i woke up at 8:30am to see GC off, although it wasn't a true farewell, as he's coming back from amherst to stay one more day in cambridge next friday before his saturday morning flight out from boston. he left promptly at 9am, carrying his small travel suitcase, his badminton racket across his back. he shook my hand, then said "bye bye" in a mockingly infantile manner (i think he thinks it's funny because i've heard him say it before, but it makes him sound like a moron).

GC didn't leave much behind, as he didn't bring much to begin with. even his food, he managed to eat most of it. on the kitchen countertop he left a bottle of chinese cooking wine and a container of salt. in the cupboard there was enough rice for one more serving, and some moldy pita bread. in the refrigerator a bag of cherries, in the freezer some mussels and some shrimps. this makes me fear that went he come back in a week, he's going to stink up my house one last time with a fishy dinner. i got a chance to clean up the mess he left behind on the stovetop. i put down some aluminum foil around the burners since i've never had a roommate who managed to cook without making a mess of that area. typically the foil cover would be enough, but the way GC cooks, he stews his food for hours, letting the water dribble out onto the stovetop and scorching the foil in the progress. and he did this every day for 8 weeks, leaving behind a real mess not only of the cover but also beneath it, where i discovered dried (and not so dried) patches of burnt liquids. he also used my pots in a makeshift steamer configuration, and probably had the pots over the stovetop when there was no liquids, further ruining my already ruined pots and pans. plus he managed to crack one of my plates because he steam cooked it until it dried up. an okay roommate, but too many annoying habits to him ever come back. hence the irony of him returning next friday.

i contacted li this morning, asked him if he'd be interested in the midnight boston ride happening this saturday. he said riding at night as a crazy idea, and said me might be interested once he moved come september. realizing it was a brush off, i didn't bother telling him that the ride is just once a year.

i am obsessed with constitution beach, ever since we passed it when we went to revere beach a few weeks back, and i looked it up online and saw it was a great place to take photos because logan airport is right across the water, so you can get these really dramatic shots that look like the plane is taking off from the beach. i want to go but i've come to realize i've grown increasingly lazy the older i get. there was that one summer when i went to east boston all the time to explore the area. where's that adventure spirit now? i almost went today, but then saw tomorrow's weather is actually nicer, so decided to postpone it until then. i'm planning on going via bicycle, which makes the trip twice as long, but i'll get a good workout, and it's easier to get around and explore when you're on a bike versus a motorcycle.

confidence renewed after successfully installing the screen protector on my father's moto G4, i installed a new protector on my oneplus one phone. the one that i currently have was a premium screen protector i ordered though oneplus ($5.99) when i originally bought the phone back in december 2014. it's actually not too bad, and i did a good job applying it, no bubbles or dust. but the protector was just a thin sheet of plastic, and over time it got scratched up, which you might say is the purpose of these screen protectors, but there are even better ones made from a thin sheet of glass that are even more scratch resistant. that's why i ordered 2 new screen protectors (made from tempered glass material) when i was in chongqing spring of last year. however, i never put it on because i was too afraid of messing it up as i had a fairly poor track record when it comes to this procedure. the trick is you need to secure the screen to the phone with tape beforehand for proper placement. the way i've been doing it before was i would put on the screen freehand, and i would always get the alignment wrong, and once you peel the protector and put it back on, dust always seems to get underneath. i did a pretty good job this time around, but there was a small dust grain, which i managed to clean up by gently lifting the protector and dabbing the dust with a piece of tape. i then managed to get a small piece of fiber stuck on the screen, and removed it using the same technique. once that was done though, i had a perfect screen, no dust, no trapped bubbles.

i watered my garden plot in the afternoon. the contractors were still there working on lowering the fence. before leaving the garden, i noticed one of the gardeners has a patch of what looks to be pink garlic chives, which i've researched online but couldn't find any place that sells them. i will have to ask if i can collect a few seeds.

from the garden i headed to market basket, to get some dinner ingredients, where i decided i'd be making some risotto tonight. along the way i passed by a mysterious flowering bush on ivaloo street. i've spotted a few times, but it intrigued me enough that i stopped to take a closer look. the flowers were white but with magenta sepals, and with an intoxicating clove-like fragrance which reminded me of fragrant viburnum. i didn't know what it was until i returned home and did some online searching. turns out it's a plant called harlequin glorybower, hardy up to zone 5, native to asia.

i didn't plan on spending too much at market basket but still left with $30 worth of groceries. i went over my usual budget because i was stocking up on toilet paper which was on sale. it also took me forever to check out because i realized i had more than 12 items and had to wait in the non-express line. then the woman in front of me realized she left her credit card in the car (who does that?) after they already rung her up, so i had to wait for the manager to reset the purchase before the cashier could ring up my items. afterwards i went to the indian grocery store next door, to snag a 6-pack of woodchuck hard cider. i always though this place was cheaper, but it's actually not, and i paid $11 for the drinks. the liquor store around the corner from me is actually cheaper.

i fell asleep on the couch around 5:30pm, figuring i'd just nap for half an hour, but didn't get up until 7pm, when i remembered i had to make dinner. i wanted to coincide my risotto with the start of the patriots pre-season game against the jacksonsonville jaguars. what i didn't expect was to be sidetracked with cleaning the mess of a kitchen GC left behind. besides the stovetop, several pots and pans were caked in oil and burnt liquids. i had to take a brillo pad and scrub clean all the exterior surfaces. only then, around 7:40pm, did i start making my risotto.

prosciutto & mushroom risotto (2-4 servings)
2 cans of chicken broth
1 cup arborio rice
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 lbs. prosciutto, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of white wine
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
red pepper flakes
fresh ground pepper
scallions, chopped
bowl of frozen broccoli

i made risotto twice back in march, when karen was still here. i upped my game when i added some grilled asparagus. but i wanted to change it up some more, and i've always wanted to try making a prosciutto and mushroom risotto, since i love prosciutto and mushrooms. the steps were the same as always, except instead of adding italian sausages, i added the chopped prosciutto (1/4 lbs.) and sliced mushrooms (8 oz., about half a package).

here's a breakdown in terms of cost: 1/2 lbs. carando prosciutto $4 (used half), 16 oz. package of prewashed sliced mushrooms $1.87 (used half, manager special, they weren't as pretty, but they were going to get cooked up anyway so i didn't mind), 16 oz. bag of frozen broccoli florets $1.39 (used half), 2 cans of low sodium chicken broth 50¢ each, a leftover 6 oz. bag of shredded parmesan cheese $1.99 (used probably 1.5 oz.), half a leftover onion (price unknown), trader joe sauvignon blanc $2.99 (used a cup), and 16.9 oz. pastene arborio rice $2.69 (used half). the total comes out to about $7.50-8 to make this risotto. price-wise, it's much cheaper to make than a spinach ricotta cheese pie with ham, but i can usually get 3 servings (2 slices per serving) with the pie and just 2 servings (large portions) with the risotto. and risotto never tastes as good when reheated, compared to the ricotta pie.

i didn't finish cooking my risotto until an hour later, almost 9pm. the game had already started by then, and every once in a while i'd run into the living room to catch a glimpse. none of the stars were playing - no brady, no edelman, no gronkowski - but it was interesting to see how backup QB jimmy garoppolo performed, the future of the franchise should brady retire, though in all likelihood jimmy will be going to another team next year since other teams will be throwing big bucks at him to lead their team. jacoby brissett might be more of the future of the team but he still has some learning to go, as several of his throws had too much mustard and sailed over the heads of his receivers.

the risotto was good but the flavor wasn't as strong as when i used italian sausages, since most of the saltiness comes from just the small amount of prosciutto i added. the mushroom gives the dish an additional chewiness, but flavor-wise it doesn't really add anything to the taste. i could add an additional source of flavor (maybe a slice of anchovy?) or i could make a mushroom sausage risotto for next time, the best of both worlds. i could've also used the whole package of mushrooms, as mushrooms have a tendency to shrink when cooked. i added some scallions but it wasn't necessary, there's already a lot of flavor, it was more of a garnish. and as always, i love adding broccoli, so at least the dish has a little bit of vegetable. i washed down the risotto with a bottle of wood chuck amber, still the best hard cider in my opinion.

i finally backed up some of my photos, clearing up about 130GB worth of storage space on my macbook pro. for months now, i've been tossing files in order to clear up additional space for new photos. but i finally reached the point where i had less than 1GB left of space. not that i don't have the space, ever since i bought that 8TB external seagate drive during amazon prime day. i've had it for almost a month and only now finally using it. the photos i have on my laptop are backed up to external drives already; what i didn't have was a backup of that backup (i.e. a redundant backup), in case that external drive might decide to die. that's where the 8TB came it, it will consolidate all my photos, or at least the ones i've taken within this decade. that's always been a dream of mine to put all my photos in one place, as currently searching for any old photo is a real headache as my backups are scattered amongst half a dozen external drives (more if you count external bare SATA drives in docking stations).

the 8TB seagate backup plus hub is great. besides the large amount of space available, it also comes with a built-in USB 3.0 hub with two ports. this comes in real handy when i need to transfer data from various external hard drives. the drive itself was formatted in NTFS, but the first thing i did before using it was to reformat it to the more compatible exFAT. apple still doesn't play nicely with NTFS, and in the event of a crash, OSX can't even repair an NTFS drive, but it can repair exFAT. the backup drive typically sells for $190 but i managed to get it for $160, which comes out to $20/TB.