in belmont, a single calendula (pot marigold) has bloomed. the flower sort of looks like a giant dandelion. i didn't know this, but apparently they're perennials. we'll have to transplant them to a more permanent spot in the yard at the end of the season. they also make good cut flowers because the blooms last a long time.

no SVB's but no squash flowers either. i'm still not entirely sure the 2 things are related. there are a few small zucchinis which should be ready to eat by next weekend if not earlier. there's no short supply of cucumbers though: 5 hang from the vines, waiting to be taken. here's a question: are these 2011 cucumbers like the 2010 cucumbers? it's sort of hard to say. it's definitely different from your typical cucumber in its molted patterning, but not like last season's batch where we also got yellow and orange varieties. tastewise they're very much like regular cucumbers, and i'd go as far as to say they're even crisper, but maybe it's just because they're so fresh.

my father pulled down the tandem bike hanging from the wall of the garage so he could work on it. maybe i'm used to pulling a lot o weigh when i ride, but when i rode the tandem single, i couldn't tell the difference from a regular bike. it certainly didn't feel heavier, or an evidence of increased fishtailing because of the much longer frame. i've always considered tandem bikes sort of gimmicky. i rather have 2 people each have their own bikes instead of sharing one bike with another person. in fact, i've fallen off the tandem before, crashed to the ground with my friend toby when we were kids. somewhere on my body i probably still have a scar or two from that accident, which just happened a few houses down.

the tandem bike has small wheels, just 24". the front crankset has 32 teeth while the one rear gear is 16 teeth, giving the bike a medium-range 1:2 gear ratio. after doing some calculations with the gear ratio calculator, my father decided it wasn't that much of an improvement to upgrade to a 3-speed hub gear. besides, the one we have has a coaster brake, which means we can't turn the cranks backwards.

i took the raleigh 3-speed on a short trip from my parents' place to the local elementary school and back, a total of 5 minutes. i had a late lunch of wonton soup. in the afternoon my father took my mother to her follow-up doctor's appointment in cambridge. i cleaned off the water spots on my motorcycle with some wet paper towels. in the late afternoon the whole family was out in the backyard foraging for golden raspberries.

i watched the pilot episode of alphas on the syfy channel. it's kind of like heroes in that it's about a group of people with superhuman powers, but it's more grounded (nobody can fly, nobody can shapeshift): the alpha powers are things like increased strength from controlled adrenalin rush, heightened senses, ability to see electromagnetic waves, etc. and unlike heroes, the alphas start out as a team, supposedly formed to research their own abilities but as while as to use their special skills to help others. oscar-nominated david strathairn plays their leader, a psychiatrist. in the posters he looked like edward james olmos, so i thought he was going to be in the series. british actor ryan cartwright plays the rainmanesque character who can see electromagnetic waves. i know him as the snotty male secretary of lane pryce.