after a lunch of yogurt and coffee, i rode the motorcycle to belmont, where my parents had just returned from visiting our relatives in burlington. temperature was in the lower 40's - warm enough that i thought i didn't need my handlebar mitts - but i regretted my decision halfway to my destination when my hands became ice cold. the lesson i learned is when riding in the winter, better to have them instead of not, even if they do look kind of ridiculous. it was a monday but the neighbor's house building contractors were nowhere to be found. they have a strange schedule, they're not always here, and occasionally they work on the weekends. i had some lukewarm glutinous rice porridge when i arrived, with black sesame glutinous rice balls.

my father and i tackled another project: upgrade the ceiling light fixtures in the basement. more exactly, replacing the porcelain lampholders with new ones that have an embedded outlet. now it's easy to convert any ceiling light fixture into an outlet - just get a 2 outlet socket adapter. but there are two problems with using an adapter: they only turn on when the light is on and they're not grounded (2 prongs instead of 3). that's where the embedded outlet is an advantage. for some reason we had 4 boxes of leviton porcelain lampholders with grounded outlet.

replacing the fixture was nothing new - we've done it before when one of the porcelain base cracked a few years back. the hardest part is just figuring out which circuit breaker to flip to turn off the electricity to the basement ceiling lights. B controls the two lights by the boiler furnace, F governs the lights by the laundry and the utility sink, and the breaker that controls the kitchen light and basement stairwell light also controls the fixture closest to the rear basement door.

we ended up replacing 3 fixtures: the one by the boiler furnace, the one by the oil tank next to it, and the fixture by the rear basement door. inside the ceiling junction box there were just two wires (live and neutral). we needed a third missing wire for the ground, but the new fixture was designed in such an ingenious way that once screwed onto the ceiling, it used the metal junction box itself as the ground. the fixture by the back door had been retrofitted with a standard two socket outlet because my father needed an outlet. it was also the power source for the verizon FIOS box on the other side of the basement. once we replaced the outlet with the new porcelain fixture, the plug was taken up by the FIOS box.

my father was playing with our old sony digital 8 camcorder. purchased in the early 2000's, it was advanced at the time, including IR night video mode. we got all sorts of batteries for it as well as a screw-on wide angle lens. he was charging a particularly large lithium ion battery which seemed to charge okay but couldn't its charge. i looked up prices online for new batteries, a pair of near equivalent batteries cost just $25-30. he was also looking at some old videos he had converted to digital format, and that's when i showed him they shall not grow old, the WWI documentary by peter jackson, with its fixed footage using advanced restoration methods like deep learning to interpolate missing frames to increase the frame rate and using forensic lip readers to recreate silent dialogue.

during dinner i tried some of the glutinous rice wine had made. this wasn't from his most recent batch, but rather from a jar that he's kept for over a year. it had that telltale fermented glutinous rice flavor but also very sweet, like a dessert wine, though a very high but unknown alcohol content.

i rode home after dinner. my hands were okay for the first half, but freezing by the time i got home. i measured the temperature of my fingers with the infrared thermometer, around 60°F, but this was after i'd already warmed up nearly a minute. i was happy to see my dusk to dawn porch light working as expected. i don't know why it took me this long to get one of these light bulbs. i was approaching it too technical, using smart bulbs and even thinking about rewiring a smart light switch. the answer was easy: just get a daylight sensing bulb!

i've got a bunch of shows i've been trying to catch up on. i watched national geographic's mars. i didn't realize it was the final episode (6) of the 2nd season, and from the way it ended, it seemed like the series finale as well. mars is a weird show, half scifi drama, half documentary. the fact-based portion of the show is boring and often preachy, and i skip through them to get to the story.

later i watched showtime's escape at dannemora. not knowing what they did wrong to land themselves in jail, i can help but root for convicts richard matt and david sweat as they make their escape from prison. of the few civilians we see in the show (mostly prison workers), they all seem terrible, especially patricia arquette's portrayal of dowdy joyce mitchell, the cranky prison tailor shop supervisor who's perpetually complaining. the only good guy in all of these seems to be her husband lyle, who has no idea his wife is having illicit relationships with two convicts, helping them with their escape and enlisting them to kill him.

i also have a show backlog that i haven't been able to work through. i'm trying to watch them so i can erase them from my computer, clearing up storage space. there's castle rock (from august), set in the stephen king multiverse, it's the sort of show that's right up my alley, but i've unsuccessfully tried to watch a few times but couldn't get into it. i'm probably just going to read the synopsis on wikipedia and then erase it.

there's the first, the sean pean drama about going to mars (yes, another mars show). it seems to be less about the scifi and more about the human interactions as astronauts prepare for a mars mission. it's another one of those slow burn shows, hard to get into even though i'm sure it's probably very good.

tell me a story has a decent pedigree, created by kevin williamson (though based on a mexican tv series) and starring kevin wolk, kim cattrall, and danielle campbell, who's like a clone of katie holmes. it's supposed to be a modern day mashup of several fairy tales (three little pigs, red riding hood, hansel and gretel) though if i didn't know about it beforehand i would've never guessed.

finally, there are several seasons of outlander i need to work through. i'm a quarter finished with season 2, but still need to watch all of season 3 and the current season 4.