i fueled up the motorcycle this morning. currently regular is $4.59/gallon, which is cheap considering it was around $5 a few weeks ago. the first thing i did when i got to belmont was to check out the temperature of the insulated bottles, which i filled up with boiling water yesterday.

less than 20 hours have passed, and my old thermos-brand thermos was 96° on the lid and 104° inside, lukewarm at best. the stanley bottle on the other hand was 156° on the lid and 147° inside (that's probably a measuring mistake, should probably be even hotter) - still very much hot. it's obvious that stanley is the clear winner. to keep it even warmer, my father suggested we put a "tea cozy" on the lid, using an unwanted glove in the meantime.

my father's also continuing with his LiFePo4 battery draining tests, now that we have a DC voltage amperage meter with hall sensor. basically we want to see how long we can use the battery before the BMS will cut it off. the bluetooth BMS app for some reason doesn't have an accumulation count, so we needed to rig one up externally. we already ran the test last weekend, but there was a meter malfunction because we didn't zero out the current rating and at one point the current went to zero even though the battery was still powering the thermoelectric cooler (that's the device we use to draw out the power). so we ran the test again this weekend, this time all with all the numbers properly zero'ed out. it already used up 266Wh this morning. by the afternoon that number was 479Wh. the BMS finally cut the power in the evening, with a final usage of 560Wh. according to the meter, there was still 56.7Ah left in the battery, which is roughly about what we estimated: that the battery (rated for 100Ah) maxes out after 40% of usage. the lithium battery can of course drain even more, but that would reduce the overall life of the battery; when used to only 60% of capacity, the battery should remain at its maximum value for 20 years.

i had lunch: pork floss mixed with some kind of rice porridge with quinoa and corn, along with some sausage and a salted duck egg. afterwards my mother gave me a long overdue haircut. in a typical year, i'd get a haircut before the summer (to keep cool), and then once more before winter (for maintenance, but not necessary if i want to keep my hair long to stay warm). usually my mother gives me father a prison buzzcut, but for me she kept it short in the back and sides and slightly longer on top.

in the afternoon our breville BOV900BSS arrived, a surprisingly large and somewhat heavy box on the doorstep. we unboxed it carefully (since there was a chance we'd return it if we didn't like it) and set up the oven on the dining table. it looked a lot larger in person than when i saw it at the store up on display shelf. the first thing we did was to run the oven empty, to heat off any residual oils. that way we also got to see how hot the oven got. the instruction manual said to set the oven in pizza mode and run it for 20 minutes. the sides were at 80° (the vents a bit hotter), the top kept about 100°. the heating elements are translucent quartz, not the typical cheaper nichrome in most other toaster-type ovens; quartz elements heat faster and i hope they're also easier to clean when their are drips. the top and bottom of the oven have a shiny mirror-like finish which i imagine is for reflecting back the heat. the controls are big and easy to understand and use, and likewise the large LCD display. i like how there's a button to turn on the light inside the oven, i like watching things cook. there are little details too, like magnetics that draw out the center rack (the rack used most often for toasting). or how the LCD glows red when the oven is heating (as well as the start/stop button), and turns blue once the oven stops. there's also an simple button to switch between celsius and fahrenheit. overall it seems to be a pretty high end oven, which is to be expected for something that costs 2-3x more than a typical countertop oven. there was a dent on the handlebar though, which made me want to return the oven, but that would be such a hassle, my father said it wasn't worth it. i could just put a sticker on it to hide the blemish, it doesn't affect the performance of the oven.

on this last day of tax-free shopping, i was camped in front of the computer, helping my parents think of what else they needed. my father ordered a wantjoin commercial drink mixer ($100), as the one they currently use (commercial hamilton beach) to mix their bubble ice tea has started to make a weird noise, at least according to my father. the new mixer will be on standby when the old mixer eventually fails. we ordered 2 honey-can-do chrome adjustable storage shelving units ($30 each); these will be for the work table, on top of the breville oven and microwave, so we can have some more storage space. finally we ordered a new electric kettle, after i checked out more than a dozen different models; we settled on a glass kettle (willz-brand $22), figuring it'd be less prone to rusting, which was a problem we had with our current stainless steel kettle. glass would also be easier to see how much water is still in the pot without having to open the lid.

we went to my aunt and uncle's house in arlington around 4pm. they were having a dinner in honor of jason selling matthew's old car. my sister showed up too, we weren't sure if she would, she's kind of weird when it comes to attending family dinners. binbin and her family showed up a short time later. i got a chance to check out their backyard, which is in way better shape than our belmont yard. while things in belmont all seem to be dying, here they were still growing. they even have zucchinis, which so far this season we've yet to have a single one in belmont and two of the plants have already died leaving just one plant.

my sister bought a ring toss game for people to play. the kids tried it briefly but lost interest. anderson had a rubik's cube which he was showing people how he could solve it in just a few minutes (learned it off of youtube). i feel kind of dumb that a 7-year old can solve a rubik's cube that i've tried for decades and still only managed to just get a single face.

we ate outside, but the kids kept trying to go inside, especially lucas, who said he didn't like being outside. there seemed to be 5 varieties of salad-type dishes. there was also lamb skewers (surprising, since my aunt can't stand the smell of lamb) and some grilled beef. the kids were picky eaters but only later did binbin reveal they had pasta before leaving their house in burlington, so they weren't hungry. lucas just wanted to eat fruits - mostly because they were sweet.

my sister left before dessert, something about feeding her dog, which is her go-to excuse to leave any family gathering early. there was peach pie with vanilla bean ice cream and my sister left behind some belgian waffle cookies.

everyone left by 8pm. i gathered up my things and returned to cambridge.

as this was the final hours of tax-free shopping, i was on the clock to buy more things off of amazon. so as soon as i got home, i was on the computer, looking for deals. there was a lot of aeroponics equipment i still needed to get.