Saturday, January 09, 2010


As an architect, we have to know quite a bit about mechanical systems as well as enough structural knowledge to design a 10 story building that will with-stand a major seismic event or a hurricane. But occasionally, down here on the micro level of household lighting, well, it is possible to miss. A case in point being a light fixture over my stair at my condo we completely renovated five years ago appeared to be turning orange. This was a halogen lamp, which was original before our remodel so I figured it was time to replace the lamp. It being located halfway down the stair, it was difficult to access with anything I had but I laid our ladder nearly flat from the top stair to the adjacent wall. This was probably not a good idea but I was able to get up to it and install a new lamp without maiming myself. However, after putting everything away, the light was still orange. It must be the fixture itself. I called our electrician, Pedro, who arrived a couple of days later. Meanwhile, I had made a little platform Gismo that allows a ladder to barely set on the steps and nearby wall. Pedro took the fixture down, tested it and found that it wasn’t getting full power (120 volts). At that point he looked at the switch which is a slick paddle type we installed during our remodel. While taking it apart he realized it had a very small sliding thingy that allowed one to dim the light. In my defense, all the other dimmers in the house are a very different type with a large paddle one moves to dim it. Also, no one in his right mind needs a dimmer on a stair as it’s kind of a dangerous place. Unless you really look close at the switch it is not apparent that it’s a dimmer. Anyway, the problem happened due to me just hitting the paddle to turn it on or off , not realizing it was a dimmer. Over the years the slide gismo would move incrementally when I hit it until the light was dimmed. Well, Pedro was good about it and only charged us about half his normal fee, as he realized that he should have began with the switch in the first place.

When you (Or if you ever) buy a hardback book, it comes with a “Dust cover”, or a marketing ploy to attract your attention to buy it. Now this is something that really ticks me off, people who do not throw the cover away, and try to keep it on the book forever. You can’t read a book with the dust thing on as it keeps slipping around, falling off, getting in the way of serious reading. Who ever came up with the idea of calling it a Dust Cover, anyway? A book cannot collect dust when it is standing on a shelf, can it? If it’s laying around, being read, will it collect dust? If so, you better just turn on your Moron Tube and forget about books, they’re not your thing.

Most mornings I get up early around six, do my toilet (which takes about three seconds to accomplish the return to my usual suave and deboner self), fire up the Krups espresso pot, pick up the Press Democrat, and read all the miserable news with my coffee and oatmeal. Joy arises about the time I’m ready to leave, after I’ve made her another batch of cappuccino. I give her the old so long kiss, as I won’t be seeing her for about an hour at my office. Then I repair to a local bakery for a coffee and maybe an Italian turnover, if I’ve opted for the Union Hotel Bakery in Occidental, driving thru the vineyards. There, I can read one of the three books I’ve got in the pipeline in peace and relative quiet, as Joy tends to fill up any quiet space with some kind of chatter, irrespective of my sitting tranquilly trying to read about the History of Warfare.

I overheard a couple of atoms in a cell in one of my toenails discussing the existence of God. They had heard that it was a He and he was obviously an old man with a long white beard. Now I was amazed they had somehow gotton that description pretty close to my actual appearance. However, one of them was asking me to improve his life by granting him (I think it was a he) a favor of one sort or another. I didn’t have a real way to tell him that I had no real control about his existence as well as the fact that I’m merely a speck myself in the ocean of life and some other force has been running my life which I really don’t have any control over, ergo, no way I could help the poor devil out myself. Oh, well, I’ve got to trim my toenails this weekend so that may solve his problems.