i stopped by the cafe this morning to unload the chair i found last night out of my sister's car. it wasn't heavy, i was able to lift it myself and move it down into the basement for the time being. i then left for belmont, where various vehicles of the people working across the street crowded in front of my parents' place. our street has essentially become their work place. here's hoping for a speedy construction. there was a bowl of buttercup squash oatmeal waiting for me. the squash from our backyard, picked yesterday when we were cleaning up. about the size of a small grapefruit, it was so hard i didn't think it was edible, but it actually tasted pretty sweet once cooked.

today was a costco errand run. driving by alewife station, i noticed the large "ac moore coming soon" sign on an empty storefront at the fresh pond mall. so there's going to be an ac moore here as well! when ac moore disappeared from assembly square, i thought maybe business was bad for the franchise, but apparently i was wrong if they can be opening up 2 new stores. what's great is now my mother is within walking distance from both a michael's (porter square) and an ac moore (fresh pond mall).

before costco, we first made a detour to the medford OSJL where my mother wanted to get some more yarn, while my father and i went next door to harbor freight to get a 750W inverter ($32). we also checked out their selection of solar panels and controllers, and my father almost bought a 100W solar kit until i told him we should do some research first. we went to OSJL to find my mother and saw there was a special 20% off everything sale this week. my mother ended up getting nearly 30 skein of yarn and we left with $200 worth of stuff.

going to costco on a weekday afternoon is a tranquil event compared to visiting the place on a weekend. feeling hungry, we had a quick bite first at the costco cafe before doing some casual shopping. while my mother went to go use the bathroom, my father and i checked out. that's when my father discovered he was missing the credit card he'd used back at harbor freight. he has a habit of losing credit cards, and this is the second one he's lost this year, now he's only down to one. when i told my mother, she said we should go back to HF to check, but my father said not to bother. for our final stop we went to the super 88 in malden, to pick up some boba tapioca balls, but they didn't have any. when we left we passed by two girls outside chatting in sichuan dialect, something i could pick out right away.

we stopped by the cafe to unload the supplies before returning to belmont.

my father tried the new cen-tech 750W inverter. unlike the potek, it had a plastic casing instead of aluminum. unlike the potek, it was completely silent when operating. that was because it never got hot enough for the fan to run, compared to the potek where the very loud fan was always running even with a small load. we tried to force the cen-tech running off of the deep cycle marine battery to get hot enough to trigger the fan. first time was with a dyson vacuum cleaner, but apparently it used too much power (i'm guessing over 800W) which tripped the inverter safety alarm. we then tried a dremel drill running at nearly full power. the cen-tech did start to feel warmer, but still not enough to trigger the fan. we decided to leave it alone for the time being, since normally my father plans on running just the radio transceiver from the inverter, which doesn't require all that much power. if in fact the cen-tech is also broken (that the fan never runs), we can always return it, harbor freight products has a lifetime warranty. my father likes the cen-tech better because the plastic casing means he can leave it on top of the battery without worrying it might short-circuit.

my father tried the batteryMINDer which arrived today. he tried to charge his dead 0.5V battery but it wasn't surprising that the batteryMINDer didn't even recognize that battery. he then tried it on the marine battery, which did charge. different colored LED lights on the power plug indicated that besides charging, it was also desulfating the battery as well.

my parents bought a bottle of white zinfandel from OSJL which we poured into the sangria from yesterday. this new batch of zinfandel sangria tasted much better than sangria made with merlot, though it wasn't as sweet as much of the sugar had already been diluted. i only had a few sips, as i still had to ride home on the motorcycle after dinner. both my parents said it tasted much better now, more like the sangria we had at the brazilian restaurant.

i noticed it today when i saw that the old mid-2012 macbook pro wasn't charging even though it was plugged in. i thought there was something wrong with the outlet strip because i switched the adapter to a different outlet and the charging LED turned on. but when we got back from our errand run, i saw that the LED was turned off again, meaning it wasn't charging. what if the MBP still isn't fixed yet? i then tried charging it up a few more times, but each time the charge LED would light up but then blink off a few seconds later. eventually the LED wouldn't even light anymore. things didn't look good and i broke out in a cold nervous sweat.

after doing some research online, i tried jiggling the charging cable. jiggling it by the magsafe plug didn't do anything, but when i jiggled the cable by the brick adapter, the LED would blink on. so turns out it's the charger that's broken, not the laptop, which was a tremendous relief, as i don't think i could bare sending the MBP back a 4th time for repairs. simply fiddling around with the plug eventually caused it to actually break to the point where the frayed wires were exposed. though the laptop was charging, but my father suggested i should unplug it for now instead of risking a short circuit that could potentially fry the laptop. in the meantime i'd look for a used magsafe adapter on craig's list since a new one from apple costs $79.

after dinner i rode home. i brought back a 100W equivalent warm white LED light bulb we bought at costco today (4-pak for $4, subsidized by the utility company).1 i installed it in the guest bedroom, i've noticed the single 60W equivalent LED bulb isn't nearly enough to properly light the room. the 100W equivalent is actually slightly bigger in size, and i had to finesse the frosted glass shade to get the bulb to properly fit. the 100W equivalent bulb was dramatically brighter. the 100W is rated 1600 lumens at 17.5W, while the 60W is rated 800 lumens at 9.5W; so double the lumens but using slightly less power. the ceiling fixture can actually take two bulbs; imagine how bright it'd be if i used 2 100W equivalent bulbs! i'd need to install a dimmer switch to prevent guests from going blind.

i took a shower using the new yardley aloe & acovado soap i got from OSJL. it actually smells pretty nice, though the idea of washing with avocado seems a little strange. i don't know if avocados or aloe have a distinctive smell, always considered them kind of odorless. the soap itself just has a pleasant perfumy fragrance. what's next though, bacon fat soap? i do remember seeing OSJL carrying some dove brand fig soap a while back (packaged with arabic writing), i was always curious what washing with figs might smell like, but never got the chance.

on craig's list i found a seller located in the south end selling a magsafe L-type charger for $25 including the extension cable. i sent the person an e-mail at 7:40pm but didn't hear back. chargers also sell on ebay for $25, but they don't seem to be genuine. i've bought knockoff apple chargers before, it's not worth it, better to get a genuine apple charger.

i went online searching for ways to repair a broken apple magsafe charger. apparently it's very doable, the hardest part is just opening the adapter, which seems to be glued shut during assembly. second hardest part is soldering the new wires, and i've only had rudimentary practice at that, though i could get my father to do it. a new replacement magsafe cable doesn't cost that much, just $10. i ended up buying one, arriving on wednesday. i figured even if i do get a replacement charger from craig's list, it'd be nice to have a backup charger.

i tried my luck at opening the apple charger and was successful, despite my poor record of destroying electronics whenever i try to take them apart (cases in point: my old panasonic SZ20 camera, the audio cable bracket on my old MBP motherboard). i first pried open the case at the wing clips using a pair of needle nose pliers, the corners opening with a satisfying crack. then i slowly worked apart the rest of the case by hand, making sure to be forceful yet gentle, to not accidentally break anything. not only were the two halves of the case glued together, but there was also some kind of dried putty glue inside the case itself. bottomline: it wasn't designed to be opened. there's actually a way to fix the adapter without a replacement cable, just some creative splicing and shrink wrapping and soldering, though the charger will probably be more durable with a brand new replacement cord.

1 we actually got several boxes of barely used 100W equivalent LED bulbs from mr.huang, but they were all cool white (bluish tint) and i prefer a warm white.