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Zzap atque vale

Tonight we have a new microwave oven.

For years now, the old one had been doing a T.S. Garp Sr. with its display, and I'd always figured that when it had no lit segments left at all we'd give up and replace it, but not until then.

Last saturday morning I put in a bowl of oatmeal to cook for the kids' breakfast, and about halfway through the initial fast heating of the milk the usual buzzing noise increased drastically in volume. Then the light inside started flickering in time with the buzz. Then smoke. Maybe 10-15 seconds from start to the time I turned it off. I don't know the details, but there was soot around the little plastic window where the light usually comes in, and the window was discolored. When I peeled it off, discolored turned out to mean "charred and blistered".

You all know how tempted I was to see if I could replace the little plastic window -- hey, that flickering was probably just the light being temporarily obscured by smoke -- and make things work again. Alas I have this pretty strong ethos (reinforced by my loving spouse) about playing amateur repair person with things that could incinerate, coagulate, asphyxiate, disassemble or otherwise severely injure all of us in a few seconds or less.

But instead I went out and discovered that there are maybe three different models of microwave made nowadays, under three or four dozen different badges, in many ways (particularly dimensions) inferior to our old one. And also with distinctly questionable reliability, even for the nominally top brands. Whee.

So we were going to get one on sunday, but about noon the snow squalls started and it seemed like a bad idea. Then the sky cleared and the day became beautiful, but my cousin dropped by unexpectedly to pass out christmas presents and accept condolences for the recent death of her mother. So we didn't even have lunch till 230.

Today, then, we went to Costco and got a new nuke that will either last or won't, but will definitely take up more counter space. And I have to read the manual to figure out how to operate the multi-stage cooking programs and TURBO DEFROST.

And then J and the kids went home while I stayed for a Sparkfun workshop on E-origami, which what cool and frustrating and involved goodies. (And we all agreed that the first person to market conductive sticks of hot glue will make a small -- quite small -- fortune.)