at home i still have my nikon 4500, but it's showing its age. i used that camera so much, the CCD chip has noises even at the lowest ISO setting. the camera is also amazingly slow, takes about 3 seconds from shutter button press to focus to finally taking a photo. it does have one trick my other canon doesn't: it has a fisheye lens. it's great for taking photos of interiors, when even a wide angle can't completely capture everything.
i drove to the cafe this morning to drop off the mountain bike. even though i have no use for it, i was still sad to see it go. front suspensions! center-pull cantilevered brakes! it's not a bad bike at all. my father - who was working at the cafe today - checked out the bike for the first time since giving it to me last year to fix (the only thing i did was replace the front shifter cable). he was impressed by the brakes, which had tremendously responsive stopping power.
while letting hailey out in the backyard, i was shocked to see that the black jalapeño pepper i saw yesterday had turn completely red, in about 24 hours. something with the heat, humidity, and sun must've triggered this quick change. even some pale tomatoes from yesterday had turned completely red today.
my mother made me some skinny noodles for lunch. it was humid enough that we turned on the air conditioner; hailey already had enough of the heat and retreated down into the basement where it was cooler. i ate while watching the US opens tennis match between rafael nadal and "the albanian" - turns out that was the guy's name - david nalbandian.
the rest of the day was spent shopping. my mother employed my sister and i as her accomplishes to score some 50% discount at michael's - the coupon is one per person so she needed us to buy for her. later she went back inside and used one last coupon to get 50% off on a pair of circular knitting needles. she stocked up on a bunch of wool yarn (there was a sale, normally $6, this weekend $4).
prior to that, we were at building #19 annex (burlington), looking for a new couch. my mother and sister were looking at leather couches, which i've always associated with a sleazy vibe. later we went next door to the main building. nobody got anything, with most of the stuff looking like flea market remainders. browsing in the book aisles, i did learn something new: amigurumi, the japanese art of making kawaii knitted or crocheted stuffed animals. i'm tempted to learn crocheting just so i can get in on this action!
we stopped briefly at the crate & barrel by the burlington mall so my sister could pick up a replacement plate for the one she broke while on nanny duty for a family. our final destination was nearby h-mart to get some asian groceries.
back in belmont along the railroad tracks was a house selling a bunch of bikes parked in the driveway (we saw it earlier on our way to burlington). i asked my sister to stop so i could go take a look. a bearded young man came out to greet me, asked me if i was looking for anything in particular. most of the bikes were either old road or cruiser bikes from the 80's or earlier. i was shocked when i heard the prices: $100 to $250. definitely not worth the money (i can get better bargains on craig's list). inside the garage was a repair shop with even more bikes in various states of disassembly, and another guy fixing them up. before i left they give me a business card, which was just a piece of cardboard with their names and cell phone numbers.
once we got back home, my mother wasted no time in getting back to her knitting needles. we also ate some korean sushi we bought from h-mart, as well as some steamed korean sausages (i think they're blood sausages, not my favorite but my sister seems to like them).
in the early evening before dinner i made some nutella brownie cakes. the last time i had nutella was a kid; i remembered it was this super sweet concoction that was like nothing i've ever tasted. decades later, resampling nutella, it's essentially a hazelnut chocolate spread, not exactly how i remembered it, but still delicious. the recipe is simple: brownies are baked in a cupcake pan with a dollop of nutella inside (1/3 layer brownie mix, nutella, another 1/3 brownie). i baked at 350° for half an hour. the brownies came out too dry, but still soft on the inside. i didn't put enough nutella, and even then, i thought it'd melt but it still stayed solid, insulated by the brownie. i was expecting more lava cake, but it just tasted like a brownie cupcake with a bit of nutella inside, nothing mind-blowing. next time i'll try for an actual lava cake recipe.
after dinner i rode the motorcycle home. it was a humid night and my windshield was damp even though it didn't rain today. half of the cars on my street are gone, neighbors still away on their labor day weekend retreats. i could wait the full 24 hours for the latex caulk to cure (20 hours is enough, right?) before i took a shower to combat the stickiness i was feeling. sunday night means breaking bad, another solid episode. gus fring, is that your real name?