the enemy of solar is clouds. you'd think it'd be snow since a layer of powder on panels can easily cut production to zero. but snow is only a problem during winter, and only intermittently since it doesn't snow everyday. however here in the northeast we hardly get a day without clouds. i used to think nothing about the clouds, admired them occasionally for their strange shapes, or the way they look around sunsets. but ever since my parents installed solar, i've begun to hate the clouds. high wispy clouds are okay since light can still shine through, but low patchy clouds are the worst since they easily eclipse the sun. oh what a dream to live in a dry desert climate where most days are cloudless! that's how i felt this morning. weather forecast called for a clear morning which was the case early on but in the late morning the sky became covered with 30% low clouds which drastically dropped the solar production. so much for a record setting day.

i went on a grocery run in the afternoon. i noticed some rust on my bike chain, nothing that a little riding and some oil later wouldn't fix. that's why during the winter months i only ride one bike (my utility bike) because the salt on the road is bad for bike parts. or maybe i just need better parts, but even the best part will corrode when exposed to all that salt.

i started reading ancillary justice by ann leckie. the book came out in 2013 and won a ton of scifi awards (hugo, nebula, locus, arthur c. clarke) such that it's become required reading for anyone remotely interested in scifi. it's not an easy novel to read as it drops you into this world with a weird social hierarchy and the narrator (purposely) has problems with gender pronouns but the author has built an intriguing world.

solar production for today was 21.06 kWh, the 5th most productive day. i was surprised it reached 20 kWh given the clouds, and even more surprised when it exceded that amount by another kWh. the graph shows a very distinctive plateau: 6 kW seems to be the maximum electricity that can be produced by all 24 panels at this time; i'm expecting that maximum to be higher as we head into the summer, with the sun angle increasing in the sky.

i finished watching american satan (2017), about a rock band that sells its soul to the devil in order to achieve success. the premise sounded intriguing when i first heard about the film, and the fact that olivia culpo was in it compelled me to finally see it. the story is terrible and a good chuck of the movie seems to be pretentious concert footage filler which i fast-forwarded. what is however worth checking out is the surprisingly high production value, and a list of unbelievable supporting actors and cameos: malcolm mcdowell, john bradley (samwell tarley), denise richards, bill duke (predator), drake bell, larry king (!), tori black, and many more you'd recognize from other films. i was most impressed with jesse sullivan who plays lily mayflower one of the band members. i've never seen her before and when i looked up her info online, there was hardly anything as she's an amateur actor, mostly known for her androgynous modeling (in real life she looks nothing like her film persona). despite selling their souls, there doesn't seem to be any bad repercussions besides fame and the usual rock star pitfalls of sex and drugs. the devil himself played by malcolm mcdowell calls himself mr. capricorn. there's hardly any deaths either, the band have to make a blood sacrifice by torching a rival band member in their van (what a waste of van!) but at the last second the lead singer johnny faust (andy biersack) lets the guy go, only to have him accidentally electrocute himself while trying to escape climb a barbed-wire fence (seems like a dangerous thing to have and a real liability issue); the only other notable death is the demise of their manager played by john bradley of a drug overdose in a bordello. olivia culpo is nothing more than eye candy, playing the devote girlfriend back home while her boyfriend is out being a rock star. i still don't know if i like the movie. the plot is infuriatingly weak but the spectacle is kind of marvelous to watch. certainly better made than a lot of cheap horrors.