my roommate didn't get up until late, around 11:00. he did some laundry, took a shower, and finally left for work after noontime. as soon as he left, that was my cue to go out and run some errands.
i wanted to check out home depot to find a replacement aquarium fluorescent tube (18"). although the assembly square mall isn't too far away at less than 3 miles, getting there involved navigating the busy streets of union square and crossing mcgrath highway, then going up some hills. it's not the easiest of rides, only made worse by the frigid temperature (14°F). but i was eager for any kind of biking so i welcomed the opportunity.
on top of my long-sleeved pullover i had on my fleece hoodie and then my cashmere trench coat (yup, i'm bringing back the trench this season). i was actually too warm, and could feel myself sweating underneath.
home depot had some philips brand 18" aquarium/plant light ($7.97), but i went to nearby k-mart to do some comparison shopping. nothing makes me feel more terrible than going to k-mart. for whatever reason, this particular store just seems to attract the lowest kind of people: welfare mothers, the morbidly obese, unsupervised children, people with deformities, and townies. yet i keep on coming back because of the low prices! they didn't have what i was looking for. i went to take a look at their bicycle department; it's been a month and a half and they still haven't restocked their shelves. maybe bike stuff don't sell well during the winter season (hence the lack of merchandise), that's the only explanation i can think of. i returned to home depot to buy my fluorescent light then rode back home.
when i got back i felt like i was overheating so i quickly took off as many layers as possible. but my clothes underneath were all sweat-soaked, so very quickly i felt cold again. i changed into some dry clothes and went out for a second ride, this time to the cafe. i saw my parents briefly (got a refill on some pure vanilla extract) before riding to the fresh pond trader joe.
trader joe still doesn't have my favorite good earth tea. this is the 3rd time i've checked. what's the hold up? it's been almost 2 months. a recall is one thing but this feels like a deliberate embargo to deprive me of one of my favorite hot beverages. i did pick up a box of trader joe's candy cane green tea ($1.99). seasonal drinks can be gimmicky, riding on the coat tails of some holiday spirit. but who can resist the lovely drawing of a polar bear wearing a sweater sitting on an ice floe drinking a hot mug of tea? not me apparently! or in the inside flap, where a narwhal has christmas ornaments dangling from its horn?
i returned home via the fresh pond bike path followed by huron avenue. it's actually a much longer way home, but the bike path offers a length of casual riding where i don't have to worry about cars. it's also good to change up my routes every once in a while in case i'm being followed (paranoid much?).
candy cane green tea smells awesome but doesn't quite taste the same. i usually avoid minty drinks because it reminds me of mouthwash or toothpaste. i was expecting something more delicious with ingredients like: peppermint leaf, green tea, vanilla bean, cinnamon, milk thistle (?), blackberry leaves, roasted carob, roasted chicory, sugar, and gum acacia. the sugar was what sold me. certainly anything with sugar can taste all that bad, right? but i should've known it wasn't a sugary drink when sugar is listed as the second to last ingredient. after a while though, the taste sort of grew on me. it's basically a mint tea, with peppermint being the predominant flavor. it's definitely something different and doesn't that too bad (at least not compared to my initial reaction) but i don't think i'll get it again. when will my good earth tea return to the shelves? maybe it's just isolated to the fresh pond store. i need to try the one on memorial drive.
i just had a banana for breakfast, and finally was able to have a late lunch, a microwave-heated trader joe's thai massaman chicken ($2.50). i don't think i've ever had it before, it was actually pretty good, although at 390 calories, it's more of an appetizer than a substantial meal (unless you're on a diet).
i put in the new fluorescent bulb. for something that's supposedly a plant light, it's awfully yellow. when it comes to store bought aquarium lights, i'm not sure if i've ever gone with philips before. i think in the past i used GE, and those were better lights. the starter on this particular aquarium light probably needs to be replaced at some point (they're pretty cheap, about $2). it still works, but it takes a long time before the light will turn on.
my carefree day took a more serious turn when i got word from the client that my program wasn't working. turns out it was working, but when i checked it, i discovered another bug that required fixing. i gave the client a new version, not sure if they're using it.
my fenders finally came in the late afternoon. i was taken aback at how wide they were (60mm), but it may look different once i get them installed. they're made from a bendy plastic material that make them feel cheap, but i imagine they're pretty light because of that. i hope they'll fit on my trek 800 and won't look too ugly.
in the early evening i went to harvard yincheng library for an archeology lecture titled "technology, tombs, and texts: uncovering the ancient maya past at caracol, belize." it was one of the more interesting lectures i've attended this year, despite not fully understanding some of the more esoteric archeological and historical topics. caracol was a mayan city-state roughly between 300-800 AD. they were a contemporary of the more famous tikal city-state and actually warred with their rulers. the 2 american archeologists (chases, who were also the lecturers) had been working on the site for almost 3 decades and made some interesting discoveries. the people of caracol subsisted on terraced farming, and much of the landscape was terraformed for such a purpose. caracol is unique in that wealth seemed to have been distributed fairly equally for all inhabitants, from the city center to the outer fringes, as evidenced by burial items in unearthed tombs. and using LIDAR technology, just last year they were able to survey the entire site and get detailed topographical maps through the dense jungle of hidden features like roads, terraces, reservoirs, and homes.
when i returned home i did a water change on both my aquariums. actually, more like a water addition, as the heaters had reduced the water level so they were both down by an inch.
my roommate came home before 8:00. he said he was still jetlagged, and planned on going to bed right after big bang theory in order to rest up for a weekend in new york city starting tomorrow morning. but afterwards he spent half an hour in the kitchen making some pasta for dinner. as for me, i heated up another trader joe frozen meal, this time the chicken vindaloo. this i've had before, and i thought it'd be more delicious, but it was sort of plain. i'm going to stock up on that massaman chicken though, that's some good stuff (or better yet, cook some on my own).