Flowing Around Obstacles

When I was working at the University, I would teach safety to each of the undergrad classes.

For me, part of teaching safety was helping the students find a mental space where they could act in a safe way in the lab.

Every time that I made a serious mistake, or I was hurt at work, it was when I felt time pressure, that my emotions were high, that I was rushing.

I talked about a few tactics to help with reducing the tendency to rush, including the importance of proper preparation and planning. Even as the people running the lab, proper preparation and scheduling during the lab turned a 4 hour marathon into a much more manageable 2.5 hour run. Having all of the participants also being prepared would only help this further.

Perhaps knowing that not all students would have prepared for all of the labs they would encounter, I also talked about general tactics for dealing with strong emotions in a setting where they could prove dangerous. Interestingly, looking back, it shares a lot in common with how I now think about meditation[1].

I would tell that what I did when I wanted to deal with strong emotion in a setting where that was not useful was to take all of the emotion in, to experience it fully, and then let it go[2].

I internally sometimes use the analogy of “water off a duck’s back”, but I think a far more apt analogy is how a cat feels when you accidentally do something to it. It feels the emotions immediately, reacts, and then goes back to sleeping or cleaning itself, or whatever else it was doing.

Fully experience the emotion, then let it go.

This brings me to the title of this post, ‘Flowing around obstactles’.

Last time, I wrote about writer’s block and the obstacles of tiredness and the fear of not doing justice to the topics that speak to you the most.

I talked about flow, the idea that you know that the obstacles are there, but you aren’t letting them affect you emotionally. It’s not a rigid or brittle ‘not letting’, more of a ‘letting them flow around you’.

Growing up, I focused on the concept of “don’t let it affect you”, which is effective at pushing things aside and allowing you to focus on the thing in front of you, but it isn’t very helpful at helping you to determine exactly what should be the thing in front of you.

More recently, with my life coach, we worked on relaxing into working through obstacles[3].

This feels similar to letting emotions flow into, around, then out of you.

You acknowledge them, but they seem to have no power over you. You have your essential self that you have found parts of and are piecing together, and the obstacles are of no moment, and you can flow around them, or they flow around you.

It’s not that the obstacles disappear, or are non-existent. It’s not that they don’t matter emotionally. You can see that you have emotions about them, but you can flow through that to the state where you can focus on solving the problem. It’s similar to understanding how your emotions or hackles can be raised in a situation, but it has nothing to do with the person in front of you[4]. You notice this, you flow around and through the emotions, you find the root cause, and you solve the problem.

Good examples escape me right now, but I think you get the idea. Either way, comment below!

Next time, we’ll talk about forgiveness and the essential self. Stay tuned!

[1]And the Flame and the Void, which some people have tried in real life, with interesting results.

[2]Experienced readers will note that this is an interesting counterpoint to how I was raised, which was to ‘not let it affect you’, with subtle but important differences.

[3]Somewhat similar to re-incorporating your shadow, relaxing, and becoming more whole.

[4]It’s probably the patriarchy.

Being in Your Body

Very recently, I came to a personal epiphany about meditation. I had known about it since time immemorial, had friends who extolled its virtues, and had heard about the relevant scientific studies, but had never really understood it myself.

Similar to how salmon skin rolls were my introduction to sushi, I would end up discovering meditation from an unexpected direction. One day at life coaching, my life coach and I were working on ways to help me deal with an upcoming stressful event, when we came upon the idea to do a guided exercise of ‘being in my body’.

Coming out of the exercise, I was extremely relaxed. The way I see it, part of it is the relaxation from sitting in one place, actually listening to your body and how it’s uncomfortable, and dealing with that, but most of it comes from finding all of the things which are affecting you, all the things you are paying attention to without realizing it[1]. You use meditation to find these things, make them conscious, then you can deal with them or let them wash over you. Either way, you can move beyond them. In the limit, you can do a guided meditation, then when you come out of it, you may notice things which were bothering you in a much more conscious way, allowing you to deal with them more easily.

‘Being in your body’ was a much more accessible phrase for me than ‘meditation’, perhaps because it was a new phrase, or a much simpler phrase, without any of the social and cultural attachments of ‘meditation’. ‘Meditation’ always felt very abstract, something that you would do with your mind only, something that you would do in an uncomfortable position in a boring way. Doing it in a trusting environment in a comfortable position I think was key for me. ‘Being in your body’ was also key. A vital part of the process (for me, at least), is being/becoming aware of as many parts of your body that you can, and acknowledging their effects on you[2]. So, for me, at least at the start, it is much more about body consciousness than mind consciousness[3].

The other key for me was forgiveness. IIRC, G made the connection that many people find it difficult to accept failures in themselves, and they can further find it very difficult to forgive themselves for these failures. When you cannot forgive yourself inside your own head, it is no longer a safe space, and you no longer want to spend time there. So, you might spend time distracting yourself, you might self-medicate in any one of a number of ways.

But the first step towards solving this is to understand what is going on, to understand what you are saying to yourself all of the time. Then you need to allow yourself that safe space inside your head by forgiving yourself. I don’t have a magic answer here (although I plan to write on forgiveness later), all I can say is what worked for me. What might help is understanding that the words you say to yourself may not originally be your own, and differentiating between these words and what you actually feel may help you forgive yourself.

Either way, after going through this, when I got home, S told me that seemed almost asleep standing up, I was so relaxed. I know I didn’t feel asleep, just very relaxed and at peace.

– Be in your body
– Forgive yourself
– Relax

Thanks for reading! Just writing about that helped me relive/re-experience some of those feelings, and I’m feeling much more relaxed.

[1]Cf. Getting Things Done’s ‘Open Loops’ writ large.

[2]I understand that this inconsistently reductionist and simplistic. I imagine that most of my writing is this way. After this exercise, I am at peace with this. 😀

[3]This is also reductionist and wrong, but beyond the scope.

How do you Stop Yourself From Acting?

I’ve been working on a number of posts, now that I feel that I can start writing again. It so happens that I’m feeling (I think) a little more tired than usual[1], and so it feels slightly more difficult than usual to put words to electronics.

So, I’m working on a number of posts, each of them with perhaps a paragraph or two so far. A couple of them have really poignant titles, that really speak to me. Titles so near and dear to my heart that I’m afraid to publish something that isn’t perfect. So, I start another post instead of publishing something.

It is this fear of not being good enough, a falling out of trust with my own ability that is stopping me right now. Or rather, it isn’t, as I seem to have found a way around it.

It involves trying things, trying different channels of thought until I find one where the words flow well enough from my fingertips. I think it helps that I’ve had that feeling before.

I’m tempted to make a sequel to something I’ve already done[2], but interestingly, this feels even easier. I think it may be because struggling with uploading pictures to WordPress is such a bear.

Anyways, words flowing from fingers. Following the flow wherever it takes you. You see the shoals of writer’s block, of tiredness, and you sit down, fully accept them, then playfully try different things until you find something that just flows around them as if the obstacles weren’t there at all.

More on that later. Happy creating!

[1]Who knows what is actually happening, with the amazing ability of the brain to convince you that you don’t need to be doing things.

[2]Anything on this blog entitled ‘Burning Man in Pictures’.

Whimsy

Whimsy.
noun: “playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humor.” (OED)

To me, it speaks of playfulness, perhaps some randomness, a willingness to play along and see where things go. Perhaps somewhere between the Pkunk and Dirk Gently.

If you played the old M:tG ‘Shandalar’ computer game[1], you may remember this card.

But I’m speaking of whimsy today because I had recently noticed that I had been feeling much less of it my life, due to some stressful circumstances that (I think) have now dissipated. You may have been following my writing for a while, and this is a large part of why I have not written in months, with the few sporadic mostly-picture posts being the most that I could put together.

I’ve been working with my life coach for some time now, on a number of things. One of the largest ones was finding space to create. I had spent a lot of time focusing on making physical and temporal space for creation, but had forgotten about creating the mental space, to be able to deal with distractions.

I almost said ‘push away’ distractions, but similar to the discussion of Saidin and Saidar, pushing away distractions is okay as a crutch, but being able to relax into the flow is much more powerful.

Either way, I’m excited to be feeling creative again, and have some ideas[2] about how to keep this going, even through the next set of distractions that will inevitably crop up.

It’s going to be an interesting year, thanks for being here with me.

-Nayrb 😀

[1]Still one of my favourite games of all time, and I think, even with all its faults, the best M:tG computer game.

[2]Interestingly, a bunch of these are around meditation, which I feel I only discovered very recently.

Building the Mirror Blaze in Pictures XV: Integration Weekend V::We get the First Glimpse of Mirror Blaze at Night!

Last time, our intrepid crew had just finished the build of the internal part of the maze, and had tested the flame effects during the day. Now it was time to test them at night!

S plots what she will do with her flame effect...
S plots what she will do with her flame effect…
"If I make it manually operated, I can wait until people are just past the flame effect in the maze, then set it off! <cackling>"
“If I make it manually operated, I can wait until people are just past the flame effect in the maze, then set it off!

Initial reactions were very strong:

Mirror Blaze Night Flame Test #1 (blurry):

Mirror Blaze Night Flame Test #2 “There is a lot of light.”:

Mirror Blaze Night Flame Test #3 (blue flame and backdraft tests):
I really enjoyed the blue flame in this video, and whenever it happened at the event. This set of tests were mostly us calibrating the length of time we needed to open the solenoid to get the optimal flame. If we set it off too quickly, there would be no propane in the accumulator, and we would get a small ‘foop’ flame. Setting if off for too long would give a slowly dwindling flame. The trick was the sweet spot in between.

Complicating this was the backdraft issue, where you had to have some air flow pushing the denser-than-air propane up the tube, or it would fall down and ignite out the bottom of the tube. In practice, we found that warm air (from an immediately previous ignition) was often enough to supply this airflow upwards:

Also note that the tube was starting to get sooty.

Hellblazer also got in on the flame action[1]!

Fate and a couple of participants test out her Hellblazer highstriker.
Fate and a couple of participants test out her Hellblazer highstriker.

Stay tuned for next time, where we strike camp and pack up!

[1]I also have a video of Francis, but the video quality is not very good, and the words are not very sfw. PM me if you want to see it.

Building the Mirror Blaze in Pictures XIV: Integration Weekend Part IV:

Last time, we talked about what happened when Mirror Blaze encountered water. Today, it is time for fire!

S sets off the flame effect, as Patrick observes.
S sets off the flame effect, as Patrick observes.

But first, we went and consulted Magical Trevyn. He gave us some advice about scoreboards, and we continued on our way:

Here, we see Magical Trevyn, hard at work, surrounded by parts of Mirror Blaze and Riskee Ball.
Here, we see Magical Trevyn, hard at work, surrounded by parts of Mirror Blaze and Riskee Ball.
We took a second to consult with magical Trevyn.  He gave us advice about scoreboards, and we continued on our way.
We took a second to consult with magical Trevyn. He gave us advice about scoreboards, and we continued on our way.

If you wish to make a flaming mirror maze from scratch, you must first invent the universe. You also need all of the components. First, we gathered the quartz tube and welded metal stand:

The quartz tube and welded metal stand, (almost) together at last!
The quartz tube and welded metal stand, (almost) together at last!

Then we did a few tests of Flamey[1], with Marc offering debugging help from (mostly) upwind:

Flamey test 1:

Flamey test 2:

Even Cynthia got a chance to try the flame effect:

Cynthia gets a chance to try the flame effect.
Cynthia gets a chance to try the flame effect.

Then was the part I was most afraid of. I had learned welding approximately 1 week before, and my first ever welded item was going to be supporting our dozens of pounds, expensive and difficult to source quartz tube.

And now we had to attach it to the ground so that nothing would fall over and break the tube. We had the brilliant idea of attaching it with rebar (1/2″ rebar just fit inside the square steel tubing), which meant hammering rebar into the ground (fine), but then aligning the stand with the rebar, and hammering it down onto the rebar. I couldn’t do it myself, and luckily, Patrick was up to the task of making sure my amateur welds didn’t crack under the strain:

Your friendly neighbourd sledgehammer.
Your friendly neighbourd sledgehammer.

Note the flame-resistant fabric and silicone placemats used to protect the tube from the possibly sharp metal frame:

#verycarefultaps  Note the flame-resistant fabric and silicone placemats used to protect the tube from the possibly sharp metal frame.
#verycarefultaps Note the flame-resistant fabric and silicone placemats used to protect the tube from the possibly sharp metal frame.

Then we added the flame effect:

Metal stand with flame effect.  Note the incredibly pro method for mounting the flame effect.
Metal stand with flame effect. Note the incredibly pro method for mounting the flame effect.

Put the tube up, and we were ready to go! (Note that the front mirror is still open here, for easy testing (and we’re not totally sure the flame won’t melt it.)):

Every small ding is a possible catastrophe when it's in your difficult to source mission critical component.
Every small ding is a possible catastrophe when it’s in your difficult to source mission critical component.
Ready to go!  Sarah on control, Patrick with a healthy appreciation for fire.
Ready to go! Sarah on control, Patrick with a healthy appreciation for fire.
First successful flame test!
First successful flame test!
The team looks on (from a distance) as S performs another flame test!
The team looks on (from a distance) as S performs another flame test!

Mirror Blaze Flame Test #1:

Mirror Blaze Flame Test #2:

Leaving us with our favourite iconic picture:

Our favourite iconic picture of Mirror Blaze, with S setting off the flame effect, and Patrick standing at a safe (though warm) distance.
Our favourite iconic picture of Mirror Blaze, with S setting off the flame effect, and Patrick standing at a safe (though warm) distance.

Next time, we get to see what Mirror Blaze looks like at night! Stay tuned!

[1]Our friendly flame effect. We are very creative.

Building the Mirror Blaze in Pictures XIII: Integration Weekend Part III:: Rain Strikes!

Last time, we saw our intrepid crew (constructing and) playing with mirrors. Today, this continues, as pictures of people and mirrors are fun.

First, a test of the mirrors (warning: not for the easily spun nauseous):

Then, more panel attachment!:

Jim and Liz help S attach a mirror panel as Callum and Patrick reflect.
Jim and Liz help S attach a mirror panel as Callum and Patrick reflect.

Then, just before we attached the last couple of mirrors, rain struck! Luckily, we had planned for this, and beyond making sure our gear was in our tent and power tools were covered, Mirror Blaze was fine (or so we thought).

It looked kinda cool with the water droplets:

Immediately post-downpour, the droplets make a pretty pattern on the mirrors.
Immediately post-downpour, the droplets make a pretty pattern on the mirrors.
These mirrors were fine, even though they were marinating in water for hours.  In the midground, you can see Francis all bundled up, and Fate back at work on Hellblazer.
These mirrors were fine, even though they were marinating in water for hours. In the midground, you can see Francis all bundled up, and Fate back at work on Hellblazer.
Callum and Carrie talk over things probably related to Riskee Ball.  In the foreground, you can see the cedar posts of Mirror Blaze who weathered their first rainstorm well.
Callum and Carrie talk over things probably related to Riskee Ball. In the foreground, you can see the cedar posts of Mirror Blaze who weathered their first rainstorm well.
More immediately post-rainstorm mirror fun.  l-r: Rob, Sarah, Me, Mike, Patrick
More immediately post-rainstorm mirror fun. l-r: Rob, Sarah, Me, Mike, Patrick

Sadly, not all was fun and games, as we noticed that our two-way mirrors (the most expensive ones, of course) were susceptible to water damage, it seemed particularly around the holes that we had drilled in them:

An example of the damage caused to two-way mirrors by water we think through the drilled holes.
An example of the damage caused to two-way mirrors by water we think through the drilled holes.
Another shot of our proud crew.
Another shot of our proud crew.
S ponders the mysteries of vampirism[1] as Andrea and Patrick move the mirror into place.
S ponders the mysteries of vampirism[1] as Andrea and Patrick move the mirror into place.
A very happy S, now that she is again reflective.
A very happy S, now that she is again reflective.

That’s it for today! Next time, we start playing with mirrors and fire!

[1]Note that S stopped being visible in mirrors. One can only guess at the reason.

Building the Mirror Blaze in Pictures XII: Integration Weekend Part II:: Playing with Mirrors

Last time, our intrepid crew had arrived at the back field, and had just started to build!

The first part of the maze that our crew built was the central triangle:

Sara shows us how two-way mirrors make you even more badass.
Sara shows us how two-way mirrors make you even more badass.

To help you place things, here’s the overhead view again:

The Overhead view of the maze. This design was stable throughout the process. The only modification we made was to remove post 24 and its attached mirror.
The Overhead view of the maze. This design was stable throughout the process. The only modification we made was to remove post 24 and its attached mirror.
I have no idea where anyone is in this picture.
I have no idea where anyone is in this picture.
Mirrors are fun (and Riskee Ball agrees).
Mirrors are fun (and Riskee Ball agrees).
Can you tell that this is a two-way mirror?  I almost can't.
Can you tell that this is a two-way mirror? I almost can’t.
Our initial integration build crew!  l-r: Liz, S, Jim, Me, Patrick, Andrea
Our initial integration build crew! l-r: Liz, S, Jim, Me, Patrick, Andrea
Alex and Patrick work on one of the tricky double mirrors.
Alex and Patrick work on one of the tricky double mirrors.
The crew work busily on Riskee Ball, as Case and Rob plan out the Charnival grounds periphery in the background.
The crew work busily on Riskee Ball, as Case and Rob plan out the Charnival grounds periphery in the background.
Kate attempts to retun to the land of the Looking Glass.
Kate attempts to retun to the land of the Looking Glass.

The following is probably the most useful (and one of the simplest) tools I’ve ever used. Patrick started using it when we were attaching mirrors to post hinges, and it allowed for much, much easier alignment. We ended up purchasing like five of them for the playa build. It is probably correct to say that this simple tool halved the amount of time required for the build. At Canadian Tire (where I purchased them), they’re called ‘Lineup Punches’.

This is the device that saved us.  Patrick used one of these to align hinges with mirrors, and we never looked back.  It would be correct to say that this simple tool halved the time of the build.
This is the device that saved us. Patrick used one of these to align hinges with mirrors, and we never looked back. It would be correct to say that this simple tool halved the time of the build.

Stay tuned for next time, when we assemble the rest of the mirrors! Hooray!

Building the Mirror Blaze in Pictures XI: Integration Weekend Part I

Last time, we prepared to set off for the integration weekend. Today, we talk about what transpired there (at least the first part of it!)

Marc had arranged with some friends of his for a large field to be available for the weekend. This allowed us to spread out and use a lot of space to setup. It also offered some interesting logistical challenges. You see, the large trucks (26′, I think) couldn’t make it all the way to the back field, so we had to offload onto pickup trucks[1] for the last leg of the journey. Thankfully, we had two on hand[2]:

Mike runs after one of the smaller trucks, on the way up the hill to the back field.
Mike runs after one of the smaller trucks, on the way up the hill to the back field.
One of the pickup trucks, demonstrating proper Kate transportation technique.
One of the pickup trucks, demonstrating proper Kate transportation technique.

There was a lot to move, with teams at the large truck unloading, doing transport via pickup truck, and unloading the pickup trucks at the back field.

Marc, S, Mike, Carrie, and Kate take a rest in between heavy lifting.
Marc, S, Mike, Carrie, and Kate take a rest in between heavy lifting.

So, if you’ll recall, the purpose (for us) of this weekend was to do as much of a build as we could, an integration test to make sure that our design and construction for Mirror Blaze were sound. Here’s the overhead view:

The Overhead view of the maze.  This design was stable throughout the process.  The only modification we made was to remove post 24 and its attached mirror.
The Overhead view of the maze. This design was stable throughout the process. The only modification we made was to remove post 24 and its attached mirror.

Here’s the list of the mirrors and posts that we ended up using for the integration test. Note that we constructed the inner triangle surrounding the flame effect, along with a small corridor on the left so we could test the feeling of being inside the maze ablaze:

The list of parts we needed for the build.
The list of parts we needed for the build.

The next couple of pictures should give you a sense of the size of the area that we were fortunate enough to have to play with for the integration weekend (and the incredible number of people who came to help out, my apologies for names I’ve missed). Also, you can see the staging area where the pickup trucks would drop off parts for the various installations:

The unloading depot for the back field.  In the foreground, you can see a selection of parts from Francis and Mirror Blaze.  Background l-r: Case, Seth, Patrick, Rob, Fee, John.
The unloading depot for the back field. In the foreground, you can see a selection of parts from Francis and Mirror Blaze. Background l-r: Case, Seth, Patrick, Rob, Fee, John.

Here you can get an idea of the scale of Riskee Ball:

Whole hosts of people starting work on Riskee Ball!  l-r: Fee, John, Mike, Arcturus, ?,?,Magical Trevyn, Andrea, Callum,Sara,Paula,?,Trish,Francisco,Kate
Whole hosts of people starting work on Riskee Ball! l-r: Fee, John, Mike, Arcturus, ?,?,Magical Trevyn, Andrea, Callum,Sara,Paula,?,Trish,Francisco,Kate

Silicone place mats did the trick, preventing abrasions from the metal stand onto the quartz tube!:

S and Patrick work on affixing the silicone place mats to the quartz tube stand.
S and Patrick work on affixing the silicone place mats to the quartz tube stand.

Not visible in this picture: The rebar holding the post:

#firstpost
#firstpost
Our plucky crew goes nuts (and bolts) together!  l-r: S,Jim,Patrick,Andrea,Liz,Kate
Our plucky crew goes nuts (and bolts) together! l-r: S,Jim,Patrick,Andrea,Liz,Kate

I really enjoy making .gifs, especially ones that include such joy:

S & Jim work together to attach a mirror.
S & Jim work together to attach a mirror.

Stay tuned next time for more integratey goodness!

[1]This was similar to the occasion when we had to move biosafety cabinets from one part of campus to another, where the loading dock was around a corner where the large trucks could not go. The solution was the same, offloading onto a pickup truck.

[2]I think one was Seth’s, and I don’t remember who had brought the other one.

Building the Mirror Blaze in Pictures X: Preparing for the Integration Weekend

Last time, we talked about learning to weld, so that we could build a stand for the quartz tube for the first integration weekend[1].

First, we had to make sure we had all of the parts for our flame effect (and that we had built it!). Luckily, we had purchased all of the parts during our expedition to the excellent Helios makerspace in Montreal (post forthcoming):

The parts for one flame effect 'Flamey'.
The parts for one flame effect ‘Flamey’.
The list of the parts shown.  Note that this was written at a most excellent parts store in Montreal where we were visiting the also most excellent Helios makerspace.
The list of the parts shown. Note that this was written at a most excellent parts store in Montreal where we were visiting the also most excellent Helios makerspace.

We called our flame effect ‘Flamey’ because we are creative like that:

The solenoid we used to build Flamey.
The solenoid we used to build Flamey.
Lights such these are ultra-useful for builds (assuming you have a generator...you do have a generator, don't you?)
Lights such these are ultra-useful for builds (assuming you have a generator…you do have a generator, don’t you?)

A few days before integration weekend, I recall running around to hardware stores looking for non-abrasive things with high melting temperatures. I found the fabric below (in the welding supply section of a Home Depot, IIRC), along with silicone placemats (not in the welding supply section):

This 'flame-protection' fabric (along with silicone place mats) saved the quartz tube from abrasion from my metal stand.saved the tube
This ‘flame-protection’ fabric (along with silicone place mats) saved the quartz tube from abrasion from my metal stand.saved the tube

Also, we had not been camping in many many years, so I went to get some inflatable pillows. They were okay, but I would bring ‘real’ pillows next time, unless space was a critical consideration:

Inflatable pillows!  Okay in a pinch, but if space isn't critical, I would use a real one.
Inflatable pillows! Okay in a pinch, but if space isn’t critical, I would use a real one.

(Not shown. Tests of the flame effect. S might have pics of this, to be shown later.)

Then it was time to pack up and go! Trish drove the truck over to our place (Francis had been at least partially living in our garage for a while), and we started packing! We are still thankful for the many volunteers who tolerated our hinged posts:

Sara, Carrie, and Mike work to ratchet the posts into place.  The posts were extremely effective, but a total bear to move around (thanks for helping us move them!).
Sara, Carrie, and Mike work to ratchet the posts into place. The posts were extremely effective, but a total bear to move around (thanks for helping us move them!).

There were some moments of pure joy juxtaposed with moments of pure contemplation:

S joyfully moves pipe while Trish ponders the Reuben's tube that is part of Francis the Fantastic.
S joyfully moves pipe while Trish ponders the Reuben’s tube that is part of Francis the Fantastic.

Truck-packing‘ is one of the lesser known NP-Complete problems:

Mike, Sara, Carrie, and Trish have a confab about packing the truck.
Mike, Sara, Carrie, and Trish have a confab about packing the truck.

This tiny potato believes in us[2]:

This tiny potato helped us through many a difficult time.  Its love is still with us.
This tiny potato helped us through many a difficult time. Its love is still with us.

Finally, we noticed that the ramp on the truck had a broken phalange, luckily (I think) Trish had found a long (like 10″) nail[3] which we were able to use to solve the problem most adequately:

What's that you say?  A broken ramp you say?
What’s that you say? A broken ramp you say?
"Nailed it!"
“Nailed it!”

And then we were off! Stay tuned for next time, when we travel to the countryside and join forces with many other volunteers to build fiery mayhem!

[1]Organized by many people, all of whom we will try to thank photographically

[2]This is possibly the best thing you can say to someone who is participating in building a ridiculous and difficult thing.

[3]Also galvanized, but that is not important to this story.