there wasn't too much going on last night, so after a quick blog posting, i got ready for bed around 10pm, one of the earliest times i've ever gone to sleep. however, i didn't actually fall asleep until probably 1am, since i was surfing reddit posts on my phone then later reading up more about the crusades (on to the 2nd crusade now).

i woke up around 5am to use the bathroom, but then i couldn't fall back to sleep for some reason. i laid in bed, under the warmth of my blanket, as the sun slowly came up. around 7am i heard kevin waking up and making noises in the kitchen. he's actually quite noisy, but since i'm normally dead asleep when he gets up, i never hear it. he left by 8am. i surfed the web on my phone for another hour before finally getting up.

sleeping early and waking early (or not being able to sleep at all) is like getting a headstart on my day, a novelty i don't often experience, almost like traveling to a new world, the world of early morning.

a check of one of the web cams at my parents' place showed that they'd already collected the trash. so i left around 11am, biked to belmont to bring in the bin and to check on the status of the grow room.

i changed out the batteries in the electronic mousetrap the last time i was at the house because i noticed it didn't give off a flashing indicator light even though it had caught a mouse. when i opened the kitchen counter cabinet to check, it was flashing. i took the trap outside, prepared to bury another dead mouse. instead i decided to leave it on some rocks, in the hopes that maybe a hawk or another scavenging animal might make a meal of it. the mouse isn't poisoned (just electrocuted) so it's perfectly edible. if there are no takers, i'll bury it the next time i'm there.

i noticed that only 1/3 of the squirrel buster seed tube was empty while the others were still full. i think the seeds must've gotten frozen so that it only came out of one of the tubes. i tapped the seeds to loosen them up then filled it up. i almost washed the shroud before putting everything back together and hanging it under the baffle. who knows how long it's been like that, birds couldn't get access to the seeds.

currently the fuel tank is a little bit above 3/4 full. they only filled it up to 7/8 on christmas eve, so in 2 weeks time the furnace had used up 1/8th of the fuel. of course it's using less now since nobody's home and i have the thermostat turned down to 59°F. i estimate when my parents get back, it will be down to 5/8th full. i'm only concerned because now that the US and iran are in a quasi-war, oil prices have gone up, so who knows how much it now costs to fill the tank.

finally i went to the grow room. when i first entered there didn't seem to be any gnats, but after a few seconds i started noticing them. i guess i was hoping there'd be zero gnats, but it's going to take a few more weeks before we can successfully eradicate all of them. it'd only been 48 hours and the sticky traps showed it was still capturing gnats. nothing like the infestation levels a week ago, when i first started adding more traps, but still more than i'd hoped for. definitely the soil of the chives and scallions have the most, followed by the lemon grass, then the cactuses. traps placed around the jasmines caught a few, and the least was the trap by the prayer plants and orchids.

so this is probably what's happening now: hopefully all the worms in the soil have been killed by my Bti soil drench. the adult gnats that are currently flying about are the ones leftover from before plus a new generation hatched from pupae, which are immune to Bti. these adults will lay eggs, and those eggs will eventually hatch more worms. that's when the next wave of Bti soil drench will arrive. this will happen in another week, while i leave the soil to dry, which will also kill some worms. the only problem i see is some of the soil is still very wet, and even after a week it won't really need to be watered. i'm worried that i'm watering too much, and gnats love wet soil. but it won't matter if i can kill off all the larval gnats with Bti. this is still all theory, and i won't know if it worked or not until after a few more weeks. if there are still more gnats, i'm ready to try some more potent chemical insecticides, like permethrin or cypermethrin. those pesticides last long and kill more insects including aphids.

i was hoping to get home before the noontime news but i didn't leave belmont until 12pm. i made a detour and went to market basket to get some red wine vinegar and some blue cheese (for some strange reason i have a craving). i didn't get home until 12:45pm where i had some yogurt and cereal for lunch.

while lounging on the couch reading a new york time editorial about boris johnson and the coming trump victory on 2020, i heard the front door lock jostling. it was kevin, already back at home by 3pm. i played it cool but i was shocked. yesterday it was 3:30pm, today 3pm. will he just not bother going to work tomorrow then? but he only comes home early if there's something else happening, and soon enough, he was out the door again, said he had some business to take care of. he didn't offer any details, neither did i ask. i only inquired when he'd be home, he said around 5pm.

that was a bad estimate because he ended up coming home around 4:30pm. i'd just showered and was about to drop off a misdelivered letter when i saw him through the front door window and unlocked the door for him. later he told me the reason he came home early was to get his harvard id, which he had to do from the student center. he said he saw it snow; i'd missed the brief flurry but i did see there were patches of snow on bare dirt.

i had another greek salad for dinner, this time using some red wine vinegar to make the dressing. the dressing i made yesterday with the apple cider vinegar wasn't all that bad, but the red wine vinegar dressing was more sour, which is what i prefer. i know i can't keep on eating salads for dinner - my body gets depressed when it goes so long without hot food - but i kind of want to make my pasta salad for next week. kevin finished his leftover pizza for lunch so for dinner he cooked up some pasta shells, i seemed to have made a convert out of him, although he knows he can't eat pasta everyday. he made a sauce with a jarred tomato base but added things like spinach, mushrooms, and deli slice ham, which he boiled before combining because it was slightly expired. all his recipes seem to be improvised, which i prefer the structure of a recipe instructions. it's one thing if you know what you're doing, but his cooking style reminds me of annie from this past summer, who also did a lot of improvisational cooking, but most of her dishes looked and tasted awful.

my parents contacted me again with another taiwanese video chat. they were waiting outside the presidential palace with a crowd of other older people around 11am taipei time, for the start of an award ceremony featuring KMT presidential candidate han kuo-yu that wasn't due to begin until 5pm, but people were already lining up to see him, including my parents.

i've been using filmora 9 to edit my video snippets. imovie is lacking in features, while filmora has more than you could ever want. i first made the switch when researching how to do a split screen video in imovie; it can do it, but with little customization. i then came across a video tutorial demonstrating split screens in filmora. it looked so easy, i ended up downloading the app and giving it a try. if you ever used imovie before, filmora will be an easy transition. i started with just simple cut and splice videos, but then quickly moved up to transitions. next i experimented with elements (animated graphic overlays) followed by customized audio. it's so easy i'm going to give a copy for my sister to try so she can make some videos as well. for me, it's just another avenue for creativity.