i put in my photo orders from the walgreens website at 9:30am. they were ready in under 30 minutes. i left the house around 10:30am, biking to the pharmacy to pick up my photos, before heading to the cafe for my wednesday shift. when i showed my parents the passport photos, they were horrified. that messy hair! your ears not visible! you can't wear glasses!

my mother made zongzi for my sister's catered meals. she didn't make them last year, nor the year before, because she said they were a hassle to make. but because my big aunt says she wanted me mother to bring some when we go to flushing later this month, my mother was inspired to make some, if nothing else than to practice.

steaming zongzi preserves the individual rice grains as well as more flavor, but they take longer to cook. we ended up simply boiling the first batch, but then later for our second batch - the batch we saved for ourselves - we steamed them for more than 2+ hours. i was supposed to leave with some zongzi for dinner, but it got a little busy right when i was about to leave, and i forgot to get some.

today the new replacement eufy webcam along with spare memory cards were due to arrive. i had them sent to my sister's place. i ended up not needing it, but instead just replaced the broken cafe parking lot camera with a spare hailey camera my sister wasn't using. still not quite sure why that parking lot camera isn't working. it will still stream videos, it just won't save them. actually, it will save them, but after a while, it corrupts the memory card so badly, not even reformatting can salvage the card. that camera has chewed up 3 memory cards already - all different brands. so i feel it's not a card issue, more of a camera hardware issue. that camera was actually the first eufy cam we got. not sure what i'm going to do with it, since i'm afraid to put in another memory and have it be corrupted again.

i got back home by 6pm. lauryn was already back, secluded in her bedroom. it didn't seem like she had dinner, though i saw a banana in the compost bin. maybe there was another pizza party at her office. she'd be living here for 2 weeks now, and it feels a little weird. other than the first few days when i was showing her how to "use" the house, we haven't interacted at all since then. i hardly see her, maybe in the morning when she leaves for work, maybe when she gets back home. otherwise, she's pretty much invisible. occasionally i'll hear her making dinner, but it's always quick and quiet before she retreats to her room to eat. and she only uses the bathroom one time every night, a shower before bed. she reminds me of that character lazlo hollyfeld in real genius, the guy who lives in the closet. i don't like roommates who's always in my personal space, but i also don't like roommates who are just invisible. i mean, she didn't seem like a weirdo when i first met her, but now she's heading into that rarified recluse space.

i filled out applications for both my US passport renewal and my taiwanese passport renewal. it doesn't look like i can renew my taiwan passport by mail, but fortunately their boston office is opened 9-12pm and 2-4pm on weekdays, no appointment necessary. instructions for the US passport were easier to understand. you can only renew via mail, unless you have a special case that requires an office visit. the cost for a new passport is $130. i think the cost for a new taiwan passport is $45, though that information is a few years old. i found out the US passport doesn't allow glasses in photos anymore. that's fine since i also printed out photos where i didn't have glasses. but the requirement for the taiwan passport is two 35x45mm photos, so the photos i printed this morning were too big. if i cropped them, then the photo is mostly head, and that's not eligible.

for dinner i heated up two frozen meat buns, leftovers from last week. i warmed them up in the microwave for 3 minutes, which should've done the trick. they came out steaming hot, and i served them with a heap of hot bean sauce. when i bit into the bun however, it was still cold on the inside. i think the reason is because my new microwave is only 900W, while a typical microwave is 1200W. that 75% reduction is enough so that i need to add more minutes when i'm heating things in the microwave to compensate. that's something they didn't tell me when i read a bunch of recommendations for smaller microwaves! that's fine though, i use the microwave like once a month. i ended up putting the buns in the steamer tray and blasting them again for 4 minutes. they came out piping hot, almost too hot.

i made a new 6x4 photo layout, using my no-glasses photo: 3 2x2" photos and 3 35-x45mm photos. i uploaded it to walgreens, figuring i'd go pick it up tomorrow morning. but they were ready 17 minutes after i submitted the order, so i took a walk back down to the pharmacy to pick them up. this time i had exact change - 38¢ - but when i got there, the clerk told me it was 40¢. i was going to charge it on my card (which seems like a crime, charging for something that costs so little), but the clerk took my coins and gave me my photo.

the sizes were correct, but now that i had a chance to carefully look at the photos, i didn't like it. my ears are too covered up, and my hair is big enough that it extends to the edge of the photo. so i decided to take some new ones, setting up a makeshift photo studio in my living room. my setup of a pancake light combined with the external camera flash isn't that good. what i need is another pancake light to get rid of the shadows. i took nearly 100 photos this time, finally got one that i like.

i started watching beau is afraid, the new horror film from ari aster. super creepy, not sure what's going on. it kind of reminded me of some of takashi miike's horror movies, where creepy characters abound, but it's played off as normal, and makes you question your own sanity while you watch.