i biked down to michael's in the late morning to get some green homespun yarn for my mother. she's looking for a particular color she used once before but now can't remember what it was. it's always difficult because i'm trying to explain to her over the phone what colors i see. i ended up getting 2 of each: meadow, apple green, and olive. i managed to use my newly-scanned reward card when i went to go pay.

i was just going to go home afterwards but decided to quickly drop by the cafe to deliver the yarn. turns out none of the ones i bought was what my mother wanted, but she kept the meadow yarn. i was about to return home when my mother told me my 2nd aunt still wasn't able to get any channels even after a visit from the cable guy yesterday.

my father and i went to go investigate. for some reason she could only get 2 channels, NECN and WGBX. having seen the problem before, i knew it was a simple matter of calling up comcast to get them to send a reset signal, but it still took about 10 minutes of calling and speaking with 2 different operators. as soon as the cable box refreshed, all the channels came in except the lower channels (23 and under). we figured the cable box just needed more time to update. out of curiosity, we went downstairs to check my great uncle's cable. although he could still get the lower channels, there was pixelation, like he wasn't getting a clean signal. that's when we realized the problem had something to do with the wiring, in particular a cheap 3-way splitter that was degrading the signal.

so i volunteered to return to porter square once more, first to return all those unwanted yarn, then to visit the nearby radio shack to pick up a higher quality splitter. the cheapest usable device they carried was a gold-plated 4-way splitter that cost $22. since this was an emergency, i had no choice but to get it, although i'm positive i could get it 50% cheaper at home depot (save that receipt for a possible return).

the splitter fixed the problem of pixelated channels for my great uncle, but my 2nd aunt was still experiencing missing channels. we finally narrowed down the problem to bad wiring, since her coaxial connection is actually a hodge podge of several shorter cables spliced together. my father promised her he'd get her a better cable; in the meantime, she still had 60-70 more channels she didn't have before (which was zero).

i finally returned home by 1:30. the weather had been grey and cold all day, and by that point it was already flurrying, the first snow of the season. my mother wanted me to leave with some lunch but i told her i had plenty of food back at the house. drew - who was still here when i left earlier - was now gone, most likely to the library. i fixed myself a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes (leftover garden variety that'd slowly ripened in the kitchen) and honey mustard and cheese.

after lunch i went back outside. the snow had picked up. nothing was sticking to the ground yet, but enough was falling that it got all over my clothes. i went out to take a photo of the car parked across the street from elizabeth warren's house congratulating and thanking her. warren won 85% of the vote in cambridge, her hometown. compare that to mitt romney, who lost in his "hometown" of belmont, 34% to obama's 65%. cambridge voted overwhelmingly for obama, with 86%. coming back, i stopped by the corner rite aid to stock up on some candy.

my latest dx.com shipment arrived with the afternoon mail: a usb-serial adapter and an arduino 8x8 LED matrix kit. my interest in the arduino has waned in the past few weeks but i plan on picking it up sometime soon. i tried connecting the usb-serial adapter to the LED display but i couldn't get it to work after i installed the pl2303 OS X driver. the adapter came with a mini-CD that has the driver but i'm assuming it's PC-only. i'll need to play around with that some more, maybe hook it to an old PC using a direct serial-serial connection.

drew came home around 5:00, his hair caked in snow. i thought the snow had stopped but it must've picked up again and this time it was sticking around now that the environment was sufficiently wet and cold. for dinner i had some more kale quinoa pilaf. it wasn't as good as the first time i made it, even though i added bacon and bacon fat into the mixture. as healthy and nutritious as this might be (minus the bacon), i don't know if i'll make it again. later in the evening i rolled up some no-knead bread dough for some homemade bread tomorrow night.