my mother called me at 9:30am, said my father was going to go pick up my aunt and uncle and together the 4 of us were going to the everett costco to let my aunt take a look at the parklane bonded leather euro lounger sofa (out of stock online for $599, sold in store for $399) and if she likes it we'd buy it and haul it back to their place. but i discovered something last night that i wasn't able to share with them: a euro lounger is just a fancier futon sofa, and futon sofas sell for around $200 or less online, with free shipping in most cases too. why pay double for something that will probably break our backs moving? there was no room inside the car, the only solution was to tie it down on top, but lifting it up there (all 140 lbs.) wasn't going to be fun.

anyway, we got to costco and my aunt saw the sofa, but i sort of sabotaged any idea she was going to get it when i kept telling her there was more selection online, cheaper with home delivery. so that was that, our costco trip in vain, with the exception that my father returned the LED bulbs he got a few days ago (1600 lumens but 5000k) to get some different LED bulbs (800 lumens 2700k).

i returned home by 11:30am with a box of 6 new LED bulbs to replace the few CFL bulbs i have in the house (living room lamp - but an upgrade from 400 lumens LED to 800 lumens, dining table light, two lamps in the guest bedroom, 2 track lights in the closet). for lunch i fixed myself some hot dogs, trying to eat light in preparation for the buffet later tonight.

i topped off my hot dogs with some homemade sauerkraut. that's when i noticed that my old 6-days fermented sauerkraut looks a little different than my current 10-days-and-counting sauerkraut. 6-days has more dark green leaves, 10-days the leaves have lost more color, the sauerkraut is paler overall.

my 2 monoprice antennas arrived today: paper thin black 35-mile range antenna ($5.89) and the set top 60-mile range antenna ($12.89). i was interested in trying out the set top antenna, because up to this point all the OTA HDTV antennas i've tried were of the paper thin variety. so when i plugged in everything, i was disappointed to see that the reception wasn't as good as the 35-mile range amazon-brand paper thin antenna. using channel 24-1 azteca as a test, without power i couldn't get anything with the set top; with power, i managed to eke out a pixelated signal at best. compare that with my amazon-brand antenna, i picked up a strong 24-1 signal without any additional power.

maybe the thickness of the coaxial cable has something to do with it? i've noticed in all the new antennas i've received, the cables were rather thin, compared to the thicker cable of my amazon antenna. the price i paid, it's not worth returning them. i'm going to give one to my sister (let her choice if she wants the paper thin or set top) then keep the other as a backup.

at this point i've sort of given up on getting any quality reception from my living room. if i want clear channels, my only recourse is to sign back up with comcast. maybe when i have some disposable income that might be something i'll look into, but right now i'm fine with my weak reception, pixelated and all. even if i got the fanciest antenna, the fact that i live on the first floor surrounded by other 3-4 floor houses prevents me from getting the proper signals. maybe if i lived on the 3rd floor with better view of the sky things might be different.

but a bit of OTA HDTV good news: i set up my aunt's paper thin antenna to my bedroom tv. i noticed a few days ago that i get better reception from here, maybe because it's southern facing (compared to the living room which is northern facing). while i get intermittent reception for 27-1 univision in the living room, from the bedroom i can pick up univision no problem. however, it wasn't able to get 24-1 azteca, which i pick up relatively easily (with amazon antenna) from the living room. maybe it was a north-south direction thing? i couldn't even bring up the channel by manually punching in the numbers. so i decided to do a re-scan, which sure enough, fixed the problem. but not only was i able to get 27-1 now, but i got a lot more channels that i ever had before, including the fabled 8-1 WBTS-LD, the new NBC boston channel. not only 8-1, but also 8-2 telemundo (i've never been able to get that channel OTA), 8-3 cozi-TV, and 8-4 telexitos. up to this point i was able to get WBTS-LD but through 60-5. that by itself was already a victory, but to be able to get it on 8-1, along with telemundo, it was like a belated christmas present.

my parents closed the cafe early and my father came to pick me up at 5:50pm along with my uncle; we were to drive to revere first to the flaming grill and buffet restaurant, while my sister would arrive a short time later with my mother, my aunt, and my sister's godmother. in the back of the car was a piece of futon-style sofa my father had picked up, so now it looks like maybe my aunt doesn't need to buy a couch after all. this was our 2nd time today heading to the everett-malden-revere triangle. my uncle - to his credit - recognized that we'd been here before earlier today.

we arrived at 6:20pm, with the parking lot already packed. we must've gotten there at the very tail end of where you could still get a table, because soon afterwards there was a crowd of people to be seated. my sister and her party arrived 10 minutes later, while i was already starting on my first plate of food. there seemed to be more food compared to the last (and first) time we came back in february 2016 (that was a slow snowy monday night).

just like last time, i managed to eat 5 plates of food, with the final plate being mostly dessert items. the place was busy, and what was really interesting was nearly everyone was a minority of some kind, whether black, hispanic, or asian. i also saw some muslims with headscarves. all zero white people. buffets like this caters to the ethnic poor looking for a bargain. at only $13/person, you compare that to the restaurant i ate at a few nights ago, where $13 couldn't even get you a plate of macaroni and cheese. it's just a whole different social-economic world. the cost to feed a party of 7 on a friday night was only $100. my aunt treated, and was shocked by how inexpensive it was.

it's definitely a case of quantity over quality. there seems to be more buffet restaurants these days, but the ones that do well are the ones that cater to the lower end. with a buffet restaurant, there's always a balance between quantity and quality. if you go too fancy, you have a hard time making back the cost. if you go too low end though, then nobody will come.

it was also my mother's birthday, which was the real reason we came out to eat, but we didn't want my sister's godmother to feel self-conscious, so we didn't mention it, instead saying my aunt just wanted to treat for helping her move to her new apartment. while my sister's godmother was in the bathroom, my aunt secretly toasted my mother's birthday.

afterwards we went next door to the dollar tree. there's one near my house, but this one is about 3x the size, if not larger. i recognized the cashier from the somerville store, maybe she works both places, or maybe she just relocated. i found two large puck-shaped glass votive candle holders that i'll use as fermentation weights.

my parents drove me home while my sister drove everyone else. we might've taken more people but there's only one seat in the back of the honda element. i took a long hot shower when i got back home, trying to get rid of the heavy oil smell all over my body. i hung up all my clothes to hopefully air out the smell, but i'll probably need to wash all of them soon.