Thursday, March 04, 2010

Unreconstructed power-user.

I've decided that the "swirly bulbs" (CFCs) can suck it.

I had these things in my house for well over a year. I have not seen a drop in my electrical bills at all. I take that to mean either (a) they are not nearly as "efficient" as claimed (and you can't get rid of them when they burn out!) or (b) I am not home nearly enough for the amount of time I use electric lights to make a difference.

So the other day, I went to the Lowe's and bought a big big package of "Reveal" bulbs - real incandescents - and took the swirly bulbs out of my bedroom fixture and replaced them with real bulbs. The difference is amazing, how much better everything looks. How much better *I* look when I look at myself in my mirror.

I didn't throw the CFCs away - after all, they still have "life" in them (and you can't throw them away, apparently, anyhow; you have to find somewhere that will grudgingly accept them). My next step is to consider replacing the cheap horrible bedside lamp I have that requires a CFC bulb (it's a weirdly configured bulb) with a NICE bedside lamp.

Oh, and I had to go to Lowe's because my local wal-mart has apparently decreed that in the Name of Greenness, they will ONLY carry the incandescent bulbs that go in appliances. Everything else is swirly bulbs or those swirly-bulbs-inside-globes (and how dim must those be) that look kind of like incandescents, but aren't.

Another wal-mart annoyance: one of my friends noted this. He said: "Does it seem to you like wal-mart has vastly expanded their own brand (the Great Value stuff) at the expense of shelf-space for other brands?"

Dammit, I think he's right. And while I have no issue with generics being available (and I buy the Great Value shredded cheese: it's pretty much the only brand they carry that doesn't use a sulfate-based anticaking agent, which upsets my stomach), it irks me that they're slowly seemingly edging out national brands.

That's what kind of scares me about the economy: that everything will become a gray, stale, cheapest-possible set-up where we have to buy the equivalent of "Victory Coffee" and such - and all the niceties like imported butter cookies and fancy ice cream will be a dream of the past. I know that's a very unlikely thing, but to hear some folk talk about how everything needs to be "equal" and how folks "feel bad" when they can't afford nicer stuff that some people can afford - and that that's a problem - I wonder. That we'll wind up shopping at the equivalent of GUM where we get our loaf of bread and droopy vegetables and can of milk and that's the ONLY choice...and that any "extra" income goes to taxes to help subsidize that milk and bread and vegetable.

I don't know. I try to avoid the economic news but when you see empty storefronts or hear of businesses shutting down, and see things like national brands being dropped in favor of house brands, it's really hard to believe that a "turnaround" is happening.

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