Grim Stats re Falling Down OTJ

Work weekend at Whispering Pines Campground was fun and all – but not the same as camping.

Repairing treads on a trail is really just basic carpentry with much bigger nails.

I did more damage to my hands in that weekend than I did all week at work. Speaking of which…

We had a safety seminar on Tuesday. While most of the 3 pages of notes are company specific, I can share a few general facts:

AZ Workman’s Compensation is deliberately set up as a “No Fault” system. That was the compromise with the business community for their mandatory participation.

One of the calculations AZ Workman’s Comp uses to determinethe premium cost is the Experience Modifier, or E-mod which factors the Frequency of injury with the Severity of injury. The baseline for these calculations are based on “industry average” which, in turn, seems to be based on alchemy.

What actually interests me about this is that FrequencyxSeverity is the basic formula I use to calculate development costs for non-tactical powers in my RPG game. Great minds think alike.

The only surprise about all the stats we covered was how few surprises we found in the stats: 23% of injuries are to the hands, 20% occur in the loading dock area, in an industry where 3-5 hour calls are the standard, most injuries happened in the first three hours – I could go on for pages.

What didn’t show up in the stats was sleep deprivation, because there was no way to track how much rest a given stagehand had before reporting to work.

Here’s something to consider for everyone climbing on truss:

OSHA requires a Horizontal lifeline, and a harness wit a zip or screamer extension, a portion bunched together and sewn in place so that it extnds relatively slowly under shock load (like falling) so that the sudden stop at the end of your tether doesn’t crack your pelvis. Both the lifeline and the harness add six feet to your overall falling distance.

So consider:

6′ stagehand falls

6′ to the end of his lanyard and another

3.5 feet for the screamer plus another

6 feet for the stretch in the lifeline (which also has a screamer)

That’s 21.5 feet. If you’re only 18′ above the top of the drum riser – guess what?

Allowing for a 3′ margin of error, that means a truss has to be trimmed at 24′ or higher before your “fall-arrest” will actually arrest your fall

BUT, you’re required to use such a system anyway whenever the truss trims higher than 6′. That’s how the government keeps us safer.

The key, then, is to not fall off the truss.

Finally, inside terminology about freeway design from my new favorite source The Infrastrucurist.

Now You Know

A Digest of Last Week’s Lessons

I’ve been a little busy.

Baseball is a lot more fun when somebody swings the bat once in a while, instead of praying to draw a walk. (Are you listening D-Backs?)

There is no such thing as a minor detail in a construction contract.

Do not leave your tool bags where the cats are likely to pee on it. If I actually find something that removes the smell out of my nifty new tool-harness – I’ll update.

Somebody has to run out all the motor cable when you’re loading in a system of trusses. The sooner you make that assignment, the easier load-in will go. You can’t always count on some guy like me just doing it.

Triple digit hi temps means its summer. The calender isn’t relevant.

Daniel Goleman tells Bill Moyers that just about everything is bad for the environment. Science = buzzkill.

Required reading: Basic Laws of Stupidity

and (loosely related to the items above) Flouridation = Communism

A new entry in our catalogue of Random Facts sites: Futility Closet

FOR WRITERS:

Free marketing (and doubtless worth every penny) FiledBy

9 step program for cover letters

And I may ave posted this before, but it is Need To Know if you write books for money: Actual Costs Behind Books

And a bunch of other stuff discretion or sleep deprivation has driven from my mind.

Now you know.

Things to know when working in ceilings

The past few days, my day job has found me crawling through a ceiling space installing permanent hardware (all-thread) into concrete. This combines all the problems of working at height with all the problems of working in confined spaces. However difficult this seems when you first picture it, it’s probably worse than that.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

* Only step on things that you can visibly see are attached to the concrete above you.

*If in doubt, you have to crawl.

* The hardest part will always be turning around. If you can plan a circular route – do that.

* A 5′ 2×4 is the most mobile (and this a relative term) means to span the typical and frequent 4′ gaps of spaces where nothing will hold your weight.

* Don’t wear clothes you care about – or ever want to wear again.

* Have extra batteries for your headlamp.

* Before you move, make sure you have all your tools ready to move with you. OK? Check again. There is little worse than crawling 30 feet inch by inch under conduit and over exposed drywall screws to discover that your wrench is still sitting where you left it.

* We spent the better part of the first day just measuring things – and as a result, we’re ahead of schedule.

* Even with a cap or bandana, you’re going to need to wash the concrete and insulation dust out of your hair every night.

* Unless its an active construction site (and this is not) no one is going to crawl into the ceiling to steal your tools.

* God made cordless Hilti TE6 hammer drills because He loves us, and He wants us to get shit done.

* And if you’re not in shape for this sort of thing, remember that you’re going to wake up 20 years older every morning until the job is done.

(And don’t plan on having energy to blog when you get home…)

Oh – and hey, because some people apparently are not aware of this, Little League Games are not an appropriate venue for drinking beer. Really.

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.


More “Careful What You Wish For”

For the last week I’ve lived the life I always said I wanted (within limts – these are the goals I could realistically hope for) a few years ago.

It’s fun – no doubt. But its exhausting. So whileI slept that off,my wife hoarked my laptop to do her homework, capping of an already considerable delay.

I rebuilt two of the five gates to my yard. That was never really a life goal, but I’m glad I got it done.

gate-perspectiveThe photo shows the other gate for contrast.

I attended a book signing and then went home ad slapped together a marketing survey for what I hope is my next book. Good News/Bad News there: The survey contained the info they wanted to see, but, despite selling out at the book signing, I’ve only sold 94 copies from national book chains – where most copies are sold. <sigh…>

My book proposal is a similar format covering the Coconino National Forest, which includes outdoor hotspots of Sedona and Flagstaff. But if the original sn’t moving, there’d be less appettite for a sequal.

The again, they made Starship Troopers II.

I’m fairly certain I was the only author at the book signing with an actual publisher who paid me (in advance). Everyone else was self-published.

I took ten copies and walked out with none, BUT I sold seven copies to people I already knew, including my stepmother who bought four copies because she’s a compulsive gift-giver. So it goes.

Then I had the chance to design and run a moving light show for the first time in two years.

samia-09

That’s from the 2009 Suns Charity Dinner. The performer is Tamia Hill (wife of Suns forward Grant Hill, but equally talented in her sphere).

By all accounts it well (despite Suns players appearing briefly as “guest vocalists”).

DO NOT daisy chain DMX between Studio Colors and Mac 2000’s. You might think that because Mac’s have 3pin (and 5pin) DMX that this would work out like DMX signal is supposed to. That assumption leads to daring do on an A-frame ladder at 3am. Studio Colors do not play nice with newer DMX units. I dimly remember running into this barrier before – but I wasn’t in charge.

On a related note, I have long known from an experience so bad its comic now, that you cannot use Atomic strobes as 3pin-5pin DMX adapters.

The key to executing looks quickly with moving lights is to set useful groups and then map out all your positions first. Creating looks after that is just a few steps more (mainly gobos, and their FX) than doing it with conventionals.

Oh, and operating a Grand MA lighting console is not at all like riding  a bike.

I’m also pretty sure this was the first time in 3 years I had a competent ME helping hang my design who wasn’t myself.

I’m sitting in catering, trying to gulp down some outstanding salmon in the ten minutes I had to eat, when Suns owner Robert Sarver burst in the room, slapped me on the back (because I was closest to the door, I suspect) and exhorted us all that we should have fun doing whatever we do.

I’ve also been pushing The Game ahead (I may add a page just for that). I’m still plowing through a working revision of the rules. I have a formula for aging (and associated stat loss), rather than a table, and this pleases me. I also have an spreadsheet summarizing the damage system, which I’ve been wanting to fabricate for as long as I;ve been thinking I ought to just rebuild the damn gate.

Two good sites:

The Space Site for clear, readable extrapolations of the possibilities beyond our planet and

Technovlegy : a compendium of ideas from SF, and who came up with them first.

Now you know.

One

My new blog and circus knots [1/6/09]

Menasha Ridge has put me up as their Featured Author. Hurry – before they feature someone else. (The photo is courtesy of Mark Kinsey).

On that topic, I have a blog going on their Trekalong side site called:

Are We Lost Yet

Which deals with hiking and related subjects.

So we’ll deal with less of that here. If you go this week, a lot of that stuff will seem awful familiar. I wanted to get something up quickly, so I copied and pasted some material from this site.Thus learning that material copied from one WordPress theme will not neccessarily respect the boundaries of another WordPress theme.

I also learned about circus knots, the way you secure overhead rigging with aircraft cable when you can’t be bothered to bring or buy industry standard hardware for this purpose. Tie a clove hitch around a bar to be suspended, leaving a good length of wire as a tail. wrap that wire tightly up the load line several times, bend it back, and then wrap loosely around the load line and the tight wraps until you are able to tuck the end back underneath the top of the clove hitch. Then walk away, and try not to think too hard about what you have just done.

Did it fall yet? No? You tied it right!

Now you know

September 4th 2008

One of the guys in my writing group used to own a house down the street from me. Before he finally sold it, he tried renting it. Neighbors told him later that rental furniture trucks rom different companies would show up almost daily in the morning. Later that day, and unmarked box truck would pull up and haul it all away. He also fraudulently sub-let the house to 30 different couples.

Then he fled.

My friend then sold the house.

There is no rhyme or reason as to how the New York Times compiles their bestseller list. It frequently differs wildly with lists that base their rankings on actual reported sales.

It’s difficult for two inmates in a high security psych ward to have a normal adult conversation. It’s considered erratic behavior, and alarms the staff.

John McCain’s full name is John McCain III.

And two old yet timeless bits of wisdom that I really already knew, but that events reinforced today:

To get published, you need an agent. To get an agent, you need to be published.

And…

Measure twice – cut once.