i took li to the mt.auburn cemetery this morning. i woke up at 9:30am, but had to wait 15 minutes before i could use the bathroom because li was chatting with his girlfriend inside. we left promptly at 10am. temperature was a little cold, in the upper 40's, but it was a sunny day so it didn't feel too bad. since we'd go by his office on the way to the cemetery, li decided to bring his laptop and drop it off first so he could do some work afterwards. i've had astrophysicists living at my place for over 13 years but i've never been inside their work place before. it was not how i'd imagined it, like a fluorescent-lit open office with cubicles. instead, it was mostly dark hallways with closed door shared office spaces. some offices had windows, but the ones in the center of the building do not and there was a jail-like quality to the place. of course li had one of the windowless offices, which he shared with an english colleague here for his PhD as well.

we finally arrived at mt.auburn cemetery by 10:30am. autumn weekends are a busy time for the cemetery, as cars after cars drove through the entrance. you can make more grounds when you drive, but walking is the best way to explore mt.auburn, walking the hundreds of little named trails, meandering through the hills and valleys, discovering interesting trees or unique gravestones.

i brought li here to show him the foliage but also a chance for him to practice with his new canon T6s camera. a groundskeeper at the entrance asked us if we were here to see the owl. he told us to walk down elm avenue until we saw some cars. we did as he instructed but saw no cars or owl. there was an empty hole in a tree though, maybe that's where the owl sleeps.

we made our way to washington tower and climbed to the top. it was crowded, but about to get even more so as we saw a tour group close to 2 dozen walking up the hill. though it was a clear day, the colors were sort of muted, not at all spectacular. some trees were already bare, with others were still green. after taking in the view we climbed down as soon as the tour group was about to enter the tower.

from there we made our way to willow pond. i was navigating partially from memory (no map) and partially just random.

we finally left by 12:30pm, returning home via aberdeen and huron. li went to the office while i went home. somebody was knocking on the door but i thought it was a political canvasser (there's been many these past few weeks, but they never knock on my door because i'm a registered independent) so i didn't bother answering. but he wouldn't go away and i saw him suspiciously looking into the backyard, so i finally opened the door. turns out it was a plainclothes amazon delivery person, dropping off a few camera accessories li ordered.

after a shower, i rode the motorcycle to belmont, where my father was already home. i didn't eat lunch yet but after a few korean pork jerky slices i didn't feel hungry anymore.

i talked my father into cutting up the dead tree trunk in the backyard, while the weather was still comfortable (upper 50's). the sooner we take care of it, the sooner the stump can rot so we can plant new trees come spring. first my father replaced the chain on the electric chain saw, one reason he thought why it was so hard to remove the last tree trunk. with fresh chain installed, it cut so much better, and we managed to cut in the trunk in under 15 minutes, when it took us several days to cut down the last tree trunk. one interesting thing was the pink wood shaving that came out from the cut.

next came the hard part: drilling holes into the stump so we can pour in the stump removal chemical. i suggested we wait for the stump to dry up a bit, but my father said we could try drilling now. initially we used the 1" auger drill bit, but we were having a hard time getting it to bite into the wood. so we used the next smaller size, 3/4", which was easier to work with (though it's still scary seeing the wood smoking as we drilled). after about half a dozen holes, we reached the center, but the wood was just too hard to get the drill bit to bite into. so now we're going to give it a few weeks to dry up a bit and then try again. we did try using a spade bit, which works a little better because it didn't want to kick back like the auger bit does, but even the spade bit couldn't penetrate the heartwood.

elsewhere in the backyard, an assortment of mushrooms are growing in the area around the pussy willow tree. on the ground are what looks to be straw mushrooms, and up on the tree trunk itself (both the living and the dead) are shelf mushrooms.

thinking that maybe the metal pole had something to do with the intermittent reception quality with the 2m ground-plane antenna, but father replaced the metal pole with a bamboo pole. not only would there be no chance of interference, but the bamboo pole was much taller as well. my father was going to test by walking across the nearby park, but i suggested i take the motorcycle up the hill to glacken field, which was the farthest point of reception back when we were testing the baofeng radios using the stock antenna. i wanted to try the nagoya whip antenna, but i also brought the stock antenna as well as a control. out on the field (about 1/2 mile away straight line), i couldn't receive any transmission from my father with the nagoya, but i could hear him just fine with the stock baofeng antenna. that was all the proof we needed that the nagoya antenna was complete crap. the weird was my father could transmit just fine, but he couldn't receive, or maybe my signal just wasn't strong enough.

li's neoprene camera pouch arrived, as well as a screen protector for his camera's LCD. somehow i ended up helping him put the protector on, but before we even applied it, we noticed that somehow it didn't fit the screen exactly right. thinking nothing of it, we stuck down the protector and immediately realized our mistake. it wasn't just a simply protector, but one made up of a thin film of glass, which wouldn't stick to the screen because it wasn't the right size. figuring i could maybe cut the screen, i made it worse when i ended up shattering one of the corners. nevertheless, li's still going to try and return it, saying that it was defective to begin with. i don't think he's going to get his money back. at least the pouch felts, but it currently reeks of rubber.