Friday, June 24, 2005


Dreams that lead to Stalking

Stalking must be a good idea right?

I had a very odd, almost disturbing dream, about a friend of mine from my college days. The last time I saw her she was trying to start a fight at my house, had been kicked out of college, had a baseball player for a boyfriend, and was mostly drunk. I wouldn't say any of this was out of the ordinary for any of us back then, but the last fight episode pretty much ensured I would never see her again (even though the fight didn't involve me -- long story, don't ask). She is one of the maybe 2 or 3 people I would like to see or talk to again from college. Most people, I don't care or I already do keep track of them.

So how do you track someone that probably has a different last name and that you haven't seen in 8+ years?

Thursday, June 23, 2005


New Ink

I want a new tattoo. I've even got an idea for it. I saw a t-shirt with an image of a burning skull above two crossed engine pistons: kind of like a skull and cross-bones. The image for my new tattoo instantly popped into my head. Instead of a skull it would be the image of the phantom from my solar car days. The two pistons would be one hemi piston and one flat top piston. I would really like to get this on either the bottom side of my left forearm or my left calf.

Here's an image of the phantom (note: there would be no checkerboard pattern and I would go with flame colors for the phantom rather than the two color fade).

Tuesday, June 21, 2005



When the morons at RHIT's computing center imaged my hard drive I gave the old ACER 710TE to my mom (hey, the about $5k in software I had loaded on the thing meant nothing to me ... really ... ignorant &*^&%@#$^%$$*@!). Well, the ole 710TE finally gave out. It won't even turn on anymore. Either the external power supply died (doubtful since the light is still on) or the internal one died. Either way, it is dead. Glad I got my iBook!.

Monday, June 20, 2005


I'm Listening

I am disturbed by a recent trend toward listening less to others, in myself and in others, that I attribute to an inward focus on protecting the self. I really don't know if it is an increasing trend or just something I am noticing. I have no idea where this comes from but, if it is a trend, I do have some theories. I certainly won't be able to prove anything here and, even though I really want to, will not use specific examples from my daily experiences.

Each person's concept of the world, or world view, is made up partially of their own experiences. Communication between people is complicated by these different world views. If people were computers and we wanted them to communicate we would connect, for instance, the serial port of one to the serial port of the other. The transceivers in each computer is built based upon, and works on, the same set of specifications laid out by some formal over site body (IEEE for instance). On the other hand, you cannot connect the serial port of one computer to the firewire port of another and expect the two devices to communicate. If there were some sort of serial to firewire translator then this channel can work. Humans communicating have an issue similar to the serial port to firewire problem. Since no two people are exactly the same, since no two people have the exact same world view and experiences, some sort of translation always happens when people try to communicate. When people have known each other for very long periods of time or are very similar, communication is easy. On the other hand, when people aren't so similar, communication can be very difficult. There are all kinds of descriptions of this issue: from technical (research articles) to fiction (Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of motorcycle Maintenance"). [by the way, this is called the "constructionist model of communication"]

Now, with an understanding of the difficulties of communication, we can start to look into the listening issue. Maybe it is because I am getting older, maybe it is because I have a wide range of experiences from broke as hell farm kid; to engineer in Washington D.C., Kokomo, In, Terre Haute, In, Hartford, Ct, and West Palm Beach, Fl; to a college student with a bachelors and masters and now pursuing a Ph.D; to working in construction; and with a wide range of hobbies to boot. My parents also taught me to be an open individual. They taught me to respect and learn history so that I don't repeat mistakes of those that came before me. The taught me to take in all of the information around me and to formulate my own opinion. I think all of this has developed within me, an inability to listen. I'm so focused on my own past and my own experiences and education that I think I know just about everything. Anytime anyone tries to tell me I'm wrong, especially if they have less experience or education (or are just flat wrong) I get defensive and strike out to prove my point.

The real problem is that I notice this in people all around me. While I can generally have deep conversations on contentious subjects with people I have known for a long time, this is not the case with many people I haven't known as long (but that's not true either -- I've met several people over the years where I have an almost instant bond). Maybe it is because I had such a tight group of friends in high school but now it seems like new people just cannot or will not broach a deep subject, toss thoughts back and forth, educate me, and let me educate them without some serious wrangling. And it doesn't have to be a deep subject even; simple topics can become major issues at the drop of a hat. In some instances, I know I have, within my person, far more education and far more experience on a topic than the other individual and the other individual patently will not concede a point out of, what seems like, nothing more than spite.

I'm getting really tired of it all and I think I might have to become a hermit.


Atlanta Chopper

We've been having some real trouble at work, which is sad since there are only three of us: me and the two owners. One of the two owners has very little planning capability. He is very good at specific job performance but if he is loaded down with more than one task it totally overloads him. We are trying to plan for the future of the business while working current jobs, and two of us are leaving on vacation for the entire last week of June. Plus, I leave to start my Ph.D. program in August. In other words, there is a ton to get done, no time, and one of the owners is just about to collapse.

Things are getting to the point in the company where I feel like we are nearing the internal working environment of American Chopper. The owner that can't plan reminds me of Paul Jr and I, more often than not, lately, feel like Paul Sr. We've tried meetings, agenda sheets, notebooks, e-mails, action items, phone calls, reading and discussing project management articles, and nothing seems to work. He works on the one thing he is focused on, wants things to change, won't change anything himself, lets his temper rise, will concede a point then run off and do the opposite of what he just conceded, and becomes very defensive whenever any of this is pointed out.

Things could be more frustrating on one hand or less frustrating on the other depending on how one looks at the situation. I was brought in to do very basic work; I needed a job. The owners, luckily, figured out what I could do for them, and decided to tap me as a resource for far more than originally planned. One owner has made significant changes in the way he works. He has taken on serious responsibility he never thought was even possible or should even be his. Even though it all seemed so far out of reach, he is excelling at his new tasks. If neither owner would have listened I would be frustrated but probably would have given up long ago. But with one on the right track it is difficult. While I want to give up, I keep pressing. I hate to fail and if I don't have things moving forward, the company growing, on its own, and both owners working at the business operations I won't feel like I have succeeded.

Good thing I've got a size 12!

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Things I've Noticed Working Out

Friday, June 17, 2005


Things I Should Know

How do they phase electric generators so that they can be added onto the electric power grid?



This will be the first U.S. Grand Prix I have missed since they started having the race in Indianapolis. Somebody needs to give me big bunches of money so that I don't have to continue working so hard to save it all before I go back to school.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

I am getting near the 100,000 mile mark on my Monte Carlo and it was time for some routine maintenance. The book calls for a transmission fluid and filter change, along with plugs and wires. The local dealer also recommended changing the fuel filter (now that car designers have pulled their heads back out of their derriere the fuel filter is back inline and accessible rather than in the tank). I've already done the plugs and wires so a quick trip to AutoZone and I was setup for an oil and filter change, transmission fluid and filter change, and fuel filter change.

The oil was easy, I do this one myself all of the time.

The transmission was not difficult, just tedious. Transmission pans do not have drain plugs so you have to take out some of the bolts on one corner, then loosen the rest of the bolts, have a big catch container handy, and hope for the best. The two dozen bolts that hold this pan on make it all less than fun. I managed to get the pan off without a hitch. The filter on this is significantly different than the old Torqueflite 727's I'm used to working on. When I pulled it off I broke off the little plastic inlet snout and managed to get quite a bit of transmission fluid on my head (Dexron III with Mercon does not make a good hair gel, all of you guys that do your own shopping at the Banana Republic should know this though). The filter also came with a new seal. I pulled the old one out with pliers and knocked the new one in with a deep well 3/4 inch socket and a dead blow hammer. I cleaned out the pan and reused the two part gasket rather than using the new, but inferior, cork gasket. I put the pan back up, cranked down the bolts to 120 in-lbs using the recommended pattern, dropped the car off the jack stands, put new fluid in, started it up, and ran it through the gears. I let the car warm up, checked the fluid again, then took it out for a test drive, and all was good.

It was, unfortunately kind of late, so I gave up on getting the fuel filter in for the evening. Automatic transmission fluid does not wash out of hair well so I knew I had a long shower in front of me and still wanted to get some work done for the company before calling it a night. So I got two out of the three issues taken care of. Not too bad considering I've never done two of them on this car.


Thought 2

Successful men with young, hot women. Why does this happen?

Successful men work very hard and work very long hours and they enjoy the fruits of their labor. Work is what they know to do, like to do, want to do, and feel empty without it. But, truth be told, many very successful or very focused men go though two or three marriages (I have no clue about very successful or focused women). By the time all is said and done they tend to end up with some young, hot chick on that final marriage. People tend to look down on this type of relationship. Having worked with several small businesses I think I now see how this relationship is mutually beneficial.

Very successful men are busy -- they work all the time -- finding someone that is willing to accept the same responsibilities is necessary. Men want smart women that compete on an intellectual level. The problem is that these women need their men around, to compete on that intellectual level, yet the men are busy making their success. This can only cause frustration and tension in the relationship. If the woman is also very successful and focused on her on topics this issue might be someone moderated. This means there are really only two options: finding a woman who is off fighting her own battle for success or finding someone that accepts the battle as necessary.

This seems to be where the real crux of the situation sits. So many parts of a relationship require both people to be there in nearly equal amounts. I believe this is especially true when children are involved. If the female is tasked with handling, in total, what should be joint responsibilities or she simply needs the other person around (at times it seems for simply entertainment value) for quality time the relationship is destined for failure.

There seem to be only two or three relationships that prevail when the men in their life are totally wrapped up in their work. The first is when the female is also very successful, work driven, or focused. Here the two come together for some small but mutual benefit then go off again to their own thing. A second may occur when the female simply has patience. In this scheme, the female is waiting for, more or less, retirement. If she is lucky, her man wants to retire, is working toward that goal, and will get there by the age of 36 or so. Finally, and the initial thought behind this thread, is that a man finds a female that is interested in the fruits of his labor. She may not be very interested in him, but he can produce, produce he does, and she gets what she wants.

I don't want to make it sound like I think women are shallow, at least not more shallow then any man. Females simply get more of an opportunity to partake Our society is, currently, set up such that men are generally more successful and expected to produce. I can't lie, if I had the opportunity to have an sugar mommy, I'd likely take it.

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