Do You Know How to Use an RPT?

That’s R-P-T, not R-P-G nor included in M-M-R-P-G. Though M-M-R-P-T could be a new term to use in a lot of cases. In this case, I’m calling it “Mass Misuse of a Relocatable Power Tap” – generally we just call it a “power strip” for short. And no, that wasn’t a pun.

Everybody has them. And most certainly, if you have one, you probably have more and you probably have something plugged into them. I know, it’s a very astute observation on my part. But, are you using it properly?

College goers…Who has their micro-fridge [substitute kegerator here if you’ve made that upgrade], hot plate, stereo, computer, phone charger, television, fish tank, floor lamp, portable fan or heater, or personal massager plugged into one? No need to show your hands. I’ve been there, except the personal massager.

Office workers…Who has their computer, pencil sharpener, radio, heated massage chair, desktop disco ball, or desk ground effects kit plugged into one? Again, no need for hands. I can feel the collective nod occurring. I AM there, except for the heated massage chair.

Home relaxers…You can pick and choose from the previous 2 references and maybe add in some magic fingers for a rockin’ good time!

Now before I put any more great but bad ideas into your heads, let me save you that midnight run to the local super store, lunchtime dash to the local office supply store or weekend stop at the local hardware store. Nearly everything I’ve mentioned should not be used with an RPT. The exception is your computer and its peripherals and your A/V equipment. I know you were all thinking it was any of the variety of the massagers. So was Jim, but alas it is not.

In a semi-surprising manner, OSHA actually has no specific compliance standard. However, relocatable power taps do fall under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.303(b)(2) and 1926.403(b)(2), NFPA 70 110.3(b) and NFPA 70E 400.3(B) which are all entitled, “Installation and Use,” and require instructions to be followed. In this instance, the instructions are written as part of their UL listing.

UL 1363: Relocatable Power Taps – relocatable multiple outlet extensions of a branch circuit to supply laboratory equipment, home workshops, home movie lighting controls, musical instrumentation, and to provide outlet receptacles for computers, audio and video equipment and other equipment.

The bullet points:

  • They are not extension cords.
  • They are not a temporary wiring method. (They can be used longer than 90 days.)
  • They can be secured in place but in a way that shall not require tools to remove them.
  • They are for low-powered loads.
  • They are to be plugged directly into a permanently installed receptacle.
  • They shall not be overloaded nor the circuit they are plugged into.
  • They are not to be used at construction sites or outdoors.

What does all of that mean? Let me help.

  • You shouldn’t be plugging in one device because it doesn’t reach the receptacle or using the power switch to turn something on and off because it doesn’t have a power switch itself.
  • You can use them longer than 90 days by itself.
  • You can attach them to the wall or under your desk but you should use something like a hook-and-loop fastener to do so. They have to be removable by hand and with your hands only.
  • Do not plug refrigerators, coffee pots, microwave ovens, space heaters, etc. into them.
  • Don’t plug them into each other creating a daisy-chain or into an extension cord. Remember that the extension cord can only be used temporarily (90 days). Don’t plug an extension cord or cube tap into them to add more outlets either.
  • Generally, they are only rated for 15 amps with either a fuse or circuit breaker internally. When you start adding all of your appliances to them, it adds up quick. Especially when you have 2 power strips plugged into that same receptacle. Take into account everything that is on that circuit. That receptacle by the door may be on the same circuit as the receptacle by the window.
  • They do not contain GFCI protection. When you put your power saw through the cord or it rains on your Christmas display, are you going to trust that fuse or circuit breaker to protect you and your equipment? You shouldn’t.

Can you get into the argument that only the work environment falls into these terms? Yes. But, they don’t call it “best practice” for nothing. Something else to consider, why do it right at work and not at home or in college? Pretty much everywhere you go in a college somebody is working, right? Is that not their workplace? Then the general industry standards come into play there, which include OSHA and NFPA.

In doing a quick web search for news, you’ll find a plethora of stories about fires caused by power strips. Please, don’t be the victim to a fire because you had your freezer, treadmill and space heater plugged into a power strip.

Just remember, it’s not okay to think that because it hasn’t happened to you, it doesn’t mean you aren’t on the list.

got fox?

4Wall’s First Internship – WHICH IS PAID!

Good afternoon everyone!  I’m catching up from LDI madness, and this needs to be posted!

4Wall Lighting’s used gear division, (Las Vegas) is putting up its first internship for application!  From Wes Bailey:, a division of 4Wall Entertainment, is proud to offer its first ever internship.  The internship will last 90 days and carries the possibility of further employment. 

The internship is a great opportunity for anyone looking for quality experience and references in entertainment and theatrical lighting.  The selected intern will work directly with the used sales and marketing team of and in turn, 4Wall Entertainment.

Duties will include:

-Gathering, pricing, and posting of equipment on the and websites
-Testing and prep of theatrical lighting equipment for sale
-Event support including customer interaction
-Dealing with used equipment movement between 4Wall locations


-Residency in Las Vegas for the duration of the Internship (not provided by 4Wall)
-At least two (2) years college experience (any related major)
-Working knowledge of entertainment lighting products and manufacturers
-Minor to mid-level repair capabilities for entertainment lighting products
-Above average computer skills (Microsoft Office Suite)
-Social Media Competency
-Some physical capabilities (able to lift 50-60 lbs)
-High level of motivation!

Please submit resumes to .  Resumes must be received by November 23rd for consideration.

Yeppers, the summer job hunt begins!  Get your information into Wes Bailey before NOVEMBER 23rd!

PRG’s BEST BOY 4000 – A Exclusive

You know all of this press that’s been going out about PRG’s new fixture, Best Boy 4000?

All of this talk of Swiss Army knives has got me sleepy. has exclusive video of BEST BOY 4000 before anybody else.  Check it out:

Stay tuned.  More BEST BOY 4000 footage coming soon!

InLight Gobos Now Offers Online Ordering!

Yeah, that first night in a hotel when I have a big presentation the next morning is always a wash.  Always.  I’m in Orlando, at LDI, getting ready to teach

I don’t write about press releases unless I believe that there’s something to talk about, and I just got a good one.  InLight Gobos is now offering ONLINE ORDERING.  I heard about some other cool stuff that’s coming from InLight Gobos, but if I told you, I’d have to kill you.  I mean, figuratively of course, but not in the Shakespearean way.  Sorry, I’m just not that kind of girl!  Guy!  You know what I mean.

Rick Hutton, president of InLight Gobos (and just a stellar guy) sent this:

Dallas, TX (October 25, 2011) – InLight Gobos has opened a new online shop at  Developed to provide added convenience and value to customers and prospective customers, InLight Gobos Online Shop features their full inventory of color, greyscale and black & white gobos.

InLight Gobos offers a wide variety of color, greyscale and monochrome patterns for catalog reproduction.  All patterns are available in a variety of sizes to fit most projectors and lighting fixtures on the market, and the Online Shop provides customers with a fast and convenient way to order glass gobos 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers simply select a category, then choose the gobo pattern, size and quantity and required sizes. Orders are shipped within 3 days from order date, with faster shipping available if needed.

“We wanted to bring a higher level of convenience to our customers,” says company President, Rick Hutton, “Our entire catalog of stock gobos are available for viewing online, making it convenient for new clients and those already familiar with our extensive line of designs , online shopping made sense.  We’re confident that our customers will find it to be an excellent complement to our services and customer care efforts.”

The Online Shop can be accessed directly at and is also featured on the company’s home page.

InLight Gobos was formed in 2002 with a simple mission to bring the best quality glass gobos at a competitive price to the lighting and entertainment industries; this mission still stands today. Over the years InLight Gobos has continued to bring new innovations to the lighting and projection industry. In partnership with Beacon SSR Stage Light AB, their patented process allows them to produce the most detailed and thinnest full-color gobos in the market.

Awesome.  If you’ve ever used Rick’s glass, you know that there is no other.

Sunday Flickr Group Photo Pool

It’s been a little while.  I’ve been pretty swamped – this time of year always seems to really kick my butt.  October has historically always been the busiest month of the year for me.  What’s your busiest month of the year, typically?

This is a cool day for the Flickr Group Photo Pool – some excellent work developing there, please check it out!  I love to share.  You also need to check out my special web ninja’s Flickr group, Today’s Sun.  It is absolutely chock full of awesome.  Here’s a few highlights:


Burning Clouds


Whispy clouds with a happy little tree.

…and now, the Sunday Flickr Pool Post!

cocoon shape : an innovative design?


OutInChi Launch Party

Horse Drawn To Water

light illumination

Tap Kids! 2011 Showcase

Crepuscular Rays


$35,000 Per Life, and A Search Warrant for IATSE #30 – Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Update

So, it’s been a little while since we’ve had to see the images of the Indiana State Fair collapse during the Sugarland show on the grandstand. I want everybody to see some of these images again, I think the only way to freshly get it in your head is to see what happened.

First this happened:

Then all of these people did this:

I just read two articles on the collapse and the aftermath. One of them said that the families of the fallen concertgoers were each given $35,000 for their dead loved one and that the Indiana State Fair attendance is lagging due to the “incident,” the other article said that the IATSE Local in Indianapolis, IATSE #30, is experiencing some grind from the lawyers from the state of Indiana. From an article at the Indy Star:

Lawyers for the state and a stagehands union are working on an agreement to turn over documents relating to the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

A lawyer for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 30 said Wednesday that he was willing to hand over apprenticeship training files on stagehands who were working at the fair when the accident occurred Aug. 13.

Local 30 stopped the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration from conducting a search of its Indianapolis union hall last week. The agency had obtained a search warrant requesting employment disciplinary records, apprenticeship training records, certificates, licenses and other documents.

“We are trying to resolve this in a nonadversarial way,” said William Groth, the lawyer for the union. “We want to cooperate. We just think a search warrant is the nuclear option.”

Marion Superior Court Judge David Shaheed on Wednesday extended a stay of the search warrant until Nov. 3.

Chetrice Mosely, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, said “both sides have agreed to enter a discussion as to how to resolve this. Our goal is to get the records so we can do a comprehensive investigation,” she said.

This is a real bummer. I don’t really have much to comment on about this, I just wanted to share these two stories, as this is still fresh in the hearts of the families and IA brothers and sisters still mourning the loss of their cherished.

Then there was this article

INDIANAPOLIS — Two high-level investigations into the fatal Indiana State Fair stage collapse may not be released in time to help prepare for next year’s fair, the fair’s director said Tuesday.

Indiana State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye told a group of lawmakers that information from separate investigations into the stage collapse that killed seven people may not be complete until mid-April.

The state has typically done much of its work for its three-week-long summer fair by that point.

The state hired international engineers Thornton Tomasetti to investigate the wreckage of the stage.

The state also hired Witt Associates to assess the fair’s emergency preparations. Witt has completed much of its work but will wait until the engineers complete their investigation before issuing a report together with them, Hoye said.

“We’re progressing right now with looking at our emergency preparations, we’re doing a lot of front end work,” Hoye said after the meeting. “I think that report will clarify and put a snapshot on some of the things we need to do.”

There is more to this article of course, here – what we should be taking away from this whole thing is the amazing amount of bureaucratic inflighting and policy clouding will be involved with the results of the collapse by that time.  Let’sd hope not much – but we can all watch the news and determine how good this situation is going to come about once it becomes filled with politics.  I sincerely hope for the sake of the hearts of those involved that this time is the one exception.


Sebastian Brajkovic’s Lathe-Made Lamp

This is a pretty cool lamp, I must say!  Dutch designer Sebastian Brajkovic has created this, and a bunch of other very beautiful lathed pieces, for the New York Pavilion of Art and Design Show in the city.  The PAD show is Friday 11th November through Monday 14th November, 2011.  There are going to be some pretty cool pieces of work at the show, so if you’re around during that time, I highly recommend checking it out!

Sebastian’s lamp is lathed from aluminum and hard anodized – lovely work!

This is another piece from the Lathe series – it’s a beautiful console wall table called, funny enough, “console.”


Thanks, DesignBoom!

The North American Nebula

Pardon the late afternoon post, I’m rocking some kind of stomach flu today. What an interesting day – this morning, not even water could take residence in my stomach.  I tried, but the water said “I’M OUT!”

Light from the universe is pretty cool.  There is a large nebula that has a quaint resemblance to the North American continent (which is funny enough called The North American Nebula) that is sometimes visible on really dark nights.  What makes this nebula cool is that as you filter out certain wavelengths of light (like the IR spectrum or UHC filters), our perception of the light from the nebula changes.  The shape really kind of goes away altogether, but who cares – that mass of points and bands of light and color is absolutely amazing.

Check out this image – it’s a quad image from wikipedia of the North American Nebula, but with filters in place for each image:

(You have got to see this one full size.  Seriously.)

This is an amazing thing – I know that there are some serious nerds who read, hopefully you all read the NASA Image of the Day gallery, this was the post from yesterday:

From the NASA Image of the Day post from October 18:

This swirling landscape of stars is known as the North America Nebula. In visible light, the region resembles North America, but in this image infrared view from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the continent disappears.

Where did the continent go? The reason you don’t see it in Spitzer’s view has to do, in part, with the fact that infrared light can penetrate dust whereas visible light cannot. Dusty, dark clouds in the visible image become transparent in Spitzer’s view. In addition, Spitzer’s infrared detectors pick up the glow of dusty cocoons enveloping baby stars.

Clusters of young stars (about one million years old) can be found throughout the image. Some areas of this nebula are still very thick with dust and appear dark even in Spitzer’s view. 

The Spitzer image contains data from both its infrared array camera and multi-band imaging photometer. Light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns has been color-coded blue; 4.5-micron light is blue-green; 5.8-micron and 8.0-micron light are green; and 24-micron light is red. This image is from February 2011.

This is totally worth a few minutes, check out this video – it breaks down the nebula with visible and invisible light filters and details. Unbelievably beautiful.

A Solar Condensation Water Filter – Totally Random.

I have been working so much and so frequently on a multi-float Halloween parade entry I’ve designed with so much help from co-designer Ashley Bellet (who is an outstanding costume designer, by the way).  All I can think about in my non-work-time is going camping with two good friends, Roger and Ru, so I have been thinking a lot lately about camping and the kind of nerd stuff that I like to try when camping.  It’s almost as if camping represents some kind of peaceful non-work place where there are magic bottles of Shiner Bock just begging me to drink them, and the breeze coming off of the lake is as good as zoning out in front of the TV.

Solar water condensation filters – have you seen anything like this before?  This is the kind of stuff I dreamed in my head as a kid – my folks gave me this awesome little 18X24 drafting set when I was 8 or 9, I don’t remember.  I used to draw this kind of stuff in my room with my little t-square and 30-60-90 triangle.  I also came up with a flying ninja space wagon, a large rocket that could drive my GI Joes around the house, and for some reason, plan views of my little imaginary mountain towns… OF THE FUTURE.

Do you have any idea what it is I’m rambling about here?  From Len McDougall’s The Self-Reliance Manifesto: How to Survive Anything Anywhere:


Another way to go about this is by taking a large container and a small container and some plastic wrap to make a sort-of crock-pot style water catcher – like this:

Nothing major, imagine a black aluminum pan or a bucket, even – and inside, a smaller jar that will collect the condensate.  Over the top of the large container should be a piece of clear (or at least very translucent) plastic wrap that acts as the “airtight” barrier between the water environment and the outside air, and a little rock.  Like, a rock – not like Lynyrd Skynyrd.  When you put the rock in the center of the plastic wrap, you’ve created a little funnel that pretty much directs the water right into the collecting container!  Now how simple and awesome is that?!

Ok.  Back to your breakfast.  Just a total random bit of my brain, interjecting itself onto the world.


Hot, Steamy, Sexy Solar Power – ALL NIGHT LONG!

Doesn’t that just sound like the biggest nerd pr0n video of all time?!

I just saw an article over at about a solar power plant in Spain that is using reflected solar thermal power to heat salts that stay molten for a long time, and then using that heat during the evening hours to maintain a constant stream of collected energy to electricity for customer demand.  The idea of using hundreds of heliostats to focus daytime sun onto essentially a bucket of something to collect solar energy is not new, we’ve been doing it for a long time.  It’s always interesting, however, exactly what stories get peoples’ attention.  I’m always grateful whenever cool tech makes regular news.

PS, a heliostat is the combination of a very, very specular mirror of the planar variety (usually) that is attached to something that makes it continually point so that it is focusing its reflected beam of light onto a target.  When you put several hundred of these things together in a field shining at something like they use in solar thermal collection, you get beams of light that create some of the most intense melting heat we know on Earth.  Like this:

Here’s the video from CNN:

Thanks for the image, Wikipedia!