the ziploc bag with the marinating beef jerky actually leaked a little bit in the fridge. that's never happened before. otherwise, beef jerky manufacturing went ahead as scheduled this morning without any additional problems. there was a bit more cumin flavor to the marinade, but not overpowering. it's still predominantly soy sauce and worcestershire sauce.

i lost count of how many layers of drying jerky i had stacked; i double counted at 7, but there might've been 8, because i ran out of space on the drying rack before i got to the last napkin layer of raw jerky. i wonder if it's harder to lay out small pieces versus big pieces? i've gone bigger for the past 2 batches (including this one), and in my mind i feel like they should be easier to lay out because i have fewer pieces, but having many more smaller ones might actually be easier because i can get a tighter fit.

i managed to ween myself off of craig's list for a little bit, but being the end of the month and a lot of people moving out, i was curious to see if i could score some bargains. i contacted somebody in brookline who was giving away free a nearly-new rice cooker and electric kettle. unfortunately i was a bit late and somebody already beat me to it, but if that person's a no-show, my contact told me i could have it. looking in the free section, the most common 3 items people are giving away are things too big to easily carry: old television sets, beds, and sofas. boxes come in 4th place. someone was giving away free brugmanisa AKA angel's trumpets. these are pretty plants, but completely poisonous so i passed.

i went to rite aid to use up a coupon before it expired. i briefly froze when i went inside because all the aisles had been rearranged. apparently they're undergoing a renovation while the store is still open. they changed a few aisles last week, but this was more drastic. i spent my coupon on some gummy bears and used my DIY consolidated loyalty card (my 3rd successful use, the 2nd was yesterday at petsmart).

coming back, i found a box of free kitchen utensils. i picked up a set of pyrex-brand color-coded measuring spoons, a match to a set i already own. looks i managed to score some free stuff after all!

in the evening i started a second batch of beef jerky. this time i was following my own recipe, so i left out the cumin. i made it extra spicy, and used fresh ground sichuan peppercorns instead of just half-heartedly crushing them. i also added a tbsp of rice wine for no reason, maybe it'll add a further layer of complexity.

2.88 lbs. beef bottom round
2/3 cup worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
4 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp ground sichuan peppercorn
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp vietnamese chili sauce
1 tbsp rice wine

i started the fan dehydration at 10:30 but stopped it at 8:00. into the oven the pieces went for a further 2 hours of light baking.

turns out 2 hours was probably too much, because the jerky seemed too dark and dry. i couldn't taste any cumin, and there was no spiciness to the jerky. i think leaving out the sichuan peppercorns really affected the usual potency. this latest batch tasted like dried soy sauce jerkies, not really that great. thankfully i have a 2nd batch marinating in the fridge. i think that one will be better, and i won't bake as long.

for dinner i finished the rest of my frozen chinese dumplings, with some red grapes for dessert. i threw an egg into my oatmeal this morning, which seemed to give me enough energy that i wasn't very hungry for most of the day.

finally this evening, i discovered that my SLR camera is broken. normally when i press the shutter button half way it focuses, but now when i do that it focuses and then quickly takes a photo before i have time to reposition. what's the big deal? well, that means i can't easily take off-center-focused images because the camera shoots right where i focus (which is normally in the middle). i tried looking online for a ballpark estimate as to how much it'd cost to fix. the only price i found was $300, which i kind of doubt. but if the repair is expensive, it might not be worth it trying to get it serviced.

i have the rebel XT (aka 350D), which is canon's 2nd generation entry-level dSLR camera introduced in 2005 (i bought mine in 2006). the camera is 5 years, and since that time canon is already up to their 7th generation rebel, the T3i (aka 600D). i would totally buy the T3i in a heartbeat, if i had the $700 to spend (for the body alone, without any lenses). another solution - and the one i'm trying first - is i'm going to try and fix it myself. the camera is already well out of warranty, and what's the worst that can happen? if i do break it and decide to fix it, i'll get my money's worth.