i had a good night's sleep, it'd stopped raining, and the open window was like a natural air conditioner that wasn't too cold or too hot. i woke up at daybreak, thinking i had to bring wangyang someplace today. it took me a while to realize she was already back in china, so much have i been traumatized by their visit. i finally woke up around 9am, the noisy chatter of my next door indian neighbors, loud enough to make me wonder if they're actually arguing all the time. i still haven't met them formally, i saw them briefly when they first moved in (not realizing they were my new neighbors), neither made eye contact, they didn't seem very friendly. it doesn't matter, they'll be gone in less than a year, i'll get some new neighbors again. they do have a car with new york plates, and they've been abusing the guest permit. i saw their car getting ticketed at least once. i don't think they were home at the time, but had we been on friendlier terms, i could've warned them.

wangyang sent me photos of their rabbits, which are actually hamsters. for some reason her son doesn't allow her to tell people they have hamsters ("little mice") but instead calls them rabbits. i think it's a chinese thing, mice are considered dirty, while rabbits are more neutral. he's leaving for his grandparents' place tomorrow, wangyang will have the house to herself for the next 20 days, along with the hamsters.

my father stopped by unannounced once again, with a container of pineapple, but really just here to see if i've set up the external antennas yet. i was on my way out, to cambridge public works to get my $25 back because the city never took my old air conditioner since some metal salvagers already grabbed it the day before. then i went to tags hardware in porter square to look for a new trash can to replace the one that's got holes in it. they didn't have the 30 gallon rubbermaid roughneck, so i'll order it online through home depot instead. finally i went to star market to get a container of tide detergent (100 fl. oz. clean breeze): normally $15.99, there was a $4 sale plus an additional $3 online coupon, so just $8.99.

i had a leftover piece of corn for lunch. afterwards i tested out the 2 external antennas. from my house to the cafe using the DBJ-2 antenna, i could receive just fine with 80-90% clarity with my father transmitting on low power on is QYT radio. the MFJ seemed a little better, at 90-100% clarity. transmitting on DBJ-2, at 2m at medium power (9.2W and 15.5W respectively) my father received me at 40% clarity, while at high power (35W) clarity went up to 100%. transmission was much better on 70cm: using low power, he could hear me with 85% clarity with an SWR of 1.0 and using just 2.5W of power. i connected to the baofeng (which transmits at 5W maximum) and my father still managed to hear me at 80%. on the MFJ at 2m, only at 22W was my father able to hear me at 70%, and going higher to 42W didn't make much difference. like in the case of thr DBJ-2, at 70cm using low power he received at 95% with just 2.7W and an SWR of 1.0.

i went to market basket in the afternoon to pick up some ingredients for making broccoli cheese shells, a recipe i found online. coming back, crossing the bridge, i was looking at the excavation for some new condos. i spoke with a woman walking her down who happened to live right next door, who told me it was going to be 4 units of prefabricated condos. she also happened to live in the building with roof solar panels, i asked her about their arrangement, the panels are individual owned by different neighbors, they managed to produce enough electricity this year to not pay the electric bill a few times.

in the evening we tested the antennas again, this time seeing if we could reach my house to belmont. i wasn't able to receive on either DBJ-2 or MFJ, but when i fiddled around with the feed cable while receiving on 70cm MFJ with my father transmitting on high (max 25W), i managed to get sporadic signal. when the signal did come in, it came in clear, at 80%. i was also able to receive with the baofeng, but it was even more sporadic and positional, and when i did hear something it was just 20% clear. as for transmission, DBJ-2 on high my father could hear me 40-50% with breaks. MFJ, 2m on high (40W SWR 1.70) there was occasional signal, with clarity of 40%. on 70cm however, using medium power (9.8W SWR 1.0), my father could receive me at 100%, no breaks. so it definitely doable, communicating via 70cm simplex from my parents' place to my place. we're not sure why incoming signal is sporadic, but my father thinks i need better antenna placement.

i made broccoli cheddar cheese shells for dinner, basically just a glorified macaroni and cheese recipe. it called for making a roux using a lot of butter and onion and flour and milk, which i found totally unnecessary, and not only diluted the cheese, but give it a weird ricotto cheese consistency which i didn't like. next time, skip the roux, just melt the cheese directly onto the cooked pasta.

i got an e-mail from UPS to expect a package for tomorrow. could it be my logic board? could they have fixed it that fast? i can't think of what else it could be, since amazon never ships anything via UPS. i guess i'll find out tomorrow. the anticipation is killing me! i also contacted the craig's list seller with the 2015 15" macbook pro with 16GB/1TB for $1150. as the posting was due to expire after today, i got in touch with him to say i was interested, but wouldn't be able to buy until next week. he replied back that the laptop had already been sold. it was actually a pretty good bargain. if i see a similar deal again i'm definitely buying, even if my old MBP gets fixed. just an apple 1TB SSD flash drive costs $530.