since i have no car, i got my father to take me to staples and home depot to get some supplies. from fresh pond staples i got a dozen self-assemble cardboard storage boxes ($10). this will help me clean up the last few orphaned items from my closet. at the watertown home depot i returned that natural sunshine fluorescent light bulb and looked around for material and parts for my DIY lighted aquarium hood. while browsing the strip light department at the far end of the store, we can across a cheap shop light ($8, as opposed to the $30 i paid for mine a few days ago). it was a bargain too good to pass up so we bought one. originally it was supposed to be for my father, but he gave it to me for the time being because i wanted to do some growing experiments.

depending on where i read, some people say specially-designed plant lights are the best for growing thing, while others say it's the overall brightness and has nothing to do with light color. to put that theory to the test, i bought a pair of generic GE kitchen & bath fluorescent tubes ($8). i picked them partly because of the price but also because they had the highest lumen count (3400 lumens) out of all the other 40 watts 48" bulbs. once i start growing, i can compare and see if the blue and red combination is actually better, or is it better to have the brightest light available.

i also bought some seeds at home depot. they were awfully cheap for some reason (about $1 per packet of burpees brand), maybe early bird discounting before raising the prices during spring and summer. i noticed they weren't selling any of the usual indoor gardening supplies, possibly because it's still too early to start growing seedlings for outdoor transplant.

the sun was starting to set by the time we returned home. earlier i saw a rainbow sun dog in the sky, and now the clouds were arranged in streaks disappearing into the sun.

after getting some food at the cafe, i got a ride home, but not before making a quick stop at market basket to pick up some grocery items for my parents. market basket on a weekend is the closest approximation to hell that i know of. there was already a traffic jam on somerville avenue before we even got to the parking lot. i got out and ran inside while my father waited nearby in the car (there was just no way he was going to find a parking space). the 12 items or less lines were a dozen deep. i grabbed some avocados and cucumbers and got in line. to their credit, i only waited for a few minutes before somebody rang me up and i was out the door.

where i got back home i had a box of aquarium supplies waiting for me (it arrived earlier today, just when i was leaving the house). included in the package were several aquarium fluorescent lights. it just seems like whatever i do these days - whether it's photography, gardening, or fishkeeping - it always revolves around light. anyway, i replaced all the old bulbs with the new ones. two of the tanks - the minibow and the female guppies tank - i was just replacing with a similar bulb. in the male guppies tank however i was trying something new: flora-glo fluorescent, designed for planted aquariums. although the new color was the most natural, i liked what i had before, a reddish light manufactured by toki (japan). the thing is i inherited most of my aquarium equipment from various 3rd party craig's list sellers, and that particular light i got from an old chinese man retiring his setup. i went online trying to find the exact same bulb, but i was unable to find any online evidence that the company even existed. the toki bulb was a great light: it wasn't very bright but because of its reddish cast, it made my orange guppies look vibrantly red. i just wasn't sure if it was suitable for plants, but given its unique color temperature, i'm guessing it was also a plant light. during the few weeks that i've used that light, i haven't really noticed any degradation on my plants (although to be fair, they were already pretty damaged to begin with, once i figured out my old all-glass bulb that came with the hood is absolutely useless for plant growth).

with fish care out of the way, i returned to indoor gardening. i installed the new shop light into another shelf in the closet. in just a few days i went from having no artificial growing lights in my house to having 160 watts of grow power. this new light (commercial electric™ 48" shop light) is pretty basic. it has a simple white hood, quite different from the much larger and shinier hood of the lithonia diamond plate work light. this new light also doesn't have an on/off switch, but that's not a problem since i'll be running both lights through a timer.

with the GE kitchen and bath bulbs installed, the light given off has a warmish yellow glow (3000K) like a traditional incandescent light. on the other hand, the red-blue combination gives off a much cooler white light, except due to the different colors, sometimes it appears bluish and other times it seems to be reddish. i hope to be growing sometime soon. the only thing really left to do is to make the walls more reflective, and i plan to do that by covering removable poster boards with mylar.

the highlight of the day surprisingly had nothing to do with fluorescent lights. i'm referring of course to the patriots-jaguars game. now that it's over, i'm not sure what i was so worried about. maybe because the jaguars scored a touchdown on their opening drive - but the patriots managed to match the score when it came time for them to go on the offense. or maybe i was worried because the score was still tied going into the halftime. but in the second half, patriots had the momentum and slowly but surely started to pull away from the jaguars, until it became impossible for jacksonville to come back. on the news i saw a reporter interviewing colts fans watching the game in a bar. naturally they were all rooting against the pats. that made me realize that in order to be the best, you have to play against the best (thank you bring it on). it seems like these colts fans wanted to be champions but didn't want to take the champion's route. so come sunday, here's what i'm going to do: i'm going to root for the colts to win their game. not because i like them (i don't, and they shouldn't have won last year's AFC, new england was robbed), but because in order for everyone to acknowledge that the pats are the best football team of all times, they have to prove it by beating indianapolis. can't wait until next weekend!