The Venerable Wall Lamp Makeover

The Story

Old pink wall lampI’ve had this wall lamp since I was an elementary school kid.

I remember my dad hanging it on the wall of my basement bedroom, which had a floor made from fairly large streaky-pink square asphalt tiles, circa 1950 when our house was built. The pink wall lamp matched the pink floor.

When I left home, this wall lamp  moved along with me. Now that it’s about twenty years old—and because my current bedroom is not pink—I decided it was time to give the venerable wall lamp an update.

The Makeover

I measured the now faded and cracked pink shade and bought a new white shade online at Lamps Plus (which had a user-friendly website and good customer service).

Then, I purchased a can of Valspar spray paint and a can of Valspar clear sealant at my local Lowe’s home improvement store. I sprayed the metal frame with several coats of the white spray paint, and then I sprayed it with a few coats of the clear sealant. (I hung the metal frame by its cord on my outdoor clothesline, which made it easy for me to spray all sides of it at once.)

New white wall lampAnd voilá! The new and improved wall lamp. This was just about the easiest furniture update I’ve ever done.

A Binge! Shakespeare on Facebook

Most of my thoughts about my experience ended up on Facebook while I was reading the complete works of William Shakespeare from 2011 to 2013.

A villain who enjoys his job.

A Facebook post about Othello by William Shakespeare

The inadvisability of girls chasing guys.

A Facebook post about Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare

A visit to Rome in a poem.

A Facebook post about The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare


A Facebook post about sonnets by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare in the movies!

A Facebook post about movie adaptations of works by William Shakespeare

A Beep Sound and the Natural Play Instinct

As part of my professional work of writing user’s manuals, I  often encounter source manuals for Chinese products that were written originally in Chinese and then translated into English.

These source manuals often contain translation that is an amusing mixture of the erudite and the nonsensical, proving over and over again that good translation is a skill and an art (and that using Google Translate doesn’t always cut it).

Here are some gems from a Chinese source manual for an exercise rower that came my way recently.

I love beep sounds!

Screen capture of Chinglish text

More beep sounds!

Screen capture of Chinglish text

 Hear that target rate?

Screen capture of Chinglish text

I am desirous of resistance level 5.

Screen capture of Chinglish textNo keys be pressed!

Screen capture of Chinglish text

Rectify the problem!

Screen capture of Chinglish text

Children have a natural play instinct and fondness for experimentation.

Screen capture of Chinglish text

A Far Green Country

There are beautiful descriptions of the world to come in The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

I’ve always loved the image and the idea of the “far green country” that lies “further up and further in” that are conveyed in these works.

“The journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

—Gandalf to Pippin (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien)

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now… Come further up, come further in!”

—Jewel the Unicorn (The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis)

A few summers ago, I set myself a writing exercise—to write a hymn verse. (This because I listened to or read a devotional talk in which a Latter-day Saint church leader encouraged everyone to try their hand at hymn writing. Alas, I cannot remember the name of the speaker and I haven’t been able to find the source of this counsel.)

The resulting modest verse unexpectedly proved derivative. I didn’t consciously set out to draw on Tolkien and Lewis, but the while I was writing the first draft, the words “a far green country” put themselves in the line, and the course of the rest of the verse was set. When I reworked the draft, the allusions just became stronger.

I stand, stranger to this place,
In the west, death stands in grace,
A shadow far and lovely,
Beyond, a far green country
Further up and further in
Where the light floods down the hills.
I will someday sojourn there.
There and home and past all fear.

One last note: This verse isn’t quite a hymn verse—although I started out writing for a 7777D hymn meter, which means that there are eight lines of seven syllables each, the meter of the verse is not regular, neither iambic nor trochaic, which means that it probably wouldn’t work well when sung to music.

Still, I’m happy with the verse because it allowed me to pay my respects with literary allusions to the bright images of Tolkien and Lewis that I have long loved.