The Saga of the Hall Light

Apr. 28th, 2017 12:27 pm
mneme: (Default)
[personal profile] mneme
So, last night, we came home at, I dunno, 9:30 or so, turned on the hall light as we came in--and it flickered and then went out. Light was dead.

So naturally, I decided to try to change the light.

For a bit of background, we moved into our current place 14 months ago (or so), and it has 9-10.5 foot ceilings.

So...the first question was whether we had a ladder tall enough to hit the lights. It turns out that our normal 6-foot ladder, standing on the highest safe step (ie, the one made of hard plastic), I can -just- reach the ceiling, and thus have enough height to -just- change the bulb. So with bravery-aplenty, and not much forethought, I started doing just that.

The first problem I ran into was that I couldn't figure out how to remove the cover. I didn't take pictures, but our hall light consists of a metal plate, with a big glass bulb on the bottom--with no knobs, dials, or screws in evidence. Of course, I tried turning the bulb in different directions, but when I did, the whole thing twisted (against the wall). So...after much struggling (but not even -close- to the amount that happened later), I eventually had the whole lamp hanging from three wires, each spliced using plastic wire nuts. With this as my starting state, I decided (this was one of the correct decisions involved in this whole process) to just remove the lamp entirely and figure out how to remove the glass cover once it was safely on the ground, and did so -- carefully removing the huge disc of fiberglass foam that had been lodged behind/above the lamp.

Of course, [personal profile] drcpunk attempted to make sure the light switch was off (and to be sure, also that the dimmer switch was on the lowest setting, since with the bulbs out there was no way to be sure the swich was Actually Off unless we'd marked the on and off sides, which we hadn't.


As it turned out, the glass cover -was- easily removable, by twisting it counter-clockwise and lifting it (or letting it fall, when it was on the ceiling). However, since the lamp was attached to the ceiling by two screws, which were locked in place by...twisting the lamp counter-clockwise...this was no easy feat to do without dislodging it from the ceiling.

Now it was time to wire the lamp up and put it back onto the ceiling.

As it turned out, this was a bit more difficult than I might have anticipated.

First, of course, there was the matter of wiring up the three wires -- positive, negative (whichever was which; they were, strangely for the slipshot manner the entire thing was constructed, pretty well color coded), and a very clear ground wire connected to the body of the lamp and unlike the others, uninsulated. The first charged wire went fine; the second had the complication that on first touch, I could tell it was live (with one wire connected, this was noticable; presumably the circuit needed to be nearly complete for it to matter, since I wasn't about to short out the circuit by touching the charged wires as a test; I guesss I could have used a light bulb), without getting more than a tickle of electricity (thank you, self-installed dimmer switch), and got Lisa to turn off the light. After that, the second wire nut went on just fine.

But the third wire? The one that had a ceiling wire connected to the uninsulated wire from the lamp? Well, that one was a bit more complicated. It seems that that combination of wires was quite a bit shorter than the other wires, so I needed to hold the lamp up higher to screw it on, which complicated a one-handed attachment between two very unlike wires that would -not- line up, and there were several false starts and offers from [personal profile] drcpunk to "help" by providing more light (useful, mostly) and provide a book to stand on on the ladder (very much -not- useful; I did not need some way to make it more likely that I'd fall of the ladder and get seriously hurt). But eventually I was able to attach the third connection. It was now time to re-attach the lamp to the ceiling. Also, my arms were very tired.

This was where the trouble really started.

The problem was that it was impossible. The two screws the lamp twisted on to were just long enough to enter the holes, but they were in a cradle that wasn't firmly anchored on its own (although it was firmly-enough attached to the ceiling), so they'd sway and rock and slide as you tried to tactically push the lamp into them. Plus, it was super clear from how the lamp left the ceiling in the first place that those screws needed to be tighter than they started or it wouldn't stay up. I did try borrowing a mirror to see what I was doing, but this was useless; the lamp body blocked out any sight of what was going on, and the result was my arms getting even more tired but nothing getting done.

Eventually -- and I do mean eventually, it occurred to me the screw holes were plainly visible and accessible when the cover of the lamp was off and the bulbs removed. So (with a rest for a minute or so since the lamp could hang from the three wires--well, one wire, really, since the ground was so much shorter than the others, and without the glass cover on, without a -real- risk of something tearing and there being broken glass all over the floor), I got to work. This wasn't as simple as I'd hoped; there was a -lot- of screw, so it took a while to extend the screws, although I could do it by hand, and once I'd done so, one of them went through (and was able to twist in place, making it -much- easier to take periodic rests without fear of something going wrong), but I think the screws were a touch too narrow for their holes; not enough not to lock, but enough that they were at slightly different angles. So I tried to find the other one to no avail for a while, with much gnashing of teeth; involving another rest, and eventually returned, extended the loose screw enough to put the lamp on that one -first-, and was then able to lock it to both.

Of course, with this much standing on a ladder with my arms over my head, I -really- needed a rest, but there was much more to do--still, I thought if we could, we should really find the electric screwdriver rather than spending many minutes turning the fully extended drivers back to the point where things were nicely locked down. Which involved looking through the tool shelf (I should really get rid of useless stuff and compact that down to a tool case plus maybe an appliance or two) fruitlessly, then a few other places we sometimes put tools, then [personal profile] drcpunk suggested it might be in one of the chair-stools we put things in when we had a housefilk, so she resolved to look in the easier one and I looked through the harder one in the corner (where it wasn't), but there were keyboard ephemera on top of the "easier" one, so [personal profile] drcpunk declined to try to figure out how to move it; eventually I finished up with the far box, opened the nearer one, and...there it was. And my arms weren't quite as tired either.

So I used the electric (it's kinda amazing how much better simple battery powered motors are at turning screws than muscle power, really; we're super good at big motions, but simple tiny motions tire us out nearly as much and we're much less efficient and fast with them) and was able to lock down the lamp nicely, put the bulbs back in (tested them, because you always test them), swapped the dead bulb that had somehow got among the live bulbs and replaced it, and put the glass cover back on, twisting it in place. All good.

At which point, the entire lamp twisted, and came loose from the ceiling again. And I saw a golden wire peeking out, indicating that the ground wire (which, you'll recall, was shorter than the others) had finally snapped under the strain.

So, -much- faster than anything else went, I removed the cover and the bulbs, tried to loosen the screw that had attached the ground wire to the lamp (and failed) and decided to just tie it to one of the loops hanging up from the base of the lamp instead (metal be metal, for ground), took cardboard lying around and made -shims-, loosened the screws on the ceiling and put the lamp on them and then tightened them again (this time all with the electric so it went fast), shimed the screw holes so the lamp wouldn't twist off them without the shims being removed,, put the bulbs back into the lamp, tested the lamp (and determined that one of the bulbs was a cfc didn't work great with the dimmer switch, flickering like mad when it was dim, so swapped it out for a cfc that was fine with our dimmer), put the glass bulb back on, and -now- were done. Only, oh, an hour and a half after I started trying to change a light bulb.

Alas, alack, and woe is me

Apr. 28th, 2017 05:07 pm
aunty_marion: (Ai Cthulhu!)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
I won't be very visible online for several days, and maybe as much as 2 weeks.

Last night, not having much to do, I decided it was time to upgrade the laptop to Sierra. I closed everything else down, and clicked the 'install' link. It ran through the expected sequence, and then presented me with a cover screen with two fields for name and password. Um. I usually find the name field is already filled in, so I don't need to remember it. So I wasn't sure. I tried all the permutations I could think of, and I *was* sure of the password, but it just wobbled the password field at me and did nothing. I wibbled, and called Gwen. She took me through a couple of things which didn't actually end up working, so eventually, I took it round to her.

Where she tried things, none of which worked, so I came home - after all the tubes had finished running, so I ended up taking 4 buses, and got home at 1.45 am. Needless to say, after that I slept like a log for all of 2 hours, then couldn't drop off again properly. But I did manage to remember my correct user name! I got up early, and tried it ... and that didn't work either. So I loaded it (and my knitting) into the bigger backpack, and trundled myself down to the Apple store on Regent Street, got an appointment with the genius bar for 10.30, went for a coffee while I waited. Dave from the genius bar chided me for not doing a backup (which I hadn't done because I couldn't afford the external hard drive to do it on), but ran it through most of the same routines again, and finally came to the conclusion that somehow the upgrade had lost all knowledge of any users on the machine.

Finally he plugged it into their server and booted it in a 'triage' mode, from which we could ascertain that (PHEW) all my data was at least still present. So now I *do* have to go and buy an external drive from somewhere, make another appointment with them to copy everything over out of the triage mode, then they wipe the laptop and do a clean reinstall, and then - theoretically! - I will be able to copy all the data back to it.

And also apparently the screen is losing some of its coating, which can be replaced, free. But it takes about 10-14 days.

So. No laptop till I can source a new external drive, get to the genius bar, arrange the data transfer (which could take most of a day), do the new install and transfer the data back, and then 2 weeks for the screen fix.

THIS TABLET HAD BETTER BLOODY WELL NOT FALL APART ON ME! is all I can say. But I won't be doing much DW/LJ, because it's rather more awkward on the tablet. Or Facebook, either, because I had to uninstall the FB app a week ago as it was crashing and hogging memory, so I have to use it in a browser, which on the tablet is ... well. Hey, though, Twitter is fine! Email is OK, is clunky. Messenger works. Eh, I suppose I'll live. I could even boot the PC and sit around for ages while windoze updates. (Also, excuse any odd typos. This new tablet is prone to autocorrecting the strangest things.)

AAARRRGGGHHH.

Poem: "Pesach Sameach"

Apr. 28th, 2017 03:19 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the April 18, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] ng_moonmoth and [personal profile] technoshaman. It also fills the "slavery" square in my 4-3-17 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the series Clay of Life.

Read more... )

Art

Apr. 28th, 2017 02:46 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 These owl paintings are awesome.  Look at how the brush strokes turn the paint into a sculpture medium to show the feather texture, especially around the faces.

Thankful Thursday

Apr. 27th, 2017 08:15 pm
mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)
[personal profile] mdlbear

Without much ado about nothing,

  • Selling our old house. The deal hasn't closed yet, but it seems unlikely that there will be any problems now that the inspection period has ended.
  • Getting closer to buying our new house on Whidbey Island. We could still turn up something fatal during our due diligence period, but we have decided to stay with Whidbey in any case.
  • A mortgage close to getting approved.
  • Enough income, even in retirement, to get a mortgage.
  • Good friends close by our new house.
  • Retirement. To be honest, I am not entirely thankful for this; I will greatly miss being surrounded by brilliant people. Ask me next week.
  • My family of choice. In which I include not only my sister of choice but my darling wife. Both of these amazing women have chosen to live with me. I'm not entirely sure why, but I'm going to shut up and enjoy the ride.

Guitar practice

Apr. 27th, 2017 09:22 pm
[personal profile] tigertoy
I'm finding that taking a song I know well enough that I know exactly what I mean to play (even if I don't always execute it perfectly) and playing it in a completely different style is a good way to stretch myself. A few weeks ago I tried this with Tammuz, which I had pretty well set as a performance piece with a flatpick strum. I tried a double time fingerpick pattern, and (1) it pushed me to hit my Bms cleaner and quicker, and (2) I really liked how it sounded and I think I'll be playing it that way in circle now. Tonight I took Harbors, one of the first songs I really worked out something that felt like mine, and played it with a flatpick instead of fingerpicking. I'm not sure I want to make it the new way I play the song, but it made a song I love but hardly ever play feel fresh and new again.

Requiescat in Pace

Apr. 27th, 2017 03:48 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx

Most interesting

Apr. 27th, 2017 03:45 pm
filkerdave: (science)
[personal profile] filkerdave

I get more interest in my ham radio pictures on Instagram than I do in the ones about drinks.

Who'd'a thunk that people more more interested in geekiness than booze?

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Apr. 26th, 2017 10:02 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
to [personal profile] bradycardia! A day of enormous peace for you!

Wednesday Home Repair Progress

Apr. 26th, 2017 04:31 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This week we're patching up things around the house with help from some friends.  (Actually, one of them is doing most of the work.)  So far today ...

* One bookshelf has had its broken shelf repaired and others upgraded to metal brackets.  Another has been declared nonrepairable.

* Two chandeliers have been fixed so all the bulbs light up.  We'll need to get new candle sleeves for a couple of the sockets though. 

* Two wooden chairs have been glued and strapped to stabilize loose parts.

* An outdoor porch light has been fixed so it lights up now.

I may have forgotten stuff too.  Yay, progress!

EDIT 4/26/17: We went out to look at fixtures.  Bought a new showerhead for the back bathroom, which is dual-function stationary ring with removable handheld head.  Discussed possibilities for lighting but haven't bought anything yet.  After seeing the available options, I successfully lobbied for upgrading rather than just repairing the old fluorescents in the new part of the house.

Wednesday Yardening

Apr. 26th, 2017 04:02 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is gray and mild with a brisk breeze.  I planted four things in the wildflower garden before it started trying to rain.  Also Doug and I moved the big fallen log from the ritual meadow to the east side of the wildflower garden.

The first of the grass seed that I sowed in the forest yard is starting to sprout.  Yay.  Yay. 

Caturday, with lots of cats

Apr. 26th, 2017 03:08 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Today the population in the kitten room was way up! I don't think I'll remember everyone, but I'll cover what I can.

Chips and Trooper are still there, and they're practically grown-up cats now. They're getting a little less shy. Chips enjoyed some petting from Virginia, which is a big step.

Maui was in a cage this time. I think he still hasn't forgiven us for almost running him over with a wheeled cage last week. We thought it wise to apologize for rolling down on old Maui.

Garfield is a very friendly brown-and-white cat. He's easily stressed, though. He was moved into the kitten room because another cat was bullying him in the main room.

Spar is friendly but jealous. She nipped Virginia when she started paying attention to another cat (Orca).

There was a nice-looking but shy calico cat (a nearly-grown kitten, actually) named Mouse.

Gramma Tala seems to be doing a little better than last time. She's got an excellent appetite.

A cat named Skylark was hiding under the big rolling cage. That's a popular hiding place for shy cats. Moana was up on a top shelf and didn't want to move.

Four weeks ago, I got a new step stool to replace the one that had gone missing. Today I used it to check if something else was on top of the big rolling cage, and found the old one there! So it was in a place where you could get at it only if you had a step stool! I took it down and put it in the main room.

Successful Interspecies Communication

Apr. 26th, 2017 01:31 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
A male cardinal was engaged in trying to peck my window open, for reasons best known to him.  Not wishing to have my window pecked open, I gave him a territorial whistle in his own language.  He looked up and cocked his head in a listening way.  I whistled again.  He flew off.  This is quite different than a bird's feather-ruffling startle flight.  I have successfully communicated "You should not be doing that in my territory" to a bird.  \o/ 

Llewellyn Season Is Open!

Apr. 26th, 2017 01:13 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I just got the first message from one of my editors at Llewellyn Publications, and another one will be making assignments in May.  So far I'm talking about the Witchy Tips for the Witches' Datebook, September in the Witches' Calendar, and ideas for the Magickal Almanac. The Herbal Almanac isn't scheduling yet as there will be some changes to it.

Good News

Apr. 26th, 2017 12:13 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently? Are you anticipating any more?

Gender benders

Apr. 26th, 2017 07:11 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Just when I think I understand some German, I keep running into more complexities than I'll ever figure out. Gender is especially crazy. "Der Moment" is moment, but "das Moment" is a factor. "Das psychologische Moment" originally meant "the psychological factor," but it got translated into English as if it were "der psychologische Moment."

"Mut," meaning courage, has lots of compounds. "Mut" is feminine, but about half the compounds are masculine, with no apparent pattern. "√úbermut," arrogance, and "Kleinmut," cowardice, are masculine. "Grossmut" is feminine. At least I can remember the last one because it sounds like "Grossmutter" (grandmother).

Oh, well, it's no worse than English pronunciation.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This bonus fishbowl featured Clay of Life. I worked from 12:45 PM to 3:45 AM, so about 14 hours accounting for breaks. I wrote 8 poems.

Participation was modest, with 9 comments on LiveJournal and another 21 on Dreamwidth. A total of 9 people sent prompts, none of them new.


Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the April 18, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"Her Wilderness Like Eden"
"Pyg(gy-bank)malion"
"What You're Living For"
"You Who Have Fed the Hungry"

"Define Your Own Reality" (Polychrome Heroics: Officer Pink, April 19, 2017, outside fishbowl)
"A Realm of Your Own Being" (Polychrome Heroics: Danso and Family, January 20, 2017, fishbowl spillover)


Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, see the unsold poetry list for April 18, 2017. That includes the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available.

All currently sponsored poems have been posted. Donors this time include: Anthony & Shirley Barrette, [personal profile] janetmiles.


The Poetry Fishbowl project also has a permanent landing page.

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