austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Let it make a happy glow for all the world to see

A capacitor of electricians has descended on the office this week. They're here at the owner's idea, we believe, or at least nobody has chased them off and it's hard to imagine they're spending this much time here on their own accord. The objective is, apparently, to replace all the overhead fluorescent lights with newer and different lights. The new lights are brighter, which should be a welcome change, and more energy-efficient, which is what motivates the change, and so that's why on Monday while I looked around for just where to deposit the food I'd brought in for the first Christmas lunch of the week (leftovers starting Tuesday, and a pizza party for Friday), I found the first floor was a maze of boxes of new lighting fixtures and new lights.

They started on the ground floor and worked their way up, so that I'd have my half-lit status (literally; one bulb each of my two fixtures would work only intermittently) almost as long as possible. But shortly before noon they got up to my office and started work taking out the bulbs and replacing the fixtures. It turned out my lighting fixtures were wired backwards, so that what should have been ground was hot and vice-versa, which revelation was maybe the least shocking thing I might have heard about the office lighting situation. This can't have been a universal mis-wiring or the situation wouldn't have been worth commenting on. They were sorry to interrupt my work, such as it was, but since they were working right around lunchtime it couldn't have been better for me. Now the office is refreshingly bright and much better color-balanced.

A few hours after that came a solid crash from the floor below, which got us third-floor dwellers to walk down and see if there was anything cool to see. While there were startled people there wasn't any blood or maiming or anything, just, as one of the electricians described it, the sound of 32 light bulbs all breaking at once.

On the way back up I noticed the box with the new light bulbs warns while shipping to ``Handle Like Glass''. I hadn't considered that whatever these bulbs are made of might fail to meet some standard of glass-ness. And now I wonder if they were fixtures, which might be fragile without having any glass in them, rather than boxes of bulbs. I do know the boxes swore the product leaves the factory in perfect condition, though, which seems to me an impossible guarantee to give.

Trivia: In the first thirteen months of attempting to identify the proper filament and gas to use in electric bulbs Thomas Edison spent $42,869.21 on experimental work, not counting legal, patent, and other expenses. Source: Edison: A Biography, Matthew Josephson.

Currently Reading: But Didn't We Have Fun? An Informal History Of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843 - 1870, Peter Morris. OK, this is more or less the book I wanted Opening Pitch last week to be. It's an exquisitely researched and well-written history of early baseball that's a story, that explains stuff, and uses a lot of contemporary documentation or quotes from people who lived through it. This is the good book about early baseball I wanted.


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