Thursday, December 15, 2016

Paradise ponders, twinkling bulb edition...

Paradise ponders, twinkling bulb edition...  A few days ago I wrote about the “twinkling” LED Christmas tree lights that I'd ordered, and I promised to report back on how they actually worked out.  Well, here's the report: they're great!  The video at right is of our tree, after we put up the lights but before we added the ornaments (we'll be doing that today).  As you can see, the LEDs do, in fact, blink separately, and with quite a bit of variation in their rate.  Even when you first power up the string they're nicely out of sync; within just a few seconds they appear to be random.  The video shows the blue lamps (and to a lesser extent, the green lamps) greatly outshining the yellow, orange, and red lamps.  This is an artifact of the camera or post-processing; to the human eye the brightness of all the colors are well-matched.  At the end of the video I tilted up to the ceiling, hoping to show you the colored shadows.  Once again, there the blue and green lights totally swamp the other colors.  The bottom line, for me, is that these lamps are very similar to the blinking Christmas tree lights of my youth.  I love having them!  If you're interested, these are the lamps we got (from a source other than Amazon, at a much better price), and we mounted them in this stringer.  We're very happy with both.  Out of 100 lamps and sockets, I had just one bad lamp and zero bad sockets.

Yesterday I started a new project, putting off progress on our deck for a day or so.  This project is to replace the GE Advantium microwave/infrared oven that came with our house.  More modern microwaves are far more capable, and the infrared part we've never used.  There's a challenge or two in this replacement though.  The biggest challenge: the hole in the cabinetry for the Advantium is 28.5" wide (standard) and 21" high (way taller than a typical microwave).  A smaller challenge: when I removed the Advantium, I discovered that the previous owner had done a (typically) terrible job on the wiring, just wire-nutting the wires and letting them dangle behind the unit.  I installed an outlet in a proper metal box, visible in the back of the photo at right.  The size of the hole means I have some carpentry to do in order to mount the new microwave, and you can see the beginning of that at right.  We're going to vertically center the new microwave in that hole, which means I have to build a false bottom and top that are (each) 1 13/16" inset.  The false bottom is visible in the photo, and I'm about to go build the false top.  The microwave has a trim kit that will cover some of the gap above and below; the rest we're going to cover with a walnut plate.  That will contrast with our existing cabinetry, which we're hoping is more attractive than a poor attempt at matching.  The 15 year old wood of our kitchen cabinets has a color we'd never be able to exactly match with new wood.

We're having some interesting weather.  Yesterday morning we got about 3" of snow, but then the temperature climbed above freezing and we got rain.  Last night the temperature never went below 30°F, and for today the forecast is calling for over an inch of rain.  It's supposed to start this afternoon and continue all night and into tomorrow morning.  Then tomorrow the temperature should drop precipitously and the rain will turn to snow (and likely all the wet surfaces will be coated with ice).  I didn't bother plowing yesterday, as it never really stopped snowing.  It's a wet mess outside right now, but if it really does rain then there's not much point in plowing that, either, as the rain will get rid of it all...

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