Friday, June 07, 2024

The Lava Lamp Crisis

Three of Dave's working lava lamps

The incandescent bulb's heat is bad for global warming

For about ten years, Canada has been announcing that incandescent bulbs are being phased out and last August the United States banned the sale of most incandescent light bulbs.  

The sales ban is to help fight global warming. Incandescent bulbs use more energy to produce the same amount of light as LED bulbs. This is largely because much of the energy in incandescent bulbs goes to creating intense heat. If you've ever touched a turned-on incandescent bulb, you learned this the hard way.

But some things we like use this heat

While the heat makes incandescent bulbs less efficient for lighting, it makes them useful for heating things. For example, old Easy-Bake Ovens used a 100-watt bulb to cook Betty Crocker treats.

And I need incandescent bulbs to heat the wax in my lava lamps and create the spooky flowing movement inside them.

It seems that Hasbro has developed a heating element that can replace the 100-watt bulb in an Easy-Bake Oven. But a heating element alone won't work for a lava lamp because you need light to see the hypnotic flowing lava. Without an illuminated incandescent bulb, a lava lamp is a dull bottle holding a dull lump of wax.

The right bulbs

The Noma R14 E17 - 25 Watt bulb - at Canadian TireAfter some research and experimentation, I have the following recommendations.

For smallish lamps (16" high, 3" diameter):

  • 25 watts
  • E17 base (the "intermediate Edison screw", smaller than your usual bulb)
  • R14 or R39 shape

[While it is easier to find 40 watt bulbs with E17 bases and an R14 or R39 shape, I suspect it is a bad idea to use the stronger wattage. It might also be unwise to use a globe-shaped S11 or a cylindrical T8, but I'm prepared to do it when my R14s and R39 burn out and can't be replaced. I did once melt a hole in a plastic-based lava lamp using an S11 globe-shaped bulb.]

For the larger, original lava lamp (16" high, 4.5" diameter):

  • 40 watts
  • E26 base (the "medium Edison screw", the size used in most bulbs in your house)
  • R14 or R39 shape

A tip

If you get excited and think you've found some R14 shaped bulbs with E17 bases for a really good price at Rona and then two days after you get home with your super cheap bulbs you realize that they are actually 40 watt bulbs that are only good for your big lava lamp that needs an E26 base, I have good news. You can order E26-to-E17 socket adapters on Amazon that work just fine.

Getting bulbs while they last

Every time I've been in a hardware store in the past few years, I've checked for bulbs. Often, there have been none but when there was one or two, I bought them. They haven't been cheap. It has been many years since I've seen a suitable bulb in a grocery store or a dollar store.

Haraqi - R39 E17 25 Watt bulbs from Amazon
Right now, the only places I've been finding suitable 25 watt bulbs are Canadian Tire and Amazon.

Canadian Tires has the a Noma R14 E17 25w bulb for $7.49

Amazon has Haraqi R39 E17 25w bulbs at $14.99 for six ($2.50 each).

Lowes, Rona, Home Hardware and Home Depot don't seem to have any suitable bulbs.

In closing

My best wishes to any of my fellow lava lamp lovers. I'll be happy to share any news I get on this crisis with you and will be grateful for any news you have for me. And while I hate to talk about future projects, I have been thinking that it's time for me to make my own lava lamp (and could use any tips on where I can find perchloroethylene.)


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Stick Library goes Bilingual - la brancheothèque devient bilingue

In the better-late-than-never news category, I am happy to report that the Stick Library now has signage in French. [Dans la catégorie des nouvelles, il vaut mieux tard que jamais, je suis heureux d'annoncer que la brancheothèque a désormais une signalétique en français.]

Manon, the lovely Stick Librarian, showing the new new sign that says "Brancheothèque" with "Aucun frais de retard!" and "#brancheothèque", next to the English version of the sign.

The Stick Librarian wishes to thank our friend Aline for the French name and she apologizes to her translator friend Patricia-Anne for taking so long. But the Librarian's assistant bears some of the responsibility for it taking so long. [La branchothécaire souhaite remercier notre amie Aline pour le nom français et elle s'excuse auprès de son amie traductrice Patricia-Anne d'avoir mis autant de temps. Mais l'assistant du brancheothécaire porte une part de responsabilité dans cette lenteur.]

 Previously in Stick Library news:

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Stick Library Reopens

 I am happy to announce that yesterday, the Stick Librarian reopened the Stick Library here at the corner of Lebreton and Louisa.

7 sticks artfully arranged in the driveway next to a metal bucket with thinner sticks and the "Stick Library" sign with "Welcome Back!" chalked next to a full water dish

The library assistant has been instructed to not add any sticks from the inactive stacks to the lending portion of the library without informing the librarian because she will be carefully tracking the annual statistics this year.

Previously in Stick Library news:

Friday, March 29, 2024

Preparing for Stick Library season

With the upcoming reopening of the Lebreton-Louisa Stick Library, the Stick Librarian was concerned that the branch's stacks were getting low.

Unfortunately for some neighbours, but fortunately for the library patrons, a recent windstorm brought down an old tree and the librarian was able to source replacements that just needed a little work this morning with a pair of loppers and an electric saw.

The urban lumberjack using the loppers to trim the branches
The library assistant/retired urban lumberjack lopping a branch

The urban lumberjack using his electric saw to chop a branch
Sawing a branch

The stick librarian sweeping up after making renewing her stacks of sticks
The Stick Librarian is happy the stacks are ready for a new borrowing season

   Before: a pile of tree branches; After: 3 neat stacks of sticks

Monday, January 29, 2024

My new look

Dave looking shaggy, but at least shavedThings were getting shaggy, so I asked the lovely Manon to give me a trim on Saturday.

Dave trimmed up with the lovely Manon vaccuuming his backShe suggested changing things up from my usual all-over #4 or #6 and instead did the sides with a #2 and left the top alone.

Yes, we've been watching two episodes a night of Peaky Blinders for a couple of weeks and Manon wanted to try giving me a Tommy Shelby.

Arthur and Tommy Shelby

I'm very happy with it, except I feel an inexplicable compulsion to take over someone's bookmaking operation.

[I was thinking this was the first time I've had a TV-inspired haircut, but then I remembered that in 2009, I got an all-over buzz so I could be Mike Holmes for Hallowe'en.]

Friday, December 22, 2023

Sambal Oelek update - I cracked

A big jug of Sambal Oelek with a $34.99 price tag (next to a coffee cup that says "No more Mr. Nice Guy")

If you're a serious Sambal Oelek (fresh chili paste) user like me, you already know that the Huy Fong suspension is over and their Sriracha and Sambal Oelek sauces have been back on store shelves at least since early October.

However, the prices are not great. When I saw a 3.8 litre jug of Sambal Oelek at $34.99, which is almost double the price it used to be, I thought I'd be clever and wait a few weeks for this initial shortage pricing to come down.

But now here it is almost 2024 and the price is still $34.99. This hurts my stingy heart, but it's still a lower price than what I'd spend on hot peppers to make my own, never mind the time it would take and that it's very cold outside and I can't grind chili inside because someone else in the house has an aversion to tear gas.

So today I bought a jug. It's not like I'd get it from anyone as a Christmas present. We're only doing stocking stuffers and this wouldn't fit even in my oversize sock.

The question now is, will I be frugal with the Sambal Oelek and make it last until March? Or will it be gone by late January.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Set your TV recorder: Les Cowboys Fringants

Karl Tremblay in 2020 with l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Les Cowboys Fringants en concert avec l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

In 2020, les Cowboys Fringant recorded a performance with l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. I was lucky enough to record it on my old PVR, and watched it many times.

The concert is one of the most moving, goose-bump raising performances I've ever seen even though my ability to understand spoken or sung French is very limited.

It will air on CIVM (Channel 69 on Rogers-Ottawa) this week at the following times: 

  • Tuesday, November 28 - 8pm
  • Friday, December 1 - 9pm
  • Saturday, December 2 - 9pm

You should set your recorder. 

The concert will likely also play on the Télé-Québec app.

In Memory of Karl Tremblay

The tragic reason that this concert is being re-aired this week is that Karl Tremblay, the band's lead singer, died from cancer on November 15.

CTV reported:

Tremblay's death has triggered what Quebec Premier Francois Legault described Thursday as an "immense wave of love and sadness" across the province.

The CBC reported that Legault also said that Tremblay is entitled to a national funeral.

Although many Anglo-Canadians weren't familiar with Karl Tremblay and Les Cowboys Fringant, their music is well known and well loved in Québec and all of French Canada.

A teaser for the concert:

The hit that anchored their concert movie L'Amérique pleure: