i left the house on my run slightly earlier than usual - 10am. i've been running twice every week since the start of june - 4 months - and i've noticed some changes. weight-wise, not much has changed, it seems to hover around 150lbs. usually when i come back from a run i can expect to lose about a pound from sweating. i definitely have more running stamina now, and in my everyday life, when i need to do a bit of jogging (like traveling across a parking lot), i can burst into a short run without getting winded. i'm not running any faster than when i first started, and i still walk across the bridges. i'm sort of fine with that. if i want to save some time, i might consider running to the river, which would probably shave 10 minutes off of my total runtime, but i'm also fine with just walking. it's exercise either way. i'm still a bit paunchy, but i think running helps to build my core muscles, and i feel like i stand straighter and taller now compared to before (it could just be my imagination).

i got home by 11am, but not before running into dennis. i saw eversource trucks outside his house earlier, i thought maybe a powerline was down, but they were work connecting his new electrical panel. he showed me the work that's been going on in his basement, where they relocated the broiler and upgraded all the heating and hot water and electricity. it was a sight to behold, like being in the basement of a fancy condo, with each unit having its own individual hot water tank and furnace. they use hot water for heating, and the hot water tank actually doesn't have a burner, but instead just circulates water from the furnace, i didn't realize you could do this.

i didn't actually get home until 11:30am. i quickly took a shower and got ready for the nancy pelosi tea party happening in victor's backyard. ever since pelosi flew to taiwan, victor has been clamoring for a tea party in honor of this event, with me - the token taiwanese - as the centerpiece of his grand scheme. i chalked it up as just talk, but every time he sees me he'd bring it up, until i finally scheduled a time this week to meet. i brought a box of celestial seasonings morning thunder black tea with caffeinated roasted mate, a tea i've never tried before.

what i thought was just a casual sitdown chat turned out to be something more formal, with victor dressed in his suit (compared to the way he usually dresses, which is a russian townie), and invited neighbors. he also expected me to give a presentation, and i was definitely having some second thoughts.

the tea ceremony was held in the grassy courtyard. a photo of pelosi was taped to the back of a laptop, with various drinks and snacks on the table: cheese and crackers, fancy honey, a bottle of amaretto, and a handful of tea bags inside of a large teapot. the neighbors were two young guys - beau and nick (roommates), sonny the proprietor of the nearby laundromat, one of victor's russian-speaking tenants, and another neighbor i'd never seen before.

in the end it wasn't so bad. being a taiwanese person, any insight i had about taiwan - even personal opinions - were like words of wisdom. turns out sonny had been to taiwan a few times, when he served in the navy on a submarine in the 80's. nick said his grandfather - who was an international lawyer - might've helped draft the taiwanese constitution. we chatted for over an hour before finally disbanding.

later i learned victor was all dressed up partly for "the lady" pelosi, but also because he was trying to impress a CVS cashier he met yesterday, which inspired him to buy her some fancy chocolate and write her a poem.

i returned home by 1:30pm. i grabbed my saddlebags then left for belmont, stopping off to fill the tank first. my original plan was to rework the small patch of front lawn that's mostly dead yellow thatch, dig down until i hit dirt, refill with some topsoil, before reseeding. however i watched a youtube video last night where a person reseeded his lawn without digging up the thatch first. i take youtube videos with a grain of salt, and there could be a lot of misinformation, but i decided to hold off on terraforming, and wait at the very first for some of the grass seeds to germinate first. the key is to keep the front lawn moist at all times, which i did by turning on the sprinkler timer. yesterday we adjusted the settings so now it waters 6 times a day (every 4 hours), watering for 4 minutes. for some reason the timer doesn't allow for 4 times a day watering. that's annoying enough that it made me go online and buy another watering timer, this one wifi-enabled and allows me to preset exact watering times, not just rely on preset intervals.

i still went down to home depot, partly to return the hose splitter and blue elbow fitting, and partly to get some top soil and grass seeds just in case my continuous watering plan doesn't pan out. i saw they were selling venus flytraps and i was tempted to get one, but they're difficult to keep alive (needs to be kept moist constantly with distilled water, will go into a winter dormancy phase where the leaves die off), so i decided against it.

i checked on my hydroponic mustards before i left. the wilting from yesterday is now all fixed after i refilled the jars with fresh nutrients. i also watered the backyard lawn.

i returned home by 4pm, and promptly left again, this time via bicycle, to get some market basket groceries. i decided to make greek-style pita pockets for dinner. i got some drumsticks on sale and flayed them when i got home, before marinating in some teriyaki sauce and putting them in the fridge.

around 7:30pm my internet went down again. it did that weird thing with 3 steady lights (power, downstream, upstream) and a flashing internet/online light. after about 30 minutes still without internet, i finally called xfinity/comcast. i actually got an american agent this time, which surprised me. he seemed helpful enough, but in the end didn't fix my problem. he saw no outages on his end, although there was some local network updates performed by xfinity technicians today. i made an appointment for a comcast repairman to come take a look thursday morning.

i started making dinner. my original idea was to grill the flayed chicken bits in a pan, but the chicken leaked so much juice, i was more simmering than actually grilling. the chickens ended up looking like a rubbery unappetizing mess. i wonder if i'd have better luck using the foreman grill instead, even though some of the chicken parts would've definitely fallen through the cracks.

while i was cooking i texted my upstairs neighbor jeff and asked them about their wifi service. he told me their wifi was fine, which made me realize the internet issue is actually just me. the problem has to do with my modem, which is a motorola SB6141 that i got factory refurbished for just $23 back in march 2017. just 5 years old, the SB6141 has already been deemed by xfinity/comcast as an end-of-life product and they no longer support it. as such, this also allows them to cut services on these old devices completely without notice, just to get you to upgrade to their rental gateways. at least that's my theory.

fortunately i happen to have a spare modem at home, a newer SB6190. so i temporarily stopped cooking in order to activate this new modem. this time around i got somebody from an indian call center. she was helpful, but it seems like she was still new on the job, kept making mistakes, like getting my MAC address wrong and saying i gave her an invalid address, or trying to activate the new modem when it was still pointed at the old disconnected modem. but my internet was already working when she put me on hold to check if i was connected. i ran a speed test, i was getting speeds of 470Mbp/5Mbps.

so switching out the modem did the trick. i still can't be sure whether it was because of the newer modem, or maybe internet service just happened to be restore at that time. but it's one of those, "if it's not broken, don't fix it issue" so i'm not going to bother downgrading to my old modem to figure out which is which. it does make me nervous about the cablemodem at the cafe, which i believe is a SB6141, and one from january 2016 if my records are correct. i may want to preemptively update that modem when i get the chance, so the same thing doesn't happen there like it did with me. on the other hand, maybe it was just a modem issue (the one that i had was refurbished after all, though i never had an issue with it before until these past few days, ever since xfinity did their service upgrade work).

i continued making dinner. i poured out the chicken juices and put the chicken parts back in the pan, this time adding some more teriyaki sauce. the final chicken was edible which is the only good thing i can say about it. i couldn't quite taste the teriyaki, and i never did get any grilling, so it doesn't have any of that crispy goodness. i cut up some chicken parts and stuffed them into pita bread for dinner, finally eating around 9:40pm.