when i looked outside my living room window this morning, i saw an imac on the sidewalk. i quickly got dressed and grabbed it, the trash truck just a few houses down. it looked okay, the screen wasn't damaged, but just no accessories, including cables. fortunately i have plenty of power cables and plugged it in to see if it'd work. i was actually surprised when it booted up with a chime, and brought me to the login screen where it asked me for the wireless mouse and keyboard. so it worked! i couldn't tell what model it was, the manufacture date was 2007, most likely a mid-2007 imac.
it didn't matter that the hard drive was locked, that was to be expected. i would erase everything first anyway before installing a new system.
later i grabbed my usb keyboard and wireless mouse and connected it to the imac before restarting it again. the login was password protected, but i was hoping there was a guest option so i could at least log in and get a technical specification info dump. when i moved the imac off of the floor onto the coffee table, i must've mashed some keys and noticed i'd just logged in. that could only mean one thing: there was no password, the password is blank! i tried logging back in and sure enough, when it asked for the password i hit return and it logged me right in.
that's when i realized this imac belonged to my neighbor jennifer. she's been living here for a while now, rent the 3rd floor apartment from my former turkish architect neighbor before he decided to buy another condo and move to a better place. i don't know very much about jennifer, but we're friendly enough and will wave hi when we see each other. i didn't want to pry but from the documents she had on her desktop i'm guessing she's an art teacher of some kind. i could've gotten into her e-mail and dug around for more personal info, but it felt wrong. the only thing i took was 10GB worth of mp3's; apparently her musical taste is quite eclectic, from classical music to buddhist chanting to doctor dre.
so it's a mid-2007 imac, the first of the aluminum body imacs with the flat sides (not to be confused with the older white plastic models and the newer tapered edge models). it's running OSX 10.5 (leopard), most likely the original operating system as it was never updated. the processor is a 2.4GHz core 2 duo, slightly faster than my old 2003 macbook pro which also has a core 2 duo processor. the hard drive is 500GB and it has 2GB of memory. i thought it was the smaller 20" screen but when i measured it i was surprised to find out it's actually the 24". resolution is 1920x1200, not as concentrated as the 2880 x 1800 retina display on my new macbook pro, but the laptop screen is only 15.4" while this imac has a whopping 24" screen. it has a superdrive, which can not only read DVD's but burn then as well. i tried surfing the web with safari but it seemed to be crashing on the default page, which i managed to bypass by forcing it to stop loading as soon as i started the browser. using a 13 year old OS to browse modern day webpages meant a lot of websites simply wouldn't load, or would display funny.
for lunch i had some yogurt mixed with granola and chia seeds. my father stopped by in the early afternoon to drop off my free-standing full-length mirror as well as some peaches. i showed him the new imac i'd found.
later in the afternoon i rode out to the malden 88 to get a few things. i was racing against the clock, as there the potential for thunderstorms beginning at 3pm. riding to malden i felt a few drops. coming back, the clouds had thickened and looked ominous. it was oppressively hot today, like swimming through dense soupy air. it was still relatively cool and dry inside the house though, and i never had any desire to turn on the AC.
i spent the evening setting up the imac. while i was making copies of the mp3's, i was also creating a bootable usb thumb drive with the highest sytem the 2007 imac can handle which is el capitan (OSX 10.11). i then booted up with the thumb drive and began the slow process of installing a fresh system. it wouldn't let me install onto the hard drive until i realized it wanted me to erase it first. after i did that, it allowed me to continue. the initial installation process took less than 10 minutes, but i think it was just copying the files onto the hard drive. it seemed to be stuck at "one second remaining" until i did some reading online and learned it wants internet access. so i cancelled the install and did it again, this time connecting to the wifi. it seemed to be stuck at the one second remaining mark again, but after a bit of waiting, it continued with the actual installation, which took about half an hour. i didn't have to do anything, just kept watch to make sure it wasn't stuck or crashed. the imac was a bit warm, working hard installing the new system. at one point i realized i could use the heat coming off from the back of the computer to dry my cloth face mask i'd washed earlier today.
once the install was finished, i did some basic tests. surfing the web was fine, especially after i downloaded the chrome browser. i was able to run netflix and youtube tv without any streaming issues. i loaded a few movies and ran them with VLC, no problems either. for daily web surfing and video streaming, this is still a very good machine. if i wanted to do video compression or video editing work, i might consider going with a faster machine, especially not one that's 13 years old. at one point i paired my apple wireless trackpad with the imac, so used i am to swiping gestures.
after playing around with the 24" screen, the 15.4" of my macbook pro seemed paltry by comparison. it's a battle of quantity (physically larger screen) versus quality (higher resolution), and in this case i prefer the quantity option. a larger screen is just easier on the eyes. okay, maybe it can't display fine details like a higher resolution retina screen, but i can always magnify the image if i want to take a closer look. the best of both worlds would be a 24" retina display imac: that actually exists, the 21.5" retina 4K imac, for just $1299. the next higher up is a 27" retina 5K imac, the lower end being $1799. with a faster processor (8-core 3.2GHz intel xeon W), the starting price is $4999. having played with the imac, i really like it better than a macbook pro when it comes to doing work at home.
my original plan for today was to wake up early and go to the somerville home depot to get a new sprinkler (all the ones we have are broken, they don't seem to last very long, a season or two at most) then go the cafe to see if i can update the chalkboard menu before finally stopping in belmont to water the lawn and use up as much rain water as possible before the next storm.
i didn't wake up until 10am, after having gone to bed last night at 3am. i didn't leave for home depot until almost 11am. it didn't take long, a little over half an hour to get there and back. i noticed they were selling face masks for $30 a box (50), the same price i saw at market basket (you need to buy from the register), and the same price i saw online through wyze. i ended up buying a gilmour 8-pattern stationary sprinkler ($7.98) and a brass shutoff valve ($6.98); i found it a little outrageous that the valve was nearly the price of the sprinkler, they sold a cheaper variant ($1.50 cheaper) that was aluminum but the valve used an inferior plastic ball, figured i pay extra for the quality. i need the shutoff valve so i can pair the sprinkler with our on-demand water pump, since the sprinkler itself has no built-in shutoff mechanism.
since i was passing by the somerville market basket, i decided to stop to get some groceries. i was making a quiche tonight and needed some ingredients. i quickly checked my blog for the recipe to figure out what i was missing: just frozen spinach and ricotta cheese, everything else i had in the fridge. i called my mother, who asked me to get some scallions, bananas, and some coffee for her.
i was back at home by noontime. i decided to have some yogurt for lunch before leaving. my mother called me, asking if i was still at the supermarket, since she needed bean sprouts for making pad thai. after i finished eating, i rode back to market basket to get the bean sprout before riding to the cafe.
i got to the cafe by 1pm. my parents told me since they opened at 10am, they only got one customer. originally they weren't going to let anyone inside, but the cafe interior is large enough that they felt safe to let customers in. a few years back they got government money to install a handicap access door that automatically opens with a push of a button; nobody ever used it so they disabled it, but now plugged it back in. while i was riding to the cafe i noticed it seemed closed. i redid the sidewalk chalkboard sign and put it outside. 10 minutes later they got their first customers since this morning, two boys getting some bubble ice tea. a few more customers showed up while i was there, some old customers happy the cafe was finally opened. one old lady even had a seat inside and ate a meal before leaving. of all the businesses nearby (florist, dry cleaning, pet grooming, 2 restaurants) my parents' cafe was the last one to reopen. my 2nd aunt and godmother showed up later in the afternoon for their knitting circle with my mother.
i started working on the chalkboard menus. they were long overdue for a makeover. the menu boards used to be white dry erase (which i worked on) before my sister converted them to black chalkboards and she wrote back all the menu items. but i never liked her handwriting - too messy, hard to read - and at one point they changed some of the prices and it looks very obvious. there were also layout issues: bubble tea is one of the most popular items but it only occupied a quarter of the old board, so you almost don't know it's there.
the sidewalk chalkboard i used actual sidewalk chalk, but for the menu boards i used chalk markers, which i've never used before. i like them, they write like dry-erase markers, goes on smooth. they also occasionally get dry like dry-erase markers too, at which point i need to prime the markers by pressing down on the tip a few times on a piece of napkin. the markers come with reversible tips: calligraphy or standard round. my sister had them all on calligraphy, i switched them back to normal round.
i cut up a menu printout so i could rearrange the categories to find the best fit. we cleaned the blackboards by using a magic eraser. it took a few passes before we got it completely clean (a blank slate if you will). what i didn't want was customers being able to see the old prices underneath.
i started with bubble tea first, which paired up with smoothies and ice cream. instead of just a quarter of the space, bubble ice tea now occupies half a board. i used bubble text for the heading even though i wanted a solid text because it'd take too long to fill in the solid space with the markers. when i realized that all the bubble tea drinks were $4, i decided to write a big solid $4 in the middle. originally it was going to be a solid yellow circle with a $4 cutout, but it was a pain trying to fill in the solid area so i did a new version of the price with a solid $4 instead. by happy coincidence smoothies are also $4. ice cream i did a mini 3 column layout for the different scoop prices.
next was hot and cold drinks. originally it was going to be 2 columns but i didn't have enough space to fit as many as 11 items. that's when i decided to making it into 4 columns, 2 columns per category. i couldn't get the price to sit on the same line so i did an offset, using the neon yellow for prices. coffee bridged two columns since people ask for that the most. my sister made it an issue to have the actual oz. amount instead of just small and large. next was the noodles and entrées menu. this one was a grab bag, as we also needed to fit soup and salad as well as baked goods. finally, the specials. that one was easy, as it was one single category, i just had to divide the items into 2 columns.
i didn't finish until almost 5pm. there was no time to go to belmont to water the lawn. besides, my father said he woke up this morning at 6am and already watered the lawn. i gave him the new sprinkler and asked him to use it when he got the chance. i rode back home.
|spinach ham quiche||(6 slices)|
flour (coating dish)
10 oz. frozen spinach
8oz. diced ham
fresh ground pepper
15 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. mozzarella
2 oz. goat cheese
2 oz. feta cheese
|defrost frozen spinach in the morning. cook onion, spinach, ham, and spices then mix into cheese & egg blend. spoon into pie crust, bake at 350° for 40 minutes. let stand for 20 minutes before eating (allows quiche to solidify, otherwise will be runny).|
i made spinach ham quiche for dinner for a bunch of reasons: i happen to already have a lot of quiche ingredients i needed to use up before they go bad; it wasn't a particularly hot day so i can run the oven and not turn my house into a furnace. the crust i had since march, when i made a quiche in the early days of the coronavirus quarantine. diced ham were leftover from my greek salad. a quiche is also a good way to use up leftover cheese, and besides the ricotta and mozzarella bases, i also had some leftover goat cheese and feta cheese for additional flavors.
i started making the quiche around 7:45pm, i didn't eat until 9pm. letting the quiche rest after baking is important to not have a watery quiche. i ended up eating two slices. i couldn't taste the goat cheese nor the feta cheese, but they did impart a more complex savoriness, the feta contributing some saltiness along with the ham.
i restarted watching alias a few days ago (streaming on amazon prime). looking bad, the rimbaldi storyline seems so ridiculous, a mcguffin that got crazier and crazier as the seasons wore on. i personally love alias for all the different costume changes sydney bristow goes through, as well as the human element, her relationship to her estranged father, the flirtatious relationship with her CIA handler vaughn, her relationship with her coworker dixon, and her relationships with her friends. i was pretty mad when they killed of francie and replaced her with evil francie.
my parents were making one final supply run to costco before they reopen the cafe tomorrow. my mother called this morning asking if i'd be interested in going to costco. the last time my father and i went (april)
, they had an occupancy limit of 2 customers per membership card. afraid this was still the case, i opted not to join them in case i couldn't get in.
instead i took it easy the rest of the morning. with the thunderstorms we had last night, it meant i didn't have to do any watering (plus i already watered yesterday). for lunch i had some granola with vanilla yogurt. afterwards i went to the dollar store to get a set of measuring spoons; not for kitchen use, but rather to measure the various portions of organic fungicide/insecticide i need for my sprayer. before i left, i noticed they started selling face masks. i didn't see the quality but i'm intrigued. supply chain is getting back to normal if i can buy face masks from the dollar store. as for hand sanitizers, the shelves are still empty.
in the afternoon i rode to belmont. i had some gardening tasks to do, at the very least i was going to spray all the vegetables with serenade to prevent them from getting diseased. before i did that though, i mixed up 4-1/2 gallons of miracle-gro fertilizer and watered all the vegetables.
since i harvested all the garlic in RB4, it's now empty and a perfect spot for additional vegetables. my father and i went to home depot to see if we could pick up some seedlings. unfortunately the selection wasn't all that inspiring, and i decided we'd grow zucchinis from seeds, since it's still relatively early in the summer season and zucchinis are fast growers. inside the store, we saw boxes of disinfect and hand sanitizers. my father ended up buying a gallon of in-cide disinfectant ($9.88). he also got a small bottle of penetrating oil ($3.98) and some 2ft plastic edgings ($1.48/each) for our emerging curbside lawn grass that always seems to be in danger of getting washed away from storm runoffs.
back at the house, after putting the edging along the sidewalk grass, i mixed a gallon of serenade fungicide (4 tbsps = 2 oz. mixed with 1 gallon of rain water) and sprayed all the vegetables along with the grapes and flowering trees. i noticed the squash and cucumber plants have started to have spots on some of their leaves which could be early signs of plant disease. hopefully serenade will stop it in time. these kind of sprays are weird because it's hard to say if they're working. maybe if the plants don't get any diseases, but who's to say they wouldn't be find otherwise without fungicidal spraying? by the time i was done it was already passed 6pm.
it's been nearly 2 weeks since i last visited the community garden. there was nobody else there in the late morning, i had the whole place to myself, except a few noisy adults picnicking in the playground field behind the garden. my plot was a jungle, the stone and brick pathway i laid out swallowed up by the plants. the pruning i gave to the lemon balm bush grew back by a few inches. striped mallow flowers dotted my garden, more to come as other mallows mature. my hydrangeas remain defoliate, i don't know if they can come back next year. my zucchinis lot a bit sad, most likely not enough nutrients. the daylilies are doing remarkably well in the full sun, growing taller than me. of my eggplants, the one in the grow bag with the fresh potting soil is a monster compared to the others, once again stressing the importance of proper fertilizing.
it wasn't just my plot, but everywhere else in the garden, plants were thriving. dave and EJ's plots put mine to shame, their plants even more monstrous than my grow bag japanese eggplants. in EJ's garden they have squash plants so large they take up half the plot. in dave's garden he already has small japanese eggplants, about 4" long.
i took a tour of some of the other plots to see what people were growing before i finally walked back home. i gathered up my things and rode the motorcycle to belmont.
my parents were emptying out the sunroom so they can take out the moth infested rug. after my father vacuumed the corner where i sprinkled diatomaceous earth powder yesterday, we started moving the bigger pieces of furniture so we could roll up the rug and remove it. there were some empty patches were moths had been feeding in the past but were no longer active. the rug was big enough that it curled up on the far side of the room. that also happened to be where all the current moths were hiding. i thought maybe there was a chance we could save the rug but when we saw all the moths flying out, we knew we had to throw out the rug.
once the rug was removed, my father vacuumed the carpet dust (from where the larvae were feeding) and mopped the floor. later we went outside to cut the rug into smaller pieces with a box cutter so we could throw it out in the trash. it seemed a shame, such a large 100% wool oriental carpet, purchased by the previous owner of the house. but we never really took good care of it, seldom vacuumed the thing, and now infested with moths, it was time to get rid of it. besides, we still have another old oriental carpet, that one seemed to have escaped any moth damage. that good rug was actually layered on top of the bad rug, maybe the moths didn't eat it because it got more foot traffic.
afer pulling up some garlic yesterday to see they were ready to harvest, i pulled the rest of them today. the soil underneath the layer of salt marsh grass was dark and rich with nutrients, and full of fat worms too that glistened iridescently in the sun. under these ideal conditions we should've been harvesting large heads of garlic, but most of them were stunted. i blame the drought and not enough watering, though when i dug my hands in the soil they seemed plenty moist. i should have know there was going to be problems when i lot of formerly straight and strong garlic stalks were beginning to fold over. once they lose the nutrients from the leaves, the garlic bulbs themselves can't grow any bigger. i'll just have to try again next year.
our seaflo 42-series on-demand variable flow pump is a thing of beauty. i still can't get over the fact that it works, i was so sure we were heading for a disappointment after some of the things i read online. now we never have to switch on the pump when we need to use it, just turn on the spray nozzle and water starts coming out just as if it was connected to the faucet. the technology is amazing, anyone with a rain barrel should get one. it works so well i'm tempted to get in touch with my contact person at seaflo to let him know how great it is.
i wasn't expecting much on this 4th of july, not with the annual boston fireworks cancelled due to the coronavirus. but when i arrived at my parents' place in the late morning, my mother informed me we were having a barbecue, and that she invited my aunt as well. they've been meeting a few times a week at the cafe for knitting projects so my mother felt it was safe. however, she told me that my sister cancelled at the last moment (my sister who was supposed to bring all the food), all because we weren't eating outside because my mother didn't want to get mosquito bites. my mother called my sister back and convinced her to come so the barbecue was still on.
i had some taiwanese 滷飯 (braised rice) for lunch, a new dish my parents will be introduce at the cafe once they open next week.
i left for boston around 11:30am, after readjusting my new bike seat (it keeps tilting forward) and pumping the tires. today was the anniversary of the pokemon go game. to celebrate, special edition (wearing birthday hats) bulbasaurs, chramanders, and squirtles were popping up. there was also a special edition flying pikachu.
first stop was MGH, where i wanted to get my lab work done (my doctor wants to check my potassium levels now that i'm on irbesartan). i figured with waning coronavirus case numbers, it'd be safe to return to the hospital. they screen everyone coming in. when i told the guy i was here to get my lab work done, he informed me they're closed today and tomorrow.
i thought it was a hospital thing but later realized it's because of the 4th of july weekend. since july 4th (tomorrow) falls on a saturday, today is the observed day. that's why there were so many people out today, more so than usual, more so than on a typical friday. in inman square i saw a long line outside of the free clinic. they must be doing covid-19 testing. most of those waiting in line were young, not sure what prompted so many people to get tested. maybe a lot of them attended one of the many black live matters protests a few weeks back and wanted to make sure they didn't contract anything. the line was so long it snaked around the block.
i arrived at ming's market by noontime. first thing i noticed when i went inside was how long the lines were. i wasn't getting a lot of groceries but i took my time to allow the lines to thin out. i love exploring asian supermarkets (or supermarkets of any kind, actually), i always find something new. while browsing the cooking wine aisle, i noticed they also had some plum wine. this is of course illegal because they don't have a liquor license but i'm not going to say anything. they were moon lake brand, which i've never heard before. one of them was even a choya knockoff, with a similar looking green bottle and actual plums soaking in the wine. i decided to get a bottle, it was only $7.99.
i probably waited longer in line than i did shopping, similar to last time. today was even worse, i think they miscalculated and was understaffed, not realizing that a lot of people had the day off today. i stood behind a trio of cantonese shoppers. two of them were double masking, while a third wore a rain coat, a KN95 mask, a face shield, a haircut, then wrapped her whole head in a clear plastic bag. they were annoying, kept taking turns coming back with more groceries. at one point all three of them were gone, and i ended up having to push their cart to get the line moving. when one of the woman came back, she seemed angry that i'd pushed her cart for her. they were also buying a lot of meats, and left the counter wet with meat juices. one of the woman spoke with the cashier in broken mandarin, as the checkout girl didn't speak cantonese.
even though i arrived at ming's market around 12pm, i didn't leave until more than an hour later, at 1:20pm. i then slowly moseyed my way back to cambridge, along the charles river bike path, then over the mass ave bridge towards MIT. i finally got home a bit after 2pm.
lounging on the couch, i got sleepy and decided to take a short nap around 6pm. i didn't wake up until 8pm, when it was already starting to get dark.
i didn't start dinner preparations until almost 9pm. i decided to cut one of my watermelons first, since i probably wouldn't want to do it after i had my dinner. it took me 20 minutes to render a whole watermelon into cubes. i put most of it away in containers, leaving just a quarter to eat later. i then made another greek salad. at this point i'm kind of salad'ed out. next week, either a quiche pie (to use up my diced ham and pie crust) or red thai curry.
i rode to belmont in the late morning, to do some preventative spraying of serenade fungicide and Btk insecticide. my parents weren't home but my mother called me a short time later, asking where i was. i told her i was at their place, she said they were outside my place in cambridge, out doing a supply run in preparation for their soft opening next tuesday. she said she had the cloth moth traps and put them through my mail slot. i couldn't see where they put the rest in belmont, so said to look at the carpet in the sunroom, where apparently there was a moth infestation. sure enough, in a neglected corner of the room, moths seemed to have been eating the carpet, swarming in that area, getting caught in the traps. later i took some duct tape and rolled it over the carpet to see what i could pick up. it looked like rug mange, layered with colored moth larvae droppings.
i sprayed what little remained of the serenade mix i made weeks ago on the grapes and the tomatoes before i ran out. not sure about the shelf life for mixed serenade, i'll probably need to spray again sometime soon, especially on the squash and cucumber plants which are prone to disease.
i then mixed a batch of Bt (arrived yesterday, 1 tbsp to 1 gallon of rain water). it seemed like a lot but i ended up using it all. Bt is for killing squash vine borers. i don't know if they're effective against the eggs, only the larvae, and they have to ingest it in order for it to work. i consider it a second line of defense along with hand picking any eggs i find. i sprayed all the squashes (buttercup, the ones we got from matthew, the zucchinis) along with the cucumbers, since SVB will sometimes mistake them for squash. while i was spraying the zucchini in RB0, an adult SVB was flying around laying new eggs. i tried to kill it but they're good fliers.
i ended up spending 3 hours doing various yard work in the hot sun. i returned home by 3pm.
i rewatched john waters' 1990 cry-baby. i remember seeing it at allston cinema with my aunt. something i didn't appreciate at the time was just how many celebrity cameos he had in the film. i recognized traci lords, iggy pop, and patty hearst, but he also had troy donahue, david nelson, and joey heatherton playing the various parents.
i finished a small box of bean dip with salsa chips in the afternoon. maybe that's why i wasn't hungry and didn't have dinner until after 10pm.
1/2 bag of salad mix
kalamata olives, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled
the only mistake i made with my greek salad was i bought non-pitted olives. i made that discovery when i tried to chop them and hit something hard. maybe that's why they were less expensive, i'll know next time. that meant when i was eating my salad, i had to be careful every time i can across an olive. i was going to cut one of my watermelons but it was already too late, figured i do that tomorrow.
i biked to belmont this morning to check out the clearance sale on summer gardening supplies. i was hoping to beat the rain, which according to the forecast would start around noontime and continue raining into the evening. during my ride there was a misty fog that dissipated midway through.
i found my mother just about to leave for her daily walk. my father was in the backyard harvesting spiderwort stalks and purslane to eat. he said he'd go with me to target and came inside to get ready.
my father showed me the pantry moth traps that arrived yesterday. the ones set up in the living room and sunroom actually caught some, while the one in the bedroom didn't seem to do anything. they were all hanging flat instead of folded into a tent. the one in the living room hung by a light that attracted the moths in the evening and helped to trap them. these are just for pantry moths; the traps for clothes moths will arrive today.
we went to the watertown target. as we were leaving, a fedex delivery truck driver dropped off two large boxes. they were the medical supplies we'd ordered less than 2 days ago. we also saw my mother on her way home, we waved to her from the car as we droved by.
haven't been there in a while, they did some additional renovations, including expanding their food department and now offering beers and alcohol. we found the garden clearance items at the back of the store, but only a few of them were actually on clearance, the rest were still regular price. of course all the clearance items were already sold out. we left with 4 bottles of 70% alcohol ($3/each), basically emptied their alcohol supply.
back at the house, i got ready to leave. my sister had also stopped by. even though it was now sunny, thick cumulus clouds filled the sky, threatening rainstorms at any moment. i wanted to get home before that happened. i took my new omron series 10 blood pressure monitor (BP7450, $68), a box of bandaids (family pack), a pantry moth trap, and a box of cedar wood for my closets and dresser.
i didn't get back home until after 12:30pm. after placing the various cedar blocks throughout the house, i set up the pantry moth trap still in its foiled packaging. instead of laying it out flat i folded it into a tent. there was already a pantry moth in the empty cupboard and i sort of manually snared it with the trap, so my first moth was actually a cheat. later in the afternoon i did find a second moth lured by the trap; whether it was attracted to the pheromone scent i can't say. throughout the day i found a few more moths in the house after having gone a few days where i didn't see any; those i dispatched manually, no trap required. there's also been a fruit fly infestation in the house on top of the pantry moths; i set up a little trap jar of apple cider vinegar with some dish soap; by evening's end i still hadn't caught any.
for lunch i had some vanilla yogurt mixed with granola.
i received another call from the census department. the agent let me know that training will begin on july 21st, time and location to be determined. it will be 2 hours, you need to bring 2 forms of id or a passport, and must wear a face mask. additional PPE will be provided along with an iphone which will be used for making calls. the rest of the paid training will be done online (for social distancing reasons). i will be receiving a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours.
i tried out the new blood pressure monitor (BPM). my 11+ year old omron HEM-711DLX still works but the LCD has started acting weird, disappearing numbers even after i tried fixing it. i figured i was due for a replacement, and nowadays BPM's have bluetooth and can transfer data into a phone app that can then be exported.
i was surprised it came with 4 AA batteries, i figured i'd have to supply my own. it also came with an AC adapter plug. i thought my old BPM was big; the BP7450 is even bigger if that's even possible. everything seems larger, from the screen to the numbers. the old BPM resembled a large plastic door wedge; this new BPM was like a loaf of pound cake. the BP7450 isn't exactly portable, more of a desktop monitor; maybe that's why it didn't even come with a carrying case. the new monitor not only shows me my current measurement but my last measurement as well. i really like the white digits on black background, feels easier to read.
despite everything seemingly jumbo-sized for the sake of seniors, the patented comfit cuff is smaller than my old BPM. omron also carries a more traditional d-ring cuff but i'm used to the pre-formed comfit cuff. the smaller cuff size fits me just fine but i'd imagine it'd be more difficult for somebody with bigger muscles. the design of the comfit cuff has changed; my old cuff had felt fabric on the inside, i was always worried i'd get it dirty and wouldn't be able to clean it; the inside of the new cuff is made of a water resistant fabric, less likely to get stained and easier to clean.
i downloaded the omron connect app and tried setting up an account (it doesn't connect with the BPM unless you have an account) but it wouldn't let me, something about a server error. i kept trying, finally by late afternoon i managed to create one. there's a bit of a technical fiddling but once i got it set up, transferring data to the phone app was a breeze.
after taking several readings, i was surprised that my blood pressure was elevated again. the phone app really accentuates that fact with warning colors and categorizing my blood pressure as hypertension stages 1 and 2. i thought switching to irbesartan finally kept my numbers down after all these years, though i have been snacking on some very salty foods lately. i thought maybe it was the new monitor but when i measured my blood pressure with my old reader, it was just as high. the app allowed me to take screenshots initially but later blocked me from doing so, not sure what the security risk would be from capturing them on my own phone.
i spent the day waiting for rain, but whenever i do that, rain never comes, and that was true for today. the radar showed it was pouring rain everywhere except for areas around boston. i don't mind since we've already filled up our rain barrels, but with so much cumulus clouds today, i was almost expecting to see something spectacular stormwise. i went out a few times to bring in the trash. i bumped into renee for the first time in a long while; she told me about camping at the cape last week. i wanted to bring up the firewood piled against our house situation but decided to wait for another time.
for dinner i reheated the leftover tofu/rice cakes from yesterday. it wasn't that great but it was edible. the remainder of the week i'm having fool-proof greek salad.
another grey day, the last of june. having gone to bed early last night at 11:30pm, i felt fully recharged this morning, and didn't feel tired at all throughout the day. i warmed up a chicken bake in the oven for lunch. in the early afternoon i walked to star market to pick up a watermelon. i still can't believe that for $3.99 i can buy a 17 lbs. watermelon that would be impossible for me to try growing here in new england as we simply don't have enough hot days. at that price, i'm tempted to buy a watermelon every day.
the threat of rain seemed to have stopped by late afternoon, giving me a window to visit market basket to return some more cans, cash in my stack of unused redemption coupons, and get a few grocery items. i decided to make cheese buldak (with tofu, so buldubu) for dinner and i was missing scallions. i also got greek salad ingredients, the second half of my dinner plans for later this week.
google gave its youtube tv subscribers a surprise today by announcing a price increase from $50 to $65/month beginning in august. they said the reason was due to the rising cost of content and the addition of 8 new CBS viacom channels: BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land, and VH1. other than comedy central, i have no interests in any of those other channels, and even CC i can do without. at $65/month it's now more expensive to have both youtube tv and cable internet versus cable tv and cable internet. we're going to need to reevaluate our tv subscription service. either go back to comcast or switch to something else like hulu + live tv ($55/month). goes without saying nobody is happy about it on the youtubetv subreddit. it doesn't make a lot of sense other than a naked money grab, to increase the price during the coronavirus pandemic when people are spending more time at home, and to simply add 8 measly low value junk channels for a $15/month increase.
i did not get sleepy around 5-6pm, which is typically the time when i start feeling tired. in fact, i didn't even know it was already early evening, the day having gone by relatively fast. i finished watching black rainbow (1989), a movie i'd never heard of with an all-star cast: rosanna arquette, jason robards jr., and tome hulce. arquette plays a medium who's powers to communicate with the dead is used by her father (robards) to make money as they tour the country visiting church groups. when she suddenly starts seeing see the deaths of people who aren't dead yet, it threatens their little racket. hulce plays a skeptical reporter investing them but eventually becomes a believer. most of what i've read about the movie gave it rave reviews, but after watching it, i didn't think it was all that good. it almost felt like a play, with a lot of talking and not a lot of action.
we eked out a bit of production today despite the abysmally grey weather. we didn't set a new production record (that was always going to be difficult with just 30 days in june) but 2020 was the highest production for the month of june. it was also the 4th highest production, beating out august 2018 and 2019 production, but not surpassing july's numbers nor the current monthly highest record of last month. the past few days we just too cloudy to overcome that production hurdle. we did break the 1.2 MWh mark though, with a final production of 1215kWh for the month of june.
my parents' electricity bill actually arrived a few days ago. they made $44.17 worth of credit, for a grand total of $206.99 electricity credit. we need all the credit we can get if we're going to be running our led lights again in the grow room during the winter.
while assembling my dinner ingredients, i discovered the garlic cloves i had in the house had all dried up and turned to moldy dust. it was already past 8pm by that point, i was afraid star market was closed, but they're back to their normal hours now, closing time at 10pm, so i quickly ran across the street to get some garlic.
|cheese buldubu (불 두부)|
14 oz. fried tofu wedges
1/2 cup hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp gochujang paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup karo dark corn syrup
6 garlic, chopped
2 tsp ginger, chopped
1 bowl frozen rice cakes
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
|cut tofu wedges in half. mix rest of ingredients to form paste, mixed with tofu. heat frozen rice cakes in pan with some oil until soften, set aside. heat tofu and hot paste mixture in pan on medium-high for 10 minutes with cover on. add rice cakes, heat 10 more minutes low heat. top with mozzarella cheese. served when cheese melted. top with scallions.|
the dish i was making tonight is based off of maangchi's cheese buldak recipe, except substituting fried tofu wedges for chicken (the inspiration came from a lifehacker article extolling the virtues of tofu). i'd gotten some of the ingredients (fried tofu) back in may but only now was i finally making it. the steps were simple, basically combine all the ingredients, mix with tofu, cook, then add the rice cakes. it already looked delicious while i was mixing the hot sauce, and even more so when i added the tofu. it seemed like it would taste just as great without cooking, eat it cold and spicy. adding the dark corn syrup took it to another level of decadence, i couldn't wait to eat it. but i'd forgotten that the original recipe called for broiling to crisp up the cheese topping, and i don't have any pots that's oven safe (other than the dutch oven, which was simple too tall). so i skipped the broiling part. also while i was cooking it started to look very dry, to the point where i added some water, afraid it'd turn out to be a crispy dried lump of tofu and rice cakes.
the finished buldubu with cheese was just okay. all the pieces were delicious, but after i cooked everything, it lost a lot of the magic of the fresh ingredients. in theory it should've worked, but something went wrong. for one thing, it was too dry. the spicy paste sort of disappeared, though some of the charred pieces of tofu and rice cakes were more delicious because of the caramelized sugar. the rice cake also clumped together. it is a very filling dish, starch from the rice cake combined with the protein from the tofu. it's a recipe worth revisiting, or find a better spicy korean tofu with rice cake recipe.
i couldn't fall asleep again last night, didn't go to bed until after 5am. i woke up at 9:30am, didn't feel all that tired, but now in the evening i can feel myself running out of energy. so i'm going to bed early, wake up tomorrow to finish this blog post.
since my father was going to stop by the cafe anyway to pick up his replacement credit card, i called him this morning asking if i could get a ride to belmont. with unexpected rains expected for much of the day, i didn't want to risk riding and getting caught in a sudden downpour. i also had things to bring to belmont, including a watermelon i bought on friday and the craftsman collapsing lawn chair i picked up. plus, i would be able to help him pick up the new mattress from fresh pond that my parents purchased yesterday.
my father came by around 10am. after loading up the car, we went to fresh pond, navigating the new "local only" pedestrian pathway designation of garden street. since cars are still allowed on the street, pedestrians for the most part are still reluctant to walk on the road instead of the sidewalk. it's one of those, "good in theory, bad in practice" ideas. i hope the city of cambridge get rid of it soon. now that the state is slowly reopening, people don't need more barriers to get to where they want to go.
when i got back home i found a letter addressed to me, hand written in cursive. turns out it was a card from maureen, along with a packet of toothache plant seeds. she'd asked for my address a week ago, i thought it was because she was updating her contact list, but turns out she was sending out cards. there were also some nice orchid forever stamps.