i found my father outside watering the front lawn with the sprinkler. the spread of the sprinkler was too wide and it sprayed water onto the front door as well. while my father continued watering into the backyard, my mother made some chicken noodles for lunch. she told me they wanted to have a father's day dinner at the brazilian moqueca restaurant in inman square. i didn't want to, wasn't that impressed with the food the first and last time we went back in february, wouldn't it be better just to stay home? or better yet, get some takeout. but my mother insisted.
i found a box with the nest thermostat along with a complimentary google home mini speaker. while i was setting it up my mother asked me why we needed another speaker after i bought that tiny dodocool speaker just last week. it wasn't until i plugged it in, set it up quickly with my phone, and demonstrated the real power of the speaker did my mother understand. the google home isn't so much a speaker as it is a smart listening device that you can talk to. hey google, what's the temperature? hey google, what's the temperature in taipei, taiwan? hey google, how do you say hello in chinese? hey google, how do you say hello in korean? hey google, play some music by teresa teng. my mother was pretty amazed by the technology, testing it out herself. the volume was loud, almost too loud. its grey soft fabric design sort of lends itself to being kind of hidden, in the background until you need to talk to it. when it activates, soft colored led's glow on the speaker surface. currently we can only use english but once google updates the software to chinese, it will be even handier.
later i linked the google home mini to our smart plugs so i can go, hey google, turn off the living room light. i also linked it to the nest thermostat, so it can pull the indoor temperature. hey google, what's the temperature inside the house? (though it's response was kind of long: it also told me what the thermostat heating was set at.)
my sister came home in the afternoon after hiking with hailey who was still wet. they stayed outside in the backyard for a long time, my sister playing around with her new iphone (7 $730, upgrading from a 5s), waiting for her dog to dry. they left around 4pm, my sister to meet up with us again at 5:30pm at the restaurant.
we finally turned on the portable air conditioner after my father cut a new length of tubing to catch the water in an external basin. attached to a smart plug, we were able to get an energy reading: it uses around 950W of power, so about 1kW per hour, which is a lot. we also learned it can't auto restart after the power is shut off, which means we won't be able to control it through the smart plug (or we can, but can only turn it off, not back on again; i might also have a raspberry pi solution with an infrared transceiver).
we left for the restaurant around 5:15pm, but arrived 5 minutes late. my sister made a reservation though and the place was only half full. my sister texted me that she would be late because she took a wrong turn. she didn't show up until 5:50pm, that's a pretty long wrong turn. we ordered a pitcher of sangria with 4 appetizers and 3 entrees: steam mussels, cod cakes, crab cakes, plantains, fish moqueca, tripe soup, and seafood rice.
the food this time around was much better, maybe because it was a weekend crowd and the restaurant brought their A game. like the plantains, last time they felt like leftovers, this time they were fried to perfection, crispy and sweet on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside, i've never had plantains this good before. they gave us a pot of hot sauce which we thought was just your typical mild sauce, so scooped a whole spoonful for the cod cake, but then i tasted it and realized it was some kind of homemade habanero sauce and warned everyone, stopping my sister (who has the lowest spiciness tolerance) before she accidentally got a mouthful.
after we finished eating, we went next door to the dollar general store, which used to be a family dollar. all of these chains have dollar in their names, but they're not true dollar stores, only dollar tree is (where everything really costs a dollar). dollar general was surprisingly well stocked, almost like a tiny department store.
afterwards i returned with my parents to belmont, when it would've been easier to just drop me off at home, but i had to retrieve my motorcycle first. riding back to cambridge, i stopped to take a photo of the sunset. dave and christine were supposed to be back today, but they told me not until late. i wrote dave an e-mail reminding him of street cleaning tomorrow and not to park on the odd side of the road or face getting towed.
we almost hit 50kWh today, just 400Wh shy. the cumulation of high wispy clouds throughout the day was just too much to overcome to hit a high record.