Pure Gonzo Engineering

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


A shiny nickel if you know what that's from. Very obscure and short reference...

So we got our house. At least we get our house on May 27. I'm pretty excited, although now it means that in the next few months I have to do the two things a I hate most in this world, painting and moving.

I feel strange. I can't really describe it. Kind of flippant and insane. The fear is coming back. I thought it was gone, but it's coming closer. I'd say I'm a month or so away from having an episode. I should find a therapist before that, a real one. I better get all the therapy I can before next year, they're changing our insurance. That's the one good thing about Canada, Cuba, Sweden, and any other socialist paradise... you don't pay anything for your health. I think most people in the US are dillusional about how they would be in a socialist society. There are times when I'd rather not have the desire to have things and want to be successful at my job. Life would be easier.

Anyway, I can't really think of anything else to say


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

More from the past

Here is an angry letter I sent to the Dean of UW-Madison Engineering school and several other high level school officials after they snuffed my out of a University publication because of my tattoos.

To whom it may concern: Upon initially receiving my Spring 2004 issue of "Perspective", I was pleasantly surprised to see a front page article regarding the 2004 Innovation Day competition, of which I participated in and placed fourth.


I read the article all the while noting the wonderful pictures of the placing contestants found throughout it. I was not on the front page, but saw that the article continued on to page nine of the magazine. To say that I was disappointed to see EVERY other placing entrants picture upon turning to page nine would be a lie on my part. In fact, I was infuriated. I was puzzled, knowing my invention had sparked interest in the community at large, being featured in a story by the Wisconsin State Journal.


I was further distraught after seeing my picture hadn't been lost, as it was on engineering news website.


It did not take my Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering to figure out why I was not shown on the pages of "Perspective". My visible tattoos so disgusted the writers/editors that I was left on the cutting room floor. I thought UW-Madison was a place for the free exchange of ideas, and a place free of prejudice. I guess some bigotry dies hard, especially in the conservative world of engineering.

I understand many "Perspective" readers are older alumni who donate generously, but you also need to be aware of your younger, more recent alumni. Not many College of Engineering representatives came to my speech regarding my Barrel Tattoo machine, but one fact I brought up was that 1.3 billion people in the world (2 in 10) have tattoos. The man or woman standing next to you in business formal wear may have a fire breathing dragon sprawled across their back.

My point, other than voicing my anger, was to inform you that I would like all reference of my fourth place victory in the 2004 Schoof's competition removed from any publications the College of Engineering has. I would also like my subscription to "Perspective" cancelled. I do not enjoy reading half truths and only seeing what the College deems appropriate. My second and final point is that any money I see for the rest of my life, be it through engineering or through my Barrel Tattoo Machine sales, will NEVER be seen by the Engineering Department of the University of Wisconsin Madison in the way of donations or my children's tuition. You have offended and estranged an alumnus of your program.

Thank you AFL

Damn the man! He's always trying to keep you down. Anyway, here is the official response

Dear Andrew: In addition to being the person in charge of the Schoofs Prize competition, I'm also in charge of the team that produces Perspective. I can assure you that there was absolutely nothing sinister in your picture not being included in the publication. It was a complete oversight and you have my sincere apologies. Your invention was extremely clever and admired by the judges. I have never heard anyone here at the college, or in the judging of the competition, say anything whatsoever about a distaste for tattoos. I am the only person in a position to know this, and I know it with complete certainty.

I completely understand how you would be angry and hurt, but I think you've come to the wrong conclusion. I'm asking you to consider that this was not done intentionally. The fact that the picture is on our website, which is certainly accessible to far more people than Perspective, indicates that we had no qualms about your photo. I'm going to run the photo in the fall issue of Perspective, and I can include an update with it if you have made any progress toward commercializing your idea. Please let me know and I'll be happy to include any additional information. Again, Andrew, I'm sorry this happened. I assure you it was not deliberate.

Sincerely, Karen Walsh Assistant Dean, External Relations UW-Madison College of Engineering

This is total bullshit, they are just being lap-dogs for all the rich old alumni out there. It's too coincidental that only my picture was left out.

And in the end, they did print an "I'm sorry for forgetting you" in a later issue on page 13.


You can even see a little bit of "babies" ass. It made me feel a bit better.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Just pass by and look

I feel strange today. I feel like there's something wrong, but I can't really put my finger on it. I dumped my therapist yesterday. He wasn't a very good therapist. Not like David was in Madison. Although he's not actually a therapist, he's just a counselor. He was a good guy, he just wasn't working out for me. I didn't actually tell him that. I didn't want to hurt his feelings... like I said, he was a good guy to talk to, but I don't think he was really helping.

I don't know if I'll try and find someone new. I hate to not keep charging Cat $80 every two weeks for it though. It'd be like I'm taking a pay cut. A real therapist might cost more than $80/hr though.

My coworkers found this sight so I can no longer lambast anyone at work for fear of what might happen. I can also no longer say anything derogatory about work. I will also be time stamping these posts at random so no one can possibly know when I post them. Like everyone at work are a bunch of internet saints who never do any time theft.

Anyway... I get to play some hockey tonight. I likes it when I gets to play hockey.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The past is safer to talk about than the future

So we've all been to a Chinese restaurant and had one of those placemats that has the various Chinese symbols for the different years you are born. My very first experience with such a placemat was when I was about 7 years old give or take a few years. My parents, my two sisters, and myself went to a local Chinese restaurant for a nice family meal.

We were all seated and my two older sisters (13 and 18 years old) began looking at the placemat and telling my parents what animal they were and what traits were associated with that animal. I was kind of oblivious to the whole thing because there was a really cool fish tank in the restaurant with all kinds of exotic fish in it. We ordered our food and ate without anything really interesting happening. I remember really liking the Chinese food. My parents took us out to a wide variety of ethnic cuisines, so I had a pretty accepting pallet for a seven year old.

As dinner was wrapping up and I finally noticed the placemat under my plate and began looking it over. I didn't really understand it for the most part so I asked one of my sister's what it was all about. She gave me a short explanation and told me to look and find where my birth year was, 1981. I glanced through the list and found my animal, the rooster, or on this placemat, the cock.

"I'm a cock!!" I exclaimed. The polite discussion my parents were having ceased immediately.

"I'm a cock!!" I said louder this time and with much more enthusiasm. A family next to ours gave a glairing look at my mother and quickly paid and left.

"Look," I said, "It says I'm a cock and I'm not afraid to speak my mind" Both my parents were getting embarrassed, and were trying to make me talk in a quieter voice. "But look, Cock's are boastful and hard working." "I'm a hard working cock, mom" My mom told me that was great, but to be quite and eat my fortune cookie as my dad waved down our waiter. We left the restaurant quickly, all the while I was telling my sisters the cool things about being a cock. They were just smiling wryly at me.

As soon as we got into the car, my mother lost her cool. "Do you know what cock means, " she spit out at me "It means chicken, like the picture," I said "No, she said, "It means PENIS!" She turned around and no one talked the entire car ride home. No one ever spoke of the incident again. To this day, every time I go to a Chinese restaurant and they have those placemats, I tell whoever I'm with that I'm a cock, and then laugh...


All things that are too good to last eventually die.

I tried to be honest. I tried to brush off the normal facade that we all put on every day.

I wanted this to be my diary. Were I could bleed and not care what got stained.

I guess I need to go buy a leather bound blank book, and bleed all over it.

I was stupid.

The voyeurs closed in on me. A chance few saw, for a moment, what was truly inside me. I don't want people to take what I said too seriously. Since it's only my words with no explanation, that can often happen.

Let's see here, how to start off again.

I'm a dedicated employee who puts in 12 hour days. I exemplify my organization with a sense of urgency, constantly trying to provide the utmost customer value. Holding true to the ideals that make this company so great, no, this Country so great.

I think I'm back to before step one.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I guess 3.5 million makes you think anything.

Officials: OCC creation is a perfect fit

Pictures of Cat Bike

I think this bike looks really fucking lame. It cost Caterpillar about 3-3.5 million dollars for this piece of work. And according to the show, it only took 4 days to build. I think we got ripped off. The older you get, the more detached you get about what is cool and what isn't....

"I wanted to put a bullet in the head of every panda that wouldn't fuck to save its own species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all the French beaches I'd never see...I wanted to breath smoke."

-Tyler Durden
Fight Club

That's how I feel right now.

I can't even remember all the things I was going to say about cool and what it is, and what it isn't. Fuck... I do know that when something surfaces to the accepted masses, choppers, tattoos, piercings, it is no longer cool to just do what everyone else is doing. You need to be original and innovative. The Cat chopper is not. Your tribal arm band is not. Your nose ring is not. Your lower back tattoo is not.

Where will my salvation be today?


Monday, April 11, 2005

22.5 hours in Wisconsin Rapids

What a restless weekend. No rest for the wicked, right?

Picking things up Friday after taking a half day off of work. As I drive home I smell burning oil. I recently did an oil change, so I assume I fucked something up. I get back home and pop the hood. There's a small pool of oil on the engine block next to the filter cap. I turn on the car and let it run. Oil begins to hemorrhage out of the filter cap. "fuck me," I say. I cracked the plastic oil filter cap when I was using the wrong tool to try and get it off. I go to the Saturn dealer to pick up a new one... a $14.95 mistake. It could have been worse. I could have stripped the threads on the oil pan drain. That would have been worse.

Fast forward to that evening, staying the night with friends in Madison. God I miss Madison. Everything about it is better than Peoria. Our friends are 30 years old and still have no direction in life. They don't have clean sheets on their guest bed. Some nasty band members slept here before us. I hope I haven't contracted any diseases or parasites.

The next day, Saturday, we are in Wis. Rapids for my sister's baby shower. Great, I get to remember my baby isn't going to be here in October like he/she was supposed to be. I get to recall seeing the bloody gestational sack in the toilet before it got flushed. I get to remember my wife crying in my arms, me standing in front of my bathroom mirror finally breaking down. I get to listen to all the ohhh's and ahhh's as my sister opens up another present. I get to feel awkward when people ask my wife and I when we plan on having kids. We had a plan. What did Steinbeck say? I get to feel bad that I can't talk to my family about this because we aren't operating on the same wave lengths. 22.5 hours was as long as I could stand. We left before my pregnant sister left, because there was no way I could handle my mom and other sister crying over her going back to Connecticut.

10 hours later I'm back in Peoria playing hockey. Last game of the season. I play hard, skating hard. The game gets physical. The last 5 minutes are crazy with break-aways, saves, and hits. We end up winning. We end on a high note even though we finished 6-13-1. It was a good way to end the weekend. It was my salvation.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

"Dad, do you know what Schadenfreude is?"

Ah, March Madness is over. Today all the illini fans at work are sobbing in their coffee mugs. It makes me feel good. It may be another 100 years before they have another shot at a championship.

Anyway, they are tearing apart the main interstate that runs through peoria, and have closed the main bridge from Peoria to East Peoria. This is the bridge that I, and 60,000 other people cross every day. Now we are forced to take one of the three other bridges, which are not very close to the I-74 bridge. To avoid many headaches, I have started to go in to work at 6:30 am. I'm really tired now because of having to get up so early. I need more time to adjust.

My wife an I are also in the beginning stages of home buying. We were approved for a loan through our evil credit union. I have since applied at Lending Tree to find an 80/20 loan to avoid paying PMI. What is PMI you ask? It's a bank way of getting more of your money for no reason. If you don't have 20% down, you have to pay the bank insurance every month just in case you default on your loan. What? So you take more of my money making it harder for me to pay my loan every month, just in case I default on it? Brilliant. Dirty bankers and their dirty tricks.

And finally I'm ready. I've hit step one. I've been depressed because my wife and I had a miscarriage in February. I can hardly believe it's already been a month and a half. Like I said before, you think you've achieved a little piece of immortality and it gets taken away from you. Tragedy shows you exactly what kind of person you are, and exactly how your relationship is. Its like this big moment of clarity in a giant storm. I'm beyond wanting sympathy, or empathy, and any -athy at all. I'm not exactly clear on what I want right now. Right now I'm just living, trying to satisfy my other needs in Maslow's hierarchy.

In case you were wondering:

Homer: (sarcastically) No, I do not know what Schadenfreude is. Please tell me, because I'm dying to know!

Lisa: It's a German term for 'shameful joy', taking pleasure in the suffering of others.

Homer: Oh, come on Lisa. I'm just glad to see him fall flat on his butt!

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