i didn't fall asleep last night until 7am if that makes any sense. i didn't go to bed until 3am, then i fell deep into a led grow light research black hole, finding products on amazon and researching for reviews and youtube videos. even i knew it was getting obscenely late, but when i tried to fall asleep i just couldn't. instead of forcing myself, i turned on the phone and continued researching. the thing that finally put me to sleep was reading, i've been working on a book by timothy winegard, not that the subject matter is boring, but just a few pages will put me right to sleep.

i went to harbor freight in the late morning to pick up a package of alligator clip wires to do some electricity testing. i searched OSJL for seed packets but they'd already cleared out most of their garden items. i biked a short distance to ac moore and got a plastic storage box for my mother. finally i went to the newly renovated aldi's to get a few grocery items, including a package of bratwurst.

i stopped by the cafe as i wanted to redo the sidewalk chalkboard sign, but i ended up just taking a few photos of it, as it was already early afternoon and i had to go to belmont to let hailey out into the backyard to use the bathroom.

my parents told me that bin bin had just visited, picking up lucas from daycare. she broke some troubling news to my parents: neither she nor her husband jason were able to renew their visa, so now they have to return to china. they can't try again and get a new visa until 1 year later at least, which is how long the wait period is. they have to leave as soon as possible since their visa already expired nearly 2 weeks ago and there's a one month grace period. so they pretty much have just 10 days to organize their affairs and return to china. in the time they've been here, they've bought a house, started a business, put 2 kids in school, really put down some roots. now they have to leave everything behind, and don't even know if they can ever come back. they were so confident their visa would get renewed, they never even bothered to consider the consequences if it didn't. as if it can't get any worse, jason's parents just arrived in town for 6 months to take care of the kids. now they have no choice but to go back home with them. it's hard to say why their visa didn't get renewed, but most likely it's because of trump's anti-immigration policies. this is not just happening with our family, but immigrant families across the country, uprooted, split apart, all because of the current administration. but at least my parents said bin bin seems optimistic that they'll be able to return soon.

the CMG-2420 solar controller arrived in the mailbox while i was in belmont. out of the box, it was a lot bigger than i'd imagined. i didn't think i could connect it to the 1.5W solar panel and battery because it used screw-type instead of insert-type connectors, but i was able to secure the AWG10 wires into the terminal block without any problems. the LCD screen is nice, white text on a black background, a lot easier to read. i tried the 12V DC output and connected a spool of 5050 strip lights which worked perfectly.

next i tried connecting the 12V toggle switches to the battery. my father tried to test a toggle switch a few days ago but he connected it wrong and saw his wire attached to the battery beginning to burn and smoke and quickly disconnected everything. i thought maybe he fried the switch but i tested them all and they all seem fine. i found a bundle of alligator clip wires, the same kinds i bought earlier today, and wondered if the ones i'd ordered already came and arrived in belmont instead of my place. regardless, i managed to connect the toggle switch and get it work, light up the led inside. i also hooked up a load - a small computer fan - and got it to work with the switch.

i noticed the dragon fruit cactus seedlings my father's been growing all have yellow tips. maybe this is natural, or maybe it indicates incompatible conditions, like maybe watering too much, or not enough sunlight.

i opened up the leaking solar light mason jar lids to look around inside. the circuitry is pretty simple: solar panel charges battery, battery goes to a switch, switch toggles the strand of led string lights that has a resistor in place to filter the input voltage. there's also a solar charging IC component just like the one found in the other solar light i took apart.

i looped the metal suspension wires of the led grow light and clipped them to mini carabiners so they could hang higher up, allowing more space for the eventual plants below. it's only a test, eventually we need to hang the grow light in such a way that it'd be easier to adjust the height. i attached the watt meter to the fluorescent light banks along with the old 45W LED grow light. the 45W light actually uses 33W of power. it runs silent, doesn't need a fan, but it uses old led technology (just 2-1/2 years old! light was only purchased in early 2017) which appear less bright compared to the new XECCON led grow light. it's also only just blue and red leds so the color it gives off is an eye-straining blurple.

instead of going home, my parents said they'd bring home some red roasted pork after work so i stayed for dinner. i showed my father the new CMG-2420 solar controller. he immediately said it was much better than the controllers we currently use, even though this one is only rated for 20A. for one thing the display is readable even at night, with an active black background LCD screen (compared to the passive LCD [grey background] of our generic blue controller). the display also has a lot more useful information, like current input and output, as well as temperature (only in celsius, that one not so useful). he liked the fins in the back, like the controller is properly designed for heat dissipation. but the the thing he was most impressed with was the 2 dedicated DC 12V outputs. this meant not having to add additional wires to the battery to power our 12V gadgets (primarily 12V led strip lights), which can potential be danger if a wire unclips and cause a short circuit.

my HC-SR501 pyroelectric motion sensors (2) arrived in the mail today. currently their default setting is for motion detection only, but a photoresistor can be attached to make it trigger only when it's dark (for night motion sensing). paired with a relay switch, i can use them to make motion sensing lights.

i recently watched luc besson's anna (2019), about a russian female spy assassin, following in the cinematic footsteps of red sparrow (2018) and salt (2010), and to some extent atomic blonde (2017). the film has similarities to la femme nikita (1990), the original female assassin movie that put besson on the map: girl with a rough past gets mixed up in some violent crime by accident and is then recruited by some shadowy government agency and trained as an assassin. from there much of the movie then deviates. sasha luss - whom i've never seen before - plays the eponymous assassin anna. the movie was surprisingly good, with some unexpected plot twists. the slick production is buoyed by some star power: helen mirren, cillian murphy, and luke evans. an unrelenting daytime restaurant fight sequence was one of the memorable moments.