i noticed late last night that the drainage in my bathtub was a bit slow. i thwacked it a few times with a plunger but there wasn't any improvement. when i woke up this morning i poured down some generic brand drain cleaner. i didn't think it'd work, but about 15 minutes later i poured down some boiling water and the pipe seemed to have cleared up.

in the late morning i went to the cafe with my frozen beef planks. after letting the meat thaw for a bit, my father used the meat slicer to cut them into thin strips. i brought them home along with some leftover sushi (inarizushi) for lunch.

after i finished eating, i went to the community garden with my bag of salt marsh grass mulch. i had been there since sunday and already there was some new weeds sprouting up. i didn't bring my digging tools so i could only pull them up by hand. no nasturtiums or cilantro, but a few fledgling chive sprouts and one of the zucchini has germinated (although slightly chewed up by some bug). i found out i didn't have enough mulch; that's because i expanded my gardening plot by reducing the raspberry patch. i made do with what i had.

a new batch of late spring flowers have bloomed in the community garden:

the peonies! i knew some of the gardeners had them in their plots, but i always thought they were the generic pink variety. this is the first season where i've actually took notice of them, and there are some really unique peonies growing in the garden.

some other flowers:

i returned home, took a shower, then went back out, this time to harvard square where it was currently under siege because of the graduation ceremony. i was walking around searching for photo opportunities. i went down the JFK street bridge, walked along the charles river, then looped by, cutting back across the campus to memorial hall. once again, i came too late and missed most of the excitement as people were already scattering.

back at home, i finally cleaned my aquariums:

i made a horrible mistake: while siphoning the minibow, i saw my red cherry barb in the tube of the underwater vacuum. it happened so fast that i didn't have time to react and i watched in horrible as the fish was sucked into the rubber hose and came out on the other end in the catch bucket. it looked dead, floating on its side motionless. i touched it with my finger and it twitched. i scooped it up with a plastic cup and put in back into the tank. i could care less about my other fishes but this cherry barb has sentimental value: i bought it back in january 2004, so it's more than 8 years old now. the cherry barb was still alive, but seemed to be in rough shape, floating on its side, and kind of drifting in the tank. it's tail fin was already damaged (from age), but now its dorsal and anal fins were a bit torn. hours later it seemed to be better, but still swimming a bit lopsided.

in the early evening i marinated the beef strips i had cut in the morning:

3.85 lbs. beef bottom round
2/3 cup worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine
5 tbsp honey
3 tbsp vietnamese chili sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp ground sichuan peppercorn
1 tsp liquid smoke

this time around i added more rice wine - 1/4 cup to be exact - the thinking is it'll help tenderize the meat. the jerky never seems sweet enough so i upped the honey portion to 5 tbsp; not sure if this will change anything because the salty and spicy ingredients still make up the bulk of the marinade. as for the peppercorns (black, white, sichuan), i chopped them with my food processor. i don't know how well this will work since i've never done it before. some of the peppercorns were reduced to powder from all the pulsing, so the consistency might be too fine.

i used a large ziploc bag to hold the meat plus marinade, but i probably could've just used a large pyrex bowl. i ended up putting the ziploc bag in a pyrex bowl in case of leakage. after a few hours i turned the bag over to allow the marinade to work on both sides.

i still had some hot dogs in the fridge so i have some for dinner. i watched some playoffs basketball, disappointed to see that the heats managed to beat the pacers. now the only 2nd round matchup is between the celtics and the 76ers, game 7 to be decided on saturday.