Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

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Lightbox, Alaskan style.

Dad always knew winter in Alaska was gloomy, but when he heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder, something clicked, and he was amazed and delighted to find out that the deep dark winter could actually affect your mood for the worse. And he came up with a solution.

He bought a 500 watt halogen lamp, one of the sort that generally gets put on the outside of buildings, wired it up properly, and mounted it on a (don't try this at home, kiddies) camera tripod. The result was ungainly and decidedly unstable, and looked very homemade, but it worked well enough. He pointed the light at the couch and plugged it in.

500 watts puts off a fantastic amount of heat and light. Outdoors, it's a spark in the darkness. Indoors, unshaded, the couch turned into an instant bit of beachfront property. Dad called it "the basking light", and made references to lizards soaking up the sun.

It was an instant hit. Unlike some of Dad's other bizarre innovations, this one stuck around and got regular use. Dad always woke up first. He'd come down in the mornings, make some coffee, and curl up on the couch in what passed for his pajamas, in front of the light, waking up quietly and pleasantly. We'd join him some mornings.

The tripod was not a good solution. We tripped over that quite a bit, and there were some close calls. I don't remember if any of those incidents took the thing out, but by and by, Dad replaced the old contraption with a modern professional version -- a two-lamped construction light on a sturdy telescoping pole with three short and stable legs. Tay-Tay and I noted with approval that instead of just bare glass over the lamps, these were fitted with cages on the fronts. It worked very well, and Dad was even able to use it for its intended purpose, as we occasionally found him outside splitting wood after dark in the company of the lamps.

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