my mother made some chicken rice noodle soup for lunch when i got to belmont. my parents were also trying out an air fryer french fries recipe using raw potatoes. the fries weren't bad, and i ended up eating the whole bowl.
my father had picked an assortment of jasmine flowers and left them on the dining table. they were so fragrant, it was like sitting next to an open jar of perfume. i went to the backyard and took a tour of the garden. the zucchini seedlings are all out, since i last saw them on tuesday. in my toothache plant pots i had a few seedlings, but they look like crabgrass, not toothache plants. climbing buttercup squashes on the western side of the yard are producing squashes. the dangers of having climbing squashes - besides dependent on a single central stalk and having to support the growing squash so they don't collapse under their weight - is that birds will also eat the young squash plants thinking they're some kind of delicious fruit. we've had a few immature squashes disappear, and the only thing that could've eaten them must've been large birds (crows most likely). i picked off some more black rot infected grape fruits and leaves. next year instead of serenade i'm going to spray with something slightly more toxic - like mancozeb - which is guaranteed to keep the black rot at bay. besides grapes, we really don't have anything else edible growing in that part of the yard, so a few fungicide applications won't get into our garden production.
the lotuses have been a disappointment. i would've thought by now i'd have some aerial leaves. but they're still only producing floating coin leaves. not only that, but in some of the lotuses new coin leaves have gotten smaller, like it's shrinking. the lotus barrel by the basement seems to be faring the worst. never mind that it was most recently attacked by a raccoon, which did little damage. it used to have the best coin leaves - big and green - but those eventually died and were replaced by less impressive and fewer coin leaves. are they not getting enough sun? i know lotuses like it hot. i've given them more space to grow this year, and each plant not only has its own dedicated basin but its own barrel as well. none of them are dying, so at least i have that going for them.
while outside we saw an adult rabbit behind RB1 and RB2. my father and i forced it to the western side of the yard. my father went around the house to open the western gate while i kept an eye on the rabbit to make sure it didn't try to run back into the yard. we gave chase but instead of running out the yard, it hid in the thickets of raspberries. we kept poking at the raspberry batch with sticks but there was no rabbit. maybe it left on its own without us seeing it? we kept the gate open but assumed the rabbit had gotten out. a short time later i gave the raspberries a closer look, and that's when the rabbit darted out and ran back into the yard, into the ornamental grasses. with the decent drought, the grasses aren't as full as they used to be, and a full-size rabbit would have a hard time hiding in it. i thrashed the grasses with a bamboo pole and the rabbit darted out towards the southeastern corner of the yard. my father opened the eastern gate and the both of us successfully drove the rabbit out of the yard. i still don't know how it got inside.
i set up the xiaomi mibox for my mother, who complained that i didn't tell her first i was getting a new device, since she's already used to the roku. i told her she could watch more shows using the mibox since it has a basic web browser. but my mother didn't like the way it navigated, and preferred the use of the wireless apple trackpad and the imac. i asked her to use the mibox for a few days and if she still doesn't like it, i'll take it back.
i brought the 500GB SSD drive and the hard drive bracket to be installed in the mid-2007 imac. my father and i worked on it together, following the steps in an ifixit guide. it took us about an hour just to replace the drive and put everything back. it took me another 15 minutes to install a fresh system on the drive. originally the imac seemed so solid, like there was no visible access points or screws to tell us how to take it apart. the first step was removing the glass faceplate. using two suction grips, we easily removed the glass panel, which was held in place simply by magnets.
once that was done, we removed a bunch of screws to allow us to release the aluminum faceplate of the imac. that took watching a few videos to figure out exactly what we were supposed to do. the faceplate wraps around the back of the computer right along the edges so there isn't any visible seperation lines. hard to explain, but it's kind of a cool design. with the faceplate removed, we had access to the lower guts of the imac. but to get to the rest of the guts, we had to remove the LCD screen. popping off the screen was no problem, but it was connected to the motherboard via a cable, and that cable didn't not want to be released, whether detaching from the motherboard or the screen itself. in the end my father volunteered to hold the screen while i continued to work to remove the haard drive.
there was also a lot of dust which we cleaned using a vacuum cleaner, a paint brush, and a can of pressurized air. the dust was mostly on the lower fan, the one above near the CD-ROM drive hardly had any dust. the heat sink around the CPU was also covered in dust, not a surprise the imac ran hot.
after the dust cleaning it was time to remove the hard drive. that part was actually pretty easy. even though they designed the imac so it wasn't very easy to open up (but also not very hard either), the hard drive was made so it simply lifted out with an easy click (after the power and data cables have been removed of course). i removed the brackets from the old drive and put it on the bracket of the SSD drive. originally i sort of regret getting the bracket since it wasn't necessary, but now it seems like a wise idea, it holds the SSD in plate so there's plenty of air circulation and there's zero chance of the drive every coming loose.
once that was in place, we simply removed all the steps to put the imac back together. it took a little while to boot up with the el capitan installer thumb drive. there was a slight panic when it couldn't see the drive to install the system on, until i remembered i had to format the drive first, since it comes completely blank. once that was formatted (took but a few seconds), the installer saw the new 500GB SSD drive just fine and began to install the OS. i took it was going to take longer because it took over an hour originally to install el capitan on this imac. but things run much faster on the SSD, and it took around 15 minutes before the imac was booting back up again.
i did a test where i restarted the imac to see how fast it'd boot up. it's not crazy fast but definitely faster than what it was before when it was using a regular 500GB HD, maybe 10 seconds to startup instead of about a minute. using the system itself, i didn't really notice much speed difference. it wasn't like browsers opened up faster, or windows opened and closed more readily. my mother said my 2nd aunt had been wondering about getting a computer, and my mother suggested my aunt should get an imac as well. not new, a used one would work just as well, and the cheaper the better. i went onto craig's list and found a bunch of listings. if you're willing to buy a 10+ year old imac (which works perfectly well for general web surfing and video streaming), you can easily score one for $200, maybe even less. there was a 27" imac for that price.
around 9:40pm i biked out to the john weeks footbridge to take another crack at spotting comet neowise. once more i had no luck. there were less clouds than 2 nights ago, but there were still enough low level clouds that cast a hazy glow to the sky, making comet spotting impossible. after about 25 minutes of futile gazing, i got on my bike and returned home.