after sweeping the acorn shells and potting soil from my backyard deck (courtesy of squirrels), i went into the basement to turn up the temperature on my hot water tank. i've been noticing for the past few weeks that the hot water seems to be lukewarm most of the time. this is most likely to due to an aging tank (installed back in 2008, already a decade old, though still under the 11-year warranty though, been making all sorts of weird sounds in the basement for nearly a year now that i can hear from my living room), i'll need to get it replaced eventually. i only increased the temperature by a small fraction, it probably wasn't enough, but i won't know until later this evening. i left for belmont by 10:50am, going out the back entrance to give the oiled front steps more time to dry. i noticed a copy of the new york times inside the paper bag i hung outside.

ever since i put in money for a new windshield upgrade, i can't stand my old windshield anymore with all its scratches and reduced visibility. it's a miracle i've riden it for this long and haven't gotten into a serious accident yet, give how i can barely see through the screen. i think i will rediscover my love of cycling once i install the new shield, which is scheduled to arrive by UPS on wednesday. the only good thing about a larger windshield is i'm completely protected from the wind; i'm a little worried that this shorter low boy screen i got might leave my face exposed to the winds, which are now getting colder as we approach autumn and winter.

my father told me yesterday that their opposite door neighbors have already started demolition on their house. i saw it for myself for the very first time. there was a small excavator parked on the lawn, now mostly stripped of grass and just dirt. the house still stands, but all the shrubbery around the structure have been chopped down and left in a nearby pile. around the whole perimeter of the property they also put down a rolled up fabric barrier to prevent any leaking construction contaminants from getting onto the sidewalk. i also saw some rat poison traps, which i guess is a requirement for any kind of serious digging project. so far it seems like they're doing it by the book, unlike the grove street chinese garbage mansion.

i thought i was going to help my father install the chimney antenna mount, but he rigged up a temporary antenna post in the middle of the backyard and ran the spool of 50ft coaxial feed cable to test out the DBJ-1 antenna before we decide to mount it any higher. like the previous tests, SWR of 1.0 on the lower end of the 2m bandwidth, but around 2.0 on the upper end. he decided to test the DBJ-2 currently at my house to see if they're the same before contacting the seller for an exchange.

my mother made some noodles for lunch. she also brought out the tongbaechu kimchi i made back in the spring. my father said it tasted even better now 4 months later, although i found the kimchi to be a little fishy (too much shrimp paste). my next foray into fermented food will be a few jars of sichuan paocai, haven't had that in a while, and i still have a bunch of paocai spice packets i need to use up before they go bad.

my father and i were outside taking apart the barbecue grill. with the carryover tubes still installed it was impossible to remove the individual burners. my father was going to sand off the heavily corroded attachment screws, but the carryover tubes were so corroded, it didn't take a lot of force to simply break them apart. once that was done, it was a simple matter of lifting out each burners (4). the burners were in pretty good shape, protected by the inverted-V metal plates that sit just above them, barely any corrosion, just some char marks.

my father still tried to remove the screws with the dremel tool, but found that a pair of sharp pliers worked well enough to pry off the screws along with the carryover tube remnants. as for the burners, no wonder there was so much flare ups: the insides were full of charred debris. my father knocked loose the detritus and even blew some clean with compressed air. we also removed the spark ignitor switch, seems to be broken and we needed to see what model it was so we could get a replacement.

i suggested we put the burners back and lit the grille to see if there were any improvements. it didn't matter that we didn't have any carryover tubes, that just meant we'd need to light each burner individually with a match. we started the grille and the difference was night and day. a few days ago, the burners were mostly orange flames; now it was mostly blue, with just a faint spot of orange near the start of the burners were the carryover tubes would be. this is how we were supposed to be barbecuing! that with that uncontrollable flare ups that charred everything on high heat, but with this nice blue flame and consistent grilling. seeing those beautiful blue flames made me wish we had something to barbecue today. we left the grille on burn off any residue as we put back the burner plates and the cooking grates.

later i went onto amazon and got a few replacement parts for the grille: some carryover tubes ($7.99) and a replacement ignitor switch ($8.29). everything is due to arrive on monday, which would be a good day for a barbecue. we also looked at some replacement burner plates ($13.99) but my father said the corroded ones we currently have still work, and when we finally replace the plates, we should also replace the burners as well.

i also demonstrated the ESP8266 water sensor dongle i made. currently we have no use for it, but once winter arrives and my parents turn on their furnace, the water sensor will be useful in monitoring the drip bucket to make sure it doesn't overflow. i just need to find a better way to power the sensor. using a portable battery charger doesn't work because they turn off when they don't sense a power draw and the ESP8266 doesn't use enough electricity.

a few korean melons that were fine a week ago have rotted. there seems to be a disease that first appears as spots, but then rots from the inside, resulting in a melon that ruptures at its end. i haven't gone online to do any research regarding this disease, but it only seems to affect the korean melons; the buttercup squash are doing fine, they seem impervious to critters or diseases once they reach a certain size. so impressed with the buttercup performance, but father said we should plant them again next year. the amazing thing is all these buttercup squashes are from a single plant. the main root of that plant has long since rotted (destroyed by vine borers) but auxiliary vines also have the ability to send out roots, thereby keeping the plant alive.

returning home after dinner, i didn't really notice if the hot water was actually any hotter than before. but it'll take a day or two to really know for sure.