Pure Gonzo Engineering

Friday, April 28, 2006

That shit takes you when it takes you.

This morning I come into work and my boss says he has in impromptu meeting for us all. Turns out a dude in our section died this morning. He was in his late 40’s and was diabetic. He was having kidney problems, and had recently been in the hospital.

That doesn’t really mean anything though. It’s a fucking shame he died when he did. He hated the evil empire even more than I did. He wasn’t fooled by upper management throwing us bones every once in a while as they were eating steak. He was a good man, and I’ll miss him. These new kids coming into the section are so eager to please that they don’t have a real thought of their own. They don’t question or get angry about anything, and now there’s one less of us who still do.

In the end we’re all dead men.

Goodbye Gary. I’ll keep fighting for you.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Do you have an eye infection or are you just happy to see me?

I’ve been absent as of late from my blogging duties because I’ve been sick since Sunday.

Carter has a blocked tear duct so his left eye is prone to infection. He’s kind of had a cold sort of congested thing, so we took him to the Pediatrician last week and got him on antibiotics and eye drops. Well I caught what the worm baby was carrying both in my eyes and my upper respiratory track. I woke up Sunday morning and my eyes were a bright red shade and had yellow gunk all over the eyelashes and my throat was on fire.

My wife also had similar symptoms so we all took a family trip to Prompt Care to get some drugs.

Now it’s a few days later and I feel a bit better. No crusty eyes, throat feels better, still snotty.

In other news, I got rid of my truck. What did I trade it in for you ask? A 2006 Hyundai Tucson.

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Now you’re mad, because you know how I feel about foreign automakers and foreign engineering.

You’re a fucking hypocrite lawryde!

I’m never reading your blog again!

Now calm down. I said I would never buy a Japanese automakers truck, and I stand by that. When it comes to a compact SUV, I’m willing to buy Korean. I just couldn’t justify driving a truck that got 15 miles to the gallon when I really don’t use it enough to haul or tow things. If I really need to haul some shit, I’ll just rent the Menards truck for $19.95 for 75 minutes, which I’ll have already made up by getting 22 miles per gallon with my Hyundai with gas at $3.00 a gallon. I also just can’t argue with a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty on the power train and a 36 month 60,000 mile warranty on everything else?

I was still sad to see the truck go. I did like it, but GM kind of pissed me off. This winter I found out it had Piston Slap. This is due to the engineers incorrectly designing the pistons and cylinder liners so that when it’s below 50°F there is enough of a gap so that the piston slams against the side of the cylinder until it heats up. This makes your gasoline engine sound like a diesel for about 60 seconds when you start it cold. GM says it doesn’t do any long-term damage, and won’t fix it. That’s bullshit. They just don’t want to pay the warranty dollars.

Now I’m looking to get rid of my Saturn L200 and get me a 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbo Diesel. Get into some 1980’s luxury with the super reliability of the Benz Diesel. That’ll be a while though.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hell hath no fury like a blue collar worker.

So I had an interesting experience at work today. Something I designed started to leak. This is always a bad thing, especially when it’s messy when it starts leaking. So I basically made a mess where someone else works, and they got pissed off. Another guy called me up and told me to come on over to the plant since politically it would be the right thing to do. I agreed, even though I knew that my part was already leaking because I had checked it out last Thursday.

So I roll on over and walk over to where the leak is. I see the guy who called me and he’s next to this grizzled old guy with fire in his eyes. I knew that much like gorillas in the wild, I needed to assert my dominance over this guy otherwise he’d eat me for lunch. I give him a good iron gripped handshake while other guy does the introductions, and he shakes back hard. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t realize what level it would be on.

“Where did you get your engineering degree?” He says
“Was it a mail order?”

Now in the jungle at that point he had just stood up and banged his fists on his grizzled chest and showed his teeth.

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At that point in the jungle, I would have jumped on top of him and started beating the crap out of him, attempting to claim alpha male status.

Being that we weren’t in the jungle, and I would have gotten fired for that, I shrugged it off.

“Is there only one leak?” I say

“One leak that is going out to a customer” He says (Everything had a negative shot in it)

“But there’s only one?” I say


I inspect what I’ve already looked at on Thursday. Not much had changed, big red puddle, red all over, and it originates with my design.

Big gorilla continues:

“This is a crappy design, and I can’t believe you’d put your name on this and let this get out to a customer”

“The supplier pressure and heat tested it for us, and it was OK”

“Lots of things are pressure and heat tested and fail”

“I know, but we have to do our best. I’ll get on the phone with the supplier (As soon as you stop brow beating me about it), and we’ll get it straightened out. I don’t want garbage going to the customer either”

He went on growling about this and that. I don’t recall exactly what was said. Then all of a sudden he just left.

The incident really didn’t bother me. I guess I’d be pissed too if all that red shit was all over where I was working, but, like I said, we aren’t in the jungle.

Apparently the guy I was with thought it was bullshit how big grizzled treated me as well. I was chillin’ at my desk listenin’ to some music and he came up and told me it was wrong how ape man treated me, and he was going to take care of it. (He’s higher up than me and has been around about 20 more years than me). I play it cool and say it was no big deal. It wasn’t right, but I can at least understand where gorilla man is coming from.

So I guess he’s going to get a stern talking too. So now I’m not only a bad designer in his mind, but I’m also a rat, and he knows my name.

Hopefully I don’t end up where Jimmy Hoffa is after the Union takes care of me.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.

You can work during the six weekdays and do all your tasks. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God your Lord. Do not do anything that constitutes work. [This includes] you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maid, your animal, and the foreigner in your gates. It was during the six weekdays that God made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. God therefore blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

On this past holy of weekends, I did all kinds of work so I guess Jesus cried a little bit or something. (I also always forget that the bible condons slavery)
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God must not like it when I’m happy then, because after getting all the shit done I needed to, I felt really good.

Ah, what did I do this weekend… My wife had to work (for what ended up being like two hours) on Good Friday, so we stayed in Illinois.

We have a dual sink in our upstairs bathroom, and it smelled like ass, mixed with rotting corpse French cheese when you would run one side. The drainpipes hadn’t been cleaned or maintained since they were put in sometime in the 80’s so they were just thick with this slime of rotting hair and nastiness. I replaced all of them with brand new clean PVC while Carter watched (slept). It was a bit of a bonding moment.

After that, I replaced the hot water gate valve on our washing machines supply line. It was even older than the sink pipes upstairs 50’s or 60’s I would guess. The seal on it was leaking so I put a ball valve on it. All of the plumbing in my house is galvanized, and I’ve heard horror stories about breaking into the system, and then an entirely different part will start leaking. It was successful though, and there were no leaks after.

It’s been nice out, so I decided to touch up some paint on our second story windows that weren’t entirely covered when we painted the house from brown to grayish-blue. I hate being that high up on a ladder leaning against the house, but I really need to stop being such a pussy about heights. I sucked it up and got it done.

Then it rained like a motherfucker. Check out the video on our family blog.

After the rain, the sun came out and I was walking around my backyard. I noticed this PVC pipe kind of sticking out from under a washed over section of my yard. I have a drain (which I thought was to nowhere) in my driveway that always floods when it rains. I finally found the outlet buried about a ¼ of the way into my backyard. I found the end and dug about 6 inches down into the mud. There was still some shit in the tube so I bravely stuck my fingers in and fished out this three-foot section of black-walnut tree roots. I shit you not it was the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. It was a perfect cylinder of dirt and roots. I crammed a hose up there and flushed all the other dirt and shit out. My driveway immediately started to drain. It was so nice. Usually there’s standing water for a day after it rains.

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. I did piss my wife off by ruining her new sweater in the wash so I had to sleep downstairs on Saturday.

God must have known I was going to use my gas powered leaf blower on Easter Sunday.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

“The Universe is the way it is because we are here to observe it”

This is called the Anthropic Principal. As humans we have certain limitations to our existence. We only have five senses with which to interpret the world around us.

An apple is the way an apple is because we can only see that it’s shaped and colored the way it is, it smells the way it does, it tastes the way it does, it feels the way it does, and it makes the noises that it (doesn’t) make.

There may be some other facets to apples that we aren’t aware of because we are limited in the experiences we can have. Apples may be able to communicate with one another on a level we can’t grasp or understand because it’s beyond our toolbox of abilities. They may be trying desperately to stop the slaughter of their society by the beings they can’t relate to in anyway because they don’t have the same observation capabilities we have.

It is like Friday for me (I get Good Friday off), and I know you’re thinking I smoked some good shit this morning, talking about apples trying to overcome their human oppressors, but I’m actually sitting here at work listening to this sweet ass mix CD I made last night. All the tunes really get to the root of the human condition in one way or another: Poppin’ My Collar by Three 6 Mafia, No Shelter by RATM, Somebody to Love by Queen, etc. I like a diverse selection of music.

Anyway, I told my wife recently that I wasn’t all that impressed with the fact that we had created Carter. I love him to death and think he’s amazing, but the fact that we were able to create him from some man juice and an egg didn’t show me the face of God or anything like that.

I’m starting to be more amazed at the world around me. Starting with Carter.

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Here’s and interesting article about probability and the Anthropic Principal.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Ding-Dong the AC is gone!

As I sit in my little 8X10 cell (cubicle to some), the air is a bit lighter. The glow of the florescent lights is a bit softer as it dances off the surface of my cup of water.

Everything is a bit more tolerable today after having my extended weekend with last Friday off, but more so, the evil overlord who watched over my shoulder on a daily basis has moved one cubicle down. This may not seem like much, but it makes a world of difference. Now he can’t just turn around and see that I’m typing a story about how much he bothers me. He now has to clomp over in his steel-toed shoes giving me ample time to hit alt+tab and switch back to my company email something that makes me look busy.

Last Thursday he quickly caught a glimpse of my Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow tattoo on my left arm. We were waiting for a meeting to start, and he blurted out loudly: “DID YOU GO AND GET A TATTOO?”

I calmly said no, which is the truth. I haven’t gone and gotten a tattoo in several months. That wasn’t enough for him though. He kept pressing the issue, “So it’s a fake one or something then?”

“It’s nothing” I said, and didn’t say a word more.

The other dude I work with who I also play hockey with who has seen my stripped down after hockey in the locker room, changed the subject and started talking about the weather.

I wanted to tell the jerk it was none of his Goddamn business what was on my arms, which are always covered at work.

Man Conservative Christians bother me. At least I don’t kiss dudes on the weekend.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Madison Wisconsin: The New Hockey Town USA

The majority of people reading this blog will be surprised to know that the University of Wisconsin Madison beat Boston College to win the NCAA championship in Men's Hockey last night.

You don't know this for a number of reasons:

You don't like hockey because it's "too low scoring of a game".

The Master's is on, and "I'm Tiger Woods". Good Christ golf is boring to watch on TV. I was watching it this morning while I was taking care of Carter, and I almost started drooling like he was.

Why is it that the announcers whisper while they give commentary? They aren't right next to the golfers while they're making a shot. They're in a booth somewhere near the clubhouse. Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to get all excited about Tiger Woods pumping his fist in the air like he's giving an elephant a hand-job after he sinks a twenty foot birdie putt, but last nights hockey game was awesome. It was fast paced, hard hitting, slap-shot ripping good hockey.

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This is a historic championship for the Badgers as well. The Women's team also won the NCAA championship in hockey earlier this year. It's the first time ever a division one school has held both titles at the same time. I guess Detroit is going to have to step aside as Hockey Town USA for now.

You rarely hear about the frozen four and the college hockey championship. It doesn't have the glamour or whoreish attitude that the Final Four of basketball has. It's a shame.

Ah well, it was good hockey, and the Badgers won.
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Monday, April 03, 2006

What is America?

How can we define what the United States of America is?

What words would we use to describe it?

Goodwill to all People

Actually that’s all bullshit.

Here’s a picture I took, which sums up what the United States of America is all about.

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Here we have a Japanese designed truck with an American flag sticker on it, which is faded so it’s almost unrecognizable in color.

I would guess this person bought their American flag sticker some time after 9/11 when patriotism was at a zenith in this country.

Now the manufacturer of that flag wanted to make as much money as fast as possible and take advantage of people’s need to feel patriotic. So they used the cheapest ink and material to make it, most likely in China or Taiwan.

Then to top it off, it’s on a Japanese truck. What the fuck do the Japanese know about making trucks? I thought we were the rugged cowboy’s of the world. Oh wait, they can build their cars and trucks so that they last longer, and since most American’s are too fucking cheap they aren’t willing to buy an American made and designed car or truck to continue to ACTUALLY support their country.

America is, was, and always will be about one thing: Money. Liberty and Justice for all is a snappy catch phrase, but in the end, it’s all about the Benjamin’s.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

We’ve fixed the glitch

Today was bizarre. Not over the top, monkeys riding bicycles held up a convenience store bizarre, just bizarre.

This morning I had to get my ass up at 7:00am even though it was a Saturday to go to a big discount baby item sale. It was an orgy of mothers desperately grabbing cloths and toys. As we were waiting in line, I looked back at all the hideous people and their kids, and it made me lose all faith that there is a God. I’ve said before that listening to David Bowie makes me believe in a God; apparently massive baby item sales have the opposite affect.

We returned home and I tried to take a nap on the couch while my wife and Carter slept. I had the original Batman movie playing softly in the background. In the haze before sleep, my fear of my own death popped into my head. I tried to ignore it, but I was already beginning to panic. So much so, that I jumped up from the couch (literally) and hopped around a couple times. I bent down to where Carter was sleeping in his basinet, gave him a kiss and smelled his hair. I laid back down on the couch and fell asleep.

When I woke up I had some errands to run, and my wife was going to a cloth diapering group. I got in my truck and headed down University. About ¼ to my destination I saw an old white hearse, and then about a block down I saw a dead raccoon on the side of the road. Not all that strange.

I’m 1/2 way to my destination, and I see the old white hearse about to turn onto the street I’m on. It would be physically impossible for it to be the same one I saw not 5 minutes earlier (he and I were going too fast in opposite directions for him to end up where he was when I was where I was), but it was exactly the same. It had to have been. Then about a block after I saw this white hearse, I saw another dead raccoon on the side of the road. There must have been a serious glitch in the matrix this afternoon, because that was some weird shit.

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