i tried to get to belmont a little earlier so i can get started on the yard work. we needed to empty out the logs in the southeastern corner and consolidate them to the southern wood pile. some wood needed to be cut down to size. the quince bush needed pruning. we'd store the rain barrels to the southeastern corner of the yard. i started by taking out the extension cord from the garage and attaching the electric chain saw. i also discovered the rabbit hole underneath the eastern fence and plugged it up with a piece of brick.
after lunch (jiu niang with tangyuan and leftover fried rice) my father and i went to the backyard to begin work. he really wanted to cut down the rotted pussy willow tree in order to make more room for the wood pile. we cleared the area around the tree and ended up pulling it down into our yard with a piece of rope. the rotted trunk fell on top of the compost bin and flattened some of the wire cage but i was able to repair it by bending it back into place. after that we started cutting our old logs to the proper size so they'd stack better.
somewhere during that time my aunt called me father then called me. we didn't answer because we were working but my father called her back. she and my uncle were outside our house, bringing over some food. she knew we were home because all the cars were outside, but was calling just to make sure. they brought over some smoked salmon, and a bag of mi nina jalapeño agave tortilla chips that didn't seem to be anything special, but when i tried them they were so good i couldn't stop eating.
we started trimming the quince bush but it's too thick with branches. the best way to rejuvenate it is to cut it all down to the ground and let it grow back, but it's currently acting as a screen between our backyard and our neighbor's, so we can't do that. we'll cut it back some more next weekend, all the way until they stop collecting garbage refuse. the quince is a hard bush to prune because of the thorns. fortunately they're only at the branch tips, but they're just as dangerous as hawthorn thorns.
finally we moved all the back rain barrels from the western side of the sunroom to the southeastern corner of the yard. we also moved the red catch barrel from the southwestern corner of the house.
in the basement i noticed the toothache plant i've been trying to save has a slight aphid infestation. i sprayed the aphids with insecticidal soap but it didn't seem to do anything until i gave the plant a good rinsing. on two of the small potted jasmines there were some mealybugs; i treated them with insecticidal soap as well. next time i should spray with neem oil; i sprayed the hot pepper plants with neem oils and i haven't seen any pests. i have noticed some fungus gnats, and all the yellow sticky traps have a few. i have buckets of water that i treated with mosquito bits but i think leaving them like that reduces the potency of the Bti; i should add fresh mosquito bits immediately before watery.
returning home after dinner, all the parking spots close to my house were taken so i had to park 2 blocks away. later i went out again to put the rain cover over he motorcycle since it's going to be raining after midnight and through much of the day tomorrow.
i watched episode 10 of fargo, only one episode left this season.
i found out today that canon made an EOS 90D (i have the 80D). it was announced back at the end of august. because i don't follow any camera blog or news, i totally didn't know about it until now. other than having a higher resolution (32.5 megapixels versus 24.2 megapixels), higher ISO (51K maximum versus 26K maximum), faster continuous shooting (10 fps vs 7 fps), the biggest difference is the 90D can now shoot 4K videos. everything else seems to be the same. if i were to upgrade my canon body, i think i'd go mirrorless, just for that weight reduction and the ability to shoot silently (since it doesn't have a flipping mirror).
woke up this morning to check on my sweet rice fermentation. it'd only been 23 hours, but i wanted to take a peek to see the progress. when i opened up the instant pop, i was not happy with the result. there seemed to be a layer of white and black mold on the surface of the rice. white mold is okay, but black mold means there's a problem. i didn't smell any characteristic jiu niang alcohol aroma, and when i bravely gave the rice a taste test, it tasted sour, with no hint of sweetness or alcohol. there was no yeast ball fermentation at all. it's as if i left the rice outside in the heat and it naturally got moldy after a day. i didn't want to give up though, so i set the instant pot for another 30 hours of low yogurt heating, figured i'd check on it again later tonight, but i wasn't optimistic it was going to get any better. i think maybe my yeast ball was too old and lost its potency. when the yeast ball doesn't grow fast enough, other bacterias take its place i don't get jiu niang.
in belmont i asked my father about my jiu niang. he said maybe i had the temperature on too high when i first introduced the yeast ball. he also agreed that maybe the yeast ball had expired. he said if there's black mold the sweet rice has gone bad and i'd have to throw the whole thing out. instead of mixing in the yeast ball water, my father rinses the cooked rice in cold water to cool it down. then he just sprinkles the yeast ball powder all over the rice which he fermented in a stock pot. it takes about 2-3 days before he gets jiu niang.
i introduced my mother to the queen's gambit today and stayed in belmont long enough to watch all 7 episodes again, not leaving until 8:30pm.
for dinner my mother cooked up some frozen rice cakes and tofu from the fridge with the leftover korean hot sauce i made last night. my father and i cooked another steak, got a chance to use the new work light. as if that wasn't enough, my mother also made some fried rice.
i checked my sweet rice when i returned home. the mold was even worse, i had no choice but to dump everything out. fortunately i still have enough glutinous rice for 4 more tries. i just need to get some fresh yeast balls or yeast cake powder.
this morning i started making the jiu niang with the instant pot after soaking 2 cups of sweet rice overnight. i drained the rice using a fine mesh strainer then dumped the rice back into the instant pot inner pot and added 2 cups of water. i let hit the preset rice button and waited for sweet rice to cook. i did see how it long it took to cook, but i'm guessing around 25 minutes (13 minutes to come to pressure, 12 minutes of actual cooking). i released the stem and took out the pot.
the sweet rice had a weird smell from the instant pot; i think it's just leftover grease in the nooks and crannies that evaporated during cooking. the rice was too hot (140°F) and i needed to cool it down to around 98°F before i can add the yeast ball. so i soaked the entire pot in a large bowl of cold water while i stirred the sweet rice to help it cool faster. while i waited for the rice to cool, i prepared the yeast ball.
the recipe only called for half a yeast ball but i used a whole yeast ball instead because i had so many. i figured the more jiu niang yeast, the faster everything will ferment. i got a little piece of tin foil and slowly crushed the yeast ball with a meat tenderizer mallet. i didn't just want to just smash it, since bits of yeast would then spray everywhere. times like this it'd be helpful to have a mortar and pestle, but after a few passes pulverizing the ball with the hammer, it was crumbled enough. to that i added 1-1/4 cups of lukewarm boiled water (98°F).
when the sweet finally cooled down enough, i poured the yeast + water mixture into the rice and mixed everything together. the rice was sticky before, but now with the addition of the water, it was now sloppy. they always make a well in the center of the rice to gauge how much fermented liquids have been produced, but the rice was so runny that i couldn't make a hole that wouldn't just fill back it. finally after multiple tries i made it work. i put the pot (with the rice) back into the pressure cooker and this time set it at yogurt low temperature with a timer of 30 hours. now i just sit back and wait until saturday night for my jiu niang to be finished.
no mood for oatmeal, i made some hot and spicy indomie mi goreng for lunch. before i did i watched a few youtube videos to learning how to properly poach an egg. when i did it last time it was in boiling water so the egg turned to be a mess. this time around, i boiled the water and took it off the burner, a more gentle cook. i also added some vinegar, which supposedly helps to solidify the egg whites. i used the swirl technique and drop the raw egg into the pot from a bowl. the egg came out okay, but next time i should use my water because i think it wasn't hot enough to cook the egg all the way through (i like my eggs firm). the hot and spicy was okay, just enough spiciness to not be overbearing.
in the afternoon i went to the cafe to set up the eufy 2K indoor camera. comparing the footage between the old wyze cam v2 and the ne eufy, the eufy is definitely the better quality with the higher 2K resolution. the eufy is also slightly wider, 125° verus wyze's 120°. the only thing i don't like is i've invested so much in the wyze ecosystem (i currently have 10 wyze cameras monitoring various locations), adding the eufy means i have to the eufy app to see the videos. i tried tinycam to consolidate the two brands, but the eufy cameras don't seem to play nice with tinycam. maybe this can be fixed in the future, but in the meantime i need to toggle between two apps in order to see our web cams. i don't think i'm making a full switch to eufy anytime soon. besides, wyze just recently introduced the v3 camera (1080p, 130° FOV, no free person detection), which may be better in terms of image quality, but they won't be out until december.
i also made some updates on the menu signs, got rid of one items, changed the prices on 3 specials, and added "gluten free" and "vegan" labels for customers with dietary restrictions. i returned home a little after 4pm, updated the website menus as well.
in the evening i made korean rice cakes for dinner (based on this recipe i made back in july). i had a small amount of frozen rice cakes in the freezer, and i also had a package of tofu wedges in the fridge i needed to eat. so it turned out to be more tofu than rice cakes, but the final result was very hearty, that combination of starch plus protein plus korean hot sauce warmed me up the rest of the night. i made way too much hot sauce so i ended up saving it instead of tossing it out, if i get some rice cakes i can reuse the sauce, or maybe give it to my parents.
i ate while finishing watching tinker tailor soldier spy (2011) on netflix. the movie is a bit confusing and i can't keep straight the name of all the characters, but each time i watch i seem to understand it a little more, or catch something i didn't notice before.
i grilled some chicken sausage in the smokeless cooker and had some oatmeal for lunch. missing was some chopped cilantro, so the final porridge was a bit bland. i also used some of the new MB brand worcestershire sauce, didn't seem to have enough flavor, maybe i just needed to add more next time. it doesn't make sense that $1 worcestershire sauce can compared with a name brand that costs $8, but i still give it the benefit of the doubt.
in the afternoon i biked to the allston super 88 market. it was either that or the malden super 88. malden was a bit farther even though it would've taken the same amount of time. but the temperature was a still little cold today (40's) and i wanted to get some exercise.
i went there via harvard street, which is a more direct route than following the charles river and crossing by the BU bridge. i pumped the tires and readjusted the seat before leaving, but the seat ended up tilting forward again after just a few minutes of riding.
a white maserati sports car pulled into the parking lot while i was locking up my bicycle along a sign post. i took a quick stroll through the food court. when i came last time, there were still a few places opened even though it looked like they didn't have any customers. this time, about 80% of the shops were empty and for lease. gone was the katsu shop. gone was the korean restaurant. there was an indian curry place. a bubble ice tea shop. a cantonese takeout place. most surprisingly, there was actually a new shop opened, TKK fried chicken, never heard of them before, but i love fried chicken and might give them a try one of these days.
super 88 had my rose brand sweet (glutinous) rice for $7.99 (5 lbs). they also carried other brands of sweet rice like hakubai ($9.99 5 lbs.), plum blossom brand ($18.99 10 lbs.) and a korean brand. i went browsing and found some hot and spicy indomie mi goreng. i picked up a 6-pack of apple sidra and got some chicken feet, saving me the trouble of going to chinatown tomorrow to get them.
i left by 3pm, getting home by 3:30pm. i noticed something that happened yesterday as well: i was getting blind spots from some kind of glare. this never happened before, and i wonder if its because of the transition lenses? that it's somehow creating glare, or maybe my irises aren't closing correctly? this only happens when i bike. maybe glare from the handlebar on a sunny day? i do love these new transitions, partly because they change colors, but also because they're so wide, i can get very clear peripheral visions as well. in the meantime, i'm going back to my old glasses, until i can figure out what's going on.
so the whole reason why i went out was to get sweet rice so i can make fermented glutinous rice dessert with the instant pot. but i was reading over the directions and one recipe said you can directly make it in the instant pot container, while the official recipe from instant pot said to steam the rice in cheesecloth inside of a steam basket resting on a steam rack (that's 3 extra pieces of equipment). i tried searching for more "instant pot jiu niang" but surprisingly there's very little information about it. all the others i've found were making jiu niang without using an instant pot. in the end i decided to go with the easier direct cook method (no steam basket), but rinsed 2 cups of sweet rice several times until the water became clear and left it to soak overnight before cooking and then fermenting it tomorrow.
i did test the instant pot to make sure it was still working, test boiled 3 cups of water. when they tell you that an instant pot can cook foods in matter of minutes, that's technically true, but it first takes 10-13 minutes for the pot to come to pressure before it starts cooking. so whatever time it takes to cook plus all the time it takes to pressurized. sometimes pressurizing actually takes longer than the actual cooking.
i finished watching all 7 episodes of the queen's gambit. that last episode was fantastic, i watched it twice, shed a few tears, so good.
my $10 cob work light arrived from amazon today. i got it for my father since we never seem to have enough light when we're barbecuing at night during the colder months. it's got a ridiculous rating of 1500 lumens which sounds like false advertisement, but if it's just half of that amount it'd still be plenty bright. it has its own built-in battery and can also charge a device from its built-in usb port. the main cob light turns on from a dial, which is kind of a weird design. it can get very bright, turning it past the halfway mark of the dial doesn't seem to be any noticeable brightness. it's designed to be mounted magnetically, or held up by a folding attachment which also acts as a handle.
for dinner i made the last of my anchovy pita bread pizzas. i preheated the baking sheet as well, i think it helps with keeping the crust crunchy instead of soggy. i'm all pizza'd out, tomorrow i'm making some spicy korean rice cakes with tofu.
i went with my father to market basket this morning to do some pre-thanksgiving shopping. he also dropped off the 6-quart instant pot we found in binbin's basement. MB was a lot more crowded that i'd imagine it'd be on a wednesday morning, probably a lot of other people were getting in their pre-thanksgiving grocery shopping as well. we ended up with 2 17 lbs. frozen turkeys. any other thanksgiving i would've scoffed at a bird so small, but during pandemic times, everyone's in search of more reasonably-sized birds. there was one turkey that weighed nearly 29 lbs., the holy grail of thanksgiving birds. any other year i would've seized that oversized turkey immediately, but this year i doubt if it'll even get sold. i found out they sold weichuan brand sweet glutiinous rice there, the kind i need to make my sweet fermented rice dessert with the instant pot. but my father told me that long grain sweet grain (which was what it was) don't produce as well as the short grain (long grain is for savory dishes, short grain is for desserts), so i ended up putting it back even though it was a good price ($6.49 for 5 lbs.).
i cooked the last of my kielbasa in the smokeless grill for lunch, along with some scrambled eggs and quince jelly on toast.
in the afternoon i went to reliable market in union square to see if they had any glutinous rice. i took the bicycle, as it was too far to walk. what i didn't plan on was how cold it was. temperature was in the lower 30's, i forgot my winter rule where i always put on my long underwear if it's below 40 degrees. i also wore the wrong jacket, and the cold was seeping into my arms. i had to put on the hat and gloves. it was however a very sunny day, the sort of clear deep blue sky day we normally get during the winter.
reliable market had several varieties including mei gui hua sweet rice but they were all too expensive. i expected there to be some kind of market, but mei gui brand was $16 when i can get it in chinatown for just $8. i couldn't bare the idea of paying double the price so i ended up not getting any, figured i'd try to go one of the other asian supermarkets tomorrow or friday. i didn't want to leave empty-handed, so i went through the rest of the store looking for something to buy. but everything was so expensive. reliable market has also vastly expanded their alcohol selection, so now it's half liquor store half korean/japanese market. they did have an extensive selection of korean and japanese wines, but when you've tried the chinese baijiu, those other asian alcohols are like water. i ended up leaving without buying anything, even though i tried my best.
on my way home i decided to stop by market basket for the second time today. it was much less crowded in the late afternoon. shopping by myself, i could browse however long i wanted, looking for some quirky food item i never noticed before. i grabbed a gallon of apple cider. i also searched for the pizza crust, couldn't find any.
for dinner i made some pita anchovy pizza (since i couldn't find regular pizza crusts). besides the mozzarella pizza cheese, i also added some leftover feta cheese i had in the fridge. i cooked them for 8 minutes at 400°F. the pizzas turned out okay, but a bit soggy. i think some thinly sliced onions would make it taste better, there's room to experiment.
today was street cleaning on the other (my) side of the street but they didn't start until the early afternoon. that gave me enough time to go outside and rake the sidewalk leaves onto the street. i also put on my new 2021 registration sticker (yellow). for lunch i heated up 4 pieces of leftover ribs. these were the end pieces that contained a lot of pork fat and afterwards i felt a little gross.
michael called me today, told me my glasses were finally ready. i went to his shop by 1:30pm. my normal pair of glasses (using the old frame) were ready weeks ago; what was taking so long was the new pair of transition lense glasses. the lenses were being held up in customs, so michael ended up going with a different supplier to get these lenses. michael made some adjusted to get these new glasses to fit on my face a little better. i ended up staying and chatting for nearly an hour before finally leaving.
riding my back home, i didn't really notice any dimming of my transition lenses. it was a cloudy day and i figured maybe the reason was because there wasn't enough sunlight. but when i rode by cars and saw my reflection in the windows, the lenses were dimmed, just not totally black. i can't wait to try them out on a sunnier day, so if i notice any dimming.
i went to star market to get some snacks: doritos and ice cream. i loaded up my account with coupons and only paid $5 for the haul.
i started watching the queen's gambit, after hearing so many good things about it. it was a show i was already prepared to watch the moment i saw the trailer, but it floated to the top of my watchlist after i kept on seeing mentions of it online. i'm almost done with the first episode, it's really good, can't wait to see the rest.
for dinner i made some white cheddar shells, added a handful of frozen chopped spinach for added nutrition. i finished it off with some black tea and an apple.
it was trash night tonight, and i finally tossed out some sauerkraut i made back in march. i kept one jar because it didn't taste so bad (and there seemed to be some fresh kraut at the bottom of the jar), but i'll probably toss it as well eventually.
in the late evening i set up the second eufy 2K indoor camera, figured it was useful enough that i wasn't going to return it. i set it up so it was perched on the middle of my bay window looking out onto the street. i turned off night vision because the infrared led's created a blinding glare on the window; but what's amazing is without those led's the camera is still sensitive enough to record the street in excellent visibility. one thing i noticed though is the human detection doesn't seem to be work when it gets dark, even though from the video feed it still looks bright enough. i upped the sensitivity to maximum but it still wasn't able to detect any humans. so in the end i turned on continuous recording; when set to continuous recording it only saves in 1080p, not 2K, so not to overburden the camera too much.
i went to the dollar store this morning looking for a suitable container for my tongbaechu kimchi, which have been sitting on my kitchen table since friday night. they've been fermenting (and making my whole house smell like kimchi) but one thing i noticed is the shallow containers i've been using have been drying up the top of the kimchi since they're not submerged. i need a deeper container, one that i can layer the cabbage pieces on top of each other. after a brief search i found the perfect receptacle, 12 cups capacity, with a special lid that allows ventilation. i bought 3 of these containers. i also stopped by star market to get some cheesecloth ($4) for my father to drain the fermented glutinous rice wine.
i moved the fermenting kimchi into the 3 containers i bought, they fit perfectly. hopefully now this will keep the kimchi from drying out. i noticed today that for a short time my kitchen actually gets a fair bit of sun, and sun and kimchi don't kimchi, as kimchi prefer to ferment in the dark. maybe i can put the kimchi in a box, give them a few more days to ferment, before moving them into the fridge.
i discovered this morning that google has brought back the screenshot power button in its latest android system update for the pixel phones. that was one of my main gripes when i transitioned from android 10 to 11, the loss of screenshot power button on any pixel phones using 2-button navigation. why they ever removed it is a mystery, it seems they want everyone to be using gesture control navigation instead. i'd been using the button + volume down to manually capture screenshots; i've been doing so long i've gotten used to it, and will now need to relearn how to take screenshots with just the power button again.
i took the motorcycle to belmont. even though we weren't expecting any rain today, it was cloudy for much of the day and very windy as well. i had some thin chicken noodles soup for lunch. afterwards my father and i went to waverley square to drop off some fermented sweet glutinous rice for my godmother, before heading to burlington to check on binbin's place. a neighbor had parked in her driveway but she was still in the car when i asked her if she was leaving. "do you want me to move it?" she asked, which was a stupid question because technically she's not allowed to park there. it was 57°F inside the house, cold, but not cold enough to turn on the furnace just yet. we unplugged the refrigerator and turned off the water to the outdoor faucet. while in the basement we saw they had an instant pot; i just so happened to be thinking about getting one myself, and could practice with this one to see if i want to make the investment, so we took it with us. it didn't have a plug, but any standard computer plug would work.
i've been trying to find a place for the 2 eufy 2k indoor cameras i got last week. one of the camera will go to the cafe and i haven't set it up yet. the one at my parents' place was pointing into the backyard but it's southern facing and the sun shines on it all day which will eventually damage the camera. instead i moved it so it's now pointing out onto the street. that's actually a great place because it captures everything very clearly. the eufy has better (more accurate) human detection and saved all instances of when somebody walks in front of the house as events that can be reviewed. placed flushed against the window, there's no reflection other than a bit on the sides. i replaced the memory card, from the 128GB sandisk extreme to a smaller PNY 64GB. the sandisk card is too good for a webcam, i'm saving it for my eventual drone. i turned on the continuous recording option, a 64GB card will record 6 days of 2K video.
my father and i tried to rearrange the wood piles on the southeastern corner and southern part of the backyard, but didn't make much progress other than deciding we'll eventually pile all the wood along the southern fence. as for the space along the southeastern corner, that's where we'll store the unused rain barrels. we fixed the western fence between our property and our neighbors, as it was falling over. a dangerously thorny rose bush prevented us from getting close to the fence before we pruned it back. i noticed one of the indoor pepper plants was starting to get some aphids so i brought it outside along with the thai basil and sprayed it with some insecticidal soap. i put salt marsh grass on top of RB4. my father reconnected the last of the gutter downspouts and disconnected all the rain barrels after draining them.
a few hours before dinner we finally finished cooking our duck feet. earlier my mother soaked it in brine for 4+ hours. then we finally cooked it with some sauces for another hour. my parents said it was too salty and rinsed it with some hot water which made it taste better, but i was fine with the super salty. we then spent the next hour snacking on spicy duck feet, my father drinking his scotch, my mother her plum wine, and me with my woodchuck pearsecco (dry cider).
nobody was really hungry for dinner. my father fixed me a bowl of tonkatsu-flavored momosan ramen. the oil packet that came with the noodles had a very pungent almost-repulsive smell, but the noodles tasted fine. i like it better than the tokyo chicken i had on saturday.
i sped back to cambridge in 10 minutes. i don't normally ride fast (i just stick to the speed limit), but i wanted to see how quickly i could get home, and 10 minutes seems to be a good time, with a few traffic light stops (4) along the way. if i had green the whole way, i could make it back home in 6-7 minutes.
with the forecast of rain in the evening, i took the bicycle to belmont since it'd be easier to ditch and get a ride home if need be. i adjusted the seat before i left, but after a while it began to tilt forward again. at some point i need to talk the seat mount apart and figure out what's going on. the weather was grey with temperature in the upper 40's.
i found my father raking the leaves in front of the house. after i had some sweet rice porridge with glutinous rice balls and leftover ribs, my father and i went back outside to do some yard work. while i raked the leaves from underneath the bushes, my father mowed the front lawn, pulverizing the leaves for our compost bin. when then moved into the backyard and did the same. there was so much leaves it'd jam up the lawnmower at times, making some awful noises like maybe the mower would explode. we then moved the picnic table before fertilizing the lawn. we had just enough autumn fertilizer to do the front and back yard. we dug up the bed next to the raspberries and dumped a whole barrel of compost into the future squash bed. the only thing we didn't do was move the wood piles; i think that's where we'll find the rabbit hole, because all over the grass i kept seeing rabbit pellets. finally we strung up my solar-powered globe string lights to the southern fence. when night came, the globes turned on but only for a few hours because it hasn't been fully charged yet indoors; hopefully being outside it allow it to get more sunlight.
my mother updated me on the status of our california relatives. my cousin, his wife, and their daughter all contracted covid, but my aunt tested negative. that in itself doesn't mean she doesn't have it, but it means the fever she seemed to be running prior to testing was just psychosomatic, just like how my father was convinced he had the coronavirus in the early days of lockdown when our digital thermometer read a few degrees high for him. turns out that was only his forehead; when he measured his ears, his temperature was actually lower than ours.
after dinner i returned home. the temperature actually went up by 1° from 46°F to 47°F, as the stormfront approached boston. this morning the forecast was for the rain to begin at 6pm but now they were saying not until 10pm. nevertheless, there was a lot of moisture in the air and i felt a few misty drops. when it finally did rain, it wasn't the spectacle that was promised: they said something about thunderstorms in november, but hardly heard it, and only noticed when i looked outside.
my mother accidentally received a shipment of tide pods, i took a few to try at home. i've never used laundry pods before, they seem too much of a gimmick, something to get people to spend more money on, while i'm fine with my liquid detergents. the pods felt delicate, like they'd break open if i handled them too roughly or dropped them on the floor. i could also see why children would be attracted to them, they look a lot like gummy candies. they were small, i ended up using two tide pods to do a load of laundry, adding them first to the tub before adding in my dirty clothes.
while folding my clothes in the bedroom i got a chance to experiment with the blue audio transmitter. i brought it to belmont so my mother could watch her shows with the headphones i brought as well. she thought it was cool but prefer her old way of watching tv, said the headphones had too much of an echo she didn't like. back at home, i tried repairing the transmitter to the bose speaker and it wouldn't work, maybe too much interference. i finally managed to get them to sync up in my bedroom. first i tried getting the audio to work with my DTA box using the left-right RCA jacks. that worked well, i was able to control the volume with the remote. i then tried to transmit audio from my OTA channels on the samsung HDTV; the RCA audio didn't work but i managed to get the toslink to work. the only downside was i wasn't able to control the volume with the tv remote, had to use the volume buttons on the speaker. but a better than the panasonic HDTV in the living room, which couldn't transmit any OTA audio.
so how did the tide pods work out? the container said 4-in-1, but it didn't say what exactly were the 4 components. i assume one is detergent, two is oxi-clean, and i'm guessing three is some kind of fabric softener as my clothes felt softer than normal (but i could be imagining it). the smell is okay - i guess that's what regular tide smells like - but i would've preferred some other scent. would i ever buy tide pods on my own? not really: i could see the convenience of having all your laundry ingredients in a handy "container" and i could see how it'd be useful if you were going to a laundromat, but i do my laundry at home, so a large bottle of liquid detergent is not a big deal for me. besides, i think the pods seem really delicate, and a recipe for disaster if one accidentally broke.
i watched the sunday night football game between the ravens and patriots. conditions were awful, torrential rain, but new england seems to thrive in bad weather, especially when playing at home. the patriots ended up winning, which shocked the sports pundits, who all picked new england to lose against baltimore and their MVP QB lamar jackson. and with buffalo losing their game tonight, the patriots are still in the hunt to win the division and get a playoff berth. new england didn't win pretty but they won, that's all that counts. even then the game went down to the final seconds, with the ravens having a chance to win the game. but it started raining so hard so it difficult to even see what was happening on the field, and with no more time outs, the ravens offense just crumbled.
temperature was in the 40's, i had to turn on the motorcycle choke to get it started but once it did i pushed the choke back in. i dressed warmly, had on my fleece jacket with the additional vest layer, but i brought my handlebar mitts anyway just in case it got colder later tonight coming back.
the first thing my mother told me when i arrived in belmont was my california cousin zhouke tested positive for coronavirus, as well as his daughter. now my aunt and uncle are waiting for their test results, but my aunt told me mother she already has a fever, so there's a good chance she has covid as well. it's one thing if everyone recovers, but if anyone takes a turn for the worse, that daughter-in-law and her mother will not be welcomed anymore.
turns out this morning my parents went to their framingham acupuncturists after all. coming back, they stopped by the waltham costco. my mother said they got a package of momosan tonkatsu ramen and fixed me a bowl, said it was really good. the first few sips were good, the broth a more delicious complexity than your average instant noodles, but after that it started tasting like every other ramen i've ever had. i also had a slice of panettone bread and some persimmons. later i had some sesame paste glutinous rice balls. i also tried the over-fermented glutinous rice; there's no sweetness but the alcohol is very strong, has a bitter taste even of hard booze.
the backyard maple has finally shed most of its leaves. my father said the ground was still too wet to mow so we're going to do it tomorrow instead, shred these leaves and add them in the compost bin. afterwards we're going to fertilize the lawn. so the only thing we did today in the backyard was to bring in all the jasmines and gardenia plants, as temperature tonight was dropping into the low 30's. we also disconnected the hose from the on-demand pump again and drained the remaining water from the hose so it doesn't freeze up overnight. i filled the birdfeeder with black oil sunflower seeds.
when evening came around my father and i went outside to grill the barbecued ribs my parents got at costco. we cooked the good face first, since later on the grill will get hotter and liable for flare-ups. after 15 minutes, we flipped the ribs over to cook the underside. the fat drippings must've accumulated at the bottom of the grill and couldn't run off into the pan because the grease ended up catching fire. my father had to remove the ribs and turn off the propane as the grill was enveloped in a bonfire. it was so hot, the thermometer on the barbecue lid went off the scale. even when we closed the lid, flames were licking from the sides. only after did the grease all burn away did we turn the grill back on. now using low temperature, it was a much quieter cookout and we slow-cooked the ribs for another 30 minutes before they were finally ready.
i ended up having 5 sticks of ribs, although i could've just stopped at 4, that 5th piece was an unnecessary bonus. returning home, i tried starting the engine without the choke but it wouldn't kick it, and it was only after i turned on the choke did the engine roar to life. i didn't put on the handlebar mitts, my hands were a little cold, but my arms were toasty warm and through blood circulation it was enough to keep my hands warm.
my taotronic bluetooth transmitter arrived today. i was surprised by how small it was, give how much i paid for it ($36). i hooked it up to my HDTV using the optical cable and i managed to pair it successfully to my bose speaker, but it wouldn't play any audio. i kept searching for an option in the menu but i didn't find anything. i did see a clue though, that there were separate audio options for the various HDMI connections. so i turned on the roku and fired up youtube tv; sure enough, audio finally played from the bose speaker. because the optical toslink is for digital audio only, it meant the audio i receive via over-the-air channels doesn't count for some reason; only AV connections from actual digital sources can work with the toslink. good news is there was no delay, voices sync'ed up perfectly with the speakers. bad news is i couldn't control the volume with the tv remote, only through the volume buttons on the speaker itself. digital audio encoding doesn't contain volume info, that's probably why my remote didn't work. i'm still on the fence as to whether or not i'm going to return the transmitter. maybe my mother might want it, she was asking about a way for her to use earbuds to listen to the tv.
steve and paul were quiet for the most part, but starting at 9:30pm they started blaring their tv sound again. i had to drown out the noise my streaming my audio through the bose speaker, finished watching wayne on amazon prime. now i'm watching dicktown based on the recommendation of maureen.
it was cold enough in the house that the furnace fired up this morning while i was still in bed. typically it takes 3 days of cold weather for it to lower my indoor temperature enough that a heat call is required. just yesterday it was still a comfortable 70 degrees inside my house. but the outside drop in temperature was too great (and perhaps with more moisture, which can also lower the temperature faster) so it dropped my indoor temperature that much faster.
despite the cold, grey, raw weather outside, i still went out this morning to leave a pokemon (tyranitar) in a gym to earn some coins. i noticed the trees outside of pho and rice were flowering. it had a tag, Prunus subhirtella 'autumnalis' AKA winter flowering cherry. there's a similar tree with more flowers about a mile away outside of the beacon street walgreens, but this had some unopened flower buds so should produce more flowers in the coming days. GLX project seemed to be doing something along the train tracks along somerville avenue outside of porter square. are they realigning the tracks? maybe it's not GLX related, since the green line doesn't connect to porter square, but it'd be awesome if it did, not sure why that wasn't an option during their design phase.
for lunch i made some scrambled eggs, some 10-year old homemade quince jelly on toast, kielbasa sausages, and some old homemade sauerkraut. the kraut was a little dry and didn't smell fresh anymore (no surprise, it's nearly 8 months old), i'm probably going to toss it to make room for more fermented food experiments i probably won't eat and will have to toss out eventually as well.
8.72 lbs. napa cabbage
1 cup kosher salt
3 cups water
3 tbsp glutinous rice flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tsp ginger, processed
3 head garlic, processed
1 onion, processed
1 asian pear, processed
3/4 1/2 cup fish sauce
3/8 cup salted shrimp paste
3 cups red pepper powder
halve cabbage, splitting open by hand. score 3 lines on base. salt individual leaves then let reduce for 2+ hours, turning the cabbage halves every 30 minutes. make glutinous rice porridge: water + flour, added brown sugar when starting to bubble, stir until sugar dissolved, remove from heat let cool. make chili paste combining all ingredients except for cabbage. wash cabbage to rinse off salt. make additional split in cabbage from previous score marks (1 head divided into 6 parts). wearing gloves, rub paste into individual leaves. roll up cabbage, leave outside to ferment for a few days until bubbling before put in fridge.
today was a good day to be inside making kimchi. i made tongbaechu kimchi for the 2nd time, following maangchi's recipe. the only difference from last time (2-1/2 years ago) was i was using more cabbage, didn't have any garlic chives (saw them at the asian supermarket, they were too expensive, i decided to just rely on scallions instead), and i added an asian pear (processed). her recipe called for 6 lbs. of napa cabbage while i had nearly 9 lbs. so i scaled up the ingredients accordingly. i can't remember how well it tasted the last time, but after 3 days of fermenting i had a taste test and it still wasn't sour enough. after that i didn't make any notes of how it tasted after it fermented a bit longer.
i also had better containers this time around, including a large stainless steel bowl and a jumbo size plastic basin. my 2 heads of napa cabbage were much too large. in maangchi's recipe she used smaller cabbages that were the right size for rolling once they were quartered. i split the cabbages into halves, and then scored 3 marks on the bottoms so i could later split each halves into thirds once they finished reducing. in hindsight, i should've just cut them into quarters to begin with, scoring the bottom of each quarters, then split the quarters again after reducing so from one large head of cabbage i could get 8 pieces.
when the cabbage were nearing final reduction, i made the glutinous rice porridge and left it to cool. i then prepared the rest of the ingredients. i took out my large found cuisinart food processor because i had too much ingredients to chop everything up in my smaller ninja blender. the cuisinart is to food processor what vitamix is to blenders. the one that i have is heavy and industrial looking, and when i run it i can feel its power, like there's so much torque it jumps from the table if i don't hold it down. like i mentioned before, i added an asian pear this time (peeling it first before cutting it into quarters for the food processor); i don't know if it'll add anything to the flavor.
i'm also getting better at cutting my vegetables into matchsticks. the secret is to slide the radish/carrot into thin diagonal slices before cutting them into strips. the way i did it last time was cutting my carrots into thick rounds that i had a hard time chopping into matchsticks and it took forever. i could julienned all day with this newfound faster and easier technique.
i rinsed the reduced cabbages and split each halves into thirds. the side portions were thinner than the central portions. next time i should just split the whole cabbage into quarters first before splitting the quarters into halves.
the recipe called for 3 cups of hot pepper powder, but i ended up going 3-1/2 cups because i wanted to use up all the powder (so i could get a new bag). that made the final chili paste a little dry but still good enough. the portion also asked for 3/4 cups of fish sauce. i'm not a big fan of fish sauce in my kimchi because it makes it tastes really fishy. fortunately i only had 1/2 cup of fish sauce so that's how much i added.
i wore gloves for the final "pasting" phase. the first few pieces of cabbages were sauced so much i could hardly fold them over. that's when i realized i might have enough chili paste for all the cabbages, so i started to get more conservative with my paste application. fortunately in the end i managed to paste all of the cabbages, but definitely the early ones will have the most flavors. i used a plastic container, a glass lasagna dish, and one pyrex bowl to hold all the kimchi. i'll need to visit the dollar store to see if i can get more lasagna size containers because my glass lasagna dish doesn't have a lid (i used plastic wrap as a cover).
so now i wait for the kimchi to ferment before putting them in the fridge. learning from last time, i'm going to give it a good amount of time to ferment, even if it starts bubbling.
in the evening the furnace kicked in again for scheduled heating, but only briefly (20 minutes) before it switched back off.
i couldn't eat anymore pasta today. earlier i put my meat sauce in a smaller container and put it in the freezer, save that portion for when i do want pasta again (which will be a while). instead, for dinner, i just had some taiwanese beef noodles ramen. nothing fancy, but just enough to keep me fed.