this morning i recoated the front steps with cabot australian timber oil (natural). using a rag, i wiped clean the boards. i then poured some timber oil from the gallon container into a coffee can for easier access. with latex gloves on, i used another piece of rag to dip into the oil and rub it into the wood starting from the top step. i changed rags when it got too saturated. i figured this would all just take half an hour but i didn't finish until nearly 2 hours later. i roped off the steps and put out a plastic bag so the postman could drop off our mail.

i also bumped into ed this morning, told him i'd be gone for the next 2 months. "maybe you'll meet a nice china girl and get married," he told me. my godmother had something similar in mind, but she called to warn me about not trusting china girls. having said that, she tried to fix me up with the younger (34) sister of alex's wife, whom i saw on friday. she didn't seem very friendly and whenever i took out my camera, i could see her hiding in the periphery. i told my godmother i wasn't interested.

leaving from the back door (so i wouldn't walk on the oiled front steps), i rode the motorcycle to belmont to find only my father and the dog at home. my mother and sister were out shopping with my grandmother to buy some gifts for when she returns to california next tuesday. both my father and i had been playing with our respective sero tablet and we got together to share notes. while i had installed google's pinyin input system, he discovered the more taiwan-centric zhuyin input. i showed him how to add widgets to the main screens, and he showed me the headway he made using the built-in gps. also from his experience using the ipad, he's very adept at turning off unnecessary features to eke out the maximum battery life (things like turning off the wifi when not in use).

my mother and company returned from burlington mall in the early evening. my sister left with the dog to go to a barbecue, leaving my grandmother and parents at home. no one was in the mood to do any cooking so we ordered some domino's pizza, with my father and i going out to pick it up a short time later. this gave us the opportunity to field test the sero's gps capability. earlier we downloaded a map of the local area for offline use with the google map app. even though i selected just a small area from my parents' house to my house, it managed to download a far bigger area in just a few megabytes. it worked surprisingly well, and i could see how it could be really useful in navigation for my trip in both taiwan and china. it even made me reconsider my $230 garmin gps purchase. i'm surprised it even has gps at all. it's mentioned in the specs, but i either thought it was a typo or the kind of fake gps that works through hotspot mapping. not only that, but it's a really good gps, highly accurate, super fast, and doesn't randomly jump around like my old handheld garmin gps (maybe this new one i'm getting will be better). but combined with a downloaded map for offline use, i can hear the death knell for paper maps.

my godmother has a hard time making up her mind when it comes to whether or not she wants to extend her stay here in boston. a few days ago she wanted to stay longer, but then decided yesterday she'd go home after all on tuesday. but then today she decided she wanted to stay again. i found her a $240 direct jetblue flight back to san jose. i was reluctant to order it because i was afraid she'd change her mind again. now she leaves the day after the 4th of july, just a few days shy before my own departure the following monday.

i returned home by around 9:00. passing by radcliffe college i couldn't help but stop to take some photos of the pretty light illuminating their current renovation work. i noticed the mailman totally disregarded the plastic bag and left bundles of mail on each of our doorsteps (he must've slipped it on the landings from the sides of the staircase).

my kombucha has been fermenting for 18 days now, it's time to take them out. my kitchen smells very vinegary. i tasted the tea in the edible jar, slightly more tart than when i tested it a few days ago, but still sweet, the perfect consistency. i also tasted the tea from the scoby hotel, which was sourer. i'm reconsidering whether or not to even keep a scoby hotel. with so many layers of scobies, the tea is so acidic it certainly can't be too healthy for the bateria. besides, old scobies look pretty tattered, not like i'll ever use them again, even if i was going them away to friends and family. it's better to simply have 2 different flavors of drinkable kombucha. i'll discuss it with my father and see if we can get rid of our scoby hotels.

so after pouring out the kombucha tea from the edible jar, i brewed a new batch of sweet black tea. as of this writing, the tea is still too hot to add the scoby, i'm still waiting for it to cool down.

i had a minor photo crisis: i noticed after i finished downloading today's photos that all the photos i took this morning were missing. did i accidentally reformat my card? i couldn't understand why, and made me think either the memory card is broken, or possibly the reader/software. as a last ditch effort, i ran klix on the 32GB card which took a long time (half an hour). i was afraid it'd unnecessarily recover weeks of old photos, but when i reformat my card i zero it out, since the only old images were some from friday. but the good news is it managed to find the photos i took this morning. that makes me wonder about that time last week when it also discarded a few photos. had i ran klix on it, maybe i could've gotten them back. something to remember for next time. still not sure if it's the card or the reader. in any case, i'll probably get another backup card before i leave.

i'm working on my hollow books again. i have a stack of glued books that need to hollowed out, but i've been putting them on the back burner because it's a real pain to slice hundreds of pages with an x-acto knife. i'm hoping to get these down within the next few days, maybe give them out as gifts or whatnot.

finally at around 2:30 the sweet black tea was cool enough to add the scoby. it was still lukewarm, but not so hot it'd kill the bacteria. the warm tea will hopefully give the fermentation process a head start. i scooped out 2 cups of sweet tea to add to the scoby hotel, then poured in 2 previously-scooped cups of tea from the scoby hotel, before adding the scoby. i got a thick one this time because i let it ferment for so long. it also has a transparent layer for each time i taste tested the kombucha, since breaking the surface of the tea causes the bacteria to form a new scoby.