i'd planned on waking up around 8am and leaving for boston by 9am, but i didn't wake up until 9:15am, overslept my departure time. i used the bathroom and took a quick shower, leaving the house by 9:45am. i was surprised by how cold it was with temperature at 59 degrees - haven't seen that in a while, definitely a touch of autumn in the air. or, more likely, it was hurricane lee sitting off the atlantic coast, affecting our weather. it was also surprisingly windy. nevertheless, i just wore a t-shirt and shorts, figured i'd warm up from biking.

i got to c-mart by 10:10am. i arrived just when several fleet of shuttle vans dropped off a horde of chinese seniors. i got some bokchoi ($1.99/lbs.), some carrots (89¢/lbs.), some cilantro ($1.79/bunch). i also some 6 orri oranges (from peru) at $1.68/lbs ($4.62). that was basically all i needed from chinatown, the rest i'd source from haymarket, so i didn't bother going to ming's market as well.

i got to haymarket around 10:30am. i picked up a dozen large navel oranges for $3, 10 flat oranges (also from peru) for $4, 2 scallions ($2), and $3 for a large yellow melon. i left haymarket by 10:50am.

it took me less than 25 minutes to get back home. they repaved hampshire street recently, and repainted the roads, getting rid of a bunch street parking and installing bike lanes. i wonder if cambridge thinks that cars will magically just disappear where ever they choose to install new bike lanes. i'd hate to be someone who lives on hampshire street, or any of the side streets, since they're going to be more congested with people looking for parking spots. as someone who bikes i appreciate the effort, but i wonder at what cost.

i took a quick shower and was out the door before 11:30am, after just 10 minutes.

at the cafe my mother tried the two variety of oranges i brought back. she picked the haymarket oranges first, because they seemed more orange, would be sweeter. they were sweet, but nothing exceptional, more like your average boxed clementines. she then tried one of the orri oranges i got from chinatown. the yellow-orange skin looked like it might be sour, but turned out to be the exact opposite. not only were these oranges super sweet, but they had an orange fragrance that stayed in the mouth even after eating them.

today was a tea egg making day. we ran out of our usual pots because my parents made new batches of minced pork, beef noodle soup broth, and ramen broth. i had to use one of our last pots, which was a little thin-plated, but still worked, though it kept tripping the inductor cooker overheat sensor.

my 2nd aunt showed up in the afternoon, having come back from chinatown as well. it was right during a busy stretch, we didn't have time to chat with her. later she asked me if i could buy a replacement remote for their living room TCL roku tv. at first i just assumed it was a battery issue, but then saw that the remote was smashed to bits. this is why my 2nd uncle can't have nice things. he destroyed a cellphone i lent him the last time he went to taiwan, he destroyed their living room couch, and now he's destroyed a remote. it wasn't a big deal to replace, just $7 from amazon, due to arrive on monday.

my godmother also showed up, most likely to meet up with my 2nd aunt. also making an appearance was casey and her two mischievous grandsons, who kept wandering into the kitchen while we were working. i almost slapped them.

at my mother's instruction, i took apart one of the spice packets they use to make their beef noodle soup. they actually buy them from taiwan, so i can recreate them like i did with my tea egg spice packets, it'd safe us the trouble of having to import them. a single packet weights 15g including the cloth satchel bag. i then meticulously sorted through the spices, to figure out the ratio of the different ingredients. there was fennel, clove, cinnamon, sichuan peppercorn, and anise. two ingredients we couldn't recognize: one was a bunch of tiny chopped up wood stems, the other these dark curling strips. later we realized that the black strips were possibly smoked orange peels (sampling them revealed a sour taste). as for the woodsy stems, i personally think it's chinese licorice (甘草), but my father thinks otherwise. we'll need to consult some online sources of similar spice packets and see that ingredients they use, maybe it'll give us a clue as to the mystery ingredient. percentage-wise (this a very rough estimate), the black smoked orange peels constitute 25%, fennel 10%, mystery stems 30%, sichuan pepperocn 10%, anise 20%. the other ingredients (cloves, cinnamon) just trace amounts (2% each).

i left by 5:15pm. when i came home, the first thing i did was to check on my aquarium, as if i could see new flourishing plant growth after just 3 days of CO2 injection. i did notice my tank pressure had decreased from 380 psi to 360 psi. at this rate if i can assume i use up 20 psi of CO2 every 3 days, that means i have 54 days left before the tank goes to 0 psi. expanded over the course of a year, i'd need to mix a new batch of CO2 6 times. something i did last night was to adjust the HOB (hang-on-back) filter for a slower water flow, thereby decreasing the amount of surface agitation, because i think it was causing the CO2 bubbles to escape too quickly. i know when i have the filter on full water flow, it churns the aquarium and all the tiny bubbles trapped underneath the leaves get recirculated.

i did a load of laundry in the early evening, using the vinegar/baking soda method: 1 cup of vinegar on a hot water wash, followed by 1/2 cup of baking soda during the rinse cycle to neutralize the acid, then tossed into the dryer without any fabric softener. i washed an old towel that seems to stink every time it gets wet, and my blue ring dotted ikea reversible duvet cover. while laundry was going on, i rinsed some leftover french bread before tossing it into the oven for 7 minutes at 300 degrees to reconstitute. i then ate the last of my brie, and when i ran out, i used some concord grape jelly i'd made back in october 2021.

around 7pm i was about to take my clothes out of the dryer when i looked into the backyard and saw a magenta sky. i quickly grabbed my camera and went outside to grab some photos of the brilliant sunset. i even called my father to take a look, he said sunsets before a hurricane are known to be colorful. while out on beacon street taking photos, two strangers struck up conversation with me about the sunset. i told one guy the anecdote about hurricane sunsets, and another girl told me it was even more intense earlier as the sun was just setting.

i finally went to take out my clothes from the dryer. that's when i noticed some dark scratch marks on the dryer door. why i didn't notice them before was kind of surprising, but naturally i blamed my former roommate lauryn. did she wash something metallic, and then had it clang around inside the dryer drum? then i went to take out the clothes. and what i saw almost made me faint. the entire interior of the dryer was completely scratched up. what did i wash that could've caused this damage? a belt bucket? heavy zipper? i quickly took out all the clothes so i could inspect the damage. that's when i saw it: a pen. it must've burst inside the dryer, spraying ink everywhere. when i went to rub one of the scratches, it smeared.

i then checked my wash. everything was ink-stained. the duvet cover. 2 t-shirts. my running shorts. some socks. the old towel. some dish towels. i'm lucky it was just a small wash, could've been much worse. i ended up dumping everything into the tub so i could presoak with oxi-clean powder and tried to scrub off the stain with some stain stick. much of the ink would wash off - leaving behind some dark tub water - but the stains themselves were impossible to remove completely. this is the worst possible stain to have, the most permanent.

while my clothes were presoaking, i tried to clean the ink stains in the dryer. i ran it for 15 minutes to warm it up, which i heard helps in stain removal. i reached for my 99% isopropyl alcohol, my go-to solution for stain removal. it took off most of the ink, but still left behind a faint stain. this was not good. if isopropyl alcohol can't remove it, what can? i then tried a magic eraser, those are always good at stain removal. it did nothing. this was bad. next i tried the scrubbing bubble bathroom spray. it did nothing as well. 0 for 3. i heard nail polish remover might work, but i didn't have any, but thought about running down to either the dollar store or the pharmacy to get some. i'm sure the dryer still works, i just have to live with the unsightly stains forever. or i could replace the dryer drum. how much would that cost? i was nearly exhausted of options. then i tried the clorox spray with bleach. i sprayed some onto the faded stains, waited 30 seconds, and then wiped off the stains with a paper towel. BLEACH SAVES THE DAY! i then made quick work, manually rolling the drum and removing all the stains. i double and tripled checked to make sure i got all the ink off, didn't want it transferring onto my clothes in future drying. i did notice that in some spots, there was still faint traces of the ink stains, which shows up as a very faded yellow stain. it's not that visible, i can live with it, especially compared to the way it was before. as a final step, i wet some old dish towels then threw them into the dryer, to sort of clean up any residual clorox cleaner that i failed to clean up.

with the dryer back to normal again, i put all my wash that'd been soaking in the bathtub into the washer and ran a normal cycle with a bit of detergent. i then put it through the dryer with no fabric softener. after i removed my clothes (for the second time), i inspected the damage. anything cotton, the ink stain was there forever, nothing i can do about that. that included the towel, duvet cover, socks. one t-shirt had some faint ink stains, i can live with, it was an old t-shirt anyway. i had a fast-drying running t-shirt and all the stains were completely gone. likewise with the running shorts. all in all, it wasn't too bad. like i said, could've been much worse. once i get a new duvet cover, everything will be back to normal. nevertheless, that old duvet cover had some sentimental value; i've used it for nearly 2 decades, ikea doesn't make that pattern anymore.

so how did a pen end up in the dryer? i must've picked it up while i was running, and tucked it inside my running flipbelt. but i don't really ever doing that. and i would definitely know if i had a pen tuck into that belt. another theory is when my cousin stayed over at my place last october, she might've been working from bed and lost the pen in the fold of the duvet cover. but i could've sworn i washed that duvet since that time. and how could a pen be in the duvet and i wouldn't feel it while sleeping? it's a total mystery, but it's over now.

i dug up my aquarium test kit along with a GH/KH test kit. i don't remember ever buying the GH/KH kit, might've been something i found. i filled the test tube with 5ml of tank water and started adding drops. it took 4 drops before the blue color turned yellow, which means i have a KH level of 4 dKH. next i did a basic pH test. it looks like i have a pH of 7. a more accurate test would require a meter (which i have, i just need to bring it from belmont).

i was pretty wiped. i wasn't done with laundry until almost 11pm, and that's also the time i prepared some dinner. i needed something quick, so i made some white cheddar cheese shell pasta with a heap of chopped spinach.

that's why even though it's almost 3am, i'm still writing this blog entry!