Derek's Blog

 Inside the mind of a self-diagnosed passive-aggressive manic-depressive obsessive-compulsive agoraphobic Stage Lighting Academician in Las Vegas, Nevada.  


E-mail Derek


Sunday, 07/19/15:

Lived here since 1991 and this is the first scorpion I've seen in the wild.  About 2"-2.5" long.  Might be a baby; might be a full-grown adult; depends on the breed.  Found inside the building.  Humanely caught (under a glass) and then released outdoors.  Had it been up to me, I would have stomped the $%&* thing until it was good and dead.

Friday, 05/29/15:

Holy crap!  Has it really been over a year since I've updated this?  Well, not much has happened.  The bees are gone, removed by a local and humane beekeeper; and we got a new cat.

He loves his iPads.  Needs to learn about sharing.

I'm currently in Ohio and relearning all the ways there are to put gravy on anything edible that doesn't move.  Only in Ohio is gravy considered a course, instead of just a side-dish.

Tuesday, 05/06/14:

A "swarm cluster" of honey bees have decided to take up temporary (we hope!) residence on the pergola just outside our back door.

It's not a very good picture, but we're too chicken to get close enough to take a better one.  The cluster is a little larger than half a basketball; estimated five to ten thousand bees.  Sadly, we don't have a red VW bug and the Astrodome nearby.  We're hoping they leave on their own once they find a more suitable permanent domicile.

Better camera with longer lens.

Sunday, 03/23/14:

R. I. P. 


Thursday, 03/20/14:

Here's something you never want to see:

Luckily, I had a fairly-recent back-up, and when the Apple Store decided the problem was more than the hard drive, they sent it to Apple and back in just three days.

Sunday, 11/24/13:

Hmm, untrue signage in a Las Vegas casino?  Say it ain't so!

R.I.P., Buccaneer Bay Sea Battle / The Sirens of TI, 1993-2013.

Thursday, 10/17/13:

Offered without comment:

Friday, 07/26/13:

Dog days of summer.  Nothing new to report.  British baby birth made me think of when I was in college and Prince William was born to Lady Di, the girls in the dorm had a baby shower and donated all the gifts to charity.  Diana was invited but couldn't make it.  A fun time was had by all.

On another note, someone needs to explain this cartoon to me.  Do stagehands exist in sci-fi?

Thursday, 06/13/13:

New haircut; whaddya think?

Wednesday, 04/24/13:

My mother's car, 1956 Continental Mark II, #C56A1663.  Only 3000 built between 1956-7.  It hasn't moved from the carport since about 1967.

Currently entertaining serious offers over $3000.  Bring a flatbed!  EDIT: Sold!

Saturday, 03/30/13:

1928-2013.  R.I.P. Mother

Thursday, 03/14/13:

Apple pi.

Wednesday, 02/06/13:

Because...Wednesday, that's why.

Saturday, 12/22/12:

So disappointed the world didn't end yesterday.  Now what do we have to look forward to?

In honor of the season, a look back to the days of yester-yore:

Tuesday, 11/20/12:

Posted without comment.

Sunday, 11/04/12:

Now I've seen everything!

Don't forget to VOTE on Tuesday.

Thursday, 10/11/12:

Sorry it's been almost two months, but you really haven't missed anything.  Saw this picture on the 'net and thought it was cool.  It was a pretty good rainstorm yesterday and today.  Right now it's 83° and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky.  Forecast is calling for more showers tomorrow.  No wonder we have so many rainbow sightings here.

Wednesday, 08/15/12:

Tried a new restaurant last night, Hash House a go go.  (I couldn't find any of the three dishes below in the online menu.)  I have quite the mixed emotions.  The quality of the food was excellent, but the quantity?  Just ridiculous.  Never have I been so embarrassed to leave so much food on a plate.  I'll be eating at least three meals on the doggy bag.

As an appetizer, could not resist trying the Green Fried Tomatoes.  Bore little resemblance to the way my family makes them (thinly sliced, rolled in flour and corn meal, then shallow-fried in Crisco).

A "tower" of breaded and fried green tomatoes, sliced about a 1/2" thick, interspersed with white goat cheese and chicken breast, with balsamic vinegar sauce.  (I can hear my Kentucky grandmother rolling over in her grave.)  And a stalk of rosemary, which seemed to garnish EVERY dish.  I couldn't figure out the brown sticks; as close as I can guess, very thin wheat vermicelli.  Didn't taste like much, more for dramatic effect, I suppose.

For a main course, I love a good pork tenderloin sandwich.  Certainly was not expecting this monstrosity.

Yes, that's a standard 4" bun, making the "patty" about 10"x10".  Only 1/4" - 3/8" thick, and fairly dry.  Needed lots of ketchup.  I could only eat about a fourth of it.  On the right is the "side dish"--a meal in itself: chunky mashed potatoes, covered with two big, thick strips of bacon, under a cheddar cheese topping.  What you're looking at is the layer of burnt/toasted cheese on top (always the best part of pizza or lasagna).

Anyhow, let this be a warning to anyone who goes there: be careful with the ordering.  Entirely too much food! 

Friday, 07/13/12:

Not a very lucky day for poor Drew of BB5: Ex-Big Brother Champ TASED After Dom. Violence Arrest

What a difference 8 years and $500,000 makes.  So glad I'm not rich! (Or live in Urbana, Ohio.)

Thursday, 06/28/12:

In keeping with the "death" theme...

Tuesday, 06/05/12:

Oh, noes...

Friday, 05/04/12:

May the fourth be with you!

(Happy Star Wars Day.)

Saturday, 04/21/12:

Personally, I like "April 21--National Surprise Drug Test Day" better, but couldn't find a good picture.

Wednesday, 02/29/12:

Happy Leap Day, y'all.  Likely in poor taste, due to the all the tornadoes yesterday and today, but enjoy anyway.

Tuesday, 01/31/12:

Does this clown taste funny to you?

Sunday, 12/25/11:

Happy Christmas to all,

And to all, a good night.

PBR rocks, y'all!

‘Twas the Night before Christmas, and all through the shack
Not a creature was stirrin’, cept the lice on muh back.
The skoal cans wuz nailed to the screen door with care,
With hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were sleepin’, all snug in their beds,
While visions of tractor pulls danced in their heads.
And Ma in her nightgown all stained with pound cake.
Had just settled down to watch Ricki Lake.
When out in the driveway, a loud noise I heard,
I opened the winder to check muh T-bird.
I ran to the door, like I’s on a mission,
But I tripped on some parts from muh granny’s transmission.
The moon shone outside, the hound dog wuz barkin’.
Muh daughter weren’t home yet, she wuz still out parkin’.
When what to muh whiskey blind eyes should I see
But a Chevy S-10, pulled by eight flyin’ sheep.
With a fat nasty driver, so disgustin’ and sick
I said “Shoot Fire!” That must be St. Nick!
More rapid than X-lax his wooly sheep came
And he belched and he hollered, and he called ‘em by name.
From the top of the shack to them there garbage bins
Now Dash Away! Dash Away! Dash Away youins!
I heard a loud sound on the roof of muh shack.
Pud down muh beer and went fer muh gun rack.
He fell through the roof, plum killed my dog,
I swear that ole’ Santa looked just like Boss Hog.
He wore a T-shirt, rebel flag on the front,
And his jeans were all bloody from that morning’s hunt.
A big nekkid lady tattooed on his arm,
And he wore black boots that he’d picked up in ‘Nam.
His eyes, how they glazed from too much Wild Turkey.
From the side of his mouth hung a stick of beef jerky.
A scar on his cheek from a fight with the cops.
The veins on his face looked ready to pop.
The butt of a Marlboro clung to his lip
He wore a hip pack full of B-B-Q chips.
He had a fat face and a hairy beer belly.
I ain’t seen one that big since muh ex-wife Shelly.
He was gap-toothed and dumb with an I.Q. of three
And I laughed cause that redneck was smarter than me.
A wink of his eye, a fierce shake of his head,
From his hair came a rat that ran under the bed.
He reached in his sack, sipped his gin and tonic,
Then filled the kid’s stockings with Hooked on Phonics.
His toys came from Big Lots and they weren’t very nice
But he had lots of them and yuh can’t beat the price.
He gave us a tape of them hound dogs that sing Jingle Bells.
Some Crisco, some Spam, some Oatmeal Cream pies,
And a Nascar T-shirt in Double X size.
When the presents were gone and he had no more,
He staggered and stumbled right through muh screen door.
He hopped in his truck, to his sheep gave an order
“Hurry up youins! To the Tennessee border!”
And I heard him cry out, with a strong southern drawl,


Wednesday, 12/21/11:

Happy longest night of the year.  Three more months of winter to look forward to.

Friday, 11/11/11:

There are 10 kinds of people in the Happy 63! to everyone!  (If you don't get it, well, you're just not geeky enuf!)

Isn't it amazing how modern medicine can get a camera, lights, gaffers, plus an excavation crew and equipment, through the smallest of tiny puncture wounds?

I'm doing okay, but this one so far seems more painful than either of my previous knee surgeries, and it was supposed to be the least work needed.

Saturday, 10/01/11:

Not sure if this is about death panels, Obamacare, or feeding the homeless, but I like it, nonetheless.

Sunday, 09/18/11:

Since it's the day of our Lord:

Those crazy Canadians!

Tuesday, 09/13/11:

We just stood outside last night and watched the sky for about an hour around 3 AM.  I wish I had taken this picture.  Absolutely amazing.  Why haven't scientists figured out how to harness that energy?

Monday, 08/29/11:

The unintentionally funny ones are always the best.

Notice there's no colon, although I'm not sure if that would make it better or worse.

Tuesday, 07/26/11:

Malware warning?  Just because I had a link to the Roadie Rags site?  That's it; he's dead to me now!

Saturday, 06/18/11:

Hmmm.  Why does it say "Page not found" when I first log in, but once I go to "Manage site," the page is there and able to be edited? I think it's broken.

Sunday, 06/05/11:

Just a note to let everyone know I'm still here.  It took some doing to fight with Google to let me access my own site.  I have so many email addresses, usernames, passwords, etc.  Now that I'm here, I have nothing to say!

Oh, here's something, what do you think of this?

Six VL3000 Spots and 20' of 20.5" truss.  Now the tricky part--the truss hangs at a 45° angle; how much weight is on Point A, and how much on Point B?  Email me the answers, please?

Wednesday, 05/04/11:

"Google Apps account infrastructure transition complete" whatever that means.  And I was so worried.  Will this madness never end?

Monday, 04/25/11:

Happy Day-After-Easter everybody.  I know I'm late, but this one was too good to pass up.  Maybe mark your calendars to remember it for next year.

Monday, 04/18/11:

This cartoon never fails to amuse!

Thursday, 04/07/11:

The best thing to happen to conventional stage lighting fixtures since 1992:

New ETC Fixtures (Including ETC FRESNEL) - Control Booth

Wednesday, 03/23/11:

Being just a little too old for Sesame Street, it took me a little while to understand this.  But eventually I got it.

Monday, 02/07/11:

Verizon iPhone, baby!

Well, I just received the life-changing device, but so far have yet to notice any difference.  Do I have to take it out of the box or something?

Watch for me on douchebagswithiphones.

Saturday, 01/08/11:

Happy 2011 everyone!  The things one finds on the Internets...

Sunday, 12/12/10:

I couldn't have done it without my friends Carrie and Reba.

Monday, 11/15/10:

I know a few people in Ohio who would go nuts over this vehicle!

Sunday, 10/10/10:

Hey, ten-ten-ten, how often does that happen?  Maybe a dozen times a century? 

Anyway, I just adore; this one made me laugh:

Friday, 10/01/10:

Alternate, early ending to popular 1939 movie:

Friday, 09/24/10:

Happy National Punctuation Day everybody!!!  Be kind to a comma today, okay?

Sunday, 08/22/10:

Darn.  I missed the three-year anniversary of my blog.  But where are the clowns?  There ought to be clowns.  Well maybe, next year.

Sunday, 07/04/10:

What major holiday wouldn't be complete without a handy Excel workbook that calculates the effects of over- and under-voltage on incandescent lamps?  This is something I've wanted to write up for a while now.  LampFormulas.xls.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 06/15/10:

How very, very sad.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Monroe, Ohio, during this time of tragedy for them.  That stretch of I-75 may never again be the same.

"If you think it's butter, but it's not, it's..." (See entry dated 06/22/08 below.)

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!"

Sunday, 06/06/10:

I read recently somewhere that blogs are "so 2006," so I guess I needn't feel guilty for not updating this one more frequently. 

For the first time in recent memory we didn't get to 100° in May, and in fact only had four days above 90°.  But it hit us with a vengeance.  Friday's high was 103, today's was 109°, but we are expecting some relief by Thursday when it's only expected to reach 94°.  Thank goodness for pools and A/C!

Time to play "What Is It?" and win fabulous prizes!

What are these things, and more importantly, why have I kept them for thirty years?  (Those who attended Miami University in the 1970s/80s should recognize them.)

Wednesday, 05/12/10:

Nothing much new to report.  Still working on getting my list of books in order.  I've also noticed that the forced migration has caused many links of my pictures to break.  Slowly trying to repair all of that.

Sunday, 04/04/10:

How I spent my Easter: Creating this page of List of Technical Theatre Books, first by entering each book into an Excel workbook, then copying here into Google sites.  I hope someone finds it useful.

Thursday, 03/25/10:

Well, it's happened.  Against my will and without my permission, my site has been migrated from Google Pages to Google Sites.  So far I'm not impressed, as 1) I hate change, and 2) things don't seem to be completely functioning.  So bear with me as I relearn everything.

Monday, 03/08/10:

So very interesting the discussions I get myself into... The illustration below indicates what I believe to be the proper wiring for the non-NEMA, non- UL Listed, HBL7567 plug when used for 15A 125V applications.

(Information is provided for illustrative/discussion purposes only, and does not constitute electrical advice.  When in doubt, always consult a qualified professional!


Thursday, 03/04/10:

Found this particularly hilarious; I'm not sure why, as I usually don't "get" lolcats.  Maybe it's because it features a Weimeraner.


Sunday, 02/14/10:

Happy Anniversary of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre everyone!















What an odd coincidence that VD, Chinese New Year, and Presidents' Day all fall on the same weekend.  Vegas was supposed to be very busy, but I didn't see that much evidence of it.  Looking forward to celebrating all of the above by baking chocolate chip cookies.  New recipe to try from: America's Test Kitchen - Recipes: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies.


Saturday, 01/23/09:

Ho-him, another year older; one step closer to the sweet release of death.



Thursday, 12/31/09:

Good riddance to 2009, and may 2010 be a damn site better for all!
















Friday, 12/25/09:

Happy Xmas, Season's Eatings, and a Very Merry 2010 to One and All!



Thursday, 12/10/09:

More holiday decorating tips:

Monday, 11/30/09:

Public Service Announcement:  'Tis the season for holiday lighting, and a reminder to please be careful when dealing with electricity.  Use only UL-Listed equipment, and always follow the most stringent of local life-safety and fire and electrical codes.  Don't let this happen to you:















Be Safe This Holiday Season: Geekologie


Thursday, 11/05/09:

Anyone who has ever worked a corporate show can attest to this...



Wednesday, 10/21/09:

Another quite disturbing photo:

from a most-excellent website: There, I Fixed It.


Tuesday, 10/06/09:

Now I know what to put on my Christmas list:

Cyberlight 2.0 - Automated Luminaire


Monday, 09/07/09:

Happy Labor Day everyone.  Sorry I haven't written lately, but I (as well as both of my parents) have been having some health issues.  It sure sux growing old!  Hopefully the fall will bring cooler weather soon.  I swear every summer in Las Vegas is hotter than the last.


Tuesday, 08/12/09:

Still here, just nothing new to report.  The long, hot, slow summer continues.  July was the hottest on record, after an unseasonably cool June.

From The 25 Worst Album Covers of All Time.


Tuesday, 07/14/09:

Interesting story developing in Milwaukee at Skylight Opera Theatre.  They recently fired two cast members for comments made on Facebook.  Good thing no one knows where I work, but I don't think I've ever said anything derogatory anyway.  Be careful out there--the Internet is serious business!


Tuesday, 07/14/09:

Saw the movie  Every Little Step | Sony Pictures Classics tonight. For some reason, found it unsatisfying, perhaps because it's been so long since I've been involved in an audition process, or that I disagreed with many of the casting choices.  In any case, I continue to recommend to anyone interested in the "the making of" to read the following books:

One Singular Sensation, The Michael Bennett Story, Kevin Kelly. Zebra Books, 1990.
On the Line, The Creation of A Chorus Line, Robert Viagas, Baayork Lee, Thommie Walsh. William Morrow and Company, 1990.
What They Did for Love, The Untold Story Behind the Making of A Chorus Line, Denny Martin Flinn. Bantam Books, 1989.


Friday, 07/10/09:

Google keeps telling me that my site will be moved from Google Page Creator to Google Sites and some files may break. I have no idea what that means, but thought you'd want to know if I appear to go "off air" suddenly.


Sunday, 06/21//09:

Happy Father's Day, Dad.  Happy Birthday, Erick.  Happy Summer everyone else.  Just got back from seeing Patti Lupone in concert.  Great show.   Who can believe this June we're having?  It has yet to hit 100°!  Maybe on Tuesday.

Monday, June 01, 2009:

Anyone up for a threeway?

In some circles, the device pictured above, a Union Connector 3-way stage pin branch-off, is called a whorehouse block. The device, if not the nickname, has been around since at least 1929, according to the Kliegl Bros. catalog:






Saturday, 05/23/09:

Why do old stagehands call borderlights X-Rays?















Tuesday, 05/19/09:

Found an old picture of friends, or a picture of old friends, or both, from around 1982.


Sunday, 05/10/09:

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!

Has anyone ever used this? Or know WHY it is/was called a biscuit?

I love the part about "For temporary hands off operation, place a large rubber band around the microphone to depress the P.T.T. switch."  So low tech, and yet functional!

Has anyone heard of the King Biscuit Flower Hour?


Sunday, 04/26/09:

Ran spotlight and worked the load-out of a certain infamous divorced mother of two last recently, but since I had to sign a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement, cannot say who.  Thirty tractor trailers worth of staging, lighting, and sound, for a person of questionable talent, but the audience, who paid$55-$595, seemed to have enjoyed it.


Friday, 04/17/09:

A cool pic from my friend Alex, the FEL hater:

Sunday, 04/12/09:

Happy Easter! And I found another laundry tag:












Tuesday, 04/07/09:

Wow, has it really been a month?   I spent the last week working on this little show:

Tuesday, 03/10/09:

I thought this was funny.


Thursday, 03/05/09:

This banner ad, demeaning and insulting all at the same time:


Wednesday, 02/11/09:

Great news!  Today I received a "Released to Full Duty" clearance from the doctor to return to work.  Once again, I'm now available for any and all projects I deem interesting.


Friday, 01/30/09:

Now THIS is a lightboard!  State-of-the-art, bleeding edge for 1987.















Thursday, 01/08/09:

Here's a picture from 1982, back when I thought I had talent as a Lighting Designer.

 Before anyone asks: NO, that's not me in the picture!

Thursday, 01/01/09:

Here's hoping 2009 will be significantly better than 2008!



Wednesday, 12/24/08:

Christmas Eve and I'm thinking of C-Clamps!


Monday, 12/22/08:

Christmas came early this year:  Look what we received!


























Thursday, 12/18/08:

Yeah, yeah.  it snowed in Las Vegas, ho hum.  Happens about every two years it seems.  This time on Monday and Wednesday.  More rain than snow really.  Lots of snow on the mountains however, which is where it belongs.



Tuesday, 12/09/08:

My FIRST car is a WORST car!  See Time magazine's The 50 Worst Cars of All Time.  Not sure I agree with many of their choices.





Friday, 11/28/08:


Thursday, 11/27/08:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Hopefully this is the last time we'll have to do deal with this turkey.


Monday, 11/24/08:

[Entry deleted due to link to remote site possibly containing suspicious malware.]

Saturday, 11/08/08:



Saturday, 11/01/08:

Very funny.  Look what some punk Australian acquaintance did:


Tuesday, 10/28/08:

I'm continuing to recover nicely, thank you for asking.  LDI'08 has come and gone, and I had great fun seeing old friends and making new ones.  Strangely, the day before the show floor opened, I happened to be channel surfing and saw this (notice the logo on the white truck under the Marriott sign):












Monday, 10/06/08:

A discussion of Sunn lightboards prompted me to create this page: DNA...


Sunday, 10/05/08:

Recovery is progressing nicely.  I have one more week to go on my CPM machine, 





(that's not me on the machine, in case you didn't know!), 


then I start physical therapy.


Friday, 09/26/08:

Inside my knee (looks great, right?):

Monday, 09/22/08:

I survived the surgery and will find out on Wednesday exactly what happened.  I don't recall discussing the 2.5" incision, not real happy about that.












Sunday, 09/14/08:



Thursday, 08/28/08:

Exactly what is going on over at Google?  A year ago I signed up, registered a domain name, and built this site.   Simple.  This past week I tried to do the same for a colleague, and met nothing but grief.  Google is trying to migrate everyone away from Google Page Creator and into, I think, Google Sites.  But Google Apps doesn't work with Google Sites, and now I've inadvertently created about six different sites and have countless log-in names and passwords; as well as Gmail and Hotmail email accounts I'll never be able to keep track of, until I get them all funneled and forwarded the way I want them. Arrrgh!


Friday, 08/08/08:

Long time no blog, but I had nothing to say!  Today marks the 20th anniversary of lights at Chicago's Wrigley Field, allowing the Cubs to play night games at home.  I lived in the neighborhood at the time, and like 47% of others, voted against having lights, as night games made a difficult parking problem even worse.

It's been a long time since I posted a cute picture, so here ya go.  He's ready to watch some baseball!



Wednesday, 07/09/08:

So I've been rather busy lately, (working nine days in a row) but now have some time to recover.  To see what I was working on, go here.

Thursday, 06/26/08:

I got home and what do I find?  The present of a "native blue" LED conversion kit for MiniMag.  So here's my collection.  I'm sure I have some incandescent ones floating around somewhere.












Sunday, 06/22/08:

In honor of this Day of Our Lord, please visit this link: Big Butter Jesus.  



Saturday, 06/21/08:

Happy  (you know which) Birthday to Erick!  I forgot to tell y'all about my burn.  Here's a picture.  Luckily, I'll have several old nurses look at it tomorrow.



Friday, 06/20/08:

Well, two things: IKEA did not live up to its reputation, and Menards exceeded all expectations.


Monday, 06/16/08:

So tonight we went to El Sombrero in Troy, to celebrate my sister's birthday, and I think she may have celebrated a little too much.



Saturday, 06/14/08:

Angus Sinex, who could always make me laugh.

Monday, 06/02/08:

From the past to the present, and beyond.  Eos Offline for Mac!



Sunday, 06/01/08:

Can you believe I could not find one picture of a Piano Board on the Internet via Google?  Si I scanned in this picture, from page 22 of the Spring 2008 issue of Theatre Design & Technology, USITT's quarterly journal. 

Amazing to imagine Broadway stagehands were using these to run lighting for shows right up until the end of the 1970s.



Saturday, 05/31/08:

Hallelujah!  Control Booth's Glossary is back up, and ETC releases v1.4 software for the Eos/Ion line, all on the same day.  I'm still having difficulties with Google Page Creator and am typing this from my desktop PC, using IE 6.0.  Happy June, Everyone!

Sunday, 05/25/08:

Still having issue between Firefox and Google Page Creator, doesn't seem to like Opera that much either.  Am I going to have to install IE 4.0 for Mac?  Currently running lights for a famous comedian.   Here's the (unlit) rendering.







And here's the lit set.

Saturday, 05/03/08:

Testing to see if Safari will work better than Firefox with Google Page Creator.  Firefox has taken to hanging whenever I try to edit a page.  IE6 works fine on my PC.  Oddly, although Safari seems to be okay, I have a message at the top of the page that says "Google Page Creator does not fully support your web browser.   Some actions may not work." !?

Thursday, 05/01/08:

Happy May, everyone!  Looking forward to a long, hot summer?


Wednesday, 04/30/08:

For anyone living under a rock, who gets their TV programming OTA (over the air) not with Cable or Satellite, analog TV broadcasts will end February 17, 2009.  Using my government coupon, I bought one of these

 at Walmart yesterday, for $49.87-$40=$9.87 plus tax, of course.  According to my online research, the RCA DTA800 received the highest marks.  It works great, I even convinced the TiVo to change the Converter Box's channels.  Now I just need to get enough for the other TVs in the house.  What is our government thinking, only two coupons per household?


Saturday, 04/26/08: 

Here's how I spent my Saturday: building this for work.  Some items are back-ordered, but I think I got a good start on the project. 



Tuesday, 04/22/08:

Does anyone remember the Standard Stage Screw?  I could only find pictures of the improved Stage Screw on the Internet.  So I took one of my own.









Monday, 04/13/08:

Two different and often confused Strand LEKOs.  The one on the right is older, and in my opinion, better, than the one on the left.




Wednesday, 04/09/08:

I've been working crazy long hours on a corporate show, with barely eight-hour turn-arounds on most days.  Tomorrow is the load-out and then I get to sleep on Friday before a concert on Saturday.  Here's a picture of the Entertainment Night for the conference, starring the B-52s.


Thursday, 03/27/08:

Due to overwhelming demand, garage_plot2.pdf is the PDF of the Garage Light Plot drawing.  As I said, some of the lineweights didn't translate correctly.  Also I corrected my misspelling of "Parellipsphere." 


Wednesday, 03/26/08:

So I'm slowly learning VectorWorks, the industry-standard stage lighting drafting program.  Above is a plot of the fixtures hanging from Unistrut in my garage.  Some of the lineweights get lost in the PDF/JPG translation, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, 03/25/08:

I bought this controller back in November, and, with the assistance of a friend who's more patient than I,  finally decided to have a go at it.  It's no grandMA, but still a fun toy for $97 (I think I paid $87). 


Here's what it can do, with my three LED ParCans:


Chases are fun.  Odd thing is the LEDs are fine in fast or slow chases, but exhibit "steppiness" in 3-10 second color rolls. 


Tuesday, 03/18/08:

I just found this on my computer and thought it interesting reading.  How does one go about getting one of those jobs, I ask (already knowing the answer).


Sunday, 03/16/08:

Only one week until Easter; maybe time for another funny picture.  



The Ultimate Peep Show: 













Thursday, 03/13/08:

Just got back from a private showing of the ETC Eos and Ion.  Great boards, very powerful, and leaps and bounds ahead of the Obsession/Expression series.  They're not going to replace any grandMAs (or grandMA2s), but very appropriate for an educational setting or long-running production.  I think I prefer the Ion, once the fader wings can control cuelists and not just submasters, although many theatre people have difficulty dealing with more than one cuelist active at one time.  Up to 12 users at a time can use the Eos, Ion, RVI, CPU, and Laptop running Eos Client software, all using and saving to the same showfile.  There's a color picker with actual brand name colors, as well as a visual display of what gobos are in the fixtures.  Syntax is remarkably similar to the Obsession. 


Wednesday, 03/12/08:

So this past weekend I was forced to again put a baggy in a followspot.  This time a Xenon Gladiator III.  It didn't work any better than the last time.  The R132 looked much better.  But after coloring five spotlights for the show, the entire thing was done in Open White.   It is what it is.

Here you will find a "garage science experiment"  involving LED fixtures.  Some may find it interesting.  At least I'm not wasting any paper.   Tomorrow I'm getting a private showing of the ETC Eos and Ion, so look forward to reading about that.

Thursday, 02/28/08:

My SourceFour™ Stage Light/Desk Lamp has become legend!  Here is an article from the Newsletter sent to dealers and reps of Electronic Theatre Controls, the premiere manufacturer of  lighting equipment for the entertainment industry.


Wednesday, 02/27/08:

Here's a picture of the training rig I used for my Stagehand and Lighting classes.  Feedback seemed to be positive.

Monday, 02/25/08:

You're currently reading the blog of the most recent ETCP-Certified Entertainment Electrician.  I am to receive my certificate and other credentials within six weeks.  Then I'll be able to go to Starbucks and pay $4.50 for a cup of coffee!  

However, I'll also have documentation that proves I've learned something in my 32 years in the Stage Lighting industry.  It also lends credence to the fact that I'm teaching "Beginning Stagehand" and "Lighting for Stagehands" at my primary place of employment.


Friday, 02/22/08:

This just about says it ALL!


 Saturday, 02/16/08:

Well, all I have to say is "scanning and using Adobe PhotoshopCS3 is HARD!  My first attempt, with no training:


Friday, 02/15/08:

Just made this a couple of days ago.  My mother bought the swag lamp at a garage sale in the early 1970s.  I outfitted it with multi-mode LED bulbs from CoolStuffCheap.


Once I rec'd my Figure 8 and showed it to my roommate, he said "I have one of those, it came with my meter."  Although his is a Micronta brand, I like his better.  Still it's good to have options.


 Sunday, 02/10/08:

For what I've been doing for the last week, follow this link


Saturday, 02/02/08:  


Have you hugged your groundhog today?  My Tribute to the MicroVision™  (note to self: must figure o

ut a way to make money by writing) appears to be a big hit.  I've gotten many positive responses, and have started working on the next tome.


Thursday, 01/31/08:

I now have the most-recent, bleeding edge technology, ETC/CK SourceFour™, thanks to my internet friend, ship.  Thanks, ship!  



Saturday, 01/26/08:

Here's a picture.  Looks much worse than it really is.  No injuries, and probably no structural damage.  The worst is the negative PR.


Friday, 01/25/08:

Newsflash:  Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino on FIRE!  No injuries reported.  Damage primarily to roof of south wing of high-rise.

So my birthday came and went, and I spent it sick as a dog.  Why do people say that?  Dogs are generally healthy beings, no?  


Tuesday, 01/15/08:

Are these silly, or what?  From Harbor Freight, where else?


Remember when Binion's Horseshoe had $1 million on display and would take your picture in front of it for free?


Friday, 01/11/08:

For the last eight days, I've been working on an unnamed Diva's world-tour.  My first time using a Robert-Juliat Cyrano, 2.5K HMI followspot.  I have to say it's a nice unit, but I still prefer the Strong Xenon Super Trouper™ followspot. 


Tuesday, 01/01/2008!:

The start of a great, 366 day year.  Here is a picture of most of my work tools.  All these, plus the bag, weigh 17 pounds, which doesn't sound like a lot until you're carrying it a long distance.



Monday, 12/31/07:

HAPPY NEW YEAR! everyone.  Be safe tonight, please.  Don't forget to start writing 2008 on your checks tomorrow.   Does anyone still write checks?  I'll be spending the day changing calendars and pre-preparing my taxes.  Here's a picture of a show I worked on recently.  Anyone want to guess what show it is?

Wednesday, 12/26/07:

Does it really take all these tools to wire a pin connector?


Not really.  If I were only doing one, I'd use my Gerber Multitool, but if I were installing a bunch, yes, I would get all of these out of my bag, and I've probably forgotten something. 

Crimp or shoe?  YOU decide.


Tuesday, 12/25/07:

Happy HollyDaze Everyone!  Peas and Joyce to All!

Here's my Christmas haul, from Santa and others: 

Top to bottom: A 3 handset cordless phone system.  We already have one of these, but my two handset system is/was not very good.  How many handsets do two people who live in a 3 bedroom house really need?  Plus two cellphones?  And I dislike immensely talking on the phone.  Email me!

Stetson and cash, can't go wrong with either one, although I still have Stetson from several Christmases ago, but not the cash.

I've wanted the Kill-A-Watt for a long time.  Now I know that my air compressor uses 9.1 amps when charging its tank.  I can't wait to see how much energy the MacPro uses.  It heats the entire room. (Answer: 283 watts!)

A tool that does nothing except tighten conduit locking nuts?  Well, of course I had to have that.  Now I have to find a wiring project to use it.

I have more stuff coming, didn't get here in time and/or we've had packages stolen from doorsteps in the neighborhood, so we posted a note instructing delivery persons NOT to leave packages unattended.  Imagine stealing at Christmas.  What's the world coming to?

Here's wishing you and yours 

a Very Merry Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!


Monday, 12/24/07:

Happy Xmas Eve everyone! 


Saturday, 12/22/07:

Here's another man vs. woman graphic.  And so very true.


Wednesday, 12/19/07:

I thought this was cute.  (And technical, too.)  For a look at some of my nephews and niece, click here.


Friday, 12/07/07:

I won't go into the details of my surgery on Tuesday, except to show the picture of the stent which was removed from my "male member" today.  Yowzah!  I'm supposed to be feeling much better by this evening, according to the nurse, but I'm not feeling so well right now.



Sunday, 12/02/07:

Can't believe it's been two weeks!  Not much has happened, but I've been busy.  Here's a picture you don't see everyday: firemen carrying a MAC2000!

Here's a link to the story.  Makes it sound as if it was the MAC's fault.  I've never seen them smoke before. 

Sunday, 11/18/07:

In the past 28 hours, I've:

Loaded in 9 trucks for a Billy Joel concert as a lighting hand: 9 front truss spots, 4 back truss spots, VL3000s, M2K Washes, Studio Beams, VL5-Arcs, and molefays.

Ran the spotlight (my first time ever on a Gladiator III) for some new chick singer named Barbra Streisand (she was pretty good, IMO!)

Loaded in Trans Siberian Orchestra. This articlecan tell you more about the show than I can, as I was a ground rigger, and left after the mother grid flew. But from what I saw, the show has just about every toy available to a Lighting Designer:  Showguns, Syncrolites, ColorBlasts, Versatubes, FiberOptic Star drops, SoftLED drapes, M2Ks, VL3000s, Atomic3Ks, moving pods, lasers, and pyro. Oh, and some PAR64 cans. Interesting to note that there are TWO simultaneous tours, one East and one West, with NO shared equipment or personnel. I'll let you fans fight over which one is the real TSO.

All with NO overtime. Three different venues and employers. I'm going to sleep now.


Thursday, 11/15/07:

This illustrates why proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation are important.  Now if some driver had followed the sign's instructions, all the other cars would have fallen in the hole.


Tuesday, 11/13/07:

No news, but my dad sent me a bunch of clippings from the Dayton Daily News (maybe with the WGA strike he thinks I can take Jay Leno's place?)  This photo is real, not Photoshopped, unlike most of the others here.

Sunday, 11/11/07:

Happy Veterans' Day.  To all veterans, thank you for serving our country, sincerely.  

I ran spotlight for the James Taylor concert last night.  I've enjoyed his music since the 1970s, and really wanted to work his show, as I've never seen him live before.

"Sweet Baby James" Taylor 

If you've never seen him live, you have only two more chances this year.  Tour info here.  I was the center spotlight , which meant I just had to pick-up solos, while the outer two spots were on JT the entire night.  So I had it easy and was able to enjoy the show.  As one would expect, it was a mellow, laid-back show.  The lighting was:  approx. 50 VL3000 Spots,  ColorBlast LED truss warmers, and a row of PixelRange Pixelines as cyc lights.  Show was run from an Avo Sapphire. James sang every one of hits except Mockingbird--I guess Carly Simon got that one in the divorce!  

Have a good week, hopefully I'll think of something to blog about before next Sunday.


Sunday, 11/04/07:

 Recently, on the ControlBooth, I've had to "eat crow," and you know what?  It wasn't that bad.  I feel it's good for the soul to admit you've made a mistake, or even changed your opinion about something.  Some involved in the last presidential election tried to make changing one's mind into a bad thing (flip-flopping), and I feel that's just wrong.  But I reserve to right to feel differently at a later time!


Friday, 11/01/07:

Here's a picture I'm just not sure about.  The caption is 

"Even when you're having a really bad day, someone will try to screw you."


I have felt like that before, so I guess it is kinda true. 


Thursday, 10/25/07:

Here's a cute picture, taken upon my return home.  I guess the cat didn't want me leaving again.   Actually, she enjoys laying on any sort of case or computer bag.  Maybe it's her way of marking territory--getting white cat hair all over anything black.

Saturday, 10/20/07:

All these people in Ohio do is eat!  Since Tuesday, I've been to Applebee's, The Cheesecake Factory, Joe Bissett's Grub Steak, and Frisch's.   Last night my niece fixed a mess of chicken and dumplings.  She "picked the chicken," but  had never heard of that term.  Dumplings were good, but she made them from scratch instead of using biscuits in a tube.  She told me to buy Reddi-Whip at the grocery, but I deviated and bought heavy whipping cream, knowing she had a new Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer that had never whipped cream.  Even though I added more 10x sugar than called for, the whipped cream had an odd, slightly bitter aftertaste.  This was to go on top of the caramel pie, a decadent dessert that involves boiling an unopened can of Eagle Condensed Milk for four hours.  After burning TWO refrigerated pie crusts, she made her own from scratch and we all agreed it was the best pie crust we'd ever had, and she didn't even use a food processor.  We're getting ready now to go to breakfast at the Waffle House, on our way to Webb's, and antique fair/flea market on the other side of Richmond, IN.  Sorry no pictures, I've been eating too much to search online.


Tuesday, 10/16/07:

I only had coffee at Bob Evans with my aunt, as I'd eaten leftover breakfast (including Bob Evans sausage) at home.  Sorry, no pictures today.  I'm too tired from my White Castle Party!   Today, from 6pm-8pm, the local White Castle had "belly bombs" priced at 8 for 80¢, a savings of 41¢ each!  That's $3.28!  Hard to believe they're now 51¢ each.  By the way, the "CraveCase" is NOT an economical value--it's 30 units for $15.30,  but does include a collectible cardboard suitcase.  I may carry it back to Las Vegas with me on the plane, if the TSA will allow it.  I believe we ended up with a total of 78 "sliders" at my sister's house, distributed among 4 pairs of parents, 5 cretins aged 3-7, and myself.  I only lost my temper once, but this time did not rent a Chrysler 300.  I also only had one near heart attack when one of the little darlings attempted to spill my drink in the family room.  A good time was had by all, and everyone will be paying for it tomorrow.  It's 1:30am here right now, and I think I'll fix myself four, with a large glass of milk, before retiring to my bed chamber for the night.


Monday, 10/15/07:

Here's what my sister fixed for Sunday dinner after church...

 Actually, it was a pork roast cooked in the  Slow Cooker while she was at church.  About the 5th time since Wednesday I've been served a pork by-product.  Apparently that's all these people eat in Ohio.  Yesterday morning, while frying sausage, my sister asked if I wanted pork-chop gravy (left-over from the previous night), or sausage gravy.  I said "Sausage gravy of course, since you're frying sausage.  You can't put pork-chop gravy on sausage, they're from two opposite ends of the pig."  Tomorrow, I am going to meet my aunt at Bob Evans (yet another restaurant famous in Ohio for it's pork products. 


Sunday, 10/14/07:

Since when does an F-16 qualify for Production Parking? 


Last night my nephew and his intended took me to Brio, an Italian restaurant, located in the Greene, an outdoor, upscale small mall east of Dayton.  Kids are here , so this thus ends my blog for today.


Wednesday, 10/10/07:

 Wow! A Blog AND a Restaurant Review, all in one!  Well, what else did I have to do on the four-hour flight from Las Vegas to Ohio?  I flew direct on AirTrans for $89, plus $5 for seat selection, each way!

Last night, my roommate and I had dinner at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant.  I believe it’s a national chain, so check for a location near you.  Someone for whom Erick did some computer work gave him a GiftCard as a “thank you.”  At the time, we not only thought $120 was quite a lot for a gift certificate but also that we could have a great meal.  I had last been to a fondue restaurant near the Park West entertainment venue in Lincoln Park in Chicago, probably about 1985.  Erick had never been to one before.  In fact, his only prior experience with fondue had been watching Alton Brown cook it up on the Food Network show, Good Eats; and the unremarkable attempt I once made at a cheese fondue at home.  So we both knew we were in for an experience, the exact type of which was undetermined.

Around three in the afternoon, Erick called to make a reservation for six that evening.  He was told they could squeeze the two of us in at 6:15pm.  We arrived at the restaurant at six, as it actually took less time than we expected to drive there.  For once the Las Vegas traffic cooperated with us.  The parking lot was practically deserted, so I suspected we’d have no issues with arriving prior to our reservation.  Sure enough, they said “no problem” and seated us right away, in a sub-room with about 5 tables and 5 booths, only one of which was occupied.

Our server was Shawn.  He was also our “assembler” and fondue method cooking instructor.  Over the course of the 2 ½ hour dinner, we learned that he: had been working at The Melting Pot for six months, didn’t like shellfish, and loved teriyaki sauce.  He sat a pot with water in the bottom and a stainless steel bowl insert--pretty much a standard double-boiler--on the “MagnaWave” stone in the middle of our table and explained “this is the newest technology and the old Sterno cans are completely out-dated.” His glorified magnetic wave hot plate was not un-similar to a halogen range in that only the center heats up and the sides stay cool to the touch.  He explained the menu very thoroughly, and upon learning we had a gift certificate, suggested the Four Course Package Dinner, for two.  Among the many decisions we had to make while Shawn was off getting our drink order were:  First Course—select one of six possible cheese combinations.  We choose not to go with the default selection, the standard Gruyere mix, and instead selected the Wisconsin cheese trio.  Shawn brought back a tray full of ingredients and made the cheese fondue right at our table before our very eyes. It’s a good thing the cheese was pre-shredded, because I doubt he could have made that very interesting. When he was done spooning and stirring, the resultant “cheese sauce” tasted nothing at all like Cheese Whiz, as ours had Swiss, Jack, and aged sharp cheddar, as well as bleu cheese, and shallots and white wine.  We were given a large basket of pumpernickel, rye, and French bread cubes, as well as pieces of carrots, celery, and cauliflower; and oddly, a cut-up green tart Granny Smith apple, that proved refreshing to the palate, surprisingly so.

Second course, the salad.  This time we choose to go with the default, the Athenian.  Difficult to wreck a Greek salad right?  Wrong.  Entirely too much vinegar dressing on the salad, to the point we couldn’t taste anything else, save for the smallish and off-color Kalamata olives, that tasted of nothing but brine.  The salad was definitely the most disappointing part of the meal, and a let down after the cheese-dipped first course

Next, the main course.  Here the three Standard Choices were “mostly meat,” “some of everything,” or “mostly shellfish” for $76, $84, or $95 respectively.  The middle choice seemed to offer the most variety, so that’s what we chose.  It included a full lobster tail, four white shrimp, a petite filet mignon, a chunk of pork, a chicken breast, a sirloin, two ravioli, and two stuffed-rigatoni. Shawn seemed proud of us when we were able to identify correctly the “tree” stuck in the filet mignon as rosemary when he brought the platter to the table. Once Shawn had left our table, Erick threw the sprig into the stock. Also included was a basket with quartered red potatoes, whole white mushrooms caps, and zucchini slices.  And about ten different dipping sauces, ranging from Shawn’s favorite teriyaki sauce to a “heatless” curry that I thought didn’t had no flavor at all.  We had previously chosen our cooking medium, from about six alternatives, coq au vine--chicken stock with red wine.  We could have chosen canola oil—the old school fondue, or other four thin stocks.  Our waiter was very thorough to explain we should keep the beef and pork in the pool at least 2 ½ minutes, and all the other items for 1 ½ minutes.  The stock had come to a full rolling boil by this time.  Shawn was also careful to caution us about cross-contamination, and warned us not to mix raw and cooked items.  Platter, pot, plate, got it, good. It was at this point that Erick finally realized why we had two fondue forks each; always keep one fork cooking something in the pot.  Before our supplies were halfway depleted, Erick ran announced he was full.  He had eaten the four shrimps, and some of the pork, beef, and chicken.  I ate the entire lobster tail, and we split the veggies equally.  All were good, but not great.  Of particular note was the special house cocktail sauce that Shawn said was scary—half horseradish and half chili paste.  While it sounded threatening, I had to try just a small taste.  It tasted more like tomato than anything else.  So I tried a larger taste, still nothing.  Once I had a whole heapin’ spoonful I finally got that “clear your sinuses” sensation I had expected, but it still wasn’t that overpowering.  Had to have been the mildest horseradish and chili paste ever.  The lobstar tail was smallish, but tasty.  The beef, pork, and chicken were all good.  Erick didn’t like the one ravioli  and I didn’t like the one rigatoni.  Another sauce our server claimed to be “loved by everyone” was a mixture of sour cream, cream cheese, onion, and scallion.  Shawn said they called it Green Goddess, but it was white and bland--a variant of the ubiquitous ranch dressing without minimally the tang of buttermilk.  

By the end of the main course, Shawn was very proud of the damage we had done.  Erick had hidden all we could not eat under the shell of the lobster tail, as we didn’t want to disappoint Shawn by appearing to not have devoured every last morsel.

Fourth course, dessert, and thankfully the final more decision to make.  But this time it was which of nine different chocolate sauces!  I let Erick chose, as we know each other’s likes and dislikes fairly well.  He choose the “Yin and Yang,” a half dark chocolate and half white chocolate sauce that comes to the table with the “S” curve down the middle and the dot of the opposing color in the center of each side.  The pot of chocolate sauces came with a platter of strawberries, bananas, pound cake, brownie, and marshmallow for dipping, as well as a sliver of cheesecake and biscotti for drizzling.  I found the biscotti the best part of the dessert.  It was chewy, not crisp, with lots of pecans and strong amaretto licorice flavor.  We were both so stuffed by this point that even I, who was always forced as a child to “clean my plate,” left some items un-dipped and un-eaten.

The bill arrived.  It came to $102 including tax, and two soft drinks.  No wine or mixed drinks had been ordered.  As we figured $18 on a $102 bill was a fair tip, Erick gave the remaining balance on the card back to our server.  Shawn was good, but could use improvement. I had to specifically request a water refill twice, as Shawn kept being oblivious to my “sit the empty glass on the edge of the table nearest the server, so he’ll get the hint” trick.  One of the few times I’ve never had the server say “and I’ll be right back with more water.”  Erick also had to ask for a refill.

Final conclusions.  While The Melting Pot is a unique experience, the food was not that great.  Nor is the ambiance.  I miss the flame of the Sterno cans.  And $60 person is a lot to pay for a meal without wine/cocktails.   I doubt we’ll go back, unless we’re given another gift certificate.  <Hint, hint!>

Saturday, 10/06/07:

Before the delete key, there were these things: Only, they were much 
smaller than "Typewriter Eraser, Scale X," by Claes Oldenburg and 
Coosje van Bruggen, at the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park.

Friday, 10/05/07:

What have I been doing all week you ask?   Working, what else?  Not all that long of hours.  It's a benefit for charity and has a good Production Manager, so they're watching the labor budget carefully, as they should.  I'll tell about the show after it happens, once it's public record.  I've also been catching up on my email and internet discussion forums, one of which prompted me to update and post this: DereksHouse_Enet_Distrib.pdf.  It is, I think, complete and accurate as of this date.

I'm encouraging all my friends to start a blog, so I can keep up with what/how they're doing without actually having to talk to them.  In 20 years, we'll all be robots anyway.

Sorry no picture today.  I allow myself only one attachment per post, and you used yours up looking at the PDF!

Tuesday, 10/02/07:

Please do a shoot out between the FitPC and the Mac mini

I just sent the above message to cnet tv. Anyone with TiVo watch that? Veronica Belmont has left the show, so I'll do the comparisons here. I had already done the research, so didn't want to waste it.  Thanks Len, for the inspiration.

Criteria          FitPC    bout     Mac Mini   Advantage
Cost              $285    x         $599         Mac
Processor speed    500         x    1.83         Mac
RAM                256         x     1GB         Mac
Max display    1920x1440  x       1920x1080      Fit
HD                  40         x      80         Mac
CD/DVD       ext. via USB2     x DVD-ROM/CD-RW   Mac
Firewire 1394       no         x     yes         Mac
RS-232             yes    x           no         Fit
size             metric    tie      2x7x7"       tie
weight             450g    tie     1.31Kg        tie
OS               linux/XP  tie     OS X/XP       tie
Power Cons         3-5W   x         110W         Fit
RF remote
          no         x     yes         Mac
Bluetooth           no         x     yes         Mac

I call it a TIE. Both are very viable machines for many applications in our industry, and as a second computer for home use.  For those who hate Macs, buy a Mac mini just to play with; for those Macheads, buy a Fit for the same reason. 

That's all for my "BI-COMPUTERAL" agenda.  It doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.

Please talk among yourselves until I return.

Monday, 10/01/07: 
Happy October everyone!  Sam’s Club had Christmas trees on display at the end of August, and I saw some at Bloomingdale’s last week, (I had to walk through there to get to the Apple Store for my battery repair), so the year might just as well be over, it seems.

I found many interesting articles in Lighting & Sound America this month.  As I’ve stated before, if you’re in the entertainment lighting industry and don’t currently subscribe, for free, to this magazine, you should.  I like PLSN and Live Design also, but find LSA more informative, and appreciate that it's well-printed on a heartier paper stock, (my father was a printer by trade).  All are great to read while you’re on “Bio Break,” if you know what I mean.  I miss perusing and committing to memory Theatre Crafts and Lighting Dimensions, but I don’t miss paying for them.  Free stuff is good!

Back to the September 2007 issue of Lighting & Sound America:  I particularly liked Rob Halliday’s “Things Every Console Should Have, Part II”; Mike Wood’s review of the “Martin Stagebar 54” (not a showbar/disco!); David Barbour's rather sad "Thinking about Tharon"; and John Huntington’s “The ACN Future is Here.”  Until I read the latter I was of the mind that “nothing will ever replace DMX.”  Not that I’m especially enamored of USITT DMX-1986, just that it’s so ubiquitous, having been used by every theatrical lighting manufacturer, except maybe Lycian?  Well, times change, and so must I.  I recall a quote--I wish I could remember who said it, “You used to troubleshoot a lighting system with a 9-volt battery; now you need a laptop and an FTP site.”  How true, and so prophetic!  Mind you this was 10-15 years ago, way before Broadband and Ethernet.  I was happily using AOL with a 2400-baud dial-up modem.

So the moral for today is:  Subscribe to the free industry “rags”!  Oh, and don’t be afraid to email comments to the author of an article you find interesting or informative or erroneous.  The columnists and feature writers who contribute to the periodicals do so for the benefit of the industry, certainly not for the money;  and I’ve found they appreciate the feedback, even and/or especially;  if you offer constructive criticism.

Sunday, 09/30/07:

I just realized I never finished my rant on my FICO score.  It's really too long to include in the blog, so I'll make a new page and put the link here.  (Derek's rant on FICO Scores.)  Since I now have the space, I'll put up another picture, but this time I'll supply the captions. 


1st place: REMORSEFUL!

runner-up:  "This is my rifle, this is my gun."


Saturday, 09/29/07:

I just got a batch of new pix, which was perfect timing as I was out of all the good Photoshop/Graphic Artists' works from before. 

I'm thinking of running a "caption this picture" contest.  So how about it?  The  person who emails me first with the most humorous, most appropriate, insightful, intelligent, or otherwise superlative caption will win a lovely prize.   

Offer not valid in all fifty states.  Your mileage may vary.  Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.  Do not use hand-held hair dryer while showering.  Never take a sedative and a laxative together.  Cash value equals one-twentieth of one cent.  Management is not responsible.  Irresponsible even.  Don't tug on Superman's cape.  Lottery tickets are an investment in futility.
So watch this space for future funny pictures and captions to ones previously posted.

Friday, 09/28/07:

I just ascertained my FICO score for the first time and am quite pleased with myself!  Suze Orman says one should do this and I find myself mindlessly obeying anything a domineering woman tells me.  Suze, Rosie O'Donnell, Martha Stewart, I'm their puppet.  More later, I'm late for an appointment.

Meet my newest internet friend, Kris.  I have a reciprocal link policy.

I'll discuss the ramifications of FICO scores and in depth tomorrow.  I'm tired tonight and just need to vege.


Thursday, 09/27/07:

So here's the final outcome of the picture I posted on 09/17/07.  (Thanks to my dad for sending me the newspaper clipping, and thanks to Erick for scanning it for me.)   

I've been inspired by my friends at Control Booth to write a book titled Algebra and Trigonometry for Lighting Designers.  Filled with, you know, fun stuff like this:

Deriving a lighting fixture's multiplication factor from its beam angle using trigonometry: 
[Excel format] Multiplying Factor(MF) =2*TAN((x/2)*PI()/180), 
where x is the beam angle in degrees. 

Note: the "*PI()/180" portion of the equation is just to force Excel to express the answer in degrees rather than radians, and therefore isn't needed if calculating by hand.

I'm sure it'll be an Amazon best-seller in no time. 


Tuesday, 09/25/07:

As of today, my MacBook and I have been together for 40 days.  Yesterday, while I was happily surfing (on battery), it powered down with no warning.  Okay, these things happen.  I plugged it in, restarted, and all seemed to be fine.  Battery was about 70%.  I did other things on my other machines and when it was about 90%, unplugged it and everything was good.  This morning after using it unplugged for 1.5 hours it did the same thing, but decided to only work with the power adapter, not on battery alone.  When trying to boot without AC, it would try to spin the CD and then fall back into off.  When on AC, if I pulled the adapter, it would last two seconds and go blank.  I made an appt. with the Apple store (Fashion Show Mall, Las Vegas) for 3:20pm.  I got there right at 3:20pm and the monitors showed I was 5th in line.  Store was fairly packed, at least one patron at every display item.  Monitors also said the next MacGenius appt. was "approx. 8:30pm."  Glad I made an appt!  I was served about 15 min. later, during which time the monitors had changed to "No more MacGenius appts. available today, please try tomorrow."  However, one guy came by without an appt. and was told he would be put on standby and to come back in 30 min. 

Once I explained my issue with my MacBook battery, my Genius tried one of his batteries.  "I just want to make sure it's your battery and not your motherboard." My machine worked fine, so he said "No problem, I'll have you out of here in 10 minutes."  He got me a brand new battery, tested it, and put my old one in a box on the rear counter with four others. He pulled the serial number from the "About this Mac" area, didn't need my receipt or purchase date or anything.  I had even printed this page: to use as ammunition, but didn't need it.  He did approve highly of my dashboard widget "iStat pro", available here:

So the battery issue is a very common problem, and one that Apple has tried to deal with as painlessly as possible for the consumer.  My Genius did ask if the battery showed an "X" in the icon bar, and I said no.  Just wouldn't run on battery.  On the way out of the store, one of the 3 MacBooks, in fact the one closest to the door, had an "X" on the battery icon.  When I unplugged the power, it shut down immediately!  The moral of the story is to contact Apple immediately with problems and give them a chance to fix them.  Hope this helps others.


On a totally different tack, look at this:  Too f*(&^%n' cute!


Friday, 09/21/07:

Profound thought of the day:

Do Roman doctors refer to IV's as 4's?

That's it.  More later.


Monday, 09/17/07:

Does everyone know what this is called?

I found it amusing.  And, no, it's not "What's that Lassie?  Timmy fell down the well?" 


Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007:

 So I wanted to add this logo to the bottom of my "Ref/Links" page, but Google Page Creator that I use isn't quite Mac/Firefox compliant.  So the only way I could add the graphic and make it link would be to use my PC to edit the page, which to me seemed illegal/immoral: to use a PC to put the "Made on a Mac" graphic on the webpage.  So I'll just put it here, and include this link.

Here's a funny picture, since it's been so long.

Saturday, Sept. 01, 2007:

 I'm thinking of renaming this blog "Derek's Medical Maladies."  But the HIPPA Act may get upset with my releasing confidential medical information, even if it's about myself.  I'm pretty sure I passed the kidney stone Monday night and caught the bugger in cheesecloth.  I took the specimen with me to the Urologist on Thursday.  I had to collect my urine from 7am Friday to 7am today.  I expelled over 3000ml in that time, and just dropped it off at the lab.  I have to go back Monday for a blood test, and then see the urologist again in three weeks.

This will probably be my last post for a week--I start a show on Tuesday.  Monday is the pre-reg, Load-in starts Tuesday, shows are Friday and Saturday, Load-out is next Sunday.  After that we have a week of boxing, then a week of hockey, so I'll have time to write then.  Have to go find a new picture.

I feel like this guy much of the time.  To quote Stephen Sondheim, "Does he love me, or was he just being kind; or am I losing my mind?"


Wednesday, 08/29/07:

Okay, here's a picture I couldn't resist, from today's Las Vegas Sun.

The text describes how the "thrillseekers," I say idiots, are on the 866-foot high teeter-totter "X-treme" at the top of the Stratosphere Tower on Monday night.   I'm sorry I was pre-occupied with passing a kidney stone the size of the moon during Monday night's lunar eclipse.

Tuesday, 08/28/07: 

 Wrote "A Brief History of Gel" and re-purposed it here.   After arguing with Verizon, I finally wore them down and forced them to change my old phone's number into my new phone.  The online "chat bot" said "We don't port numbers from one Verizon phone to another."  I asked her "Are you suggesting I call AT&T or Nextel?"  She answered "I'm sorry you are considering changing carriers."  At which point I hung up and called to talk to a real human.  Sorry, no funny pictures today.  Only one link allowed per day.  Read the History of Gel instead, you may find the one joke. 

Monday, 08/27/07:

Just got back from the hospital emergency room.  Last night about 10:30pm I had an excruciating pain in my lower abdomen.  I self-diagnosed it as my gallbladder.  The attending nurse said the pain was not in the right place for gallbladder, but could be appendix.  So they did a CAT scan, waved a cat over me, and determined it was a kidney stone, 1-2mm in diameter.   My first one ever!  All of the males on my father's side of the family have had them.  A cousin started getting them in his 20s and can even tell you where it is and how big it is.  We don't know if mine has passed or not, I'm keeping my eye out for it.  Attending nurse suggested I follow up with a urologist immediately.  So I'm going to take my Lortabs and get some sleep, then set an appointment when I wake up this afternoon.  It's raining hard here now.  Yesterday we noticed the pool water level was low, so we added an hour's worth of water.  Took it to mid-tile.  Now it is at the top of the tile, just below the coping.  We have 3-4" before it would overflow, so I'm not worried.  Due to the medical trama I've experienced, I thought it time for a "warm and fuzzy" funny picture.  So here you go.  Everybody say "ahhhh..."

Sunday, 08/26/o7:

The Beyonce show went well.  I was surprised I liked it as much as I did.   Used 8 House Spots and 2 Truss Spots.  Two grandMAs for control.  I promised another picture, so here it is.

I definitely don't like this one.  It freaks me out.  I'm gonna open my bananas more carefully from now on.


Friday, 08/24/07:

Want to know how I spent most of my day?  Click here.  It took me longer to write the report than it did to do the actual work.  I have lots of new toys to play with, so I'm going to play with them, and will write about them when I'm done playing with them. 


Wednesday, 08/22/07:

I'm now a fully registered and verified member of and stage lighting formus.  Have already gotten myself in a small amount of trouble by voicing my opinions too vociferously, but I'm sure we'll all "get over it" and become friends.    Time for another funny picture you say?  Okay, here.  I have many more, so check back often!

Funny, or Sick?  I can't decide.


Tuesday, 08/21/07:

6pm- After receiving in my snail mail a new Harbor Freight Tools flyer, I had to rush out and buy more of these

Of course, the picture features a circuit breaker panel, not the 5 L.E.D. Head Lamp the guy is wearing.  Here's  the link (If it tells you "not a vaild item#", enter "93549" in the "Find Item#" box), on Harbor Freight's page.  The headlamp is on sale now through Sept., 10, 2007, for the low, low price of $3.99.  I bought six of them, and have already given one away.  They make great stocking stuffers for theatre people.  I'm always working in the dark--ironic because I'm a lighting guy, but that's how it is.  I've learned, unless you absolutely need it immediately, don't ever buy anything NOT on sale at Harbor Freight, as everything eventually goes on sale!  Same thing with Kohl's department store.  I enjoy Harbor Freight.  I realize the quality of their merchandise is sub-standard compared to Craftsman or Snap-On; but I feel my $39.99 Biscuit Joiner is adequate for my needs, and I would not have any if my only choices were the $189 DeWalt or the $700 Festool.  To each his/her own.

 The Verizon modem is working but not as fast as I'd like, only achieving 190K/sec, while my WiFi and wired machines are 1.2 - 1.4M/sec.  But the Verizon was only showing two bars, in the middle of the house.  I'll experiment and post the results.  Here's the link to the device if anyone wants it.


11am- My Verizon Wireless USB720 Modem just arrived via FedEx, so I have to go play with it.  I bought it because my new MacBook does not have a PC Card slot.  The Verizon rep. promised me that there would be no performance degradation using the USB version rather than the PC Card.  Only bummer is that the PC Card is free after rebate and the USB720  was $99.99 after rebate and bulkier than the PC Card.  I'll write more when I have everything installed and working.

Monday, 08/20/07:

Made many cosmetic changes to the site.  I usually won't read blogs without pictures and I expect others are the same, so here's a picture I find humorous.

 It took me  a second or two to figure out what the joke was.


Sunday, 08/19/07:

Is anyone reading this?  I've started sending the link out to various friends and family, and have heard from one of them, who told me he looks forward to visiting my site.  Little does he know, whahahaha.  I've actually had to call, on the telephone, well, my cellphone, two people whose email address I used to have, but lost during the great Hard Drive Crash of Feb., 2007.  Yes, I had backed up, but I didn't then and still don't now, know how to back up contacts and emails in Outlook.  Those were the only things I lost. 

I sent off the post-mortem of the corporate show on which I just finished working 8 days in a row so now I can erase that portion of my brain and re-format to recover the space.  I'm thinking of writing a book.  I may call it A Method of Lighting the Stage, seemed to work well for that McCandless fellow, or more probably, Stage Lighting According to Derek.  About 1988, while I was Production Manager at Centre East, my Electrician Richard Strand told me "Derek, you think there's only two ways of doing things--your way and the wrong way."  I said what's wrong with that and he said "because you haven't written your book yet, no one's read it."  So it's been 20 years, and I still haven't written it, but maybe Reference Documents &amp; Web Sites is a start.  Or maybe it's the end product.  As long as it helps or educates someone, I'll be happy.  Well, happier.


Have a grand day.


Saturday, 08/18/07:

I'm editing this webpage from my "second office" in the garage, where I used to go to smoke and think.  Now that my MacBook is wireless in the garage, I'll never get any thinking done.  Maybe that's for the best.

I have Entourage working on the MacBook!  Clicking the "Email-Derek" link above will send mail to me.  But you knew that, duh!  Still haven't decided how I'm going to reconcile email and files across two desktops and two laptops, (two Macs and two PCs,) but I'll figure it out eventually.  


Wisdom of the day:  "A man with one clock always knows what time it is,; a man with two clocks is never sure." 


Friday, 08/17/07: 

Added two email addresses.  It's going to be difficult figuring out how to manage multiple email accounts on an XP Desktop and a Macbook, but I'll figure it out eventually.  The whole reason for creating the domain name is because, after 8+ years, EMBARQ, which used to be Sprint, my local telephone/DSL-provider, is no longer providing an Earthlink account.  So if I have to change my email address anyway, why not make it something easy, right?


So the show ended today, and everyone left happy.  Aerosmith on Wednesday night was boring.  Working their show 4 times in 18 months is too many!



Wednesday, 08/15/07:

Please bear with me.  This is my first ever attempt at creating a web page.  I accept change VERY slowly.  I'm still not convinced color computer screens will catch on--my amber monochrome 12" works fine on my 286-12 with a 40 mb hard drive, A drive is 5.25 floppy, B drive is new-fangled 3.5 DD diskette.

Later today, Wednesday, I will be operating a House Followspot for a new band called Aerosmith.  You may have heard of them; I guess they're becoming popular with the young kids.  This will be my fourth time running spot for them in 18 months.

I have been running a followspot since 1976: July 4th was the exact date, funny how I remember, when I was pressed into service because I was hanging out in the parking lot outside the high school auditorium.  It was basically "Hey kid, c'mere.  Wha-cha-doin'? "  Next thing I knew, I was climbing stairs to a light booth and shown a Strong Carbon-Arc Trouper built in the 1960's. "Point it at whose-evers singing, turn it off when they're done" was what the guy told me--then he disappeared and I never saw him again.

So really, not much has changed in 31+ years.  I ran a light then, I'm running a light now.  I like to think I'm better at it now than I was then.