April 2006 Archives

googling "scattered few"

i've mentioned craig thompson's really wonderful graphic novel blankets before, but a google search on "scattered few" -- a proper yet incorrect spelling of the band "scaterd few" -- had an interview with him as the first hit. here's an excerpt:

i had a really isolated country upbringing. and i came to punk rock music through christianity, of all things. my brother and me started with all these christian punk bands and speed metal. i don't know if you could even track them down now. crucified. scattered few. crashdog.
--from fearofspeed.net

it's funny how much i identified with large parts of his past in the book, and now this interview puts even more similarities in place. of course, i still maintain a belief in christianity, but it's cool how many shared experiences exist that can tie me even more closely to his story. it's also nice he listed three of the better bands from the xian music scene at the time, which -- considering the utter crap that was around -- leads me to believe he had decent tastes....or he's hiding bad bands he liked. hey, we all do it. :)

i've said it before, but i'll say it again: check out his graphic novel blankets. i obviously can relate to it in ways a lot of people probably can't, but there is plenty that is universal in it, told wonderfully and drawn and laid out beautifully. there's a good reason so many people without backgrounds in comics and graphic novels showered praise on it.

my google results also led me to the realization that drew from "the dawn and drew show" podcast is drew domkus from scaterd few. which led me to scaterdfew.com, where allan aguirre is podcasting the history and meaning of scaterd few and their songs.

you heard me, punchy.

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today at work for some reason i thought of some toys my brother and i had way back in the late 70's. they were called shogun warriors. they were these 2-feet tall plastic/vinyl robot toys on rolling wheels that shot objects from their hands. he had mazinga and i had dragun. thanks to the wildtoys.com site for making the info and pics available so i could read about these things. i still think about them every now and then.

i got the dominoes i ordered. they're not perfect, but they're pretty nice. i'm thinking i'm still going to get some puremco dominoes at some point. i'll either try to get some old ones, or get some customized new ones. we'll see. i still need to find a circle of cool folk to play dominoes with. i may end up hitting the retirement communities and nursing homes. i wouldn't plan to find a ladyfriend there, but i bet i'd find some domino players. who knows...maybe someone there will like motorcycles... ;)

i bought some music after work today:

  • coal chamber - coal chamber (roadrunner) this is the roadrunner 25th anniversary series, with bonus tracks and a dvd of live shows and videos
  • ladytron - 604 (emperor norton) this is a re-release with bonus tracks
  • shooter jennings - put the o back in country (universal south)
  • shooter jennings - electric rodeo (universal south)
  • zz top - tres hombres (warner bros) this is the remastered and extended release
  • zz top - fandango! (warner bros) this is the remastered and extended release

kind of a somewhat eclectic purchase, i suppose.

i've been reading a book on design. (as in "graphic design".) sometimes i wish i would have done something more artistic in nature, like graphic design, illustration, or architecture...something that's still technical, but with more opportunity for artistic creativity. not that i couldn't still do that, i suppose. but there's more entropy when you already have a career and are used to a level of income. and are lazy. especially when you're lazy. :)

let's get lucky

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a year or more ago i'd gotten interested in dominoes, and after looking around had developed in my mind exactly what i wanted: double six, spinners, black pips, two-tone (preferably not black). unfortunately, while i could find each of those elements, i could not find them in one set of dominoes. eventually i gave up. i ordered some other kinds of dominoes which were still odd variations (double six, no spinners, red with yellow pips, and double six, no spinners, orange with black pips), but those were not very good quality.

today for some reason i looked again, and what to my surprise did i find but exactly the dominoes i'd been looking for: double six, spinners, black pips, red and white two-tone. i placed an order for them, and a set of similar black and white two-tones. i'll be curious to see what kind of quality they are. now if i can just find some people to play dominoes with me (preferably 42). :|

i decided to catch a movie today, so i went up to river oaks and saw the 4:30pm showing of the devil and daniel johnston. daniel now lives in waller...didn't know that. he also, like me, grew up in the churches of christ. whenever i find out someone grew up in the churches of christ, i usually feel like i have some sort of kinship or bond with them. especially if they're artists, because i feel like maybe i can identify with some of the background that i think leads to what they have going on in their head between good and evil that seems to come out in what they create. (there are plenty of people who grew up in the churches of christ that i don't identify with and don't really like, so it's not universal.) anyway, i'm not sure i'll ever be a fan of daniel's work as a whole, but his lyrics are really good and some of his music is really nice. beyond the music, the film is a good story about the effect of mental illness on a person and those around them, especially the family.

and as to that natalie portman snl digital short i mentioned, here's a link:
natalie portman: gangsta style

"dismal failure" is an understatement

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a day or two ago i finished reading soldiers of misfortune: the somervell and mier expeditions by sam w. haynes. it was written about...well, the title says...but it really provided a lot of information about things going on in the political landscape of the republic of Texas during the time period, and about Texas and its relations with mexico, the united states, and england. if you're a fan of Texas history, are interested in aspects of what led Texas to become a part of the u.s., and/or wonder about some of the more historical aspects of relations between Texas and mexico, this is a fairly easy and quick read that will give you all of that and more, in the setting of providing information about the decisions that led up to the somervell and mier expeditions and what happened to the men that were a part of them.

in other news, did you see the snl digital short with natalie portman tonight? that was awesome.

that last entry comes thanks to a sleepless night brought about from delving back too deeply into the disintegration of my life due to the failure of my marriage, a spectacular affair (pun intended) with startling revelations and even more startling behaviour, both occuring over and over again.

i finally managed to stop my mind and emotions from being out of control enough that i was able to lie down and get to sleep a little after 4:30am. so i ended up getting about 3 to 3.5 hours of sleep. joy.

i honestly don't think about the details of everything that has happened as much anymore because i've generally already chosen answers or realized i would kill myself trying to figure it out, plus i really would like to move on to what i hope are better things, but something prompted me to go back through a lot of it and yet again try to re-evaluate the stuff i got hurt over and angry about and beat myself up over too many times to count.

so last night became a non-gentle reminder of the months of emotional trauma i went through during and after the affair and her choice to leave me. not exactly something i crave experiencing, but it's unfortunately a part of my life and who i am now. marriage is such for me that it's not as accurate to say it's an emotional wound that needs to heal as much as it's the loss of a part of you, of who you are, and you have to learn to live a different way, live with the loss of a part of you, like learning to live after the loss of a limb.

perhaps that's a bit mellodramatic, but it seems like it's hard to explain to people just how deeply all of this affected me and can still affect me. moving on to other, better things...

i finally caved and set up a pandora account today. my brother showed it to me a month or two ago, then jamie mentioned it in her blog a while back, but i'd never succumbed. after getting the new music this last weekend and really wanting to find some new bands, i decided pandora would probably be a good way to do it. they have a huge library of music and try to categorize each song in any number of ways (vocals, instruments, key, structure, tone, style, etc). you pick one or a few songs or bands you like for one channel, then pandora plays songs that match your pick(s). you can say you like or don't like each song, which then refines pandora's picks for you. you can have a bunch of different channels, so you don't have to try to fit eclectic tastes into one channel. anyway, we'll see how it goes.

while at lunch today, my friends and i decided i need to make a shirt that says something along the lines of "looking for a punk girl to break my heart". or it could be goth. or just alt in general. whatever the case, me picking girls to be interested in that break my heart seems to be a skill i have.

on a somewhat related note, i got a myspace request a couple of days ago out of the blue and didn't recognize the person. i went to her page and started reading it, and noticed she liked a lot of alt xian bands. i looked at the pics, then i realized who it was: my first "real girlfriend" (as much as it was), the first girl i ever kissed (it was only once...i don't think i ever told her i'd never kissed anyone). geez, i was 24. what a loser i was! (read: "am".) she was cool. she broke up with me. over and over. in the end, my heart couldn't take it and i ended any communication. she was interested in someone else, someone i kind of knew. who she's now been married to over ten years. G-d bless them. i wish i could say the same about my marriage.

i hate it when my mind starts racing and i can't make it stop. i hate it when failures, mistakes, the disappointments of life come crashing down on me, wave after wave; pounding my mind, pounding my heart, pounding my spirit; breaking me. leaving me fighting to maintain any level of hope, any amount of peace, any reason to believe the person i am can ever expect to find or deserve or create happiness and contentment while here and alive. when all i can do is plead with G-d to give me understanding, to give me peace, to explain to me why my life is what it is. of course G-d owes me nothing. but jesus, what is this? i tried. i'm fscking trying. she tried too, but eventually she gave up. i'm trying to learn from my past, but i'm not even sure i can figure out what the fsck it is i'm supposed to have learned. i don't think it's supposed to be (to quote bob maplethorpe from bottle rocket) that "nobody in the world cares and nobody in the fscking world gives a sh!t". i mean, is it wrong to stop trying if you realize the low likelihood things are going to work out for you? can we play percentages?

this was pretty much an every night occurance during and after the affair. it's hell to bounce between furious anger and complete self-loathing and brokenness. i'm so glad it's much more rare these days. sometimes i look back and am amazed i managed to get through that time of my life alive.

this, too, shall pass. this, too, shall pass. repeat it until you believe it.

i used to post a lot in the usenet group rec.music.christian back in the day. sometimes it's funny to go back through some of the stuff i wrote. on occasion i was pretty funny, if i do say so myself. (i guess it's a good sign i like my sense of humour.) while i also wrote a whole bunch of reasoned arguments, and got into some hellaciously long-winded (and mostly fruitless) exchanges, some of my favorite stuff was the satire and sarcasm created by the persona of "reverend zechariah phool" i developed over the years.

here's the first instance of my using the good reverend (linked from google groups):

rec.music.christian (feb 22 1994)

anyway, i decided to try and find the first time i ever mentioned creating a web site. and now...*drumroll*...here's the reference from google groups:

rec.music.christian (nov 17 1995)

this set of pages, preserved pretty much as it was back when i wrote that message, is now available here: http://www.failure.net/tol

and just for the record, here's the very first recorded post i ever made on usenet that's archived in google groups:

news.groups (mar 18 1991)

...which was actually me arguing for the creation of the rec.music.christian newsgroup. (before this, i'd been using listserv mailing lists.)

and here's my first ever post to rec.music.christian:

rec.music.christian (may 6 1991)

some of my statements and opinions made over the years in r.m.c make me cringe these days, but there is a lot of stuff in there i still agree with and/or find funny.

rollin'. blackouts.

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i forgot to mention my debauchery this past thursday. after leaving work (after 7:30pm...i'm such a loyal worker), a coworker and i rode our motorcycles downtown and ate at frank's. i had two slices of pizza and some coke. from there, we rode over to ten downing street -- a cigar bar at kirby and westheimer by taco milagro. i bought a peterson cigar, then got a jack on the rocks. i had kind of assumed i'd upped my tolerance by smoking a pipe, but the whole cigar was too much. i started feeling hot, then sweaty, then clammy...i knew what was eventually going to happen, and it was too late to change the future course of events. i went outside to get some fresh air then leave. being rebellious nonconformist bikers, we had parked on the sidewalk. (okay, okay, there were no regular parking spots.) unfortunately, rebellious nonconformist cars had taken the handicap spots and the gap between them, so we were stuck. after about 20 minutes of feeling like crap, i finally hit the point where willpower alone couldn't stop the impending event. i walked down the side of the building, around to the back street where there was very little lighting, looked around to verify isolation, then leaned over the shrubs and stopped maintaining control. a couple of seconds later i was standing upright again, looked around to verify continued isolation, then walked back to my bike. though still a bit green around the gills, things were more stable in my world. after another 20 minutes or so the guy in the expensive, highly illegally-parked car moved, and feeling the hot, humid, sticky air of houston blowing on me as i rode down 59 had never been quite as enjoyable.

so, let that be a lesson to all of you youngsters: it's not cool to ride a motorcycle, eat a bunch of pizza and drink a bunch of coke, then go smoke a big cigar and drink some liquor. either get a smaller cigar or only smoke part of it.

in other news, my house lost power at some point yesterday for a little while. that's because parts of Texas are experiencing rolling blackouts yesterday and today due to a combination of higher than normal temperatures and this month being the maintenance window for power plants. so there just isn't enough power available on the grid. (or so they say.) is that the sound of laughter i hear coming from the direction of california?

i'm totally digging that adult. album i bought sunday. they're a part of the chicago electro-clash scene, and old synth sounds and electronic equipment make me happy.

musical easter weekend

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picked up a few cds at the half price books on westheimer near montrose on saturday:

  • maddox brothers & rose - that'll learn ya durn ya (proper)
  • hank snow - i'm movin' on (proper)
  • lester flatt & earl scruggs - the mercury years (proper)
  • various - hillbilly boogie! (legacy/columbia)
  • various - jackson - great country duos (country stars)

picked up a few more cds on sunday at soundwaves:

  • adult. - anxiety always (ersatz audio)
  • broadcast - tender buttons (warp)
  • squarepusher - hard normal daddy (warp)
  • meat beat manifesto - ruok? (run recordings)

can you spot a difference between the two days?

today i had my easter meal at the house of pies. man, i love the house of pies. i had an iced tea and the patty melt deluxe with cottage fries. their cottage fries rock. as usual, i was too full after eating to get dessert. but their pies are really good. not exactly how i pictured my easters being at this point in my life, but one must play the hand one is dealt.

i went to church again. i think i need to find a new church. maybe i need to try to find someone to bring me to an orthodox service. i need christianity that's a religion, not just a relationship. i need to feel like i'm worshipping the mysterious G-d of abraham and isaac, not just hangin' wit' m' bud' jesus and his big daddy in the sky, watching a mediocre pop act sing love and feel-good songs. i understand the sentiment behind "christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship" -- but that's bull. christianity is a religion. it's about relationship too, but it is a religion. it's something popular american xianity would do well to remember.

a new lease on life. or maybe a mortgage.

a few months ago i had started looking for a new place to live. that sort of sputtered, but i've picked it up again. i had kind of decided i was going to live in either a nice place or a hellhole. (i could save a lot of money living in a hellhole, you see.) but to be honest, living in my house has pretty much been living in a hellhole: tamara and i jacked it up over the years, plus it developed plenty of problems on its own. it was a major source of distress, stress, and agony during our marriage.

so i'm looking at nicer places now, thinking it might help my mental footing and socialization. plus i lived in moderately priced generic places forever before getting married, so i didn't want to go back to that mediocre sameness. i'll most likely end up in downtown or midtown, maybe east of 59 if a nice place at a decent price pops up. hopefully a loft. unfortunately, i don't make the kind of money that would put me easily into a good loft. but i might be able to find something decent in my price range. the main thing i want to get rid of is the commute. G-d, i hate commuting. so we'll see what happens.

it'll also be nice to get rid of the house because of tamara and/or her hired muscle. you see, the house has been a thorn in my side for years, but they've done a good job of making sure everything is more painful and difficult than it needs to be. (yea, lawyers -- you're the tops.) i'll detail their actions and my response at some point in the future.

in entirely separate news, i finished reading brave new world by aldous huxley saturday. (incidentally, he was the grandson of thomas huxley. thomas was a contemporary and staunch defender of charles darwin...so much so he was referred to as "darwin's bulldog".) i was thoroughly impressed by the book. which i suppose i should be, considering it's a classic and all. but it really threw around some grand concepts and quandries, things that still have weight and substance (maybe even more so) in these days and times (impressive considering it was written as futuristic). it dealt with religion, class structure and society, happiness, responsibility, individuality, and so on. if you've not read it, i really suggest you give it a go.

this last sunday i went to church. man, sometimes i don't know why i keep going. which isn't a statement about my faith, but about me, church culture, church activities, and how it all makes me feel.

wednesday after the show i went with jay lee, barrett, robb zipp, and kd5gzi to the flying saucer for the yuri's night - world space party.

friday i had off from work. i didn't go home this weekend because i'm on call. (joy.) so friday afternoon i did my taxes. unlike last year, i managed to get them submitted in time and i didn't owe thousands of dollars. which bodes well for the perceived stability of my finances.

friday night i went over to brad and jason's to a party they were having. brad played lots of johnny cash and 16 horsepower in the pool room, which rocked, but for the most part i felt like an outsider. "i go out on a party, to look for a little fun..."

about a week ago i bought hank iii's new album straight to hell. it was put out on bruc records, evidently a sub-label for curb. i've listened through the first disc a number of times. he recorded it himself on pretty cheap equipment. it sounds good. i'm still in sort of a love-hate relationship with hank iii. i think he has a pretty cool sound, and i like some of the alt/rebel stuff, but he's just a little too far gone in a lot of ways for me.

i also finally got the tex williams and his western caravan that's what i like about the west cd (asv records out of england) i purchased on ebay. i haven't listened through it yet.

i started feeling sick monday night. i decided to start taking vitamin c and zinc. tuesday it was just the upper back of my throat, feeling a bit scratchy. tuesday night i went out for the first time in a long time, and i felt worse through the night. wednesday i decided to take day-quil to get me through the day. i took some sick time while at work. i got through the show. today i stayed home. i didn't take any day-quil, and i felt about as bad as yesterday, if not worse. i was hoping taking a day off would make me better for friday. we shall see.

i was going to post saturday about how awesome things are right now and how great it is to be alive; about how i've never been more satisfied and content with life and the world around me. about how everything is going my way, everything is falling into place. maybe include some references to puppy dogs and rainbows and unicorns and hearts and puffy letters and dotting the letter "i" with hearts or smiley faces.

then the moment passed and it was april 2nd. so back to reality...

first up, there are a few shirts i've wanted for a long time. since i pretty much only wear dark colors, i'd have to get them silk-screened, which isn't generally an option for one-offs. but cafepress has a beta for printing on black shirts, so now i can do it. so here are a couple i've put up:

fsck the system
xian rtfm

i already ordered and got the "fsck the system" one. although after getting it, i went back and changed the design a little because what i saw on the cafepress screen wasn't what i got: the text was smaller and lower on the shirt. (maybe they show it on a baby size, which is why it looks to cover so much of the shirt.) also, the white looks more like a grey or maybe even grey-blue. but i'm still pretty happy with it, and plan on wearing it to the radio show "geek gathering" on friday. and chances are good i'll be the only one wearing this design (a reference to the night barrett and i both wore "computers are fun and useful" shirts...).

every now and then i like to go on google and see if anything new pops up for various people i know. while doing this friday i found a new search result for tamara where she did an "interview" on a blog. there were links to a blog she is doing now, but i didn't go to it. do i really need to read about how screwed up she is? or how ironically and self-consciously hip she can be discussing everything?

i guess we'll see how long tst v.4 lasts, until she has to walk away from it and recreate herself yet again. i hope one day she really does find whatever it is she needs, i just wish it would have been G-d and me and the marital bonds we had. (i have my opinions about what she needs, but it's her path and hopefully she'll figure it out.)

she really was a good person. but as in times past, she cut loose everything and redefined who she was, burying or leaving behind as much of her past as possible. (let's not discuss how post-modern that is.) that's why i was left taking care of everything while she took money and a few items and walked. that and the legal system seemed more than happy to facilitate such an arrangement for her. and believe me, it's hard going through all of the personal crap she left behind...it sinks me right back into those times when it felt like she'd cut my heart out, causing me to grieve all over the loss of the person she was and the loss of my wife and our future.

if she hadn't stolen so much from me both emotionally and financially, i'd probably be more willing to wish her the best. as it is, the best i can muster up is hoping she can stop running from G-d and deal with all of the pain and bitterness that is inside of her -- from the infertility issues, the failure of our marriage, and the many things further back in her past...both poor choices of her own and things done to her.

so why did i get involved with her? i think maybe my naive idealism thought we could deal with whatever difficulties arose. and i somehow believed she had healed, had become a more together person...i thought she had found herself. i don't know that she was misleading me...she tries to convince herself she's happy, she tries to focus on tasks and lists and goals and being active, to find other things to fill the void she feels. it's always been school, it was drugs, it was josh, it was me, it was philosophy, it was a child, it was alcohol, and i guess it was (if not still is) yet another new outlook on life, and alistair. perhaps they deserve each other.

don't take all this to mean i don't still love her, that it doesn't still hurt sometimes, or that i think i was the perfect spouse and didn't make mistakes. i made mistakes. however, i don't feel my failings justify all of the choices she made and things she did to me. i don't think anyone who knew us thinks so either. does that make the pain for me less, or make it any easier for me to deal with? no.

well, enough of that...

friday after i left work there was a business card with a url on it on my motorcycle: tmcgreed.com. that was all that was on the card. i park back in the neighborhood on the street. i'll have to try and find out who is doing the site. tmc parking is insane. they're fscking greedy b4st4rds who take advantage of medical center employees and people seeing doctors or visiting sick friends and relatives, and pitch it as if they are a charitable, non-profit organization who is really helping everybody out. i've little doubt they're in bed with too many powerful and influential people for much of anything to be done to them, but it'd be nice to see them get the wind knocked out of their sails.

then friday night i went to the continental club and saw the flying fish sailors, the aqua velva, and clouseaux. it was a pajama party, so if you wore pajamas you got in free. i paid the $5. the flying fish sailors are celtic music, and generally funny. jay lee from the radio show (technology bytes) is in the flying fish sailors. the aqua velva is a cover band...all b-52's. they were nice. clouseaux is a jazz/lounge band. i had heard of them but never heard them. they were really good musicians. the whole thing was given a surreal feel because most of the band members (of all bands) were wearing pajamas.

i rode around for a few hours saturday. i didn't find any partners, so i went solo. i almost drove to luling for some bbq. i took alt-90, but decided to turn around at east bernard. but it was a nice ride. i didn't put on sunblock until i stopped in east bernard and bought some, so i got a bit too much sun. i did the same thing last year when i went on my spur-of-the-moment trip to indianola, so i guess it's a tradition now.

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