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After realizing he’d spent five hours researching oil lamps, tallow candles, and ancient spells to conjure light, he decided his life was pathetic, and he bought a floor lamp. * * * Our rental house has terrible lighting. The builders …...

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I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

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As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

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Colourful lighting bulb

Filed Under , on January 14th, 2017


By Seth Kabala

After realizing he’d spent five hours researching oil lamps, tallow candles, and ancient spells to conjure light, he decided his life was pathetic, and he bought a floor lamp.

* * *

Our rental house has terrible lighting. The builders designed the lighting scheme intent on the only renters being cave-dwelling dwarves, who, if the need arose for more light, would simply light another torch. This make-your-own light method would also work if the house were populated with Minecraft characters. Need some light? Either pull from your infinite torch stack (so long as you’re in creative mode, so Will, my son, has told me) or wait 10 minutes and voila–it’s daytime.

This lack of adequate lighting creates real hazards. For instance, I like to play classical piano. For many years, I’ve been working on the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto. The piece is crazy difficult. To put it in ultra technical musical geek speak, it has a shit ton of notes. I don’t know if music publishers are tree conservationists by nature, but the evidence sure trends in that direction. Why else would you cram this concerto into 79 pages of music, with notes roughly the size equivalent to elements at the atomic level?

If I had the powers of Ant Man, and if I decided to exercise the nuclear option, I would have zero difficulty reading these miniature notes. But I’m not Ant Man; I am decidedly human and devoid of latent mutant super powers, rendering the reading of most classical sheet music an arduous task.

Add in the lighting difficulties, and you’ve got the makings of an epic squinting session. Even when I’m wearing my glasses, I have a hard time making out the notes. But I press on, because the world needs Rachmaninoff, needs the creation and interpretation and rendering of beautiful things, now more than ever.

The solution to this problem is simple, right? Buy a sledgehammer and go native on the plaster, exposing the framing of this house. Then, run new wiring to all the places the builders should have put fixtures in the first place, install said fixtures, and call the landlord to let them known they’ll need to send a drywall and painting crew to close up the walls.

Here’s how you sell this.

Hey, Landlord, seems the old wallboard was fundamentally weak and liked to crumble under the slightest application of pressure. In fact, the wallboard is so bad, Landlord, one day, I pressed on one spot with a crack, and then, in an unstoppable chain reaction, the crack ripped across the wall, circled around the room picking up speed, as though a buzz saw had taken up residence in the wall, gone to sleep, and had awoken, at the prompting of my pressing, with a voracious appetite for drywall.

The crack didn’t stop with the walls. Oh, no. It executed sharp turns upward, then zigged and zagged, cutting angles back and forth across the surface area, weirdly concentrated around the light fixtures. Finally, just when I thought it was done wreaking havoc, the entire ceiling came crashing down.

As if that weren’t enough, the wallboard didn’t hit the floor in chaotic frenzy, scattering itself in all directions and generating a toxic cloud of dust; it split itself into neat, airborne columns and filed itself into buckets, each only three-quarters full, which, I’m guessing, it did to prevent spillage when I toted these buckets out to the trash.

I’ll bet you thought the story was over there. Nope. To my shock, I looked up into the now-bare ceiling, joists and braces and hardware all naked, and saw this: light fixtures had been installed BEHIND the wallboard. These fixtures were spaced evenly, appearing to have been positioned in just such a way as to cast even and adequate light on every relevant surface in each room. It was a miracle.

Naturally, I completed the last step, hooked up the wiring to the electrical service (weird how the fixtures were installed but not connected to power), and my hypothesis was confirmed; beautiful, warm, even, soft, sufficient light, perfect for, oh, I don’t know, perhaps playing some classical piano?

At this point, I would find it appropriate to play Shine by Collective Soul. Whether you use tallow candles or self-destructing drywall, it doesn’t matter. Shine on, brothers and sisters.

Shine on.


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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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