Archive for category Oddities

Monthly Image: Electrical Safety FAIL

Our room in a pretty good motel (pronounced “No Pets Allowed”) had the light on the wall above the beds plugged in thusly:

Motel outlet 1
Motel outlet 1

Next to the other bed was the outlet for the between-the-beds nightstand with lamp and clock radio plugs:

Motel outlet 2 - side
Motel outlet 2 – side

Which looked not-so-bad from the side, but not-so-good from the top:

Motel outlet 2 - top
Motel outlet 2 – top

It’s all fun and games until you grope for your metal-frame glasses in the middle of the night and they fall off the nightstand … hasn’t happened yet, but it’ll be spectacular when it does.

I think the original beds were narrower, with more clearance around the outlets, but we’ll never know. Those Panera Bread outlets pose similar problems.



Squirrel Exploration

We spotted a motion twitch outside and finally figured out what was going on:

Squirrel in rotten branch hole - 1
Squirrel in rotten branch hole – 1

There must be something yummy down inside that branch scar, but you gotta keep checking your six:

Squirrel in rotten branch hole - 2
Squirrel in rotten branch hole – 2

Where’s a hawk when you need one?

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Collet Pen Holder vs. Cheap Refills

The three collet pen holders I got a while ago came with ink cartridges:

Collet pen holder
Collet pen holder

So I bought three bucks worth of a dozen pens to get pretty colors, whereupon I discovered they didn’t fit into the collet. Turns out the locating flanges aren’t in the same place along the cartridges:

The flanges on the top cartridge have been shaved down perilously close to the ink, but it now fits into the collet.

Bonus: a dozen fairly stiff springs that are sure to come in handy for something!


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It’s Flat, Jim

Aaand this front-end loader will require more than the patch kit and CO2 inflator from my bike pack before it’s back in service:

Front-end loader with flat tire
Front-end loader with flat tire

The local yellow iron inventory spends most of the winter snoozing in shopping mall parking lots, waiting to clear the snowfall. It’s been a light year so far, which is fine with me.


Cart Corral Reassembly

Apparently, cart corrals last about four years and, with this refresh, the assemblers got it right:

Improved WalMart cart corrals
Improved WalMart cart corrals

All the white-on-blue marker signs up on the poles seem to be top-side-up, too.

Of course, not many people bother returning their carts to the corrals, but the bewilderment factor should be lower now.

And, yes, the previous mis-assembly remained uncorrected. I can’t take credit for the replacement, even though it happened during my adminstration …


The Patience of Trees

Spotted a slow-motion sculpture while on a walk for errands:

Tree growing through chain-link fence
Tree growing through chain-link fence

The fence encloses a lot next to a long-disused fuel oil (?) storage / distribution facility. The county’s historic aerial photos suggest the trees have grown since the the building inside the fence vanished in the mid-1970s.


Jimmied Cable Box: Who You Gonna Call?

We spotted this anomalous situation halfway up Cochran Hill Road:

Cable Box - as found
Cable Box – as found

It looks like a Verizon FiOS cable box filled with jumpers for all the houses along the way:

Cable Box - fiberoptic jumpers
Cable Box – fiberoptic jumpers

You’ll note the missing lock and misplaced latch. The box face isn’t scarred, so getting in must not have required much effort.

The box carries no company identification or emergency numbers, but it does have two theft deterrents:

Cable Box - wasp nests
Cable Box – wasp nests

Perhaps the deterrents worked better in warmer months.

Given how little Verizon wants to hear from its FiOS customers, I have sub-zero motivation for devoting the hours required to find out if it’s their problem. Somebody along Cochran should have enough standing for the case.