today i went without lunch so i could concentrate and finish up that project for client S. i wasn't particularly hungry away, maybe half a bag of potato chips had something to do with it. pacing around the house when i got a mental block, i'd periodically check up on my plants. i left the house just once, to mail off a medical insurance check.

bush's last state of the union address was tonight. i planned on watching it (hard to miss since so many channels preempted their regular programming to broadcast the event), but after just a few minutes (he talked about the "people's business") it was more than enough. is bush the loneliest person in the world? in his last year in office, his poll numbers are the lowest they've ever been. democrats naturally hate him, but even fellow republicans - at least those looking for votes in november - have avoided as if he had cooties. what a tragic figure, i actually feel kind of sorry for the man. but then i think about the millions of iraqi that needlessly died due to the invasion and i don't feel so sympathetic anymore.

in other political announcements, senator ted kennedy officially endorsed barack obama today. all the news networks were covering it, said something about the passing of the torch to a new camelot. it's good news for obama but he still has a tremendous uphill battle in order to beat hillary clinton and her network of supporters and her campaigning canniness. should obama do in fact win the nomination, it'd be an upset, a true changing of the guards. i haven't heard any local news regarding massachusetts' stand on the candidates, but today i saw an MSNBC infographic saying that massachusetts is a hillary state. for real? you figured with so many colleges in the area that young voters tend to vote for obama. plus, besides the recent support of kennedy, MA senator kerry endorsed obama a few weeks ago, and MA governor patrick campaigned for obama in NH.

some transplanting action tonight: i split up some parsley seedlings. superficially, they resemble cilantro seedlings, but parsley has pointed seedling leaves while cilantro has rounded leaves. all that doesn't matter once the real leaves come out because they're pretty distinctive. i also planted some sprouting garlic bulbs my parents gave me on saturday. since they're all buried they don't need a lot of light yet so i put them in the back row. i'm constantly rearranging my plants and tonight i went back to a 2 row configuration after experimenting with a 3 row set yesterday. the problem with 3 rows is only the center row gets enough light, while the rows on the get less. i noticed the cilantro plants bending instead of growing straight, so i decided to change it up. fortunately i had enough width space, but just barely.

the nasturtiums are growing like crazy. one of the plants from the bottom shelf had 7 branches forming. other than the two initial leaves, nasturtiums don't bud symmetrically. as soon as one bud becomes a branching leaf, another bud is forming right behind it. nasturtium development seems to favor width over height, although there's been a few tall nasturtiums.

i pulled out some floating aquatic plants from the aquarium a few weeks ago. originally i was just going to throw them away - too short to plant and too choked with algae - but decided to keep in containers of water and put them in the grow closet. i think the pieces of elodea look like they've been growing a bit but the strangest thing is there are constantly air bubbles on the inside of the container. of course if the plants are photosynthesizing and respiring, there'd be bubbles all over the plants, but i haven't noticed any of that - just bubbles on the containers. i'll add some plant fertilizer tomorrow and see if it'll do anything.

while watering the plants i noticed that the water tend to bead off the surface of the nasturtium leaves, like they were water resistant. not sure why that is but watering the leaves is typically a bad idea because it could lead to mold. hours later after the water had evaporated, i noticed white water marks on the leaves.

it was a year ago last january that i discovered the bread machine. what followed was a winterlong marathon of bread making: plain bread, whole wheat, raisin bread, jalapeno bread, sweet bread, cottage cheese and chive bread. it wasn't that i was a fan of bread - normally i'd have a slice and get rid of the loaf - but i liked playing around with the ingredients. plus, it was so automatic, just mix everything together and let the machine make the bread for me in under 3 hours.

looking back on these photos i realize there was a brief golden age of bread making. i almost never had any problems with dough that didn't rise, and most of the loaves i made were puffy perfections. my all-time favorite was the one bread i glazed with egg batter to give it that nice shine. i think the secret is the yeast. the yeast i'm using now is leftover from a year ago, and it's probably gone bad now. i did a yeast rise test tonight and there was hardly any activity. that'd explain why my most recent breads (many of which i didn't even bother photographing because i was so disgusted with the results) have mostly been duds. but i think i'm going to get back into the bread making game again. it's a nice little winter pastime and it makes the house smell like a bakery afterwards. i've always wanted to make sourdough bread (it's one of the few breads that i actually like instead of passive indifference).