with rain expected in the afternoon, i rode the motorcycle to the cafe in the late morning to pick up one of the whip antennas to test on the 70cm wavelength. my father tried the nagoya NA-771 earlier, couldn't even pick up the nearest repeater station even though he was able to receive the signal just fine with the stock baofeng. even if it worked at 70cm, the fact that it seemed dead at 2m was more than enough reason to return it.

back at home i tested with the retevis RHD-771, while my father used the nagoya NA-771. at 2m, with a straight-line distance of about a mile and with observatory hill sitting in between us, i heard nothing with neither the stock baofeng antenna nor the retevis. nothing as in i couldn't even receive any static, no flickering of the green reception LED. at 70cm it was a little bit better. with the stock baofeng antenna i was at least able to receive static but no voice. with the retevis it was the same, static reception, although one time i was able to faintly hear my father when i stood right next to my living room window.

i cooked up some kielbasa and scrambled eggs for lunch. at 1pm i went with my father on a supply run to food-pak express, the wholesale supermarket for asian restaurants. it's situated in a weird part of boston, right off of interstate-93. though its advertised address is roxbury, it's technically in dorchester, bordering on south boston to the east and the south end to the north. there's a certain level of seediness, within walking distance of 2 shelters and a jail, and all sorts of shady types loitering around the streets. it's scary enough in the daytime, i shudder to think what goes on here at night.

we were at food-pak express for about half an hour before returning to cambridge via mass ave then storrow drive. there was a bit of light rain but not the downpour i was expecting, although the sky seemed particularly dark, like more serious rain could come at any moment. my father returned to the cafe after dropping me off.

i cleaned the fish tank, something i haven't done in a week because i was running the blue LED's for most of that time, which kept the cyanobacteria in check, but the moment i switched back to the brighter white LED's, the slime came right back. i need to come up with a whole new strategy, like possibly starting with a fresh tank, one that hasn't been tainted yet. i'm not sure what i'm going to do with the plants. or maybe reduce the overall amount of light, i currently have it on 12 hours a day, but maybe i can reduce that to just 8 hours.

i went down to the harvard natural history museum around 6pm for a lecture about the new museum acquisition of david rockefeller's 150,000 specimen beetles collection. the speaker was brian farrell, curator of entomology. most of the lecture was him paraphrasing excerpts from slides of text on the screen, not the most exciting presentation, but farrell was a good enough speaker that i was still interested.

it wasn't so much a lecture as it was a love song to david rockefeller. one anecdote that struck me as tone deaf was how rockefeller was haggling over the price of a basket in a poor mexican market. farrell framed it as rockefeller the common man, doing his own shopping, haggling his own bargains. i saw it as one of the richest person in the world being a cheapskate, a common trait amongst the ultrarich. farrell also spoke about the beauty of collecting things, but i see collection as a manifestation of ownership. if rockefeller truly loved insects, wouldn't it have been better just to take a photo? to scour the globe in search of beetles to bring home is trophy hunting on the microscale, though no less detrimental to the natural world.

it was more than halfway through the lecture before we saw photos of the beetle specimens, and they were dark photos at that, hard to make out the details or colors. towards the end of the lecture he went on a 15-minute self-professed tangent about the healing properties of nature, which really had nothing to do with the talk, and i could feel the collective awkward squirm of the audience. e.o. wilson was supposed to give the introduction but his flight was delayed. however, he still made the lecture, and gave the epilogue. afterwards david rockefeller's daughter and husband got up on stage to present a gift to farrell. there was a reception in the museum showcasing the new insect exhibit, but i couldn't wait to go home, it was 7:30pm by that point. i'll go see the new exhibit some other time.

returning home, i saw li passing me in the night. i got to the door right when he was done parking his bike in the backyard. while he made noodles for dinner, i made myself an italian sub. it was pretty good, especially after i toasted the bread with provolone cheese and a spinkle of apple cider vinegar. i have to eat my deli meats quick before they spoil (i purchased everything almost a week ago on halloween).