31 January 2008

Solar 2008 a reality!

Today, Gwynne and Troy kinda talked me into attending Solar 2008. I'd been throwing around the idea, jokingly, for months and they took me aside and told me all the reasons I should go.

Basically they told me what I already knew: I love photovoltaics, and it's a possibility that I can actually do something with that love as far as my career goes, so I may as well start getting all the education I can for now. Conventions, research, certifications...if I can really immerse myself, there's a real chance I could work in that field. So, with the permission to take the time off work, I bought airline tickets today for San Diego. Happy and nervous, both.

If only my contractor had a renewable energy division...

28 January 2008

Remo and Cosette.

So...Amme finalised a name for her newest little one (very cute!) and Remo got in a traffic accident. I'm not sure the whole story, but he wound up running a red light and hitting two cars. He was really disoriented when my dad went to pick him up, so they called the ambulance back to take him to the hospital. Oddly, baby Jack slept right through it, and only woke up when people started freaking out over him.

The hospital did x-rays, and a CT of the brain, the latter showing signs of a stroke. It's not exactly a surprise, my sister and I both have blood disorders so it's really natural that my brother start exhibiting signs as well. They tried ordering an MRI but sent him home instead, to follow up with one later. Now that actually pisses me off: something like 43% of all TIAs "disappear" in under 24 hours after the event. It could be that by the time his insurance approves the MRI, there won't be anything there.

But I am really pushing him to get it nonetheless, and to get bloodwork done too, to see if he's got a blood disorder. It's imperative that they find it so that he can be treated. Strokes are scary things, and I was a little younger than him when I had my first event. Hope it works out.

But to end this on a happy note: yay for Cosette!

27 January 2008

Une nouvelle tristesse.

Je ne sais pas pourquoi je suis couverte dans la tristesse chaque année autour de ce temps. Octobre jusqu'à février. C'est étrange. Il n'y a pas aucune raison... que je suppose qu'il peut y avoir des raisons, mais je ne sais pas plus. D'abord je pensais que c'était la dépression d'hiver (en anglais: SAD), mais je ne pense plus qui est vrai. Beaucoup des choses sont cachées : mémoires et faits et la vérité. Parfois je suis dégoûtée à toute la merde, et à d'autres fois que je veux oublier : pour dormir, et réveiller quelque part nouveau et frais et alors je pourrais être vivant sans fardeau.

Mais alors je me rappelle: j'ai ma famille, et ma vie, mes promesses, et naturellement ma réalité. La réalité ne me permet pas de me cacher. Parfois, je m'amuse; mon nature égoïste ne sait aucune frontière. Mon Dieu, je déteste vraiment ma sottise!

25 January 2008

Monte Carlo and fried ovaries.

First off, the Monte Carlo's roof caught on fire right before lunch today. It was scary at first...I heard tourists trying to compare it to the MGM fire in the 80's, but then that was the fault of Fox News who was trying their damnedest to start a panic, saying "hundreds were trapped" and such. But the fire was completely out in under an hour (only the fake styrofoam-like exterior was burning) and really it was just a sad thing to look upon. The media tried pointing fingers at some welders, but who knows.

Now, a funny story: yesterday I had to fire caulk some huge pipes....basically fire caulking is a way to help stop the spread of fire from one room to the next by putting fireproof putty around pipes going in between rooms and floors. Well, there was no way to get to alot of these pipes except climb onto them, straddle them and do it from there. So I had done five or so and I get to this one about 15' off the ground: I harnessed up and climbed on. (I'm so so afraid of heights, even with a harness, so Jay was trying very hard not to openly laugh at me.) Anyway, one of the project managers walks past and casually says "Oh that's nice" and I didn't think anything of it until our general foreman comes up to me and says, "You know, you probably just fried your ovaries with all the magnetic flux from the 25 thousand volts you had between your legs".... turns out I was sitting on a hot feeder conduit going into 24.9kv gear. Oops. Now, really I doubt I fried my ovaries (which is why its a funny story) but I didn't realise how dangerous it all was, either. If anything it was hilarious afterwards..

22 January 2008

Strength of Zeus, magick of Ra!

Jay is so much fun, both as my foreman and as my toolie. It's hard to explain it logically; I guess our personalities mesh well together or something. I don't really care, I'm just happy about it.

We were running pipe, and since it was being added years after the original Venetian opened, our options as to where to run it and how to do that were extremely limited. Both of us in a scissorlift, trying to maneuver around with 4' EMT...and of course, other conduit were in the way so we couldn't raise the lift as much as was necessary for me and I had to (illegally, haha) straddle the bars above the main platform in order to get it positioned. It was difficult for me, trying to keep my balance while over-reaching, to hoist the pipe into the existing coupling. I stuggled, failed. Struggled, failed. Finally, Jay screamed out, "Strength of Zeus! Magick of Ra!", growled deeply, and hoisted it in for me. I was laughing too hard to really be of much help, but it worked, and for the rest of the day we called upon Zeus and Ra, and it lightened things up considerably. I have a feeling it'll be especially helpful in running the 6" rigid conduit.

Speaking of that...I don't think I mentioned my port-a-pony accident. A port-a-pony is a huge threader for larger rigid conduit. It weighs more than I do and it has to be lifted up and secured onto the end of the pipe (which is, in turn, secured onto a tri-stand and counter-weighted). Once there, the conduit can be copiously oiled and mechanically threaded, but this process needs two people, because the torque is immense. Jay was helping me, but he had to take care of some kind of foreman duty and told me to hang tight; I thought I'd be a good apprentice and try to get the pipe threaded before he came back. Needless to say, one needs more than two hand to oil and to thread, so the dies caught on a burr in the threads and I lost control of the handle: it ripped out of my hands, spun around, and before I could dive out of the way it caught me in the center of my chest.

Bruising. Owy. Lesson learned. I could have used Zeus and Ra then.

19 January 2008

An adventure.

So I just got back...four hours to get the electrical right. Definitely a learning experience.

Snow did agree to help me, so we met up at the house at 15h00. One of the daughters was there to let us in and show us the problems exactly, and where the panel was. The first issue was exactly as I had thought: the breaker needed to be replaced. We set that aside and looked in the boy's room to troubleshoot that problem.

I had been under the impression that there was no power to any of the receptacles in that room, but I was wrong: three did, two didn't. Snow showed me how to narrow down exactly how it was being fed so I could locate the problem. The two with no power were right next to each other, near the doorway, so I took the receptacles out and looked in. The first thing I noticed was that there weren't enough wires. Usually, when receptacles are looped together, there are wires in and wires out, and then they're pigtailed together to be made up and all...but there was none of that. Just one hot, one neutral and one ground, each. It took some time to figure out what was going on but we used a wire tracer that indicated that the two were just looped together, and no power had been run to either. At all. It was bizarre.

We decided to run power from the room's light switch to one of the receptacles which was essentially right below it. Since residential uses plastic j-boxes and romex, it was alot simpler. I poked the access holes through the boxes, we fished in the romex (which admittedly took alot of time), and wired it. Since I was wary of getting power from a switch (remember last April!) I was nervous, but Snow made me calm down and think it through so I wouldn't make a mistake. It wound up working fine.

Then a trip to Lowe's for a new breaker, got that installed, and everything was working as it should be. I talked to the homeowners and explained what the problems were and what we did to correct them, and it was awesome, I sounded like I actually knew what the hell I was doing. Really really grateful for it all.

17 January 2008

Grand opening: pretentious!

A short post, since I haven't much time:

Today was Palazzo's grand opening. We got the talk about having to be invisible, so we, as construction workers, won't upset or frighten any tourists. I would think that was just idiotic, but then I remember the asshole journeyman I had at the Paris that screamed to women to show him tits while we were right there in the crêperie. Some (not all!) construction workers really do live up to the stereotype. Anyway. Maybe that's why Mariah Carey's bodyguards made us "make way" for her as she came down the hallway to her waiting limo, with her goofy dog-in-a-purse, even though I don't really think anyone cared.

I don't know...I'm torn. I think it's awesome when new casinos or resorts open here, it means a stable economy and I love watching projects come together. But it irritates me a little when we go through all that shit to make it happen and then it's like "Okay, you're done, get the fuck out." It must be like what a whore feels: good money but no respect.

But, for anyone who cares, here's the highly-anticipated grand opening fireworks show. Enjoy.

14 January 2008


My mom's friend contacted me about an electrical problem in her house, and wants me to work on it…I've never done electrical work other than in my own house or on the job and I'm nervous about doing it. I asked her what the problem was so that I could try to troubleshoot and bounce my ideas off some people at work.

She said that the surge protector in her daughter's room sparked, and that all the receptacles no longer work. I figured that one out; probably the breaker's been tripped, maybe hard enough to need to replacement. The second issue was that her son's room is without any power to the receptacles. I'm not sure what that is, maybe a breaker but she said it's been that way for quite awhile. Honestly I might not be able to figure it out till I get there.

I asked Tom, and Snow, and Gwynne and they gave me their input. It was good to hear that my idea was also theirs, as far as the daughter's room was concerned. Snow asked where the house was, and I told him, and he actually offered to come with me to help! He said it would be like a training exercise, he'd make me do all the work, and he'd help me work out the problems, but he won't do it for me. Which is awesome. We'll meet up at the house this weekend...nervous but excited.

11 January 2008

New foreman?

Today Gwynne talked to Drew and then I was told to work with Jay. Jay just got his own crew, with a JW and a 1st year apprentice. I like him alot, but I wonder if this is a permanent move. At the same time, it's fine: I'm not getting along with any of the people on my crew really, except superficially, and it makes for a shitty day. I've tried aligning myself with Chris and we work well together, since Johnson gets all irritated and worked up over the silliest thing.

In fact, the other day he started pacing and asked me repeatedly to call Drew on the radio for what to do next. It was obvious what to do next, Drew had told us a dozen times, and I tried telling him, but he wanted to hear it from Drew, not me. Well, I called him twice with no answer, I'm not going to call every five minutes, that's stupid. So he threw up his hands and rolled his eyes like a little bitch and it was like...dude, get over it. Besides, he treats his current apprentice like shit, for no reason. I hate that. I could go on but I won't.

Anyway, so I'm with Jay. Since his crew is small he's a working foreman, and he told me he's going to be my foreman and my toolie. It's intriguing, and so far for today it's worked well. We're running EMT right now, and I can make the bends but I'm not too confident on my ability to lay it out, so he's helping me with that. I'm liking it.

07 January 2008

No more pretending.

For months I've been going over my ideas on faith almost obsessively. I've talked to others about their beliefs, I've read books and websites and prayed over it. There's alot of worry about what any change will mean, as far as what Tannah or my family would feel about it. In a way, I know that my beliefs are for me, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks...but it matters to me nonetheless. I have a bit of an abandonment issue.

So I wrote a preliminary belief statement and e-mailed it to Tannah. I was stressing out so much, thinking that divorce was on the horizon, so I figured I would get it out of the way. And yeah, so I was lame and didn't come out and say it verbally but as I said, I was afraid of rejection. I won't go into any of my beliefs here, or the details of my belief statement but it didn't go badly but...

Tannah e-mailed back that it didn't surprise him that I was just jumping onto the newest fad and he didn't truly believe that anything I wrote about was serious. He was certain that I read a few websites, took it as gospel and now I'm a "believer". That's not so. I put alot of thought into this and it makes perfect sense, it seems natural to me, it's something I can't deny. He was, for the most part, supportive in every other sense, encouraging me to pray and learn, and I'm grateful for that. He's really the only one I've told, but my research is far from over and I have so much to learn yet.

04 January 2008


I've been telling Drew for weeks that he needs to see Superbad, and he's told me repeatedly how lame everyone tells him it is. So I made him a deal: I'll bring him the film in Blu-Ray (he just got a player for Christmas), and he has to watch it. He agreed.

No word after a few days, and I kinda forgot about it.

We were all working down on the basement level of the condo tower trying to get the temporary power run into the panels. It was exceedingly heavy, a few 750kcmil wires encased in flex. Some of us were on the ground level helping the one on the ladder, some were on the split level pulling and guiding while it was being affixed to the beams. Drew and I were struggling, holding a man-made support beam up for the man on the ladder, so that he could strap the power feed appropriately. As it was very heavy, he and I wound up using each other to keep our balance and trying desperately not to appear like we were grinding each other. It was one of those awkward moments where, normally, words would just make it more awkward, but in construction sometimes such situations arise. Drew looked me right in the eye, and quoting from Superbad, he tried to hide his grin and said:
"You used me as a tampon?"

And we both laughed hoping we wouldn't drop the support, but it made it vastly less weird.

02 January 2008

New Year's and...

So for New Year's Eve we stayed in, had a quiet dinner with some wine: filet mignon, baby red potatoes, Brussels sprouts, salad (the fun kind, with berries and flowers in it), and French bread with Muenster. (Yes, it sounds like alot but we spread it out over the evening.) Every year we discuss going out, to the Strip or to a great dinner, but it never happens and that's okay really; the traffic is not something I'd like to fight. And Tannah isn't one to drink, either. Besides, at home was fine, we saw the fireworks from our backyard, and we could just go to sleep rather than worry about a way home or whatnot.

Everyone at work thinks I'm unhappy, struggling with something. Troy says I'm at a crossroads and I need to reflect on things and make intelligent choices. I'm not sure I like the idea of that, but I do know there are changes ahead...of course, all life is at any one moment is change, but I feel that this year will hold many changes. And not in a usual manner; I mean, of course at the beginning of every new year it can feel that way. This is different. I just hope I'm wise enough to do the right thing when I'm faced with a decision.

Hahaha, like I need anything else to worry about!