bruce and i walked in a circle around fresh pond this morning, taking advantage of the sudden change in warm (45 degrees) weather. there was a pretty good chance that this would be the most exercise we've had all this month. the pond was frozen along the edges only with a large center of water. from a distance i could make out what looked to be seagulls, not view worthy enough to bear the hassle of taking out the binoculars from my bag. apart from that, some canada geese, some squirrels, some sparrows. coming back, we stopped at whole foods so bruce could get some bourgeoisie food.
changed out a quarter of the water from the minibow and almost half the water from the 10 gallon. there wasn't any good reasons to change the minibow water, i just wanted to clean some algae off the glass and figured it'd be a good opportunity to add some new water. plus, i noticed the guppies were all clinging near the surface, and i was afraid maybe the pH was dropping again (although there's no reason it would, with plenty of plants and good filtration and seemingly clean water). when i removed the lid, i got a good view of the fries and to my surprise i counted 11 babies. did one of the females give birth again? as for the 10 gallon tank, there's just a lot of dust sediment on the substrate itself, and i wanted to vacuum clean some of that gravel. after refilling the tank, i came back to check out the aquarium an hour later and noticed beading on all the plants, both the frills and the brazilian sword. beading is the telltale sign of photosynthesis at work, as the plants use up carbon dioxide and release oxygen in the process. i've never seen beading before in any of aquatic plants so this was a good sign that the carbon dioxide is working. nevertheless, the frill plants still look like crap, like they're deteriorating, but i hope this is temporary. at this stage it seems like the frill plant is desperately trying to send out new roots, looking for nutrients. my shipment from petsmart should arrive tomorrow, including some aquatic undergravel fertilizing tablets.
feeling particularly manly and desiring a venue to showcase my brute strength, i went outside with my rubber boots and the flat-tipped spade to chisel out some ice. my neighbor renee was outside doing the same thing as well, and we were wondering about the car parked right above the storm drain, preventing us from unblocking it and getting rid of some of the melting snow (which will refreeze later tonight). as we were talking, the woman who owns the car came out. i've seen her before, possibly greek, she and her husband and her kids and her penchant for wearing tight riding pants. she didn't seem particularly concerned with the problem, making light of the situation ("maybe we can build a little house above the storm drain"), and only decided to move the car after some persuasion. since she hadn't moved it since it first snowed a week ago, her vehicle was firmly entrenched in the ice and all she managed to do was kick dirty slush onto the sidewalk and create the pleasant smell of burnt rubber and carbon monoxide. renee and i helped salt the bottom of her car, but she disappeared back inside her house, never bothering to return and attempt to move her car again. afterwards, i dug a canal which led water from the street onto the pool of slush directly in front of my house, and then into the drainage. the sound of water trinkling into the sewer was music to my ears. later bruce came out to help me dig another canal, armed with a heavy iron pick axe. he worked on creating yet another canal on the other side of the street, as we cleared up another puddle of water. as a matter of fact, down the length of our streets, people were doing much the same, digging out their car after work, taking advantage of this momentary thaw. it seemed strange that this sort of clean-up service isn't provided by the city; if anything, cambridge should be paying us! for all my troubles, i got a tic tac sized blister on my right palm. i'm going to nurture it into a pretty callus.
in the evening i ate dinner with an tao and his wife: they made a simple dish of tofu skin and stir-fried bokchoi with wood ear mushrooms. an tao secluded himself in the bedroom to finish off some work while i watched sitcoms with his wife in the living room. despite the language barrier, it seems that humor of everybody loves ray translates well into chinese.