t
o
n
y
a
n
g
'
s
 
w
e
b
l
o
g


www.flickr.com
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus pharetra sed ligula a pellentesque. Cras nec orci in ex tincidunt condimentum. Nunc non sem ac orci fringilla facilisis sit amet at diam. Mauris fermentum in ex vel mattis. Quisque hendrerit volutpat magna, sit amet consectetur dolor consequat quis. Maecenas auctor laoreet tempor. Pellentesque fermentum, libero nec auctor pulvinar, lectus odio euismod diam, id facilisis turpis felis suscipit ex. Sed condimentum mi dui, id molestie quam venenatis a. Suspendisse at orci non felis hendrerit rhoncus. Donec volutpat odio non dui maximus faucibus. Mauris gravida in neque vitae commodo. Praesent iaculis, felis at faucibus molestie, sapien diam vestibulum leo, id ultricies tortor ante in augue. Etiam in arcu sit amet enim iaculis tincidunt.

Curabitur ornare pulvinar odio, in faucibus mi facilisis non. Fusce semper nisi non nisl sagittis, nec suscipit felis facilisis. Cras suscipit enim leo, quis aliquam orci lacinia sodales. Praesent dapibus, tellus vel posuere viverra, nulla odio laoreet arcu, quis suscipit augue nunc nec orci. Aliquam mi risus, posuere a pharetra eget, venenatis ut ante. Fusce a egestas turpis, quis dignissim mauris. Vestibulum in laoreet velit, quis molestie erat.

Cras ut augue vitae tellus porta dictum vel congue dui. Nam bibendum sodales rutrum. Integer tellus magna, convallis quis lobortis eget, porta pulvinar eros. Vivamus at facilisis urna, at euismod nisl. Maecenas molestie, mauris sed finibus mollis, tellus quam dignissim enim, vel convallis nibh metus sed dolor. Mauris hendrerit ligula a vestibulum porta. Etiam ut placerat ante. Duis iaculis augue velit, ac gravida enim sodales et. Suspendisse in sem sit amet leo porttitor lacinia. Suspendisse et purus vel nisi ornare placerat nec molestie ipsum. Ut quam arcu, egestas rhoncus massa nec, hendrerit blandit ante. Nullam at nulla tellus. Nulla malesuada est nec nunc ultricies pulvinar. Etiam tempor, risus imperdiet porta interdum, tortor nisl placerat enim, non consectetur nulla dui eu tellus. Nulla tempus arcu eu augue viverra, sed lacinia eros pellentesque.

i spent the afternoon in belmont, with not much going on. there was a football game (on the NFL network, which my parents get on their verizon FIOS) between the eagles and the redskins, with washington pulling ahead to put philadelphia on the precipice of missing the playoffs this season. i managed to get my htc re camera working one more time to demonstrate to my parents how cool it was (even if i will probably return it at some point).

i got a oneplus one invitation! unfortunately i already got an OPO, and based on my experience, i'm not so quick to recommend it. it's a good phone, but the company that makes it has some shady business practice. like erasing negative comments from their forums. or not taking responsibility for poor quality control, like the yellow LCD issue (which i have, but it doesn't bother me that much). also the invitation is weird, there's sort of this pressure tactic, where you just have 24 hours to activate it, and once activated, you have just 24 hours to buy a phone otherwise the invitation expires completely.

in the evening - on the advice of my sister - we went to sabzi a persian restaurant in arlington. 4 please. do you have a reservation? are we supposed to have a reservation? yes, usually. but we were there early enough that they still managed to seat us among the various empty tables. i never had persian food before, but figured it was some variety of middle eastern. the kabobs caught my eye and i ordered the persepolis, with 2 skewered meat variety i couldn't read but thought i'd give it a try. my sister got appetizers: a persian salad that was cold enough to make my teeth hurt and sour enough to churn my stomach; and an eggplant dip with hints of mint that tasted like sweet mashed baby food (i couldn't taste the eggplant).

the pervasive flavor was sour, with a mild sweetness a close second. when my order came, i realized i ordered some sort of beef and some sort of chicken. they were cooked tender, but kind of bland. the chicken had a very mild sauce if any, and i covered it with lime juice and pepper and this unidentified crush spice from the table (like sweet sanza crumbs) just to make it more flavorful. the beef was disappointing. it looked like a very unappetizing ground beef sausage. the flavor was unusually sweet and artificial, brought back memories of frozen tv dinner salisbury steak (for which i grew up on).

the bill came out to be $90: at that price we could've gone a little further down the street and gotten some blue ribbon barbecue takeout for much less but more delicious.

once we returned to belmont, i packed up my things and left for cambridge. i'm riding the smaller trek bike today since my regular bike is currently on hiatus until i can replace the rear brake arms. the good thing about this other trek bike are the bigger mountain bike wheels which can better ride over all the gravel and road debris.

rest of the evening i was watching the chargers vs. 49ers game on CBS. it turned out to be a pretty good game, with san diego in the fight for a playoff spot and san francisco trying to be the spoiler. chargers came all the way back from a significant deficit to tie the game and take it into overtime, which they then won by a kick. the best play of the game though was when the 49er quarterback ran the ball for a 90 yard touchdown.

with my OPO phone still connected to my htc re camera last night, i set it up in the living room window to shoot a 10 hrs time-lapse movie of the sunrise as seen from the street. the battery on the re only lasts 1:30, so i rigged up a base and attached it to a portable battery pack. i was so afraid of losing the camera that i kept my connection to it the entire night while i slept.

in the morning i checked what i had. i used the phone to stop the camera from shooting. the problem of where i live is i can't get a clear view of the sky, so there was only a quick snippet of moving clouds during the sunrise.

wangyan texted me on qq this morning. last time we chatted, she said her 6" oppo phone was stolen from her jacket by a pickpocket. she ended up getting an iphone 5s as a replacement, despite downgrading to just a 4" display. she used audio text chatting and spoke to me only in english, as a sort of language practice. she sent me a photo of the view from her office.

i met lisa for lunch at the pho house on mass ave. this used to be a thai restaurant called tamarind house. it was my first visit since the change, but apparently lisa had been here a few times already. the closest vietnamese restaurant i go to is actually pho 'n rice on beacon street. i ordered a large pho with various cuts of mystery beef. it was okay, the noodles were stuck together though. lisa had the vietnamese crepe. the waiter made it a joke as to whether or not we wanted forks or chopsticks (this is profiling! he should've just given us the chopsticks, regardless if we wanted them or not). lisa was gracious enough to treat. by the time we left around 1:00, the place suddenly got really crowded.

i was to rendezvous with lisa back at her house. it'd been so long i'd forgotten the address, and even after she told me, i still got a little lost on my bike. i was here to help her assemble a standing desk (uplift 900). she'd already pieced together the heavy legs, and was about to drill the holes into the wooden desktop for the screws (the oak desktop she got separately). it took me a while to realize that the legs were actually automated. once we screwed on the legs, mounted the control box and connected all the wires, we turned over the table right side up. that's when it transformed from a low table top to something about 50" tall! a transformer table!

later lisa showed me all the renovation work she'd done in her house, from her lightly remodeled kitchen to her upstairs, which had been completely gutted with a new roof, skylight, and an amazingly gorgeous new bathroom good enough to live in.

back at home, naturally i couldn't reconnect my phone to the htc re camera again. i wanted to try and shoot a sunset time-lapse video. so instead i used my two smartphones. unfortunately there wasn't much of a sunset, and the sky just went from light to dark without much fanfare.

for dinner i finished the rest of my no-knead bread with a garlic-salt-olive oil dipping sauce. i ate while watching episodes of fargo. yangfan started chatting with me. she told me her job was okay, a little low paying, but stable. even though she thought the company was going to go bankrupt at one point, they're about to move to a new office space.

later i chatted with sunmeng. she went with her mother to a birthday luncheon of a family friend. the food wasn't all that good, despite the fact that they gifted the host with RMB$1000.

by some miracle i got the phone to reconnect with the re camera. i set up another time-lapse video to shoot the living room in the evening, but after 1:30 the camera ran out of battery and stopped filming. also a new version of the re camera app became available on google play. after i installed it i was hoping it fixed the connection problem but i couldn't reconnect to the camera again.

before the openplus one phone is ready for the world, first it must have a protective layer of plastic to keep the screen from getting scratched. but doesn't it have gorilla glass? that's all well and good, until you somehow manage to scratch it and then you wish you had that layer of protection! to be honest, i have a terrible time applying those screen protectors. i always get dust and air bubbles on them, no matter what i do. in fact in china there's a cottage industry of experts who you can pay to put on screen protectors for you. they actually do this by custom cutting a protector using an x-acto knife, it's a pretty amazing thing to see. so it was with some hesitation that i went about putting on the protector for the OPO. i made sure i was working at the sunniest part of the house (kitchen table), so i examine the surface of the phone and make sure there was no dust. i followed the steps including one step i never tried before: taping the positioned protector to the phone before applying it. that actually makes it easier in leveling the protector once it goes on. i did a pretty amazing job, and even a spot in the corner where i had a bit of dust, i removed it with the dust removing sticker.

for lunch i ate some of the bread i made yesterday with a butter spread. it was old butter so it had a bit of fridge taste to it.

around 1:00 i biked down to the galleria mall, to exchange my htc re camera for a new one. i haven't been down to east cambridge in a long time, and was surprised by some new office buildings. i wouldn't mind working in the kendall square area again, it'd be an easy commute for one thing. the exchange was effortless, that's one of the perks of dealing with a big box store like best buy. i was briefly tempted to go inside the mall (which i haven't visited in a long time as well) but there was nothing else i wanted to get. besides, it's been a few years since the border bookstore disappeared, so i have even less reason to visit the galleria.

back at home, i pulled my bike into the backyard to adjust the rear brake. i noticed it wasn't catching anymore, figured it was a simple matter of adjusting the tension on the cable. turns out the tension spring in the left v-brake brake arm had snapped at some point, so it would never spring back to its original position. i tried looking for spare parts in the house but didn't find any, nor did any of the old bikes in my basement use mountain bike style v-brakes. i thought about going to the somerville bike works to buy a brand new set, but decided to order it online (cheaper) since i wasn't in any hurry because i had a fleet of other bikes i could use. i pulled out the other trek MTB and stashed my regular bike in the basement.

i tried connecting my OPO with the new HTC re camera. to my surprise it connected! but after playing with it for a little bit, it lost the connection, and i wasn't able to reconnect with it no matter what i tried. i really want to love the HTC re camera but it's really making it hard with an app that doesn't work!

for dinner i had more bread, this time with an olive oil-garlic-salt dipping sauce. really quite delicious and filling! paired that with a mug of apple cider, some clementine oranges, and some defrosted cream puffs.

it was finally cold enough today for me to turn on the thermostat. at 6:00 i turned it up from 60° to 68°. after it finished heating up the house, here's what i got for temperatures: bionaire electric space heater BCH3620 68°, acu-rite 66°, brookstone desktop clock 67°, timex travel clock 68°, infrared thermometer measured area around the thermostat 68°, and finally the nest thermostat itself read 69°. so it's really all over the place, but within a degree or two of each other, not enough to make me want to return it again. i can live within this margin of error.

i kept trying to connect to the HTC re camera. the OPO can see it, but it just won't connect. but finally, through some miracle, i did get it to connect one more time. the trick? turn off both the bluetooth and wifi. the re uses bluetooth to make the initial connection, but afterwards it creates a private wifi network to communicate between the phone and the camera. i noticed it the first time i connected, that my wifi got turned off. it's currently filming a 1:30 time lapse movie (which will create just an 18 second clip)...

i'd only just returned my old nest thermostat to amazon late monday, so imagine my surprise when the replacement nest thermostat arrived this morning - in less than 48 hours! installation was simple since i'd already done it before. i waited for the thermostat to cool down first though (it must've been very warm in the delivery van, thermostat read to° when it's in the low 60's in my house), even going as far as putting it in the refrigerator to make it cool faster.

i turned the electricity back on downstairs and plugged the thermostat into the backplate. after setting everything up, i checked the thermostat temperature: a respectable 61°, which matches the temperatures i have in my various thermometers by within 1° difference. only time will tell how accurate the thermostat is compared to actual room temperature.

i got confused: i thought i was supposed to help lisa assemble her new desk, but when i reread her e-mail, it said the parts wouldn't arrive until tomorrow. so i went ahead and had some oatmeal for lunch.

around 2:00pm i removed the fermenting dough from top of my refrigerator and folded it up into a ball to let it rise before baking. i was going to bring the finished bread to my parents' place but i didn't have enough time, so i left it to rise (back on the refrigerator) while i made my way to belmont.

i left around 3:30, which meant i'd see the start of sunset. midway, i actually stopped at a park to check out the colorful clouds forming in the sky. this gave me a chance to try out the 13MP camera on the oneplus one. from the 5.5" screen the images seemed pretty clear. the lens on the OPO also seems to be very wide, not sure what the angle of view is. because of the overexposure from the bright sky, i used the HDR function.

my parents were making chinese dumplings tonight, with fresh dill leaves as the secret ingredient. before dinner, my mother was busy knitting a children version of an earlier hat she'd made with leftover yarn that a customer wanted.

i got home by 8:00, preheat the stove with the dutch oven to 450°F for half an hour before dropping in the risen dough. it had puffed up considerably since this afternoon. normally the rise is only supposed to be 2 hours, but i had it at 6 hours. i baked it cover for 30 minutes, then took off the cover and baked for another 20 minutes.

the bread came out okay, not as puffy as i'd like, but i think that might have something to do with old yeast. at least i compensated by having longer ferment/rise periods. i also didn't add enough salt, the bread was a little bland.

it was warm enough outside that i didn't turn up the heat, leaving it at 60°. so now sure yet how the new nest thermostat operated under heating conditions.

finally, i started watching fargo, the series. saw some good reviews, plus my friend alex had already seen it, figured i'd give it a go.

* played around some more with the oneplus one phone * mother told me she sold 7 hats today, went home early to continue knitting more * went to market basket around 3:00 for some groceries (including a gallon of fresh apple cider) * upstairs neighbors put a christmas wreath on my door without asking first * amazon informed me my new nest thermostat arriving tomorrow * didn't turn on heat tonight because wearing norwegian wool thermal underwear pants * making some no knead bread * prosciutto cheese ravioli with spinach pasta sauce

around 6:00 i felt like making some no knead bread so i went into the kitchen to whip up some bread dough: 3 cups of bread flour, 3/4 tsp of kosher salt, 1/2 tsp of yeast, and 1-3/4 cups of lukewarm water. recipe only called for 1/4 tsp of yeast but the yeast i have in the fridge is old so i decided to double the portion. and the recipe asked for 3/4 tbsp of salt but i misread the instruction and only added 3/4 tsp. finally, recipe said only 1-1/2 cups of water, but the dough looked awfully dry so i added another 1/4 cup of water. after i mixed everything, i covered it up with plastic wrap and put it on top of my fridge (the warmest spot in the house at around 68°F) to ferment.

i started working on replacing and upgrading my thermostat wire at 10:30 this morning and didn't finish until 2:00.

step 1. pulling out all the old fasteners for the old thermostat wire: not sure when the wire itself was installed. the old honeywell thermostat was from 1998, but the wire and fasteners seem to be a bit older. i used a large pair of pliers for the grunt work, and a smaller needle-nosed pliers to pry out some stubborn fasteners.

step 2. pull up the new thermostat wire: with the old thermostat wire now free, i attached the new wire onto the old wire with some electrical tape. the trick is by pulling up the old wire, i can piggyback the new wire as well. but when i went upstairs and pulled, it seemed like i was pulling for far too long without seeing the new wire. so i went back down into the basement and saw that there wasn't much left of the old wire, that i'd pulled most of it upstairs. i pulled the old wire down again (making sure not to yank it out completely) and reattached the new wire. on my second try i finally managed to pull up the new wire, the electrical tape in tatters from getting caught on something inside the wall.

step 3. strip the new thermostat cable: i'm not an expert at wire stripping and my greatest fear was accidentally cutting the wires themselves. i first removed the outer sheath, revealing 5 color wires on the inside. i gently cut the outer sheath of the color wires, shearing off the protective covering with a simple flick afterwards. it actually wasn't all that hard and kind of fun, i could strip wires all day!

step 4. plug hole in the wall: i used a crumpled up piece of brown paper bag.

step 5. reattach nest baseplate and attach wires: with wires properly stripped, i screwed the baseplate back onto the wall and attached the wires to their respective slots. W and R are for the heater, C is the common (the whole reason why i'm switching out the wires to begin with), and G is for the fan. i didn't attach the Y because it's for switching on an A/C unit which i don't have.

step 6. secure the new thermostat wire: back downstairs, i attached the new thermostat wire to the wooden beams of the basement ceiling with new staple fasteners. i didn't want to cut the 50 ft wire to length because i didn't know how long i needed, so when the wire had to go through or over pipes and other wires, i had to pull all 50 ft of wire.

step 7. strip the other end of the thermostat cable and install: since i already practiced upstairs, stripping this end of the cable was easier this time around, after first cutting the wire to the proper length. installing it into the circuit board of the furnace was easy too. there's actually a slot for a Y cooling wire, but like i said, since i don't have an A/C unit, it's pointless to attach it, so i left it loose.

step 8. turn on the thermostat to test: i attached the nest thermostat to the baseplate and tested out the new wiring. the thermostat recognized the new wiring configuration and asked me to verify the change. because i now have a fan wire, i can turn on the furnace fan by itself without activating the heat. i checked the technical info and confirmed that thanks to the new common wire the lin now has 100mA (instead of 20mA when it was power sharing). unfortunately, the common wire didn't seem to fix the high temperature issue. i decided to wait, but after half an hour the thermostat was still reading at least 2 degrees higher than actual temperature. well, actually, the thermostat temperature readings are very accurate, because the thermostat itself was heating up a few degrees higher than the surrounding, thereby skewing its temperature reading.

i took a break to eat some lunch (some leftover pork and rice my mother gave me from last friday and some sichuan paocai) before finally deciding to call nest technical support to ask them what was up. the guy i was with on the phone had some problems hearing me, and he didn't seem to be all that knowledgeable anyway. when he heard my problem, his solution was to just return the unit (to amazon) and get a replacement. i thought i'd have to send it back to nest but they only do that once the return grace period is over and then everything falls under their 2 year warranty.

fortunately amazon has a great return policy. the only catch was i had to reinstall my old honeywell thermostat. i went downstairs to turn off the power before removing the nest. back went the old honeywell: may not have any frills but at least i know it's reliable. i packaged up the nest (fortunately i was good about keeping all the original packaging, for fear of having to return it), threw it into a box, printed out the mailing slip, and sealed everything up.

the mailman was supposed to delivery my oneplus one phone, but he didn't knock on my door when he came by to drop off some letters at my house. i was going out to drop off the returning nest, but i tracked down the mailman and asked him if he had a package for me. "yes!" he said, and pulled a package from his van, which i signed for. this saved me from having to go down to the post office and ask them about my shipment. i went to the UPS store on mass ave to drop off the amazon return, then biked to belmont for dinner, with my unopened oneplus one in my bag.

i was imagining the oneplus one (OPO) arriving in a box, but it was just a shipping envelope. however, the box was inside. 2 boxes actually, one for the phone, and one for the charger. there was also a screen protector i'd purchased as well. the packaging the phone came in was a sealed cardboard box with a ripcord you'd pull to open it. inside, another box (white), which contained yet another box (red) which slid out. impressive packaging, although a bit wasteful.

the OPO wasn't as big as i'd imagined. at 5.5" it's bigger than my 5" phone, but it seems smaller because it's actually much thinner. i turned on the phone which still had more than 40% battery life. OPO runs cyanogenmod, which feels a lot like android's stock OS, just with a lot more customization. looking at phone, i realized i was unlucky enough to receive an OPO that had a slight yellow tint at the bottom of the screen. it doesn't bother me too much, it's only really noticeable when i pull up a webpage that uses a lot of white. the back has a nice sandpaper like finish. the phone had that new gadget smell. i was curious about the camera performance. photos seem very bright and sharp, but i think that has more to do with the larger and higher resolution screen. the gps seems to be very responsive, finding my position right away on google map (but this may also be just a functionality of the OS; compared this with my V975, which 99% of the time can't pinpoint my location).

after dinner i quickly hurried home so i could play with my new phone.

it's ironic i got a GSM phone when i can't even use it because verizon is my carrier. i'm actually under a family plan with my parents and sister and aunt. there was a time when we were no longer under contract, but my sister in her infinite wisdom mucked everything up when she decided to upgrade her blackberry to an iphone and signed a 2 year contract. that wouldn't be a big deal except her phone broke at one point so she signed another 2 year contract using my mother's name for a new iphone, and then last year she lost her iphone and used my aunt's name to sign another 2 year contract for yet another iphone (but she eventually found her lost phone). we may have to wait at least another year before we can switch to either AT&T or t-mobile, and the account is under my sister's name, but she doesn't want to switch because verizon has the best nationwide coverage (and the most expensive).

first thing i did when i got home was to test and see if the OPO worked with the HTC Re camera. the app was able to see the camera at least, but couldn't establish a connection after that point. so i have no choice but to return it, or maybe try to get an exchange if they can do that. i really like the camera, i just wish it'd work with my phones/tablets!

cyanogenmod's launcher - trebuchet - seemed a little boring, so i installed the google now launcher (GNL). i didn't have to jump through hoops like i did when i installed GNL on my hisense sero 7 pro or the teclast P89 G3. once i downloaded GNL, the OS gave me the option to choose which launcher i wanted to use as my default. the only real good reason to use GNL is the voice activated searching.

5.5in screen means less eye strain. i'm not actually getting anymore information on the screen, it's more like everything is scaled slightly larger. in a perfect world, maybe i would've gone with a 5in screen if they had that option.

the thing with OPO and cyanogenmod and GNL is that they're nothing new, i've already played with a lot of the features when i upgraded my sero 7 pro tablet to android 4.4.2. just that now i'm playing with it in a smaller but more portable size. my V975 phone is still on 4.2 and there doesn't seem to be anymore upgrade hopes for that device.

i decided to go back to the cyanogenmod trebuchet launcher, just to see if there was anything else i could play with. what i didn't realize this before, but there's a whole suite of customization options hidden on the wallpapers-widgets-themes panel. things like hiding the search bar, changing the scroll effects, removing icon labels, adjusting the grid layout, altering the icon size, etc. that's when i fell in love with cyanogenmod. and i couldn't believe that this was a free android distribution! it's so polished and functional, i'm really surprise it isn't already a part of google. once you've experienced cyanogen, you'll never want to go back to plain vanilla stock android ever again.

OPO has other fun things as well: in the built-in camera app, i can make the power button into a shutter button. unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way to turn off the shutter sound, but it's an easy fix (just turn off the volume). speaking of the camera, it can also be activated when the phone is off by drawing a circle gesture on the screen. likewise, making a v-shape turns on the flashlight; photos are geotagged, not sure how i feel about that. cool when i'm out and about, but not so cool for strangers to find out where i live; the cyanogenmod camera app is très cool, but that doesn't mean i'm giving up the google camera. for one thing, the CM camera doesn't do panoramas as well as the google camera. google camera also has neat camera tricks like photo spheres; the OS comes with 2 themes (stock android and cyanogenmod), with the option to add more except none of them are free (is this a oneplus store?); customization options on CM is pretty sweet. i can pretty much tweak everything to my heart's content; the order of the physical navigation buttons on the OPO is reversed to what i'm used to - prefs-home-return - instead of return-home-prefs. i thought this would mess me up but i hardly even notice. besides, if it really bugs me, i can deactivate the physical buttons and enable on-screen buttons instead - in which case i can rearrange the navigation buttons in whichever order i want.

it was weird being back on a manual thermostat. i do miss the ability to adjust the temperature and to check my detailed heating history. i also had the nest thermostat long enough that it already learned my routine and was adjusting the temperature on its own. i really hope the replacement nest will work, but even if it doesn't, if it's off by just 2 degrees, i think i can live with it just for the convenience of having a wifi-enabled self-adjusting smart thermostat.

* installed the rear bike light bracket with the screws and nuts i purchased yesterday, discovered that the wire braces of my rear basket had come undone * patriots overrun the dolphins after a slow first half * a check of my oneplus one package revealed it's already at the cambridge post office, waiting to be delivered tomorrow * SM tells me she already found a new job starting in march, working for korean conglomerate SK group at the free trade zone district of greater chongqing city

i rode my bike down to boston for my dental follow-up appointment. it was cold enough that i wore my puffy winter jacket with a hooded sweatshirt on the inside. once i was within the city limit, i noticed the increased police presence everywhere. it must be in anticipation of some kind of weekend protest event, but i didn't notice anything. even in the sky, there were several helicopters buzzing overhead. when i got to lincoln street, a crowd of cops were crowding around the entrance to the underground expressway.

there was two receptionists at the oral surgeon office, the pretty blonde who's usually there, and an asian girl. a nurse whom i've never seen before brought me to an examination room. i was there to just my stitches taken out. the collagen layer had already fallen out (the dentist warned me about that), first in little hard crumbs, then finally a large soft glob that completely dislodged on thursday. doctor chan easily removed the stitches in one long painful pull. "all set!" he told me. i asked if i could go back to my regular diet. "stay away from carbonated drinks for another week," he said. he also told me to come back in 4 months to check on the progress of the bone implant.

i went to the chinese supermarket across the street before going home. the strap to my cambodian-purchased north face knockoff bag finally broke. i'm just glad it didn't happen while i was riding, even though there was nothing in the bag. fortunately i could put everything into the rear racks of my bike, although i made sure to pad some of the vegetables with my hooded sweatshirt.

to get from chinatown to across the longfellow bridge involved a detour that took me over beacon hill. i noticed the police presence again, but in front of the state house things were pretty quiet, and across boston common i could see people casually ice skating on frog pond. were the police just being caution just in case?

back at home, i took a few minutes to cool down, before grabbing my things and headed out to belmont on the bike. that was 4.5 miles into boston, and then 4.5 miles back, followed by another 3 miles to belmont (carrying a heavy backpack by that point), for a total of 12 exhausting miles. as soon as i got in the house, my mother told me they lost power.

i tried calling belmont electricity a few times, but just got an earful of muzak. i knew the blackout was pretty widespread because all the wifi networks in the area were missing when i pulled down the network services menu on my phone. my mother was knitting in the living room, reading instructions from some patterns she managed to print out. my father was in the bedroom reading on his phone. i was looking over the video i shot with the HTC re camera of my bike trip back from boston. later i helped my mother empty out the jar of sichuan paocai i gave her on thursday.

what a relief when the power finally came back on an 1:30 later.

out of curiosity, i logged into the oneplus website to check the status of my phone order. i was surprised to see it had already shipped, from california no less, the city of industry. weren't they supposed to contact me when this happened? i wasn't too disappointed though, since it meant the phone would be arriving soon.

later i found out on the news that there was a protest in boston today. demonstrators tried to get onto the expressways in order to block traffic but they were stopped by the police. i'm not sure if the protesters are enduring people to their cause with these civil disobedience acts. even though they didn't manage to get onto the highways, the fact that they blocked the exit ramps caused lengthy traffic jams coming in and out of the city.

after some turkey rice noodle soup for dinner (coupled with some sichuan paocai), my father and i went down to the watertown home depot to look for parts: i was searching for some nuts and screws to attach my rear light bracket, my father was looking for faucet connector hoses. he also bought some new fluorescent tube bulbs for the cafe.

back at home i tried to find a suitable ROM for the teclast P89 G3 8-core tablet pc + phone i bought in china. unfortunately it's not very popular, and i was only able to find one ROM. the tablet itself has some pretty amazing specs, but there's something wrong with the OS that prevents google services from working correctly. i may try rooting it first, that make fix the problem without having to reinstall a new ROM.

i was down in the basement investigating how my old thermostat cable is connected from the thermostat on the first floor down into the furnace. i noticed on the control board of the furnace that there are actual additional connectors for Y2, G, and C cables. if i go ahead and upgrade my thermostat cable to 5 cables instead of the current 2 cables, that means i'll be able to take advantage of these extra connections. i think at the very least i can switch on the furnace fan without turning on the heat, kind of like a poor man's central air conditioning during the summer months.

i was going to ride my bike up to the somerville home depot, but my mother wanted to get more yarn from ac moore so she could give me a ride in the afternoon after work. she brought along my 2nd aunt as well so we could individually use a 50%-off-one-item coupon.

i went to home depot first, my mother and aunt waiting in the car. i was going to buy some nuts for my bike light bracket but i forgot to bring the screw for a fitting. a package of 50ft 18/5 thermostat cable was $21.58, more expensive than the $15 price i saw online (later i checked, the online price was a web exclusive, but the item wouldn't be available until the end of the month). i also got a 100pak package of wire staples for $2.91

after a yarn run at ac moore, we went next door to the christmas tree shop to do some browsing. they still had those bormioli rocco fido jars, but fewer selection and placed on a high shelf in order to make way for holiday items.

as my gum is still healing from the tooth extraction, my dentist told me i couldn't drink anything carbonated. that even rules out seltzer water, my usual favorite if i want something cold and refreshing. i ended up going to star market and buying a carton of almond milk on sale ($2.99). i've never had almond milk before, it's actually not too bad. i drank that while having the rest of my leftover fried chicken for dinner.

i finally finished the hollow book i'm giving my sister as a belated birthday present. i was very careful with the cutting, going through a total of 4 x-acto knife blades. i also starting cutting from the back as soon as i reached the midway point of the book, so it'd finally meet in the center. it took me just little over an hour to cut through final half the book, so i wonder why it took me so long to get through the first half? i glue-sealed the inside of the pages and attached it to the back cover of the book.