Pure Gonzo Engineering

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oswald Xavier: Oz to his friends

Born 10:55 pm at home in water naturally at 37 weeks one day.

Mom and baby are doing well.

I'm tired.

7lbs 6 ounces 19 3/4" long

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Monday, April 28, 2008

The Oak Tree

At the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend I was getting incredibly frustrated with Carter. He was being two, and I wanted him to be 12.

Now, I wanted to cry when I dropped him off at a babysitter. We've got him in a hawk for the summer. He's this crazy little dude who loves jumping off things and talking about the sun going to sleep and where trucks and tractors are hiding. This little piece of me.

I can only hope I can be all that he needs me to be.

I'm there. I matter less than him, than his future brother, than my wife.

I'm there.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anarchy in The Opposite of Dog

Today was get paid to play Guitar Hero III day.

My buddy DG and I traveled from the Sandbox to the technical center of Opposite of Dog. It's where all of the advanced research and development happens at our Fortune 50 company.

At first we were a bit hesitant because there was no one in the large hallway where the talent/hobby show was going to take place. We hooked up the PS2 to the big flat screen LG television.

As it got closer to the start time, more people showed up and we started to play.

Overall it went pretty well. People are inherently interested and can't help be a bit impressed with the speed and fury of expert. There were a few comments, but it was no big thing.

We had fun, and got to crank up Bulls on Parade, Knights of Cydonia, One, My Name is Jonas, and Anarchy in the UK in the hallowed conservative halls of Opposite of Dog.

If felt good on that level, and the level of getting paid to fuck around.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Kitchen Before and Kitchen After

You don't really realize how bad something is until you've experienced something better.

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Lawryde is going to get paid to play Guitar Hero 3

Does that make me a Rock Star? It makes me something. (Tool, douche-bag, jackass).

My new division at Opposite of Dog is having a Talent / Hobby exposé on Thursday. When I first learned of this exposé I thought it was going to be stupid and kind of brushed it off. One of my fellow hydraulics system development comrades jested to me that we should play Guitar Hero, since we’re experts. Not experts in the way that those 8 year old kids on Youtube are, but Local Gods at the very least.

YES!, I told him. We’re going to get paid about $40 an hour to play Guitar Hero for about an hour and a half.

He wasn’t into it at first, but I got some buy in from our division manager’s administrative assistant, so it’s on. It should be a bit of fun at the very least. It’s got to be cooler than the people that are brining in their stamp collections or showing how they can juggle 12 coconuts in the air for an hour and a half.

This weekend was the first in a long time that I didn’t feel rushed, tired, or like I didn’t get to do things I wanted to. It was awesome outside. I got all the finishing touches done on the kitchen, finally.

We went to a park in the ghetto for a friend of Carter’s birthday, saw a bunch of cops get called to arrest some dude two houses away, but it was good fun playing with Carter.

We made a stomach cast of my wife’s pregnant belly, preceded by an awful drive around Peoria to find supplies and get gas in the car. It was still OK though since it was nice, and I was pushing the car and was gliding through traffic.

I shaved my head and trimmed my beard to a respectable length. I wanted a Mohawk, but it still didn’t seem appropriate for work.

We’ve got our names all squared away for baby #2. You don’t get to know until he’s born though. We’ve got a #1 pick, and a few others on deck just incase #1 just doesn’t seem to fit after seeing him.

I feel good, ready for the week.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Like a Nail in the Head

I’ve started a new test, so I’m not in the office now, which makes posting when I have moments of inspiration difficult.

I’ve got some time while my machine warms up now.

Last night sucked.

We went to Wal-mart to buy some stuff we needed for upcoming events. All the horrendous people there made me pretty sure they’re isn’t a God. Carter was terrible. My wife said he was happy and nice all day long.

When we got home I needed to grab a bin of clothes out of the attic so my wife could sort through it. Our attic is an unfinished side of our story-and-a-half. There is this support that runs the length of it that I need to bend down to get under. I moved some of the bins around and found the one I wanted as I bent under the support. My head moved up.

Sharp blinding pain in my skull. I made some sort of shouting noise. Louder than my normal "Shit I bumped my head" noise. Something was different about this pain. Something more. I closed my eyes and felt my head.


I looked at the support. Some stupid sonofabitch decided to nail two 2X4’s together with a three and a half inch nail. About a quarter or half inch was sticking out the bottom. It had glanced off my skull and cut the skin.

I was angry and in pain. I had my wife clean up the wound and went and got my hammer like I was going to get a gun.

My blood pressure rose as I beat the shit out of every one of the spikes that this ignorant asshole (who I would guess is dead) decided to leave exposed in an area where people would be hunched over and crawling in.

I went down and took one and half times the recommended pain killers.

I contemplated if the nail had been longer. Would I have lost high school if I would have hit it square and hard enough? Would I have become a living zombie, drooling to communicate. One brief motion for a small lobotomy.

The extra painkillers made me drowsy. I slept with Carter, my wife woke me up when she went to bed. I massaged her hands to try and alleviate the pregnancy induced carpal tunnel and then went to sleep again.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Tryout

This morning I went and played some pickup hockey. I had Phil talk to the dude who’s team he’s playing on in B-League.

The dude was there, so I needed to showcase my skilz. (That felt dirty to type that.)

I played pretty well after taking a week off after our disappointing tournament performance. I made some nice plays and made sure to pass it to the dude several times. It doesn’t hurt to kiss his ass a bit.

We ended up sitting on the bench together for a bit.

“Law… Ryde”


“You work at Opposite of Dog management”

“I’m an engineer at the sandbox yeah”

“Where did you go to school?”

“Madison, I got to see Heatley and Reinprecht play hockey while I was there.”


There was my interview. Hopefully they have an open spot so I get on his team.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Not Always a Linear Response

I learned some interesting things last night.

Both made things far more clear than they previously were. Then I slept on them and things became even clearer.

The one I’ll share is in regard to experience and performance. I read an article in Time about the subject. It was being brought up because of the presidential race. McCain’s huge amount of experience, Hillary’s made up experience, and Obama’s lack of experience (even though it’s on par with Lincoln, one of the best president’s ever).

This article was a general discussion of experience, what makes and expert, and does experience and expertise make for better performance.

The general rule is that it takes you ten years in a field to become an “expert” in that field. However, once you’ve become an expert, you need to continually challenge yourself in your field, or you’ll become stagnant and people with less experience will tend to perform as well or better than you. When presented with a problem that stretches the skill set and knowledge of a person in a field, they are generally on a level playing field regardless of experience level.

People who far outperform others in their field tend to always challenge themselves. They put themselves in uncomfortable situations rather than doing or practicing the things they are good at. They become frustrated, but get through it with a larger skill set.

This made me think of my adult hockey league carrier. I’ve been playing for about 4 years now. I’m no expert, but if I ever want to get better I can’t stay in C-League. It’s just stifling me. I need to be one of the worst players in B-League for a while to learn. I need to be uncomfortable for a while.

OK, I didn't like Panic! at the Disco, but I kind of dig this new song. I have a soft spot for poppy emo music. Must be because they dropped the !

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Monday, April 07, 2008

My Hands Have Leprosy

The skin is just raw and dry and sloughing off where the cuts and gouges from doing the kitchen have been healing.

With that disgusting lead-in, I finished all the trim in the kitchen this weekend. I need to do one more poly coat on the exposed board in the dining room where the transition from the tile is, caulk some areas that need some nice big caulk, and then do the finish painting. Should be done by the end of next weekend. So, old to functional new in 9 days, and functional new to finished in about 4 weeks.

I got my ear bud headphones stolen at work. I think it was cleaning crew. I used to work cleaning crew at Meriter Hospital and at an outpatient surgery center. I would take candy if someone had a jar on their desk, but I wouldn’t take peoples personal shit. I really want to stay late some day and just be sitting waiting for the person and ask them if they know anything about it and then do a Curb Your Enthusiasm stare at them.

My dad made this.

Pretty awesome. I barely have the patience to install child locks on my kitchen cabinets.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

DJ Nuke

I'll pimp this site, because it's a friend.

DJ Nuke

It's got some pretty good streaming music. I think you'd like it Steve. The first track is some Social Distortion.


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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Two Post Tuesday: What Would I Do With Another $5000

I had to borrow a table saw from a friend from work to finish my kitchen. It was a nice table saw. It probably retails for $500-$600. When I brought it back I went down to look at his laundry room that I helped him put the plumbing in. The cabinets he put in his laundry room were the same cheap stock cabinets I put in my nice new kitchen. It looked like he spent as much on cabinets in his laungry room as I did in my kitchen. I felt so poor.

He’s a couple years older than me and his wife is a nurse, and they don’t have kids. I was thinking to myself what I would do with another professionals salary, another $4500-$5000 a month. I manage to get by paying off a substantial amount of debt and still having a little money left over every month.

These people must be swimming in money.

I guess I’d have a nicer house, that would take another $600-$1200 a month away. I heard a dude I work with talk about buying a new house. 300K was a bit above what he wanted to spend. 300K? Holy shit! My house cost $104,500. Two professionals though, no kids.

I suppose I’d have more expensive cars rather than two Hyundai’s. That’s be another $500-$600 a month in higher payments, gasoline costs, and insurance costs.

I’d buy NEW tools, not factory reconditioned ones for 60-80% off, I’d buy a Playstation 3, a big TV, die cast tractor models. I’d end up buying more things. Maybe I’d have some sort of big savings account in case something catastrophic happened.

I’d shop at a real grocery store instead of Walmart, buy good meat from a meat market and produce from a fresh market.

I’d have to pay something like $500-$600 a month to have Carter in daycare so he could get all kinds of new and interesting viruses to give me.

I get by though, I’m pretty content with the things I have. Plus I have Carter for entertainment and excitement, and one more on the way.

And in the immortal words of Tyler Durden “The things you own, they end up owning you.”


Beef Sack

I try to use these cloth grocery bags to be a good steward of the environment and offset my 25 year old 50% efficient furnace.

I also shop at Super Walmart because I’m supporting a family of almost 4 on one salary. (What would I do with another $4500 a month. That’s another post itself.)

Last night I was at Super Walmart and I go to checkout with this 45-55 year old woman. It’s her last checkout of the night and she turns off her light. She looks at my cloth bags and gives this defeated look like I jus shot her dog.

She says something like she’s not very good with these and doesn’t really know how to use them. I tell her to just chock them full of stuff because they aren’t 0.00001mm thick like their shitty plastic bags.

She explains that they’re trained a certain way to bag and blah blah blah. I’m not asking her to operate a fucking pipelayer, it’s a bag with four sides and a bottom, it doesn’t require extensive training to use. I begin to think she must be one of those people that needs to read the instructions on the side of Poptarts.

I just keep loading my stuff on the belt and let her get some OTJT. She keeps struggling through it and another cashier comes around and “gives her a hand”. I keep watching her much like I’m at a zoo watching monkey’s learn how to use tools for the first time.

I give her a handy suggestion. “Since Walmart sells their own cloth bags in an attempt to be “green” why don’t you suggest to one of your supervisors they give you a little station to set cloth bags to help you out?”

They wouldn’t do that she tells me, since only a few people use these. I could have just nabbed her a promotion and she throws it away.

I continue to watch, much like passing a bloody car accident, my jaw drops and drool begins to form in the crack of my mouth. I’m snapped out of it as she scans my ground beef, puts it back behind the scanner, scans some other things and then re-scans it. I tell her she double scanned my beef. She tells me she didn’t. All the fight in me is drained post hockey playoff so I just say fuck it, I’ll go to the service desk after and get my money.

We’re nearing the finish line and she’s getting a bit better with the combined brainpower of TWO Walmart employee’s aiding her.

She says something along the lines of “Oh, there’s a science to it.”

Sorry lady, just like Creationism, there’s no science here. Just what two-year-olds manage to do every day, stuffing things into a bag.

I head up to the service desk to get my $3.72 back for the double scanned beef. There’s a 20 something girl working at the desk. I tell her about the double scan, and she asks how it happened. I explain the cloth bags flustered my cashier. She chuckles and says they aren’t all that bad and doesn’t even make me prove I’ve only got one tube of ground beef in my sack. (That’s a colloquial term: Sack, not a Wisconsin term).

The lesson: Don’t go to middle to older aged people if you have cloth bags at Walmart, they can’t handle deviating from their precious plastic bags.

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