my upstairs neighbor steve got in touch with me last week asking if i called any roofers. he handed me a list 2 months ago that he printed out from angie's list of companies to call. like a moron i accepted the list, even though i should've told him to do it himself. of course i didn't call any of them, and steve assumed just as much, since he told me he would do it himself then, something he should've done from the start (since a leaky roof affects him more, only he's seen it firsthand, and any roofers would need to get access to his house).

fast forward one week: since i haven't heard from steve, i assumed (correctly) that he didn't call anyone. of course the list he gave me had no contact information, so i had to google search all those companies for their phone numbers. many were too far (worcester, millis, hull), and some seemed like they were used to more expensive clients with mansions that need servicing. i ended up calling 2 places: marcello roofing (revere) and duffy roofing (dorchester). marcello called me back right away and scheduled a meeting tomorrow at 11:00. duffy never called me back.

with work for client R not to restart until november, i have 2 weeks of free time. today would've been a great day to run errands, but by the time i finished my phone calls and had lunch and took a shower, it was already 1:30. once i decided i'd make flan, that meant 1:30 of my time would be used up:


6 eggs
1 cup sugar
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 12 oz. evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

i've often heard of people using sweetened condensed milk in their flan recipe and i wanted to try it myself to see how it compares to my usual flan using just milk-sugar-eggs. the one difference is instead of using milk, this recipe would use a combination of evaporated milk (2 cans) and sweetened condensed milk (1 can).

i mixed the ingredients by hand to diminish the bubbles, but one downside is the eggs aren't beaten as much so during the pouring into the ramekins there was a lot of egg white clumping the strainer which had to be rinsed out a few times to unclog it. the original recipe also called for an additional 1/2 cup of sugar into the mixture but i thought it was already super sweet from the condensed milk so i didn't add anymore sugar.

there was extra mixture which i poured into 2 6 oz. empty (no caramel) ramekins and 1 4 oz. ramekin. into the oven it went at 325°F (350° in my case because my oven runs 25° cooler). after 45 minutes i checked, it was still runny; another 15 minutes later they were one.

the result was more orange than my usual flan (which have a paler yellow color). it'll gave it a day or 2 in the refrigerator before trying one out.

i've had a lot of problems using the arduino protoshield that i was beginning to think it was defective somehow, either the shield itself or maybe the mini breadboard. the 3 new red-yellow LED's i wired just wouldn't turn on for some reason, and it was also doing weird things, like lighting up on its own without being grounded (ghost LED's) or lighting up when i connect the ground cable to the 5v input pin.

in the end i finally figured it out: i had the LED's wired backwards. not entirely my fault because the LED's (the red and yellow ones) seem to be defective, with the flat spot on the longer positive anode side and the anvil an post positions reversed. once i wired them following the anode-cathode positions (disregarding the fact that the LED's themselves seem to be seated backwards), they began to work immediately.

i made a bank of 6 variably flashing color LED's then figured out how to connect an RGB LED. in my next projector i want to learn how to use a light sensor.

around 7:00 i left the house on a pizza run. drew made no effort to come along, said he was too tipsy on wine to do any biking. i went to armando's in huron village. when i got there my sister called asking if i felt the earthquake. if there was one i was on the bike at the time so i didn't even notice. the last time i've been to armando's was probably in middle school, almost 3 decades ago. i ordered a large hamburger with garlic pizza.

since it'd take 15 minutes, i walked down to my parents' cafe nearby and chatted with my father briefly before returning to the pizza shop. my pizza was still cooking so i sat and waited. that's when i overheard a customer's conversation about the earthquake that just happened. the cashier said he didn't feel anything, but his wife called and told him about it and he checked facebook/twitter to confirm it. a couple eating a pizza behind me also felt the tremors.

with pizza strapped to the back of the bike i returned home. i asked drew, lounging on the couch surrounded by cheese and wine, if he experienced anything weird while i was gone. "the house was shaking, like maybe a heavy wind or something." he couldn't believe it when i told him he just survived a magnitude 4.0 earthquake, with epicenter in maine. i was disappointed i didn't experience it myself, but i did feel last year's earthquake epicentered in virginia. when i called my sister to confirm her suspicions, she said it was already on the news (only channel 5 was covering it).

i wasn't too impressed with armando's pizza. the crust was good, but the cheese was clumpy instead of stringy. hamburger was also a bad choice (kind of bland), should've gone with bacon and garlic.

at 9:00 drew and i watched the 2nd presidential debate between romney and obama. it was kind of boring. i'm not sure if these debates are really doing anything to sway voters. i'm sure there are some undecided voters, but most people already know who they're going to vote for, but saying that they're undecided makes them more important somehow.