Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Video

I got a late start today, due to my having had way too much fun at Carly's book party last night, so here's something to keep you amused while I'm recovering:

I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of the fact that I've burned the nerve endings off of my fingertips through years of handling 12K Par scrims.

There's a longer version on YouTube, in which I attempt to prove, with a shaky boom up (my knees aren't what they once were), that the stove's burner is indeed lit:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How to tell when the film industry is way busy:

When rental houses start sending out really old equipment that normally sits on the shelves and gathers dust.

This is a lug connector:

Lug End

Since lug ends can't be connected directly together, they're clamped onto a bus bar (a big metal plate made of copper, because that's one of the better electrical conductors) which is inside a distro (or spider - they're similar, only the distro box has outlets so you can plug things into it and the spider box doesn't) box:

Distro box

Since the copper's 'hot', there's a leeetle platic shield over it (with holes on top so you can reach and tighten the set screw that's on the top part of the connector and holes on the side to stick the cable into - it's worth noting that the hole which one shoves the cable through isn't much bigger than the cable end. Normally not a big deal, but just try it when you've been awake for 18 hours), which, although it looks pretty flimsy, is surprisingly strong.

This requires a special tool - the T-Handle:

T handle

The method for connecting lug end cable is to slip the open end of the lug over the bus bar (it just fits), positioning it under the hole in the plastic. Then, stick the end of the metal shaft of the T-handle into the little hole in the set screw on the lug and turn until the whole mess is tight enough not to move around.

Do you see the flaw in this system? Once the cable is energized (and the type of cable, 4/0, carries 400 amps per hot leg, and we usually run three hot legs - that's more "juice" than I have in my entire house) things can still get to the copper through the holes in the plastic. Rainwater, spilled coffee, pee (there's a rumor that the original dog who played Spuds MacKenzie died when it peed on an energized distro box - the power traveled up the urine stream and cooked the poor doggie. According to Wikipedia it's not true after all, but the story's been going around since I've been in the biz).

Lug connectors were industry standard for many years, but nowadays most shows use a type of connector called Cam Lok(TM), which is much safer (there's no exposed metal parts - the connectors twist together and when connected are water resistant), and doesn't require any additional tools to connect together (just wrists of steel).

The point of all this is that rental houses will generally only send out lug cable if they have no Cam-Lok left (or if someone specifically requests it for some strange reason), since most people don't want the lug cable - plus, those lugs are metal, and when one of those ends breaks loose from the coil of cable that you're carrying over your shoulder and smacks you in the shin, it's beyond painful (I think "lug-to-the-shin" torture is banned by the Geneva convention).

Yesterday was a commercial which basically was different people standing and talking against a white background. Once we got set up (and after we tried and failed to send the lug cable back and get some Cam-Lok cable), there was nothing to do - and I always forget that most stages have wireless internet these days and I leave my computer at home, so once I read the paper I was fucked until they called wrap and it was time to tear everything out.

I had to borrow a T-handle since if I still own one (and I'm not sure that I do) it's somewhere in the purgatory for forgotten gear (i.e. in a bin somewhere in my hall closet).

Warning: Girly content ahead. Proceed at your own risk:

Over the holiday weekend, I hit the Fred Segal sale. For those of you not in Los Angeles, Fred Segal is a horribly overpriced clothing store that's frequented by, well, people who can afford horribly overpriced clothing, but once a year they have a 75% off sale which gets the prices knocked down to levels manageable for the hoi polloi.

Although I almost never buy anything, I always go. Free entertainment, you know.

This year, I found the best pair of shoes ever:

Nine hundred dollar shoes

All the shoes were 50% off, so these were marked down to... wait for it.... $450.

Yup, that's right. The normal price of these shoes is NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

WAY too rich for my blood, but they sure were purty.

I didn't set the white balance on the camera correctly - they're silver, not gold.

Here's a side view:

Side view


Even if I could afford it, I'm not sure I would pay it.

According to the salesperson, about 15 women had tried them on, looked at the price, sighed heavily and then put them back on the rack.

Oh hell. Who am I kidding - I so would pay it if I had that kind of cash. Never mind that they were horribly uncomfortable and completely impractical for anything other than sitting in a chair and looking alluring. When you have shoes like that, you don't even have to get up. People will do things for you.