since LJ has a new borrowed laptop now, i was free to move the desktop PC back to my bedroom, where i spent a good chunk of the day playing with the diamond tv tuner. unfortunately my desktop computer is too slow to stream a video feed so i could only use the windows 7 partition of my faster laptop. there wasn't enough space so i had to attach an external hard drive then clearing up enough space (a few gigabytes) to save any recorded videos. i set up a scheduled timer to record "bin bin talk" at 6:00 (i wasn't sure of the time, so i blocked off an hour of recording to be safe, roughly 3GB of space).

i was going to meet my father in belmont so we could get some material at home depot and then put down some raised beds in the victory garden plot. i decided to take my trek allant, a bike i haven't been riding because 1) it's too nice to ride, and 2) the brake pads were rubbing against the rims. the rear pads looked fine, but one of the front pads was definitely touching the rim. no amount of adjusting would fix it until i loosened the front wheel and realigned it by a small amount. that seemed to have fixed the problem.

we didn't leave for home depot until 4:00. they were all out of 6"x1"x8' treated deck boards so we waited more than half an hour for them to bring down some more. we ended up buying 11 8ft planks and 3 12ft planks (about $90 worth of wood). i was willing to accept pressure treatment because it meant not having to treat it ourselves (with linseed oil, a tedious and dirty task) and the latest process using micronized copper is much safer than any sort of arsenic/chromium treatment. the 8ft fit perfectly in the car, but the 12ft stuck out from the back, so my father tied a red plastic bag to keep cars from unknowingly crashing into the wood.

it was almost 5:00 by the time we got the belmont victory garden. the sky was overcast and it rained briefly but after that the weather was calm and the clouds even lifted a little bit to reveal a bit of blue sky. we worked there until 7:00, first pulling up the metal stakes and plastic fencing, then laying out the perimeter of the plot with the boards, then finally securing them with some wooden stakes and hammering the metal stakes and fencing back into place. while moving a trash bin, i punctured my thumb on a rose thorn that felt like it went all the way through. bleeding all over my hand, i managed to dig out a band aid from my bag and wrap up my thumb.

turns out plot 136 is not actually a perfect rectangular: the western side is 18ft long while the eastern side is 20 ft long. when i measured 19.5ft initially, it must've been from somewhere in the center. the plot is also on a slope leaning downwards from the southwestern corner. my father thought about maybe secretly expanding the plot so it was 20ft on the western side as well but it would've looked too obvious (2ft increase). since we started so late, we didn't have much time to work, so we only did the outside border of the raised bed. besides, there was plenty of hungry mosquitoes buzzing about, but surprisingly i never once got bit.

the plan is once we have the edges of the raised beds finished (we still need to put up in the inside edges), we'll use landscape fabric over much of the actual space. the reason is the fabric will eliminate the weeds and save us from having to come water as often since it'll prevent the soil from drying up. there's plenty of free wood chip mulch for lining the paths, but any talk of compost is greatly exaggerated as there's just a large pile of garde debris. there is however a big manure pile from last season, so we should be able to have plenty of manure on hand. i just hope we have enough soil to work with instead of having to truck in our own.

leaving the garden, we got a chance to check out some neighboring plots. some people have plots so big they don't know what to do with it. that just made me seethe with jealousy. there should be a rule that if you don't make good use of a large plot, you should exchange it for a smaller one. we also checked out the unmarked chinese farmer plot; my father said he saw the old man leave right as we were pulling into the parking lot. he must've been using some potent animal fertilizer because we could smell it before we saw it; the odor reminded me of rural china.

dinner was easy because we still had plenty of leftovers from the sunday barbecue. i had some zongzi and some pulled pork sandwich. my mother cooked up the watermelon radishes, which did resemble watermelons with its pink interior and green rind. that's strange, because originally they were white coming out of the ground, and supposedly with a magenta interior.

back at home, i was eager to see what i recorded. unfortunately i forgot to set it to the cambridge community access channel (9) so i recorded an hour of the ghost whisperer by accident. i played around with the tv tuner the rest of the night (i basically spent the whole day in my bedroom if i wasn't out of the house). i tried the external antenna, which surprisingly managed to find all the local over-the-air channels and with great reception, despite my house being a cellphone dead zone. i connected the cable wire directly to the tuner to see if i could pick up any clear QAM HDTV channels on comcast. it takes a long time to scan (20 minutes to discover 70 channels) and almost all the channels were encrypted. there was only 3 free channels - 2 spanish networks and ion tv (not sure what local channel that corresponds to).