i managed to wake up earlier than my roommate on this saturday morning. the first thing i did was to treat the algae in my fish tanks, at one drop of solution per gallon. the instructions also said to remove the carbon filters for around 8 hours to let the chemicals circulate through the aquarium water.

the other big project was to prepare the containers for growing my plants. i'd already brought up the grow lights back in february, and last week i purchased one more bank of grow lights to up my total grow lights to 4. the grow closet can fit 6 trays, and each tray can hold 12 potting containers, for a total of 72 containers, more than enough plants for my own garden, my parents' garden, and my great uncle's garden. the 32 quart bag of miracle-gro moisture control potting soil ($10.47) was exactly enough1 to fill all 72 containers plus some left over to repot a hanging pothos plant.

this is actually my 5th season with the grow closet (the first time was back in january 2008) so by now i've got my routine all figured out. after i filled all the containers, i poured crushed gravel onto the trays. once everything is set up, i'll pour water onto the trays to increase the humidity. i haven't figured out what to plant yet so the containers are seedless for now (i also didn't bottom soak them yet). i may also visit a few stores tomorrow to pick up some more seeds.

my roommate left for work around noontime. i did a load of laundry (washed all my sheets plus the soil-stained tablecloth). the mailman rang my doorbell to drop off a few packages, one of which was the replacement macbook charger i ordered a few weeks ago. unfortunately i thought it was being returned to sender so i contacted the seller to send me another one as long as i paid for the postage. now the other one's going to arrive and i'll have to pay to send it back. given all the hassle and extra postage paid, i could've paid for a used charger on ebay with that same amount of money.

the best thing that can be said about the replacement charger is it works. sort of. it has the red/green leds like on an apple magsafe plug, but they don't always turn on, and when they do, it'll show red for charging even though the battery's already fully charged (it will however turn green sometimes, or occasionally no lights at all). the leds are also much brighter than the apple leds, so much so that i'm tempted to cover it up with some semi-transparent masking tape. the bad? the build quality is crap, which isn't surprising given that it's a $22.25 knockoff (compared to the genuine apple charger which is $80). the "brick" transformer is a slightly different size than the genuine product, so that when i connect the extension plug, it's glaringly obvious the two things don't match. but given what i paid (not factoring in the additional shipping do to USPS drama), i could buy 2 more of these and still be cheaper than buying a genuine apple charger. it works and that's all that matters; not the prettiest, but how often does one admire a charger anyway?

also delivered was my 12' audio cable, which i used to connect my mp3 player to my cabinet mounted stereo. the stereo has RCA inputs but the closest thing to a regular audio input jack is the mic input, which was originally designed as a karaoke function. the audio isn't ideal but passable, and adds new life to my stereo which i can now use with the mp3 player.

my former roommate's replacement aroma electric kettle arrived at my place as well. she happened to be home when i called and came by a few minutes later to pick up her package.

in the late afternoon i biked to belmont to pick up some seeds. the adjustments i made on the ross didn't work, the pads kept rubbing up against the rims. i must've tried it before because otherwise the brakes would be fixed by now. one problem with these old side-pull caliper brakes is they're notoriously prone to being lopsided, meaning one pad touches the rim before the other pad does. i heard that it's not a big deal, but it seems like it'd affect the overall braking power in a bad way. if i have time tomorrow i may try to knock the brakes back into proper alignment and i might replace the pads as well.

my roommate returned home around 6:30. he made some ramen again, this time adding some pepperoni and cherry tomatoes. it looks pretty awful but he ate it without complaint. i had some more spaghetti.

1 i could've figured out the portions beforehand: 32 quarts = 1024 oz. * each container is 16 oz. which means i can fill 64 containers. however, i don't fill the containers to capacity, so there was enough potting soil for 72 containers.