the DBJ-1 radio antenna ($40) arrived yesterday. the antenna just comes with the internal components, and still requires a 5ft length of PVC pipe for final assembly. not just any PVC, but one with a 3/4" diameter rated to just 200 psi. apparently you can't find them at home depot, they're only available at lowe's. the lowe's i normally go to when i need something from there is the one in saugus. it's also along the way to the sieu thi 99 market in malden, so i could get some asian groceries while i was at it. but the thought of driving down there seemed too much of a hassle, having to traverse route 16 then route 60 through medford and malden centers. instead i decided to visit a different lowe's, one in woburn. i vaguely remember being there before, one late evening back in 2010 picking up a ready-to-assemble picnic table with my parents. a bit farther than the saugus store, but travel-wise about the same amount of time since most of it is highway. it's also across the street from a market basket (where i could look for the fabled zilch jones soda) and a nearby target (where i could score some cokes on sale).

i left my house at 10:10am, riding the motorcycle first to belmont to pick up the car. they hadn't picked up the trash yet so i was able to put out the garbage, including the garden refuse bin stuffed with evergreen branches. as it was a sunny day, i also turned on both air conditioners in the house, even though it was already plenty cool, just to use up some of that free electricity and to reduce the humidity. i measured the interior to see if i could fit a 10ft pvc pipe (that particular specification doesn't come in anything shorter) and it'd fit with a few inches to spare. i drove out to woburn by 10:30am, taking route 2 to I-95 north, passed the burlington mall, to woburn. it took about 25 minutes to drive there, arriving by 11am. that whole area is officially known as the woburn mall, but it seems more of a strip mall than a traditional indoor mall (but in the past it was, i don't know its history). my original plan was to visit lowe's last but decided to go there first since it was the first place i saw.

it didn't take me long to find the PVC pipe i wanted since i already looked it up online and knew the exact aisle (15) and bay (2). the pipe itself doesn't cost too much (a little over $2), it just took 30 minutes worth of driving out here to get it. after paying for the pipe and putting it in the car, i went back to check out the garden store. unlike the rest of the store which was nice and air-conditioned, the garden store was outdoor (though there was a wire canopy) so it was hot and humid. there was only a single person working there, a young woman by the checkout booth, smiling to herself while looking at something on her phone. she must be bottom rung on the employee totem pole to be stationed here. there was nothing interesting so after some brief browsing i left.

i drove across the street to woburn market basket. it's the 5th market basket i've ever visited (after somerville, chelsea, burlington, and waltham). though bigger than the somerville store (somerville is the smallest MB), they didn't carry any jones soda.

next i drove onto commerce way, to the target about a mile away. the place was packed with college kids on their dorm room spending spree either with a parent or with friends. pushing a cart, i found where they stocked the soft drinks and picked up 4 cans of coca-cola (4 for $10) and 2 cans of sugar-free fiesty cherry coke (2 for $6). i did a circle around the store before finally self-checking out.

i left target by 11:50am. i was going to retrace my steps back down commerce way, but a check of google map revealed the onramp to route 93 was right next door, so i got back on the highway that way. i got back to cambridge cutting across davis square, making a slight detour so i could get some gas at the mass ave speedway (i filled the tank, over $30). i stopped by the cafe to drop off the cokes, before going to belmont to return the car.

i decided to wait until all the trash had been picked up before leaving (so far they only picked up the regular trash, not the recycle or the garden refuse). my 2nd aunt gave me some lu fan but i decided to save that for dinner, eating instead some instant korean noodles washed down with some seltzer. i went into the backyard to water the garden and do some weeding. i also picked off a bag of vegetables for my 2nd aunt, who asked about them earlier.

by 2:30pm they still hadn't picked up all the trash yet, but i didn't want to wait any longer. i rode to the cafe to drop off the garden vegetables, then finally returned home. the inside of the house was 82°F while it was 94°F outside. i turned on the AC intermittently throughout the day, anytime i felt hot and sticky, then turning it back off the moment i felt relieved.

the production for the past 2 days have been usual in that yesterday's curve was perfect in the beginning but jagged in the afternoon, while today was the exact opposite, jagged in the morning, perfect in the afternoon. similar to yesterday, we made 42.13 kWh. that means so far we managed to produce nearly 905 kWh of electricity this so far this month. we just need another 100 kWh to reach 1000 kWh. will we be able to do it within the next 3 days? i just know tomorrow is going to be a very sunny day, so 40 kWh at least. but thursday and friday may be cloudy. it's going to be very close!

belmont electricity bill came out today: for the month of august we only managed to put back $12 in credit, because it was so hot and we used a lot of electricity even though we didn't produce very much ourselves. in fact, i heard on the news that this hot has been the hottest august in boston history. there's still $187 in overall credit, which will carry us over through the winter since we won't be generating as much electricity.

i cooked up half a cup of basmati rice in the rice cooker with a cup of water. i heated up the lu fan mix my 2nd aunt gave me and then combined it with the rice once it finished cooking. later in the evening i also cut the watermelon in half.

i made it an early evening, retiring to my bedroom by 10:30pm. after a quick shower, i worked on the blog from my bedroom desk (2 hours). i get more productive when i work from a table.