my father called me a little bit before 10am to let me know he was dropping off the 2 tomato and 1 eggplant seedlings. these were plants i started before i left for china, but they emerged stunted, and have been sitting in their tiny pots for months. instead of throwing them out (which seems like a waste), i figured i could plant them in my own community garden plot since i had some space. sure, it's very late in the season to be planting tomato seedlings, but if we get a hot summer going into a hot autumn, i could still harvest a tomato or few in late september early october.

since he was here, i got my father to help me remove the freewheel. i found tools yesterday - a 1" socket and corresponding socket wrench. i quickly removed the rear wheel from the bike. while i braced the wheel upright, my father pushed down on the socket wrench. with one strong push he managed to loosen the freewheel. that wasn't very hard! although in the process, i accidentally dropped one of the skewer springs, which feel through a crack in the wooden deck. i crawled underneath the porch briefly but couldn't find it in the dirt and dead leaves. the last time we removed the freewheel (november 2011) it took a feat of herculean strength to get it off. this time around it was much easier, and i wonder if it's because last time i applied some grease on the threads before i installed the freewheel. the last freewheel lasted about 5 years, which isn't bad, given how i ride that trek year-round. if i have to replace the freewheel every half decade, i think that's a good bargain.

once the freewheel was off, i could work on it on my own time. instead, i ended up going with my father on a supply run, first to the chelsea market basket, then the frozen dessert supply shop across the street.

this was another chance for me to play car pogo. here's the list of pokemons captured in order of appearance: pidgey, weedle, weedle, drowzee, horsea, mankey (first), drowzee, oddish, drowzee, krabby, drowzee, pidgeotto, omanyte (first), jynx (first), pidgey, rattata, pidgey, and spearow. that's 18 pokemons just from a roundtrip car ride, and 3 first time pokemons. my favorite has to be jynx, which looks like a pokemon in drags. prior to that my favorite pokemon was the drowzee, but they're so common now, i seem to capture at least one a day if not more. later just from the living room i captured a machop (first) and a clefairy. it was fine for me to play in the car because i was the passenger; imagine someone driving and pogoing at the same time? my father said it's only a matter of time before somebody gets killed because of pogoing and driving.

i after i returned to the house around 11:30am, i was in the backyard working on my bike. i crawled underneath the deck again and using my iphone flashlight, was finally able to locate the skewer spring. it wouldn't have been a big deal if i didn't find it; i lost one before, and i just removed the spring from an older bike. installation of the new freewheel was pretty routine, i cleaned up the hub a little bit (with a toothbrush and some triflow oil), greased the thread, and spun on the new freewheel. with rear wheel back on the bike, everything seemed, but i won't know for sure until i ride it.

since i was already out, i took out the fuji bike and oiled the chains. i learned my lesson! you ride with dry chains, you end up ruining your cassette/freewheel. i also cleaned the bike frame with some WD40. i didn't finish up until 12:30pm. i ate some market basket chicken wings for lunch.

in the mid-afternoon i walked down to the garden to water my plants. since this heatwave began, i've been going every day, but it's also just an excuse to pogo. one of the gardeners (the one who lives right next to the garden) approached me while i was there, asking about the delphiniums. this is the 3rd person to ask me about them, i'm glad my profusion of colors didn't go unnoticed. i gave her some seeds and told her to help herself to some more if she needed to.

something i've been meaning to do for a while is to get myself some good decongestion medicine. there's something wrong with my sinuses. i can breathe and smell just fine, but i still have this blockage sensation in the back of my throat, like a ball of phlegm. no amount of spitting can dislodge it. i notice it the most at nights, when the fluids sort of settle and affects my breathing. it also makes me snore something fierce, the obstruction creating a whistling effect in the back of my throat. it's gotten so bad that i actually wake myself up, thinking i'm hearing voices when it's just weird noises passing through my airways.

this gave me a chance to test out the trek with the new freewheel. i noticed something was off right away when the gearings felt loose. i switched to the larger cogs but couldn't switch back down. on the bright side, the chain never once slipped off the freewheel.

i rode down to rite aid to get some mucinex-d. it has 600mg of guaifenesin to thin and loosen mucus, and 60mg of pseudophedrine to clear the congestion. on my way back on traveled down somerville avenue, riding on the sidewalk so i could get close enough to a string of pokestops by the park. somebody that put out a lure at conway park. when i looked around to see who it was, there was nobody. you figured whomever set the lure would be there collecting on the pokemons. anyway, i stayed there for several minutes, collecting half a dozen drowzees. i had enough candy so that when i got home, i evolved one of the strongest drowzees to a hypno (like the wild one i saw yesterday but wasn't able to capture in time).

i took the mucinex-d (2 tablets). i can normally feel the effects of cold/allergy medication, but not so much this time, probably because i was at home. it did seem to clear up the congestion somewhat. one side effect i noticed later in the evening was my nose started running a little bit. i take that to be a good sign, body trying to get rid of the mucus.

i worked a little bit more on the bike. so now the problem isn't with the chain or the freewheel, but with the shifting and gearing itself. the shift cable is old and rusty, i should replace it, but i wonder if i could also change the derailleur, as it seems to have lost it's springiness. but i retightened the cable and did some minor adjustments, i'll ride it again tomorrow to see if it still misbehaves.

my shark rocket vacuum (HV301) finally arrived ($125 + $8 taxes). i watched as the UPS van sat outside my house for several minutes. when the delivery guy finally came out, i opened the door to greet him. it came in a box a lot bigger than i expected. the main body looked like a very large handmixer. the extension tube is fairly long, about 2.5 ft, and can't be retracted. the standard vacuum head is fairly heavy, but it is powered once connected to the main body. i never used a hand-held vacuum before, although this particular vacuum doesn't quite fit the standard categories: too big to be a true hand-held, but too light to be an upright.

i casually tested it out on my living room carpet. i was surprised by how easy it was to use, and the vacuum head seemed to be rolling on the rug, even though i don't think it has any motorized wheels (the brush is however motorized). glancing at the dust cup, i was very surprised by how dirty it was. all that from my carpet? i vacuumed a few weeks ago, when i still had my parents' dyson canister. but a dirty cup is a good thing, because it means the vacuum is really working. i then went through the kitchen, which also has some rugs.

another thing i noticed is how long the cord is, 30ft total. i can plug in from the living room and reach all the way to my bedroom, something i couldn't do before with my old vacuum. true, the cord doesn't retract, but i'm used to vacuuming with the cord out anyway, so it's not a big deal. storing away the vacuum takes a few more seconds to tie the cord to the extension tube (which has hooked designed for holding the cord) but it's not a big deal.

i thought the shark rocket used cyclone technology for suction, but looking at its design, i don't think it does. that doesn't diminish from it's vacuum power however, i think it does just as good a job. it doesn't have as much suction strength as the dyson though, because with the dyson it'd actually lift my rugs, but it didn't do that with the rocket.

another good thing about the rocket is it doesn't use bags. having used a bagged vacuum for all these years (eureka mighty mite from my college days, so over 2 decades), i will never go back to bags ever again. bagless is the way to go, even though the dust cup does look a little grimy after so many uses.

it also came with some attachments: dusting brush, pet/upholstery tool, crevice tool, and dust-away + pad. the dust-away attachment seems like the least useful; it looked like a flat vacuum head with a dusting pad attached to the pad. for some reason it's powered, there must be a smaller brush inside. supposedly you use it on hard floor surfaces, but the standard head works fine on those as well. i don't think i'll ever use the dust-away. the upholstery tool looks like a squeegee, but if i wanted to vacuum the sofa, i'd use the dusting brush instead. too bad there's no clip on the extension tube to attach some of these attachments for easy access. they did provide a drawstring bag to store all these extras however.

the shark rocket is also like a cleaning transformer. besides using it as an upright vacuum, you can also remove the extension tube and use the vacuum more like a traditional hand-held. you can even attach the vacuum head directly to the body, for a mini vacuum. the long extension tube is good for reaching ceiling areas to get rid of spiderwebs.

all and all, i really like the shark rocket. in fact, i sort of regret convincing my parents to get the dyson canister last year, because i think the shark rocket fits there needs better. the dyson is just too bulky, and using it is always a spectacle. the dyson is a marvel of engineering however, but at twice the price over the shark, the rocket is a better deal, and cleans just as well. maybe i'll let my parents try the shark, and if they like it, i'll trade it with their dyson.

for dinner i ate the last remaining portion of my grilled chicken along with some romaine lettuce and croutons. i didn't have caesar salad dressing so i used blue cheese instead. i spent the rest of the evening watch DNC coverage on tv and the web.

tonight bill clinton gave the prime time speech. after hearing him talk about hillary's qualifications, i'm starting to think maybe she was the better candidate compared to barack obama! but under his administration she was able to be secretary of state for one term, which added even more experience to her resume. i don't think there is a more qualified candidate to be president, with both domestic and international experience, in the private and public sector. i think she'd make a great president.