M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, October 29, 2002  

I have an update on the Project Greenlight question. After I posted last night, I checked my e-mail. This was in the inbox:

From: PGL Support:

Unfortunately you are correct, there are two screenplays names "Exile" in the competition, the one that has advanced to the Top 250 was submitted
by another user.

There’s only one thing to say to that:

Those philistines can’t grasp my vision!

Okay, moving along.

* * *

Q: How many blog writers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. The light bulb ends up changing you, in so many ways that you never could have predicted when you started.

I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to take twenty minutes to change a light bulb that I can reach from the floor without opening up a light fixture or access hatch or crawling through a Jeffries tube or whatever, but my experiences of the last couple of days have indicated otherwise.

Here’s the thing: our kitchen has a ceiling fan/light fixture combo. It’s a little on the aged side, but it still works. Mostly. I mean, the blades still spin and the lights still light. The problem is what happens when the bulbs burn out.

Now, I took a semester of Electronics in junior high, and a community education class on electrical wiring earlier this year, so I feel pretty darn qualified to take on a project like changing a light bulb when circumstances call for it. And if I’m feeling out of my depth, I can just do a little research on the ‘Net.

The problem with the kitchen fan/light is that the light bulbs are housed inside metal cylinders that hang from the fixture. These metal cylinders are almost the exact diameter of a light bulb. The ceramic light sockets aren’t affixed to the rest of the structure by anything except their wiring. And there’s no way to reach around the bulb and hold the socket in place while you spin. So removing a light bulb requires you to turn the bulb until the wires behind the sockety are as twisted as they’ll go in a lefty-loosey direction, and continuing to turn the bulb until it comes out. Adding to the fun is the fact that a previous owner appears to have lubricated the sockets with a homemade cocktail of sand and hairspray, so removing the old bulb is a delicate process akin to that of defusing a bomb. Sure, if something goes wrong during the latter process you get turned into a diffuse red mist, but trust me: that doesn’t sound so bad when you’re left holding a detached glass bulb and staring at the desiccated filament and scary, pointy, electrocute-y wires hanging from the metal base that’s still screwed in, just waiting for you to reach up and turn yourself into a six-foot frogleg wired to a galvanometer. That’s when you find out what you’re made of. Specifically, a highly conductive material.

And even when I’m able to get the dead bulb out intact, I still have the task of installing the new one. Now I have to grind the bulb into the all-but-free-floating socket, turning not only until the bulb is screwed down, but until the wires have twisted as far as they’ll go in a righty-tighty direction. Then, and only then, does it become apparent that I’ve screwed the bulb in crooked. Then I have to repeat the process again and again until the electric company cuts me off anyway.

I had to do this on Sunday night, and again last night. They’re burning out so close together because I hate this particular task so much that last time I just waited until all the bulbs were burned out and we were cooking by the light from our open refrigerator. Now the cycle of dread has begun anew.

Last night, I got frustrated with the process and unscrewed the tin-can housing. That allowed me to pull the socket out just enough so I could hang onto it while I screwed in the bulb.

But then the wires wouldn’t go back into the tube thingy. Now I have a light bulb that is indeed lit, but it’s swinging at a dangerously low altitude over the kitchen floor.

Considering how much easier it’ll be to change next time, I’m actually okay with that.

* * *

I have a new article up at Teevee.org. It’s kind of a think piece.

Okay, it’s really not. I just wanted to claim to have written a think piece.

posted by M. Giant 3:25 PM 0 comments


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