30 November 2008

Not entirely sure.

I haven't felt much like writing. Plenty has been going on lately, and really with the right motivation, I could detail them here. for some reason, however, I feel silent.

I spent the past week housesitting (and pet-sitting!), which is always a delight. I only worked three days that week, due to the holiday and the fact that there was absolutely nothing to do. We have another micro-remodel starting tomorrow but...still, very little work right now. I spent Thanksgiving with my family and, later in the evening, the in-laws, and it went about as flawlessly as any family get-together can be. My brother-in-law's birthday party was held at our house last night...for the most part, it went well, too. I even managed to work out the changes for sabbat decoration. But those are just events. Not to say that it didn't mean anything; I had a good time, but it's not much to write about, I guess.

My pensive nature has gotten me in trouble again. Just as in my previous post, about hiding aspects of oneself, I sat alone and found myself thinking a little too much. This time, about change. A family tradition my mom started years ago was the Thankful Tree, something we do every Thanksgiving. It's just some bare branches, and she cuts out different coloured leaves, one for each person. On one side, you write your name and the year; on the other side, you write what you're thankful for that year, and each year, all the leaves from all the previous years are hung on this Thankful Tree. It's cool, cos we have tons of leaves now, some filled out by those now deceased, and some by the kids...for instance, one of my nephews filled out one last year that said he was thankful for Batman. It was adorable.

The Thankful Tree

But anyway, this year I wrote that I was thankful for change. I realised that over the years, change has profoundly affected me, both positively and negatively. And what I mean by that is, no matter what happened to me in my life, the change that ensued redirected my life in a way that was necessary. There's been alot of trauma and alot of joy for me, as with anyone else, and it's just that I finally get it now. I understand that it's a natural part of existence...I just wish I'd known it sooner. It's a good thing I don't mind learning something new every day. :)

23 November 2008

Really knowing someone.

Alone now, and thinking: how well can I know someone? And how well would I want to know them?

I try to be very careful with what I reveal to others. I can be pretty candid on this blog, but in many cases, names, locations, even dates are changed. I don't want to be easily tracked. Things I don't want to be connected to at all simply aren't listed here, or anywhere else in writing. I've been known to lie on occasion to cover an undesirable truth.

I know I'm not the only one. Mark Twain said, "Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody", and I fully believe that. We all have secret lives, secret pasts, secrets loves and desires, secret hatreds, secret vices, secret talents. No one knows me fully, not one. I prefer it that way. And some have told me that to keep myself so compartmentalised robs me of my vitality but I find I encounter far less drama that way. I don't really believe in unconditional love under most circumstances; humans are simply not perfect and judge on bias, fear or envy.

It took a long time for me to understand how to gauge what parts of me were safe to show to others, and even longer for me to know which parts were safe for which types of people. And I know it makes sense to most everyone: we all have our home selves, our work and school selves, things of that nature. And of course we might censor ourselves around kids, or our parents or supervisors. We learn those things, mostly, as we grow up and realise the consequences for letting out the wrong part at the wrong time.

Nonetheless, sometimes I get to thinking about my own dark side, and what secrets I hold. I don't feel alone in sharing it with no one, because I know everyone is hiding aspects of themselves from me as well. But when I do think on what I hide--consciously and subconsciously--I can't help but to think about others, as well. I don't usually ask probing questions because I feel if I respect the privacy of others, they'll respect mine...however, I'm still curious. It's natural to be.

And then I think that perhaps it's best I don't know. Secrets are private for a reason. I only have to think about something deep inside me that might accidentally tumble out, and I can envision the responses, the aftermath...not good. So I can understand, of course. Everyone's in that exact same position. It's strange to me in a way, that we all have these aspects about us that are so guarded, and part of me thinks that if we all came out with it and lived honestly we'd be in a better place. But then rationality kicks in and honestly, we're all judgmental at some level, no one is 100% tolerant (or even close to it) so it'd never work.

We're all resigned to our hidden selves. I guess it doesn't matter really, because I'm not the only one hiding things. But the entire situation gets me in a pensive mood at times.

20 November 2008

I stole this from Flynn.

The last two days at work have been comically fucked up, and due to where I work and blah blah blah I'm not sure how great an idea it would be to blog about it; also, I hesitate talking about Olivia's viewing or memorial service so instead I decided to steal from Deviant Empire:


"I’m doing some early morning almost graveyard work in a pedestrian walkway on the nefarious Las Vegas Strip, and I’ve noticed two things between Monday and Today: people walking the strip between the hours of 2am and 6am are usually staggeringly drunk tourists and any sort of barricade, traffic cone, directional sign, or even someone standing in your way giving directions will be ignored, pushed aside, and generally walked over so that whatever death by cartoonish disfigurement that lies just beyond the imaginary line can be blissfully pursued. The absolute best (or worst) example of this was the lady that pushed her baby in a stroller over an orange traffic cone. Extra bonus information: there are more solo prostitutes walking north on the east side of the strip on between the hours of 2 to 4am Wednesday than there are on Monday."

Genius. I love the shit that comes out of his mind.

18 November 2008

Winding journey: Part Two.

After struggling and being in a near-constant state of denial, I let my guard down a few years ago. The death of my son, Gabriel, shifted my entire world and I re-evaluated everything. Months after his death I investigated both Christianity and Paganism with renewed vigor; my time was spent reading countless books, websites online, and pamphlets. The Las Vegas Universalist Unitarian church was my gateway; I tried to accept UU ideals within Christianity and after a few months of that I gave up trying to lie to myself and came back to Paganism.

Fast-forward almost 2 years later and I'm involved with an incredible spiritual philosophy class, a church, and a philanthropic group, all grounded heavily in Paganism. I love it. I feel at home, and warm, and everything is right. I'm not really "out" about it in my public life; yes, here I just wrote but I haven't mentioned details and I'm somewhat anonymous in the Blogosphere. A few know at work, and a few friends. My husband pretty much figured it out over the summer and my mom found out by accident about a month ago. I wonder how their knowledge will affect family-heavy holidays coming up...I don't want drama and I'm happy to avoid the subject if they are kind enough to not bring it up.

The thing I don't understand is why there's so much animosity between peoples of different religions. The reactions of my mother and Tannah were somewhat expected: they were sad because according to their faith, I'm basically going to Hell. I can understand that reaction, actually. What I can't understand is anger, hatred, disappointment...why? I respect other faiths. I am absolutely intolerant of faith-bashing, and I strive to find beauty in any faith. Except...I make an exception for abusive, cultish groups. Mixing abuse and a false sense of Divinity is unfathomable. It disgusts me.

But anyway...it would be nice if I really could be open about my beliefs. Truly open. Yes, I think my family would still love me. Would there be some hidden fear or anger, however? As for in-laws, would I still be accepted? As for friends, crew mates, other random people: would I be treated differently? When, on the rare occasion, I wear my pentagram choker, I sometimes sense stolen glances and outright stares. I wonder sometimes if I should ask, but I'm not sure I want to know. It just floors me that some people, based on belief, can feel justified in intolerance, hostility, and outrage simply because another person believes differently. But that leads into another post on the savage inequality in America so...maybe later.

17 November 2008

Much sadness.

I found out this morning that one of my crewmates, Tim (from when I was working for Papa G), lost his youngest daughter this weekend. I might post something more in a few hours but right now I'm somewhere between numb and weepy and that's a horrible combination for writing a blog post.

Her name was Olivia. She had just turned 15 years old. When Tim talked about his daughters at work, there was usually a smile on his face: either he bragged about their accomplishments or teased a little, like when he told me once that I text-messaged almost as much as they did. When I heard that one of his daughters had died, I immediately looked for a reliable answer. Rumours are extraordinarily common on construction sites, but unfortunately this wasn't one of them. The news story was splashed across the front page of the "Nevada" section in our local paper.

Apparently she'd been a passenger in a truck that participated in a street race; the driver lost control, swerved, overcorrected, and flipped the truck, ejecting Olivia. She died at the scene.

Although I lost my son 3 years ago, it was different. I'd had a few days to prepare for his death before it happened...as much as one can prepare for a child's death. His death also wasn't so violent. And oddly, although I know in a sense what it's like, I can't say I know how Tim's feeling. I'm just really hurting for him and his family right now; I've worked with his brothers and they are all really excellent people. The entire thing is senseless and depressive and it's hard to accept.

16 November 2008

Winding journey: Part One.

I won't get into the early history because if I did, it wouldn't be in English; I rarely write about my pre-adoption upbringing in English. And honestly, I might get into the early influences at a later date but I don't have the time to dwell on it right now. It's rather complicated.

Anyway, for the majority of my life I've been introduced to various religions, some for a longer period of time than others. All my experiences helped form me and form my ideas on Divinity, and I assure you, not all experiences were good. Nor were they all typical of what that particular faith had to offer. Some of these faiths showed themselves to me in their best light and some were revealed in a darkness that I now know to be caused by misunderstanding and confusion.

Two major paths I've walked off and on throughout the years are Christianity and Paganism, and with both I studied ideologies behind several denominations, for lack of a better word. In each path, there were good lessons and bad lessons, and with each path I gained knowledge and understanding, regardless. Until I was well into my 20s, my immediate family was passively Christian: we didn't attend church, and Christmas was strictly commercial in nature. We didn't pray before meals, or before bed, and I'm not even certain any of us owned a Bible. We lived, in a basic sense, by the Golden Rule, and that was the extent of it. After the intense religious experiences I had as a child, I searched tirelessly for a peaceful and healing faith to latch myself firmly onto. I found Christianity first, when I was 15 or so: I got obsessed, my family became a little concerned--which was a good thing--and the fire died down after perhaps a year and a half. I discovered Paganism, and told no one; but because of serious unresolved issues in childhood, I abandoned it abruptly after about a year. I cycled back and forth, and then felt only a tenacious connection to Divinity for years. I channeled it into Christianity, because my husband is Baptist and around that time my parents became practising Lutherans. I tried to feel the connection they felt, and prayed to understand. I was told I lacked faith, and that only by believing fully without exception and without questioning would I understand. I distanced myself from anything potentially "demonic", such as the Harry Potter series and Discovery Channel programs on Stonehenge.

I think it's because that almost immediately after abandoning Paganism, I still felt the draw. I still knew on some level that it had chosen me, as odd as it may sound to some. I fought it nonetheless, drawing on fearful childhood experiences and the idea that the draw I felt was not natural, but rather the work of the Devil. I prayed--though I didn't meditate, of course, as that was demonic--and fasted and read Christian literature. I went from pastor to minister to elder to priest for advice; I even went so far as to consider exorcism.

The point is coming, promise...Part Two is coming soon. Really soon.

15 November 2008

Blood back on track y una boda muy divertida.

In adjusting my Coumadin intake, I feel tons better. Headache is gone, and even though I'm still pretty exhausted, I still managed to get the supplies for my fool-proof nutrition yummies and attend the wedding reception of one of Tannah's colleagues. They're Mexican, and very few of those in attendance spoke any English but it was fun nonetheless. As soon as we arrived we were offered drinks. They offered Bailey's to me--and no one else, so I was like "What, is that the güera drink or what?"--but really, I love Bailey's so I took it. There were Baja-style tacos for one (roach-coach style if you're in construction) and I'll be honest: I had the carne asada and carnitas tacos and they were excellent...then after that and some frijoles charros I tried my first cabeza taco. It wasn't something I think I'll try again; it tastes fine, but the texture was questionable. I have no doubt it was prepared properly because everything was spot on, just I think I'm not into cabeza, that's all.

In between me dancing like a fool to Banda Zeta and Banda Maguey (I loved them in high school!), the groom offered me a shot of a traditional tequila. He offered to make it girly for me and I declined, said I wanted it straight. He handed me a shot glass that, honestly, was twice as tall as I'm used to, but I didn't wuss out: I sucked a lime slice to ease the burn to come and chugged it. It was amazing: I didn't need the lime. It was incredibly smooth, no burn, and the warmth didn't hit me til several minutes later. However, it should be noted that when the warmth did hit me, it knocked me silly and all I wanted to do was find a coffee cake and devour it.

So in my drunken stupor I did manage to find a coffee cake on the way home, plus Terra Chips, plus all my fool-proof nutrition yummies. Part of my blood issues the past week have been due to improper diet, so I talked to a nutritionist. I said flat out I don't like eating during the workday because I get drowsy. I mean, I might have a Fruit Leather at break and a Tiger Milk protein bar at lunch but anything more and I'm worthless. So the nutritionist suggested a specific trail mix of sorts: plain granola, pumpkin seeds with shell, raw assorted nuts, small dark chocolate pieces, raisins and bite-size pieces of jerky (any sort). It was specific as to this type, because pre-made trail mixes often had too much sugar or vitamin K, for example. It's high protein so I don't become lethargic, I can eat a small handful every hour to stay satisfied, and its healthy too. I'm gonna try it out on Monday and see if it works. :)

14 November 2008


Just for a moment, roll this around in your brain: Homosexuals can't be married, therefore are denied what I see as basic rights compared to heterosexuals. That's as far as I understand it in the majority of the United States. Therefore, should gays pay the same taxes?

No really...think on it a bit. And don't just think on how they're being denied marriage, but also the ability to adopt children, for instance.

Melissa Etheridge has written an amazing piece that hit me, even though I'm not gay and admittedly I don't even understand how it must feel to be treated thusly, as a second-class citizen. The article is poignant and shows both a feeling of betrayal with frustration, but doesn't come out all pissy and "poor-me-I'm-the-victim" because I really hate that shit sometimes. Everyone should read this. I really have nothing further to add here; it's obvious as far as I'm concerned.

13 November 2008

Blood-sickliness. :(

My weekly blood test, INR, was at only 1.1 and that explains alot. For the past few days I'm had such immense headaches that handfuls of 8-hour Tylenol wouldn't touch it. I've been unable to focus. And fatigue has been overwhelmingly fatigued. My INR is supposed to be 2.5 and 3.5; mine is exceptionally low. My hematologist was worried; asked that I counter it by taking a massive amount of Coumadin. Normally that works pretty well.

But now my eye is crazy-bloodshot...in fact, it looks like it exploded inside a little. My joints are sore, which one would think might be normal for a construction worker but this is different. Plus chest pain. I know I'm supposed to call the doctor with any "unusual symptoms" but I'm going to see how I feel in the morning.

Ah well. It's been a long time since my blood's been off-kilter. I'll deal with it.

10 November 2008

Kickass PV photos...finally!

The Venetian on the left and Palazzo on the right, reflected in the solar modules.

First photovoltaic array on the Las Vegas Strip, taken at sunrise. :D

About as sexy as I can get!
I learned pretty quickly exactly how to balance on the rails. Falling through would have been bad...both for my health, and for my employment.

09 November 2008

Ridiculous NABCEP issues.

Okay. I took my state photovoltaics license exam and passed it in August. Now, I'm wanting to take my national, the NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) exam, to basically make myself more valuable and so that I could potentially install systems in areas close to Nevada, like St. George Utah or Kingman Arizona, for instance. I took it in Vegas in 2006 and failed by 1 question, which broke my heart, but I know far more now than I did then, so I feel ready. The only problem is, the local facility at which I took my NABCEP approved course and the exam hasn't offered an exam since, and isn't planning to anytime soon. So I looked at other options.

There are over a dozen facilities in surrounding states that I've emailed to try and find a solution. I only wrote to the ones in Arizona, California, and Utah, because I can book a cheap flight to get down there, take the exam, and get back all in one weekend. I won't miss work that way, and I can get the exam taken care of relatively soon.

This is the issue. Most of these places offer the exam at colleges and universities and so the exam itself is scheduled at the end of each semester: December and May. May is too far off, because I want to go to Solar 2009 in Buffalo to get my continuing education credits for my state license and (hopefully) the NABCEP certification, as well. Just take care of both at the same time. I looked for a facility near Buffalo to potentially take an exam, but the closest facility is over 100 miles away, in Syracuse. That won't work.

Of the ones that bothered answering me near Nevada, several offer the exams mid-week, which won't work for me because I really don't want to miss work. Some refuse to let me just sit in on the exam, I have to pay hundreds of dollars for the class, as well; even though I already had my prerequisite classes required by NABCEP to take the exam. I found only two facilities that were willing to work with me, both in California. One has a set date for the exam in mid-December, and I was going to book my flight and hotel this weekend, until I found out I was likely going to be on the River Mountain job in December and can't risk being gone on a Saturday. (That totally sucked, by the way.) The second facility is charging $15 more to take the exam--I don't know why--but they say they have a proctor available at just about any time I want to take it. I wrote back and asked if that included Saturdays, and have yet to receive a response. Think I'll call them this-coming week. I'm hoping. I've been screwing around with this for nearly 2 months now.

And to the administrator who keeps emailing me, and bad-mouthing my contractor in an off-hand way for not paying for the exam and travel expenses: fuck you, I wouldn't let them pay $1,200 for your class anyway. And no, your class doesn't look that great, yours isn't the only one that's squished into a single week, and it isn't the most comprehensive, so get over yourself.

08 November 2008

Tortoise Class was....informative.

I'm up late...again.

This morning--or, rather, yesterday morning since it's been Saturday for almost 2 hours now--Snow and I went to River Mountain to get badged for the photovoltaic project we're doing out there. The directions for this place is basically "keep driving until you hit the mountain, then turn". It's out there. The thing is, the facility itself is outside Henderson city limits, and technically on federal land. I remember the issues I encountered trying to get badged for airport work in 2005, so I knew it would be a hassle, but Tortoise Class was a first for me.

Desert tortoises are federally protected, and the class went over all the rules for encountering them and working around them, plus all the state protected plant and animal life in and around the facility. Most of the class focused on the tortoises. We were told that if we encounter a desert tortoise in Henderson city limits on the way in, we could legally pick the tortoise up out of the road and put it into a box so it would be safe, then call a handler (someone supertrained to deal with them) to come and get it. If we encounter a desert tortoise on federal land, however (which includes the facility), then we can't touch it or move it or even move too quickly in case it freaks out. If it gets scared, it might pee itself and dehydrate and die. That's a felony. :(

So there are rules: if your vehicle or movable equipment is inactive for 10 minutes or more, you have to check under it to make sure a tortoise hasn't crawled underneath it for shade. If one has, you have to call one of the biologists handlers to get it out. You can only use paved roads, which are raised above the natural ground so that totoises won't wander onto them...but if one has, then you have to call the handler. Etc etc etc. Very in-depth, very serious. Basically, the only time I can even touch a desert tortoise is if it's in imminent danger: for instance, they can't swim, so if I saw one fall into a deep puddle, I could rescue it and immediately call a handler. And hope it didn't breathe in water or piss itself or puke in it's shell or...

Then we learned about all the state protected life. This includes bighorn sheep, rattlesnakes, foxes, gila monsters, ringtail cats, coyotes, falcons, chuckwallas, burrowing owls, badgers, and ground squirrels. Cacti, joshua trees and yucca are also state protected. Now, with the animal life, it's pretty simple: don't provoke them, don't feed them. If they aren't fed, they won't normally come around. We learned what tortoise burrows and owl burrows look like, and how to avoid them; also that once a burrow is abandoned, animals of all types like to move in, so if you lose a tool down there don't reach in to grab it. We also learned that when there's a trench or hole dug into the earth, they need to be covered overnight because a rodent might fall in, and then a snake will smell it and fall in, and on and on so that in the morning it'll be full of wriggling creatures. Not good. Trashcans for food waste must have raven-proof lids. And any kind of equipment, even earth-movers, can't have a piece of dirt on them larger than a pencil eraser, because it might hold tiny seeds of foreign weeds or invasive plants that can harm or kill the natural plantlife. Even the undercarriage must be checked. And, if any kind of the protected plantlife is in the way of construction, it must be carefully wrapped up, dug up to not harm or disturb roots, set aside, kept safe, and replanted at the end of construction.

It's crazy, but I like it. It takes extra time, but I feel it's better to let nature remain as pure and undisturbed as possible. Some guys were complaining, but I'm happy the rules are as they were explained. I think it'll be a good job. Besides, along with my badge, I got my Official Desert Tortoise Protector sticker that went straight onto the bucket I keep my handtools in, right next to the one that says "Get me a beer, bitch". Yeah.

07 November 2008

Trouble with lighting.

Okay...so in one of the many high-end retail spaces in the resort/casino my employer is contracted with, there were some lighting issues. The electrical contractor who was originally involved with this retail space either wasn't returning calls or was just not a desirable choice for this problem...so anyway, I don't know how it came about but Snow grabbed me first thing in the morning to help him troubleshoot it. (We're talking about yesterday morning...I just got around to writing it today. I'll get to the fun of Tortoise Class tomorrow.)

The problem was this: in the Personal Shopping department of this retail space, there were wall sconces and alcove lighting that were, for reasons unknown, coming on and off seemingly at will. The lights were supposed be be controlled by computer but it wasn't working, and there were no signs of a switch or other outside means of control. The lights worked, originally, but recently began turning off in the middle of the day, and no one knew why. It didn't alter the shopping experience, as all the main lights were still operational, but nonetheless, if you pay for lights, you expect them to work.

Snow directed most of the troubleshooting; I don't have alot of experience with it and so it was ideal for me to be in on it. When we arrived, the troubled lights were on, and he told the department flat out that with the lights working, it's more difficult to troubleshoot but we went on with it anyway. Firstly, we checked voltage and amperage. As an LED low-voltage system, the voltage was a little higher than we liked, so we found the transformers in the accessways and adjusted the voltage. In reading it again, it seemed more appropriate. The burnt out lamps were removed, and the prongs on one broke so I had to work on getting that out...I used the leads to my voltage tester as a pair of chopsticks and that worked pretty well. :)

Two hours later, Snow found me and said the lights had just turned off. He wasn't exactly expecting that, but it wasn't a surprise. If everything seems as it should be, then troubleshooting doesn't always find the problem. So we returned, and again we checked voltage and amperage. Absolutely nothing. The j-boxes providing power to the transformers were also dead. We got a copy of the panel schedule with all the circuits for the Personal Shopping area and tried figuring it out from there. We checked the circuit breaker as was listed on the panel schedule, and the relays as well. Nothing seemed to affect it. It didn't make any sense at first, until we opened one of the j-boxes that feeds the transformer to check wiring, and found a panel designation and circuit breaker number...one that didn't match the panel schedule given to us, based on the as-builts.

After some searching, we found a small panel in a corner of a room--not an electrical room--partially obscured by clothing racks where the clothing alterations were done. It matched the panel designation of what we found written in the j-box, and the circuit breaker we were looking for was connected to a timeclock. Let me reiterate this, that the alcove lighting and wall sconces were supposed to be computer controlled, and not at all connected to any sort of time clock. There was a moment of excitement: the timeclock was several hours off schedule, indicating a recent power outage, and Snow set the timeclock to the proper time as I ran back into the problem area to check. The lights were on, indicating that the timeclock was what those lights were connected to. I reported the good news, and Snow went to find the director of operations for the retail space, so he could report that we found the issue and how the lights were to be controlled.

The director was not happy. Not remotely. In order to change it to computer control, it would take a lot of work, and so until work order is received we can't do anything. But in the meantime, Snow explained how to work the timeclock, and pressed the importance of resetting it after any power outage. We left looking absolutely golden, and it was awesome, and I was so happy to have seen the steps taken for troubleshooting it. I love when things work out.

06 November 2008

Concierge Night at the EHM.

After I got home from work, showered, and typed up the basic unedited version of the "Big Blue" blog entry, I got dressed in a cute little black cocktail dress for Concierge Night. I volunteer, on occasion, at the Erotic Heritage Museum and tonight they invited concierges from all over (casinos, resorts, and such) to browse and learn so that they may be informed for tourists. There was a beautiful spread for nibbling, all homemade by Jenn, Kimber and Vicki: mini pizzas, deviled eggs, mozzarella-and-rice balls, tiny meatballs, crab puffs and veggie puffs, cheese balls with crackers...and dessert. Dessert was the best, visually: a variety of cupcakes rum balls (uncooked, so very much alcoholic), anise cookies shaped like penises and Italian wedding cookies with tiny nipples, to resemble breasts. Genius!

The concierges meandered through the artifacts, paintings, video screens and photography before finding the games area. They were like carnival games, but slightly modified to reflect the EHM. There was Pin the Penis on the Tranny--not a real tranny, but a cardboard cutout, and we all know what traditional game that came from; then the beanbag toss, but the beanbags were little penises and they had to be tossed in a hole cut out of the crotch of a cardboard representation of a pornstar; the the Dildo Ring Toss, in which one had to throw glow bracelets and try to catch them around various types of dildos, from short squaty ones to huge, veiny mechanical ones. Oddly, very few of the men wanted to play the games. :)

It was awesome, and I know the museum isn't for everyone but I had fun, and I'm going to try to get Tannah to come down there with me, so he can check it out rather than just hear stories from me. I'm still working on it. :) Now I just have to get ready for Lost Souls Night...

05 November 2008

Fun with Big Blue.

So I got into work and we learned that the 16th level of the parking garage where our photovoltaic project took place was reopened. That's great news; it means that the turnover went smoothly and we're good to clear everything out. All our material and the micro-scissorlifts were already taken down and signed off, but we kept Big Blue up there in case we had any last minute changes or problems.

Big Blue is a massive outdoor scissorlift. I'm not sure how high it's capable of going but I think its well over 80 feet, because I'm not a friend of heights and we had to go that high to check out the lamp of one of the light poles. Not cool. But anyway, aside from that, Big Blue has these giant off-roading tires, the platform is immense...I'd say four grown adults could easily lay down on the platform and even roll around a little. And somehow, Big Blue had to make it from the 16th floor of this parking garage down to the first, then down the street to be parked in a safe area for it to be picked up.

It's not a one man job. Three of us in neon safety vests went up there to take care of it: Jeremy controlled the lift from the ground and Sherri and I walked with it, watching for obstructions and traffic. It was a good system. We had to fold Big Blue's rails down because as huge as it was, it couldn't fit under the beams otherwise, and then it did only barely. The thing is, this lift runs on fuel rather than a battery, so it was loud, and we managed to use hand signals, lip-reading, and occasional screaming to communicate; also, it moves very slowly. It's not so much that we walked it down rather than strolled.

We we started moving Big Blue down from 16, it was fine. No traffic. In fact, no real traffic until the 14th or 12th floor. (No 13th, of course.) But as we moved down, not only did traffic become heavier but we were caught about halfway down in shift change, where everyone was apparently late and frantic. The lift was as far over as possible without hitting vehicles and we waved other vehicles past when we could, but we needed the entire space available for turns, and no one wanted to yield to hand signals. They wanted to speed past at 50 mph and thn slam on the brakes when they realised they couldn't fit around us. Yelling, rolling eyes, throwing up hands, honking...in case anyone was wondering, not one of those things work to make a scissorlift go any faster.

So we managed to get all the way down with no incident: we didn't bump any cars, didn't smash into any walls, didn't run over anyone. I nearly got squished twice by cab drivers using cell phones as I stepped into the street to look for traffic as we walked the lift down (against traffic, in the turn lane) to it's designated parking space, for pick up, but it was a great way to spend the first 2 hours of the day. Yes, 2 hours. Did I mention that Big Blue moved slowly?

Final note: I don't care how late you are, trying to run over construction workers won't get you to work any faster. Skip the Starbucks drive-thru and get to work on time to begin with.

04 November 2008

Cause for celebration!

For my 400th post, I am so elated to write that Barack Hussein Obama is our nation's first African American president, and one who I believe can help raise America up from the mud that the last eight years have wrought us. If I didn't have to work tomorrow, I'd be partying. :D What an incredible, historic moment! I might even cry a little.

What I'll say on McCain's behalf is that as he's conceeding, even as I type this, his speech is beautiful and humble; I've gained respect for him.