i rode my bike to MGH to see my primary care doctor. the appointment was for 10:00, but he was running late, and i didn't see him until almost 40 minutes later, while i waited in one of the exam rooms. he didn't have an answer for the testicular pain, and recommended i try some aleve to see if that'd help. he also referred me to a urologist (who apparently are very busy that they couldn't get me an appointment right away and would get in touch with me at a later date). the official reason why i was there was to get a physical, which took less than a minute. he looked in my ears, in my throat, then listened to my chest. viola! annual physical complete! he didn't even check my blood pressure (which the nurse already done, 114/80, very nice). he did request a bunch of lab tests and i ended up getting 6 vials of blood drawn.

so basically i'm no closer to finding an answer to my mysterious "groin" issue. maybe the lab work results will shed some light.

it was a hot day, with temperature in the 80's and high humidity. it wasn't so bad when i got to the hospital, but by the time i got out, the blistering sun was unpleasant. i biked to nearby haymarket to pick up a few things. my skin was so moist that my bandaid fell off midroute. it's still too early in the season, so the picking was slim. the place was crowded though, and i noticed a lot more young people mixed in with the usual immigrants and bargain hunters.

i went straight home afterwards, backtracking the way i came, across the longfellow bridge, down hampshire street, down beacon street. i was a sweaty mess when i got home. i stripped off my soaked clothes and took a shower. i also had a banana for lunch.

a short time later i went to rite aid to pick up my fluticasone propionate (flonase). i'd told my doctor about my recent allergy, so he prescribed some nasal spray, even though i'm at the tail end of my symptoms. i figured i could always use it come fall, during the ragweed allergy season.

next was market basket to grab some groceries. i decided i want to try my hands at making some beef jerky again. with my vegetarian roommate moving in on tuesday, i don't think he'd like it very much if the house smelled like drying meat. if i don't make it this weekend, then i'll have to wait until the end of summer.

i stopped by ed's yard sale to see about the small racing bike he had in his basement. turns out it was only a hybrid bike (i wanted something with downward handlebars).

i walked to the dollar store to pick up some fabric softener. i heard the cashier talking with another older employee in a language i never heard before. "what language were you guys speaking?" i asked her. "tigrinya," she said, which i've never heard of. "what country is that?" she said it was eritrea. "do you know where that is? it's in western africa." i have heard of eritrea, only because i thought it was a made up country since i'd never heard of it before. "eritrea? yes, i know where that is," i replied, which seemed to surprise her, because i guess most people don't know it. when the man walked by he patted me on the back and said "thank you" for at least having heard of his home country before. "japanese?" she asked, referring to my ethnicity. "no, close though, chinese, via taiwan, but i've lived here a long time."

i went home and pulled up the wikipage on eritrea. it's situated next to sudan and ethiopia, across the sea from saudi arabia and yemen. sizewise, it's a bit bigger than pennsylvania. i would've guessed the language they were speaking was ethiopian, but i'm glad i didn't because apparently eritreans and ethiopians are sworn enemies: eritrea was originally a part of ethiopia, but then won its independence in 1991 after a 30-year war. in 1998-2000 the two sides fought another war, with continuing border disputes to this day. besides the wars and possibly harboring terrorist organizations, it doesn't seem like a bad place to visit.

after letting the meat harden in the freezer, it was time to cut the strips. bottom round rump roast is the wrong kind of meat to use for making beef jerky. the problem is that it's too thick. instead of strips, i end up slicing chunky planks. it's also not lean enough. i had to trim a bit of fat and skin hidden underneath the roast. there's also some marbling, which is usually a good thing, but fat on jerky makes them spoil faster.

it was a weird image, me topless in the kitchen cutting up slices of beef. after i was all done, i added the marinade:

about 3 lbs. rump roast
2/3 cup worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp vietnamese chili sauce
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns

the portions are about the same as my winter jerky. this time around i increased the honey from just 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons. i also added a new ingredient: a teaspoon of crushed sichuan peppercorns. this was the sichuan peppercorns i bought in western china 5 years ago. i bought a large bag of it, thinking they were very rare. unfortunately when i came back home, i saw they sold the exact same thing at a chinese supermarket, and about the same price. not only that, but i never found a good use for them. they're not like regular peppercorns, the flavor is too overpowering and has a numbing sensation. anyway, i'm hoping the sichuan peppercorns will give the jerky some kick.

feeling ambitious, i went ahead and mixed some dough for no-knead bread attempt no.3. last time i had the right yeast and right temperature, but i think i overdid the fermenting, letting the dough sit for more than 24 hours before i wrapped it up for its second rise (which didn't really happen). this time i'm not going to ferment as long. i set it around 6:00, so i'm going to wake up tomorrow morning at 8:00 (14 hours later) to fold the dough over for the 2nd rise. hopefully i'll get a good bread this time!

i'm cleaning the house in bits and pieces. after some vacuuming, i decided to wash the bathroom rug and the foyer rug. i accidentally tracked some soap onto the bathroom rug, and the foyer rug is dirty from muddy shoes. i had to blast the foyer rug with the stain stick beforehand. i threw both rugs into the washing machine, then later the dryer (on delicate cycle). the dryer step was kind of a mistake, because when i opened up the lint trap, it was full of sand. i ended up vacuuming the insides of the dryer and washer to get all the sand out. next time i'll just wash the foyer rug in the bathtub and dry it outside.

i ate some melba snacks with tabouli salad. i fell asleep on the couch around 6:30 while watching the news. i woke up an hour later.

the jerky needs to be marinated between 3-6 hours. i chose the bare minimum, since i wanted to get dehydrating as soon as possible. i marinated at 5:00 so by 8:00 i was ready to dry the raw jerky pieces and place them onto the DIY dehydrator.

despite my best efforts to blow out the odor, soon the house smelled like beef jerky. some people might like the aroma but i'm not a fan. it doesn't exactly smell like barbecue; rather, it smells just like meat drying, thick with the scent of soy and worcestershire sauces. night jerky means i have to leave the fans on overnight. i hope i'll be able to fall asleep between the jerky smell and the fan noise. i also hope that no strange animals will try to get inside the house, drawn to the odor.

i checked the jerky status a few hours later. a bit of drying, but still very soft. i'll probably have to do a final cure in the oven. it's hard to slice the rump roast very thin, and the thicker pieces seem impervious to fan drying.

i heated up a stouffer's frozen lasagna ($3.19) in the oven for dinner. can't remember the last time i had that. my very first lasagna experience was a stouffer's frozen dinner, since i didn't grow up in a household that ever made lasagna. i love the uniformity of lasagna eating, parcelling off portions into discreet squares. only when i moved out and started cooking for myself did i realize i could make my own lasagna. i found the stouffer's version to be okay, a little watery though. still, when i don't have time to make my own lasagna, it's not a bad alternative.

it got so hot inside the house (78°) that i had to crack a window (first time this year). i'm sure that's just a prelude to the heat waves we'll all be suffering through once summer officially kicks in. how i deal with the humidity is by taking as many showers as i can when i begin to feel sticky (today, about half a dozen).

i was watching game 7 between the bruins and the lighting. not that i follow hockey or care all that much, but hockey fever has swept boston. i just want the bruins to win because i want to see a parade. because i had the window open, i could hear the cheering and clapping from neighboring hockey fans. bruins won the game on a single goal in the 3rd period; the game was so tight it could've gone either way. now it's on to the stanley cup final beginning tuesday wednesday (the same night as the NBA finals - doh! who told me it was tuesday? misinformation!).