Friday, March 6, 2015

Mousetrap Update

Way back in September, I had a post titled A Better Mousetrap, and said that I would get back to you with results.  For one reason or another, I never did until today. 

You can click on the link for the full story, but the gist of the thing was that mice had attacked one of the recliners in our 5th wheel camper, and I had set out two types of mouse traps to deal with them.

The old mechanical Victor mousetraps never caught anything, but the sticky traps did - they just didn’t catch any mice!  What they did catch was a lot of big ugly cockroaches, those big brown wood roaches that folks in Florida call palmetto bugs. I set off a couple of Raid Bug Bombs in the trailer, and a few days later, I vacuumed up over a hundred of the darn things. 

Problem solved – I set out some Combat discs just to be sure, but after several months we have seen no more signs of any infestation.

That brings us to this week.

The damage they had done was limited to the leather on one ottoman and the arms of one chair,  For some reason, the other chair and ottoman were untouched.  On Wednesday, I removed the arm pads from both chairs, and took them and both of the ottomans to a local upholstery shop.  I hoped that they could match the cream colored leather, but in case they couldn’t, I planned to have them recover both ottomans and all four arm pads with a compatible color - maybe a medium brown.

I didn’t think it would be very expensive, but  Boy, was I ever wrong!  The price they quoted would have gone well over $300 after taxes.  We said “No thanks” and left.

In all our travels, we have only used one of the recliners (you can’t see the TV from the other one) so on the way home from the upholstery shop, we had decided to just dump the damaged one.  Then, later that afternoon, I saw this on line:

recliner2It’s from the website of an Atlanta company called Recliner City that sells every sort of recliner imaginable.  They were on sale, and I was able to get two brand new leather recliners (the same size and shape as the old ones) for just over $250 – about $60 less than the cost of fixing the old one. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

By Any Other Name

buffalo

Call that big fellow a Buffalo, and everyone will know what you mean.  Park rangers and a few pedantic jerks eager to display their superior knowledge may try to explain that it is an American Bison and that Buffalo are native to Southeast Asia, but who cares? 

It is a Buffalo, and calling it one is valid because that’s what they have been called for the last two centuries, and because everyone recognizes and understands the term. 

Word definitions become valid through general use and acceptance.  If everyone had called the Buffalo a Periwinkle or a Proctologist (and everyone understood what you were talking about) the name would be just as legitimate.

A true purist might call the Buffalo by their Sioux name, Tatanka.  The Sioux, after all, were the greatest Buffalo hunters before the arrival of gun powder, and they had hunted the Takanta long before Europeans arrived. 

Even Sioux is a misnomer – it is the French bastardization of an Algonquin term that means “little snakes” – they called themselves the Lakota.

I suppose you could claim that I am arguing that if you say something wrong often enough, and long enough, it becomes right.  You might have a point, but my main contention is that definitions are validated through usage. 

Besides, Houston’s Buffalo Bayou just wouldn’t sound as appealing if it were called Bison Creek, and Home On The Range doesn’t ring true if the singer longs for a home where the Bison roam.  It just doesn’t work.

So, please don’t try to correct me if I call it a Buffalo.  That’s what it is – deal with it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Better Late Than Never

painting, 2/27/12, 10:41 AM, 16C, 8000x10660 (0+0), 100%, Custom,  1/15 s, R15.4, G21.7, B52.7<br />

March 2nd is celebrated as Texas Independence Day – the day in 1836 that delegates at the town of Washington (now Washington on the Brazos) declared independence from Mexico.

If it seems I’m a bit late with this post, don’t worry. 

The document was read and approved on the 2nd, then several copies were written out by hand, and nobody signed it until the 3rd.  The final delegates to sign the declaration didn’t even arrive in Washington until the 4th, 179 years ago today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Color

spectrum I spent years in the color copy/color printer business - first as a service technician, then as an instructor. 

Early in my career, I attended a Ricoh-sponsored seminar conducted by Dan Collins, a color theory guru and head of the department at Arizona State University.  Like most in attendance, I got most of the basics of what he said, but when he answered questions, even things I thought I understood became mired in technical jargon that flew right over my head.  That seminar left me fascinated and determined to learn more. I won’t claim that I became an expert, but I did learn enough to be able to talk to graphic artists and web designers without appearing to be clueless.

Since retiring, I haven’t given the subject of color theory much thought, but the recent hubbub on line about the black and blue (or gold and white) dress – and my recent experience replacing incandescent lights with LEDs – piqued my interest again.  That’s when I came across this LINKEDIN article by Diana Derval, head of Derval Research and professor at Fudan University, Shanghai, China:

“The color nuances we see depend on the number and distribution of cones (=color receptors) in our eye. You can check this rainbow: how many color nuances do you count?

You see less than 20 color nuances: you are a dichromats, like dogs, which means you have 2 types of cones only. You are likely to wear black, beige, and blue. 25% of the population is dichromat.

You see between 20 and 32 color nuances: you are a trichromat, you have 3 types of cones (in the purple/blue, green and red area). You enjoy different colors as you can appreciate them. 50% of the population is trichromat.

You see between 33 and 39 colors: you are a tetrachromat, like bees, and have 4 types of cones (in the purple/blue, green, red plus yellow area). You are irritated by yellow, so this color will be nowhere to be found in your wardrobe. 25% of the population is tetrachromat.

You see more than 39 color nuances: come on, you are making up things! there are only 39 different colors in the test and probably only 35 are properly translated by your computer screen anyway :)”

Other experts say that there is no reliable online test for tetrachromacy since even the best computer monitor is incapable of a high enough degree of color purity.  They suggest that if you really want to test your color vision, you should try the test linked HERE.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Mouse

Not much going on here at the old Boggy Thicket, the weather remains too cold and dreary to encourage any outside activities, so I’m sharing the picture of a mouse that a friend posted on Facebook last week -

donut I’ll admit that I didn’t see the mouse right away, but it’s been years since I’ve had a donut.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

LTBL – Part Two

I linked yesterday’s blog report on Facebook, and got comments like

Magenta Wise The tension is electrifying! Looking forward to the next installment

Robert Lieder I'm on the edge of my seat !! Biting my nails !! Hoping my friend will See The Light !!

Elyse Smith I trust Part II will be illuminating......

That’s a lot of pressure, and I’m afraid this post won’t live up to such lofty expectations, but I shouldn’t keep you in the dark any longer.

Yesterday’s upgrade of the lights in our 5th wheel trailer is complete, and while I’m very pleased with the result, I’m afraid today's post may prove anticlimactic.

I took some comparison pictures, but they don’t really show what was obvious to the eye.  I’m not sure whether that’s a limitation of the camera, or my skills as a photographer, but…..

before 

Here’s a shot of a double fixture with the original incandescent bulb on the right and one of the LED “bulbs” on the left.  While the color difference is obvious, the LED is actually measurably brighter than the  incandescent.  Somehow, the photo almost makes it seem like the opposite is true.

This shows the difference between the LED “bulb” and the new p-c board type:

after1 As I said, the pictures don’t really tell the true story. 

Even though it isn’t obvious, the new p-c type LEDs are a LOT brighter, and Honey finds the “warm white” of these LEDs much more pleasant, so the upgrade was definitely worth the time, money and effort.

By the way, speaking of “warm white” - the color of light is measured in degrees Kelvin, and “warm white” is actually cooler than “cool white”  You can see that on this factoid sheet from EFI.  Oh well, that could be the topic for another day.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Let There Be Light – Part One

Today’s post is designed to set the stage for tomorrow, which I hope will be a report on a successful do-it-yourself project that I hope to finish today.

I will be headed out to the 5th wheel shortly to replace most of the interior lights.

Here’s how we got to where we are this morning:

Our trailer originally came with a couple of 120 VAC lights, but the majority of the lights inside were in 12 volt DC fixtures that used T-10 type incandescent bulbs like this:

 t10These bulbs burn very hot, don’t have a very long life expectancy and the interior of the trailer just didn’t get bright enough, so last year I replaced them with LEDs like these:

t10ledThat should have worked – comparing one of each in a two-light fixture, the LED lamp was noticeably brighter – but the light they gave off had a bluish tinge, and the interior was still as dim as a redneck bar.  Something had to be done.

Other owners on rv.net who had replaced their T-10 bulbs recommend using these,

$_1so I ordered 20 of them a couple weeks ago.

Of course, I can never do anything the easy way.  When they arrived I realized that I had ordered the wrong part number.  The p-c boards come prewired with a small pigtail that plugs into any of several adapters for use with several different types of sockets.  The one I got was to replace BA15S bulbs like this:

ba15sI called the vendor last Saturday – their website says their help desk is open Saturdays, but they’re not – and tried again several times on Monday with no luck.  Finally, on Tuesday morning, the help desk number was answered.  The person on the other end was the owner, in her car on the way to work.  Rather than do a return for credit and a reorder, we agreed it would be simpler just to send me the correct adapters, so that’s what she did. 

I got them yesterday and am headed out in a few minutes to try them out.