it rained a little bit before i went to sleep last night and then it rained some more early this morning. it caught me by surprise, i didn't even cover my motorcycle nor my bicycle. my father sent me a photo of the rain barrel gauge where it was up nearly to the middle of the barrel.

soon afterwards my mother called me while i was still asleep. she said someone from the city came by the cafe today and asked them if we applied to the small business covid-19 grant. they said the notification notice was a while back and today was the last day to accept the money. since my father rarely checks his e-mail carefully enough, my mother asked me to log into his account and look and see if they got any letters from the city. sure enough on 7/7 the city of cambridge told them they qualified for the grant ($5000).

when they originally signed up more than month ago, they were going to use that money to buy plexiglass barriers and other PPE, but they'd already done that. on 7/13 they received another letter asking for confirmation of receipt, with a deadline of 7/14, which had already passed, but since the city employee told us today was the deadline, they were hoping they're still eligible. but my father didn't bring his laptop so couldn't print out the pdf form to sign, so he had me print it out and he came over to sign it before i scanned the document and sent it to the city office.

my fedex package arrived in the late morning, didn't even have to sign for it even though the e-mail said i did. it was the xiaomi brand android tv box. in my mind i thought it was more like an android phone but it's actually more like a roku, with a lot of android functionality hidden away or locked so you can't accidentally tamper with them. for example, you can't install the chrome browser. there are tricks to do so anyway (side loading) but it's not that big a deal since there some off-brand browsing apps in the google store.

i got the mibox primarily so my mother could watch her korean shows (which need to be streamed from a browser window), and i was able to do so (using the puffin browser app), although the simple remote interface made navigation a little slow. it seems to be integrated with netflix, and there's even a netflix button on the remote. it works with amazon prime but amazon doesn't show up as a channel like it does with netflix, but instead in order to access it you need to open the amazon app. i also loaded tubi, pluto tv, youtube, and youtube tv, all which integrated onto the homepage as individual channels.

i tried watching some movies from an usb thumb drive; i was surprised there was no pre-installed media viewer. i ended up downloading the VLC app and managed to view a bunch of videos. some of them had thumbnails, while others were empty. it was able to play multiple formats and compression, including HVEC x265 (i have 3 seasons of outlander in that format). surprisingly, tinycam monitor was one of the pre-installed apps. i entered my wyze info and was able to streaming webcam videos on tv. the mibox will most likely replace the roku. i will probably inherit the roku for myself, since even though its old, it's still more powerful than my newer roku dongle (like programming schedule overlaid on top of live shows).

with fedex's "signed" package already, i was free the rest of the day. unfortunately it was cloudy for much of the day, and even though there was no rain the forecast, i didn't feel compelled to go outside today.

some other items as well later in the afternoon, including the 500GB SSD drive and the 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket. i plan on installing it in the imac tomorrow once i swap my mother over to the mibox.

i spent some time in the backyard taking photos of the orchids i noticed yesterday. i didn't have a tripod that could get that low to the ground so i had to get creative, contorting my equipment into all sorts of awkward positions. i used to have a large-size gorillapod knockoff with foam grips but i couldn't find it anywhere. they appear in a bunch of places, not just by the downspout. the downspout orchid is the only one infested with tiny black aphids guarded by ants. if i had to guess, i'd say they were planted by the previous owner of the house, the same one who designed the backyard with shady perennials. either i never noticed them before or they're just appearing this year, something conducive with the growing environment.

i also went to market basket to stock up on some utz potato chips on sale ($2-2.50). while there i bumped into my 2nd uncle.

i'd planned on going out again to try and see the comet for the 3rd time, but it was cloudy and i decided to not go. instead i made a simple dinner of ramen topped with deep fried tofu squares. it was a little bland (too much water), but filling and i didn't feel hungry afterwards. i'm really starting to like using tofu as a meat/protein substitute. they keep better than meats and eating a more vegetarian diet makes me feel healthier.