my mother called me to let me know my father was stopping by to collect the bag of glutinous rice i got back in april from the good fortune supermarket in quincy. apparently she's going to wrap more zongzi (even though the dragon boat festival was yesterday), after i made a stink this weekend over how she sold out all the zongzi she made and i only got to eat a few. she also asked me to tell my father to get some chocolate ice cream. while i was still on the phone, my father was already out back with the 2m ground plane antenna and a coil of cable. i could smell cigarette smoke on his breath. he kept wanting to figure out a way to mount an antenna, but i live in bandwidth dead zone: in the time that i've lived here, i've had problems not only with my phone reception (AT&T back in the days of nokia candybar phones) but i still have ongoing issue with with OTA HDTV reception. before he left, i told him the chinese aliexpress seller (QualityEx) contacted me last night and said that the TYT TH-9800 quad band transceiver was in fact the newer plus version (his advertisement called it "pro"). with that piece of info, my father decided to order: the TH-9800 ($201), HH-9000 quad band antenna ($35), and a programming cable ($12). the antenna and programming cable we could've gotten cheaper through other sellers, but buying it through just one vendor guarantees everything will arrive at the same time. apparently they have a US warehouse as the estimated delivery time is only 4-13 days. i've never ordered anything through aliexpress before so this will be a new experience.

i've got the next few days to tidy up the house before GC arrives early saturday evening. it's good that he's a repeat roommate, no surprises. what i'm not looking forward to is his love of seafood and stinking up the house with his cooking smell. cleaning up the place for the roommate's arrival also helps me clean up the place for wangyang's arrival in less than 2 weeks.

the big project was recaulking the bathtub, which seems like something i do every year. but since there was some mold in the tile grout of the bathroom wall, i decided to clean that up first, as it's a pretty sloppy job; afterwards when everything's dried i can do the caulking as the final step. for tiles, i've found that scrubbing bubbles foaming bleach works the best. i spray onto the grout and then use a brush to scrub off the mildew. i also sprayed onto the caulk. after a while i went back into the bathroom to rinse the foaming bleach off the walls. gone were the mildew on the grout, but gone also were most of the mold on the caulk! scrubbing bubbles worked its miracle once again. the caulk was so clean in fact i decided not to recaulk, it looks fine as is.

my father convinced me to throw out my 27" philips tv. really, when will i ever use it again? and if i did want an old tube tv, i still have a 20" samsung TXG2045 tv in the basement (which i actually got for free off of craig's list back in 2010). i also thought a had a 20" emerson tv/vcr combo set but when i went to look it was gone, so i must've thrown it out at some point. it's just that this tv has brought me a lot of joy. it works perfectly fine, except it's large and heavy and needs a DTA converter to get an channels over the airwaves. i feel like i bought this tv while i began living in cambridge, but i looked through my blog and can't find any mention of it. i could find when i bought this tv, but i checked the manufacture date on the back and cross-referenced it with my blog to pinpoint the date of purchase as december 2002, nearly 16 years ago. i wish i could give it a proper viking funeral, set it on a pyre in the backyard and set it ablaze. but nowadays i need to get a special large appliance sticker from cambridge in order to properly dispose of an old tv set.

i tested the 2m ground plane antenna my father dropped off. i hung it from a hook i nailed to the top of my deck. not sure why, but i could only ping 70cm repeaters. i couldn't even reach the 2m belmont repeater the next town over. however, using the stock baofeng antenna, i reached belmont without any problems. trying simplex on 2m naturally didn't do anything; 70cm i could get intermittent noise but no voice. i then moved the antenna to the living room, pointing out the windows. performance was a no go.

i removed the bottom tray of my refrigerator and washed it in the tub, caked in years of food particle and sticky spills. i put it outside to dry. based on my father's suggestion, i used a toothbrush and some bleach spray and cleaned out the black mold from within the folds of the refrigerator door gaskets. i did a load of laundry, washing the sheets from the guest bedroom: tonight i'll be sleeping in my own bedroom for the first time this year i believe. i had a small blanket i also wanted to wash, but i'm going to do it at my parents' place tomorrow, to take advantage of the free solar energy. afterwards i'll let it air dry outside.

in the late afternoon i went out for the first time today. the weather was pleasant, not the stifling hot and humidity of yesterday, but a drier heat. in fact, i had my windows opened to air out the house and let in some breeze. i thought there'd be construction on beacon street but maybe they were finished because i didn't see any road crew. they're supposed to be digging up a section of the road again, but so far the roads are okay.

i went to the cambridge public works office to get disposal stickers not only for my philips tv but an old air conditioner in the basement as well. either the guy was new or doesn't often do these permits. it took a while, seemed like there was a lot of unnecessary bureaucratic paper work get to get these 2 stickers. each one cost me $25. originally i was going to pay by credit card, but there was a convenience fee, so i opted for cash (luckily i had that much cash on hand). the guy told me that sometimes metal salvage crew might pick up the AC for scrap metal; in case that happens, he said cambridge can reimburse me for the $25 fee, but it just takes a little more paperwork. as for the old tv however, nobody takes those anymore except the city disposal. the next tv pickup is this thursday, while the AC won't get picked up until july 11. while i was there, i also picked up another kitchen compost container for free (my parents wanted one for the cafe).

afterwards i went to market basket for some groceries. i left with exactly 12 items; i actually had 13, but put back the the bottle of chili garlic cholula hot sauce because i wanted to checkout in the express lane (actually that was for the best: i never tried chili garlic before, which turns out to be the least spicy of their hot sauces; i'm curious about the sweet habanero which i've never seen in the stores).

my macbook pro froze up today, nothing that couldn't be fix with a manual reboot. i think it crashed from overheating as the bottom of the laptop was pretty hot (full disclosure: i was downloading a few things so that probably had something to do with it), but this is typical during the warmer summer days. but isn't typical is once i was back online again, the battery status disappeared from the menubar. when i went to the preference panel to turn it back on, the battery display flashed for a split second then toggled itself off again. there's definitely something wrong with the battery/power functionality of the OS. a fresh install of the system would most likely fix it, but i've sort of learned to live with an inaccurate battery status. once i get my mermaid parade photos all sorted out, i may decide to reintall the system after all. best case scenario is i fixed the problem, worst case i default back to the time machine backup.

solar-production-wise it was an exciting day, as i could've sworn we'd hit a new production record today. the sky remained cloudless for much of the day. i did see one or two small clouds, but they made no significant impact to the over performance of the panels. by day's end we made 50.32 kWh, which is just the 2nd time this month we hit 50kWh+, and the 5th time overall, just 300Wh shy of a record. tomorrow is another sunny day but i heard there will be high hazy clouds. the next 3 days all look to be sunny. it'd be perfect if for the first official day of summer we can hit a new record.

for dinner i made two dueling recipes: a crispy baked chicken thighs recipe i found online (there was a MB sale on chicken thighs this week), and a sample package of knorr southwestern chicken brown rice & quinoa meal starter (given our during the harvard square may fair). i made a mistake with the chicken thigh purchase, i bought boneless skinless, which means no crispiness. the baked chicken was okay, but i kept on thinking how much more delicious it would've been marinated and then cooked over a live wood charcoal fire. the instructions for the brown rice & quinoa called for chicken to be cooked with the rice but i cooked my chicken separately, then mixed it with the rice once everything finished cooking. the rice was okay, but nothing to write home about. too bad i have a few more packets left.

throwing out the trash tonight, i saw two teenage boys leaving the upstairs condo. these were older than the boy i saw last week, i think the whole family is here, is that means 2 adults and 3 children are currently living upstairs. for the most part they've kept the noises to a minimum, with the exception of night time tv noises and the running of the AC's. also during the day i can hear footsteps upstairs.