February 2006 Archives

i watched the remake of bad news bears thursday night. directed by richard linklater and starring billy bob thorton as coach buttermaker, i had hopes that it would be better than most remakes. it had some good moments, but mostly it made me want to watch the original. it's been such a long time since i'd seen it, i'm kind of curious how it compares. perhaps i'll try adding that to my netflix queue.

yesterday i stayed at work until 7:45pm or so...and i was actually working. heh. i've been feeling kind of overwhelmed at work lately, mostly because it seems like i've got one hundred different little things to take care of, each one needing between a half hour and a few hours of my time, but as soon as i pick one to work on someone calls or comes by and asks about a different one, so i start working on it, then someone else calls or comes by, and...repeat. which makes me feel like i'm spinning my wheels getting nothing accomplished while all of this stuff is sitting out there unresolved. i'm really much better at taking care of one thing at a time until it's finished. i'm not much of a multitasker.

after work, i crashed a gathering for the h-town bloggers that was taking place at the gingerman in rice village. it ended up i already knew five or six of the people in some way or another. that helped me from being too non-social. i ended up having a cool conversation with a guy i'd met once before. it turns out we have somewhat common backgrounds -- we both grew up in small towns in central Texas, we're about the same age, both got interested in computers, went to a&m, and are both now working in houston. kind of cool to have a number of common threads to reminisce about, as well as current things in common.

i read blue like jazz by donald miller over the last four or five nights. it's pretty easy reading, and written in a very relaxed, conversational and informal style. i wouldn't say it's life-changing, but i felt like there were some pretty profound observations in it. it was also nice to read something that made me feel like maybe i'm not quiet as much of an oddity in the xian world as i sometimes feel like i am. or at least one other person shares some of it with me, and he bothered to write about it, and other people seemed to like what he said. of course, sometimes i thought the book was a bit too predictable as far as style/formula -- it seemed like almost every paragraph had to end in an ironic joke on whatever the paragraph had been saying. like sometimes it was a little too hip or clever for its own good, or maybe just too often. i thought the first 2/3 of the book was stronger than the last third, but that may just be because i identified with it more. still, i recommend the book. i think it has some good observations and opinions in it. and it did make me yearn for authentic xianity which i think is out there...something which i don't have in the right way or amount (but wish i did), and something that is rarely found in most churches in the u.s. these days (in my opinion).

since i'm already writing about books, i'll mention that a few months ago i read virtual faith by tom beaudoin. it was an interesting book about gen-xers and how they relate to xianity and church and culture. while i thought there were some good things in the book, overall i didn't really think it was that strong. one of the primary vehicles seemed to be doing literary analysis from a xian and cultural perspective on a few rock videos that could be tied to gen-x, and i'm not a big fan of the whole literary analysis thing that seems to be popular amongst the liberal arts majors. (but then i'm a snotty engineer-type who merely swims in the shallow end of the liberal arts pool.) it also tended to also use/create some cheesy buzz words or catchphrases for things...*shudder*. but there were other parts of the book and other opinions and views on gen-x, and there was some good stuff to be found. overall, i would definitely recommend blue like jazz over this book though.

fedex just delivered my new multimedia rack from boltz. i'd like to put it together, but i've got to go into work around 5pm. what i have to do is mostly just at the beginning and at the end, so i should have fun sitting around doing little to nothing for a few hours.

new rules: vehicles with flames

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while i was driving to work this morning, i decided there needs to be some rules made for vehicles with flames. this could mean flames in any variety of locations: on your gas tank, on your hood, in your chrome grill, in your window tinting, as stickers on the side, whatever.

anyway, if you're going to be driving a vehicle that has flames on it, there are a few general expectations one should be able to have about you...

1) you will not stop at intersections where you don't have a stop sign. especially at intersections where the other person does, thus forcing them to wait for you to move again. (since you have the right of way after all!)
2) you will not wait inordinate amounts of time to pull through an intersection, or to merge into traffic. this is double-true if you have right of way. this is triple-true if you are waiting for someone who doesn't have right of way who is waiting for you because you do!
3) you will drive at least five miles over the speed limit. this is actually a sliding scale, since at highway speeds you should drive generally at least ten miles over the speed limit.
4) while driving in multiple lanes, you should be willing to make rather fast lane changes in order to get around traffic and keep your faster pace. you should under NO circumstances actually be the one holding up traffic!

in essence, you will not be a meek, insecure, unsure, panty-waist of a driver. you have f'ing flames on your vehicle, for G-d's sake!

note: i will make an exception for vehicles where the flames are obviously an ironic statement about the general unworthiness of the vehicle. but everyone else with flames needs to get their sh1t together because i'm not putting up with it any more.

friday i went ahead and ordered the mm-252 multimedia rack from boltz.com. it'll match the cd rack i got but it is sized for dvds, vhs tapes, cds, etc. i don't have that many dvds, and i actually don't like how much space is wasted using it for cds, but it was a compromise to get dvd space and still have cd space.

during the day friday my throat started hurting, and by the time i went to bed it was pretty sore. friday night i watched me and you and everyone we know. i couldn't remember exactly why, but i remembered thinking i might not like some of the subject material when i read reviews of it. i think at some point i knew it was written and directed by miranda july, but had forgotten that. i used to hear her spoken word pieces on ktru (rice radio) back when i listened to ktru a lot. it was thoroughly intriguing stuff -- very bizarre stories with her narrative as the only voice plus some music and sound effects stuff. i had planned to buy some of it, but i never did. this movie -- specifically the character she plays -- shows that same style, although not quite as darkly. even though some of the subject matter in the film made me uneasy (children and sex), in the end i felt it was dealt with innocently enough. i really liked the dialogue, pacing, visual style, etc. the characters were rather quirky, but it felt like there were universal situations and truths going on in, between, and through them despite their oddness. i think miranda has a unique and interesting perspective of the world, and i'm glad she was able to get a film created and distributed that gave her voice a wider audience.

even though i was still feeling somewhat off sunday, i made last minute plans to try and go to a singles class at church. but i left too late and traffic was backed up so i turned around and came back home. the roundtrip was 50 minutes. grr. but you know, i really just feel like i'm going to go there and be disappointed yet again by church culture and the people there.

is it possible all of my many poor church experiences were all just bad luck? or, and this seems more likely to me, am i just not cut out to fit into the societal expectations and boundaries that exist in contemporary american church culture? part of the problem may also be that i'm starting at ground zero. if i already knew one or two people who went there and i got along with them okay, at least it'd give me some kind of tie or anchor to the group. as it is, i just feel like the odd guy that doesn't fit in, and doesn't really identify with the dynamics or interests of the group. which means i usually don't feel too inclined to go back for more. of course, that sort of limits my ability to meet new people that might share some of my beliefs, doesn't it?

monday night i went over to the potts' and watched enron: the smartest guys in the room with sue. it was interesting. it's still somewhat amazing how much they got away with as a company, and how much the big guys got away with after everything went to h3ll. they had some footage of the milgram experiment in the movie. i knew about the experiment from college psych classes and references in culture, but it has always fascinated me. if you're not familiar with it, follow that link and read -- it's really pretty amazing. anyway, enron: ... was a documentary about the rise, fall, and aftermath of enron. it's based on a book of the same name. i'm sure it has a slant, but there's way too much that's obviously d4mning for them to have to try too hard.

valentine's day. generally valentine's day isn't something i get too wrapped up in. as joel thinks at the beginning of eternal sunshine of the spotless mind: "random thoughts for valentine's day, 2004. today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap." i did okay until near the end of the day. after work i joined several other single co-workers for happy hour at chuy's, a sort of thumbing of the nose to v-day. later at night i ended up in a deep conversation that sort of touched some nerves that are still a little raw, and that put me in a bit of a funk.

today i got the papers to sign a big chunk of my retirment money over to tamara, which she got in the divorce. too bad i didn't get it on valentine's day, that would have been sweet. because the legal system has been set up to screw me by not considering our situation on its own merits, the only thing i could have hoped for during the divorce was a sense of honour and some integrity from tamara. and that of course didn't happen. which is really sad, since i used to have so much faith in and appreciation for those traits in her. but life happens and people change, and not always for the better.

i'm great at parties

saturday afternoon i went with sue and the potts' kids over to jamie's for her son hayden's 6th birthday party. all of the other adults dropped their kids off and left. i thought it was somewhat odd, but evidently that's how things are done once kids reach a certain age. (which i guess i thought would be older.) jamie was quite the party planner. i hope when her kids get older they can appreciate the time and effort she puts into being a mom. having a lot of friends who are parents now, including single/divorced parents, i can say with some certainty it ain't an easy task.

saturday evening i ate out with natalie, then we watched swingers. or at least i watched swingers. she did admirably compared to usual, staying mostly awake through probably at least 2/3rd of the film. swingers is such a cool film.

sunday i went to church. i used to go to beth moore, but i kind of stopped doing that and just go to the main evening service now. everyone tells me i should try going to a singles group, but it's hard to want to. i know part of it is my pessimism, but i've always felt like an outsider and like i didn't really belong in church singles groups. it'd be really cool if there were people like me, but i always end up feeling like the only thing we really have in common is the church we go to. it's almost easier to hang out with people who accept me but i know we don't have the same worldview, than to hang out with people who i feel like don't really understand me but we should have the same worldview. plus i think on some level i have this idea that if i'm going to meet someone who i could date and possibly marry, it'd be at church. going there and being let down is like crushing the only hope left. which is kind of stupid i admit, but it's hard to not get discouraged when you don't have good experiences every now and then. i mean, i like being unique and being myself, but sometimes it's not so cool feeling isolated. i realize at least some level of this is due to my own personality and thoughts. but for good or bad, that's a part of who i am.

sunday night i watched oldboy. i was pretty excited about seeing it. visually it was a real treat. the story was pretty interesting as well. but i don't think it lived up to the marketing description, as i didn't feel it really played out like a psychological thriller from hitchcock. it had some pretty graphic violence which made me squirm sometimes, and the big plot twists were pretty disturbing. as i said at the beginning though, i thought it had some really cool visual sequences.

of ghosts and reality

i watched 3-iron with the director's commentary on, some last night and some earlier today. it helped explain some of the ideas and motivations behind the film. although i still wonder if this would be considered a movie that at least on some level accurately portrays the culture, traditions, and mindset of korea. he evidently intended the movie to be inconclusive, for the viewer to wonder if the main male role, female role, or husband were inventing/imagining some or all of the goings on. one of the cultural ideas that wasn't understood well by my Texas/u.s. background was ghosts inhabiting and thus owning a house. (or in some ways, his/their view of a house or place you live.) overall though i think the movie could be understood, and its ideas or plot elements would be somewhat skewed or foreign to even a korean audience. (who evidently don't really watch his movies because he doesn't create movies that are popular or blockbusters there.)

i'm not sure if the planting of ideas relating to ghosts and houses is what led to the events this morning. i was having a dream where tamara and i were in the house and things were like before the massive collapse had happened. we were talking and i followed her into the master bathroom, and i was looking at her reflection in the mirror and she was saying something like "i know what i'm going to do" or "i know how to be happy" or something and suddenly everything that was to happen and everything i was going to feel suddenly spilled through her like some kind of spiritual force and i was overwhelmed with pain and sorrow. it's hard to describe the changes i saw and the spiritual/emotional weight that fell on me in that moment. i woke myself up weeping.

at least these kinds of things don't happen as much anymore.

even though i'd realized it in passing a week or two ago, i had forgotten feb 9th is tamara's birthday until a third party reminded me via a mutual friend. but feb 9th came and went without event. well, until that evening. from things i've heard lately, the sense i got from looking at that picture of tamara a while back was accurate: she's not doing well at all. as much as i don't want her to be happy and satisfied with life and the choices she made, it really hurts me to think of her hurting herself and falling apart. the amount of pain she's put me through and the ways she has treated me makes it difficult to wish her happiness, but i still have very strong feelings about her and it hurts me to know she is bringing pain and difficulty on herself. it's out of my hands. she chose to no longer be a part of my life, to be my wife. this it not the life i wanted, but these are the cards in my hand now and i have to try and find the best way to play them. G-d help both of us.

catching up...again...

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let's see...

monday and tuesday of last week i tried to clean up my place some because...

wednesday natalie came over and we watched the girl in the cafe. the characters were interesting and visually it was interesting enough, but the politics and emotional heart-string tugging got a bit heavy-handed. i liked the acting and the interplay of the awkward main characters the most i think. kelly macdonald (the main female role) kept reminding me of someone, but i never figured out exactly who. i didn't see any roles she's done on imdb that clicked for it either.

thursday i went and saw the wild river band play at blanco's. i took my bike and met brad, kelly, and jason at empire (where they'd eaten) and then headed over to blanco's. natalie showed up a bit later. it was cool to see the band again, i don't think they'd played a public show in a while. there was this old man in a snazzy white suit with about 1" square black checker boxes over parts of it, wearing a white sailor cap (think skipper from gilligan's island), and a very sheer white panama shirt. he had roses and was handing them to women and asking them to dance with him. (i've seen him at blanco's a few other times i've been there, actually.) kelly had wanted to dance but brad wouldn't and i was hesitant, so i motioned the old guy over. kelly danced with him, but he was pulling her close and kissing her cheeks and...well...he was a bit of a dirty old man. i kind of felt guilty afterward. i think maybe brad was a bit annoyed. but can you threaten an old man in a sailor hat? that's probably what he banks on. *laugh*

friday was the geek gathering for the radio show. after the gathering i went home and jamie and i ended up watching being john malkovich.

saturday i watched 3-iron. it was pretty cool, but not incredible or anything. the storyline was intriguing, and the characters were interesting. i think i might be missing something due to cultural differences or something. it was odd how the movie took a very eastern mysticism kind of turn about 2/3 of the way through. i hadn't really noticed such an element before then, so it kind of threw me.

in the early afternoon, natalie picked me up to be her guest for a night on the town she'd won through work. i got to eat at sambuca for free, as well as have a bunch of free drinks at the magnolia hotel and at sambuca. natalie and joanna and i went down to the continental club to see the gourds, but it was really crowded so we left. we went back to sambuca and i had a couple more drinks and smoked my pipe. the big downside was the dress was "business/dress casual", which meant i had to go out and buy a new pair of pants (dark grey cargo-style pants from old navy...but without pockets...i can't admit i own khakis or slacks). even having to wear such unsettling pants, it was a good time.

sunday i finally finished putting together my new cd rack. i got it mostly together a few days before, but the bolt-n-nut tightening process kept leaving it a bit twisted. i figured out a methodology that worked eventually. i got most of my country and rock/alt cds on it. (i have yet to put my xian cds on it. i hope they all fit.) the rack was not as wide as i had expected it to be, so i actually was able to fit it between my entertainment center and speaker without having to move anything. i think i'm going to like it quite a bit -- it holds a lot of cds without taking up much space, and they're easy to see, move around, pull out and put in, rearrange, etc.

around 1:30pm -- about the time i was going to take a shower -- jennifer called. she was on her way back to her house from meeting her ex to drop off her kids. seeing as i had recently cleaned my place (how convenient!), i asked her if she wanted to drop by. she originally said yes, but called a bit later because she'd decided she needed to get home and wouldn't have time. i was in the shower when she called back, so i now have another message on my machine from her. *laugh* we'll see how long this one lasts. she called back a bit later and we had a nice talk while she was driving back to her house.

in the afternoon i headed over on my bike to chris's place (who had the meat and martini party) to watch the super bowl. i had a bit of a hard time staying awake, being light on sleep after the "night on the town".

monday after work i watched the wild parrots of telegraph hill with natalie, who'd found herself with a free evening late in the day. it was interesting and pretty enjoyable. it didn't make me plan on adopting any birds any time soon though. the movie was put out by docurama, the same folk who put out slasher. i watched that a year or so ago. it's about a guy who goes from company to company (mostly car dealerships) on weekends doing those "all cars most go" "slasher" sales to help them get rid of stale inventory. that was a pretty cool documentary, and i recommend it.

yesterday i sent off two of the three netflix dvds. i held back on sending in 3-iron because i'm thinking about watching it with the director's commentary to see if i can get any interesting insight on what he was thinking or trying to say with the movie. after work i headed off to the flying saucer to participate in triva night with kymberlie, sketkar, natalie, and others. afterward, most of us headed over to sambuca. i headed home after that, then sue came over and we talked for a while.

today: radio show after work. another fundraising show. they're a necessary evil since kpft is non-profit community radio station.

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