it all started because i wanted to make glycerin soap. one key piece of equipment is a double boiler, so on a whim, i went onto craig's list looking to see what's available. just my luck, somebody was selling a 2 quart double boiler for $10. so i got in touch with the person (mary) last night and made an appointment to meet around noontime to buy it.
turns out mary lives just a few houses down from me on the somerville side of the camberville line. not only did i buy the double boiler, but i also got an 8" square pyrex dish ($4; somebody had asked her about it earlier but never wrote back); a digital cooking thermometer ($5); and an unadvertised old-fashion candy thermometer ($3). she also had a cast iron skillet but she already promised it to somebody else.
the double boiler was smaller than i expected, but looked new. it was a weird brand i never heard of before (definitely not a name brand): main ingredients signature. it almost seems a same to sacrifice it to make soap so i might reconsider (although i really don't have a good use for a double boiler otherwise). the digital thermometer was another off-brand item (thermo-tech) and i couldn't find a manual online. i tested the candy thermometer by boiling some water. it got stuck on 95°C, until i realized i could change the reading by slightly adjusting the sliding glass rod.
having reach at least $20 in change, it was time to redeem my coins at the coinstar machine inside star market. i'd done it once before so it wasn't anything new for me. i felt a little embarrassed making all that racket as i pour my loose change into the collection feed. just like last time, once i clicked the confirmation button, i heard the machine dialing somewhere using a modem (younger customers might not even recognize the telltale noises). my coin jar told me i had $21.49 in change but i knew that number was wrong because it occasionally mixes up pennies with dimes. the actual tally was $22.04, more than i expected. it printed out an amazon.com gift card number which i promptly entered once i returned home.
for lunch i made some scrambled eggs and my remaining strips of bacon. i had the window fan running to pump out some of that greasy smoke and used a splatter guard to diminish the mess on the stovetop, but even then afterwards i could feel the oily precipitants on the bare floors.
i took down the 4 set of fluorescent lights from my closet and put them in the basement, ready for next season's closet growing fun. i made sure to tape down the chains and hooks so they won't get lost. finally i moved some boxes from my bedroom back into the closet.
i did a massive cleanup of the tub today. i noticed some mildew stains in the wall tiles and one thing lead to another and before i knew it i was soft scrubbing both the walls and the bathtub. the curtains still need a bit more work, a combination of soap stains and a weird strange of pink mildew.
i rode the motorcycle to market basket to pick up some drinks before riding to belmont with my used long plastic planter strapped to the back of the bike. i planted 5 small lavenders (raised from seeds last season and kept indoors over winter) into the planter, making sure to put down a layer of compost at the bottom.
the rain-soaked compost pile wasn't heating up like it was last weekend. we might cover it next time. during the summer it's easy to get green material for composting (grass clippings) but difficult to find a lot of brown (dry) material (until the fall leaf season). we can always use shredded newspaper but i use an electric document shredder to do that and it's quite tedious and prone to jamming. maybe i can just mow a stack of newspapers?
chris from ultra safe called me this morning. i'd never met him before so i didn't really know who he was, but he was suddenly telling me that baits weren't going to work at my parents' place because an exterminator would have to come by regularly to check on the traps and that'd cost extra; he told me that we'd have to move the raised bed gardens so they could pump termidor into the remaining southern side of the house. this went contrary to what mark and ron told me when they came by to treat the termites a few weeks ago. knowing that baiting is more expensive and time-intensive, i specifically asked both of them if the amount we were paying would cover these additional visits, and they both told me yes. chris said he'd talk to them and called me back minutes later, saying that they'd continue with the bait treatment (for the extent of the 5 year warranty) since mark and ron had already promised me they would. an exterminator should be coming by next week to place the traps.
my sister came home and gave me some presents from her california trip, including a disney star wars vinylmation figurine. the boxes are sealed so you don't know which one you'll get but i'm glad i got the boba fett one, which is one of the only few good ones in the series (all the human characters are ugly).
i left soon afterwards, making a quick stop at the cafe to discuss the arrival of my short-term roommate next week. originally i was told the 15th, but now it looks like she'll be arriving on the 14th, monday evening. i just hope she'll be able to find an apartment in the 2+ weeks she'll be living at my place.
in the early evening (6:00) i walked down to harvard square to meet elias and company to watch the avengers in 3D. i made a quick stop at the bank to get some cash first. after buying my ticket i waited outside the theatre. elias was the first to show, followed by megan, and then amanda. megan's fiancé scott would join us sometime later. we got some quick dinner at the crema cafe (i think it used to be a pizza place at one point?). i got the herb roasted lamb sandwich ("house roasted lamb with walnut aioli, roasted tomatoes & arugula, pressed on focaccia"). it was an okay sandwich but i didn't love it. the bread scratched the roof of my mouth and as megan so succinctly stated, there's a lot of things happening in that sandwich. maybe a few less ingredients so i could really taste that lamb (also i'd never had thin-sliced lamb before). we sat upstairs and behind us was a girl who was a doppelganger of kirsten dunst working on her laptop.
scott met us at the theatre. ushers issued 3D glasses when they ripped our tickets. my one piece of contraband was a box of candy dots which i quickly finished once i opened it. the screening room was surprisingly crowded, but i felt like the oldest person in the room since most of them were twentysomething kids.
the avengers wasn't on my radar of must-see movies this summer. there's something about superhero movies that seem immature, that the idea of costumed protagonists with supernatural abilities fighting evil has any basis in reality. but that's the whole point of a superhero movie, that suspension of disbelief and just going along for the ride. at the very least i was intrigued by the film after hearing so many positive reviews from critics, who are usually opposed to movies like this. after having seen it myself, i can honestly say i was entertained, but i don't think it's one of the better movies of the year. there's a weird dynamic since many of the characters helm their own movie (franchise?): iron man, thor, captain america, even the hulk. but in the avengers they're now all supporting members. i still don't buy scarlett johansson as black widow, and jeremy renner's hawkeye is the weak link of the ensemble (at least black widow is there to keep it from becoming a sausage fest; hawkeye's power is that he's really good with a bow and arrow?). i love the humor of the film though, that it goes out of its way to show you a good time. the destructive sequence of midtown manhattan was a little too much, made worse by the 3D where at a certain point my mind was checking out from the choreographed CGI mayhem.
afterwards i walked with megan and scott across the harvard campus as elias and amanda headed in the direct of central square. we split off at oxford and kirkland.
when i got home i asked my roommate if he knew when exactly he was leaving and when he'd return. i remembered he said the 17th, but now it looks like it'll be the 18th, which means my short-term roommate will have to stay at my great uncle's "closet room" for an additional day or two. i wrote her e-mail letting her know the situation but she was happy with the arrangement; i guess she has very little choice anyway since she'll be leaving shanghai on sunday.
i managed to catch the final 5 minutes of hawks-celtics game (6). i was relieved to see boston with the lead but not surprised when they lost it on an atlanta run. in the end however boston managed to win the game, but only by the seat of their pants decided in the final seconds. with that the celtics advance to face the 76ers, who have no reason to be in the 2nd round other than the fact that the chicago bulls imploded with injuries. the path seems cleared for boston to at least make it to the finals in a showdown with miami.
finally, i cashed in my spare change money to buy a pair of rain pants and some bicycling gloves. my days of wet pants in the rain looks to be finally over!