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sunmeng woke me up at 9:00 to videochat, unfortunately on one of the few days this week where i could afford to sleep late. i finished the rest of my potato salad for lunch. there were a few things happening in boston that i wanted to check out: charles river swimming costume contest, fenway park secret gardens - but i ended up doing none of those things, the cold and grey weather a key factor (another key factor: general laziness).

i stayed home until the mail arrived (orbital sander replacement parts, tire patch kits) then rode to belmont (stopping at the mass-walden formerly-hess gas station to fill up with $2.55/gallon gasoline, i'd traveled 106 miles already).

i went to home depot to look for shop vac adapters, so i can connect the 1-1/2" output port from the ryobi belt sander to the 2-1/2" input port of the shop vac. online it said they were available, but when i got there, they were all loose with no packaging. i may end up just making my own with some stiff cardboard and some duct tape. i ended up just getting a can of professional strength wasp insecticide ($4) that i carried back on the bike of my motorcycle underneath some bungie netting.

i was in the garage installing the rim lights to the front wheel of my old fuji bicycle. that bike has already been modified when a few years ago i added some white electroluminescent wire lights to the frame. now combined with the magenta/hot pink glowing front wheel, the effect is pretty cool. i'm sure it'll look even better at nights. now i need to install the other set of lights onto the back wheel. all this in preparation for the midnight bike run next month.

my father didn't get back home until 4:00, after which we left for the waltham costco. my mother was jonesing for some memphis-style ribs again. what was remarkable wasn't how crowded it was, but the fact that there were so many chinese people there. costco seems like the unofficial weekend chinatown. before we left, we got an order of their deluxe pizza. while we waited, we shared 2 hot dogs and a pair of self-dispensed drinks (raspberry ice tea).

after pizza dinner, my father and i went outside to fix the old orbital sander with the newly-arrived replacement parts. using blocks of wood and a brass water nozzle, he gently bashed the new ball bearing into the bearing case. we then replaced the brake skirt and the sanding pad. the sander fired up without any problems. a little stiff, but that's mostly because of the new break skirt. it should loosen up after some sanding. now the old sander is better than the new sander!

since it was getting late, the yellowjackets have all retreated back to the nest. i took the opportunity to climb the ladder and stuff the eaves gaps of the roof with some newspaper. i was a little worried that the wasps would wake up and sting me, but fortunately that didn't happen. blocking access to the nest might be enough to kill them off; i might end up returning the insecticide.

after i got home, i put the tarp over the motorcycle, in anticipation of the rainstorm forecasted for tomorrow (i'll believe it when it arrives).

i motorcycled to belmont, arrived by 9:10. this being friday, it'd be my last day of sanding this week. it was an unusual week in that i managed to work everyday, there was no rain days. there was a good chance of downpours in the afternoon, so i kept my eyes on the sky. it was clear blue when i arrived, but as the day wore on, it grew increasingly cloudy. my father had the day off so he was outside with me working on the house. we went to home depot first, to get some more caulk (dap dyanflex 230) and some 60-grit sandpaper. by the time we got and set up the equipment, it was already 10:00.

while i was busy sanding (today the region to the right of my former bedroom window), my father was hand-sanding the window to my parents' bedroom and then caulking any gaps. when he was done with that, he moved to the front of the house, where he put down tarps and tried to sand the shingles with a belt sander. the belt sander can strip enough paint in 10 minutes in what would take me a single day or more. the downside is it doesn't have very good dust collection, made more so by the fact that my father was using it without a shop vac attached, so there was dust everywhere. but at this rate, it'd take just 3 days to completely sand the front of the house. we may be painting again come august instead of september!

around 1:00pm the sky darkened considerably and rain drops began to fall. i was already cleaning up anyway, but now it was a race against time. however, soon afterwards, the sky sort of cleared up again. i returned to cambridge by 1:30 to wait for the impending rainstorm.

i showered when i got home, then went to star market to get some chips and grapes and frozen lasagna. i also put the cover on the motorcycle while i was at it. the rainstorms that were supposed to happen never came though.

i wasn't particularly hungry came evening because i'd been snacking for most of the afternoon, everything from healthy (a fruit smoothie) to the opposite of healthy (sweet potato chips, salty sunflowers, sour gummy bears). i finally decided to make something around 8:00, heating up a brick of lasagna in the oven, which took another hour before it was ready. i enjoyed a lovely evening of proteins and carbs while watching a bootleg of jurassic world on the HDTV.

* today's sanding region: center-center (below the tallest ladder) and a bit to the left of center. listening to mp3 player but it ran out of batteries so switched to android phone listening to a streaming 80's music radio station (much better than talk radio).

* once again, not very sweaty after i finished working, so i didn't bother to take a shower.

* aawyeah finally refunded my money for the missing foam handlebar grips

* played around with the infrared filter on my wide angle lens with the canon 60D. realized there's an IR cutoff filter inside the camera, so even with the external IR filter the images come out looking B&W and not IR

* 2nd attempt at repairing broken electric kettle: using a multimeter to test the continuity, cleaning the contact points with sandpaper, finally working now

Etiam pretium imperdiet justo, eu aliquet nunc gravida vel. Proin pharetra odio ac elit vulputate dictum. Morbi aliquam, urna et volutpat faucibus, tellus nibh lacinia felis, in congue velit lorem vel arcu. Quisque in eros tempus tellus scelerisque tristique. Etiam vehicula sit amet nisl non auctor. Nulla molestie eros sit amet dui ornare, vel suscipit est consectetur. Sed dictum massa sed tellus lacinia, vitae eleifend ligula bibendum. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Ut suscipit tristique nibh, sit amet sagittis nunc gravida ut. Pellentesque a eleifend erat.

* prik khing curry using garden eggplants and thai basil: other ingredients - chicken breast, baby corn, bamboo shoots, cashew nuts. father stir-fried the cubed chicken first, followed by a steam simmer of the sliced eggplants. then the curry paste and coconut milk was allowed to simmer with baby corn and bamboo shoots, adding the eggplants and slow cooking for 20+ minute until they're nearly melted before adding the chicken and basil.

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* dumping out my overripe kombucha invaded by fruit flies (and their maggots). originally i planned on keeping it, figured i could just brush off the maggots. that sort of shows how far i've fallen in terms of risky food eating threshold. maggots on my food? oh, no problem, it's still edible! pouring out the aged kombucha, i was still tempted to taste it so i took a sip. so sour! i ended up spitting it out.

* this morning noticed fruit fly maggots on kombucha scoby

* now that morning glory flowers are blooming, i can expect to find green metallic bees

* working while listening to mp3 (NPR and WGBH public radio stations) - not sure why i wasn't doing this before

* it wasn't a particularly hot day and i was working mostly in the shade so i didn't sweat all that much. i ended up not taking a shower after i finished sanding.

* electric kettle repair failure

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today being the last day of street sweeping for my street this month, it was once again safe to ride the motorcycle (in that when i returned, there'd be plenty of safe parking spots). that meant i could wake up a little bit later (8:15am) and not arrive in belmont in a sweaty mess. i ate a banana for breakfast before i left.

i found my father outside, busy caulking the gaps between shingles. he rigged up a carabiner hook to the shopvac so it could easily be attached and removed from the pulley rope. up until now, i've only removed the bottom half of the hanging shopvac, the dust collection bin, as well as unscrewing the filter for cleaning. and when it rained, i'd wrap up the hanging shopvac the best i could with a trash bag. now i can simply unlatch it completely, whether for cleaning or storage.

today's sanding up upper left-of-middle, the hardest and most dangerous part since it involves standing on top of the ladder. while my father was still home, it began to rain a little bit. i froze, waiting to see whether or not it was going to get any heavier. however, after a short period, it simply stopped. my father left for work while i continued sanding.

i finished by around 1:18pm, nearly 4 hours of sanding. at that point during the day the sun starts shining on the western side. the shopvac starts slowing down as well, its filter choked with paint dust. after cleaning up, i took a shower and left belmont by around 2:30.

back in cambridge, after changing into a pair of shorts, i bicycled to the community garden. with all the sanding work i've been doing, i haven't had time to visit my CGP and it's been 11 days since my last visit. my plot was like a jungle, a mixed sea of greens punctuated by large round discs of colors, unusually large seed-grown zinnias. i almost missed it, but behind the wall of sunflower stalks, there was a lupine flower! i'm surprised it flowered earlier than the lupine in belmont, since this particular plant doesn't get as much sun.

i then biked to market basket to get some groceries. today was an important day in terms of temperature because if it reached 90 degrees, then that be our 3rd consecutive day of 90+ which means officially a heatwave. that'd mean my AC installation rule still stands, that i don't put it in until the first heatwave. unfortunately it was a few degrees shy (at least as measured from logan airport, where the sea breeze always drops the temperature), but a hot day nonetheless.

i ended up doing a load of laundry in the evening; because of the hot weather, in a single day i might go through 3 changes of clothes: my sweaty painting clothes, my sweaty clothes when i bike back, and the clothes i change into when i finally at home.

for dinner i boiled some three bridges chicken and basil ravioli ($2.49/ 9 oz.) along with half a jar of pasta sauce. i used the electric kettle to boil some water. when i took it off the base i noticed an usual wet spot. when i went to go wipe it off, i realized it was actually melting plastic and the base felt hot to the touch. after a few minutes it still felt warm so i unplugged it just to be safe.

later in the evening i went to go investigate my electric kettle. i bought it used back in august 2010 and it's been very reliable up until now. taking apart the base was just a simple matter of unscrewing 3 screws. what i found inside was horrifying: the wires were frayed and melted, super dangerous, definite fire hazard. i'm glad i noticed the problem before using the kettle again, because it could've burned the house down.

it seems fixable though, just have to clip off the damaged end of the wires and attached new leads. just so happens i also have a spare electric kettle base, just a newer model. unfortunately the old kettle won't fit on the new base, but i can take out the wires and put it on the old base. unfortunately the new base has security screws that need a special head to remove.

the traffic on huron avenue heading into boston this morning stretched from the fresh pond parkway all the way to the belmont cemetery. in the other direction, there was hardly any cars. by the time i got to my parents' house at 9:00am, my father had already set up the tarps and was up on the ladder scraping some loose paint. i didn't have any breakfast yet so i ate two madeleine cookies (100 calories a piece!) before putting on my work gear. by 9:30am i was sanding.

my father left at 10:00am, i continued sanding until 1:30pm, a good solid 4 hours of sanding. i worked on the right-of-center middle and lower shingles, then a little bit of left-of-center upper shingles. did i mention the temperature was in the 90's? it was so hot i had to work topless with sunblock. it wasn't bad when there was shade, and occasionally there was even a strong cool sea breeze. but as the day got closer to noontime and beyond, the sun began to shine on the western side, heating up the ladder hot enough to nearly scald bare flesh. i stay hydrated, drinking several tumblers of ice water.

something new in the garden: one of the lupines behind the garage has formed a flowerbud, looks like a green corncob about a few inches in length. i didn't think i'd see any lupine flowers this year. first, because i remember reading they don't flower until the second year, and second, i thought they were spring flowering plants, not late summer. i can't wait to see what color the flowers will be. my first flowering lupine!

some of my mine online orders are in limbo. the unbelievably cheap SJCAM SJ4000 wifi camera i ordered from china? i filed a claim with ebay end of last week, i had a few more days to wait, but they reached a decision today, told me i'd get a refund since the seller didn't give them a viable tracking number. i already knew it was sham so a week ago i ordered another SJ4000 from amazon ($87). but for whatever reason, they still haven't shipped it out yet. i wrote the seller and they never wrote back, so i went ahead and cancelled the order, and ordered the SJ4000 from another seller ($89). why is it so hard to get my hands on one of these cheap action cameras? finally, awwyeah.com still haven't replied to my e-mails. i sent one thursday and another one today, asking about the missing handlebar grips. thing is i could really use them, because the grips i have now are giving me contact dermatitis again. i never had any problems with them before. in fact, usually when they make a mistake, they'll send a replacement free of charge.

JUL

19

2015

i went to the dollar store to see if they carried a particular dish soap for my mother (dawn ultra hand renewal with olay beauty scent dishwashing liquid, pomegranate splash). when i came back i noticed that mixtura (300 beacon street) seems to be out of business: windows taped up, signs and awning removed. that's too bad but it just confirms that that cornershop is cursed. since i've lived there, it seems like every few years there's a new restaurant there. i'm curious what new cuisine will take over its place.

while looking around the key basket in the foyer of my parents' place, i came across a set of torx wrenches. this meant i could finally open up the broken ridgid orbital sander and see which parts inside are broken and needs to be replace. i disassembled as much as i could. when my father came home from the cafe, we removed the bearing cap and bearing assembly. the bearing has no spin, so definitely needs to be replaced. we ended up ordering a new bearing (6002R $5.97), a brake skirt ($2.99), and a 5" sanding pad assembly ($6.56). hopefully these replacement parts arrive sometime next week so we can fix the broken sander and be able to double our sanding output.

but the most important thing i did today was to see if i could get the keyless remote fob and the transponder key to work with the toyota camry. i was a little nervous because i never programmed either a fob or a key before. i tried the fob first. the new fob ($14.77 ebay) looks practically the same as the original fob. the original has a sandblasted finish on the plastic while the new fob has a more satin finish. i was surprised the new fob also has a panic button on the back (this wasn't in the product description, but a welcomed addition). it came with written instructions to go to remotesremotes.com to find the programming instructions. it involves a sequence of key inserts, ignition turns and door opens within a certain amount of time. it seems awfully silly, but apparently this is actually the way to make the car go into keyless remote programming mode. i knew i was doing something right because the door locks cycled at one point, meaning i was now in programming mode. what surprised me was that it worked on my first try. i clicked the buttons on the new fob, the doors opened and closed on command. i went back inside the house feeling victorious.

however, programming the keyless remote was only half the battle. i also had to program the key, which first required making a copy of the blank. the new key (with chip #4C, $8.50) looks just like the old key, other than the finish (sandblasted vs. satin). the old key also feels a little heavy. they're both made of a rubberized material, but it feels more substantial on the old key.

i drove to the watertown home depot, where i first returned 4 unused garden stakes i bought back in april (the 90 day return window was almost over, $12). there was a long line, and after a long wait i was the next person up. however, an aging townie chick with her guido boyfriend came up to me, put her fingernailed hand on my shoulder, and asked if she could cut the line because she just wanted to ask a question about her receipt. i paused for a second but finally said okay. she recently returned an item but didn't understand why it was missing the sales tax. turns out she bought it originally in new hampshire, where they don't have sales tax.

i went to the key department and asked the man if he could make a copy of the car key using my key blank. they sold transponder car key blanks as well, at $30 a key. he also had a machine that could code the transponder but it didn't seem to work with the keys that i had. he ended up making a copy of my key. when i asked him how much, he told me it was on the house. he said even if he wanted to, they don't have a pricing item for making a copy of a key with an owner provided blank (usually they buy their blank key at the store).

i waited until i got home to program the new key. the thing to have to understand is how hot it was today, with temperature in the 90's and high humidity making it worse. and imagine how hot it was in the car, which had been sitting in the driveway all day long, baking in the sun. just to see what would happen, i tried the new key in the ignition. it turned on the electricity just fine, but when i went to start the engine, there was just a soft purr, engine wouldn't start. so there really is a transponder security system! it's not just for show!

the blank key came with programming instructions, but earlier i'd gone online and saw a set of different directions for toyota camry model 2002 and above (my parents own a 2003 camry). so i tried those instructions first. first step: make sure all doors and windows are closed. then a series of master key/new key insertions, ignition switches, and door opens, followed by 60 seconds of waiting for the security light to stop blinking. i tried it 3 different times, and all 3 times it didn't work. i'd sitting in the suffocatingly hot car, waiting for the security light to turn off, which it never did. i grew a little desperate. what if this doesn't work?

so i decided to try the other set of instructions, for a pre-2002 camry. these also involve door opens and ignition turns, but they also included a series of timed brake and accelerator pumps. i only needed one try with these instructions and after 60 seconds of waiting, the security light switched off, meaning the new key had been successfully programmed to the car. i was so happy! and even happier to get out of the car and back inside to the air-conditioned living room. i told my mother the good news, she was shocked that i was completely soaked in sweat.

the rest of the day was spent indoors. i did go out at one point to water the garden. when my father returned home, he and i went to burger king to get some takeout. what i really wanted was a mango shake. after dinner, i biked back to cambridge. i filled up an empty burger king cup with ice water and put my bicycle cup holder to good use. i had a relaxing and hydrated ride home. at one point i saw eliza's friend ed on huron avenue, walking his toddler son. "ed," i said as i rode by, "tony" he replied, none of us the lease bit fazed despite not having seen each other in many years. the cup holder worked great, but the cup was sweating (ice plus humidity will do that), so every time i hit a road bump, i'd feel drops of water on my right knee (not a big deal).

i tried the window fan at first, but the outdoor temperature was the same as the indoor temperature (82 degrees). humidity was high too, 70% (higher outside). i had enough of climate suffering and finally broke down: i installed the air conditioner. turned on, suddenly i experienced a blast of cool relief. i relaxed to a quiet evening of true detective.

i could hear the hiss of downpour outside the open window of the bedroom early this morning. despite the noise, i still managed to sleep late, until 10:30, a fine start to this saturday. i video chatted with SM for about an hour, then used the bathroom and took a shower. i heated up 2 slices of pound cake in the microwave for lunch, then left around 1:00.

there was almost no traffic on the road, the city nearly a ghost town. i leisurely rode to belmont, in my particular hurry, enjoying the nice weather. i tried out the cup holder with my contigo tumbler. everything seemed to be working well until i noticed the tumbler was actually slipping through the holder. that's because the tumbler has a weird hourglass shape, not the standard taper of a cup. so if i want to use the cup holder, i'll have to use a different tumbler.

my father and i partially disassembled the broken ridgid random orbital sander. at first i thought it was an issue with the carbon brushes, but they seemed fine. then we tried to open the housing, but 2 of the torx screws were too deeply recessed to reach with the head of the electric drill. instead we opened the base, where we saw the inside of the break skirt had been well-worn and needed replacing. this would fix the issue of the sander running slow or completely stopping when sanding. the ball needs to be replaced too, which would fix the issue of the sander rotating but not randomly orbiting. the parts aren't very expensive, once we can open up the housing and make sure of the parts we need to replace, i'll order the parts. it'll be great if we can get 2 orbital sanders working, that'll speed up our prep work.

when i got back home, there were two packages waiting for me. one of the key blank for the toyota camry, the other was the remote control fob. talk about quick service, i ordered these just on wednesday. i wish my SJCAM SJ4000 wifi camera would come just as quickly; i ordered a new one from amazon on tuesday, according to them they still haven't shipped it out yet, not sure what's the hold up.

i tried out the jasmine vanilla foam bath while enjoying the latest issue of entertainment weekly (the one with psylocke on the cover).