terrible speaker wire
Sunday, January 27 2013
After two french presses of coffee, Gretchen got ready and then left for Manhattan, where she'd be spending the next four days. She'd be staying with our friend Marissa to help her with things while her husband is away. Marissa recently had a baby, and, though I wouldn't know from personal experience, supposedly they demand a lot of work. Gretchen wouldn't really be helping much with the baby; she'd be doing other things like making meals and running the laundry machines. While Gretchen is perhaps the most baby-adverse person I know (she's actually a bit more so than me, which isn't easy), she is determined to be a friend to this particular baby and to support his mother through his babyhood.
At around the time Gretchen was leaving, I decided to replace the cheap gilded-steel bulb socket in one of my lamps with one of the much classier ceramic sockets I've been getting from Lowes. The lamp in question was a simple copper lamp hanging from one of the living room's collar ties over the course of several lengths of half-inch copper pipe connected to one another with union fittings. The replacement should have been a simple job, but the wire I'd used in this particular lamp made it impossible. Don't tell Underwriter's Laboratory, but I generally wire my custom lamps using speaker wire. Such wire is perfectly capable of handling 120 volts, though it has the advantage of usually being thinner and more flexible than any lamp wire one would buy at a hardware store. This makes it easier to snake around inside the many 90-degree fittings found in my lamps. Since I never use incandescent bulbs, the power-carrying requirements of the wire is small (typically less than 100 milliamps). But on this particular lamp, I used unusually thick speaker wire with one additional problem: the two strands of conductor cannot be ripped apart without the insulation being ripped all the way down to one or the other of the conductors. It's impossible stuff to work with, but (and I remember what I was thinking when I chose to work with it anyway), once I had it, I decided I might as well just use it until it was gone and then remember never to buy anything like it ever again. Today, though, when its fat conductors refused to stay on the little screws on the back of the new ceramic socket and when the insulation kept tearing in all the wrong ways, I finally grew so fed up that I ripped all of the wire out of the lamp and restrung it with a much nicer species of speaker wire.
This evening I smoked some ancient marijuana I found in the laboratory more as a way of getting rid of it than for any hope of getting stoned. The intention was to eventually take a bath, but I never got around to it. Instead I entertained my followers on Facebook by beginning a thread with "i just smoked some 8 year old marijuana from a bag i found behind a robot arm in the back of my laboratory. in terms of mind-altering: it was like smoking my parents' wedding certificate soaked in the urine from the last time i wet the bed." (There is no actual robot arm anywhere in the laboratory; that was shorthand for the kind of random technical things one might find if one were to poke around. For example, there are several actual robots, though none of them have arms.)
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