Pure Gonzo Engineering

Friday, December 28, 2007

Saying something important is never easy, something that will echo forever.

It’s almost Friday, and it will have been seven long days of traveling, three left.

I’ve gotten some money for Xmas. I’ll blow it on hockey gear or tattoos. Either will be nice.

The internet, myspace and facebook, makes for one giant continuous class reunion. I wonder if people look at me, if they even care, and say, “What the fuck happened to him”. Then they either feel better or worse about their own lives.

I hope my son doesn’t wake up in four hours, eight would be better.

Tomorrow there will be 6 little children running and or crawling around a 3 bedroom house.

In addition to shoveling snow, I find driving when it’s kind of dark and my one ear is plugged and/or swollen so I can’t hear well, and my wife and child are asleep, and all I can hear is the rush of air around the car and the four cylinder engine straining to keep the frame and the sheet metal and us and all the crap we’ve brought with us going 75 miles an hour, quite Zen.

Well, I’ve failed, but much like Steve, posting random shit can be just as entertaining as a well thought out narrative.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I tried not to think of the words Searing or Flesh

All you suckers who have to work today.

I'd almost rather be freezing my ass off on a pipelayer than having took my dog to the vet after he got bit by another dog.

I remember why I hate dogs. They're annoying, they piss and shit everywhere, they cost money, and they like to bite things unexpectedly.

Last night I watched in awe as ragged 15 year old Skitch was chomped on by a stupid young dog five times his size.

All I could muster was a "Jesus Christ" as three relatives tried to pull the dog off Skitch. He seemed OK at first, but then this big hard mass swelled up on his neck. Blood was pooling under his skin from the puncture wound.

He survived the night and the vet says he should be fine.

I have a cold, my ear hurts, my kid isn't sleeping well, and my dog had a brush with death.

Four more days of restful vacationing.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Old Teenage Hopes

This is it, the last day of work before 11 days off.

This is going to be a long day. I decided to play rat hockey last night until 11:30 since we don’t have a game this weekend. A bunch of Bradley University players showed up and all decided to play on the same team.

They’re pretty fucking good, but it was a good skate anyway. I couldn’t really do much, but they are a college club team. Even though these guys thought they were hockey Gods, they still just play for the Bradley Club Team, it isn’t like they play in the WCHA.

After I was getting my gear off for a shower and this dude is eyeing me, and I know what he’s going to say.

“How much did all your ink cost?”

I was tired, and I noticed he had a couple of garbage tattoos on him. They kind of looked like kanji-ish tribal-ish bullshit. Not a tattoo person, just a person who happened to have gotten tattooed.

I gave him a quick exasperated answer. “Thousands of dollars.”

He then proceeded to regale me with his faded tattoos; it looked like he went tanning on a regular basis.

He told me how he knew he had some sort of bond with people that have tattoos, and he knew they’d be a certain type of person.

My thoughts exactly, however, I categorize tattooed people into two groups. Those that actually are into tattooing, and those that just got one or two to be bad motherfuckers. I had nothing in common with this kid, and I didn’t feel like talking to him any further.

Yet he continued on. I had turned around and he asked me what my back meant. I just said, “Nothing really”. It means a lot, but I just want to shower and go home. I don’t want to spend time telling him about the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. I don’t want to tell him about my grandparents dying. I don’t want to tell him about the fictional phoenix and how it doesn’t die. I don’t want to explain the burning cityscape to him. He’s got some fucking symbol for peace or courage or some other bullshit nonsense that he picked off a wall.

“I don’t need tattoos to mean anything”, I tell him, which at this point is pretty true.

As I shower I hear him blathering on about how HE thinks that tattoos need to have some deep spiritual meaning.

I’m toweling off and the kid has finally stopped his questions and philosophical views on tattooing.

Then, this other dude asks me if he can use some of my body wash. WTF, when did they start letting some many dipshits play hockey? I go into a long “um”. I’m trying to think of some reason to not let this kid use my body wash. I can’t come up with something so I tell him “sure” in a long drawn out drawl. I should have told him I had some sort of terrible skin rash and I shouldn’t even have my skin exposed when other people are around, but I couldn’t come up with that on the spot.

I’m about 30 seconds from leaving now, and this other fucking kid asks to get a bit of body wash. Fucking hell! I tell him I’m out in 30 seconds so he takes some now or he doesn’t take any at all. He’s still got some pads on so he squeezes a bit in his hand. As I leave he’s still got his hand cupped like he’s got a baby chicken in it or something.

The crisp night air embraces me, and I go home.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Post #345: The Dregs of Pre-Holiday Break

Being at work is just killing me right now. I was supposed to be really busy right now setting up a test to have ready for when we get back from holiday break. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten the fan pump we need for the test.

Now I’m stuck at my desk waiting for the hours to click by.

Everyone thought my late grandmother had seasonal affective disorder. Her mood visibly changed every winter. I thought I was just an asshole for hating this time of year, the hassle of doing holiday related things, the headache of traffic due to everyone being out shopping, etc. Turns out I too may also have SAD. I went and bought a seven-dollar big wattage full spectrum light bulb. I’ve been having it’s blasting light a few feet away from me for about 2-3 hours a day. Either through coincidence, placebo affect, or actual curative properties, I feel much better after only two days of doing it. I’m not exhausted after getting home from work, I can tolerate being in stores full of all the ugly, stupid people in this world, and I generally feel OK.

Found out yesterday that we’re having a second boy. I kind of wanted to have a girl, but now that I know we’re having a boy, I think it will be better to have two boys than a boy and a girl. Now Carter will have a partner in crime and be able to have that brother-brother bond, that I known nothing about, but can only assume is pretty cool to have. We’re also all set up for a boy so no additional things need to be done other than get seasonally appropriate clothes since this one is due in May. Now there will be two Lawryde men to carry on the Lawryde name.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Zen Snow Shoveling

It snowed about six inches this weekend.

Steve- Snow is a frozen crystallized form of water which falls during the winter months due to the temperature being below 32°F (0°C).

OK, now that we’re all on a level playing field.

I heard all these snow blowers running and I just scoffed. Snow blowers are for old men and women, much like the only people without beards are young boys and women.

I find the act of snow shoveling calming and quieting. It turns off the unessential parts of the brain and gets you down to the essential survival parts.

It’s you, the cold, the shovel, and your muscles extending and contracting, much like ice-skating is you, the cold, the skates, and your muscles extending and contracting.

Everything else in the world is stripped away.

I also did a bit of electrical wiring in my house this weekend. I replaced some 1960’s vintage light switches. The wiring in the house is just scary. It’s that old shit with an inner layer of insulation and then kind of cloth wrap on the outside.

The three switches I replaced were all wired in parallel. They took the hot wire and just stripped off three sections on the continuous wire for each switch. Not exactly to code.

Then I spent like an hour and a half trying to get a timer switch wired into my outdoor plug to run my Christmas lights. Something was fucked up with the internals of the switch so I just went with an outside timer that plugged into the current outlet. I should have done that in the first place, it took all of 5 minutes to mount to the siding and setup.

Five days until the great Wisconsin Christmas Odyssey.

I’m your Neighborhood Spaceman… (terrible video, good song)

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Blue Line

Last night I got my hockey mojo back.

Before the game I took a look at the standings. We're 4-1, another team is 5-1, and everyone else is somewhere below, including the firefighters and my ex-team, the orange team, who are 0-5-1 Ha!

Anyway, that put us into second place with one more game than the other team to play.

We were playing the Japanese Female Doctor Team, and I was expecting a difficult game. They've got several really good players.

Phil, Drew, Mike and I opened it up strong. We got an odd-man rush. I was taking it up the left side with Mike and Phil trailing. I put a perfect pass onto Phil's stick and he put it in.

A few shifts later I scored with a nice little wrist shot from the left circle. I got a second goal which Mike said was "retarded". Retarded in how I managed to get the puck on the right side, as I had to reach for it and just barely got control of it and popped it in.

It felt good to play that well after sucking balls for the last few games. Now we're tied at 5-1 for first place. After holiday break we play the team we're tied with. This season is proving that just having a couple stellar players can't beat a team of decent players.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Lawryde Reaches His Physical Peak

Last night my hockey team played the dickhead firefighter team. As we were warming up I saw that they didn’t have their ringers on the ice. This gave us a chance to win.

It was a really good game. We were always within one or two goals of each other. We ended up beating them 6-5.

They were crying about this and that through the entire game. Their bench was pissing and moaning about some call they thought should have been made. I yelled over and told them to “Shut the fuck up. I thought you were fucking firefighters?”

They didn’t seem to appreciate that.

For the most part, I played like shit. I haven’t played well the last few games. This could be for any number of reasons.

I’m playing offense now instead of defense. I switched positions this season because we had enough defensemen. I don’t really know where to be now as well as I did when I was playing defense. I can make an outlet pass like a kid out in the rain, being in place for one and catching one is an entirely different story.

I’ve reached my physical limitations only playing one game per week. I either need to play more every week, or supplement playing with some cardiovascular and strength training between games. The only way to get better hands and game sense is to play. Rat is during inconvenient times now, and I really hate running or doing pushups and sit-ups. I’m certainly not getting any younger, and this will only get worse if I don’t do anything about it.

It’s depressing when you reach a point like this. I felt like this regarding my intelligence after my freshmen year in college. Up to that point I could learn and apply anything quicker than almost anyone. I had natural ability, and I reached a point where I would have had to put in a significant amount of work into taking it to the next level.

I guess the bottom line is I’m lazy. I coasted with ease into a 3.4 and a degree.

Learning hydraulics in this new position has challenged me, but I’m still not willing to put in a huge amount of effort to become an expert.

Jack-of-all-trades, master of none, that’s Lawryde.

Is it strange the two tracks I’m really into right now are on completely opposite ends of the musical spectrum?

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lawryde Ponders Causality, the meaning of Cheez-its, and why God is trying to kill him again.

As if God isn’t trying to kill us all at every given moment… but I digress.

My body is full of adrenaline right now, so we’ll start from the end and work back.

It snowed last night (less than a ¼ inch accumulation), and the sandbox at work is tucked away back in the country with only two country roads leading to it. I’ve lived in Illinois a touch too long apparently because every winter here I have an oh shit moment where I nearly get in an accident because I forget my Wisconsin winter driving skills. Luckily I have reflexes of a jungle cat (more on that later). The twisting winding road to work normally is really fun to drive at high speeds. So I’m kind of driving it the way I normally drive it. I come into a corner going way to fast and my ass end lets loose.

Oh shit moment begins.

I counter steer the skid, but my momentum keeps me going. The anti-locks are clicking and I’m counter steering the other way now. I’m facing the other direction and my car finally comes to rest about two feet from going into the ditch. The engine dies because I don’t push in the clutch in my moment of shit. I was lucky on two fronts. Number one I didn’t end up in the ditch because then I would have had to call a tow truck to get my ass out. I do think, however, that is covered in Hyundai’s roadside assistance program.

Where I am most lucky though is that a large semi carrying a piece of heavy equipment wasn’t coming the other way at that exact moment (a frequent occurrence on the road to the sandbox), or I would most likely be in the hospital right now or dead. Bottom line, I need to slow the fuck down and remember where I’m from.

Last night my wife and Carter and I went to see a specialist midwife. The only one within 60 miles is 60 miles away, so we took a ride through the Illinois countryside to see her after I got back from work. We stopped in Henry cause I had to pee. The boy had also run out of food and was hungry. I grabbed some Combos for myself and looked for something for him. I looked at the Cheez-its and had a Robert Frost moment of both Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and The Road Not Taken. I paused a few moments and grabbed them.

We continued on in the dark. We were chatting, mostly Carter (he doesn’t stop) and I saw a deer in the right ditch. I slowed, but it was continuing to the right. My wife said something about how I was going to hit that deer. I didn’t see the second one that was coming from the left until the last second due to my concentration on the first who I thought was heading left. I mashed the brakes and I saw him stop and turn. We were going to hit him. There were no cars in the other lane so I swerved hard. The Elantra pranced to the side nicely. We barely missed him. My body filled with adrenaline much like it was a few minutes ago.

On the way home I began to think about my pause at the Cheez-its. If I hadn’t paused for them, would I have hit the first deer (unable to swerve or hit the second), or would I have been delayed a few seconds elsewhere and the same thing would have happened? I’ve talked before about how seemingly insignificant choices have massive impact on our lives. This was one of them.

Was it inevitable that I was going to miss those deer? Was I never going to get stuck in the ditch or hit by a semi coming the other way?

This is the center of my dilemma with life, death, God, and the nature of time.

Cue the music.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Training Your Child

I’m reminded on a daily basis how I’m not anything like most of the people I work with. Whether it is their denial of the existence of mental illness, or on their philosophies of raising a child.

A couple of them just had babies. They subscribe to the 1940’s philosophy of just letting a baby cry and it will eventually stop. You baby is a mastermind of manipulation, a la’ Stewie Griffin of Family guy. You child is a dog to be trained for your convenience.

How can people sleep at night with these philosophies? If a baby is crying it needs something. It’s hungry, wet, or just wants your love. How can you deny something you’ve created your love and affection simply because you’d rather be asleep.

If you let your baby cry itself to sleep you’ve accomplished your goal, and it won’t wake up a bunch of times at night, but you’ve also taught it the lesson that it can’t count on you for love and affection. There’s a lot of time in a persons life to find out life is a cruel bitch and people aren’t going to be there for them. Why teach that to them before they’re two.

We didn’t let Carter cry it out. We got up and cared for him. That’s what we signed up for. I would have bought a dog if I wanted to train him like a dog. I have another human that needs to be loved because it can’t take care of itself in this cold unforgiving world.

I adjusted to getting less sleep and waking up at night. We didn’t train him, and now, for quite a while now, all we have to do at night is turn off the light rock him for about 5 seconds, ask him if he’s ready to go to sleep. He say’s Yeah. He gets put in the crib, and he sleeps for 11-12 hours.

No one likes to be called a bad or selfish parent. So I won’t.

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