I think it is good to be honest about the process, and not every day is filled with Neopixel rainbows. Today I was working on hacking some code to make a nicer rain pattern -- one with random rain drops. Currently the pattern is running backwards as if the rain is falling up. So, I started working with some of the values to see if I could get it to rain down. I had just started to make some headway when I bumped one of my LED strips, which was joined to another with alligator clips. I noticed the lights flicker and immediately checked the clips to see if any were touching. My hand happened to glance over the last LED in one of the strips and I discovered warmth. LED's do not like heat one bit, so I immediately pulled off the clips. Unfortunately it appears there was damage done to one of my strips. The last light sometimes comes on, but the strip itself is not able to communicate to the next one in line any longer. If you look closely, you can see a slight brown mark at the C1 area.
So, today's takeaway is: Do not use alligator clips for LED strips and make sure you have extra strips to test your circuit. Hopefully I can just snip the bad pixel off this strip and still use it for test purposes (with some real soldered wires) while I wait for a new strip to arrive. I was sad for a minute until I realized that this bad strip may someday be used for my dream LED quadcopter. So, one failure can still be a victory. Okay, got to run -- soldering to do!