Sunday, December 2, 2018

Time For a Festive Nervous Breakdown

Last year when two thirds of my Christmas tree lights failed to light I decided to replace all of them rather than get a new tree. Not in order to save the earth but because I liked the size and shape of the 8 year old tree that was otherwise in very good condition.

Buy LEDs they said, they’ll never burn out they said. So I opted for the micro LED lights, aka “rice” lights because I liked the way they twinkled at me in the store. And, as they said, they’ll never burn out.  Right. This is me, this year; replacing last year’s LED warm white rice lights (made in China) with new LED warm white rice lights, also made in China because I dare you to find any that aren’t.


In the picture, I’m three quarters of the way through replacing the middle section. I don’t have a picture of the complete fail because I was so upset (read PO’d) that taking a picture was the last thing on my mind.

Let the record reflect that the pre-strung tree’s original lights lasted 8 – yes, 8 – years.  Mind you, these new little buggers are nowhere near as easy to install (and uninstall) as the originals. First of all you need a lot more of them because they’re much smaller and have 3 times as much wire that must be wound (repeatedly) around the branches unless for some reason you like the look of unruly wires sticking out everywhere. That of course means there’s 3 times as much wire that needs to be unwound in the event that your LEDs malfunction (because they never burn out, they simply fail to work). Raj took pity and unwound the entire offending section of 1000 lights, lest I suffer a complete nervous breakdown.

02-C4-Protein-schizophrenia brain mapThis is your brain on malfunctioning Christmas lights. Also seen in the brains of schizophrenics.

Now when I say you need more lights, I mean you need a lot more lights. My skinny 7’ tree originally had 500 lights and was quite festively illuminated. Now it has 2500. Yes, you read that correctly, 2500. I had foolishly assumed that I could replace 500 lights with approximately the same number. Ha! It took 500 just for the  small top section – which can be seen sitting on the floor off to the right while I restring, for the second year in a row, the derelict middle section.

mini lightsMini-lights v micro “rice” lights – warning, your tree will be hungry again an hour later

I guess all’s well that ends well but if you decide to restring your Christmas tree with new lights this year just know what you’re getting yourself into. The rice lights have their charms but they are neither easy to install nor failsafe. I blame the Chinese.

20181129_142524Fully relit and ready for the ornaments

Meanwhile, contrary to all the received wisdom of the modern free press, I see that VSGPDJT has reached an agreement with China’s President Xi to suspend planned tariff increases and open up markets while final negotiations on a trade deal take place. Just like with the Mexico/Canada anti-NAFTA deal, our esteemed betters in the media and Washington were wrong. Again.

Anyway, I think I’ll send a letter to President Trump asking him to make President Xi promise to stop selling us crappy Christmas lights that are clearly intended to drive us crazy so they can take over the world.

light breakdown