i had a 1:30pm annual physical today, which meant i couldn't eat all day up until my appointment time, so that they could get an accurate measurement when they took my blood. my strategy was to sleep as late as possible, finally waking around sometime after 10:30am, only because my father called me asking if i had a 7/16" wrench for his snowblower. when i went to go use the bathroom, i discovered mary didn't close the shower faucet tight enough so it'd been leaking water all morning if not all night. outside city crew finally fixed the street sign that'd been wobbling since last winter and seemed dangerously close to falling off and hitting someone.

i finally finished eutopia last night. while i was reading, i kept visualizing the story as a movie, and i wonder if someday someone will adapt it into a film. i think it'd be an movie, but the visual effects required for some of those entity-induced visions might require a big budget. the scene that keeps circling in my mind is from true detective first season when rusty cohle suddenly has a vision in the catacombs; i sort of imagine these eutopian visions shot in the same way.

i left for MGH around 12:50pm. even though it didn't seem crowded today, i still had to wait 30 minutes and didn't see doctor lester until 2pm. i brought my blood pressure cuff so he could see my recent readings. earlier when the nurse took my vitals, my BP was abnormally normal at just 117/78; i rarely see it that low. i found out today that my doctor will be turning 50 years old this year, even thought he could easily pass for 30's or maybe even younger. as far as physicals go, there wasn't very much examining, and i left with a clean bill of health, and made my way downstairs to the lab to get my blood taken.

i went from MGH straight to belmont via harvard square. a 73 left the station right when i arrived, and i had to wait another 15 minutes before the next bus. while i was climbing onboard, i saw one of the windows open. i thought maybe somebody was trying to get some fresh air, but a hand come out and casually dropped an empty drink bottle. i got on the bus and stared at the middle-aged woman who just wantonly littered. i didn't say anything but the rest of the ride i was angrily replaying the event and thinking off all the things i should've said.

i arrived in belmont right when my parents got home too. my father was shoveling the front steps because ice had accumulated due to the fact that we no longer have an awning. apparently it happened on monday, strong winds had lifted the whole awning from the rear brace. with nothing supporting the back (we failed to properly secure the back of the awning with screws when we installed it), the entire awning just collapsed, bent the two aluminum lower brackets in the process. fortunately the awning itself wasn't damaged, and the brackets seem like they can be replaced. once we get these new parts, my father and i can try reinstalling the awning again.

my father was waiting for me to set up the obihai OBI200 voip phone adapter ($39) that arrived yesterday. we bought it in tandem with a pendant phone (vtech SN6187 careline home, $61) for my grand uncle so he can more easily call my father in case of emergencies. his hospital (via his medical insurance) is also willing to pay for a medical alert system, but those things require monthly service fees, and this voip solution is free and works just as well.

setup was pretty easily, there are both video and slideshow instructions online. i created an obitalk account first, which just directly linked to my google account. then i got myself a physical phone number through google voice. in hindsight i should've gotten the number first, because obitalk wasn't able to connect to my google voice account until i was assigned a phone number. i managed to pick a great google number for the voip phone: same as my parents' home number (so easy to remember), just with rhode island area code. once i did that, everything worked. also for some reason call forwarding is turned on in google voice; i turned it off, so the only phone that rang whenever anyone called the google number would be the voip phone.

the clarity was very good, you couldn't tell the difference between a real phone and a voip phone. there didn't seem to be any delays either. at this rate, i don't know why anyone would ever sign up for a monthly paid voip service when they can just get an OBI200 and number have to pay for phone calls again. there are also plenty more features, both on the phone adapter and the phone itself, but we primarily just need it so my grand uncle can easily call my father through the pendant phone.

the pendant phone can store 2 numbers, and can answer calls as well. there's also a rudimentary voice command option, and the pendant can recognize a few simple instructions like "what time is it?" there's a feature called happy messages which speaks to you at various times of the day (like saying "good morning" when you pick up the pendant from the charger in the morning). the ringer sound can also be changed to different ringtones. the pendant can be worn like a necklace, or clipped to a belt with a provided holster. as for the actual phone and cradle itself, we don't really need them, and will probably hide it in the closet somewhere when we finally install it at my grand uncle's place.

while reporting to my parents' the latest outrages committed by my roommate, we discovered something scarily bizarre: we don't know her chinese name! she never made it a point to tell us, always going by her english name "mary", and as a matter of fact, i think she's purposely tried to hide her name from me. i remember she was all nervous regarding whether or not she had to file US taxes, and i said i'd help her fill out the form, she only showed me the 2nd page of the form, and then said i could find it online. why would anyone do that? but my parents and i all agree, mary has some psychological problems.

my mother had a chance to use the new ovente cordless electric kettle ($18) that arrived yesterday as well, in red stainless steel. it's not as tall as the old aroma kettle, but it's a bit wider, and both boil the same amount of water (1.7L). there's a blue LED light that illuminates the water while it boils, which is kind of a interesting feature (although i'd prefer a red LED, since red means hot, or maybe an LED that changes color based on the water temperature). the spout is much wider than the aroma, which means a quicker pour.

after hot pot and buffet, a simple home-cooked meal seemed too tame. i wanted to ask my parents if they still had leftover hot pot ingredients so that we can have a mini-hot pot. it was my first meal of the dinner, although i did snack on some dried figs when i first arrived. after dinner my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. mary was home, there was no drama tonight, although she did leave the bathroom door open a few times after she used it, even though i told her to keep it close because it keeps the bathroom warm. she told me this weekend she planned on visiting some museums.