January 31, 2006


Welcome home take off your coat,
it’s been years since we last spoke,
it’s been too long.

-Matthew Walker - “Anymore”

It has indeed been a long time. I’m not even going to try to catch things up, at least not now, especially considering that by now, with my extended hiatus, I’ve more than likely managed to alienate what small readership I actually had anyways. Those who’ve been interested have kept up regardless.

No, this isn’t to catch up. This is me using this site the way I originally intended: as a place to write the things that come to my mind that I otherwise wouldn’t write down, and would ever be lost to my violently non-eidetic mind. I’m digressing.

In my younger more impressionable years, I happened to catch a relatively lazy bit of national television journalism that has yet to leave me since. The piece was on a software engineer working in Silicon Valley (during the height of the dot com bubble of course), a position I’ll soon share (at least temporarily with Apple Computer for the uninformed). What made this particular engineer unique from the flock that has taken root there was his singular method of living for a member of the technorati. Every day, after work, this man would brave San Francisco’s traffic holocaust, and proceed quite a ways out of the city, into the mountains, and onto his farm, where he quietly lived in a small ranch house complete with goats, crops, and all the other amenities a well-paid professional seeking to build a facade of country simplicity could want.

At the time I thought only in passing of the juxtaposition in the man’s life. The themes of escapism, luddism, and underlying message that all may not be right in technological paradise eluded me, yet the picture remained. Having spent 4 years, countless hours, innumerable late nights, and god-knows how many lost opportunities for social growth to the pursuit of what this man had, but found unsatisfying, I find the image much more pressing. Perhaps even frightening.

The thing is… I appreciate simplicity. One of the happiest times I’ve had was spent alone, on a motorcycle, with some clothes, a tent, a sleeping bag, and a stove, and miles of country roads. My friend D has told me of some times he spent in small villages in Fiji, where the people are villagers - not engineers, blacksmiths, butchers, farmers nor teachers, but villagers - and it sounds amazing. “When someone needs a house, the villagers come together and build them a house,” he tells me. Sure, sounds great, lets check the zoning, make sure everything is up to code, and double-check that we can get a tax write-off while we’re at it. Simplicity, goddammit! Make what you need, sell what you don’t, buy what you can’t!

We Americans are so quick to consider ourselves so amazingly lucky to have been born to such wealth and abundance, and why shouldn’t we? We’re on top! We’re number 1! It may not last, but who cares? Forward-thinking has never really been our strong suit. No, our disadvantages our less obvious, more institutionalized. It’s hard to see the problem while we eat our fast-food, watch our 100 channels of Television, listen to our shiny MP3 players, watch porn on our cell phones (thanks Soloway), and fall farther and farther from my image of humanity. Of course there are plenty of societies trying to emulate and assimilate, so I’m probably just wrong.

Or maybe I just need a vacation.

Posted by MrWonton at 2:52 am | Comments (51)

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)

June 05, 2005

Hiding in the Shadows of Corporate America

My internet has been sporadic at best for weeks now. It’s becoming infuriating. The cable was so bad earlier today that even the TV refused to work. If it seems like I’ve been losing touch that’s not helping the situation. More importantly though, things have been crazy… I’ll summarize that all later. For now, I sit in the dark, one of only a handful of engineers here at work on a Sunday. Making progress can be frustrating…

Some of the friends that I’ve made in the past 6 months are leaving. New people have came, and many of them are great, but it’s hard enough being 900 miles away from the two places I’ve ever considered home where all my friends are without having to deal with the people I’ve had the entire time I’ve been here leaving. There’s nothing glamorous about being an intern.

Damn dark office buildings.

Posted by MrWonton at 5:50 pm | Comments (166)

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)

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 14, 2005

V-day, bleed me a river

Friday, after work, 3 other co-ops and I drove up to New Hampshire to go skiing. We spent the night at a cheap bed and breakfast. Less than $25 per person, 2 double beds, and a cot (one rock paper scissors game and one of the nice beds was mine!). It’s eerie being in the Northeast sometimes. We walk into the place around 10:30, it’s been dark for at least 4 hours, and we’re walking into what looks like a living room of a relatively nice house… and it’s totally empty. We wander around for a minute before we find a button you can push for service, and a nice old couple ambles out to greet us and point us to our room. As far as I could tell we were the only ones in the place. Breakfast was served at 7, and consisted of coffee, tea, orange juice, pancakes, and quite possibly the best sausage ever produced by any combination of pigs and men without shadowy dealings with the devil. We were the only one’s there, although 2 tables for 2 were set up next to us.

From there it was on to Bretton Woods for a solid 8 hours of skiing. Yadda yadda yadda, good exhausting times were had by all.

Recovered Sunday.

Which brings us to today, Valentine’s Day (for the less romantically inclined, Single’s Awareness Day [S.A.D.], for the rebellious tinfoil-hat, a ploy by the evil corporations to subvert our culture into demanding we pour our hard earned money into the pockets of an increasingly evil and powerful aristocracy, or for the counter-culture all-star, a load of crap). While some spent the day with their loved ones, or plotting a coup d’etat for the exploited proletariat, I instead opted for 9 hours and 45 minutes at work. Most of that was because they decided to have a blood drive at work, and I figured I might as well donate. Since none of my other precious bodily fluids were going to be put to any use today, my blood might as well be. Went off with a bang let me tell you. The nurse put some paper towels down and had me making a fist, but when they put the needle in my arm I shot blood in a nice arc that spanned from about my waist on my side over to above my breast pocket. Of course, being the smart guy that I am I was wearing my favorite shirt that has any buttons on it… Ugh! On the positive side, I made it worth my while by eating 3 bags of Famous Amos cookies, a package of vanilla wafer cookies, a bag of cheesy crackers, and drinking 2 cans of lemonade, and a half liter of water.

So now I’m sore from skiing and having a needle in my arm for about 15 minutes (seemed like 2 days) without anything good coming in. Both were worth it in the end though. This was only the second time I’ve been skiing since I started college, and I’d always avoided giving blood because needles freak me out. I wanted to do it, and I did.

Happy Valentine’s day. Lots of love.

Posted by MrWonton at 7:02 pm | Comments (10)

February 10, 2005

Time flies when you’re me

My first day of work here was a month ago today. Tomorrow ends week 5, and earns me paycheck #2. Time is freakin’ flying. I don’t know where the time has gone. It reminds me of driving back home from Tennessee two summers ago. After being up about 36 hours, and driving for all but a couple of those, I can remember time shifting down the highways in Michigan as I got close to home and sleep-induced vehicular suicide. Its been kind of like that but without the added fun of a near-death experience. Well except the whole no-headlights thing. Sometimes I wonder why I’m allowed to drive, then I remember I have an essentially perfect driving record. The mind boggles.

Do yourself a favor and procure the recently-leaked Beck album Guero. Overwhelmingly nonsensical-yet-amusing lyrics only Beck Hansen could get away with abound.

See the vegetable man
In the vegetable van
With a horn that’s honking
Like a mariachi band
In the middle of the street
People gather around
Put the dollar dollar dollar in the can

Posted by MrWonton at 11:33 am | Comments (10)

February 08, 2005


I hate insomnia. I have too much on my mind… It’s almost funny how my mind insists on figuring absolutely everything out exactly when it needs to shut the hell up. I swear if I could be trying and failing to sleep all the time, I’d have thought of some revolutionary idea and retired by now. Instead, tomorrow I’ll be drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee and blasting hardcore music in my cubicle to resist catching up on the sleep I’m certainly not going to get tonight.


Posted by MrWonton at 2:33 am | Comments (4)

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)

January 29, 2005

On the recap

I’ve had a run of bad luck. My Grandmother died two Sundays ago, and I had to break the news to my mom. Tuesday morning, I woke up with a horrible fever, and would spend the next 5 days shivering, sweating, and drinking entirely too much water. Wednesday I started coughing. I still haven’t stopped. I also went to work for a half day Wednesday morning, then came home, packed, spent a half hour wrestling in the single digit weather to get my frozen ski rack off the top of my car to save it a trip, and drove to Michigan. Thursday was the funeral. It was an open casket. I hate open caskets. I did all I could to try to help my mother, which is regretably little. I stuck to comforting her until they played Amazing Grace, which falls directly under an open casket on the list of things that won’t be at my funeral.

I was a pallbearer. After the funeral I wanted to go home, partly to escape the depression, partly to make it back in time to go on the ski trip I had planned. It didn’t feel right, and with the fever, I felt less up to leaving as the day dragged on. Friday I had breakfast with some relatives, after which I went with my cousin to see her new house, but couldn’t because the cops were there tethering her boyfriend. Then I drove back. Somewhere in the 3 trips to and from Michigan I’ve made in the last 3 weeks, my driver’s side windshield wiper stopped working right, my windshield washer fluid stopped working at all, and my driver’s side door got subtly bent enough to cause a gap in the door seal, which lets in air and makes noise, and causes the window to get stuck up, and not want to go back up when its down.

This past Tuesday my headlights stopped working. Its the switch not the bulbs. I can’t drive at night, but that hasn’t stopped me from staying up way too late the last few nights, thanks mostly to late phone calls. Not that I don’t love my late phone calls, especially those about a giant mutant killer mullet taking revenge on the mob… but I’m digressing. Today my attempts to catch up on my sleep were interrupted by my landlord, who had come for our rent. About two hours, and one impromptu guitar concert later, he left. He’s a nice guy, but man does he need a friend. I know where he’s coming from. I’ve never appreciated my ability in Ann Arbor to, on any given weekend, walk to a plethora of bustling house parties with people I know all around. I definitely miss it.

On the positive side, I got paid, thrice. Google cut me a check on Tuesday (for the ads), Intel with two on Friday (one for payroll, another for relocation). Its also beginning to look like the project that I’ll be working, which currently lacks a go-ahead from up high, may soon at least produce some real coding for me.

Its a good thing time is flying, I need a change of scenery. And I can take or leave it if I please…

Posted by MrWonton at 7:36 pm | Comments (27)

January 12, 2005

Working Life

Practially internal...

I’m alive. I made it. I live in Marlborough, Massachusetts and I work for Intel. I’ve almost been here a week, and the whole situation still positively exudes surrealism.

On the way to work:

  • 2 miles of back roads
  • 1 stop sign
  • 1 stop light
  • 10 speed bumps
  • almost as far in the parking lot as on the roads
  • security

Marlborough is a sleepy residential town of about 36,000. Sadly its more reminiscent of South Haven than Ann Arbor, only without the beach and the people I know. Boston is about 30 minutes east, and there are a few interns at Intel that live there, which is a start…

That brings me to my job. I work at Intel Hudson, along with about 2,300 intelligent souls in a massive complex that houses two office buildings and a fab (where chips are manufactured). I’m one of about 30 interns there, many of which started this month as I did. I work in the MTV (Microprocessor Tools and Validation) group, and more specifically with what they call tools. I’m the only intern I know of doing such. I share a cubicle on the 3rd floor with an intern from Nigeria, and my computer. The computer has two gigantic IBM monitors, 2 gigs of ram, a 2.2 ghz processor, and a keyboard/mouse tray on a stalk that can be positioned anywhere around me. It runs Linux, but we can also use a remote Windows terminal. I’ve learned a lot in 3 days, and while I don’t really know what I’ll be doing (which is probably good, as its all confidential anyways), I know its all very very complex, very very acronym laden, and initially at least, quite confusing. I have a mentor and he does a lot to alleviate this, but its still a lot to absorb. There are classes and training going on all the time, and I already went to one session of a computer architecture course. The one I went to was all review from a class I had last semester, but they plan on covering more in a span of a mere week or two than we did all semester. Fast paced? It seems to be the norm. The “instructor” did wax metaphoric about trying to drink from a firehose, so perhaps all is not lost. Much more follows…

Posted by MrWonton at 11:11 pm | Comments (5)

January 05, 2005


Pulled a nice 39 hour stint a couple days ago and managed to get my schedule somewhere close to normal. I’ve done little beyond packing for the last few days. Everything goes. Everything I own in the house I’ve spent the last 17 odd years in gets boxed and stored. My hometown will likely never be my hometown again.

I can only take with me what I can fit in my 2 door Cavalier. Come tomorrow morning, its just me, my overloaded car, and 877.29 miles of snowy roads. As of yesterday, theres no internet connection at my apartment in Massachusetts, so I’ll be out of contact for awhile. Wish my luck.

Intel here I come.

Posted by MrWonton at 5:29 pm | Comments (12)

December 04, 2004

The End is Near

Its hard to believe how much I have to do, and just how little time I have to do it. There is only one more weekend before exams, only a week and 2 days of actual class left (21 hours), and so many outstanding projects I can’t keep track of them. But of course thats not enough. I’ve done no holiday shopping, and won’t have time to until I’m done with class, which isn’t till the 20th. Aside from two math finals scheduled at the same time on that day, I also have to move completely out of my apartment and back home, where I’ll live for about 2 weeks before attempting to pack my life into my 2 door 13 year old Cavalier to drive to a state I’ve never been to, to live in an apartment I’ve never seen, with a person I’ve never met, at a job I know next to nothing about. Luckily I don’t think about these things very often.

What I do think about is that I’ve pretty much only got 2 weeks with my friends from school, and 2 weeks with my friends from home, before I leave for 8 months, and thats sad. I’ve got to come up with an appropriate send off that I can think back to when I’m overworking myself for tons of money and no one around to enjoy it with. I’ll expect visits.

Left of my 5th semester: 15 lectures, 4 discussions, 21 hours of class, 2 math assignments, 2 large programming projects, 1 big user manual, and 4 horrible exams on 2 days.

I’ve made a few changes to the site. Theres a new comment system, and spiffy popups on some of the links. There was absolutely no good reason for any of this, but that sort of thing doesn’t usually doesn’t top me.

Finally, I’d like to thank anyone who’s been nice enough to click on the ads, its remarkable good money. Keep it up. I can’t actually tell you to do that. Gotta stay on the up and up.

Posted by MrWonton at 10:14 pm | Comments (45)

November 14, 2004

Fun with numbers!

I love haiku. I especially love conversations in haiku form. I even more especially love conversations in haiku form regarding Testicleez (who not coincidentally may be starring in his very own drawing soon). Thank you Brandy.

There was some spiffy crowd rafting involving some friends of mine at today’s football game (beware, excessively large video links, here’s a picture). It was all fun and games (and a little bit of injury) until the event staff that pervade the stadium confiscated the raft. It still made for a good final home game.

This is freaking sweet. I attempted to make it, but A) my printer freaked out and started flashing lights at me, then eventually printed it in some funky rendition of black and white, and B) once I’d cut the damn thing out and tried to assemble it, I realized I have no tape.

If you’ve just eaten don’t read this. I know Ashcroft is going to be gone soon, but it still frightens me to see what the people currently in power really seem to think. For those who didn’t just read the article, the jist of it is that Ashcroft doesn’t think the courts should challenge what our administration has been doing. Courts upholding the constitution? Bad idea says he! The specific example cited? The wonderful things we did in Guantanamo, where we held prisoners on no charges, in violation of the geneva convention, with no lawyers and no contact with the outside world, to be given military trials where standard judicial processes don’t apply. This sort of situation doesn’t exactly sound like what we need more of Mr. Ashcroft. And thats the rant of the day.

I made 6756 times an investment of mine a few days ago. Thanks Intel!

I found out that your average chocolate chip cookie has 8 times the stored energy as its weight in TNT. Butter? 11 times. Uranium-235? 30 million times. Wonton? 100 million times. Take that TNT.

Posted by MrWonton at 1:37 am | Comments (41)

October 06, 2004

Few things are as disconcerting as holding an uncomfortably warm plastic cup of your own urine

Twice a year a slew of companies pile into a few claustrophobic passages in several buildings on North Campus. They peddle themselves to desperate engineers and math majors with talk of exotic internships in far away lands. Of jobs after school, of salaries, of feet in the door, and of bulletproof resumes. They also give away some swag, some of which you can see above, around my pet Bamboo plant. The John Deere hat I actually got in a swarm, when no one was looking and there was a mob swarming around the unattended hats.

I went to the job fair. I handed out resumes like hungry or transitionally-sober homeless people handing out flyers to get what they need so cope. I gave one to Apple, I gave one to Intel, AMD took two, Microsoft, Mike Rowe Soft, ad seemingly infinitum. Of course, had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have bothered, except maybe for the AMD can cooler and the stolen John Deere hat. I have officially been offered a job at Intel in Hudson, Massachusetts, for approximately 8 months beginning January 10th. Its been somewhat of a life changing experience. I figured I would be able to find an internship with my resume. I’ve had a lot of experience for someone my age. I’ve been very lucky in that regard. I hadn’t expected anything like whats happened.

Intel is giving me the chance of a lifetime. They’re paying me to move to Massachusetts, they’re paying me a lot of money to work there, and they’re essentially guaranteeing I will be able to find employment for the rest of my life. All this because I bothered to send my resume to them in response to an e-mail everyone in my department got. How to celebrate? Well today I rode my motorcycle down to Ypsilanti and pissed in a cup. Nothing says uncomfortable like pouring your own warm urine from a cup into a tiny test tube, trying not to spill, all in front of some girl you’ve never seen before who’s making sure you don’t try to pull anything funny.

Beyond the excitement there, my life has been nonstop work. I go to class, I eat, I sleep, I talk to people on occasion, and I work. I’ve been working on some programming project pretty much every day for the last month. The last one only took as long as it did because their spec was flawed about the timing of output of a log file, which resulted in untold frustration when everything worked for me, but not for the autograder. But thats over now. Now I’ve got a ton of math to do before I can get some much needed sleep. Ahh, sleep… Thats been a nightmare (no stupid pun intended) of its own. Ever since I got my job I’ve been afflicted with a horrible case of insomnia which I can’t seem to fix. Not only do I get to bed later, but its taking a horribly long time for me to actually get to sleep. Why must the good things in life be so offset by the bad?

Anyhow, Its time for me to get back to work. I’ve included wedding pictures in the extended section of this post.

Postscript: I apologize to everyone who’s heard me go on and on and on about this, as I know I’ve been doing just that. I’ve been doing the same thing in my head. I think about it all the time.

Posted by MrWonton at 8:09 pm | Comments (1)

September 29, 2004



Posted by MrWonton at 12:51 pm | Comments (6)

September 23, 2004

No more hot air balloons please.

On Monday I got a call from a girl I went to High School with. I have had very little contact with her since High School, so I certainly wasn’t expecting the call. She had a very unique proposition that I would have had trouble turning down. Long story short: I’m ministering a wedding in Sterling Heights on October 2nd.

Now far be it from me to judge, but I found it rather shocking that I received only a week and a half of notice before the wedding. Could they have found someone else in that time if I was unavailable? I doubt it. Anyhow, I’ve been an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church for a long time now, and I’d waxed philosophical about the powers vested in me as a minister, but I didn’t expect to be exercising those powers anytime in the near future. I’m honored to be a part of it all though.

Wednesday I met with the bride and groom to be. All things considered, it was a horrible day, but only because I had copious amounts of homework to do that day, and the meeting by no means expedited that; I ended up working on Calculus late into the night. I did get a delicious free meal out of it at the Mongolian BBQ, so I can’t really complain.

During my dinner, I received a phone call, which due to the nature of the dinner, I ignored and promptly forgot about. I only noticed the voice mail message on my phone at about 1:30 in the morning that night. The caller: yet another Intel engineer. The saga continues to continue.

I contacted the caller, who’s name I couldn’t manage to catch, as he had a relatively heavy accent, and today, in the same day, I had my 3rd interview for a co-op with Intel. Mind you I’ve yet to hear back about the 2nd, although that interview left me feeling skeptical about the likeliness of myself getting the position. Regardless, this interview left me with many fewer qualms, as this time was nothing like the previous.

Its really been fascinating to see the varying methods employeed by the different people who’ve interviewed me. My first interview was with two people, one from technical marketing (a former software engineer), and the other an engineer. The interview went pretty much as one would expect. I had the majority of the questions ahead of time, on top of which they added a critical thinking question as well as a few technical questions when the engineer arrived (as he was not present for the first half of the interview). The engineer also happened to be a U-M alumni, and our conversation ended with discussions on football. Everything seemed to have gone pretty well, but of course, I didn’t get the position.

The second interview was with an engineer only. He asked relatively specific, highly-technical questions, a few of which I couldn’t answer, dealing with complex digital logic and pipelining, as well as assembly language, which I’ve thus far had little experience with. The questions he asked about high level languages I tore through.

Finally, in my most recent expidition through the corporate hiring process, things were far different. Again I spoke to an engineer, but instead of specific questions, he kept things broad, asking open-ended questions about classes and jobs I’ve had in the past, and spending almost as much time listening to me as explaining, in some relatively technical details, what the job would entail. While I’m not sure I got it across, the actual details of this job meshed nearly perfectly with my past experience, involving writing programatic test cases in C, programs to automate the running of the test cases, as well as perl scripts to parse and beautify technical testing logs. Cool stuff. Also, in an interesting coincidence, our conversation again ended with talk of football, although I don’t think the guy was an Alum.

As of approximately 7:45 this evening, I’ve interviewed for positions in Washington, Massachusetts, and now California. That alone is a lot for a student from a small Michigan town to swallow.

Because today wouldn’t have been interesting enough otherwise, I also had the honor of being evacuated from a gas-filled laboratory today. GG Brown Labs, where my last class of the day is held, apparantly suffered from a gas leak. There were cops with large plastic helmets wandering the halls evacuating everyone. So much for class.

Posted by MrWonton at 9:20 pm | Comments (12)

September 09, 2004

You had me at plethora

Sorry for the lack of updates. Its been a pretty busy time here in Ann Arbor.

I got my partying out of the way during welcome week, doing something interesting every night for 6 days straight.

My classes by and large are going to suck. Not because the material isn’t interesting, but because I’m quite sure I’m going to spend the next 3 months of my life severely inundated with work. I’ve got programming projects coming at me from all angles. I’ve got heaps of homework for both math classes, writing projects from my technical writing class, and a job! And yesterday morning I received an email from an engineer at Intel expressing interest in me for another co-op… !? The catch this time? Its many many many orders of magnitude cooler and better suited to me than the previous.

Instead of a job with the possibility for development, but mostly a position that entailed checking and writing documentation for some test servers, this position is in debugging the latest iteration of the Itanium processor! At the risk of sounding like I’m getting my hopes up about a position that I probably won’t get, and being vulgar at the same time, its practically a geek’s wet dream. Not only is this debugging a processor for Intel, but its the Itanium, which despite its relatively poor sales, is an amazing processor, for which I can speak first hand, having developed all my software over the summer on one. But perhaps the best part, is that the word ‘plethora’ was in the job description, as was ‘pesky’. Yeah, I’ll fit right in.

I’ve got an interview Monday. Let the freaking out begin.

So yes, the saga continues.

Posted by MrWonton at 9:26 pm | Comments (3)

September 04, 2004


Sorry about the lack of updates. I’m still getting situated here in Ann Arbor, and I won’t have a desk until tomorrow, and an internet connection until Tuesday.

I didn’t get the position with Intel, but its actually probably good news. Some details. Apparantly a Senior applied for the position, which I found strange as the listed requirements plainly stated that sophemore or junior standing was required. Anyways, the woman at Intel said he got the position as he had more experience, but she was very nice about it, saying many comforting things, the best of which was that she was going to do a few things to make it easier for me to get an internship with Intel at a later date. Honestly that would be better for me. The timing on this position was all wrong, and would have had a nearly equal list of malignant consequences as benign. So all is still well. Life goes on.

There has been a lot going on lately, but I’m afraid I have little time for details at the moment. More to come.

Posted by MrWonton at 9:12 pm | Comments (70)

August 30, 2004


I just got off the phone with Karen Mazurkiewicz and Christopher Jeffords at Intel. What an interview. It was much more layed back than I expected. The one time I stumbled out of nervousness Karen came in and saved me. Better still, Chris is an Alumni of the University of Michigan, and both said they’ve had nothing but good experience with people from U-M. Huzzah!

I was told that 3 people are being interviewed, and while Karen and Chris rank the candidates they like, the ultimate decision lies with the HR department. I should know in the next few days… Wish me luck.

What a day. Now I’ve got to pack to get ready to go back to school.

Posted by MrWonton at 1:52 pm | Comments (42)

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