i then helped my aunt and uncle assemble the couch. it was smaller than the one they had before. material-wise it was made with a better fabric, but i rather liked their old sofa, which was not only larger but could be converted into a bed. assembly-wise it felt rather cheap, the wings and backrest locked in place with hooks.
i left once the sofa was assembled, but came back an hour later when i was looking at the photo i took of the sofa and realized i made a mistake putting it together, that it was severely sagging in one corner. while pulling out one of the wings to adjust it, i managed to snag a bit of the fabric and rip it, but it was a part of the sofa that was inside and hidden from view, so it wasn't too bad. but talk about poor design!
afterwards i went to walgreens to pick up some prescriptions. every time i go there they always do something new with the pharmacy window. during the start of the pandemic, it was just plastic sheets (looked like the place was getting repaired), but now they had plexiglass barriers with cutouts and hand sanitizer pumps.
i left my house at 11:30am, bikind down to MGH for my rescheduled physical appointment at noontime. originally it was supposed to be in march but right during the height of the pandemic, so all appointments were rescheduled. i'd already been to MGH 2 days ago to get some lab work done, so i was well-versed in all the hospital procedures. after passing through the first coronavirus check downstairs in the main lobby, i went up to the 6th floor of the wang building, where another group of people with masked sitting behind a table asked me if i experienced any coronavirus symptoms. inside the main waiting room, a barricade of chairs surrounded the reception desk so no one could close. i seemed to be the only patient there.
the last time i heard from my doctor, he said he was waiting for the results of his covid test but he thought he had it based on symptoms (loss of smell for one). but he told me today his test actually came back negative, although he still thinks he got it and those early tests weren't very accurate. he said i was actually his only in-person patient this week, everyone else opting for a video conference call. i didn't realize that was one of the options, but i didn't mind coming in, just to see what conditions were like inside the hospital.
afterwards i rode to chinatown. while checking out, i observed a group of men buying boxes of face masks. there was a slight commotion because they wanted to buy more than the market was willing to sell. finally someone higher up in charge came out and said each person could only buy 20 boxes. after i finished paying, i went to the counter and asked how much for a box of face masks: $5 for a box of 50 disposables. i couldn't believe the price. face masks were selling online $20-30 a box, and these were just $5! i hid my excitement and casually bought 4 boxes.
riding home, i kept on thinking somebody would rob me for my precious cargo of face masks, some kind of pandemic dystopia where personal protection equipment was more valuable than anything else. fortunately i made it to the cafe without any incident.
i thought my parents would be excited with my face mask haul; instead they were indifferent, said they were cheap chinese face masks. sure these aren't surgical level masks (which are waterproof), but they're still triple-ply, and where else can you find masks at these prices? they ended up keeping two box while i took two for myself.
since i hadn't eaten anything today (it was already 2:30pm) and they were in the middle of making some homemade chinese dumplings, i ended up staying to eat, along with some thai ice boba tea. i didn't return home until 3:40pm.
while putting my bike away, i noticed a plant in the backyard i hadn't seen before. upon closer inspection, it seems to be an orchid of some kind! weird that it'd suddenly appear, but maybe i just never noticed it before, it's not very conspicuous.
there's been a motorcycle parked in front of my house for weeks now. as a fellow motorcyclist, i learn to recognize all the bikes in the neighbor and i've seen this one before, it's normally parked on beacon street, and had been there for months before the owner decided to move it. by some strange coincidence, he moved it right in front of my house, which is where i'd normally park. he'd put a tarp over the bike, like he wasn't planning on moving it anytime soon. so today i did something bad: i saw a ticket officer roaming around the neighborhood. i went outside and casually asked him to check if that motorcycle had a cambridge parking permit (which i suspected no). he told me something very interesting: legally he's not allowed to lift up the tarp to check the license plate. but i told him the plate was actually visible (after i surreptitiously uncovered a bit of tarp), so he ran it through his database and sure enough it wasn't registered in cambridge. so he was able to write up the ticket before he hit another road block: he didn't know the make and model of the bike without lifting up the cover, which he can't. i was happy to help out, "it's a black honda shadow 750cc." and just like that, i caused another motorcyclist to get a $60 parking ticket. hopefully the owner will see the ticket and finally move his bike. but even if he doesn't, next week we have street cleaning, and not only will he get another ticket, but the city of cambridge will also tow his bike away.
when evening finally came around 8:45pm, i packed my tripod and camera equipment and went out to see if i could spot the neowise comet. i decided that the view from the western avenue bridge across the charles river would afford me the most unobstructed view towards the northern horizon. i biked there and set up my equipment but it was just too cloudy. i was about to head back when i noticed the john weeks footbridge might give me a better view, so i set up there. there were two other astronomy enthusiast as well. i asked one of them how the viewing was tonight, he confirmed it was too cloudy, said there might be a better view from fresh pond. i stayed a bit longer, hoping to wait out the clouds, but finally decided to head home by around 9:30pm.
i didn't start making dinner until 10pm. not only that, i was trying a new recipe, korean tteokbokki AKA rice cakes. every time i'm in new york city, i visit that food court in koreatown for some tteokbokki. turns out, they're pretty easy to make, just use instant rice cakes and it's pretty much all dependent on the sauce. i first made a savory seaweed broth with a touch of hondashi powder. to this broth i then added a hot chili paste made of gochujang, hot pepper flakes, and some dark corn syrup. i then cook the frozen rice cakes in the broth. i added some tofu wedges for protein.
the final result was very good. i used way more seaweed than i needed, and discovered that the seaweed i used wasn't washed so there was sand at the bottom of the pot. all that seaweed also give the sauce a briny seafood flavor which i didn't like. this would be a great winter meal, not so much for summer: the hot sauce made my nose runny and all that starch and protein was pretty filling.