i went to market basket in the morning to get some granola and yogurt when i remembered i had 2 boxes of unfinished blueberries in the fridge. unfortunately i waited too long and there was some mold on the berries, which i picked off.
drew came home around 2:20. i was going to take him to the fresh pond whole foods then formaggio's kitchen but he needed to rest so we didn't leave until after 3:00. right around that time a package came for me via USPS, my $50 arduino kit. it came without directions so i wasn't exactly sure what was what. is that a fire sensor, a mercury switch, or a temperature sensor? but i was excited to finally get my hands on an arduino board. all that reading i've been doing the past few weeks, i can now finally put it into practical use.
we went via linnaean (passing elizabeth warren's house) to garden street. they have a whole foods in pittsburgh but not as big. there were a lot of things drew had never seen back at home and was a bit awestruck, making mental notes to come back and do some more thorough shopping. i was there to look for my special flavor of yogi tea, which they carried (tahitian vanilla hazelnut, a tea i discovered in the cabin of acadia national park).
next we went to the liquor store next door where
bruce drew bought 2 bottles of wine. i was looking for some traditional chinese alcohol but the closest thing was korean soju.
although it was more direct to go down vassal lane, i took drew on the scenic route along fresh pond to get to huron avenue, then we traveled in the direction of home to arrive at formaggio's kitchen.
it's kind of ironic, but i've passed by formaggio's a million times and never once set foot inside. i was imagining a place with wall-to-wall cheese but at first glance it didn't live up to my expectations. upon closer examination though, they definitely had an extensive selection of cheese, with some very high end imported varieties. our cheese monger was super helpful, a pretty young woman with red dyed hair, scraping cheese samples for us to try (she took some herself as well). drew seemed like a kid lost in a candy store, and ended up buying 3 different kinds of cheese: ruggles brother's walk (made from local goat's milk), bleu des basques (french sheep's milk), and cabot clothbound cheddar (vermont cow's milk).
back at home, drew prepared a cheese spread along with the nutty bread he bought from whole foods and a bottle of bordeaux from the liquor store. my favorite cheese is the bleu des basques (i like any kind of blue cheese, the stinkier the better), with the ruggles brother's walk coming in second with its strong gamey goat flavor. drew was complaining about my wine glasses, how they were completely solid so you couldn't see the wine inside, and insisted on getting some new ones for the future.
the cheese and bread filled us up and we didn't think about dinner until much later. we finally ordered a pizza close to 8:00, from stone hearth pizza on mass ave. we got a large spicy banana pepper ($17.95): signature sauce, mozzarella/provolone cheese, housemade sausage, spicy banana peppers, dollops of ricotta cheese and scallions.
we left early so we could check out some stores along mass ave. unfortunately they all close relatively early, so all we could do was press our noses to the glass windows to look inside. there was adobeon (wine glasses!), wardmaps (drew seemed interested in getting some cambridge/boston themed mugs), nomad, cambridge clogs, and joie de vivre.
back at home we ate our pizza with the wine while watching the vice-presidential debate between joe biden and paul ryan. the pizza was better than domino's, but i didn't think it was that good. i like the crust and the banana peppers. the globs of ricotta cheese made the pizza taste cold. what i wouldn't give for a traditional pizza with chewy stringy mozzarella! maybe next time we'll try armando's on huron avenue. the last time i ate there was probably in middle school.
the rest of the night i wasn't focused on the debate, but more preoccupied with my new electronic tinker toy. the arduino board is an uno revision 2 it looks like. it seems like a genuine arduino, but upon closer inspection it's definitely a knockoff: the label on the back reads "design [sic] in italy" and the italy map is all deformed. nevertheless, it works just as well as a genuine arduino, so i have zero complaints.
i noticed it didn't come with a power adapter plug even though there's a power adapter port on the arduino board. apparently for some projects the 5V of power from the USB cable is enough juice to run the board. the kit also came with a battery pack for the arduino (requires 6 AA batteries which is the equivalent of 9V - i don't know why it didn't just include a 9V battery pack adapter).
it took me a while to get it to work. at first i thought it was a driver issue, but then i read the arduino uno doesn't need drivers in OSX. but the arduino IDE just couldn't see the board for some reason, even though the lights were on. finally i figured out the problem was because i didn't insert the USB cable all the way into the board. once i did that, my system recognized the board as a network device and the IDE saw it right away.
my first project was basically lighting up an LED wired from a breadboard. i used one of the sample codes to create a fading effect and tweaked the numbers to get different speeds and changed out the LED to get different colors. i've never worked with a bread board before but it seemed pretty intuitive. my next project will be to wire more LED's. i'm still kind of shaky on what value of resistors i should be using to drive the LED's. the kit came with some 220Ω resistors and i believe they're the right ones. the color coding is really hard to read and i don't think they follow conventional coloring 100%.