i noticed one of my lupines was getting a bit leggy so i decided to replace one of the fluorescent bulbs. T12 fluorescent tubes are being phased out but i still had 2 brand new spares. i thought they were the cool white variety, but they were actually the warm white type. when it comes to healthy seedlings, i think cool white (blueish) is the way to go, because it promotes leaf growth, compared to the warm white (reddish) which promotes flowering.

my parents are borrowing my panasonic lumix zs20 travel camera when they leave for taiwan later this week. the camera's great, except there's a blurry dust spot that appears in the center of photos from time to time. i knew about this problem a while back, and even tried to fix it when i was in china, taking apart the camera with a small screwdriver i bought in taiwan to clean off the sensor. but as i feared, the problem wasn't dust on the sensor, but rather dust inside the lens itself, which is harder to get access to. but i tried today to take apart the camera once again, to see how far i could get. i got as far as the sensor but didn't dare go any farther. the dust spot was still there after i reassembled the camera.

enroute to belmont via bike, i stopped to take a photo of the massive tree stump on linnaean avenue. it wasn't that long ago that i was admiring the many tall trees on linnaean, some seemingly dangerously tall. i guess i wasn't the only one paying attention because they chopped down of the trees a few weeks ago. if i'd known i would've checked it out, it must've been a real spectacle. the tree still had that fresh turpentine smell and the stump was still wet with sap. that tree was easily 100+ years old.

i envision a lot of belmont gardening work while my parents are away. tidying up the backyard, fertilizing the lawn once all the snow has melted, plant some early spring greens in the raised beds, dig out the runaway bamboos, set up the rain barrels, rabbit-proof the fences, etc. once my parents return, my father and i will chop down the 2 diseased plum trees and repair a section of fence that's falling apart. i took some time to set up another cold frame using leftover storm windows from when my parents upgraded their windows last year. while moving a wooden plank, i drove a thick splinter right into my thumb. it was painful, i yanked it out, but for some reason it didn't bleed.

i had some time on my hands so i decided to open up the camera once again, see if i can disassemble the lens housing this time around. taking apart electronics is actually kind of fun, i get to see how it works on the inside. when i opened up the lens housing, it sort of came apart in a jump of curled ribbons. i was afraid to go any further, and it took me a while to figure out how to put the housing back together again.

there is always a risk that when you take something apart, it doesn't work quite right when you put it back together. unfortunately that happened to me. the camera seemed to be working, but when i tested it, it wouldn't focus when the lens is set at the widest angle. only when you zoom in a little bit does the focusing beginning to work again. not sure why that is, and not sure if it happened before i took everything apart and just never noticed until now. i even took apart the camera one more time, thinking i might've disconnected something the last time, but everything seemed okay. so not only did i not fix the blurry dust problem, but i also created a new problem with this focusing issue. normally this would bothered me to no end, but maybe i'm more chill in my old age. besides, if the camera really is broken, that means i'll be in the market for a new camera!

i left for cambridge a little after 7:00, right around dusk. riding down huron avenue, i saw a crowd of people at the intersection with larchwood drive, across from the fresh pond reservoir. i'd seen people before, last sunday when i was going home. i was curious what they were looking at, with their binoculars and telescopes and digital cameras. it could've been one of two things: something astronomical, or something bird-related. i saw the crowd again tonight and just had to stop to see what they were looking at. turns out it was a small owl sitting in a tree hole - an eastern screech owl to be exact. people were waiting around hoping to catch a glimpse of it flying away to look for dinner. owls sleep during the daytime but once it gets dark, they slowly wake up in search of food. when a noisy fire engine came roaring down the street, the owl seemed to have had enough and quickly flew away.

after taking a shower, i settled down with a tub of brigham's pistachio ice cream to watch the collegiate basketball finals. with no favors to either team, i was rooting for the wisconsin badgers because they seemed like the underdogs compared to duke. the blue devils ended up winning although it was a close game and a questionable turnover call with less than 2 minutes to go that should've gone to wisconsin (replay showed the ball going off the fingertip of a duke player).