Pure Gonzo Engineering

Friday, May 30, 2008

There’s a time to pray, and there’s a time to fight, anything can be a weapon if you’re holding it right.

I have no physical outlet for my stress right now. The rink closure and baby have made it so I can’t play hockey or find time to skate. I need that time to disconnect from my problems and just focus on muscles extending and contracting and the burning in my lungs.

At two and a half, Carter has a natural (oh right, things like this are learned, not natural. How quickly I forget.) disposition for hockey. He’s holding the stick correctly and has pretty good mechanics hitting around a big ball. I’ll post some pics or the video we took. I’m pretty impressed since he’s only watched me and hockey on TV. He’s going to have a good build for it if he wants to play. Dude weighs about 30 pounds right now, but when you pick him up he’s just this muscley little fireplug.

I’ve started driving slower to compensate for the massive amounts of diesel fuel I waste at work. (I enjoy powering my laptop using an 8.8L diesel engine in a D6T.) Quite a few of the roads to the sandbox are 55. Most people rock them at 60 or 65. I also used to. 55 is the sweet spot for your vehicle though. That EPA mileage they list is figured out at 55. Power to overcome aerodynamic drag is a cubic function of velocity. A 9% increase in speed 60 in a 55, results in a 29.5% increase in the power required to overcome the extra drag. I make sure I’ve got some good music to listen to with the extra minute or two I add to my trip by slowing down.

My guitar hero comrade at work introduced me to this band Ludo and their “rock opera” of sorts called Broken Bride. It’s pretty Emo, but you know me, I love it when my makeup smears when I’m listening to my music. It’s OK. Dude really digs it, and it is growing on me as I listen to it more. It’s no The Wall, but nothing is. If you have 28 minutes or so have a listen. (I could only find these set to Final Fantasy footage, but whatever.)

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Picture Art

First you have to know...not fear...know that some day you're gonna' die.

Look how nice my calves look. Pet cemeteries are fun. I named the dog "Deady".

Contemplating this rotten assignment.

...and that has made all the difference...

He may look like he's asleep, but his heart is full of rage.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

It’s a Special Day in Peoria

Gas has broken the $4.00 per gallon barrier!!! At the bottom of the hill of the sandbox it’s $4.08 per gallon. How does that play in Peoria? I don’t know… That’s kind of a stupid saying anyway. My vehicles get about 21 and 29 mpg in the city. Each month I spend roughly $150 on gasoline when it was around $3.75. I use a Chase Marathon oil card and get 5% back in gas cards. So I’m really only paying $3.88 a gallon. The best thing I ever did though was sell my 14 mpg Silverado a few years ago.

This is really going to start screwing shit up in the economy. All those hard working blue-collar dudes with full size trucks are going to have to start shelling out $100 each time they fill up. These are the same dudes that don’t like living in the city and have to travel 20 miles one way to get groceries and go to work. Stupid. I have relatively fuel-efficient vehicles, and I live right in the middle of Peoria. I drive 14 miles round trip to work.

So the first internal combustion engine was designed in 1806, and from 1806 to around 1998 the cost of gas went up to .96 per gallon (in Wisconsin Rapids, the lowest I’ve ever paid.) in 192 years. In the next ten years it’s gone up $3.12. I don’t really have a point, it’s just interesting, and I’m sure if you adjust for inflation it’s been really expensive at other times.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And Still I Want

I was watching primary coverage last night because it amuses me to no end how Hillary Clinton can come up with a new argument each time it becomes more mathematically impossible for her to win. She’s leading in the popular vote now!*

*That is if you don’t count the caucus states, and you include Florida which everyone (including her) agreed at the beginning of the process wouldn’t count, and you include Michigan that is the same as Florida with additional bullet the Obama wasn’t even on the ballot.

Amazing. I can’t wait until she bolsters her popular vote count with Puerto Rico whose voters don’t even get a say in the general election.

The thing that really bothered me though is the Kentucky results and the West Virginia results last week. Something like 20% of the “white working class” people who voted for Clinton admitted that race was the determining factor in their vote. That’s unbelievable. Not only the fact that these racists would admit they are racist, but also the fact that you know that percentage is actually higher because most people don’t want to admit to another human being they are racist.

Clinton just panders to these assholes, touting how she connects with hard working white people. Then she has the audacity to complain about how sexism has hurt her campaign. Don’t pull that shit when you’re quietly accepting the help of racism.

The Republican’s aren’t going to get their wish. Obama is going to win. They won’t have a figurehead to hate; they’ll have to somehow combat a message of hope and positive change.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Silence is Deafening

One of the advantages to working for a manufacturing company with like 90,000 employees is that we have staff patent attorneys. Apparently we don’t want to pay $166,000 a year for ones who are fresh out of college working for law firms to defend our intellectual property. I didn’t speak directly with one, but I spoke with an engineer I know who was contemplating becoming a patent attorney. He spoke with one who was fresh out of law school, just started at Opposite of Dog as a patent attorney. His starting wage, in 1999 was 80K. So, there’s another data point suggesting Rakhi is blowing smoke up our asses.

This must be how Barack Obama feels, having (almost certainly) defeated a woman who is out of touch with the reality of how numbers are handled on a practical basis, and who’s sense of entitlement makes her say whatever she can to win. (Maybe that was too far, but it’s so easy when you know what will set a person off.)

Anyway, back to the Gonzo Engineering, sort of. I’ll probably continue to make inappropriate remarks until the dead horse is fully beaten since it will be impossible for them not to check back and gnash their teeth.

I attended a celebration / thank you meeting at work. The D7E was shown to the public at Con-Expo this year a few months ago. It was kind of a big deal. It’s the first electric drive track-type tractor. With the Green focus nearly everyone has lately combined with the rising cost of fuel, it made a huge splash at the convention.

Why does this matter? I designed the cooling system, and air intake and exhaust system on it. The technical manager mentioned something about the fact that we are leaving a legacy by working on this machine.

It got me thinking about success (since we were talking about success and what defines it in our previous discussion), and what matters, if anything, about leaving a legacy.

In The Denial of Death, by Becker, he says that everyone has a little project they work on throughout their life in order to cheat death and leave something behind that will last. This can be their work, or their family, or some sort of conquest, or whatever. Something that will shine on after they are in the ground.

I’ve mentioned before that it doesn’t really matter what you do in life, eventually the sun will engulf the earth, and eventually all energy in the universe will be used up and it will just be this cold dark place.

It’s kind of depressing. So in a few trillion years will it really matter that I designed part of this cool dozer, not really. If you dwell on that you’ll just end up being a Nihilist though.

So what makes me successful and what’s my little legacy project.

I think number one, the big one, the most important measure of this man, is how many naked women I have tattooed on me. I’m at four! That’s eight breasts, and four vaginas. Although I’m not sure what’s going on downstairs on the mermaid. (Again, it’s just too easy.)

I’ve never really cared what I do for work. The only reason I took this job was it paid the most, and it wasn’t a company that made things that kill people (expect those bulldozers we sold to the United States government who then gave them to Israel, but I’m not a believer in guilt by association) or something stupid like garbage cans. I work to make money so I can do fun things outside of work, and now so that my kids have clothes and food.

I’m don’t think I’m going to discover anything or get a statue erected in my honor for humanitarian work or great leadership.

Although maybe when I magically have time or money I’ll be able to refine my tattoo machine.

I also think I’m passed my prime to play any better than Peoria Men’s B-league hockey, so no sports glory.

I certainly won’t have millions of dollars to pass on, unless I become a war profiteer and then have a guilty conscious and start a peace prize.

I suppose my piece of immortality and my legacy will be my two little dudes (the littlest of which is starting to get his weight up!), and any success or children they have and their success. My genes will continue on.

In the end, just like Huey P. Newton (Or what Spike Lee made Huey P. Newton say in a movie), I’m just trying to laugh at all the funny things that happen on the way to the grave.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

This response deserves a whole new post.

Rakhi seems to think that people who read my blog want to hear everything she has to say. They don't, so I save them from the foaming at the mouth rants (and that's all they are Steve, don't be pensive. Just add blah blah blah you're an ass blah blah blah your petty blah blah blah) and respond to the things I think are relevant to the discussion we're having.

She didn't like that 5 different people WHO HAVE CHILDREN and a decade old study agree with my opinion, so she went and posted again in our long debate. I'll again only respond to what I find relevant.

...I make double what he does, had a higher GPA in undergrad, and got a higher ACT score. I think its ridiculous that he needs to know this information about me because he thinks they are adequate measures of intelligence, success, etc. But he does. And that makes me giggle. A lot...

So perhaps I should have left him to his own devices to reconcile his ego in view of losing an argument with, among others, a geneticist Ph.D. candidate regarding genetics, telling her what acceptable scientific data is, and then looking for validation regarding developmental biology with a mechanical engineer and people who read his blog.

The mechanical engineer I consulted has children, unlike your mechanical engineering degree and expertise with your two year old niece.

That makes me giggle. Like a little girl wearing a ballet dress I can't resist putting on due to my hormones. You may have a piece of paper saying you have a degree in mechanical engineering, but that doesn't mean a damn thing. You probably realized you'd be a half ass engineer and would be better off doing something that is a huge drag on society.

You know what else makes me giggle? How on your profile page it says you understand the design process due to your undergrad work. That's a big fucking joke. Because if you did, you'd know that the design process is driven by facts and data, and in your latest retort, you say of course I make double what he does, and had a higher GPA after getting my undergrad, and had a higher ACT score. I told you numbers. Hard cold numbers.

You'd be a shit engineer, but you must be the best fucking first year patent attorney ever because everywhere I looked:



and here for example

there's no way in hell a small law firm like the one you work for is paying you $166K right out of the box. Maybe you do make more than me, but quit lying about making double, having just finished law school in 2007 and is admitted in Illinois only. (Whatever that means? They can pay you less?)

Also, let me know what you undergrad GPA was and ACT score was, be a proud strong woman who's better than this arrogant man , or is it hard to write down lies?

Facts and data, facts and data.

Which I still have yet to see about little boys and little girls tending to gravitate towards their gender specific toys being purely social. I just keep finding more people that agree with me that actually have first hand experience with children.


Friday, May 16, 2008

I feel kind of dirty

I was in one of those online mudslinging debates with a bunch of angry feminists.

I preface this by saying my wife would identify herself as a feminist. She’s made a choice that I think these angry feminists would abhor. She’s decided to get married, have children, and stay at home with them while they are young. (The horror!) My boss at work is an intelligent, strong woman who has the respect of her piers. The validation engineer, whom I go to for advice on testing is also a woman engineer, also intelligent and well respected. When I come to her seeking advice she takes the time to have a thoughtful discussion with me, free of personal attacks and thinking every word that comes out of my mouth is an attempt to show my male dominance over her.

I share in the housework; regardless of what it’s gender roll is considered. I also take an active role in raising our children. I cook dinner every night because I like to.

It turns out I’m a closet sexist.


I made the assertion that based on observing my son, and many other young children at our Attachment Parenting functions that very young children have a hard-wired propensity to play with gender specific toys.

Carter likes trucks and cars. He doesn’t like baby dolls.

I was met with rude personal attacks on my intelligence level and claims of being an “armchair scientist” and a sexist.

I never said that girls and boys CAN’T or SHOULDN’T or WON’T EVER play with opposing genders toys. I simply said they tend to gravitate to those toys and a certain type of play.

I was initially wrong in thinking that it was due to instincts from when we were uncivilized monkey men living to survive. It turns out that it’s actually hormonal, and studies were done that supported this, although I found them in an undergrad text (how yucky and common).

They disregarded these decade old studies and sited a study not specifically looking at children’s play and propensity to toy choosing, simply on hormones creating both boy and girl behavior in both sexes. I’m sure that study is true. It still doesn’t address my point. Carter wanted to dress and carry around a doll for about 2 days after Oz was born, but he was right back to the trucks and cars after he lost interest in the baby. I guess the rampant sexism in Sesame Street has thwarted our parenting attempts to let him play with any toys he wants.

I was then told that raising kids gives you no special knowledge.

The responsibility for another human being’s life doesn’t teach you anything, or give you any special insight into the human condition.

So I thought maybe I was crazy and I spoke to my validation engineer who has 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl. She was a successful woman. Did she see the same things as sexist Lawryde?

I asked her about it cold, without prefacing her to my debate. She agreed that her boys gravitate to boy toys and a rough type of play. I asked her if she thought it was a social thing or if it was just the way they were.

She thought it was just the way they were. I said, well are you sure that television and your parents and how you treat them doesn’t affect it. She said it would have some affect, WHICH I AGREE WITH. I talked to her about those first moments when they were just starting to choose what they like (around 1.5 years and 2) and asked her if they just kind of gravitated towards gender specific toys. She agreed and agreed that social factors would be almost non-existent at that point. We have different parenting styles so now I have a sample size of two with the same results and 10-year-old research that backs me up.

I then told her about my debate with these immature (still in school or just starting their real adult lives, no kids of their own, not responsible for anyone but themselves, but experts on child development, can’t see the forest for the trees, full of advanced degrees and debt from going to school but no idea how practical things work, knowing everything about me and my typical feminist thoughts, enlarge clitoris’ and labia that look like balls due to high androgen hormone levels during gestation, not understanding respect is something that is earned not implied, mad that I was, by all standard measures, smarter than all of them in high school and now make more money than they do and I’m happy with my loving beautiful family, should be wondering if maybe it’s not that I’m facing sexism on a daily basis, but that really I’m just a big fucking jerk and a terrible excuse for a human being.) (Was that just immature of me? Fuck it. This is my corner of the internet.) girls I knew from high school who were convinced that only social factors affect toy choice in children. She said that before she had kids she had some of the same thoughts, but after having both boys and girls she sees things differently.

The angry feminist will be talking about me now, because that’s what women do. Emails and text messages and phone calls. “Oh, my God. Look what Lawryde wrote. What a sexist asshole!” “He’s so predictable and stupid and his children are going to grow up objectifying women and raping goats.” “We’re so right, and so awesome and so much smarter and better than him.” “Yay, Us!”

I’m sad, it also looks like I lost a facebook friend. (Tear)

I feel clean now.

Full Text of Debate

And I think the modern philosopher Kanye West put it best:

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Weight

The question everyone has with you when you’ve just had a baby is “So, how is the baby doing?”

They don’t really want to know. It’s just chit-chat. When I tell them he’s lost weight and isn’t eating enough they get that pained look on their face like “Oh shit I don’t want to hear this.”

People just want to hear that he’s doing good.

Apparently Oz was just a good faker when it came to breastfeeding. He seemed like a natural right off the bat. Turns out babies who are like 35, 36, 37 weeks (like Oz), kind of know what they are doing sucking when the milk is first there and easy to get, but once it takes more effort to suck and get, they aren’t so good. So he was 7,6 when he was born then got to 7,9, but then dropped down to 6,15 yesterday. That’s 10% of his weight, and that’s about the max you want them to lose. He was getting cranky and his eyes were getting a bit dark, and wasn’t peeing as much. There isn’t much a real nice way to put it other than he was starving.

So now we’re giving him breastmilk via a small syringe with a tip that will fit in his mouth while he’s breastfeeding. This way we can make sure he’s getting enough and he’ll get back to his fighting weight. Eventually he’ll get the hang of sucking harder to get milk, he just needs to get bigger.

I played hockey for the last time for 6 weeks on Sunday. The rink is shutting down for maintenance. It solidified in my mind that I need to play in B-league. There were some Bradley club guys there and some other A-League players and I was able to hold my own. I even had a goal. Not a real impressive one, but a goal none the less. Now I just need to scam my way onto an established team so I don’t have to play on one of the crap B-league teams. In the meantime I think I’m going to pull out my hockey rollerblades and rollerblade around the rich neighborhood across Sheridan, “The Knolls”. I live on the poor side of the street. I’ll go shirtless and scare all the old people and rich 30-Somethings who send their spawn to private schools with my naked women tattoos.

I’m having these vivid dreams ever since Oz was born. It must be because I’m not falling into really deep sleep to the point where I don’t remember them like usual. Very random content, that I should write down since they’re gone by the time I shower in the morning.

Now for the music:

And this hilarity: Bill O'Reilly is such a dick.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Birth

I’m back at work today after much apprehension and nerves last night. I really need to become independently wealthy somehow. Turns out my machine didn’t get finished being rebuilt until Thursday of last week so I would have been sitting around bored off my ass if I hadn’t been home. Stuff was ready to go this morning so I got to get out in the dirt right away after I deleted all the stupid email that had piled up.

I wanted to write my recollection of Oz’s birth earlier, but other things got in the way. Hopefully I can recall as many of the important things as possible.

My wife’s water broke at about 4 am on Sunday April 27. We were both kind of in shock and disbelief about the whole thing due to Carter being born so late. Nothing started to happen. Our certified nurse homebirth midwife came by that evening and we tried using a breast pump to stimulate contractions. Nothing really got going. Typically you have 24 to 36 hours after the water breaks before you need to start having the baby come out due to the risk of infection.

The next day the midwife went to visit some other patients in the area, and we continued to kind of wait to see if things would start spontaneously. My wife got a massage to try and get in a proper mental state, a chiropractic adjustment which just like all Chiropractic practices is some sort of voodoo and was supposed to help start her labor, some acupuncture which the acupuncturist said would start labor, drank a castor oil, chocolate ice cream, and peanut butter shake, and gave herself an orgasm in hopes of starting labor.

After all these things it was about 4 pm. The midwife had returned with her midwife-in-training, and I had dropped Carter off at a friend’s house. This baby had to come one way or another. She started the breast pump again, and the contractions started to be more consistent. Things were starting to get rolling. I made a pizza because I was hungry and didn’t know how long all of this was going to last. I also got the birth pool setup. (a large kiddy pool) We had this cool fish cleaning kid thing to fill it from the sink. Our kitchen sink had some stupid thread on the aerator though: 55/64-27. Seriously, What the fuck is that. 1/64 less than 7/8, come on! Stupid Delta faucet engineers. I had just found a series of adapters to get this fill device working the day before.

She started active labor around 8 at night. She wasn’t ready for the water as of yet, but our water heater was having trouble keeping up. I bounced back and forth between her, and trying to get the water at a decent temperature before second stage came.

I’m not sure exactly what time we called the Doula and she showed up, but it was close to when second stage (pushing) started. I filled the last bit of hot water I could in the pool prior to my wife getting in.

Second stage was pretty fast. My wife was sitting in the pool, I was behind her on dry land rubbing her head and shoulders. In between contractions my eyes would focus on the happy cartoon fish on the pool. I knew what tattoo I was going to get for Oz.

Right before Oz was born, my wife decided to lean over the side of the pool. The midwife-in-training said something like I see his head, and then bam, the next push he was completely out. Just like with Carter, Oz’s birth ended in a screaming crescendo by my wife. She’s incredible though, no drugs.

I had one of those overjoyed moments after seeing he was out and everything seemed Ok. It maybe wasn't the finding God moment I had heard people talk about and was thinking maybe I'd have this second birth, but it was about the best I can ever remember feeling.

As I cut the cord I remember seeing a drop of blood fall slow motion on to a grout line on our one month old tile floor. I thought to myself "Oh, dude, not my 14 hour floor that destroyed my hands." The midwife had a sweet trick to get the blood off the grout though with peroxide so no harm done. I held Oz while the placenta was born. He took to nursing after he got back to his mom like a kid out in the rain. (Turns out he was a good faker, but that's another story.)

The midwife checked him out, filled out some forms and weighed him as we kind of cleaned stuff up as my wife showered and I drained the pool with the super cool venturi fish-cleaning thing. I think we used enough water to grow crops for a small African nation that night.

We called people, did some posts online, took some pictures, and got to sleep in our own bed. The poor midwife had another woman go into labor that early morning and had to rush off. I felt bad for her. I was tired.

The home birth was pretty nice. Nothing went wrong. No weird interns looking at your wife’s business. I think it will end up costing about 1/3 to 1/2 of what a hospital birth would have.

Oz is a bid jaundiced, but overall he and my wife are doing well.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rocking Out With Your Cock Out

I was just checking out some my favorite blogs, sitting with my wife and Oz, Carter was asleep upstairs. I was about to put together a post about Oz's birth when...

There was a crash of some sort in the back yard. My wife and I looked at each other. I thought she should know what it was. She didn't.

I went downstairs to see if anything had happened down there. Nothing.

Things didn't feel right though. I took a look out the front window and saw a cat skulking down the sidewalk pretty fast. I figured that the cat had been in my garbage cans. I flicked on the back porch light and walked out the door.

I had the screen door set open, and the birth pool was also on the porch drying.

Something caught my eye to the right. It was a large tuft of pubic hair, and some dudes cock. It took a moment to register that this was some unknown dude laying on my porch. I couldn't completely see him since he was kind of behind a bend in the porch. A penis crossing your path unexpectedly at 9:50 at night on a Saturday tends to freak you out. Especially if it isn't yours or one of your close friends or relatives.

I fall backwards into the house, slam the door and lock it, and tell my wife there's some dude on our porch. I grab her phone and dial 911. I don't know the cock's intentions, so I don't want to take any chances.

I get kind of an off connection, and the guy doesn't really even identify himself as 911. I blurt out some dude is passed out on my porch that I don't know and I want him off. I don't know his intentions. He tells me fire and ambulance will be on the way.

I don't own a gun, so I ran downstairs and grabbed my trusty Mission hockey stick and waited at the entrance to our kitchen. Dude would have to either hop the fence or hop over our recycling past the French doors to get out.

I'm not sure how much time passed, but it wasn't much. I heard and saw the fire truck come down our street. I went out the front door and flagged them down with my hockey stick in hand. I led them to the penis on my porch. A cop car also showed up.

I was still jacked up on adrenaline, but felt more confident with a group of firefighters (no, none that I play against in rec hockey) and EMT's. They tell the kid... it was some punk kid. Hot Topic shirt and wallet chain, finger rings and his pants down. They tell him to pull up his pants, ask him what he's doing.

He doesn't know where he is, or what he's doing. I figure he needed to take a leak on the way home and ended up passing out on my porch. He's 16. The cops take a look around, ask him a few questions, and they put him on a stretcher to take him to the hospital. I'm still all jacked up on adrenaline. The EMT's and firefighters give me and my hockey stick a nod and chuckle as they take the kid away.

"I would have chambered one if I would have found him on my porch," One of them says.

I tell them thanks. The cops have to find his mom now. I tell them thanks.

I'm still all jacked up on adrenaline. They hang out on our street doing whatever they do, as my wife and I cope with this violation of our home. I kind of jump around to get some of the energy out. We check all the doors, go see Carter.

It was just a drunk kid. Not a big deal, but still rattling with a 5 day old in the house.

Shouldn't be a big deal being up with little Oz's strange sleeping patterns tonight.

View from out of my front door while they treated the kid and filled out their paperwork.

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