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last night i prepared for bed around 1:30am, took a shower first to rinse off some stink, as i was too lazy to do it earlier. i was in bed by 2am, but watching videos until 3am. i also drank about a tablespoon worth of wild turkey 101 bourbon i had in the house. i have low alcohol tolerance and just a sip of it makes me sleepy immediately. i slept without incident, not sure whether it was the hot shower, the spicy bourbon, or a combination of the two.

i didn't wake up until 11am, was surprised i slept so late. maybe it was to make it for sleeping so little the night before. first thing i did was to call my mother and tell her about the clear plastic cup research i did last night. we ended up ordering two cases of cups from amazon despite the higher prices (but at the very least they had it in stock, and was $5 cheaper than baifu, the only other place we know that had 20 oz. cups in stock), as well as a case of matching lids.

my sister was celebrating her birthday at my place (because we'd be ordering takeout from pho & rice), so i had some cleaning to do. not too much, i did a lot of cleaning when the plumbers were here in early november, and i managed to maintain a relatively clean house despite the odds. just had to declutter my living room coffee table, and hide a few things into my bedroom. while i was at it i also did a load of laundry.

around 2pm i went out to get a birthday cake. normally we'd get one from chinatown, and the all day rain event that was forecasted for today ended up being only the early morning and later tonight, so technically i was able to ride down to chinatown to get a cake from one of the bakeries, but the problem is getting it back in one piece without the cake getting totally pulverized from the bump ride back strapped to the back of my bicycle. so we opted for a carvel ice cream cake. they had them at star market but $23 for an 8inch cake, which i thought was a little high. instead i just got some pork loins on sale and a few hot pockets.

i ended up riding to market basket to check out their prices on carvel cakes. along the way i saw them chopping down a massive elm tree in the backyard of a beacon street house. makes me curious why they were doing that: was the tree diseased? or are they preparing for a demolition in order to build another luxury condo? there used to be a lot of trees in that area, including a beautiful paulownia. now they are all no more, bulldozed by progress.

market basket had a more reasonable $19 for the same cake, so i bought one, it even said "happy birthday" on the top. the cashier and bagger were curious about the cake, i told them it was for my sister. i also told them my sister doesn't like chocolate, but the cake is half vanilla half chocolate, so i was hoping there wouldn't be a problem. the bagger told me that modelo's market on medford street in magoun square sells all vanilla ice cream cake for $20. i'll check it out next time.

i tidied up the kitchen, sorting through a bag of dried bok choy stems from my garden, collecting the seeds. i also baked 3 leftover soft pretzels from my freezer (in order to make more room for the ice cream cake), but by the time i ate them they were already hard again.

a bit before 6pm my sister showed up with hailey. i was surprised it was actually raining a little bit outside, i didn't think it'd rain until later in the evening, after 9pm. we were trying to decide what to order from pho & rice, but i saw on the webcam my parents had already left the cafe (heading to my place) so we decided to wait for them. when they got here, we figured out what we wanted to order, from bth pho & rice and zoe's across the street. my father called in the zoe's order, while i walked to pho & rice to make the order in person and pay as well. zoe's would take 15 minutes while pho & rice (the larger order) would take 20 minutes. i was surprised by how cheap pho & rice was given the amount of food we were ordering ($70), while zoe's just two dishes cost nearly $40 ($38).

my family haven't been to my place in a while, or at least not for this long, usually it's just a quick stop and go. my mother hadn't seen my bathroom since the pipes were exposed and was almost afraid to use it until she saw it. she also hadn't seen my new refrigerator yet. my father was sitting by the kitchen island, watching a video on his phone, drinking some tea.

when the time finally came to pick up our orders, my father and i both went out, he to zoe's, me to pho & rice. his order was already ready, while i waited another 5 minutes before my pho & rice order was done. they were really busy, a lot of sit-in customers plus a lot of takeout orders. the woman running the store seemed to be spinning plates with everything that was going on. it's good to see them so busy, but it almost seems like a curse. it wasn't even the weekend.

i returned to the house with a giant bag filled with our order. i could already smell the chinese food when i came inside. my father ordered the dried-fried smoked ham and the dry fried pork intestines, both hunanese dishes, both spicy. my parents had brought their own rice and my father was already eating. they took out the pho & rice dishes and set them around the coffee table. there was so much food, we almost ran out of space. my sister had already fed hailey but she was patiently sitting around the table, looking at all the food.

the two zoe's dishes were good, the smoked ham heavy on the smoked flavor and very salty and flavorful. the fried pork intestines was something new, there was so much hot peppers in the dish, more than half of it was dried and fresh peppers. the pho & rice dishes were also very good, a lot of fresh ingredients as the case is with vietnamese/thai cuisine. there was so much food, my mother suggested i save my grilled chicken bun for tomorrow. instead i got a bowl of rice and ate a combination of hunanese/vietnamese/thai.

i cleared the table once we were done eating. after a brief wait, i brought out the ice cream cake. it said to let it thaw 20-30 minutes but that was entirely unnecessary, as it was already soft enough to cut straight from the fridge. my mother had brought the last of the fancy singing birthday candles from belmont, and my sister placed it on top of the ice cream cake. everyone was taking photos as the candle burst open in a spectacle of flames and tinny music.

as for the ice cream cake itself, honestly, it wasn't that good. points for novelty, but deduct for flavor. it was half vanilla and half chocolate, but neither tastes like vanilla or chocolate, it was more processed and artificial. nobody wanted the leftover cake so it went back inside my freezer for me to eat at my leisure.

everyone left soon afterwards. my mother took some grape jelly for my aunt and 2nd aunt. i was left with the task of washing the dishes and cleaning the empty takeout trays for recycling.

so i went to bed early last night, 12:30am. but i was in bed watching videos and surfing the web until 2am. then it happened. i was struck down with insomnia. i think i was thinking about things i had to do tomorrow, and suddenly i was no longer sleepy. tossing and turning, it felt too hot under the covers, or too itchy, and then i had to get up and use the bathroom, and there was no point in trying to sleep, so i got up to do some reading, and then tried going back to bed again. i stayed like that for 3 hours, before i finally feel asleep around 5am.

i woke up around 10:30am. i spent the rest of the morning doing a water change on my aquarium. i pulled up as much hair algae with my hands then siphoned out a bucket worth of dirty fish tank water, replacing it with a bucket of clean treated water of the proper (72°) temperature. i sprinkled about a tablespoon of mosquito bits into the dirty water and used it to water my plants. i discovered a lot of the plants were sitting in a pool of drained water, so i made sure to dump them out. that could explain why i still haven't managed to control my fungus gnat infestation despite months of effort.

big news today was charlie baker announcing he wasn't going to run for a 3rd term, despite being very popular and the frontrunner in a general election. the problem is baker is a republican, and wouldn't survive his primary where most MA republicans view him unfavorably since he's a liberal republican who's reject trump lies. he's also a man of principle, unwilling to change party just to get elected. it's a shame, because i really like charlie baker. i love all our MA republican governors - weld, romney.

for lunch i made a matcha latte. i microwaved about 12 oz. of milk in the microwave for 1-1/2 minutes, before adding a tsp of matcha powder and a bit of honey and stirring it with the milk frother. i didn't used to use so much milk for my latte so now there's still usually some undissolved powder at the bottom.

around 1:30pm i left for the cafe via motorcycle. it was surprisingly warm, temperature in the upper 40's, so i just wore my hoodie + wind breaker plus my flannel-lined pants. my sister asked me to come to change some prices on the menu boards and to update the folding sidewalk signs. of course my sister wasn't there, but i had other things to do around the cafe. my father and i brought in the planters and took down the folding umbrella stand, storing them in the basement for next season. this cleared up 2 more spaces in the parking lot. i set up a spare wyze pan cam in the cafe basement, mostly to check to see if the two upright freezers are properly closed. speaking which, i helped my father tilt up the two freezers so he can stick some composite shims underneath the front feet so they lean back a little for better closing. later we checked the circuit breaker box to find the location of two outlets.

another reason why i came to the cafe was to try flying my drone from the parking lot. i've flown it in a few places, but never from there. there are some power lines crisscrossing the lot, but the space near the middle is clear, and once the drone is up high enough, the lot provides a big target for line-of-sight flying with the drone. i wanted to fly up to reservoir hill and check out some of the mansions there. one property in particular, a large place with a manicured garden. from the sky i could also see what looks to be a heated full-length pool which i never they had. trying to fly a bit beyond that point - over the crest of the hill - my connection dropped down to 2 bars, so i didn't push it. overall it was a good flight, and the low angle of the late autumn sun provided good lighting.

my sister finally got back around 3pm. i changed the menu boards according to her directions (changed directly, didn't have to take them down), and modified the sidewalk signs. her korean friend did the original lettering on them, they're pretty good, big and bold, not sure how she even did it (i would later learn she's a high school teacher, so maybe that's why her penmanship is so good). it felt a little wrong erasing some of her work to update the sign. my writing style is more thin-lined (with the chalk markers). my sister made me a brown sugar boba drink. it tasted good, but had the wrong color, was more white than black/brown.

after i finished with the signs i left by 4:30pm. i had no problem finding a parking spot, there's a large out-of-town suv taking up two spots, but leaving me with enough space to stash my motorcycle. since it's going to rain tomorrow, i put the cover over the bike.

i finally got around to watching episode 3 of hawkeye. i heard it was just 30 minutes long, but because it was so action-packed, i didn't even notice. it was such a great episode, every second a moment to savor.

i made another meatball sub for dinner. my sister's birthday tomorrow, my family made plans to get some thai-vietnamese takeout after work and eat at my place. i've been entrusted to pick up an ice cream cake from the supermarket, anything but chocolate.

for her present, i decided to gift my sister a new SSD hard drive for her late 2012 13" retina macbook pro, which currently only has a 128GB drive (i've got tiny microSD cards bigger than her drive). her computer is old enough that it could warrant a replacement, but throw in a new SSD, she could use it for at least a few more years. a lot of things on macbook pros are either soldered or glued down, but pre-2015 MBP's can upgrade the hard drive relatively easily. i decided to go big - 1TB. the going price for a compatible SSD seems to be $179. i ended up going with a no-name brand (but samsung parts) from ebay for only $138 (with a 3 year warranty and free return). after taxes the drive came out to $146. it won't arrive by tomorrow, but i'll install it once it arrives hopefully next week.


the supply chain issue has hit the restaurant industry hard in trying to secure container supplies for takeout services. my parents are having a difficult time finding 20 oz clear plastic drink cups. baifu on methadone mile in boston has them in limited stock, but at $120/case/1000. we managed to find a place online that had them - tundraFMP - for $85/case (karat brand) but they had a spending minimum of $200 to get free shipping. tundraFMP was also weird that we made the order back in august but they split the shipment and the cups didn't arrive until november, 4 months later.

my mother told me to go back to tundraFMP to order more cups, but they changed their policy and no longer has free shipping. they still carried the cups, but with a disclaimer that they'd arrive within 4 weeks, but now shipping is a "flat rate" $40. since it's a flat rate, i decided to add 2 cases to my order, but then the flat rate changes to $105. i went elsewhere looking for the same brand of cups, every place was sold out. the only place that had them was amazon, at $115/case, not much of a discount, but at least the shipping was free.

ever since thanksgiving i ate at my parents' place, so i've had home-cooked meals for the past 5 days. now back at home, it was weird trying to figure out what to make for lunch and dinner. i looked in my fridge to see what i can could get rid of. i still had a bag of frozen meatballs, so in the afternoon i decided to bike to market basket to get sub bread and provolone cheese for making some meatball subs. i stopped at walgreens beforehand, to pick up my thiazide prescription. i noticed there was a sign that said they no longer did walk-in vaccinations, even for flu shots.

i only had a matcha latte for lunch, so i picked up a greek salad. when i got back home i mixed a jar of homemade dressing (olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, dijon mustard, salt, crushed pepper, dried oregano, lemon juice) and drizzled it over my salad.

even though we already bought a used macbook pro, i'm still following a few MBP auctions on ebay. one that i'd been following for the past 3 days - a 2015 15" retina macbook pro 16/500GB with a new battery - ended up selling for $570 plus another $35 for shipping. it makes me a little suspicious if the 2014 MBP we bought off of mercari is legit or not, for only $400 with free shipping. i noticed there were some photo discrepancies where it showed a different 2015 model than the one being sold. i guess i'll find out when it arrives.

last day of the month and november 2021 turned out to be a very good month for solar production. we generated 697kWh of electricity, which is the most we've generated in the 5 winter months of october, november, december, january and february. unfortunately we had a rainy summer so we're running 5% lower than last year. hopefully december turns out to be a sunny month as well.

for dinner i made a meatball sub. there was nothing good on tv, so i bounced around from youtube tv to netflix to finally a movie on my laptop (the last duel).

i was going to throw out the trash when i realized i didn't have very much since i haven't been home much this past week. i just tossed out some recyclables, going to get rid of the trash next week.

learning from yesterday's mistake, i used my handlebar mitts when i rode the motorcycle to belmont. they're so warm, i could probably ride bare-handed and still have my hands stay toasty warm.

after some noodles for lunch, my father and i were outside doing the last of our garden winterization. we drained all the rain barrels and tipped them upside down. we opened up another bag of chicken manure and distributed it throughout the backyard: a quarter amount in the raised bed zero (RB0), some around the eastern shade garden hostas, some around the grapevines, some along the southern bed where we grew our long and hyacinth beans, around the hop bines, some in the makeshift trellis by the quince bush, and finally the rest in the garlic chives bed. we covered up the chicken manure with shredded leaves as mulch but also to keep it from smelling.

for the past few weeks i noticed the screw securing my clutch lever to the handlebar was coming loose. i kept screwing it back down, but every time i pull the clutch, the screw would slowly work its way out. i finally discovered today that the reason was because it was missing the cap nut holding the screw in place. i measured the diameter of the screw (6mm) but also verified the missing part by finding the OEM part listing.

in the late afternoon i drove down to the watertown home depot to get a replacement. the employee working the checkout made a joke, "do you want me to double bag it for you?" he asked. "it's okay, unless you have a tiny tiny bag," i said, but then immediately regretted it because he was a small person, i didn't want him to think i was making a joke at his expense. but i don't think he was offended. while i was at home depot, i also noticed they converted their outdoor garden supply section into a christmas tree shop.

i put on the cap nut when i got back. for some reason this 6mm stainless steel cap nut is taller than the original cap nut. it's not a big deal because it's underneath the handlebars and no one will ever see it, but the little bit of OCD in me thinks i should've searched for a shorter cap nut.

i ordered the gopro hero9 black action bundle from costco for $340 (originally $390, $360 after taxes). i've been researching action cameras for weeks, wanting to upgrade my dbpower EX7000 pro 4K action camera which i bought during 2019 black friday for just $20. i use the EX7000 mostly for time lapses, but it only supports 1080p timelapse videos. i like how wide the lens is (170°) but the image quality can be a little muddy. how much better can an action that costs 18x as much really be? my mother gave me her blessing after i told her i could return it if it wasn't any good. i'm most excited about creating timewarp videos and using the scheduled recording to shoot sunsets and sunrises. the one thing i don't like about the hero9 is the lens doesn't seem wide enough. i think you can bump it up to 155°F but that's with an additional $100 max lens mod attachment. another camera i was looking at was the akaso brave 7 for $160. but in some side-by-side comparison videos, the gopro has better image quality compared to the akaso.

i had noodles again for dinner. i got back to cambridge a bit before 7:30pm. after a shower, i settled in to watch some monday night football between the seahawks (3-7) and the washington football team (4-6), a contest between two losing teams. i'm not even sure what's happening to seattle, they lost their mojo in a big way. if i had to pick, i'd root for WFT, i enjoy watching scrappy QB taylor heinicke defy expectations. despite what would appear to be a very lowkey contest, it was actually a pretty exciting game, and was only decided in the final seconds, when the seahawks nearly tied the game after a touchdown but missed the 2 point conversion. even then, it looked like seattle was successful with the on-side kick, but an obscure positional penalty negated that. washington won, 17-15, and are still in the hunt for an expanded playoff spot in this new 17-game regular season.

today was cyber monday but i didn't buy anything order than the gopro hero9. i did spend the rest of the night ordering a few things off of amazon: garden hose caps (for our rain barrels), ballhead clamp mount (for the action camera), a 6ft surge protector (for the kitchen), and an 12W LED grow light bulb (to replace the 2ft grow light i'm currently using on my plant stand, which i'll need to take back once i start grow seedlings in my grow closet at the end of winter).

i tried to get to belmont earlier today, because we had some yardwork to do. i left my place by 11am. temperature was in the upper 30's, and supposedly be in the 40's, so i wasn't prepared for the weather to be so cold. i should've used my handlebar mitts because my hands were freezing. i kept switching hands so i could rub some circulation back into them against my chest.

when i arrived at my parents' place, i saw that my father had already mowed the lawn. this was our last mow of the year, since we were prepared to add the final fall lawn food. our drop broadcaster was rusted shut, my father sprayed it with a generous amount of WD-40 to get it working again. the instructions for the scotts winterguard turf builder said to set the spreader at 6-1/4 size, which i thought was too much. those fertilizer instructions are always trying to get you to use more, then you'll have to buy more fertilizer. unfortunately i didn't have a record of what we set the spreader at last autumn, so we opted for size 4.

my father had the honor of pushing the fertilizer spreader. i kept asking him not to backtrack since i was afraid we'd run out of fertilizer, but he was confident we'd have enough. turns out he was right, we still had 1/5 bag left over when he was done fertilizing. he said we could probably go up to size 4-1/2 in the future. while he was doing that, i was clearing the backyard of obstructions. i also filled up 2 more buckets with rain water (for plant watering usage) before draining 2 of the remaining 3 filled rain barrels.

this was actually our second lawn feeding for autumn. the first was back in mid-september, when we overseeded the lawn then fertilized with a general purpose lawn fertilizer to give the seeds a little kick once they germinate. come spring we'll fertilize again, even though it's completely unnecessary. springtime is when we apply the crabgrass preventer, but for some reason it comes premixed with fertilizer as well.

we caught another mouse in the kitchen cabinet, my mother noticed the electronic mousetrap was flashing green. i was in charging of disposal, this mouse smaller than the one we caught yesterday. its body was also interred in the ivy patch. the backyard is like a graveyard for various critters, from mice, to birds (bluejay, robin, pigeon), to bunnies and squirrels, and even a few gerbils. i've even found cow teeth, back when the land was still a farm.

my father put out the stainless steel tent stove again. we have plenty of wood in the backyard but they've never been split before, and all of them are in various stages of decomposition as we never really made an effort to keep them dry until a year or two ago. instead my father found smaller branches (half dollar diameter) that he cut to size with a circular saw so they'd fit inside the stove. he asked me yesterday to look for a place where we could buy a piece of fire resistant glass, because he's thinking about installing a window in the door. i found a place that could cut a custom-sized piece of pyroceram for $36. we also watched a video where a guy did the same thing, installing a window in his wood stove.

new wood burns initially with black smoke that doesn't seem to want to rise up in the air, but after the flames pick up a bit (which creates an updraft), the smoke disappears and all that's left is warm air escaping from the smokestack.

around 1pm was when we stopped, as my mother called us in for lunch, some noodles. i was also coming inside to watch the titans-patriots game. this was an important game as new england was facing a worth opponent (8-3) for a change, although i heard tennessee's roster was depleted due to injuries. the first half ended with the score 16-13, though the titans would've been up 4 points had they not missed a field goal followed by a missed 1-point conversion. things turned in the second half, patriots dropped 2 dimes in the titans - one for each quarter - while tennessee never scored again. final score was 36-13. next week's game is going to be even more exciting, patriots face off against the bills in buffalo on monday night football.

i helped my 2nd aunt renew her MA id card, due to expire in a few weeks (they expire every 5 years, just like a driver's license). she gave me all her info but my mother had to call her to get her to send her passport info, in order to verify her citizenship status in order to register to vote. the id card can be easily renewed online for $25.

for dinner we had leftovers: squids, turkey, mushrooms. i ate quickly, almost to just get over it. i couldn't ride home with the riding gloves i had (my hands would freeze) so i searched the house for something warmer to put on my hands. i found some ski gloves that belonged to my sister that i could use. while i was searching, i also found some long lost car keys that'd gone missing, fallen behind the wicker stand by the front door.

i returned home by 7:45pm. the ski gloves - though warm - was too small, and i had a hard time gripping the clutch or brake levers. my body and legs were warm, but the bitingly cold wind made my eyes water and i grimaced the whole way home.

there was a browns-ravens game tonight. if baltimore lost, the patriots would get the number one seed in the AFC. unfortunately cleveland (6-5) is going through some issues at the moment, and although the ravens (7-3) didn't play well, they played well enough to win, on a low scoring 16-10 victory. new england's climb to the number one spot will have to wait until next weekend.

i walked down to walgreens again this morning to pick up my thiazide prescription after it went through yesterday. temperature was in the upper 30's but with the strong winds wind chill supposedly felt like the 20's. i wore my gap puffy jacket and a wool knit hat along with gloves plus thermal underwear, so i felt pretty warm.

there was 3 people ahead of me in line but it went quicker than i expected. my father called me while i was waiting, having already arrived at my house so we could go down to the everett costco to get the tire replaced. i told him to meet me at walgreens and we could leave directly from there. when it finally got to my turn, the pharmacist told me the prescription hadn't gone through, and that they'd contact my doctor, while i should get in touch with them again on monday.

we got to costco by 11:30am. the saturday after black friday, i was expecting the place to be insanely crowded, but it was less people than i'd imagined, your typical weekend crowd. half the parking lot of completely full, while the other half was empty. there were a few people ahead of us in line at the tire repair shop and we waited nearly half an hour before we got serviced. even then, they told us to come back in an hour before the car would be ready.

so we went shopping at costco while we waited. we were finished with shopping after an hour but the tire service still hadn't called us yet to let us know the car was ready. but from the garage we could see our car with the new tire. the mechanic must've saw us looking through the window and opened the door to drive out the car. he said the batteries in the tire pressure monitors were dead, which shows up as a generic "check engine" light on the dashboard. he said this was fine, but at some point the batteries should be replaced (maybe the next time we get new tires).

we drove back to cambridge so i can grab my things before heading to belmont. we got to my parents' place by 1:30pm.

it felt a little late for yard work so we postponed it until either sunday or monday. the electronic mousetrap underneath the kitchen cabinet was flashing green again. this time we did catch a mouse, unlike yesterday. i dumped it outside in the ivy patch. not sure how the trap triggered yesterday without catching a mouse, up until yesterday the electronic trap had a 100% success rate when triggered, the only other was when the batteries were dead, but these were new batteries.

i had some leftover turkey rollups for lunch. i also picked up a large box of david's pecan meltaways at costco. my father never had them but was instantly addicted, he and my mother finished a whole quarter.

the only constructive thing i did today was replace the battery in our remote weather station. the batteries were not only dead, but for some strange reason the remote temperature sensor and the base were set at different frequencies, so it's a miracle they even worked together in the first place. we replaced the sensor with a fresh set of AA duracell batteries. the protection plastic box around the sensor on our maple tree had cracked from years of weather exposure. i patched it up with some duct tape, hopefully it can hold on for another season.

my bn-link smart plugs arrived today (early pre-black friday sale of $18). it's the third time i've ordered these brands before, and probably the 5th time i've bought smart plugs overall. they're just super useful. their advertisement no longer lists energy monitoring, which is one of the things i use these plugs for. so i quickly took one out and tested it, and was relieved to find it still had energy monitoring even though it was no longer advertised. it's strange that they did that, it's one of the most useful features.

my mother's wool socks arrived (35% wool, 29% cotton, 36% polyester). they were so good, she ordered 2 more sets as potential gifts for my 2nd aunt and godmother. i think these socks are okay, i've been similar in china, but they don't last very long. my mother did want thick wool socks, and didn't want them riding up too high, so this thin material was just right.

we ate most of the turkey, what was left of the carcass my mother turned into turkey stock for broth noodles for dinner. we at while watching the news, then turned to the alabama-auburn game - the iron bowl. the score was 10-0 in auburn's favor all the way into the 4th quarter. alabama finally scored a field goal, and with seconds left in the game, managed to get a touchdown for a tie and overtime. i'd never seen college football overtime before, but it's based on alternating challenges. the game went into a 4th overtime, but alabama managed to win.

around 7:45pm my father gave me a ride back to cambridge.

walgreens notified me a few days ago that my prescriptions were ready so this morning i found got a chance to walk down there and pick them up. temperature was warm - in the 50's - but a little rainy and wet. i just wore my fleece jacket. midway on my walk my sister called me asking if i needed i ride. i told her i'd be done in 15 minutes. the pharmacy only had 2 of my prescriptions, i had to get a refill authorization from my doctor on the thiazide. almost home, i called my sister and told her she could leave now.

arriving at my parents' place, my aunt finally contacted them with an update regarding what happened last night. she went to the emergency room where they bandaged up the cut on her face and even gave her a few stitches. because hailey isn't fully vaccinated for rabies, my aunt has to get rabies shots as a precaution. my father left to deliver some thanksgiving flan my aunt wasn't able to have last night as she raced to the hospital.

i had turkey rollups for lunch. i also tried the ube mochi, my first time tasting ube. honestly, i couldn't really distinguish the flavor, non-refrigerated mochi is probably not the best medium for trying out ube. i'll need to eat more ube to figure out its taste.

as it was raining intermittently outside (and feeling very cold because of the moisture and dropping temperature), i didn't go out into the backyard today, saving that yardwork for later in the weekend. i did go downstairs to the grow room to spray the jade plant with insecticidal soap (i saw another large mealybug! how can they keep on coming back when i spray like crazy?) and the orchids with neem oil. i also sprayed the lemon verbana, noticed some aphids yesterday. upstairs i set the pepper plant in the bathtub and sprayed it with insecticidal soap as well; not so much aphids on the leaves but rather on the flowers and the peppers themselves.

the new electronic mousetrap i set up in the kitchen cabinet yesterday was flashing green this morning. when my mother checked the trap though, it was empty but all the peanut butter bait was gone. how did the mouse survive the trap? maybe the batteries are bad. so i set the trap again. the mousetrap in the basement however did managed to catch a mouse, after it's been there for over a month. it seemed fresh, like maybe it got caught just today. hopefully this doesn't mean a resurgence of mice activity after we haven't seen any for months.

i was trying to buy a new used macbook pro for my father, to replace the mid-2012 macbook pro he inherited from me when i got a new used late 2013 macbook pro retina 15" back in 2018. that mid-2012 MBP still works, but will crash intermittently, and will shut down if you close the lid. it's been repaired so many times, i was just going to leave it as a backup machine, not worth spending more money on to try and fix. but it's gotten to the point where it's difficult to use, and a replacement was in order.

i had the specs of the new used machine in mind: 2013-2015 15" retina macbook pro with 16GB RAM and 500GB hard drive. i first checked craig's list, there seems to be a lot of scam MBP sellers, with similar ads that feature non-corresponding photos. the one legit post i saw was a belmont seller offering a 2012 15" retina MBP for $400. unfortunately it was only 8GB/250GB, for that price i could do better. i tried ebay, there were some good deals on 2015 15" retina MBP for around $200-450. the problem with ebay is that its national (maybe even international), and with some auction posts, the prices seem low initially, but once it gets to the final seconds, a dozen bidders will jump in and suddenly the price will skyrocket. we tried bidding on a MBP for $300 but the final price was $430. another auction had a 2015 MBP with a 1TB hard drive that was originally $300 but ended at $730. so it seemed like ebay was not the best route.

i'd checked out backmarket.com in previous occasions, never bought anything from them though. a few months back i found some good MBP deals, but when i looked again, i didn't see any. pricing is kind of weird, a lot of sellers sell refurbished macs in various conditions, and the advertised price is always the starting price, which is a computer in fair condition, but if you want anything that's a little better, it'll cost you.

i then tried mercari.com. i've used them before when i got an asus tablet to test with my DJI drone (didn't work). they're kind of like craig's list, but with a national reach. i feel like they're relatively new so not many people know about it, which is good because it means not a lot of buyers snatching up good deals. they don't do auctions, it's basically just individual sellers hawking their unwanted goods online. i was just browsing randomly, and came across an oregon seller with a mid-2014 15" retina MBP 16/500GB for $400 and free shipping. that's a great price so after conferring with my father, we decided to buy it. after taxes, it came out to $430.

in the news today was reports about the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, and how many countries were restricting travel to and from a handful of african nations starting with south africa. the variant should technically be named the xi variant, but bowing to chinese political pressure, the WHO has opted to skip a greek letter.

for dinner my mother cooked up the book tripe with some sour mustard greens. originally this was a dish for yesterday's thanksgiving, but we already had honeycomb tripe, so my mother ended up not making it until today. we had turkey rollups again. not much turkey meat left, after my aunt and 2nd aunt had a go carving up the bird to take leftovers home. what's left will be turned into stock for use as noodle broth.

my father gave me a ride home after 8pm. it had started to snow but the ground still too warm for any of it to stick besides on grassy surfaces at the most. we stopped by my sister's place so i could drop off some sour mustard greens and a ramekin of flan. my street was a ghost town, most cars still missing during the thanksgiving long holiday (including my noisy upstairs neighbors). the heat kicked in when i got back (eco mode senses someone was finally home), stayed in the toasty bathroom for as long as possible.

even though today was black friday, there wasn't much online shopping. my mother wanted to visit OSJL, but when she found out the yarn sale she saw in the circular was actually over, she didn't want to go. besides the new old macbook pro, we ordered a keurig coffee maker ($40) for my 2nd aunt and some wool socks for my mother.

the only thing i had to do today - thanksgiving eve - was to get some beers. i could just go to the liquor store around the corner, but i wanted more selection, so i decided to go to the somerville sav-mor off of mcgrath's highway near lechmere station. heading out, i saw the crowd of people outside petsi's pies. i biked towards east cambridge, finally arriving at my destination.

i thought there'd be more people but the parking lot was pretty much empty. i went to the beer aisle to pick two different beers. having no clue which beers are good or bad, i basically go by design, name recognition, and whatever else might attract me. i went with a 6-pak of samuel adams winter lager and a 6-pak of weihenstephaner hefe weissbier bavarian style. i also got a 6-pak of woodchuck pearsecco for myself.

i made it back home by 12:20pm. the line outside of petsi's was just as long. i watched as my upstairs neighbors packed up their car and drove off. i'll enjoy having the house to myself the next few days. a lot of neighbors had taken off as well, given the amount of empty parking spots outside. for lunch i had a maruchan instant cup of noodles.

afterwards i checked out the motion-sensing spotlight in my alleyway. it was doing this thing where it'd turn on for only 1 second regardless if it was day or night. i learned this behaviour is indicative of being in test mode. sure enough, when i checked the sensor, it was in test mode. not sure how that happened, but i also noticed a few days ago that someone had replaced the bulb at one point with a regular incandescent. maybe my upstairs neighbors fiddled with the settings when i wasn't here. this is good news though because it means i don't have to replace the spotlight. i will however change out the bulbs to PAR38 led spotlights.

around 1:30pm i left for my parents' place to help clean the house for thanksgiving. there was a good amount of traffic and it took me 20 minutes to eventually get there at almost 2pm.

i disconnected the on-demand pump and brought it inside so the freezing night time temperatures don't damage the pump. speaking of freezing, there was a layer of ice one inch thick in our water buckets. the mustard and daikon seedlings are still in various degrees of survival, with the daikons underneath the plastic cover doing the best. i tossed out the extra raspberry canes, a layer of ice forming in the bucket where they'd been soaking. i replaced the faucet cover in front of the house with a new one that had thicker foam; no reason to cheap out and use a repaired version that still had plenty of gaps to allow freezing temperature to get inside.

in the grow room, i filled up a 5 gallon bucket with rain water and brought it into the basement. the water reeds was getting a little dry so i topped off the pot.

i started cleaning the house but i wasn't making much of a dent. i used the wrong strategy, trying to put everything back where it should be, but there are so many things that don't go anywhere, and it'd be a lot quicker if i had a box that i could throw everything into. a bunch of fan's my the small bedroom i brought them down into the basement. a bucket of tools in the sunroom i took them into the basement as well. i finished by vacuuming the house, then doing the dishes. i left by 4pm, close to sunset. there were fewer cars on my return trip, i made it back home in 14 minutes.

today is an important day solar-wise, as we achieved the highest production ever for november at 594.64 kWh, with still 6 more days left in the month. this is to make up for a summer where we had the lowest production ever. at the rate we're going, if we get a few sunny days next week, we may break october's record production as well.

i finished watching foundation. the last episode came out last friday, but i'm only now getting around to watching the final two episodes. i find myself hate-watching it. of the three storylines, only the empire one is interesting, the other two are painful to watch. apple+ renewed it for another season but i don't think i'll be watching it anymore. i've already unsubscribed from the subreddit.

for dinner i heated up some french bread pizza. i ate while watching the 2 premiere episodes of hawkeye. it's actually pretty good, i look forward to a new episode next week. i finally got around to updating my pixel 3XL phone to android 12, the last supported system update for my phone. i'm surprised the transition went so smoothly, no glitches whatsoever, and the phone feels snappier under 12.

i found out i lost my amazon prime visa card (i just had it replaced back in august). it didn't help that it's completely black, so it's very easy to lose track of. i either lost it at the speedway gas station yesterday when i was fueling up my motorcycle (the last time i used it) or it's at my parents' house or it's somewhere on the road (having fallen out of my pocket). i'd get it replaced, but it's peak online buying season and i can't be sidelined without my credit card. so i'm going to hold off on replacing it for the time being, maybe wait until after christmas. i still have my bank debit card, which is what i used this morning when i went to market basket to get a few grocery items. it was crazy but not yet apocalyptic crazy. i wouldn't want to be there wednesday night before closing though.

i bought two bags of PEI mussels ($5 each), after looking up online that they can stay fresh in the fridge for a few days after purchase (covered with wet paper towels). they don't look very large or pretty, but it'd be a break from our usual thanksgiving fares. the last time we had thanksgiving mussels was back in 2017.

from my living room window earlier i could see the line from petsi's pie stretching down beacon street. when i went by the shop, there was about 20-30 customers waiting outside. they even set up a tent outside to process all the orders.

i got back home by 10:45am and started making the thanksgiving flan. in the original recipe, the portions for 8 flan are: 5 eggs + 3 cups milk + 1/2 cup sugar + 1.5 tsp vanilla + 1/4 tsp of salt. using those numbers i scaled up accordingly, this time for 14 flans. why 14? because i only had a roasting pan that could hold 8 ramekins and a pyrex lasagna dish that held just 6.

thanksgiving flan
(14x 6 oz. ramekins)

9 eggs
0.9 cup sugar
0.5 tsp salt
5.5 cups whole milk
3 tbsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups sugar (caramelized)

preheat oven to 350°F. mix eggs with sugar and salt. mix in remaining liquid ingredients. set aside, let bubbles dissipate. boil a kettle of water and pour into lasagna dishes lined with ramekins. caramelize remaining sugar (melt in small batches, 3/4 cups each), coating ramekin bottoms. pour in flan mixture, using fine mesh strainer to catch any unmixed egg bits. bake for 120 minutes, switching trays after 1 hours to brown evenly.

i have bigger pans and dishes but i couldn't find any of them. after each thanksgiving all my dishes and pans get scattered until next november, when i need to consolidate everything, and often times i can't find them anymore. hopefully i do a better job this year of collecting everything afterwards so i don't have to hunt again next year.

the flan were in the oven by 12:15pm. the original recipe called for just 40 minutes of baking, but i've found with my oven and the amount of flan i make that it takes 2 full hours. i waited after the first hour to swap the pans, but when i opened up the oven, none of the flan had brown yet, so i decided to leave it as is, bake for another hour.

so talk about a black friday miracle: my amazon visa card mysteriously reappeared! i searched everywhere this morning, and then suddenly it just showed up on my coffee table. either i'm losing my mind or there are evil spirits living in this house that like to hide credit cards. i'm tempted to punch a hole in the card and wear it on a chain so i'll never lose it again.

i had an hour to kill, so i decided to bike down to my sister's godmother's apartment in central square to pick up her mail. i also figured on the way back i could get some mcdonald's takeout since i hadn't had lunch yet. after the kirkland intersection, a somerville police officer in a SUV chased after me and chewed me out for crossing during the pedestrian cross signal even though nobody was crossing. the temperature was a little blustery, but in my new used puffy jacket i was quite insulated and warm. the jacket was actually too warm, and when i stopped i quickly unbuttoned and unzipped.

after collecting the mail, i went upstairs to check on the apartment. using the mcdonald's app, i ordered a spicy deluxe chicken sandwich ($5.98) which came with a free medium fries and medium drink after i used a coupon. i went back downstairs and biked to mcdonald's to collect my order. i didn't really want the drink because it was hard to carry back, but if i ordered the fries separately it would've cost more. i put the drink (sweet ice tea) in my cup holder and biked home gingerly, afraid the lid from the soft drink would pop up at the next road bump.

as soon as i got back home, i heard the timer going off, perfect timing.

before i could even start eating my lunch, i first took out the flan and placed them on wooden cutting boards to cool off.

as for the mcdonald's spicy deluxe chicken sandwich, it was okay. much spicier than i expected, which is a surprise, a kind of vinegary spiciness, like if you mixed frank's redhot with mayonnaise. i noticed more and more fast food restaurants offer spicy sandwiches, and legit spicy, not just peppery spicy. i always figured the typical american palate has a very low spicy tolerance, so maybe it means people's tastes are changing.

when my father returned home, he set up the stainless steel tent stove that arrived this morning. it came in a wooden crate already assembled. we'll fire it up either on thanksgiving or definitely this weekend, with the stacks of old wooden in the backyard.

i didn't eat until after 9pm, heated up a brick of stouffer's lasagna in the oven. i ate while watching the live-action cowboy bepop on netflix. afterwards i took out the trash. my upstairs neighbors were lazy and instead of pulling out the other recycle bin, they just cramped all their boxes into one bin, overfilling it. i had to take out some of the boxes. one of them was for a coway airmega air purifier.