my sister texted me this morning, asking if i was going to buy a turkey. i didn't need any reminding as i went to the nearby star market with my cargo bike. the selection there is always limited, but i was surprised to find some fresh turkeys for sale. unfortunately the larger of the two shady brook farms turkeys was over 27 lbs., a little bit too much turkey, especially given we have less guests this year (bin bin and her family will spend the holiday in their new house with her parents, or go to her boss's house like she did last year).

i decided to try the larger porter square star market. they had more turkeys and i found a decent 22 lbs. shady brook farms bird for just $19.18 (sale price 88¢/lbs.). i also grabbed a bag of clementines ($4.99) and some celestial seasoning teas (green ginger, bengal spice, $2.50 each). i tied the turkey to the back of my bicycle with bungie netting then rode to the cafe to drop off the thanksgiving cargo.

my roommate li was there getting some beef noodle soup for lunch. he's there quite often, at least once a week, and i've bumped into him a few times. i briefly discussed with my sister what she was making for thanksgiving. as a personal chef, if we don't allow her to make something, she takes it as a personal insult, and every year she and my mother get into a fight over food selection. but often times the things she makes, nobody wants to eat. the trick is to steer her in the direction of making something everyone can enjoy.

i returned home where i ate the last of my bagels while watching the news. i then continued studying the general class license manual, the test just next week. i still haven't gotten a perfect score on the practice exams, but i pass it every time, so i'm fairly confident i'd pass the exam if i were to take it today. there are some math calculation questions that i'm just going to try and memorize the answers instead of memorizing the formula and bringing a calculator, but i can't memorize all of them, so if one of them shows up on the test, i might get it wrong. but any word questions i shouldn't have any problems with.

i tested the 70cm ground plane antenna with my father at the cafe. i taped the small antenna to a 28in. selfie stick and stuck it out the top pane of my sliding living room window. my father didn't have the super gainer mini diamono antenna (he takes it off the car, afraid it might get stolen) so just had the stock antenna on the baofeng. he went out into the parking lot, where he had a better view of the sky. we were able to transmit and receive with about a 50-60% clarity, with a few intermittent breaks. so a) that small 70cm DIY ground plane antenna works after all, and 2) even the baofeng stock antenna is effective enough to work with the 70cm ground plane antenna. when we tried the 2m frequency, we couldn't get anything, at most some static.

around 3pm i heard some interesting chatter on the boston police scanner, on the roxbury mattapan radio, but the incident happened in JP. there was something about 303, and everyone on the radio kept saying it. code 303 turns out to be "use of deadly force" as there was a shooting involving police and perpetrators. another officer said he didn't know whether it was red or blue, not sure what that meant. there was action at bragdon and miles street, school and arcadia, and on washington. jake 9-10 and jake 4-25 were the parties involved (jake is district 13 jamaica plain).

i walked down towards harvard square around 3:30pm for a lecture titled "enchanting huashan in the global spiritual circuit: intersecting modes of making sacred space" by david palmer and elijah siegler. it was held in the CGIS building (K262) and i went a new route via irving (saw some contractors installing a heated driveway) then through a shortcut behind some harvard buildings.

it seemed like a low turnout at first, but soon the room filled up with over 2 dozen people. it sounded interesting, and as i've been to huashan, i was intrigued to know more about it. the lecture however wasn't that good. it seems like a publicity push to coincide with a new book authored by the lecturers. in the book, they track these energy tours of american taoists to huashan, a famous taoist mountain. they framed it from anthropological and religious viewpoints, when it really should've been just an exposé about the bunk of new age spirituality or maybe a story about western appropriation of asian culture. words like "ontological individualism" and "cosmological attunement" were bandied about, which is just academic jargoning. the lecturers also spent a good deal of time reading from their own book, which i never like. nevertheless, i ended up spending nearly 2 hours there, too polite to simply leave. i finally did get out of there when the man sitting next to me happened to get up to leave.

afterwards i went to the verizon office to ask them about removing caller id block from our phones. it's something my father asked about ever since he got his moto G4 smart phone. because his number is blocked, it's an inconvenience when he calls or text because nobody knows who it is unless he adds a special unblocking prefix to the number called. the store was so quiet inside, like a library or a church, compared to the hubbub outside. there was a handful of service reps but 3 were helping out with 2 customers while the rest seemed to be restocking the shelves. i waited, patiently, enjoying the serenity and the warmth. a couple came into the store, the man wanted to exchange his new pink iphone to another color. when it finally came to my turn, the service rep took some time to figure out how to remove caller id block but he eventually found it (with my help, because i saw the option on his tablet computer before he did) and removed them from all the phones.

next i went to the shake shack to get a vanilla milk shake, something i'd been thinking about before the lecture. i was afraid it was crowded but it wasn't too bad and the service was quick. maybe a little too quick, because the shake i got was a little off, didn't have that classic vanilla bean flavor, more like buttery golden vanilla. it was also super thick, and i had a hard time sucking it up through the straw, as i made my way home across harvard yard.

i should've thought larger and gotten a burger from the shake shack as well, but i had the last of my pulled chicken waiting for me in the fridge, which i turned into a sandwich. i was pretty hungry by that point, my stomach was gurgling the whole time i was at the lecture.

alex wong skyped me in the evening. i discovered at one point he tried to take the ham radio license exam in japan but abandoned the idea because had to remember all the technical terms in kanji. he wanted to get the license because he wanted to get a two-way shortwave radio, but now he's just go to use his SDR to listen to shortwave chatter.

i recently discovered hamstudy.org as a great tool to preparing for the amateur radio exams. i finally signed up for a free account using my google account, and took the 50 question extra exam for the 2nd time. i managed to get 31 questions correct (19 wrong, 62% correct) which was still a failing grade but better than what i did the first time a few days ago (42% correct). another great thing i discovered is that hamstudy has a brief explanation and occasional hints for every question, which is super helpful. hamstudy is actually sponsored by icom, one of the three big names in ham radios (the other being yaesu and kenwood). it makes sense icom wants people to pass their exams, as these are all potential future customers.