i had 3 hours to kill this morning before i had to take my great uncle to see the doctor at 1:00. since i had the car, i drove to the fellsway mall in medford to get some aquarium supplies from pet supplies plus: penn plax 28 oz. activated carbon1 ($14.48), tetra algae control ($6.48), algae scrub sponge ($2.18), and a F14T8 hagen aqua-glo fluorescent tube bulb ($10.98). i signed up for a pet supplies plus card to get a $1 discount.

coming back, i stopped by the somerville home depot to get some rags ($4.23) for cleaning the bike chains. i checked out the lighting department again to see if they had warning to customers about buying T12 bulbs - which will cease production within a few months (by federal order). i didn't see any such notices.

after a quick shower and a bowl of cereal, i went to the cafe to pick up my great uncle. the 1:30 doctor's appointment was just a formality, since my great uncle has felt fine since we left the clinic on wednesday. basically it was a lot of work just so he can drop his pants and have the doctor see that he's fine. his boil had healed so well that the doctor even had a hard time finding it again.

after i dropped off my great uncle back at the cafe, i drove to belmont to drop off the car (including a raleigh bike frame i transferred from my place) and retrieve my ross bicycle. it felt nice to be on the bike again, less responsibility compared to driving. it's more work, but i prefer the freedom to do things like stop to take photos or gently run red lights. i almost crashed again though, making a left turn following behind a car that wasn't going as fast as i'd anticipated on a turn with a lot of curb and pot holes. the soft brakes were useless and by some miracle i didn't hit anything.

when i got back home i was determined to fix those brakes. originally i was going to swap out the pads (at least for the front brake) but then i made a few turns on the brake adjustment knob to close the gap between pad and rim. previously it was about half a centimeter but now it's closer. i won't know until i ride the bike again if it worked.

i made a quick trip to market basket riding my trek "grocery getter." riding that bike is like putting on a well-worn pair of pants. it's not the fastest or the sexiest, but it gets the job done and super-safe.

i waited too long to treat the aquariums with the algae remover solution so it'll have to wait until tomorrow. i did do another water change on both tanks. the guppy tank really needed one as new algae was already blooming, but the minibow was fine (if nothing else, at least it removed some of the oil condensation on the surface).

i replaced the fluorescent tube on the 10 gallon guppy tank about a year ago so it's still in good shape. as for the minibow 7, it's been more than 4 years since i replaced the bulb. i must've forgotten and was surprised to rediscover that both aquariums use the more energy efficient T8 fluorescent tube (instead of the T12). the new aqua-glo bulb i got was for the minibow. rated at 18000K, it has a very bluish cast to it, but supposedly it's good for stimulating plant growth. i'm hoping that's true and a flourishing java fern population will keep the algae in check. the minibow 7 light strip is so old that the plastic reflective housing on the inside has turned brittle and reduced to dust. i've temporarily used some aluminum foil to reflect the light, but i'll need to buy a replacement light strip at some point.

my roommate came home around 6:30 and immediately started cooking. i hung out in the kitchen to surreptitiously supervise his performance. he was making this noodle soup with his ramen and some baby carrots and slices of cold cuts. it looked awful but he dutifully ate everything even though he admitted it wasn't cooked right. i was making very simple spaghetti with meat sauce and told him if he didn't feel like eating what he made i'd share some of my food with him, but he kept a brave face and endured his own concoction.

we ate together in the living room, first watching some big bang theory (his favorite american show), followed by transformers, then some celtics basketball. he told me he still had to go to work tomorrow because he didn't finish his project. he went to bed around 10:00, which is late for him.

1 something to keep in mind for next time, but i can get 80 oz. (5 lbs. which is about 4x what i bought today) worth of activated carbon online (via ebay) for just $20 with free shipping.