the bathroom was thankfully urine free this morning, but only after i dropped enough hints like moving everything away from the toilet and putting down a perimeter of paper towels. but i could still smell the musty stench of dried pee, i'll need to clean again with more bleach. i think kevin pissed on the walls as well. he sent me a text message on wechat apologizing for the mess, more than i can say for some past roommates who've destroyed or messed something up in the house. he said the reason was because he tried peeing sitting down (to prevent peeing on the floor) and ended up making it worse. i'm not quite savvy enough to figure out the mechanics of how something like that could happen, i just know that it did. not just late last night, but also yesterday morning, i'm pretty sure all of it was urine, i was just kidding myself to think it was simply water. i didn't bother responding to kevin, i wanted to confront him face-to-face. if he's 25+ years old and don't know how to pee without getting it all over the bathroom, i don't think it's my job to teach him.
i've had so many different people live here over the years, each one with little habits that i find annoying, that i could probably make a game out of it, like annoying roommate habits bingo. pees on the floor. messy cooking. leaving the lights on. drenching bathroom floor. bringing spouse/parent. not paying rent on time. not going to work. smoking. damaging property. getting locked out. i could go on. sometimes it's hard remember roommates, but i never forget their annoying habits.
i tried using my macbook pro this morning and i couldn't get online. i turned off and on the wifi on my computer, but that didn't work. i tried a reboot, no go. funny thing was i could still get online with my phone, just not my laptop. i rebooted the router. still nothing. by then i was starting to get worried. using a macbook pro restart does the trick, but i've tried everything and i still couldn't get online. could the iranian attack be happening now? did their cyber force take down the US internet? i went online with my phone, looking for news about massive outages, but there was none. thoughts of going to the apple store and getting my computer fixed raced through my head. how long would it take? how much would it cost? do i need to lock out my macbook and set up a temporary guest account?
but first i went online and searched for solutions. times like this, it's wiser to not panic. apple had an article, "If your Mac doesn't connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi," which recommended using their wireless diagnostic tool. i ran that and after several long minutes it told me what i already knew, that my wifi was down.
i then came across a 2013 macworld article, "Mac troubleshooting: What to do when you can't connect to the Internet". it listed a number of steps to check, all of which i did, except no.6 "Check your DNS settings". i've played around with the DNS before so it wasn't my first rodeo, primarily to switch from the default DNS to something faster. it showed my DNS as 10.9.0.1 and 10.8.0.1. when i looked them up online, i couldn't find anything about them, so i used the recommended openDNS (cisco) addresses 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.
changing the DNS didn't work. i even tried the ip number trick to bypass any DNS to get into google directly but it didn't do anything. i wanted to see if i could still access the router's admin page using an internal IP (192.168.1.1). i got in just fine, which meant that the wifi was still working, only i couldn't get onto the internet with my macbook pro, but my phones had no problems. it was all very strange. so i tried going online again using the safari browser, and i was finally able to get through. when i went back to chrome, it worked as well. maybe it just needed some time for the DNS change to take effect on my computer.
so in the end it was just a DNS issue. i found out later that 10.9.0.1 and 10.8.0.1 are the DNS used by torguard VPN. i could've accidentally closed my computer without turning off the VPN first, which messed up the network settings. i also did a DNS cache reset, which got rid of openDNS and defaulted to google DNS of 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11.
after some yogurt and cereal for lunch, i decided to bike to my parents' place to do a thorough soil drench using Bti-infused water on all the houseplants we have in the grow room. while i was in the backyard, i replaced the batteries on my acurite weather station sensor (the station itself gave me a low battery warning weeks ago). i just used regular alkaline batteries. acurite has a page that says the sensors will also take lithium batteries: the reason you'd ever want to do that is because lithium batteries can withstand cold temperature up to -40°F while alkaline only down to -4°F. we don't get too many below zero fahrenheit days here, so i decided to go with the cheaper and more convenient option.
i brought the 7W E12 LED light bulb that came on saturday. even though it's the brighest of all the E12 bulbs that i bought on ebay, it works very well in one of the salt lamps that have a very thick wall. to test all the bulbs i'd need to remove the lamp housings from all the salt lamps and it'd be too much hassle.
i connected the infrared lamp and placed it out into the backyard, so the wyze cam can use it to see at nights. i have a similar setup at the cafe (looking out into the parking lot). that light is actually on smart plug set to turn on and off during sunset and sunrise, but it'd redundant because the infrared light itself has a darkness sensor that will automatically turn it on when it gets dark. i'll need to reclaim that smart plug one of these days.
maybe it was just my imagination, but there seemed to be less fungus gnats today, since i put up so many traps the last few times i was there. there were still some flying, but nothing like it was before. it could also be cyclical, until the next wave of gnats emerge from their pupae.
it's really not that hard to completely eradicate fungus gnats. the trick is to break the cycle. catching the flying adults is no use because they will still continue to lay eggs, which will in turn produce more adults (i heard a single female gnat can lay a few hundred eggs). the larval worms that live and feed in the soil have to be destroyed as well. that's where Bti comes in. we've been using it for months but it didn't seem to be working. at first i thought maybe it's because my father had been adding liquid fertilizer to the water as well, which might be killing the bacteria. then i thought maybe it was the UV led's in our grow lights that was killing off all the beneficial bacteria. but turns out the actual problem was we've been using too little Bti-infused mosquito bit pellets: each time we filled a bucket, i only added a few pellets (around a dozen), because that's only how much i needed to kill mosquitoes in our standing summer pools. but getting Bti into the soil is different, requiring a higher dosage to make a more concentrated water solution.
i started by moving out the plants from the grow room. if the weather was warmer i could've done it outside (less messy), but still better to do it indoors, to prevent any plants from getting temperature shock. earlier i got the jumbo black plastic bin from the garage, to be used as a catch basin so i don't get water all over the floor as i water the plants. i then mixed the buckets of Bti-infused water. each bucket held 3.5 gallons of water, and using the ratio of 1 tsp of mosquito bits per gallon, i then added 3.5 teaspoons of pellets into the bucket. mosquito bits have a musky smell, not unpleasant but distinctive. i'd never used so much pellets before, but i have a large jug of it, better to use it up before it expires. i knew it was working because the water went from clear to cloudy, as the bacteria quickly multiplied. i just used regular tap water; i could've treated it with water conditioner, but instructions i read online said nothing about dechlorinating so i didn't bother. i then left the Bti to populate the water, giving each bucket at least 5 minutes.
it wasn't difficult to soil drench all the plants. the hardest part was just moving them in and out, and not getting water on the floor. every once in a while i also had to stop and refill the buckets and add more mosquito bits. even the orchid pots i watered, then poured the water back out (orchid pots have no holes, uses fibrous wood chunks as growing medium). i went through 3 buckets of water. i filled a 4th bucket but i ended up not needing it; i'll leave it for the next watering, but don't know if i'll actually use it as i probably want to use a fresh batch (though old Bti-infused water might contain even more bacteria). i left the water outside of the grow room, just to keep it safe from UV sterilization. i sprayed insecticidal soap on the thai bail and the hot pepper. thai basil is kind of funny, it sort of resembles marijuana and has a similar smell. i snipped off the flowers to induce more leaf growth.
i poured any remaining bacterial water left in the 3rd bucket into the aquatic reed pot, covering all my bases so there aren't any open soil that haven't been treated with Bti. one of our experiments is to see if we can regrow jasmine cuttings using rooting hormone. the two that we have are alive but the leaves are so i don't know if they can survive. but one very interesting thing is one of the cuttings seems to be growing flower buds and might actually make some jasmine flowers.
next i reapplied all the yellow sticky traps. this is good because then i'll get a better sense of how many adult fungus gnats are still active when i can see them on fresh traps. the 10-pack of 9.5 x 5.9" sticky traps arrived today at my parents' place. just one sheet i was able to cut up into 25 smaller squares. the card stock feels firm, almost like it's thin plastic. it's double-sided, so i don't have to fold it together like the old traps. because i cut them up, most of them didn't have a clear edge i could peel the backings off of so it took a while to remove them. the sticky layer was also very sticky, and i had to wash my hands 3 times and scrub them gently with a scouring pad to clean them; it'd suck to get any of that residue on your clothes. in the end up set up 14 traps as those the amount of plastic trap skewers i had. a few of them are fluorescent green which glow under the UV light.
so all the pieces are set to breaking the fungus gnat life cycle. i left the soil to dry for a week, which will some eggs and worms. the Bti water will kill all the worms in the soil. the traps will catch most of the flying adults. the one stage i can't affect is the pupa stage. i simply have to wait until those hatch and hopefully trap the emerging adults on one of the sticky traps. i will let the soil dry for another week, then drench with Bti again. i read i have to do this for 3 weeks to completely break the cycle.
the only thing i did do was to treat the plants with insecticidal soap. i need to wait until the weather is warmer so i can do that outside since it's a messy affair. the spray is mainly for aphids - which only seem to grow on the thai basil and hot pepper (which i did spray) - as well as spider mites, which are affecting the gardenia and a few jasmines.
i finally left by 3:30pm (after nearly 3 hours doing grow house maintenance); any later it'd be dark and i didn't bring my lights with me (didn't think i'd leave so late). i stopped by the cafe briefly to drop off the coffee spice for my sister. my 2nd aunt told me she needed some milk, asked me to get it for her tomorrow.
kevin came home around 6:30pm and started making dinner. i didn't pay much attention until it started to get smoking so i closed the bedroom doors. it wasn't an oily stir-fry smoky, more like an acrid "i burnt something" smoky. after he finished cooking, i went into the kitchen and made my dinner, which took all but 3 minutes as i heated up a can of corn chowder, to be served from the pot. i was going to get groceries today but came home too late so decided to do it tomorrow morning. it was during that time i brought up the bathroom issue. i simply said as long as he knew what happened, it was fine, but be careful next time. i didn't ask for details how urinating while sitting on the toilet could end up with pee all over the bathroom floor and wall. sometimes it's better to let the mystery be.
my parents video chatted me from taiwan, at some KMT rally in keelung. my mother had told me in another conversation that they've had good weather during the whole time they've been in taiwan, but too hot for them. we only spoke briefly, they just wanted to show me the rally.