it took me more than 40 minutes to get from cambridge to westford. i found the coldwell banker real estate office (a building that looked like a red barn) off of the highway exit without any problems. i called my guy and waited in the parking lot for him to show up. i don't know what i was expecting, but when he finally arrived (waving from his car), he looked surprisingly normal. "i like your shoes," he said while pointing to my adidas sneakers, then i noticed he was wearing a similar pair. he presented each piece of aquarium equipment for my inspection while i fished out the $25 from my pocket. i think even if there was something missing, i'd still buy since i drove so far. we chatted briefly about fishkeeping, he told me his kids (he has children!) love the goldfish and i warned him against getting guppies and facing the unpleasant possibility of trying to explain to his traumatized kids why the mommy fish ate all the babies. it started snowing a little bit as i made my way back home.

since i had the car, i make a quick visit to the brighton petco. i bought some filter cartridges for the internal whisper filtration that came with the tank as well as an air pump (naturally, at an inflated price, i winced when i went to go pay). next i went to market basket to get some ingredients for myself (cooking tomorrow night, 3 course meal) as well as for my parents. normally it's not as crowded in the afternoons, but for some reason it took me 15 minutes of bumper to bumper circling to find a parking spot (i nearly gave up). there was a massive congestion at the checkout lines and i stood in a line that was already 4 carts deep. i briefly came home to drop off my stuff before driving to the cafe to return the car and to get a ride back.

after i ate lunch (it was already 2:30pm), i began to work on several aquarium projects. one was to use the air pump to aerate a jar of tap water that'd been treated with the API tap water conditioner. advertised with the ability to break apart chloramine bonds, i knew ever since i started serious water testing that it seemed to be completely ineffective against ammonia, which gets introduced into the tap water via chloramination courtesy of cambridge city water works. i had hoped that some serious aeration might release the ammonia, but after a series of test, the answer was no. later i discovered online that aeration doesn't do anything to the chloramines. i have to buy a different water conditioner that will specifically detoxifies ammonia. however, i wasn't testing with an airstone, so i may try that, but given what i was doing before, i think the most that adding more bubbles into the water is going to do is to set the pH to neutral (blue) but ammonia level will still stay the same (yellow-green).

next i set up the 5.5 gallon minibow. i don't mind the acrylic (versus real glass) and it looks just as clear when filled with water. the base and the hood are translucent and teal colored, reminiscent of the first edition imac. what i do object to is it uses a 15w incandescent tube light bulb instead of a fluorescent, which gives the tank an unflattering yellow glow (similar to my 2 gallon hexagon tank, which uses a 5w incandescent), uses more electricity, and generates unnecessary heat. i may try to find a fluorescent substitute but the housing is pretty small and it may not fit. the second thing i don't like is the in-tank filtration. it's about the size of a tall beer can and it takes up a chunk of space in an already space-limited tank. i might switch to an external hanging filter (i've been researching the biowheel). i'm just happy i managed to find a wooden plank in the basement that's almost the perfect size to put underneath the minibow so it can sit on the bottom shelf of my 10 gallon fish stand. currently the tank is unheated, and i tried to see how long i could keep my hands in the aquarium (water temperature 45 degrees) - about a couple of minutes before it starts hurting.

it started snowing again and i tried to go outside and get some snowflakes photos (i had a black piece of foam to catch them) but it stopped before i could get any good ones. since most of the day was already gone, i decided to continue with this day of self-gratification and watch last night's episode of rome (the stage is slowly being set for mark antony to be reunited with cleopatra). in the evening i watched television and had dinner with an tao (i just had some ramen).

wintertime is all about obsessions. cooped up inside all season long, it's easy (at least for me) to be consumed by personal interests. january was all about the bread making and now i've escalated my love for aquariums. i don't think you can ever have enough hobbies and i've always wanted to be that guy who knew a little bit about everything (but not in a conceited way). i used to know a girl whom when i asked what kind of things she enjoyed doing, she couldn't answer. i've always thought that only a boring person gets bored. my only regret is that there are just too many things to do and not enough days in a lifetime to do them all.