met alisa and giovanna for bubble ice tea in harvard square in the afternoon. i got myself a cold thai ice tea with bubbles while the ladies both went with warm bubble teas; this was ironic, since i was the one who was freezing in this cold weather (4 degrees with wind chill) while the both of them said it was actually relatively warm today. they were brushing up on their reading and used me as a living-breathing chinese-english dictionary (alisa's electronic translator was out of batteries). we stayed there until it got dark and went to the coop so giovanna could look for XXS sizes of harvard clothing (a chinese man heard us talking and pointed us in the direction of the children department). being a tufts man myself, i have no interests in crimson-wear.
something strange is happening in the 10 gallon aquarium: the frill plants have started forming roots from the stems, like hanging spanish moss. i wonder if this has anything to do with me spiking the water with carbon dioxide. so far none of the roots have touched the gravel yet but i wonder if they'll plant themselves? i haven't taken a pH reading yet but i bet it's off-the-charts acidic, which will be impossible for guppies to survive in if i want to transform this aquarium into a nursery tank. in the meantime, i scour craig's list once a day, looking for yet another cheap aquarium (my fourth). i think i'm on the short road to a fish keeping intervention.
after an tao and his wife came back from having dinner with an tao's boss's family out in acton, an tao's wife talked about getting a set of mixing bowls before she returned to china thursday morning. i found some pyrex bowls for her online ($10) but the shipping itself was almost the cost of purchase, so she decided against it. an tao was telling me how he was collecting state quarters, and i managed to up his collection to 30 individual states with the help of my big bowl of loose change.
camera geek talk: i still haven't gotten that macro lens i was all excited about a few weeks ago. and ever since i played around with the canon 16-35mm f/2.8L this past weekend, i just want to throw away all my "slow" lenses (well, not the telephoto, but the one other lens i have, the 18-55mm kit lens) and just buy "fast" ones. i can't help to think about that man i met in lijiang, the guy who was also carrying around a canon dSLR, who basically told me that all the pros used lenses with bigger apertures. i took his advice with a grain of salt, and even got a chance to use his setup, a D20 with a seriously heavy fatty lens, which i didn't think was all that. 6 months later i now finally realize what he was talking about. take tonight for example: pretty much all my low-light photos were blurry, something that wouldn't happen (or less chance of happening) with a fast lens. i love the 16-35mm but there's no way i can afford it, so i've been researching compatible non-canon lenses with similar numbers. i've got my eyes on a tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (translation: a fast wide-angle 3x zoom lens) which would essentially replace that "new" used 18-55mm canon lens i bought for $70 last week. the only problem is the tamron costs $400, but that's still more than 3x cheaper than the canon 16-35mm ($1300). another problem: the fast shooting tamron is for APS-C cameras only, so if i ever buy a full-sized CCD camera in the future, i won't be able to use this lens.