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2011 was a repeat of 2010 in that nothing very exciting happened and i was poor. apparently poverty and boredom seem to go hand and hand. by now i'm getting used to living with so little. even in these economically desperate times though, i still find ways to entertain myself, mostly through food, gardening, biking, and photography.

the 2 big garden-related DIY projects were building the rain barrels and raised beds, the latter contributing to probably one of the most productive gardening season in a long time. i made a lot of beef jerky this year and finally perfected the no-knead bread recipe (the secret is don't make the initial dough too wet).

i acquired no less than 7 bikes this year (all used) and did a lot of bike repair work to the point where the local bike shop owners recognize me now. as for my other bike, i didn't do very much riding this year despite the prolonged riding season due to an unseasonably warm winter.

with my free time, i taught myself how to knit but there's still a lot to learn (i've yet to knit anything actually useful). nevertheless, i'm fulling indoctrinated in this new weird world of knitting.

other than 3 months out of the year, i lived with roommates: 2 harvard-smithsonian astrophysicists (spanish and american) and 1 MIT material scientist (italian).

events 110124 parents' furnace blows up 110129 doug's funeral 110128 filing my taxes 110203 clearing snow off roof 110217 victor 110312 MFA new american wing 110327 walmart 110401 110413 110512 110727 110729 110928 testicle pain 110418 riding season begins 110410 california aunt and uncle come to visit 110519 blog 10th year anniversary 110531 bram 110624 mother goes to the hospital 110715 whale watch 110722 boston harbor islands 110811 deer island 110812 castle island 110819 bin bin's parents visit boston 110917 marco (111019 his mother's death) 110921 recycle tour 110924 east boston first visit 111022 doggie promenade (new parade) 111026 heat is on 111027 wheelabrator saugus 111104 txema marco 111105 biomed jamboree 111112 powisset peak 111119 see everything new york city tour 111126 savmor 111205 cambridge wine & spirits 111215 downtown wine & spirits 111228 kappy's medford 111217 winchester fells

food 110102 minado japanese seafood buffet in natick 110104 winter jerky 110106 110113 homemade spicy ginger beer 110112 110405 111115 pulled pork 110125 new orleans corn bisque with smoked sausage 110224 search for good earth tea 110302 spicy mexican chicken soup with israeli couscous (101222 first time) 110308 rice & beans (hoppin' john) 110323 110616 barbecue chicken pizza with homemade dough 110517 110525 110528 no-knead bread failures 110527 spring jerky 110709 fried squash blossoms 110803 lasagna with homemade tomato sauce 110804 turkish delight failure 110806 zucchini bread 110811 no-knead bread (getting there) 110812 summer jerky 110816 110818 no-knead bread success stories 110817 cumin jerky 110822 bread failure (learning experience) 110823 tumeric bread, homemade tomato sauce pasta 110824 rosemary feta bread 110901 autumn jerky 110904 nutella brownie cakes 110906 110907 110908 shaved beef jerky 110920 traditional chicken noodle soup 111013 no knead bread 111108 walnut-crusted chicken salad with honey mustard dressing 111210 discovering hard cider 111222 infused oil, risotto 111223 last no-knead bread of the year

diy 110207 110222 ice melt socks 110216 replacing watch battery 110321 PSU 110322 110326 raised-bed design (sketchup mockup) 110328 hemming jeans 110409 110410 replacing dvd-rom drive 110610 samsung HDTV repair 110629 free mattress 110723 mother beings knitting again 110901 110906 camera disassembly & fix 110908 110909 broken faucet fixed 110922 learning to knit (cast on), 110923, 110925, 110930 111006 buying my own yarn, color knitting 111008 111009 111011 111012 111013 111014 color slip stitch knitting 111020 new router (111025 new cablemodem) 111031 thorpe hat (practice) 111102 111107 111201 recreational LED's 111229 learning to cable knit

garden 110314 110319 tree pruning 110324 garlic sprouting 110329 setting up grow closet 110402 oiling raised-bed 110404 rain barrel research 110406 olive barrel rain barrels 110406 assembling first raised bed 110408 rain barrel spigots, raised beds 110411 110412 more rain barrel parts 110417 drilling holes in rain barrel 110419 relocate lovage, sewing seeds in RB1 110423 rain barrels in action 110430 peony flower buds 110501 daisy-chained rain barrels 110512 NPT tap tool 110625 using the rain barrel tap 110628 soaker hoses 110704 russian silverberry 110825 SVB!

bikes 110209 brakeless biking 110217 dealextreme head light and rear light 110612 110613 (110625) ross compact 10-speed 110615 raleigh 3-speed, trek 850 mountain track 110623 (110625) schwinn gateway city bike 110625 schwinn le tour III 110627 double rear baskets 110701 southwest corrider, finding free bike stuff 110704 mother's first bike ride 110705 biking to walden pond 110709 despoking bike wheel and salvaging sturmey-archer 3-speed hub 110710 mother's 2nd and last bike ride 110715 (110801) ross compact 3-speed 110716 broken shimano 3-speed bell crank 110731 110801 broken caliper brakes 110814 ross eurosport 110820 midnight boston bike ride 110826 extended southwest corridor ride 110906 wald folding baskets, toeclips 110928 east boston bike ride test run 111001 east boston deer island bike ride in the fog 111028 broken freewheel (111116 removal attempt) (111121 success) 111125 replace chain with missing link 111203 planet bike superflash stealth

tech/gadgets 110103 garmin nvi 295w 110105 lenovo multimedia keyboard 110113 jumbo display LED clock 110205 bambook 110323 OS X 10.6 upgrade 110328 new kitchen clock 110415 110420 canon SX230 HS 110423 110428 imovie work 110427 contigo tumbler, cast iron dutch oven 110510 jlab jbuds earbuds 110627 cuisinart DLC-7 super pro 110628 braun juicer 110726 chkdsk for ntfs formatted hard drive 110806 insulated urban elements thermos 110809 drop leaf table 110810 found honeywell window fan 110812 blender, food processor 110816 shoe rack 110924 sansa clip+ 111007 jailbreak unlock iphone 3G 111027 altec lansing iM227 speakers 111108 808 key fob mini video camera 111109 40 oz. stainless king thermos 111118 sennheiser mx400 earbuds 111203 keurig coffee 111209 kindle fire 111212 brand new bag 111214 knitting loom

books/movies/tv 110127 washington: a life 110310 haley bennett 110324 surgeon of crowthorne, black company, disappearing spoon, the wire 110405 rj berger 110419 game of thrones 110601 reading a song of fire and ice series 111222 skin i live in 111226 under the skin 111229 absolute monarchs

animals dearth of wildlife sightings is because i didn't do much naturing this year. 110107 hooded mergansers 110214 opossum (dead) 110324 sharp-shinned hawk (dead) 110406 wild turkey in belmont 110517 baby horned owls 110520 animals of mt.auburn cemetery: flickers, hermit thrush, red-tailed hawk, turkey, chipmunk 110603 brown-headed cowbird, squawroot 111126 raccoon 111230 pale mallard


i spent the day crafting my homemade kimchee. i began the salt reduction around 11:00 and didn't stop until 6:00. throughout the day i would mix the cabbage and radish to circulate the salt around and speed up the reduction. i then poured out the reduced liquid and began adding the other ingredients. since i had what appeared to be double the portions of last time, i basically doubled the ingredients as well: 4 tbsp of shrimp paste, 8 tbsp of chopped ginger (food processed), 8 tbsp of chopped garlic (food processed, about 20 cloves), 20 stalks of chinese chives, 8 stalks of scallions, 16 tbsp of korean red pepper powder, and a handful of chopped thai chili peppers (frozen). i divided the ingredients into 3 equal portions and added them to each of the 4 containers. i could've fit everything into 3 containers but 4 containers made it easier to mix, a lot less spillage.

afterwards i consolidated everything back into 3 containers and began packing the kimchee into glass jars. i thought about using plastic leftover containers but decided against it because i didn't want the kimchee to react with the plastic (i never seen kimchee sold in plastic before, always glass jars). the trick is to fill the jar with less than half and then swirl it around to let the kimchee settle, otherwise there'll be empty pockets. i used my bare hands and was lucky i didn't have any cuts otherwise it'd be painful (all that salt and hot peppers). i ended up using all my large jars, including the ones i was saving as future beef jerky containers (all i have left are some salsa jars). it took me a long time to amass all those jars! a lot of tomato sauce and pickles!

the few pieces i sampled were salty but not as salty as i'd like them. in fact, they tasted a bit sweet because the cabbage still has a lot of its juices. i'm hoping the actual fermentation process that will happen within the next few days will improve the flavor. in hindsight, i would've also liked to add more radishes, because that's my favorite part of the kimchee mix. i also don't know why i decided to make so much kimchee; in the future, i might want to consider making smaller batches, since i'm still not happy with a recipe and there's still a lot of experimenting with different portions.

later in the evening most of the jars were half full of liquids, a sign that the kimchee is still reducing. juice is good because otherwise the kimchee will be dry, something that happened in past batches. i'm wondering now if i should've kept the reduced liquids. i always dump it because its very salty, but if this latest batch is too dry and bland, i could try keeping the liquid next time.

for lunch i finished the rest of my sponge cake. for dinner a reuben sandwich. the weather outside was rainy today (even some fog) so i stayed indoors. my upstairs neighbors had some guests staying over the weekend and all day long i heard the stumping of feet and strange music.