li was nowhere to be seen this morning - the quintessential perfect roommate. though in looking for a roommate, it's not the sort of thing you can request. ah yes, i'd like a roommate, but one who's almost always never here. i was glad he managed to figure out how to lock the front door; i've had many past roommates who even after staying here for months still never completely quite got the hang of the door.
catone (5th instar) has eaten about 3/4 of the new leaf i gave it 2 days ago. as of this morning it measured about 36mm. i ended up tossing the old leaf, even though there was still half left on it, and put in a new leaf so once catone finished its current leaf it can go onto the new one. cattwo (4th instar) has been busy feeding as well, measuring about 25mm.
i played around with the baofeng radio, listening to the cambridge police radio (470.31250 MHz). i can see how this could be addicting, like riding along with the police department, real crime happening in real time. although to be honest, most of the chatter i heard today concerned vehicles blocking driveways or security alarms going off. there was one MVA, which i learned stands for "motor vehicle accident." i figured out how to use the frequency scan function. i came across an open channel that turned out to be the MBTA police frequency (470.66250 MHz). there was a homeless man threatening to urinate on some T passengers at south station. elsewhere on the lowell commuter line, teenagers were playing chicken with ongoing trains. i also discovered that those mysterious tiny 75's and 25's and 5's are actually the end frequency numbers, not mysteriously assigned channel numbers.
on the solar loan front, united solar got in touch with me today. i gave lucas an update of where we stand in terms of loan progress and which lenders, and told him that avidia said united wasn't a part of their installer circle. lucas confirmed this was true, that they don't use avidia because avidia requires borrows to shift their SREC's to bluewave to manage, which united as their own people. lucas did however say that they did have one customer go with naveo and they didn't have any problems with them. he also looked into ECSB and said what they said was true, they in fact have not lent a single mass solar loan this year.
i went to the community garden in the afternoon to water my plants. i found another long cucumber hidden amongst the blighted tomatoes. i don't know how much longer the garden can continue to produce fruits as the night time temperatures are starting to drop. just last night it was 54°F here in cambridge. there are tiny flowerbuds on the monkshood plant but i don't know if they will flower this season. i have a small patch of milkweed but it's for emergency use only. if i can keep the leaves intact and let it grow a bit more so that next year it'll reappear with more leaves.
i continued on my way to market basket, stopping by the patch of sidewalk milkweed on harrison street and mondamin court to pick a few more leaves (4). i got a little of the milkweed sap on my knuckles and it began to itch but i didn't have anything to clean it off with so i just had to bear it while i went grocery shopping. i was making lasagna tonight and needed a few ingredients ($2.89 mozzarella, $1.89 ricotta, $3.34 80% lean ground beef).
3:30pm i figured out how to program memories into the baofeng radio. the steps seem very easy but i couldn't add any channels. the trick is this: you can't add a channel to a memory that already has a channel, you have to erase it first. only through experimentation was i finally able to figure this out, as none of the steps online mention this. for some reason my baofeng arrived from the factory with 20 memory presets, so i wasn't able to add to those memory channels.
4:30pm i took another snapshot of the caterpillar jars. catone seemed to have completely ignored the old leaf and began feeding on the fresh new leaf. cattwo wasn't as wasteful, eating the first leaf so that it was nearly just a stem before moving onto the new leaf.
i finally tried the baofeng programming cable ($7.55) which arrived last friday. i heard a lot of horror stories about cheap knockoffs that don't work, and maybe i waited so long to try it because i was worried i might've gotten a bad cable as well (not a genuine FTDI cable, which costs 3x as much). besides the cable, i also needed to install the KK7DS python runtime and the latest version of CHIRP for OSX. when i connected the cable to the baofeng radio and opened up CHIRP nothing happened, although the computer was able to recognize the cable as a prolific PL2303. the only connection option was bluetooth. so i went online and found the latest OS X driver for PL2303, v1.6.1 updated for mac OS sierra (10.12). after a restart, latest version of CHIRP for OSX. i launched CHIRP again and this time it managed to see the radio, cloning the memory as an image file that i can later modify and reupload. i added the cambridge police dispatch channel and the MBTA police channel, along with alphanumeric description tag. i also got confused as i thought the text description was just that, but the text description is actually the channel (so instead of showing you frequency number, it shows the text instead when you set MDF-A and MDF-B to name display.
li came home around 6pm. i started making the lasagna for dinner, but then i saw li was also making dinner, some rice porridge. i didn't bother telling him that there was going to be enough lasagna for the both of us, and who knows, maybe he doesn't even like lasagna, don't want to push my own diet on somebody else. into the oven it went around 7pm, it finally finished baking around 8pm. li shared some of his porridge with me, warning me that it was a bit salty. i didn't mind, he also added some string beans which gave it a sweetness and some chinese sausages which added a bit of proteins to the otherwise starchy meal.
this was a lasagna using my own homemade tomato sauce, but there was so much else going on - the cheeses, the ground beef, the lasagna noodles - the tomato sauce seemed to have gotten lost in the background. if i really want to taste the sauce, i should just make a simple pasta and eat it alone with the sauce. li had a very small piece of lasagna, said it was good, but didn't eat any more since he already ate dinner. i ate a whole 1/3 (about 2 squares), felt stuffed afterwards.
later in the evening i added a few more channels to the baofeng radio, including all the local police dispatch, and FRP/GMRS frequencies. i reconnected the radio and uploaded the modified image.
cattwo (4th isntar) looked like it stopped eating and getting ready for its final molt. i tossed out the old leaf which was just a stem at this point. i placed cattwo back into the jar with the caterpillar facing downwards. a few minutes later i noticed it had crawled onto the other side of the leaf, the side facing upwards. maybe it has to be in the right position for a molt. it didn't eat the rest of the night, crawling to the center of the leaf and shaking like a drug addict going through withdrawal pains. it's actually kind of early for cattwo to be molting, since it just molted yesterday. i think maybe it's just resting from eating all day, because even though it hasn't been eating, it pooped about half a dozen times.
catone (5th instar) is doing all sorts of weird things. when i took a photo of the jars at 8:30pm, catone seemed normal looking. 3 hours later around midnight, it seemed to have grown 50% in size. i didn't want to disturb it by taking it out for a measurement, but an eyeball estimate with a ruler on the side says catone is now approximately 50mm long, which the maximum size for 5th instar caterpillars. it alternates between resting in the center of the leaf and climbing to the top of the leaf and eating the milkweed in a hurry. it should be at 5th instar between 3-5 days before turning into a chrysalis. today is just day 2 so it still has a few more days of eating left. fortunately i have a milkweed stockpile. i think i might've caught it while it was doing a stretch, that's why it seemed so much bigger. later when it started eating again, it seemed to be a bit smaller, though still a big caterpillar.