temperature today approached 60°F. i could hear the sound of melting snow everywhere. a pool of water had collected on one side of the street, blocked by some unmelted ice from reaching the drain a few houses down. i decided to help things along by chiseling out a canal with an ice chopper. i chatted with a meter maid who was ticketing a little red car parked in front of my house.

i went to the comcast xfinity office to replace my 2nd aunt's digital-to-analog box. there may not be anything wrong with it, but if a new box still doesn't work, then it must be a cable issue. the new box was even smaller than the old one; unfortunately they forgot to give me an IR sensor cable (which i didn't realize until later).

i went to the cafe for the 3rd consecutive day of snow shoveling the parking lot. my godmother's son alex was there to help out as well. we managed to clear out another spot. afterwards i went to my 2nd aunt's place with the new cable box. it still didn't work, flashing intermittently. the person i spoke with on the phone said it had something to do with the cable, and scheduled a technician to come by next monday morning. back at the cafe i told my father what happened, and we went out to inspect the cable. wouldn't you know it, the cable was lose! it must've snapped off when a melting ice pile fell on it. we came back with a replacement coaxial cable head and an IR sensor cable i pilfered from another cable box. once that was done, i called back comcast to activate the box and the cable was back to normal. i finished up by taking hailey to the parking lot and putting her in the car. i rode the bike to belmont, with my parents following me a few minutes later.

you can't fight nature: or, you can't fight a horde of hungry rabbits who have ravaged the quince bush every night. one good thing that may come out of this is at least the bush will be fertilized by an abundance of rabbit droppings, provided it even survives the onslaught. belmont was so much better when we didn't have all these rabbits. even the raised beds are in danger, can grow anything in there without it potentially being rabbit food.

we left for burlington, where my mother was searching for some knook crochet/knitting needles at joann fabrics. there was a 40% sale on all knook items, but apparently that was just online, because when we got there it was just retail price. my mother - who was originally going to buy 2 kits, then decided not to get them, ended up buying just one, even though she wasn't going to open it until she found a better deal elsewhere. next we went to market basket, where we got a bit of groceries, including 2 bags of fried chicken. i picked up a new prayer plant (for the one that died in my house when i was in china because nobody came by to water it) for $3. finally we went to h-mart to get a few more things. my mother wanted to buy some green tea kit kat for my taiwanese relatives (even though i told her they probably have them there) but it was just to expensive (imported from asia) at $7/bag.

after some fried chicken for dinner, i waited for sunset (around 6:45pm now) before going out into the snowy backyard to take some star photos with my dSLR and tripod. i was trying to find the best setting. a 15 second exposure seems to be the limit, otherwise stars begin to have trails. everything was taken with ISO 100 and using a remote control trigger. a few photos at the start were taken at f/8, before i pushed it up to f/1.8 for maximum light capture. actually too much light capture, because the sky started to look white instead of dark. it was nice to get back into astronomy again, even if it wasn't usually my big telescope. i didn't take out a pair of binoculars to get a better look at jupiter, where i managed to see it as a big white ball with its 4 moons.

i was astrophotographing for half an hour before deciding i had enough. because it was a warm day i arrived with just a hooded sweatshirt, but now returning home it was a bit colder and darker. i wish i'd also brought my gloves and my hat. regardless, once i started pedalling, i warmed up after a few minutes. the brisk air felt more like autumn.