at 9:00 this morning i was in my kitchen deboning and flaying the 8 lbs. picnic roast i bought yesterday, the first step in making pulled pork. it was easier this time around because i used a boning knife. into the crock pot as well went the following: 1 chopped yellow onion, a handful of chopped garlic cloves, 1 inch piece of raw ginger, 1 cup of chinese rice wine, 2 tbsp of liquid smoke, and enough water to barely cover the meat. the liquid smoke is something new i'm trying this time. i cooked everything on the high setting.

at 10:00 i left my place to go over to julie's to replace the cables on her bike. i was there for over 3 hours, first taking off the old cables, then cutting the housings on the new cables, then putting them on the bike and adjusting the brake pads and shifter. we worked out in the backyard which was still surprisingly hot despite today being a cool down day. metal tools left out in the sun burned when touched.

i returned home by 1:30, fearful that the unsupervised crock pot had boiled over (it didn't, but it did later, while i was home). i flipped over some of the pork that were on top and looked a bit dry. the meat itself smelled like barbecue due to the liquid smoke addition.

doppler radar showed imminent rainstorms. i made a hurried trip to market basket (before the storms) to pick up some sodas for the weekend, as well as some cider vinegar (for the pulled pork later) and a jar of pickle slices.

in the early evening (still daylight outside) it drizzled a little bit, and then i heard some thundering. there was no torrential downpours but it did drop the temperature by almost 20° into the 70's. i dug out all the fans i could find and placed them strategically around windows to circulate the hot air inside the house and bring in fresh cooler air.

the first thing LJ said when she entered the house was, "are you making dinner?"

i finally stopped the crock pot at 6:00, after 8 hours of slow cooking. the pork was tender enough that it crumbled when i scooped them out into a bowl for shredding. once properly shredded, the pork went back into the crock pot, along with: 2 18 oz. bottles of stubb's original barbecue sauce, 1 cup of rice vinegar, and 1/2 cup of hot sauce. i like my sauce tangy and spicy. one of these days i'll make my own barbecue sauce instead of buying ready-made.

i cooked for an additional 30 minutes using the low setting this time (didn't want to scorch the sauce). the finished product matched expectation. ironically, i only tasted a few bites before putting it all away for sunday's barbecue.

LJ told me she wanted to go to new york city tomorrow. the way she said it was kind of weird though, like she was feeling guilty, a reluctant enthusiasm. she was still waiting for her advisor's daughter to call, but i know a brush-off when i see one. the IT was out of the office again so LJ didn't get a loaner machine. she asked if she could use my laptop. "you're not using it, are you?" when i said no, that was all the pretext she needed for assumed unlimited usage. after about an hour, i told her i had a desktop pc in my room i could let her borrow. it took a few minutes to set up and i was sweaty afterwards, but at least i got my laptop back. i don't think she realized how lucky she is. and i don't remember her thanking me either. i should just leave in her new york city tomorrow.

for dinner i some leftover pasta. it was awful but made more palatable with a generous amount of hot sauce.

going down to new york city is the most unpleasant part of the trip, waking up early (4:00) and suffering a 4 hour bus ride in crowded conditions. once in manhattan it gets better, although i hear tomorrow's going to be in the high 80's. the trip back will be the best, saturday night is off-peak and i should be able to get 2 seats to myself. i'll buy some fried chicken takeout and enjoy the lovely sunset over the city as we return.