my father stopped by earlier to pick up the pots and planters i collected from the neighbor's curb. i sent him photos yesterday, he thought the porcelain pots were a lot bigger. i also brought in the trash and bumped into paul who thanked me for finding the wayward recycle bin. i noticed a piece of quartz on my front steps with a pair of googly eyes. not sure who put it there.
i changed the water of my lotus jar. yesterday 6 seeds looked like they were all going to germinate but today i had confirmation. while pouring the seeds out i must not have been gentle enough because two of the stem tips broke off without me realizing it. hopefully they can grow regardless. there were 3 remaining seeds that had yet to germinate and i thought they were rotten. i decided to cut open the one that looked to be in the worst shape. to my surprise, the inside looked very healthy, there was even a green germ that looked like it might have still germinated given enough time. the thing i did notice was it wasn't able to break the softer inner skin. maybe i didn't sand it down enough to break the inner skin, hence no germination. of the remaining two ungerminated seeds, i scored them a bit more with a pocket knife in the hopes that it will break the inner skin for them to possibly germinate.
at 1:15pm i met up with jack and bruce for a socially distant walk around the neighborhood, down to the lesley divinity school and back. today was a great day to be outside, mid-60's with little wind, i could've walked all the way to the charles river and cut through harvard square, but bruce wanted to head back so we all returned home.
i told kevin i'd be back in an hour and made good on that prediction. but no sooner was i back at home did i go out again. this time i didn't even bother telling him.
i still had plenty of walking in me left, so i went out on my own, armed with phone and camera, to fight in a few pokemon gyms and to take some more photos of spring flowers respectively. one gym i fought in, i won it from a level 40 team yellow trainer who quickly took it back less than 10 minutes after i left, leaving me with zero coins. the key to earning good coins is to diversify, win over gyms from many difference places. all the gyms nearby are hotly contested as there are so many people around. i need to visit some rural gyms, gyms that nobody visit, so i can accrue coins. the best way to do it is on bike, as i can cover a wider area and somebody on foot wouldn't be able to make.
the census bureau called me while i was walking with bruce and jack, but i ignored the call. they call me again while i was out on my own and i answered this time. they asked me if i was still interesting in working for them, and that they were planning on opening back up either in june or july. i told them yes, i'm still willing to enumerate for the census. with so many people out of work, i'd imagine they won't have an trouble filling any job vacancies.
when i returned home a letter was waiting for me inside the foyer. finally, my economic impact payment check! because of my income bracket, i'm getting the full amount ($1200). what a stupid name for the program. as advertised, trump's name was on the check, though he wasn't the one to sign it. i wouldn't be surprised if he didn't try to get his photo on there as well, instead of the statue of liberty. that would be the sort of thing he'd do. the check was printed slightly crooked, which is kind of what i think about this current administration. nevertheless, money is money, and i cashed it soon afterwards using my mobile banking app. it's like putting a bandaid on a gushing wound. throwing money at people is not going to turn the economy around. i don't know what the solution is, but this isn't it. i rather not receive this money and have the federal government actually do something more substantial to curbing the coronavirus pandemic and finding tangible solutions to reenergize the economy. it's not the first time i've received a federal stimulus check: i got one back in 2008 ($600, courtesy of obama) and 2001 ($300, courtesy of bush).
my father called me in the afternoon to tell me that our rain barrel transfer pump had stopped working. it was acting up a little yesterday, but my father managed to get it to work. but today the pump was completely dead, even after he connected it directly to a battery. later he noticed the wires might have been burnt from either a short-circuit or overheating.
we bought that pump back in july 2016 from harbor freight for $35. it sat idle for a while, part of our solar-battery-pump project for the rain barrels that we never got around to doing. but last year we finally put all the pieces together and that pump worked like a charm. the only negatives are it's rather loud when running (a noisy buzzing sound from the spinning impeller) and requires manually clamping the two alligator clips to our makeshift terminals that come out from our marine battery in the basement that's charged by a 100W solar panel. that pump was plenty powerful though, able to produce 5GPM.
harbor freight still sells these 12VDC transfer pumps ($36 after coupon), but now they're a drummond brand and have a slightly different design. that was the one we were going to get tomorrow, and we made tentative plans to also stop by the malden super 88 asian supermarket on the way back.
however, my father asked me to do some research on a better pump, one with some kind of pressure sensor. so i looked, and at first i didn't find anything. but then i came across a youtube video where a guy demonstrated an "on demand rain barrel pump." that sort of opened my eyes to the possibility and i did a search for "on demand pump" and found a whole bunch (they're also known as diaphragm pumps). they're actually fairly common for RV and boats, to mimic the pressured plumbing of a home sink or shower while using non-pressured stillwater.
the cheapest 12VDC 3GPM on demand pump was about twice the price of the harbor freight transfer pump. i sent my father some links, he didn't look at them until i called him to let him know what i've found. after that he checked out my findings, he said we should forgo getting another "delivery" pump (like the one we had) and upgrade to a demand pump instead. this would make our rain barrel water system much easier to use (no need to connect terminals, just turn on the spray nozzle and water will simply come out). most $60 demand pumps were only rated for 3GPM, but my father said that was more than enough for our needs. a typical faucet runs on 1-1.5GPM, and the maximum allowable faucet flow is 2.2GPM at 60psi, so 3GPM is more than enough. they do also sell 5GPM demand pumps, but those run $100+.
next came the decision as to what brand of demand pump. the video i first learned about these pumps was using a flojet. but during my search, i came across these seaflo pumps being sold on RV websites. they really stood out, with their bright orange pump head assembly. the few reviews on the website said good things. they were sold on amazon as well with likewise positive reviews. i figured they were US-made since they come with a 4-year warranty. they also come with an intake filter, to keep sand and other debris from getting inside the pump. the two models was the 33 series with 3 diaphragms, and the 42 series with 4 diaphragms. they sold for similar price ($60), the difference being the 4 diaphragms model has variable water flow. my father decided on the 33 series because it seemed simpler and less bulky compared to the 42. i found the seaflo company website and realized i could buy directly from them. not only was it a few dollars cheaper, but they also included free 2-3 day shipping, better than amazon which couldn't deliver it until at least a week later.
so i ended up ordering the seaflo series 33 12VDC 3GPM for $57, there wasn't even any taxes. later, curious about the company, i did a search. surprise! turns out, they are in fact not an american company but a chinese company (fujian aidi electric established in 2010). they had me fooled. usually i can tell, from the product design, or maybe some description that has some mistranslated english or glaring typo. that also made sense now why what i thought was the company website was actually in fact just the US distributor (seafresh marine). serves me right for not doing a bit more research, and trusting that amazon would push a legit company over a chinese company willing to pay to play to get their products listed as the top search items. and all those glowing reviews? now i'm suspicious. fakespot gave the company grade a B and product review grade of C. that doesn't mean the product is crap though just because it's from a chinese company. but i do feel a bit betrayed that what i thought was a US company turns out not to be. as for that 4 year warranty? who knows if they'll actually honor it if the pump ends up breaking.
the mix of sun and clouds today still managed to get us 42.73kWh of production. it's actually been a great may so far solar-wise, the only off day was the 1st, all other days have either been above 40kWh (with the except of one day that was 39.70kWh) and two days have even been greater than 50kWh.
i was unprepared for dinner, wasn't sure what i was going to eat. fortunately my father dropped off some scallion pancakes when he came over earlier, so i had that plus i made myself another salad, for a relatively healthy dinner.
i've been watching ozark, ever since i heard one reviewer referred to it as "breaking bad with accounting." i don't like the casting at all: jason bateman i hate from his days of smarmy frenemy in silver spoons; i've never been a fan of laura linney; the children? never seen them before; julia garner is the only one in the cast that's okay, i know her from the american, kimmy the teenager that philip seduced into getting top secret documents from her father. and yet, despite not liking the casting, i've sort of grown to love the story, there's an easy digestability to it all, as i watch marty trying to outsmart the locals and stay one step ahead of the cartel.
the lotus seeds seem to be on steroids now, growing by leaps and bounds. the tallest sprout is about 2-1/2 inches long now. i may have to plant it by the end of this weekend. and even the two stems that i broke, they're no worse for wear, they're growing fine despite missing the top portion (the leaf part) of their sprout. so 6 germinations out of 10, not too bad for a package of lotus seeds i bought off of ebay not knowing if they were even viable. that's more of a testament to how resilient lotuses are rather than how honest chinese plant seeds can be.
during coronavirus time, everyone is a bit shaggy since all the barber shops and hair salons are closed. but even if it wasn't, i usually leave my hair long during the colder months anyway and only cut it as we approach the summer during the hot months. the last time i had a haircut was back in september, so 8 months ago. it's now long enough that i can tie it into a small ponytail, which i do before a shower if i don't want to get my hair wet. apart from the hair, i've also stopped shaving. since everyone is wearing masks these days (and possibly in the near future), nobody can tell anyway if i look scruffy underneath my mask.