Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's in my pocket right now?

A Kershaw. More specifically, a Kershaw Storm II serrated folder, as designed by the fertile mind of knifemonger Ken Onion. I bought 5 of these when Cabela's was selling them for $19.95 each. I figured if I ruined one, I could always bring the spare(s) into action. I'm still on Number 1, though.

When not packing the Kershaw, it's a Benchmade Eclipse Serrated that rides along with me. The Benchmade is also one heck of a pocketknife, but it appears Benchmade ain't making them anymore - as is the case when one finds something that really works well and takes a shine to it...

Friday, September 02, 2011

Everything old is new again...

Hardly does one week go by when I don't either hear or read about the FedGov's plan to deny We The People of the right to buy illumination created by running electrical current through a filament of some sorts.

No, says they, one must shed light by exciting mercury vapor in twisted little tubes that emulate real-by-Gawd light bulbs. We're determined to save you from the evils of incandescent light!

You want to have instantaneous light out on the back patio deck or the unheated garage in North Frostbite Falls during wintertime? Tough noogies - wait for those CFLs to warm up, which I'll tell you right now, takes absolutely friggin' FOREVER.

I got news for the mental midgets who first took my high-flow shower head, then my industrial grade single-flush Ferguson commode - PISS OFF!

I've already converted about 75% of all the lights in this house to CFLs of one form or another over the last several years, usually when the incandescent bulbs in those fixtures gave up the ghost. Did I realize a savings by way of the wattmeter spinning away outside? Yup, definitely. But that ain't the whole story.

I've had to replace several of the CFL bulbs that just didn't cut it. Either they died a premature death, or couldn't hack the environment they were placed in.

The front and back porch are back to incandescent, as are the accent lanterns on either side of the garage door. The lights on the garage door opener are back to incandescent. Two of the biggest lights in that same unheated garage are back to incandescent.

Every friggin' dimmable light fixture in the house is back to incandescent. I bought several of the "dimmable" CFL bulbs, and guess what - they don't. They "dim" to about 50% power, and then either cut out or oscillate in brightness while emitting a high pitched television flyback transformer whine. Sorry, Philips/GE/Sylvania, your engineers have more work to do in that application.

As a matter of fact, the "dimmable" small 14-watt CFL in my computer desk lamp just plain refused to cooperate, so I decided enough was enough and headed over to the local Menards to find a solution.

I found one. Actually, several, and they aren't going to make the CFL proponents very happy, I'm afraid. Menards is now selling retro-style Edison incandescent light bulbs, with long serpentine filaments and envelopes that look hand-blown, for a whopping $8.00 each. Of course, they're made in China, but damned if they don't just reach out and grab you. I know, I grabbed two of them, just in case the FedGov made it a limited time offer.

Now, I really hope it's all bluffoonery regarding this impending incandescent ban, but I'm convinced I'll head back to Menards this weekend and grab a couple more. I mean, just look at how that filament glows!

For 60 watts, it doesn't really run too hot. I'm sure the efficiency sucks, but I usually run my desk lamp dimmed down pretty low anyway, almost to the same filament color as the vacuum tube amplifier running on the desk. (Which feeds the computer's sound output into two huge floor towers on either side, something I will also not give up to the more-efficient transistors now all the rage)

I like it. Next stop, the nightstand light, also dimmable. Put that in your pipe, FedGov. Oh, and thanks, Menards, you've restored my faith in baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet!