i was hoping to wake up early before the rain started and bike to belmont. but by the time i got out of bed around 10am, it was already raining (i didn't think it'd rain until 11-12). i woke up with lower back pains again, right on my tailbone, not as bad as yesterday, but still kept me hobbling until the ibuprofen could take effect. my mother called me while i was in the bathroom, said my father could come pick me up. she reminded me to bring the rest of my korean kimchi.

i tested my jiu niang after 36.5 hours of heated fermentation in the instant pot. there was an improvement over yesterday (24 hours mark), now the sweetness and sourness are represented equally, with a carbonated fizz. i packaged up the two jars and took them with me to belmont so my parents could have a taste. the first thing my father asked me when i got in the car was whether or not my jiu niang was successful.

it was raining but more of a very minor drizzle, i could've biked to belmont if i didn't mind a little dampness. the temperature however was on the low side, upper 30's, not the near 60's of yesterday. in fact, i don't some tiny icy hail pellets on the windshield.

my father seemed baffled about the sourness of my jiu niang. i thought it was acceptable. it wasn't honey sweet, but all the jiu niang i've had in the past had that fermented sourness. my mother gave it a taste and said it was okay. she used it to make some jiu niang soup with some sesame-filled and peanut-filled glutinous rice balls. i had wanted to use the previous batch of jiu niang, but as i soon found out after a taste test, the last batch had already turned to wine, there was no sweetness nor sourness, just a mild bitterness and the strong flavor of alcohol. particularly in the smaller jar (which i also brought from home), which had been sitting out on the countertop fermenting for the past 6 days (instead of being in the fridge). so when it comes to glutinous rice fermentation, i'm pretty good at making wine; all it takes is to wait until until the sourness and sweetness turns to bitterness and you have rice wine.

my father ended up straining the last (v2) batch of jiu niang since it was no longer edible as it'd turned to wine. i sampled a little bit (just wine without the rice), it tasted bland. later when i poured out more into a cup, it tasted better. just sipping you don't get the flavors, but take a bigger drink and the flavors come through: the sweetness, the sourness, the bitterness, and the alcohol. from 2 cups of glutinous rice i can make a full bottle (750ml) of rice wine. my parents seemed to love it, and it's easilt to accidentally drink too much. if i had to guess, i think the alcohol content is anywhere from 5-15%.

i went down to the basement with my father to water our plants. in order to control the fungus gnats, they're on a regimented watering schedule: when we water we water all the plants, making sure to drench the soil in order to kill the gnats. i refilled the buckets with fresh tap water and mosquito pellets, the ones i had before were weeks old, not sure how viable they are. i had a shocked when i discovered to my horror a dead mouse in one of the buckets, it must've drowned while trying to get some water. not sure how long it's been there, but the smell and the decomposition was not pleasant, as i dumped everything out in the backyard as far away from the house as possible.

my father and i both agreed that the thai basil was no longer worth keeping as it seemed to attract aphids and wasn't doing too well anyway. i put it outside in the backyard, like an abandoned orphan left to die. there was some aphids on some cactus tips, they were too heavy to bring outside yesterday so they never got the neem oil treatment. i did some spot treatment, using a plastic cup as a guard so i don't get neem oil all over the walls.

a lot of things were happening in the news today. the first batch of vaccines were distributed to hospitals as medical workers were the first people to receive the vaccine. all across the US, hospitals were broadcasting live events as the first workers were getting vaccinated. also across the US, states were certifying their electoral votes, making biden the official president-elect. as soon as biden crossed the 270 threshold, trump released a statement that attorney general william barr had resigned. it was a brazen attempt to derail the announcement of president-elect biden by muddying the news cycle. most news broadcast were wise to what trump was doing (they had a lot of practice after 4 years after all), and placed the story of barr's resignation as the last item on today's breaking news.

today the weather forecast finally had an estimate as to the amount of snow we can expect for our wednesday-thursday snowstorm, anywhere from 6-12". fortunately it's very dry powdery snow, which will be easy to clean up.

there was no scallion bread today (my parents said we can't eat it everyday, otherwise we'd be fat), instead dinner was some turkey broth noodles. my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. earlier he discovered a chinese podcast website (radio.cn) that also has an app that we side-loaded (not available in the google store). the chinese app was a little weird in that it insisted with give it phone and contact privileges in order to use it, which we finally ended up agreeing to. but it opened up a whole new world of audio programming for my father, including "books on tape" of chinese martial arts novels. anyway, we got it to broadcast on the car radio using the bluetooth FM transmitter, as we fought to clear the fog from the car windows.

my sister gave me some cupboard organizers she didn't want anymore, they look like metal stairs for stacking jars and whatnot. they're not good for small jars, only larger ones. i put them to use the best i could.

later in the evening i made one final batch of jiu niang (v4) with the last of my glutinous rice (i used 2 cups but there was still about 3/4 cups left over). this time i cooked the rice with the instant pot (standard rice cook boil method) but left it outside on the countertop. the hope is that a slow ferment will yield a sweeter final product. it will take longer (at least 3 days), but if it still doesn't work, then it's most likely because i don't steam the glutinous rice that's causing it to turn sour (rice grains too wet). i wrapped the jars with a jar towel to keep them warm.