i tried chatting with my father on the TYT radio. i'd hoped that mornings would be better since there'd be less interfering devices turned on. after playing around with the DBJ-2 rollup antenna to get the perfect sweet spot, we were finally communicating. he was still hearing a lot of background static coming from my end, even though i heard him loud and clear transmitting at medium-1 (15W with his battery source power supply). on my end low power wasn't transmitting, medium-2 barely usable, medium-1 was more intelligible, and high the best. he said the signal was maximum, just a lot of static. i ended up elevating the radio/power supply setup onto a metal napkin box, to replicate the condition from thursday when i had everything resting on the unused 4.5A power supply. it's hard to say what it could be, in between the 3 miles distance between our locations are not only geographical barriers (hills) but could also be artificial interferences. we'll try again another time, or once i get the SWR meter back to check my transmission quality. nothing we've done in the past few days can compare to the results from thursday night, when he was hearing me broadcasting at low power, something that's never happened before.
i left for belmont around 12pm, but got caught chatting coronavirus with my neighbor jeff. people seem to fall into two camps: either the virus is very bad, or it's a mild nuisance. i'm more of the nuisance camp. if i did get the coronavirus, i could turn this website into a covid-19 blog and pick up some traffic. i didn't arrive at my parents' place until 12:40pm. i quickly ate a bow of millet with squash and carrots before we were ready to go. my mother also scooped out a bowl of sichuan paocai from the jar. after i tipped it upside down and shook it a bit yesterday, the flavor has impressed. i think the vegetables at the bottom have better flavor, more sour, crispier. so this paocai isn't a total wash after all.
first stop was binbin's place, to check and see if her new credit card arrived yet. we traveled via highway, using google's android auto app for dashboard navigation. it was a quick in-and-out, we grabbed the mail but there was no credit card. it was cool in the house but we checked the thermostat and it was working fine, actually warmer than the 55°F we set the empty house to. after getting $20 worth of fuel at the nearby gas station ($2.25/gallon), we let google navigate us to the burlington market basket. it took a local route, avoiding the nearby mall highway traffic, we would've never been able to go this way on our own.
i thought market basket would be mobbed with people stocking up for the viral armageddon that's sure to come to greater boston, but it was surprisingly quiet and calm. sometimes i'd find shelves that looked a little bare, but workers were busy restocking, no signs of mass panic. i've been to a lot of different market baskets - somerville, chelsea, waltham, burlington - each one is similar but also different, so it's a bit disconcerting. i lost my parents on more than one occasion, walking the store in circles trying to find them, avoiding the indignity of having to call. since st.patrick's day is just around the corner, there was also a sale on corned beef. we bought a 5 lbs. bag of point cut brisket, figuring the extra fat would give more flavor (it was also cheaper than leaner flat cut).
we stopped by the empty cafe to unload some supplies before returning to the house. my father collected a head of napa cabbage from the basement, it reeked of strong fermentation in our chinese sauerkraut recipe. we'd already tried it in late january, when my father brought it to the chinese new year dinner in arlington. it was a little bland back then, could the sourness have improved more than a month later?
the day felt really weird. even though it still seemed early, according to the clock it was already late. while my mother was collecting some scallions from the backyard, i noticed some garlic had sprouted in raised bed 2. these are small garlics grown for their tender shoots, not for the bulbs, which are all in raised bed 4. none of those have sprouted because RB4 doesn't get a lot of sun and i also put down a very thick layer of protective salt marsh grass.
the corned beef will have to wait until tomorrow, since it needs a good day in the slow cooker to get it nice and tender. instead we had a chinese sauerkraut stew, loaded with tofu and fatty pork. the sauerkraut was aged to perfection, a delicious sourness evidence of a successful fermentation. the sauerkraut we had back in january simply wasn't aged long enough.
i finally downloaded turbotax tax deluxe, got it from amazon for $50 which includes both federal and state. to tell you the truth, i was hoping to find a cracked copy; i haven't paid for taxing software in about a decade. but something about the way turbotax is serial locking its software this year means i have no choice but to finally buy it. with the tax deadline about a month away, it's time to get serious about taxes.
riding home, i noticed a green glow following me around. it took me a minute to realize that somebody was shooting me with a high power green laser. i turned around to see if i could find where the person but all i could see was darkness. i was about to leave when i saw a green glow in the upper story window of a house 2 blocks away. a little bit annoyed, i rode back to the house where i could see silhouettes in a window and a green flash. "somebody has a green laser up there?!" i shouted. the laser disappeared. i circled a few times outside, knowing full well i was being watched. i pretended to make a phone call, hoping they'd think i was calling the police. a few seconds later the front door opened. "are you okay?" an adult male asked. "sorry about that, we were just testing the laser." i grunted some approving noises then rode off. afterwards i felt a little bad. nobody got hurt, but i responded way too extremely. i mean, who hasn't played around with a green laser before?
kevin wasn't home when i got back, so i took the opportunity to use the bathroom and take a shower. he came home around 8:30pm, right when i was waterpiking the dinner debris from my teeth. when i finally got out of the bathroom, he was already in his room. i didn't see him the rest of the evening, just heard him use the bathroom a few times.