Monday, July 23, 2007

Not the brightest bulb

When replacing traditional, power-gulping light bulbs with environmentally friendly coiled fluorescent bulbs, the treehugger must move stealthily, being careful not to attract the attention of nearby spousal units. These units do not like having their natural habitats disturbed, and can be quite menacing when surprised with changes to their environment. If a spousal unit finds itself cornered by unfamiliar coiled objects, it is likely to react in unpredictable and potentially violent ways. In extreme cases, the treehugger may find itself exiting a spousal encounter with compromised reproductive capabilities.

The treehugger must therefore exercise extraordinary caution while engaging in activities related to bulb substitution, temporarily ceasing normal treehuggerish activities that could attract unwanted attention, such as munching on granola or mashing up homemade hummus to sell in jam band concert parking lots. Using a towel to dampen the sound of bulb removal helps the treehugger to remain undetected at its most vulnerable, as nowhere is the likelihood of physical harm greater than when the treehugger is caught bulb-handed.

Actually, the transition to coiled fluorescent bulbs has gone fairly smoothly in our household. My wife Kara doesn’t really care one way or the other, and two bucks is a small price to pay for the reward that being environmentally responsible ultimately bestows: a smug sense of superiority. And who can really put a price on that, anyway? I haven’t been this proud of myself since that time we played Taboo with a bunch of our friends and Kara didn’t know what the word flaccid meant.

Whatever their buzzy and cold shortcomings may be, fluorescent bulbs are perfect for those of us who revere laziness above all else. They last so long that if my buddy Josh had put one of those bulbs into a lamp when he started college, he could have still been using the same bulb when he graduated seven years later with his four-year degree.

These days, changing light bulbs is about the only way I can keep myself entertained, seeing as we don’t have phone, cable or internet at our new place yet. It’s like being stuck on Gilligan’s Island, except Kara didn’t pack any sequined dresses and nobody here knows how to make a ham radio out of coconuts and fishing line. Earlier today, we actually dusted off the phonebook and used a cell phone to call the local theater for movie times instead of just looking it up online. It was so quaint, like drinking Ovaltine and riding in a horse-drawn buggy to a milkman convention.

I keep firing up my computer, thinking that I’ll be able to find some entertainment there. A computer with no internet is every bit as entertaining as an Etch-a-Sketch with the knobs torn off. Your options are pretty much limited to opening up Excel spreadsheets or discovering that you’re still not smart enough to beat Minesweeper on expert. Or you can play sadistic solitaire games that make you click the “I’m a complete loser” button before they’ll let you close the program. Later in life, if I ever need my self-esteem taken down a peg, it’s good to know that I’ll always have FreeCell there waiting for me.

Another hobby I’ve developed in the absence of modern communications technology is punching the thermostat up when Kara’s not looking. I’ve found that our air conditioner is much more cost effective when the number on the thermostat is higher than the temperature outside. Kara seems to have developed a similar thermostat-related hobby, whereby she attempts to discover what happens to our marital relations at absolute zero. These hobbies should keep us fairly entertained through the rest of the summer. Then in the fall, we’ll trade arrows on the thermostat and start all over again.

You can emit greenhouse gases with Mike Todd online at


  1. Deborah Aylward7/23/2007 5:28 PM

    Having only been attached to the Internet (what did you think I meant?) since late Feb., may I ask what's the deal with Free Cell? Okay, so it took me until last night to discover the game, hosers are slow---what can I say, I lasted an average of 12-15 seconds per game and had better luck on Minesweeper!!!

    As for the seesawing of the thermostat, why do gentlemen always want the thermostat turned higher summer AND winter? Aren't you a tad young for circulatory problems?

    Great post, ay.

    Veritas et Fidelis Semper

  2. Wait, I'm still stuck on why you would drink Ovaltine on the way to a milkman convention.

    My cat disappeared this week.

    Ooh, cats like milk.

    See? We're all connected.

    I was without internet for 25 minutes today. I still have chills and random thrashing. Well, and the side effect of leaving comments that make no sense.

    You're tougher than I am, Mike. Soldier on, dude.

  3. I love freecell... color me crazy.

    I hate, hate, HATE those fluorescent bulbs!

    I love hummus...

    Hate ovaltine...

    I'm afraid of minesweeper....

  4. I got to pogo where it has graphics and a little alien in a game called stellar sweeper, but it is mine sweeper kicked up. BAM!!!

    I haven't done the enviro friendly bulbs, I just buy the 8 pack for a buck. lol Yeah I suck, so what??

    I have all my a/c window units set on 60 degree's right now, and the swamp cooler on high. I'm one of those that sucks all the power each dirrection for the seasons. hehehehe

  5. Deborah -- Welcome to the internets! And don't sweat Free Cell. I think it's part of a secret government program to identify, like, nerds or something.

    Janelle -- Dang, sorry to hear about your cat, dude. I hope it's back and shredding the side of your couch soon.

    melodyann -- I had no idea I'd mentioned all those things. Hummus but not Ovaltine? Really? You really are crazy.

    Burf -- Stellar Sweeper sounds pretty bitchin'. And I've heard that fluorescent bulbs take so much more energy to manufacture that they're pretty much a wash as far as the planet is concerned. Don't know if that's true or not, but I hope it helps you sleep better. If not, the AC at 60 should do the trick.

  6. Well here I am... chiming in late as usual. I missed all the fun because I woke up with icicles hanging off my ears this morning. I think the sound of my chattering teeth lull Gary off to sleep. He likes the bedroom COLD. Of course he's like a big ol' bear so I guess that's ok. AC on 66 srping, summer, fall. Heat on 68 in winter. If we touch the dial, he starts screaming something about unauthorized use of the environmental controls..... wtf???? I'm screaming... I'd like to shave my legs for once without goosebumps all over them. jeez.

  7. oh yes. I once was without internent for a week. I thought I would go insane. I did get pretty good at Spider Solitaire though.

  8. Deborah Aylward7/26/2007 11:54 PM

    Sheri, I am so grateful that someone else admits to liking that game!

    Veritas et Fidelis Semper

  9. Mike, dude, that last comment I left for this post? Yeah, I hit 'publish' and my appendix ruptured. What r u doin' to ur internets? I haz hurtz organz!

    (seriously, 'publish' and wham! I'll send you the bill:)

    oh, crap, I have to hit 'publish' again don't I? Just wanted to let you know how strongly your site affected me. Peace. Owwwt.

  10. Sheri -- A fellow Spider Solitairian? Awesome. The person who can beat that game on difficult should probably have invented cold fusion instead.

    Deborah -- Maybe we should start a Spider Solitaire league! But I guess then it wouldn't be solitaire anymore.

    Janelle -- The appendix trap was totally meant for this dude at work, not you. I'm sorry you got caught in the crossfire. Seriously, though, I hope you're feeling better. From what I understand, a ruptured appendix hurts like a bastard. A bastard who makes things explode inside you. Best of luck on your recovery, and may your other organs remain intact.