We found a way to run new rope through a headblock without someone (usually me) up at the headblock to force the issue:

We took a one foot section of the new rope and removed the central core. Then we stuck the onld (thinner) manila line and the end of the new rope halfway each into the empty sleeve, and taped the hell out of it with electrical tape. We had to yank it sternly to get that portion through the block (there are keepers,you see, which are designed to keep the rope in the block, but also just barely let the new thicker rope pass). In 30 linesets, it only broke once.

Every fire curtain is rigged a different way, so if you’re going to mess with it (like, say, re-roping it), you’d best march up to the grid and discover how the contraption is actually rigged.

Burkhard Heim may have come as close to a Unified Field Theory as anyone else [according to a New Scientist article which may require registration to view]. More importantly to the fictional future, his theories point the way towards a functional hyperdrive. Heim rarely published, and never published in English so much of his work from the 1950’s is just now being “discovered”.

My dream of a unified combat damage system for both melee weapons and firearms may not be possible. Primary evidence is that armor designed to prtect against melee weapons is useless against bullets, and for the most part vice-versa. Running numbers I discovered that melee damage can be satifactorily measured in Newtons while ballistic damage can be satisfactorily measured in Joules (kilojoules, actually). These line up with the damage range consensus among most RPGs.

E-books, copyright and zombies.

I wouldn’t count on another entry here until after the holidays.

Now you know.

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After the Holidays

Thanksgiving in the USA. I was busy. Learned a few things.

When re-roping a fly system, someone is going to have to get on top of the head-block and feed the rope through – unless you’re a lot smarter than we were.

There is no biography of Alvin Gentry on line that I found useful – so I wrote one.

A timely, topical entry for Examiner, such as this one on Phx camping stores Black Friday specials, earns me about $0.40 for an hour’s work. So I stick to relatively evergreen stuff like campground profiles.

At the in-laws, I have to seize control of the TV or it will be stuck on game show re-runs from the 70’s. Not kidding. There are two things I can put on the TV that will not generate controversy from the wide confluenec of family in attendence: Sports or science documentaries.

From Nova, I learned that there are two different dream cycles: REM and non-REM. REM cycles ted to be more creative, but also involve more negative emotions. Non-REM dreams are more positive, but more limited to actual memories.

From Scientific American Frontiers, I learned one of the few useful things to coem out of Biosphere was the Biosphere Diet, a high vitamin, low calorie diet born of desperation (their gardening scheme yielded a fraction of expected results), but which actually left the participants leaner and healthier than when they went in.

Oh, and when the Detroit Lions have lost, its time to serve the turkey.

A backlog of [writer] links:

Book Marketing Maven: blog ideas for your fiction-writing blog

Caren Gussoff shares 5 Truths about Editors

And some more opinion of the Demand Studios and ilk dillema:

Carol Tice’s 7 reasons not to write a $15 blog (a numbered list – just like a non-fic freelancer…)

Now You Know

 

 

 

Waiting for people to return my phone calls

A brief comparison of search engines – first hits:

octopus+urinal in Yahoo: The Urinals of the Red Vic

octopus+urinal in Google: South Park S9 Ep10 (“Mystery of the Urinal Deuce” – posted by Octopus)

High End Systems fog juice – any brand – is mostly “food-grade” glycol. And while it will, over time, completely dissolve the 1/4″ Crosby someone dropped in the tank for some reason, rendering both the partially dissolved Crosby and the now blood red fog juice useless, it is not considered hazardous waste. And the ppm of glycol is way below that in anti-freeze. Bottom line: you can dump less than five gallons down the drain if you have to.

If that saves some poor stagehand the two hour internet/phone odyssey I went through to discover that fact – my work here has been worth it. {BTW – the MSDS says “Follow state and federal laws” – which are apparently non-existent.}

Looking up at the stars, do you wonder how many might be looking back down at you? This site tracks the number of people in space right now.

They found a hobbit T-rex in China.

Wired lists the contents of a cup of coffee. I still want another cup.

And this blog is worth nothing. Nothing! How I know…

(Are We Lost Yet is also worthless – if’n you waz wunderin. Maybe if I updated it…)

I have – however updated my Examiner column. Natch. You can’t paste a table into the interface directly from Excel. You need to paste it into Word – and then into the interface. I’m not sure if Alpine is the highest municipality in Arizona (my search was not exhaustive), but I’m pretty confident that Yuma is the lowest.

Now You Know.

jet line in conduit – a hate story

First and foremost, never try to pull cable through a conduit using the jet line – even if your partner on the other side insists it will be easy. Because it wasn’t. And the jet-line broke. And that leaves an empty conduit.

Putting jetline back into the conduit took the better part of this week. Yes, I said week. You see, we broke the jet line in a 150′ conduit with at least 4 ninety-dgree bends of flex conduit. Now, for those of you who haven’t had to play with jet line and fish-tape – that’s bad.

It is far too humiliating to disclose how many man-hours were spent trying to shove the jet line pack through with fish tape, or suck it thru with a shop vac. Several attempts left me with bloody hands, a soaked shirt and a hundred feet of jet line stuck in a 150′ conduit.

(Though it didn’t make the difference – one of our ranks possessed a reel of fiberglass fish tape – which is just awesome – and I will not be happy until I own one!)

The asnwer was two shop vacs (the client’s and my personal one). One sucking and one blowing from the other end.

(pause now for inaapropraite snickering.)

Can I write my shop vac off my taxes now?

The jet line is to pull the mule tape. The mule tape is to pull the wire. The shortcut is an illusion. GAFDE.

Now You Know

Ignorant buzz causes unrest

Real wages have fallen every year since 2001. Much as we’d like to blame the Bushco Administration, the money that could’ve been your raise actually went to insurance companies. That’s right: the decline in wages matches the inflation in health-care costs.

Except that its wrong. Look at a 2006 report, before the recession distorted all the numbers, and the truth is worse: 47% of workers do not have employer-sponsored coverage to begin with, and that class of workers – the bottom -was the most likely to see real wages fall.

So where did all that money go? In 2006 – it went straight to profit.  That sort of behavior leads to unrest.

I spent Friday in Prescott Valley watching an easy show turn into a fire drill due to some persistent hum in the audio system. See if you’ve heard this one before, veteran ME’s: the audio guy insisted it was house power causing the hum.

To his credit, he could demonstrate hwo the buzz varied with the dimmer levels. Sharing a neutral or ground with that service could indeed cause that hum. OK. I played some games with the limited feeder on ahnd, and swapped services for him.

The I sat for the better part of two hours while he traced out a “separate” buzz issue in his monitor rig. I didn’t pay much attention (I actually ahd another, though less interesting fire to attend to), but they seemed to touch every piece of gear from the board to the power distro.

And then the hum was gone.

I’ve been doing this drill for twenty years, kids. It is almost never house power causing your stupid buzz in a relatively modern building (and the venue in question is less than 5 years old). It’s somewhere in the gear that bounced a couple hundred miles in a truck last night.

But I played the feeder game for him. And he felt that solved the problem. I just nodded and smiled. All part of my 20 hour day.

BTW – best Foreigner tribute band ever!

I kid! Foreigner – the real thing – actually puts on a good show, and you will be amazed at how many songs you recognize from radio (assuming you’re older than 32).

A couple posts back I mysteriously hit 52 pageviews in a day. I still don’t know why. My normal average is 6. I know now that it wasn’t Demand Studios, and that advertising a link on the Meet-up site is worth about a dozen hits max.

But the WordPress metrics I have for this blog exceed in quality and detail any metrics for any other blog I write – including blogs that pay me by the pageview.

This post’s lame Examiner plug: I learned how to embed a Google Map into a blog post. Check out the results here!

Now You Know

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.

A Splash of Quick Facts

It is safe for normal humans – and even Americans – to drink the water in Bogata, Columbia.

80% of the children in the Bahamas do not know how to swim. I know this because I’m on assignment about a woman who has taught water safety there.

The ABC’s of drowning awareness:

Always have your eyes on the kids

Barriers

Classes on first Aid and CPR

The Central Phoenix Writer’s Workshop drew twenty (20!) people last night. That’s double the size the format is designed for. So I am shifting to moderating a Thursday night meet-up, same time, same place, same format, different night.

My kids, particularly my son, I decided the like water polo – of all things – enough to participate in a team throughout the summer.

Wet Beaver Creek (oh- stop giggling!) Wilderness Area is closed to camping until 2010. Fire reasons, I think. Bummer. I’m still trying to pin down a logistically plausible hike for this weekend.

For the riggers: ZFX’s new No-go guage

Writer Louise Marley on E-books and other promising trends in publishing.

And more fuel for the e-book debate: statistics!

Now You Know.