i was relieved when it was raining this morning. it meant i had an excuse not to go running, and could sleep late. i didn't get out of bed until after 10:30am.

i installed macOS catalina onto a USB thumb drive today. unlike big sur, it successfully installed, even though i was worried from my many failed attempts at installing big sur. still not satisfied with this option, i tried booting up with the big sur installed thumb drive again. like before, it started up fine, but once it reached the midway point, it wouldn't progress any further. i did some more research, i haven't found any info of users successfully installing a working bootable version of big sur onto a thumb drive (other than a boot installer version, which isn't the same as a working OS). there's a possibility that big sur just won't run from a thumb drive, and apple has no incentive to fix the issue on OS 11 (big sur) when they're already on OS 13 (ventura). but at the very least i had a working bootable copy of macos catalina on a thumb drive. later i went online and download the digital version of the 2022 H&R taxing software for the mac. it was only 35MB and costs $35 (not including taxes).

since i've been running my machine non-stop doing these long installs, i decided to do a time machine backup. i was surprised that the last time i backed up was in late october, 5 months ago, so i was overdue. backup files showed that i attempted to do a backup in late november but never completed it. i left the mac to run time machine while i did other things.

it was time to set up my grow closet. i had those heavy duty 3/4 size germination trays which fit perfectly on my adjustable shelves, 3 trays per shelf. i have 3 shelves, and each tray can hold a dozen 16oz clear cups, for a total of 108 plants. these are the larger plants; for smaller seedlings (like for flowers), i start them in 2x2" cell packs, which i have plenty of, and those i'll probably germinate outside on the deck since they have a clear cover. i casually sorted through my seed packets, combining what i had at home with what i brought back from belmont. for some reason my lupine seeds have gone missing again. i emptied all the containers from the closet shelves to make room for my eventual seedlings. i stacked the boxes behind my sofa.

in the afternoon, when the sky started to clear up and the sun started peeking out behind clouds, i walked down to the dollar tree to pick up some clear 16oz. cups i use for planting pots. i ended up buying some regular pots, some 9-cups food containers, plant dishes, and candy. as for the cups? they only had the solid variety, i don't think they sell the clear kind anymore. i use the clear because i can tell how much i've watered and check out the progress of the root growth. i'll look for cheap clear cups elsewhere, if all else fails, target carries them though slightly more expensive.

in the late afternoon i had som homemade tzatziki and pita as a snack. the tzatziki i made last week was still good. time machine was still running from since this morning, but i could still use the computer in the meantime.

my mother called me, said there was going to be a big grubhub delivery order tomorrow. there was actually one last wednesday, but the customer cancelled last minute for some reason. but he ordered again yesterday (for wednesday delivery) except we weren't opened so nobody saw the scheduled order. he called today just to confirm the order went through, that's how my parents knew about it. it's a big chunk of change, enough to be a single day's profit with just one online order.

for dinner i heated up a brick of lasagna while watching the celtics-wizards game. celtics fell behind in the first half and i had a bad feeling about it. wizards put the celtics in a 20 point hole beginning of the second half and boston had zero answer. at one point the celtics were down almost 30 points. that's when mazzulla swapped out all the starters for bench players. the bench guys actually went on a streak, and almost got the game to within single digits, before the wizards went back up to 20+ points. at this point i'm resigned to the fact that boston will advance no farther than the 2nd seed.

when it came time to throw out the trash, i finally cleaned my sichuan paocai jar. i started that batch back in early september; by late october the cabbage had already turned soft and wasn't that good anymore. yet i couldn't bear to throw it out, and kept it still. the final straw was when a layer of kahm yeast started forming on the surface of the paocai. if i ever make sichuan paocai again, i have to remember to eat it quick and not wait months.

by late evening the time machine backup was still in the "cleaning up old backups" stage, so nearly 10 hours. i ended up stopping it so i can get some work done. i'll probably run it overnight to see if i can get it to back up.

i couldn't stand it anymore: staingate was getting too much, i could barely see through my macbook pro screen. i'd read about a way to clean the fading laminate using toilet bowl cleaner, but i looked up methods online, and all it takes is just simple listerine and a microfiber cloth. so i tried it, figured i had nothing to lose. sure enough, with some elbow grease, slowly but surely the laminate all came off, revealing a clean screen once more. it's actually so easy, i'm surprised apple doesn't mention it as an official fix to staingate. but i guess that would mean admitting they made a design error, which they probably don't want to do.

i left the big sur installation run overnight. when i woke up this morning, it seemed to be stuck on the apple logo with the progress bar halfway. i restarted and booted from the thumb drive. good news is big sur seemed to have installed overnight. bad news is it can't seem to reach the desktop, stalling halfway during startup. so it looks like my only recourse now is install a copy of bootable catalina onto a thumb drive then install the H&R block tax software, which seems to be the only catalina compatible option. and then come next tax season, who knows. maybe upgrade to a recent enough mac that i can run a taxing software!

my parents came around 9:30am for a supply run. today it was the everett-chelsea-malden run. first stop was costco, where we arrived 15 minutes before opening. the parking lot was virtually empty, but by the time it got close to 10am, it tripled in the number of cars. another weird thing: seems like all the people coming to costco this early were all asians for some strange reason.

i got two bags of miracle-gro brand garden/raised bed soil for $7.50/bag (on sale). this soil will be for the long planter boxes, where we'll grow an assortment of baby bokchoi and chinese celery. we also got some clear storage boxes, also on sale. i admired some infinity brand bicycles, also on sale for $300. having seem how much new bikes can cost, $300 is a bargain. only 7-speeds, which is just enough gears, plus disc brakes.

next stop was restaurant depot. since we already bought eggs at costco, we didn't bother buying any here. instead we got some small 1 oz. sauce containers including lids. lines were long, but fortunately they opened a new checkout lane and we didn't have to wait too long.

from restaurant depot it was a short ride to the chelsea market basket. we got meats, diary, and produce here. we also got a long baguette to go with the wheel of brie cheese my mother picked up at costco. i saw they sold small potted gardenia in the floral section, with flower buds the size of olives.

returning from chelsea, our last stop was the asian supermarket malden 88. they don't give out free bags but they do offer free boxes, which was what we used to carry our purchases. i didn't get anything here but i did check out some asian seeds, none of which interested me enough to purchase, though i might still get some from chinatown if i see them.

we left malden by 12:30pm, taking route 16 along the mystic river back to cambridge, to the cafe to drop off the supplies. it took us nearly an hour before we were finally finished and back at my parents' place. we had some brie cheese on baguette, even tried it with a bit of prosciutto. feeling hungry still, i ate a leftover barbecued drumstick from yesterday, even though we had evening plans to have dinner at spring shabu shabu in allston.

we were to meet my sister there sometime after 4:30pm, who was giving my 2nd aunt and her godmother a ride. that gave me just enough time to go into the basement and water the plants. my father fertilized the jasmines and gardenia with an acid-loving fertilizer, so their soil was still moist, and i didn't bother watering them. i did however water the pileas, orchids, prayer plants, and christmas cactus. i even added a tiny amount of fertilizer, get them ready for their eventual move outside in another month or two.

i also raised the led grow lights on my aeroponic plants; they were growing big enough to practically touch the lights now, and raising the lights provided the whole plants with more light. my father was concerned there might not be enough nutrient solution, as the plants are growing much faster now, so they're feeding more. but the water level isn't at the halfway point yet, but definitely by next weekend i'll add a fresh bucket of nutrients.

turning on the television brought us breaking news about the nashville tennessee school shooting: 3 children dead, 3 adults dead, and the police killed the shooter. what was unusual about this mass shooting (as if mass shootings themselves aren't an anomaly) was the shooter was said to be a teenage girl. more info will develop later.

we left for allston around 4:25pm, getting to spring shabu shabu by 4:40pm. my sister and her guests arrived at about the same time. the restaurant didn't open until 5pm so we waited outside, first in line. my sister kept showing us a live feed of her house, where we can hear hailey barking non-stop. concerned, my sister ended up not eating with dinner but instead went home to look after her dog.

we went to spring shabu shabu a few times when it first opened. then the pandemic happened, and buffets became super unsafe. to be honest, i thought spring shabu shabu would go out of business. but they toughed it out with socially distant seating and instead of self-serve buffets, you tell the waitstaff what you want and they go gather your ingredients. now that the pandemic is pretty much over (for most people at least), the buffet business has bounced back. my aunt came here a few weeks again, and there was a long line outside. that's why we came early, afraid it'd get crowded and we wouldn't be able to get a table. in retrospect that was unnecessary, especially on a monday weekday. as long as you arrive soon after they open, you're sure to get a table (not sure how a wekend though).

the occasion for this spring shabu shabu visit was my mother wanted to treat the "employees" to dinner using the tip money saved up for this month. originally i didn't want to come, because i rather spend my time in belmont doing gardening stuff. but the food was good, just like it was before. the only thing they didn't have were those tiny korean dumplings, but i remember they stopped carrying those before the pandemic as well.

instead of actual menus, the waitress put a coaster on the table that had a QR code that took you to an online menu. my father and i got the mala spicy broth, while everyone else got the bone broth. we all got lamb while my 2nd aunt went with the seafood assortment. i found i really like the fried tofu and bamboo strips. i also like the tofu skin and the king crab balls. my 2nd aunt was able to eat despite missing her lower dentures (they're getting fitted with a new tooth at her dentist), but only softer foods, so i got some her clams.

my sister showed up around 6pm, decided to come anyway after calming hailey down. apparently her dog needed to use the bathroom and was barking in distress. we were all done with our first round of eating, and onto the second round.

for the second round i just focused on what i liked, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and once i started eating, i quickly realized i was already at full capacity. seeing my struggle, my mother said i could stop eating. i finished my lamb but buried the rest, hiding the evidence so it didn't look like i was wasting food. i went to get some soft-served ice cream afterwards, got the half vanilla half green tea swirl. i liked it so much i went back for a second serving.

we finally left by 6:50pm. there was a crowd of people waiting outside, most likely larger groups waiting for a big table, or members of their party haven't all arrived yet. my sister gave her godmother a ride, while my parents drove my 2nd aunt and me. cutting through harvard square, they dropped me off first before dropping off my aunt.

first thing i did when i got back was to use the bathroom before taking a shower. because i had so much tofu, i was gassy the rest of the evening. regarding the nashville school shooting, the shooter wasn't a teenage girl but instead a 28-year old woman who was a former student. on top of that she's also transsexual, which was something i thought about when i first heard the news, how rare it was for mass shooters to be female. what if it was a transsexual male?

i went to star market to pick up some drumsticks and cantaloupes on sale before biking to belmont. temperature was in the 50's but windy, and at times i was riding into a headwind, which nearly pushed me to a standstill.

the birds are really hitting the birdfeeders hard: i refilled the sunflower seeds last weekend, and birds emptied that after a few days. they're also visiting the suet feeder in greater frequency, hardly any visitors during the winter, but now i put in two new suet cakes. i saw chickadees and downy woodpeckers.

i brought my musubi to share with my parents. unfortunately my rice was too dry, and once refrigerated, the rice became hard as a rock. a minute in the microwave managed to soften things up, at the expense of the nori wrap, which became a little soggy but still edible.

around 12:45pm my mother and i went out for a walk. we visited mt.auburn street, where my mother wanted to get some produce at arax market. being one of the few middle eastern markets opened on sundays, business was brisk. my mother ended up only buying some long green hot peppers before we started to head back. we also ended up going to super vanak. we didn't see anything we wanted, but my mother didn't want to leave empty-handed so she picked out a $3 turkish fruit cake before we saw some senna tea ($4) which she also got. on our way back, a neighbor had a table on their front lawn filled with free bottles of hand sanitizers; my mother ended up taking one.

at 5pm we grilled the drumsticks which my mother had marinated in a cajun spice all afternoon. after having tried grilled wings, i prefer smaller wings over these larger drumsticks. but you can't deny the price on these drumsticks, which were just 87¢/lbs. we grilled them first on high heat to crispy them up, before cooking them to doneness with low-medium heat. before coming out of the barbecue, we also coated them in sweet thai chili sauce, which is our secret weapon for delicious drumsticks. the chili sauce basically covered up whatever cajun marinade my mother had used.

just the drumsticks were enough for dinner, but my mother also cooked up some cauliflower along with a stirfry of smoked ham with the long green peppers we bought earlier.

i left around 7pm. the sun had just set but it was still bright out, though i did put on my lights for safety.

i keep on trying to install big sur onto a thumb drive, but it always seem to get stuck with less than a minute remaining. when i got back home i tried installing on a different sandisk thumb drive that was slightly faster. just like before, everything seemed okay until it got to the end and go stuck. i waited for nearly an hour at the less than a minute remaining screen, then finally gave up. i'm going to try again tonight, leave my machine on overnight, to see if it'll finally install. i also zapped my NVRAM, which some of said fixed their installation issue. it's happened to enough people that it's a legit issue but apple doesn't seem to address it. makes me really leary of ever doing a system upgrade without first doing a complete backup.

i woke up this morning and watched a bit of local news to see what the weather was going to be like today. cloudy and cold until the afternoon, when some freezing rain will start that will last into the late night. i was using the new pair of non-progressive glasses michael made me, so i was able to watch tv from bed without any of that lower lense blurriness.

because of the rain later, i wasn't able to ride my bike, so instead i walked down to the cafe around 10am. i passed by exeter park, where according to the news earlier, was the scene of a motorcycle accident that happened last night at 1am. cambridge police listed as a serious crash involving a motorcyclist and a pedestrian. both went to the hospital, with the pedestrian suffering serious head injuries. i'm not even sure how that could've happened, since it's a low speed intersection, unless the pedestrian suddenly ran into the street during oncoming traffic. anyway, while waiting for the lights to change, i saw some vehicle debris on the side of the road, including a piece of a side view mirror. it didn't look like i came from a motorcycle, or maybe it was one of those hybrid motorcycle scooters with the big chassis.

i didn't mind walking, gave me a chance to admire the emerging perennials. so far it's all been bulbs and their ilks: scillas, crocuses, irises, hellebores. saw some yellow flowers i'd never seen before.

i made it to the cafe by 10:30am. i started boiling water and cooked 4 cups of rice. when my sister finally showed up, i heated the tea eggs and made some black noodles and dumplings. i was running 3 induction cookers while at the same time washing some dishes in the sink, felt a lot like plate spinning. later my 2nd aunt showed up as well.

i transferred the new tea eggs from yesterday into the slow cooker, then added the older eggs (10); that 4.5qt crockpot can actually hold 40 tea eggs, not just 30. i ended up eating one of the tea eggs that had lost its shell during the heat process, too ugly to sell. something i've noticed with the recent eggs we've been using (regardless if they're from restaurant depot or costco) is very brittle shells prone to breaking.

there was a period around lunchtime when it got really busy. we nearly used up all the rice i'd cooked and had to microwave some leftover rice from yesterday. we also nearly ran out of the black noodles and i had to cook another batch, along with a pot of green tea. i was also grilling a dozen chinese sausage in the breville oven, and emptying the sichuan paocai fido jar from august 2022.

i basically worked non-stop from the moment i arrived until probably around 2pm, where i finally had a brief break. my 2nd aunt warmed up some korean-inspired egg pancakes she made. she ate them with my leftover homemade tzatziki, but i found some korean hot sauce in the fridge and ate some pancakes with that, which tasted much better.

in the late afternoon it started to rain as forecasted. it was the kind of miserable freezing rain, and i didn't feel like taking the bus to belmont, so i called my father for an extraction. he showed up around 4:10pm right after we closed, and gave my 2nd aunt a ride too.

even though i was pretty busy at the cafe, it wasn't a busy day overall. maybe the cold wet weather was a factor, but it was the weakest day of the week. we sold a lot of bento boxes, but didn't sell a single beef noodle soup, which seemed like the opposite of what happened a few saturdays ago, when it seemed like we sold nothing but noodles, and no bento.

the first thing i did when i arrived in belmont was to check out the knipex pliers wrenches. my father was astonished when i told him how much they cost ($90), for a pair of surprisingly small wrenches. there's no denying their innovative design, but are they really worth all that much? there's still a chance i might return them, but in the meantime, i was looking for things i use them on, but didn't find anything around the house. one thing i'm concerned about (other than the price) is whether the smaller size might make it difficult to get the proper turning leverage compared to a tool with a longer handle.

as always, i also checked out my aeroponic plants. every week they never cease to amaze me with their growth, which has now entered the exponential phase. i sort of regret making so many holes on the lid (a dozen), because the plants are growing too close together now. my father asked whether we should prune the lower leaves, but i said to let them grow naturally, see how big each mustard green can get. besides, it's not the leaves i want, but rather the stems, for pickling/fermentation/cooking purposes. even the formerly anemic chinese celeries are doing much better now, growing tall stalks that look like they might touch the led lights by next week. i also remembered to check the roots. amazing just how long they've gotten. makes me appreciate how compacted soil can affect plant growth, and just how far down i should aerate when i till the raised beds.

i'm wondering with the outdoor weather has gotten warmer, if i should move the aeroponic tub outside, so it can take advantage of the natural sunlight, which is far better than a pair of led lights. i'm also wondering if i should start a second aeroponic tub. all it'd cost me is a length of 1/2" PVC piping (10ft for $4.71), another pump ($17), and a plastic tote ($8). all other materials and tools i have. just something to think about.

i foraged for snacks (bourbon-flavored gummy, greek sultana raisins, pecan melts) while waiting for dinner, which came in the form of thin noodles in a smoked ham broth. i also checked out the yaesu FT-991A all-band portable ham radio (someone in malden is selling his for $875, normally they're $1360-1460), and researched some affordable electric car options. my father gave me a ride back to cambridge around 7:40pm.




my mother asked me to work at the cafe today. i found excuses but she had a counter for all of them. i wanted to go to chinatown, but my 2nd aunt already went yesterday. besides, we'd probably go to malden 88 this weekend anyway, so there was no need for a chinatown supply run. backed into a order, i had no choice but to work today. but when i checked the webcam, i saw my sister was at the cafe today, which theoretically meant i didn't have to go. the cafe also didn't seem to be busy, perhaps a repeat of yesterday, when there was hardly any customers for some reason.

i left around 11:15am, packed a box filled with some fermented vegetables and a package of corned beef. today was a bit chilly, temperature in the 40's, but with intermittent sun. my mother tried the green cabbage kimchi, said that was the kind of kimchi she liked, the kind that wasn't sour. she tried the daikon kimchi and said it was too salty. my sister was at the cafe preparing her new salmon bento, she convinced a few customers to give it a try.

i cooked a new batch of tea eggs. even after all this time, i still haven't mastered the art of boiling the perfect egg. there's a science to it, and every once in a while i'll read some article or watch some video explaining how to boil eggs, and every time i try, it's never the same way twice.

my aunt and 2nd aunt both showed up. my 2nd aunt said her phone wasn't working. i took a look: for some reason it was in safe mode, not even sure how she managed to turn it on. i restarted the phone and it worked fine after that.

things were slow until noontime, when suddenly there was a rush of customers. in the span of an hour, we got more than a dozen orders, which worked to an order every 5 minutes. after that i managed to stick around before finally leaving by 2:30pm.

i didn't have lunch yet and though about making some musubi. but i figured i'd leave that for dinner, so instead i had a korean cup of noodles, continuing my string of korean foods.

in the evening i made musubi after watching a few youtube videos. i had to piece together the portions from a few sources, the rest i figured out through trial and error. traditional musubi uses short-grain rice, which i happened to have. 2 cups uncooked yields 4 cups cooked, which is the perfect amount for one can of spam. can't remember the last time i opened up a can of spam, probably not since the 80's. a single can of spam can be sliced into 9-10 pieces, i went with 9. for the seaweed wrap i used three squares of nori, each one cut into 3 strips.

i started grilling the spam slices before the rice was finished cooking. no oil necessary, the spam itself has enough oil to grease the pan. i also made a glaze sauce to grill the spam once more for flavor, a combination of shoyu, mirin, and sugar. i didn't have enough, so i used up a leftover bottle of teriyaki sauce, which i was basically making anyway.

once the spam was properly regrilled, it was time to assemble. i bought a musubi press nearly half a year ago and now finally had a chance to use it. i put the press on a piece of nori, then scooped some rice into the mold before pressing it down into a block of rice. i wasn't sure how much rice to use at first, so the first few musubis didn't have enough rice. i then sprinkled some furikake before removing the mold and layering a piece of teriyaki-glazed spam slice. i then wrapped the whole thing up with the nori, using some more glaze as a glue to hold the nori together.

i made 9 musubis and ate 3 of them. grilling the spam in a teriyaki glaze transformed them into something that was more delicious, i couldn't even tell it was spam. my nori wasn't wide enough though, so the spam and rice would stick out at both ends. this presented a problem because the exposed rice would started to crumble at the ends. next time i'll wrap the whole musubi in nori. the furikake also really adds to the flavor.

it's tax season and turbotax is my poison. the past few years each new edition of turbotax has dropped support for older macos. last year i was only able to use turbotax because i installed macos catalina (10.15) onto a bootable thumb drive and ran the software off of the drive itself. this year turbotax will only work with big sur (11) or above, so i had to create a bootable thumb drive with big sur. when i ran the installer it wouldn't work because i'm still using macos mojave (10.14). so i copied the installer onto the bootable catalina thumb drive and tried upgrading that way. i ran into problems because the installer reboots a few times, and every time it puts me back to my macbook pro system. when i finally got the installer to install, it got stuck in the final minute and wouldn't go any farther. i tried it a few more times, each time no go. not only that, it basically made the bootable thumb drive unreadable, so nothing left to do but start over. i'm going to see if i can upgrade my mother's imac to big sure, and run turbotax that way. if not, i'll switch to H&R block, which still works with catalina.

i didn't go running this morning because i was scheduled to help michael with his computer. of course nothing said i couldn't simply run later, and the weather today was certainly runworthy, with temperature in the mid-50's and overcast. michael called me while i was in the shower. maybe it was tell me some good news, that he opened up the computer this morning and everything started working again. i called him back, he said he was at dunkin' donuts and asked if i drank coffee. i said no, but he offered to get me some tea, so i told him i take it black. i then went down to the store to meet up with him at 11am.

i spent the first 15 minutes looking over the issue. windows 7 seemed to have stalled inside of parallel. i tried to restart windows a few times but the command wouldn't work. i restarted parallel but i wasn't sure if it also restarted windows. something was broken, and no amount of setting adjusting could fix it. but michael told me some good news: after i left on tuesday, he backed up his macbook pro. that meant using time machine, i could restore the windows 7 virtual machine file from tuesday, when everthing was still working. it didn't work the first time i tried to restore - gave me an error - but i think it was because parallel was still running in the background. when i turned it off completely, that's when i managed to restore the virtual machine file. it took a while - 10+ minutes - because the file was 60GB large. before i restored i also manually backed up his outlook files, which were thankfully stores external to the virtual machine file.

all this copying was going on, i sipped my dunkin' tea. michael also got me a donut. plus he had time to make me a new pair of glasses, one with just far-seeing lenses, not progressives. i tried them on, they seemed work just like my progressives, they just didn't have an close-focus, and for some reason parts of my distant-focus was also a little blurry. michael made these pairs as a test to see which ones i liked better; he thinks i'll prefer progressives once i've tried the only-distant-focus pairs.

we also chatted about xi jinping's visit to moscow to meet with putin. he told me his kids are still wearing masks in school, but they're definitely in a very small minority of people still masking. his daughter was actually getting her 3rd booster today, and his wife said they could stop masking in school after that. he told me one of the places he does still wear a mask is when he goes to market basket.

after the virtual machine file finished copying, with fingers crossed we restarted parallel. sure enough, outlook opened up like nothing had happened, everything back to normal. why parallel broke to begin with that's hard to say. did it have anything to do with his e-mail account getting hacked? i say no, but i can't be 100% sure. all i know is because michael backed up his files on tuesday, i was able to fix the issue.

i finally left, getting home at 12:30pm. i went out again a short time later, to walgreens to pick up my prescription. the guy ahead of me in line was having issues with his prescriptions. he kept saying they repeatedly get his orders wrong, and that he'll take his business elsewhere because they can't seem to fulfill his medications. he was kind of being an asshole about it, if he didn't like the service there, just go somewhere else, no need to make a big public scene. after i picked up my prescription, i told the pharmacists, "i come here all the time, and i've never had any problems," before giving them a thumbs up. hopefully i was able to counteract some of that negativity earlier.

when i got back home i finished the rest of my tea and ate the donut. at first i thought it was a simple glazed donut, but it looked like blueberries on the inside. it was actually pretty good, can't remember the last time i had a dunkin' donut, i remember they were always very dry, more like a dried crumbling cake than actually donut. i'll have to ask michael which one he ordered.

yangbaechu kimchi (양배추 김치)
(6x qt. jars)

5.38 lbs. green cabbage (2x)
1.59 lbs. daikon radish
4 tbsp kosher salt

1 oz. ginger, processed
1 head of garlic, processed
1 asian pear, processed

12 thai hot peppers, chopped
4 bunches scallions, chopped
0.20 lbs. garlic chives, chopped
3 cups carrots, julienned

2 tbsp salted shrimp paste
11 tbsp red pepper powder

chop cabbage into squares and radish into cubes. toss with salt (1 lbs. vegetable to 0.54 tbsp salt ratio), mix periodically. after 2 hours drain reduced cabbage and radish (don't rinse). process ginger, garlic, and asian pear. chopped hot peppers, scallions, garlic chives. julienne carrots in mandoline. mix ingredients with shrimp paste and red pepper powder (1 lbs. vegetable to 1.3 tbsp pepper powder ratio). mix in cabbage and radish. pack into jars. leave lids slightly open. store outside to ferment in catch container. once juices begin leaking out, move to refrigerator.

in the afternoon i started making my green cabbage kimchi - yangbaechu kimchi (양배추 김치). i made it twice back in 2021. my two heads of st.patrick's day sale cabbage had been in my fridge for almost 2 weeks, so i urgently had to use them up before they went bad. i also had way more daikon radish than i needed for the kimchi, so i decided to use up the rest and make a batch of daikon-only kimchi. although it wasn't difficult, it took more than half an hour to cut up all the vegetables (cabbage and daikon) and figure out what amount of salt to use to reduce them. i was finished by 3pm, left the cabbage and daikon to reduce for the next 2 hours.

kkakdugi (깍두기)
(2x qt. jars)

2.39 lbs. daikon radish
1.3 tbsp kosher salt
1.3 tbsp sugar
2 bunches scallions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced

2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup red pepper powder

chop radish into cubes. toss with salt and sugar (1 lbs. radish to 0.54 tbsp salt ratio), mix periodically. after 2 hours drain reduced radish (don't rinse), save radish juice. chop/mince scallions, garlic, and ginger. mix all ingredients with fish sauce, 2 tbsp of leftover radish juice, and red pepper powder (1 lbs. vegetable to 1.3 tbsp pepper powder ratio). pack into jars. leave lids slightly open. store outside to ferment in catch container. once juices begin leaking out, move to refrigerator.

as for the daikon kimchi - kkakdugi (깍두기) - i found a maangchi recipe, and i basically followed it verbatim, halving the portions since i was only using half (2lbs) the amount of daikon. one of things it did was to add an equal amount of sugar with reducing salt. it also used fish sauce, which normally i don't use but instead resorting to shrimp paste. her recipe said the daikon kimchi can be assembled in just 30 minutes, but i waited 2 hours along with the green cababge kimchi, coming into the kitchen every so often and tossing the vegetables to help with the reduction.

i realized i didn't have any ginger. i had various options - getting some from market basket, getting some from the cafe - but i ended up just going to star market. i couldn't find the ginger at first, but i did i grabbed the smallest one they had, which only cost me 60¢. i'd also wanted to go to reliable market in union square to pick up some fresh shrimp paste, but decided i'd use the old jar that i had instead. the sky looked like it was about to rain anyway, saving me a trip.

at 5pm i started assembling my kimchi, starting with kkakdugi. i drained the radish, saving the liquid. i then chopped some scallions and minced the garlic and ginger, before mixing all the ingredients together with some fish sauce, leftover radish juice, and red pepper powder. i used the fresh red pepper powder this time, which had a brighter color. i then packed the daikon in a tall glass jar with the remainder going into a small pyrex dish with cover.

next i moved on to the yangbaechu kimchi. the green cabbage had reduced to a rubbery yet crunchy consistency. for some reason i started adding carrots to my green cabbage kimchi, and i continued with that tradition. in the past i just julienned the carrots manually, but this time i decided to use the benriner mandoline. it took me a few minutes to figure out how to attach the dicing blade. the whole time i was using the mandoline i was worried that i might accidentally slice my fingers. i also had a hard time figuring out how to hold the mandoline; i'd love to have a mandoline that had a stand, so i didn't have to hold it up by hand. i chopped the scallions, garlic chives, and thai chili peppers. i processed the ginger, garlic, and asian pear. i mixed the "sauce" ingredients first before adding the reduced cabbage and daikon. i mixed everything with one gloved hand so i could take photos with the free hand. instead of jars, i put the yangbaechu kimchi in a 16 cup tub, with the leftover filling a single quart jar. now i wait for everything to ferment (in about 2 days) before putting them into the fridge.

my upstairs neighbors finally came home today, i saw them coming up the steps from my living room window. as soon as they came back, all the noises came back as well, since they're incapable of doing anything quiet. thankfully they'll probably only be here for 2 more months before they leave for the cape for the summer.

my korean culinary adventure extended into dinner, when i had some luxury korean ramen for dinner. i was thinking next time i could add some bean sprouts for some even more deliciousness.

after dinner i had a craving for snacks so went across the street to star market to score some goodies before they closed at 10pm. they were actually kind of busy given how late it was, with most of the shoppers being young people. i was looking for chex mix which they didn't seem to have, so i stocked up on cheez-it crackers, 5 boxes. with the sale that'd be $2.50/box, but before i went to go pay, i looked at the ad again and discovered the sale price was only for the smallest 7 oz. box, and none of the items i picked up were discounted (therefore they'd be $5/box). i sheepishly put everything back, before getting some poppables. back at home, i ended up having some orange slices.

i finally went ahead and ordered a pair of knipex pliers wrenches, sizes 180mm and 125mm. i'd been tracking their prices for weeks now, and rewatched all related videos on youtube over and over again. the only thing preventing me from buying them was the price: around $90 for a pair. as far as hand tools are concerned, german-made knipex are one of the most expensive, though many have said they're worth the money. i finally went ahead and bought them after the price dropped down to $86.99. for some reason the price on these fluctuates like crazy. hours after the purchase, i saw the price change again, down to $86.80. it wasn't worth it at that point to cancel and reorder. the good thing is these have free returns. if i get any kind of buyer's remorse, i won't hesitate to return them, and buy the $40 harbor freight 10" icon knockoff pliers wrench instead (when they back in stock around mid-april).

i went to bed last night at 1:30am and woke up by 9:30am. i had a good 8 hours of sleep but i still felt tired. i wanted to get to the cafe earlier than usual because my father said he wasn't coming into work on wednesday (today) so i didn't want my mother manning the cafe by herself. however when i checked the webcam, i saw my father was at the cafe today, so there was no hurry to get there then.

i got to the cafe by 10:40am. weather today was sunny with temperature only the lower 50's. we had a steady stream of business. my sister was making her catered meal (grilled salmon, udon noodles, rice porridge), we tried to stay out of her way as much as possible to avoid conflicts. a lot of people ordered today, which is nice bounce back after several weeks of diminished clientele due to winter/spring vacations. one lesson my sister managed to learn from last week was to add more salt to her dishes. nevertheless, she ran late again, and my mother and i were helping her cook while customers started arriving to pick up their orders. i was also cleaning like crazy, seemed like there wasn't a time where i was busy cleaning up after my sister's mess.

i discovered my mother didn't add any salt to the new batch of tea eggs she made yesterday so they were basically just cooked in flavorless tea. we spent the day padding another temu order, until my mother discovered we weren't actually getting a 50% discount, but rather the discount saving amount shown at the checkout was how much we were "saving" from the retail value. it was basically a scam to make you think you were getting a discount when you weren't. i also spent some time in the basement bringing down the latest shipment of food containers, and figuring out where to put them. the basement needs to be organized, it's too cluttered, and finding the right containers is like a scavenger hunt. we also end up buying containers that we still have because we don't have an inventory list.

an irony of working at the cafe is even though i'm surrounded by food, i actually go most work days without ever eating anything. sometimes i don't even remember to drink, and i go home dehydrated and hungry. around 5:30pm my mother made some rice noodles. this would've been my lunch, but it was already dinnertime.

michael called me and left a message. i called him back, he was having computer issues still. too late to visit him tonight, but we made arrangements for me to stop by tomorrow late morning. i always get anxious when i get a call from michael, it's rarely a good thing, something is always broken. i've managed to fix everything so far, but i feel like one day my luck will run out.

i didn't get back home until 6:15pm. it's not so bad now, with daylight saving time, it's still light outside (sunset not until almost 7pm today). i've been waiting for my upstairs neighbors to come back, they told me they'd return in 2 weeks, it's already been 2 weeks, but they're still missing. would've been nice if they gave me an exact date, but to be honest, i don't really care. i only care in the fact that i'd like to know how my more days i can enjoy not having them as my neighbors.

i didn't think i'd be hungry, but by 8:30pm i went to the kitchen and got the last two remaining pieces of fried chicken (thigh and breast). afterwards i also had some orange slices. didn't do any grocery shopping this week, not sure i need to go. i've got enough food in the house to last me for the next 2 days.

i'm going to finish up early tonight and get to bed before midnight. feel like i need more sleep to get back my energy.

i today i went on my second run of the month (first run back on the 9th) and the first official run of spring. temperature was in the 40's, but i overdressed (long sleeved shirt, jogging pants, gloves), and would later regret that decision. i left the house by 10:45am. it was still a little cloudy, but clear by the time i reached the river. i ran my loop, then walked back home all sweaty from overheating. along the way, i snap a few photos of emerging flowers.

michael called me as i was coming back. he had an e-mail issue where it looked like somebody was sending out thousands of his e-mails from his account and they were getting bounced back. i told him to change his password.

after a shower, i called michael back, asking if he had any luck solving his e-mail situation. he wasn't able to get ahold of his webhosting company, so i told him i'd drop by his shop to check out the issue. before i left, i put the old scanner and some outdated cablemodems in the basement, then brought out all my plant growing equipment. i wore my allbirds wool shoes for the very first time, won't have many chances to wear then when the weather gets warmer.

i got to michael's shop by 12:40pm. i figured it'd be a quick visit, but i ended up staying there for nearly 2 hours. his e-mail definitely got hacked. i went into his webhost admin and changed the e-mail password, but his webhost had already sent him an e-mail saying they'd suspended outgoing mail from his account due to overwhelming demand. i contacted the webhost via chat, finally got an agent after nearly 15 minutes of waiting. it took another half hour of slow communication to get the agent to unsuspend the account.

i left harvard square by 2:30pm and went to the cafe to help my 2nd aunt set up her new moto G stylus 2022 phone ($180). she'd been there since 1pm, because i told her i was going to be there then, not expecting to get there so late. i reset the moto G stylus, before initiating the transfer from her old phone. luckily she didn't have too many apps, so there was just a handful of accounts to check to make sure they worked. after she'd played with the phone a while and seemed to like it, i finally put on the glass screen protector. she didn't think the phone was too big - as wide as her old phone, just an inch taller. she was also afraid it might be heavy, but said it felt lighter than what she'd imagined. my mother had told her the phone on the moto wasn't the greatest, but i did some test photos, and my aunt seemed happy with the results. i also set up the fingerprint sensor and face sensor, because my aunt had said she didn't like always having to enter the pin on her old phone. i installed netflix and she seemed surprised that it'd work on her phone, since her old phone could barely run normal apps, let alone stream videos. the last thing we did was to change the background, she wanted something brighter.

i finally left by 5pm. i rode down to the porter square star market to get some fried chicken on sale ($6). i returned home and finally had lunch. my stomach had been grumbling all day, especially since i went out for a run this morning and then did some subsequent biking. i could feel my thigh muscles straining from all the activity.

later in the evening i had some more fried chicken for dinner. only then did i remember i was supposed to make some cabbage kimchi today, totally slipped my mind. i won't be able to do it until thursday, hope all those vegetable ingredients can stay fresh until then.

i managed to watch the finale of the world baseball classic, US vs japan. the game finished with an exciting ending: jack-of-all-trades superstar shohei ohtani as the closing pitcher, facing off against his angel teammate mike trout, one of the best hitters in MLB. ohtani threw 100mph fastballs to challenge trout, who was no match for the pitching. japan won 3-2.

i was up by 9am this morning but stayed in bed until 10, surfing the web on my phone. after using the bathroom and taking a shower, i left my place by 10:45am, heading to the cafe, where i arrived right when my parents got back from a south boston baifu supply run. i helped them unload the supplies before i continued to belmont.

i had fried pancake for lunch, stuffed with pork floss. i also had some sweet oatmeal sprinkled with raisins.

temperature today would hit the 50's, so i started bringing out all the large potted plants from the basement (jasmines and one gardenia). i then sprayed them with neem oil and inspected each one for mealybugs, and in the case of the gardenia, spider mites. i then went into the grow room and watered the remaining plants, including all the pileas, the prayer plants, orchids, and thanksgiving cactuses. of the 4 remaining orchids in the grow room, one of them has started to form a flower stalk.

after i was done with the plants, my mother and i went to the waltham ocean state job lot. they recently expanded into the empty rite aid next store, and was still in the process of renovating. my mother was there to grab some more yarn, i was there to find replacement shower curtains. they had some, but i couldn't tell if they were frosted through the packaging, and it didn't say either, so i ended up not getting any. i did pick up some seeds though: a tomato, a nasturtium, an ornamental pea.

we left by 2pm. instead of going straight home, i stopped by sophia's greek pantry so we could pick up a few things. i was trying to do a 3-point turn when the car stopped working. it wouldn't reverse or go forward, and when i let go of the breaks, the car would slowly roll, almost hitting a hydrant. turns out for some reason the engine had turned off. i restarted the car and i was able to drive again, narrowly avoiding a disaster. in the store my mother got her salty yogurt drink, and i got a freshly-made mango greek yogurt smoothie. originally my mother was going to walk back home to get some exercise, but we waited in line so long to check out, plus the excitement of the car seizing up, that she just wanted to go home after that.

the mango yogurt drink was pretty good. not exactly a mango lassi, more sweet than sour. i would definitely get it again. my mother also got some raisins. juicier than the long green persian raisins we got last weekend, but very sweet.

entering the house i saw a quick flash in the kitchen cupboard. i knew immediately it meant a mouse had been captured in our electronic trap. i took it outside and buried it in the backyard, adding to all the other buried critters. their bodies decompose so completely, i've never dug up any skeletons.

we have 3 bags of chicken manure left but some animal had gotten into it (i'm thinking rats, only they would eat excrement). it was also a good excuse to add them into our gardens, something we should've done back in the fall. i did add them to raised bed 4 and 3, but the remaining beds haven't been fertilized yet. first step was till the raised beds. in rb2 i found a rabbit's nest. fortunately there were no rabbits inside. my father ended up helping me add the chicken manure, we used up two bags (actually 1-1/2 bags, as one of the bags had already been used). the last bag we'll use on the western bed, as well as some outdoor containers.

afterwards i moved all the outdoor plants back into the grow room.

around 4pm my father grilled a bag of frozen buffalo wings. the grill was super hot today, and we figured out it was because the temperature was warmer. when we barbecue in the winter, it's like starting a fire inside of a freezer; the grill has to fight the ambient temperature, and cools back down much quicker. today we grilled around 400-450°, which made for crispier chickens.

after finishing the wings, i went back down to the basement to water the remaining potted plants. we still have a long ways to go before they can be moved outside. i'm thinking no earlier than late april. of course with the weather being unnaturally warm these days, they could be out earlier than that. i also have to be careful because i applied some more systemic insecticide back in mid-february. they take 2 months to lose their effectiveness, so waiting until late april would be the safest time for the plants to go back outside.

for dinner, it was more tofu stirfry and mustard green stirfry. we also had some salted pork, not sure where they came from. i left around 7:30pm, temperature at 45°F. i brought home some plant trays as well as the canon LIDE400 scanner that arrived today.

canon hasn't updated their LIDE scanner in 4 years. i'm still a little confused as to whether or not the LIDE 400 is compatible with the latest version of macOS. of course i'm still running mojave (10.14.6), the last version of the OS that can run 32-bit applications.

i plugged the scanner into my mac and gave it a test run. i was happy to see they updated the USB port on the scanner to USB-C (compared to the USB-B it had on the older model), but the plug on the other end was still USB-A (though the blue color meant USB 3.0). it'd work fine on my mac, but newer macs only have USB-C ports, so it'd require an adapter.

i first tried the native apple image capture app, which recognized the scanner, a good sign. when i tried to scan something though, it seemed to be stuck. turns out image capture doesn't like it when i tried to scan at high resolution; at lower resolution it was able to scan fine, but without any frills, with manual cropping. i then downloaded canon's own scanning app, canon IJ scan utility lite. the app is bare-bones and not the most intuitive in terms of user interface. but it works, and i managed to scan at high resolution (4800dpi) without any problems. it even managed to crop and rotate the image for me.

as for my old canon LIDE70, that's due to be retired. it only works with an old canon scanning app (canoscan toolbox 5.0) that's just 32-bit. one day when i upgrade to the next higher macOS, i won't able to use that app anymore. i've also tried some third party scanning apps, but the LIDE70 is so old (circa 2007) it's not even recognized.

temperature this morning was in the 30's, with powerful 20-30mph winds, which made it feel even colder. i didn't mind, it was something i was used to, even though it's been a very mild winter. besides, the long range forecast for the next 2 weeks looks like 50's during the daytime, so today felt like winter's last gasp, before spring officially arrives tomorrow.

i arrived in belmont around noontime. my mother told me i could fix myself a reuben sandwich with the leftover corned beef from yesterday. but i was busy trying to figure out how to remove the arbor from the 3" hole saw using my sister's impact driver and an assortment of wrench sockets. my mother kept coming out to see if i ate or not, and when it looked like i wasn't in any hurry to have lunch, she ended up making me a bowl of wonton soup.

i found out none of the sockets fit the 3/8" arbor shank, which has an unusual shape, rounded on 3 alternating sides; a good fit for an electric drill, but difficult to remove with normal tools. i either had to buy a special socket that would fit the shank, or maybe clamp the shank in a vise and try to pry off the stuck hole saw that way.

i finally got ready to eat my wonton soup by 1:30pm, but not before spilling wonton cooking water all over the kitchen floor when i knocked over the pot off the stove. my mother ended up having to mop up the mess, so much drama over lunch.

i checked the aeroponic plants, this time lifting up the lid to examine the roots. the bigger plants have the most roots. the chinese celeries have more roots now than last weekend, hopefully that's a good sign that they're finally ready for a growth spurt.

i went to the garage to get the vise - mounted on a plank of heavy wood. i also found an assortment of smaller hole saws we bought back in june 2020 to make 3 new rain barrels. included in the stash was a harbor freight bi-metal hole saw mandrel/arbor with drive pins, which is what we should've used on the 3" hole saw instead of the provided pinless arbor that got stuck in the saw.

i clamped the shank into the vise and tried to turn it with a screwdriver that fit through the two side slits. i tried twisting the screwdriver counterclockwise as hard as i could, but the arbor would not budge. my father suggested a method where we wedge the hole saw down with the screwdriver before using a pair of channel lock pliers to twist off the arbor. i didn't like the idea because i thought it'd ruin the screwdriver, the shank, as well as the hole saw itself. but we tried it anyway, using the vise to brace the saw and screwdriver, while my father twisted on the shank with the pliers. it didn't take much effort, but he managed to loosen the arbor, which i could then screw off by hand. yes, the shank itself had some cosmetic damage, but we wouldn't be using that shank anytime soon anyway (use the pin mandril instead).

my 2nd aunt's new moto G stylus 2022 ($180) arrived today, along with a clear soft case. i turned it on to check it out, will reset the phone before giving it to my aunt next week. the first thing i noticed was the screen size: 6.8" at 1080x2460 pixels. compare that to my google pixel 7 which has a screen size of 6.3" at 1080x2400 pixels. the moto G stylus nearly has the screen dimension of a 7" tablet! specs-wise it fairly decent for a budget phone, 128GB/6GB, regular-wise-depth cameras, 2-day battery (5000mAh), headphone jack, fast charging (10W). i also like the power button which is also the fingerprint sensor. as far as negatives, it doesn't have 5G, not waterproof, no OIS for the cameras, and no NFC. there's also a stylus which i tried out: it's just a simple manual stylus (unlike the samsung smart stylus which has electronic components for pressure sensing), maybe good for taking hand notes (like chinese writing), but otherwise not something that useful.

there's a moto G stylus 5G 2022 ($250) which does have 5G and a bigger memory 256/8GB, and i just discovered the camera on the 5G version has optical-image-stabilizing (OIS). if it was me i'd go with the 5G version just because of the OIS, but my aunt rarely takes photos, so i don't think she'll notice the difference. 5G would probably also be more future proof, but 5G coverage still seems spotty, and unless you really need the potential speed when using data, i don't think it's a big deal.

my father tried the moto G stylus 2022. he liked the chinese languahe google assistant, which can be activated by double pressing the power button. he liked asking it simple question like what's the temperature or the time, but also made it open up apps like youtube. i think it's a feature my 2nd aunt will probably like.

the st.patrick's day parade was happening in southie this afternoon. i watched a little bit of it on the roku channel for NBC boston, where they were streaming the parade. it's seemed like a good idea but it was so windy and cold, the anchors looked miserable as the wind whipped their hair so they couldn't see. i've never been to the st.patrick's day parade, despite my fondness for parades. it happens in mid-march, which is still winter here in new england, so often times the weather doesn't cooperate. the parade also seems boring to be honest, groups of cops or bagpipe players. i feel like it's basically just an excuse to get together and go drinking afterwards (or before), and as such, seems like it's geared more towards college kids.

i spotted a tufted titmouse at the feeder today. i think i've seen it in passing before, but never got a good look until today, even managed to take a few photos. it behaves similar to chickadees, though maybe more wary, grabbing a sunflower seed from the feeder, then eating it up in the trees. i called out my mother who managed to catch a quick glimpse through binoculars before the bird didn't come back again.

my father asked me to look up rice cookers, the cafe might need to replace the zojirushi model we currently use. that model is no longer sold, but a comparable 10-cup model (with side opening lid unfortunately) goes for $136 on amazon. we did buy a $30 rice cooker last year during tax-free weekend, but you get what you pay for, the new cooker leaves the rice slightly scorched on the bottom when left in warming mode. the problem with our current zojirushi rice cooker is the vent attachment keeps on falling off. that's when i showed my father you can order replacement attachments, though they come in 3 pieces, and one of the piece is sold out, and i don't think it'll be available anytime soon since the model itself has long since been retired. i asked my father to check out the valve tomorrow, to see what parts need to be replaced; we might luck out and just need to replace an available part.

while shopping for rice cookers, it led me down a rabbit hole of meat grinders. i know you can get attachments for stand mixers, but after watching a youtube video, it seems a dedicated grinder works much better, and a good model only costs $60. i want a meat grinder because i want to make my own taiwanese sausages. later i also looked like manual versions shaped like giant syringes, not sure how well those work, but the good thing about those models is i can mix additional ingredients in with pre-grounded meat before filling them into natural casings.

nothing special for dinner, some stirfries (tofu, mustard green), an egg pancake. i didn't leave until 8pm, waiting for my new canon scanner to arrive, until i discovered it hadn't even been shipped out yet, despite being scheduled for delivery today.

temperature had dropped down to 32 degrees, and the wind was just as fierce as this morning. riding uphill against a headwind, i swore all the way to the top, panting in exhaustion. riding in 4th gear didn't help either, i'm hoping it'll be warm enough tomorrow i can do some morning bike repair before leaving to belmont.