i was surprised to find out that cristina and kiki had not left by the time i woke up at 9am. in fact, they were still in their room sleeping. weren't they supposed to go to some mechanotherapeutics symposium at the wyss institute? as i was reading about the breakup of the ultimate power couple brad pitt and angelina jolie, they finally got up. a quick shower, a quick breakfast, they were gone by 10am, taking the bicycles i'd prepared for them last night.
for lunch i was going to cook up some oatmeal but found some old kielbasa i decided to heat up in the toaster oven paired with an english muffin. i then spent the afternoon trying to fix the stuck chain on the ross bike. at first i thought i could somehow loosen the links, but there were just too many that were stuck together, i decided in the end to simply replace it. however, during my last round of housecleaning back before cristina's arrival, i put the new bike chains somewhere and couldn't find them.
i then spent the next 2 hours emptying out my hallway closet, trying to find the missing chains. just when i decided to give up, i finally found them, right before my eyes, mixed in with some camera equipment. it wasn't all for naught however, i did consolidate some boxes (one large box and 3 shoeboxes) so now there's more room in the closet. i'm getting quite good at cleaning, which means i'm good at throwing things away. things that i find that i won't ever use, i'm pretty good about tossing them. nevertheless, the closet could do with another round of cleaning. there's probably a box of old magazines that could be tossed out.
back in my early days of renewed biking interest, i'd acquired the ross eurosport (august 2011). that was the very first bike i ever bought on craig's list, i think i only spent $20 on it. i thought it was a great bike and rode it as much as i could, before i got my hands on other bikes and the ross sort of got abandoned in the basement for several reasons: i was never completely comfortable with the dropdown handlebars (made navigation a bit trickier compared to traditional wide-set handlebars) and the steel frame made it a heavy bike. but before relegating the ross to the bicycle dustheap, i'd done some customization: toeclips on the pedals and a pair of collapsible rear baskets (one of them lost when it fell off the bike because i was only used plastic zip ties at the time).
i've replaced enough bike chains at this point that it's pretty routine, and one of the easier repairs to make on a bike. i used a missing link segment to attach the chain together in case if i ever wanted to easily take off the chain (for cleaning or repair). the hardest part is making sure the chain is of the correct length, and i did that by using the old chain as a measure. the old chain wasn't in too bad a shape despite rusting shut: there was hardly any lengthening when i laid it parallel with the new chain (compared that with my trek utility bike chain when i replaced it back in july, the old chain had lengthened to nearly a full link of extra slack).
once the new chain was up, i attached a spare rear light bracket i bought a long time ago but never got around to installing. it just required an 8mm combination wrench to tighten the nut. finally, i attached a second collapsible rear basket to replace the one that'd fallen off and gone missing. the ones that i had was a pair, and i didn't want to break apart the set, but it was a waste not using it and having them just sit in my closet. if i ever need to install a pair again, i'll just buy another one online. and actually, i also have a set of black collapsible baskets as well, so there really wasn't any good excuse to not install it. i ended up using 4 small stainless steel hose clamps to attach the basket (3 on top, 1 on the bottom). they look good, maybe the ross can be my fast grocery bike for those times when i don't feel like riding the slow and heavy trek utility bike.
while the bike was out, i ended up doing some photo experiments, playing around with the brenizer effect of shooting a large aperture wide angle photo using photostitching software. the technique is so simple, not sure why i never bothered trying it out before. for my first composition, i used 41 photos. as you can see, the stitching isn't entirely seamless, and i think that's because i moved the camera too much instead of trying to keep it at a single pivot point.
for my second attempt i got closer to the bike and took even more photos, 49 used in the composition, but 11 more that i didn't use because of excessive overlaps. photoshop wouldn't even blend the final result for me, i had to select all 49 layers and and do an auto-blend. like the first attempt, this one also didn't seamlessly blend the photos and there are obvious distortions.
my final attempt was to use the 11 remainder photos and do a photomerge with them. the result was better but it still messed up the front wheel and cropped out a letter from the "ross" on the frame.
for a late afternoon snack i toasted some stale baguette and ate them with some camembert cheese. the soft cheese didn't go very well with the hard toast, so i ended up slathering some grape jelly on them instead. for dinner i heated up a can of campbell gumbo soup.
cristina and kiki returned home around 10pm. they were at the symposium until 6pm (where they had free lunch and dinner) before visiting copley square with some of her friends (whom were riding hubway bikes). they finally got a chance to see the old/original wing of the boston public library.
kiki is free tomorrow so i will take him to chinatown. it's a shame that he couldn't go today because i was free all day. tomorrow i will have to leave boston by mid-afternoon, so kiki will have to fend for himself until cristina gets off from work. she had a lot of activities in mind but didn't plan well enough. one idea was to go to the patriots game on thursday, but that was before they found out tickets cost $100 minimum. then she wanted to go kayaking on the charles river, but she can't get out of work until 5:30pm and the nearest kayak place in kendall square closes at 6pm (also because of algae bloom, the kendall square boat launch is temporarily closed anyway). there's the duck boat with the latest tour at 6pm, but i don't think they want to spend $35/person for 80 minutes of sightseeing they can do on their own.