* biked to belmont on the fuji around noontime

* mother reported seeing a large yellow bird on the suet feeder. she managed to snap a few photos with her camera. not sure what it was, at first i thought it was a wintering goldfinch, but it was unusually large. then i saw it for myself when it returned to the feeder. looks like a young female baltimore oriole, first time at the feeder. normally we don't see orioles until late spring since these are summer migrants. maybe since this was a young bird, her timing was a little off and arrived too early, when there isn't any food to eat yet (insects and berries). so the suet is probably her only source of food at the moment. i didn't know orioles could hang from suet feeders, it had no problems eating. there were also a lot of other birds today (downys, chickadees, juncos, nuthatch).

* drove back to cambridge, waiting for eliza to return

* gave eliza a ride to porter square. just as we were about to head out, i saw the mailman drop off a bunch of boxes on my front steps. i got out to put them inside the house before leaving.

* ocean state job lot (waltham)

i tried to set up the t-mobile sim card. i had it in my old ZTE phone but i may need that phone at some point so better to put it into a nokia. unfortunately the little nokia that i had ran out of juice and i didn't have a charger at home. but finding a charger in belmont turned out to be not so easy. my father finally found one but it wouldn't recharge my nokia. fortunately we had another nokia phone that did charge. later i found out the reason why my nokia wasn't charging was the battery was completely empty; after leaving it in a charging state, it finally came back to life. unfortunately the sim card doesn't work with my nokia phone; only with the other nokia. before activating the sim card though, i want to get the phone number porting information from comcast. this wasn't so easy either, and i think they're going to send me the voice security pin via regular mail.

i couldn't wait to get home to unbox the new LED aquarium light that i saw arrive on my doorstep earlier this afternoon. i took out a light flat panel studded with led's on one side behind a glass cover. compared to my old fluorescent tank light, this thing looked like some aquarium equipment from the future. 2 collapsible hinges allowed me to mount the new light above the glass panel cover.

i did a little comparison test.1 the fluorescent tube - operating at 12.5 watts (it's rated 15 watts) - had a yellow hue. the beamswork led light - operating at only 7.2 watts (although with 19x 0.50W led's it should really be at least 9.5 watts not counting the 3x actinic led's) - has a temperature of 6500k (supposedly optimal for plant growth) so it has a blueish hue. and when only the actinic led's are turned on - just 3, 1.6 watts - it's very dark blue, to simulate night time conditions. the one problem i can see with the led light is that it doesn't have a hood. fortunately the led's are pointing downwards but there's still a little bit of side glare that i'm not used to. led's have to be open to dissipate heat, but when i felt the led's they didn't feel hot at all. now i just have to wait and see if the java ferns will do better with these led's.

i installed the new curtain in the guest bedroom. the drape tension spring was $3.49 and the 54x63" curtain itself was $8. it fits perfectly, hopefully this will make mary feel more secure when i'm gone in april-may. i also put new rug underlays under the carpets ($2.99 each); they're a little old so the rubber padding underneath have crumbled into dust, making the carpets slide around when you walk over them. now the question is when will my roommate return. is it rude of her to not get in touch with me ever since she left? although i'm not surprised, since she couldn't give me a straight answer even when she was here. honestly, i still don't trust her completely to leave the house to her. my only guarantee that she won't wreck the place is that she's moving into my grand uncle's place come june. her rent also funds my china adventure, so i like to think that we both benefit.

1 as a side note, my hagen aquaclear 20 aquarium filter uses 4.2 watts of power. it essentially runs 24/7, theoretically cleaning the fish tank water (provided i remember to routinely change out the activated carbon).