It's been almost a month since my last update. These few weeks have been quite eventful. I've tasted success with two projects I had going on, and I've had other good news and changes to my life.
The first project was something I tried last May: growing wasabi. Real wasabi is actually quite rare, because it is very slow-growing, but at the same time very perishable. The wasabi paste or powder that people frequently buy is typically composed of horseradish, which is a relative to wasabi, but not the same as wasabi. Last May, I was able to get a small piece of real wasabi, and it was quite the experience. I thought, that if I can grow it myself, then I can have a supply of it whenever I wanted. Thus, began my first attempt at growing wasabi. Two weeks in, the two plants I had ordered had withered and died. The lesson I learned was that I needed a more thorough design that accounted for the particular climate that wasabi need: cool and moist. I had used a humidifier to supply the moist part of the equation, but the summer heat was too much for the plants.
I decided that I would properly design a system. If after my serious attempt, I still couldn't grow wasabi, then I would conclude that it just wasn't meant to be. But, I would give it a serious attempt. I came up with this:
Basically, the design was to balance price with the necessities that wasabi required. The end result cost around $200, but, it's been a week and a half, and the plants are thriving this time.
It's been really fun taking care of these plants - changing the water, trimming the withered stems, and inspecting them for mold. It hasn't been that warm currently, so we'll see how they do once things warm up. There's two risks that I am worried about: a mold outbreak or the heat.
The second project started half a year ago, when my family and I came back from Europe. I had an idea of making a mobile app for translating languages. I had something working in the first two months on Android, but got stuck when I tried to port it over to iOS. Last month, I picked it back up, and was able to get it working on iOS. I added more features (in-app purchases being the most significant addition), and put it on the Play Store: Lite (free) and Pro (paid). I'll see how well it does, to see whether I'll pay for the annual Apple Developer license to be able to put it onto the App Store.
Aside from that, I got a nice bonus at work (the largest amount I've ever gotten), and I will also get a few hundred dollars back in overpaid federal taxes. So, that's also helped to improve my mood.
I will be attending my friend's wedding this Saturday. We used to be part of the "Rejects Club", which we made for ourselves. It's mind-boggling in a way to realize that everyone has grown up.
I am planning on buying a car in two weeks. 2006 Accord. Also excited about this, as it will be my first manual car.
Finally, my plan to cut back on eating out is progressing nicely. I've been keeping track of all my expenses (have been since Thanksgiving), to try to keep my spending from spiraling out of control. It's been educational. It's also been hard at times. Unfortunately, with the budget I've set for myself, I'm spending a bit more than that, so my shortfall has been going in the wrong direction. It's not too bad, though. I'm hoping to reign that in a bit. After this year, though, it may not matter that much.