when i saw my parents hadn't left for their supply run yet this morning, i called my mother to let her know i wanted to come. i left my place by 10am, arrived in belmont 10 minutes later. we left a few minutes later.

we went to the waltham costco primarily to stock up on eggs. we can easily go through 5-6 dozen eggs in just a week, and costco's the only place we can get them in bulk quantity (but they have a two package limit). at this rate we may need to buy eggs elsewhere though, can't be going to costco every week to get eggs. we were there for less than half an hour, before heading to our next destination. it was actually kind of busy, and i think mondays are a busy time for costco - all the people who didn't bother going over the weekend thinking it'd be busy, but then we all show up on monday, making it just as busy.

waltham market basket was next. here we got a potted chrysanthemum to replace the dying ground cherry outside the cafe patio. we also picked up some additional supplies, before leaving by noontime.

it took use 30 minutes to drive to the cafe to drop everything off. from there we went back to belmont. we bought a frozen pizza (screamin' sicilian mother of meat) for lunch to test out the breville oven. we put it on the pizza setting and cooked it according to the carton instructions, 425° at 18 minutes. the pizza was only 12", the breville can accomodate up to 13". it was fun watching the pizza cook, like watching a cooking show. we left it to preheat, which only took a few minutes to reach 425°. the timer started counting down, we put the pizza into the oven. when the pizza was almost done, the oven light turned on followed by a 3-beeps alarm.

i thought the pizza was pretty good, or just as good as domino's, which i know isn't a high bar for pizza authenticity. my mother said it was too salty and didn't eat any of the crust, throwing them away. my father sliced the pizza into 8 pieces, we both had 3.

tax-free weekend purchases from amazon continue to arrive. early this morning the tayama 10 cups rice cooker arrived. for $32, it was your basic no-frills rice cooker, very similar to the zojirushi rice cooker my parents use now. later a box arrived containing an assortment of items: the tubshroom drain protector; bonide 8 oz. pyrethrin presticide; and my lawnful-brand pH and TDS meters. my father's wantjoin-brand commercial milkshake mixer arrived too; he tested it out, seems to work well, has two speed settings, the low is fast enough. i tested my hydroponics meters: the TDS worked fine, but the pH meter seemed to be dead on arrival. i even replaced the two watch batteries with a spare set that came included, that didn't work either. i contacted amazon for a replacement.

i went into the backyard in the afternoon to fly my drone, it's been weeks since my last flight. i wanted to check out the extent of the extreme drought we've been experiencing, and the view from 400ft was not disappointing. most lawns were yellow, glad to see we weren't the only ones. a few houses still had green lawns, those are probably the ones with sprinkler systems, they must be spending a fortune on the water bill. i flew the drone over the oakley country club. i went too far - all the way across the golf course - and lost my signal. the drone issued an automatic return to home, and once it was back within range, i regained control of the drone. i also flew it to the fresh pond golf course. because it's a public course, the green isn't as well maintained, and there were much more yellow patches compared to private oakley.

in the late afternoon i was outside again, this time dousing our backyard vegetables with miracle-gro fertilizer. while i was doing that, my father was collecting all the dried up long beans and blue beans seed pods, followed by some jasmine and gardenia pruning. my father gave the gardenia a severe pruning, i'm worried we'll go another season without ample flower buds, since we already pruned a few months ago after the plant finished flowering. after i finished fertilizing, i watered all the plants again (my already father watered once early this morning). i didn't do a foliar treatment, partly because it was so late in the day (best time is the morning), and there weren't plants that needed it, most of our squash plants have already died.

back inside the house, i shelled the bean pods to collect the beans. i noticed many of the long beans were smaller than before, stunted by the drought. as for the blue beans, some were blue, but there were also many biege beans, and most seemed smaller than before. but we should have enough beans for next season.

for dinner my mother made a salted pork pepper onion stirfry, as well as a simple broccoli stirfry. my father reconstituted a "3-cups chicken" dish that my sister tried to make but turned out to be a failure; he recooked it but it tasted off (he said something about my sister soaking the chicken in baking soda), had a fishy taste, and an unsettling sweetness.

i returned home after dinner. i was eager to try out the tubshroom. it seemed to fit the tub okay, and the drain didn't clog after my shower - although ever since my haircut yesterday, i don't think i'll need to worry about clogging the drain with hair anytime soon.

i had half a bowl of cherries while watching nothing in particular on tv. i was surprised to discover that shannon mulaire was fired from NBC10 boston last month. i've always liked her, even though WCVB channel 5 is my usual news source. i'm surpised pete bouchard is still there though. i've always thought of him as somewhat creepy, just a vibe i get.

speaking of surprises, my upstairs neighbors finally returned from california this morning (i know this from the stomping of the steps and bathroom flush noises). i was beginning to get worried, they said they'd be in california for 3 weeks, it was starting to get close to 4 weeks. i still have questions though: what happened to their car? and what happened to their little dog?

i fueled up the motorcycle this morning. currently regular is $4.59/gallon, which is cheap considering it was around $5 a few weeks ago. the first thing i did when i got to belmont was to check out the temperature of the insulated bottles, which i filled up with boiling water yesterday. less than 20 hours have passed, and my old thermos-brand thermos was 96° on the lid and 104° inside, lukewarm at best. the stanley bottle on the other hand was 156° on the lid and 147° inside (that's probably a measuring mistake, should probably be even hotter) - still very much hot. it's obvious that stanley is the clear winner. to keep it even warmer, my father suggested we put a "tea cozy" on the lid, using an unwanted glove in the meantime.

my father's also continuing with his LiFePo4 battery draining tests, now that we have a DC voltage amperage meter with hall sensor. basically we want to see how long we can use the battery before the BMS will cut it off. the bluetooth BMS app for some reason doesn't have an accumulation count, so we needed to rig one up externally. we already ran the test last weekend, but there was a meter malfunction because we didn't zero out the current rating and at one point the current went to zero even though the battery was still powering the thermoelectric cooler (that's the device we use to draw out the power). so we ran the test again this weekend, this time all with all the numbers properly zero'ed out. it already used up 266Wh this morning. by the afternoon that number was 479Wh. the BMS finally cut the power in the evening, with a final usage of 560Wh. according to the meter, there was still 56.7Ah left in the battery, which is roughly about what we estimated: that the battery (rated for 100Ah) maxes out after 40% of usage. the lithium battery can of course drain even more, but that would reduce the overall life of the battery; when used to only 60% of capacity, the battery should remain at its maximum value for 20 years.

i had lunch: pork floss mixed with some kind of rice porridge with quinoa and corn, along with some sausage and a salted duck egg. afterwards my mother gave me a long overdue haircut. in a typical year, i'd get a haircut before the summer (to keep cool), and then once more before winter (for maintenance, but not necessary if i want to keep my hair long to stay warm). usually my mother gives me father a prison buzzcut, but for me she kept it short in the back and sides and slightly longer on top.

in the afternoon our breville BOV900BSS arrived, a surprisingly large and somewhat heavy box on the doorstep. we unboxed it carefully (since there was a chance we'd return it if we didn't like it) and set up the oven on the dining table. it looked a lot larger in person than when i saw it at the store up on display shelf. the first thing we did was to run the oven empty, to heat off any residual oils. that way we also got to see how hot the oven got. the instruction manual said to set the oven in pizza mode and run it for 20 minutes. the sides were at 80° (the vents a bit hotter), the top kept about 100°. the controls are big and easy to understand and use, and likewise the large LCD display. i like how there's a light button to turn on the light inside the oven, i like watching things cook. there are little details too, like magnetics that draw out the center rack (the rack used most often for toasting). or how the LCD glows red when the oven is heating (as well as the start/stop button), and turns blue once the oven stops. there's also an simple button to switch between celsius and fahrenheit. overall it seems to be a pretty high end oven, which is to be expected for something that costs 2-3x more than a typical countertop oven. there was a dent on the handlebar though, which made me want to return the oven, but that would be such a hassle, my father said it wasn't worth it. i could just put a sticker on it to hide the blemish, it doesn't affect the performance of the oven.

sleeping with my bedroom window open last night, it got cold enough that i had to reach for the blanket. that cold breeze warm blanket combination was perfect for sleeping, and i could've easily slept some more if i didn't have to get up.

i made it to the cafe around 10:40am. brought out the patio furniture, cooked some rice. my sister showed up a few minutes later, and my parents came around 11am, back from a baifu supply run after their early morning framingham acupuncture/massage appointment. they left after unloading the supplies.

today was a slow day. we barely got a dozen customers. but we made nearly as much as we did on wednesday - even though we had twice the number of customers - because the customers we did have today spent a lot more. i still felt pretty busy, since there always seems to be something to do at the cafe. i cooked up another 20 tea eggs. after simmering them for an hour, i lowered their temperature by dunking in several cold water baths. during a lull period i vacuumed. i helped my parents buy a new $400 breville countertop oven on this tax-free weekend, scheduled to arrive tomorrow; i actually saw it for $390 last night, but the price went back up today.

i left the cafe by 4:15pm. judging from the clouds, it looked like it'd rain - as if we'd be that lucky. no such luck, just a false alarm. first thing i did when i arrived in belmont was to check out the new 1.5qt limited edition stanley insulated bottle. of the thermos we have, the stanley is the largest (not counting the dunkin' donut one, which my parents are currently using). my mother said there was something wrong with the handle - that it seemed to be stuck; that's actually a feature, as the adjustable handle on the thermos brand thermos is so noisy everyone in the house can hear it when somebody uses it.

i did an insulation heat test by filling both the thermos and the stanley with boiling water. it's not exactly a fair comparison as the thermos can only hold 40 oz. while the stanley can hold 48 oz. (1.5qt): more hot water means longer heat retention. the thermos is advertised to keep hot for 24 hours while the stanley says it can keep hot for 40 hours. at first it seemed the stanley was defective, because its bottle top felt much hotter than the thermos, which meant more heat was escaping. but the body of the stanley was several degrees cooler than the body of the thermos. i didn't have to wait for the experiment to end to know the stanley bottle would eventually win out. the stanley also comes with a lifetime warranty (though i'm not sure how one would go about fulfilling this warranty) while the thermos is only one year.

i also bought another 40 oz. matte silver thermos, because i thought the stanley wasn't going to arrive, and there was a sale on amazon. i was going to return it, but my mother said to keep it as a backup, in case we ever need another insulated bottle.

for dinner i had some sour fish mixed with rice. it was something my parents picked up at baifu this morning and they already had it for lunch, saving some for my dinner. normally i not a big fish fan, but it had enough flavors to mask the fishiness, sour and "mala" from the sichuan peppercorns.

after dinner i helped my parents order a new rice cooker. it's not to replace the zojirushi they currently use at the cafe; more of a backup in case we need to cook more rice. the most important thing is the rice cooker has to be fast. there are a lot of fancy rice cookers with AI-logic sensing to cook the perfect rice, but those are actually slower. the fastest rice cookers are the simplest: cook and keep warm, nothing else. we ended up buy the tayama 10 cup rice cooker for $32. the 10 cup was cheapest, compared to the 8 cup and the 5 cup. tayama sounds like a japanese company but it's actually a chinese company in disguise. my mother wanted a smaller rice cooker but my father said a larger oe would give us more options, so we went with the larger cooker, with the possibility we might return it if the old backup cooker in the cafe basement works just as well.

sunsets are getting earlier and earlier and i managed to still be in belmont today when the sun when down. i went outside to check out our solar bitter melon trellis lights. my father didn't water today (didn't seem particularly hot) so some of the plants looked a bit wilted. i could barely see, but i did some evening watering before finally returning home.

i did some more tax-free shopping on amazon: bought a tubshroom drain protector; a studpop magnetic stud finder; another bottle of kikkoman tonkatsu sauce; general hydroponics maxigro hydroponics nutrients (2.2 lbs); water pH meter and TDS meter; and a container of pyrethrin insecticide. i'm trying to get a few more parts for my aeroponics project, like a pump and spray nozzles.

went down to the community garden this morning to collect some nigella seed pods. bumped into gail, who was pruning her out of control cherry tomatoes, some of them taller than her. we chatted a bit, i showed her the praying mantis i saw yesterday.

i watched a bit of news (wanted to hear the latest about trump's FBI raid) before heading into boston for haymarket and chinatown. i stopped by the beacon street whole foods to return a pair of shoes for my sister. i switched my usual order by visiting haymarket first, because i didn't have too many things to get there, and most of the stuff i was going to buy was from chinatown. i bought 4lbs of bing cherry ($12, nobody had rainier charries), 3 bags of baby cucumbers ($3), sleeve of garlic ($2), 1/2 lbs. of ginger ($1), and 9 cayenne peppers ($1).

with sudbury street now a two-way street because of the on-going haymarket parking garage demolition, it's now an easy ride from haymarket to chinatown, just a straight-shot via cambridge-tremont street. i went to ming's market, wanted to get some ingredients for making korean kimchi. unfortunately the 68¢/lbs. napa cabbage that i saw last week were now $1.29/lbs., nearly double in price. instead i made a last minute adjustment and decided to make sichuan paocai instead. taiwanese cabbages were still on sale for 68¢/lbs.

from there i biked home via charles street onto the arthur fiedler footbridge, along the river river bike path, across the mass ave bridge through MIT back into cambridge. it was a good day for riding, temperature in the 70's, dry and pleasant.

i took a quick shower when i got back home by 2:15pm, before loading up my saddlebags with produce supplies and dropping by the cafe. my mother wanted me to get her a taiwanese cabbage but told me too late, so i decided to let her have half of one of the cabbages (i bought two for a combined 8lbs).

next i went to the watertown best buy to check out the breville countertop ovens. i remember they looked kind of "flat" when i saw them more than a week ago, and sure enough, they're not as tall compared to the ninja foodi oven or the oster oven. in fact, i did some comparison, and the breville is 4" shorter than the ninja foodi. what the breville lacks in height though, it makes up for in features. i'm still leaning towards the breville. i also went to target next door, to check out the ninja and oster. i noticed they didn't carry any breville products, maybe breville has an exclusivity deal with best buy.

i went straight home, getting back by 4pm. i started making the brine solution for my sichuan paocai. the last time i made it (january 2021) i mixed 18 cups of brine (with 6oz. of salt), so i followed the same recipe. while the water was boiling, i washed the 7L paocai jar and a 4L fido jar, standing them upside down to dry. i also washed my vegetables: taiwanese cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, ginger.

trump didn't contest (he couldn't anyway, without looking guilty, though he could've released the warrant on his own, no law against that) so the warrant to search his mar-a-lago home was unsealed in the late afternoon. the FBI took away 11 sets of classified documents (more than 20 boxes). some of them were marked as SCI, which is one level above top secret, documents that has to be viewed in a secured location. why trump would have these is quite a mystery, it's not like something that can be "accidentally" packed together with some other regular documents. last night i heard that some of the documents might pertain to nuclear secrets, that's why there was such urgency to get them back. possessing these documents meant that trump violated the espionage act, which could lead to a fine or possibly prison time.

i made some early dinner - around 7pm. i decided not to go ramen since i had some last night, but instead finish the last of my quorn patties. the frozen quorn could keep indefinitely, but i needed to use up the lettuce but it goes bad.

sichuan paocai (四川泡菜)
(7L paocai jar &
4L fido jar)

6.53 lbs. chinese cabbage
2.61 lbs. daikon radish
1.61 lbs. carrots
2.65 oz. ginger
4 dozen thai chili peppers
18 24 cups boiled water
6 8 oz. salt
1 handful sichuan peppercorns
1/4 cup chinese baijiu
6 tbsp rock sugar

i started assembling my sichuan paocai by 9:30pm, once the brine had cooled to room temperature. i had to dunk the stock pot in cold water a few times to quickly lower the temperature. i quartered the cabbage, then peeled the carrots, daikon, and ginger. next i chopped the carrots, daikon, and ginger into smaller pieces, before cutting the cabbage. since the cubed cabbage has a tendency to fall apart, i'd divide up one quarter of cabbage and then start layering them into the jars. a layer of cabbage, followed by some hot peppers and peppercorns, then a layer of carrots and daikon and ginger, and repeat. the 7L paocai jar took a whole cabbage (4 quarters) while the smaller 4L fido jar used up half (2 quarters).

once everything was layered, it was time to pour in the brine solution. the 7L paocai jar used up 13 cups, leaving just 5 cups for the 4L fido jar, so the water level only came up to half. i had to quickly made some more brine: decided to make 6 cups with 2 oz. of salt. once i got the brine to a boil, i used the stock pot in cold water several times to lower the temperature. i also stirred the brine to increase temperature transfer. i got it down to about 88 degrees before i started adding the brine to the fido jar.

the 4L fido jar ended up using about 9 cups of brine. the 7L paocai jar used 14 cups, because after it had time to settle, i had to add about another cup of salt water to submerge all the vegetable ingredients. i saved the remaining brine (2 cups worth) in case i needed to top off the liquid. i also added some rock sugar as well as a dash of chinese baijiu. i was 11pm before i finished.

it was good i saved some brine, because later in the evening i noticed the water level on both jars had gone down. i added some more salt water to each jar to make sure the vegetables were submerged.

i slept well last night but kept having aquaman dreams for some reason, hard to explain, and i've forgotten most of it, all i do recall was it was aquaman related. and not the jason mamoa aquaman, but instead a vague underwater superhero who talks and controls sea life.

i left the house late - 10:45am - for my run. the weather was cool, so temperature wasn't a concern. what was concerning was the overcast and the threat of showers. should've realized that any rain forecast would just turn to dust now that eastern massachusetts is in extreme drought mode. i did feel a few sprinkles, but my fantasy of running in the drenching rain would not materialize. i did something for the first time today, which was running across the JFK bridge. when i got to the eliot bridge i slowed to a walk. perhaps one day soon i'll be able to run a continuous loop with no walk breaks.

walking back home from the river, i noticed all the damaged sidewalk trees due to the drought. prematurely color changing leaves (or worse, dried dead leaves due to lack of watering) and insect damage (dehydrated trees can't mount any effective defenses or properly heal).

when i got back, i made two quorn burgers for lunch. i plan on eating up all my quorn supply so i can have luxury korean ramen tomorrow night for dinner, which is kind of my friday night tradition now.

after that i went out into the backyard and applied timber oil to a few more vertical deck posts. there wasn't a lot of oil left, i had to be selective with my application. i also noticed paul didn't do a good job when he applied timber oil before they left; there were bare spots, like he didn't take the time to make sure he was getting full coverage. finally, when i was on the mid-deck, i noticed i could get it to shake. is the deck secure? because some of the support beams have cracks in them. something to address for the future.

with my upstairs neighbors possibly returning today, i cleaned up the backyard a bit, sweeping the debris from the stone steps. the front piece of yard looked dry so i watered it, as well as the locust tree in front of the house. for my efforts i got a few mosquito bites.

in the afternoon i rode to whole foods to return a few amazon purchases (eufy pan cam and digital wall clock). i then went to market basket to get supplies for the cafe, before swinging by there to drop them off. i'd been doing a lot of countertop oven research, and i told my mother that although the panasonic flashxpress is a great toaster oven, it's small capacity and limited timer is not really designed for baking. she resigned herself to the fact that we would still need to buy a new countertop oven this weekend. she wanted the ninja foodi smart XL air fry oven, but i managed to talk her into getting the more expensive ($400) breville. i also wanted to stop by best buy/target to check out the floor models one more time, but my mother said not to bother. it was getting late anyway, and i didn't want to get stuck in traffic, so i decided to return home instead.

i stopped by the community garden to do some watering. i spotted a mother turkey and a chick wandering around the garden. ann was there, hadn't seen her in a while. she wasn't wearing her hat or her usual hippy biker chick outfit, i almost didn't recognize her. she gave me some zinnias from her garden.

as for my own garden, i have a bunch of ripened orange bitter melons, but i keep on missing the edible green ones. i harvested some red serrano peppers, most of them rotten from over-ripening; it's weird that they don't dry on the plant, either they fall off or rot, a difficult pepper to raise. i also picked off a few thai chili peppers, which are more reasonable. looks like i'm going to get some habanero peppers; the plant itself is in a pot, i'm tempted to bring it inside during the winter and keep it alive for next season. i harvested a bunch of long beans, most of them have dried, and those on the vine are close to drying up as well. there's a lot of nigella seed pods that i have to come back tomorrow and collect before the seeds spill out. finally, i spotted a praying mantis in one of the other gardens.

ann and i left together. we saw a neighbor had thrown out a spirograph kit, she grabbed it for me when i waxing nostalgic about having one as a kid.

i spent the rest of the day at home. i fell asleep on the couch around 6:30pm, waking up an hour later to close the blinds, before napping for another hour. not sure why i was so tired, maybe it was from the late morning run. for dinner i didn't want to eat anymore quorn so i quickly made some ramen, added an egg and some lettuce to make it somewhat healthier.




i had a restful night of sleep. cool night air was blowing through my bedroom window for a change, i was afraid it might be too cold, that i might need a blanket, but the warm bed from days of heatwave temperatures balanced everything out. i could've slept more, but remembered i had some things i wanted to do this morning. i wanted to do a load of laundry, and hang it out to dry. i also wanted to oil a few vertical deck beams with australian timber oil. today was the last day i could do it before my upstairs neighbors come back tomorrow (they never said when, but tomorrow marks the official 3 weeks period). the only sticking point was if i was going oil the deck, i didn't want to hang dry my clothes as they would absorb the fumes. so i ended up using the dryer to dry my clothes, even though it meant warming up the house.

while the dryer was running, i was out on the deck, perched on a barstool, oiling one of the support beams. i had just enough timber oil to do a few more beams before running out. it took me half an hour just to do that one beam, before i was out of time and had to get ready for work at the cafe. i was hoping the dryer would finish by the time i left, but i had no choice but to leave it running.

it was actually cold this morning, but oiling the deck warmed me up. my body is so used to the heat, it doesn't know how to handle the 70's day. i biked to the cafe. after the record breaking day yesterday, we were prepared for another busy day at the cafe, but it was actually pretty slow, we made only half of what we made yesterday. there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason why some days are busy while others not so much, it's as unpredictable as the weather.

i was trying to show my mother the 3 choices of countertop ovens (breville BOV900BSS smart oven air fryer pro $400, ninja DT251 foodi 10-in-1 smart XL air fry oven $250, oster air fryer oven $190) we might be looking to buy this weekend (MA tax free holiday), but she's decided instead to use an old panasonic flashxpress toaster oven to replace the current 4-rack commercial oven. all she really uses the oven for these days is to make brownies. she has a small rectangular baking pan instead of the standard 9 x 13 inches she currently uses. i'm still hoping i can convince her to get something bigger; a cafe can't be doing all its baking with a small toaster oven.

my father discovered a small mealybug infestation on the white orchids (around one of the flowers). i ended up taking it outside to spray with insecticidal soap, before i repotted it because it was leaning too much. i also took out it's neighboring pilea, which also had a few mealybugs, and sprayed outside before watering with some miracle-gro fertilizer. i also watered all the other indoor plants (other than the thanksgiving/christmas cactuses).

when there wasn't any customers, i took the opportunity to get some vacuuming done with the levoit cordless. later the vacuum came in handy when my father spilled a glass of tea onto the floor, broken pieces of glass everywhere. after picking up the larger pieces and drying the floor, we went over the area with the vacuum to pick up any stray shards.

later in the afternoon i went over to my sister's place to let hailey out into the backyard so she could go to the bathroom. i only realized this later, but my sister drugged her dog while she was gone, so when i let hailey outside, she went down the ramp halfway before turning back, as if she forgot she hadn't gone to the bathroom yet. i had to coax her back outside to go to the bathroom for real before she quickly went back inside the house again.

i returned home around 5:30pm. i opened more windows to flush out the hot indoor air. i removed my clothes from the dyer and spent some time folding them in the bedroom while watching the news on tv. when evening came, i had two more quorn burgers for dinner.

i had a restless night of sleep, too hot and too humid. i felt like i was soaking the bedsheet with sweat. even though i wanted to sleep more, i was glad to finally get out of bed. two things planned today: go out for a morning run then get some groceries in the afternoon.

temperature was already in the 80's by the time i left for my run at 10:10am. i listened to my hardcore history podcast, this episode was about the japanese empire (part 1 of 6). it was hot and humid and i felt like the weather was sapping my strength and endurance. a few times during the run i felt like just giving up - slow to a walk - but i kept running albeit at a slower pace. only masochists run when it's so hot, i dreaded the bright sunlight, yearned for the shade of trees. i got back home after a little over an hour.

after changing out of my sweat-soaked clothes and taking a shower, i had some granola-blueberry with yogurt for lunch. watching the news, i wanted to hear more about the raid on trump - did it really happen? - but all the news outlets still had very little info to go on.

around 2pm i rode down to market basket for groceries. they're having a sale on plant-based meats this week, which intrigued me enough to give it a try. i got two packages of quorn spicy meatless patties.

soon after i got back home, the sky darkened and it started to rain. i was hoping for something of a longer duration, but it lasted no more than an hour, most likely less, the heaviest part lasting just 5-10 minutes or so. as quickly as it started, it disappeared just as quickly, the sun coming out once more. it dropped the temperature down into the 80's (from the 90's, our 6-7th consecutive heatwave day) but did nothing to help the humidity which was still high.

i walked down to star market to pick up additional groceries. there was a sale on mangoes, on hagen-dazs ice cream, and cheetos. i paid via self-checkout, i didn't get scammed like last time, got all my discounts.

tracking the sales activity on squareup, i saw my parents had a busy day at the cafe. customers didn't leave until 7:30pm, nor did my parents let them know they'd already closed an hour ago. but that extended hour paid off in that sales today was nearly double of tuesday of last week. the busiest day just happened also on the same day when my parents were refilling their stocks of vegetable buns and various soup bases, so it probably felt even busier.

when evening came i tried the quorn for dinner. the fact that it was spiced was a giveaway that maybe it didn't taste very good in its natural state. i was going to grill it in the smokeless foreman but the instructions said either to bake or microwave, so i heated it up in the toaster oven. when it was done cooking i tried a little piece to figure out if i needed to add condiments to my quorn burger. the spices seemed cajun, the quorn itself tasted like processed chicken, the kind you find in chicken mcnuggets. i stacked my two burgers and ate. it was neither good or bad. i was surprised to learn quorn is made from mycoprotein from a mold. it did some more research, apparently it'd been marketed in the UK as far back as the 90's, and introduced to the US 20 years ago. i wouldn't mistake it for real meat, but it could pass as processed chicken. i'd eat it again (have no choice anyway, bought two boxes).

the temperature continued to drop. i was running my AC still, but when the outdoor temperature went into the 70's, i turned it off and opened some windows in the house to let in the cold breeze. yes, cold! it felt more like the fall than the nearly weeklong heatwave we experienced. the humid was still high, but the cooler temperature was a relief. now if we can only get some more rain!

my parents came by to pick me up at 9:30am for an everett-chelsea-malden supply run. it was memorable in that we encountered hardly any traffic, going to and coming from. maybe it was the extreme heat keeping people away, or possibly everyone decided it was a beach day. whatever the reason, we made our supply run in record time.

first stop was the everett target, to check out some countertop ovens. i figured if any place would have the best selection, it'd be at this target a greatland target - the largest target within the vicinity. i did however notice that the word "greatland" was no longer part of the sign though, which should've tipped me off. both my parents wore masks, i think they were the only people in the entire store who did. when we finally made it to the kitchen section at the far end of the store, they only had a few ovens on display: ninja foodi XL pro, the gourmia, and the calphalon. they didn't have any large oster or breville ovens (which the watertown target did have). my parents really liked the ninja foodi, but only because they weren't able to see some other possible choices.

we then drove to the costco next door. what time do they open? we got there at about 10am - right when they supposed open - but the parking lot was already full and people were leaving with purchases. maybe there's some kind of unspoken unofficial opening hours that we don't know of. anyway, picked up a bunch of supplies. we got some lambchops to grill for dinner. i got some fish oil for myself.

next stop was restaurant depot 1-1/2 miles away along the revere beach parkway. we were afraid it'd be crowded since today was a monday, and many restaurants are closed on mondays, and many restaurants also take this day to do supply runs. the fact that there we many shelf trucks outside was a sign this wasn't an ordinary day. in fact, the place was nearly empty of customers, we'd never seen it so quiet before. good news is they finally seemed to have broken the supply chain bottleneck and now almost didn't seem to have enough time to stock on the shelves, boxes of fresh supplies piled up in the aisles. they still didn't have 16 oz. cold beverage cups though, only single packs, not whole boxes. we were only there for less than 20 minutes, hardly any wait in line, which usually takes up more than half of the time spent there.

from restaurant depot we went to the chelsea market basket across the train tracks. we only needed a few things, my mother opted to stay in the car with the AC on (to keep all the food cold), while my father and i went inside to grab a few things. he bought 10 packages of pork butts. the woman ahead of us in line pointed at all the meats and smiled, "having a party, huh?" we left market basket after 16 minutes.

our final stop was supposed to be malden 88 to get some frozen dumplings and rice for the house, but it was already noontime, and none of those things were critical, so we opted to return home instead. coming back through somerville, my father drove through union square instead of taking the congested detour through winter hill since the school street bridge is still closed (they were supposed to be open last year). we haven't been through union square in years, and was startled to see all the new constructions - new condos and new office parks. when they finally finish building everything, union square will be unrecognizable.

they dropped me off at home by 12:30pm. after using the bathroom, i took the motorcycle to the cafe to help my parents unload the supplies. while enroute, i saw elizabeth warren standing on an island, trying to cross mass ave. she wore a floral white dress. she had a look on her face that i sometimes see famous people have, that they never knew who might recognize them, so they carry a friendly public demeanor at all times. i nodded to her from the bike as i rode by.

after unloading the supplies, we left for belmont. my mother made wonton soup for lunch.

i glued together a broken plastic pot handle with JB Weld kwikweld epoxy glue (5020 psi tolerance). i mixed the two components on the back of an aluminum soda can. later my father applied more epoxy to the inside. once it dried i don't doubt the handle will be even stronger than before.

our DROK battery monitor with hall sensor also arrived and we installed it onto one of the LiFePo4 battery boxes. it worked initially - now my father can finally track how much watt-hour the battery uses to power something like the thermoelectric cooler. but after a few hours, we came back and noticed the meter was running zero amps when it fact the cooler was still running. i reset the meter (holding onto the top button for a few seconds) but it didn't fix the problem. i finally solved it by zero'ing the current value by holding onto the led display button (bottom one) for a few seconds. we'll just have to see if it happens again.

for dinner my father grilled the lambchops and some italian sausages with fennel. because they were so thin, we decided to only grill each side of the lamb under 3 minutes. that gave us very rare lambchops. i think the fact that there was so much bone affected the cooking time; next time we should cook each side a little longer.

after dinner i fermented two jars of long beans. earlier i stuffed the beans into glass jars, filled them with cold water, and poured the water out so i could boil it to make brine. i took note of the volume in ml and added 4% of that amount in grams of salt. my parents didn't have regular salt so i had to use sea salt, which is kind of a waste. after dinner the water had cooled enough so it was just lukewarm. i poured the brine solution into the 2 jars, then added some chinese baijiu, sichuan peppercorns, and a few pieces of rock sugar. now we wait for them to ferment.

we also did some garden watering. i thought the overnight rain had filled the barrels, but they were still at only half capacity. our oldest jasmine - the one that we repotted and pruned back - is doing exceptionally well, putting out a massive flush of fragrant flowers. the key to keep jasmines flowering is constantly pruning, since they only flower on new growth. our pileas are also doing very well, like we have a little pilea nursery. the spot they're in, they only get some late afternoon sun, which seems to be enough to keep them happy. the few larger wilted pileas that i mistakenly placed out in the full sun, after a few weeks they're fully recovered, growing new leaves like crazy.

i couldn't wait to get home to watch the final two episode (8 & 9) of severance. after a shower, i plopped myself down to finish the series. the ending gave me goosebumps, that's how good it was. it's hard to describe the show to someone: it's a scifi thriller office worker drama with bits of absurdism and social commentary. what would it mean if you could go to work and forget about your regular life? or have a regular life but not remember your work?

some breaking news when i returned to cambridge: FBI raids trump's home in mar-a-lago. it happened this morning, but it took trump until almost 7pm before drafting messages telling people what had happened. NY times reported that the raid was in regards to classified documents trump took with him when he left the white house.

i went to bed last night at 5am, and woke up this morning at 10am. i kept checking myself for signs of coronavirus exposure from last night's biking adventure. was i feeling hot was it was warm in the house or do i have a fever? is my nose congestion something natural or something viral? and these aches, consequence from a night of riding or do i have covid? i finally left for belmont by noontime.

it was another hot day but there was the possibility of some rain later in the afternoon-evening. my mother made rice noodles for lunch. it was too hot to go outside, so i stayed indoors, surfing the web on my laptop, enjoying the AC/fan in the living room. my mother sat in the zero gravity chair, watching some korean drama with chinese subtitles.

my mother didn't want to cook and was pushing for some middle eastern kubbideh for dinner. i suggested an alternative: michael's pizza. i haven't eaten there in a long time, i want to say 20 years. they also have online ordering, so we went with that option. i got a steak & cheese sub for my father ($10), a gyro pita for my mother ($10), and a buffalo chicken calzone for myself ($10). there was a discount when ordering online, but it wouldn't allow credit cards, so i opted for the only choice, which was pay at the restaurant. when it came time to pick up (15 minutes), my father drove me there. i vaguely remember a young guy used to work there, but now it was two older greek-italian men. since the kitchen and the dining area all in one space, they didn't have any AC but had a ceiling fan to keep the place from boiling. my order wasn't ready yet so i waited a few minutes. when i went to pay, it was more expensive than the online price, i seemed to have lost the online discount. the guy told me it was actually cheaper now but he must suck at math that's why he's a cook because when we both saw the receipt, it was obviously more expensive. it wasn't a big deal, but know that when you order online and don't pay with credit card, you're going to pay more at the store.

the steak & cheese and gyro pita looked really delicious. the buffalo chicken calzone? the breading was too thick, and i'd forgotten what a challenge it is to eat buffalo chicken sauce - all vinegary and spicy and salty - on top of the blue cheese dipping sauce which made everything saltier. i think the parmesan chicken calzone would've been the better choice. still, it's been a while since i had a calzone, i managed to eat about 3/4 of it, leaving an end piece. my mother also could only eat half her gyro, but my father ate his entire steak & cheese sub.

i knew rain was imminent from the doppler radar and the clouds, while i was casually outside watering the reeds, hoping to catch the rain when it fell to see if we can fill up the rain barrels. but my father came out into the backyard and said i had time to get home before it started raining, so i packed up my things and left. just a few minutes after i got into my house, i heard the thundering, and then it started pouring rain.

unfortunately the rain didn't last that long. the heavy stuff maybe 15 minutes, the remaining storm was just light showers, the whole thing lasting about an hour. i spent the rest of the evening watching episodes of severance, even went to bed watching 2 more episodes before falling asleep.