i called up fireman's fuel this morning to fill up my parents' oil tank, currently at slightly less than half capacity. they wanted to top up before they leave for their taiwanese vacation at the end of the year. we tried fireman's fuel (based in arlington) last summer, after researching several local companies to score some cheaper heating oil during the off-season. back then the july price was $2.49/gallon; now the december price was $2.55/gallon, but still cheaper than the current state average of $2.97/gallon. our info was still on file, just had to update the credit card info. they said they'd have somebody come out tomorrow.

i've taken enough bird feeder photos over 2 weekends that i didn't take any today. just the usual group of white-throated sparrows + song sparrows + cardinals + juncos + chickadees + downy woodpeckers + house finches + squirrels, with the occasional visit from the much larger and more aggressive bluejays that scare off the other birds. i brought the wyze cam from my house and set it up in the sunroom so it could look out onto the feeders. it's not the best view since the wyze cam uses a wide angle lens and what i really need is something with more of a zoom. they do sell telephoto attachments that i could look into, but i also set up the camera so i could see the heating oil guy make his delivery tomorrow.

though it was sunday, i wasn't at the mercy of the NFL since the patriots already played their game yesterday (and won). there were some games on today, but i only saw them with passing interest. instead, in the afternoon, my mother and i went to the recently renovated arsenal yards (formerly the arsenal mall) to return a gap outlet turtleneck pullover i bought online. a handful of stores and restaurants are currently opened: marshalls, gap outlet, old navy, shake shack, chipotle.

they stripped the outdoor parking lot (to make room for future stores) and built a 5-story parking structure. the garage was surprisingly crowded, but maybe not so surprising given christmas is just a few days away. when they built the metal roof they didn't fully consider the ice risks; even though there are snow guards, they still don't prevent thin ice sheets from forming and then shooting off the roof like a slide. they'd put cones all around the perimeter of the storefronts and hired guards to warn people of the falling ice, some of which were launching well beyond the sidewalk and out onto the road.

we went to the gap outlet first. while my mother browsed, i went to go return my purchase. i thought i just needed a credit card (like it was at the harvard square gap store), but the clerk told me she also needed the order number. it was in my e-mails but i couldn't find it so i decided to step out instead of holding up the long line (there was only 2 cashiers). i searched the e-mail index on both my phones, and finally found the original receipt mail with the order number. they didn't even need my credit card, the money automatically went back to the card on file.

by then my mother had already visited the changing room at least twice, and was about to purchase a denim shirt that was on sale when she decided she didn't want it anymore.

next we went to old navy, making its return to the arsenal area after it was initially driven out of the mall location when the developers tore everything down. it was actually one of the anchor stores of the fading mall if you can believe it, the other being the marshalls at the other end of the mall. their new space seemed to be a lot bigger than the one they had before. my mother bought a fleece items on sale, i got a package of socks ($9).

back at home, my father woke up from his nap and helped me jack up the motorcycle and push it to one corner of the garage. once that was done, i ran the engine until it used up all the gasoline in the carburetor. the bike almost started on the first try, but gave the wheezing sound of a dead battery after that. that was fortuitous as it gave me a chance to use the smaller battery starter jumper i bought a few weeks ago. i've jumped the battery enough times at this point that it was now second nature. the bike started up effortlessly, but because i didn't have the choke pulled all the way out, the engine died again. second time around was much better.

we waited for the engine to quietly quit on its own. usually it takes several minutes, but this time around it died much sooner. i tried starting the engine on its own but it wouldn't start, so i had to use the jumper battery again. i did this a few more times, wanting to make sure there was no more fuel left in the carburetor. once that was done, i removed the battery to be trickle-charged indoors. finally, i put down some newspaper and got the chain wax spray to lubricate the chain before final storage. while my father spun the rear wheel, i sprayed the chain. however, eventual it stopped spraying even though the canister still felt full. i bought this chain lube 10 years ago, it's probably gone bad now, the wax having precipitates out of the mixture. in fact, it should've sprayed on as a white foam, but all that came out was just oil. i'll need to get a new can and spray again. i also noticed one of the chain link looked like it was kinked. i've never really taken any effort to clean the chain, i wonder now if the chain is okay or needs replacing come springtime. it's probably not something i can do on my own and need to take it into the shop again.

there was nothing to eat in the house so my mother gave us the option of either domino pizza or burger king. we opted for burgers, which my father and i went to go buy close to 6pm. he sat in the car while i went into the shop to order with my family meal coupon (3 whoppers, 3 cheese burgers, 3 small fries, $13.99) plus a side of chicken nuggets ($1.49).

i biked home after dinner. these are my final days of single living, my new roommate kevin will be arriving thursday afternoon. i still have to clean up the house a bit, but not too much, more like putting everything back where they belong. a package awaited me on my doorstep, i already knew what it was: the retekess V115 FM/AM/shortwave radio.

i tested out the radio immediately while i used the bathroom then later a shower, tuned to a sports radio channel. it sounded okay, even though people online rave about the audio quality. i use an old analog shower radio my friend manny gave me as a present more than 2 decades ago. i usually listen to NPR (local WGBH 89.7FM), but during the height of various sports seasons i listen to the sport radio channels. my shower radio is okay but because of the analog dial sometimes it takes a little searching to find the channel i want (although i've used it long enough that i've gotten better at finding my channel). i'd love to have something digital, but i've searched for a while and a digital shower radio doesn't exist, or at least isn't cheap enough to be worth buying. i'd also love to have something that can play mp3's.

the retekess V115 seems to be a good option, minus the waterproofing. digital tuning allows me to precisely locate my channels, but i've discovered the problem is also i get terrible reception, and i still need to play with the antenna placement to receive some channels. it seems like the older i get, the more i pick up "old people hobbies" like listening to the radio. i know some android phones come with FM radio, but my oneplus one isn't one of them. i'd love to have a digital FM radio that can also receive RDS signals (so i can quickly identify unfamiliar stations or see song and artist name), but it's not a deal breaker, more like a wishlist.