today marked the official end of my predict 2 study. first thing i did when i went to the bathroom this morning was to take off the fitness tracker then remove the blood glucose sensor. the sensor was on tight, even after i peeled off the fabric bandaid, it was still stuck on my arm. i ended up having to pry off the poker chip sized device. there was a red spot where the filament probe went under my skin. i had a chance to see the actual filament, which was a soft needle about the thickness of a chunky animal hair. closer inspection revealed a tiny sensor on the probe where it must've been reading the blood sugar level. as for the tiny puck itself, there was a round circuit board inside with some kind of RFID transmitter and a small watch battery to power it.
it was a little weird getting used to not having to log everything i ate. you mean i can eat whatever i want whenever, and not have to weigh every single ingredient? it's funny how briefly taking away something you've always taken for granted makes you better appreciate it when you have it back. it was also a little weird not having the freestyle libre sensor attached to my arm that i can scan whenever i want to check my blood sugar level. i was commenting to one of the study nutritionists that it was kind of like a fuel gauge for the body, though it only measured blood glucose. it'd be great if in the near future they had a similar continuous monitoring system for a whole host of other blood test results like metabolic and lipid panels.
since i was returning the sensors, i downloaded as much data as possible. the freestyle libre sensor has a macos app that can interface with the reader, but when i downloaded it last week, i wasn't able to access the data unless i created an account, so i didn't bother. instead, i just took screenshots of each of the days. when i plugged in the axivity fitness to my computer, it mounted a partition that had a single CWA-DATA.CWA. i made a copy, but i doubt i can use it. axivity does have a downloaded application to read CWA files but it's for PC only.
the first lunch i ate post-study was just a simple ham and egg english muffin sandwich with some pesto along with a cup of fruit juice and a banana. today was a grey and rainy day, a good day to be inside. i forgot what day it was, kept thinking it was monday. the highlight of the afternoon was fox network's broadcast of super bowl LI, the greatest patriots comeback of all times, down by 28-3 late in the 3rd quarter, new england ends up coming back to tie the game then win it in overtime. they should have a channel where 24/7 they just broadcast time game, i would have it on all the time. it reminds me another great comeback, the 2004 american league championship series between the red sox and yankees. boston down 0-3 in the series, would come back to tie it and then win the 7th game to go to the world series and win it after an 86 years drought. it's hard to decide which one is the greatest comeback. probably the sox victory, since they broke the curse, and against our division rival. anyway, around 4:30pm the local broadcast was threatening to cut away in order to show trump's coronavirus briefing at 5pm. don't you dare cut away fox! i think all of new england would've collectively rebelled had that happened. fortunately whoever was in charge of programming did the right thing and let the game play to the end. sports is a religious around here, it is sacred, and you can not prematurely stop a rebroadcast of a classic.
kevin was a little crazy today. first, the bathroom floor was all wet this morning, fortunately it was just water from the sink, but i warned kevin about trying to keep the splashing to a minimum. then he was vacuuming his room again, this time extending his reach to the kitchen and bathroom, followed by going around the house polishing all the doorknobs with alcohol. i yelled at him when i saw he had his window open again (40's today), and told him in the future to not put the container from the rice cooker in the fridge since dried rice is harder to clean and when he does that it means other people (me) can't use the rice cooker. then in the evening he thought about making a supermarket run, he only seems to go when the weather is bad thinking that there will be less people. in the end he decided against it.
the massachusetts coronavirus count for today is 4,955 cases and 48 deaths. the US cases is up to 141K, nearly double that of china though death count still less (but not for long). from the confines of home it's hard to get a sense of these numbers, but if you're a hospital emergency care worker, it must feel like the end of the world. trump backed away from his insane insistence that the pandemic will be over by easter, now extending the social distancing guidelines to the end of april.
for dinner i made some more pita bread pizzas, using up the rest of my anchovies.
i woke up at 10:30am after having gone to bed at 1:30am. 1:30am is late for me these days, given the lack of late night entertainment options. i could've and should've woke up earlier, but it's like, what's the point? not like i have a scheduled appointment. there's nothing to prevent me from sleeping until noontime if i wanted to. just that i feel like a bum when i sleep too late, and the fact that kevin is here all the time i don't want him judging me.
kevin's bedroom door was opened this morning and all the lights were turned off. could the impossible actually happen? did he go outside like a normal human being? but he could also be in the bathroom, and minutes later i heard the toilet flushing. he told me he was going to take a shower, which meant if i wanted to use the bathroom i should use it now, but i wasn't about to enter the facility so soon after he vacated, i'm not an animal, and i don't want to breath in another person's stink.
while kevin was taking his shower, i ate a banana for breakfast. i was then in the kitchen punching holes in the bottom of the plastic cups i got from the dollar store yesterday. these i would take to belmont to be used as pots for my seeds.
when kevin was finally finished that's when i used the bathroom. the carpet was wet but not as bad as before. the backsplash countertop behind the tub was completely soaked, i took a few minutes to wipe everything down with a sponge before taking a shower.
i left a bit before noontime, to my parents' place. i know earlier in the week i was debating if i should go or not, but i have a few things i needed to do there, and anything to get out of the house and away from kevin.
my sister messaged me in the late morning, said her upstairs tenants were complaining that the internet was becoming intermittent again. i was able to log into the router and see the web cams just fine, but when i checked again, i couldn't get in. so apparently the modem reset was just a temporary fix
, whatever was interrupting the service was back again. it can be one of two things: either the modem needs replacing (SB6141) or the wires have to be replaced (squirrel damage). replacing the modem was the easier fix, something we could do on our own without involving comcast. besides, the symptom seems like a modem issue, i vaguely remember something similar happening at my parents' cafe before i ended up replacing the modem as well
using the company card, i bought an arris SB6190 32x8 surfboard cable modem from the watertown bestbuy for $90. bestbuy is doing curbside pickup service now which i think is pretty genius. i sent my sister the info so she could pick it up after she was done babysitting at 1pm.
i had a banana for breakfast and a chicken bake for lunch. around 1:30pm when i saw my sister was already in belmont picking up hailey, i biked down to her place to install the new modem. i ended up waiting another half hour before she finally came home. when i initially arrived the modem was working fine. but moments later it went down and i was there to witness it. the lights on the modem were still normal, there was just no internet access. when the new modem arrived i hooked it up. i had my laptop plugged directly into the ethernet port, and at first nothing was happening, my network setting said either the ethernet cable was unplugged or nothing was happening on the other end (DHCP wise). it was that point i called up comcast. the automated voice said the wait time would be 20+ minutes. while i was on hold, the lights on the modem reset again, and something must've happened, because now the ethernet port was working. not only was it working, but it was redirecting me to a self-activation service for new cablemodems. i followed the steps and basically waited. after a few minutes, i tried browsing to a different webpage and sure enough, it loaded up fine. i hung up on comcast.
with the modem working, i connected it to the wireless router. after a few minutes the network was back up. there seemed to be some growing pains though, as speedtests were kind of hit or miss, sometimes it'd show 100+ Mbps download speed, other times it'd drop into the single digits. that too me seemed more like cablewire issues. though on my android app it didn't give me the option, using my sister's apple app for the router asked me if i wanted to update the firmware. i said yes, it took a few minutes, didn't even lose internet connection. at this point we can only wait and see. test drive the new modem, see if it breaks. if it does, it means it's wire issue and i need to call comcast to set up an appointment. otherwise, we should be good to go.
i returned home by 3pm. i walked down to the somerville walgreens to pick up my new prescription of amlodipine (5mg) and a flonase. i haven't been to any stores since last tuesday, i was curious how the retail landscape has changed since 10 days ago. the store was pretty empty. nothing really changed at the pharmacy, except there was a placard a certain distance apart telling customers to wait behind. i picked up my items without problems, though i was surprised they charged me for the flonase ($2.74), i used to be able to get it for free. i was thinking about getting some cough drops but none were on sale and i still had some supplies at home.
next stop was the dollar tree, to get some plastic cups to grow my vegetable seeds. this was the one place my parents didn't want me to go, and i told my sister i was going before i left, and she called my mother who in turn called me to scold me for going. the dollar store was pretty empty as well. because the weather was so nice today (i was walking in just a t-shirt), they propped open the entrance to aerate the store, with the thinking that fresh air would somehow kill any possible coronavirus exposure. the open door was what allowed me to see that they were open, otherwise i thought they were closed. there were a few customers, some were there for quick stops, while a few others seemed very casual with their shopping, slowly browsing the aisles. i grabbed 6 packages of plastic cups, and while i was waiting in line, also a package of dollar store brand cough drops. there were tape markers on the floor in the check out lines, alerting people to stand how far apart. the woman ahead of me seemed oblivious to these rules however, and was crowding the cashier behind another paying customer. she wasn't buying anything but asked the cashier lady a question. the cashier was a real townie lady, husky voice and all, to her credit she didn't just snap. apparently the woman was asking if they carried any surgical gloves. "no, we don't have anything that has to do with coronavirus."
a package for kevin was supposed to arrive on wednesday, one that required a signature, but because i wasn't home at the time, nobody heard the mailman. it was from his parents in china who sent him some anti-coronavirus chinese medicine. i only realized this when i saw the pink missed delivery slip. so yesterday we managed to catch the mailman who told us he left the package at the post office. i told kevin to go get it, but he's petrified of going outside, and kept trying to figure out a way for the USPS to redeliver his package. i took pity on him - he does have coronavirus PTSD from the 2003 SARS epidemic - and volunteered to run down to the post office and get his package for him. i will make that sacrifice! because my roommate is too chickenshit to go outside!
i biked down to the porter square post office. fortunately they weren't very busy, just two people ahead of me in line, and 2 clerks on duty. there were yellow signs taped to the floor alerting customers how far apart (6ft) they should be standing to prevent coronavirus spread. the credit card reader we set on tables extending a safe distance from the counter. the clerks all wore gloves (but no masks). i gave one of them the pink slip and she took a while trying to track it down. i think she was looking for a box when it fact it was just in a heavy duty china postal tyvek mailing envelope. there was also some confusion over the name, since it was in kevin's name, not mine. the other clerk said he had to sign the slip, but when they looked at my id and saw it was the same address, the clerk said it was okay to give it to me.
another good day of production. tomorrow looks to be sunny as well, then cloudy and rainy for the remainder of the month, so we need all the electricity we can if we want to beat last year's record, which looks more unlikely now given the weather forecast.
i didn't start making dinner until after 8:20pm. i'd bought a box of frozen innovasian cuisine orange chicken breast weeks ago, thought tonight would be a good night to try it, trying to eat as much different foods as possible on this 2nd to last day of the predict 2 study. i prepared a cup of white rice in the cooker and once that was done cooking, i started on the orange chicken. i thought there was going to be a lot, but the box itself was bigger than the content inside, which was half breaded chicken breast and half frozen orange sauce. i warmed up in the sauce in hot water while i was frying the chicken. later i poured the sauce in with the chicken. portion-wise, it was probably for 2 servings at least, but i ended up eating the whole thing, including a big bowl of rice. it didn't taste like any orange chicken i know, the chicken was sort of bland, the sauce was more orange-colored syrup than anything orange-tasting.
i had some granola with yogurt for breakfast this morning, followed by another egg-ham-avocado bagel sandwich for lunch. the bagel sandwich was good, but not as good as yesterday, maybe lost that element of surprise. later when i checked the blood glucose monitor, there wasn't as much a sustained graph line in the "normal" blue region as there was yesterday, not sure why that is when i'm basically eating the same thing. i saved the avocado seed, put it in a water pot hoping it might germinate.
i didn't see kevin all day, thought maybe he was mad at me, stayed in his bedroom with the door closed. he finally came out in the afternoon around 4pm, hoping to catch the mailman redelivering his signature-required package. when he finally came around 4:30pm, kevin was waiting behind the door, like the package would magically transport inside. that's not how you do it dum dum! as the mailman left, i chased him down outside with the delivery slip to ask if he had the package. he said it left it at the post office, and that i could pick it up there.
kevin finally managed to pay his rent via paypal, once he got his text messaging working. it might take a day or two, but this would spare his from having to visit the bank, i know how traumatic it is for him to be outside, with his burgeoning agoraphobia on top of his germophobia. he's too young to be scared all the time.
speaking of scared, soon after i spoke with the mailman, a UPS van pulled up to the house and dropped off a large box on the doorstep. sensing it was heavy, i told kevin about the delivery so he could bring it inside and i wouldn't have to hurt my back. turns out it was 30 lbs. worth of brown rice, 6 bags each of 5 lbs. jasmine brown rice from thailand he ordered off of amazon. one of the bags was ripped and i helped him funnel this rice into an old rice bag. so on top of the 40 lbs. boxes of rice he already has, he's adding another 30 lbs. on top of that. not to mention the 15 lbs. of potatoes, or the large box of oatmeal. i didn't want to break the bad news to him that brown rice only keeps 6-8 months (rice white on the other hand? can be kept indefinitely), and i don't know if he's going to be able to eat 70 lbs. worth of brown rice before it all goes bad.
having said that, this morning he cooked some brown rice in my rice cooker. ever since he used the rice cooker for the first time earlier this week, he finally realized it's the much easier option when cooking rice. i've told him about it for months now, but he always cooks his rice on the stove, which makes a big mess because it always overflows and rice water gets everywhere, scorching and staining everything. even when i expressed my annoyance, he didn't bother to change, and eventually i gave up. what i don't like is the fact that he left the rice in the cooker to heat for hours, instead of eating it right away. that's a waste of perfectly good electricity. he also leaves the rice in the cooker container, like that's his personal cooker and nobody else can use it. finally, running the rice cooker is like having a diffuser in the house, except instead of the scent of fragrant essential oils, the whole house smells like rice. i have that to look forward to as he sets some kind of world record in brown rice eating.
today was supposed to be my annual physical, but it was re-scheduled 10 days ago, when mass general hospital started cutting off on all non-essential appointments, to keep as many people away from MGH as possible. my physical got rescheduled to mid-july, while the time i was supposed to get an appointment now became a phone call from my doctor. a nurse called me earlier this morning, i thought it was either to remind me or possibly cancel the call, but she asked if i could take the call earlier at 1pm instead of the 4:30pm appointment time, i said sure, wasn't doing anything except being trapped at home.
when my doctor called me at 1pm, at first we had some technical issues, as i could hear him just fine but he could barely hear me at all. after a few aborted attempts at clarity inside the house, i ended up standing outside on the sidewalk to get good reception. we just a chat, not much he can do remotely, asked me how i felt health-wise over the past year, went over the drugs i was currently taking, asked about my blood pressure. i told him it was on the high side, averaging 130/90 most of the time, i rarely see a perfect 120/80. he ended up increasing my amlodipine dosage from 2.5mg to 5mg. he wrote in a prescription for flonase. finally, he sent out an order for lab tests, but i had the option of either coming into MGH (which he recommended against) or do it at the waltham MGH branch, across the street from the costco. since talking makes me cough, i ended up coughing a few times, and some neighbors saw me, so they probably think i have coronavirus now.
before the call was over, i asked my doctor how he was doing, being on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. he paused, then told me "in full disclosure" that he was actually working from home because he might've contracted the coronavirus. his symptoms began with a sore throat the likes of which he'd never experienced before, followed by a few days of body aches. he didn't have a fever, but started not being able to taste anything when he ate. finally he got tested on monday (easy to get when you're a doctor working at MGH) and he was supposed to get his results today. he didn't know how he got it, though there's been a few outbreaks at the hospital. he was also speaking with a neighbor who had coronavirus symptoms, maybe he got it from him.
so my doctor might be the coronavirus! though out of all the people i know, he's probably the highest risk since he's an MGH doctor.
i was planning on going to market basket today. why market basket? well, it's where i normally go, despite the always crowded nature of the place. plus, i wanted to see what it was like, one of the few places remaining where people can gather and potentially the coronavirus. when i called my parents to ask them if they needed anything, they flipped out, said it was dangerous, and eventually talked me out of it. i still have food in the house for weeks, but i was just looking for some variety. i could always go to the star market across the street if i really needed to, which seems to be always empty, but where's the fun in that?
instead i left the house around 3pm to take a 35 minute walk around the hills of somerville. the weather was nice, blue sky, sunny, temperature in the 50's. a lot of other people were out walking or jogging, i even saw some parents with children using the playgrounds, even though they've been off-limit for a while now. the weird thing is whenever somebody walked by me, i'd unconsciously hold my breath, like perhaps by breathing in the same air i could contract their virus. this is the new normal now i suppose. at one point i saw an elderly couple admire a flowering cherry tree. when i turned around to let them know it was an okame cherry, i saw the woman visibly lurch backwards in order to keep her distance from me. i wasn't mad, it's just everyone's a little on edge right now, every person you meet could potentially be a coronavirus carrier. it's made me realize how close people normally stand next to each other when they talk. you start missing the little things.
today was a good production day, didn't set the record but it was close, despite some cloudiness in the afternoon.
today the US surpassed china in the total number of coronavirus cases. i thought the US would first jump over italy before overshadowing china, didn't realize how quickly things escalated. we're only just starting. kevin told me he thinks the US will hit the million mark when this is all over. i don't believe the china numbers are accurate - there's been reports of coverups of initial cases - but even with accurate china numbers, the US would still surpass china eventually, since it wasn't testing for weeks while the coronavirus was already spreading through the population.
for dinner, i reheated two slices of quiche. i still have two slices left, but i'm all quiched out at the moment, i'll probably put them in the freezer and eat them so other time later in the future. i was so full afterwards, i went without dessert.
is it wednesday? the days sort of blend into one another, sometimes it seems like time is going fast, other times it seems like it's going slow. there's no temptation to go outside as it's cloudy and cold. by the time i woke up around 9am this morning, kevin was already done with his noisy breakfast (he woke up at 8:30am judging from the sounds). this at least is a good thing because the first thing i see in the morning shouldn't be him. i didn't take my thiazide last night so i didn't wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom like i've been doing for the past few nights.
i had a weird dream, about working in an office and suddenly half the people are gone, away at an important meeting, leaving just the new hires behind. in this dream i should be in the meeting as well but they forgot to let me know. signs look dire as only the veteran employees were called to this meeting, and my gut tells me it's to discuss the future of the company, which might be closing. is it coronavirus-related? i don't remember. but when the meeting is over, one of the meeting attendant tells me i'll be compensate for the time i've worked for the company.
in the age of coronavirus, seems like everyone is a little paranoid when it comes to the slightest infection symptoms. for me, i have a slight cough that comes most often after i eat something, and it's not so much a persistent cough as it is a throat clearing. a simple cough drop takes care of it (i go through about 4 a day). my nose also gets a little runny on occasions, most often when i just wake up, or after meals, and usually one blow of the kleenex is all i need. earlier today when i was in the bathroom i felt a slight discomfort in my throat, but it disappeared soon afterwards. last night something weird happened, my sinuses got really clear, like the kind of clarity you get when you're on decongestants or maybe eating something minty. it was kind of thrilling, but today my sinuses went back to its usual muffled state.
i try to take care of myself. i wash my hands whenever i've been outside, and a few times during the day when i'm indoors too. i drink plenty of water, so much so that i go to the bathroom nearly every hour. i go to bed early, as getting a good night's rest is the best thing for the immune system. there's no reason to stay up late anyway, now that with all the late night talk shows are on indefinite hiatus. not even the evening news is worth staying up for, since it's mostly coronavirus coverage, as if nothing is happening locally anymore, apart from the weather and the latest brady news. i can be in bed as early as 9pm, just a few hours after dinner. of course i'm not sleeping right away, either watching a movie stream, surfing the web, or reading a book. the one i'm reading now is influenza: the hundred year hunt to cure the deadliest disease in history by jeremy brown (published 2018). it's straight up deja vu, everything the book describes is happening now, like a coronavirus playbook about a pandemic that happened a century ago.
i spent some time calling comcast today. first to get a flex box for my parents' place, which was supposed to arrive last week, but apparently never shipped. i then called again to see if i could lower the internet bill at my sister's place. they didn't seem to have the 100Mbps $60/month deal anymore, but they did have the 300Mbps $70/month deal with a 2-year contract and price guarantee of 3 years. i almost agreed ($8/month cheaper than what we pay now) but i think i can call again and try to find an operator who can give me the $60/month deal.
i had a chobani blueberry yogurt for breakfast. typically i don't eat breakfast, but just to give the predict 2 study more data points to play with, i'm doing breakfast as well until the weekend. this is the first day with no set meals, i can finally eat whatever i want, morning until night, just have to log everything.
kevin started making his lunch around 11:30am, i let him finish before i started my lunch. he was stirfrying some vegetables, the sounds of sizzling oil making me nervous. but it wasn't smoky and he used the large flat-bottom wok (he learned about this piece of kitchen just last week) so the splatter wasn't going anywhere. he finally finished cooking by 12:30pm.
instead of an english muffin i upgraded to an everything bagel sandwich for lunch. same ingredients as last time - fried egg, virginia ham - but instead of pesto, i used half an avocado, then drizzled sriracha sauce over everything. it was a decadent sandwich, so good it felt like store-bought, one of the best homemade things i've eaten since the coronavirus quarantine.
i got in touch with john, who told me he and his family were shacked up in the hamptons, riding out the coronavirus. yesterday i chatted briefly with frances, who told me the malls were still open in norway. i got in touch with eliza in paris, still no word back yet.
the rest of the afternoon kevin did his thing, i did mine. he stayed in his room, sometimes with the door closed, sometimes with the door open. i stayed in the living room, parked in my deteriorating nearly 2-decade old ikea tullsta tube chair. actually, coronavirus quarantine is a lot like how i usually go about my day, except i'm less incline to go outside, and there's the constant background stress of knowing someone is home with me all the time. plus, there's the added strain of the predict 2 study, needing to log all my foods, spacing out my meals and snacks at least 2 hours apart, and generally not being able to eat whatever i want whenever. by sunday it'll all be over though, saturday is the last day of the study. only other thing i need to do is visit the arlington question diagnostics lab and get my blood drawn.
i called my parents when i saw the expensive moutai had been opened in the dining room. apparently my father in a fit of anger when my mother said he couldn't have anymore wine tore open the 30+ year old moutai to drink. my mother also showed me the white gardenia flower that'd bloomed yesterday. currently in the living room, she said it was very fragrant.
in the afternoon i made a fruit smoothie to see how my body would react. i learned that drinking a freezing cold beverage makes me cough. after i finished the smoothie, i quickly made myself some tea.
a big box arrived on the doorstep, had to be kevin's. not only was it big but heavy too, and i figured maybe he ordered more bags of rice in addition to the 40 lbs. he already has. but turns out it was 20 lbs. worth of dehydrated vegetables. when told me "dried vegetables" i was thinking something more in the lines of pickled vegetables, not actually dehydrated. it reminded me of fish flakes, or animal feed, or something you'd line the bottom of a gerbil cage.
while looking at my aquarium, i noticed i now only have 4 tetras. i thought i had 5 yesterday, maybe i accidentally killed one during the water change yesterday. i got these fish september 2017, so they're just 2-1/2 years old. that may seem like a long time but tetras have surprising longevity, with a life span of a decade. originally i bought 11, but their numbers have dwindled since then. once all the fish are gone, i might retire the fish tank for good.
something happened today around the evening news. ever since last week, when trump has been giving his daily coronavirus briefings, all the networks carry it. he does it right during the evening news - whether that's strategic or just when everyone's available - and serves up an hour of his usual pontifications and lies, flanked by bored experts who have no reason to be there and not observing the safe social distancing lengths at all. these are trump's new rallies now that he can no longer hold his usual big crowd rallies. but tonight our local WCVB channel 5 decided not to carry the briefing, but instead broadcast the regular news instead, which is more important locally anyway. they did move their broadcast to their sister station channel 5.2. i expect more local channels to do the same, as people start getting bored with these briefings, or just don't want to watch trump kabuki theater hour.
i started making dinner around 6pm: quiche! i first logged in all the ingredients before i did anything, then put the frozen spinach in the microwave to thaw (i forgot to thaw it this morning) as well as the ready made pie crust. kevin - though he had his dinner ready from when he made his lunch - made dinner again. he was trying to test out his dehydrated vegetables, cooked 2 cups of the stuff along with some pasta. i sampled the hydrated vegetables, it actually wasn't that bad, just a bit bland, and more on the sweet side of things because of the hydrated carrots. he kept adding different sauces into the pot until he had something with some flavors.
|spinach ham quiche|
flour (coating dish)
8oz. diced ham
10 oz. frozen spinach
1/4 tsp nutmeg
15 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. mozzarella
3 oz. parmesan
|thaw frozen spinach in the morning. squeeze out as much liquids as possible from the thawed spinach. sauté onion and ham, then add spinach. mix cheeses with eggs. add spinach mixture, stirring to combine. baked 40 minutes at 350°F. let sit 20 minutes before serving (cooling solidifies filling, otherwise very runny).|
i'd forgotten how long a quiche actually takes to make, completely forgot about the bake time, and then the wait time to allow the cheese pie to cool down. i didn't eat until almost 9pm, and by then i was so hungry, anything would've been good.
earlier in the evening kevin said he was going to go to the bank. "if you're thinking about getting cash to pay the rent, we could try paypal if you want," i told him. i then helped him set up his paypal account. he tried using a debit card, but the fee was over $20 for the transfer. i told him to use his actual bank account instead. but that's when i realized if he wired me money via paypal, he'd see my paypal email, which would reveal the existence of this here website. i tried to talk him out of it, said maybe a check would be better, but he wanted to try paypal. so i temporarily disabled my weblog and changed my paypal e-mail address. when he tried to link his bank account to paypal, his bank sent him a verification text message but he couldn't receive it. i told him he could also write me a check. the concept of checks is completely foreign in china, and when he created his checking account and they asked him if he wanted checks, he said no. so we're back to square one; he said tomorrow he might go down to harvard square and get the money from the bank.
later in the evening i heard repeatedly thumping sounds coming from kevin's bedroom, as he was exercising. i was going to say something (like: "don't smash your weights into my walls") but decided it wasn't worth the effort. can't fight every battle, can't win every fight.
i saw the news this morning: the tokyo summer olympic games has been postponed, most likely until next year, due to the coronavirus. my friend alex is doing IT for the olympics, i tried getting in touch with him but he didn't respond. maybe everyone at the olympic IT committee has been going insane over the past few weeks. given what he told me about how behind their whole IT security is, having another year to get it right might actually be a good thing. but there's budget consideration, will they be able to keep the current staff, or will they have to let everyone go?
today was the last set meal of the predict 2 study: downing what they've been calling "the glucose drink," a super high sugar elixir designed to spike my blood sugar level so they could see how my body reacts. i was curious to see just how sweet it was. would it be like drinking syrup water? i fished the bottle of the fridge and drank the whole thing in a quick gulp. it tasted a lot like soda, just slightly sweeter than usual, with a citrus taste and slight carbonation. it actually wasn't too bad.
i then had to fast for 3 hours. this was a strict fast, besides no strenuous activities whatsoever, i also couldn't drink anything but plain water.
i was already preparing my lunch before my fast was even over, nice to be able to eat a normal lunch for a change. i was making my chicken sausage oatmeal, defrosted a frozen sausage overnight. unlike the refrigerated sausages i normally get which are already pre-cooked, these frozen ones (same brand) were actually raw. my trusty foreman grille made short work of cooking the sausage once i sliced it in half length-wise.
while i was making my lunch kevin, came out of his bedroom to tell me that two people from the harvard-smithsonian center for astrophysics had tested positive for the coronavirus. it sort of validated everything he's done since then, not working from the office, hoarding a supply of food, wearing a mask and gloves whenever (rarely) he steps foot outside, spraying everything inside the house with alcohol. i asked for details, he said one of them was possibly a professor, the other a student, none were chinese, he didn't know either of them. later, he shouted something from his closed bedroom door. i asked him to repeat what he said, he said they weren't affiliated with CfA, they were in fact the president of harvard and his wife that had tested positive, a news i'd already heard earlier. so a lot of rumors being spread, and as of yet no vindication for kevin's coronavirus readiness.
today was a nice day and i really wanted to go outside, maybe the mt.auburn cemetery to take some photos of early spring flowers. but today was also the first day of the state's stay-at-home advisory. in the end i decided to follow the rules. besides, there were some things i needed to do around the house anyway.
first project was to turn the two cabbages i bought weeks ago into sauerkraut. the leaves on the bottom were starting to turn yellow and brown, i had to use use up the cabbages before they went bad. i cut the cabbages into quarters, removed the cores, before hand slicing them as thin as possible. i ended up with 5.13 lbs. of sliced cabbage, which i had to transfer from the punch bowl into a larger stainless steel mixing bowl. using the ratio of 1 tbsp of salt to 1.75 lbs. of cabbage (or 800g), i ended up sprinkling 3 tbsp of kosher salt onto the cabbage. recipe also called for caraway seeds, i barely had a tablespoon left, so i sprinkled everything into the mix.
i was looking for the proper size containers to hold my sauerkraut. i have a bunch of wide-mouth quart size jars but i only have 2 lids with fermenting airlocks so i can only really do 2 jars, and all the sauerkraut wouldn't be able to fit. i do have old jars of sauerkraut in the fridge that i ended up throwing out just so i could reuse the jar. one was a quart size, the other was a half gallon, a real fermentation workhorse. the old sauerkraut were brown and rather dry looking. one of them was a jar of sichuan paocai inspired sauerkraut i made. all of that would be going to the compost bin.
after mixing the sauerkraut and letting it reduce for an hour, it was time for jarring. i filled the smaller quart size jar first, mashing the sauerkraut with every layer so i could fit as much as possible and to squeeze out the cabbage juices. i filled it nearly to the top before stopping. the half gallon jar was easier to work with, i managed to fill that up to 3/5th before i ran out of cabbage. i then used leftover cabbage leaves as a cover (to prevent shredded sauerkraut from floating to the surface) before putting on the airlock lids. with that i was done, just have to wait 10+ days or so for the sauerkraut to properly ferment. the quart jar is so full i'm afraid the liquids are going to come out of the airlock, not too much i can do about that except to shake it every day to allow the excess gases to escape. the half gallon jar there's no danger of overflow, there's plenty of head space.
my second project was to finally clean the aquarium. i haven't cleaned it since february 11th, more than a month ago. the algae level wasn't too bad, not on the glass at least, since i cleaned it with the magic eraser last time. there was a clump of hair algae on the driftwood, and the water level had reduced by about an inch, so it was more about refilling the water. it took about an hour to clean, i also changed out the activated carbon.
for dinner i made pita bread pizza again, this time with larger pita breads and a lower oven temperature so i wouldn't scorch the pizza (last time i used broil, too hot). for toppings i cut up some olives and put some anchovies. i love anchovies but only on pizzas. i baked them at 400°F for 7 minutes. the pita bread was still soft (like pita), not like the crispier flat-bread crust of last time. i think i put too much tomato sauce because it made the pizza a little soggy; next time just a tiny bit of sauce. it was filling dinner nonetheless.
it's been a full week since kevin has been "working" from home. how great would it have been if he'd left for china like he originally wanted! it's stressful enough normally when a roommate is living here, and that's when they go to work everyday. so imagine a roommate who never leaves the house, mixed with a coronavirus quarantine, plus his palpable germophobia, and it makes me yearn for the halcyon days of single living. what a great time i'd be having with the quarantine if i didn't have a roommate! i can cough whenever i want, not having to worry about sequestering utensils and dishes, or hear the sounds of doorknobs being polished with rubbing alcohol. originally kevin was supposed to move out in april, when those pair of harvard undergraduates vacate their bedroom at my grand uncle's apartment. but then kevin told me they weren't leaving until may. however, those plans were made before the coronavirus pandemic. my secret hope is they decide to return to china early (especially if cases begin to increase exponentially), thereby vacating the apartment so kevin can move in there and out of my place.
as scheduled, i woke up at 6am. i didn't even have a set breakfast waiting, but instead i was supposed to fast for 4 hours then eat my set lunch. i wasn't even allowed to go back to sleep, but had to stay awake in the cold living room, waiting for my lunch. i wasn't going to turn on the heat so instead i grabbed the fleece throw and wrapped myself in it as i surfed the web on my macbook pro. kevin slept until 8am, at which point he woke up to use the bathroom and eat breakfast before starting his day. i didn't see him, the less i do the better. the heat finally turned on at 8:30am.
kevin asked me today if i had a handheld mirror. i'm honored to know he thinks i might have everything under the sun, but sometimes he asks for the strangest things. so when i asked him why he needed a hand-held mirror, he said it was so he could cut his own hair. then he asked if i had special hair cutting scissors. why he needed a haircut was beyond me, he just had one back in february. and it wasn't like he was meeting anyone, not while he's staying home waiting out the coronavirus. i told him to take out the bathroom carpet before he started cutting, he didn't even think of that. i also told him to block the heating grate, so hair wouldn't fall into the vent.
kevin was in the bathroom for an awful long time, nearly an hour. was he cutting his hair or also manscaping? i had to use the bathroom by that point and gently asked if he was done yet. he came out minutes later and i almost wanted to punch him in the face. i thought he was going for a gentle trim, but ended up cutting off most of his hair. there was hair everywhere: all over the floor, on the nightstand, in the sink, on the toilet sink cover, there wasn't any place where there wasn't hair. i couldn't even walk to the toilet without getting hair all over my feet. i told him i'd wait until he cleaned up. he asked if he could vacuum up the hair. i told him no, if he did that, there would be hair in the vacuum forever. i could see him brain starting to malfunction because he couldn't think of any other way to clean up the hair. i saved him by digging out my dustpan and broom from under the kitchen sink. before he started cleaning though, i couldn't wait any longer, hopping across a floor covered in hair like they were land mines until i reach the toilet. to his credit, he did clean up the hair, but later when i was in the bathroom i still found hair in some places.
at 10am i finally had my lunch, the last of my muffins, along with some black tea. after a 2 hour fast so there was enough time for the blood glucose sensor to get an accurate read of how my body was reacting to the food, i was finally free to do whatever i want. i grabbed the blood tests from the fridge, packaged into them the padded envelope with the next-day-delivery mailing label, and biked down to the porter square post office to drop it off in the mailbox. i could've just used the mailbox around the corner, but i don't it, felt it'd get there a lot sooner if i went to the post office directly.
coming back, i stopped to admire some of the flowering trees along the beacon street bike path. i noticed some flowering cherries. these were not the okame i spotted yesterday, but rather Prunus subhirtella 'autumnalis' which have pale pink flowers. apparently they can also flower during the fall, and i vaguely recall seeing some flowers last autumn, though i can't find my notes about it. elsewhere, i saw some red flowers which are of of the
sugar red maples. these were growing on private property so they didn't have any id tags but i remember these trees from their fall foliage. the flowers i saw were male flowers.
back at home i made my second lunch, as the 10am vanilla-flavored muffins was enough to satisfy my hunger. at the very least i needed something hot, preferably with some proteins. i ended up making one of my english muffin sandwiches, with a butter-fried egg, a few slices of virginia ham, and some pesto spread.
the rest of the afternoon was spent in quiet isolation, kevin behind the door of his bedroom, me in the living room. i was still wrapped in the fleece throw, sipping my hot tea, trying to find something to watch on my laptop. i wasn't coughing, but i don't know whether it's because i'm afraid to cough at home for fear of freaking kevin out, or maybe because i don't talk at much at home, i have less opportunities for coughing. 2 hours after my second lunch, i measured out some red seedless grapes as a snack.
it also began to snow in the mid-afternoon, first some light flurries, which turned into big flakes by evening. none of it would stick though, as it was supposed to rain for much of the night.
i felt tired (and frankly bored) enough that i went to my bedroom around 4pm and crawled into bed to take a nap. i woke up around 6pm to what sounded like a woman talking. i peeked out the window, thinking it was my unfriendly indian neighbor, but i saw nobody. when i stepped out of my bedroom, i was surprised to see a chinese girl standing in my kitchen in a big furry hooded jacket. turns out it was kevin's coworker friend; he must've thought i went out so he invited her over. she came by to pick up some more amazon orders and to pay kevin the amount. i retreated to the living room, turning on the news. few minutes later they left, both of them decked out in surgical gloves and masks. i asked kevin if he was going out long, he said he'd be right back, mumbled something about taking his friend home.
as soon as they left, i went to the bathroom. finally i had some privacy, i could use the toilet in peace and then take a shower, maybe get dinner started before kevin got back. i figured i had 20 minutes, because that was how long the last time kevin was gone before returning home. he ended up not coming back until more than an hour later, my frozen lasagna nearly finished baking in the oven by that point. turns out they just to star market, but because american supermarkets are still new to them, they took an hour browsing. even when i'm with my parents making a supply run, i don't think we've ever been in a supermarket for that long. "you picked the worst day to go," i told him, because by that point there was a steady cold rain outside. he revealed that they in fact picked this particular day, thinking the poor weather would drive people away from the supermarket. little did they know, which governor baker's stay-at-home advisory and closing of all nonessential businesses in massachusetts, that there was a new round of panic buying. in fact, star market was super busy, as kevin counted as many as 30 customers.
nothing like some hot pasta to recharge the system, i felt satiated and energized afterwards.
i woke up at 6am this morning to get an early start on all my predict 2 study tasks so i could be finished by noontime. the sun wasn't even up yet while i microwaved 3 vanilla-flavored muffins for breakfast and ate them in the living room. i had thought about going back to bed, but i figured my 4-hour post-breakfast fast stipulated that i remain awake during that time so i stayed in the living room, working on yesterday's blog posting.
at one point i coughed and noticed the light in kevin's room was on. moments later i heard him going to the bathroom then disappearing back into his room. i then received a text message from him: "Tony, I heard you cough these days. do you feel well?" for some reason that made me so angry i almost wanted to knock on his door and demand him to come out and ask me face-to-face like a man. what did he mean by that? has he been secretly monitoring my health, jumping on the slightest sign that i might be sick? and how is it i can't even cough in my own house? and was he somehow accusing me of being sick, of being dirty, when he's the one that's not even bathroom trained? instead of doing anything rash i let myself calm down. maybe he didn't mean anything by it, maybe he was genuinely concerned. i could either react with a sense of humor, or react with a sense of retribution.
i kept an eye on my sister's internet by periodically checking her security wyze cams: if they're down or too slow, chances are something was happening to her connection. but after the comcast activated modem reset last night, her network has kept running.
i stayed in the living room until 9am, before retreating to the bedroom to possibly sleep for an hour but never did. i got back up at 10am to eat my set lunch, which was a trio of similarly tasting vanilla muffins. kevin was making lunch around 11am and i confronted him about his text message. "have you been keeping an eye on my health?" i asked him. i told him next time ask me in person, not by early morning text. i said i occasionally cough when my throat is dry (though i felt indignant even having to answer to him), and not everything is coronavirus.
at 12pm my post-lunch fast was finally over and i couldn't wait to leave the house. i told kevin where i was going, partly so he wouldn't have an anxiety attack imagining all the coronavirus i was contracting, but also to show him how stupid it was where i need to report my whereabouts and whom i was meeting.
i went to my sister's place first to check on the internet. she wasn't there, but told me instructions to wash my hands first before i did anything else. the internet was still up. i sync'ed up the router to the asus app, so i could check it remotely if i had to. there were at least 18 devices using the internet: the router itself, 3 wyze cameras, 1 kindle fire, 2 ipads, 1 OBi200, 1 nintendo device, 5 android phones (MI9, MI8, redmi note 4, LG, oneplus7), 1 PC laptop, 1 macbook pro, 1 desktop PC, and a few others that defied categorization. i did a speed test: 108Mbps, never seen it that fast before.
i've seen these 'okame' cherry trees in bloom for about a week now, one of the first flowering trees of the early spring season. they're pretty distinctive in color, and have an upright canopy that also helps with the identification besides being one of the earliest flowering trees in the area. they're popular as sidewalk trees, and that's usually where i see them, although i've also seen a few in yards.
when i got to belmont, we searched for hailey since she wasn't in any of the bedrooms. my father thought maybe she went down into the basement but she was actually in the backyard, sunning herself, sleeping on the lawn. when asked if she wanted to come inside, she opted to remain outdoors. temperature was in the
upper 30's lower 40's, a little brisk, but warmer in the bright sun.
my father's nanoVNA arrived yesterday (saturday) ahead of schedule from ebay (it wasn't supposed to get here until next week). it's a technical little gadget, and requires a some fiddling around to get it working. the screen is tiny - 2.8" for something that packs so much info. it's also a touchscreen (only registers presses, no swipes) but because of the tiny screen size, my father used a makeup sponge applicator pen to tap the screen. there are two SMA ports for testing - one for reflected, one for pass - though i'm not sure when to use which. my father wanted to see the SWR value and we thought we were looking at it but grew suspicious when the value never changed from 1.0 no matter what we did to the antenna. we thought maybe we were testing from the wrong input, but turns out we didn't turn on the right format. when the SWR was working, it was interesting to see where antennas were resonant. also interesting was the smith graph, which at its most basic looked like a series of inward spiralling curves. but testing the indoor car antenna gave us a deeply spiralled graph (like a spirogyra design), and testing the DIY 2M installed on the chimney gave us a dense spiky star pattern.
having only had tiny muffins for breakfast and lunch, i was craving some more substantial food. my mother ended cooking some bibigo mini chicken wontons (from costo). i ate 16 wontons, mixed with some spicy chinese sauce (not in the database), every ingredient logged into my predict 2 app.
it was a little excruciating being at my parents' place, surrounded by snacks, but unable to eat them because the hassle of having to log some taiwanese delicacy that's undefined in the predict 2 food database wasn't worth the effort. i did have some really sweet pineapple slices, but i first had to take out the portion i wanted to eat, weigh it, log it in the app, then wait for about 2 hours after the last time i ate, so the data wouldn't run into each other. having to log everything i eat to the minute detail makes me better appreciate regular eating, where i can eat whatever i want.
around 5pm my father and i were outside grilling the ribs my parents' had purchased from costco yesterday. they seemed to be out of the pre-seasoned ribs, so instead they marinated it themselves with some korean barbecue sauce. we also grilled a sea bass. even though temperature was just in the 30's, it felt especially chilly for me, having woke up so early today and having my food schedule all messed up. my father heard me complaining and insisted that he give me a ride home instead of having me ride the bike back.
logging dinner was a pain: the ribs were fairly easy, but the chinese coleslaw was a mess to figure out, i ended up just estimating the portions. i also didn't try any of the sea bass because i only wanted a small portion and once again it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to figure out my portion. can't wait for the predict 2 study to be over!
today was just a perfectly clear sunny day, and cold as well, which meant maximum solar efficiency. we ended up producing 48.89 kWh, a new 2020 production record, with a perfect bell curve graph. in a just a week we were able to make 3kWh more.
as promised, i got a ride back to cambridge. my father was afraid i might've contracted something and made me promise to call them tomorrow for a status update.
the evening was uneventful until i went to the bathroom and saw the paper towels around the toilet seat completely soaked. i knocked on kevin's door to show him the damage, he actually volunteered to clean it up this time, though i think i would've done a better job, and not wasted so many paper towels. hopefully by having to deep clean it once, he'll better appreciate the lengths i've had to go through to keep the bathroom not smelling like urine all the time.
because i had to wake up early tomorrow again (6am, replicating today's schedule), i went to bed by 9pm. but i didn't sleep until 11pm, watching the hunt on my phone. i enjoyed the film, made fun of both liberals and conservatives, fast-paced, i was never bored. why they picked hilary swank to be the big bad was an interesting choice, at age 45 she's still kept herself in excellent shape. never realize betty gilpin can be such a bad-ass, though her stint in GLOW probably gave her a lot of fight training. i wasn't the least bit sleepy afterwards but i really needed to be unconscious, so i pulled up an ebook on the spanish flu pandemic and after a few pages i was nodding off.
from the minute i wake up to the end of my post-lunch fast, this predict 2 study eats up 6 hours of my time, practically most of the day. in between breakfast and lunch and 2 hours afterwards i have to fast, and during my fast i can do anything because i'm not supposed to exercise. for someone who bikes, that means i can go anywhere but stay home. i can't even go out for a walk until afterwards. it's almost over though, tomorrow i have another breakfast-fast-lunch-fast combo, followed by a no-breakfast-fast-lunch-fast combo for monday, and finally tuesday morning i have a glucose drink for breakfast and i'm pretty much done with the scheduled portion of the study.
today i had to do the last 3 of my blood tests. i was almost looking forward to it, simply to get it out of the way, but also to improve my technique and to challenge myself to face my fear of needles. despite soaking my hand in warm water and swinging my arms around to force the blood into my fingers, it was still difficult to draw blood. i lanced my left ring finger, figured that finger was already injured, no need to injure any more. like thursday, i ended up having to stab myself a second time. the second attempt drew even less blood, and i ended up having to squeeze my finger like toothpaste to get those final drops. in the mid-morning i did my 2nd test, this one was a little better, on my left middle finger. finally, in the afternoon, i did the 3rd and last test, and this time i got it perfect, large bead of blood welling from my fingertip, a single drop filling the circle entirely. these blood tests are actually kind of pretty when held up to the light, like glowing red jewels of hemoglobins.
this morning's set meal was 2 oily blue muffins. not blueberry muffins, buy rather blue muffins, dyed with food coloring for a gut transit time test. i thought i'd see blue coming out the other end immediately, but i looked it up online and discovered it normally takes 30-40 hours. for lunch it was 3 vanilla muffins; i overheated them in the microwave so they were crunchy on the bottom rather than soft all over.
after i was done with my afternoon fast and final blood test, i went over to victor's place and brought the multimeter. i saw him while he was just leaving to get some gasoline, i hopped in and we to the station at the head of the street. the attendant was ethiopian but studied russian military back in school and could speak russia with victor. the attendant wore gloves and a mask, smart considering how many people he comes in contact with every day. we came back to the house where we bumped into the mailman, whom victor seemed to know by name and knew he was moroccan (i'm friendly enough with the mailman that we wave to each other when we meet). victor refueled his van and asked me to take a voltage reading on his starter while he turned on his engine. with key engaged it read 3V; when he tried to crank the engine it got as high as 6V but it was never able to start. i thought it was the battery, he said it wasn't, but when i took a reading across the terminals, it read 11.8V. i thought it was normal at the time but now i think it's a bit low.
walking back, i bumped into bruce and jack, on their way out to take a stroll around fresh pond. we kept a safe distance between us as we chatted. susan showed up as well, returning from petsi's pie, which announced they will close indefinitely after sunday. both cambridge and somerville have the most stringent rules when it comes to "social distancing," ordering all non-essential retails to close, something boston as well as the rest of the state aren't doing (yet). i believe restaurants can remain online with just takeout/delivery service, but with customers too afraid to order out, restaurants will begin closing soon as well.
a little bit before 5pm i went out for a half hour walk around somerville hill. with everything closed, plenty of people had the same idea, whether just strolling, jogging, or biking. temperature was in the lower 50's but the sun was still shining brightly so it felt warmer than it actually was. i got as far as highland avenue, even going by somerville hospital where they were doing drive-through coronavirus testing. by the time i got there they seemed to have stopped testing for the day, although i did see an asian woman wearing a surgical mask driving through the hospital parking lot.
i was nearly home when my phone slipped out the jacket of my hooded sweatshirt and smashed to the pavement. i quickly picked it up and saw there was no damage and hurried home. after i had another look, the glass screen protector must've fallen on some tiny grains of sand because there were two small "bullet-hole" impact cracks on the screen. thank god i had the protector! i removed the cracked screen and spend some time in the kitchen carefully putting on a new one (luckily i bought the 3-pack). even with the most careful hands it's impossible not to get a few grain of dust trapped underneath the protection. but i've gotten pretty good at lifting up the screen and removing the dust with tape. i cleaned out most of it, hard to tell now unless you really look. the fabric case took the brunt of the impact, there's some slight abrasion on two corners, but as long as the phone wasn't damaged, i've got nothing to complain about.
the thing i didn't know about these blood drawing lances is they don't make a hole in my fingertips, it's actually more of a slit. a slit releases more blood than a simple pinprick hole. now that's my blood ordeal is over, i can explain the damage left behind on my two sacrificed fingertips. the ones that drew the most blood were the longest and deepest slits, that that's not always the case, as i can see on my early morning lances there were a few wide slits but still not a lot of blood. each of the middle and ring finger on my left hand suffered 4 lancing per finger, 2 on each side. they're almost like tiny very deep papercuts, i'll cover them up with liquid bandaid at some point to keep them from hurting.
for dinner i had the instant noodles i was planning on eating last night. i scanned the UPC of the packaging and was surprised to find they actually had it in their database. however they did not have the chinese spicy pickled radish in their list, but i was given the option to add it.
my sister's internet kept crashing. this had been happening since noontime, when i noticed her wyze cams were offline. fortunately she happened to be home at the time and i was able to walk her through the steps to reset her router and modem. i had her restart the wireless router first, because the lights on her modem were normal. that didn't seem to do anything, so i had her reset the modem as well, which fixed the problem. then it happened again a few hours later in the afternoon (3pm), followed by another time around the evening (9pm).
that's when things really started going haywire, and she kept losing her internet intermittently. she was wondering if it was because the tenants upstairs were using too much bandwidth (she's always quick to blame them whenever the internet acts weird), but this has never happened in the past. i didn't think it was the router because we turned it off-on and that didn't fix the problem; besides, it's a fairly new router (jan 2018), and a robust one at that. that makes me think if it was equipment-related, the modem has to be the weakest link.
i bought the used surfboard SB6141 back in october 2014, so it's already 6-years old at least. it wouldn't surprise me if it was on its final leg. but just the fact that the status lights were all normal, and my sister performed a speed test that showed upwards of 80Mbps download, made me scratch my head. the only other option is bad wiring. this happened in march 2018, when my sister finally lost internet completely after a lengthy period of sporadic connection whenever the weather was bad. that should've been a hint as to what was happening. when the comcast technician showed up after our 3rd nor'easter of the season, he climbed the utility pole and saw that squirrels had chewed through the wires. after replacing the cable, the internet worked as normal again. maybe it happened again? but today was a clear day, strange for the internet to be suddenly misbehaving.
my sister and i made plans to meet up early tomorrow morning (7:30am) to go down to either target or bestbuy to buy a brand new surfboard cablemodem ($90). (it won't be the first time i've activated an owned modem.) earlier better than later, since all the upstairs tenants (4) were waiting for the wifi to be back up. i've never bought a new modem before, all the ones i ever got were used or refurbished. even if it turns out to be something else, we could always return the modem if we didn't need it, better to have a backup than not. i went to bed early, around 11pm, so i could wake up early and get a headstart on my predict 2 set breakfast so i can then leave earlier. but this problem started to bug me (i know what it feels like to lose internet service), so i decided to call up comcast and schedule an appointment first, just in case the new modem didn't work.
the thing with comcast is you can't just set up an appointment. they have to run through their checklist first, before they'll do that. and whenever the internet is down, the thing they always want to do first is to reset the modem. in the all the times i've dealt with comcast, a modem reset has never solved anything. when i was given the option (through their automated call system), i actually said no. but they wouldn't take no for an answer, and after explaining the benefits of a reset, asked me again. this time i said yes.
surprisingly, the cable reset seemed to have...worked. or at least the internet was back up, judging from the live webcams. a few times the video feeds did stall, but that happens sometimes, regardless of internet connection. so i called my sister to put a temporary hold on getting a new modem, and wait and see if the internet breaks tomorrow. part of the hassle of ordering something like a cablemodem in the time of coronavirus is with retail stores limiting the number of people coming in, the new normal means waiting outside the store to be let in.
i was hoping to wake up early to get a head start on my predict 2 study activities: eat the set muffins for breakfast then fast for 3 hours. but i didn't wake up until 9:20am, after a good night of sleep. i did have to get up in the middle of the night to use te bathroom, but that's only because i started taking my thiazide at night again, so it wouldn't interfere with the study schedule. thiazide for those who don't know is a diuretic, it's sole is to make you urinate more often. in my case, it's to flush out the salt from my body, which can increase my blood pressure.
kevin was still asleep, surprisingly, even though i slept later than him last night. i microwaved the two muffins and after logging the meal in the predict 2 app, ate it with some hot water (didn't want to deal with the hassle of logging a hot tea). these seems to be the same muffins i had yesterday, just plain and greasy. they're rather tasteless, not unpleasant, but like eating a sweet warm sponge. later i went to use the bathroom and take a shower. when i got out kevin was finally awake.
the US census office finally contacted me today, i knew it was a matter of time. no surprise, they've temporarily suspended their operations due to the coronavirus, will reevaluate in 2 weeks. this means all training programs have been put on hold pending review.
i was already making lunch before my 3 hours fast was even over at 12:20pm. kevin was speaking with someone on the phone in his bedroom. i went to the bathroom and discovered pee around the toilet, the paper towels partially soaked. swearing profusely, i had no choice but to clean it up first before i made my lunch. when he finally came out of his bedroom, i was pretty angry, and told him what he did. he went into the bathroom to take a look, "i already cleaned it up," i told him.
this was my first meal with ingredients i couldn't easily scan the barcode. i'm also starting to get the hang of it. when it asks to take a photo, it doesn't mean the individual ingredients, but rather the finished meal. and you can take as many photos as you want. i only partially thawed the frozen spinach before squeezing it dry; when i added it to the omelette, it was still cold, not sure if it managed to warm up in the pan, but i didn't notice it when i ate since everything else was warm.
i ate while watching the latest coronavirus press conference, with donald trump front and center, and his advisors behind him standing at attention. he's been doing this every day this week around noontime, cutting into my local news broadcast. i think in lieu of his campaign rally in front a crowd of people (no longer possible because of the coronavirus, but it was up to trump, he'd still be having them, deadly disease or not), trump has decided that these daily updates would be the perfect platform for him to be on television every day. but if we're all about social distancing, how smart is it to crowd everyone on a podium, just to listen to trump pontificate for an hour or more? and often times he goes off script, and goes on one of his many politically charged tirades. the fact that he can be joking about the deep state, or calling someone a bad reporter for asking a tough question, while all across the country americans are scared, really says something about him.
in the early afternoon i decided to ride down to my parents' place to borrow the car for this weekend. with my on-going predict 2 study, i won't be able to exercise while i'm fasting, which means no biking if i want to get to belmont. plus, another chance to visit pokestops and occupy gyms.
when i got to my parents' place, on the doorstep was a small clear plastic bag with some white stuff on the inside. i thought nothing of it, figured maybe my sister left it behind as she often does with hailey's poop, just leaving it on the doorstep like an offering instead of throwing it away, though the size and color was unusual. my mother saw it as well, didn't know what it was, so we just pushed it to the side.
i do a lot of snacking when i go over to my parents' place. just out of habit, i grabbed some preserved sweet olives and ate them before realizing i had to log everything i eat or drink. suddenly every time i snack becomes a whole production where i have to weigh out with a scale how much i'm going to eat, describe the food (whether from a list of unbranded items or from the UPC if it's in the database), and finally take a photo of it. not only that, ideally snacks should be spaced 2 hours apart, so if i want to follow the rules, there are just a few snacking opportunities in a given day. if nothing else, doing the study definitely puts a curb to careless snacking.
the temperature today was supposed to hit the 70's, but it only reached the upper 60's at most. it was definitely warm though, and humid, felt more like spring-summer weather than late march. i went out in the backyard to take some photos of the emerging plants. the lupines have been growing for a few weeks now, in the perennial bed behind the garage, and the small newly-opened perennial bed in the southwestern corner of the house by the rain barrel. there's also at least lupine growing besides the hydrangea.
there are also other perennials emerging, including shasta daisies, red chrysanthemums, and foxgloves. i transplanted a lot of foxgloves to the perennial bed below the grape trellis, but a lot seemed to have disappeared, or maybe just haven't emerged yet, though they seem to be able to stay somewhat green through the winter, especially the extremely mild winter we've experienced this year. there are also foxgloves in the behind-garage perennial bed, as well as raised bed 3. if we need more foxgloves we'll just relocated from that bed, they shouldn't be growing in there anyway, takes up precious vegetable growing space.
there are also numerous money plants, whether second season ready to flower this year, or brand new seedlings. i casted a lot of seeds all over the garden, there should be plenty of money plants around.
garlic shoots are emerging from their salt marsh grass cover. this is the time of season where they shine. i have chicken wires over some of the garlic beds, i'm not sure when i should remove them yet, because i'm afraid hungry squirrels and rabbits will dig through the mulch without this protection. in the same garlic bed (RB4) are some forgotten garlic bulbs which have also sprouted on their own. along with that are actually cilantro that have somehow survived the winter. currently they're low to the ground, but give them a few weeks they should be ready for harvesting.
i have columbines growing in two locations: the southeastern perennial bed and the western perennial bed. the ones in the southeast are origami red & white; they grew beautifully last season, but this year they seemed to be a little slow and stunted judging from what's emerged so far. there should be 3 of these plants but i only saw 2 emerging. the ones by the western bed are ones i grew from seeds and also a few that've been there for a few years (also from seeds). that bed is so busy with activity (bulbs, perennials), there doesn't seem to be a lot of nutrients available for the columbines. but the ones i grew from seeds last year but kept in tiny pots until i finally transplanted them into the ground in autumn, i'm hoping they'll do better this year now they have more room to grow. they also haven't flowered yet, hopefully this year they can (blue and white variety).
buds on our 3 flowering trees are beginning to swell: redbud, kwanzan cherry, flowering plum. i believe the plum should be the first to flower, followed by the redbud and then the cherry. raspberries are also started to produce leaf buds. the ones growing in the ground seem to be doing better; the ones in our planters - because my father accidentally pruned them down to the base - will need to made brand new stalks before they can leaf out.
at 3:30pm there was a knock on the door followed by the doorbell. at first we thought it was my sister who got locked out, but when my father peered through the window, he saw it was a belmont police officer. he went out to speak with the police, then came in and asked if any of us noticed the white package on the front steps. i went outside to speak with the officer, told him i noticed it when i got here around 1:30pm. it didn't even dawn on me that it was suspicious, just a little weird. he said at least 8-9 other houses around the neighborhood received the package, but nobody knew who put it there, and somebody got worried and called the police. while we were talking outside, more and more police arrived, including a EMT truck, until there was a whole swarm of cops outside the house. a little girl and her father came walking towards us, she said she saw a pair of twins leaving them outside. the cop noticed we had a webcam mounted on our door. "does that thing work?" he asked. i said sure, then scrubbed through the slow playback to find footage of who left the package.
that's when i realized i could've just as easily look at the alert footage, which was quicker. sure enough, around 1:28pm, a mother and her two little girls on bikes came by our house. they stopped outside, the little girl peddled to our front steps, looked around, and threw something out of her bike basket before leaving. what was it? the footage calmed their nerves, knowing it was a white lady with two little white girls, mostly likely something harmless. but it wasn't conclusive since it was only 12 seconds long, they need to see the little girl actually dropping the package, which the short video clip stopped before getting to that point. that's when i pulled out the memory card from the camera and scrubbed the video on my computer, much faster. at 1:28pm we saw the whole thing, with proof that it was indeed the little girl. i showed the video to other police officers and EMT's who were standing around. they were impressed by the picture quality and asked what kind of camera it was (wyze cam).
suddenly a guy from what looked to be the
bomb squad hazardous disposal unit showed up. he was dressed in protective clothing with a face mask and oxygen tank, and went ahead and opened up the package. inside was a disinfectant wipe. everyone breathed a sigh of relief. the police thanked us for our help, said the video saved him a lot of work. he took a video of the still frame on my computer, but i also e-mailed him the video. all that trouble for nothing! earlier he was saying he couldn't believe people could be doing this, especially during this time of coronavirus panic, it was another problem he didn't want to have. but all the police outside our house brought the whole neighborhood over, trying to figure out what was happening.
my original plan was simply to borrow the car and go home, where i had a lovely bowl of instant noodles waiting for me for dinner. i ended up having dinner at my parents' place, my mother made fried rice with spam (i thought the spam was going to be included with the rice but it was actually separate).
in order to accurately log my dinner, i was standing behind my mother while she cooked, asking her what ingredients she added and how much. she got so annoyed that she said it would've been better off if i went back home for dinner. tonight's dinner was actually fairly easy; had it been a more complicated recipe, i'm not sure if i could've listed all the ingredients and their portions.
i decided not to come back to belmont tomorrow, since i had a fairly full day of set breakfast and lunch as well as 3 separate blood tests. in that case i didn't need the car so instead i biked back to cambridge on the fuji.