i put to good use the 4 wooden wine crates my father gave me last night. of the smaller two, i used them as enclosed bookcases that can fit inside of the preexisting living room bookcase. i was worried about possible sagging since the crates themselves have some weight, and combined with the books i feared they'd be too heavy, so i located along the edge of the bookcase. it's kind of a unique look, like putting a highlight box around certain books.

this is my final month before i leave for china in april. i have to make good use of my time, making sure i take care of everything on my to-do list before i leave. today's important item was to fix my grand uncles webcam. the linksys camera my father and i installed finally broke. even when plugged in, the light doesn't turn on, so it could either be the power adapter or the camera itself. the linksys WVC54GCA was only 6 years old, but now seems like a relic. it has a 640x480 60° viewing angle which we enhanced by attaching a small wide angle lens to the front of the camera. it does widen the view, but the tradeoff is there's vignetting in the corners and the image looks slightly darker and not as sharp. the WVC54GCA is stationary, there's no pan-tilt features.

i replaced it with the white foscam FI8910W that was previously installed at the back of the cafe. this particular foscam is a bit old too, manufactured on 03/2013, so about 3 years ago. it too has a 640x480 60° image-viewing-angle combination, but it makes up for it with it's pan-tilt abilities. the ri've set up enough wireless cameras to know what i'm doing, but even then, the step to get from wired to wireless can be tricky, with the clunky wireless interface setup page no help. i finally fumbled my way to get it to work. my father showed my grand uncle the result, who seemed to be delighted with the fact that we can monitor him (if it was me, i'd be a little hesitant).

my parents' retired friend nancy was eating at the cafe. "do you remember me?" she asked, which was a strange question, since i bump into her all the time, in the most random of places (the last time was my first visit to the malden 88 supermarket). she's recovery from a recent fall which shattered her right forearm all the way up to her elbow (bone sticking out and everything). in a normal person this wouldn't happen, but doctors discovered she had an abnormally low calcium levels. she got a new elbow, a metal plate screwed into her arm, and loaded up with calcium supplements.

returning home, i stopped by the local elementary school to cast my vote in the democratic primary. if you talked to me a few months ago, i would've said i'd be voting for hillary clinton. i don't know when i changed my mind. i think clinton would be a fine president, but i didn't like the idea that she was the presumptive democratic nominee from the moment she decided to run, with everyone else just getting out of the way to make room for her. i knew nothing of bernie sanders, but listening to his simple message of penalizing the big banks and using that money to do good elsewhere, that struck a cord with me.

maybe it was after watching the big short, that made me really angry about the financial institutions. a vote for clinton would be business as usual, because there's no doubt she's friends with banks, and i just wanted to try someone different, someone new. clinton is the pragmatic choice, but i rather vote for the ideal candidate instead of the practical candidate. clinton's chance of winning is pretty high, with all her connections, her support, and her slew of pledged superdelegates. but knowing she might win it in the end, i just wanted to cast a vote for sanders almost as a protest, to warn her that there are people who don't 100% agree with her, and if she does become president, that we will be watching, particularly when it comes to how she deals with banks.

my DVI-D to HDMI adapter ($2.03) arrived today. hookup was straight-forward, the only problem was there wasn't enough clearance behind my samsung LCD monitor so the HDMI cable was kinked up and the adapter didn't completely go into the DVI-D port. but that didn't matter, because as soon as i fired up the iview DTA, a clear HD image popped up on the monitor. the samsung doesn't have a 16:9 aspect ratio, so there are black bars on the sides. otherwise, the image is crystal clear. one glaring problem though: no audio. the monitor itself has no speakers (very few do; otherwise it'd be a TV essentially), so the only audio will have to come from the DTA box. unfortunately the box only has RCA audio outputs, no 3.5mm headphone jacks.

so i researched a cheap way to get HDTV audio for a LCD monitor display. the weak signal coming out of the RCA jacks need to be amplified in order to be heard. the easiest way would be to connect the audio outputs to an audio receiver (as part of a stereo system). but i wanted something that takes up less space. the best i could find were headphone amplifiers, but at $30 for the cheapest model, it'd defeat the purpose of an inexpensive HDTV system using a LCD monitor. so at this point i'd just call this all an experiment. to set up the equipment to get audio is just too much hassle. it'd be easier to buy an HDTV and then use that as a large-screen monitor than going the other way and using a small-screen monitor as an HDTV.

so most of the day was spent cleaning when i wasn't otherwise doing anything else, in anticipation of eliza's arrival at around 4pm. i was decluttering the living room followed by a round of vacuuming. when i finally checked my e-mail around 4pm, i saw she wrote me earlier to let me know she'd be arriving a little bit later, around 6pm. and that she had an informational interview at davis square at 8pm.

eliza arrived at almost exactly 6pm, with her small travel suitcase and a backpack. i hadn't seen her since august. she's here in town less than a week, and with mary still in shanghai, i let eliza stay in the guest bedroom. we chatted until 7:30pm before she left for davis square. i heated up a can of soup for dinner. eliza came back around 10pm and shortly afterwards went to sleep.