my rainbow maker from joie de vivre finally arrived today and i went down to pick it up. unfortunately today was an overcasted day so i didn't get to see it working. what is the rainbow maker? it's a gadget you stick onto a window that has a miniature solar panel that powers these gears that rotate a suspended swarovski crystal which in turn causes rainbows to be created when sunshine hits it. i've been wanting to get one ever since i heard about it a few years ago and finally decided this would be the year.

before that i went to the porter exchange to deposit a check at the ATM. here's one of my pet peeves: people who stand too close to me when i'm using the ATM. when i'm waiting behind somebody, i give them a good distance, about 4-5 feet. that was the case today with the girl who was ahead of me in line. then this asian guy got behind me while we waited. when it was my turn to use the ATM, i turn around and the guy is pretty much standing right behind me. i glare at him for a second, and he returned a look that said, "hurry up!" so of course i went as slow as possible, just to piss him off.

i got a christmas card from julie today, despite the fact that i went on a tirade last week about her sending out christmas cards to clients. it was truly a christmas miracle, because despite the fact that she didn't write the zip code, and the fact she wrote CAMBRIDE for the town, the card arrived anyway, thanks to the tireless effort of the USPS. they want a stamp price increase next year? go for it!

in the evening i started making flan again. the ones i made tonight are a test for the eventual dozen i'll make for this weekend's christmas dinner. i'm trying something new: instead of melting sugar to coat the bottom of the ramekins (which has always been the hardest part of flan preparation), i thought it'd be much easier to use maple syrup instead. so i made some with a maple syrup base tonight, and a few with coffee milk syrup. right away i could see the problem: when i pour in the flan mixture, since the syrup is essentially a liquid, it combines with the mixture, which might be a bad thing. i guess i'll find out tomorrow when i do a taste test.

a few days ago i was thinking about growing my own mushrooms. today i went ahead and bought an indoor mushroom growing kit from an online dealer. shiitake are pretty common and cheap (not worth growing), and though the enoki mushrooms would be a good choice, their temperature demand is too low for me to grow indoors (actually, they recommend growing enoki mushrooms in the fridge). so i decided to go with some pearl oyster mushrooms. hopefully they'll arrive in a week or so and you can hear all about my adventures in mushroom farming.

in the evening i watched a great documentary on PBS, horatio's drive, directed by ken burns, narrated by keith david, and featuring the voice of tom hanks as horatio jackson, the first american to drive cross-country back in 1903. i thought it was especially fitting since i've been thinking my own cross-country drive. jackson, from vermont, made a wager ($50) with somebody in san francisco that he could drive cross-country to new york city in less than 90 days. he brought along sewall crocker, who along with driving duties, was also somewhat of a pioneer car mechanic, which came in handy, because the car broke down daily, which wasn't helped by the fact that there were virtually no paved roads. along the way they see much of america, taking snapshots, getting into adventures - america's first cross-country road trip in the making.

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