yesterday i saw the tree removal letter from the town of belmont; today i noticed they'd spray painted a white X on the tree trunk, marking it for removal. so it's really going to happen. the question now is: how soon? and what will they plant in its place?

my mother prepared some wontons for lunch. i ate while watching the start of the patriots-redskins game. i'd only get to catch 30 minutes before we left for binbin's house in burlington. usually we go there via local roads but today we took the faster route via 95.

we were there to see them one last time before they return to china on tuesday. we were also there so they could give us some house maintenance info (security code, keys, etc.), so we could take care of their house and their car for the next year. a part of me wanted to stay home and watched the football game, but this was something i just had to be there. who knows, worst case scenario, we may not see them again in the US if they can't get their visas. besides us, my aunt and uncle also came, as well as my sister. jason's parents were there, hard to gauge how they feel, but we suspect they're secretly happy, as their original plan was for their son to return to china once he finished school, they never thought he'd choose to stay in the US. anderson seemed very happy, told everyone he was going to china, not fully realizing the ramification of what was happening. he's been to china before, but as a toddler and a baby, and couldn't anything. all he knew was he didn't have to go to kindergarten (though will continue school once in china). everyone tried to be optimistic, but there really was no promise they'd get to return. we didn't stay long, left before 4pm, since they probably still had a lot of preparations to make before leaving.

coming back, we stopped off at a roadside KFC/taco bell (woburn) to get some fried chicken for dinner. 8 pieces for $16! kind of a ripoff. afterwards my mother stayed in the car while my father and i went next door to batteries plus bulbs to check out their battery selection. we have more batteries than we know what to do with, but i was kind of hoping it see if they carried any lithium batteries (i didn't see anything). they also carried an assortment of led lights, just the kind of store we'd be interested in, if it weren't for the fact that we can buy everything much cheaper online.

when we came home from burlington the new LED grow light was waiting for us on the doorstep. after feasting on some fried chicken (i had a thigh and a breast), my father and i went downstairs to set up the new light.

it was simply a matter of replacing the XECCON light with this second iplantop light. but the hanging wires from the iplantop lights were too long (such that the suspended light would dangle precariously close to the top of the plants), while the XECCON hangers are just the right length. so we ended up switching out the wires for one of the iplantop lights, while my father jerryrigged some new shorter hanging cables with leftover wires. something else we talked about yesterday was the idea of keeping the XECCON light. sure, it underperforms with only 100W of actual wattage, but its use of COB leds is something different and the light color is actually more pleasant to the eye compared to the blurple hue of the iplantop lights.

with the dual iplantop grow lights glowing (for a combined actual wattage of 320W) we actually don't need any of the T8 fluorescent lights so we turned them off. the only other lights is a 40W led shop light that goes over the two topiary ficus bushes and a square 45W grow light that hangs suspended from above the tall water reed.

because we ate so early, my mother made some mexican fried corn for a small second dinner before i returned to cambridge. afterwards i returned home to catch sunday night football, a game between the undefeated chiefs versus the colts.

i'm using october 5th's production graph as the new benchmark. it didn't rain today but the sky was overcast for much of the day. despite nearly a week of miserable results, we're still tracking ahead of last year's numbers, as last october was pretty bad production-wise.

i've been studying the darkness sensing circuitry and managed to streamline it to the point where it doesn't use any wire leads (other than the 2 leads from the 9V battery). i'm just a few steps shy of building my own solar-powered led night light. it's more of a learning exercise since i can easily buy one from any dollar store.