Two Days Off!

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:03 am
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[personal profile] ranunculus
It is a foggy, but not too cold morning here in SF.
Forgot to get my name on the work list on Friday.  It is easy to forget when I'm in the middle of some long work day!  Anyway that allowed me to have Sunday and Monday off.  Tue is TBD. 
Got catfood, dogfood, tea and milk yesterday.  Staples for our household!
Had a lovely dinner with Amrit who is here visiting for a while.  Amrit was our tenant for a couple of years.  He is now working all over the world for Google.  It just so happened that he's in town for a couple of weeks, so he's staying with us - sort of.  Being Amrit he's off here and there much of the time. 
Off to help M clean his apartment (not hard).  He has strict instructions NOT to vacuum until his neck heals. 

Lightning

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:51 pm
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[personal profile] ranunculus
Walked out of work last night into a thunderstorm with frequent flashes of lightning and pouring rain!!  The rain is a bit unusual for this time of year, and the lightning was by far the most intense storm I've seen in San Francisco.

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Sep. 12th, 2017 10:29 pm
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[personal profile] ranunculus
In total it took 7 electricians more than 20 hours to load in this show.  Should have been done in 8.  Sigh. 
This morning the client was desperate for me to "get the lights focused"  So I went around in my boom lift and focused all the lights, generally on imaginary stages that might or might not move.  Another crew went around in a scissors lift (way, way easier to work out of for this kind of thing). The second crew added pipes to the trusses so the cables from the truss drop down next to the wall instead of in the seating area.  Sadly they were behind me.  The weight of the pipe rolled every single truss so all the lights were completely out of focus.  So I went BACK around with my awkward boom lift and refocused every single light.   I will just mention that the pipes should have gone on the truss while it was still down at floor level, at the same time we hung the lights. 
Eventually, at the end of the second day, the stages were placed.  At that point the client decided she hated our floor uplights and changed where they went.  Her placement left half of the 6' long striplight hanging off the edge of the stage.  The carpenters built little "legs' that we screwed the striplight feet (called trunions) to.  I thought it was a nifty solution.

Today was day three of this show.  Not much has changed, the stage manager is desperately dealing with poor equipment and problems while I'm sitting quietly making lights go on and off.  Wish I could refocus a couple of my lights....  
I swear that good, well organized shows exist.  I've seen lovely light plots, and worked for well prepared bosses.  Just not recently!

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Sep. 10th, 2017 08:41 pm
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[personal profile] ranunculus
Sometimes I really wonder about the convention business.  Went to work this morning at 7am.  We were promptly sent down to the docks to unload trucks.  Pushed 3, count them 3 boxes from truck to elevators.  I don't even think those boxes were "our" boxes, I think they were going to another floor.  After an hour plus I was called back upstairs where our crew of 7 electricians laid out the little bitty lighting packages for seven rooms.  Six rooms were exactly alike, with 8 lights hung on some truss.  One set of cables (used in all 7 rooms) was too short.  New ones had to be sent from the shop that is an hour away.  There was no supervisor and no information, so 7 stagehands, five of whom were old,  opinionated, argumentative characters guessed at what the client wanted. 

The carpenters were hours behind.  By 5pm some 10 hours into the day, the carpenters did not have even one stage of the seven complete.  No stage meant no floor light setup and an funky and awkward focus at best.  So at 5pm for reasons none of us understood, three of us were given a dinner break so we could "come back and focus".  Really?  Did they think that somehow, magically, the carpenters would speed through their work? 

During our dinner a different stagehand began focusing in the two rooms that were clear enough to do a guess-a-focus.  When we came back I re-focused his lights.  Sigh.  He really had NO CLUE what he was doing and had made little rectangular blobs of light across the stage instead of a wash. 

Normally someone stands on the stage where a light should be focused so the focuser can see what their light is doing in three dimensions.  This time it was a stagehand standing on a road box that is approximately the stage height, because we still didn't have any of the seven stages.  I did two of the seven rooms, and then, 40 minutes into my 2 hour minimum (must be paid for two hours after a meal) they sent us home because there was quite literally nothing to do.  So glad they wanted to pay me a lot of money for this nonsense.

I was relaxing with my morning tea.

Sep. 9th, 2017 10:48 am
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[personal profile] ranunculus
I was having a quiet morning moment, in my big chair, with a nice cup of tea.  M and I had idly talked of maybe going to the museum later.  The phone rang: How fast can you get to Pier 27.  On my way....
12 minutes to get out of the house 18 more to get to Pier 27 in a cab (it is diagonally across town and really hard to reach).  I had my own little "room" upstairs, with a little stage, 8 lights and a GrandMA lightboard controller.  The GrandMA is a board that I've thought about learning but it is truly intimidating software, with many, many steps that need to be done to control even the simplest of lighting setup.  The job steward pressured me to take it on, and the client (bless their heart) sent one of their team to help teach me.  Once the company guy left I poked around until I had multiple "looks" for the stage, staying long after I signed out to make sure I was all ready for the next day. Then  LOST all my programming when I bumped the wrong button.  I'd done backups just as the company guy had suggested, but apparently they hadn't actually recorded.  Half an hour later I'd hacked enough back together to feel I could leave (the building was shutting down).
The next morning I found tutorials online, downloaded the applicable one, and played it back several times.  Took my computer and played it back a couple of more times at the venue.  Did some more programming and got through two very small, very amateur shows on my stage.  Whew!!  I'm totally thrilled because, if I'm diligent about watching more tutorials on different steps, I think I can tell the office that I have a new skill, one that will make me way more marketable with a lot less physical work.  Absolutely the hardest thing about learning a new board is getting time on the board to program in real time, and this really gave me that chance.  I thanked everyone involved.  

This afternoon I'm off to take down the show we loaded into Moscone West convention center  on Monday.  Tomorrow morning at 7am I'll load the next show into the second floor and stay on to operate lights in one room, this time on a light board I know well.

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