i left the house around 10:00 this morning, heading to belmont to do some sanding before it got too hot. by 10:30 i was in action, orbital sander attached to the shopvac, mask and earmuffs attached to my head. i worked the lower shingles first, before climbing the scaffolding to reach the higher shingles. the west side of the house was still in shadows, but it was hot and humid enough that i decided to work topless, with the added bonus of fixing my farmer's tan in the process. despite the heat, i also wore my painter jeans, for safety reasons, in case the sander fell on my legs. i wore gloves too, which saved me from an injury when i had a knuckle too close to the 40-grit sanding pad.

the thing to know about sanding is that it's laborious (orbital sander starts feeling heavy after a while), it's noisy (hence the earmuffs), and it's hot (even without the summer sun shining directly on me, i'm sweating inside the dust mask). nevertheless, there's a zen-like soothingness about it, the same sort of feeling when i mow the lawn. sanding layers of paint also produces interesting patterns that look like geographic features and i saw various shapes that looked like different countries while i worked.

i took an occasional break to rinsing off the flecks of paint from my body, water the garden, pull up some weeds, and get a drink of water. by noontime the sun was beginning to peek around the corner. i kept working until 1:00, when finally the sun was just too much to handle. i think i may have even gotten a slight sunburn on my right arm (the side facing the sun).

i went inside to take a shower, changing into the spare clothes i bought. my mother told me there were two leftover blue cheese burgers in the fridge but i couldn't find them, so instead i had some chips and salsa while watching an ink master marathon (season 4). my mother came home a little bit after 2:00, biking from the cafe. rummaging through the fridge, she found the missing burgers which i then heated up for a late lunch.

i returned home around 3:30. after another shower (motorcycling in the summer can get sweaty), i went to star market to contest the price of the cilantro seed packet i bought last week. sure enough, the display said 40% off, so i got some money back (a missing national park quarter to boot). before i left, i got a bag of cherries, a package of salad, and a box of stouffer's french bread pizza.

i received a package today, the special go-pro dog harness arrived. only problem is my go-pro knockoff (SJ4000 HD) is still coming from china and it'll probably be another week or two before it arrives, if it'll even show up. the seller had his account banned by ebay, but i'd already paid for the camera. it's not much - $23 - but that should've been a red flag since the camera normally costs $100. i can file a complaint with ebay, but since this is an international shipment, i have to wait 30 days before i can do so. the seller did contact me via e-mail, told me not to worry, that the item has already been shipped, and even gave me a tracking number; unfortunately it's china post, which i can't seem to track (even then, i'd be suspicious about its reliability). sometimes users get banned not because they did anything illegal, but because they violated ebay's price exclusivity clauses for certain brands (like selling something for too cheap). nothing i can do but wait until the end of the month to see if anything shows up.

last night i didn't sleep until 4:30, obsessed with researching all there is to know about panasonic viera HDTV repair and the TCON board. the service manual doesn't even mention the TCON, but after some sleuthing (i even opened up the HDTV again just to poke around inside), i found out where the TCON is located. a faulty TCON board might explain the black screen, but so might a broken A-board. the service manual says 8 blinks means "SOS (T-CON power)" and to check the A-board, but no other instructions after that. my concern is if it's the TCON board that's broken, that's a cheaper fix because a refurbished board goes for $15 on ebay, versus the $55 i paid for the A-board (which might not even be broken). in the meantime, all i can do is wait for my replacement board to arrive (maybe as early as wednesday-thursday).

now that i temporarily don't have a tv, the house feels very quiet, empty almost. not that i was watching a lot of television anyway, and if anything, because i don't have regular cable, i've been using the tv less and less these days. i watch it mainly for the news, which i can receive over the airwaves. and of the news, i only really care about the headlines and the weather. before lunch i might catch a little price is right (mostly to see if amber lancaster is on, she's my favorite price is right spokesmodel) before the news. i might watch a little tv while i have lunch, but then the tv is off the rest of the day until the evening, when i watching the 6:00 news. come prime time i'll watch tv if there's something good on, but recently i've just turned off the television until later in the evening, when i watch the 10:00-11:00 news broadcast followed by some talk shows depending on the guests.

even without a tv i can still watch tv. i have an analog set in my bedroom, but i hardly ever go in there nowadays, even opting to sleep in the guest bedroom instead. all my smart phones and tablets can receive various forms of video entertainment, not to mention my computer. recently, i'm more inclined to watch some show or movie i've downloaded than actually use the HDTV. ever once in a while, if i want some variety, i might put a video on the USB drive and hooked it up to the tv, but it's easier just to watch it on the computer, despite the smaller screen size (better than a smartphone screen anyway).

around 5:00 i went into my bedroom to watch an hour of news before returning to the living room. this must be how people without televisions spend their evenings! in the dark, with the solitude and the quietness, waiting for it to get darker.

i tested the HDTV again, reconnecting the A-board, thinking that maybe it might miraculously work. no image, just 10 blinking red lights, ZWEI/FRC issues (not even sure what that is).

for dinner i ate that package of salad i bought earlier. when i was sanding this morning, i saw my topless reflection in a window and didn't like what i saw. let's just say there was a lot of jiggling when i didn't expect to be jiggles. i could stand to lose about 10 pounds to get into fighting shape.