August 30, 2005


Haven't felt like writing in a few days. Shit's been a little wierd. For the past couple of weeks, I've been really angry at the world, and there's nothing that I can put my finger on that's causing it. I didn't figure you all would like to hear me rant and rave, so I shut my yap.

I had a surreal weekend. For the most part it was spent doing laundry and catching up on house-(and yard)work. I went out on Friday night, and went to a movie Saturday evening, but something just didn't feel right either time. Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm trying to make a small lifestyle change. I let myself run out of bourbon, and I didn't buy any more. I trying to stay off of any hard liquor unless I'm in a social situation. So far it's been strange. I still can't get to sleep, and now I have crazy dreams all night. Hopefully all that will go away in a week or two, and I can settle down to an even keel. We'll see how it goes.

As you all know, I'm a big strong construction worker. I bend myself into the damnedest shapes to get the elevator parts to fit together. I lift parts that are hundreds of pounds in weight into place nearly every day. So what happens? While I was cleaning off my desk this Sunday, I had 5 or six beer and soda cans that needed to be cleared off. A few of them had some liquid still in them, so I went to the kitchen sink to empty them out. Drained the first two, and set them aside. Went to reach for another and twinge. A sharp pain ran down my left neck muscle. I do heavy work five days a week, and get hurt lifting a half-full soda can? What the hell? The damn thing still hurts too. Ah well, "Pain is only weakness leaving the body" and all that.

Work has been pretty good, other than the special "Safety Meeting" we had first thing this morning. All the construction guys were there, and we talked about what happened to Everitt. No one really knows what exactly happenned. We discussed whether it was a problem with the rigging, some stupidity on Ev's part, or if it was just plain getting in a hurry. Doesn't matter. We all know better than to put ourselves in any kind of "bad position". You've got to listen to that little voice in your head when it say's "This is stupid and dangerous", and then do something to correct it. I made that vow to myself today. I love my job, but I ain't getting killed doing it.

Anyhow, it's been a strange few days. I'm certain it'll get better soon though.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:06 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

Here's to Everitt Harris.

He's a guy. An ordinary fella. He showed up for work yesterday morning (Like he's done for twenty-five or thirty years before) and went right to it. He's an "Elevator Man".

Here's a quote from the local paper about him:

A construction worker for a subcontractor involved in work at Blount Memorial Hospital was fatally injured Tuesday morning in a fall down an elevator shaft.

The paper would go into little more detail, but the Elevator Community tends to be "tightly knit", so I have more. The man's name was Everitt Harris. He was around Fifty years of age, and he'd been an Elevator Man for most of his life. He was working for KONE (Pronounced Conay) at the time of the accident, but it is really immaterial.

He was mounting a Deflection sheave at the top of the hoistway, when it came loose. It knocked the scaffold that he was standiing on down, and sent him 40+ feet to the pit floor. The sheave (4 to 700 pounds worth of it) landed on him at the bottom of the hoistway.

He died.

I never met him, but I miss him.

I raise a glass to him.

Us elevator guys gotta stick together.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

"Stupid's" killin' us.

When we attacked our "floor levelling" issue this morning, we found out that the issue's we were experiencing were caused by an innattention to detail (which was caused by a particularly focussed attention to another detail). This is so stupid, but I'm happy to say that it wasn't my fault. You see, the floors are labelled as follows:

Ground, Lobby, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ,7.

It is labelled like this all throughout the controller's computer screens, so we didn't expect a problem. We got one though. The floor level section of the controller is labelled thusly:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Also, it is a drop down menu, so you don't see the whole list. Yesterday when we were changing parameters for the 4th floor, we were actually changing them for the 3rd floor. Once this was dicovered, things went a lot more quickly. We've got the floor levels within the allotted 1/32" now, so we are very happy with that. After we got the floor levels straightened out, we turned the car loose on "Emergency Dispatch". This is the default mode of all modern elevators when the main dispatching system is disabled. (In Emergency Dispatch mode, the elevator assumes that there is a problem with the "Hall Calls", so it randomly goes from floor to floor to ensure that it picks up anyone waiting.) We ran in in "Emerg Disp" mode mainly because we don't have any Hall Calls mounted for the new controller. There is only one call station on each floor for all three elevators. All of them are currently linked to the old controllers. Nothing we can do until we get the new call's in place.

The night shift crew is mounting the hall calls for the new machine. On the 8th, 7th , 6th, and the Ground floors. We're prepared to turn this mother over. My excitement is only overcome by my trepidation.

I can only hope that "Stupid" doesn't strike again.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Monday all over the place

I got to the hospital this morning, I wasn't running late, but I was later than I wanted to be. I had my cell phone plugged into the car charger, so I was distracted by unplugging it when I shut down my vehicle and stepped out. My keys were still in the damned ignition, and I had hit the door lock just before slamming the door. I didn't have any time to get back into my van, as I had to get upstairs, and get started.

We started off the day by correcting a relevelling issue that we'd experienced back on Friday. Spent better than an hour on the phone with Technical Support getting it dialed in, but we licked it. Next on the agenda was getting the floor levels dialed in. Check where they are hitting, and the spot is different when you are arriving from a lower floor than it is from an upper floor.

Scratch head, change parameters, and try again.
Same problem, but different measurements.
Scratch head, change parameters, and try again.
A little closer, but it ain't right.
Scratch head, change parameters, and try again.
Back to where we started.
Scratch head, change parameters, and try again.
This time it was pretty close. Try it again, and it's different.
Scratch head, change parameters, and try again.

Repeat this process for another four hours, and leave at the end of the day, no closer than you were at the beginning.

Why are we being such sticklers? Well, it's what we are supposed to do. Perfect is the name of the game. Straight. Level. Plumb. Of course, we've got some slop room to play with, but this is a frickin' hospital. People, Sick people, folks in wheelchairs, attendants pushing gurney's, elderly and frail citizen's, all have to use these elevators. The Code gives us a half an inch variance (1/4" above or below the floor level), but we are giving ourselves a variance of 1/32" (or about one millimeter for my overseas friends). Needless to say, it's been a bitch.

We'll start over again tomorrow, and we'll mess with it until it's right. Because it's important. These conveyances make an average of a million trips a year. That comes to 2,739.7 trips a day. Any one of those times the machine could be carrying any one of the above listed folks. It's important that it hits exactly floor level.

Exhausted, e stagger out to our respective vehicles. I borrowed a pair of "Vice-Grips" from Kevin in order to pull the pin out of one of my side windows to get me into my van. Nothing doing though. That pin is rusted in there so solidly, that I probably couldn't budge it with a sledge. In desperation, I pull on all the door latches. Surprisingly, the lift gate at the back comes open. Hooray! I am back in the saddle again.

All in all, It was a crappy fuckin' Monday. I hope the rest of the week goes better.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

So I finally got off my ass...

..and listened to an IMAO Podcast. I realize that this is like the twelfth one they've done, but I was busy during the other eleven. Eric's weekly get-together was last night, so I had nothing better to do with my insomnia than download the stupid thing and listen to it.

I ws surprised that the cussed thing was 32 minutes and eleven seconds in length. Sure, it's put together by eleventy-something people, but who knew that you could spew drivel for that long? Other than the fact that Harvey, Frank , and Sarah sound exactly like they do in real life (Why the hell can't you Photoshop audio files?), I've got a really big bone to pick with this Podcast. (Please note the Elitist name-dropping)

Since the stupid thing comes with no visual aids, I decided that I would fire up my WinAmp Visualisation in order to entertain myself while they were blathering along. "How'd that work out?" Not. Too. Good. Squiggly lines that have a squiggly factor induced by the intonation of the sounds emanated, are not very entertaining when you are listening to about a hojillian different people talk into computer microphones for minutes (That's right. Minutes.) on end. I killed the "Viz". (That's more Elitist talk. I don't expect you philistines to understand.)

What to do? What to do? I know! Solitaire. The quintessential PC game. I fired up the game and ensured that it was in "Casino Mode" and "Scored" so I could rate my progress in a "real dollar" figure. I allow that if I'm gonna play a game, it might as well be something that coould make me loads of cash and drive Nubile pretties to hang off my arm in hopes of getting some of that green. Normally I score in the multiple of hundreds of dollars to the black, but this night, I was cleaned out. I currently owe this game the equivalent of the GDP of Paraguay... and it's all IMAO's fault.

When Bill Gates comes to collect his money, (Trust me. The Vig is steep.) Then I'll just send him on your way. Just collect a single buck from all who are in your 'Cast, and I'm in the clear.

Thanks folks, I had a good chuckle or two.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:44 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005

Short to ground.

I've been sitting here "lurking" blogs all evening. It's been an enjoyable experience as it always is, but a random thought flitted across my synapses, and I just had to persue it. I'm very interested in exactly how the new elevator controller's work. I had a conversation with my coworker today about the "SCR Drive", and it intrigued me. He "allowed" that he didn't know the specific's of how it works, but he knew that it was a Silicon Controlled Rectifier. People, Google is your friend at times like these. I now have a basic idea of how this damn thing provides the proper voltages (at the proper times) to ensure a smooth transition from fast (500 feet per minute) to slow (10 feet per minute) operation. This stuff is quite neato.

I don't know why it is, but I am the type of person that does better with a machine when I know the how and why of what makes it work. Electrical circuits have beena weak point for me for some time, however, I am gradually experiencing new ideas and concepts that make it easier for me to learn. The introduction of new ideas is my lifeblood. Thank goodness for this day.

On another note, I went outside to take a leak just a few minutes ago (Yes I live in a subdivision...So what? I'll piss where I want, when I want.) and off in the distance, I see a thunderstorm brewing. The noise is very understated, and the lights aren't very bright, but I see it heading my way.

I've always enjoyed a good ThunderBoomer. It reminds me that nature is stronger than anything that man can conceive. It is something that we cannot control, and the Lightning Storm is a prime example of that. Sure, we understand the principles of what makes a lightning strike happen, and we can even utilize that knowledge to make our own machines work, but we cannot determine where lightning will strike. With all that we know about the basic theory of how lightning works, we can't make it strike where and when we wish it to. Even with a lightning rod etending a hundred feet from the Earth, it will still do what it does.

this is a very base reasoning for religion. "I don't understand it, therefore it must be derived from the Gods." This attitude evolved into "We understand how it works, but we cannot control it, therefore it must be derived from the Gods."

It's not. But I'm happy to enjoy a series of "Shorts to Ground". Especially when it isn't destroying the brains of my elevators.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 15, 2005

I'm an Elitist

Strangely enough, I didn't know it until just a little while ago, but after careful consideration of my interactions with other human beings over the last couple of weeks, I've got to say that I'm nothing more than an elitist.

Part of it comes from my profession you see. The term "Elevator Man" has a complicated history of elitism. I was recently regaled with the tale of a drunken escapade that was undertaken many moons ago by a group of elevator guy's. They were working out in the middle of North Carolina somewhere, and decided that they needed a beer. They had to drive forty miles or so to get one, but undounted they persisted. After much imbibing of malted adult libations, they struck back toward their lodgings in order to get some shut-eye. As it happens, they were pulled over by the local constabulary on the trek back, and the "Man" proceeded to give them down the road about every little thing. After a short time of hearing the officer lecture, one of the more innebriated of the bunch chimed in from the back seat "We're Elevator Men, Goddamnit!" For some reason, the officer was unimpressed, but the example still stands.

I was havign a conversation about religion the other week, and my rants here about Atheism came up. I thought that I had gone out of my way to couch my point of view in such a way as to not overtly offend anyone, but I never even thought about how elitist I come across when discussing that subject. At first, I was a bit offended at the remark, but as is my custom, I gave a few days to look at it from all sides. After careful study, I found that indeed I am an elitist when it comes to religion, and here's why: The reaction that I get from most people when they hear that I'm an athiest is a mish-mash of disbelief and pity. My reaction to them is roughly the same. It starts with disbelief that they haven't figured it out yet, and then I realize that their perception is not the same as mine, and then I pity them their ignorance. If that ain't elitist, then I don't know what is.

It's something I'm working on, but obviously I haven't got it down yet. Alas, I'm an elitist.

One of the things that I lack, is the ability to impart ideas on a common ground. I used to think that I could "dumb down" a concept to a level that everyone could comprehend, but apparrently that's not so. I can't even bring it down to the level of your average college graduate, and that should be no "mean feat", but apparrently it's a mountain higher than Everest. I've tried to bring it down, but all it does is bring me down, and I'm not going to accept that.

Henceforth, it'll be the "Closet Elitist", and I'm not going to budge for anybody. If you'd like an extended explanation, than I'll be happy to give one, but I'll not do it without a direct request. Might as well take this whole "Elitist" thing to the extreme.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

What I'm up to.

I believe I've mentioned that I've been modernizing some older elevators. Now I've got a real treat for you...Pictures!

See the extended entry if you are interested.

Let's start off with a shot of a 1960's era Otis controller.

You can click any image to make it bigger, but beware, some of these are at very high resolution, so you might have to scroll around a bit.

Folks, there's only one way to say this, and it is: "Wholly Crap! That's a LOT of relay's". I can sit and watch this thing work for hours I tell you. All the relay's "picking" and "dropping" and doing all the thinking for this machine is like a dance, but with sparks flying. The little round, black things in the second and third row from the top were originally vacuum tubes, and the big blue thing in the lower right is the Generator that provides power to the Machine. Neat!

Next up is the "Machine" itself.


That skinny, Silver-topped thing on the left is the "overspeed governor" that will stop the car in the (unlikely) event that it goes too fast up or down the hoistway. The black thing in the middle is what is known as a "Pie Plate" selector. The wheel at the bottom of it is turned by the movement of the car. The wheel turns a reduction gear that is attatched to the corkscrew thingy that runs vertically up the middle, and to the chain that you see hanging at the back-left. The chain moves a series of switches up and down in conjunctin with the spinning plates, and they tell the elevator where to slow down, level in, and stop at each floor. Essentially it is a miniature image of the entire hoistway. Fascninating device that.

The big green thing in the background is (of course) the drive machine. That's what does all the work. This little jewel is a 44 horsepower, 400 Volt, 200 Amp, Double-wrapped Gearless Traction Machine, roped two to one. You can see how it is double wrapped around the shieve, as there are twelve slots for the ropes, but only six go down through the floor. Gearless means that there is no type of transmission to this thing. Newer traction elevators use a reduction gear attached to the motor to enable them to have smaller motor's. On this one, the shieve is attached directly to the motor armiture, eliminating all of that stuff. It's simpler, but the motor has to be huge in order for this system to work. Traction denotes that there is nothing grabbing or gripping the ropes other that the friction created against the shieves by the weight of the cab and the counterweight. The two to one roping denotes that the ropes are arranged in such a manner that one rotation of the drive shieve moves the car twice the distance. It's a bit antiquated, but it's still got another 50 or 60 years of good service in it.

If you are interested, I can turn these little picture updates into a quasi-regular thing. I've got more pics to post, and more things to say about my trade, but I've blogged enough about it for now. Please advise me if you'd like to see more.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:20 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Talking about stuff...

..Taht I really shouldn't talk about. That's what I do. I offend the majority of the population of the bogosphere by posting that I'm an Athiest...and I even have a few opinions to back it up. I talk of personal issues..In detail...that are normally kept in check. I voice my opinion when it is relevant (or what I feel like) and everything else is left by the wayside.

Sure, I'm not an everyday blogger, and sometimes it gives me distress, but mostly I am a reactional blogger. Something will key the urge to post, and then I'll do so. When that "Something" isn't there, I shut the Fuck up. If I'm not confident in my stance, I'll state so, and not get upset when I'm proven to be incorrect. It's quite simple to me really. If I offer up a standpoint, it'll be on a subject that I'm dealing with, and I need some feedback to justify ,or invalidate, my position.

Somem may comment, but with inanities. Others will bring somthing "real" to the discussion, and I may or may not respond to them. Sometimes, there will be a link to a post that I haven't visited in weeks that is relevant to the talk.

For the most part, the most important silences that I've heard are
in regard to religion. It's a touchy subjuct, and it is one that is extremely difficult to talk about, but I am not afraid to breach the subject.

Sometimes yoo have to disclepline your folka in order for them to achieve thier potential. These thingd are important to an EGO, so it's importa nt to see it for what it is...AN OPINION.

I'm certain that people wonder why I'm a "Closet Extremist", and there's your reason this is why I keep it "closeted" for such a long tiime. If it is a correct "idea" from me, I want it to stand on it's own merits, and not"" Necesarily
What the evidence can currently proscribe.

Considerit a weakness.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 01:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 10, 2005

Tech Vs. Code.

This evening (After working 10 and a half-hour day), I arrived at the house only to discover that my roommate's both were having issues. Jenny was not making progress on the XBox game that she's been playing (The Chronicles of Riddick, for the curious) and needed me to get her where she needed to be. I had to fire up a new profile, and start over from the beginning. Unfortunately, I forgot to do something that is key to the progresion of the game, and I'll have to do it again. Ah well. If it makes her happy, then it's worth it.

Steven, on the other hand, had a problem that I was absolutely required to help him with. He works in a technical field, you see, but the issue is with communication. Luckily, I understand both. He tends to be a very "direct" individual; If it's a spade, he's not afeared to call it such, and back his assertions with proof. His delivery lacks "a little to be desired" though, so I "swoop in", and clean things up for him. He's mildly dislexic, so idea's don't "come acrosst" (yes I meant to type that "t".) when he's working in an e-mail environment, but that is most of his job. He is (essentially) a "go between" for his clients, and the geeks who they work for. He has to be able to translate "Geek" into "Customer", and go back and forth between the two. Luckily the Customer is a Geek too, so the translation is very minimal.

Lately, he's been having some trouble representing his client, due to a fuckup of a "Coder's" part. Steven requested that a change to the file structure that had been implemented be reversed, according to his client. The respoce from the "coder" was "Done". He informed the client that things were copacetic, but they found things to still be "not in order". He E-mails the Coder again, and asks about progress, and is absolutly BLASTED by the Coder. "Why don't you understand what I told you ?" is the essence of the conversation, but he actually didn't do what he said was "Done".

After perusing the that had gone back and forth from the "Coder" to the "Communicator" I determined that the changes that were suppossed to
have been made by the "coder" hadn't tranpired. It took three requests by the client (By way of Steven) to get things resolved.

What I helped him with was his response to his boss, since he's been caled on the carpet about his interraction with the Coder. It seems that "Coder boy" had gone to the boss in regards to this situation and complained that Steve was an Asshole because of how he had responded to a an Electronic Message that had been sent by the Coder.

I read through the correspondance between the hurt paties, and determined that Steven was in the right. He had requested the return of it's the code o it's original form, three times b3efore it actually became fact. The "Coder" told him it was "Done" shortly after the first request.

I took his vitriolic rant, and transposed it into something that a Vice President of the Company would read and comprehend. He's already gotten a message back from her that stated "I see your point"... as opposed to... Here's the door.

I'm proud that I could assist my friend in his endeavors.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 01:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 08, 2005

Just to let you know...

I've gotten a telephone call from three different bloggers, (indirectly) asking after my well-being. Friday night, blog-sister Tammi "drunk dialed" me, and we had an absolutely wonderful conversation.

You don't understand how much I like this individual. She's sweet, smart, sexy, domineering, concentual, forgiving, and most importantly, understanding. We talked of our lives, and how things are transpiring. We talked about our pets. We discussed carreers. It was absolutely lovely. All I had to do was answer the phone, and I had me some Tammi-Time.

This afternoon, I was playing a video game, and my phone rang. Lo' and behold, it was my blog-child Tuck. He's been on vacation for the last week, and has enjoyed himself very much. Time out with the Family is good. I'm sorry that it didn't turn into a skydiving fest like was his original intention, but I'm pleased that he got the chance to spend his vacation with his beautiful children. That's what it's all about!

Earlier this evening, I got a holla from the one, (The Only) Straght White Guy. He was concerned that the conversation of the latest time I had attended the "Eagle Glen Social Club" was a little too much for my finer (Big City) sensibilities. I was pleased to dissabuse him of the notion that he was anything other than the fine host that he is. Every time I show my face down there has been a distinct pleasure. Terrible pool-shootng, (On my part) combined with wonderful conversation (On the Host's part) combine to make a wonderful time.

Dear God. I hope that I can still call all of them my Friend.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:57 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005

Modernizations are tougher.

As I may have mentioned, I am currently working on a Modernization of a bank of three elevators that were installed around 1962 or so. We are putting in new systems that are a bit more 2005. We are going from a bank of relays for a controller, to a state of the art, Triple Redundency, Computer-driven system. The problem is... locating all this new "space age" technology on a car that was designed for a completely different system. Since we are doing the first car (which becomes the template that the other one's will be matched to) it takes a lot longer to mock things up (and get them right) than it will for the other two cars. We are designing the schema for the entire job as we go.

WE placed a car-top box in a position that was most unfortunate yesterday. It'll be good for any service tech who has to come onto this job in the future, but there is only room enough for one mechanic on the top-front of the car now. I wanted to mount it vertically on the side of the car, but the other man wanted to mount it horizontilally from the bottom of the crosshead. My way woould have taken up almost no room off the top of the car, but his way takes up an area roughly three feet square. He's been doing this for nearly thirty years, and I've been doing it for ten months. We went with his way, and it caused no end of troouble with moving around on top of the car today.

"It's all about compromise" he constantly says, but there's some things that I wouldn't give in on if I was driving. Mobility is key. If a service man is a little uncomfortable later on, I don't give a shit. As long as my current job goes smoothly and with a minimum of fuss and stress, and anyone who is extracted from a stopped car through the upper hatch is unimpeded. Philosophies differ, but the end result is the same... A functioning elevator.

I would say "More tomorrow", but I'm heading down to Eric's for a little social decompression. See you soon.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Insomnia Sucks.

'Nuff said.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 01, 2005

The Mail.

I got a rare treat today! The little one went out to check the mail, and came back in stating that I'd gotten a package. Hmmn. I didn't order anything.I took a peek at the large manila envelope, and found the sender was Subterranean Press. Maybe I did order something after all. I ripped open my package and found a gleaming new copy of Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi. According to the invoice, I orderred this tome back on the twenty-seventh of March, so it's no surprise that it kinda slipped my mind.

If you're a science-fiction fan, I highly recommend checking out Scalzi's fiction work. He comes at things with a perspective that I think you'll find quit refreshing. I grew up on writers like Alan Dean Foster, to give you a perspective on the quaility of work.

Another good thing about getting this book is this:

I'll remind y'all that 10% of the cover price of each copy of Agent to the Stars goes to the Child's Play charity, which gets video games and other toys into the hands of kids in children's hospitals across the US, and also that I've made a pledge that if the entire print run sells out by December 31, I'll kick an additional $350 out of my own royalties.

Sounds good doesn't it? DOESN'T IT?

Anyway, I'm off to read my new book.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack