Decorating for Christmas is a fun way to begin the holiday season. In our family, we have a tradition of decorating for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. All the decorations come down the day after Christmas. Well, I live far away from my family, and I was going to be at my parents' home over Thanksgiving, so I decorated my apartment for Christmas on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I like to put lights on my balcony railing, so I got out my lovely icicle strand and hung it carefully. When I was done, I plugged it in and it lit up beautifully... except for one section of it.
Christmas light strands, these days, are made so that if a bulb burns out, only one section will not continue to light. This is good, in that it keeps you from having to check the entire strand for one little broken filament. I found the offending bulb. (And I'm very thankful that, while my eyesight is imperfect, I have wonderful near-vision. If I was at all far-sighted, I'd have been pooched! Those filaments are nigh-unto invisible!)
I thought to myself, "I believe I have more small bulbs in with the rest of my Christmas stuff," and I was correct. I retrieved the bulb, and put it into the slot where the broken one had been. It didn't fit. I pushed harder. It still wouldn't fit. I twisted, and almost broke the bulb. It wouldn't go in the little blinking blanking hole. So, I took the replacement bulb and held it up to the broken bulb. What I found is what you can see in the picture above. There is more than one miniature lightbulb base. (Presumably so you can't replace the bulbs, which causes you to, instead, replace the entire strand. Actually, not a bad marketing strategy, but a bugger for the consumer.)
Well, being of the lineage that I tout, I did the difficult thing to do. I whipped out my pocket knife and started carving away at the little plastic base. (The green bulb is the replacement bulb, so I needed to whittle down the base until the grooves matched the white one.) As I learned while growing up, the only way to tackle a task such as this is to make sure that your mouth is running at approximately the same speed as your tool of choice (particularly if the tool is ill-suited for the job you've given it), and your mouth should be muttering tiny little curses (not foul-language, just actual curses) against the communist nazi who came up with the stupid idea which foiled your plans, your day, and ultimately your entire life. :D That bulb never had a chance.
I won. I put the freshly-carved lightbulb into the strand, and -- PRESTO!-- the previously-dead section came to life! VICTORY against a lightbulb! Thank God for opposable thumbs and rapidly-moving intellect. :D
Now all I have to do is carve another bulb for the next section of the strand which decided to die recently... Sigh.