today i played explorer, discovering a new route to the saugus lowe's. the few times i went there in the past have always been straight down broadway/route 99 through everett. though it seems to be the most direct way, it passes through so many traffic lights along the way that it pretty much takes forever and not a very pleasant ride. google map recommended a route i've never tried before, making my way to the wellington T station, but then circling around to river's edge drive/commercial street until i hit malden center, then a right on route 60 east for about a mile, then a left onto route 99 north for a mile and a half before arriving at lowe's.

i left sometime after 11:00. temperature was in the upper 70's when i left, cool enough that i grabbed a long-sleeve baseball t-shirt. out in the sun though, it felt hot, but i think i would've felt hotter has my arms been completely exposed. getting to wellington station wasn't a big deal, but i did turn too soon and ended up on constitution way (kelly's roast beef) before finding my way again. i've been onto commercial street/rivers edge drive at least once before, from wellington station to dan's old house on devir street. this is a pretty wide street with little traffic. when i got to malden center i got a little confused. there was sign for route 60 east, so i ended up taking a big loop around florence street. after stopping to consult google maps, i regains my bearings.

once i reached route 99 things looked familiar again as i rode the final stretch north, since this was my usual route to lowe's. sometimes i wish there was a lowe's closer by for the sake of home improvement variety, since i am surrounded by 3 home depots. but now that i've discovered this new way to the saugus lowe's, maybe i'll come here more often. my primary reason for coming here was to get some 8-hole 40-grit orbital sander sand paper. home depot doesn't seem to carry any with those specs, but lowe's had a 50-pack of gator-brand sanding disc for $20. i also bought a pair of sanding respirators, the kind with the filter in the nose for better breathing. i did take a tour of the plumbing and garden department but didn't get anything.

coming back, i stopped at the hess gas station on the intersection of route 99 and 60 to fill my tank. because the old battery died a few times, it wiped the trip odometer numbers (the honda shadow spirit has a digital odometer). why is this important? because the motorcycle doesn't have a fuel gauge; the only way to know when the tank is near empty is by using the distance traveled. i'm glad that i get fuel because it was nearly empty (2.535 gallons, $7.07 total).

approaching malden center the roads got confusing and i ended up continuing west on eastern avenue instead of following centre street/route 60. instead of connecting back onto commercial street, i went down main street instead. i stopped in front of bell rock park to check google maps. the park sits on top of a hill and i was curious if i could get any good views of boston from up there so i got off the bike and took a quick peek. there was no boston skyline view but i did see a young woman sunbathing on the empty lawn.

fortunately main street hits the eastern terminus of medford street, and that was the street i wanted to get on. i followed medford street west until it hit the fellsway/route 28, then i took it south to harbor freight tools at the fellsway plaza/wellington circle shopping center. i returned an unopened package of rivets (already 2 months, but they have a 90 day return policy) and then scoured the store before i found the basin wrenches. they had 2 variety - rigid and telescoping. i debated whether or not to go with telescoping, but figured i probably won't be using this tool all that much so i went with the cheaper version ($6 less). on top of that, the cashier was cool enough to pull up my name from their database so i got an additional 20% off. i also bought a $2 key that has a knife hidden inside (i'm always in need of a cutting tool but can never seem to have anything on hand).

i stopped by the ocean state job lot next door to look around; left with 3 packets of 50% discounted seeds (dill, nasturtium, delphiniums) for next season.

coming home underneath the mcgrath highway, i saw that the el salvador restaurant was opened. i made a quick decision, pulled a u-turn, and stopped inside to get some food. the place was empty except for 2 workers sitting by a table eating lunch and watching a telenovela on a wall-mounted HDTV. i ordered 3 pupusas at $2 a piece and waited for them to make it to go.

i was tempted to make a stop at market basket but decided i had enough excitement for one day. once i got home, i quickly packed up my things and left for belmont sometime after 2:00. wangyang texted me a few messages, said she now in venezuela, her 3rd day of work. i welcomed her to the americas and asked her what was the first thing she noticed when she arrived in caracas: she said all the pretty ladies.

when my parents came home we tried the pupusa. it was still warm (freshly made). i've never had pupusa before, essentially a corn tortilla stuffed with fillings. i really liked it, could've eaten all three easily (just had two, my parents shared one). i want to go back to that restaurant next time and order a few other things. the fact that it's so hard to get to makes it that much more worthwhile.

after dinner i returned to cambridge. i had to circle the street a few times to find parking. that junked car that'd been there for a few years? the owner finally moved it, or at least had it towed to a mechanic (all the tires were flat, which is the least of its problems). but because that car is gone, that little spot in front of it that was perfect for stashing a motorcycle is now gone as well. nevertheless, it's good to reclaim a parking spot.

the first thing i did when i got home was to try out the basin wrench. does it really work? did i make a mistake not getting the telescoping handle variety? i tried working on the kitchen faucet first. 2 screws secure the faucet to the sink. i already unscrewed one of them, but the other one is in an awkward spot impossible to get a normal wrench in there. that's where the basin wrench comes in. but first i had to figure out which direction to turn. after some brief trial and error i still couldn't figure it out, until i crawled under the sink to get a better angle. the screw came off easily. later i had to put the 2 screws back because the faucet was loose after that.

the basin wrench has a pretty ingenious design. from the looks of it, it doesn't look like it'd be good as grasping anything. turn it in the wrong direction that's true, but turn it in the right direction and that thing has a vice-like grip. next i tried the bathroom sink. the metal locking nut that secures the faucet to the sink has corroded to the point where it seems impossible to remove. it took a while to angle the basin wrench so that it was grabbing ahold of the nut. once it was in the right possible, i managed to turn it a quarter. i stopped after that, i didn't need to remove the faucet, but knew if i needed to, it was entirely possible.

as of yesterday, the 1080p webripped version of mad max: fury road has been circulating online. i've been watching it whenever i have the chance, studying the action scenes frame by frame. i know a lot of cgi work went into the movie but what makes the film sort of incredible is you can't tell the difference, it looks like it's all practical stunts. i'd rather watch a movie like this versus one of those superhero action films where the spectacle is so overwhelmingly amazing that it becomes boring and fake.

my next door neighbor renee got her ductless heating system installed today, i saw contractor vans parked outside, and contractors moseying about her alleyway. the compressor is this big ole thing that hangs from the first story wall, directly facing my two bedroom windows. tonight it's loud, but not because of the compressors: her first floor tenants have a noisy box fan in their kitchen window, and i can't open my bedroom windows without getting an earful. it's going to be a noisy night.