summertime means parades and the first of the season is the boston pride parade. i went this morning, left the house sometime around 11:00. it took a while to get to the south end, and by the time i got to the intersection of tremont and berkeley street (where i traditionally watch it from), the parade had already started, all the dykes on bikes were revving their motorcycles down the road. i did get there just in time to see mayor menino, but no sign of the governor. i bumped into ed and elizabeth, as well as jack, standing at our usual corner. i didn't stay with them for long though, moving around to get some better positioning.

the weather today was perfect, in the 70's with a blue sky and some wispy clouds, a far cry from our week of overcast. this year's pride parade was better than last year in that the weather was nicer, but it does seem a bit scaled back. nevertheless, it's one of the more colorful and festive parades in boston.

when the procession ended, ed and the gang left to have lunch, while i decided to follow the parade down to boston common and up to the state house. i tried some wide angle shots but a telephoto is still more useful for a parade.

after the state house, i thought about making my way to hay market again but didn't really need anything so instead grabbed the red line from park street. while waiting for the train, i caught the attention of a mother and her young daughter. the mother asked where i got my bead necklaces and i told her there was a pride parade today. i ended up giving her daughter my much-coveted bicardi necklace, figuring a little girl would appreciate it more than me.

walking home from harvard station, i saw a sign for a yard sale on carver road and decided to take a look. they had a 15 gallon acrylic minibow aquarium with a stand that looked interesting, but they wanted $60 for it (i could probably find something similar on craig's list for $20, and in better condition). i ended up getting a bag of marbles ($1) and a package of hemp rope ($1). i was also eyeballing an old-fashion manual iron meat grinder, but figured it might freak out the sellers if i asked them how much it was (rope + meat grinder? suspicious!).

i also randomly went to an open house on 55 sacramento street. 752 square feet, 2 bedrooms (more like a living room that can convert to a 2nd bedroom), in a 12 unit building, with a $300/month condo fee. the seller was asking for $359k, which i think is pretty high, especially when the housing market is at a low point. but maybe cambridge real estate still exists in a bubble and folks can continue to jack up the prices on these condos.

before i finally came back home, i went to check the garden. all my plants are still alive, although aphids have infested my nasturtiums. never saw this before, just another reminder to pick up some insecticidal soap from my father to spray. one of the pea plants is experiencing a crazy growth spurt and jumped across to a neighboring tomato cage. the peas are also starting to flower, so far today i only saw one blossom, a white flower. people actually grow peas for their ornamental flowers and they come in all colors (maybe next year). my plot is starting to get a lot weedier now that the weather is getting warmer and there's more sunlight. i still have to find some suitable mulch for the garden. i'm still waiting on that salt marsh grass. julie told me she has a lot of luck with garden compost, but the compost in our bins look diseased and not very decomposed. also today i spotted another moonflower. not sure how i missed it last time, unless it just sprouted up within the past few days.

even before i left the house to go to the parade this morning, i woke up and rode down to the cafe to get some kim chee making supplies. i got 3 glass jars with plastic lids (jars that used to be for store-bought kim chee), an 8" long daikon radish (a bit soft, but it would've turned soft anyway, after i reduce it), and a piece of ginger. back at home, i chopped up the napa cabbage into 4 pieces the long way before chopping them up again into approximately 1" squares. i also chopped up the daikon into slices and chopped them again into 6 piece wedges. i didn't have a big enough pyrex glassware container so i split half of it into a wok. i poured several tablespoon of salt into each container, then tossed the cabbage and the daikon. i left everything to reduce before i left the house at 11:00.

when i came home around 3:00 (after the parade et al.), i poured out all the liquids and them gave everything a quick rinse (probably not really necessary, i'll probably forgo this step in the future). i put all the reduced cabbage and daikon pieces into a tall metal pot. i then started preparing the other ingredients:

head of garlic (10 cloves)
ginger (1"x4" piece)
6 scallions
1.5 tbsp salt
5 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp shrimp paste
5 thai chili peppers

this is basically the same recipe i used last month when i made my kim chee 2.0, but i doubled all the portions, figuring i was making twice as much as before. actually, i was just making 1.5x at the most. i made a mistake with the salt though: last time i used 2 tbsp, but this time i only went with 1.5 tbsp. when i did a taste test it seemed salty enough, so hopefully it'll be okay. i can definitely make it saltier but i rather not because it requires dumping out all the kim chee, mixing it all with some more salt added, then jarring them up again. also i compared photos of the kim chee i made last month, and they seem redder, so i could've probably added another tbsp or two of chili powder. i don't think additional chili powder would make it hotter. my personal opinion is the chili powder is more for show, and that if you really wanted to make spicy hot kim chee, you can use real hot peppers.

so after i dumped all the ingredients into the tall pot, i mixed everything together. i actually did add another tbsp of chili powder (originally i just 4 tbsp) because it looked sort of pale. probably at that time i could've also added more salt if i wanted. once everything is properly mixed, i stuffed the kim chee into the jars with my hands. i ended up with 3 large jars of kim chee (one jar is just a smidgen less than the others). last time around, with a much smaller cabbage (but a much large radish), i managed to get 2 large jars and 1 small jar. i'll probably take these jars to my parents to let them ferment, since i'll be having guests staying over my place all next week and i don't think they'd appreciate the smell of kim chee permeating the house (only until i put it in the fridge, which according to the 3-day fermentation schedule would be tuesday afternoon).

finally i managed to eat some lunch. i only had a banana for breakfast so i was pretty hungry. i ended up going with the frozen spaghetti and meatballs standby. later, for dinner (not until 10:30), i made some more dan dan noodles. while boiling the noodles, i decided to clean the stove's control panel (there were some oil splatters). i took off the plastic knobs and gently sprayed the panel surface with some 409 cleaning solution. i must've gotten some liquid into one of dial switches because suddenly i heard it continuously clicking the pilot light on the gas stove. now this is the part where i almost electrocuted myself: i pushed my finger into one of the switches, hoping to dislodge some debris. that's when i felt the buzzing sensation of an electric shock. it's been a long time since i've touched electricity. it didn't even hurt but it was kind of scary and i quickly pulled my finger out. eventually, after i test fired the dial a few times, the clicking sound disappeared.

by the way, the photos today were taken with a combination of all 4 of my lenses: telephoto and wide angle for the parade, macro for some of the garden plants, and then my medium zoom for the kim chee!