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it was sunny and warmer than yesterday, a good day to take advantage of free solar power and do some laundry. my mother had started a load in the basement on a heavy duty cycle and was taking close to 2 hours to finish washing before we transferred it to the dryer. afterwards we started a load of dirty towels and tablecloth i found around the house, also on a heavy duty cycle. i casually sprayed shout on some of the stains, wasn't sure if it'd do anything.

because it wasn't overcast, the sunroom had warmed up to the point where my parents had to move the naturally refrigerated food into the fridge to keep cool. i ate the last of the thanksgiving turkey for lunch. my mother carved up what remained of the turkey and used it to make a turkey broth for dinner later.

since i don't much care for college football, the only game worth watching on tv were the world cup matches. today group C and D played. france beat denmark (2-1), australia beat tunisia (1-0), and poland beat saudi arabia (2-0). the last match of the day was probably the one everyone was watching: argentina vs mexico. messi and company were the favorites to win it all this year, but things didn't look good when they lost to saudi arabia. they needed to beat mexico today otherwise face elimination. thankfully the team that should've won did win, and argentina beat mexico 2-0.

i've been checking out amazon regularly to see what kind of black friday weekend deals they were offering. i ended up buying a new used phone, "renewed" as they call it in the parlance. the deal that initially caught my eye was one for a renewed google pixel 5a 5G 6GB/128GB for $190. i've been wanting to upgrade my pixel 3XL - which i bought back in february 2020 - so nearly 3 years old. it's a great phone, i love the camera (just as good as an iphone camera, some say better). however, it only has 64GB of storage, which at the time i thought was a lot, but now is so filled with apps and data that i have to download and clear out my photos a few times a week in order to have space for the phone to work. anyway, i knew my next phone would still be a google pixel, and i already did the research, and determined that the pixel 5a 5G was the phone for me. so when i saw it for just $190, it was ready to buy. but then i looked around some more, and saw that a brand new unlocked pixel 6a 128GB was selling for just $299. so i thought maybe i should get the 6a instead, never bought a new phone before, not since i got my oneplus one many years ago. i kept looking, and saw renewed pixel 6 128GB for $270 and pixel 6 pro 128GB for $385. so for $80 more for what i was prepared to pay for a 5a, i could get the 6 (which is better than the 6a). and for $115 more than what i'd pay for the 6, i could get the 6 pro (best of them all). the only reason i would even consider getting the pro is for the optical zoom lens. but at that price, it was more than 2x the price of the 5a. which led me back to the 5a, and possibly the 6. specs wise they were very much the same, but $80 more for a phone that just came out last october, i thought it was worth it to get the newer phone. so that's how i ended up buying the google pixel 6. it's not due to arrive until next week.

with the load about to be finished, my father and i went down to the basement to watch the LG washer in action. it was about to be finished with rinse mode, after nearly 1-1/2 hours of washing. the way it cleans the laundry using nothing more than sloshing around the water in the tub seems like it wouldn't work but it does. after it finished rinsing, it drained the tub (happy to see our drain hose extension didn't leak) and started the spin cycle, which according to the washer said it'd last for 10 minutes. it started to spin, but at the 8 minute mark it stopped and began to fill the tub with water again, like it was doing another rinse cycle. it also increased the time to 24 minutes. we stayed and watch, and when it drained all the water once again, it started to spin. something did seem like, and after a few minutes of what seemed like strained spinning, it started filling the tub with water again. i manually stopped the cycle. i then manually put the washer into a short spin cycle, 10 minutes. but when it got to the 7-8 minute mark, it tried to fill the tub again.

a bunch of problems were happening all at once. the drain hose takes a convoluted route to get to the sink, and if the washer can't properly drain the water, it'll stop washing. we fixed this by uncoiling the drain hose completely into the sink, no fancy rollercoaster routes. but most likely the issue was a balancing error. we noticed when the washer was spinning, that the washer itself shook a little too violently. the washer most likely sensed it was out of balance, and in order to remedy this, it filled the tub back up and tried to spin the clothes to rebalance the load. unfortunately the balance issue more likely had to do with the machine itself not being properly balanced. using a level, we could see it was balanced side-to-side, but was slightly off-balance front-to-back. my father tilted the washer while i crawled on the floor and turned the screw legs.

after we did these things, i manually made the machine run another short spin cycle. not only did it continue pumping water into the sink, but this time it managed to spin completely without attempting to refill the tub. the washer itself vibrated less as well. when the load finally finished washing, we tossed everything into the dryer and ran a normal cycle. we inspected the towels beforehand, everything looked very clean. one or two towels had heavy stains - one had black grease, another had a scorch mark - the washer did the best it could, but those stains still remained a little bit.

about an hour later it alerted us that the load had finished drying via the app. say what you will about wifi-enabled washer and dryer, but it's kind of nice getting notified when laundry is done. it's definitely not essential, but a nice perk of having a fancy washer dryer combo. anyway, my father and i went down to the basement to check on the load. the towels and tablecloth were completely dry. one thing i noticed is the clothes don't come out of the dry piping hot. i think it runs a cooling cycle where it just tumbles dry without any heat. this step is entirely unnecessary, as we like it when clothes come out of the dryer all hot.

i wanted to do some gardening today, but with all this laundry drama, it was finally close to sunset by the time we were all done with that. looks like i won't be able to do any yard work until monday, since it's going to be rainy tomorrow. just clear the raised beds, plant some garlics, and put the hoses away, possibly clean the garage a bit.

we had turkey broth noodles for dinner. afterwards my father and i were surfing temu.com, trying to see what other cheap items we could buy, after already buying $60 worth of stuff from temu last night (just $40 after a 30% off coupon). i ate a flan before finally leaving around 8pm.

temperature was in the 40's and a little humid. the sky was mostly clear and i could see the stars, but it wasn't all that cold. i kept expecting my signal lights to fail, but ever since i did a deep clean and got the contacts to like-new condition, they haven't failed once. looks like most of my neighbors are already back since i couldn't find good parking. i stashed the bike behind a car on the private way then put the cover over it since it's going to rain tomorrow.

i watched don't worry darling on HBO (free this week on youtube tv), that florence pugh psychological thriller that got a bunch of bad press when director olivia wilde starting date harry styles (one of the actors). it wasn't too bad, and there was a slight scifi element to the storyline (which i won't spoil).

since i was getting a pixel 6, i also went online and got some glass screen protectors and a case. i got the simplest case i could find ($8), from a company called amzpas that only recently started listing on amazon a few days ago.

earlier today i read about a trade-in offer from google where you can upgrade a 128GB pixel 6 for a 128GB pixel 7 for just $20. the deal expires on monday so i didn't think i could qualify for the deal. but i took a look at it again, and i have 30 days to trade-in the pixel 6, so in theory i could still get the offer. seems like a pretty good deal, for $20 more i can get a brand new pixel 7, google's latest phone offering that they only just introduced last month. so now i'm comparing pixel 6 and 7, trying to figure out if i should upgrade. in the meantime, i went onto amazon and cancelled the order of pixel 6 screen protectors and case.

i moisturized with eucerin before going to bed last night. the advanced repair lotion is fragrance free and doesn't feel sticky afterwards. my skin didn't itch overnight and i didn't scratch myself raw like the past few nights.

i woke up early so i could get to belmont before the rain. but my mother said something about getting sausages from bianco & sons, and then hitting the medford OSJL afterwards, in which case i could get a ride. that was the new plan until i went online and saw that bianco was closed for thanksgiving (like us) until monday. so i reverted back to my original plan.

i didn't take the motorcycle because i didn't want to risk riding in the rain, so i rode my bicycle instead. i can't remember the last time i bicycled to belmont. usually i take the motorcycle or gotten a ride. it's not a bad trip, but takes a bit longer, and requires more energy on my part. but since i haven't ran in weeks, it's probably a rare chance to get some exercise. i got there by 10:45am, already felt a few drops of rain.

the rest of the day was spent eating thanksgiving leftovers. it was too overcast and cold (and rainy) to be doing anything outside, and since it was black friday it was out of the question doing any type of shopping without running into a crowd of people. on that note, everyone bought something online today. my father's mostast wireless earbuds were on the doorsteps when i got to my parents' place. my mother ordered some things from kipling. my father discovered temu.com and order $60 worth of items to get a 30% discount. i ended up ordering a soundcore motion+ bluetooth speaker ($80) because i wanted to compare it with the tribit maxsound plus ($43).

it was still cold enough that we could use the sunroom as a makeshift refrigerator. it rained but only for a few hours, the rest of the day was overcast and damp.

my sister stopped by with her dog in the late afternoon to eat. hailey seems to be afraid of everyone these days, and will go out of her way to avoid people and hide behind my sister. the only thing that seems to bring her out of her shell is the promise of food, but after she's finished eating she goes back to hiding.

after my sister left i took a nap around 5pm with the MLVOC travel pillow. i thought maybe it might prevent me from snoring but i actually caught myself still snoring a little bit. i woke up around 5:40pm to get ready for dinner.

my father cooked up the second bag of mussels i bought. just the three of us, we managed to finish 2lbs worth of mussels in a single sitting, like a shellfish feeding frenzy. that garlic-butter-white wine sauce is something else; you could drench anything in that sauce and it'd be delicious.

i finally left by around 9pm. temperature was in the lower 40's with an unusually high humidity which actually made it feel warmer. traffic was still light. while putting my bike away, i could see the furnace exhaust venting out air, once the nest thermostat sensed my return. i used the bathroom and took a shower.

when my father arrived around 11am, we started packing things into the car. earlier, i'd already moved everything by the entrance so they'd be ready to go: 2 cases of specialty polar seltzer, a case of zero gravity beer, some takeout containers (for leftovers), 2 bags of mussels in a lasagna dish, and of course two trays of flan (16 count). before my father left, victor came by and introduced himself. after my was gone, victor and i continued chatting for about 15 more minutes. he's got a bit of world cup fever, and had actually been watching some of the games. i asked if he had any thanksgiving plans, he said no, just called his mother (who's in her 80's), said he might be coming with a cold (i recoiled a bit). seems like he just wanted to talk to someone, especially apparently after he broke up with a girlfriend, who moved in with him for less than 2 weeks before she left to go visit an ex-boyfriend. i finally had to excuse myself, as victor went back to the laundromat to collect his clothes from the dryer.

i went to the cafe. my father had dropped off my 2nd aunt, who was there preparing some thanksgiving dishes. he was about to leave with some food ingredients (including the turkey which had been brining for a few days). i got there to make sure the ice machine - which i started remotely this morning at 9:30am - was turned off. my aunt was also having some phone and ipad issues which we managed to fix with a phone restart and a volume increase. she also told us that yesterday she got both her flu shot and her bivalent covid booster, which seemed like a weird thing to do right before thanksgiving.

i made it to belmont around noontime. the sky was clear blue, with temperature in the lower 40's, but earlier this morning we were at the freezing point. it was still cold enough outside that my father didn't set up his tent stove like he did last thanksgiving (it was his first time using it, so there was that motivation). the sunroom was warm, but thankfully it was cold outside that i could stack the drinks on the steps and have them stay cold. we also had 3 coolers inside filled with ice cubes, including the igloo thermoelectric cooler. i stashed my flan in the largest one.

the "tablecloth" was dirty (actually just a large folded patterned bedsheet), i wanted to throw it in the washing machine, but my mother was against the idea, said it was a waste of time. instead i simply turned the tablecloth over, with the clear vinyl tablecloth on top of that.

thanksgiving is all about football, and normally a football game would be on in the background. this year was especially strange, since not only was there a trio of american football games, but there was also a slew of world cup football (soccer) games, courtesy of the qatari's regime to get the games moved to late autumn to avoid the desert's summer heat. i don't think we'll ever have another thanksgiving where there's so much football to be had.

everyone seemed pretty relaxed, almost too relaxed, given the amount of work required to pull together another thanksgiving. maybe it all felt routine by now, with not much to worry about. we did almost forget to roast the turkey, until i suddenly remembered. we basically followed the cooking schedule from last year: preheat the oven around 2pm, put in the turkey about 2:30pm. our turkey this year was a 21.7 lbs. bird, slightly smaller than last year's 22lbs. turkey, which at the time i thought was a smidge small. checking last year's notes, we put a solid aluminum tray underneath the disposable turkey pan to give it some stability when we move the turkey to and from the oven. we cooked on convection setting, 325°F, timer set to a 2-1/2 hours countdown.

guests wouldn't arrive this year until 5pm, although typically my 2nd aunt and sister's godmother arrive earlier since my sister's their ride. in the afternoon we realized we were missing a few essential ingredients: white wine for the mussels, corn starch for the shrimps, and thai sweet chili sauce for the fried spring rolls. other than the wine, everything was available at the cafe. so at 2:30pm i left the house and went back home to grab my wine and corn starch and old chili sauce, then went to the cafe to pick up my 2nd aunt. my sister was supposed to do that, but she said she had to pick up her godmother and couldn't do both, so i was given that task. my 2nd aunt was making a glass noodle salad and a sweet ximilu (西米露) soup. she managed to scorch the bottom of the soup but decided to serve it anyway, rationalizing to herself that it was too badly burnt. we got back to belmont around 3pm.

my sister showed up with her godmother and hailey around 4pm. food started showing up on the dining table. my aunt and uncle showed up around 5pm. we hadn't even wrapped the spring rolls yet, although the turkey was done cooking by that point, even though the pop-up turkey timer never popped, which made me afraid the turkey might be undercooked (it wasn't). i've never seen a turkey timer pop in the oven, the only times it happens is when it's out of the oven resting. we kept the turkey in the kitchen, before its grand entrance in the dining area later on.

food preparation quickly escalated by that point, since all the guests had arrived. my father started frying the taro squares on the stovetop, followed by the spring rolls as they were coming off of the human assembly line happening on the dining table. once that was done, he cooked the mussels. we decided to only cook a bag, since it seemed too much to cook both. we paused briefly to eat some fried taro and spring rolls and mussels, before we moved on to the last of the dishes, wok-fried salt and pepper shrimps.

the shrimps were prepared outside on the wok burner. we moved the station closer to the house for more light but also for people to look outside from the window. i was outside helping, but my aunt and uncle came out onto the steps just to get a closer view. we seemed to have more shrimp than could easily fit inside the wok. after my father fried them all (coated in corn starch this time), he stir-fried them again in 2 batches.

i presented the fried shrimps to the guest. i noticed my sister had already carved up half the turkey in the kitchen, so we never got to formally present the turkey, which i believe is an essential component of a proper thanksgiving. turkey was almost a footnote to the other foods. the shrimps were a big hit, everyone was raving how good it was, crispy enough to eat the skin. i thought it was a success, but maybe more salt & pepper next time, and make the shrimps even crispier. i think my sister's godmother was most impressed: not only did she get to experience wok-fried shrimps (a first), but she wasn't here last thanksgiving when we brought back the mussels, so that was also a first for her. besides myself, only my sister's godmother, and to a lesser extent my sister, were taking photos of the food.

with the shrimps cooked, there was nothing left to do but to finally sit down and eat. i made two turkey rollups, which my sister made fun of me for how big they were. i drank a nearly inexhaustible supply of seltzer. we didn't have sodas this year. most of the guests drink some kind of wine seltzer mix, while both matthew and my father had beers (my father drinking some stella artois my sister's godmother had brought on the recommendation of my sister).

matthew was pleased with this thanksgiving's selection of beers from zero gravity, his hometown of burlington, vermont. he was familiar with all 4 varieties. he got to drink 3 of the flavors (cone head, little wolf, iipa). later i also brought out a can of winter hill brewery chad pop for him to try, which he'd never tried before. he also could not taste any of the advertised coriander and sea salt flavorings. my 2nd aunt tried one of the IPA beers, she immediately said it tasted like lychee, which matthew agreed with, and something we never noticed, but now concur as well. hops taste like lychees! just bitter instead of sweet.

after we finished eating, the table was cleared for tea and dessert. my aunt had brought some kiwis and strawberries. i carved out 8 flan from ramekins and served them from tea trays. flan this year was good, barely any bubbles. i also tried some sweet ximilu soup; it was good, but you couldn't mask the burnt flavor.

my sister left around 8pm, taking her godmother and hailey. everyone else stayed behind to chat to nearly 9pm. we were entertained by the google home mini speaker, which can not only understand english but mandarin chinese as well. for some reason it couldn't understand matthew's chinese, but could understand ours just fine. we also tried asking (in chinese) who the leader of china was, and it kept giving us a convoluted answer. only when we asked it, "who's the president of china?" in english did it simply tell us with a straight answer. we also made it play various chinese songs.

my aunt and uncle gave my 2nd aunt a ride back to her house, saving my father a trip. that was a good thing, because after they left, he immediately went to go use the bathroom. i left soon afterwards, getting back home by 9:30pm. there was hardly any cars on the road, it was a very quiet ride back home. there was also plenty of parking spots. after using the bathroom and taking a shower, i came back out and put the cover on my motorcycle, since it's expected to rain tomorrow morning.

i finished the evening watching the patriots-vikings game. it was a close game, one that new england could've won, but there were a few costly turnovers, and a touchdown that was overturned by the officials. basically, the patriots were robbed. i have no grand aspirations for this season anyway, how ever far the team goes, i'm happy with it, so long as they continue to get better.

it's been so dry inside the house, i woke up with wounds all over on my arms and legs from scratching at my itchy skin during the night. i may have to invest in a humidifier, or grease myself up with moisturizer before bed.

i biked to the cafe to work today. since we'd be closed starting tomorrow until next tuesday, today was about preparing just enough food so we don't end up with leftovers that might spoil over the next 5 days. we nearly depleted all of our tea eggs, my mother ended up boiling half a dozen eggs and doing a quick steep in tea egg brine.

it ended up being a pretty busy day: 9 bento boxes, 2 orders of tea eggs (4 eggs), 9 dumplings, 3 fried rice, 3 taiwanese beef noodles, 2 ramen noodles, and 4 assortment of other noodles. still, business tapered off enough in the late afternoon early evening that i returned home by 5pm.

my street was practically empty, a lot of neighbors having left to go visit families for thanksgiving, including my upstairs neighbors. a very quiet night, which is fine by me. i brought in the last of the trash cans.

first thing i did when i got back was download the season finale of andor. i connected my computer to my tribit bluetooth speaker and settled in to watch the episode with some snacks (fishsnacks, apple cider vinegar potato chips, hot cinnamon tea). the episode was so good, i watched it again later in the evening. as great a show andor is, i'm not sure i could recommend it to anyone. it helps if you've seen rogue one and liked that movie, plus you have to be well versed in the star wars universe.

lacking any food imagination, i once more made some korean rice cake for dinner. i had to use up the leftover fried tofu squares anyway. i could've also made korean instant noodles, but adding the fried tofu to the noodles seemed like a waste. i ate while watching the mavericks-celtics game. it was a good bounce back victory after their lose to chicago a few nights ago. luka doncic was unstoppable, seemingly to shoot and score at will regardless of defenders. fortunately for the celtics they had 6 players scoring double digits and they were no match for dallas.

on the tuesday before thanksgiving, i spent the day collecting last minute ingredients. typically i'd have tuesday and wednesday to do that, but because i have to be at the cafe on wednesday, today was my one and only day to get some final essentials.

i woke up and saw the long line snaking out from petsi's pie. i heard this year they're not doing pre-orders, you basically wait in line and take your chances, buy whatever they have to offer.

i went to market basket this morning in search of mussels and more drinks. for some reason they set up road blocks in the alleyway that goes from dane street to the supermarket. i noticed they (the handful of offices and lab spaces that use that alleyway) have been trying to restrict access for years now, from installing planters to make it harder to drive down to a few months ago when they put up a do not enter sign. but the locals are so used to going that way, none of those measures can stop them from using the alleyway as a shortcut.

they didn't have any mussels - just clams. i picked up two 12-pack of polar seltzers (ruby red grapefruit and apple lemon, $4.50 each, unlike the 12-pack i got from star market on sunday which was $7). also some jalapeno peppers, cilantro, lobster dip, and hazelnuts. it wasn't yet too crazy, and i managed to check out without any wait.

after returning home, i went across the street to star market to look for mussels. they had them but at $4.50/lbs (normally they're $2.50/lbs). i didn't have any choice, so i got two bags, $18. i also got some special flavored polar seltzer, prickly pear and pomegranate champagne ($3.33/pack). back at home, i put the mussels in a glass lasagna dish and covered them up with wet paper towels.

i called my mother, who told me my father was going to go to chinatown to get a few things. they should've gone yesterday; to go today would be crazy. my original plan was to go to belmont to work on my motorcycle then do some house cleaning. but i told my mother i'd go to chinatown by bicycle and get the supplies.

as it was still early, i went to belmont after all to work on the motorcycle. today was the only day i had free, and it was important i get the turn signal switch fixed otherwise i don't feel safe riding. i opened the left turn signal horn switch assembly and removed the turn signal switch component, as shown in this motorcycleMD video i saw online.

right away i could see the contact points covered up with old grease. i took the switch assembly inside the house and carefully took it apart. i cleaned the contact points, removed all the old grease, and then applied fresh dielectric grease. i then put the switch back together and went outside to install it back into the assembly.

the signal switch felt loose now, but i think that's normal, when the switch isn't gummed up with grease. the turn signals worked 100%, unlike last night, when it'd work most of the time, not all the time.

it was 1pm when i left my parents' place, i got back to cambridge 10 minutes later. it was starting to get warm - temperature in the 50's - and i changed into some lighter clothes before taking the bicycle into boston.

i arrived at c-mart around 2pm. i bought $75 worth of supplies, including chinese celery, garlic chives, shanghai bokchoi, oranges, persimmons, rice noodles, and watermelon seeds. i ended up spending over $75 (using my parents' debit card), which qualified me for a free calendar. i left c-mart 20 minutes later. it took me a while to pack up everything into the rear baskets, making sure the heavy items were on the bottom, while the light items were either on top or in my messenger bag. i also watched the drama that was unfolding outside of c-mart, at the congestion of cars trying to get into the small parking lot, with angry drivers sounding their horns. this is why i only come to chinatown via bicycle, never have to worry about parking.

it took me longer to get back home, because i went via the esplanade then across the MIT bridge. less traffic for sure, but given the choice, i'd rather take the shorter route instead of the scenic route, especially in november when there's nothing to see. it was a nice warm day though, and for some reason i did see a few wedding couples getting their photos taken along the charles river.

i got back home by 3pm. i immediately went back out again, this time to market basket for the second time today. the round blocks were gone. once again it wasn't as crowded as i'd feared. i came to get bean sprouts, as well as baby spinach, and charsiu powder. before i left, i also went to little india to find some beers for matthew. i know my sister's godmother was tasked with bringing the beer, but she usually goes for quantity over quality. i like picking out the beers every thanksgiving, gives me a chance to select some obscure choices. i ended up going with a 12 pack of zero gravity brewery beers, mostly because i liked the packaging. it contains 4 different flavors: green state, cone head, little wolf, and iipa madonna. later i found out the brewery is actually based in burlington, vermont, matthew's hometown.

back at the house, i packed up my saddlebags, then took the motorcycle to the cafe to drop off the supplies. i wasn't planning on it, but it gave me a chance to test out the turn signal lights, which performed flawlessly. there was a lot of traffic and it took me a while to get to the cafe. i left with some persimmons (my 2nd aunt said she bought some as well for thanksgiving) and my 2nd aunt gave me some leftover longans.

i finally got home by 4:30pm, where i was able to finally rest for the day. i hadn't had lunch yet, so i made an avocado spread bagel. the house still smelled of flan i made last night, of eggs and sugar.

my tribit maxsound plus portable bluetooth speaker arrived today. it's a pretty robust speaker, heavy and substantial feeling. i paired it with my laptop to test it out. it was loud, but it sounded a bit muffled. i wasn't entirely blown away, and i'm now tempted to get the soundcore motion+ just to compare the two.

surfing the web on the couch, i fell asleep with the travel pillow around my neck. it actually felt pretty nice, like my head was properly supported, makes me wonder if i could use it as a regular sleeping pillow. i felt the heat kicking in but i was still cold, mostly because i only set the thermostat to 65 degrees. i used the warmth of my laptop almost like a blanket, but that only warmed up my midsection, while my legs and feet were still cold.

i finally woke up around 7pm, to use the bathroom and take a shower. i don't sweat as much compared to biking in the summertime, but nevertheless, my t-shirt was completely sweat-soaked when i got back home.

later around 8:30pm i started making dinner. i was making korean rice cake again. i got some fried tofu wedges from chinatown, so i was able to follow my old recipe exactly. i did eat until 9pm, the savory sweet and hot rice cake broth really hitting the spot. afterwards i finished the longans.

i got out of bed at 9am this morning even though i could've easily slept more. my parents were going on a pre-thanksgiving foodpak supply run and i wanted to go too.

i bought an upgraded tribit maxsound plus portable bluetooth speaker for $43 this morning, after waking up and getting a notice from camelcamelcamel that the speaker was on sale. i was just researching portable speakers last night, trying to figure out if the tribit maxsound plus was better than the soundcore motion+. price wise, the soundcore is more expensive. let me check out the tribit when it arrives tomorrow, if it sounds good i'll keep it, otherwise i'll get the soundcore motion+ and do a sound comparison.

i took an inventory of my dishes. i had enough ramekins but not enough large trays for my thanksgiving flan. i normally use glass lasagna trays for the water bath, but a typical tray can only hold 6 ramekins. i do have a larger aluminum tray that can hold 8. i used to have a much larger tray that can easily hold 13 but i haven't seen that tray since 2017. then later i remembered i did find that larger tray while working at the cafe, and when i looked inside of my oven, not only was the larger tray there, but also a large 4qt lasagna dish.

i got to belmont around 11am. my father was in his jacket so i thought they were about to leave for the supply run, but my mother said they just came back from the cafe and it looks like they have enough supplies for the next 2 days before the cafe closes for the thanksgiving break and won't open back up until next tuesday.

instead i had lunch, my mother warmed up the leftover stinky tofu soup from last night and added some rice noodles. the big news story today was an SUV crashing into the hingham apple store, injuring a bunch of customers. later we learned one person died, with at least 19 more injured, many in hospitals undergoing surgery.

in the early afternoon my father and i went to home depot to return some unused laundry hookup equipment (240v plug, supply hoses). right when we arrived at home depot, he got a phone call, and stayed in the car to talk while i went inside to return the items. i also bought a new dryer plug, one with the correct prongs. my father was still talking in the car, so i told him i'd walk to the nearby autozone to get some dielectric grease for my sticky motorcycle turn signal switch.

it was a 5 minute walk in some blustery weather. i couldn't find the grease and had to ask one of the cashiers, who pulled out a package the size of a ketchup packet behind the counter for $2. after i left autozone, my father called me. i thought he was calling to ask where i was so he could come pick me up, but he told me the car battery had died from sitting idle for so long in the parking lot and wouldn't start. he tried calling my mother so she could drive the other car and bring the battery jumper, but her phone was in the living room and she couldn't hear it. the only other option was for me to walk 1.6 miles back to the house to get the car, which would take at least half an hour not including the time driving back. so this little trip that was supposed to take a few minutes ended up becoming quite the ordeal.

but i had an idea to reach my mother. our eufy indoor webcams have a feature where it can sound an alarm for 30 seconds. i logged into the living room camera and turned on the alarm. a few seconds later i saw my mother stumbling into the dining room, trying to find out where the sound was coming from. i quickly called her to let her what happened and asked her to bring the battery jumper.

i ended up walking back to the home depot parking lot where my father was waiting in the car. he tried the ignition one more time and this time the engine started. he quickly called my mother, who was just about to pull out of the driveway, telling her not to come.

back at the house, my father went to recharge the car battery while i took apart the motorcycle turn signal assembly to clean it up and hopefully fix the turn signal issue. i sprayed the inside with a bottle of CRC QD electronic cleaner. afterwards i applied dielectric grease to some contact points. i then put everything back together. it wouldn't be a big deal under normal circumstances, but the temperature was cold, and i had to go inside to put on my jacket and a few more times to blow my runny nose. the fix seemed to be working, although i still got it to stick on a few occasions. when the switch gets stuck, the signal light won't turn on.

we also replaced the screen on the storm door with the glass partition. my father took out the wok burner from the garage and set it up in the backyard so he could grill some salted fish for dinner. i moved all the remaining plants from the sun room (lemon verbana, christmas cactuses) down into the basement. because we're only keeping one dragon fruit cactus plant, we have enough space in the grow room to put in a folding table.

before dinner, my father and i expanded the dining room table by one leaf (originally we did 2 leaves but that was too long for 8 people). he made some fried rice for dinner, along with the salted fish he fried earlier outside.

i didn't stay long after dinner, i hurried home since i still had flan to make. that turn signal problem was still there, just not as bad as last night. i'm going to have to take it apart again and clean it out in more detail. good news is i still have plenty of dielectric grease left, and having done it once, the second time will be much easier. the weather tomorrow also looks to be slightly warmer. i need to go back to belmont anyway to do some cleaning, since i can't do it on wednesday (my traditional thanksgiving cleaning day) because i'll be at the cafe.

thanksgiving flan
(16x 6 oz. ramekins)

10 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
6 cups whole milk
3 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups sugar (caramelized)

preheat oven to 350°F. mix eggs with sugar and salt. mix in remaining liquid ingredients. set aside, let bubbles dissipate. boil a kettle of water and pour into lasagna dishes lined with ramekins. caramelize remaining sugar (melt in small batches, 3/4 cups each), coating ramekin bottoms. pour in flan mixture, using fine mesh strainer to catch any unmixed egg bits. bake for 120 minutes, switching trays after 1 hours to brown evenly.

i started making the flan around 7pm. there isn't that many ingredients, it's more technical than anything else. there's the mixing with a hand mixer, the melting of the sugar, the hot water baths, pouring of the sugar into the ramekins, straining the liquid flan mixture into the ramekins, then carefully putting everything into the oven without getting burned and then rotating the trays followed by taking them out. i was making 16 this year, which means each person can have 2 flans if they wanted. and i know every year i toy with the idea of doing something different with my flan (one year i used coconut milk, another year i used real vanilla beans), but usually i just stick with my normal recipe.

i baked the flan in total for 2 hours, with a rotation at the 1 hour mark. the flans in the top rack tray ended up browning, while the bottom rack flans only slightly browned on the ones closer to the sides of the tray. i left them to cool on a wire rack then later put them away in my fridge.

i watched the celtics-bulls game. boston was trying to continue their winning streak, but chicago had other ideas. the bulls were shooting lights out, and the celtics were missing their three pointers. boston made a valiant effort at the start of the 4th quarter to cut into the bulls lead by single digits, but chicago got hot away, and it was obvious the celtics weren't going to win tonight. there was also monday night football, a game between the 49ers and cardinals, in mexico city of all places. san francisco won 38-10.

i tried on my adidas sweat/running pants tonight. i haven't worn sweat pants in a long time, i associate them with laziness for some reason. maybe it's just my abnormal body proportions but they seem a little saggy in the crotch area. comfortable though, and warm too.

i woke up before 6am, to wait for DC to get up and start getting ready to leave. i thought he'd leave by 6:30am after i told him last night the airport might be crowded because of thanksgiving travelers, but he didn't get out of bed until 6:20am, and was still packing his things, and didn't leave until after 7am. he had 2-1/2 hours before his flight, but it'd take him an hour to get to the airport under ideal conditions, and who knows what awaited him at logan. before he left he told me he had to leave a few things behind because his luggage was already getting close to the weight limit. he also said he washed all the towels.

i offered to go with him to porter square at least, but he said it wasn't necessary. that was for the best, because temperature this morning was still in the lower 30's, and i didn't want to step outside if i didn't have to. after he left i saw him standing outside taking a selfie of himself with the house. he was hauling his large suitcase (stuffed with asian staples), a backpack, and a plastic bag with a bag of rice inside.

DC left behind two packages of ramen, a bag of tapioca flour, a disc of palm sugar, a bottle of shao xing cooking wine, 2 jars of thai soup base, and a 2023 chinese calendar (the super market must've given it to him as a gift for buying over $100). he texted me when he was on the subway, and later in the early evening (4pm) when he finally arrived in charlottesville.

it was still early, i could've gone back to bed, but instead i enjoyed my first taste of solitary living in two weeks, retroactively filling in some old blog posts. i used the bathroom, took a shower, then left for belmont around 11:30am. i packed my motorcycle handlebar mitts for my return trip home.

temperature was 40 degrees by that point, made colder by the very strong winds. for once i was glad to be traveling by motorcycle, as the heavier vehicle prevented me from getting blown to the side of the road, which would've definitely happened had i been bicycling. on more than one occasion the wind was so strong, i had to crane my neck to avoid it, otherwise so much wind was blowing in my face that i couldn't breathe.

my mother made some wonton soup for me for lunch, otherwise she spent the rest of the day in the bedroom watching korean dramas on the imac.

my father and i were busy taking care of our indoor plants. i moved some of them from the sunroom down into the basement after clearing out some space in the grow room. the sunroom gets very warm during the day, but near freezing at night. it's cold enough that i wouldn't want to be there when it gets dark, so the plants must not like it either, even though they seemed to be doing fine so far. but tonight it's going to hit the 20's, the coldest night so far this season.

all that's left in the sunroom are a bunch of christmas cactuses, a pruned wintering lantana, and two pruned lemon verbana plants. i read the cactuses don't like temperature below 50 degrees and they definitely will not survive a freeze. i'd like to move them to someplace warmer, but they still have a lot of fungus gnats in the untreated soil. so i sprinkled some systemic pesticide granules, replaced the yellow sticky traps, then watered them with Bti-infused water. i'm hoping this 3-prong approach will kill the gnats for good. i'll move these remaining plants to the basement tomorrow, which have been remarkably free of fungus gnats (maybe because of the systemic insecticides i've been using).

around 3pm we left for the mt.auburn star market to do some thanksgiving shopping. they had a sale on turkey: 97¢/lbs. for fresh, 47¢/lb. for frozen. the only catch was you needed to by an additional $35+ worth of groceries. we ended up getting a 21 lbs. frozen turkey that only cost us $10. we could've shopped there longer, but my mother had to use the bathroom, so we hurried and pay, ending up spending $100.

for dinner we had the "ning-chi spicy fermented bean curd" but the chinese name said it was mala stinky tofu. it definitely smelled stinky, but we added to much vegetable ingredients which diluted the flavor. the napa cabbage ended up soaking all the spicy oils. my father said if we added some more salt it'd bring out the flavor. i'm willing to try this packaged stew again, but with less added ingredients next time.

i left soon after dinner, since the later i stayed, the colder it'd get. it was already 33 degrees by the time i left belmont. with the handlebar mitts however, i felt pretty warm. unfortunately i noticed the left blinker light wasn't working. when i moved the toggle to the left, the left lights would go out. the cold weather must've gummed up the switch, which needs a cleaning to make it work better. after i got back home, i tested the switch without the handlebar mitt, and it worked again.

after a shower, i settled in for an evening of sunday night football. there was a chiefs-chargers game, i was rooting for the chargers. they would've won too, but with about a minute left in the game, mahomes and friends advanced the ball and ended up scoring a touchdown to win the game for kansas city. there was also a jets-patriots game earlier this afternoon. an ugly game all around, the scored tied at 3-3 with about 30 seconds to go in regulation. jets punted the ball in a routine play, but marcus jones caught it and returned it for a touchdown. basically the game was won entirely by the defense, both on the defensive end and offensive end. it's the 14 consecutive victory against the jets.

i went to the cafe a bit before 10:30am. it wasn't busy at all today, or so it seemed. we didn't have our first customer until 11:40am. then around 1pm it got really busy, and didn't stop until we finally closed at 4pm. 10 bento boxes, 6 taiwanese beef noodle soup, 2 ramen noodles, 3 dumplings, 2 dan dan noodles, 4 steamed buns, and 13 bubble milk tea. by the end of the day there were just 4 tea eggs left (though we still had a fresh batch of 15 in the fridge) and only a single serving of beef noodle soup. DC showed up in the late afternoon for lunch (beef noodle soup), right during the busiest stretch. afterwards he took a selfie with us before returning to the house. i made sure the heat was on, since the nest thermostat is keyed to my phone, so when i'm not at home, it will lower the temperature to save money.

got a strange call at the cafe: a woman phoned in saying she made an order online but wouldn't be able to pick it up for the time she chose. i looked on the app and didn't see any orders. "i just made it a few minutes ago," she said. she tole me it was for the vegetarian flatbread with chips. i asked her to repeat the order. "vegetarian flatbead with humus," she said. i told her she called the wrong place because we don't carry that. she sheepishly hung up.

i finally left the cafe close to 5pm, riding the motorcycle to my parents' place. i was thinking about the remaining plants we have in the sunroom and how they might be freezing to death, but my parents said the sunroom gets warm enough during the day that they open the door to allow the hot temperature to circulate through the house. i figured i'd hold off on moving the plants until tomorrow.

the new washer drain hose extension also arrived a few days ago. my father and i went down to the basement to install it. it's 8ft - much longer that what we need (we only needed 1ft worth of extension) - so we ended up coiling the tube so it can fit behind the washer and sink. we won't know if the extension will work until we do a load of laundry. we can also attach the extension hose inside the washer, but that involves opening up the back panel. we can also cut the hose to make it shorter, but that's a last resort.

i brought the bosch combo drill & impact driver to show my father. before i could open it, he said to hold off, and told me about a milwaukee drill he saw the contractor use to disassemble the cafe backyard deck. it was very compact but had a lot of power. i ended up pulling the webcam videos from thursday morning to see what the contractor was using. from the looks and sounds of it, it appears he's using an impact driver to unfasten the screws. we then ended up going down a rabbit's hole of milwaukee drills, their M12 and M18, and the various generations. the impact driver looks to be a M12 FUEL. a hammer drill and impact driver combo with 2 batteries sells for $200 from home depot, about double the price of what i paid for my bosch combo (which i've decided to return). the latest generation 3 of the M12 has a maximum torque of 400 in.lb. our old ryobi 18V cordless drill (P206) only has a 330 in.lb. torque.

i just home for barely an hour before it was dinnertime. my mother cooked up some leftover sour bamboo pork with rice noodles for her and me, while my father had fried rice. i ate the rice noodles with some smoked hot peppers, it was a pretty flavorful dinner.

i left before 7pm, wanted to get back home before it got even colder, with the temperature down in the lower 40's. i found DC cooking dinner, a combination of instant noodles and two packages of lobster tails. he said he wanted to get live lobsters but he visited two super markets and none of them carried them. so he settled for lobster tails instead. i got the feeling it was intended to be a private meal, since he made no effort to share (although i would've refused anyway, i'm not a big fan of lobsters). i saw the haul in his suitcase, bags of rice, boxes of noodles, and various chinese sauces and other goodies. he actually has to pay extra for luggage ($35), but it's still cheaper than shipping all that stuff back to new mexico. i'm just really afraid he'll go over the weight limit, or there might be a mishap where a bottle of soy sauce breaks inside his suitcase. i also told him because it was close to thanksgiving, the airport was going to be very congested, and he should leave earlier than the 7am departure time he had in mind to catch his 9:30am flight to virginia.

today was the last time i would ever have to wait for DC to get up, since he'll be gone by sunday morning. i was hoping he'd leave for the office early (like he did all last week), but his new departure times seems to be 11am. but the fact that he was still at home made me nervous to use the bathroom (in case he might need it), so i kept on waiting until i couldn't wait anymore, used the bathroom quickly including a shower. DC didn't get up until almost 11am, and finally left by 11:30am.

while i was waiting for DC, i had time to sort out the small business grant survey form issue. i did manage to submit the survey form - but only if i didn't include any attachments. i called a few different numbers and tried a few different e-mails, until somebody finally replied, told me the address of where i could send my supporting grand documentations. i just have to go through this process again come december, when the state grant survey form is due (although i could always just do it earlier).

i left the house by 11:50am, went to aldi's to pick up some good quality (thick) scallions for thanksgiving. temperature was in the mid-40's, and i wore my winter jacket because i didn't want to freeze on the motorcycle. there's ongoing road construction on central square so i made it to medford via magoun square, coming out near the tufts science and technology center, then harvard street onto route 16.

i went to harbor freight first to get some replacement razor blades for my caulk scraper. the bald guy was working the cashier. i think he legitimately has a beef against asian people. the two white guys ahead of me in line got the VIP treatment. he gave one guy an additional discount, while another guy he was chatting to him about being from belmont. with me, nothing. no chitchat, everything very curt.

after that i went to aldi's. the parking lot outside was crowded, but it was no more crazy than the last time i came 2 weeks ago. i think the real onslaught of thanksgiving food shopping will begin this weekend, and most definitely all next week the closer we get to thanksgiving thursday. i couldn't find the scallions at first, but when i finally spotted them, i grabbed 5 packages worth. they were 79¢ a bag, which is cheap, considering market basket sells them at $1.49 this week for a bundle of wilting stalks. i also picked up a few snacks before leaving.

i headed straight to the cafe, taking a detour on highland avenue until i got to cedar street and out to porter square. i got there by 1pm to drop off the scallions. my sister wasn't there and the noontime spike of lunch customers wasn't over yet, so i ended up staying to help until 3pm. we had a bunch of orders in quick successions: online, delivery, phone, and in-person. tea eggs seem to be a popular item, i've been seeing a lot of people order them exclusively. i ended up boiling an additional 15 eggs in preparation for next week. i wanted to cook 20 eggs but my mother said we're open for just 3 more days (saturday, tuesday, wednesday) before the thanksgiving break, and any leftover eggs will have to be thrown out since we can't keep them fresh for that long. all i know is there might be a lot of leftover tea eggs for thanksgiving dinner.

my father and i installed the san jamar sliding check rack. we found a good place for it but it was in an awkward spot, between two 2x4 studs inside the wall. we couldn't bridge the gap between the studs, so figured one screw would be in the stud will the other would use a drywall anchor. however when my father tried to drill into the stud, he hit something inside the wall that was hard enough to bend the drill. the tried again on the other stud and the drill still wouldn't go through. we ended up just taping the check rack onto the wall with a long piece of double-sided foam tape that originally came with the magnetic knife holder. that was a quick and easy solution, but it'll be a pain to remove should be ever want to take off the check rack.

but the check rack definitely makes organizing new order receipts a lot easier. if anything, we might want to get out for the front of the cafe, to keep track of drink orders. apparently restaurant depot sells san jamar check racks far cheaper than what we might pay on amazon, so worth checking out the next time we visit.

after i got back home, i screwed on the honda cap nut that arrived a few days ago onto the hinge bolt screw of the left clutch lever. hopefully it'll stay in place this time and won't come off from the vibrations. i did add some thread locker onto the screw last week, hopefully there's enough residual left on it to keep the cap nut in place.

i toasted an everything bagel and made some avocado spread with one whole mini avocado, sea salt, olive oil, and some minced garlic. i tried out the new OXO garlic press. the thing feels very industrial, very heavy, and makes light work of garlic cloves, crushing them with such violent force that they squirt out from the square holes. cleanup is also very easy, i like that you don't need to use a separate brush like i do with my zyliss garlic press. the avocado bagel was good, but it wasn't very filling, and i still felt hungry soon afterwards.

i don't know what possessed me to buy a bosch cordless drill and impact driver set last night ($93), the same one i gifted my sister many years ago that she still continues to use. maybe it was because it was on sale and i couldn't resist getting it. it's the lowest price ever for this combo, although it was briefly on sale for $86 back in october. i just think it's a quality compact drill and the impact driver is just a bonus. anyway, it arrived tonight, but i didn't even open it.

i had dinner relatively early, around 7:30pm. lacking inspiration, i went with my friday standby, luxury korean ramen. on a cold night (where i actually turned up my heat to 68 degrees because i didn't think it was warm enough), that spicy noodles really hit the spot. i ate while watching some pregame coverage before the celtics-pelicans game. even though it was a 117-109 boston victory, don't let the close score fool you into thinking it was a close game; new orleans at times got close, but there was no doubt the celtics would win in the end. boston is currently on a 9 game winning streak, best in the NBA, and with the best record as well. boston face the bulls monday night in chicago. celtics have an easy schedule until the end of november, when they face the heat in a back-to-back matchup, followed by the nets, raptors, suns, and warriors. can't wait!

DC didn't get home until 11:30pm. i asked him if he was going back to the office tomorrow. he said no, but was going to go to the cafe for lunch and get a photo with my parents. i told him my parents have the day off on saturdays, but my 2nd aunt will be there.