my alarm went off at 9am so i could wake up early and get ready for the east somerville mural bike ride tour. i found out about it earlier in the week from flyers taped to the market basket bike racks. it sounded interesting, and with massachusetts on the cusp of reopening again (no masks, no capacity limit), this was my first post-pandemic social event. our departure location and the exact route were all very hush-hush, as way more people RSVP'ed that it reached somerville's maximum capacity limit for an outdoor event. i received an e-mail with the meeting location on friday, like i was privy to an exclusive club.

i made a cold matcha latte for breakfast, then went in the basement to get my trek allant bike ready. i haven't ridden it in a few years, it was covered in dust and the tires were flat. besides pumping up the tires, i also added some oil to the chain. back inside, i picked out my outfit (white polo, khaki shorts), took a hit of allergy nasal spray, then sprayed myself with sunblock in the bathtub. i grabbed a frozen bottle of water, and packed two of my smaller cameras - the panasonic lumix and fuji 3D camera. mask was optional, in the end i decided to go maskless but still carried one just in case.

i left by 10:40am, supposed to arrive at deano's pastas in east somerville by 11am. as i approached the departure site, i started following a convoy of other cyclists all heading in the same direction. when we arrived however, the place looked empty. "did everyone left already?" i asked a young woman, who had the exact same thoughts. we biked around the building and found an empty parking lot that was the actual staging area.

today was a hot day, with the possibility of hitting the 90's. the only shady part in the parking lot was underneath an awning, and it was already crowded with bikers. i ended up waiting outside, underneath the shade of a small tree. we didn't start getting ready to ride until well after 11:20am.

the route was supposed to be a loop, but we also double-backed a few times, so it was a messy loop. helpers rode in front of us and stopped traffic so we could cross busy intersections. i kept thinking about the cambridge rides, where there's police escorts and corporate sponsorship with free swags and food. this somerville one was more self-organized, but being as it is, it was lacking some of the trappings. yes, we occasionally stopped to admire murals, but i was just enjoying riding in neighborhoods i don't visit very often.

we made it back to deano's pasta by 12:20pm, to chuckie harris park nearby, where this was supposed to be a post-ride picnic. the organizers recommended some local restaurants to order from. it's a nice idea, but it was way too hot, and there wasn't much in ways of shady trees in the park. i didn't have any plans to lunch there, so instead i made my way home. i'm not too familiar with east somerville, but still had enough of an idea to navigate back to cambridge. i called my mother when i got back, told her i was going to use the bathroom then take a shower before heading to belmont.

i should be glad that sunblock is hard to wash off, means it's water and sweat resistant, but i smelled like sunblock the rest of the day. also because i sprayed myself inside of the bathtub, the tub was slick with sunblock grease. i didn't leave until 2pm.

i had some leftover barbecue for lunch. my father was in the backyard brooding over our recently transplanted plants. he told me the rain barrels are now empty and he hooked up the hose to the outdoor faucet. the sky darkened and it looked like we might get some rain, but when the sun peeked out, it chased the clouds away and there would be no rain to be had. honestly, we're not getting any rain the rest of the month. it's last year all over again, when we were desperately hoping to fill up our rain barrels. at least this year we added another barrel, so our hold capacity had increased by about 200 gallons.

with rain no longer in the forecast, my father and i were out in the backyard inspecting our plants. besides a lot of top lilac branches, we also removed all the small branches emerging off on the sides. into this newly cleared out space we planted a bunch of foxgloves we harvested from RB3.

back in the house, at one point i was watching the NBA game from bed (lakers vs. suns) and tried to fall asleep but couldn't because it was just too hot and i felt sticky and gross due to the humidity. officially the temperature reach 90°F today, but it was only the mid-80's in belmont. relief will come tomorrow when the high temperature will drop by 20 degrees in the 60's. that's cold enough to wear a jacket!

i went out again to test my DJI mini 2 drone with my mother's phone (samsung S9+). i couldn't find the DJI fly app from the google store but i was able to side load it directly from the website. the samsung S9+ flew fine, video signal was strong, no delays, no pixelations, and mostly important, it never crashed. unfortunately it was super windy and i didn't dare fly it to far and risk the drone by blow off course. later i tried my father's phone (moto G7). i didn't think it was compatible, but i managed to install the fly app and logged in successfully. it took work fine, never crashed as well. so now the evidence begins to mount that it's my phone (google pixel 3XL) that's the problem. i'm tying to remember if i always had the crashing problem since getting the drone back in november (answer: yes, it's been crashing since i got it). but definitely it's been happening more often now, like 9 out of 10 times the app will freeze mid-flight and i either have to wait for the app to unfreeze (which can tak minutes) or completely restart the phone.

my mother made some noodles for dinner. there was too much food, including the leftover barbecue from yesterday, so i just ate the noodles. by evening the temperature was already dropping, and a strong cool breeze swayed the trees.

instead of going home, i followed my father to the cafe (he drove the car, i rode the motorcycle), so we can clear out all the furniture in preparation for the flooring guys to come in tomorrow and resurface the wooden floor. originally i wanted to move everything into the basement, but that would've been a lot of hard work, since some of the furniture were quite heavy. instead we placed some stuff in the display nook (off the floor), the heaviest countertops leaving in the alcove by the entrance (we don't think anyone would try to steal them), and the rest out in the parking lot, underneath a tarp we'll bring tomorrow just to keep everything dry. we spent an hour clearing the space until 8:30pm, where i finally went home.

a check on the buttercup squashes in my grow closet shows all the seeds have germinated, two seedlings per pot. i have to think about thinning and whether to save or throw out the extra seedlings.

i also started my lotus seeds. i'm only on keeping 1-2 lotuses this year, so i decided to just germinate 5 seeds. i figured not all of them will germinate, but a few that do will be enough lotus plants for me. this is my 3rd season growing lotuses. the lotus rhizomes i saved from last year and kept in the fridge, i've already taken out and soaked them in a basin of water for over a week now. i haven't noticed any activities, so i think they're probably dead. i think it's the varieties (the seeds were from china, smaller than the US seeds), but last year i didn't get a single aerial leaf, which is strange, because i gave them the perfect growing condition, a single barrel per lotus. if these still don't do well this year, i may just give up on my dream of having a lotus garden, or maybe buy a mature plant instead of trying to grow them from seeds.

i borrowed the dremel tool and sanded down the dimpled end of the seeds. i sanded them so i could barely see a bit of white underneath the seed coat. i dunked them in my germinating jar, with chloramine-treated water warmed up to 75°F with an aquarium heater and a thermometer so i can gauge the temperature. now i wait! i remember it takes 48 hours before they begin to germinate.

later in the evening i ordered a used ASUS ZenPad Z8s for $75 plus $12 for shipping and $5 tax for a grand total of $92. i ordered it off of mercari, which i've never used before. i've been researching suitable phone/tablet options to pair up with my DJI drone. i can't continue to use the pixel 3XL anymore if it keeps on crashing every tim i use it. originally i was looking at phones - since i figured they'd be the cheapest option. but then i saw some compatible tablets for around $100. the advantage of a tablet is a bigger screen to see everything, but it could serve a double purchase if i ever wanted to watch a movie from bed, as i currently don't own a tablet (that's not true, i have my hisense sero 7 but that's 8 years old and i haven't used it in a few years). the Z8s was a verizon exclusive tablet that came out in august 2017 and is LTE compatible. featuring a 7.9" display (2048 x 1536 pixels), snapdragon 652 processor (octacore 4x1.8GHz 4x1.2GHz), with just 16GB of internal memory but 3GB of ram. i also had to buy an extension bracket so i could mount the tablet to the drone remote controller.