this morning i helped li replace his front wheel tire, which was in bad enough shape that it was showing cracks on the sidewalls. he bought a replacement a few weeks ago, but it's just been sitting in the kitchen. he'd told me before he'd never changed a tire before but that wasn't quite true because apparently he did it once as a kid but still remembered how to do it. i basically stood nearby and supervised as we worked out in the cold backyard. fortunately the old and new tire were easy to take off and put on respectively, using a trio of plastic tire levers. i have metal ones as well but they have a potential of marring the metal rim.

my father showed up around 2:30pm and we left for the malden 88 supermarket to pick up some ingredients for thanksgiving next thursday. before we went inside i saw some green bikes outside and instantly recognized them as station-less bikeshare vehicles (limebike), the latest rage in china, and now apparently making it's way to the US, at least to malden. they work with an app, and the bikes have built-in GPS that allows you to find them and activate them through the app. they don't have to be put back into stations, you just leave them where you are when you're done riding. there was a pair of limebikes but also one ofo bike, a competing service. these bikeshare programs begin just a few weeks ago (end of october), and only in malden, as a test pilot program for this year. why they decided to try it out so close to winter i don't know; once there's snow on the ground, most people won't be biking anymore (if they're even biking now with the cold), and if there's a lot of snow, the bikes run the rest of getting buried. from what little i saw of the bikes, they seem pretty cool, and the limebikes even have solar panels in their baskets to charge the battery that runs the GPS unit inside.

returning home, we saw green limebikes everywhere, seemingly abandoned by the side of the road. we must've spotted half a dozen at least. it seemed like a random but intriguing business model, it'd be interesting to see if they can be sustained. already in china these GPS share bikes are getting some pushback because these bikes litter the cities and the local governments have already issued decrees that no additional bikes can be added to their fleet.

we found lights and television on at my parents' house. at first i thought my father forgot to close them when he left for work this morning, but turns out my sister had been home and left hailey behind. my father heated up two bags of store-bought frozen chinese dumplings for dinner. my sister showed up and ate some dumplings with us. they weren't very good, the storebought varieties always have a weird sweat taste that's not found in homemade dumplings. i got a ride back to cambridge when she returned home.

li wasn't home, he told me he got invited to a pre-thanksgiving dinner by his fellow cantonese coworker. later when he came home he said it was only old people there, a house in arlington, hosted by a tufts dental professor. it wasn't all for naught, they did have turkey, but at it american-style, slices with gravy.

i looked for my pyrex ramekins at my parents' place yesterday but didn't find them, and when i got back home i searched again in my own place and didn't see them either. so once more i searched at my parents' and once more i came up empty. that makes me think maybe they're at the cafe for some reason, but the only person who might know where they are is my mother, and she's still in taiwan and hasn't replied to us when we tried to contact her. i have two choices: not make flan this thanksgiving or go out and buy a dozen new ramekins.

confident i'll pass the general exam, i've been studying up on the amateur extra exam instead. i don't have the license manual so i'm studying by the questions pool alone. on my third try i failed with a score of 29 correct (21 wrong, 51% correct). on the fourth try, i failed yet again, this time with 33 correct (17 wrong, 66% correct). the passing grade is 13 wrong answers or less. i'm close, a few more days of intense studying, i should be able to pass. there's no way i can get a perfect score, and just reading some of the questions and answers, there are so much more theories and terms and equations, i doubt anyone with as little time as i have can expect a perfect score. all i need to do is pass.