30 June 2006

Topped off!

Today was kind of lazy, and that was nice. I always like topping out parties, everyone's in a good mood. I remember at the Wynn (when it was still called Le Rêve) it was at the beginning of April, and a cool misty rain was falling. We got hats, shirts, tri-tips...it was a good day. Today it was hot but not stifling, and we got long-sleeved shirts, which was a nice change. Ribs and chicken, no steak....kind of a disappointment. But it's okay. really, because I've been doing this "lemon cleanse for almost a week now: nothing by mouth except distilled water and this fresh, organic lemonade. I lost all hunger after about the second day, and although it's not about weight loss for me (I'm having some renal issues) I've still lost 12 pounds so far.

So anyway, Little John and I ran some power up to the 20th floor for the iron workers, and for the elevator trades. We also ran stringers for the stairway even though Safety Dara told me not to be on there, since it hadn't been poured. But we accomplished our goal and right after lunch the guys started signing the Final Beam, which had already been painted white. That's what topping out is: the final structural beam put into place, basically signifying that the structure is halfway complete. Someone carefully mounted an American flag onto the beam and secured it, and the tell-tale "Christmas tree"...which was pretty small but hey, the only people to really see or understand it would be the workers, anyway.

So, it was good to be there for the ceremony, but I didn't stick around for the party. It was nice to get home at a normal time, for once. Now we're just looking forward to having this place open for business in about 6 months.

27 June 2006

Not a job, a training assignment.


I was just informed that, as an apprentice, I don't have the right to turn down scheduled overtime, even if that means upwards of 100 hours a week. This is because as an apprentice, I'm not employed, per se: I don't have a job, I have a training assignment, and therefore employment laws don't apply. I've researched online about it and it seems to be true but a journeyman at work said I should check with the labour board, because the union likes to talk big sometimes, and stretch the truth, thinking you won't have the guts to challenge it. So I might. I don't mind working the occasional overtime (working a weekend literally doubles my paycheck) but I do have a life. And responsibilities after work, and school.

I guess I like my choice in career enough...it pays really well and I'm learning alot. I like most of who I work with, including guys from some other trades. I feel capable most of the time, and I know that even though I'm not as knowledgable about the electrical trade as I could be right now, it'll come, in time. Really, I just have to keep Ohm's Law in mind and the multipliers for conduit bending and with a little hands-on, I'll be okay. But...I don't know, maybe it's the shift, or the jobsite, or my foreman, but I'm just not liking where I am right now. Not to say I'm not grateful to the J.A.T.C. and to my contractor for working with me last year, but still...it doesn't mean I have to like the current conditions.

I can't wait for rotation.

24 June 2006

Poor Knash.

My dad called me at about 06h30 this morning: "Knash is dead." She was hit by a car. Head trauma. Whoever found her saw the signs we had posted and called my dad to take a look. They had put her aside on the center median and had laid a rosary on her.

This happened probably less than a mile from where we live. How can she roam for three days, in this heat, without no one noticing or calling her in? She was a big dog but certainly not vicious. I feel alot of guilt, and I feel like my dad should hate me. He said it wasn't our fault but I'm sure he's just fuming.

I feel really awful.

22 June 2006

Knash, PV and fake Gatorade.

My family got Knash, a German Shephard mix, over 10 years ago, when she was about 4 months old, from the animal shelter. I love that dog to death. And we were watching her while my dad was in Florida, graduating with his master's degree. But when I got home yesterday, after work to get Knash ready for my dad, I couldn't find her. We looked outside in the backyard, all in the closets in the house, the bathtub, under the bed, we checked with the neighbours...nothing. Our dog, the Pepper, was still here, but no Knash. I feel really bad. I mean, crushed. We were supposed to give her back Monday, originally, but Tannah had family in town, and so we pushed it off till Tuesday. Then Tuesday came so I had school (photovoltaics 1) and so it got pushed off till Wednesday. Come home Wednesday, and she's gone. My dad is absolutely devastated. While I was at class tonight, he and my sister Kelsrin and Tannah put up signs around the neighbourhood. It made me sad to look at them.

PV (photovoltaics) is an awesome class. I'm getting really interested in solar energy and other alternative forms of power. I'm learning about efficiency of irradiance and all, how that ties in to create voltage and amperage, and it's stupid easy to install...designing them, however, is totally different. Alot of variables, and we'll go into that in PV 2, in August. I talked to Tannah about making our home more "green" and he's for it. I think we'll start with straw bale insulation, maybe, if it's feasible, a solar water heater, and a power factor regulator. I mean, it's a start. Then we can move into reflective windows, sealants, the like. Maybe full-solar power can work out, then.

Other news: the shit-water at work. We were filling our water today and as far as water goes, it's not gourmet. But after I had placed ours on the 17th floor, I get a call saying to check it, some of the apprentices' water is green-tinted, like lemon-lime Gatorade. Mine looked okay, but I was paranoid, because about a month ago, the water was brown and no one seemed to care. (I care, I have to drink it.) So anyway, I decided to dump the water, and at about that time, the general foreman calls my foreman (who told me it's fine, get back to work) to take all the water off the job, it's contaminated. When I got to the lay-down yard where our water tap is, there's the safety guys, the water department guy testing it, and a shitload of apprentices, cursing about the foul stench coming from the water most of us had been drinking all morning. Well to make a really long story short, some foremen got together and filled our contaminated jugs with clean Sparkletts water, which really defeats the purpose, and entire crews walked off the job. It was pretty interesting.

18 June 2006

Red vs. Bleu

Lots of World Cup craziness in Leipzig...and here at home. It'll definitely be interesting:

I'm for France. (slogan: Allez les Bleus)
Tannah is for South Korea. (slogan: Reds go Together)

They are in match right now. Although France is the fave, they haven't actually scored a World Cup goal since they won the Cup in their own borders in 1998, and Korea is ahead by two points for Group G. And Tannah, he's played soccer with Koreans. They're brutal. I guess we should both be for the American team. But really, look at the stats. We still reign in American football and basketball and, for the most part, baseball. Leave soccer and rugby to the experts.

...[time elapses]...

Okay. France made first goal (Thierry Henry) but then not too long after made a second...but it wasn't counted. The Korean goalkeeper was well within the goal line and the ball was in the goal but he swatted it out. A complete upset. Comentators and both Tannah and I were just thinking how sad it was that France got royally screwed. About 20 minutes before the game ended, Korea (Park Ji-Sung) made a goal, and it was tied. The final score was 1-1, when it should have been 2-1, France. Unbelievable. Korea's chances for advancement are high, and France has to win the next game against Togo with 2 clear goals on 23 June to advance as well. And not only that, but both Eric Abidal and Zinedine Zidane aren't going to play that game. Ouch.

17 June 2006

A little milestone

Yesterday was Tannah's 27th birthday. Odd to that that a year ago, we found that our lives had changed, never to be as we knew them again. Interesting, that.

Today we invited family and friends over for his birthday, and to kind show everyone the house. We are officially unpacked enough for our home to like, well, like a home, but still enough to unpack that the garage is a clusterfuck. My parents still haven't "officially" seen it; my dad is graduating with his Master's degree this weekend and my parents are in Florida for the commencement ceremony. So they get to come over next Saturday, if all goes well. (Tomorrow or Monday Changu and Unchu-Imo will be here...yay!)

Anyway, I made a bad call in estimation for how much food we needed. We have a dozen hamburgers left, a dozen brats (all of which we will save for next weekend), almost a whole sheet of cake, a pint of lychee sorbet, and two bottles of apfelschorle. What I ran out of was salsa casera (I made a ton...I love it but it takes like two hours to dice it all up so fine) and the salad Aunt Debbie taught me to make in France. It was funny...Tannah tasted the dressing last night while I was making it and sighed, and said, "This tastes like France." Just two more years.

I do feel bad because my brother didn't have a ride over. I would have gotten him but I was working, and I guess no one else knew he needed a ride or whatever, so by the time I got home there wasn't time to get him and now it's after 22h30 and I'm just about ready to sleep. I mean, they all just left like twenty minutes ago. I really don't mean to exclude my brother, and of course I don't want to, but coordinating rides is so difficult. He sounded upset on the phone, too. Hopefully he can come over next weekend...

Il y avait un problème la nuit passée. Je ne sais pas s'il était quelque chose de interne ou pas. Je souhaite que j'aie su. Je suis inquiétée parce que Logan m'a montré sa boîte. La boîte spéciale qu'il maintient dans son bureau. Il m'a dit de se rappeler ce que j'ai vu. Il semble comme s'il a voulu quelque chose. Peut-être il a voulu que je l'encourageât, ou peut-être il recherchait un signe. Je ne sais jamais de ce qu'il a besoin de moi. Je veux le comprendre, je veux comprendre son monde mais il est jusqu'ici parti. Je me sens triste pour lui, et désespérément perdue.

14 June 2006

Tannah is so sweet!!

For years Tannah has had long hair, going down to about his shoulder blades. And very thick, as Korean hair often is. Today he went to Fantastic Sam's to participate in "Locks of Love", a non-profit organization that provides hair to disadvantaged children who have hair loss due to medical issues. (Cancer, post-brain surgery, etc.) They need at least 10 inches of hair from the nape of your neck...Tannah had 13. So he donated it.

I know...I married this guy!! I'm so lucky.

13 June 2006

I'm a "Mutie".

It's true. I want to laugh because it's so ridiculous but...meh.

To bring (anyone) up to speed, I've got some bleeding problems. What everyone needs to understand is:
~A bleeding disorder is when someone bleeds too much, and cannot clot properly;
~A clotting disorder is someone who clots too much, and cannot bleed properly.
There. Read on.
My homocysteine and plasma levels are elevated due to two heterozygous mutations of the MTHFR gene: C677T and A1298C; also, due to a homozygous mutation of the PAI-1 4G/4G...allele? Or gene. I can never remember. So today I went to get my lab results from Dr. Iriye. It turns out I'm also doubly-positive for the ACE D/D mutation. Which not only makes the other mutations worse, but heavily increases my risk of stroke, heart disease, and myocardial infarction, all by several hundred percent. (And, oddly, it can cause diabetic nephropathy.)

So, I have to update my medic alert bracelet, I have to seriously cut down on sugar, and I have to take a pregnancy test once a month. Period. I have to be on heparin within days of any conception.

Oh, yeah, and I have to see a hematologist to have my Factor VIII retested. There's a pretty big possibility that it's low. I tested low once but because of the polymorphisms present in my blood for clotting, it was largely overlooked. So they want to isolate the test. And, in a selfish way, what makes this worse is that I'm female. Clotting and bleeding disorders in females are mostly reactive to hormones. So one day, I'm normal. The next, I could become dizzy from the dilution of my blood or become lethargic with the increased coagulation of it. What joy.

11 June 2006

Odd day.

Missing the Zumacks, alot. And pulling away but not sure why.

Mada (Tannah's brother) and I got Tannah a Nintendo DS Lite for his birthday. He already has a regular Nintendo DS, so I think it's waste but he's happy, so...whatever. It's his birthday, so his gift, no matter how redundant I think it is. He's happy, and that's what matters. I mean it's not all bad, it is cute: much smaller, lighter, and feels like its got better overall construction. But the day wasn't perfect...he was sad when the kalbi caught on fire...we were grilling it and something happened and it was engulfed in flames. Nothing was left except very charred bones. Sadness. But then, perhaps saving the day, was a baseball game, with the Cleveland Indians. He's an Indians fan. I think baseball sucks. Hockey, soccer, rugby and college basketball are good but baseball and American football are just...I may as well be taken to a torture chamber or something. (But to hear Tannah right now, screaming at the team on screen, you'd think he was actually there. But I guess watching it broadcast in HD, he may as well be.)

This post is all over the place. There's stuff, inside, I think. Stuff.

08 June 2006


I can't wait for ロコロコ....

I did something totally different tonight for dinner: German food. I'm partial to Bavarian as far as that goes, but I made some Apfelwurst and knödel, and even though we had croissants (not-German) we didn't have brie, so it kind of evened out.

I don't have alot to say. Topping out for Red Rock Tower, Phase 2 is June 30th, and that's good. But really I'm just tired. Thinking about getting a Xanga account. Not much else going on...
Wait...! Yes, there was something. An irritant. Today some of the guys at work were talking about movies they'd seen. One said he got Me, Myself, & Irene for the family to watch. I have to say I really have a problem with that movie, it unfairly and unrealistically depicts those with Dissociative Identity Disorder. And I do give it slack, since it is supposed to be a comedy...but that's like giving slack to a movie that tries to portray forced child marriages as comedy. It's just not. So anyway, some of the guys started making fun of the disorder...the ones who didn't insist it was the "medically-explained bullshitter's disease". I know it's a little-understood disorder and it can honestly seem a little odd or creepy to some not familiar with it, but I'm sure schizophrenia (which is NOT the same) was once looked at in the same manner. Education, people! I mean, really, does anyone make fun of Morgellons Disease? It's rare, unexplained, and yet it does exist.

Whatever. Sometimes when a bunch of guys get together you just can't try reason, they're too busy laughing at their own wit.

06 June 2006

"False Friends"

A story on the importance of linguistic skills:

Tannah and I, in France (the day after we were engaged), were exploring the Roisny-sous-Bois mall, in walking distance of l'Hôtel Balladins, to pick up a memory card for the camara and a KYO CD, at Carrefour. Except I got so, so nauseous...I started vomitting in the mall. And it's not discreet...you have to pay to go to the McCleans (public bathrooms) and I didn't have change, so I threw up in the trash cans. But because of terrorism in the past, all the trash cans were clear, with clear bags, so it was very, very obvious, what I was doing.

Anyone who's taken a linguistics class knows about "false friends"--words that appear to be one thing when compared to one's native language, but aren't. One I learned early on was "asistir", a Spanish verb. Looks like it might be the infinitive of "to assist"...but it's actually the infinitive for "to attend". Another such word, in French, is "médecin"...looks like it might mean "medicine", doesn't it? Yeah, I thought so too. So anyway, here I was being ill and Tannah trying his best to ignore my public display, and a man walked up to me and touched my shoulder. He asked if I needed help, and I replied, "J'ai besoin du médecin"...trying to say, "I need medicine." He nodded and relied, "Oui, je suis un médecin"...or, "I am a doctor." (FALSE FRIEND! FALSE FRIEND!) Well, I thought the word for "doctor" was "docteur", and that I just wasn't making myself clear and so we went round and round for a few minutes until he smiled and said very plainly, (in French), "Go to the pharmacy, look for the green cross." Lo and behold, I discovered Vogalib, man's greatest creation...

So, the moral of the story is, beware of false friends. It won't ever really get you in trouble, but at best, you'll have an interesting little anecdote, and at worst, you'll be plenty embarassed.

05 June 2006

A year ago today:

At about 23h00 Parisian time, we got engaged. It's a pretty funny story...

Our plan for that day was to spend the majority of it at Parc Astérix, an amusement park outside of Paris. (It's rated 5th best in the world...oh, it rocks...) We woke up late...rather, I woke up late, at almost 11h00. After getting ready, fighting over Tannah's Mobilis pass (he qualified for "Jeune" but they insisted on giving him the adult one) and getting a bite to eat, we finally made it to Parc Astérix, by nearly 14h30. Because of the late hour, and the parc closing by 19h00, we had time only to hit two rides: Tonnerre de Zeus and Trace du Hourra. Tonnerre de Zeus was...terrifying. I had nightmares, I'm not kidding, for months afterwards. I literally prayed for death so the fear could mercifully end. After it jolted to an abrupt stop I almost cried, until Tannah reminded me sternly that we were representing our country. It's hard to cry after a statement like that. Trace du Hourra however was awesome, it's like a bobsleigh ride, on an interesting little sidways track that allows the cars to shift...it's really hard to explain but I think it was seriously cool. We bought the photo they took of us...Tannah's having a great time, I look like I'm trying not to pass out. But really, it was fun. We went to the Gallic Village and saw both Astérix and Obélix, we went through some of the shops (Haribo was an official sponser!) and even had a snack. Tannah loves the French rendition of a hot-dog.

The parc closed that day at 19h00, so we had to catch the bus out at about 18h00. It was sad to leave, I really wanted to see more. But aside from the time and me being incredibly nauseous, we decided to see the Tour d'Eiffel. A Fnac-sponsered concert was just letting out but there was plenty of room to wander and look about. It still wasn't very dark there, even after 20h00, so we had dinner at a sweet little café that served a "country meal", which was basically roast chicken with vegetables and of course, sliced baguette. And fruit! We just sat and talked about everythign really: the character of the buildings behind us, the confusion of our waiter when we asked for non-carbonated water, the day in general. After, it was much darker and we walked back to the Tower.

I remember having no clue whatsoever. Tannah found someone able to speak English and taught her to use our camara to take a photo of us with the Tower in the background. I remember I was impatient and irritated at him because he was taking too long. After she said she was ready, Tannah reached into his daysack, pulled out a small box, kneeled and proposed. I remember almost laughing....I didn't think he was serious. But I saw the ring...a gorgeous ring and the look on his face and I was so shocked. Finally, after I'd stared at him for a good couple of seconds he kind of laughed and said, "You can answer now, you know," and I told him yes. Then I cried, and the girl taking photos cried, and people were clapping, it was really awesome.

I think that was about the most romantic thing, ever. I mean really...Paris? C'mon. You can't beat that.

03 June 2006

(un désir secret)

Il me manque de l'Europe tellement, particulièrement la France. Ma famille, là, qui vivent dans le nord...je veux vraiment les visiter, encore, aussi. (Et ouais, je sais que j'ai la famille ici, et je les aime tellement. Aimer ma famille en France ne signifie pas que je n'aime pas ma famille ici!) Mais, pour être près de la langue, la culture, tout: les crêperies, les églises, (particulièrement Eau Vive, à Lille), la métro, Parc Astérix, la musique (KYO!!)...que je me sens nostalgique mais je sais qui est stupide.. J'aime l'Amérique naturellement mais parfois...quand je pense à la France, je sens en sécurité et heureuse... comme je pourrais oublier des choses là.

Est-ce que moi suis une mauvaise personne pour aimer d'autres pays et les cultures? Est-il erroné de vouloir vivre quelque part autrement? L'Amérique est ma maison, oui, mais également il y a des problèmes. Chaque pays a des problèmes, je sais cela, et peut-être c'est pourquoi je pense que ceci doit être un secret. J'ai le patriotisme, et je défends mon pays à d'autres. Toujours, je souhaite chaque jour pour retourner, même si pour seulement une visite.

02 June 2006

Safety on the back burner

Today my foreman called me on the Nextel and told me that on the 14th floor, the welders needed a 50-amp breaker, and asked me to swap a 30-amp one out for it. I've done it a few times before so it wasn't an issue. I don't mind working on hot gear, and the panel is only 240 volts phase to phase, if I'm not mistaken. Apprentices in second to fourth years are allowed to work 250 volts, phase to phase. I'm a fourth year so...I grabbed John, my journeyman, and we took care of it.

About halfway through, my foreman calls me and asks, "Hey, what's your twenty?" I told him I was on the 14th floor, changing out the breaker from the south panel. He asked if I've got Little John with me. I said yes. There was a pause, and he asked, "Aren't you comfortable with doing that shit yet?" And I said, "Yeah, but the JATC mandates that apprentices can only work on hot gear if under the direct supervision of a journeyman." He said, "Yeah, ten-four." I was more than a little shocked. I mean, he's an instructor. He's taken NFP70-E and OSHA like the rest of us. He's heard how many our local has lost to on-site accidents while working hot circuits just in the past few years. I'm not all that experienced in this.

And what really upsets me is once, maybe a week or two ago, I changed out a breaker without a journeyman. I knew better but it was just real quick...famous last words, right? While in the panel I dropped the tip to my 10-in-1 screwdriver about thisclose the the busbar. And just for a split second I though, "Oh my God, it's going to arc." Luckily it didn't, and I was able to get things back in order but it really scared me. And later that day I said, "Look, I really don't feel comfortable working anything hot without a journeyman nearby." And he said no problem. And now this?

I don't know if he's stressed or what...I know he's missing a few guys from our crew and pressure is on to get generators going for the corporate center and the bowling alley, plus there's another OSHA inspection coming up, plus topping out is in a few weeks...but still, I'm not going to die for what I make an hour. It's not worth it. Nothing's worth that. It only took about 10 minutes to get up there and take care of the breaker.

Whatever...it just really seems that sometimes, once a journeyman takes on a crew of his own, things change. And not always for the best.

01 June 2006

Communist Party

No word on the procedures I had done. They had to stop the stress test in the third cycle because my heart rate got above 195 beats per minute and they said that was not-okay. Other than that, I have to go in next week for a follow-up and to wear a Holter monitor for 24 hours. Should be fun. And with the threat of being "shit-canned" for missing time at work looming, I'll be interested in what they'll do to me.

And thanks to Tom Burns for making my day: