a summary of today: i went for a run this morning; had some blueberries granola yogurt for lunch; went to walgreens to pick up two prescriptions; went to the amazon hub locker in central square to return the 40 oz. thermos and the broken pH meter; went to market basket via union square; picked up some plant pots along the way; went to star market to get some ricotta cheese (market basket was all out); took some sichuan paocai; went to the cafe to help move the old oven and replace it with the new breville; a bunch of tax-free amazon packages were waiting for me on the doorstep; made lasagna for dinner (started at 5:30pm, didn't eat until 9pm); bumped into jeff walking his dog while i was taking out the trash, finally found out why they have a car.

i actually look forward to my biweekly runs. not so much the running, but rather getting to listen to the hardcore history podcast. i barely remember my runs, but i do remember tidbits of historical trivia and information. currently i'm learning about the japanese empire, prelude to their invasion of china following the mukden incident.

while getting my prescriptions at walgreens, i saw a beat-up utility bike parked outside. i was hoping to see the owner so i could talk to him/her. it featured dual baskets on the rear and the front of the bike. it had a frame i'd never seen before - looks like a raleigh, but with additional struts. it was also single speed, possibly modified. later when i examined the photo, i noticed the bike wasn't even locked to the rack, it's not something anyone would steal.

i learned something at the amazon hub locker: if i have a QR code for returns, i can use their automated locker system: i scan the QR code, and it opens up an empty locker for me to put my return merchandise. it's a pretty cool system, no human interaction involved. they were also giving out free hand sanitizers at the hub locker, i grabbed two.

riding out from central square, i sow what looked to be a new korean market on 8 essex street. perhaps it's just an extension of nearby h-mart? but what caught my eye was the stack of cuckoo products, which is a korean brand (i know this from my recent rice cooker research).

i went from central square to market basket via webster through union square. it's a route i don't often take, and i actually got lost a few times, had to check google map. i came across an assortment of ceramic and glass plants jars which i picked up and put in my messenger bag.

at market basket i was gathering ingredients for making lasagna. it was a good excuse to use up the mozzarella ball i accidentally bought last week, as well as old lasagna noodles i have in the house. market basket had everything except for ricotta cheese. it wasn't that they didn't carry it, but someone had bought up all the supply, maybe a local italian restaurant stocking up on cheap ricotta.

i went home to drop off the supplies. since i was going to the cafe next, i scooped up some sichuan paocai and put it in a container for my mother to try. it'd only been fermenting for 4 days, so it wasn't very sour yet, more of a sweetness from the rock sugar i added and cabbage's natural sweetness. it was sour, but could definitely be even more sour, since that's how i like my paocai. i went to star market briefly to look for ricotta: they had their store brand which was $1 more expensive, but i had no choice so i got it.

at the cafe my father and i took down the heavy old oven and then replaced it with the breville. the work table looks so empty now without that giant commercial oven. we still need to figure out a way to move the old oven down in the basement, which most likely will require a handtruck of some kind because to move it manually would be back-breaking. my mother tried the sichuan paocai, she said it was very good. everyone had their own opinion. my 2nd aunt said it wasn't sour enough. my sister said it was too sour and too salty. my godmother said it was perfect. my mother asked me to bring one of the jars tomorrow. i left the cafe with some watermelon.

a stack of boxes was waiting on my doorstep: tax-free amazon purchases. i bought two types of gopro mount for my bike helmet. one was a strap with buckles, but i realized my helmet didn't have enough ventilation holes for it to work. the other kind of an elastic headband meant for wearing a gopro on your head, but it seems to work for helmets too. the straps have rubberized treads on the inside so they don't slip off. i can't wait to give it a try the next time i bike.

a lot of my aeroponics supplies arrived: vivosun 480gph submersible pump ($13.79), 5lbs of leca (clay aggregate) ($19.99), 90 pieces of 1.5" rockwool starter plugs ($16.49), 180 pieces of micro sprayer jets ($9.54), short interval repeat cycle timer ($12.95), and 25 3 inch net cups ($6.75). the only thing i'm missing now is the hydroponic nutrients which won't arrive until next week, and i need to get a plastic tote and PVC pipes for making the spray manifold. i will also need to get a 3 inch hole cutting drill bit.

so one of the pots i picked up earlier was a blue tinted mason jar. while cleaning the sticker from the bottom, i discovered it actually wasn't naturally blue, but covered in a thin film of blue material that can wash off. the mason jar was actually a part of a modern sprout garden jar kit which is essential a hydroponic kit. it had all the additional parts minus the coconut coir disk and activated carbon. i could use it for my own hydroponics experiment. also, those 3 inch net pots fit into a wide mouth mason jar perfectly. i can do some kratky hydroponics while waiting to assemble my aeroponics system.

sausage & beef lasagna
(8 serving)

1 lbs. ground beef
1 lbs. italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
12 oz. can tomato sauce
2 16 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine

2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt

12 lasagna noodles
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 lbs. mozzarella, diced
2 tsbp parmesan cheese, shredded

making the sauce: cook ground beef and italian sausage. added chopped onion and garlic. add canned tomato ingredients, wine, and remaining spices. let simmer low-heat for 1-1/2 hours. assembling the lasagna: preheat oven to 375°. cook lasagna noodles. mixe ricotta cheese with egg. cube mozzarella cheese. order of layers: meat sauce, noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, meat sauce, parmesan, noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, meat sauce, parmesan. bake for 45 minutes.

i started making the lasagna at 5:30pm. the sauce itself needed 1-1/2 hours to simmer on the stove, so even with an early start, i still wouldn't be able to eat until late. i tried a recipe i found online that used a combination of ground beef with ground sausage pork. i also added 1/2 cup of red wine for flavor and substituted brown sugar instead of white sugar.

the layering was a layer of meat sauce first, followed by noodles, then ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, then another layer of meat sauce, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and repeated one more time for a final layer of meat sauce and parmesan. the sauce itself - after simmering - tasted really good - but combined into the lasagna, i didn't like it compared to my usual all beef lasagna. the sausage had a sweetness that i wasn't used to. i wore the gopro on a chest harness to get some cooking footage, it had a tendency to miss the action by being either too low or too high. when it was just right though, the footage looked like a first-person-shooter game, except you're cooking. i didn't eat until 9pm, had two pieces.

close to 11pm i went out to bring out the trash cans. that's where i saw jeff coming home from walking the dog. he confirmed that jackson was gone for 1-1/2 months, his daughter took him. i also asked about the car, it's actually their family minivan which they had shipped from california. so why did it have MA plates? jeff told me when he moved to work here, he actually changed all his info so that MA was his home address: he did this for tax reasons, but later found out it wasn't necessary, as CA won't double tax if you're getting taxed in another state. the car was temporarily stashed at a friend's house in arlington, and when they finally go back to CA for good, they're going to donate the car because it's pretty old.

i checked out the special techbee timer i ordered ($14). it's a repeat cycle timer, which is used in aeroponics to intermittently turn off and on the water pump. i wanted to make sure it worked, and figure out how to actually program it. it has different modes, like regular timer, countdowns, and of course interval cycles. the user interface isn't the most intuitive, but after having programmed it once, i got the hang of it. i set a test program of 5 seconds on, 5 seconds off, and plugged in a lamp. it turned on the lamp for 5 seconds, then turned it off for 5 seconds, before repeating again. the only thing i noticed which none of the reviews i read mentioned is it makes a clicking sound when it turns off and on. so if you have it running in a place where you might hear it at nights, it'll drive you crazy. i've played around with these relay switch modules in the past, they all make sounds when they switch, nothing you can do about it. a timer using a mosfet switch on the other hand would be silent (and more durable), but those don't seem to exist.