i may not know karate...

in the "you learn something new every day" category: i called the Texas dept of transportation special plates division a few days ago. i found out that special characters are ignored when checking for the availability of a plate. so "HOO DOO" is the same as "HOODOO" is the same as "HOO*DOO" is the same as "HOO-DOO" is the same as "*HOODOO*" etc. geez, that certainly limits the options. so in my requests, "*HANK*" was the same as "HANK" -- and of course someone already has that. while on the phone i asked about "PH34R" and that was taken too. guess i'll be trying to think something up for awhile.

monday night i had a rather "twilight zone" conversation with the ex that had contacted me recently. i won't go into details, but once i was deep into the im session i suddenly started to have that feeling like you get at the end of the sixth sense or the usual suspects when there is the major plot twist and you were totally oblivous and you are slack-jawed and dumbfounded. that's the way i felt. i was seriously close to thinking someone was doing a major mindfsck on me. but when my mind played back everything (just like they do at the end of the movies i just mentioned) i was able to have a good bit of faith that the person i was talking to was actually my ex. what a totally bizarre experience.

and for those who may think this is merely some kind of self-induced paranoia due to the guilt you like to imagine i secretly feel over tamara, i relayed the relevant dialogue to a friend (without explaining what had been going on in my mind) and they totally thought the same thing. in fact, they pretty much had the exact same reaction and kept asking me to reveal what was going to happen at the end of the im session. so, no, it's not just me.

tuesday night i watched spellbound. it's a documentary about 8 different kids who were going to the 1999 national spelling bee. it was interesting and fun to watch. it's always interesting to see real people, and see how things compare to stereotypes you have about regions of the u.s. and immigrant cultures and stuff like that. that was the most intriguing aspect of the film in my mind. i recommend the movie.

yesterday i had to go to a sales conference here in houston for work. it was at the hotel derek, so i decided to take my truck because i wasn't sure they'd valet a motorcycle. (i've had that happen before and had to pay to park somewhere else even though the valet service was going to be comped.) the event was pretty boring because i don't work with the hardware or software, and really don't have any say in much of anything about it. but i ate some free food and got paid to sit around in a hotel conference room doing very little. at least i didn't fall asleep.

when i left, a young valet kid went to get my truck and he evidently had no idea how to shift gears in it. another valet came up and asked me if there was some special trick to my truck because the valet was having problems with it. i started smiling and walking toward the truck. during the minute or so it took me to get to it, no less than 4 valets had all congregated around my pickup. a new valet had already jumped in it and started it, but he had put it in reverse. meanwhile the older valet and i were trying to explain to him where first was. eventually he got it figured out and drove it out of the parking spot and the thirty feet to me, then i showed them what the pattern is on a "three on the tree". that was kind of funny.

speaking of my truck -- i feel like i'm getting very poor mileage. like crazy poor. but i haven't kept track of the odometer, so i won't be able to see how many miles i'm getting to the gallon until after the next time i fill up...

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