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despite working about 4 hours, i didn't seem to make too much of an impact on the house sanding. i worked on the area above the window up to the roof. did i mention it was oppressively hot and humid? and that's just in the shade. once the sun started shining on the western side, i was afraid of passing out from the heat and falling off the ladder. i seemed to have built up my ladder height tolerance; now i can climb almost to the top without the slightest hesitation.

i was working right next to a wasp nest in the eaves of the house. i plugged up some crevasses already, but apparently not enough. despite my close proximity, they seem to tolerate my presence (or maybe i just don't register as a target for them). i was hoping the vibration from the sander would drive them to find a different home, but they seem to like where they are.

i've been studying them for the past few days, counting their numbers, waiting for the perfect opportunity. normally there's a wasp outside standing guard, but as soon as it went inside, i plugged up the hole with a wad of paper. that almost made it worse, because all the returning wasps weren't able to return home and were swarming around searching for the entrance. then i got the bright idea that i could just vacuum the wasps with the shop vac. it was amazingly easy, and made my wonder why i didn't do it earlier.

when it came time to clean up, i went to go dump out the shop vac. to my surprise, inside were about a dozen yellow jackets, all alive, all covered in paint. as soon as i opened the vacuum, they few away. apparently being sucked into a shop vac doesn't kill them. afterwards i felt an itch on my right shoulder blade. while taking a shower, i felt the presence of a large amoeba-shaped welt; apparently i got stung by one of the wasps!

i've been stung by yellow jackets before; it must not have been too painful because i don't remember anything about it. i was kind of expecting it to hurt, not itch. maybe it wasn't a yellow jacket, maybe it was just a mosquito, but this feels different from a mosquito bite. this also felt a bit like a sunburn, this dull subtle cooling ache.

i spent some minutes outside rigging up an armature support for the SJ4000 on my motorcycle. originally i wanted to put it down low (near the clutch shifter), but i could get the mount to attach. so i ended up hooking it from my right mirror and then building this long contraption using 4 different mounting segments.

i shot the video in real time, at 30fps 1080p. the final video is only interesting to me, and a big waste of storage space for a file that's 1.5GB. the coverage is pretty wide, 170°. the biggest problem is the vibration, made worse with the long armature. a more solid mount might fix this problem.

i got home around 3:00, took a shower, chatted with my uncle willy (who's coming to new york city in a few weeks), before going to market basket around 4:00 to get some groceries.

back at home, i replaced my handlebar grips. first i had to remove the old grips, the ones i suspect have been giving me non-stop dermatitis on my hands. i tried dripping some alcohol into the gap then shooting it with compressed air, but it just wouldn't budge. i kept trying, even unwrapping the handlebar tape to give the grips more flexibility. eventually i managed to remove one, and finally the other.

that was only half the fun. putting on the new grips was a challenge as well. i lubed up the inside of the grips and the handlebar. slipping them on was easy, but halfway they suddenly seize up. the first one, i only managed to get a quarter onto the handlebar. the second one, i managed to get about 3/4 on. i tried to remove them but it was impossible, made more different by the fact that these grips have an inner sleeve and then an outer foam layer (i didn't want to rip the foam).

i finally managed to put on the grips by wrapping the ends with a towel and then hammering them into the handlebar. they actually look pretty good, i thought they were much too large when i first saw them. now the final test is to ride with these new grips and see if my dermatitis will come back.

i heated up some ravioli for dinner, while watching a documentary on the history of atomic bombs.

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sunmeng woke me up at 9:00 to videochat, unfortunately on one of the few days this week where i could afford to sleep late. i finished the rest of my potato salad for lunch. there were a few things happening in boston that i wanted to check out: charles river swimming costume contest, fenway park secret gardens - but i ended up doing none of those things, the cold and grey weather a key factor (another key factor: general laziness).

i stayed home until the mail arrived (orbital sander replacement parts, tire patch kits) then rode to belmont (stopping at the mass-walden formerly-hess gas station to fill up with $2.55/gallon gasoline, i'd traveled 106 miles already).

i went to home depot to look for shop vac adapters, so i can connect the 1-1/2" output port from the ryobi belt sander to the 2-1/2" input port of the shop vac. online it said they were available, but when i got there, they were all loose with no packaging. i may end up just making my own with some stiff cardboard and some duct tape. i ended up just getting a can of professional strength wasp insecticide ($4) that i carried back on the bike of my motorcycle underneath some bungie netting.

i was in the garage installing the rim lights to the front wheel of my old fuji bicycle. that bike has already been modified when a few years ago i added some white electroluminescent wire lights to the frame. now combined with the magenta/hot pink glowing front wheel, the effect is pretty cool. i'm sure it'll look even better at nights. now i need to install the other set of lights onto the back wheel. all this in preparation for the midnight bike run next month.

my father didn't get back home until 4:00, after which we left for the waltham costco. my mother was jonesing for some memphis-style ribs again. what was remarkable wasn't how crowded it was, but the fact that there were so many chinese people there. costco seems like the unofficial weekend chinatown. before we left, we got an order of their deluxe pizza. while we waited, we shared 2 hot dogs and a pair of self-dispensed drinks (raspberry ice tea).

after pizza dinner, my father and i went outside to fix the old orbital sander with the newly-arrived replacement parts. using blocks of wood and a brass water nozzle, he gently bashed the new ball bearing into the bearing case. we then replaced the brake skirt and the sanding pad. the sander fired up without any problems. a little stiff, but that's mostly because of the new break skirt. it should loosen up after some sanding. now the old sander is better than the new sander!

since it was getting late, the yellowjackets have all retreated back to the nest. i took the opportunity to climb the ladder and stuff the eaves gaps of the roof with some newspaper. i was a little worried that the wasps would wake up and sting me, but fortunately that didn't happen. blocking access to the nest might be enough to kill them off; i might end up returning the insecticide.

after i got home, i put the tarp over the motorcycle, in anticipation of the rainstorm forecasted for tomorrow (i'll believe it when it arrives).

i motorcycled to belmont, arrived by 9:10. this being friday, it'd be my last day of sanding this week. it was an unusual week in that i managed to work everyday, there was no rain days. there was a good chance of downpours in the afternoon, so i kept my eyes on the sky. it was clear blue when i arrived, but as the day wore on, it grew increasingly cloudy. my father had the day off so he was outside with me working on the house. we went to home depot first, to get some more caulk (dap dyanflex 230) and some 60-grit sandpaper. by the time we got and set up the equipment, it was already 10:00.

while i was busy sanding (today the region to the right of my former bedroom window), my father was hand-sanding the window to my parents' bedroom and then caulking any gaps. when he was done with that, he moved to the front of the house, where he put down tarps and tried to sand the shingles with a belt sander. the belt sander can strip enough paint in 10 minutes in what would take me a single day or more. the downside is it doesn't have very good dust collection, made more so by the fact that my father was using it without a shop vac attached, so there was dust everywhere. but at this rate, it'd take just 3 days to completely sand the front of the house. we may be painting again come august instead of september!

around 1:00pm the sky darkened considerably and rain drops began to fall. i was already cleaning up anyway, but now it was a race against time. however, soon afterwards, the sky sort of cleared up again. i returned to cambridge by 1:30 to wait for the impending rainstorm.

i showered when i got home, then went to star market to get some chips and grapes and frozen lasagna. i also put the cover on the motorcycle while i was at it. the rainstorms that were supposed to happen never came though.

i wasn't particularly hungry came evening because i'd been snacking for most of the afternoon, everything from healthy (a fruit smoothie) to the opposite of healthy (sweet potato chips, salty sunflowers, sour gummy bears). i finally decided to make something around 8:00, heating up a brick of lasagna in the oven, which took another hour before it was ready. i enjoyed a lovely evening of proteins and carbs while watching a bootleg of jurassic world on the HDTV.

* today's sanding region: center-center (below the tallest ladder) and a bit to the left of center. listening to mp3 player but it ran out of batteries so switched to android phone listening to a streaming 80's music radio station (much better than talk radio).

* once again, not very sweaty after i finished working, so i didn't bother to take a shower.

* aawyeah finally refunded my money for the missing foam handlebar grips

* played around with the infrared filter on my wide angle lens with the canon 60D. realized there's an IR cutoff filter inside the camera, so even with the external IR filter the images come out looking B&W and not IR

* 2nd attempt at repairing broken electric kettle: using a multimeter to test the continuity, cleaning the contact points with sandpaper, finally working now

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* prik khing curry using garden eggplants and thai basil: other ingredients - chicken breast, baby corn, bamboo shoots, cashew nuts. father stir-fried the cubed chicken first, followed by a steam simmer of the sliced eggplants. then the curry paste and coconut milk was allowed to simmer with baby corn and bamboo shoots, adding the eggplants and slow cooking for 20+ minute until they're nearly melted before adding the chicken and basil.

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* dumping out my overripe kombucha invaded by fruit flies (and their maggots). originally i planned on keeping it, figured i could just brush off the maggots. that sort of shows how far i've fallen in terms of risky food eating threshold. maggots on my food? oh, no problem, it's still edible! pouring out the aged kombucha, i was still tempted to taste it so i took a sip. so sour! i ended up spitting it out.

* this morning noticed fruit fly maggots on kombucha scoby

* now that morning glory flowers are blooming, i can expect to find green metallic bees

* working while listening to mp3 (NPR and WGBH public radio stations) - not sure why i wasn't doing this before

* it wasn't a particularly hot day and i was working mostly in the shade so i didn't sweat all that much. i ended up not taking a shower after i finished sanding.

* electric kettle repair failure

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today being the last day of street sweeping for my street this month, it was once again safe to ride the motorcycle (in that when i returned, there'd be plenty of safe parking spots). that meant i could wake up a little bit later (8:15am) and not arrive in belmont in a sweaty mess. i ate a banana for breakfast before i left.

i found my father outside, busy caulking the gaps between shingles. he rigged up a carabiner hook to the shopvac so it could easily be attached and removed from the pulley rope. up until now, i've only removed the bottom half of the hanging shopvac, the dust collection bin, as well as unscrewing the filter for cleaning. and when it rained, i'd wrap up the hanging shopvac the best i could with a trash bag. now i can simply unlatch it completely, whether for cleaning or storage.

today's sanding up upper left-of-middle, the hardest and most dangerous part since it involves standing on top of the ladder. while my father was still home, it began to rain a little bit. i froze, waiting to see whether or not it was going to get any heavier. however, after a short period, it simply stopped. my father left for work while i continued sanding.

i finished by around 1:18pm, nearly 4 hours of sanding. at that point during the day the sun starts shining on the western side. the shopvac starts slowing down as well, its filter choked with paint dust. after cleaning up, i took a shower and left belmont by around 2:30.

back in cambridge, after changing into a pair of shorts, i bicycled to the community garden. with all the sanding work i've been doing, i haven't had time to visit my CGP and it's been 11 days since my last visit. my plot was like a jungle, a mixed sea of greens punctuated by large round discs of colors, unusually large seed-grown zinnias. i almost missed it, but behind the wall of sunflower stalks, there was a lupine flower! i'm surprised it flowered earlier than the lupine in belmont, since this particular plant doesn't get as much sun.

i then biked to market basket to get some groceries. today was an important day in terms of temperature because if it reached 90 degrees, then that be our 3rd consecutive day of 90+ which means officially a heatwave. that'd mean my AC installation rule still stands, that i don't put it in until the first heatwave. unfortunately it was a few degrees shy (at least as measured from logan airport, where the sea breeze always drops the temperature), but a hot day nonetheless.

i ended up doing a load of laundry in the evening; because of the hot weather, in a single day i might go through 3 changes of clothes: my sweaty painting clothes, my sweaty clothes when i bike back, and the clothes i change into when i finally at home.

for dinner i boiled some three bridges chicken and basil ravioli ($2.49/ 9 oz.) along with half a jar of pasta sauce. i used the electric kettle to boil some water. when i took it off the base i noticed an usual wet spot. when i went to go wipe it off, i realized it was actually melting plastic and the base felt hot to the touch. after a few minutes it still felt warm so i unplugged it just to be safe.

later in the evening i went to go investigate my electric kettle. i bought it used back in august 2010 and it's been very reliable up until now. taking apart the base was just a simple matter of unscrewing 3 screws. what i found inside was horrifying: the wires were frayed and melted, super dangerous, definite fire hazard. i'm glad i noticed the problem before using the kettle again, because it could've burned the house down.

it seems fixable though, just have to clip off the damaged end of the wires and attached new leads. just so happens i also have a spare electric kettle base, just a newer model. unfortunately the old kettle won't fit on the new base, but i can take out the wires and put it on the old base. unfortunately the new base has security screws that need a special head to remove.