or not? i'm getting all sorts of mixed messages. it's not the duration of her stay that bugs me; it's just that she wants to move in immediately, and i want to have a few days to savor my final moments of living alone. so in the end we agreed the shanghai woman would come tomorrow at 9am. my father is actually going over to her place in somerville to help her pick up her things, because she's been living with her friend ever since this weekend, afraid to even go back to her old apartment. what exactly happened? did she have psycho roommates, or is she actually the psycho here? i'm going to sleep with my knife from now on.

when evening came around i kept the house at 65°F. it's actually not bad, particularly when it's cold outside, since the furnace kicks in more frequently then if it was just a mildly cold day. 65°F is also designated as a "eco green" temperature according to my nest thermostat. i only had a tea egg for lunch, no smoothies (just teas). in the afternoon i heated some sweet potatoes in the toaster oven for 2 hours and had some as a snack. i was still hungry, but i held out until the evening, when i heated up a can of jambalaya soup for dinner spiced up with some frozen kale. i washed the sheets and spent a little more time cleaning up the house. i watched the 2-hour season premiere of agent carter.

my lowepro nova sport 35L AW shoulder camera bag arrived today. it only cost $10 (after a $10 rebate; it originally retailed for $110), it was just too good to pass up. i actually already have a lowepro camera bag, the smaller 17L version in bright orange (this one was i grey). the bag is big, about the size of a plastic cooler. it's definitely not a bag for urban shooting. it's big enough that i can slip my 15" MBP into the laptop pouch in the back (without additional sleeve).