i rode the bicycle to belmont (instead of taking the motorcycle) for several reasons: to get some exercise, to test out my new cruiser bike seat, and to replenish my pokemon supplies. kind of sad to admit, but catching pokemon was the more important of the three reasons. i managed to occupy 4 gyms which will definitely get me at least 50 coins. the route i take apparently doesn't get high traffic volume so i can typically defend a gym for a day, if not longer. as far as exercise, i hardly did any biking this past week, just went to market basket. even then, my body was still in shape and i wasn't lacking in endurance as i climbed hills. finally, the new saddle was fine, hardly noticed any difference while riding (though i still think it looks ridiculously thicc), which is a good thing. i sit too far forward and at one point realized i still had plenty of cushioning in the back, that i can really sit back and pamper my butt.
while my father spent most of the day organizing the garage, i was in the backyard doing an assortment of garden work: plant the eggplants and peppers, replant buttercup squash seeds (3rd time), put collars around all seedlings, weed the raised beds, water the backyard. the lupine aphid problem seems to be fixed since we didn't need to use the insecticidal soap spray today.
we also fertilized the orchids will special orchid fertilizer as well as the jasmines and gardenia with standard miracle-gro blue fertilizer. i occasionally ran the hose for hailey to play with (video: warning large file size 33MB). i managed to chat with our backyard neighbor, asked him if he pruned our tree, told him we didn't mind but to ask us first; i could've raised a big stink (like the fact that he trespassed to damage our property) but decided to keep it civil for the sake of being neighborly.
in the late afternoon i suddenly realized today was the postponed launch of the spacex rocket ship. i quickly switched to youtube tv where i saw the launch had already happened more than 15 minutes ago. i'm happy it was successful, but i part of me was kind of expecting something awful to happen, given NASA's track record with manned space flights. i have to remember that tomorrow around 12:30pm they're going to be docking with the international space station, i don't want to miss that when it happens.
my mother made some pan-fried raviolis for lunch with the leftover chinese dumplings from yesterday. for dinner, she made some salted fish flakes with cilantro and ginger as well as some red roasted beef stew. my father also finally cut up that large watermelon i bought during memorial day weekend. although it looks pale, it was actually surprisingly sweet and crispy and juice.
throughout the day we kept seeing bunnies in the backyard. it's difficult to drive them out because they're good at avoidance, and once they hide in the thicket of spiderworts and ornamental grasses, it's impossible to find them again. we've blocked all the entrance points, not sure how they're getting in, but my theory is these rabbits were stuck here to begin with, not that they came in anew. fortunately we have a live trap. after my father set it up, we put in a stick of celery. i wanted to hide it somewhere so the rabbit would more likely run through the trap, but my father wanted it further out so he could see it from inside the house.
today's production of 50.07kWh was a pleasant surprise, i was hoping for maybe 20kWh+ at best, knowing that it was going to be cloudy, at least for the first half of the day. that meant so far we've had 11 days in may that was 50kWh+. not only that, but with today's high production, it guarantees that we will break the all-time monthly production record previously set in july. this is because tomorrow's forecast is for a clear blue sky day. we may not hit 50kWh+ (though i'm hopeful) but it's going to be very close and we just need about 20kWh+ to beat the record. the month of may will end in style solar production-wise.
i adjusted the bike seat when i returned home. it started tilting backwards while i was riding. besides tightening up the bolt, i also moved the seat forward so i don't have to sit so far back from the handlebars. it'll try riding it again tomorrow to see if there's any improvements.
i watered my community garden plot and backyard this morning. the weather was overcast but warm, with a soupy humidity. for some reason there was zero pressure in the hose. i checked the faucet just to make sure and there seems to be something wrong with the plumbing. i trickled water my plot the best i could. it was so humid, the plants weren't in any danger of drying out anyway. i went around the rest of the community garden taking photos of the irises and columbines before finally walking home, where i then watered my yard, front and back.
ever since itchy dermatitis has taken over my whole right hand, i've been paranoid about everything i touch. i strongly suspect that the arms of the sofa chair i usually sit in has been tainted with whatever chemical that's causing my condition, so i've managed to avoid touching that. basically i go about my daily business with my hands raised, trying to avoid touching anything. last night i slept in an arms-outstretched cross-position so i wouldn't accidentally scratch my hand. i've discovered that if i can avoid scratching, the itch is bearable. if i scratch just a little bit, the instinct to keep on scratching to relief the itch is so powerful i end up scratching my whole hand which makes it worse.
i've got a little bit of the dermatitis on my left hand but because i never scratch that, it's been manageable and hasn't been a problem, and has slowly disappeared without drama. the right hand though, that's a mess. the whole palm was encrusted in hard itchy blisters. one of the blisters was weeping today, kind of a strange experience milking fluids from your hand. once i got back home, i soaked my garden gloves in some oxiclean and later hung them out in the backyard to dry (not sure how well that'll do given the humidity).
i didn't think i had enough chicken salad so i made some avocado spread as well. my avocados are starting to go bad, no longer fluorescent green, but rather drab olive. it was still edible though, if you can overlook the color. i ended up having enough chicken salad but i already prepared the avocado, so i had this weird combo bagel sandwich. it didn't taste bad but messy to eat.
in the early afternoon i went to market basket. i was prepared to wait 30-40 minutes in line, so i was surprised to find no line at all. they even did away with the shopping cart barrier, so maybe this is a permanent thing. there was a good number of customers but still light compared to the typical market basket crowd. signs of things getting back to normal: they had yeast, but not the usual fleischmann brand. i checked the prices on chicken wings after i heard a while back the prices were dropping since so many restaurants were closed; it was $3.29/lbs. still a little expensive. i also stocked up some frozen orange juices. i used my grocery bags to carry my things, buying mostly supplies for my parents, only getting some mozzarella cheese for myself. my mother asked me to buy some pork hocks, i was going to get two packages but saw the sign limiting customers to only 2 meat items. since i was also getting some ground pork, i put back one of the hocks. when i went to go pay, i didn't know if the cashier was going to help me bag, so i asked her if i could do it. she said okay, but because i used my own bags, she wasn't allowed to help me.
once back at home, i went out again to star market, to grab some sale items before the new sales beginning tomorrow. that included some B&M baked beans (99¢) and häagen-dazs ice cream ($2.99, i got all the classic favorites: butter pecan, rum raisin, pistachio - no vanilla bean or any of the spirit flavors though).
i packed the groceries into my saddlebags and rode off to belmont to drop them off. i also brought my laptop because i wanted to ask if my parents tried applying to the cambridge small business grant. my mother said maybe my sister already did but when she called her she said she didn't. the deadline was tomorrow, so i helped my parents fill out the online form. when we finally go to the end, it asked for copies of their 2018 and 2019 schedule C forms which they only had in paper format.
i got on my motorcycle and went back to cambridge to grab my scanner before returning. i bumped into bruce who was coming back from a grocery run. he said they already installed their AC unit. for me that'd be early, but on a day like today, that'd be quite the relief. by the time i got back to belmont (less than 30 minutes), my father had already mowed the front lawn and was about to mow the backyard as well.
afterwards when we inspected the garden, i spotted a bunny. one bunny means there's more and we saw a second one. we drove it to the southeastern corner of the yard where they escaped through a large crack in the fence (probably how they came in). we put some chicken wire in the corner to keep them from coming back. but afterwards i thrashed the spiderwort and ornamental grass ground cover with a bamboo pole and a 3rd bunny popped out. my father and i chased it throughout the backyard, from one side to another, hoping to drive it out. i even removed the chickenwire so it could escape from the corner crack. finally it ran to the northwestern corner of the backyard where it probably escaped through another corner opening. i ended up patching both with chickenwire. later i found out my parents actually saw one of the bunnies yesterday. it didn't seem to be afraid of humans, maybe it was too young to know the danger.
i was going to go home but ended up staying for dinner, where my mother already cooked the pork hocks. as for the ground pork, she said she was going to make chinese dumplings this weekend, and told me to collect the remaining garlic chives from my garden plot.
i returned home, still warm enough to just wear a t-shirt on the bike. once back, i tried to remove my motorcycle handlebar clock which had gone dead after the bike had been in storage for the past 5 months. i tried every single hex wrench i had, going out half a dozen time, but none of them were the right size. it must use an irregular size hex. but then i tried one of the allen wrench on my topeak alien ii bike multi-tool and that one worked (for the record, it's 2.5mm). i opened up the casing, it's a small 377A battery. i had one in my watch battery collection but it'd already started to corrode from age. i ended up getting some new ones off of ebay, a pair of 377 renata watch batteries for $1.81 (due to arrive by next friday). 377 are better because they're silver oxide, compared to the 377A which are alkaline.
today we didn't break the 30kWh barrier, which may prevent us from achieving the all-time single month production record. we came close though, hopefully one of the remaining may days will pick up the slack. nevertheless, 28.07kWh is still an accomplishment given how cloudy it was today. just goes to show you, with the sun angle as it is, and the increased daytime length, even on off days we do better compared to a similarly cloudy day back during the winter.
i didn't see kevin for most of the day, although i certainly heard him exercising loudly in his bedroom, occasionally crashing into the furniture and the door. i was waiting for him to go to bed before i did, but he didn't sleep until almost 2am.
there's always a point at the end of spring when the weather gets just hot and humid enough for me to wish for winter again. even though today hit 88 degrees, i'm still not there yet. i think that's thanks to the hot yet dry weather. tomorrow we're getting hot and humid and i might finally meet my tolerance threshold.
i got in touch with seaflo again, asked them if they had any news about the status of our replacement series-42 pump. chris replied to my text a few minutes later, said he's look into it. turns out the warehouse was waiting for us to return the 33-series pump before shipping out the 42-series, not realizing chris okayed them to ship it out first. he apologized for the mistake and said they were shipping out the upgraded pump today. hopefully we can get it by this weekend.
i went out three times today, all to visit poke gyms like a pokemon fiend. i'm tempted to take a break from the game, but it does give me an excuse to go outside and take a short walk, or even a bike ride if i want to hit more pokestops. i went out right before lunch, when i noticed two gyms with vacant slots. i only made about 20+ coins before i was knocked out from both gyms. then once more at night, around 11pm, to put a pokemon in one of the nearby gyms. barely lasted 20 minutes before somebody kicked me out. finally, close to midnight, i went out again to tag a gym. night time is the best time because not many people are out playing so if i'm lucky i can go 8+ hours without getting kicked out and make my daily maximum of 50 coins.
for lunch i had a chicken salad bagel sandwich. i have just enough chicken salad for one last bagel tomorrow, but i may need to supplement it with some avocados. kevin surprised me by going out for a jog in the afternoon (3:30pm), when the temperature was at its highest. normally he'd be gone for 30 minutes exactly but this time he came back in just under 20 minutes, said it was just too hot, that he nearly had a heat stroke. besides, with the mask on, it was difficult to breathe, making it even harder to jog. this is of course a rookie mistake, the best time to go is either early or later in the day when the weather is cooler.
big news today was the launch of the spacex capsule to bring two NASA astronauts to the international space station. the launch was at 4:30pm, the astronauts were already waiting in the capsule hours before. all systems were go with the exception of the weather. it was simply too windy and too electrical stormy to risk a launch, so they finally postponed it with less than 30 minutes left until countdown. the next departure date will be saturday afternoon.
around noontime today my father noticed a thick layer of pollen on our solar panels so he sprayed some of them with water from a hose, hence the slight uptick in production around that time. normally a rain shower would clean the panels but we haven't seen rain a while. another clear blue sky day brings another 50kWh+ production of 50.61kWh, a smidge lower than yesterday. with just 4 more days left in may, we need to make more than 134kWh in order to beat the highest single month production record set in july 2018. can it be done? we'd need to average 34kWh of production for the next 4 days. it will be close! regardless, today we already beat the single month production for june and we'll most likely beat august as well. can we beat july though? another thing that happened today: automatic energy reporting worked without a hitch, after the hiccup nearly 2 months ago in early april. it reported 1254kWh, which equals to one SREC.
kevin shared some chicken and potato he made for dinner with me. a bit afterwards i reheated some leftover rib-chicken-corn.
for some reason we got moths in the house. not a surprise, given how much of kevin's food is just lying around. while searching for the source, i looked in my spice cupboard and found several empty bottles. this is the work of kevin, who finishes my spices, puts back the empty bottles, and then buys himself a new bottle without ever restocking my supply. when i told him he could use whatever spice he wanted, i didn't mean he could just finish them. it's pretty rude. i was so angry i brought out all the empty jars and set them out on the table for him to see. later though, i had second thoughts, and put them all back. he's only here for 2 more weeks, no point making a fuss about it. besides, a lot of those spices were old anyway, if he wanted to finish them, it just went i could get fresh ones. the only thing that did really bother me was he used up most of my sichuan peppercorns, the ones i bought special from a small village on the outskirts of changshou during a market day, the ones that i don't even have the heart to use. from a full jar he used up 80% of it. i suppose a percentage of his rent will also be used to restock my spice rack.
after a chicken salad bagel sandwich for lunch, i walked down to my community garden to water my plants. there was a crowd around my plot, with dave working in his garden, and wayne and his girlfriend bojana working in theirs. wayne didn't seem to recognize me, even though i'd gardened next to him for over 15 years. "wayne, it's me!" i shouted at him. in his defense, we were all wearing masks, but i think wayne just has a hard time remembering asian faces. dave was half-wearing his mask, had it just over his mouth, then wrapped around his neck when he was talking. i wanted to ask him about his amazing seedlings, he told me he bought them, didn't raise them from seeds. i ended up chatting with him for a bit while he gardened. at one point bruce and jack showed up, strolling through the garden while waiting for the mechanic to change the oil on the car before going to the fresh pond whole foods.
i didn't return to the house until 2:15pm. i was feeling a bit snacky but didn't want to eat anything unhealthy, until i realized i had frozen bags of edamame beans in the freezer. i ended up cooking a whole bag which took me just a few minutes to finish but at least it kept me from additional snacking.
today we hit another 50kWh+ day, 50.73kWh, the 10th 50kWh+ day this month. that means 1/3 of may we lived in the highest production echelons. we got 5 more days left in the month to make 180kWh to beat the all-time single-month production record. it's going to be close! i noticed the graph is also starting to flatten, which could be a combination of sun angle, higher temperature inefficiency, and cloud conditions.
for dinner i reheated some leftover barbecue ribs, a drumstick, and an ear of corn.
kevin paid the rent this morning, a day ahead of schedule. i transferred the money from my paypal account directly into my bank account.
arriving in belmont i saw yesterday's orchid flower had completely opened. it wasn't like our usual orchids (which are pink), this one had a deep peach color, almost red. turns out it was a rescue from binbin's house, when my father realized they had some dried orchid plants in the house. my parents thought it as funny that the flower was so flat ("like a korean face," my mother said), but i think that's what normal orchids look like.
there was a lot of backyard activities on this memorial day. we moved out the wooden swing chair so my father could clean it up with the pressure washer before applying some sealant. we pruned the flowering plum tree, gave it a more rounded shape. while finding a place to plant the rosemary from last year, i accidentally discovered a bamboo rhizome by the grapevines and ended up digging out a root 3x3ft wide with several emerging bamboo shoots. even after all these years, we still continue to find escaped bamboos. we moved out all our houseplants again, now that it doesn't look like it's going to get cold anymore. my father removed some cold-damaged dead cactuses and consolidated them into fewer pots. i dug up some spiderworts creeping onto the lawn and my father planted them in boxes so they can bloom underneath the windowsill. i planted some more buttercup seeds after most of the ones i planted earlier had been dug up by critters. our zucchini seedlings have emerged, i put some chickenwire around one of the mounds to keep the animals out.
it took 3 days but my mother finally finished binging all 4 seasons (52 episodes) of kim's convenience. fortunately CBC renewed the show for 2 more seasons, but i can't imagine it coming back until early 2021 at the earliest, most likely delayed due to the coronavirus.
we had a barbecue: ribs, drumsticks, corn. what was missing were sausages. we ran out of korean barbecue sauce and i forgot to get more when i was at super 88, so i used plum sauce on the corn instead. it's okay, but not savory enough, made it sweeter. we also took out two bottles of moscato wine. my mother preferred the yellow tail pink moscato, tasted less of wine, more like a sparkling fruit drink. the barefoot moscato had a stronger wine taste, which isn't what we like. my father also barbecued some of the bamboo shoots. they tasted like bamboo, had a rough skin on the outside that you couldn't eat, but tender inside.
this morning i watered both my own backyard and my community garden plot. since planting the backyard hydrangeas, i've yet to water them. at the garden, there were just 2 other gardeners there, one of them being anne marie, doing some maintenance work on the hose. returning home, i left for belmont close to noontime, the motorcycle making quick work of the trip.
one of the orchids have started to flower, the opening bud resembling a reptile head with fangs. i didn't think they'd open so soon, was expecting the buds to get even bigger. it doesn't even seem possible that so much flower can fit inside one of those buds. whenever i'm in belmont i inspect the orchids for mealybugs, and take them outside to spray with insecticidal soap. they continue to get them, but just 1-2, and not all the plants. hopefully i can control it with the soap, and not have to uproot the plants to clean the grow medium, because apparently mealybugs can also live off of the roots.
i brought over the 3 windmills i bought from the dollar store yesterday. they're not the best windmills because the head can't pivot horizontally, so the wind has to catch it at a particular angle for the windmills to spin. but when they do spin, it's pretty dazzling. i read that these "scare tape" materials only work for birds, and don't deter animals like rabbits, which is what i why i got them originally. they look pretty though, add some liveliness to the garden.
my mother made wontons for lunch. sprinkled with some of our garden cilantro. afterwards i went outside to spray the lupines again. this time i made a whole gallon of insecticidal soap (5 ysbp to 1 gallon) and used the pump spray as it's better able to get underneath the leaves because of the wand.
the aphids used to have a waxy coating but the all the ones we've found now were green aphids. maybe the insecticidal soap washed off the coating, hastening their demise. but within an aphid colony, there are typically green ones, and those are also the ones with wings, able to fly away. i'm still a little confused as how they got there, as we never had any aphid problems with the lupines before. but all it takes is one aphid to create a whole colony since they can reproduce by asexual cloning. by father also started applying sealant on the picnic table.
by early evening the orchid flower had opened up even more, now looking more like an orchid than a turtle/snake head.
my mother made ground beef with pickled long beans. unfortunately it was served with rice porridge (mushy on mushy), when i think it goes better with regular rice (mushy on dry). my father also made some scallion pancakes.
the weather turned even colder as i was riding home, but fortunately i brought my jacket. riding the motorcycle doesn't allow me to play pokemon, but there is no spot on my way home that has several pokemon gyms all nearby, and i usually stop there to see if i can join a gym to harvest my coins.
while going to star market this morning to get some frozen orange juice for my parents, i saw the line outside of petsi's pie: they're reopening! just last week zoe's also opened their doors for pickup only. both businesses have been closed since march. small signs of things trying to get back to normal.
i thought the weather for memorial day weekend would be warm but temperature was just in the upper 50's and dropping as the day wore on. it was also surprisingly windy, which made it feel even colder.
it's been so dry our barrels have ran empty. the last time it rained was the night of the 15th, when the hot and humid weather triggered some thunderstorms beginning at 9pm. in order to water the lawn and the plants, we had to use the faucet for the first time in a long time. the forecast shows it won't be raining anytime soon, with the earliest possible rain not coming until next friday. the lack of rain might be terrible for plants and rain barrels, but it's been a boon for solar production, as we head into record setting territory. we've also been lucky this month that for whatever reason, most of our rain has come at night, when it won't affect the panels. how considerate!
while inspecting the backyard, my father noticed what appeared to be aphids on the row of lupines behind the garage. i didn't believe him at first, but he pointed out the wet stains on the leaves. i touched them and they were sticky. i still wasn't convinced. then he pointed to the stalks, which were completely covered in aphids. the aphids were so large - nearly the size of grape seeds - that at first i thought they were scale insects, or maybe mealybugs. but they were aphids, waxy and pale white. immediately i grabbed my spray bottle of insecticidal soap and sprayed all over the lupines. checking the lupines elsewhere in the garden fortunately revealed the aphid infestation was only confided to this bed. afterwards we spray with water to rinse off any remaining aphids.
my mother saved some homemade chinese dumplings from yesterday and cooked them for lunch. afterwards i went outside to check on the lupines. i noticed a jumping spider eating some of the aphids. i was worried that the insecticidal soap would hurt the spider, but when i looked it up online, i couldn't find anything that said they are affected, so i think they're safe.
the watering only rinsed the aphids off the lupines but now they were crawling back. many had also hid underneath the leaves where i couldn't easily get to them. i made a new solution of insecticidal soap (1tbsp to a 24 oz. spray bottle) and sprayed one more time; water might only just rinse them off but the soap definitely kills them by drying them out. i noticed because i saw some aphids on the leaves but when i went to go touch them they were all dried up and dead.
my father hooked up the pressure washer and cleaned the backyard steps. the water reeds have turned yellow from the cold so i moved it into the sunroom, as the night time temperature this weekend looks to drop into the 40's. we also moved all the cactuses back into the basement with grow lights on. while we were at it we decided to move the jasmines and gardenia as well, just to be safe.
my mother has been scraping the bottom of the netflix barrel in terms of what to watch, now watching a bunch of indian movies, none of which have chinese subtitles. i opened up netflix in my laptop browser and did a search for "chinese subtitles". one of the choices was kim's convenience, a canadian sitcom about a a korean-canadian family who owns a convenience store. i didn't think my mother would be interested but she was intrigued, especially since there was chinese subtitles. the showed turned out to be pretty funny and well-made, my mother found something new to watch for the next few days.
a little bit after 11pm i went out for a walk to tag a pokemon gym so i could earn my 50 coins. night time is best time for gym tagging activity since most likely people will be sleeping so no opposition teams are attacking the gyms. passing by the burger joint, an asian girl wearing a miniskirt startled me as she appeared out of the dark. we awkwardly navigated around each other, social distancing and stranger danger rules in effect.
my outdoor weather sensor in cambridge said the high temperature today was 86°F. there was no way i'd be spending the day at home, i simply had to go outside and enjoy this warm weather. after some avocado toast for lunch, i left the house by 1:30pm. it was hot enough for shorts, but all my summer clothes are in storage bins in kevin's closet, and i won't be able to get to them until after he leaves.
first stop was to the community garden, where i watered my plot. i noticed david has been slowly filling in his garden. i don't know if he buys or grows his own seedlings but they're magnificent, short enough not to topple over, with thick stems, and plenty of healthy leaves. he had tomatoes, japanese eggplants, and cucumbers. his garden is a mess but but my summertime he grows enough food to probably not need to buy anymore produce.
after that i set out for boston to haymarket, to look for some "ugly fruit" oranges. it's been 3 weeks since my last visit, i was hoping new produce would be in stock. i arrived at haymarket by 2:15pm. last time i guessed maybe 1/2 the vendors were there; this time around there seemed to be even less. the sidewalk facing quincy market has also been demolished, so the few vendors that would normally be on that side are gone as well. with a new hotel being built on top of haymarket plus the addition of the coronavirus social distancing, i fear for the future of haymarket as a local institution.
they didn't have the oranges i wanted, i don't think they're ever going to have it this season. i left with this haul: 2 melons ($3), 1 lbs. of multi-colored hot peppers ($1), 10 white peaches ($2), bunch of cilantro ($1), 2 cucumbers ($2), 10 baby cucumbers ($2), and 5 limes ($1). instead of going home, i took a tour of empty quincy market again.
i got home by 3:15pm. i then went to star market where they had a memorial day sale on corn (8/$2) and watermelon ($4). i then packed everything into my saddlebag and backpack, and rode the motorcycle to belmont to drop off the supplies. i could've waited until tomorrow, but reports say the daytime temperature difference could be as much as 30 degrees, so better to go today while the weather was still nice.
my mother tried one of the honey tangerines i got yesterday from the allston 88. she immediately said it was too dry, barely edible. i tried one, yes, maybe a little dry, but very sweet, nothing like she described. i was about to leave but my mother said she was making dumplings tonight. i told her if i didn't use up the rotisserie chicken i bought on wednesday that it was going to go bad. i finally left by 4:45pm.
when i got back home i planted another white hydrangea in that space between renee's house and our house. i'm not sure who that spot belongs to, but there was a bare patch of dirt just the right size for a hydrangea. unfortunately there seemed to be a large piece of concrete buried underground. instead of digging it out, i left it in place, and planted the hydrangea anyway.
at 6pm i started making my rotisserie chicken stock for my rice noodles. i removed the two drumsticks (my mother said she wanted those) and split the rest of the chicken into parts. into the pot it went, along with some crushed ginger, a dash of chinese cooking wine, some ground white pepper, and a stick of scallion chopped into large pieces. i filled the pot with cold water and set it on boil with the cover on. once it started boiling, i removed the cover and turned the heat down to a simmer and left it for an hour. i also added some salt later on because i felt the broth didn't have enough flavor, about 1/2 tsp of salt.
another perfect production graph line, another day of 50kWh+ electricity. it's been like this since tuesday, 4 straight days of 50kWh+. strange thing is every day there seems to be a little less production. today we didn't even break 7kW. the day length is increasing so you'd think production would be increasing, not the other way around. my personal theory is every day this week the high temperature has gone up about 10° per day. hotter it is, the less efficient the panels perform. in the dog days of summer we still manage to make high production simply because of quantity over quality. we're probably not going to hit 7kW, at least not without the help of clouds. so far this month we've had 8 50kWh+ days. last year we only had one, and the year before that just 3. we keep this up for the next 9 days, we're looking to shatter some major records here.
by 7pm the chicken stock was finally finished. i spent some time fishing out any bones and other inedibles. i then scooped out a medium pot's worth of broth and various chicken meat and reheated it again, this time adding some rice noodles, some 天津冬菜, some fried garlic, chopped cilantro, and a dash of black vinegar. i haven't made rice noodle soup in a long time, this used to be one of my staples. buy a rotisserie chicken, eat it on the first day (lunch and dinner), save everything (including bones), use it to make a broth the next day, making enough broth for 3 additional servings of chicken rice noodle soup.
i ate while watching red sparrow on FX. stylish, yes, but a terrible movie, amazed it got made. jennifer lawrence is such a ditz in real life, but all the characters she plays in the movies are nothing like her. afterwards i watched the magnificent seven.
i rode down to greater boston motorsport in arlington in the late morning to get my inspection done. an employee who just happened to be outside said inspections are done by appointment only, and suggested i call the service desk. a woman answered, i told her i wanted to get an inspection, she checked her schedule and said she could put me in either next thursday or friday. i told her thursday, resigned that i'd need to come back again next week. "actually, i'm outside right now, didn't realize i needed to make an appointment," i revealed to her. when she heard that, she said she wasn't going to send me home and said she'd get someone to inspect my bike immediately.
since my last visit about the same time last year, GBM has expanded: they bought the tires dealership next door and turned it into their service/repair department. the expansion was recent, right before the coronavirus shutdown. the service office still looked brand new, like it was just painted, hardly anything inside except a bank of registers. a folding table was placed by the door, a sign said only one customer could come in at a time. the woman i spoke to earlier beckoned me to enter. she asked how i wanted to pay for the inspection ($15). cash, i said, but added i could also do credit card if that was more convenient. so we did it with credit card, i read the numbers to her from across the room. she gave me back my registration and receipt, and said a mechanic would be right with me.
a minute later somebody came out. this mechanic wasn't wearing a mask, so i gave him some space to work. he pumped the brakes, checked the horn, turned on the lights, and passed me by putting a new inspection sticker on my license plate. just like that i was done!
instead of going home, i took a detour and went to my parents' place first. my mother was out taking her walk while my father was in the backyard setting up the scaffold by RB4 so there was a wooden shelf for some jasmines. he said the area by RB4 actually gets the most sun compared to any other place in the backyard. as for the scaffold, he sanded off the rust and repainted everything in a white primer. i suggested we just make a simpler lower platform with our wooden planks and some bricks and get rid of the scaffold.
my mother returned home by the time i was about to leave. i updated my parents on when kevin was moving out (june 10th is when the current tenant leaves, 11th is when the professional housecleaners come to clean the room, 12th seems like the most likely move date), told him to only pay me for the 2 weeks that he's here even if there's a few additional days. they suggested he pay in full (whole month), and i can split the difference with my parents once he finally moves to my grand uncle's upstairs apartment. my mother was going to make me some lunch, but i said i had a lot of stuff i needed to finish eating back home otherwise they'll go bad.
that other stuff turned out to be a bunch of avocados. i made avocado toasts on my own for the very first time. besides one avocado, i also added some chopped garlic and a drizzle of olive oil, per my mother's instructions. the whole wheat bread i got yesterday from star market, toasted two slices. it was just like my mother's avocado toast, although i wonder if i shouldn't add a pinch of salt to make it more savory, or maybe drizzle some hot honey. i washed it down with some cold ice tea, my new drink of choice now that the weather is turning warmer.
the weather was so nice i couldn't stand to be indoors. around 2:30pm i told kevin i was going out for an hour, and ended up biking to the memorial drive trader joe's to look for some incan corn. there was a short line, only a few minutes of waiting. an attendant by the entrance gave you a courtesy squirt of disinfecting gel if you wanted it. they don't seem to carry the incan corn anymore, so i ended up getting some snacks (wasabi seaweed, spicy dried mangoes, rice crackers).
next stop was the allston 88 asian supermarket (now the hong kong supermarket). i went a new way where i crossed the BU bridge and rode west on commonwealth avenue until i hit 88. i haven't been here in a while, not since GC was my roommate and i brought him here for some lunch followed by some shopping. the food court was still opened, though only a few shops were operating. there was no customers, the employees were all napping and seemed bored. they reorganized the supermarket a little bit, rearranged the aisles, made it more cramp it seemed, but seemed to better stocked. not so much in terms of produce but everything else. i bought a few things, including what they called "honey tangerines" (5/$4) but what my mother calls "ugly fruit" oranges.
coming home, i continued west until i hit harvard avenue, and went north on my usual route back to harvard square and home. the weather was so nice it seemed to have given me an extra boost of endurance and i felt like i could pedal all day and not get tired. i finally returned home by 4:30pm, catching kevin just as he was about to take a rare step outside, going out for a run.
i figured i had half an hour of privacy before he returned home, so i went to go use the bathroom before taking a shower. like clockwork, he came back at exactly 5pm. although he was covered in sweat, he didn't bother taking a shower to clean up. i shuddered over what it meant in terms of smells, but kevin keeps it clean for the most part (other than peeing on the floor, which he did twice today), so i wasn't too worried, even though i found the practice disgusting. i was just happy he left the house for a change.
another near perfect production graph (53.63kWh) even though we're 2kWh off from the record. the sky this morning was a deep cobalt blue because of how dry and sunny it was. a typical clear summer's day has a milky look to it because of the humidity. i'm not sure if we're going to achieve another record day but 50kWh+ is not too shabby. i predict our graph won't get any higher, but will expand horizontally and make up the difference that way.
i finished the last of my fried chicken around 6pm, the same time kevin was making dinner, just a wing and a piece of thigh. i was going to make some chicken broth rice noodles for later, but i wasn't the least bit hungry by that point, so decided to use up my rotisserie chicken tomorrow night instead.
i've been spending some time retroactively updating old posts for may. i still got 6 days that needs to be filled in, it's a slow process but the sooner i finish the sooner i can erase the photos off of my computer.
i thought kevin went to bed around midnight but he woke up at 1:30am to use the bathroom. i usually don't like to go to sleep until he does first. this way i can check that he didn't leave the bathroom faucet dripping or if there's any pee on the floor. also as i've mentioned previously, i can use the bathroom in peace knowing that he isn't waiting to use it.