i had a conference call this morning at 11am with somebody from the PREDICT 2 study team. i wasn't sure about the format and thought it might be a video call (because they sent me a URL to click on) so i put on a clean shirt and found a nice place to sit in the kitchen. i was actually disappointed when it ended up just being a voice call. i spoke with an upbeat young woman named jessica, who told me the call would last 30 minutes. she scheduled a time for me to start the study, which ended up being close to the end of march. that's going to be a busy time as i have census training that first week of april. she explained to me the schedule of events i needed to follow, from taking samples (blood, saliva, stool) to eating specially prepared foods (and fasting afterwards) to logging everything else i eat (in minute details, down to the weighted portion size and ingredients). there was a lot to follow, but soon i'd be receiving a booklet that would spell out all the steps and install an app on my phone that would remind me when certain tasks were scheduled to be performed. a nutritionist would also get in touch with me. true to her word, the call ended exactly 30 minutes later.

that gave me a little bit of time to get ready and ride down to harvard to hear a 12:15pm lecture on "what's communist about the communist party?" by jude blanchette. i didn't have time to have lunch so i grabbed some chocolate instead, hoping it'd give me enough fuel to last for another 1-1/2 hours.

the lecture was interesting if you were interested in this fairly esoteric topic, which i was. the speaker didn't have any visual aids (i'd never seen that before) so it could've turned into a fairly dry lecture but he was animated enough that it kept me at attention, despite sometimes losing me on some fairly technical marxism-related subjects.

my last surviving grandmother had taken a turn for the worse in taiwan and has stopped eating. doctors want to force feed her, but my mother and her sisters are against the idea. in the meantime, my 2nd aunt is taking a flight to taipei tomorrow morning. they hope my grandmother can pull through, but if not, my aunt would like to be there for her final moments. my mother called me a few times while i was at the lecture. my phone didn't do anything because it was on "do not disturb" but my fitness tracker buzzed a few times. i called her back as soon as i got out, already knew what she wanted though: for me to go down to the cafe to help my aunt buy her ticket.

i went home first to grab my computer before heading to the cafe. although today was sunny and temperature in the lower 40's, it was very windy, which not only made it feel colder, but hard to ride when the wind is trying to blow you off. crossing a busy street, i stopped to move some empty trash cans that'd blown out onto the road. while i was at it, i also found an insulated canvas grocery bag from the whitehead institute. i lose a bag last week, i find a new one this week!

a 22 hour one way fare to taiwan with on canadian air with 2 stops (toronto, korea) cost $464, about slightly more than half the price of a roundtrip ticket. my aunt had already booked a flight to taiwan for late march; there's no way to cancel, but she thought about changing the itinerary so she could use the return portion of the flight. in the end we decided to wait and see.

afterwards my father drove us back to my aunt's place so i could fix the youtube channel on her smart tv. i kind of already knew what the problem was, she just needed to log back into her google account. it was simple, all she had to do was open the youtube app on her phone and the tv managed to find it and sync the account. i went back outside where my father was waiting for me in the car.

i had plans to do some shopping at market basket, but it was already so late my mother packed me some leftovers for dinner along with a fresh ginger scone my sister had made. i set up voice matching on my father's phone and we figured out how to successfully call people in his contact list via voice command. i finally left by 4pm. i hadn't eaten all day so that scone was especially delicious once i got back home. i'll go grocery shopping tomorrow. now that my aunt's gone for at least two weeks, my parents will only have sundays off so i'll have to fend for my own meals the rest of the week.

my pixel 3XL rubber case ($5.99) arrived today, 2 days ahead of schedule. i got it simply because it was the cheapest non-clear rubber case i could find and it was a US seller so i wouldn't have to wait weeks like i would with a cheaper china seller. the best thing i can say about it is it's adequate. i got it in matte black, it's completely nondescript, no branding, no fancy patterns or designs, just a black rubberized cover. it's not that well made, i can see the seams and fringes where the molding were pressed together. it's also a bit thick in the back, which now makes the formerly sleek phone just as bulky as my father's moto G7. it gives the phone some protection at least, now i won't have to be as gentle taking it out as i was before. just as i'd hoped, the case covered up that small nick mark i found over the weekend. it had a raised bevel around the screen, but it doesn't seem to be high enough to really protect the screen. thankfully i also have the glass screen protector in place, so i should be good. the thing to remember is to not drop the phone. i've dropped by oneplus one a bunch of times and it's survived unscathed, but it's always been in the house, onto carpeting or hardwood, from waist high. i don't want to test out the pixel 3XL. i may end up buying another case in the future, but in the meantime this one is fine.

i was disappointed we didn't break 40kWh today, but surprised we almost hit 8kW; there's been a few times this month where we almost go to 7kW, but today we went above and beyond. bear in mind that the theoretical maximum amount of electricity generated at a give time is 8.04kW, so peaking at 7.65kW today was pretty incredible. still, i would've preferred more production.

my sister still wasn't able to send me text from her computer, though it works fine from her phone. on either platform she can still receive my texts without problems, just that i can't hers when they're from her macos messages app. i learned the problem has something to do with the way apple records your phone number on their icloud server in order to allow their macos desktop app to send text messages. to fix it, i had to deregister my phone number from apple. it still didn't work, but the procedure seems sound, and it might take a few hours for the change to propagate throughout all the apple servers. this is a unique problem that occurs only when you switch from iphone to android.

kevin came home around 6:30pm. i opened the front door for him because it seemed like he was struggling with the lock. i quickly microwaved my dinner (2 minutes) before leaving the kitchen to kevin. surprisingly, he didn't cook tonight.

after a normal day of use, biking a few miles around town, taking about 3 dozen photos, my pixel phone was still at 44% battery by midnight. the past few days, i've had to charge it up in the evenings because i've almost exhausted the battery. i think it's just one of those new phone deal where i'm playing with it all day, quickly draining the battery. given a normal day's usage, the pixel 3XL battery is more than adequate to last the entire day if not more.

i ordered a fast charger and some USB-C to USB-C cables online. i searched long and hard before settling on the ones i ended up picking. for the fast charger, i ended up getting google's original USB-C 18W charger off of ebay for $7.99. that seems to be the going price for one of these, which somebody just simply took from the box when you buy a google pixel brand new. just the 18W fast charger, no cable. since i'd use it to recharge my pixel phone, i thought this was the safest option. there were other brands of fast chargers (with faster charging, though the pixel phones can only go as fast as 18W), and i might get one in the future for traveling, but for the time being, this one will serve me fine. elsewhere on the cable front, i bought a pair of 6.6ft JSAUX brand USB-C cables for $8. i only needed one cable, but the price of a single and a double were about the same, so i got a pair. cables will arrive on friday, the charger saturday. but honestly, i only really charge my phone when i got to bed, in which case it has 6-8 hours to fully charge the battery, plenty of time, so a fast charger is overkill. i may leave the fast charger in the living room for those emergency cases when i need to fill up my phone battery quick before it goes dead.

i started watching the norwegian series beforeigners, a joint production with HBO. in the US it's yet to air, but it'd already aired in norway, so i was able to find it online for downloading. the premise is pretty slick, about time traveling scandinavians from the past (think vikings) suddenly mysteriously showing up in modern day present. it's an analogy to the refugee situation in europe, which also touches on the clash of new immigrants, with a buddy cop drama thrown into the mix as well.