john broke the sad news to me this morning that roy w. black died in a montana car crash about a week ago. i first met roy back in 1997, when i joined screen house as a programmer (i think i was employee number 7). with his long curly hair and thick beard, he looked more like a roadie for a heavy metal band rather than one of the most brilliant programmers i've ever met. there wasn't anything he couldn't code a solution for. there's been many times when he managed to figure something out and the rest of us would sit their slack-jawed, like watching a genius perform. his magic-like ability to work coding miracles probably made us think there was nothing we couldn't do as long as roy was on the team. i also remember roy's gruff voice, which all those cigarettes probably didn't help. when screen house finally dissolved, i occasionally spotted roy around the porter square neighborhood, like seeing a celebrity. i hadn't seen him recently; john told me (and he heard it from chris) that roy left cambridge and moved back out west to possibly take care of his mother. when i heard roy wasn't wearing his seatbelt, that seemed a very roy thing to do, as sad as that may be. roy was 45.

in order to have flan for thanksgiving on thursday, i made them today, monday, thereby giving the caramel bottom plenty of time to absorb into the flan. i had to make a quick stop at market basket to pick up some eggs, milk, and sugar. it was late morning but the place was already as crowded as a typical weekend as people began stocking up for their thanksgiving dinner.

i made 21 flan, same as last time (october). ingredient-wise, the only difference was slightly more salt (1 tsp) and less sugar (2 cups melted was enough to cover the bottom of all 21 ramekins). as for cooking time, 1 hour wasn't enough, so i added another 15 minutes. the top layer was done, but the bottom layer required another 15 minutes and they were still a little soft.

drew returned home right when i came back from the supermarket. he was busy packing, and left to go have lunch with bruce and would leave for the subway right from there (to go back to pittsburgh for a week). i was surprised when my doorbell rang about an hour later. it was bruce, asking if he could use my bathroom. turns out there was no restroom at the cafe, and bruce's cleaning woman was working at his place and he didn't want to interrupt her.

in the afternoon i found myself in belmont again. with 3 days left before thanksgiving, the house was a mess, but it seemed too early to begin cleaning just yet. better to put it off until the very last minute, to make it more exciting. my parents returned around 5:00. my father took my mother to the dentist. what she thought would be a routine cleaning ended up with the dentist pulling out one of her molars. i went with my father to the fresh pond CVS to grab my mother's antibiotic prescription, before stopping at burger king to pick up some dinner.

the ride home was especially cold. the temperature was 38°F - same as last night - but there was a lot of moisture in the air (later it'd turn foggy). i rode home standing up, just because it exercised my whole body and helped to warm me up faster. another dx.com package was waiting on my doorstep: a firewire cable, a replacement capacitor (for the LED display), and a 5mW green laser.

the laser had been on my wish list for a while, i got it on a whim. it's fun to play with, but i don't know how useful it is. it seems to have a pretty long range, i'll have to take it out for a test one of these nights.