it rained overnight and then transitioned to snow by dawn as the temperature suddenly dropped and we experienced a flash freeze event. there wasn't as much snow as i'd feared, just a dusting (earlier forecast said there might've been 1-2"). my father called me in the late morning because i'd expressed some interest in cleaning the solar panels, but there was already a layer of ice glaze covered by a fine layer of snow, nothing we can remove with the foam snow rake. seeing my neighbor's panels, i had a similar sense of what was going on in belmont. condition like this there was nothing to do but let the sun naturally melt the ice/snow. that seemed to be happening because there was suddenly a huge spike in production, from less than 1 kW to suddenly almost 6 kW.

i spent an hour cleaning the fish tank after i noticed strands of hair algae. the last time i cleaned was more than 3 weeks ago. i noticed a few things. i'm not getting as much cyanobacterial slime like i used to. i used to get slime regrowth after just 24 hours later. there's still some slime, but it doesn't seem to spread as fast. however i'm getting different algae (real algae this time), brown fuzz that clings to the inside of the glass, and now strands of green hair algae. i think the reason isn't because of frequent water changes, which i've sort of stopped doing. i think the real reason is my plants are actually growing now. it's hard to tell from the anubias nana (it grows slow, although it's now firmly rooted onto its piece of driftwood that i can finally remove the twist tie anchor) but the windelov java fern has definitely increased in size since i bought it 4 months ago. my old legacy java ferns aren't doing nearly as well, and i'm thinking whether i should just trim all the old ferns and add some fresh new ones. the one ferns seem to be infested with cyanobacteria and slime always grow from the roots first. i'm happy to report that i still have 11 neon tetras, none of have died so far (they have a maximum life expectancy of a decade). finally, i added warm water directly from the faucet, just adding 3 drops of seachem water conditioner to the bucket. i tried it last time, the fish didn't suffer, so this may be the new way to go for the future, which means i can get rid of my cistern.

a little over a year ago i discovered that taking the commuter rail from porter square into north station was the fastest way to get to haymarket (10 minutes exactly). the only downside is the trains run on a schedule and they don't come very frequently, every 1-2 hours or so. i was going to take one of the afternoon trains, but decided to grab the 12:10pm train so i'd have a shorter wait and could come back on the 1:55pm. the price was still $2.25, same as the subway with the charliecard (subways are $2.75 if you use the paper charlieticket or cash); i bought two tickets (roundtrip) using the MBTA app. i was in a rush to get to the station on time so i bought the tickets using my phone, making sure i didn't slip on the icy sidewalks and keeping my fingers from freezing in the bitter wind chill. that was one reason why i decided to go today since tomorrow will be even colder. it was so cold i had a hard time punching in my credit card number with my frozen digits and finally had to stop to input them correctly.

i left my house at 11:55am, arrived at porter square by 12:05pm, the train came at 12:10pm, and by 12:20pm i was at north station. it then took me 10 minutes walking down beverly street to arrive at haymarket. i bought 15 large navel oranges for $6, and 20 small navel oranges for $4. because it was so cold, there was a risk of buy frozen produce. i spent 30 minutes at haymarket, circling the vendors at least thrice, trying to use up as much time as possible, as my train wasn't for almost another hour. finally i slow walked back to the station, where i still had 45 minutes to kill before the fitchburg train would depart. sucking on ricola cough drops, i read more of murderbot in all system red.

the train ride from north station to porter square is 10 minutes exactly, arriving at 2:05pm precisely. during that time the conductor came by to check our tickets. i asked him which end of the train was the exit when we arrived and he pointed to the door behind me. i was meeting my mother at porter square, she called earlier to schedule a rendezvous so i could help her use up one of the coupons at michael's to score some yarn. while waiting to cross the street, i heard my mother calling behind me, she was waiting at the station. i told her that was a bad idea because the porter square parking lot attendants are very strict when it comes to people parking there to use the MBTA. fortunately they didn't catch her and the car was still there. i dropped off my bags before heading to the crafts store.

after my mother got her yarn, i grabbed my heavy backpack (stuffed with an assortment of oranges) and walked back home, saving my mother a trip of having to drop my off first.

by then, around 2:30pm, the sky was an intermittent mix of bright sun and low clouds. checking the solaredge monitoring app, the graph line for today was a series of sharp peaks. even then, by day's end, we still managed to make 15.88kWh, slightly more than yesterday (and yesterday was a very cloudy day until the afternoon when it brightened up a bit). that fact that we peaked several times close to 6kW makes me think that the ice on the panels had melted off despite the cold temperature. the lower production was due to the low obscuring clouds.

out of curiosity, i weighed some of the navel oranges i bought. the small ones are much smaller than the ones i purchased last week, averaging 5-6 oz. each (last week they were around 6-6.5 oz.). the larger oranges are much bigger though, averaging 14-15.5 oz. (last week's large were around 12.5-13 oz.). my mother thinks the smaller oranges have better flavor (at the very least they're more fragrant), while the large oranges are just for volume. yesterday i bought some carton orange juice but the flavor doesn't even come close to fresh squeezed.

i'm beginning to think that hui zhou gaoshengda technology is not actually a machine owned by one of the upstairs astrophysicists, but actually it's the wifi hardware for my sister's roku tv. that's got to be it because i looked at the device list and i don't see the roku tv anywhere even though i know my sister uses it. the weird thing is when i search online for 'hui zhou gaoshengda technology roku tv' i don't find any relevant matches. next time i'm at my sister's place i'll check the MAC address of her tv to confirm, but i'm pretty sure that's what it is. it's also one of the two devices that's using the 5GHz network. at first i thought maybe one of the astrophysicists found out about the new wifi, but i think it's actually because we switched her roku tv to 5GHz.

i didn't have lunch until 3pm. i heated up a leftover english muffin and then fried an egg to go with it, it tasted pretty good, but i was so hungry, anything would've been delicious. for dinner i had some left rice and beans.