Incandescent Bulb Lifetime: Also Better Than Average

This bulb spent the last seven-plus years of its life lighting the front bathroom:

Dead incandescent bulb - 7 years
Dead incandescent bulb – 7 years

The green corrosion around the tip seems strange, given that we don’t use the tub or shower in that bathroom, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the cause of the failure.

My stock of incandescent bulbs will eventually run out; I must figure out how to light the deaders in an attractive manner.

Lyme Disease, Now With Bonus Babesiosis

Two weeks of doxycycline should kill off all the Borrelia bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, but a blood test shows the antibodies:

Lyme test - 2021-11-10
Lyme test – 2021-11-10

Those antibodies will gradually disappear during the next few months and, unfortunately, a past Lyme infection does not prevent future infections.

The tick also injected Babesia parasites which do not respond to antibiotic treatment:

Babesia test - 2021-11-10
Babesia test – 2021-11-10

The “titer” refers to the dilution required to produce a negative test result, with the 1:64 reference titer representing six successive 50% dilutions. My blood required ten 50% dilutions to produce a negative result for the IgG antibodies and (presumably) six 50% dilutions from a 20% base for the IgM antibodies.

As I understand the situation, IgM antibodies appear promptly upon infection and IgG antibodies follow along later, so my reaction to the Babesia infestation was ramping up after two weeks.

In the Bad Old Days™, quinine was the go-to treatment for parasitic infections, but it has a host of horrific side effects at the dosage required for traction against actual diseases; tonic water ain’t gonna get you where you need to go.

The new hotness is atovaquone, arriving as 100 ml of a yellow liquid with the consistency of latex paint, (allegedly) the taste of “tutti fruitti“, and a price (modulo your drug plan) making inkjet printer ink look downright affordable. You might expect to get a 5 ml measuring spoon along the the bottle, but suffice it to say it’s an exceedingly good thing I’m well stocked for printer cartridge refilling.

All of the diseases and drugs list “fatigue” / “drowsiness” / “malaise” as symptoms / side effects and I’m here to tell you knocking off a couple of hours in the recliner during the day does nothing at all to disturb another nine hours in the sack overnight.

A few weeks of low productivity in the Basement Shop™ will definitely count as a successful outcome.

Protip: We need permethrin spray. Lots permethrin spray.

CFL Lifetime: Better Than Average

Although compact fluorescent lamps have fallen out of favor, I’m burning through a box of the things donated by a friend who upgraded to LEDs and figured I could put them to good use. In general, complex electronic doodads (like CFL or even LED lamps) used in hostile situations (like an ordinary downlight fixture) seem to fail too quickly to justify the power savings; searching for “cfl fail” will produce some evidence from around here.

One of the downlights in the Basement Office just killed this specimen:

Dead CFL - detail
Dead CFL – detail

Much to my surprise, however, it survived for more than five years:

Dead CFL - over 5 years
Dead CFL – over 5 years

The previous CFL bulb in that fixture lasted only two years, so their average lifetime is entirely too short.

A taller bulb does a better job of lighting up that corner, although it started with enough power-on hours to suggest it won’t survive for another five years:

Dead CFL - replacement
Dead CFL – replacement

The ghostly humps above the overexposed glare are the long CFL tubes reflected inside the Pixel’s camera optics.

I didn’t see much point in nailing a ceiling to too-low floor joists.

Alpatronix iPhone XS Max Wireless Charging Case: Battery Capacity

Mostly because I have the technology, here’s a battery rundown test for the (guts of the) Alpatronix iPhone case:

Alpatronix iPhone XS case - battery test setup
Alpatronix iPhone XS case – battery test setup

Bypassing the entire battery controller doesn’t tell you when it thinks the lights should go out, but does give an indication of the raw battery capacity:

Alpatronix iPhoneXS Charger - 2021-11-06
Alpatronix iPhoneXS Charger – 2021-11-06

Multiplying the nominal 3.7 V by the nominal 5 A·hr capacity says it should have a nominal 18.5 W·hr capacity at some unrealistically low discharge rate. Given that I found it at the end of the driveway with no provenance, I didn’t expect much.

To my utter astonishment, it delivered 17 W·hr at 500 mA!

It really ought to be good for something …

Wireless Numeric Keypad vs. AmazonBasics AAA Alkaline

One of the streaming media players behaved funny, which always results in a numeric keypad battery replacement. This AmazonBasics AAA alkaline was down to about 0.5 V and long past its best-used-by date:

Numeric keypad - 5 year Amazon AAA Alkaline
Numeric keypad – 5 year Amazon AAA Alkaline

Nigh onto six years isn’t bad, particularly as it hasn’t leaked electrolyte all over the negative terminal.

Suggestions that Amazon monitors their Marketplace sellers to figure out what’s profitable, then promote a Good Enough house brand product to kill off the competition, seem to describe the situation just about perfectly.


We spotted a plump mushroom cluster nestled at the base of a neighbor’s tree:

Mushrooms at tree - A
Mushrooms at tree – A

Eight days later they’d started curling:

Mushrooms at tree - B
Mushrooms at tree – B

Mushrooms growing on tree roots generally mean the tree is in trouble and, indeed, it’s a battered Black Locust.

Lyme Disease

For reasons that made sense at the time, two weeks ago I ventured outside the house. A few days later, this appeared:

Lyme Disease - arm rash
Lyme Disease – arm rash

The pallid skin over on the left comes from a bike glove. The central bump is one of those annoying sebaceous hyperplasias appearing after a Certain Age and not relevant here.

Having been around this particular block a few times, Mary recognized the diffuse red rash, sleeping 30 of 36 consecutive hours, and a day-long 103 °F fever as Lyme disease. I’m currently taking 100 mg of doxycycline twice a day and (after a week) feeling better, while sleeping a lot more than usual at random intervals during the day.

We’re both highly aware of Lyme disease: Mary routinely dresses in a complete overlayer of permethrin-sprayed clothing and I generally strip-and-shower immediately after any yard work in similarly sprayed, albeit less enclosing, attire. In this case, we think a tiny Deer Tick nymph affixed itself to the outboard side of my wrist, where I could neither see nor feel it, and (because I didn’t take a shower after being outside for only a few minutes) remained attached long enough to infect me.

Caught and treated early, Lyme disease generally does not progress into “post-treatment Lyme disease”, an ailment rife with what can charitably be described as serious woo, despite some evidence of actual disease.

Some of Mary’s Master Gardener cronies have endured co-infections of Babesia microti and we’ll be watching for those symptoms after doxycycline tamps down the obvious problem.

I’ll be puttering very carefully around heavy machinery and posting irregularly for a few weeks …

Memo to Self: the Basement Shop has a lot to recommend it!