GC didn't go to work until 10:30am, taking his time. i woke up at 9am, but was afraid to use the bathroom until he left. in the meantime, a check of my amazon order status showed that my mid-2012 MBP laptop battery already arrived in belmont this morning, the delivery person uploading a photo proof. i also checked my parents' electricity usage status, figuring i needed to call belmont lights this morning to get them to take a look. to my surprise, all the missing data was back again, everything seems to be fixed. i sent belmont lights a courtesy e-mail to let them know things seemed to be working now.

my father sent me some photos of radio repeater controller cables. i wasn't sure why he was sending them to me until i called him to let him know that the usage monitoring was fixed, and he told me he needed a special cable in order to connect the QYT KT-8900 to the simplex repeater. apparently the KT-8900 uses RJ45 jacks instead of RJ12 jacks of the TYT. i still wasn't quite sure of the problem he was describing but told him i'd swing by the cafe to take a look on my way to belmont to pick up the battery.

GC called me via wechat while i was in the bathroom. he never calls so i was wondering what was the emergency that he couldn't just send a text. a friend of his was in town trying to get a chilean visa and he was wondering if he could crash on the couch tonight. though slightly annoyed, i had no real objections, particularly since wangyang and her son lived with us for a week. it was only for one night anyway, and i've had plenty of roommates in the past inviting friends and whatnot. he also reminded me that the apple package for his friend was arriving today. he used the word "soon" but UPS tracking had no granular details when it comes to shipping status, only that the package was out for delivery and could arrive anytime between now and 8pm.

temperature today was in the lower 80's, not that hot compared to some other days, but still warm, particularly since the sun was out for a change. instead of taking the bicycle, i decided on the motorcycle instead, as there was no forecast of rain until the weekend. i went to the cafe first, where only my father was manning the shop, my mother having gone out with my sister's godmother. i gave back my father's baofeng radio which he accidentally left at my place yesterday. i had a feeling what the problem was with the QYT radio, but seeing it in person crystallized it for me. the cable we needed was the surecom 48-T1, but it was sold in a set and we just needed that one cable. my father thought about making his own interface cable but he wasn't sure where the leads from the RJ45 jack connected to the TRS audio jack. my mission was to go online and find a place that sold only that 48-T1 cable.

i also went down to the nearby branch library to pick up some harvard natural history museum passes, in case eliza wanted to go when she visits friday morning. i reserved the passes online, where i discovered the cambridge library has a bunch of other electronic services under the heading of eLibrary. all sorts of magazines, and ebooks, and audio books, and even movies, viewable on apps or on the computer. you can also read the electronic version of the new york times for free (when you use the library wifi), and take advantage of some free online learning resources like lynda.com.

i then went to belmont where the battery package was waiting for me on the doorstep. it was a lot bigger than i expected, and could barely fit inside my messenger bag. i went into the backyard to take a brief look, picking up a cucumber, killing a cucumber beetle, and taking a photo of the solar panels, before i left.

i stopped the cafe again briefly before returning home to wait for the apple package and install the new battery into my 2012 MBP.

honestly, i didn't think the new battery would fix the problem, but it was worth a shot. the power management problem could be one of 4 culprits: a bad battery, a bad charger, a bad operating system software, or a bad logic board. i wanted to eliminate all the known suspects before contacting L2 regarding additional fixes.

installing the new battery was easy because on the 2012 MBP the battery isn't glued to the chassis like it is in subsequent MBP's. i know why apple did this: some say it's to make it so replacing the battery on your own is next to impossible without paying apple to do it, but i think it's to reduce the overall weight, since glued batteries don't have a metal/plastic housing around the soft lithium ion "bricks", making them lighter. in any case, when the new battery went in i was hopeful, because at least the power capacity indicator LED's were working. but when i plugged in the charger, the LED on the plug was green when it should've been amber (indicating charging), and when i removed the plug, the computer immediately went into safe sleep mode. so the new battery had nothing to do with the power management problem. i took out the new battery (to be returned) and put back the old one.

that was all the evidence i needed to sent L2 an e-mail explaining the problems and asking for a solution. they replied back hours later, said they test all their repaired machines beforehand, and asked me to try using a different charger. i didn't like the tone of the e-mail, felt like L2 was blaming me for something they didn't fix completely. i replied back that i'd try visiting an apple store tomorrow and see if they had a compatible charger i could borrow. but i sent them an additional e-mail, elaborating that the problem seems to be logic board issues, since even if i had a faulty charger, that wouldn't explain some other problems, like the machine going to sleep when i unplug the charger.

afterwards i had a late lunch, another goat cheese prosciutto egg english muffin sandwich. if i didn't have to wait for those packages, i would've gone down to the cambridgeside galleria mall apple store already and tested the MBP there. i checked my records: the last time i had something delivered via UPS, it didn't arrive until after 5pm. so betting that history would repeat itself again, i decided to visit the apple store after all, taking the motorcycle to make the trip quicker. i stopped by the prospect street speedway gas station to fill up the tank.

i found a residential parking spot less than a block away from the mall and went inside. the employees at the apple store were very helpful, i thought i needed an appointment, but they accommodated by request readily. one of the guys brought out a compatible charger. with a magical swipe of his hand on the table top, power outlets flipped out from the counter. i plugged it into my MBP and waited for the machine to boot up. afterwards i unclipped the plug and of course the screen immediately went dark. so it's not the charger! all this work just to prove something i already strongly suspected.

with my new evidence, i returned home, penning another message to L2, letting them know i went to the apple store and tried one of their chargers and it still didn't work. the ball was in their court, so to say. i told them i was willing to send back the MBP for the 3rd time, provided they were willing to take a look at it again. the other recourse (which i didn't mention) is for them to return my $130, which at this point i don't think they're making an profit from this transaction, given the amount of time spent repairing and the cost of shipping it back and forth. i'm still waiting for them to reply.

just as i predicted, the apple packages didn't arrive until 5:30pm. i asked the UPS delivery guy if i needed to sign for them, he was actually surprised that i didn't (request from buyer), but he made me sign it anyway as proof of delivery, said typically apple deliveries always require a signature since they're worth a lot of money.

the UPS delivery came at the same time yulia called me. there was nothing wrong with their machine, she just wanted to know how to back up their data manually. over the phone i couldn't remember the exact filepaths, and told her i'd swing by sometime this week to help her out. i also recommended she get a larger external hard drive so they can do automatic time machine backups, western digital is having a sale this week on refurbished 1TB drives for only $30.

my merrell shoe inserts ($8) arrived yesterday. for something that could've easily fit inside an envelope, it was shipped in a very large box. it was a half size too large (they only sell in whole sizes) and the official instruction said to trim them to fit, which is what i did. my hiking shoes are still a little smelly even though they're dry. i can let them air out some more (the stink will disappear over time) but i tried making an activated carbon insert in the hopes of absorbing the funk.

i ended up ordering the surecom 48-T1 cable set for my father ($9.90). i found a few places that sold the cable individually, but they were all based in asia and would take weeks to arrive. i had it sent to belmont, which would arrive on saturday, compared to cambridge, which wouldn't get here until monday. i've discovered a secret in amazon shipping where packages delivered to suburbs arrive days earlier.

for dinner i heated some spinach and cheese ravioli mixed with the remaining jar of tomato sauce. i didn't do any grocery shopping this week but i definitely need to go tomorrow, i'm all out of dinner options.

after the apple packages arrived, i was waiting for GC to return home with his friend. over the phone this morning he said they might come back as early as this afternoon, so i was anxious all day, cleaning up the house a bit for our guest. they ended up not coming home until after 10:30pm. i thought maybe they planned on staying out late in deference to my own late night schedule, but actually, his friend didn't arrive in boston until 8pm.

his friend - a classmate from their graduate school days in nanjing - is actually a few years older but only now finishing his PhD at umass amherst. when GC went to amherst last month, he actually stayed at his place. originally from chengdu, he had an overweight nerdish appearance, with a messy haircut that seemed self-inflicted. he spoke in a such a way that i couldn't quite understand what he was saying - using technical words and chinese names for things i only know in english. it makes me appreciate that when GC speaks to me he's actually using plain chinese, which i understand better. his friend pulled out a box of kleenex from his bag and spent the evening rubbing his nose due to a cold. you should've told me before i shook your diseased hand! (his handshake: soft and clammy). i found out they met at porter square and had japanese noodles for dinner at the porter exchange.

while we were chatting, i discovered GC's boss (whom he shares office with) already went back to alabama; this explains why GC has been going to work so late recently. even his friend remarked, "then why are you still here and not back in alabama?" i also asked his friend about chengdu, which he hasn't gone back in 2 years. apparently he's from the city itself, his old house in the city center (inside ring 1). he seemed critical of his hometown though, said people come for the history, but it doesn't have as much antiquity as some other cities like nanjing. he also said chengdu is a fairly new city, the natives depopulated due to war, and the people now there are all from elsewhere in sichuan. i told him how i visited western sichuan multiple times and he corrected me, said it's actually northwestern sichuan (doesn't sound like he's ever been there).

after the 11pm news, i excused myself and went to my room. GC's friend seems a little slow on the social niceties: i realized i wouldn't be seeing him again (leaving at 8am for the unofficial chilean embassy down at englewood avenue on the C train) and said my good byes and wished him luck doing post-doc work in chile.