i saw the news this morning: the tokyo summer olympic games has been postponed, most likely until next year, due to the coronavirus. my friend alex is doing IT for the olympics, i tried getting in touch with him but he didn't respond. maybe everyone at the olympic IT committee has been going insane over the past few weeks. given what he told me about how behind their whole IT security is, having another year to get it right might actually be a good thing. but there's budget consideration, will they be able to keep the current staff, or will they have to let everyone go?
today was the last set meal of the predict 2 study: downing what they've been calling "the glucose drink," a super high sugar elixir designed to spike my blood sugar level so they could see how my body reacts. i was curious to see just how sweet it was. would it be like drinking syrup water? i fished the bottle of the fridge and drank the whole thing in a quick gulp. it tasted a lot like soda, just slightly sweeter than usual, with a citrus taste and slight carbonation. it actually wasn't too bad.
i then had to fast for 3 hours. this was a strict fast, besides no strenuous activities whatsoever, i also couldn't drink anything but plain water.
i was already preparing my lunch before my fast was even over, nice to be able to eat a normal lunch for a change. i was making my chicken sausage oatmeal, defrosted a frozen sausage overnight. unlike the refrigerated sausages i normally get which are already pre-cooked, these frozen ones (same brand) were actually raw. my trusty foreman grille made short work of cooking the sausage once i sliced it in half length-wise.
while i was making my lunch kevin, came out of his bedroom to tell me that two people from the harvard-smithsonian center for astrophysics had tested positive for the coronavirus. it sort of validated everything he's done since then, not working from the office, hoarding a supply of food, wearing a mask and gloves whenever (rarely) he steps foot outside, spraying everything inside the house with alcohol. i asked for details, he said one of them was possibly a professor, the other a student, none were chinese, he didn't know either of them. later, he shouted something from his closed bedroom door. i asked him to repeat what he said, he said they weren't affiliated with CfA, they were in fact the president of harvard and his wife that had tested positive, a news i'd already heard earlier. so a lot of rumors being spread, and as of yet no vindication for kevin's coronavirus readiness.
today was a nice day and i really wanted to go outside, maybe the mt.auburn cemetery to take some photos of early spring flowers. but today was also the first day of the state's stay-at-home advisory. in the end i decided to follow the rules. besides, there were some things i needed to do around the house anyway.
first project was to turn the two cabbages i bought weeks ago into sauerkraut. the leaves on the bottom were starting to turn yellow and brown, i had to use use up the cabbages before they went bad. i cut the cabbages into quarters, removed the cores, before hand slicing them as thin as possible. i ended up with 5.13 lbs. of sliced cabbage, which i had to transfer from the punch bowl into a larger stainless steel mixing bowl. using the ratio of 1 tbsp of salt to 1.75 lbs. of cabbage (or 800g), i ended up sprinkling 3 tbsp of kosher salt onto the cabbage. recipe also called for caraway seeds, i barely had a tablespoon left, so i sprinkled everything into the mix.
i was looking for the proper size containers to hold my sauerkraut. i have a bunch of wide-mouth quart size jars but i only have 2 lids with fermenting airlocks so i can only really do 2 jars, and all the sauerkraut wouldn't be able to fit. i do have old jars of sauerkraut in the fridge that i ended up throwing out just so i could reuse the jar. one was a quart size, the other was a half gallon, a real fermentation workhorse. the old sauerkraut were brown and rather dry looking. one of them was a jar of sichuan paocai inspired sauerkraut i made. all of that would be going to the compost bin.
after mixing the sauerkraut and letting it reduce for an hour, it was time for jarring. i filled the smaller quart size jar first, mashing the sauerkraut with every layer so i could fit as much as possible and to squeeze out the cabbage juices. i filled it nearly to the top before stopping. the half gallon jar was easier to work with, i managed to fill that up to 3/5th before i ran out of cabbage. i then used leftover cabbage leaves as a cover (to prevent shredded sauerkraut from floating to the surface) before putting on the airlock lids. with that i was done, just have to wait 10+ days or so for the sauerkraut to properly ferment. the quart jar is so full i'm afraid the liquids are going to come out of the airlock, not too much i can do about that except to shake it every day to allow the excess gases to escape. the half gallon jar there's no danger of overflow, there's plenty of head space.
my second project was to finally clean the aquarium. i haven't cleaned it since february 11th, more than a month ago. the algae level wasn't too bad, not on the glass at least, since i cleaned it with the magic eraser last time. there was a clump of hair algae on the driftwood, and the water level had reduced by about an inch, so it was more about refilling the water. it took about an hour to clean, i also changed out the activated carbon.
for dinner i made pita bread pizza again, this time with larger pita breads and a lower oven temperature so i wouldn't scorch the pizza (last time i used broil, too hot). for toppings i cut up some olives and put some anchovies. i love anchovies but only on pizzas. i baked them at 400°F for 7 minutes. the pita bread was still soft (like pita), not like the crispier flat-bread crust of last time. i think i put too much tomato sauce because it made the pizza a little soggy; next time just a tiny bit of sauce. it was filling dinner nonetheless.