t
o
n
y
a
n
g
'
s
 
w
e
b
l
o
g


while my parents and my godmother went to costco this morning, i went to belmont to make a quiche with some leftover ingredients i had from earlier in the week. i was just starting to make my preparation when my parents came home around 11:30am. it took me another 20 minutes before the quiche was in the oven. in my hurry to get to my parents' place, i forgot to bring my laptop, so i was going to head back and grab it, but my father gave me a ride so we could get the T-8 fluorescent shop lights from my basement (to be installed for a belmont grow closet, after he bought 4 boxes of LED shop lights from costco) and drop off some supplies at the cafe.

we returned to belmont by 12:50pm. my mother had already taken the quiche out of the oven and we were ready to eat. everyone had a slice, including my sister who just happened to be there, while hailey was outside playing with the solar sprinkler. i don't think the quiche was terrible, but nobody really said anything.

i got a chance to assemble some mason jar solar fairy lights and set them outside to charge up the batteries for the evening light show. i think rounded top pint jars look the best; jelly jars seem too small, and recycled pasta sauce jars (which are compatible with mason jar lids) seem too big.

around 2pm my father got a line phone call from a taiwanese friend of his. this was unusual because it was the middle of the night in taiwan. turned out to be an emergency, the son of the friend's friend suffered a minor stroke today and was at the emergency ward of the beth israel deaconess hospital. the friend asked my father to check up on the son. i ended up going even though it was none of my business just so i could help navigate the route. we arrived by 3:30pm, got admittance into the emergency ward. the son - who didn't know us at all but knew my father's friend - was a 38-year old MIT postdoc who just arrived in boston a week ago. he somehow got himself to the hospital after suddenly developing an intense headache. he was lying on a hospital bed in a gown, a grimace on his face as he greeted us. he said the doctor told him there was a minor cerebral hemorrhage, but he still had all his motor skills and able to talk though seemed to be in pain. soon afterwards two doctors came, one of them an anesthesiologist. they were about to drug him up and take him to radiology for a procedure. because we weren't family, the doctors weren't able to give us anymore details. the other doctor asked him some simple questions to test his memory and motor functions, things like the date, his birthday, whether he can grasp with his hands. we stayed and watched but it felt a little invasive. finally it was time for them to take him away, we said our good byes and left.

we tried to validate our parking ticket but found out we'd actually parked in the brigham's parking lot by mistake (does beth israel even have their own parking garage?). so we went to brigham's next door but discovered they don't validate, just a fixed $8/day parking fee (or maybe it's weekend rates). by that point my father had also contacted the son's father, who was still waiting anxiously back home in taiwan. he told him his condition, and assured him that he was in safe hands, one of the top 10 hospitals in boston. later today an aunt of his was also coming up to boston from new york city, so at least he'll have some family to keep him company. his father said he was flying to boston tomorrow as well, though he won't get here until monday morning at the earliest.

we didn't get back to belmont until almost 5pm. today was a hot day, more summer than fall. it will only get hotter within the next few days.

after dinner, i waited for it to get dark enough for the solar lights to turn on. there was a time not so long ago (2010) where i had solar garden light fever and bought several boxes for the backyard. they last a few seasons, but the weather eventually took its toll on them, as the batteries wore out and the panels became cloudy. some of them can probably be revived as they lay in a box in the garage, but my new obsession are mason jar solar string lights. i just happened to have found a box of discarded mason jars a few weeks ago.

the mason jar solar string lights definitely looked cool. one or two of them didn't light up because the battery didn't have enough time to charge up completely today. they'd even be cooler if they could somehow blink softly on and off like fireflies. it'd also be cool if they came in different colors, though it'd be an easy modification to make, splice some alternate colored string lights to the solar charging lid. 10 LED's is definitely enough, gives just enough brightness while at the same time conserving battery life so longer lasting nightly illumination. they sell these solar mason jar lids with 20 and 30-strand LED's but i think that's just overkill unless you have a really large mason jar you want to light up.

how i heard about the climate change strike was entirely by accident. i read something yesterday about a global strike organized by students. out of curiosity i searched to see if boston was holding a rally and sure enough one was organized for friday (today) at city hall, with a march to the state house a few blocks away. this would give me an opportunity to get some photos and then go to haymarket afterwards. hopefully it'd make up for missing the hub on wheels event last sunday, give me a chance to play with the new camera and lens.

cake flour
blueberry muffins
(6 servings)

1 stick salted butter, thawed
3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups flour
4 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 cup half and half
2 cups frozen blueberries
cooking spray

cream butter & sugar; add eggs, vanilla, juice; mix dry ingredients into batter 1/3 at a time, adding some half and half in between. bake at 425°F 10 min. 375°F 30 mins. + additional 10 minutes

i'd totally forgot that i was supposed to go to my 2nd aunt's place this morning to install the obihai VoIP phone. then she called me close to noontime; not to remind me (but it did), but rather to tell me that her internet was done. i am of course the IT person for my whole family, so whenever the internet isn't working, i get a phone call. i was in the bathroom at the time and i told her i'd be there in 20 minutes. i then realized i couldn't leave because i had a chicken cordon bleu baking in the oven, so i had to wait until that finished before i raced off to north cambridge via bicycle, because i thought that'd be faster, didn't have to sit around in traffic, could park it anywhere when i got there.

the problem was very obvious once i saw it in person: the comcast xfinity gateway wasn't getting any power. that was weird because the HDTV was still working, just not the gateway. at first i thought the gateway was broken, until i switched outlet, which worked. i then thought it was the power strip, but that worked fine too. finally i determined it was the outlet itself, and realized it was tied to a wall switch; my aunt must've turned it off, which turned off the power strip along with the gateway. i simply switched everything into the strip and plugged it into the non-switched outlet. i also plugged in the obihai, which started working once the 3 LED's turned solid green.

i came home and had my chicken cordon bleu for lunch, still warm in the oven. earlier i discovered that my oven actually runs 25° cooler than the dial temperature. the thermometer read 350°F only because i'd set the oven at 375°F. i'll keep that in mind the next time i bake something. if i had the money i'd replace both the oven and refrigerator. the fridge is more critical, i'd get an energy saving model.

i ordered 8 mason jar solar fairy lights monday night; they were supposed to arrive today wednesday. but a check of amazon's tracking showed that it hadn't even shipped yet. by the end of the day amazon finally sent me an email that was basically, "woops! we said it'd be guaranteed to arrive today but the shipment is running late. maybe thursday or friday, checked back on saturday if it still hasn't arrived yet." i was going to take the lights to belmont to install them, but since they weren't coming today, i decided to wait until they arrived. also my father told me he's been watering the seeded lawn spots so i didn't have to do it.

a few ebay items arrived today: buckle canvas belt ($1.89, ordered 9/8) and solderless clip-on 2-pin connectors for 5050 LED strip lights (10-pack 99¢, ordered 9/8 as well). the belt i originally ordered for the portable battery storage box, but i ordered 3 different ones to try out. this one is more of an actual belt; works fine as a belt, though it seems a little cheap. the plastic buckle (the kind that folds up and locks into place, doesn't ratchet though) also seems like it could break easily. it's not a bad design, i'd just get one with a metal buckle instead.

i had 2 slices of quiche for dinner. i didn't warm them up in the toaster oven long enough, so some parts of the pie was lukewarm instead of hot.

not a day goes by that i don't order something online. tonight i got a set of 6 42 oz. porcelain bowls, 9" diameter for $20.59 (accguan brand). they seem the closest match to an old 40 oz. temporama bowl that i use for everything (salad, noodle soup, fruits) but that my roommates have seemed to crack and it's only a matter of time before the bowl splits in half. i really don't need 6, maybe i'll split some with my parents. funny thing is i checked fakespot and they gave the items a B rating, but i asked them to rescan. i didn't check back before i bought it, and while i was closing tabs, i came across the new rating, now a solid F. so who knows what's going on. they should arrive by friday, if i don't like them i could always send them back. besides the dimensions, another thing is the weight, and that's not something they mention in the product info. my temporama bowl was really light, but i wouldn't mind a slightly heavier bowl. i also need to get a shallow bowl at some point too, 9.5" diameter, 2" depth; the one that i use just as much as the 40 oz. bowl has also cracked and will split at some point.

1
i wrote meterk this morning to get warranty service for their multimeter i bought in may that now can't seem to make any DC voltage measurements. since they're based in china, i didn't hear back from them until the evening, where they simply asked for my address so they can send me a replacement multimeter free of charge. i'd think there'd be more pushback instead of just taking my word for it, but i also had photo documentation in my e-mail showing the multimeter working and not working, so maybe that was all the proof they needed.

2
i got new prescriptions for my high blood pressure medications (thiazide, valsartan, amplodipine). in the past i had to call up the doctor's office and have either the secretary or the nurse transcribe my prescriptions so they can get my doctor's authorization, but this time i did it all online. i still have to wait a day or two for the authorization, but no more phone calls. i also tried to get some allergy nasal spray (fluticasone) but it was one of the few things i couldn't get a new prescription online; i'll ask for some on my next annual physical in march.

3
i bought some MOSFET's from ebay a week ago, for some microcontroller projects to power our collection of led strip lights. but i was doing some research today and realized the ones that i bought (IRFZ44N) can't be used for logic controls i.e. they're not compatible for arduino/pi projects. it's not that big a deal as 5 MOSFET's cost 75¢, but i had to look again on ebay for compatible MOSFET's. i ended up buying 10 IRLZ44N MOSFET's for $2.14. the "L" in its name stands for "logic" so these will work. i'm still not entirely sure what MOSFET's are used for, i need to watch some youtube videos.

4
in the early afternoon i went on a grocery run after deciding i'd be making a quiche tonight for dinner. thick clouds started forming, eclipsing the sunlight. temperature was in the upper 60's, i wore a long-sleeved shirt to keep warm as i biked to market basket. i was just there yesterday morning, getting some items for the cafe; had i been more efficient, i could've also gotten my quiche ingredients yesterday as well.

5
i went to the community garden to plant the garlic chives i pulled up from the belmont backyard yesterday (in order to make room for a lupine bed by the southwest corner rain barrel). while i was there i did some cleaning as well, pulling up all the striped mallows, making sure to sprinkle the seeds back into the garden plot. i thought i'd have some left over to plant around my house, but i ended up planting all the garlic chives round the garden perimeter. i spent more than an hour there as there was nobody around. by the time i was leaving, two teachers and a student wandered into the garden, but quickly left when i told them about the mosquitoes.

elsewhere in the community garden:

6
i set up the obihai VoIP internet phone for my 2nd aunt, the obihai adapter arriving yesterday ($44.45). even though my 2nd uncle has a cell phone, he rarely answers it, so my aunt thought it'd be more convenient if they also got a home phone, since my uncle's at home most of the time anyway. it's been a few years since i last set one up, so i kind of forgot the steps, but fortunately obitalk has instructions on their website. this would be the 4th obihai i've set up: the first was for my grand uncle (february 2016, for his pendant phone in case of emergency), the second i ported the cafe's number (march 2016), the third i got for myself (december 2016) but i ended up giving to my parents to use as a virtual home landline.

to activate obihai you need two free accounts: an obitalk account and a google voice account. get the google voice account first, where it'll ask you to select your google voice number. you can either pick one (based on area, it used to be you can manually choose a number and have google search it see if it's available) or transfer ("port") an existing number (for a one-time $10 fee, it used to be $20; bear in mind that transferring a number takes a few days to process). once you have a google voice number, you can actually start using it, answering with either your computer or your phone. connecting it to the obihai simply allows a physical phone to answer calls as well (plus make calls). once you have your google voice account, you then create an obitalk account. this account will connect to the obihai device (which should already be connected to the internet at this point) and pair your google voice account to the obihai. it took a minute or two to update the device (ominous red flashing led), but once that was done, i could receive and make calls using the new number from the phone.

spinach ham quiche(6 slices)

pie crust ($2.50/pair)
flour (coating dish)

onion, chopped (51¢)
10 oz. frozen spinach (89¢)
8oz. diced ham (16 oz. $3.99)
fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

15 oz. ricotta cheese ($1.89)
8 oz. mozzarella ($1.99)
3 oz. parmesan (6 oz.)
gorgonzola blue cheese
(2 oz., 5 oz. $1.99)
3 eggs

defrost frozen spinach in the morning. prebake pie crust at 350°F; cook onion, spinach, ham, and spices then mix into cheese & egg blend. spoon into pie crust, bake for 40 minutes.

7
i started making my quiche at 7:30pm after leaving a roll of pie crust to defrost for half an hour. a quiche is one of the easiest things you can make, especially if you use a readymade pie crust. i prebaked the pie crust using my pea pie weights: 13 minutes with the weights, 8 minutes without. prebaking makes for a crispier less soggy crust. all my ingredients were fresh with the exception of the eggs; these eggs have been in the fridge for months, and when i cracked them open there was hardly any egg white, just yolk. i used 2 old eggs and 1 fresh one. i think the old eggs are still edible but i'll probably throw them out all out at some point; eggs are cheap, better to be safe than salmonella sorry.

i wanted to change it up by adding some goat cheese, but the blue cheese was cheaper by 50% so i got that instead, maybe goat cheese quiche next time. i used to call this a ricotta cheese pie but it should simply be called a cheese pie based on the amount of cheese ingredients: ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, blue cheese. ricotta is the filler, and mozzarella for some chew, but neither really have a strong flavor. parmesan is key because it's salty, but adding a 4th pungent cheese - blue cheese - gives it additional flavors.

it took 40 minutes to bake the quiche, but i added another 10 minutes because it didn't look brown enough. i checked the oven thermometer and it read 320°F (should be 350°); i wonder if my oven is underperforming, and that i need to compensate by upping the temperature? something to look into. although the quiche finished baking by 9pm, i waited another 30 minutes before eating it, to let it solidify. the initial piece came out cleanly, a combination of prebaked pie crust and leaving the quiche to settle after baking. originally i thought i was only going to have one piece, but i ate the first piece so quickly, it was only natural to have another piece. delicious as always, the quiche is so filling, afterwards i wasn't the least bit tempted to snack like i normally am after dinner.

i went to the nearby dollar tree to look for the special jumbo clothespins my mother wanted (for cruise towel securing purposes) and went to two other dollar trees yesterday (allston, woburn) hoping to find but came back empty-handed. i had much better luck, there were 6 packages, i called my mother up to report the good news, she told me to get 2. as i was leaving to come home, she called asking me to get a few things for the cafe. as i didn't bring my shopping bags and was carrying a bunch of stuff i'd already bought from the dollar store, i decided to go home first, grab my stuff, and take the motorcycle to MB instead, afterwards riding to the cafe to drop off the supplies.

i got a solar ornamental light and some battery-powered LED string lights. my plan was to somehow marry the solar panel to the string lights, with the hope of somehow making my own solar-powered string light mason jar lanterns (AKA fairy lights). i put the string lights (one white, one orange) in small mason jelly jars as a proof of concept.

my father and i played with the waterproof RGB LED strip lights. even though we currently don't have the proper connectors and controllers, my father discovered you can still turn on the lights by applying voltage to the 4 contact points: red, green, blue, and power.

later i took apart the decorative solar light to get to the electronic components. i managed to strip everything out with the exception of the small solar panel, which seemed to be glued to the plastic dome. i also don't know if this can be matched with the string lights: the solar light only uses 1.2V 100mAh while the string lights are powered by 2 AA batteries which combine for 3V (don't know the amperage). at worst they won't work; at best they work but they're dimmer because of the lower voltage.

i found my parents hanging out in the newly-cleaned sunroom when i arrived in belmont this morning. unlike yesterday, today was a sunny day, and the sunroom was actually starting to warm up, while the rest of the house stayed cool. today would've been the better day to have an outdoor barbecue, but my mother said it was too sunny. it got so hot she moved back into the shadier living room.

l first thing i did was to take a survey of the backyard: once the patriots-dolphins game started at 1pm, i won't be able to go anywhere until 4pm. after my parents gave away 3 squashes last night, we now only have 11 left. true, i can easily buy them from any asian supermarket, but these have sentimental value. after i went home last night, it rained a little bit more, enough so that it filled up all our rain barrels to maximum capacity. the next rainstorm forecast isn't until next week, but we should have enough rain water to last us until then. the garden is at a stage anyway when things are slowly winding down, and now that we've pulled up all our squashes, watering the backyard isn't that critical.

my father collected a bucket of wood ash from the backyard fire pit we were running all of yesterday. he knew it can be used as fertilizer but he didn't know. i did some research and found out that wood ash is a good source of potassium and calcium carbonate, but it can be applied directly to vegetable soil as too much will produce excess salts and lye. a better way to use it is to add it to a compost bin, where natural decomposition will neutralize any harmful agents, leaving just nutrients behind.

since i pruned back all the iris leaves yesterday, there was nothing holding up the patch of goldenrod by the southwestern corner of the house so they were flopping over; i got some string and tied them together. all sorts of insects were visiting the yellow flowers. most of them were bumblebees, but i also saw flies, solitary bees, a locust borer, and a goldenrod hooded owlet moth caterpillar. the caterpillar was so well camouflaged it actually gave me a scare when i suddenly saw it, rather long at 3 inches. strangely enough, honeybees tend to stay away from the goldenrods. instead, they prefer the fragrant white flowers of garlic chives, also in bloom this time of year.

i didn't notice it at first, only when i was about to go back inside the house, but there seems to be a bonafide aerial leaf candidate emerging from the lotus barrel. it's unmistakable, standing straight out of the water, not requiring any support from neighboring floating leaves. though i'm glad to see another aerial leaf, it comes a little late; the weather forecast for this week is 70's daytime but 50/40's nighttime. with that kind of low temperature, it won't be long for the lotus leaves to shrivel up and die in preparation for winter.

my parents decided they would have a barbecue tomorrow saturday. partly to celebrate both my 2nd aunt's birthday (which is today) and my sister's godmother's birthday as well, but also because they haven't had anyone over for a barbecue in a while. apart from thanksgiving (which is always celebrated at my parents' place), july 4th 2017 was the last time they had a backyard barbecue. and that time they only invited my 2nd aunt and my sister's godmother; the last time my aunt and uncle were here for a barbecue was 2016. the last time my aunt and uncle were here for a barbecue was 2016. we did have a barbecue last year (coincidentally in september as well) but it was in my sister's backyard, and that time we invited the two upstairs astrophysicist tenants.

my job today was to collect the necessary food ingredients: trader joe's for some cheap wine to make sangria, market basket for some sausages, and haymarket to gather some inexpensive fruits and vegetables. but the first thing i did this morning was to do a load of laundry so they could have the entire day to hang dry outside. i only hang my shirts and pants; underwears and socks i dry indoors, drape across chair backs. i like the novelty of hang drying my clothes, i also like that it's totally free, like solar power. this is just the second time i've hung up my clothes, after successfully drying them the first time a few weeks ago. i can do this while the weather stays warm (and while i don't have a roommate); once we get into late fall and temperature drops close to freezing, i'll go back to my dryer.

i woke up later that i'd liked, close to 10am, and didn't set out on my errands until around 11am. i decided to hit the allston trader joe's first, the only TJ's within the vicinity that sells alcohol (the one on memorial drive sold their liquor license in order so that another one of their stores could sell alcohol, as there's a massachusetts law that says chain supermarkets can only have so many licenses). it was a little cold and i wore jeans and a pullover henley. i ended up getting some vegetable ingredients as well (red onion, shallot) as well as a package of chicken sausage. i got two bottles of white zinfandel (better than merlot for sangrias) and one bottle of sauvignon blanc (for cooking). i took off my pullover before riding back home, as i was starting to warm up.

when i got back home it was nearly noontime, so i decided to eat something first before continuing with my errands. i finished my box of mixed granola mixed with some yogurt while watching the news. i went out again by 12:40pm, this time changing into a pair of shorts and just a t-shirt.

i went to family dollar first, taking a circuitous detour as the underpass shortcut is still under renovations. i was looking for some decorative copper wire LED string lights. when i stepped to the entrance i was shocked that the store was closed. even though the lights were on inside, handwritten signs on the door said they wouldn't be opened until monday. shocked but not surprised, as the employees there were always kind of sketchy, and the customer base not that far removed.

i continued on my way to market basket, where i realized i left my grocery list at home. this happens a lot, like half of the time i make a list i end up forgetting to bring it. but i remembered most of it, feta cheese, some italian sausages, a case of seltzer.

returning home, i put the groceries away temporarily, before walking down to the nearby liquor store and picking out a six-pack. after a length selection process, i finally decided on the paulaner oktoberfest märzen ($12.99). not a beer i'd drink myself (i like light fruity beers, which a hint of sweetness), but something matthew would like, as he's the only one who drinks beer, other than my father on occasions.

soon afterwards i was out again, finally heading into boston to hay market. it'd be a quick trip since i wasn't hitting chinatown, and i made good time, a roundtrip of about an hour. i left with 6 limes ($1), 4 lemons ($1), nearly 2lbs. of long hot peppers ($2), 2lbs. of yam ($2), a bundle of asparagus ($1.50), 2 pineapples ($3), a clutch of baby bananas ($1), 2 english cucumbers ($2), and 2 bundles of cilantro ($1.50).

i got back home by 2:40pm. i packed everything onto the back of my rear bicycle rack and rode to the cafe. my original plan was to go to belmont and make the sangria for tomorrow, but i was already feeling pretty tired from all the riding since this morning, so i gave my parents instructions on how to make the sangria once they returned home (chop up the fruit, add 1/2 cup of triple sec, 3 tbsp of sugar, whole bottle of red wine, refrigerate overnight). besides feeling tired from all the physical exertion, the lower angle of the sun also made it feel later that it actually was. my parents just happened to be making meat buns and i left with two. my 2nd aunt was also there, as a i mentioned earlier today was her birthday, she turned 70.

i finally returned home for good by 4:20pm. i ate the buns along with a can of polar pomegranate seltzer. an ebay package arrived in the mail, a meter length of waterproof RGB light strip. i wasn't expecting it so soon, but it's an american seller, that's why it got here so quick. i can't use for the time being as my rgb controllers haven't arrived yet, not for another few weeks. it will be like christmas in october when all the things i ordered start arriving next month.

my mother called me at 6:20pm. "bad news," she said, "we can't get home." i didn't understand what she was saying at first, then she told me the car battery died because my father left the car key in the ignition all day. 7 minutes later (via bicycle, easier to dodge any traffic jams) i showed up. my mother was surprised that i didn't come on the motorcycle, thinking i could jump start the car with my motorcycle battery (i don't think that's possible). no, instead i bought the jump starter pack i bought back in february to start up my motorcycle on cold winter mornings. up until this point we'd never used it before: by the time i got it back during the winter, i'd already put the bike away for the season.

this was the moment of truth. connecting the alligator clips attachment (shaped like a car no less) to the lithium ion battery, leds on the attachment starting flashing red and green. once the alligator clips were attached to the car battery, the led was just a steady green. instruction manual said we then had 30 seconds to start the car. my father cranked the ignition and the car started effortlessly. there wasn't even the least bit of struggle as sometimes happens with a stubborn battery. the led turned a steady red at that point and we disconnected the alligator clips. my mother was so impressed, she said we should get a portable jump starter for all our cars. i rode back home.

we finally had a good day of production, 46.33kWh, the highest production this month. it didn't break august's record but that's because the day length is getting shorter now. it is however peaking higher, getting close to 7kW. that's nothing special as we've seen production excede 7kW, but that's because it energy spikes due to special arrangement of clouds that reflect back the sun. it's nice to know that given a nice sunny autumn day, we should be approaching 7kW. i wonder if as the weather gets colder, we might even get higher, as the panels become more efficient.

i didn't eat until almost 10pm, just wasn't very hungry tonight (a good thing?). i reheated the last of my chicken tikka masala. i made some chutney but instead of just cilantro and mint, i also added less than half a red onion. there's a reason why you never find onion chutney, it's pretty awful. it didn't look appetizing at all, a mash of red and green, and a pungent aroma that made me tear up. not wanting it to go to waste, i mixed it into my rice, which made everything smell like onions, and i ate with watery eyes. afterwards i ate the last of my date-filling moon cakes, as today was also the mid-autumn festival.

i stayed in belmont long enough for my parents to return in the early evening so my father and i could harvest the buttercup squashes. i could've done it all myself, or let my father do it, but we put enough time and energy into raising these squashes this summer (against vine borers, woodchucks, and powdery mildew), it was only right that we do it together. we ended up collecting 13 squashes of various sizes, not counting the 14th squash that had already been picked last week. number of squashes is an inaccurate way of gauging how much squash we grew this season; a better way would be to weigh them. some of the stems were still viable, dripping out water like a faucet. a few stems had also set roots underground to better sustain the squash. the stems reminded me of the veins and arteries that made up the heart; each stem had multiple branches, no surprise these were the squashes to survive. we left a few small immature buttercups to grow, don't know if they're going to make it.

that potential lotus aerial leaf from yesterday? just as i feared, not an aerial leaf at all, it finally toppled over on its own. a true aerial leaf is unmistakable, no amount of harassment will topple it, and grows completely vertical. i see another possible candidate however but i'm not holding my breath. assume any new lotus leaves to be floaters until proven otherwise.

i spent the afternoon in belmont trying to clean up the house. i did tidy up a little bit, but either i didn't do a very good job or there wasn't much to clean. i also alternated between computer work. for lunch i had a cup of instant shin korean noodle cup black label, really hit the spot on a cold september day. a few windows were opened, i ended up closing them all. in the late afternoon i was in the basement piecing together another steel shelving unit, you can never had enough shelf space. i was about to finish when my parents came home.

instead of going home for dinner, i ate in belmont, some more buttercup squash porridge with some meat buns. surprisingly, i wasn't very hungry and only had two buns.

afterwards i helped my father organize the oriental carpet in the sun room. still later, we tried to figure out how to wire an illuminated rocker toggle switch. i discovered today that all the switches i bought a few months ago are rated for AC application, not DC. i ended up buying some DC toggle switches off of ebay. but an AC switch would still work, just the built-in LED wouldn't light up. we tested a dual rocker switch that had 3 pins on each side. one of the pins was a bronze color, and i figured that was for the power, since for light switch toggles that's the color coding convention. the middle prong was to run the accessory - in this case a short strand of 5050 LED light strip - while the final pin was ground. we looked at several diagrams online that told us to connect the LED light to strip to the middle pin and ground, but we couldn't get it to work. my father managed to bypass everything by connecting the LED strip to the power pin and middle pin which worked but we didn't understand why (since it was contrary to how we were instructed to wire it). i started to think maybe the pin positions were different, until i discovered that the bronze pin is actually the ground, not the live (power). once we made the switch, everything worked according to the diagrams.

the weather forecast today was completely off: it wasn't supposed to rain until lunchtime, but precipitation started falling by morning. i didn't even have time to cover my motorcycle, but it wasn't a downpour and the shower might've done some good, a free washing. the rain stopped close to noontime, and i took the opportunity to ride down to belmont. it was a cool day, i wore my shorts but with a long-sleeved henley shirt. it stayed overcast for the rest of the day, enough so that it killed solar production for this day. this time last year it was even worse, we only eked out 5.42kWh (we at least made 9.29kWh of electricity today).

i finally left belmont well after 8:30pm, the temperature outside dropping into the upper 50's. it was chilly at first but i warmed up quick. climbing huron avenue, another cyclist suddenly plowed ahead of me from the sidewalk. i was annoyed at first, until i realized my front light wasn't working, so there could've been a chance he didn't even see me behind him. the rear light is the more important light and that was still working so i kept going. only time it was dangerous was at intersections when approaching cars were trying to make a left turn in front of me. makes me think i should carry backup bike lights. if i only had my portable battery pack and an usb cable, i could've powered the front light.

after using the bathroom and taking a shower, i finally settled in to watch a bit of the democratic primary debate. biden had a weird look, like maybe he got some plastic surgery recently, his face like a mummy's mask, his skin very taut over his skull. he may be the democrat's best chance to defeat donald trump, but i'm starting to worry if he'll survive his term in the white house should be become our president. he's 76! but you know who's older? not trump, who's 73. nancy pelosi is 79! the 70's is the new 60's apparently.

i have the whole house to myself: this morning i saw marti leaving with a suitcase, probably gone for the weekend. she had a gentleman caller with her, of a similar age, a silver fox.