i never set foot outside the house today, figuring it'd rain at any moment. however, the big rain event didn't happen until in the middle of the night, when all the channels had emergency broadcast messages scrolling at the bottom of the screen, and i even received a message from the emergency broadcast system on my phone (with a corresponding alarm sound i've never even heard before) about potential flash floods.

this weekend i'm heading down to new york to go hiking with john in the mohonk preserve again. this time we're going to try bonticou crag and the nearby table rocks. i'm leaving tomorrow morning, arriving in new york city by the early afternoon, where i will do exploration before heading to john's place in brooklyn for the evening. we're driving up to new paltz early sunday morning, do a day of hiking (temperature range sunny and windy 40-55°F). returning to new york city in the evening, i booked a 11:30pm megabus back to boston around 3:40am. the only problem i see is it'll be raining in new york during the day, so i'll need to find creative ways to stay dry.

going to new york this weekend means i'm going to miss the cambridge superhero 5k run and the head of the charles. had i done more planning, i could've left boston a bit later (like in the afternoon) and would've had a chance to see a bit of the rowing event, but i've watched it plenty of times already. besides, this weekend's boston forecast doesn't look so good either, rainy on saturday, windy on sunday. next weekend there's the halloween run in boston so i'll still get a chance to shoot some costumed folks.

for lunch i ate a greek yogurt, a leftover macintosh apple, and half a moon cake. for dinner i reheated some leftover risotto and finished the last of my honey crisp apple.

i don't know what was the official rainfall amount in cambridge. with massachusetts still in a drought, the torrential downpour was exhilarating to watch until it started to look scary and streets became rivers. this is the worst i've seen though. i remember one time it rained so much, the sewers overflowed and water was actually rushing out from the manholes.

i didn't start packing until around midnight. there's not that much to bring for a weekend hiking trip. fortunately i made a list of what i brought the last time, so i had that as a reference. this time around: spare pair of underwear, thermal wool underwear, spare t-shirt, spare pair of socks, canon 60D with 18-200mm lens, 10-22mm wide-angle lens, 28mm lens (for night photography), fuji 3D camera, SJCAM SJ4000 with alligator click attachment (for backpack strap) and window attachment (for windshield videos), bag of snickers, bag of pecan, bag of toiletries, umbrella (it's going to be rainy tomorrow) and my quick-dry towel. i'm not bringing my mug because whatever hot beverage i have will turn cold after a few hours, so i'm just going to buy a few bottled water instead. i'm wearing my waterproof merrell moab hiking shoes along with my columbia water-resistant pants.




i was at rite aid this afternoon, stocking up on halloween candy. 10.5 oz. of "fun size" chocolates were selling at $2 per bag (must buy 4), when they normally sell for $4.49 when not on sale. i got 2 bags of twix, a bag of snickers, and a bag of milky ways. out of all those candy, snickers are my least favorite because i don't like peanuts in my chocolate. i consider them an inferior cheap nut compared to others like hazelnut or almonds. but when you've been hiking all day and super hungry, snickers are the most delicious candy ever.

i swung by the gas station at mass-walden to fuel up the motorcycle before arriving in belmont. because it would rain later tonight, i took the opportunity to mow the lawn beforehand. my father had brought home a fresh can of gasoline yesterday. besides mowing, i also dug out any weeds i saw. while uprooting a dried weed i managed to get clumps of annoying seeds all over my clothes and gloves. i spent the rest of the day trying to get them off. my father came home and mowed the backyard while i moved things out of the way, picked up any dog droppings, and did some more weeding.

my mother came home with my sister. she brought a bag of pastries my 2nd aunt had bought from chinatown. i ate a large bread dough flavored with fluffy meat floss. i showed my mother more videos by maangchi, the korean youtube chef with some awesome korean food recipes. we learned how to make korean rice cakes and ddeokbokki (spicy rice cake 떡볶이). for dinner my father cooked a large batch of fried peking raviolis.

after i returned home i took a shower then later went outside to cover up in the bike in anticipation of the rain that would be falling soon. i spent the rest of the night watching thursday night football between the packers and the bears (green bay won).

i made my way to belmont in the afternoon to apply the 2nd and final coat of paint on the window wall. it took just 30 minutes, from initial setup to final cleaning, including removing the blue tape around the window frame. the temperature today actually hit the lower 80's, the hot weather we were supposed to get yesterday but didn't because of the ocean fog. tomorrow the temperature is supposed to drop by 20 degrees.

after dinner i returned to cambridge and prepared to watch the 3rd presidential debate between trump and clinton.

2 packages arrived for me in the mail: a set of miniature aluminum heat sinks for the raspberry pi (99¢, purchased 10/5, arrived from hong kong) and a pair of micro USB OTG adapters (99¢, purchased 9/30, from hong kong as well). i tried out the micro OTB adapter, swapping out the OTG cable. it worked flawlessly, fit on the pi zero just right, with just enough clearance from the nearby USB power cable. one thing i did notice however is now the pi zero sips just a little more power than before. previously, with the OTG cable, it would sit at 0.9 watts. now with the OTG adapter, it sits at 1.0 watts, sometimes a little higher.

later i put my 2nd pi zero into its acrylic case. that's when i discovered that the plastic pieces were actually covered in frosted protective stickers that needed to be taken off first. after assembly the case the right way, i went back to my first pi zero which still had the stickers on them. now they look much better, with the completely translucent cases.

as for the debate, i didn't want to watch, but watched anyway just because i couldn't turn away from the impending disaster. i texted with sofia in england, who was also following the debate. it began with a surprising civility, but once trump got worked up, he reverted back to his nonsense-spewing angry self. when asked if he'd support the nominee should he lose, he said he'd wait and see. sofia and i both gasped. afterwards, that was the one talking point all the pundits were discussing.

i killed a cockroach in my bathroom tonight. i don't ever remember seeing a cockroach before, and it's gotten me a little concerned. one roach means there must be more. how did it even get into the house? ever since i saw a mouse in the house many years ago, i don't leave food out anymore, they're all in plastic bins. hopefully it's only a transient and it can't find a good source of food it'll move away.

i woke up with a stiff neck emanating from the right side of my body down to my back. i hope it goes away soon and doesn't affect my hiking on sunday. i took an aleve but it still hurt. i'm more of an ibuprofen man myself.

today was supposed to be an unusually warm day with temperature in the 80's. the weirdness started overnight, when it began raining heavily around 3am. then instead of warm, it was overcast and temperature only in the low 60's. apparently some unexpected fog had swallowed up the coastline. i could feel the increased moisture content in the air, there was a cold dampness that kept making me think i'd accidentally left a window open.

freddy wrote me this morning. i'd asked him last thursday what time he'd be arriving in boston in 2 weeks, so i could know when to be home. he didn't reply until today, finally told me his flight would get here at 11:57pm, and asked if that was too late to catch the subway into cambridge. he could've checked the MBTA schedule himself but i did the research and gave him the answer: the last silverline leaving logan is 12:45am. if he can make it out of customs before that time he'll be okay, otherwise he'll need to taxi/uber.

nothing really constructive today, i left the house just once to buy some honeycrisp apples on sale at star market. for lunch i had a bowl of chicken sausage oatmeal. i caught my next door neighbor, the one who likes to bike and suffered some sort of accident at the start of the summer that left him with a hobble and in a foot brace. i've always wanted to ask him about his accident, but whenever i see him he goes by so fast i don't have time to talk to him. today i watched him return home with some groceries (i noticed he was no longer wearing the brace but still walked in a slow limp) then go back out again, either for some energy drinks or booze, i couldn't quite tell. i don't mean to be profiling, but with his beard (he used to be clean-shaven before the accident) he kind of looks like a sullen terrorist.

for dinner i made my risotto recipe. it's perfect for the cold season, really hits the spot. i've made it so many times (following this recipe) and i've always wanted to change up the ingredients but i never do. a few tips: the more time the arborio rice has to simmer, the creamier it gets. i cooked on medium heat today, but maybe low-medium heat would be best. the onion should also either be yellow or white, not a red onion, which gives the risotto a pinkish hue. next time, i want to try a mushroom risotto recipe, with a bit of prosciutto.

mike got in touch with my around noontime, asked if i was interested in some spare luxury box tickets to the celtics game tonight. he ended up giving me 2 tickets even though i only really needed one. i haven't been following basketball for a while now, ever since i got rid of my cable stations, and local NESN isn't one of the channels that streams. but i haven't been to a game for a while now, so it's a good chance to revisit.

i noticed paul was outside and went into the backyard to intercept him. of my two upstairs neighbors, paul is the more level-headed one, not prone to dramatic outbursts. that's why i went to him to ask him about their moaning toilet. he said they heard it weeks ago, but it wasn't high on their to-do list, until i pointed it out to him. "i didn't realize you could hear it downstairs," he said. i told him it was pretty loud, but was an easy fix, just needed to replacement the fill valve which costs around $10. i even told him that if he needed help, i'd volunteer to replace it for them since it was an easy fix. he told me was going to the hardware store later today and would pick one up. moaning toilet problem nearly solved!

in the afternoon i rode the motorcycle down to city paints on the cambridge-arlington border to get a small pint of lavender ice paint (around $8) for my parents' bedroom. i then went to belmont (via alewife) to paint the patched up wall areas around the bedroom window frame. because it wasn't a big area, i used a small brush (that was also the only thing that could fit inside of the pint container). afterwards i went around patching up a few more scuffed areas on the wall. once the paint dried, it disappeared into the wall.

i had a late lunch early dinner of chongqing noodles: just some noodles mix with a package of spicy chongqing noodle sauce. i hadn't eaten anything today and wasn't prepared to spend money on pricey arena food either. during that time i also booked my return bus ticket from new york. my original plan was to spend sunday night in brooklyn at john's place before waking up super early to catch the first bus back to boston. but i thought about it and figured it was better to try and get back home sunday night, no matter how late it might be. i ended up booking a megabus ticket for 11:30pm ($31 + $2), scheduled to arrive back in boston at 3:40am. from there i'd have several options: grab a uber (which i've ridden before), ride a bike (either $6 hubway or a bike i've left there), or wait 1:30 for the first outbound subway train to arrive at south station. whatever happens, i'll be back at home by early monday morning.

i was prepared to go to the game alone, but my mother suggested i could bring jack with my spare ticket. so i texted him despite being so last minute. he actually had the day off today, but was picking up a new dining set, so wasn't sure if we'd meet at my place or at the garden. he ended up telling me we'd meet up at north station.

i returned home to get ready. my latest purchase arrived in the mail: a pare of USB wire LED string lights ($5), 20ft 60 LED's per strand, in warm white (yellowish hue). it came in a very small box, so small that i thought the company had cheated me out of a second strand. they seem delicate, like a spool of copper wires interspersed with LED lights. actually, they're the same wire LED strands i have on my bike wheels. i unspooled one of the strands, which took longer than expected because the wire had a tendency to coil back on itself. it doesn't come with a plug, just a USB end, you need to provide your own adapter, which thankfully i have a small collection from various phones and tablet devices. i wrapped it around the door frame of the small hallway in the center of the house, where an old strand of bethlehem round color LED's used to hang.1 they were pretty bright, and inconspicuous enough that they almost disappeared when turned off. i did a reading with my wattage meter, the strand only uses 0.9 watt of power.

i left the house by around 6:20pm. jack gave me the idea, but the porter square commuter train goes directly to north station. since it's only one stop away, the price is $2.25, which is the same as a subway ride with a charlie card. i could either take the regular subway which would take me about 30 minutes to get to north station, or i could take the commuter train, which only takes 10 minutes. besides, i've never taken the commuter train from porter square before, even though i've lived here all this time. it's slightly less convenient, since trains don't come as often (almost 2 hours wait during off peak hours) and you have to buy a ticket in advance (though with the MBTA ticket app it's pretty easy). but if ever need to get to north station quickly, taking the commuter rail one stop might be the quickest option.2

i was pretty excited to be riding the commuter train from porter square, but i tried to play it cool. earlier i'd already bought a one way ticket with my phone. there were a few dozen people waiting on the platform, but most of them were going outbound towards fitchburg. only a small handful were going into the boston, and i got the feeling most were going to the basketball game. when the train arrived i hopped on, showed the conductor my ticket, then found a seat. i saw away from the window plus it was dark outside so i couldn't really see where we were going. we weren't going that fast though, and i think if we wanted to, we could easily get to north station even faster than the scheduled 10 minutes.

i arrived at north station around 6:50pm. jack texted me that he was taking an uber from brighton and would arrive at the garden by 7:30pm. so i waited, watched as the crowds began to thin out as people made their way into the arena. when jack finally showed up, we made our way upstairs. the tickets that mike gave me were for the luxury boxes, suite 550, but we couldn't find how to get there. we went all the way up to the balcony, but didn't see any signs for the luxury boxes. finally we decided to take the elevator down following the advice of a food vendor. turns out the luxury suites are actually below the balcony level, so we took the elevator down to get there, just one floor below. from there we managed to find the place.

i'd never been in a luxury box before. mike's company apparently has a season pass for this suite, and this is where the marketing people would take the clients, with the place stocked with foods and drinks. however, this was the preseason, which was how mike managed to snag these tickets. and being that there were no clients, there was no buffet, just some beers in the fridge. mike was there with kathy (the last time i saw mike was when dan was back in boston last year, can't remember the last time i saw kathy, maybe back when they had a house party in winthrop), as well as his coworkers, many whom i remember from past game nights. i thought being up high would we hard to see, but we actually had an amazing sweeping panorama view of the garden. from what i could see, there were a lot of empty seats.

celtics were playing the brooklyn nets. i didn't realize jeremy lin was playing for the nets. he's quite popular with the chinese community, and even though i'm not of fan of his, it'd give me some bragging rights to say i watch him play live. as this was the preason however, lin's minutes were limited, as the coaches from both teams tried to give everyone some playing time, and to bench their best players to avoid injuries and have them ready for the official season.

jack went out to get some food and surprised me when he came back with two sandwiches and offered one to me. i picked the corn beef sandwich, he had the steak & cheese. i was thankful for the coke, as there was only IPA beers to drink in the fridge, and with my low alcohol tolerance and lack of food, i was already feeling drunk from the few sips that i had.

a lot of times when i come to these arenas and stadiums, i'm there more to enjoy the spectacle than actually paying attention to the game. sports are easier to follow on television anyway, with the commentary and the instant replays, something that's missing when you watch it live, although in our luxury box we had flat-screen TV's broadcasting the game as well.

i was ready to leave early, but with the end so close already, we decided to stay to the end (a bit before 10pm), despite the rush of people outside the garden afterwards. there was no way we could catch the subway from north station, as there were so many people. jack wanted to grab an uber, but there would be no place for a car to park, so we decided to walk out a little bit. i'd wanted to walk to charles/MGH, but jack said we could catch an uber back to brighton and he could give me a ride home, so we walked in the direction of haymarket instead. as soon as we left the vicinity of the garden, there was no more crowds. we decided to just walk to park street instead, since it was close by; jack could take the green line, while i could catch the red.

it was an unusually warm night, felt more like summer than autumn. it would've been a great night to just wander around boston and take photos, but i only had my panasonic lumix camera, which isn't nearly as good as my canon 28mm f/1.4 fixed lens for night photography. when we got to park street, jack smoked a cigarette before we went down into the station and parted ways.

i got back home around the same time i could hear the porter square commuter train leaving the station. i was originally going to take the commuter back, but in the end i made the wiser decision by taking the regular subway. while riding the red line i saw an old chinese couple sitting across from me. the old man stared at me and i stared back to the point where he began to felt awkward and look away. later while i was inspecting my photos, i noticed i actually took a photo of the couple. there was no mistaking it: the woman wore a harvard sweatshirt, the man had on a maroon beret. i wish i knew who they were so i could send them a photo!

i unspooled the second string light and put them around the doorframe of the back door of the house, attached to a remote on/off switch so i could turn the lights on whenever i wanted. they look cool, but i wonder if it'd make the inside of my house too visible from the backyard.

1 those round LED's were great, i got them back in 2007 when affordable LED christmas lights were first beginning to be sold. i had them in the hallway on a timer as a night light (for those times when i need to go use the bathroom in the middle of the night). nearly a decade later, they're not as bright anymore, and a few bulbs have even gone out. they were due for a replacement. i have other strands of color LED string lights in my collection, but none as long as 20ft, able to wrap around a doorframe.

2 north station is just one stop away from haymarket (a 6 minute walk). i could imagine myself taking the commuter train to do some cheap produce shopping for those times when i don't feel like biking into boston. this porter square-north station is like discovering a great new shortcut into the city! i think at one point the commuter rail was always the more expensive option compared to the regular subways/buses. but with all these MBTA fare hikes over the years, it's now actually more economical to take the commuter rail into boston (for me at least, living around porter square). if you were to ride the subway with a charlie ticket, that costs $2.70 per ride, so that's actually more expensive and takes longer.

cristina was returning to spain today, but first she had a kidney walk to attend this morning at lechmere. the walk itself was at 11:30am, but she wasn't attending since her flight is at 3pm. she was just there to help her clinic coworkers set up the information and registration booth. i waited at home so i could see her off, knowing she'd return sometime after 12pm. she took the fuji bike, one last ride through cambridge-somerville. she finally came home around 12:20pm. claire - her chinese coworker - had volunteered to bring her to the airport, but she called cristina and told her she was suffering from a hangover from last night's drinking and wouldn't be able to come. so instead cristina called an uber to drive her to logan. while waiting for the car to arrive, we said our good byes. when the uber finally did come, it was a large black fancy mercedes-benz SUV.

and with that cristina was gone. she was a good roommate, one of the best. her research job made it so she wasn't here a lot of times, which is what i like in a good roommate, and her active social life meant she wasn't here very much in the evenings either as well as weekends. as a doctor she was responsible, so i knew i could trust her. she was also a vegetarian, which meant low impact cooking and a relatively clean kitchen. my next roommate will arrive in 2 weeks, so i have 14 days to enjoy the house. hopefully he's just as good as cristina, although he'll only be here for just a month.

i raced to belmont on my motorcycle so i could catch the start of the bengals-patriots game at 1pm. this was the first home game with tom brady back on the team (last week against the browns was in cleveland). nobody was home and i thought maybe my mother went with my sister to go hiking in new hampshire, but they just went to the fells and back. my mother made some chongqing noodles for lunch.

i think few new england fans had any doubt that the 4-1 patriots would win against 2-3 cincinnati. many also thought it'd be a display of new england football dominance, but the hometown team felt flat; or maybe the bengals put up a good fight. no fireworks in the first quarter, pats managed to only score 3 points. in the 2nd quarter, the bengals managed a touchdown, but the pats managed to get a touchdown of their own in the final few minutes, an effortless series of plays that made you think they should've been doing this the whole game. in the 2nd half, cincinnati came out strong again, scoring another touchdown. but then the pats put up the most points of the quarter, with 2 touchdowns and a safety, and finished the 4th quarter with another touchdown and a field goal. the bengals could only watch as time dwindled away and they left with a loss. next week new england faces pittsburgh, but the latest news is steelers QB ben roethlisberger tore a meniscus in his knee and will undergo surgery tomorrow, missing at least next sunday's game, if not more games depending on his medical outcome.

my mother wanted to cook some kale for dinner but all our garden kale are infested with aphids. this time of the season is terrible for leafy crops because natural insect predators are all dead due to the cold weather, leaving these weather hardy aphids and caterpillars to feast unopposed. i may have some organic bug spray i might try, but i've sort of given up on those plants.

after dinner i returned home. because of street sweeping, one side of the street was empty of cars, while everyone else was parked on the other side. i had my goto motorcycle spot at the end of H street, so i wasn't worried that i wouldn't be able to find a place to park.

i then went about taking an inventory of all the things cristina left behind. she didn't leave much in terms of non-food items. she collected a bunch of pens from the various health clinic events she attended, that was something i'd never seen before. she also left some toiletries, including a tube of AIM toothpaste that seemed to be from spain and a bottle of german body wash (although the palmolive brand i recognized).

most of the items she left behind were food items, which normally is the case, although i have had roommates in the past who were very good about eating up all their food so nothing was left behind. from her food choices, i could see she didn't recognize any american brands, and bought things mainly based on (cheaper) price; that's something i do myself when i'm in china, going with the cheaper item, but then switching to a different brand if i discover the first item wasn't very good. she's actually very thrifty with her food purchases, which made me feel bad charging her as much as i did (although the rate she paid is the same one i've had for a few years now), given that last night she also told me how much she makes a month back in spain (€1000/month plus another €1000/month for being on 24-hour on-call duty 4-5 times a month).

i watched episode 3 of westworld, streaming off of HBO go. this episode isn't as good as the past 2 episodes, makes me a little worried if the series will stick the landing and deliver a satisfying finish by the end.

john got back in touch with me, said we are a go for shawangunk ridge this sunday. i'm to arrive saturday and we leave early sunday morning for a hiking day trip. i hope the foliage will be just as beautiful as last time, the weather forecast says temperature in the 50's with diminishing chances of rain. john suggested bonticou crag, which is rated a difficult trail (with rock scrambles) but supposedly offers breathtaking views and not many people climb the area. there are also "beautiful wildflowers" although i'm not sure if i'll see much this late in the season. my only concern is our trip back. last time i tried to catch the 8pm megabus leaving boston, but ended up on the 9pm one. by the time i got to boston it was almost 2am and i had to call my father for an emergency ride home. i'm hoping to avoid the late night drama this time and maybe crash at john's place overnight sunday, leaving early monday before the family wakes up to take the first bus back to boston.

i spent the late morning upgrading some tools on my macbook. i installed the OSX version of FUSE (3.5.2) and sshfs (2.5.0) so i can mount pi zero directories as local folders on my desktop. i tried installing fuse-ext2 (0.0.7) so i can mount linux drives (in case if i ever wanted to directly tweak raspbian data partitions on my mac) but it gave me an incompatibility warning so i decided against installing. besides, there are other (paid) options like paragon extfs drivers. i then installed the homebrew package manager (2.10.1), but first i had to install the xcode command line tools. i used homebrew to update the local version of nano on my mac, from 2.0 to 2.7. an update was required so i can access color syntax highlighting in the nano text editor. finally, i did some reading and am now clearer on the distinctive between BSD unix (e.g. OSX) and linux (e.g. raspbian).

cristina left this morning to attend a diabetes cure walk in boston common. we tentatively scheduled to go out for brunch again if she can make it back home around noontime. at 11:30am she sent me a whatsapp text saying she was still walking. i waited 2 hours until 1:30pm then decided to leave because i was getting too hungry. i arrived at my parents' place by 2pm via motorcycle and that's when she texted me that she just got home. in hindsight i should've waited a bit longer (although she didn't respond to any of my text) because my parents weren't home and there wasn't anything to eat in the house besides snacks. they ended up not returning home until 4:30pm, although my sister showed up a few times, bringing home different cars to clean (she may have a prospective buyer for her old toyota SUV).

i watched MSNBC, which is my televised channel of choice these days with just weeks before the election. too bad it doesn't chromecast otherwise i'd be streaming it from home all the time. on the dining table was a sample of pink bermuda sand. the sand is composed of grains of shells and coral, including some reddish foraminifera which gives the sand a pinkish hue. at one point i got sleepy enough that i went to the bedroom to take a nap.

when my parents came back they showed me a slideshow of the 900 photos my father took with the xiaomi note phone. we used the roku picasa app to see them from google photos, but it could only go backwards. my mother had an additional 1200 photos she took using the panasonic lumix camera i lent her; i added those to the google photos stack once i copied everything onto my computer.

after dinner i returned home. cristina was out, eating hot pot dinner at the house of a chinese coworker from xi'an. i turned up the heat, took a shower, and finished watching prizzi's honor over a bowl of red grapes (not a very good movie, i wouldn't recommend it). cristina came home around midnight. it seems after dinner she went out with her friend paula to a harvard square bar for the farewell party of somebody they knew. we chatted for a little while before she finished packing and went to sleep. she's leaving tomorrow at noon, after she finishes volunteering for a kidney walk down by lechmere. her xi'an friend promised to drive her to the airport, i'll see her one more time before she leaves.

i set my alarm at 6:30am, so i could drive into boston around 7am (hoping to beat the rush hour traffic) to pick up my parents at the black falcon terminal at 8am. i was still lounging in bed when my phone rang at 6:45am. i knew immediately who it was. "you're here already?" i asked my mother. despite arriving earlier than scheduled, they couldn't leave the cruise ship until 8:30am, something about a staggered disembarkment so a few thousand passengers won't be clogging the terminal all at the same time.

regardless, i planned on leaving early in hopes of beating traffic. for the first time ever i was awake with cristina, since normally i'd still be asleep when she gets ready for work in the morning. she had to get to longwood by 8am and ran out the door to catch her train. since i had the car, i thought about giving her a ride to central square, but she was taking the CT2 bus from kendall, so i didn't offer. i left the house by around 7:20am, armed with my 2 smartphones and a mug of hot tea.

i took the turnpike to get into south boston. it was a challenge just getting to the turnpike entrance, cutting across the center of cambridge. construction work had already begun on beacon street, so i had to take a big detour to get around it. once i was on the turnpike, driving with so many other cars around was almost a sensory overload. i just focused on the car in front of me; it was a good thing i came via this same route before when i came with my parents to the terminal last week, so at least i still had some memory of where to go.

once i got to south boston, there wasn't very much traffic anymore. i made my way to the black falcon cell phone lot. there was hardly anyone here, just a bunch of hired sedans, a few hotel shuttles, and a fleet of tourist trolleys. everyone was waiting for the passengers to get off the ship. i had about 45 minutes to kill, and spent the time reading nathanial philbrick's bunker hill: a city, a siege, a revolution. i got bored and decided to see if i could walk down to the terminal. at a distance of a quarter mile, it was too long of a distance to walk in the early morning, with the temperature in the lower 50's and a strong ocean breeze that tossed my hair on end. i decided to retreat in the safety of the car.

at 8:37am my parents called to let me know they were finally released from the ship. it took me just a few minutes to pick them up; it would've been faster but i was behind a convoy of other cars waiting to pick up passengers. they got into the car and my father drove back to cambridge. at the turnpike exit there was a big congestion. originally we thought it was because of rush hour (around 9am), but actually it was more to do with a stuck chemical truck by a storrow drive bridge. after my parents dropped me off at my place they went to the cafe.

i came home, used the bathroom, then took a shower, before heating up a leftover "calzone" from last night for breakfast.

i tried to set up the pi zero with a static ip number. i followed the directions, but when i rebooted the pi, it couldn't recognize the wifi dongle anymore. was it because i gave the pi an ip number outside of the dhcp network? that should've worked though, because when i assign static ip's to web cameras, the numbers are always outside of the dhcp range. anyway, and even after i changed it back to the dhcp setting, the wifi dongle still didn't work. i finally managed to resuscitate the wifi with a pair of sudo ifdown wlan0 and sudo ifup wlan0 commands. i finally went with a router solution: keep the pi zero as dhcp (which i know at least works), but make the ip number static by using address reservation (i.e. pairing the MAC address with a permanent ip number). after a router reset, that solution seemed to work.

i set up some new aliases in my .bash_profile settings: a calendar command that highlights today's date and an easy shortcut to show me my local ip address. i'm currently working on updating nano on osx (using homebrew) so i can activate color syntax highlighting.

in the early afternoon i went to my parents' place to do a 2nd coat of paint on the window frame. originally i thought i could do it tomorrow afternoon, but the frame painting needed to be finished by today so my parents can reinstall the blinds that i took down. all that's left now is to repaint a bit of the wall around the window. i still have some leftover wall paint, but it's from 2007, so changes are its not good anymore. i'll need to visit the paint store to buy the smallest jar of 2069-60 benjamin moore colorbook lavender ice.

i also went into the backyard to water the garden (no rain expected until the end of next week) and fill the bird baths. if it's warm enough during the day (especially if there are no clouds) the vegetables can still grow a bit before the arrival of the killing frost.

i downloaded a copy of prizzi's honor (1985) last sunday and i've been working my way through the film, watching 10-15 minutes a day. one reason why it's taking so long is it's not really a good movie, at least not by more modern standards, despite have a very illustrious pedigree, with actors like jack nicholson, kathleen turner, and angelica huston, and directed by john huston. it's a movie i always saw at the videostore growing up as a kid in the 80's, and now i'm finally getting a chance to watch it (but more like hatewatching). hopefully it has a good ending to make up for the dull pacing and performances.

i upgraded OSX from 10.11 (el capitan) to 10.12 (sierra). there was a point during the upgrade when i seriously regretted my decision, because it looked like the installer had crashed midway. but i remained patient and the installer did eventually finish the install (20+ minutes). i don't know what's good in sierra, just that it has more iOS integration including the introduction of siri for the desktop. i was just sick and tired of apple update constantly reminding me to upgrade all the time; hopefully i'm safe until the next new OS iteration next year.

heather unruh - co-anchor of news channel 5 - abruptly quit tonight. i caught the tail end of the 6 o'clock local news, and saw they were doing a quick highlight of her career as an anchor on WCVB. it seemed unexpected, but i knew there'd be problems once they hired maria stephanos when she herself abruptly left the local FOX affiliate (WFXT). channel 5 simply had too many female anchors, along with jc monahan and a slew of morning and weekend anchors. my personal theory is unruh will be going to the new NBC affiliate once WHDH's contract with NBC ends at the end of the year. i just feel bad for the current newsreporters on WHDH, who might all be out of a job come next year.

for dinner i heated up a can of chicken soap and finished some leftover empanadas and baked sweet potatoes. i was surprised to see cristina back so soon in the evening, i figured she'd be out with coworkers celebrating her last day of work, but instead she was busy shopping, but a bunch of food items from the coolidge corner trader joe's and a few souvenir items from booksmith.

the king of thailand died today. for residents of cambridge, there's a special connection to the thai royalty since he was born at mt.auburn hospital in 1927, making him an honorary cantabrigian.

after delivering lunch to my grand uncle for the final time, i went to belmont to sand smooth the patched areas i fixed yesterday, put down some paper on the floor, and painted the first coat on the window frame. i had the television turned on to MSNBC, trump was giving a speech attacking the new reports from women who said trump had sexually assaulted them in the past. i also opened a few windows, as it was a cold 61° in the house but a warm 68° outside. i finished painting the window by 3pm, tidied up a bit, then returned home. hailey was alone in the house but my sister would come by and pick up her dog shortly afterwards.

the pi zero worked with the wifi dongle directly attached to the board, which is a pleasant surprise, but a complete mystery. why didn't it work all those other times i tried it? the only difference now is the acrylic case. could that have anything to do with it? or maybe it always worked, but i just needed to be patient, and give the pi zero some time to establish a wifi connection. but i could've sworn i tested for that, and it never used to work. that got me thinking about getting another pi zero, but when i checked the microcenter website, the boards were back to their retail price of $5 (still not a lot, but not $1 like before).

i also used port forwarding on my router to open a port to the pi zero and be able to access it anywhere outside of the local network. the pi zero currently still gets an ip number from DHCP, but i'll want to set up a manual static ip number at some point.

the pi zero didn't lose its wifi connection overnight, which is a good sign. and when the wifi dongle was attached directly to the raspberry board, it never lost the connection either, although the signal level was in the upper 80's (compared to when the dongle is attached to a powered hub, and then i get signal level close to 100). periodic nmap to the pi zero sometimes scanned in under 0.50 seconds, other times 2-3 seconds. i don't know why that is, maybe the wifi does lose signal periodically, but it's able to recover and that's what's important.

while doing some research on pillsbury dough tubes, i came across some tantalizing recipes that were easy enough to make that i wanted to try them tonight for dinner. i found a recipe for crescent calzones.

my sister asked me last night to buy a teacake for my grand uncle, who hasn't been eating very much recently. so this morning (after a breakfast of chicken sausage oatmeal) i went to petsi's to pick up a small teacake slice (grapefruit) for $3.21 (for that price i could buy a whole loaf of pound cake).

i took the motorcycle to the cafe a bit before noon to deliver lunch to my grand uncle. my 2nd aunt blended a fruit smoothie, cut some avocado slices mixed with honey, and cubed half the teacake. i brought it to my grand uncle. while he was eating, i let hailey out into the backyard so she can use the bathroom. i hid in the kitchen while my grand uncle ate his lunch, coming out right when he finished.

i noticed he hardly touched his teacake, i wasted my time getting it for him. but the good news was i ended up having the teacake for myself. it was quite delicious but i wonder if i can create something similar on my own? i have all autumn and winter to go on baking adventures (make me wonder if i should invest in a dedicated mixer? also makes me wonder how much weight i'll put on this winter).

i motorcycled to belmont to water the garden and prep the window some more. in the hot glare of the afternoon sun, the garden seems like it could still eke out a few more fruits. hot peppers were still waiting to turn orange/red and there were some japanese eggplants. i always want to grow an autumn/winter harvest but can never get the timing right. i wonder if it's not too late to grow a few things? but the autumn warmth is but an illusion: once the frost sets in, most everything will die in the garden.

as for the window, no dusty sanding today. instead i patched up some uneven areas on the wall around the window frame. there will be sandy tomorrow and it will be messy. i'll have the vacuum cleaner and fan ready. afterwards, if i haven't made too much of a mess, i'll be ready to paint a first coat on the window frame.

once i returned home, i went back out soon afterwards, to dig up some perennials from the community garden plot i wanted saving. there was a columbine (i had a few this season, this was the only one that survived and thrived) and 2 milkweeds. the milkweed certainly lived up to its name, as i discovered long snaking rhizomes growing underground. i didn't know what to do with all that root so i just coiled it in the pot and covered everything up with dirt. i have a few more milkweeds in the garden but they're mixed in with larkspur seedlings so i don't want to dig them up just yet. finally, i noticed a small-medium zucchini growing in the garden. i'm surprised, given how cold it's been these past few nights, that a zucchini can still be growing. i'll see how big it can get before the leaves succumb to the low temperature.

my next roommate is scheduled to arrive at the end of october, cristina confirmed it to me last night. he is a young (born 1992) colombian (the country) medical student named freddy and he will be here in boston for one month working at the same research center. i thought he passed on my place, opting for one closer to longwood, but either it was too expensive (i heard $1200/month) or wasn't available.

i actually wrote him an e-mail last night, which was a little strange, since usually it's potential roommates who contact me first. he wrote back this morning, asking me for photos of my place. though lighting wasn't optimal (late afternoon, very little sun), i took some time to snap a few house photos using the 180° fisheye lens on my classic nikon 4500 camera.

later in the evening he wrote back again after having seen the photos, said the place was perfect, and agreed to stay. my place fills a particular housing niche, which is short term last minute rentals, as these sort of places aren't typically available (landlords make more renting out an apartment for a whole year). i was actually kind of looking forward to having the place to myself again, but i think i can bear another roommate for 4 more weeks. at the very least it'll put some money in my pocket for holiday shopping. these doctors are also pretty hard working and i'll probably won't even see freddy very much.

i fired up the pi zero today to check how much power it consumed. running in the background, it uses less than a watt of power (0.8-0.9). with that low level of consumption, there's no reason not to just leave it on all the time, running scripts and whatnot. and that's exactly what i did, just to test the stability of the wifi connection. maybe yesterday's drop and failed attempts at connecting was just a fluke. so i had the pi zero running all day long, periodically nmap to the ip address to see if it was still online. as of tonight, it was still connected. who knows if it dropped the connection during that time, but the important thing is it managed to reconnect if that's the case, unlike yesterday. i also learned how to establish a sftp connect to the pi zero using the transmit app (what i normally use to ftp photos to the website) to more easily transfer files. tomorrow i need to test the wifi dongle on its own connected directly to the pi zero to see if the wifi connection will hold up.

my replacement OTG cable arrived today. i plugged it in and just like the one before, this one also didn't work. i wrote the seller on ebay saying that i'd given up at this point, and said i'd give them a good seller rating but for good customer service only. a short time later they wrote me back and gave me a complete refund. it was just $2, but nice to find a seller who wasn't out to rip me off. i don't know why the 2 OTG cables they sent me didn't work.

for dinner i made myself a bowl of salad because i wanted to use up a head of lettuce i had in the crisper: iceberg lettuce, purple green pepper, baby carrots, red onions, and a nice robust italian dressing.

cristina came home with paula after work, it was my first time seeing her coworker friend whom i heard so much about. they went out to attend a book lecture. cristina came back a short time afterwards, ate some leftover empanada for dinner, saved me some for tomorrow.