About norconkm

I'm a person. I live in Grand Rapids, MI and work as an Electrical Engineer. My hobbies at the time of this writing are kayaking, skiing, archery, photography and maybe biking. As this is my personal blog, my hobbies are likely the primary topics about which you will be reading.

Horror Movies

Watched Gothika tonight… pretty crappy if you ask me. So, I am appealing to you, my dedicated audience for some good horror movies. I do not have a female of interest, so I’m not looking for some hold each other tight for consolation horror. Use of excessive gore and lots of flashing images do not make a good horror movie either – anyone can get a reaction if they show you a nice serene field, play spooky music then flash an image of a face with all the skin peeled off on the screen. That doesn’t count. I want something well produced which will leave me scared and wanting to shit myself. So, given that, if you have any ideas please let me know. Not sure exactly how long it will take me to get around to watching anything suggested.

For reference… horror / scary movies I have seen and have failed, and yes I know it’s a short list:

House on Haunted Hill
Thirteenth Ghost
Jason X

The two scariest movies I have seen were Gremlins when I was little and Donnie Darko because of the freaky rabbit and his evil voice. Donnie Darko was a great movie BTW, up there with Boondock Saints and the original Star Wars.


1. Is is just me, or does Shaq look like the stunt double for Shrek? I mean, some green paint and little twig ears and you couldn’t tell the difference from anything more than three feet away. I think after the Lakers loose, he’s going to go back to his swamp and talk to donkey about how ogres are like onions.

2. I still hate people in roundabouts. So many stupid people… That could be the single biggest downside to driving the Camaro, I don’t feel like the other guy is more adverse to getting hit than me, so I have to be more careful. The other downside to the Camaro is the inability to throw half my room in the back and go for the weekend.

3. Dishes have not been done here for at least 3 weeks. We are running out. I feel that I do at least my share of the kitchen cleaning if not more. Thus I am in no mood to go clean it now.

4. I got a cramp while riding my bike today. This is the second documented incident of a cramp during physical activity that I can recall in my lifetime. The other was in my calf while scuba diving – and that sucked. This one was just mildly uncomfortable – and made me apprehensive that it would get worse.

5. My room is a veritable shit hole, this is no one’s fault but my own, thus I must do something about it.

6. I want to ride my bike from my house to Riverside just because it’s somewhere I have gone on a very regular basis but I have never been there on my bike. Cedar also falls into this same group… hmmm…

7. I’m hungry.

8. When the pistons win, I think shall scour Josh’s room for a cigar and go celebrate and people watch down on Grand River. I shall not attempt to climb over the fence behind Beachwood Apartments because I have already lost two perfectly good pairs of jeans to that damned fence.

9. Speaking of Pistons, I kinda wish I had followed their season more. I know, fair weather fan, but when we’re winning is when it’s exciting. I guess isn’t not that I dislike the Pistons at other times, I just don’t care. The Tigers on the other hand could go undefeated and win the World Series and I still wouldn’t give a rats ass because it’s baseball and I hate baseball. Apologies to all who read this and likes the game.


Had a good long talk with the parentals this evening. It’s good to know that I have support if I decide to quit work here entirely and go home to work and be a bum for the summer, or some combination of the two extremes. I’m not quite to the point of making any drastic moves yet, I’ll give it a few more weeks and see what happens. But basically, I’m semi to completely bored here and there’s not much going on other than work and the work-sleep-work-sleep routine gets boring fast. That and I’m very not used to working on a completely independent basis.

This working situation kinda sucks. I’m independent, meaning I have no-one to ask my stupid questions to, or just random conversing during the day. At the same time, I’m not independent in the sense that I work for myself, I still have to basically sign in and out of work and report what I get done each day. I don’t know how to approach this, because ‘complaining’ about it makes me look like I’m trying to get away with doing nothing, but having to report daily on progress makes me feel like someone is constantly breathing down my neck (which in case you’re wondering, does absolutely nothing for my efficiency). I asked about the motivation for the whole check in check out deal and was told that is was more for my boss’s benefit to be able to understand and get a feel for the process since he is not an EE himself. Apparently the subtle hint that I disliked it wasn’t taken, or was overridden.

I guess the reason this is depressing isn’t so much the current situation, I can deal with that for the summer without much problem, but the fear that this is what life will be like once I graduate and move on with starting a career. I know, it’s stupid to depress myself now worrying about things in the relatively distant future, but hey I didn’t design my brain. If God cared to rewire it just slightly, that’d be find with me.

Anyway, as for the whole work situation I really would rather not pack up and head home, as it screws me out of a job in the Fall and screws people at work out of having useful products which many people, myself included have spent year investing time, energy and money in, hoping to eventually see a payoff. I’m sure it would not exactly do great things for any recomendation I may be seeking in the future either…

You’d think writing all this would just make me more depressed, focusing on it, but no. And I don’t want to appear that I am fishing for comments either, I simply wanted to spout off about some stuff and this seemed like the place. I am actually feeling significantly better about the world in general at the moment.

In other news, I think my processor overheated last night, it was at about 122 degrees F when I looked, which isn’t that hot but for lack of better explanation for why my computer was restarting, that’s it. Now it’s running nice and cool at ~95 degrees, thanks mainly to the box fan I have pointing at the side of my computer. 😛


I feel depressed… not enough people around, and now Josh has up and left TSFL, so I have an office to myself, which for anyone wondering for future career reasons, blows goats. It’s too quiet, and I don’t have someone sitting there constantly to ask my stupid ass questions like “What’s tau represent?”


What does it take to be punk?

  1. Spikes – whether they be in the hair or on a collar or anywhere else, a punk must have spikes of some sort.
  2. Safety pins – it’s important to mesh some safety pins into your outfit somewhere. That way if you ever need one, you’ve got it.
  3. Second hand clothes – even if you had to pay more for them that you would have for new clothes. Holes and someone else’s name embroidered add to the effect.
  4. Duct tape – placed over the holes in the second hand clothes.
  5. Jewelry – preferably of the leather and gaudy type.
  6. Brightly colored hair – the less natural it looks the better.
  7. Insist that you can play an instrument (generally drums or guitar) even if you absolutely suck.
  8. Claim to hate every authority figure even the ones you agree with. It’s just not cool to agree with anyone.

Punk Band

Alright, so bein’ thug didn’t fly. I basically lacked the motivation to do all the stuff required. So, I am looking for a new goal, which will look equally impressive to the ladies, but require much less effort on my part.

What I’m getting at is that I’m going to start a band. I will of course be the lead singer because of all the band members they get laid the most – and that is the whole idea. If you would like to join my band you may submit your resume as a comment. I figure I need a drummer, guitar and bass players. Other instruments may also be included, so don’t feel bad if you have spent the last 15 years of your live learning to play the piccolo and think you’re being left out.

The genre shall of course be punk. I don’t generally like punk music, but I shall form a punk band because it is the easiest of the genres to master. My job will be standing center stage looking like a tool yelling into a mic which is then broadcast to the crowd by speakers that are being driven by an amp three times to large for them. When performing punk it’s much more important to sound bad ass than to actually sound good.

Now for the roles still to be filled, and please specify the role in your application:

  1. Bass player, must know at least three chords and be able to play them in any order at a moderate to fast pace. Rhythm is not really necessary, that’s what we have the drummer for and you don’t even really have to be able to follow him/her very well.
  2. Guitar player. Electric guitar is pretty much the basis for all punk as we know it. As with the bass player, minimal knowledge and skill with the instrument is acceptable. Most of the time, our sound equipment will suck enough that the same note could come out 6 different ways, so with a repertoire of only 4 or 5 notes, you should be able to piece together most songs pretty well. It’s kind of like revolutionary war times though – spread the notes apart a little, you never know exactly which one you’ll hit once our sophisticated audio equipment has it’s way with your music, there’s no point in knowing an F, F#, and G if they’ll all come out somewhere in the range of C and B flat of the next octave.
  3. Percussionist. Rhythm preferred, but not really necessary. Your job will consist of energetically banging on cymbals and drums for the duration of the show. If you can provide your own drums, that’s a plus, even if they’re pieces of shit, or if they’re stolen from the local high school – because that would make you one hell of a punk.
  4. Guy on synthesizer. You’re going to be filling in for any instruments we don’t have (which depending on turn out, may include the guitars and percussion). You will be the driving force behind the band.
  5. Lyricist. Ha, fooled you, punk music doesn’t have intelligent lyrics, it’ll just be me screaming profanity into a Mic.
  6. Stage crew. Hey, we need someone more useless than us to boost our egos.

As you can see, with no talent and only minimal effort, one can draw a punk band out of the primordial ooze. Neither instrumental or vocal talents are needed, people will come see us because punk is cool regardless of how much we suck.

As a closing note, I don’t think anyone can fully comprehend how much I hate little high school pieces of shit who start no talent ass clown punk bands because they think it will make them cool. Taking a second to this are the same people who like everyone who comes out claiming to be punk.

Here Comes the Meanness

I think I pretend to be meaner than I really am for a couple reasons:

1. It’s easy, it doesn’t take much effort to assess a situation and determine how to act, I’m just an asshole regardless. Occasionally I’ll break from this trend and just be passively nice.

2. If I do ponder something nice to say or do it ends up striking me as profoundly cheesy coming from me since everyone expects the opposite. So I guess in a sense meanness is self perpetuating.

3. It’s entertaining, at least for me. Most of my meanness comes in the form of incessant sarcasm. If you have read previous posts, I assume you have picked up on that. If you have read previous posts without picking that up, some things I say would strike you as very odd and possibly contradictory. Sarcasm is generally the safe bet when it comes to comments I make.


I have my car out for the summer and it has a new battery, so it starts which is always a plus, since push starting a 5 liter engine is a bitch and a half (see previous entry for elaboration on this).

I also have my pistol back, which makes me a happy person. They totally replaced the slide, and ‘fixed’ the catch. The fix looks alright, but I won’t be entirely satisfied with it until I have taken it out for some test firing.

So, that’s the good news. The bad news is that since it’s summer, nobody is around. It’s not as if I interact much anyway, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there in case I have a notion to do such. I, for some unexplained reason, am slightly obsessed with having the ability to do things. I want a sport bike because I could outrun the cops – not that I would ever do such, just that I could. I want a .50 caliber rifle so I can kill things a mile away – again, only so I could, not that I ever would be in a situation requiring this. And, I want people around so I can socialize – even though I don’t do so regularly, it’s the ability that holds the value for me.

Anyway, that’s all of “Surly’s life story” for now. I wouldn’t want to get to sentimental and ruin my cool uncaring image. 😛 For those who don’t know me so well, I promise I’m not nearly as mean as I pretend to be.


I think I just got about as close as physically possible to lightning. Of course I was indoors and it was outside, but never mind that. I’m just sitting here minding my own business grading UBT’s and there is this marvelous flash and crack – not the normal delayed crack, but an instant crack like right outside my window. Ok, so that means the lightning was pretty close.

Now, the convincing part is that after this, when I was done shitting myself and could see again, both of my monitors were marvelously gaussed. The one parallel to the window had this effect fairly evenly over the whole thing. The one semi-perpendicular to the window had it much more defined to the side near the window.

I’m not sure how far the magnetic field extends around lightning (I think I actually know how to calculate it if I want to) but I think it drops proportional to the inverse square of the distance so for it to affect one half of my monitor and not the other would seem to indicate that the strike was damn close.

Who Knows

A conversation that happened years ago:

Me: Why does the manual version of a car always have one more gear than the same car in an automatic?
My Dad: Because people like to shift.

I don’t know why that’s so damn funny to me right now, but it is. Maybe because it’s currently 5 am and I’ve been grading UBT’s on and off since about 10.

On an entirely different note, this is a comment I just left one of my students on their UBT. Numbers are questioned out due to MSU’s student protection policies:

Excellent UBT – missing only ??? criteria out of ??? is quite impressive.

Entirely unrelated to the grading, red text on a blue background is I believe one of the most difficult combinations to read because the two colors are on opposite ends of the spectrum so it messes with the eye.

Enjoy summer.

Can you tell how tired I am????