After Paula secured a smaller screwdriver for me, I managed to disassemble the LCD panel, pull out the bulb assembly, desolder the dead bulb, and solder in the new one. And by some miracle, I got all the parts back in without breaking or losing anything. And it only took three trips to the store for tools and about four hours of work.
I am perhaps inordinately pleased with myself for fixing it. I took some pictures of the laptop and panel in various states of disassembly, but haven't gotten around to getting them off the camera yet.
The LCD in my three-year-old Thinkpad T43 has failed and I'm pretty sure the problem is with the fluorescent bulb in the backlight (the screen will light turn on for a few minutes, but it's all pinkish). After spending two and a half hours monkeying around with screws of fractally decreasing size, I'm finally at the point of disassembling the "no user serviceable parts inside" LCD panel itself so I can desolder the dead bulb and replace it. Except I can't get the practically microscopic screws out of the housing.
A replacement bulb is $8. A used replacement panel can be found for about $100. A whole new laptop could probably be had for $800 or so. I bet I never do this again.
The rat traps we set in our crawlspace caught not one but two rats! Hopefully this will resolve our recent rat issues... we're particularly hopeful because the third trap we set wasn't disturbed, and one of the sprung traps was still baited. Presumably this means no one was left to eat the bait.
So, we also cemented up the hole they were getting into the crawlspace through.
Smashed rats are kind of nasty. At least they probably died quickly.
In most of the world, when they say "20% chance of rain", they mean that there is a twenty percent chance that rain will fall that day and an eighty percent chance no rain will fall. If it falls, you get a shower, or maybe a storm or something like that. In Seattle, the last six months have demonstrated to me that this isn't the case here. "20% chance of rain" here actually forecasts a 100% chance that "20% rain" will fall. 20% rain is like a piddly little drizzle. 40% rain is a little more substantial, but it's not really until 80% rain that it starts to get a little respectable.
I think they say "20% chance of rain" just to keep people from getting depressed. If they said "100% chance of piddly little drizzle" every day for a week, there would doubtless be some sort of revolt.
DDR Extreme 2 has started to challenge me.
Dance Master mode Area D has a number of really twisted missions like "Step 180 times, but get a 'Boo' on every arrow" or "Do not step on any red-colored arrows, but get at least 'Great' on all other colors" or "Get at least 65 each of Perfects and Greats." It's amazing how hard it can be to be deliberately (and precisely) less than perfect.
I probably would've skipped the whole Dance Master thing entirely except it's the route to unlock all the songs for purchase... very annoying at first because it makes you play all the stupid one-foot songs with no way to skip them, but it's making up for it now.
the asian market right next to my building at Amazon carries the japanese convenience-store style o-nigiri (rice balls with various tasty fillings). these have some of the most clever packaging i've ever seen... they keep the rice separate from the dried seaweed that wraps it until the very last instant, so the seaweed stays crispy. i didn't expect i'd ever seen one again outside japan.