i went to a harvard lunch lecture titled, "animal transition and subsistence strategy on an ancient chinese island: a zooarchaeological study of the xiaozhushan site." even though i got there 15 minutes before the lecture started, i was still the very first person to arrive. the woman who gave the talk about chinese dialects last week was there, we nodded to each other politely. the chinese speaker had a thick accent that was hard to understand at times, but his slides were good enough to follow. interestingly, he was using a pointer technology i've under seen before, where the screen goes dim except for a circular highlight.

he discussed the archaeological excavation on guanglu island off the eastern coast of dalian, liaoning province. the island was apparently a stone age camp, where ancient people hunted several species of deers as well as subsisting on area seafood (as evidenced by the large midden site excavation). the dig comprised of several phases, each representing a specific time period. what's interesting is as the wildlife game decreased due to human pressure, domesticated animals started to be introduced, primarily pigs, followed by dogs and cows. isotope and mitochondrial DNA analysis as well as migration maps of domesticated animals showed that pigs came from the south across the water while the cattle arrived over land from the north.

afterwards the audience asked some interesting questions, especially those from the supervising chair, but the speaker had a hard time understanding english and many inquiries were left unanswered. i sat next to an annoying young man who arrived late armed with a paper plate of sandwiches. during the Q&A, he kept waving his arm truculently to ask a question while the chair was talking. i almost whispered to him to ask the question afterwards instead of causing a scene. some people who saw him were giggling, chances are he's probably on the autistic spectrum.

i went to market basket to pick up another corned beef for this weekend. i bought the largest point cut i could find, at nearly 5 lbs., since the brisket will shrink after cooking. i came back and parked the bike in the basement (raining tomorrow), also discovering that steve had left one of the lights on overnight.

i answered an e-mail from victory installers regarding the nest thermostat, apparently they never got my replies, so i sent them again using my gmail account (sometimes my personal e-mail gets filtered as spam). i ended up contacting two more installers for quotes, homewiz and saper systems, both ironically enough based in belmont (homewiz has an office next to the very first belmont apartment we lived in when we first came to the US).

i did a load of laundry and returned to my overdue project of updating the cafe website to a wordpress page. i uninstalled the existing site based on the delizus theme and went with a fresh install. i went back to the sevill theme primarily because it had a menu system that allowed me to customize the price data for different items. a lot of the other cafe themes had menu designed for online ordering, so the price always had to be just a single number, and can't account for different size portions. i did want to try a theme that used something other than bakery page builder, but i'll play with a different builder in the future for another site.

my replacement pair of neewer 35W 5500K tri-phosphor CFL photo studio lights arrived yesterday but i was only now checking them out. it took a minute before i realized one of the bulbs seemed to be defective, dimmer than the other. i ended up taking out all my photo bulbs and sure enough, one of the new ones seemed broken. after a while though, it seemed to get brighter, so maybe it just needs some time to warm enough. having made the switch to LED bulbs, i'd forgotten that CFL can get pretty warm, though not as hot as incandescent bulbs. i've still yet to take a single photo using these photo bulbs. maybe i'll put them to use for some food photos. i need a way to mount these lights and some diffusers as well.

the day was overcast but bright, leaving us with 21.93 kWh of electricity. it didn't turn dark until well after 7pm, around the time sandy came home. i had a repeat of last night's dinner: first a large bowl of salad + sweet pepper rings + thousand island dressing, followed by a corned beef sandwich. i tried to recreate a reuben tonight, toasting the rye bread in butter first before adding a slice of swiss cheese, some thousand island dressing (i finished the bottle), and some canned sauerkraut. the corned beef was cold so no matter what it wasn't as delicious as a warm sandwich. maybe tomorrow i'll boiled the beef before adding it to the sandwich, and maybe leave it covered in the pan to warm everything back up after assembly.