||[Oct. 4th, 2011|12:48 pm]
Convention, concert, and construction (repairs, anyway, but that's not alliterative.)
From Foxboro we headed north and west to Fitchburg to attend the The Great New England Steampunk Expo (or TGNESE, as its creators like to call it.) I’m only peripherally interested in the steampunk genre, but the guests of honor were Phil and Kaja Foglio, creators of the Girl Genius online comic, and Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, authors of the Liaden Universe books. I tried to keep the fangirl squee to a minimum on meeting them, with only limited success. It was interesting attending the con as an observer more than participant; the limited space in the fiver does mean that we choose not to make or keep costumes, and costumes (along with goggles, hats, and corsets for women) were de rigueur. Very few people weren’t dressed up to some extent. And the people-watching was great; some of the costumes were really clever.
We got to hear Abney Park in concert on Saturday, though we sat out some of the opening acts in the parking lot. I’m willing to damage my hearing for good bands… The first opening act, Frenchy and the Punk, was great; things were a little unsettled due to problems with the hotel, so their set was in two parts and we enjoyed all of it. At an intermission we stopped to buy CDs from them and thank them for the concert, and bought the current CD and an older one. Frenchy was quick to warn me that the earlier CD was more Celtic style; I told her that was fine, and in fact I like their earlier stuff as much or more than the current style, which is both more steamy and more punky.
On our way to the con on Saturday, the shift lever broke. *sigh* When we got to the hotel we had could get the truck into drive and neutral but nothing else; J kindly dealt with all the details so that I could attend the Friends of Liad coffeeklatch. By the time that was over he’d acquired a rental car so I followed him to the local Ford dealership and we dropped the truck off and went back to the hotel.
Monday we talked to the folks at the Ford shop who promised a fast fix if possible, and I replaced the non-working porch light on the rig. Since that required working on a ladder directly in front of the door, the day was an endless loop of bring out the tools, fold up the steps, set up the ladder, climb the ladder, work for a bit, come down for other tools, move the ladder, unfold the steps, bring out the tools… I’m sure that someone who actually did this for a living would have made short work of it; it took me forever. Since the new light has a motion sensor, the unlabeled wires had to be attached in the correct order. 12 volt will work even wired backwards, but the electronics of an automatic light won’t. With a 50/50 chance to get it right, naturally I guessed wrong. But I was able to tighten the old connectors (I think that’s why the old light failed) and get a solid and correct connection at last.
The final step was positively evil, and I am not sure how even an experienced handyperson would have managed it cleanly: squeeze silicone caulk into the lip of the light (without coating the drip port!) and then set it in place and attach the four screws which secure it to the wall. Ok, first, though they said the screw pattern was universal (and when I held the new fitting up to the old one it looked like that was true) they lied. So I held this sticky, gooey fixture up to the wall and then had to try to move it around to find the screw holes. Only able to get one to match, and that would have put the light overlapping with the flange of the door, which would be a very bad idea. Caulk was smeared everywhere, me included. Then it was take the fixture back down, clean up the caulk from every place it shouldn’t be, drill new screw holes, reapply fresh caulk, reposition the fixture, retighten the screws, all before the caulk set up.
But by late afternoon we had a working porch light, and it comes on when we approach, and goes out after we get inside, and the Ford shop had finished with the truck, and the rental place had said it was ok to leave the car at the dealership, so we got our truck back and went out for dinner. And when we came back we had light to see to unlock the door. Very nice.