i started off this monday morning like most mornings this past few days: trolling craig's list for a cheap 20" replacement television for my bedroom. i found a few promising leads but nothing that screamed "buy me now." i then searched for an electric kettle, which i heard was not only a faster way of boiling water over the stovetop, but also cheaper and more efficient as well in terms of overall energy consumption. with my roommate drinking nothing but boiled water1 (plus the occasional juice and milk), i figured it'd save everyone some time (and money) if i had an electric kettle.

i found somebody in somerville selling an aroma AWK-115S water kettle for $8; it was actually hidden in an ad for a television. i'd never heard of aroma before, and thought maybe it was one of those cheap knock-off brands. a quick search on amazon showed 344 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars, an unusually high level of customer satisfaction. that was all the motivation i needed to get in touch with the seller. i didn't hear back from him until the mid-afternoon. he sent me his address and cell phone number and we arranged to meet later in the evening.

with the non-stop rain happening today, i had a hard time getting myself to belmont for dinner. fortunately my parents were making a costco run and picked me up along the way. i got some frozen fruit and a bottle of generic brand multi-vitamins (consumer report says multi-vitamins are the same regardless of brand; buy based on price). they were also selling techlite lumen master, this great little flashlight my father got at the beginning of the year. the packaging was different though, 3 pack for $17, and the brightness was rated at 100 lumens instead of 160 lumens, but everything else was the same. i'm tempted to buy a pack, since my father might've lost his flashlight.

i also saw an electric kettle for sale, a hamilton beach model that came in either silver or red selling for $20. it actually looked pretty good: nice compact stainless steel shape but still held 10 cups of water; 360° cordless base; power indicator light; water level display; button press refill lid; and standard safety features like auto shutoff and dry-boil prevention. the only thing i didn't like was a metal rod inside the container, which probably had something to do with the water meter. i prefer a completely empty interior for easier cleaning. but had i not already scheduled to buy an electric kettle later in the evening, i might've gotten this one (in red probably).

coming back via union square, my mother asked to stop at reliable market so she could get some korean groceries. i waited out in the car, where i managed to borrow a signal from an opened wireless network. the weather was not only rainy, but windy as well, as the day felt very blustery and raw.

after dropping off the supplies at the cafe, we finally made it back to belmont by 6:00. only hailey was home, my sister off on a shopping trip with bing bing.

although we're a chinese family, my mother seems to be on a korean kick recently, as we seem to be eating korean food an awful lot.

my father took me to my craig's list appointment in east somerville around 8:30 when he drove me back to my place. it'd finally stopped raining, and i wondered if i could've just taken the bicycle here instead. the guy was named javier, and he invited me inside. he showed me the kettle, which was sitting on the kitchen island. it felt warm to the touch, like maybe he'd just been testing it out. i gave him the cash and left with my shiny new equipment.

back at home, i tried out the electric kettle for the very first time. it's official name is quite a mouthful: the aroma AWK-115S hot H20 x-press 1-1/2-liter cordless water kettle. it's got a whole slew of features: stainless steel construction, water level indicator; power indicator light; 360° base; and removable hard water deposit filter. it also had something the hamilton beach model didn't have: a completely empty interior chamber. the lid was also different. on the hamilton beach model, the refill lid could be opened with a button on the handle. on the aroma, you had to manually open the lid, making for a tighter (safer?) fit.

i filled the kettle with a few cups of water, put it on the base, then hit the start lever at the bottom of the handle to begin. it probably took about a minute to boil the water. the process was surprisingly loud to the point where i was getting a little scared and worried that the kettle might be defective. definitely faster than my normal stovetop glass kettle, which takes around 4-5 minutes to boil a few cups of water. i ended up having some good earth tea from trader joe's (full of rooibos and cinnamon goodness).

i chatted with my roommate briefly. i wonder if she thinks i'm a gadget fiend because i keep on bringing home gizmos: there was the window fan, the turntable, and now the electric kettle. when i told her how much i paid for a used kettle, she was shocked because apparently in china they're super cheap ($10 on the average for a brand new standard plastic kettle, less for cheaper models). i don't think she fully appreciates the fine craftsmanship of the aroma AWK-115S! stainless steel concealed heating element, we're talking top-of-the-line here! i told her she could use it to make her morning coffee; will the noisy boiling wake me up though?

1 electric kettles are pretty common in china. you always find them in hotel rooms, whether to make some tea or instant noodles. in all the time i've spent there, i've never really quite knew what that contraption was i kept on seeing in every hotel until my parents brought it up. they're nothing fancy, sort of a modified plastic pitcher with a metal heating coil inside.