24 July 2007

Yeah, three solar-based posts in a row...

Last night Tannah and I attended a seminar hosted by Bombard Electric's Solar Division that explained the process for applying to Solar Generations' program for rebates on photovoltaic systems. I'd already learned most of it from my classes with Snow but Tannah learned alot, and he's pretty excited now too. They had inverters on display, and panels as well, plus brochures and business cards and such. Very informative.

Oh yeah and slide-shows!

Some people from our church showed us as well and sat in front of us...it was so irritating, they talked between each other the whole time, mostly making jokes about the speakers. I wanted to tell them to shut up or leave, to give some respect for these guys who put in ten-hour days and then show up on their own time to speak to us. They don't get anything out of it, it's voluntary. I hate that fifth-grader attitude. You'd think for something like this, something that's offered freely, those attending would be quiet enough to learn something but hey. Whatever.

Aside from that, it was great to kind of show off all the stuff I'd been learning about to Tannah, to see him getting into it too. I'm glad we went.

20 July 2007

My totally sexy PV tattoo.


Earlier in the week I'd gotten ahold of Eddie at Skin Factory, who asked for the design that Jeremy had worked out for me. I emailed it, and we made an appointment for this morning. What was cool is he opened up before normal business hours to get me in on my day off.

The whole thing was less than an hour. Eddie made a stencil, confirmed how it was to appear, had me double-check in the mirror, then I had to straddle the chair so he could get at my lower back. The outline was pretty decent...I had heard there was a lot of pain involved but it was better than I thought it'd be. The colouring, though...that was much worse. He coloured the tips black, the faded to red, then orange. It wasn't a sharp pain; just the kind that makes you think, "Wow, that's not fun", like scraping a knee in gravel...but like a hundred times, over and over, for a half hour. I was real worried I'd have to take a break before he was finished but exactly then, he told me it was done, and wiped up the excess blood.

It's still extremely sore and I can't touch it or anything, and I have to be careful and use liquid antibacterial soap and I think I'll have to forego the belt at work for awhile but it was so so worth it. I'm so happy.

(Photo forthcoming.)

19 July 2007

Solar NV!

Finally I was able to attend a Solar NV meeting...I was so stoked. As many of you know, I'd been waiting to go for over a year, but my work schedule and conflict with classes made it impossible. Sadly, fifth year classes are now on Wednesdays so I'll not be able to attend for the majority of the next year. But anyway...it was good to show up already knowing some people, at least.

The guest speaker was a representative of Nevada Solar One, a solar power plant outside of Boulder City, Nevada, which is south of Las Vegas. This is an immense undertaking and very exciting for the solar community. Therefore out of sheer curiosity I did some Web-research, and found this:

"Nevada Solar One is the third largest solar power plant in the world, generating 64MW, as of June 2007. Nevada Solar One is in Boulder City, Nevada and has been built by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Solargenix Energy. Spanish conglomerate Acciona purchased a 55% stake in Solargenix, and as a result, now owns 100% of the Nevada Solar One thermal project. Nevada Solar One is unrelated to Solar One, aside from having a similar name.

"Nevada Solar One uses parabolic troughs as thermal solar concentrators, heating tubes of liquid (solar receivers), instead of the power tower concentrator (as Solar One used). These solar receivers are specially coated tubes made of glass and steel which were designed and produced by Solel Solar Systems as well as by Schott Glass. About 19,300 of these four meter long tubes are used in the newly built power plant. Nevada Solar One also uses a technology that collects extra heat by putting it into phase-changing molten salts. This energy can then be drawn on at night.

"Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are ideally matched to summer noon peak loads in prosperous areas with significant cooling demands, such as the southwestern United States. Using thermal energy storage systems, solar thermal operating periods can even be extended to meet base load needs. Given Nevada's land and sun resources the state has the ability to produce more than 600GW using solar thermal concentrators like those used by Nevada Solar One.

"Parabolic concentrators have been successfully operating in California commercially since 1984, including the largest solar power plant of any kind, the 350 MW plant Solar Energy Generating Systems. Other parabolic trough power plants being proposed are two 50MW plants in Spain (see Solar power in Spain), and a 100MW plant in Israel."

Read the rest of the article here, and about Nevada Solar One's parent company, Acciona, here. (Acciona's site is Spanish only; sorry.)

18 July 2007

The most awesome octopus video ever!

So my dad reminded me of a cool vid I posted to him last year...it's basically a octopus that is unique in cameoflaging itself. It's so cool. It's kind of self-explanatory, but you can either read the article or watch the video...both are worth a viewing.

16 July 2007

Leaving our church, and other things.

Truth be told, I haven't gone to church in...a long time. It's not that I'm adamantly disagreeing with anything in particular just I'm feeling like organised religion isn't quite for me. I've got faith (as I explained before) but there's no "spark of divinity", as it were. Not at this church, not at others I've tried in the past. Oncle Jean gave me some suggestions; I have to look into that. There just doesn't seem to be motivation, but I don't want to get into the whys of it here.

And...swingers. That's a huge theme with alot of people I know right now. More specifically, swinging versus polyamory. To most people the two might seem like the same thing: free, open sex. But there are immense differences and really, that's not the point. The point is that like anything, there are rules, and it's worrisome that some use their apparent lifestyle choices to fuel other fantasies. I understand that really, swinging (and to a different extent, polyamory) might seem like exceedingly public ways of life, they aren't. Hard to explain.

Before anyone knowing me well assumes I've thrown myself full-on into either lifestyle, that's not the case. I'm just thinking out loud about such choices...and stuff...how it affects others, and not just the partner(s) involved but anyone: family, friends, co-workers...it's just been on my mind, I guess.

In other (happier!) news, I've discovered salt water taffy, and honey-nougat ice bars from the Korean market. Oh joyous day! A bit addicting but I'm holding back.

15 July 2007

Un 14-Juillet très calme.

Yes, in years prior le 14-Juillet (Bastille Day) has been overly hectic. I get nervous about get-togethers; last year trying to coordinate the different cheeses with wine and Orangina was almost too much. So this year we had a very simple celebration, just Tannah and I. (This had partly to do with the wedding we attended in Pahrump Friday night...congrats Tim and Rebecca!...but we simply didn't have the energy to go crazy on it.)

Firstly, we watched Ratatouille. And I cried, how lame is that? Some kind of underlying theme, really, not anything to get into, but it's not a sad film at all. It's awesome, actually, I loved it. We got popcorn and smuggled in some goodies, and placed ourselves strategically away from little beasties. The accents were a bit much but give it a try; it's hilarious.

So after, we were feeling sadness for missing France, and so we got a baguette and a semi-sweet white wine, with cherries and raclette...so so yummy. It might be obvious to some that I should have made ratatouille for Bastille Day this year, but I hate bell peppers, and I'm not about to go chopping up the recipe. Oh, and Tannah even put the iPod on KYO...yay!

[On a side note, we jumped ship today...no more French yummies...we're having knockwurst and weinsauerkraut!)

13 July 2007

Sorry everyone...

I've been a little absent lately, but for good reason:

~Had an electrical problem at the house (not serious, yay);
~Work has been uber-busy because the carpenters keep destroying the risers;
~Doctor appointments all over the place;
~Union meetings;
~Preparations for my final year in class;
~An impromptu wedding;
~Conduit-bending practice sessions.......

And on and on and on. I haven't even had time to get my tattoo done. So very sad. But anyway, please don't think I'm ignoring anyone, it's just I've been so tied up with things.

08 July 2007

D'oh...I mean, woo-hoo!

Dan, one of my former journeymen at the Venetian, showed me a cell phone pic of the new Kwik-E-Mart in Henderson, just south-ish of Las Vegas. After some research, I learned that selected 7-11 stores were temporarily converted to hype up the Simpsons film coming out later this month. Tannah and I had to see the temporary renovation; even if it was lame, it's still something you don't see every day. And, just like the Simpsons house (also in Henderson), it's only a matter of time before someone decides to remodel it beyond all Springfield-like recognition.

I was surprised, actually. The entire lot was transformed. The awning over the gasoline pumps bore Kwik-E-Mart colours and logo, and the entire front of the establishment was covered in an overly-bright façade: the yellow wall with random orange bricks any Simpsons fan would recognise. Comic-Book Guy, Marge Simpson and Milhouse were aptly-positioned. It was brilliant.

Inside, if you can even believe it, was better. Of course more characters were placed throughout: Ralph, Chief Wiggum, Homer, even Apu behind the counter. Slurpees were now Squishees--and I had to buy one, a blue vanilla flavour that tasted slightly of piña colada--and there were dozens of boxes of the stereotypically pink-iced donuts, with sprinkles of course. (And a sign reminding all that a twizzler is not a sprinkle.) They had sold out of both Krusty-Os and Buzz Cola, to my great sadness, but there were plenty of other fun things to be excited over.

I'm not a huge Simpsons fan, I haven't even really watched that program in years. The last season I even watched with any regularity was the one with the season finale wondering "Who shot Mr. Burns?" (Yeah, that long ago.) But the Kwik-E-Mart idea was cute, and it did exactly as it was meant to: it hyped the film. We got photos, and Squishees, and Sunday was giggly-fun because of it.

06 July 2007

Loving these Fridays off!

Right now I'm listening to Tannah play this odd techno version of Pacman. That reminds me of German clubs hiding the porn boutiques in Berlin. Which reminds me of the story Sanj told me about Encore, and the dimmers, and Joe. I still think that's hilarious, I wish I could have seen it.

It was awesome, a well-deserved day off after the fiasco last night. I'm exhausted, but in a good way. I'm not sure how I got so fatigued after laying about all day; granted, I did go out earlier, had a blast...Tannah says it's good I'm actually going out and having a life, and I agree. I'm seriously contemplating doing something on Saturday nights as well, during his game parties. I really do leave them alone, I don't get to nagging or anything, but usually I'm holed up, bored. I have friends I talk to now that go out on Saturdays to the bar, and friends I'm just getting back to talking to that I'm sure do things that are just as fun. Options are endless.

This job I'm on is only going to last another two months or so...what am I going to do when faced again with working five days a week? By that time, my Fridays will be taken due to a normal shift, as well as Wednesdays (because of school), and I'll be back to looking forward to getting smashed at Bonanza with other apprentices as a highlight of my week. And somewhat off-topic, we were told that the JATC was being moved a block or so away. If that's true, will the solar arrays need to be re-installed? I want in on that job.

05 July 2007

Someone got crazy with the mounting.

Around 16h00 I got a call to reset breakers for two rooms. Granted, that's right before we think about rolling up, but that was supposed to be the last call so I ran up to 2.5 to take care of it. I went to the appropriate panel and reset one, which tripped again immediately. I tried to reset the other one and it tripped again, hard, with a lovely bright light flashing through the dead-front. That's when I called for back up.

Within ten minutes, my foreman met me in the electrical room along with in-house electricians (one of whom was extremely interested in the apprenticeship); the foreman in charge of the remodel for the rooms affected came as well, bringing with him two from his crew. We found out from in-house that the same room one three different floors were without power to the bedwall, so we went to investigate.

After about an hour of tearing out drywall patches and becoming increasingly frustrated, the problem was found: those who had mounted the vanity to the wall sometime earlier today succeeded in getting a screw through a riser, which connects power from one floor to the next. The bed was removed and disassembled, the wall cut open, and after the melty breakers were replaced they were locked out so the riser could be repaired. That part was relatively simple: cut the wires, attach a box, jumper from that box to another which contains the other end of the wires from the riser, connect, and finish. The ruined part surprised all of us: this carpenter who mounted the vanity managed to get an 1-1/2" screw into the neutral, and all three phases. The odds of that are incredible.

So all in all, we got out of there at about 19h00, thinking toward our awesome paychecks forthcoming, and the kickass day off we'll get tomorrow. Can't wait.

04 July 2007

Uneventful 4th.

Just got home a second ago. It was a very slow day, practically dead. Everyone else at the jobsite--except for those of us on the remodel (me included)--got the holiday off, but per contract we don't get any holidays off that are on scheduled work days. And that's fine; I got paid double-time which will pay for my school books. $420 is ridiculous but hey, at least I'm not a first year trying to pay for tools as well.

So since we had to work, we had kind of a potluck. For break we had chips with some kind of cheese sauce and little croissant sandwiches with chicken salad on it. I've never had chicken salad, and I'm told that this version (with celery and almond slivers) is better than most. I liked it. Lunchtime gave us a casserole (bowtie pasta, cheese sauce, tuna and chilis), death-by-chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. And that was the highlight of the day since there was seriously nothing to do, not even inspections.

Too bad I've been nauseous for the past three days and only got to nibble and got the "How come you don't eat?"-talk but whatever. Being paid what I got paid today made up for the incessant nausea and extreme boredom. That, and Gwynne let me read through his conduit-bending book, and I even got to play around with some pipe. Sweet.

01 July 2007

Feeling better.

So maybe I'm not gonna die, yay for me.

I got a haircut, now my hair isn't so froufy which is most awesome. And despite trying to stay away from delicious European goodies, I still managed to get into the Dresdner lebkuchen (kirsch!) and Orangina. No, not at the same time, that's seriously icky. But still.

Tenno is helping design my tattoo. Well, I designed it, he's putting both designs together so I can give the whole thing to the tattoo artist. Not sure if I described it before, but it's going to be the schematic for a solar cell inside a happy little sun. And maybe like some ivy or cute flowers here and there. It'll be so very cool, I'll post a pic when I get it done. And REMO! I am not a traitor, Tenno was just available before you! He's not adding any artistic details to it, I gave him what I wanted and that's all. Promise.

Craving soul food. Has anyone else ever had the soft-fried gizzards from Hamburger Heaven off of I Street and Madison on the West Side? Wow. A definite perk from when I worked in the death-care industry.