i slept late this morning, knowing that i didn't have anything going on today. but i was sort of afraid to get up, in case i might run into mary, and what she might think, seeing me waking up so late. fortunately she wasn't home, having left early for the harvard library again. in this regard she is an ideal roommate.

my sister was coming by to give me a ride to belmont around noontime, so i had over an hour to get ready. all was well until i flushed the toilet and heard an unusual sound coming from the tank, like the sound you hear when you rub a balloon. i then spent the next 15 minutes trying to get rid of it, not realizing how cold the tank water was, and not being able to feel my fingers afterwards.

outside the house waiting for my sister to arrive, i had enough time to shovel the slush off the sidewalk. i did a pretty good job yesterday, but all this new accumulation was due to the falling snow and ice from the tree branches above. in fact, it was actually pretty treacherous, and the sound of falling pellets can be heard everywhere, hitting the sidewalk, pedestrians, cars, etc.

when my sister arrived, i made her stop at star market so i can get some tzatziki. she went across the street to petsi's pie to get some things. riding in her car, we kept getting bombarded with ice pellets.

my mother told me there was a lot of bird activity this morning, as they all came out for food from the feeders. she saw also a squirrel get to the suet feeder, which she quickly scared away. i saw a lot of birds too, and in their desperation for sustenance after the winter storm, a lot of big-sized birds were awkwardly getting to the globe feeder, including cardinals and juncos. of course the globe feeder is the natural feeding station for chickadees, who had no problems picking out the seeds. down on the ground were less inventive juncos, pecking in the snow. i throw out a handful of seeds just so they'd have something to eat. as usual, downy woodpeckers frequented the suet feeder. a new visitor today, for a few seconds i saw a house finch visit the globe feeder. my mother saw it too but she thought it was just a sparrow, but i recognized the characteristic reddish head.

i demonstrated to my father using the ampere app on my android phone that different usb cables (brand, length) can affect the current. using my oneplus one, i was getting 100mA using a short nokia charging cable, but around 50mA and less with a discounted 6ft braided cable i got off of ebay. but when my father used his coolpad F1 8297, he was getting a rating of around 800mA, regardless of cable used. he thought the problem had something to do with the micro usb charging port on my phone. using a can of compressed air and a toothpick, he managed to clean a mess of lint trapped in the port. after that i was getting a charge current of 250-300mA. i may delay my purchase of new charging cables for the time being, see how a cleaned up charge port on my phone might perform in the coming days.

after dinner my father dropped me off back in cambridge. before i even stepped inside, i dropped off my things and picked up a shovel to clean up a thick layer of ice on the sidewalk in front of the house. why did paul or steve clean this up while i was gone? i guess they think it's my job to do all the cleaning around here. snow removal. trash disposal. stain the deck. and when something goes wrong, the first thing they do is blame me. like when their furnace was turned off a few days ago. steve immediately sent me an e-mail asking if i was doing anything in the basement. i wrote him back that they just had there gas meter replaced and possibly the nstar technician forgot to turn their furnace back on. or when the water pressure gets low, i can expect an e-mail asking me if i'm doing anything suspicious downstairs. the only suspicious thing i'm doing is hoping the both of them will die soon! of course new tenants might be worse, especially if they have kids. maybe i should appreciate the lesser of two evil upstairs neighbors.

anyway, because nothing was done during the daytime, all that snow and ice on the sidewalk were frozen solid and there wasn't much i could do but sprinkle some melting pellets. inside the house all the kitchen lights were on but through the back door window i could see mary inside cooking so that was okay.

mary and i were just chitchatting, she told me she'd brought some dessert to bring to the chinese new year dinner tomorrow night. then she said something about photography, said she saw my dSLR in the living room. she asked if there'd be any photography at the dinner, but she sort of answered her own question and said of course there would be since we had special china relatives coming, but then she asked if we could not take any photos of her. i thought that was a strange request, it's one thing to be camera shy, but another to tell people what they can or can't do at their own dinner party that you're an invited guest to (and a last minute pity invite at that). the strange thing was, she kept repeating her request again and again, like it was something that was eating her away, and unless i agreed to her terms, she wasn't going to let up. the strangest thing was later she came out of her room and handed me an orange (it was rotten on one side, she didn't notice), but then out of nowhere added, "tomorrow, can you not take any photos of me?" with a nervous laugh. there's something not quite right about her.

i got my hands on a digital copy of eutopia by david nickle and i've been reading it the past few days. it's gotten some great reviews, the author compared to the likes of horror masters stephen king and clive barker. it's the sort of book that's hard to put down and i find myself stealing away whenever i have the chance to read a few more chapters. one of the protagonists, a 1911 black doctor named andrew waggoner - reminds me of doctor algernon edwards from the knick. the story touches on eugenics, racism, early 20th medicine (a horror in itself), mountain people, and strange things lurking in back woods forest. i'd recommend it to any horror fans, especially lovecraftian horror, for which this novel bears the most resemblance to. i can't wait to read more of david nickle's works.

while preparing for bed, i noticed the toilet was leaking. not from the tank itself, but from the inlet valve. i must've loosen something when i turned it earlier trying to fix the toilet tank sound. it wasn't leaking a lot, but leaking nevertheless. something about this feels familiar, like it's happened in the past and i managed to fix it. i wiped the small pool of water from the floor; maybe it's only temporary and by tomorrow it'll have fixed itself.