April 06, 2006

In approximately three weeks I’ll be on the road. I finish my last exam, pack my apartment into a truck, load up my bike with the essentials, and take off. Off to the Black Hills, to Mount Rushmore, to Yellowstone, to the Makah Nation and its Cape Flattery, down Highway 1, through wine country, over the Golden Gate Bridge, (let me know if I’ve missed anything terribly important so far, I haven’t made my route yet) and finally to my home for 3 months, Cupertino, CA. In ~9-10 days. All assuming I don’t

beforehand. It’s getting risky.
Posted by MrWonton at 1:07 am | Comments (57)

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)

March 23, 2005

All the cool people are doing it

I’m flying home either the 21st or 28th of April to get my motorcycle and ride it back here. I’ll be in SH on Friday and Ann Arbor on Saturday. Be at one or the other if you don’t suck.

Posted by MrWonton at 9:48 am | Comments (12)

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)

May 28, 2004


Finally! My motorcycle works. Apparantly, they don’t run without gas, which was exactly what mine was trying to do, but its not as bad as that sounds. When we re-installed the carbs, we replaced the fuel line from the tank, and it was too long and had kinked itself… Oh well, in troubleshooting I pulled the spark plugs, and they needed to be reset anyways, and alls well that ends well. I have my bike back. Also, I just got a nice helmet from the neighbors across the street who are having a yard sale. Huzzah!

Posted by MrWonton at 1:13 pm | Comments (43)

May 24, 2004

The Pursuit of Life

I’ve never been much of a fan of the death penalty. Partly because it costs more to go through the proceedings to carry it out than it does to keep a person imprisoned for the rest of his/her life (although those sentenced to death are disproportionately male), and partly because it just doesn’t seem right. I know I would never feel comfortable as a juror condemning a human being to death. That just doesn’t seem like something man is meant to do.

Anyways, death is sure in the news today. In a rather odd turn of events, David Larry Nelson, a convicted killer in the state of Alabama, has been succesfully granted an appeal on the basis that death by lethal injection would be cruel and unusual punishment, as he claims years of drug abuse has rendered his veins unusable for the procedure. He argues that to inject him as such, they would have to dig deep into his flesh, and that it would hence lead to any number of unpleasant complications.

Meanwhile, Michigan native, and everyone’s favorite accessory to mass-murder and terrorism, is being accused of no less than 161 counts of first degree murder in Oklahoma, for which he too could get the death penalty. Its hard to believe that this isn’t over with a full nine years since the bombing took place. Thats our justice system.

After tearing apart my motorcycle, working on the carburetors, and putting it back together, I have succesfully ended up with a motorcycle that still doesn’t work correctly. Much to my chagrin, after the whole debacle, after only a short ride, the bike began missing on one of its cylinders… Oi vay.

On a more pleasant note, Michael Moore has succesfully claimed the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival with the film I was lucky enough to preview. This was the first time in nearly 50 years that a documentary has won the prize. While I don’t find this altogether surprising, as it was an exceedingly well done film, I am glad to see the film get the press it now has, as it will make it very difficult to keep it out of American theaters, despite Disney’s attempts. We really need all the help we can get to extricate our current evil president, as has become exceedingly and abundantly clear as of late. If you ever find yourself confused on this point, pick up a copy of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and see for yourself what is done right under our noses. I’m ashamed for the intelligent people who share their political affiliation with such men.

Vive la R�volution!

Posted by MrWonton at 12:51 pm | Comments (50)

May 16, 2004

Demons have possessed my motorcycle

Apparantly my motorcycle hasn’t experienced enough downtime. This morning I was perturbed to find a nice puddle of gas forming under it, never a good sign. It appeared to be dripping out of the overflow for the carburetors. Well, I had left it on prime, so it wasn’t necessarily indicative of a serious problem. The bike even started right up. No problems there. So I took it out, it seemed to be running ok.

Alas, ok it was not. On the way to the gas station to fill up it was running decidedly rough. It felt like it was only hitting on three cylinders, so I hoped it would fix itself as it heated up. I got it to the gas station and filled it up. It didn’t want to start up again, which is never a good sign, but after a few tries, it caught. It made it about 15 feet out of the parking lot before dying for good. The engine and the carbs were flooded beyond help. Constant attempts at restarting it only managed to drain the battery, which was fully charged to begin with.

So in the end I had the pleasure of pushing my 22 year old cast iron ridiculously heavy motorcycle home, up two hills, one bridge, and numerous intersections with a motorcycle helmet, a heavy leather jacket, and a sweatshirt. Getting it home, I examined it further. There appeared to be more oil than there should be. How could that be? Well, I was wrong, there wasn’t too much oil, just too much gas in the oil. Another fine surprise!

On the brighter side, my computer is back up and running. The motherboard was indeed the culprit. The new a7v333 motherboard I have has a dead ide channel which isn’t nice, but I’d rather avoid the downtime and not send it back, as for the 6 IDE devices I use, it works just fine. If I need more, I’ll just turn the old HP pavilion I got from MDP into a file server. Its better not to tax the power supply and motherboard with more than 6 IDE devices anyways… they seem to die enough on me without the extra stress.

Between my computer and motorcycle troubles, its been a long transition from college to home. At least it can’t rain forever. Especially since I get payed tomorrow. Thank god for paychecks.

Posted by MrWonton at 2:55 pm | Comments (27)

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