Pure Gonzo Engineering

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm a Slave and I am a Master

I paid off my credit card debt today. It took 5 years after getting out of college, but it’s gone. All that shit I bought in college is finally paid off. I’m unsubstantiated debt free (not entirely true, I think we still have a hundred or two on some clothing cards, Old Navy, etc.) Those are nothing though compared to the thousands that are gone now.

I’m always disappointed in these accomplishments that should fill me with something. Yeah, it’s gone, but now I just need to save more so I don’t fall into credit card debt at some point in the future.

I went to see Kalib on Saturday about my tattoo. When I walked in the door he asked me if I was going to beat him up. I laughed and told him I wanted to set up a hard date for him so he would have to finish a sketch for it. We settled on May second. He told me he had a good idea of what it was going to look like in his head, and that he just needed to draw it out. What he described sounded pretty sweet, and he talked about adding some mechanical gears and stuff in the wings which I thought was a cool addition. It should be bad ass. Although by nature chest tattoos are all bad ass.

When it was warm a few weeks ago, I was wearing short sleeves in the Walmart grocery shopping Sunday morning. Little kids in their Sunday best would give me stares and then ask their moms what was on my arms. Their Mom’s shushed them and dragged them in the opposite direction I was going.

My work rage is coming back. I've been able to put up with things because I'm at the sandbox. I can work out my anger in the dirt, and generally I can see the benefit behind stupid initiatives. This latest one takes the proverbial cake. Opposite of Dog is getting ride of ALL of it's company cell phones. That's millions of dollars a year that will be saved. OK, Jane and Johnny Jackass in the office don't need a company cell to get their jobs done effectively. They are right next to their phones 95% of the day. I on the other hand, am at my desk, in the shop, walking around the yard, driving 3 miles round trip to a test site, climbing up and down dirty slippery machines, navigating rough terrain on foot and by truck. We all NEED cell phones at the sandbox, for safety, and for a huge boost in productivity. Nope, stupid black and white initiative is going through.

Sounds pretty stupid, right? What on Earth could make it worse? Well, let’s put our imagination caps on. Pretend that, after all the rumors have flown and after manager after manager has pieced together bits of the story, you get this real gem of an email from a VP. Even better, pretend it’s full of grammatical errors. I’ll pretend it says something like this:

It is important to clarify the purpose of this change. The bottom line is that by upholding high standards of accountability and to managing the behaviors of it’s employees with regards to their cellular phone usage our company stands to save a significant sum of money.

Prior communications may have contained wording that did not accurately reflect the intent of this change. The intent is to have our employees utilized their own cellular phones to conduct company business. No employee will be required to share their personal information. However, I believe, and this has been reinforced by tens of employees, that the vast majority of company employees are willing to provide personal contact information in order to keep the high level of productivity that we have become accustomed to. The reality of the twenty first century is that cell phones and the ability to connect instantly and constantly are now necessary in our personal and professional lives. There will be no company provided cellular phones.

This change has the full support of the company executives and will allow us to get out of the business of managing cellular phones and will place employees in charge of upholding the before mentioned high standards of accountability and behavior changes. I am appreciative of the support I have received in implementing this change as I believe it to be consistent with the challenges our company faces in today’s economy. As managers, we should lead by example, as the company executives are doing, and only have personal cellular phones, not company provided ones.

Please send this message on as needed.

Vice President

As I’m imagining this letter, my imaginary brain starts to bleed from the sheer stupidity.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Hockey Skill is Directly Proportional to the Length of My Hair

Last night was our first playoff game. We destroyed the team we played. I had a pretty tits goal, my second game in a row I’ve scored. We had an odd man rush. Our center carried it into the zone wide on the left side and I broke hard to the net. I got behind the defender and the center passed it to me. I put it in about mid net glove side. I was kind of shocked it even went in and didn’t really even celebrate. Our next game is Saturday, but there are a bunch of our guys who won’t be able to make it.

Opposite of Dog announced they are going to layoff another 2500 people, mostly production employees, almost 1000 in East P. I didn’t even know there were 1000 production employees in East P. Apparently no one is buying tractors. I’m guessing first quarter results are going to be ugly. I wouldn’t be all that shocked if we were in the red.

They’re dropping all these retarded edicts down on us to “save money”. “Shutdown your computer overnight, it uses as much electricity as a refrigerator.”

Here’s a little word problem related to that bit of wisdom.

Refrigerators, and my work laptop apparently, use 0.057 kw and electricity costs about $0.10 per kwh. I bill my time out at about $100/hr. It takes about 10 minutes to fire up my computer, log in, and start all the applications I need to use for the day. How much money will the company save if I turn my computer off each night? (Show your work)

0.057 kwh/h * 16 hours = 0.912 kwh per day

0.912 kwh * $0.10/kwh = $0.0912 per night shutdown

$100/hr / 60 min/hr = $1.67 per minute

10 min * $1.67 per minute = $16.70 in lost work

So the company loses $16.61 every day in lost efficiency by me shutting my computer down each day. Even if I leave the bastard on all weekend it only costs $0.27. I’m also pretty sure it’s not actually using as much electricity as a refrigerator.

I know, you’re screaming that I should just work 10 minutes of unpaid overtime to cover that startup time. I’m salaried and that is real money they pay to the electric company. Whatever, in principal it’s a stupid idea.

How about I only charge my cell phone and laptop at home and eat that cost to save the company money, only run on battery power at work. How about pay toilets, and bring your own toilet paper? Brilliant!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You're more of a 3


I can relate to this article. There are all kinds of rumors circling around, mandatory two weeks off without pay, new employee rating systems which assign a value to the company to you. The poor bastards with less than two years experience can only get as high as a 4, 5 being the lowest. I’m hoping I’d be about a 2. I’ve got 5 years, and I’m working on a machine which represents a significant chunk of our Tier 4 emissions credits to the EPA. (The EPA gives you credit based on the production volume and emissions level of the machines you produce. If you produce x% of “clean” machines, you can then produce more “dirty” machines without financial penalty.) Somehow seems like extortion, but I really can’t complain because emissions requirements drive our business and make for a bunch of jobs. If we didn’t have a critical emissions deadline to meet right now, Opposite of Dog would have gotten rid of way more people.

The shit just grinds on your nerves though. Always thinking there is some predator lurking in the tree line waiting to get you.

I liked the part in the article where it talked about how people who win the lottery and people that break their necks tend to be as happy as they were prior to the incident a year later. Just the other day I was fantasizing about winning the lottery and it kind of ruins the fantasy thinking I’d have no overall improvement in happiness. Life is a zero sum game. Any marked improvement is followed by something to knock you back in your place. Then you die, then the sun engulfs the Earth, then all the energy in the universe is used up (fucking entropy) and the lights turn off.

Self improvement is masturbation, but I’m trying anyway. I’ve gained the ability to gain weight since my 28th birthday. I’m not sure it’s in a positive way, but I’m up to a solid 180. Perhaps it’s due to ingesting almost 1000 calories worth of “bold” party mix chex mix in one sitting while watching TV. Old habits are hard to break so I’m going to keep eating like I have my hummingbird metabolism. I’m also starting to do pushups and crunches in the morning. Hopefully that will fend off any gut and make me stronger for hockey. When it gets nice I may start to run in the morning. Maybe I’ll finally be able to get up to my fighting weight of 200.

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