Pure Gonzo Engineering

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

When it was over, nothing was solved, but nothing mattered. We all felt saved.

Great line, but anyway...

We took the boys skating today at our local frozen lagoon in our neighborhood park.

Peoria can go fuck itself. You're too far south to even consider having outdoor ice for any meaningful amount of time, and your taxes are too low to support a massive park system this socialist construct of a city has.

Using something that is 120 years old , doing something as pure and amazing as ice skating, is so fantastic I can't even put words to it.

Spent too much this Christmas, head hurts, work room is a mess, things to do, bills to pay...




The ice, and the cool air, and the sun, and the sound of the blades on the ice make everything OK.

Playing hockey with my boys, or whatever it is they do as they flop around learning to skate and hit the puck, makes everything well with the universe.

The fact that, other than tomorrow when it's going to rain (WTF?), I'll be able to come here whenever I want for free and do this makes me the warm little center of the universe.

Feel free to crowd around me.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

At the End of the Day Goddamnit I’m Killin’ this Shit

When Christmas break rolls around I’ll have seven months in at Crawford County, OH. I’m looking forward to having a week and a half off. It’s been a furious string of designing for the last 7 months. The way we are designing this machine is A-typical, really Pure Gonzo Engineering. What we did at Opposite of Dog was structured and regimented compared to this. This is fun, and raw, and hectic. It’s all being done in parallel to get it done faster, which means more changes, and more mistakes that need to be fixed.

The scope and scale of this is just mind blowing. I saw the frame of my piece being built in Manitowoc last Wednesday. It’s about 30ft wide, 7ft deep, and 13ft tall and weighs around 30,000 pounds, just the frame of just my piece, three male African elephants. I’m in charge of a piece that is as heavy and as complex as an entire Opposite of Dog machine. Me and four other guys are bringing it to fruition.

It is a God damn Greek tragedy that Opposite of Dog is going to buy this company. It celebrated 130 years in December. It won’t see 131. I plan on wearing all black the day the sale is final. The death of a legend.

Sure Opposite of Dog will retain the name on some product, but far enough down the line all the horrible things Opposite of Dog is about will slowly leach into this company. The useless managers will come with their useless processes.

What a fucking shame. I really like it here. I like how things are done. I like how my boss actually knows something. I like my coworkers. I like this town.

Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Operation Impending Doom 2

I've always fancied myself a pretty good engineer.

Not necessarily the kind that will ever be recognized in any way for greatness, but one that is creative. I think I have the ability to come up with elegant creative ways to address a problem. Something you can't necessarily teach or become good at through study or even training.

I see the forest for the trees. I'm a system designer with the big picture in mind, other people can worry about the details.

Last week I got the warm fuzzy feeling that my boss also thinks I'm a pretty good engineer.

He came up to me and asked to talk privately with him. I initially got struck by that cold bucket of water of fear. Had I been on the internet too much? Did I do something wrong?

We sat down as I started to sweat a little.

"First," He said, "I want to ask you to sit in on interviewing candidates for a senior test engineering position."

Ahhh, fear washes away.

"I think you can ask some intelligent questions to any candidates that come in."

A little ego stroke once in a while feels good. His second agenda item in our little talk took me a bit more by surprise.

"What interest do you have in being a test engineer on this machine?"

I wasn't really ready for that. I kind of just started talking out load to him about how number one I don't want to travel all over the world for months on end to test this behemoth. (South Milwaukee doesn't really have any open pit mines in it.)

I kept blabbering a bit and finally made my way to the real reason I didn't want to test this machine. I'd be set up to fail. I know the time lines they are looking at, and I know what it takes to test a machine that isn't much bigger than a Ford F250, so this thing would be a monster task. This companies upper management does not understand that right now.

Plus, with opposite of dog taking over in 6 months who knows if that sort of position would be relevant in 6 months.

My boss seemed to respect what I said. Overall I think I turned down the proposition pretty gracefully.

I sat in on the interviews on two clowns they wanted to run test. Neither really impressed me. We are kind of looking for a Unicorn of an engineer though. Too much experience and breadth of knowledge required (I don't have enough on paper.)

I had never been on the other side of an interview table before. It was kind of surreal, especially asking the guy who was like 50 years old some tough questions and watching him dodge them.

I feel pretty good about what people think of me after 6 months of working here. It's just a shame this shadow of corporate evil is looming in the future. My only purpose at work now is to get this machine designed and built and working before our new corporate overlords take over.

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