it's day 6 of the sauerkraut ferment. the days of leaking airlocks are over. now my latest concern is whether or not mold will be growing on the piece of apple weight, since it's not submerged in brine juice, and just sitting on top of the sauerkraut. i can already see a little something that could be mold forming. that's another reason why it's better to have an inorganic weight (like glass or ceramic) versus organic (like apple).

i tried setting up voice activation on my raspberry pi 3. i have an old logitech 961240-0403 webcam that i'm using as an usb microphone. i was able to record and play (arecord/aplay) but the audio has a lot of noise in the background. later i tried installing PiAUISuite but was having all sorts of issues. it doesn't seem fully compatible with the latest version of raspbian jessie. and when i finally managed to get it installed, running voicecommand seemed to freeze up my terminal (i could still type commands, just couldn't see them anymore).

for lunch, for dinner, i finally finished my chicken corn chowder. it will be a long time before i make this recipe again, if at all. it wasn't very appetizing when i first made it, but after eating it for a whole week, it's lost all its appeal. the only reason i was still eating it was because there wasn't anything else to eat in the house and i was too lazy to go get groceries.

i called servsafe - the national restaurant association - to ask about my father's food protection manager certification examination score. he took the exam more than 10 days ago, and they sent him an e-mail notifying him that he could look up his score online. but when i logged in with his account, i couldn't find the course or the score. turns out they created a new account for him after he took the test, and the exam was filed under that account. my father wasn't very confident that he passed the test. even i was confused when i read some of the sample questions. they weren't just simple multiple choices. many were multi-part questions that if you got just a single thing wrong, you got the whole thing wrong. i get the feeling a lot of people don't pass. my father said he stayed late to finish his exam while everyone else had already left. later he found out he could've taken the test in chinese (just had to bring your own computer). the person i spoke to on the phone told me my father unfortunately didn't pass the exam. he needed a passing score of 75% but got 68%. now he has to retake the test ($55 retake fee) in order to get certified.

my amazon order arrived today. nothing glamorous, just some essential household items. a 2-ft belkin surge protector ($4.88) arrived a few hours earlier than the rest of the shipment; you can never have enough power outlets. i got some plastic mason jar lids ($2.99), this time for regular mouths, which fit my pint-size hot sauce jar, which had been using a metal lid up to this point. plastic is a better because it won't corrode like metal.

i got an ozeri food scale ($11). it wasn't essential, but sometimes i see recipes (especially for baking) that calls for weighted portions. typically i think those are fancy recipes and i just go ahead and ignore the instructions, but you never know when a food scale might come in handy, like mailing a small parcel and needing to find out the exact weight for postage. or if i ever go on one of those diets that require you to weigh out your foods (hope that never happens). and it's fun just to weigh stuff. i got the ozeri because i got a lot of positive amazon reviews and the general consensus seems to be that it's a fairly accurate scale, down to a 1g difference. other scales i saw had a larger margin of error, 2-3 grams. the scale was a little bigger than i expected, but still small enough that i can stash in a kitchen drawer. it can weigh up to 11 lbs.

the final thing that arrived was a tanker-brand powered 50-miles-range HDTV antenna ($15.83) for my 2nd aunt. she's still undecided whether she'll get a new HDTV or just use a DTA box with her old used TV. either way, she needed an antenna, and i saw one for sale on a lightning deal on friday so i just bought it for her. but of course i wanted to try it first and see if i could get some more channels.

plugging it into my HDTV, i noticed right away that there was no improvement. in fact, channels i typically get weren't coming in, like 38.1 or 48.1. 48.1 daystar was essential, since that's my 2nd uncle's favorite channel. if i mounted the antenna up high i could eke out a weak signal, that was about it, but showed that it was able to get the channel. i was also hoping it could pick up channel 8.1, which is the new NBC affiliate once it leaves WHDH channel 7 at the end of the month. i had no luck receiving channel 8, which meant no NBC next year, which meant no sunday night football games and future games as well.

i hoped maybe from my aunt's 2nd floor apartment they'd have better reception. also it didn't matter if i used the powered-adapter or not, the reception was the same. i think all power-boosting antenna dongles are a scam, at least when it comes to antenna of this type. so i boxed everything up, figured i'd try it at my aunt's place, and if i didn't work, i could always just return the antenna. but then i had the bright idea of trying out the antenna on my bedroom television, which is just an trinitron with a DTA box attached. maybe reception would be different that corner of the house.

so i tried it without the power adapter, and sure enough, after running through an auto-scan, i managed to receive 48.1 without any problems. but then what surprised me was it was pulling in channels i could never get from the living room, like 27.1 univision. maybe if i was lucky i might received a pixelated image, but 27.1 was coming in loud and clear. and while surfing through the channel lineup to see what other channels it could receive, i came around WBTS-LD on 60.5. wait, isn't WBTS the new NBC affiliate? this was what i was looking for! but wasn't it supposed to be on channel 8? although i do remember hearing that NBC was also looking to broadcast from channel 60, but i could never receive 60 in the past, why now? and only 60.5, as there was still nothing on the other substations. it was broadcasting NECN at the time (a channel i could only get with cable subscription), but there was a WBTS countdown clock on the corner alerting viewers that there was 13 more days before NBC boston.

i was so happy. ever since i found out NBC was leaving WHDH, i was worried, because NBC couldn't find another station to buy in order to have a strong enough coverage to transmit to boston. so instead they were using two weaker transmission towers, one from new hampshire, and one from rhode island, hoping the overlap would reach boston. the new station would be on channel 8, but i've been pinging the channel for weeks and couldn't get anything. i even tried my father's massive DIY antenna, but even that thing couldn't receive channel 8.

i was so concerned in fact that i was ready to write a letter to whomever might be in charge, whether it be NBC or comcast (one and the same) or even my government representative, to complain about this issue. it seemed like it was some sort of conspiracy hatched up by comcast to get people to sign up for cable if they want to watch NBC, a channel that's always been free. i was actually thinking about going back to cable if i couldn't get my NBC. but now it seems like all is right with the world.

i tried finding some information about channel 60.5 but came across nothing. tv guide channel lineup doesn't mention it at all. after some further sleuthing, i finally found some articles dated last monday (12/12), with news that NBC reached an agreement with WFMP to rebroadcast WBTS NBC boston on their signal. the signal boost actually increases their coverage compared to when they were with WHDH. in fact, when i switched back to my dinky small antenna, i was still able to receive 60.5, with a signal strength of 80%+, versus the other major networks (4,5,7) which were just at 50%. the agreement with WFMP is only temporary, until NBC can acquire some additional transmission bandwidth at the beginning of next year at an FCC auction. given the deep pockets of NBC/comcast, i'm confident they'll succeed.

not only is future NBC (at 60.5) the strongest channel i can receive now, but whatever NBC did, they also seemed to have boosted the signal of telemundo univision1, so now i can get 27.1 in the living room when i never could before (NBC owns telemundo). so now i can brush up on my spanish by watching the spanish-language news and evening telenovelas!

i watched a bootleg of rogue one. normally i'd never watch something that was record with a video camera (something desperate and seedy about it), and rogue one was a movie i'd gladly go see in the movie theatres, but i watched it out of curiosity, just "a taste," and ended up watching the whole thing, crappy video and audio and all. it's a good movie, i can't wait to see it in better quality!

1 channel 27.1 is actually univision, not telemundo. tell you the truth, i don't know where the telemundo channel is. supposedly it was on channel 60, but i could never receive that channel until now, and only channel 60.5. with the transition to NBC boston, telemundo apparently will also make the channel jump to channel 8.2 opposite 8.1 NBC boston. hopefully if NBC ever finds a way to boost their signal for channel 8, i will also be able to finally receive telemundo. as to why the signal for 27.1 univision has been boosted, that i don't know.

a part of me also wonders if my renewed reception expansion isn't due to some seasonal reason. now that winter is here, trees have lost their leaves, so maybe that makes for clearer reception. i guess i'll find out come next year.