triumph of the day: woke up early this morning to call MGH to schedule a doctor's appointment. when i called friday the receptionist told me nothing was available until next friday. so imagine my surprise when she said there was an opening wednesday morning. good news received, i returned to the bedroom and went back to sleep.

got a package from alex today (all the way from tokyo). he recently went on vacation in hawaii and got me a present: two books on hawaiian flowers and birds. hawaiian weather seems to be so perfect that besides native flora and fauna, the islands also share space with a host of imported animals and plants. i was surprised to see cardinals living in hawaii. escaped pet birds also find the islands hospitable and end up establishing thriving colonies. hawaii is a host for birds all over the world, from the americas, africa, europe, and asia. seems like a great place to do some naturing if i ever decide to visit.

i called nintendo today, managed to get them to send me a replacement wii sports disc ($15 + $6 S/H). i ran my killowatt tester on the nintendo wii. it uses about 16 watts of power when turned on. the value fluctuates: intense tasks spike the power to 17 watts, while blank intermission screens use just 10 watts. i don't have a wii cd so i don't know how much power it uses when it spins the drive. what i found interesting was the wii still used 10 watts of power when turned off. that's because it's in standby mode, downloading packets through the wifi connection. with standby mode turned off, the wii still uses a bit of power, but only 1 watt.

i tried my hands at making some fried chicken tonight. normally i prepare drumsticks the old shake & bake method, and then cook everything in the oven. that's okay but the chicken usually get soggy on one side. now that i've done some deep fry cooking, i was a little more confident that i could actually make some genuine fried chicken. i first dipped the chicken in flour, then covered with egg, before rolling them in bread crumbs. because i don't have a cooking thermometer, i can never tell if the oil is hot enough, and i basically do it by trial and error. the first time the oil was too hot and my chicken piece went to a dark brown within a matter of minutes. problem was after i cut it open to inspect the inside, i realized it was still mostly raw. unable to fry it further, i threw it into the toaster oven and cooked it that way. the next drumsticks fared better, as i started to cook everything on a low simmer. i had 9 drumsticks in total but it took me almost an hour to fry them all.

the final result looks delicious, but tastes otherwise. colonel tony's secret recipe involves plain bread crumbs, but they don't have any flavor. i didn't add any seasoning either (no salt, no ground pepper), so that further added to the blandness. i also don't know if i fried it right. i basically waited until blood was seeping out of the chicken bones and marrow started oozing out. it didn't seem particularly wholesome and i probably lost most of my appetite because of it. and even though i cooked with a window open (freezing!) and a fan blowing out, the smell of oil will permeate through my house for the next few days. all this effort for a little reward. it would've probably been easier just visiting the local KFC.

i've been practicing some more with the flash. all the photos tonight were taken using the flash. i've never been a flash photographer, but there are definite advantages: less blurry photos and the ability to play around with aperture and shutter speed while letting the flash compensate for the light. i'm also taking more photos in the manual setting with the flash. my favorite setting for indoor photography is an aperture of f8 and a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. hopefully all this practice will pay off once the weather warms up and i start naturing again.