Certified!

So at long last, I took and passed my long threatened ETCP theatrical rigging certification.

My score was 126 out of 150. Passing was 104. It was all graded on some weird sliding weight scale that I was going to write about – but I don’t care now. I passed. Rejoice and settle wagers accordingly.

All of those standardized tests I took in school turned out to be of some value. (That’s right millennials, standardized testing is not a curse aimed specifically at your generation.) Over 165 questions (of which only 150 are graded – but they’ll never say which) I got to use every one of those sneaky little strategies I learned in grade school.

But what really, really helps, and there is no avoiding this, is knowing what you are doing. Here experience in installing as well as operating systems in multiple venues was invaluable.

Also, I studied.

These were indeed the textbooks I relied on – in order of value:

  • Stage Rigging Handbook (3rd Edition) by Jay O. Glerum. This is THE textbook for operating fly system as an adult who gets paid for it.
  • Rigging Math Made Simple by Delbert L Hall. The link is to the 3rd edition, but the copy I have is the second edition.
  • Entertainment Rigging by Harry Donovan. This is more aimed at arena rigging, but the approach to working load limits is more detailed.

There were a LOT of questions about components of counterweight rigging systems and their use – as one would expect. There were also a LOT of questions about Working Load Limit, as related to Ultimate Breaking Strength and how to calculate one from the other. It is further crucial to understand what resultant force is and how to calculate it.

If in doubt, the weak part in the system is the cable clips. Somebody writing questions had a grudge against cable clips.

Other useful tidbits from my notes:

A useful,  basic math tutorial we found while researching the electrician side:

https://www.mikeholt.com/instructor2/img/product/pdf/1302643781-sample.pdf

I like this advice in particular:

When working with any mathematical calculation, don’t just blindly do the calculation and assume it’s correct. When you perform a mathematical calculation, you need to know if the answer is greater than or less than the values given in the problem. Always do a “reality check” to be certain that your answer isn’t nonsense. Even the best of us make mistakes at times, so always examine your answer to make sure it makes sense!

 

A good, concise (if dry) guide to wire rope and things attached to it:

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/09/f2/std1090-07_chapter_11_wire_ropes_and_slings.pdf

Breaking strength

The measured force required to actually break the thing. This can only be properly measured by testing, eg applying force until it actually breaks, and writing that number down.

The best source for this information is the manufacturer.   Manufacturers of actual rigging equipment will test a large sample of their items to determine a breaking strength (which is most cases is really a bell curve; the number given is in the center of that curve), and provide that number to the customers – somehow.

That number is the basis for all the other load limit calculations, and why we prefer – nay insist upon – manufactured gear with known breaking strengths to rig with.

IF YOU CANNOT DETERMINE THE ACTUAL BREAKING STRENGTH – YOU SHOULD NOT USE THE EQUIPMENT.

Breaking strength is an average for most components, and only applies to new equipment. You must assume used equipment to have a lower BS and downgrade accordingly.

[…]

Working Load Limit is the fraction of the known breaking strength used in determining how much we will say the equipment is rated for. We then treat that like it’s a real limit and not a number that we derived from a much higher number that is actually an average of measured results. The specific point of a professional rigger is that WLL’s are rational and enforced.

When riggers say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, they are not speaking metaphorically. That is the literal truth with rigging systems: the lowest WLL of any component (which could literally be chain) in a system determines the WLLL for that entire system.

and one more:

Fleet angle

In a perfect world, all of the lift lines would run true from their head-block and across the loft blocks in a perfect, straight line. The difference between that and what is actually installed is called the fleet angle. It is measured from the center of the sheeves.

The maximum allowable fleet angle for theatrical rigging is 1.5 d.

Fleet angle can be determined by finding the Tangent of the offset distance divided by the distance between shivs. (Be sure to use the same units of measure). [Glerum 102]

As a quick gauge, an offset/distance ration of 1:40 or greater is going to pass. An offset of 1:30 or less is going to fail. Between 30 and 40, you’ll have to do the math.

For those who got this far, I admire your dedication. Do the work – that’s what we learned.

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No snow, just random facts and links

On the back of the menu my children bring home from school, there is often filler material. This must be sourced from some national syndicate, because this month’s filler is about snowflakes.

This school serves chorizo for breakfast (not every monring). It will not get snow. Regardless, I now know that 15 inch diameter snowflakes once fell in Montana, that the average snowflake falls at 3.2 miles/hour, and that “snirt” is a Canadian word for the dirty snow that blows across the prairie.

I’ve been trying to do a slideshow on Examiner, and I’ll get there – but the first attempt is sad… You’d think for a feature that is known to drive traffic, they’d find a way to make it easier to use.

If you’re like me, and you have wasted the last six or seven years using the internet to work Know Your Meme will get you caught up on all the  internet fads (is that still a term? Or has it been replaced?).

15 random facts about coffee. Yep.

Empathy and stress reaction may be genetically linked.

Now You know.

 

Sssh! I’m supposed to be working…

Because everyone at my day job has Something Important To Do but me (both my projects have been substantially delayed), but I’m hanging around trying to look busy.

Really, I don’t even have to look busy, but when I get bored I become a pest.

It’s finally happened: a teacher told us the truth. The reason Johny can’t write is because hand writing is not an element of the AIMS test. Have we mentioned that Arizona s the worst ranked state in the nation in education. We is.

It doesn’t matter what we think of trading Amara Stoudemire. It’s all up to him.

Fox News applies known physics to fleeing from zombies. Because we care about your safety.

Time poll on our most trusted news-anchor. SPOILER: Vermont was the only state where John Stewart did place at least second.

And finally, another site cataloguing weird urinals: Porcelin Poetry

Now You Know.

Seals, squash and the return of Brazen Wonk

There exists a seal recovery facility in British Columbia that was doing fine work helping wildlife recover, until the government unexpectedly yanked their funding. I know this from someone who used to work there.

Island Wildlife Natural Care Center

Check it out, and if you can, help them out.

My dogs like squash. Not the sport – the food. I was taking some rinds to the compost heap, and they’re following, tails wagging, so I let them sniff it, to prove I wasn’t just throwing away meat, and they ate it. They ate some more tonight. Love the squash.

If you see an article on Trails.com with my byline (such as this one), that came through Demand Studios – through which I’ve almost made enough to fix my wife’s laptop, and get my own life back.

Some days, leadership has more to do with being calm than being knowledgeable.

Now for some Brazen Wonk:

It all connected: health-care – education – the so-called economy – all of it. Unhealthy children don’t learn as well. Uneducated populations don’t produce as efficiently. People under economic stress do not seek preventive care. Its all part of the same puzzle.

Worried about the Big Stupid Health Reform Package? Ready to take to the streets over it? Too late. We were screwed by the agriculture bill that passed last summer, subsidizing large corporations so they could generate bigger profits by feeding us crap.

Do the execs at ADM tease the execs at Aetna when they’re all at the yacht club?

If it were up to Americans, President Obama would not have recieved the Nobel Prize. Hell – if it were up to Democrats he wouldn’t have gotten one. We value results. He hasn’t had any. We’re less than a year in, but zero is still zero.

The Nobel committee, however, apparently awarde the prize on the basis of campaign promises. If the president comes through on even hgalf of that – he will deserve the prize. Even Americans would agree.

Now You Know

A hundred miles a day for eight days

Between driving a stakebed out to a distant golf course and back for a show, cross-valley errands, and a camping trip to the Rim, I drove about a hundred miles a day for the past eight days, gaining some wisdom in the process.

First, the Equinox photo I promised:

2006 Chevy Equinox

That photo is near General Springs on the Mogollon Rim. If you can see them, the decorations drawn in the dust on the side of the car are courtesy of the children.

Eight busy days later, and I have learned a lot of things:

Three layers of mark-up will seriously impair the viability of a competitive bid.

Burn Notice is the secret re-boot of the A-Team.

Everyone in Little League is a volunteer, except the guys in the national office – who are paid – and this is reflected in the league dues.

My informal and random poll indicates that  0 out of 19 education professionals believe that No Child Left Behind (as implemented) is actually helping to educate children.

One guy calls the truck pack – and all the other logistical geniuses on the call need to live with that guy’s decisions, or you add an hour to load out.

If you have a crew loading out a show on a golf course, and you lock the only restroom, this will not prevent the crew from relieving themselves. It will only prevent them from relieving themselves in the toilet.

One simply cannot underestimate the importance of worklight when loading out in an open field in the middle of the night. Moonlight is not an acceptable substitute.

When launching model rockets, bring extra batteries and fuses.

The RXC went camping at Bear Canyon Lake, on the Mogollon Rim. Some notes about that site can be found on my other blog:

Are We Lost Yet?

Hammock at Bear Lake

When taking middle-graders camping, they all need chairs, or none of them need chairs. Musical chairs around the campfire is a recipe for discontent.

The kids get their own campfire.

The kids get their own campfire.

American adults car-camping will never run out of food. They always bring too much. This was, however, the first trip in a long time where we did not run out of booze. Perhaps we’re growing wiser.

Pie irons still rock! Especially now that we know how to use them.

New vocabulary: Bailing wire = “ranch tape”

I have established that the Equinox can bounce through the Buick Filter. Though I damn near found the Equinox filter (its still a 2WD) on our way to General Cabin Springs. We were scouting a multi-day bacpacking trip taking the General Crook Trail east from Clear Creek to its intersection with the AZT (near General Springs), then taking the AZT north to Blue Ridge Reservoir.

Having scouted that, I have concluded it wuld be far easier to start at Blue Ridge and head down to Clear Creek. But it would be even easier just to stay n the AZT and go down the Rim to Pine. I’m still noodling on these things.

But there is a marked section of the GCT that follows AZ 260 from around Camp Verde to the Rim. We found a blaze by following a randomly selected dirt road off the highway. I love the Equinox.

Camp Verde State Park s closed on Tuesdays.

Some links:

World Food Program trying to bring disaster relief over the objections of the Myanmar government. “The people of Myanmar do not eat biscuits…”

The Onion reporting on President Obama’s visit to Denny’s.

Now You Know

Fun With Brazen Poppycock and many other strange facts

Some housekeeping: The WHWL for the writer’s group is going pack to the main blog (here – below) because adding a sub-page takes like 15 minutes in WordPress and I got things to do. Also, the material is as much general interest as the antics of octopi or urinals around the world or any of the other strange subjects I post about.

A whole generation of kindergarteners, including my son, learned to write the lower-case “a” backwards. That’s starting to drive middle-school teachers nuts.

When you live with middle-graders, April 1st means being updated with brazen poppycock every 15 minutes.

I’m actually quite recently fond of the term “brazen poppycock”.

On a Technobeam button box (and if you know what I’m talking about – you’re already cringing) you have to edit all the common parameters on the Techno’s first, record a cue, and then go back and fix the lights individually. If you solo-select a light before recording a cue, all the other Technos revert back to default values, and you say bad, bad words. And you spend 1.5 hours programming a four step chase, until you realize the above fact, and slap it down in 20 minutes.

Now, for the Wed Nite Writer’s Meet-up:

April 1st is poetry month. The challenge is a poem a day (I’m already behind) with or without the WD contest.

If you know the rules regarding what spider-bots will and will notlook for, its pretty easy to hide a website from search engines.

Two good sources for remedial Search Engine Optimization strategies:

SEO 101 ” It’s counter-intuitive, but you get good rankings by ignoring rankings and focusing on quality.” But he talks about how rankings work anyway.

SEO How To With basic advice about starting with good content and worrying about ranking strategies later because : “High rankings are worth a LOT of money and people don’t work hard to become experts just to give that information away.”

Remedial Podcasting info:

Liberated Syndication a commercial service.

Pod Camp AZ an “unconference” for podcasters and wannabe podcasters.

We learned the correct spelling for Rock-Paper-Scissors (the French term that I’m not even going to try here). AC? Some help?

And finally, query letters to agents are a lot like medieval alchemy. You would intuitively think that there would be some common guiding principles, but no one can seem to agree on any of them.

WD’s Best of Agents Who Blog

And from that list: Query Shark – for those willing to take the trial by blood, in front of the whole internet.

Now you know.


A broad selection of dangerous reptiles [1/26/09]

Arizona Poison Control is facing a 50% budget cut from the state, and the U of A portion of it would be eliminated entirely. That would leave Banner/Good Sam in Phoenix the only center left. Most of their work is over the phone – I’m not how this becomes the end of the world.

Anyway, I can confirm that there isn’t much you can do about rattlesnake bites in the field that won’t make it worse. That’s what I learned doing some preface material for the hiking guide, and I’ve confirmed it for a quick article I’ve been assigned for my old pals at Fitness Plus.

I also learned that Arizona has a single species of coral snake, whose bite is more dangerous because its more subtle, until the vomiting a few hours later.

Speaking of the Arizona Legislature, there is a certain but stable percentage of extremely conservative lawmakers who simply do not grasp how necessary education is to a functioning democracy. Two reps who “get it” to different degrees discussed that at length on Horizon.

Arizona is facing a budget deficit, and education accounts for 50% of the state’s expenditures. There is a voting majority who would rather see us devolve into a 3rd World country than to raise taxes. Arizona has been at the bottom in spending per capita on education (ranking 49th in 05-06), and even if all the other states are cutting funds as well – you have to wonder what’s left?

Two perspectives on e-pubs’ vs real books:

author Nancy Kress

And Jane of Dear Author

And mass-market books vs trade paperbacks explained by book-buyer (for bookstores) Andrew Wheeler.

I meant to start work on a play – I really did – but that keeps coming out is a script for a comic book (graphic novel?) about dragons putting together a space program in the mid Cretaceous period – the peak of their civilization – because the are bored out of their minds.

Now you know.