i had nothing going on today so i could afford to sleep a little late, to recharge my batteries. i knew it was a cold outside because i could hear my furnace repeatedly kicking in. one of the first things i did when i finally got out of bed by 10am was to check on my money tree plant. there were still a few aphids but i managed to wipe them off with a wet paper towel. aphids are no match for a diligent houseplant owner who can inspect his plants everyday. my only worry is if they also infected some of my other plants, like the thanksgiving cactus and my prayer plants. so far i haven't seen any signs, but i have to keep my eyes opened.
even though i could use the exercise, i decided to take the motorcycle to belmont. there aren't many more riding days left, enjoy them while i can, though it's kind of a hard thing to do when it's so cold outside. temperature was in the mid-30's, relatively warm by winter standards, but cold as i adjust to winter weather conditions. i went out to start the bike with the choke turned fully on and the engine started up without any problems. i left it running for a few minutes to warm up. when i suddenly pressed in the choke, i could hear the engine slow down to a slow put-put then it died. i tried restarting the bike a few more times but it wouldn't start. finally i did one of those start-with-throttle combination and the engine roared back to life.
despite the cold temperature, it was a sunny day, and riding the motorcycle with my handlebar mitts wasn't too bad. my hands were still a bit cold though, not because of the wind, but because of the freezing metal handlebar grips.
i brought my jiu niang to do another taste test with the one in my parents' fridge. though mine is sweet, there's also the sourness of overfermentation. plus, there's a carbonated fizz from all the carbon dioxide. my parents' jiu niang is insanely sweet, like honey rice pudding if you can imagine it. my mother said she could taste the alcohol but for me the sweetness was so overpowering i couldn't taste anything else. i did however notice a carbonated fizz as well. when my mother came back from her walk, she made some jiu niang soup along with an egg and some glutinous rice balls for lunch.
my parents also took another stab at making scallion bed with the electric baking pan. they learned from their mistakes yesterday: more heat, more chopped scallions, more salt. they also had some pepper into the dough. the dough was too much and parts of it was expanding out of the baking pan. the final bread looked like a big pizza. we chopped it up into slices and it was the most delicious bread i've had in a long time, especially fresh from the baking pan as it was still warm. i had two pieces but i could've easily eaten the whole thing, it was that good. my father has made this in the past, but it involved turning it repeatedly in the pan to cook it on both sides. since the baking pan is heated on the top and bottom, we don't have that problem anymore. the only thing that would improve the baking pan is if the top lid had more of a hinge to allow for bigger items; with it's current design, it's not ideal for making thick flat breads.
i called fireman's fuel to order some heating oil for the house (they should arrive tomorrow). i then spent the rest of the afternoon updating the accounting spreadsheet for my father. one problem is the bank seemed to have changed their activity data, so some of my old formulas don't work anymore as keywords are missing. i had to adjust some formulas as well as update the droplist list.
i did not fly the drone today even though it was a good day for it. it was just too cold outside, i rather be indoors.
i taught my mother how to talk a selfie on the samsung S9+ using the heart rate sensor as a button (easier to trigger than the power button or the screen button). i also turned on the palm tracking so she could also trigger a selfie timer by raising her hand. i discovered my mother had been shooting in single take mode ever since getting the phone, that's why all her photos are weird. single take captures multiple versions of the photo, anything from short videos, to creative filters, to gifs. it's an interesting feature, but i switched back to photo. i only realized it was in the wrong mode when i went to take a photo and it was taking forever to save before i discovered it was actually filming.
i inspected the grow room and discovered some aphids on the cactuses, the basil, peppers, and the toothache plant. on one of the smaller potted jasmines there were some mealybugs. i washed off the aphids before spraying the affected houseplants with insecticidal soap. i went upstairs and inspected the orchids, succulent, and jasmine. there were also some mealybugs on the jasmine that i managed to spray with insecticidal soap. it's too cold this week, but i heard next weekend will be in the 50's; i'm thinking about moving the plants outside briefly to spray them down with neem oil before moving them back inside.
i remember i installed a light meter app on my phone and took some measurements. the values are given in lux, not sure how they relate to lumens (one lux is one lumen per square meter), nor how accurate the values are, but at least i can gauge the light intensity from different areas in the grow room. i went to borrow my father's phone because i wanted to take some photos. went i installed the app on his phone (moto G7 pro), it didn't seem to work so i ended up using my pixel phone to do the reading and the moto phone to take photos instead (later i found out there was oil over the motor G7 light sensor, that's why it wasn't reading properly). directly under a led light source i can get lux readings upwards of 11K. lux below 2500 is considered low light, upwards of 10K medium, and higher than 10K high.
afterwards i went upstairs to take light measurements there. in the sunroom, with direct sunlight from outdoors, the lux was around 6000, which surprised me, i thought it'd be higher. a lot of our indoors lights were actually on the low end, 300 lux or less.
after dinner i prepared myself for the cold ride back to cambridge. the motorcycle started up without a problem (choke turned fully on), i revved the throttle a few times to feed some fuel into the engine, that prevents it from stalling when i push the choke back in. ride back wasn't so bad, temperature was still in the 30's. it wasn't even cold enough to see my breath, that will come later as the season progresses.
before i went to bed i soaked 2 cups of glutinous rice. i'm going to try making jiu niang again tomorrow, hoping to perfect my recipe. this time around i'm only going to ferment for 24 hours and store everything in the fridge immediately. i'm also only going to use half a yeast ball.