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Under-Cabinet/Under-Counter Lighting: How to Choose?

Monday 25 October 2004 at 12:10 pm We are busy living in 2 rooms of our home, as the rest of our home is currently under construction. Both Jen and I are extremely excited about it being done, but also really sick of it not being done. We live in either our bedroom or my office, which houses the TV and the Internet, both obviously vital to our sanity to distract us from the dust-covered filth and holes surrounding us.

My job, being the lighting freak I am, was to find some under-cabinet (also called under-counter, though it lights up the counter, not under it) task lighting for the kitchen. Sweet! I'll find something really cool. But wait -- it must not generate a lot of heat, and Jen specifically said no to halogen. No problem, I think, and get to work.

My first thought is LED rope light! But alas, while the color of the light is nice and warm, similar to incandescent and halogen, it's not enough light. So what about LED bricks? A few companies sell LED bricks that put off a warm white light, similar to incandescent. Sweet! Until I saw the price. 24", 60 LED's, $400. What? No. Moving on.

Then came Xenon and Fluorescent. Now I haven't seen a Xenon light in use yet, but somewhere I read that its color temperature was like 5000K. Anything above 4000K are considered "cool" light sources, such as fluorescent. 3000K would be incandescent, and anything at or below that is considered "warm" light. Now I found a warm white fluorescent light rated at 3000K, and while it was better than a normal fluorescent, it was still very white.

I read somewhere that Xenon pucks "put out a similar very white light" with half the heat of halogen, and last 4 times as long. Well, that's cool, but I need to see it to believe it. Otherwise, I'll need to go convince my wife that halogen is just the way to go.

Maybe I'll get her a personal fan.

Presidential Elections, Iraq, and Democracy

Monday 25 October 2004 at 11:49 am Or is it Democrazy?

It sure feels like it. Iraq is a mess, and so is the domestic Presidential elections. Bush is busy calling Kerry names and making fun of him, while Marines and Army troops are dying in Iraq. If we are so sure that democracy will work in Iraq, let's put our occupation to the vote. If they vote us out, we leave. If not, we stay. There's your democracy, Bush.

Anyway, I hate Bush, as I've said before. I do think Bush is "unbelievably incompetent" and I think it is insane that our troops are still in Iraq. We've removed Saddam, found no evidence that they could launch an attack against the US, and our troops, who are so loyally defending what their "leader" asks them to, are dying daily.

A few months ago, an Army guy came into our office, and told me that they knew exactly where Saddam Hussein was, and exactly where Osama bin Laden was. They tracked them hourly, and could go in at any time to extract them. Within 3 months they "found" Saddam. Now with 8 days before the elections, I'm scared.

I'm scared that Bush is going to "find" Osama, or even worse, allow some sort of "terrorist act" to occur either in Iraq or on US soil, to scare voters into voting for him. Now, I think it is insane of me to think that the leader of the US would allow such a thing to happen. However, it is a real possibility that the Bush folk would "find" Osama and use that as yet another reason to vote Bush. I guess I just wouldn't put it past this Administration to pull some sort of "War on Terror" victory bullshit in the final hours before the election.

As for Democracy, I find it to be something of a religion for Bush. He is a Democracy Zealot, telling people that they are going to hell unless they let the Democratic Government into their heart, and accept US occupation as their lord and savior. Seriously, what is that? Why does Bush think that everyone wants, needs or can have a Democracy? We know little of the lifestyle of the Iraqi people -- why should we decide what kind of government they have? Nobody helped us get to our Democracy, we had to do it ourselves. Let's let the rest of the world do so. If they want help, they'll have to vote for our help. Or let the UN decide.

I'm sick of the US being cocky, thinking we know what is best for everyone else. Hell, the government thinks that they should regulate everything, that they know what is best for its own citizens. Examples? Gay marriage and abortion. Land of the Free? If you aren't gay, and if you aren't accidentally pregnant. Where will it stop? Only if you are Prodestant, Jewish or Catholic? Only if you are a Republican? Only if you are of non-Iraqi descent? That ain't free. That's as bad as the Nazis were in Germany and across Europe. I like the freedom to worship any way I want, have the freedom to be a committed gay couple (yeah, like the straight couples have got it right, what with their 50%+ divorce rate?), and the freedom to get a medical procedure done without intervention.