sleeping with my bedroom window open last night, it got cold enough that i had to reach for the blanket. that cold breeze warm blanket combination was perfect for sleeping, and i could've easily slept some more if i didn't have to get up.

i made it to the cafe around 10:40am. brought out the patio furniture, cooked some rice. my sister showed up a few minutes later, and my parents came around 11am, back from a baifu supply run after their early morning framingham acupuncture/massage appointment. they left after unloading the supplies.

today was a slow day. we barely got a dozen customers. but we made nearly as much as we did on wednesday - even though we had twice the number of customers - because the customers we did have today spent a lot more. i still felt pretty busy, since there always seems to be something to do at the cafe. i cooked up another 20 tea eggs. after simmering them for an hour, i lowered their temperature by dunking in several cold water baths. during a lull period i vacuumed. i helped my parents buy a new $400 breville countertop oven on this tax-free weekend, scheduled to arrive tomorrow; i actually saw it for $390 last night, but the price went back up today.

i left the cafe by 4:15pm. judging from the clouds, it looked like it'd rain - as if we'd be that lucky. no such luck, just a false alarm. first thing i did when i arrived in belmont was to check out the new 1.5qt limited edition stanley insulated bottle. of the thermos we have, the stanley is the largest (not counting the dunkin' donut one, which my parents are currently using). my mother said there was something wrong with the handle - that it seemed to be stuck; that's actually a feature, as the adjustable handle on the thermos brand thermos is so noisy everyone in the house can hear it when somebody uses it.

i did an insulation heat test by filling both the thermos and the stanley with boiling water. it's not exactly a fair comparison as the thermos can only hold 40 oz. while the stanley can hold 48 oz. (1.5qt): more hot water means longer heat retention. the thermos is advertised to keep hot for 24 hours while the stanley says it can keep hot for 40 hours. at first it seemed the stanley was defective, because its bottle top felt much hotter than the thermos, which meant more heat was escaping. but the body of the stanley was several degrees cooler than the body of the thermos. i didn't have to wait for the experiment to end to know the stanley bottle would eventually win out. the stanley also comes with a lifetime warranty (though i'm not sure how one would go about fulfilling this warranty) while the thermos is only one year.

i also bought another 40 oz. matte silver thermos, because i thought the stanley wasn't going to arrive, and there was a sale on amazon. i was going to return it, but my mother said to keep it as a backup, in case we ever need another insulated bottle.

for dinner i had some sour fish mixed with rice. it was something my parents picked up at baifu this morning and they already had it for lunch, saving some for my dinner. normally i not a big fish fan, but it had enough flavors to mask the fishiness, sour and "mala" from the sichuan peppercorns.

after dinner i helped my parents order a new rice cooker (taking advantage of the tax-free shopping holiday this weekend). it's not to replace the zojirushi they currently use at the cafe; more of a backup in case we need to cook more rice. the most important thing is the rice cooker has to be fast. there are a lot of fancy rice cookers with AI-logic sensing to cook the perfect rice, but those are actually slower. the fastest rice cookers are the simplest: cook and keep warm, nothing else. we ended up buy the tayama 10 cup rice cooker for $32. the 10 cup was cheapest, compared to the 8 cup and the 5 cup. tayama sounds like a japanese company but it's actually a chinese company in disguise. my mother wanted a smaller rice cooker but my father said a larger oe would give us more options, so we went with the larger cooker, with the possibility we might return it if the old backup cooker in the cafe basement works just as well.

sunsets are getting earlier and earlier and i managed to still be in belmont today when the sun when down. i went outside to check out our solar bitter melon trellis lights. my father didn't water today (didn't seem particularly hot) so some of the plants looked a bit wilted. i could barely see, but i did some evening watering before finally returning home.

i did some more tax-free shopping on amazon: bought a tubshroom drain protector; a studpop magnetic stud finder; another bottle of kikkoman tonkatsu sauce; general hydroponics maxigro hydroponics nutrients (2.2 lbs); water pH meter and TDS meter; and a container of pyrethrin insecticide. i'm trying to get a few more parts for my aeroponics project, like a pump and spray nozzles.