i went to the cafe to present the latest bread to my parents. my mother turned to my 2nd aunt and told her, "i knew he was making another bread!" turmeric is pretty much flavorless, but leaves a yellow color reminiscent of indian food that i almost expected the bread to be curry flavored. my parents and my 2nd aunt ate half while i took the rest home.
i had other reasons for being at the cafe, one of which was hoping to catch my relatives who just returned from a weekend in sacramento late last night. they were out visiting bing bing's school in boston.
the other reason why i was out was i wanted to try out my new bike lock, which arrived via fedex this morning. it's called the OG series mini u-lock, "OG" being the hip new branding name for onguard locks, one of the other name brand bike lock companies besides kryptonite.
i actually use an onguard pitbull mini lock for my regular bike (in conjunction with a security cable). the housing on my pitbull lock has fallen apart from repeated banging on the back of my bike and being left out during the winter, but the lock still works.
i've been searching for a cheap u-lock for the road bike ever since my neighbor's bike got stolen and i realized cable locks is just one step above not having a lock at all because they're easy to cut with a pair of bolt cutters. up until now i've just been using a combination cable lock, and even though the chance of somebody wanting to steal my $20 road bike is pretty very slim, i'd sleep better at night knowing that a pair of bolt cutters won't stand in between me and a missing ride.
i saw the OG mini lock for sale on amazon.com for $18 but saw it cheaper at walmart for only $15 including free shipping. the mini lock also comes with a 10mm 4' long security cable. the only weirdness is onguard doesn't advertise this particular lock on their website. it might only be sold through department stores (like walmart) hence the corporate dissociation.
the lock itself is 3.5" x 5.5", same as my pitbull mini lock. the body is entirely rubberized, except for the rotating dust cover. the cross bar looks roughly the same as the pitbull, but the shackle is different: the pitbull has a 14mm thick shackle while the OG mini is just 11mm. that might not seem like a lot but i can definitely feel the difference in the weight, as the OG mini is much lighter. this makes it great for the road bike since it won't add too much extra weight. i don't think shackle diameter makes that big a deal since bike thieves would probably prefer dealing with cable locks instead of u-locks, but i wouldn't use the OG mini to lock up an expensive bike (although if you have an expensive bike, you probably wouldn't lock it outside in the city anyway).
since the OG mini doesn't seem to be officially supported by onguard, it doesn't have any theft protection guarantees, unlike other official onguard locks. the OG mini also comes with a good quick release mounting bracket (much better than the one that came with the pitbull, which uses some kind of cinching strap to secure the bracket) and a length of security cable (which i probably won't carry around with me, i'm not too worried about anyone stealing my rusted wheels). i think for $15, you won't find a cheaper bike lock that can genuinely protect your cheap bike from getting stolen. i wholeheartedly recommend it for any thrifty bikers out there!
after coming back home briefly, i left the house again for the community garden. my plot has become a jungle of neglect, but this late in the season, i don't think the community garden committee will be giving me any grief about maintenance. i picked off all the red tomatoes and red chili peppers i saw, as well as some basil and a sprig of rosemary. i ate a few golden raspberries (including some ants, i'm such a savage). digging through the understory i was shocked to see a massive zucchini hiding underneath the leaves. it's about as long and thick as my lower leg. i left the garden with a bag of vegetables and a few mosquito bites.
sometime in the afternoon around 2:00 i heard some rumbling from upstairs and what sounded like debris falling on the roof of the bay window in my living room along with some violent vibrations. at the time i thought it was my neighbor, maybe cleaning out the gutter from his window, or moving furniture around, but just making a horrible racket. later in the evening that's when i realized the sounds i heard were probably from the earthquake that hit the east coast. it was strange but i thought nothing of it since there was construction work a few weeks ago that shook the whole block.
the righthand brake on the road bike has been loose ever since i got it. i could always push it back to the normal position, but whenever i pulled on the extension brake lever, the brake assembly would tilted inwards again. i didn't think this was a big deal until my father pointed out that when the assembly is crooked, i can't pull the extension lever all the way back, therefore my rear brakes don't engage. that'd explain why i was having a hard time stopping the past few times! i finally fixed it today, but just required loosening the rear brake cable so i can see inside the brake handle housing and tighten a screw.
it's time for me to graduate to the next step of no-knead breadmaking: flavored breads! for this first attempt i'm going with a rosemary feta cheese bread. my mother has been clamoring for a rosemary bread since the very first no-knead bread loaf, and i thought some feta cheese who add some savoriness to the bread. judging from the just-right dryness of the dough, i'm hopefully this will turn out to be another good one. i wasn't sure when to add the flavor ingredients, so i decided to dump them all in from the start, saving me from having to fold them in later.
it was a pasta kind of night so i went to the supermarket in the late afternoon to get some spaghetti noodles and ground beef. coming out, i saw a man in a spandex outfit standing outside next to a pair of touring bikes covered in all sorts of gear pulling a wheeled carrier. he was tall and thin, but when i looked behind him he had a meaty ass. curious, i asked him where he was riding from. "montreal," he told me in his french-canadian accent. "what's your final destination?" i inquired. "boston," he replied. it took them (i assumed his partner was inside shopping for supplies) 17 days to ride from montreal to boston. when i asked if they were riding back, he said it'd be too difficult with the baby, and that's when i noticed the carrier they were towing was actually a covered baby trailer. that's some hardcore cycle parents!
riding back, i picked up another shoe rack. since i didn't have my bungie cords, i carried it balanced on the back of my rear bakets untied. naturally it fell off several times, clattering noisily onto the street. i had to ride extra slow, making sure i didn't hit any bumps that would jostle off my loot. it was a sturdy black wire rack, 3-tiered. it's probably not a shoe rack because each shelf looks like it might hold 3 pairs of shoes but can only really fit 2 pairs. it's probably just a regular shelving unit, most likely for plants.
with the 3 tomatoes i picked up and the handful from last time still in the fridge, i went ahead and made some more tomato sauce. the tomatoes aren't in very good shape, with a lot of cracks and some mold, but mashed into a sauce it wouldn't matter. i followed the same steps as the first and last time i made tomato sauce. this time i added some salt, brown sugar, and some baking powder. the sauce seemed flat, and i tried adding some worcestershire sauce and ground pepper to give it some more flavor.
one thing i didn't do this time was add any tomato paste, because i thought i interfered with a pure tomato sauce. however, without tomato paste, the sauce remained too watery, not sauce-like at all. i ended up squeezing a few tablespoons of concentrated tomato paste from an old tomato paste tube. that thickened things up right away. for future reference, tomato paste is definitely essential. after the tomato sauce was mostly ready, i cooked up the ground beef in a separate pot and combined the two, simmering it for a little while longer while i boiled some spaghetti noodles. the final result wasn't bad, definitely tasted healthier since i made my own sauce.