Pure Gonzo Engineering

Monday, April 30, 2007

Rally Round the Family, Pocket Full of Shells

NME.com reports that RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's first show in almost seven years brought Coachella to a stunning close Sunday night (April 29).

Under a simple red star backdrop, the staunchly political quartet treated the biggest crowd of the weekend to an explosive set that spanned the whole of the band's career.

Communication with the audience was was kept to a bare minimum, with Zach de la Rocha kick-starting the comeback with a simple introduction: "Good evening, we're RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE from Los Angeles, California."

The anticipated anti-Bush tirade finally came during the last song of the main set, "Wake Up". "Our current administration needs to be tried, hung and shot," the singer boldly stated, according to MTV.com. "We need to treat them like the war criminals they are."

The NameCheck put pictures from Wire Image, Film Magic.
I can't wait till the DVD comes out and I can watch this performance.
Rage is so fucking awesome.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Slap Shot

In the past, my slap shot has been terrible. Weak, inaccurate, and ineffective.

Not that it's my fault, I didn't play organized hockey in High School. Sure I messed around with some friends on the ice here and there, but never really focused on the slapper.

I've gone to some open ice times and practiced, and I've finally got the muscle memory and brain rewiring done to get it down. It's got some snap to it, and I can put the puck where I want.

It's still not perfect, but that's the beauty of hockey, you just play more to get better.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Team Lawryde

I’ve had a few tussles with United Healthcare (They process all of Opposite of Dog’s insurance and flexible spending claims) over coverage and payment of health services.

The most in depth of these being their refusal to pay for a second x-ray of my son’s leg when he broke it a while back.

I ended up beating the assholes after 13 months of battling them over $67.50. The resources and man-hours consumed to pay a $67.50 claim, just because they thought the x-ray people or myself were trying to screw them, is astronomical. It’s got to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

That, my friends, is what is wrong with the healthcare system in the United States. There are levels upon levels of bureaucracy where everyone is making a buck shuffling papers around.

So I had another issue of them not paying a flexible spending account claim on something they should have.

I give them a call and go through all the bullshit menus of dialing 1, entering my subscriber number, dialing 3, entering my date of birth, dialing zero, and then I get to actually talk to someone.

He again verifies the information I just dialed into the fucking system, and then says, “Oh, it looks like there is a team assigned to your account. I’ll need to get them on the line before we talk about anything.”

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at him. “Alright,” I say.

I was on hold for like 10 minutes, but I guess Team Lawryde was out on a coffee brake so this dude had to help me. We got the shit straightened out, it was their fucking error, again.

I would be happy as a clam, to simply pay extra money in taxes and never, ever, have to look at bills, or statements of benefits, or be on the phone disputing mishandled claims.



Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Weight: Take a load off Lawryde

I know I talk bad about work most(all) of the time, but now that I’m switching jobs in July, my current position is far more tolerable than it was.

I’ve got a few more designs left to release, and then I can just kick back and coast into my new position and grab my 6% raise.

I can do this with my eyes closed after 3.5 years of doing it, so I can listen to music, take my time, and relax.

I’m also taking some online training in hydraulics to prep for my new test job. I don’t particularly enjoy structured learning, but I do like to learn. There’s so much to learn: variable displacement pumps, motors, hydrostatic steering, hydraulic schematics, charge pumps, pilot actuated spool valves…

You can tattoo the nerd, but he’s still a nerdy geek on the inside.

I can still lay claim to being the baddest fucking geek out of the 94,593 people employed at Opposite of Dog.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Temporary Blur

Just when I think I can’t have more distain for this place, I read this little snip at the left from isigsigma-magazine.com.

He “found out that a real tattooed logo would fade over time”. Ummmm, elsewhere in the article it said dude has been with Opposite of Dog for 30 years. This means he’s in his 50’s. With the average human life span what it is, if he would actually get that tattooed on him, it wouldn’t fade as long as it was done properly, and sized properly.

I’d say he just lost the nerve to actually do it. Couldn’t find his stones on the given day? Wife talked him out of it? Religion talked him out of it?

If I had the stones, I’d email him and set it straight that it wouldn’t fade. Let him know I’d man up with him and get the very same logo tattooed on me if he’d do it, bigger in fact.

For me, it wouldn’t be a big thing. I’ve got bizarre things tattooed on my body.

It would be one of the biggest decisions of his life. Taking that first step. Although a man of his salary could get the laser surgery later on to remove it.

So maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Listening to Pink Floyd and taking corporate training

I learned last night that it isn’t the smartest thing to give a 15-month-old fried chicken. Not even the skin of fried chicken, the actual meat part. My poor little guy was shitting like crazy all night, and just had a hell of a time sleeping, too much grease in his system.

I shaved my head yesterday, because I was hot, and my hair was annoying me.

I’ve done this at least 2 or 3 times before. Yet most people at Opposite of Dog think it’s this crazy, outrageous thing that is happening for the first time.

It’s really no surprise to me. And that, Steve, is why I can never show my tattoos. They think it’s wild and crazy when a guy shows up with a shaved head.

I’d love to show up with a Mohawk, but the wife thinks that wouldn’t be such a good idea either.

I think I could make a Mohawk look professional.

So the more I think about he bullshit that happened to me regarding my “performance” at work more than a year ago, the more it pissed me off.

The two golden boys who were saying I was doing a shit job and were getting high ratings have since moved on to new jobs.

In this world we are not judged on our real performance, we are judged on the perception of our value.

I was working on the intake and exhaust system; they were working on the cooling system, which I then inherited.

As I’ve been working on the cooling system, we’ve found out all kinds of things are fucked up in it. Bad assumptions were made, data was incorrect, shit just didn’t add up. I’m fixing it. They got high ratings and I almost didn’t get a raise.

We finally got the test results back on my exhaust system. My muffler passed with flying colors. It’s one of the first ever to be on a bulldozer and pass after the first design iteration. Solid as a fucking rock, not even close to failure.

My brain child.

My design.

The crazy tattooed motherfucker who hates Corporate America can design like a kid out in the rain, while Johnny ass kissers who puts on the air of actually doing a good job, actually output garbage which I then fix.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

You've got to be kidding me.

I found this on CNN.com.

"Slain students to receive degrees

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's provost announced Thursday that the university will award the students killed in Monday's rampage with posthumous degrees.

"The families are very happy about this, and we are actually going to award those degrees during the regular commencement exercises that the students would have participated in with their friends," said Mark McNamee, provost and vice president for academic affairs."

This is so fucking stupid.

I mean seriously, "posthumous degrees".

I can't even compose my thoughs as to how uterlly retarded this is. Should they all file posthumous tax returns, and get posthumous driverlicense renewals, and get posthumous marriage certificates if they had a significant other?

Just insane...

When I die, for whatever reason, don't award me shit. I won't need it. Just fucking remember me, and celebrate what I did, not what I would have done.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Does this make you 5 X sadder than you were?

Where is the outpouring of grief, prayers, and questions of how could this happen?

Just more dead Iraqis, not pretty white coeds.

My point being, people die all over the world for fucked up reasons and no one cares. So it goes.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lawryde gets excited about life, death, and work.

A lone gunman killed 33 people at Virginia Tech. So it goes.

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

After Vonnegut died, I read Slaughterhouse Five over the weekend. I’d read Man Without a Country, and enjoyed his writing style, but I’m just generally not much of a reader unless I really like the author, like Hunter S. Thompson or Chuck Palahniuk.

In Slaughterhouse Five, time is presented in the tenseless way. I’ve talked about this before, but it basically means that all time and events are already laid out like a mountain range. You’re always living all moments of your life from birth to death. We only think there is a past, present, and future because of the human condition. Einstein believed time was this way.

The more I think about it, the better that makes me feel about life and death. Not having Free Will doesn’t bother me. I’m far more comforted to think that I’ll be repeatedly living my life forever, not being able to change anything. You just focus on the good parts and try to understand them, and try to understand the universe.

Anyway, I’ll be switching positions within Opposite of Dog on July 1. I get to go out to the testing facility, which is basically a big sandbox with heavy equipment in it. I’ll be doing hydraulics testing, which should be both challenging and interesting. I’m excited. I need to go buy a bunch of jeans, polo shirts, and those long sleeve shirts that wick sweat away to hide my ink in the 95° Illinois summers. I’d like to hope that eventually I’d be able to go short sleeved in that kind of environment (not an office), but I’m not holding my breath.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Battle in the Deep

After four hours of tattooing, I'm one step closer to a completed left arm

I took a half day of vacation today to get this work done. It's been a bitch to find a time since Kalib and Jason at American Inkwell are so busy.

I'm happy for them though. They're living the American Dream. They own their business, and are doing what they love to do. I wish I had the kind of courage they had to tell Nick's Tattoo to fuck off and start their own shop together.

This was my first tattoo at their new shop, which is nice, but it was really cold. I don't know if they have the rule that as soon as it's April they don't turn the heat on, but I was cold through most of the tattoo. Which is odd, since I'm normally sweating during the process.

Like I said, it took four hours to complete. It's a much bigger and more complex piece than I had originally though it was. It's at least as complex as my Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow piece.

It wasn't too painful though. Kalib and I chatted about movies, TV, and music. We have a lot of the same taste and a similar sense of humor. By the end, I was ready to be done. At some point near the end I asked myself why the hell I do this to myself.

When we were all done and I saw the finished product I remembered why. There's no one in the area who can do a better traditional/neo-traditional piece like Kalib can.

Now its Tat Wax and healing.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Swinging Pendulum

In my last post, I wrote about how I had been feeling pretty depressed lately.

Yesterday I had a visit with my therapist and talked with him about depression and how to deal with it and how to be more agreeable to my wife while I’m depressed.

It went well, and I felt better after.

Then last night I took Carter to swim lessons, which is every Wednesday. He loves it. We are, by far, the coolest father son/child duo there, me with my tattoos, and he with his Mohawk. We had a good time.

Later that nigh, I went to sleep, woke up for sex, and then got up refreshed this morning to a thin layer of snow on the ground. Sure it’s April, but there is something calming and serene about snow.

I’m really excited about getting my tattoo tomorrow. I have a feeling it’s not going to be very pleasant, being on the inside of my left arm, but it’s going to be hella cool, and very unique. Sperm whale fighting a giant squid, it just sounds fucking awesome.

I feel the pendulum swinging back to happy.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I’ll take Potpourri Tuesday for $1000 Alex… wait… that doesn’t rhyme.

Don’t use your real name for shit online. It’s ok to use just your first name or whatever, but certainly don’t have your full name associated with whatever sick, twisted, bizarre employment debilitating shit that you’re into. That is why I go by Lawryde online. If potential employer X types A***** L***** into Google they come up with some dudes garden photography and plant portraits, not my heavily tattooed back and my ramblings on how much I hate working in the corporate world.

I’m obsessed with the Muse CD Absolution. It’s so good. I listen to it on the way to work, at work, and on the way home from work.

I’ve been in a really bad, depressed mood the past week or so. I think it’s because I delayed getting my tattoo until this Friday. My wife thinks that means I have an addictive personality. I really, really feel like I need to bleed. That’s not a sign of addiction… is it? Maybe that sounded worse than it actually is. I need to feel the sunburned feeling after getting tattooed and being washed over with endorphins.

In addition to feeling depressed, I feel very physically strong right now. In the past, High School and College, I couldn’t gain any muscle mass. Not that I really tried very hard. Playing video games doesn’t exactly build your pecks. Now that I’m playing hockey on a regular basis and doing push-ups and sit-ups, I’m actually gaining bulk in my arms and chest. This new found feeling of strength really makes me want to fist fight someone. On the top of my list of people I would like to fist fight are the paper-man(he’s not a boy) who delivers the shitty free local Peoria paper (God I hate that fucking paper), the douche bag who was in front of me on the interstate in the left lane chatting away on his cell phone this morning, and Sean Hannity. I should maintain this list and add to it so I don’t forget; much like the people I could be unfaithful to my wife with if I had the opportunity without repercussions. (She has a similar list).

The end is all I can see, and it scares the hell out of me.

That’s how I feel sometimes. Only able to see the end.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

This mother fucker's like Charles Bronson in "The Great Escape." He's digging tunnels.

I went and saw “Grindhouse” last night. (Yeah, that's what I do on Easter, eat fast food and go to R-rated movies) I had high hopes, as I really like Tarantino and Rodriguez’s past movies.

“Plant Terror” by Robert Rodriquez I thought was pretty cool, although critics considered it the weaker film. It was fun and fast paced, and had the look and feel of a grindhouse picture (from what I’ve read grindhouse films were all about).

After the fake previews with lots of boobies to see, came “Death Proof”. This one really didn’t do it for me. All the cool effects that were done in “Planet Terror” to make it look like we were actually watching an old film reel that was beat up were almost all gone. It also moved kind of slow, and you’re two hours into the film and you kind of start to feel your bladder filling up, and there isn’t enough stuff going on to make you forget about that fact.

There was also the Tarantino scene were you have a group of people sitting around a restaurant table eating a meal and talking about something that doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot of the movie. Now in “Reservoir Dogs” this was the classic “Like a Virgin” by Madonna is a song about big dicks conversation tied in with the “why I don’t tip” conversation, which are classic. I honestly don’t remember what the four ladies were talking about during this meal conversation.

Overall “Grindhouse” was OK. Not what I had hoped though. Maybe if I watch “Death Proof” again I’ll like it more.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

National Fatherhood Institute Quiz

Before Carter was born, I wondered if I would be a good father or not. Not an unusual response to the idea of having to raise a child and having the potential to fuck up the rest of their life due to how you handle their upbringing.

To judge how I’m doing I’ll take the National Fatherhood Institute Quiz from The Simpsons episode “Saturday’s of Thunder”

Question 1: Name one of your child’s friends.

I can name two. His play buddy Trey and our dog skitch.

Question 2: Who is your son’s hero?

I would say Steve McQueen, but I think I’ll go with my wife, or maybe myself.

Question 3: Name another dad you talked to about parenting

There are a number of dad’s I’ve talked to at the Attachment Parenting meetings about parenting

Question 4: What are your Son’s hobbies?

Crunching up crackers on the floor, Harassing our dog and cats, Pulling clothes and shoes out of closet and drawers, Playing the xylophone, stacking blocks, Swimming (which he loves to do now that we are in lessons together), etc, etc.

Well, it looks like I got 100%.

I still don’t really have 100% clear picture of what it means or takes to be a good father, but as I look at some of the other chump fathers out there, I’ve gotten a good understanding of what makes a bad father.

I think the main component of being a good parent, or being a good part of any relationship is selflessness.

I’m not all that great at being selfless, but I’m trying Ringo, I’m trying real hard.

This is where I got the above quote from.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

We did it!

Man I tried like hell to find a clip or sound clip of Stephen Colbert saying "We did it", but I couldn't... Damn it would have had a much better effect.

Anyway, We did it!

We won both games of our double header on Saturday to claim the Peoria C League AHL Championship. We played the black team who beat us the first game of the tournament which put us in the losers bracket, so we wanted some revenge.

We really dominated them the entire game. We had three full lines of offense and two and a half of defense. They only had one extra line of both.

I think I ended up with about 4 assists in the two games and one penalty. I had two basically open net shots that I fucked up, which sucked, but that's why I play in C League and not any higher.

After the game we went out and had some beers and bar food and talked shit about the season. It was nice being on the top of the pile after playing for the worst team the last two years.

So now it'll be Friday mornings until July to get my hockey fix. Then Summer league starts.

I'm the handsomely grizzled gentlemen in the center with the red gloves.

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