:: Mind Garten ::

Memoirs of a Mad Scientist
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:: Tuesday, October 29, 2002 ::

Caffeine Hallucinations and Evil Spirits

(Disclaimer: No evil spirits were harmed in the making of this journal entry.)

My days have been 16 hour blurs. Some might say that I'm very productive in this span of time. Others would argue that the sleep deprivation and the high caffeine blood levels induce a frantic feedback loop that spirals one down into madness and depravity.

Looking up from the depths, the view isn't that bad from down here. Sure, you lose touch with reality. You forget that there's a world out there beyond the next assignment, the next project, and the next cup of coffee. But interesting things happen in this state. You can accomplish things that you couldn't otherwise.

Forget about a being "balanced" and leading a healthy lifestyle. Several times, I've caught myself only drinking coffee from morning to the afternoon. I simply neglect to feed myself. Additionally, I only eat about 1.5 meals a day. My biggest meal is usually lunch. I gorge myself on as large a meal as possible. On either side of lunch, I pad it with a light breakfast and/or a light evening snack. That seems to be enough to keep me satisfied.

This kind of diet isn't possible with an "active" and "healthy" lifestyle. I spend more hours sitting in a chair, back hunched over a table, while clutching a pencil in my arthritic hands, than I do standing up or walking. Exercise? Forget about it. The most active part of my day is rush-walking across campus to my next class.

My home is now the library, and the buildings I have my classes in. My only time spent at my apartment is the 45 minutes before I go to bed, 7-8 hours of sleep, and 45 minutes before I leave in the morning. My presence in this apartment is barely felt. It's a good thing that I have a roommate otherwise this apartment would fall quickly into disarray with the cats running amok.

I am now up an hour later than I should be, and I'm going to feel the punishment in the morning. That is, until I get my next cup of coffee.

:: everist 10:56 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, October 25, 2002 ::

The Burden of Fame

I picked up my Nobel prize this morning. It was kind of a hassle really, but the press would have been hounding me all day if I didn't do it. I had to get up 30 minutes earlier than usual, so I could make it class on time.

The Oscar, I told them to send by mail. It just wasn't worth showing up in person and to then be lavished with expensive dining, drinking, and beautiful women. I mean, who wants all that?

The Emmy I got last year, I gave to my cousin. He was having more fun with it in his mouth then I was having it over my fireplace along with all the other honors and trivialties. Maybe some day he'll grow up enough to realize that sucking on a statue isn't very fun and will have the decency to pass it along to some other toddling, pewking crap-factory. I'd like to think my Emmy is out there doing good.

Now, don't ask me about Pulitzers. Okay, you asked me. I have 7 or 8. I kind of lost count. I stopped paying attention to which of my masterpieces they bestowed the honor upon after that year they gave me a Pulitzer for a very provocative piece I published in the Want Ads, demanding $300 for an used Buick when it was clearly only worth $150. After that, Pulitzers kind of lost their meaning to me.

Sure dining with politicians is fun, but do you know how annoying it is to have them constantly asking you for advice? And I've turned down the presidential nomination at least 5 times by now. When will they get the picture that I'm trying to lead a quiet and normal life?

So you want the answer to life's question? Tough! I'm keeping it to myself. I realized that the world isn't ready to know. Do you know how difficult it is to keep a secret like that? No, of course you don't. That's why I envy your ignorant and simple lives. I wish I could just own a van down by a river and spend the rest of my days in solitude without the press, the public, the politicians, and the Illuminati chasing after me.

:: everist 4:26 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, October 22, 2002 ::

Real-time Food Court Drama

I sat there staring at the cup of water on the table. Why was she drinking only water? Why didn't she order some food or soda?

I told her about the heavy drinking last night with Jeffrey and how I was really hung over this morning. I also mentioned my midterm 2 hours ago in which I most likely failed. The physics teacher is a fucking asshole, so it wasn't my fault if my grades are low. He hates me. That's all there is to it.

Running out of things to complain about, I asked her how her day was. She began blabbering on about something. She mentioned Saturday and my mind began drifting off to this weekend when I was going to drive to Salem with Jeffrey to catch a party. Most likely there would be lots of beer and lots of sleezy women. Of course, I'd have to be as tactful as possible, so Michelle wouldn't find out. Which brought me back to the present with her finishing something about her stupid dog's skin condition.

"That reminds me, this Saturday I'm going with Jeffrey to Salem to catch a party," I interrupted. Here it comes. This Saturday? she asked. "Yeah, this Saturday." Aren't you forgetting something? "No. What am I forgetting?" It's only our 3 month anniversary! "You actually keep track?!"

She began hassling me about "not caring" and about this being "typical." Our voices had begun to raise, and by this time we were attracting the attention of several people around us. I thought about saying something, but the bitch was embarassing herself! It wasn't my fault.

The cup of water still sat on the table, untouched for several minutes.

Things were starting to get out of hand. She began going on about "re-thinking our relationship" and "spending time apart." I decided I needed to straighten things out a bit.

"Look, I can have dinner with you on Sunday. This is nothing to have a hissy-fit about." She glared at me, gave me the stink-eye, and said, excuse me? Obviously she wasn't responding to reason.

I noticed the cup of water again, and it began to take on a new meaning for me. A feeling of blandness like our relationship had been.

I don't think I can do this anymore, she announced.

What's this? Is she trying to break up with me? "What do you mean?" I asked.

I think this relationship is going nowhere.

At this point I stopped hearing what she said because I was so infuriated. She, break up with me? How dare she! After all I did, dating her when no one else would. I was doing her a favor! And now she's throwing it in my face. That ungrateful bitch!

Looking up again, I started to notice tears falling down her cheeks, onto the table, just barely missing the cup. The bystanders who were previously watching us, were now ferociously trying to mind their own business, while giving me brief glimpses of contempt.

"Fine," I said. "Fine. Fine. Fine!" She wasn't worth this much trouble. I didn't have to put up with this shit.

We sat there for a minute in silence, as if trying to figure out what to do next, very aware of the cautious eyes all around us.

Suddenly infuriated, I grabbed my bag and yelled, "I'm going!" Doubly infuriated that I didn't find something more spiteful to say, something to make her regret ever breaking up with me, something that would leave her crying each night for weeks to come, I smacked the cup and splashed the water all over her.

I marched out of the building and down the hall to the lobby. My sullen expression slowly began to assume the form of a grin. I was feeling quite satisfied with myself.

I waited for a few minutes and sure enough she began walking up the hall to my position, a bemused expression on her face. The farce was over and we were reaping the benefits from our performance. She laughed, holding up a business card saying, "Some guy from campus ministries gave me his card and told me to come in if I wanted couseling!" How perfect could it have ended?

We talked it over, laughing quite a bit, discussing our technique. "I think that was a nice touch splashing the water like that," she said.

"Yeah, it made me look like a real asshole didn't it?" I wondered if this fiasco might follow me around campus. I thought it would be very fun if it did. I was now back to being single, having only had a 5-minute relationship before it finally crumbled and burst into flames.

Although, I think I'm going to miss Jeffrey and our nights of getting drunk and chasing sleezy women.

:: everist 3:44 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, October 21, 2002 ::

Fake Relationships

I'm not feeling very inspirational today. I'm mostly a little tired from all the homework I've had to do. Add to it that none of my project team members showed up to our scheduled meeting today but me, only 6 hours of sleep last night, and one less cup of coffee today, and you have a college student who is very tired and unenthusiastic right now.

One of the things that I am enjoying right now is my club involvement. The only 2 clubs that really involve any activity are the robotics club and the drama club.

For the robotics club, I've taken on the role of facilitator for project planning. Basically, I'm planning tasks that help organize the design ideas and put them in a deliverable form. This contrasts sharply with the workshop tinkering that was going on before. This has been going on for several months as far as I know. Regardless, we have some very smart people on our team

I also have the drama club which, as you know, I've been planning guerilla theater events. Last event was street preaching about a fake religion in front of the library. That was a lot of fun, but the next event is relationship break-ups in public places. We plan to have couples get involved in loud and dramatic discussions in some place with a lot of people with much screaming and yelling and finally a clean cut as the two walk away in fierce anger. It should be fun.

We plan to do our first break-up tomorrow.

And this is me taking a picture of my cat at 5:30am in the morning. Who can guess what book that is at the bottom of the picture?

:: everist 6:21 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 ::

Holy Noses and Happy Russians

It's been an interesting couple days for me. Actually, it's been an interesting couple weeks. I am now a member of 4 clubs. This includes the OSU's American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), OSU's IEEE the electrical engineering society, the Masque and Dagger Theater Guild, and the Society for Robotic Visions at Oregon State (SRVOS), or better known as the Robot Club.

In fact, I just got done with a SRVOS meeting. We were discussing and organizing our project goals. Apparently they've been working on this robot for several months last year, but it's been slow going. I decided to take the opportunity to apply the skills I'm learning in my design class and help these guys organize their goals and objectives. So far it's been really productive, but there's still a lot of work to do. We haven't even got around to design ideas yet.

This morning was rough for me since I stayed up to 11pm doing homework. This may not seem late, but I have to get up every morning at 6am. I got up, bumped my alarm 15 minutes ahead and got in some extra rest.

Last night, toiling away at the local Shari's, some Russian guy walks into the restaurant, speaking very little English and orders himself some food. Now what would a non-English speaking Russian be doing in a small-town Shari's at 11pm at night? He ordered his food and took about 45 minutes to finish his meal. Apparently Russians are a lot more patient about their meals than we Americans. They take the time to savour the food. We Americans try to shovel it down as fast as we can, so we can make that appointment we're already late for.

Remembering my 3 years of high school Russian, and one term of college Russian, I felt tempted to try and speak with him. I don't think I've ever tried to apply my Russian knowledge before. Whenever I encountered a Russian speaker, I was always too embarassed to attempt conversation. However, having spent 3 months in Korea and not speaking a bit of Korean somehow changed my view on things. I wanted to talk to him to make him feel more welcome rather than practice my skills.

So I tried, and he was genuinely very happy to talk to me. We didn't really talk about anything significant. I had a very difficult time understanding him, but I'm used to having big gaps in conversation and resorting to body language. Being that I told him my Russian-equivalent name, Yakov (Jacob), he began using the endearing form on me, Yasha. I expected there to be a certain amount of formality in our conversation, but there wasn't a bit. I was immediately his friend, and he must have shook my hand like 10 times.

This was the conclusion to an interesting day where earlier I found myself out in the sun, wearing an aluminum foil hat, tissues in hand, preaching to the masses about the All-Nosing Joe. You see, I finally executed the plan of covert guerilla acting that was hatched less than 2 weeks ago.

Aaron, my partner in crime, and I were supposed to meet in the cafe at 1pm. I was supposed to bring the fliers. I printed out 400. He was supposed to bring the aluminum foil beanies, the boxes of tissue, and the Groucho Marx glasses. We each were supposed to wear conservative church attire.

I got to the cafe about 30 minutes early, so I tried to spend the time studying. Unfortunately, I couldn't focus because the realization that I was actually going to go out into the courtyard and proselytize a non-sensical religion was beginning to take it's toll. But I had planned ahead and was already prepared.

5 minutes before Aaron arrived, I snuck into the bathroom and did 2 shots of Korean soju. That stuff hits you hard and fast, and the anxiety immediately went away. I was definitely ready to go outside and make a complete fool of myself. To do what had to be done for the good of the theater! The show must go on!

Aaron arrived, and we took our stuff up to the 2nd floor of the library where we rented a storage locker for the occasion. We began assembling our religious paraphenilia which consisted of cheap-ass big-nose glasses that we had to adorn via rubber bands because they were too small, aluminum foil beanies to protect ourselves from psychotronic mind control, and boxes of tissue made into duct tape necklaces to offer the lost souls so that they might "sneeze and be saved." We took each other's picture before venturing out into the sea of heathens.

Out in the courtyard we began passing out fliers, handing out tissues, and preaching things like "Joe is All-Nosing", "Joe Blows", "All Hail Joe", "Sneeze and be Saved", and "Salvation Blows!" "Can you smell Joe?" I would ask people menacingly as they walked by desperately trying to mind their own business. Occasionally I had revelations and felt compelled to preach to the entire library at once. My sermons were short and to the point and left those in the audience in silent contemplation.

My co-conspirator, Brother Gumby, was far more enthusiastic than I was and felt compelled to run around the whole of the courtyard giving flyers to people who spent the extra 30 seconds walking around to try and avoid us. In fact, he was such a maniac, he got rid of his entire 200 fliers while I had only handed out 80. Perhaps I was too filled with the smell of Joe to focus on the task at hand.

It is interesting to observer the responses of normal people from the perspective of the proselytizer. Responses varied from completely ignoring us, verbally rejecting offers of informational fliers, silently accepting the fliers, taking the fliers with interest, smirking, and enthusiastic amusement. However I was a bit at an observational disadvantage since I couldn't wear my glasses during my performance, so I couldn't gauge people's facial expressions. According to Brother Gumby, he got a lot of dirty looks, but I suppose that's expected from people who cannot smell the divinity of Joe.

After we ran out of fliers, we went back inside the library to get our stuff and go home. I think the best part of the whole experience was when we were walking up the stairs, I saw one of our fliers crumpled up and discarded on the floor. That discarded paper gave me an immense feeling of satisfaction that a job was well done. Some poor sap had read that flier, been completely annoyed by and didn't even give it the decency of a proper disposal. It was good work.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to obtain pictures of myself in the act, but hopefully those will be forthcoming since I know that at least someone took pictures.
:: everist 8:31 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 ::

Dances with Chickens

A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar. I see them, stand up and ask, "Is this some kind of joke?" They look at me, disappointed, and leave. Some day soon, we will rid the world of all bad punch lines.

The weekend was fun. I went to the beach to see one of my old friends' wedding. She got married and the 3-month old kid was in the ceremony too. It's been a while since I've been in a church.

I'm wearing a tie right now. Last night I searched the internet to find tie-tying instuctions. It took me about 20 minutes to practice it enough to finally be able to do it properly. Now my tie looks nice and sharp. It's going to be an interesting day.

Now I have to go cut some paper. More later.

:: everist 7:26 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, October 11, 2002 ::

Extreme Crocodile Frisbee Scavenger Hunt

Yesterday was a very extreme day. I was so busy, I couldn't even think. I had extreme coffee from 7-11 at a steal of 69 cents! Then I rode the bus to school at an extreme speed of 25mph. Those buses are so crazy that they have to cap the top speed to 25 so one of the bus drivers doesn't take some hapless pedestrian's head off.

Then I got to the campus, finished my coffee earlier than usual and ordered another one. Usually when I drink that much coffee I start getting sick, and sure enough I was in a terrible state that I began to walk around like a maniac, screaming maniacal nonsense, and feeling like my head was going to explode.

I went to my one and only class and planned to spend of the rest of the day reading and doing homework. However, the pounding in my head and the sensory-enhanced crowd in the cafe room made it very difficult for me to complete much. After about 4 hours, I completed 2 homework problems and had read about 20 pages.

However, at 5:00pm I went to the first drama club meeting of the year. Surprisingly, the experience greatly enlivened me. I was expecting a terrible lot, but I felt much better afterwards. After that, I ran as fast I could to the IEEE meeting which started 10 minutes after the drama club meeting ended, and was totally on the other side of the campus. Showing up late, I signed my name on the roster, stayed for 20 minutes, and left as soon as the pizza arrived. I wasn't very hungry and I still had lots of homework to do.

Today was a lot more coherent. The thoughts of despair and impending suicide had stopped, and I felt more enthusiastic about school again. 5 engineering classes in one day can take its toll. I wondered to myself this morning if a normal human being can absorb that much technical knowledge in one day. I'll never know, of course, because how can I remember what I forget?

Classes ended, and I headed to the computer to check email. I got a couple strange emails from friends ranting and raving nonsense about me being dead. Which makes it doubly strange since why would they email me and offer their condolences if they thought I was dead? Well, I try not to ask too many questions about my friends since I might get answers that cause me nightmares.

:: everist 5:03 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, October 10, 2002 ::

Tragedy at the Pier

Something terrible happened yesterday. I completely forgot to do my mechanics homework, and it was due yesterday. Of course, this isn't surprising since I'm dead. Yes, that's right. I'm dead.

You see, last night I was also involved in a botched drug deal. I was supposed to meet Escobar down by the docks to pick up the new shipment. I came there offering him $50 million for the lot, but he wanted $60 million. I thought I could dicker him down to my level, but he didn't want to budge. Getting a little annoyed, I started getting verbally abusive just to show him that I meant what I said.

A word to the wise: never talk back to a Colombian drug lord. Before I knew it, the guns were out, and they were pointed at my head. Just realizing that I left my gun on the kitchen table, I silently cursed my selective memory. I tried to be all righteous and play against his morality. I dared him to shoot me. I told him he'd be accomplished a lot shooting an unarmed man. I tried to injure his pride or his conscience. Heck, anything that had a set of values in that head of is.

This again is where I sorely miscalculated. This man had killed before. Before I knew it, the first bullet hit my chin and shattered my jaw. I can only remember the agonizing pain, but somewhere along the way I landed on the ground and was staring into the barrel of a pistol. I tried to say something, but what was left of my mouth was ground beef.

The second bullet went through my forehead and out the back through the floorboards of the dock, the bullet lost in the water below me. I was instantly dead.

I think I was lying there for about 6 hours before the morning dock workers discovered me and called the police. They took some photos and hauled my corpse-ass to the morgue. I'm now lying comfortably in a freezer waiting for my next of kin to be contacted to identify my body.

It's kind of embarassing for my parents to find out about me this way. I mean, I very rarely miss a homework assignment. I would have preferred telling them over the phone instead of some coroner-- who I don't know-- handing them the unfinished assignment found in my pocket. That's life I suppose.

:: everist 7:39 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 ::

Wake Up!

I woke up this morning with someone yelling at me, "Come feed me!". It was 4:30am. I tried to ignore it and go back to the sleep, but the voice was persistent. "I need service!"

I turned in my bed and squinted at the clock. Yes, it was indeed 4:30am. I then began scanning my room for the source of the voice. There was no one there. Only my cat, Bean, was sitting there looking at me intently. I asked him what he wanted. He meowed at me. He always avoids the question.

I decided to roll over and go back to sleep. I'll just ignore the voice. Soon, I was about to fight a dragon with my wand and assortment of magical spells. I told the apprentice to take my horse and retreat to safety, but he retorted, "Hey! I'm talking to you!"

Realizing that I was still in bed, there was no doubt that the voice came from within my room. I sat up this time and looked around, but only saw my cat. It was now 4:45am. I sat silent for a long time waiting for the voice to repeat itself, but Bean kept interrupting the silence with his persistent meows. Likewise, he didn't seem to be unnerved by the strange voice in the room. I was beginning to suspect that I was hearing things.

A bit unnerved, I rolled over back in bed, and silently waited for the voice to repeat. During this time, Bean felt compelled to crawl all over me and make lots of noise. With cat paws on my head, and cat butt in my face, I stealthily waited for the perpetrator to repeat itself. Despite my near-ninja skills, it turned 5am and there was not a peep in the room.

Now completely unable to sleep and a cat lying on my head, I decided there was no use in trying to go back to sleep. I grabbed my glasses, turned on the light, and went to feed the cat. Maybe I can get some early homework done this morning.

:: everist 6:37 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, October 06, 2002 ::

More Korea Pictures

Since I finally have broadband access, and I have time, I thought I'd show some more Korea pictures from where I left off.

This is a huge spider I saw munching on a praying mantis sized insect. I saw a lot of these spiders, but it was a while before I found a live one of those green insects it's chewing on. A very unique insect.

This is one of the first things you see at the Buddhist museum I visited near Icheon. The entire courtyard is stocked full of statues and sculptures.

These are supposed to be fish. Fish have special meaning in Buddhism in that their eyes are always open, which symbolize constant studying. That's something I can definitely relate to.

I guess you could call this postmodern buddhist art. I have no idea what it symbolizes, but it's a fairly modern sculpture. I have a feeling this was made by the museum's owner's wife's brother's second cousin who is an aspiring artist. The museum curator probably took it out of family-obliged pity.

Finally, one of the many Buddhas all over this courtyard. This just happened to be in a secluded corner of the park nestled into an alcove of ivy.

I'll post more later.
:: everist 10:10 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, October 04, 2002 ::

The Making of a Hole Puncher

I completed my shop project today. Well, it's almost complete. The punch shaft to my hole puncher has a well-rounded and smooth edge, so as a result, my punching is kind of impotent. I need to take it back to the sandbelt and sharpen the end.

The process was laborious and time-consuming, specked with moments of incredible frustration. Having a computer and electrical background, working in the machine shop is a very new experience. For one, every single piece of equipment and part is measured in English units. Spending my years working in the la-la land of metric and ideal quantities left me ill-prepared to work with 16ths, 32nds, and tolerances of +- .005 inches.

The shop instructor kept getting exasperated with me because I could never remember the things he tried to show me. He would show me something on a machine I'd never seen before, working with a material I have no experience with, describing in terminology that is completely foreign to me, and get upset when I start doing something wrong. Of course, whenever I try to ask a question, he gets angry and talks over my inquiries.

Despite these frustrating experiences, I know for a fact that I learned quite a bit. I now know what a reamer, a lathe, a mill, threads, a 2-fluke center mill, and what a bevel, a countersink, a burr, and a chamfer are. These are not things I knew about earlier this Monday.

Now I have a nice and shiny, sand-blasted holl puncher that's barely usable. An ASME project competition is coming up soon that I'll have to participate in as part of a class objective. The goal is to design an efficient machine to lift a bucket of "ore" up a ramp and dump it into a repository using only the potential energy of 2 liters of water. I have yet to start brainstorming on the project, but I'll get my opportunity next week.

:: everist 4:37 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, October 03, 2002 ::

The Divine Sneeze

Since the end of last term, I've been planning with a friend to be a little more "active" on campus this year. Specifically, I mean to stage on-campus altercations, such as protests or street preaching. But it's not quite what it seems. In a meeting I just concluded, next week we plan to preach on campus about the Almighty Joe and the Divine Sneeze, a completely made-up religion with its own absurd rhetoric.

This is an attempt at something that can best be called guerilla theater. If you look on the internet, you'll find that some people use this term to describe "underground theater" or plays with large political overtones. My meaning is nothing of the sort. In fact, it is a complete attempt to bring as much nonsense into a public place as possible.

We're going to start out small. This business with the Divine Sneeze is only our pilot project to see how well it works. After that, we'll attempt much larger projects with several people involved.

I think guerilla theater can best be described as bringing the stage to the people and involving normal people in the play without their knowledge. The whole purpose is something of a social experiment, as opposed to an artistic motive. The details are still in the works, but I'll describe more about what we're planning to do as soon as it solidifies.
:: everist 2:30 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 ::

Hey Buddy, Why Don't You Wear Your Coat?

The weather in the early morning is below freezing, with ice on my car windshields, and fog in the air. In a makeshift attempt to scrape the ice off my rear window, I use the sharp edge a pop can, but I only succeed in putting scratches in the window. Great way to start the day.

Then on my way to school, listening to the radio and driving through the fog, I get lost and think I miss my turn. The fog makes my surroundings seem strange. I was on the right street, but I just didn't go far enough. I end up turning and getting even more lost. It takes me about 15 minutes to figure out where the hell I am and drive me to where I want to be. That's about 10 minutes longer than it needed to be.

Even though the weather is very chilly, I take my black trenchcoat off and carry it on my arm. The very act of walking overheats my body. So having no coat provides an excellent equilibrium with the cold air when performing any kind of physical activity. While walking across campus, some girl takes it upon herself to criticize me for not wearing my coat. Hey buddy, why don't you wear your coat? I don't know, I reply dumbly. Are you from Alaska? No, I say. I'm from here.

I can't help but contrast this with my experience in Korea, where I had to wear shorts every day, and keep an applied wind on my body in the form of an electric or handheld fan. The absence of these conditions always led to profuse sweating. Back here in Oregon, I'm likely not to sweat again for 6 months until Spring comes around.
:: everist 1:39 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 ::

Horror Stories in Shop Class

Last night I had my first shop class which will continue for three more days until I get certified to use the workshop on my own for class projects. It's an evening class from 5-9pm, which makes you a little eager for the whole thing to be over.

Most of the large power tools are designed for working with sheet metal and other materials. Walking around the shop is a bit frightening since it seems that some or all of these devices could rip your head off if you touched a wrong button.

So the shop manager gave us a tour of all the equipment with simple demonstrations of their use if possible. Of course, with each power tool, he felt obligated to tell a horror story about each one when someone got injured by it. For instance, there was the guy trying to drill a hole through a piece of sheet metal and was holding the piece steady with his stomach. When that drill got halfway through, the sheet metal began spinning with the drill like a top and sliced open the guys stomach. Not too deep, but it was pretty bloody.

Then there was the guy who cut the skin between his thumb and index finger with a bandsaw. He ended up getting 42 stitches to close it back up.

And finally, my personal favorite was when a guy wanted to drill a hole in this really thick piece of metal. The metal was probably 2 inches thick. He picked a drill bit the size of a coffee cup, maxed out the drill speed, and without any idea about what he was doing, began pressing buttons randomly. As luck would have it, he flipped the switch that caused the bit to auto-descend, spinning at max speed, and hit the metal. What ensued can only be described as loud screeching, sparks flying, billowing smoke, and fire. The student desperately tried to halt the drill, but it continued to descend no matter what he tried. In a complete panic, the student fled the scene and disappeared completely for an entire day. The drill eventually halted when the bit broke in half. When someone found him the next day, he wanted nothing to do with the shop and it's power tools after that. So there were no injuries, but still an exciting story nonetheless.

Then there was the story about the previous shop manager complaining to the administration that he wanted a new saw for the shop. They repeatedly denied his requests. One day when he was returning the saw to the shop from another operation on campus, the forklift he was using to carry it mysteriously jammed one of its levers and sent the lift and the saw into the brick wall. The saw ended up going through the brick wall and it was damaged beyond repair. No one believed him at first that it was an accident, but his story was so convincing that the insurance company believed him, and they paid for a brand spanking new saw. Whether it was an accident or not, I leave to the judgement of future historians..

:: everist 12:25 PM [+] ::