there's something new in the world of customer support: text-based chat support. i've used it a few times, like when i removed the additional shipping charge for my mother's recent amazon order. i first saw it many years ago, back in china, where a lot of online taobao sellers also have an online chat presence so buyers can ask them additional questions about the products. i was pretty amazed, this sort of direction contact between buyer and seller. and doing it via chat was just easier, almost more natural in today's modern world were everyone is texting.

so this morning i was text chatting with someone from verizon to cancel the free one year HBO on my parents' cable account. it's free until tomorrow that is. originally i was going to call, but when i saw the chat window popup, i decided to use that instead. i did try cancelling HBO online, but the bill somehow increased, from the current $100/month to $120/month. the chat took just a few minutes, most of the time waiting for the person to look up the account. she cancelled it then sent me a confirmation e-mail.

this morning's breaking new was the rampage shooting in las vegas. when i saw the number 500 i thought it meant that many dead, but that was just the wounded; the dead was 50+, now the deadliest mass shooting in american history. the shooter fired with an automatic rifle from a hotel window overlooking a crowded concert venue of 20,000 people. i'm constantly amazed by the creative ways people find to kill other people. earlier this year it was the car rampage; now we have mass shootings from tall buildings.

after a grilled cheese ham sandwich, i went to the cafe bearing a package of fresh haymarket figs. yesterday my father asked me to come by and help clear out some weeds around the parking lot perimeter. i also checked our painted lines, now completely dry and looking professional as hell.

at the fresh pond petsmart i picked up some aquarium plants. i received a coupon last week, $10 off of any total in-store purchase $10 or more. the cheapest plants were $4.99/container. i was afraid getting 2 wouldn't add up to $10 so i bought 3 instead, at about $1.66/plant, not a bad deal.

to belmont i went to water the lawn and garden. i didn't water yesterday given how much rain fell on saturday. i returned to the cafe to drop off one of the roofing contracts, so my father could compare the two. he called one of the roofers (arlington) to revisit the house tomorrow morning to give us a new estimate about the cracked support beam in the attic. we also wanted to ask him about putting water and ice shielding on the entire back roof, so there'd be additional protection against leakage and ice damage once the solar panels go into place.

i returned home by 3:50pm, eager to place my new aquarium plants. it's been 4 days since i got my tetras, and there's already some algae growing on the edge of the glass above the gravel line. so after cleaning off the algae i didn't a 2 gallon water change, using the water from my cistern. i then took out the plants from their jelly substrate packaging: windelov java fern, amazon sword, and anubias nana.

at some point i'll need to tie the windelov java fern and the anubias onto the driftwood, as that's their preferred way of growing. i may even clean up my driftwood completely, salvage what original java ferns i can, rip off all the rotting and algae-covered roots, then boil the driftwood to kill off any remaining algae growth to then have a fresh sterilized piece of driftwood. i've grown amazon swords in the past, they did okay, but my gravel substitute is not the best for them. they are pretty though, i actually like them better than the anubias. the windelov is new too, i personally prefer the original java fern; the windelov variety looks kind of ragged.

every day the tetras get more used to their new home. they're no longer afraid of my presence anymore, even after i vacuumed and did a water change in their tank. they sort of hang out in front corners of the tank, possibly waiting for food.

i got the ladder from the basement and replaced the 2 AA batteries in my acurite wireless weather sensor hanging from the roof of my backyard deck. ideally they should be lithium batteries, as they work better in cold weather, but i never had any problems with regular alkaline batteries. these are fresh duracells anyway, that i pilfered when i was in belmont earlier.

li came home around 5:40pm, early for him as he usually doesn't get back until it's dark. he said he felt unusually tired today, and also unusually hungry. for dinner, i heated up my frozen homemade tomato sauce and ate it with some chicken prosciutto raviolis.