June 15, 2005

The New American Dream

It’s hard to follow the ridiculousness of the last couple posts, so I didn’t for awhile. Unfortunately that’s cause for a recap.

I made up a new game. It was called “try to drive my car without dying.” Having lived in Massachusetts for awhile now, I’ve actually gotten pretty used to this (worst… drivers… ever), but about a month ago, after work, my car decided to mix things up a bit. It decided I didn’t really need brakes to play. Well, technically just all the brake fluid and lines. Really it was pretty sweet trying to stop by hitting the brake peddle to get the lights to go on while simultaneously hauling on the e-brake to actually try to stop and screaming for effect. Of course, the rear brakes, the only ones that the e-brake uses, have never been replaced in 14 years and 92,000 miles, meaning they have hardly any stopping power and cause the car to pull hard to the right when they eventually do grip. Hey, at least it doesn’t pull into oncoming traffic.

By the time I found out I was the proud new owner of 2,000 pounds of unstoppable american steel, it was too late to visit the mechanic, but it wasn’t too late to do the laundry I needed to do. I’m proud to be one of the few CS majors willing to risk my life to visit the laundromat. The good news? I got the brakes fixed the very next day for less money than it costs to upgrade the armor on a military Hummer ($58,000 if my memory serves), and now they almost work.

The fun doesn’t stop there. A couple weeks ago, my car sprouted a glorious new set of noises. At the time, I was driving 3 passengers, and it sounded like something rubbing the tire whenever I turned. I hoped it was some sort of freak grounding out, but the next morning I could hear metal dragging on the ground when I accelerated. It didn’t take long to figure out the muffler hanger was gone. All that remained was a ring of rust to prove it existed. Luckily for my wallet, I was feeling handy, so I picked up two dollars worth of strapping metal and some nuts and bolts and ghetto-rigged my muffler up… beautifully if I do say so myself (I trimmed down the excess later, lay off).

True Craftsmanship

We’re not done yet though! Earlier this week, my battery died. The car refused to even jump. Of course, the one bolt holding the battery in is buried far deeper in my car than my ratchet is made to go, and snugged against a hunk of rubber that kept pressure on the bold for far too long as I hung inside the hood trying to make the best of the 3 inches of room I had to turn the ratchet in. I got it taken care of though, with many thanks to Ashley for carting my ass to and from work and Wal Mart. This car is going to nickel and dime me to death.

Jon, his wife Tacha, and the venerable Rex came ludicrously long distances from upstate NY to visit. I played tour guide to Boston, a city which I myself am tragically clueless about. Somehow, we left having found everything I’d looked for specifically, and a few things I hadn’t. We left with a box of Men’s Pocky! That’s not to be confused with Women’s Pocky, which of course doesn’t exist. In the exciting world of Pocky, what separates the men from the boys? The answer should be obvious:

  • Men’s Pocky comes with a single sticker of a middle-aged fully clad relatively unattractive woman in an un-enticing pose, complete with some Chinese characters and a year far too far in the past to be associating with a food product (ours said 1995 I believe), and
  • Coating the crisp Pocky goodness is extra fatty dark chocolate, the kind that puts hair on your chest. Clearly, it’s not meant for the faint of heart or testosterone.

It didn’t take long at all for the rockin’ sticker to find it’s way onto Rex’s sun visor.

Mike and Shannon both left. I’ve had the apartment to myself for the last week. I’d have though I’d be going out of my mind with boredom, but if anything, I’ve been busier than ever, and it’s been glorious, or as glorious as is possible considering it’s been pushing 90 degrees and 90% humidity for the last week, my apartment has no AC or fans, my car has no AC, and the building I work in is ventilated like a nuclear submarine. Really though, a few of the new summer co-ops have far exceeded my expectations. It only took a couple weeks to really make some good friends. This should end up being a good summer.

Speaking of Mike leaving, on his 2nd to last day of work, we made him a present, or at least ‘gift wrapped’ something he already had.

Post it notes are wonderful

Oh so wonderful...

especially when you have 2000 of them

We led several guerrilla teams out to the car during the day, and we used untold man hours to place no less than 2000 of the happy paper squares on his car. It took him over an hour to get them all off. The real credit goes to Vandya for coming up with the idea in the first place… BRILLIANT! Of course, Mike paid back my kindness by bringing over lots of food and 2/3rds of a handle of Baileys. Way to make me look like a douche, Mike.

Posted by MrWonton at 10:31 am | Comments (43)

May 03, 2005

Murphy’s Law 2 or how I learned to stop worrying and drive a dead motorcycle 450 miles across the country or 16 hours in hell or when karma attacks

It all started innocently enough. I made it to the Providence airport with plenty of time to spare, glided through security with only the taste of irony at having to take off my shoes, but leaving my big metal watch on and still not setting off the metal detector, and sat around for over an hour folding origami out of “MMDC Confidential” cover sheets from work under the mildly amused gaze of a goth girl with about as many piercings as I have shoes and a head of unnaturally red hair swept back in twin pony tails. She later bashed her head into a metal crossbar on the window behind us and couldn’t stop laughing about it. Boarded the plane approximately on time, displaced a tall skinny girl in designer clothes who was surely a model who had taken my seat (no really, you don’t have to move). Reflected once more upon the existence of girls outside of engineering.

The lights and ventilation system on the plane fluctuated on and off for about 20 minutes, scaring the feint of heart. Apparently the power source they were attached to was poorly wired. Way to instill confidence! The plane left the terminal about 15 minutes late, but we were only about 10 minutes late into Detroit, and my bag was the 2nd out of the baggage claim. Grabbed some food from The Fleetwood on the way back. Picked up the bike in Kalamazoo, hung a billion things to it with bungies, and headed for home at around 11:30.

The machine was wonderful. It was quick off the line, comfortable, practically exuding power. It was quite a bit lighter than the bike I’ve used most, and had a larger engine by 200ccs. It ran great… for about 20 minutes… at which point it decided that 4 cylinders were overrated, so it would only use 2 of them. I sputtered a few miles, contemplated giving up, decided against it, then was amazed when it practically took off from under me. It was running fine again! At least for another couple miles. A few more cycles through this, and I’d made it home.

Home… at least that’s what it used to be. Where I used to live now was no more than a quiet empty husk. Devoid of all life for a couple months, with no furniture, and none of the same feeling… depressing. Despite being tired all day, getting home always wakes me up, so I made a few calls, as it was only about 1am, but no one answered. Beaten, I headed to bed, meaning a mattress laying on the floor of the master bedroom.

I laid, my mind racing. My torpidity was interrupted after 2am by my phone: it was Brandi! She asked if I wanted to hang out, and in my half-asleep state I was less than eager, but she persisted, and I love her for it. I had just begun explaining how to find my house when her phone, which is prepaid, ran out of time. I doubted she could find the place with just what I’d told her, and there was no other way for me to get in touch, so I wasn’t sure what to do. I really wanted to sleep, but I gave her resourcefulness some credit, so I waited. Within 10 minutes, I saw headlights crawling down the street. It was awesome seeing her again, it had been years. We hung out till about 6 in the morning. The Greene’s across the street got lucky we weren’t thinking too clearly. The sun was coming out when I finally got to sleep.

My dad guessed it was one of the ignition coils that was causing the motorcycle to run sporadically rough, and managed to pick up a used one from a junk store and we put it on Friday morning. By now, the weather was hinting at its forthcoming wrath. It was cold and raining, but I still had to test the bike to make sure everything was in order. I rode it around a few miles, getting my pants nice and soaked. Saw my mom briefly. Ate lunch with Matt, who was nice enough to come all the way back from school for it. Thanks goes to Mary for threatening violence to make that happen. Had dinner with Joanna before she had to go to work.

Brandi never bothered to put more time on her phone, so she was totally incommunicado. So not cool.

I rode the bike around a bit while Joanna was at work, and noted that gas was escaping out of the #2 cylinder through the spark plug threads. There was a noticeable loss of compression and power.

Hung out with Joanna Friday night and ended up going to Kalamazoo and helping Ashley move some crap around. Anything to help screw over Brian Greene.

Saturday morning, the fun started. I’ve often joked in the past after doing something nice for someone that I’m really only working to pay off my karmic debt at all the horrible things I’ve done in the past. Well the Karma Collector carried a 52 when he should have carried a one. Consider my debt paid.

Posted by MrWonton at 12:23 am | Comments (13)

April 24, 2005


I’m stuck in Ann Arbor for an extra day. I came home, and brought a blizzard with me. All anyone can talk about is how horrible the weather is. I tell them all to blame me. What else could cause this crap? All that I can wish for now is a nice day tomorrow, and it’s not going to come.

My closet has more skeletons than yours.

Posted by MrWonton at 3:20 pm | Comments (13)

April 21, 2005

Murphy’s Law

Two days ago it was 85 degrees and sunny. I depart for Michigan in about 7 and a half hours, and current predictions put temperatures in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s over the weekend with rain and SNOW! Perfect weather to ride a motorcycle 900 miles in. If I don’t make it, bury me somewhere warm.

Posted by MrWonton at 7:31 am | Comments (16)

April 06, 2005

Of random upcoming events

I bought my plane ticket yesterday. I’ll be flying into Detroit at 7pm, April 21st. I won’t be home that night till late. Tons to do the 22nd. Enough to do the 23rd. My ass dreads the 24th.

My manager, who I’ve essentially not had any substantive conversation with since I was hired, stopped by my cube today as a harbinger of Midterm Evaluations to come. For those unfamiliar, that means in a couple weeks I’ll be sitting down with my mentor and discussing my progress and achievements. A scary thought.

Like a polaroid picture. That happened just a mile or two away from my apartment here in Lung Cancer, MA.

Posted by MrWonton at 11:59 am | Comments (24)

April 03, 2005

1:57, 1:58, 1:59, 3:00!!?


Posted by MrWonton at 3:15 am | Comments (51)

March 26, 2005

Succuming to the masses: Terri Schiavo

The Terri Schiavo debacle is yet another mind boggelingly silly media feeding frenzy that I feel compelled to comment on solely because everyone else is doing it, and everyone else is wrong. Honestly though, I don’t think this matters all that much, because to me, the alternatives are pretty similar. On one hand, Terri Schiavo dies, on the other, she remains in an irrecoverable state that’s as close to death as you can get. In neither case is she ever going to dance the tango again, let alone speak a single word in the english language. I’m not without my leanings, however. Terri Schiavo has been a vegetable for 15 years. The first few years of this, her husband tried several methods to recover her, including a particularly aggressive and experimental treatment that involved electrodes being implanted in her brain. The result? I quote: “According to physicians who have actually diagnosed her in person, she displays no awareness of her surroundings, is unable to swallow, and any consciousness or personality died in 1990.” (Ars Technica) So in 1998 he gave up, and decided, based on comments to this affect that she had made, to pull the proverbial plug. 7 years later this may finally be happening. I say about time.

Now to answer the dissention. A contributing factor to Terri’s current state was medical malpractice, the result of which was a $1.3 million settlement. $300,000 of this went to her husband, the rest to her medical bills. Her husband has subsequently turned down offers for book deals, as well as multi-million dollar offers to turn over guardianship to her parents. He’s not in it for the money. He claims that his position is based upon her wishes that she related to him while she lived, and I see no reason to doubt that. I can honestly say that were I in Terri’s position, I would not want to continue to live how she lives. Does she have a chance of recovery? Modern medical technology says no, and as far as I know, there’s no magic bullet on the horizon, but I could be wrong. This point seems to be the only arguable one in my eyes, but it begs the question of how far we are willing to go to preserve people who could be saved by advances in technology at a later date. If we’re willing to keep people like Terri alive indefinitely in hopes of a cure, should we also be listening to the proponents of cryonics and flash freezing and storing the heads of the recently deceased? It’s the same rationale after all.

Anyhow, there is a real tragedy here. I think Terri Schiavo should be allowed to die, and so far every court that has ruled to this affect has agreed with me. Yet they accomplish this by removing her feeding tube and letting her starve? I’m pretty sure we didn’t even starve the prisoners at Guantanamo, and we were blatently violating the Geneva Convention there. We certainly can’t get away with that sort of thing anywhere else. So why does she starve? Because euthenasia is still illegal in this country, and for no good reason that I can see. How could this not be a shining example of where a simple lethal injection would make a world of sense?

I’m not the firm believer in democracy that our government would like me to be, because I don’t think most people are well informed enough to be making decisions that affect people they’re not in direct contact with farther than 5 minutes into the future. Instead, it seems that the parts of our “democratic” system that the people have the most control of seem to gravitate to the lowest common denominator: i.e. Mr. Bush. Whoops! Did I just mention the president? That pretty much means I have to weigh in with his opinion on the subject, and subsequently show how he’s a blithering idiot. Let’s see… because federal judges refused to hear the Schiavo case citing lack of jurisdiction, Bush rushed back from *gasp* another vacation in Texas to sign some legislation into law because it’s important to have, and I love this phrase, a “culture of life.” And now for the hypocracy! In ‘99 Bush signed legislation in Texas that allows Hospitals to, for fiscal reasons, withdraw treatment of terminal patients regardless of the wishes of the family. This guy makes it way too easy sometimes. What I’m really getting at here, though, is that this is yet another area where the government really doesn’t belong. If I don’t want to be a vegetable, who are they to tell me otherwise? Dubya can have his culture of life, but if it interferes with how I live mine, I don’t dig it, plain and simple.

That was way too serious, so I’m going to end on the Uniblow auto-inflating suit!

Hooray for inflatable suits!

Posted by MrWonton at 3:00 am | Comments (22)

March 25, 2005

Fun fun fun at the Intel gym

I started going to the gym on my own volition. I keep going back mostly because of peer pressure, and that’s a good thing. If someone didn’t keep telling me to meet them there at 5, I probably wouldn’t be there, or at least not enough. Yesterday, after running 45 minutes on a sadistically designed program that involves alternating from jogging to sprinting at one minute intervals till your heart explodes, as well as a few less exhausting exercizes, I baked and ate half a meal that’s supposed to serve 6. Today I can’t straighten my arms (which is carrying over from 2 days ago, when I turned my biceps into useless lumps of jello). If I don’t keep them resting at an angle, and even if I do, I’m in constant pain. My shoulders and back ache. I went to put on my shoes and today and experienced levels of pain I’ve come to associate only with massive blood loss. I think I’ll take a day off. Good times.

Posted by MrWonton at 10:34 am | Comments (36)

March 09, 2005

I’m not useless!

One of my changes was checked into the CVS source for one of the tools I worked on today! In other words, something I worked on was included in one of our programs so from now on every time it’s used it’ll include that change. It took nearly 2 months, but I finally have something (semi-)tangible that other people here can look at.

Sadly, it’s probably the most mindless change I was assigned to do, but at this point I’ll take what I can get.

I’m going to post pictures and stories about my trip later today. I’ve been lazy. I played with some pictures and wrote the beginning, but it’s late. I’ll finish up sometime tomorrow.

So my designated driver duties extended both later, and broader than I expected, so I’ll have to finish up tomorrow (although my roommate and I are cooking a homemade feast tomorrow which may take most of my day anyways). Did I say designated driver? More accurately, designated “keep the drunk-ass russian from driving and/or trying to beat up random people and/or Mike Cummins.” Luckily, he eventually passed out on the floor and the cat started crawling on him…

Daaaaamn Dimitry

Posted by MrWonton at 1:42 pm | Comments (72)

February 18, 2005

Say it ain’t so Koko!

This absolutely has to be true. If not someone has one hell of an imagination.

Posted by MrWonton at 2:54 pm | Comments (47)

February 11, 2005

Hell yeah this is Julio

Ring ring ring (Ann Arbor area code on the Caller ID)…
Hello?” (In an extremely muffled, extremely Indian voice)
“Does this sound like Julio?”
“Yeah thats cuz its not.”

“You’ve got the wrong number.”
Goodbye.” (Thank you come again)

Posted by MrWonton at 2:34 pm | Comments (8)

February 04, 2005


I have headlights again. People will stop flashing their lights conscientiously at me as I drive blindly around the shrouded streets of Marlborough… damn helpful bastards.

Last night 11 Intel co-ops and I went to Boston and ushered for Blue Man Group, or rather, 9 of them ushered, 2 others and I talked to random people through tubes. If you haven’t been to a Blue Man Group show, they use a lot of tubes, and have the theaters filled with them. Before the show, some of them talk to you… and that was my job. We tubetalkers were stuck in a back room with a large black wooden board reminiscent of early telephone switchboards. Where you’d expect wires were an array of color coded tubes that corresponded to a colored floorplan of the theater. From our “switchboard” we could listen to people milling around in the theater, and try to get them to come up to the tubes and talk to us. We came up with some pretty funny stuff that really only makes sense after you’ve been shouting into a wall of tubes at strangers for about an hour. After that we got some rather nice free seats for the show. Afterwards we had to help clean up the 2 and a half odd miles of toilet paper that had flowed over the audience to the stage. Not too bad at all for tickets that were probably worth $40+.

Of course now I have a nice long weekend of being under 21 and surrounded by a bitter football rivalry (in Massachusetts, but working and living with quite a few devout Eagles fans) I really could care less about, the only tradition of which, drinking to excess, I can’t take part in. At least theres driving after dark to keep me busy. Hoo boy, nothing like cruising frozen “downtown” Marlborough. Sensing some animosity?

I went to New Hampshire today to drop off my roommate at the airport. I had no directions to get back, so I got a little lost for a bit, and just when I feared I may never find my way out of the NH Boonies, I happened across a site that alleviated all my fears: nestled in a valley, set in a haze of fog, was a mammoth Anheuser-Busch brewery! I knew then that there was no way that god, in his infinite wisdom, would allow a brewery of such epic proportions as this to be placed in a location that any drunk on a pilgrimage there wouldn’t be able to drunkenly drive themselves there and back from a freeway. Sure enough, I hadn’t gone another 2 miles before all my dilemma was solved. See politicians? Alcohol helps minors.

When I got back from my odyssey, I went back to work. For numerous reasons, I’ve been forced away from work quite often as of late, so I still had over an hour to work to get to my 40 hours for the week, which I wouldn’t feel right not attaining. I rolled into Intel a little past 6:30. This is on a Friday. The place still bustled with activity! Ok, maybe not bustled, but there were hundreds of people milling about working. I’m talking about engineers, most of whom are exempt (salaried), not to mention blessed with Flex-Time. Myself, I’d hate to be at work past 7 on a Friday if I’m not making any extra money, nor limited to working that specific time frame. Confusing…

After getting my 40 hours, I decided to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that, at least culinarily, I’m a 10th degree black-jew, that is to say I went to a delicious chinese restaurant and ate to excess from all 3 major food groups: General Tsao’s chicken, Fried Rice, and yeah, thats right, crab cheese Wontons.

I caught enough of the State of the Union address to be again frighteningly reminded about the talking disaster at the helm of this country. I found his pro-constitutional-gay-marriage-ban to be the most offensive of his allusions to our collective impending oppression, suffering, and inevitable doom. If he’s going to spout descriminatory rhetoric, I’d rather he stop half assing it and trade his finely tailored suits and ties for a nice white robe and hood with a few swastikas here and there; you know, make it blazingly clear where he stands. Other than that little indiscression, I thought he did a very convincing job pushing his disasterously unsound social security plan, and who doesn’t love his subtle hints that Syria and Iran have made his “naughty” list. Time to go kick some more Arabic ass eh Mr. President? We can always count on you sir.

Freedoms cannot be exported by tanks and planes, death and destruction.
-Mehdi Dakhlallah, Syria’s information minister

Posted by MrWonton at 9:48 pm | Comments (4)

December 08, 2004

Placeholder - Updated

Long story short, we've got a christmas tree.

Saturday night was a very exciting night. Over its course, my friends and I managed to climb through a window of a house we’d never been to, chill at a party with a Jamaican reggae band, tons of pot, and people freebasing over a stove, break a chain fence, procure and subsequently drop and break a sweet Kwanza goblet, stack several hundred student directories in front of someone’s door, get a Gauss bust from a blind kid, and end up with a Christmas tree. There are a few other things intentionally left out. Feel free to ask.

After that night, my life has been hell. I’ve been up excessively late working on something or another every night. Also something to look forward to: barring some sort of miracle, my very last taste of this semester is going to be no less than 4 straight hours of math exams, starting at 8 in the morning. Yeah, thats right, back to back Differential Equations and Probabilities (not easy probabilities either, oh no, 400 level multi-dimensional integral probabilities). Thank you U-M Math department! Arrrg this semester needs to end.

Friday my last group project is due, and afterwards I’m going to chill with Doug and a fat cuban cigar my dad was kind enough to send me. Thank god for small escapes.

I find this site’s presence here amusing.

Posted by MrWonton at 1:38 am | Comments (40)

November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving by the numbers

In 3 nights:

  • 5.5: hours spent traveling from Ann Arbor to South Haven
  • 2.5: hours it should take to travel from Ann Arbor to South Haven
  • 4: people actually worth seeing in South Haven
  • 1: unwed teenage pregnancies discovered
  • 10: approximate pounds of food eaten
  • plethora: number of shrimp eaten
  • 4: shrimp that will probably kill me
  • 10: approximate glasses of wine drank
  • 3: nights spent in the hot tub with a glass of wine
  • 4: showers in the last 2 days
  • 1: compliment on smelling good
  • 1/2: inches grown since summer
  • 6: approximate weight lost in pounds since summer
  • 1: resolutions made, because of last two items, to use exercise facilities at my job at Intel to overcome my overactive metabolism
  • 0: chance of resolution to exercise actually happening
  • 2: number of foxes I saw at night on the public beach
  • 1: number of times I actually needed my camera
  • 1: number of times I actually needed my camera that I forgot my camera
  • 1: sweet ancient BMW’s ridden in
  • 25: dollars spent on gas
  • 20: pounds per square inch of pressure in my tires after sitting around since summer
  • 2: times I got to say “nice hair” and mean it
  • 2: abusive husbands (counting liberally) I talked to
  • 3: important realizations made
  • 3: depressing important realizations made
  • 5: computer related questions receieved (counting conservatively)
  • 3: times I felt like hot shit for having one of the best jobs someone my age can have
  • 1: crazy things done with expensive technology and zip lock bags that only a nerd of my caliber would do
  • 0/5: ratio of classes that didn’t assign annoyingly long homework assignments over break
  • 0: homework assignments I’ve looked at
  • 39: emails received when I finally got around to checking
  • 1: significant emails receieved
  • 1: books read
  • 3: loads of laundry done
  • 10: approximate trips through downtown South Haven
  • 0: worthwhile trips through downtown South Haven
  • 10: approximate times I listened to the album Pressure Chief
  • 0: times I got out of bed before noon
  • 1: times I was awake before noon long enough to be pissed that someone would call me before noon
  • 1: supposedly true stories involving people with peg legs and eye patches, a model titanic and battleship, anti-dutch and anti-Wall Street sentiments
  • 1: happy Thanksgiving
Posted by MrWonton at 3:12 am | Comments (11)

August 19, 2004

Secrets, Rights, and DMCA

The lonliest of views
My view of the outside world.

I fear for the future. I try not to be overly paranoid, but as far as I can tell, our rights are being no less than systematically taken away from us. In 1998, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed. Through its broad and sweeping language, the DMCA virtually does away with fair use as pertaining to the digital world. 2001 brought us the USA Patriot Act. This delightful piece of legislation, printed and rushed through congress in the middle of the night, that allows anyone deemed a terrorist to be stripped entirely of his/her rights and held for an indefinite amount of time without being charged. In June of this year, the Supreme Court ruled in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the state of Nevada (pdf). This ruling removes what many interpreted as our right to remain silent. As of now, if the police ask you questions or for ID, and you refuse to answer, you can be prosecuted. If this doesn’t seem bad, read about the case that was involved. It doesn’t stop there though. Presently, 5 journalists are being held in contempt of court for refusing to identify their sources, who had demanded anonymity. Also, when a former employee of Sun Microsystems inquired as to why he was required to display ID to travel on an airline, he was told that the law was secret and that he couldn’t read it. When does it end?

We’re in real trouble with the government taking our rights away on one front, and becoming more furtive on another. No good will come of it.

I’m about to enter my last week of vacation. While I look forward to getting back to Ann Arbor and away from my home town and my job, I grow increasingly apprehensive about class and my apartment. I’m sure my worries are mostly unfounded, but it fills my thoughts. I’ve still got to figure out how I’m going to coordinate the move.

At lunch today, I found myself staring at a man near the back of the restaurant I was in. After a minute or so of telling myself I was crazy, I was certain I was looking at the professor of the dual enrollment western civ class I took senior year of high school, one Mr. Laabs. It was one of the better classes I’d had to date, as after the first few weeks, all but 6 students had dropped out, not to mention that the professor wasn’t a high school teacher, and didn’t teach like one. Its been the most personal education experience I’ve had, and I got to find out what a difference a small class size can make. Without essentially studying at all, I managed to retain more knowledge from that class than most likely any other history class I’ve had, and I had a good time doing it. It didn’t hurt that Mr. Laabs had a thing for math (he was originally a math major) and chemistry (one day he brought in a jug of liquid nitrogen that he let us play with the entire class period), not to mention that he was a nice guy (he bought us all pizza on the last day before the exam). Apparantly he’s stopped teaching for awhile to be home with his kids. Too bad. It was nice, if strange, seeing him though.

Posted by MrWonton at 9:48 pm | Comments (36)

August 12, 2004

Alan ‘Hypocrite’ Keyes

Alan Keyes is running against Barack Obama for the Illinois senate. Alan Keyes is from Maryland. Theres no law against running for the senate in a state you don’t live in, but I wonder what Alan Keyes’ stance on that subject it? Oh, heres something Keyes said on Fox News in 2000:

“And I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness to go into a state she doesn’t even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn’t imitate it.”

I always knew Fox News would be good for something.

How long does it take your skin to fuse to a sofa? Six years.

An author named Jim Munroe is posting his novel An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil (great name isn’t it?) day by day for 88 days to this site. Its at least vaguely interesting so far.

DAMN it needs to be Friday already…

Posted by MrWonton at 3:57 pm | Comments (7)

August 10, 2004


Its been awhile, so heres a picture of my pet piranha. His name is Nixon. He is not a cannibal.

The summer is almost over, and its a damn good thing. My job has become nearly too repetative to bear. 90% of the code I can write in my sleep, and the rest is so cryptic and impossible to discern that I have to ask someone else what it means anyways. The only happy middle-ground was the one program I had to design myself, instead of re-writing, but even that program was frustratingly technical (what should one expect from medical billing software?).

My town resists change better than China. Unless you’re willing to stand by the skate park dealing drugs, or aimlessly wander the streets, there is next to nothing to do, which brings me to my next point. I find the vast majority of the people in this town loathesome. Life in such close proximity to such distasteful creatures invariably makes me horribly anti-social and cynical. I do hope Ann Arbor ameliorates this.

Theres a chance Blueberry Festival may help.

I leave at the end of the month. I can never go home again. I hope I can’t shop there.

No less than 3 of my friends from home have become hopelessly engaged in the promised fortunes of the pyramid scam known as Team of Destiny. I find it deeply disturbing that the promises of easy wealth so easily close the minds of such intelligent people. One of the victims of whom I speak is a Business major at U-M for god’s sake! How can they be taken by this? Sure, someone gets rich off the plan: the people who started it. I’m sorry, but selling packs of overpriced toilet paper that has to be shipped to your friends is not going to make you a millionaire. All the tapes, lectures, and motivational speaking in the world will not change this.

Few things are as beautiful as white flowers reflecting the headlight of my motorcycle on a country road under a clear, august, night sky. Its more than just a sight, its an experience.

Update: Apparantly Barbi is a better name for a piranha. Who knew?

Posted by MrWonton at 2:25 am | Comments (38)

July 19, 2004

Comcast Engineers are Girly-Men

Its been 4 days since my problems with Comcast began, and two calls to customer support later, I’ve receieved no word that any progress is being made whatsoever. I am not pleased. As a paying customer it seems like I could at least get some word as to whats happening. I know the problem is not at my end, as its effecting everyone I know in my area with the service.

Apparantly theres a craze to bitch about foul-mouthed republicans lately. Instead of going off on a torrent about how Republicans are hate-filled foul-mouthed immature people, I feel it necessary to question the Media on this. Saturday, Schwarzenegger called democratic politicians who pander to special interests “girlie men,” referencing that old SNL sketch with Hanz and Franz the body builders. Apparantly that statement is offensive and “blatently homophobic.” Sure, I went along with the Cheney “Go fuck yourself” statement being in bad taste, but this is a joke. This is the governator making a joke about his own muscle-bloated body. Its funny. Laugh.

Are the Earnhardts the next Kennedys?

I find it interesting that more than one TV network claims to have come up with the idea of a wife swapping reality show. If that sort of thing went through my mind, I’d do whatever I could to deny it, and apologize if it ever became public. I guess I’d make a bad network executive.

The phrase “War is Hell” doesn’t fully capture the truth. Perhaps its more like Sociopath training school.

Oh well, time to relax, new Homestar.

Posted by MrWonton at 1:00 pm | Comments (4)

July 15, 2004

Colors are overrated

I want color TVs like Zimbabwe has color TVs.

Posted by MrWonton at 5:51 pm | Comments (38)

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