You Think These Things Grow on Trees?

From the time I was about age 11, I spent a good part of summer vacations at the construction site building houses with my dad who had a small construction company.  One day we were framing a house and had just nailed down the plywood over the floor framing.  Dad told me to go down and throw up some studs so we could start framing the walls.  After waiting a few minutes and no studs, he walked over to the edge to see what was the hold-up.  As soon as he appeared over the edge of the house, I bent over and began retching and heaving loudly as if I was trying to vomit.  Finally I looked up and said, "Dad, I've tried and tried but I just can't 'throw up' any studs".  We had a good laugh, and then it was back to work.
Unlike this guy, we never had a crane to lift our trusses.  Instead, we hefted them up by hand one at a time.  It was always a relief when the roof trusses were all safely standing in place.

Big Enough Fer The Both of Us

If only they'd built those old west towns a bit bigger, there might have been a lot fewer gunfights. 

I can see it now:  Two rough characters square off at twenty paces in the middle of town wearing tool belts and slinging nail guns.  "This here town just ain't big enough fer the both of us", one would say, "so me 'n my gang'll start buildin' over there and you'n yer gang c'n build over here." 

February 2016 Wright eNews

Jedi Construction Tricks

I guess you can't blame this guy for trying.  The inspector's probably thinking to himself, "You think you're some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I'm an inspector.  Mind tricks don't work on me.  Only right. No right, no pass!"

Sometimes we humble engineers are asked to work some Jedi magic, like when we get an urgent phone call from the jobsite with the superintendent on the other end saying, "We accidentally forgot to put any rebar in the footings and walls and now the inspector won't pass us.  Can you just get me a letter for that?" 

For more cartoons with inspectors and "...can you get me a letter" click here.

January 2016 Wright eNews

My Plan...

We need to get our politicians talking about the stuff that really matters - like this!  It reminds me of the speech Pedro Sanchez gave when he was running for class president in the movie Napoleon Dynamite:  "If you vote for me, all of your wildest dreams will come true. Thank you."

Seriously, I'm grateful to those brave souls who are willing to run for public office.  Let's just hope those who get elected remember that they're public servants, not the people's master.

November 2015 Wright eNews

Standard Equipment

CYA (cover your a_ _ or as I say it, cover your "anatomy") is like the ridiculous warning label on a microwave oven that says, "NOT TO BE USED FOR DRYING PETS".  The reason for CYA is usually blamed on our "litigious society", though statistics seem to indicate that we may not be as litigious as we think.  Either way - reality or perception - the fear of litigation can lead to excessive caution, absurd warning labels, and a lot of CYA.   And when people act defensively for the sole reason of avoiding liability, it costs everyone time and money.

October 2015 Wright eNews


This guy's obviously enthusiastic about his job title - and proud of it.  I say good for him!  If being super-enthusiastic and unashamed to show it makes you a nerd, then so be it.  As John Green observed, "When people call people nerds, mostly what they're saying is 'You like stuff', which is not an insult at all".  It's people who are super excited about things that make the world an interesting place.

Neil Armstrong was commander of Apollo 11 and the first man to set foot on the moon, yet he was a self-professed nerd who was in love with math and science and engineering. "I am," he said, "and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer. Born under the Second Law of Thermodynamics, love with free body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow... Science is about what is. Engineering is about what can be." (See a terrific short video with his complete quote here)

I say, "You go! Mr. SUPERintendent".  We nerds need to stick together.

September 2015 Wright eNews