Demand Studios, Tucson and AZ288

The last time I posted I got 52 hits within 24 hours. My normal rate is like six. There are two possibilities: a particular phrase ranked high in a search engine, or the link I left on the meet-up site got clicked – a lot. The only way to test this is two separate entries (though they both share this paragraph).

I made some money from Demand Studios. Of course, I had to give them my correct Paypal account. However, DS keeps trying to shove money into a bad Paypal account until it goes in. Good to know.

I normally wouldn’t lead with that, but I am testing the search term hypothesis.

I spent Labor Day in Tucson with some friends. I learned that the pineapple cactus is endangered, which means that Raytheon has to fence around every one of them that grows on their lot.

I also learned that you can’t casually buy a good screen door. The doors off the shelf at Home Despot and the like are rolled aluminum. You can special order an extruded aluminum door – which is the good stuff – but you pay more and wait longer.

I took Wed and Thur off and went camping – but with a mission: I stopped and took notes and photos of seven different campsites all more or less along AZ 288 which snakes roughly from Globe, through Young, and then up to the Rim.

My campsite at Upper Canyon Creek campground

My campsite at Upper Canyon Creek campground

The account of that expedition appears in Are We Lost Yet? The profiles of the campsites will eventually appear in  the Phoenix Camping Examiner site. Photos on Flickr. I’ll update with links when I get these things up.

I can report, however, that there is one reliable convenience store in Young – providing you drive through in daylight. The owners of Buddi Gas and Mini-Mart can help you out. Don’t get your hopes up too high – the dogs sleep in the back aisle next to the ice cream machine.

Ooh! I also saw sheep! They have herded sheep from the top of the Rim to somewhere outside of Chandler for decades through a 3 mile wide corridor that, at some point, follows AZ288. September is the time they go south. I encountered the herd just north of Young. The Basque shepherd said they had been on the trail for three days at that point.

A herd of sheep on FR 200 just north of Young, 9/9/09

A herd of sheep on FR 200 just north of Young, 9/9/09

We pause now for the sheep jokes, before changing the subject entirely.

If I take a class on say – chain hoist maintenance – but then I don’t work on such a device for six months, I find I have lost all useful knowledge I might have had from the class.

When quoting a job, don’t get in any more of a hurry than the client is – you just trip yourself up.

Now You Know.

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Random revelations from a fun weekend

Because we could all use a fun weekend…

The AMC bowling alley near Chris-town has Guiness on tap. A family of four can bowl and eat pizza for about $65 (not including black & tans), and watch as your children discover that real bowling is not at all like the Wii.

With current construction conditions, it is 2.5 hours door to door from the Padegimas house to the Kinsey residence in Tucson. (Half of the eight people who read this know who I’m talking about. A fourth of them live there.)

Watchmen is rated R for good reasons. Don’t bring the kids.

The Gifted and Talented Education  (GATE) program in Arizona is largely funded by federal grants, and so survives the state budget ax better than a lot of programs you might think more vital.

By the time I’m finished, the hardware for my new gate might cost as much as the lumber.

You can fit a 9′ board inside a Malibu.

The Rio Solado project, along the banks of the Salt River as it “flows” through Phoenix (though it currently has a fair bit of water) makes for a good, easy hike if you’re out of shape, and don’t want to prepare for an expedition to get your mileage in. But there is NO convenience store within walking distance of the trailheads.

My Beloved Suns are running out of time to win their bet with GM Steve Kerr and make the play-offs. They must win a LOT of games to overtake Dallas – who they play next – for the 8th spot in the West. Perhaps some mid-court defense would be in order after all…

Now you know.

The need for dark coffee and a high PEI rating [12/3/08]

The good news: my daughter is student of the month, and is entitled to a free celebratory breakfast with her family.

The bad news:breakfast starts at 6:50am. Sunrise: 7:15am. eating cafeteria food in the dark is one of the many things that parents do for love.

Speaking of the need for seriously black coffee, check out these three items I found on Dark Roasted Blend:

Physicists making coffee with lasers and cooking hot dogs with tesla coils.

How living things and minerals may effect each other’s evolution.

And Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island. The next step is to acquire a photo of one of their urinals…

Some inportant advice about living with writers.

And finally, tile comes with a rating from the Porcelain Enamel Institute to indicate its resistance to abrasion. They go from Class 1, so fragile they should only be used on walls to Class 5, “suitable for all residential and commercial use.” Monocuttura indicates tile glazed with a single passthrough the kiln, though the uncredited article (advertisement?) (anyway, not from the PEI website) I’m using as a source doesn’t mention why anyone would care. Vitreous tile, more usefully, has less than 3% water absorption, and is what you want around pools or spas.

Now you know.

Adventures at Edgefest and other facts [9/29/08

First, let me just note that for the temp to be consistently above 100 at the end of September is not right, and quite wearisome.

I was the B-stage LD at the Edgefest in Queen Creek on Saturday. Not my rig, and not my lighting focus. Whoever set-up and focused the rig could not run the board for some reason, so they subbed me. I had to figure out the patch by bringing up channels and seeing what lit up. I never recieved a backstage pass or even a set list.

Under those conditions, this is what I learned:

You do not really need a backstage pass to get backstage at Edgefest. All you need is a determined expression, ad the name of one person in the production company (who I never actually met, and probably wasn’t even on site). Alternately, if you have a lightboard under your arm, the security guard will not look up from her text messaging to impede your progress.

Unsurprisingly, it was a constant stream of posers back and even onstage all night.

It also helps, in these situations, to be clearly not one of the 20-somethings that attend these things, and have a collared shirt and a flashlight hanging from your belt.

The Cottonmouth Kings are not the country rock band I assumed they were. (Stop laughing! I am not remotely hip.) They are a rap act that smokes weed. I know this because that is the only subject about which they compose songs.

Two things about the ETC Smartfade 2496 console I was running:

1) It has a chase sequence feature called “MAGIC” which appears to be some sort of randomizer, but without the ability to determine which parametere you can randomize (a feature common in lighting consoles since the late 80’s). I found it to be useless.

2) You can somehow put the thing into a diagnostic mode (we didn’t intend to do any such thing), which will WIPE ALL THE MEMORIES. We did this unexpectedly five minutes before the main act (Atmosphere) came on. There was drama. Happily, the LD only needed the six colors, and I had those back for him by the third song.  He had his own LED fixtures which he sed to get through the first two songs.

Plus, they never actually turned off the damn house lights (a generator/lighting tower) until halfway through the set. Thanks, guys.

Now some geograpghy. I went left on Ellseworth instead of right (from Schempf farms). This led me to Hunt Highway going towards, well, Florida. On my AZ Gazetteer, though, there was an Oldberg road which cut west then south through the Santan Mountains Regional Park, which hits the settlement of Oldberg, which abutts AZ87, which would take me back to western civilization.

The map is in error. Olberg Road ends in a T with Many Farms Road, and either direction you take on Many Farms will eventually circle back to Oldberg Road. After two full rounds of this (cause you can miss dirt roads in the dark), I ended up backtracking all the way to Hunt Highway.

I did, however, miss most of the crowd exiting the concert.

George washington was very fond of Basset Hounds. He used them to hunt foxes (and perhaps runaway slaves – too mean?)