Freestanding Pivoting Stage Flat

For the high school production of Peter Pan, the request was to have two large windows on stage that can open, allowing Peter to fly through. With set pieces on either side the amount of framing and bracing allowed is limited. Plus the need for fly wires eliminates the possibility of a lintel brace across the top.

The windows also needed to sit 18" above the stage floor on top of a couple platforms. And finally, the entire window structure needs to be removable from the acting space.

My solution was to use a pipe inside a pipe system. The support pipe is 1 1/4" diameter and the window brace pipe is 1" diameter, fitting perfectly inside the larger bracing pipe.

The larger bracing pipe is two feet long, the same height as the platform. I used a flange to secure it to the floor and two brackets to secure the pipe in two directions to the adjoining platforms.

A 1x3 length of lumber was used to secure the ten foot long piece of 1" pipe with four additional pipe brackets. Then the window was secured to the lumber brace.

All the weight of each window lives in the iron pipe. I tried PVC at first but found it too flexible, allowing the window to sag dramatically. Even with the stiffness of metal pipe, the window does have a slight droop.

To provide additional support at the swing end of the window, I mounted a small roller designed for kitchen drawers. The roller provides just enough freedom to allow the window to move freely and not drag across the platform.

Another tweak I plan to add is a large washer to at the point where the window brace rests on top of the support pipe. This will provide additional support and reduce friction as the window swings.

Overall, the entire apparatus cost a little more than $100 and three trips to Lowe's. If needed, another way to help prevent sag or droop with the window grid would be to use fishing string to create a cross support from high pipe side to the lower corner.

Review: The Wild Robot Escapes

Usually sequels have trouble living up to the original, but The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown may be even better than the original. Where the first book struggled with the relationship between robots and raw nature, the second assumes a humanity in the robot's AI. By allowing the robot to become more human, the story has deeper connection and a fuller resonance.

In some ways, by granting the main character human emotions and deep social connections, we realize that no artificial or man-made technology can truly become "human". The author even grants artificial intelligence to the wild animals further emphasizing how different we are from the rest of nature.

This was a very touching, loving and moving book and a must read following the first. Parent's can talk with their kids about death, disaster, and difficult decisions. The concepts of family and friends are central to the book, as well as a peaceful response to difficult circumstances. I highly recommend this book for upper elementary readers and above (even to older adults).

The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
View all my reviews

Length of Days Question

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” Genesis 6:4

I've read this passage several times before but only recently read the Geneva Bible commentary that defined the 120 years as the amount of time before God's judgement with the flood.

For some reason, [and I'm not sure where I got this idea] I always thought the passage referred to an overall shortening of the average length of lifespan.

The commentary references 1 Peter 3:20 which does not mention 120 years, but does describe waiting for judgement while the ark was being built.

Which interpretation have you understood it to mean? Where did the idea of shortened lifespan come from?

I posed these same questions in a bible reading group and discovered I'm not the only one who was challenged with a different interpretation. If you have any additional resources or references to this passage, please share them in the comments.

Back in the Workshop Circuit

After stepping out of the classroom, I discovered that I miss presenting workshops at conferences. For several years I attended, participated and presented at regional and state wide conferences for STEM, computer integration and technology in the classroom. Now that my focus has shifted to church IT, I realized that I have more time to pursue another interest: gaming.

This spring, Who's Yer Gamers is hosting their eleventh annual gaming convention. This is a free event and open to everyone. I will be presenting a workshop on Habitica an online task management gaming system as well as running a couple card game sessions.

Just like workshops I've presented in the past, I'm both excited at the opportunity but also fearful that no one will choose to attend my sessions. Who's Yer Con leans heavily towards role play games - there are only two other workshops for sewing. But I plan to present the same workshop at GenCon this fall, so if nothing else this can be good practice.

12 Books of Fiction Challenge

I recently joined a challenge to read at least one book of fiction each month in 2019. Typically this would not be difficult for me but I've been feeling guilty about not spending as much time on non-fiction books for work.

What fiction books would you recommend? 


For February, I decided to begin with The Wild Robot Escapes, a sequel to a book I read last year. The artwork and pacing are the same as the original and so far the plot equally engaging. The short chapters also help to give a sense of accomplishment and invite reading in sporadic bursts.

Looking through my "to-read" book list on Goodreads, I see that the non-fiction is starting to overwhelm the fiction. Last year's favorite was Geekerella, but I also tend towards science fiction - particularly Doctor Who. So this challenge should help me to seek out the balance in my reading choices.