27 April 2008

1st actual PV install!

We had to be at Snow'​s house​ by 06h00​ today​ but since​ I'm paranoid about​ not being​ able to find place​s (​even with a map) I left reall​y early​ and got there​ at like 05h40​,​ and that was after​ sitti​ng in a convenience store parki​ng lot for 15 minutes to pass the time. ​ Lucki​ly, Cliff​ was early​ too, so we talke​d a bit; he's interested in taking the county exam now.

Once we saw Snow walki​ng about​ and some more peopl​e showe​d up, we all got into it. First was a bit of pre-fab: we got the racki​ng syste​m ready​ and cut lengths of the grounding wire. Then came layout, and the initial mounting, and Snow'​s wife serve​d us yummies,​ which​ was very cool:​ it was an Ameri​can break​fast,​ eggs,​ sausa​ge, biscu​its and gravy​.​ Soon after​ that, the beer came out to join the water​ and Gator​ade,​ and when no one was looki​ng I kept playi​ng with Squir​t (​their​ inten​sely cute dog who I will kidna​p and love in my own home one day)​.​ He has his own Stone​henge​,​ it's adora​ble.

Anywa​y, so after​ break​fast we start​ed in on mount​ing the polycrystalline panel​s--which are bigger than I am, carrying them is a bitch--and hooki​ng up the strin​gs and such,​ while​ also mounting the inver​ter,​ and runni​ng the pipe and power​ to both.​ After​ two strin​gs were finis​hed,​ we had lunch​:​ burge​rs and brats​.​ :) Again​,​ very cool.​ Nothing keeps workers going better than food.

After​ that we were kind of tired​.​.​.​we'​d alrea​dy put in a 8-​hour day. The final​ strin​g was mount​ed and conne​cted,​ while​ the PV disco​nnect​ and meter​ were hooke​d up to Snow'​s main panel​.​ After​ a littl​e troub​lesho​oting​ (and cursi​ng,​ and beer)​ we turne​d it all on, teste​d it.​.​.​and with great anticipation we watched as his main meter​ slowed consi​derab​ly.​.​.​
...and then stopp​ed altog​ether​.​
...then began​ runni​ng backw​ards!​
That'​s a sign that your solar​ array​ is produ​cing more power​ than is being​ used,​ and I'd heard​ about​ meter​s runni​ng backw​ards befor​e but had never​ seen it, and we were all crazy​-​excit​ed and it was so very very kicka​ss.​ As Snow put it, "Sweet!"

But now I'm so sunbu​rnt I think​ my flesh​ is going​ to fall off.

That'​s okay,​ reall​y,​ because PV is so damn sexy.​

26 April 2008

I passed!

Many thanks to those who helped me with reviews (Drew, Ben, Pam, TJ, Kenny), with getting a suitable code book (Gwynne), with procuring a copy of the Southern Nevada Electrical Code (Snow), and with studying (Jay, Troy, Flynn, Sanj & Ryan). You guys rock. :)

For those yet to take the exam, for the love of God study your ampacity tables, box fill tables, and really understand how to work with deviations in ambient temperature. There are some calculation questions on motors, lighting load, feeders and voltage drop also...but the majority of the exam is straight code questions so if you know the NEC it'll be alot easier. I highlighted my code book and made flashcards and it was good.

So I'm really happy, and even though it's kind of a bummer that Clark County sees me as a JW when I have very little practical knowledge (nice way of putting it, haha), but I am working on that. In fact I'll be working on the practical knowledge for NEC Article 690, Photovoltaics, starting tomorrow morning at 06h00. I'm stoked! We were joking in class about doing the install naked so we can get awesome all-over tans but Snow was quick to shoot that down. Too bad.

I should sleep...

22 April 2008


No beer...I know, I have to really get to studying. Semester exam tomorrow. County exam Saturday. PV install Sunday. Busy busy busy. My mind is all floaty, so here are some random thoughts:

When I go to a restaurant and see the lobsters I secretly want to pet one. I'm doing prints tomorrow, yay for being "the pet", as Flynn says. I'm addicted to wooden ducks. I'm typing this nude and I'm still too warm to be comfortable. My favourite code section is 230.70(A)(2): "Service disconnecting means shall not be located in bathrooms." I have no idea why, it just makes me giggle. I miss how we used to watch hockey games but I'm never in the mood to go...that, or I'm way too busy. I wish I could find a way to live and work in Europe...PV in Germany would be awesomesauce. Prudish women and ultra-conservatives annoy the piss out of me. Despite common rumour, I really have no idea if the entrance to The Green Door is, in fact, green. I hate trim work because even though it's a cake job, it puts a lot of stress on my hips. The song "Les Jours Tristes" makes me homesick for France. My memory is foggy at best for anything occuring before 1993. People often think I say too much, but I spout a lot of bullshit so I'm not asked about the real issues.

I'm restless.

21 April 2008

No point.

Really: if I keep refusing to change things, then I haven't the right to sit here feeling depressed and full of self-pity. I know that, usually, the worst of it comes in the early hours, when I lay silently in bed wishing the pills would kick in...or something, anything...I'm sick of these sleepless nights, mind full of too much shit that refuses to keep still.

I watched Across the Universe yesterday. It was cute. I hate the Beatles so that kind of ruined it for me. What got to me, though, was the end: "All you need is love"? Bullshit. Love is a beautiful idea, of course, but...I don't know. It does exist, don't get me wrong; just in mainstream society, something lacks, there's just lust then passion and then familiarity. I'm off-topic.

I really wish I knew what to do. I wish I knew what would make this right, I look at my previous post and it's all bouncy and happy. Even the post before that, as frightening as that was, the post had a happy feel. And then this. All pissy and negative and it's annoying. I've been tested...I know I'm not bipolar. They've tried throwing other labels on me, but that's never been one of them.

I've been analysing my life lately. I'm pretty lucky: I've got a really well-paying job that, for the most part, I enjoy. Spiritually, I'm free and comfortable. I'm a homeowner that isn't struggling with payments. I own a reliable vehicle and petrol prices aren't murdering my soul. Despite my rants about my blood disorder, I'm relatively healthy. I'm well-fed, well-clothed, and insured in about every way one can be insured. I'm loved, I have a pretty decent support foundation, and I find a reason to smile every day.

So what the fuck is my problem? I'm not happy, despite all of that. There are people around me that are having much more serious issues and I'm whining about...what exactly? At first I thought maybe I was bored, complacent with life and wanting to move to a different level. Now I think it's beyond being discontent, and that's evident by the fact that I've heard from Rhiannon, and a few others, but not from Logan. Yeah he's busy but with him, one never knows. Something's changed, and secretly inside, I'm sure I know. Maybe I just don't want to deal with it. I hate consequences.

19 April 2008

O happy day!

First I went to study code for my JW exam next Saturday. And Ryan (my study-buddy) is a whore-mongering ditcher! He ditched the last three study sessions: once for a hangover, once because he was getting laid (an acceptable excuse) and today because he was working. You suck Ryan!

I did hear a great story about the sexiest camel-toe ever. Hehe.

So after 6 hours of me steadily hating the NEC more and more, I was nearly conned into going on a solar field trip tomorrow. And I should go, I love solar, and I skipped the Earth Day fair today where I should have been with Solar NV. (I guess if I can ditch Earth Day, Ryan can skip code study. Doesn't make him less of a fuckstick though.) But I really really want to go to the Highland Festival tomorrow and look at hot men in kilts (kilts are almost as sexy as solar) plus there's a whiskey-tasting seminar there...mmm whiskey.

And I made a friend drive way out of his way to get this natural allergy stuff they used to sell at Sunflower, except now they don't, and I kinda felt bad since I got my taboulé and coconut milk, and he didn't get his allergy blend. I mean a man can only gulp so much Benadryl.

And lastly, my day was made infinitely better with photos of others getting stuck and unstuck in a canyon. And a video! I think that might make it to YouTube...

18 April 2008

High time is not for me.

I'm not a fan of heights. Like, at all. At all, at all. So when I was told we were going to move the lights up two landings on both cranes I smiled and said nothing as guts kind of rolled into a frozen ball.

Very simple: take 30 feet from the mass of cable at teh bottom of the crane and move it all the way up, securing it at each landing, so that when the crane is jumped up to a higher level, the lights can be moved as well and readjusted so that the second and third shifts can still work.

So it's pretty obvious that I'm not comfortable with heights. It's actually become a joke. Once, when Drew was still my foreman, he told me that a shitload of pipe needed to be run up the wall a good hundred feet or so, and that since the manbasket wasn't available they were just going to hook my safety harness to the crane's hook and let it hoist me up there. Of course he was joking but it got me all nervous and trembly and everyone had a good time with it.

Okay. Really, I'm getting to it.

I was fine for all the way up the crane, which is at about 240', so Im told. It was at the very last landing, right underneath where the operator sits, that I froze. Every time the wind blew, every time the crane picked up a load, the entire thing swayed like crazy. I spent much of my time tied off and hugging the ladder. To make things worse, the guys up with me thought it was a joke, so when I suggested someone sing a song to keep my mind off it, someone suggested "Free Falling" by Tom Petty and another suggested "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas...didn't help. So I tried talking to myself, all reassuring-like, with "I am a leaf on the wind, watch me soar" and "I am one with the swaying of the crane" and "I am experiencing the joys of solar power and wind power first-hand" but in reality it was all bullshit, I was terrified. Finally, by the end of the day, everytime the crane moved they were all screaming "Oh shit we're gonna die!" and such, crying for their mothers and pointing out welds that they were sure were cracking under pressure...yeah, it was funny, I spent a good part of those last hours laughing, but fuck....not fun. Not fun at all. I think I'll bow out next time.

16 April 2008


I can't help it. It's disgusting so I apologise in advance if it freaks anyone out, but there I was in the bathroom projectile-vomiting up everything I'd eaten so far today and there was the dog next to me, getting excited about anything that didn't make it into the toilet. It was really difficult to laugh right then.

In other news, I'm debating taking the new meds my doc prescribed. Side effects may not be worth it.

In other-other news, things aren't getting better, and I'm hoping (almost against logic) that things will improve once the summer comes. But I feel bad that my blog has been so negative lately so...um...for Amme:

"Aburuhamu niwa shichi-nin no ko,
Hittori wa noppo de ato wa chibi,
Minna naka yoku kurashiteru,
Saa, odorimashou!
Migi te, hidari te,
Migi ashi, hidari ashi,
Atama, oshiri, muwatte, oshimai!"

14 April 2008

Aggro & cherries: Wanting input!

(The wanting input part is closer to the end.)

My pro-time was "1.1" and my hematologist was pissed. Asked if I was taking my treatment seriously, which of course I am. He started asking me lifestyle questions concerning various things, from alcohol consumption to current stressors to my eating habits. Apparently I'm doing everything wrong. I don't drink too much in general but I drink too much at one sitting, I don't eat right (though he complimented me on lowering my sugar intake), and my stress is still on the rise, contributing to my blood be all screwed up. He said he's going to ride me about getting my pro-time to the right levels and stable, then he gave me the "Strokes Can Kill You" talk, the "Clots Can Kill You" talk and the "Even If They Don't Kill You, You Can Wind Up As A Vegetable" talk. Inspiring.

Seeing my PCP on Wednesday, squeezing that in before school, to go over the possibility of different meds that my stroke doc suggested. We'll see how that goes.

So here's something I'm wondering about. It's a hotly-debated topic at school and work, and I'm curious as to non-construction worker opinions. Mine's pretty laid back but maybe I'm thinking about it all wrong.

In construction, there's a heirarchy: At the top is the project manager or superintendent, then general foreman, then foreman, then journeyman, then apprentice. I'm a fifth year apprentice, the highest there is, and in a month at graduation I'll be a journeyman. The higher ranks (foreman, general foreman, etc) have to do with how well you can perform your job and direct men under pressure.

A few weeks ago, my study-buddy Ryan was talking about how he and his general foreman have lunch on a regular basis. I said that was cool, and we both agreed that some guys out in the field think that's off-limits. I've gone out with foremen and even with a general foreman on occasion for lunch, or to the bar...and before anyone gets weird, it's never just me and one other person, that might look bad...it's always us in a group. I see no problem with that at all. However, another apprentice said it's completely inappropriate for two reasons:

1. An apprentice has no business even talking to a foreman or anyone higher outside of the scope of work on the job; and
2. If the apprentice is female, it's especially inappropriate, since it's a "sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen".

That irritates me, really. Aside from grouping me in with "everybody else", I don't think being an apprentice or a woman should have anything to do with it. I understand it's always good to cover your ass but to ban a good time completely outside of work is just...bizarre. And the opinions according to other workers are all over the place, on both sides, and everyone has their own reasons for thinking what they think but outside of work there should be no issue whatsoever.

I dunno...am I wrong in this?

13 April 2008


Hours of homework to do, I don't even know where to start. There are 8-1/2 chapters left, all due Wednesday, encompassing load calculations, box and conduit fill, conductor ampacity...I know it's important but I really just don't have the time--or motivation--to even deal with it right now. I don't even know why I'm typing on here, I can't will the homework to do itself.

On top of that, I have an exam Wednesday, a possible field trip Saturday (yeah, I know: on top of study group), I have to go over that PV installer's guide for Sharp, I still have prints to take care of Monday so I can get back out on the field to run that 6" rigid, two journeyman exams yet, not to mention the semester final and 5th year final...oh God then the CIR and NABCEP over the summer...

And yes: I know I'm bitching, I know there's always drama and bullshit and I know that lately, I haven't had anything nice to say, and I know that everyone feels ignored and neglected and whatever...really, I try not to be so whiny all the time. I guess Tannah's right: I can't deal with stress, because I've never actually dealt with anything before. Well now isn't the time to start! Haha!

So here are some possies, because I really need them:
~I've worked out the details for my next tattoo; I just need it designed.
~I'm comfortable now in my beliefs.
~I get to be a part of a photovoltaic install in about 2 weeks.
~Solar 2008 in San Diego!
~There's only a month left of school.
~I got a seriously übercute dress...no, seriously.
~I have a massive pay-raise coming...one in mid-May, one in June.
~I am loved.
~I can start going to SolarNV meetings again in May.
~I think I might start taking linguistic classes again.

I guess another one might be that I remember a time when I couldn't come up with ten possies. Yay me. :)

11 April 2008

Are we done yet?

Only time for a quick update; I really don't have any time for myself right now.

On Wednesday we got our graduation tickets and information on transferring our apprenticeship hours for college credit. I have no idea yet, but I want to just go a little further as far as education. Something to fall back on, in case. At first I was thinking about being an electrical inspector but I really want to do more with photovoltaics so...electrical engineering maybe? I don't know, I'll figure it out later.

Code lessons, hours of it, and I'm only halfway done. Thanks to Sanj for letting me borrow her calcs book...or whatever it is.

I've been slipsheeting for Gwynne again, and this time things are so fucked: all the electrical prints have been changed, as far as sheet numbers go, to reflect the architectural prints...not that anyone outside of this job cares, but it changes all the corresponding prints to one number lower, with decimal places...hard to explain but it's frustrating. It took me the better part of three days to get 12 of the lower floors taken care of, and there are still 7 sheets that are completely AWOL, and we're only on ASI 35.

My industrial piercing is no longer industrial. My hardhat kept rubbing on the part of it near the top of my ear and it was migrating big-time and I knew rejection was imminent, so I just put a captive bead ring in the back part. It's okay but I'm a little irritated by it. I injured it last week, it's likely to be what caused it all to go this far.

PV class, again, tomorrow; we'll get the address for the install on the 27th and go over when study group will be. I'm about sick of all these exams and study groups, I'll be so happy when I finally turn out but at the same time, I won't know what to do with all my extra time. I guess I could finally start going to the SOC and SolarNV meetings that I've been signed up for...plus more college classes...plus, hopefully, I'll get more hands-on in PV...

On second thought, maybe I won't have any extra time.

09 April 2008

Je marche vers le carrefour.

Je ne sais pas que faire. Je puis voir les options possibles mais tout est triste et engourdi. Rien sera bon...ce ne sera pas meilleur. La seule chose qui je sais est que tout me fait mal; le coeur, l'âme... je continue à y croire, ces mots embrouillants; je pense que j'ai besoin d'aide, les mots m'échappent, et j'essaye de méditer, je m'essaye de focaliser, je me submerge en nature et je souris dans la chaleur du soleil, mais encore le monde est froid et foncé. Les larmes poussent presque...

06 April 2008

Busy busy weekend! (Like always.)

So yesterday, as a part of my Photovoltaics 2 class, I was required to volunteer for the Solar Home Tour, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society and its Nevada chapter, Solar NV. At class on Thursday, we got our assignments for Saturday; our jobs were to help on the tour, put up signs, direct traffic, answer questions about green homes and solar power, make sure no fights broke out, etc. I handed out wristbands, plus maps and tour magazines when Allison and Snow were answering more in-depth questions. I got to look really kickass-smart when onlookers asked questions about the bifacial solar arrays at the Springs Preserve and I was able to answer them.

I got pretty sunburnt but had a great time. There was some downtime at the end as the crowds dwindled, and Snow was able to really get into system sizing...not before the estimate, but more on a system used to offset. Very cool. It's incredible how simple it can be when its a grid-tied system. :)

And even though my 12-year with Tannah was technically the 5th, we were both busy (see above for mine; Tannah had to go to Indian Springs for work), so we put it off til today. It was pretty fun, we started off at the Springs Preserve. Firstly, I showed Tannah the bifacial solar array, and he was acceptably impressed. Then to the Wolfgang Puck cafe there...it was nice, a good amount of food for the price and not too pretentious. Then the Ori-Gen Experience, the Desert Living Center, several trails to see natural desert plants and trees...it was so relaxing to be surrounded in that. I used to hate the natural desert and after today, I came to the conclusion that I've been fooled into the view that a beautiful landscape has to be misty, emerald-green flora. I saw so much: agave, yucca, dalea, sage, beargrass, senna, mesquite, eucalyptus, palms and of course cacti...all enchanting, just in a different way. I'm happy to start planning our xeriscape soon!

And then after being (more) sunburnt, we ran some errands, took a one-hour nap, then dinner at Milo's Cellar, a wine bar in Boulder City. I heard about it a few weeks ago from a girl at church, so it thought it might be a good idea. Since wine gets me all kinds of drunk pretty quick, I had just one glass of Chianti and a sip of Tannah's Pinot Noir; with our wine, we had a cheese platter, which included fresh mozzarella, gouda, and Stilton...I loved the Stilton, I could have just eaten the entire wedge. The cheese came with olives (gross) and grapes (yummy) so I was happy. Plus we each had a sandwich, but I think we could have gone without it...it was all delicious but that was alot of food. I hope to go back again.

Okay, enough geeking out for today: all in all, the weekend was awesome, even with all the running around.

04 April 2008

i...need...sleep . ..

Worked from 06h00 til 14h30 yesterday. Went to see hematologist at 15h30, then went straight to Springs Preserve for class at 17h00. Attended a mandatory meeting at 18h00, stayed til after 20h00 helping clean up. Got home at 21h00, fell asleep prolly around 22h00, woke up at 01h00 to be at work for a substation shutdown at 02h00. Worked til 14h30.

Several hours at the Springs Preserve again tomorrow, to volunteer for class. And I should get to sleep, but I've been trying to for hours, and although my body's exhausted, my mind is full of far too much.

I'll update later.

02 April 2008


Being overwhelmed with everything seems to be a major theme in my life lately.

We had our class photo today, which was cool in a sense...some people thought it was lame and that's okay. I don't hate the haters. We took a test and Kenny said he'd actually check homework Wednesday. I haven't done any of the Code homework at all this year. It's too time-consuming. Now I have to somehow get it all done in a week...and yes, I could be doing it now, but I'm not.

In fact the only upshot is that I got a free Corona before class. No lime, but that's okay, it was free after all. I mean I got my normal post-test Guinness but...y'know. Variety and all.

We meet at the Springs Preserve tomorrow to find out our volunteer positions for the Solar Home Tour. Since we're taking PV2 it's incorporated into our class schedule. It's great, to volunteer and be a part of it, but at the same time it's this coming Saturday, which is my 12-year with Tannah, and the Solar Home Tour is required for class so I'll be gone all day. He understands, which is awesome, and we've tentatively planned to go to a wine bar Sunday to celebrate but still, timing sucks. (Still better than last year: the morning of our 11-year I had the stroke. Haha what a killjoy!)

So work + extra classes + study group + homework + necessary sleep = no time for me to be of decent use to anyone. My family never sees me, my husband sees me like twice a week...I mean we communicate by email and MySpace, how lame is that? I have a party to go to on the 12th, and it's important, it's a wedding party, but I have class that day so I'll be late plus I'm not sure I can even stay long. The majority of my friends wonder if I'm even alive, I'm sure.

I'm sincerely hoping it gets better in June. I'm aiming for it, it's a bright spot to focus on.