Pure Gonzo Engineering

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Lesson in Engineering and Motivation

Steve had a post a few days ago about trying to recapture the drive and passion to succeed. It made me think about my tattoo machine. The first iteration was just for the invention competition. V2.0 was a better design, but it still wasn’t good. It’s more difficult than you’d think to have a “good” design. It’s easy to spot good and bad design, but it’s a far more daunting task to actually design something that’s good. Good designs typically have hundreds of years and hundreds of thousands of man-hours worth of thought and labor put into them.

Every piece of sheet metal and plastic of your car has a specific reason for why it is the way it is. Machines that have been developed for as long as cars, and bulldozers, and tattoo machines are the way they are for good reason, and drastically changing them creates major design, reliability, and cosmetic issues.

Steve’s post must have planted a seed in my creative subconscious. (which isn’t very big since I’m a piss poor artist, musician, and most other creative exploits).

This morning I was in the shower, humming some Weezer when I was suddenly struck by the thought that everyone dies alone, and I began to panic. Adrenaline flooded my system and my hands and legs began to shake. I started to breath deeply to try and calm myself down. My mind was still wanting to flight, but there’s really no where to go when you’re naked and dripping wet in the middle of winter.

I began singing Thoughts of a Dying Atheist to myself while getting toweled off and went to get dressed.

Then it came to me. It doesn’t have to have a cover on it. It’s a tattoo machine, not a fucking BMW. Kind of the Indian Larry school of design. This will make it a more compact package and it will look cool. Machined springs also came to me, and I had a flash in my brain of what V3.0 should look like.

Now all that’s left to do is everything.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Gamey, No Games, and Game On

We were alone for Thanksgiving since it isn’t “our” holiday and no one decided to come down and see us.

I didn’t mind. I got in my cooking zone and got the pheasants and ham going, worked on the sides and brought it all together right on time. I could have been a chef in another life.

The meal was good. I’d never had pheasant before. I brined it prior to roasting to keep it moist and flavor it. I never understood what the term gamey meant, but after eating the pheasant I understood. It was good, but it had this gamey flavor that chicken or turkey doesn’t have.

We put our Christmas tree up and luckily Carter hasn’t been too rough with it. He likes taking ornaments off and then not putting them back on. We also brought out this Homer Simpson in a Santa suit that dances and plays music. He stands in front of it and dances along with Homer as he sings Jingle Bells. It’s really funny, and we got a video of it to embarrass him later in life.

I agreed to help a buddy from work do the plumbing in his laundry room on Saturday. I was hoping it would be like a five-hour job, but it turned into an 11-hour job. We took out all the galvanized which was a bitch because of the suspended ceiling. That took about 4 hours. Then he hadn’t bought any of the fittings we needed so we went to Menards and Lowes. We were putting in PEX so he really didn’t know exactly what we needed. We got shutoff valves tied into the old work and some of the PEX run and called it a night at about 10:30 Saturday night.

I came back on Sunday and we got the PEX knocked out and pressure tested in less than two hours. No leaks. Now I’ve got a favor in my back pocket. I could have been a plumber in another life.

Sunday evening we had our hockey game against the Orange team. It was a battle against the team a group of us broke off of since last season because we didn’t like playing with these teenage jerk offs who never passed the puck. It had the potential for a really good game, unfortunately one of the league refs who also plays two divisions higher than our league decided to play for the Orange team for some “rehab”. WTF?

He didn’t look like he had lost any steps, and he basically shut us our offense down playing defense. One of our guys had a breakaway, and he chases him down from center ice and takes the puck away from him.

I was taking the puck up the side and he kind of muscles me into the wall and I fall down. I put my hands up with a “where’s the fucking call” look on my face. I didn’t really mind though, I play a physical game so I don’t mind if I get pushed around a bit. Unfortunately, about a minute later I’m bringing the puck up the same side and he’s in about the same position. He knocks the puck away from me up the boards, I need to spin around to my left to chase after the puck. My stick is in my right hand and he is in the path of my stick if I don’t lift it up and swing it around. I bring it up and I feel meat as my stick connects with his jaw. It wasn’t too hard (no blood, no teeth lost, serves him right for not wearing a full cage in the lowest league play), and I really didn’t mean to do it. It kind of reeked of retaliation though.

We lost 4-0. We had no offense. I need to call the league manager today and voice my disapproval of A-League players “rehabilitating” themselves in C-League games. EDIT: We were awarded the win. The league manager didn't even need any convincing. One of the refs at the game had already talked to him about it, and I thought they were all just dicks.

Long weekend, short week this week. I’m taking Friday off.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My site is worth $84,067,659.
How much is yours worth?

I'm willing to sell for anyone that wants to buy.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lawryde's Good and Bad Weekend

I kind of had this Duality of Man weekend.

On Friday my hockey team (and I call it my team because I put it together and have taken a kind of leadership role) had it’s second game of the season. We lost to the ass hat firefighters two weeks ago, so I was kind of down and expecting to lose every game. We played team Yordy that is a collection of some of the Bradley College students who just play hockey for fun, and some other dudes who are pretty cool. It was kind of back and forth for the first few shifts.

We had a face-off in their end, I was playing center. I won it clean back to the point. The defensemen had a nice shot that got through traffic. There was a big rebound that came right to me on the left side, and I poked it in. We didn’t look back after that. We ended up winning 7-4.

Next game we play the team that Phil, Mike, Drew and I broke out of to form this new team. It should be fun taking those teenage kids to school.

On Saturday I was invited over to a dude I work with’s house to play some Guitar Hero with a bunch of people. I know, I was the same way. I thought Guitar Hero was stupid, and the people who play it are poser nerds who have never seen a heavy metal band live, and who desperately want to be cool tattooed rock stars, but I found out that it’s actually a fun game. It’s got some good rock songs and it tests your hand eye coordination. Apparently mine is pretty good from the years and years of playing video games because I went from never playing the game to the hard difficulty level by the end of the night. I think I’m going to ask for Guitar Hero III for Christmas. Go ahead, start calling me names, but remember I DO have a bunch of tattoos, and a wallet that gives me the title of “Bad Mother Fucker”.

On Sunday I was in a bad-fucking mood. I’m not really sure why. It was a crappy rainy Fall day, I had to go grocery shopping in a store full of old ladies with giant carts of food for Thanksgiving, my fucking toilet that I thought I fixed kept getting stuck, I don’t know. It’s like none of the good things that happened the previous days had happened. I did manage to get the toilet back to working order.

I hope.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 16, 2007

They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.

When an objective third party who knows a lot about marriage tells you that you have a pretty good marriage, it makes you feel good.

50% of all marriages end in divorce

In 45% of all marriages one or both partners are miserable.

4% of all marriages are still in the honeymoon phase.

In 1% of all marriages both partners are happy and satisfied.

It’s a beautiful, sacred institution though isn’t it?

I miss sleeping next to my Carter on a regular basis. We bought him a twin bed, and last night I fell asleep with him until midnight. It made me miss the times he would nuzzle up and sleep with us all night.

My fictitious summit bid of Mount Everest has begun. Lapsang and I arrived in Nepal and have begun amassing supplies to burden down a yak for our trip to our base camp. The yak objected to my insistence on bringing a satellite, 42” television, and generator, but I’ve got to watch my stories. Lapsang agreed.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

45 or 6 to 11

I’ve made the decision to fictitiously summit Mount Everest. I’ve been so inspired by the TV show Everest: Beyond the Limit, that I plan to, with the expertise of my fake Sherpa guide Lapsang, summit the tallest mountain on the planet.

In fact, I will be the first man in history to fictitiously summit Everest with a fictitious guide during the wintertime.

It won’t be easy. I’ll need to spend half’s of hours typing about my exploits, and perhaps HOURS of time photoshoping a picture of myself with my fake guide on the summit of Everest.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I proceed to come up with comical stories about my fake journey, and search the internet for a suitable picture to photoshop myself into.

When I do finally achieve my burning goal I’ve had since last night, and I reach as close to the heavens as any person possibly can without $500 and the desire to deal with Thanksgiving travel time in an airport, I will paraphrase the great Yuri Gagarin and I will cry out: “Lapsang, I’m looking, but I don’t see any God up here”

Then, in true Buddhist fashion he will turn to me and say: "Lawryde, Don't mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon."

Then we'll look at each other and laugh oxygen depleted laughs.

Wish me luck.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That’s the only reason anyone does anything in life anyway, so they have a good story to tell.

I’ve been pretty lazy about posting lately, so I’m trying real hard to turn the events that happen in my life into anecdotal, entertaining stories.

Apparently it’s been long enough, because I feel the desire deep within me to get tattooed again. I want to finish my left old school sleeve. I don’t really have much room for anything major so it’s more going to be filler. Flames around the wrist have kind of floated into my head, but that can look really stupid and bad if not done right. I’ve got a spot on the back of my forearms that might fit a dagger or hula girl. I’ve also got a spot on the inside and top of my arm that might fit a straight razor or nautical star. Nothing is really speaking to me right now, but I definitely need to start thinking about it since I’ll most likely get some cash money for Christmas.

In other news:

Two engineers had a baby at work, and the best name they can come up with is Douchbag McEngineer III. Poor kid has to be raised by two unimaginative, uninspired people.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Testicles Defy Your Medical Logic

I’m looking for some insulated bib overalls for work so when it gets really fucking cold and I have to be out testing a cab-less pipelayerr I don’t freeze my nuts off. I naturally begin looking at Carhartt’s since that’s what every other hick at work has.

It looks like I’d have to drop $90 retail or like $60 on ebay. I had kind of resigned my self to this fact until I found this other brand called Toughguard which is around $40.

I couldn’t really understand this, but I then realized that Carhartt clothing is made in the United States by unionized labor. Toughguard is most likely made by a six year old in Indo-China.

I’m never one to deny a child’s right to work, so I’m going to go with the Toughguard.

Carter was being incredible and super cute this weekend.

We’ve got this little plush monkey, and he was carrying it around and calling it George (a’ la’ Curious George which we read to him). He then would take it and lay it down on the floor and say George sleep. Then he looked around his toy box saying pillow over and over until he found a little beanbag. He put it under the monkey’s head and said George pillow sleep. Then he grabbed this piece of silk and covered him up and said George sleep. In two months he’ll be two.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sleepy Brain

I’m struggling to stay awake right now. We had our first hockey game of the winter season last night at 9:15 PM. I didn’t get home until 11:00 and didn’t get to sleep until 12:00. I’ve managed to stay awake most of the day by being outside in the cold, eating candy, and drinking caffeine.

We played the evil Peoria firefighters team. They spent last winter getting their ass’s handed to them in B-League so they decided to come down and dominate C-League again. We lost 6-1. Overall it was pretty fun. I got hit with a puck on the front of my foot in the first period. It hurt like a bitch, and it still aches a bit. Near the end I was frustrated and my foot was throbbing so I took a stupid penalty. I basically checked this guy and kind of fell over in the process. Not my finest. I played OK; I had several shots on net, and one breakaway chance I failed to score on. My backhand is weak like a 6-year-old girl so I didn’t get much on it.

We also had a Halloween party on Saturday. It was not as fun as last Saturday’s part. I still can’t really relate and get along with other engineers on a social level.

Time to go home and lay on the couch.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Picking dirt out of my teeth

One of my pipelayers is messed up, so I've been out in a dust bowl trying to work on it with 32° mornings and 60° afternoons.

Trick or Treating was fun with Carter.

You can see pictures of it here, and the post before that has some news.

It's alive. Always blows me away.

Labels: , , ,