i wrote emma back this morning, accepting her offer of a refund minus $12 for the cost of the hypothetical return postage. i was tired of negotiating, and my desire to return the 50W panel was more out of stubbornness because i wanted her to admit that her US seller label was a lie. her last deal was actually the best deal: i'd get a $19 refund, and could still keep the 50W panel. it's like paying $12 for the panel, which i checked on ebay, you can't get for less than $30. but definitely there's some false advertising on her part, but i should've been smarter and checked the specs, because according to the specs there was no way this panel was 50W. even if i didn't see the specs, this panel only has 6 monocrystalline solar cells. assuming each cell generates a little over 3W of power, 6 cells would mean roughly 18W maximum, the equivalent of a 20W panel. in fact, if you search ebay for 20W solar panels, these same 6-cell panels pop up - but at least those sellers are being honest with what they have.

since i was keeping the 6-cell 50W solar panel after all, i decided to check just exactly how much power it could get out of it. we'd only tested it once on saturday, and once we saw it couldn't possibly generate 50W, we sort of stopped testing. i knew it wasn't defective, because at the very least we got 6W out of it. i found my usb power tester (purchased back in february 2016 for testing usb cables) and plugged it into the usb port on the back of the panel. it read 3V, not enough to charge anything, since a typical usb has 5V. it was no fault of the panel though, as today was an impossibly grey day. in fact, we're not scheduled to see the sun until saturday, more likely sunday. i tested the direct voltage of the panel from the alligator clips, it read nearly 15V, slightly off from the 18V i saw the first time (once again, due to cloudy conditions). as a control, i tested the usb power tester connected to an usb charger, which read 5V. connected to my phone, the voltage dropped but i was reading some current values, which meant it was charging. later i found a short strand of usb string lights; these don't require the full 5V to glow, and i was able to turn them on, proving the panel worked at least.

i didn't want to eat eggs-kielbasa-sauerkraut again, so i heated up a chicken stuffed with cheese broccoli in the oven for lunch while i used the bathroom and took a shower. it was good but the serving size was too small, felt like i was rationing or on a diet. my sister dropped off a pretzel in the afternoon, and also left me with some sourdough bread. some of the bread i ate, while saving the rest for dinner to go with my leftover beef barley soup.

it was also supposed to rain today but it stayed dry more than it was wet despite the clouds. i biked to walgreens briefly to pick up snacks: smoked almonds, altoids, twix. that's my version of scratch tickets, cigarettes, and beer. the cashier - a middle-aged townie lady (whom i've never seen before) with a raspy voice like she had throat cancer - asked me if i had a walgreens card. when i showed her my phone, she shook her head. "i don't know what to do with that, hon," she told me. "i can't scan a phone." stores have been scanning loyalty cards off of my phone for years now, but obviously this woman believed otherwise. i didn't try to challenge her since the customer is always wrong, so i punched in my phone number instead, easier anyway.

while channel surfing on youtube tv, i got caught in the SVU vortex. i used to watch a lot of SVU, and many of the early season episodes (when stabler was still on the show) i've seen every episodes. haven't watched it in a while, but it's kind of like my comfort food, even though the subject matter can be troubling (sex crimes). all of the law & order stuff, i could watch at any moment, at any point in the episode, and it'd still be good.

in the evening i had a bright idea and decided to see if the 6-cell 50W solar panel could charge under bright lights. the brightest light i had in the house was the halogen fixture above the bathroom sink. i lifted the panel with the usb meter and phone attached. the meter was showing high voltage (up to 5V) while the phone was actually charging. i turned on the amperage app and saw measurements upwards of 1200mA (but averaging around 430mA). but the moment i pulled the panel away from the halogen lamp, the voltage would drop and the charging would stop. so i discovered two things: that bright indoor lights can charge the panel, and that i can use the panel to actually charge my phone. it's kind of handy to have, even though a portable battery backup would probably be easier, but it wouldn't be free like solar panel electricity. and you'd need bright sunlight. you could also do it with a bright indoor light, but if you're indoors and have electricity to turn on the lights, you'd also have electricity to charge your phone. i'd be curious to see if the panel could in fact actually fully charge a phone.

i coincided my leftover beef barley soup dinner with the start of the giants-patriots thursday night game. i feel for the players, who have to play again on short rest, but the good thing is they have the weekend to relax, and so do i since my sunday will be free because i don't have to watch the game. the barley had thickened up into large clumps at the bottom of the crockpot bowl, but reconstituted themselves into recognizable grains once i heated them up. the soup is much thicker the second time around, more chili than soup. by the time i finished a large bowl (plus bread) i was so full i could explode. i also reached that point where i don't know if could eat beef barley soup again tomorrow night.

i wouldn't say the game was awful, but new england's offense once again seemed listless. new york actually tied the game at 14-14, when their rookie quarterback daniel jones threw a beautiful long catch to golden tate who fumbled the ball in the air a few times before catching it, escaping two defenders as he ran into the end zone, and then new york scored again on a tom brady fumble. that last play was the costliest, since it looked like josh gordon rolled his ankle trying to play defense and stop the giants player from scoring. the game was a battle of attrition, and the giants couldn't maintain the momentum against the patriots defense, finally allowing pats offense to show signs of life in the second half, including a long bomb catch from edelman that was nearly a touchdown. final score 35-14, patriots go up 6-0 on the season. the win is fine and all, but i'm sure all of pats nation would rather have a healthy gordon given the choice, since the offense is depleted enough as it is. an antonio brown would be sweet right about now, if only he wasn't such a garbage person (amazing player, terrible human being).

emma contacted me again - perhaps for the last time - to let me know she was issuing the refund. she asked me to accept it right away, as doing so would also close the return dispute, which apparently is very important to her. later i gave them a good rating. i did earn a working 20W solar panel for just $12.