when i showed up at the cafe this morning for work, xiaojuan was there in the back, talking with my parents and sister, despite them seeing very busy. she's kind of clueless when it comes to social cues, and for some reason she thinks the cafe is a social club she can just stop by whenever. she was talking about how the dentist was reluctant to give her 90+ year old father any kind of serious dental work (like implants). fortunately she left soon afterwards, and actually told us she was leaving instead of just disappearing.

my sister was making taiwanese squid nugget soup for her catered meal today, which is a weird choice given that she probably haven't had it in over 2 decades, not since the last time she was in taiwan (maybe even longer). i on the other hand have eaten it a few times because occasionally my mother will make it when we can buy ready made squid nuggets from the asian supermarket. today was busy during the 11-1pm lunch period, but after that things were pretty normal.

i biked to my parents' place in the afternoon to pick up an amazon delivery and a temu package that had been dropped off. it was warm enough (58°) that i didn't bother wearing my jacket even though it was still pretty windy. the two neighboring houses undergoing simultaneous renovations have hired a small army of contractors, so there must've been at least 8 cars parked all along the street. while i was in belmont, i also brought the gardenia out from the basement and sprayed it again outside, this time with some insecticide soap. i gave it a good dousing, including underneath the leaves. this weekend i'm going to spray it again, with pyrethrin. i might also bring out the jasmines and give them a good spraying as well, can't be certain they haven't been infected with spider mites as well.

i didn't return to the cafe until 30 minutes later. i opened the amazon package first, which was the workpro glue gun. we plugged it in to recharge it. i thought my mother was going to use it for her crochet flowers, but the first thing she did with it was to glue a rubber baseboard that kept falling off. it didn't work because she didn't apply enough glue, but it'd be more effective just to nail on the baseboard. she was impressed by how the cordless glue gun automatically fed in the glue stick. apparently her old plug-in glue gun didn't do that, and she had to manually push in the glue, and then use another glue stick to push in the first stick.

we then opened the temu package. it included a bunch of miniature dolls my mother had purchased. she told me when she was a little girl, she was too poor to have dolls. in the package was a safety can opener, something i'd only read about online, but now had one of my very own to play with. there was a fancy timer with touch screen buttons and illuminated display (blue numbers on black background). it didn't come with batterys (2 AAA's) but i pilfered the ones from an infrared sensor just so i could see the new timer in action. it only glows when you start the timer, then it fades to grey numbers on black background, which can be a little hard to read.

my sister's catered meals are supposed to be ready for pickup at 3pm but she has never met this deadline. when we call her out on it, she gets angry and yells at us, said she doesn't need our help. but if we didn't help her out, none of her dishes would ever get finished in time. my aunt already showed up and my sister was still preparing the various meals. i tried the squid nugget soup: it was so bland, it felt like i was drinking water. i ended up adding 3 tiny scoops of salt and splash of black vinegar to bring out the flavors. my sister thinks everything is too salty so her taste is naturally bland. which is ironic that she's making food for people when she can't even taste when something has zero flavor. she says her customers prefer low sodium meals, and rationalizes her bland dishes by saying they can always add more salt themselves. but if i was a paying customer, i rather have my dish already perfectly seasoned, then trying to figure out how much more salt and additional condiments i need to add in order to make my food taste good.

i finally left the cafe by 6:15pm. i brought home a container of leftover squid nugget soup. my mother told me to add some rice noodles with it for dinner. soon after i got back home, i went out again, this time to look for the starlink satellites again.

instead of the star market parking lot, i went hunting for a darker spot where i could get a good view of the western sky. while walking, i spotted something on the ground in the dark that i thought was a receipt. when i picked it up though, it turned out to be $20. so even if i didn't see the satellites tonight, i still made out okay. no matter where i walked, there was just too many street lights that washed out my view of the sky. i could see venus and jupiter, and i knew the satellites would be to the right of those planets, but i couldn't make out anything else, not even the stars. when the time came for the satellites to be visible, i kept staring at the sky where they should be but saw nothing.

walking back home, i bumped into bruce. i invited him to come out and search for satellites last night, but he never responded until today. i told him the text he saw was for yesterday, but i don't think he read my reply, and he ended up waiting for me at the star market parking lot tonight. he didn't see anything either. there's one more chance to see the satellites tomorrow night, but i think it's going to be rainy.

i went back out again, to star market, to grab some navel oranges on sale. i tried some when i got home, they were super sweet, good enough for slicing or juicing. i'll probably get some more tomorrow.

i didn't have dinner until later in the evening. i added the rice noodles to the squid nugget soup, which turned out to be a mistake, because the noodles ended up absorbing all the liquids and i was left with noodles but no soup. i ate while watching the pistons-celtics game. tatum and horford were back in the lineup, and marcus smart returned after missing 11 games due to an ankle sprain. celtics were expected to win, facing off against the last place team in the eastern conference. however watching the game you wouldn't have known that, as detroit played pretty well. one of the bad things about the celtics is often times they'll allow their opponents to come back, instead of knocking them out early. but even though the pistons when on run in the 3rd quarter to cut the difference to single digits, it was obvious the celtics would win the game eventually, that a victory would not be in doubt. final score 127-109.

racquel welch died today, age 82. i knew of her before i even knew who she was from one of my favorite episodes of mork and mindy back in the early 80's, season 2, "mork vs. the necrotons". she played a sexy necroton agent sent to kidnap mork and get him to reveal what he know about earth before a necroton invasion. of course her interrogation tactics involve hot tubs and tickling, and allowed welch to showcase her comedic timing and slapstick routines along with robin williams.

1 this is a photo of the actual $20 that i found. you wouldn't believe how difficult it was to get this image. i was able to scan the money just fine, but when i tried to import it into photoshop to make edits, it wouldn't allow me, some kind of adobe anti-counterfeiting measure. so the only way to edit the image of the banknote was to use the free open source image editor GIMP. GIMP has its fans, but i found the interface to be clunky and hard to use, and took me a while to cut out the bill and turn it into a png file.