i put in a few hours of work in the early afternoon but then spent the rest of the day doing my own thing. i went to the cafe briefly to drop off a jar of homemade beef jerky. my sister briefly stopped by the cafe as well (with dog in the car) after seeing me on my bicycle. my parents really liked the jerky even though i thought it was okay at best. my mother pushed me to add more sugar (honey) and cumin next time.

i helped my father set up his e-mail on the garmin 295w. it really is a handy little gadget for traveling. besides the gps with built-in maps, it can also surf the web and e-mail (provided there's a free wifi hotspot). at just $80, it's cheaper than a smartphone and its associated biannual contract. the great thing is because it is a dedicated gps, even when it's out of wifi range, the maps still work (unlike a smartphone gps). i hope garmin doesn't give up on this product (despite the recent price reduction), it really fills a nice niche. my father said i could take it home and play with it, but it looked like he was having so much fun with the thing, i told him to keep it for now. he said he did a comparison with the old garmin nüvi 650, and the one gps finds satellites about a minute faster than the 295w. also during the time i was at the cafe, the 295 only managed to find a single satellite (my father said because we were sitting in a signal dead zone). despite these faults, it's still a nice little piece of hardware.

riding back, i came behind a young woman just crossing into my lane on a road bike. i thought about overtaking her but decided to slow down instead. she wasn't pedaling any faster than i was, but i was surprised by how much farther she managed to travel. it definitely makes me more curious about investing in a road bike (versus the MTB hybrid i'm riding now). one disadvantage though: road bikes are meant for roads only; she almost slipped when riding over a patch of snow. she stopped off at the corner rite aid, which was where i was going as well; i stocked up on some more dove milk chocolate.

i took a brief nap on the couch in the early evening, shrouded in a red fleece throw. since my roommate left, i've yet to turn up my heat beyond 60°F. i don't feel as cold this year though; must've finally learned to dress properly; all that hot tea helps as well. i had some rice dish for dinner my mother gave me before i left the cafe. that, and half a dozen kumquats.

later in the evening i grated about 3 tablespoons worth of fresh ginger, chopped up half a dozen frozen thai chili peppers, and boiled everything in a cup of water plus a cup of sugar. after letting it steep for an hour, i strained the juice and poured it into a 2 liter plastic soda bottle and filled it up close to the top, with an addition of 1/8 tsp of yeast. i tasted the juice before hand, the right combination of sweetness, gingerness, and hotness. i was afraid i put too much chili peppers but it seemed just right. i hope the chili won't affect the yeast fermentation. i can't wait to taste the final ginger beer product. it should be better than last time (at least spicier).

i think my 4gb compact flash memory card might be showing its age. i've been getting a lot of weird errors on my camera and every once in a while it won't save a photo (like what happened tonight, i had a really great shot of the grated ginger with chili peppers, but it got mysteriously erased). last night it wouldn't advance the photo numbers until after i reformatted the card with my computer. the problem could also be with the camera, but i'm leaning towards the memory card. for the time being i'm switching to my larger 8gb card (which i never use because it's so big). compact flash memories seem to less popular these days; the next camera i get will probably used SD memory instead.