September 2006 Archives

two tons...

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saturday evening i was originally planning to go to bryan/college station to see atarimatt (two atari 2600 systems, some custom cartridges and software, and a couple of old tvs...bleepin' rock'n'roll) and the sk-1 project, but i couldn't find anyone to go with me so i decided to stay in town.

instead, i was treated to an evening of music at the continental club by two tons of steel (thanks jay!). i'd gone to their website in the past and listened to a few tracks -- i thought they sounded okay but sort of average, so i never went to a show while they were in town. i was wrong. they put on a great show. their steel guitar player wasn't there because evidently he (like herb remington) is a legend and is thus on the older side and doesn't enjoy staying out until 7am. (the band is from around san antonio.) but they had a stand-up bass, guitar, drummer, and acoustic/singer. they were energetic and sounded good. it probably also helped that a dance class had sent out a mass mailing to show up to dance, so there were a lot of people dancing (mostly pretty well) the whole evening.

the oddest thing occurred though. about an hour into their set i was watching them and i suddenly thought "hey...that drummer looks familiar." the more i thought about it, the more sure i got. i mentioned it to jay and judith (a friend of jay's who was there). later in the set he took his boots off to play the set in his socks, and it even made me even more positive it was him. after their show, when the singer came off the stage jay went over and asked him what his drummer's name was. he came back and said "yep, that's him!" so when the drummer was getting off the stage, jay said "hey, do you recognize your friend here?" and i said "i'm terry..." and he responded "yeah, you're linc's brother!"

it was chris dodds, who played drums for love coma with chris taylor, and also played some for matt slocum (who had been in love coma) on tour when he was later doing sixpence none the richer. he's evidently been in two tons of steel for about five years, if i recall correctly. i hadn't seen him since probably 1991 or 1992 or something...at least between 10 and 15 years. we talked a little while, then he had to break down. that was a pretty weird experience, running into him randomly like that.

after the show i also talked with the lead singer for awhile and went ahead and picked up their most recent release, two ton tuesday live! (from gruene hall). it's two discs -- a cd and a dvd.

monday after work i called up brad and he and kelli and i rode over to the alabama ice house and hung out there a few hours. later we were joined by jason and a friend of his. then later we all went over to late night pie and had a bite to eat. you know, brad and kelli and jason are really cool folk, and i like hanging out with them and riding around. it's just pleasent and fun. it's too bad tamara didn't stick around to enjoy things like this.

tonight after work i headed over to jay and cynthia's. it was a great evening -- good food and good company.

the warning signs were there all along

just wanted to mention that the new pic at the top of my blog is real and not doctored in any way. that is my house, and there is a "dead end" sign in the front yard of my house. it was one of a number of things tamara and i didn't notice about the house until after we'd moved in. at the time i liked to joke about the sign being in our front yard. (if you hadn't noticed, i kind of have a fascination with failure and like to play up failure and slacking.) over time, it became true more than just funny. although it's still funny, if you have the right kind of sense of humour.

entertainment at all cost

before i went to bed early due to the trauma experienced by the self-induced smoothie explosion, i took possession of an order from amazon friday night when i got home. the contents were:

  • * body piercing saved my life: inside the phenomenon of christian rock by andrew beaujon (de capo press)
  • * winning 42 - strategy and lore of the national game of Texas by dennis roberson (Texas tech university press)
  • * true stories directed by david byrne, music by the talking heads (warner brothers)

i think i caught wind of the christian rock book via one of the occasional jaunts i make over to the usenet group rec.music.christian to see what if anything is going on. there was a link to a review of the book, and i thought it sounded like interesting reading material. as with the book on mars hill, i'm not sure how i'll feel about the perspective -- but this one seems like it'll have less of an agenda or predisposition toward dislike or distrust. in either case, i think it'll make for interesting reading.

i'd noticed the 42 book awhile back when i was searching for dominoes online. since i've not played very much 42 in my life and don't know hardly anyone around me that plays, i figured this might be a good way for me to get some more knowledge about it.

true stories is one of the dvds the pot-smoking kids stole when they broke into my house a number of months ago. i keep hoping at some point someone will put out a better release of this film -- like a widescreen version instead of rape-n-scrape, along with a bunch of extras and such -- but so far no luck.

saturday morning around 11am i was awakened by the sound of my front door being opened. apparently i had my phone on vibrate, so i hadn't heard the calls from the listing people calling to tell me about appointments they'd lined up. once i got up and left the house so they could come and look at it without me being here, i checked my voicemail and heard someone had made an appointment for 9:30am to 10:30am. egads, i'm glad they didn't make it! i managed to get a really good amount of sleep friday night. (probably due to exhaustion from the smoothie incident.)

to kill time, i headed over to border's. while there i picked up:

  • * brazil (the final cut) - terry gilliam (criterion)
  • * star wars (episode iv: a new hope) - george lucas (20th century fox)

i've been planning on getting brazil for a long time, i just never got around to it. it's a great film. this edition of star wars is the "limited edition" widescreen version that contains the digitally remastered version and the original theatrical version. so at least i've finally got the original version on dvd. although i don't think this version is actually the true original version. i still remember a couple of scenes from when i saw it back in the theater in the day (in san antonio, while we were visiting my grandmother who was in the hospital there with cancer) that weren't in any of the "original theatrical" versions since. lucas and his 500 different versions (original, limited, etc) of everything is kind of annoying too. it almost makes me glad i liked each movie less and less, so i don't have to think about buying the last three.

today there were more showings of the house, so i ended up going to border's again today and picked up:

  • * personal file - johnny cash (columbia/legacy)
  • * blues masters: the very best of lightnin' hopkins - lightnin' hopkins (rhino)

i've been planning on buying the cash set since it came out, i just hadn't gotten around to it yet. and i really like lightnin' hopkins a lot, but i've only got the aladdin cd set of his. lightnin' was a legendary Texas country blues artist who spent most of his years in houston, and when my mind creates the platonic form of a blues singer, he's the one i hear.

due to another showing, i also went by boot town and picked up a couple of pearl snap shirts.

i hope the weekend and evening showings stop soon, or i'm going end up in debt. although i'll have a nice dvd and cd collection.

juiced

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friday after work i stopped by jamba juice for one of their all fruit smoothies. i was in my pickup, so there are no drink holders. it doesn't come standard with any form of holder, and i've not bought anything. i've got a 1965 ford f-100 for G-d's sake! drink holders are for sissies!

what's that? okay, so jamba juice isn't exactly the height of masculinity. let's move on, please. anyway, this state of affairs has led to several spills so far. in fact, i'm beginning to think my pickup has a drinking problem. but back to the story...

while turning onto westheimer, my barely consumed all fruit smoothie tipped over in the seat next to me. fortunately, it didn't spill. unfortunately, the next time i sucked on the straw i was met with gurgling noises and air in my mouth instead of the sweet sensation of a jamba juice all fruit smoothie. thus i learned the straw broke, meaning i had no suction through it. as i was driving i decided to see if i could figure out where and how many holes there were. i covered the places i felt air coming out and blew into the straw. well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened next. my success at covering all holes in the straw was rewarded by a huge growing bubble of air at the bottom of the all fruit smoothie, which pushed the lid off, and a large splotch was deposited right in the center of my mechanic shirt. brilliant! this large mass of escaped smoothie slowly ran down the center of my shirt and onto my...uh...pants...while i was driving. plus i forgot to mention it was sprinkling/raining, so i was having to turn the wipers on now and then. and i was driving a standard. all while trying to hold the styrofoam cup with all fruit smoothie inside, outside, top, and bottom. i've got no cup holder, you see.

so...here i am, attempting to change gears, steer, turn the wipers on and off, and hold a smoothie (that i can't drink through the straw), while cold smoothie is melting and sliding down my shirt and onto my pants and the seat, and i'm getting smoothie on everything i touch. i finally decide enough is enough and i begin unbuttoning my shirt to try to get the quite chilly smoothie off of my chest and direct its downhill descent toward the outside of my legs instead of my...uh...pants. i'll have to admit here that i'm not known for my toned physique. nor for my full body tan. in fact, i'm not sure i can remember the last time someone saw me with my shirt off (excepting doctors and my ex-wife). i'm a modest, pastey white, out of shape fellow, okay? i've also got freaking all fruit smoothie all over myself, so i'm not exactly excited about things. i just want to get home.

at this point, a guy walked up to my passenger side while i was at a stoplight and started asking for a ride for a couple of blocks because the city bus he was on broke down. my door was locked and the window was rolled up, but he was persistent. he knocked on the window. he tried the door handle. he pleaded. he even offered me $20. (as if.) the whole time i'm sitting there with an exploded all fruit smoothie everywhere and my shirt unbuttoned, and i'm just thinking "G-d, you have got one sick sense of humor." in my confusion, he ended up getting in the back of the pickup and i dropped him off a few blocks later. eventually i made it home, got out of my all fruit smoothie soiled clothes (which i think included everything except my socks), and went to bed.

i think maybe i'll look around for some kind of drink holder here sometime soon.

take me out to the ballpark

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thursday afternoon a friend at work came by and asked if i wanted to go to the astros/st. louis game because his group from work was going and he had a spare ticket. i agreed. about three minutes later, jay from the radio show called and asked if i like baseball. he was going with a co-worker and friend and they had a spare ticket. i laughed and said i'd just been asked and said yes, and now wondered if i.t. departments all over houston were all going to this game. he asked what kind of ticket i had and i told him, then he told me where his tickets were. i accepted his better offer and gave mine back to see if anyone else at work wanted it.

i met up with jay, his co-worker, and their friend at the big top on main (technically part of the continental club). we went over to the park and got there in the second inning. as we were walking to our seats st. louis scored on an error, which i feared didn't bode well for an exciting game. the seats were club level, first row, right over third base. (the same section i'd sat in a few months ago when i went to a game for free via work.) it's a great vantage point for an overall view of the field and game. the game was okay through the seventh inning, although st. louis had the lead the whole time. during the seventh inning stretch we got up and moved. they had a second set of tickets. these were field level, second row, to the first base side of home plate looking straight down the third base line. we were basically 15 feet or so from the astros batter on deck. it was a great view for pitching and batting. well, the bottom of the eighth the astros were behind one run, berkman came up with one on base, got to a full count, then hit a homer to put the astros on top. wheeler came in to close the top of the 9th, and shut st. louis down. it was a great game, and we had two sets of excellent seats to watch and enjoy the game.

after the game, we headed back to the big top for awhile, where a drunk gay man left with the hula girl bic lighter i'd bought in pennsylvania during my truck trip. which isn't a big deal, i just thought it was kind of funny. i also ran into byriah from taurian there. he's kind of easy to recognize, but i was kind of surpised he recognized me. i'll probably be visiting him next june, if i don't get up my gumption and drop by earlier for an eyebrow piercing.

house of cash -- no, not johnny

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i forgot to mention i went by cavender's on saturday. i picked up a couple of pearl snap shirts, as well as a hard plastic hat box for cowboy hats. my most prized purchase though is one of those wire hat holders with a spring that you affix to the inside roof of your truck. now i need a gun rack.

i went solo to the wild river band show at the mucky duck sunday evening. the wild river band was good. herb remington appeared to be in a good mood and was joking around quite a bit, which i think led him to play more and with more spark. how can you not appreciate getting to see/hear the man himself perform "remington ride"? i wasn't all that excited about the venue though. i'd been there once or twice before, but never for a show. (i'd also sat outside, not inside.) don't get me wrong, it's a nice place and the sound was good -- but it's sort of more like going to a somewhat ritzy dinner theater than going to a live concert: the lighting is dark with candles on the tables; there's a bar but most of the floorspace is table seating -- thick, dark wooden tables with ornate dark-wood chairs sporting deep complex-patterned upholstery; the short stage is in one corner of the room; and they're serving food. now this was pitched as "super supper sunday" or such so maybe it doesn't always have that feel, but i'm guessing the place generally has a more sophisticated, sit-down, quiet vibe. i think i prefer places like blanco's and the continental club more. perhaps when i get in my 50's my preferences will change.

moving on to the sale of my house -- i'm not really excited about living in it while it's showing, but i don't have much choice. i'm sure the cat is pretty freaked out by all of these strangers coming into the house all of the time too. i guess at this point it sort of feels like what's happened to the rest of my life due to the affair and tamara taking advantage of the situation in the courts. (i'll refrain from explaining that at this point in time. maybe later.) the house has been shown around 15 times so far, and there have been 3 or 4 offers made at this point. none have been for the asking price.

bump and grind? no thanks.

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i believe this morning ties for first place in the category of "closest i've come to getting injured while on my bike".

i was driving down bissonnet between beltway 8 and 59, near 8 but headed toward 59. the speed limit is probably 35, and i was likely doing 10 to 15 mph above that (which, in houston, means i was going 5 to 10 mph faster than everyone else). the street is three lanes each way there; i was in the far right lane. a car was a little behind me in the middle lane and doing about the same speed as me. a pickup (blue ford ranger) was probably around 50 yards in front of me in my lane, and another pickup (green full-size chevy extended cab) was in the left lane about even with the ranger. the middle lane was empty ahead of me. the pickup in front of me put on its blinker to turn right into a single-width driveway, and was slowing down a lot in the process, so after making sure the car behind me was far enough back i started to move into the open center lane. i also noticed that the pickup in the far left lane was slowing a lot, i assumed to make a u-turn or turn left (it was near an intersection with a light where a lot of people turn left). as i switched into the center lane, suddenly the green pickup made a right -- from the left lane -- across all three lanes of traffic -- into the same single-width driveway. of course, the ranger was still in/near the ramp -- plus they probably didn't want to take their truck across a bump, G-d forbid -- so the green pickup had to slow down...and came to a stop, occupying parts of all three lanes. i slammed on my rear brakes while trying to steer to the left to go around the back of the pickup, and i went into a slide for probably at least 20 or 30 feet. fortunately no one was coming up in the left lane, because i slid at an angle and came within a foot or two of the back of the pickup as i shot into the left lane. i probably would have hit him at around 15 to 20 or so miles -- not horrible, but definitely enough to cause some (possibly serious) damage to the bike and myself. (then there's always the possibility of me hitting my head on something, or a vehicle coming from behind and hitting me.) if i had stayed in the right lane behind the ranger, the pickup would have pulled right in front of me and i would have smashed full into the side of him (if he didn't drive into me).

obviously sharing the road with some of the swift of mind and fleet of foot toodling obliviously around in cages can be a dangerous proposition for those of us who choose to ride free. so how was your commute?

perchance to dream

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geh. i hate it when your brain for unknown reasons decides to torment you while you're in a helpless state of sleep.

i had a dream last night that i flew to the northeast to go to tamara's...high school reunion, or something. (which i guess it would be about time for, but i doubt she'd go to it.) anyway, in my dream i thought my parents were going up there too and staying with tamara's parents (oddly enough), and they evidently thought i was going to austin or somewhere. so i got up there and then i was sort of trapped without a vehicle or anything. i was at whatever event this was -- some kind of pretty big dance/social sort of thing -- and suddenly i decided this wasn't such a good idea and i shouldn't be there. so i was kind of moving around, but trying to stay out of major areas where lots of people were. of course, about the time i realized i didn't want to be there is when i ran into tamara and a female friend of hers (who was in our wedding) in a hall. she flipped out and was yelling at me about how she was going to call the police and how could i come up there, and her friend was in my face yelling at me too. i didn't really think i was doing anything wrong, but the whole time i didn't really know why i had gone there either. so i walked on as they were yelling at me and mocking me from behind. then i woke up. i was glad that dream was over.

then i went back to sleep and the dream picked up at another point. oh boy. evidently that was on a saturday and now it was sunday. i'd agreed to go to church with some people i'd met up there through tamara. the place was huge and there were tons of people -- evidently the church was growing rapidly. i lost the couple of people i knew, but had befriended some questionable characters outside (most of whom probably weren't going into the service). one of them walked with me as i went to try and find a place to sit. but of course we had to get bounced around the whole outside to get to where they were seating people. as i was walking through a walkway that had box seating on one side a couple of steps higher, there was tamara sitting up there. i kept walking and didn't really make eye contact, but she made some snide remark as i passed. fortunately i didn't see her the rest of the dream, but i was nervous and on edge the whole time.

what an exciting set of scenarios for my brain to throw at me. still, it's better than when i was having dreams we were still married and she was cheating on me, or dreams set in the timeframe where we were going through the divorce stuff. maybe my brain is finally wrapping up all the severed ends.

friday i did some stuff for work in the early evening, then i headed to the diedrich's on montrose and met up with brad. we then headed over to the continental club to check out dale watson. dale was good, as usual. there was a cool-looking girl at the bar, but of course i didn't try to talk to her anything. over time i realized she was there with two married couples, and one of the drunk husbands kept putting his arm around her and putting his hand on her butt, then she'd walk away for awhile. his wife seemed none too excited about it when she could focus long enough to know what was going on, but she seemed to forget pretty easily. the other husband then seemed to covertly suggest he should chill, and then they all left together. exciting stuff. i also ended up dancing a few times, which i don't normally do. i really pretty much suck at it. (maybe the not normally doing it has something to do with that.) but the girl was gracious and nice, so it was cool.

saturday evening i went to the armadillo palace with brad to see gary p. nunn. i don't like gary as much as dale, but he's pretty good. we sat outside for most of the show, where we each had some venison chili and a slice of their pecan pie. i hadn't had their chili before -- it's really good. and their pecan pie...i've had it before, and it was excellent as always. they pipe the music outside, so we could hear the show out there, but we eventually went in. i was pretty excited when i originally heard about the armadillo palace, but it's really pretty much just another houston yuppie hangout as far as the clientele. we took off a little before the show ended to go hang out at la carafe downtown.

i joked with brad that this was going to be a weekend crash-course in Texas country music for him. this evening the wild river band is playing at the mucky duck. but he already saw them at blanco's a few months back, so i'm not sure he'll go to the show tonight. i'm not sure if i'll go either.

good and evil

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seeing as how i failed to comment on the anniversary of johnny cash's passing on the date (sept 12), i figure this post is as appropriate a context as any in which to do so. read on and hopefully you'll easily understand why. (G-d bless johnny cash!)

a couple of days ago jamie passed along a salon article entitled "come as you are" that is about the mars hill church up in seattle. it was written by lauren sandler. having been a part of the "disciple generation" (as she calls it) since before the "movement" really existed as such, it's always interesting to read what both those inside and outside of that category think of it and feel about it.

my personal take on lauren from the article is that she comes across as not comfortable with christianity in general, and she feels like alt xianity is nothing more than fundamentalism wrapped in a grunge shirt as a marketing ploy for the youth. and i believe that aspect of it does exist in parts and in places. but most of the alt xians i've known over the years have a much more complex and deeper faith than a mere repackaging of fundamentalist christianity. (in fact, the hackles on most alt xians i've known would rise if they were lumped into the "fundamentalist" category.) it's obvious in numerous places that her sensibilities are offended by the people she is interviewing or talking about, and her spin or interpretation of quotes or situations is pretty obvious as well. granted, i have never been to mars hill and i've never spoken with mark driscoll -- heck, i've never even read any of his books -- but i can easily place my own context of a number of things done and said in her article, and her interpretations of them seem less than generous. in fact, it comes across like she is looking for things to be upset, or bemused, or put off by. and i suppose that's her prerogative. it'd just be nice if it wasn't pitched like an investigative article to find out what makes these people tick, when it reads more like someone confused by these people and assuming there must be some hidden conflict or agenda.

i will grant that there are plenty of things i've found to dislike about the post-modern movement in christianity, of which the "disciple generation" tends to in places fall into. but the alt xian movement is much bigger than just mars hill or the church systems it has been involved with. it's also older and more complex than the music section of the xian bookstore. part of my perspective may be because it's been years since i was trapped in a mindset of thinking how someone dresses or does their hair, or what kind of music or art they like, necessarily allows you to easily pigeonhole them into predefined categories when it comes to their personalities or moral beliefs. i've straddled the line between alternative culture and christianity for quite a fair number of years, and i don't see why it's so difficult for people to believe there isn't much conflict -- unless their view of alternative culture and/or christianity is so rigid and limited that they can't see how the majority of either really has little to say about the other. one is cultural choice, the other a world-view/belief choice. do those affect one another? yes, of course. but christianity is at its core about moral code and spiritual belief, not about musical genres and clothing styles. (despite what some churchgoers will try to convince you of.) likewise, there are many aspects of alternative cultures that fit rather nicely inside of christianity. in fact, i'd dare say that some views and attitudes in alt culture fit better with christianity than most of the examples of mainstream christianity you see practiced in america. unfortunately, there are many fans of alt cultures that are just as blind and reactionary about christianity as there are christians toward alt cultures. which many times puts alt xians in the cross-hairs of both sides. perhaps disliking the bastard children of both cultures is something both sides can agree on. ;)

anyway, reading the salon article did make me interested in the book she wrote entitled righteous about this same subject. even though i wasn't really impressed with her angle, i did find the article interesting and i decided to purchase the book. (so i guess the article served its purpose.) mars hill is what she focused on in the article and maybe it's just a bad version of alt xianity -- but the book evidently involves her going to numerous places to crack this phenomenon. so i figure it's a good thing for me to read someone else's perspective of a movement i've been at least peripherally involved with for years, even though my limited time with an actual church of the movement (ecclesia here in houston) ended less than favorably and i have a lot of negative things i could say about the leadership of the church. still, i am betting after i read the book i'll continue to feel she has neither accurately portrayed alt xian culture nor given it a fair shake.

moving to another subject, on tuesday (sept 12) i attended a show at the meridian: bob wayne and the outlaw carnies opened, hank iii headlined. first let me detail how i got there and who i went with, since that's a story in and of itself...

i had noticed hank iii was coming to town, but i'm not one to spend much money on going to a show so i noted it but i didn't make a mental note or plan to go. i'd gotten close to going the last time he'd come through town, but talked myself out at the last minute (partially due to money, partially due to my flying solo). the day of this show, natalie messaged me and asked if i was going. i replied with my reasoning above, then she replied and said she might be able to secure two free tickets. which she did. very cool.

around 5 or 6 she called and told me she couldn't make it, but i could come by and pick up the tickets and find someone else to go. i tried to think of who might want to go. i called brad because i figured there was a possibility, but he'd already made plans. i told him to see if he could think of someone. then i remembered the conversation i'd had with amy at calista's birthday party. i was somewhat surprised at the time to learn she was into what she termed "red dirt" country. it's not exactly what i listen to, but some of the areas overlap since much musical sub-genre boundaries are fuzzy. recalling she was one of the only people i've talked to and know in houston that actually is into similar music, i thought she might like to go. then i got concerned about it being awkward for me to call and ask her. first, because i really don't know her all that well. second, because she's married. so in my head i'm thinking "hey, yeah, we talked about music and i'm going to this show and i've got one ticket and i'm divorced and single and how would you like to go with me?" (which i wouldn't say, but it's situational.) a third reason is that i had no idea how to get in touch with her or her husband. i decided to call jack and sue, who know eric and amy better. i know eric and amy enough to have been pretty sure they probably wouldn't see the situation as awkward, and i was pretty sure eric wasn't into the same music so he probably wouldn't really care about going anyway, but it was my confidence that was lacking. so i asked if jack could call and explain the situation, maybe saying they could buy one ticket and both get in for half price, or if she wanted to go.

soon after, natalie called me back and said she could go again after all, but if i had already found someone to go that was cool. *sigh* i told her i had a couple of feelers out but no responses yet, so she told me to just let her know. i agreed to meet her at trivia at the flying saucer.

immediately after she hung up, jack called me back and said "amy's in. one stipulation: you have to stick near her because she doesn't want to be at a bar by herself." somewhat of an ironic twist given my concern.

so around 7pm i went to the flying saucer and participated in some trivia. i told natalie what had transpired, then i offered to buy her a ticket since she'd thought of it, gotten them, and now wouldn't be going. i had to re-offer several times before she agreed to think about it, but in the end she decided to hang with the trivia folk for after-trivia festivities (probably at sambuca). (i owe her now. even if she repeatedly tells me otherwise.)

i went over to the meridian, where they were wanding people so i had to go back to my car and drop off all of my various weapons. then i met amy at the entrance. for a tuesday night, the place had a lot of people. bob wayne had already started. he/they were pretty good, i thought. sort of the schtickish alt country stuff, but without being horribly lame and annoying. think some of the early alt country bands out of california. i might pick up the cd from the website.

hank iii puts on an amazing show. the stage presence, the sound, the energy -- it was all there. he gets a little too into the drinking, smoking, doping, going-to-hell stuff for me overall, but he's a talented showman.

the whole evening amy and i kept moving forward in the crowd, until finally we found ourselves at the edge of the pit. yes, hank iii draws the kind of crowd and has the kind of energy that there is a pit. and it's not out of place. i hadn't started the day knowing i was going to a show though, so i was wearing doc marten sandals. i was somewhat concerned for my feet, but i made it out with all toenails intact.

hank iii did a set of his material clocking in at about one hour, then he did a set of what he refers to as "hellbilly", which is pretty much metal/punk with a fiddle and steel guitar. then he finished off the night with a set by assjack, which is a metal band he also does. most of the band members do double-duty in both incarnations. it's been a long time since i've gone to a metal show, and an even longer time since i stood at the edge of a pit. but it was really cool and i had a good time.

after the show i walked amy to her vehicle, but since we don't really know a whole lot about each other we just started talking about various things -- about our interests and backgrounds and that sort of stuff. at some point she said "we've been sitting here talking a long time. normally after a show we'll go to the house of pies." *blink* i was like "i love the house of pies! i go there all the time! in fact, i go there so much my friends make fun of me for it!" then she said, "no way! it's your friends that are lame! i love to go and have a slice of coconut cream pie." *blink* *blink* i immediately responded "that's my favorite pie there! it's my default!" so she said "that's it! we're going to the house of pies!" i was going to get a slice of bayou goo so she could try it since she'd never had it and it's my second go-to pie, but they were out. :(

near the end of the time at house of pies, i went ahead and talked about the reservation i'd felt about asking her if she wanted to go. she said she hadn't even though about, she just thought i was jack and sue's good friend and there was a show. which i kind of figured would have been the case, but i wasn't completely sure and i really didn't want to put myself in an awkward situation. as it turned out, everything was really cool and i had a really good time. she and eric also go to a newer sort of alt xian church here in houston called kaleo (website), so i might check that out sometime. (how's that for bringing it full circle?)

i ended up getting home around 3:30am i think. man, was i tired the next day at work.

mike judge's idiocracy

monday after work i went and saw idiocracy with natalie. (i hadn't noticed its existence, so thanks to natalie for noticing it and mentioning it!) it's a film by mike judge (office space, "beavis and butthead", "king of the hill"). it stars luke wilson and maya rudolph, and there are appearances by andrew wilson (futureman in bottle rocket and luke's older brother), robert musgrave (bob maplethorpe in bottle rocket), david herman (michael bolton in office space), stephen root (milton in office space), etc. the film evidently sat in the can for a couple of years, then fox quietly released it in about 6 markets recently without any fanfare or advertising. you can't even find a trailer for it (at least not when i looked around monday evening).

judge is known for his spot-on satire, and this film is no exception. this is way more over-the-top than office space, and i don't think as good. but office space sort of flopped at the box office (i actually did see it in the theaters when it was released), then picked up a cult following on dvd (which allowed me to appreciate it more). i think this has a good chance of doing the same. similar to how every cubicle worker can identify with office space, but it's those who see the absurdness and futility of modern corporate culture that really "get" it -- every person who is aware of american pop culture can identify with the jokes being made in this film, but it's those who think that the dumbing trend is seriously frightening that will revel in the true point behind the movie.

the premise is that evolution has shifted and without natural predators humanity is being overrun by those who procreate the most...and that's not the intelligent. over several hundred years the human race has reached a point of dullness that can be imagined by the logical extension of the trends toward stupidity found in american popular culture today. luke wilson is the average man of today, frozen as part of a military human hibernation experiment that's supposed to go one year. the experiment gets forgotten through government blunders, and 500+ years later when he actually ends up being revived (accidentally) he is the smartest man on earth. i don't really want to delve into the plotline, because i think the jokes are better in the context of the film, and i'd rather you go out and watch it and support it.

because of the devolution of mankind, there is a lot of low-brow humor in the film -- everything has turned into sex, violence, vacuous showmanship, and corporate commercialism. but while some will laugh merely at the crassness or scatological nature of the funnies, there is a point being made. (you may recognize this tactic from "beavis and butthead".) i think idiocracy is more of an intellectual salvo of satire over the starboard bow of the idiot ship. the question is how many will think it's a fireworks display and how many will, after a moment of clarity say "heeeey...".

still, i don't think it's as strong as it could have been, when compared to his other work. but i doubt that's what made 20th century fox hold off on releasing it. i'm interested to see how it fares, given the cult status judge has and the fact that it's his first film since office space.

mental floss

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the plan friday after work was to head to the west alabama ice house for a bit, then to brasil to check out the local band sk-1 project, then to head to superhappyfunland to check out atarimatt (from bryan/college station) and drums and tuba (from california).

what ended up happening was i called brad and he was moving into his new apartment, so instead of going to the ice house i went to his apartment. i hung out there for a couple of hours and then headed over to brasil. by the time sk-1 project started, it was already after the time i was planning to leave to see atarimatt, so i just stayed at brasil. sk-1 project is a few folk playing mostly electronic equipment, including a speak and spell, mini-moog, some circuit-bent stuff, keyboards, samplers, etc. it's fairly mellow electronic stuff generally, some ambient but mostly beat-oriented. i met chris and mary there, then brad and kelli showed up later, as did another coworker and an ex-coworker. jamie was there as well, but was sitting with the sugarhill gang the first half of the evening, looking pretty dazed. (i later learned she'd bent/scraped up her car on 59.) i talked with dan workman, who is in sk-1 project, and he seemed like a pretty cool guy. he had recently gotten "agape" in greek tattooed on his left forearm. he goes to ecclesia. we talked some about being a christian and our concepts of what a church should be, etc. like i said, he seemed pretty cool. i talked a bit with the main sk-1 project guy because he's into circuit bending, but it was a pretty short conversation during their break and we never continued it.

saturday i bought the directors label "work of director" box set. it's a collection of the earlier work of spike jonze, chris cunningham, and michel gondry. they all did some pretty innovate stuff in music and short-form videos before they moved on to other things. it includes a dvd and short book for each guy, a fourth dvd of more recent work and other extras, and a poster.

today i went over to the potts for calista's second birthday party. a number of people i've known over the years showed up, and i had a good time talking with them.

afterward, i headed over to church to see jackson get a bible as a sort of "graduation" gift for going into older classes (i think). i ran late though, so i figured i missed it. but jack and sue had run late too, so we all missed it.

while we were wandering around skipping classes and church, i basically followed jack and sue. they ended up walking down the hallway on the second floor where we all met with tamara to negotiate money in our divorce. (after which she completely ignored it -- and me -- and took advantage of me in the legal system.) that whole experience at the church with tamara was rather traumatic for me. (i used to have a blog entry about it, but my server crashed in sept 2004 and i lost a lot of entries i made during the earlier months of me dealing with tamara's infidelity and her subsequent loss of any sense of fairness or honor toward me or the situation.) well, even though that event took place about two years ago, today i seriously think i almost had a panic attack. i got really nervous and my heartbeat was probably up. it was classic "fight or flight" symptoms, and i almost turned back to go down the stairs instead of walking by the room. i actually kept my field of vision mostly turned away so i wouldn't see the wall or hallway or door to the room. but i managed to make it by without too much of an incident. if you call what did happen "not much of an incident." i felt kind of stupid for it still having that amount of effect on me. maybe that was just a fluke and it wouldn't happen every time. i may have even walked by it once or twice before and done okay with it, i don't remember.

as long as i'm talking about my mental/personality issues, let me mention something i've had for years and years. i'm mostly a loner and i will generally sort of go off by myself in public places, but i enjoy talking with people so i usually like it when they come over to talk with me. the odd thing is that usually at some later point in the event i'll end up feeling like i'm not interesting or people don't really want to talk to me or while talking to me they were wishing they could move on. and/or when things are over and i'm walking away i'll feel like a social failure. even if i had some really good conversations and people seemed to enjoy interacting with me. and even if i can rationalize reasons that wouldn't be the case, it's pretty easy for me to just as easily see reasons that would be the case, and i tend to focus on the latter. i'm not sure why that is, but i've had that sort of pattern since at least junior high probably. it's some kind of thing where i want people to like me, but i'm almost always convinced they really don't. by that i don't mean they dislike me (or maybe they do) or even hate me -- more like at the best they just think of me as an okay guy, but mostly they just don't think of me at all. i honestly pretty much believe this to be the case. basically i manage to find some reason to think i failed, whether it was because i talked too little or i talked too much, or i'm boring, or i'm offensive, or i'm not cool, or whatever. these feelings tend to be at their strongest right after something happens, so when i'm not busy self-analyzing things seem to be better or at least not as big of a deal. my self-esteem seems more stable and stronger when it's not being put out in public for reaction or response.

and yes, this attribute could very well help explain why i've not dated much over the years. very astute observation! of course, you might want to throw some of my perfectionist tendencies and fear of failure into the mix too. ...or maybe this trait is just an outcropping of those tendencies. looks like you've got some more psychoanalysis left.

the advantage

i forgot to mention in my review of labor day weekend in brady that i rolled 60k miles on the truck. that means i put about 3k miles on it in the month i've owned it. i don't think that pattern will continue. although i do like driving it. in other truck news, i got the title for it in the mail: it was made out to "tetrerry" or something not quite right. *sigh*

wednesday after the radio show i headed over to walter's on washington to check out a band on rc5 called the advantage. they're a traditional rock band -- two guitars, bass, and drums -- but all they do is covers of nintendo video game music. it was pretty cool. i never had a nintendo though, and i never played the one my brother got after i went off to college much, so i didn't recognize...well, any of the songs. but it was almost as enjoyable to watch the eyes light up of groups around me as they looked at each other and smiled and obviously knew the tunes. the sound was sort of like a mixture of straight ahead 4/4 hard rock and jazz music (since a lot of the video game tunes used harmony a lot, which was emulated by the two guitars).

there is definitely a "for sale" sign in my front yard. yep. that's what i call excitement.

labor day 2006 review

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for labor day weekend i went home to brady, Texas. here's a brief overview of some of the goings on:

i took the truck and it performed nominally. i decided to leave work early to see if i could make it to mason by 7:30pm so i could surprise my parents and brother and his girlfriend and watch the 2nd pirates of the carribean movie with them. i was making good time until i hit austin. at 5 minutes before 5pm. the east side was slow moving for 25 minutes or so, then near i-35 it cleared up. a few miles after 71 and 290 split on the west side it backed up...crawling...for miles. i was afraid my engine was going to overheat. by the time i got through that crap it was like 6:15pm. i decided to go for it anyway.

i had been doing ~75mph before austin, now i picked it up to 80-85mph. a car that didn't want me passing it sped up, so i stayed behind him. a few miles later, a cop came over the hill and whipped around on us. i slowed and got in the slow lane, then the car in front of me did the same. the cop passed me, pulled in front of me, and turned on his lights. i kept going. after the marble falls intersection i kicked it back up to 80-85mph. once i got on 29 past llano i went 90+mph most of the way to mason. i got there at 6:45pm, and was a few minutes late for the movie. so i saw it in the same theater as my family, but not exactly with them. i didn't see them until after the movie was over.

the movie was entertaining, but it got pretty absurd in a lot of ways and it totally ended with the intention of having a 3rd one. it was also really long. so overall it was sort of mixed for me -- it had some great parts, but it was too stupid in parts and lengthy overall, and that brings it down some. the special effects were pretty impressive i thought, especially with davey jones.

changing tracks, my dad was in the jaycees when they started the annual event that still happens on labor day weekend in brady -- the world championship barbeque goat cookoff. so most years i head home and go down to the park to eat goat for lunch on saturday. this year was no exception.

even though i enjoy (and need, really) having a few friends around to do stuff with in general, i'm not a big socialite and don't really enjoy going out and meeting a bunch of people and chit-chatting about nonsense. i also don't really like "catching up" with people i hardly remember and honestly don't feel i have much in common with. which doesn't mean i can't do it, i just prefer to avoid it if i can. (call it a character quirk...or just call it a flaw if you don't like such traits.) so one thing i don't like about going to brady is i am likely to end up running into people i knew when i was growing up. i say all that to mention that this time not one single person recognized me at the goat cookoff. yea!

or maybe they recognized me but didn't care to talk to a pompous, snotty jerk like me. (which actually i'm not, i just don't like superficial conversations, going on in excited tones about what each of us is up to and where so-and-so is and "remember when", and all that jazz.) but i'm pretty sure they just didn't recognize me.

as seems to be the case lately, whenever i go home i end up feeling like i'm getting sick when i wake up after the first night there. i had decided it's allergies. this time was the same, however it got worse than it's been before. i'm not sure now if it was just allergies or not. i still think that's probably the case, and me being out at the park just intensified my reaction. but i'm still having some sinus issues as i write this, and it got pretty nasty while i was there.

sunday evening i drove with an ex to brownwood to eat supper. we haven't seen each other in 9 or so years. it was kind of awkward, but so much has happened to both of us that there was definitely plenty of things for each of us to talk about. it's weird how much time changes some things, while other things can make you feel like hardly any time has passed at all. (and by that i don't mean i'm looking to get involved with her, just in case you were going there.)

monday for lunch i ate with my parents at a new place on the square. it's run by the wife of the pastor of my parents' church. when we were driving up to park, i noticed jennifer's suburban was parked out front. she was my first post-marriage relationship, a hometown girl i've had some level of thing for since pretty much the 5th grade. she moved to houston, months after tamara had told me about the affair and in no uncertain terms that she was finished with me and moving on, and eventually we started dating. about 8 months later, she broke up with me. i'm sure she saw me and my parents walk in, but the one time i glanced over at the table she wasn't looking so i never said "hello" or anything. and she never came by before they left. so we managed to not interact.

it's kind of awkward since she broke up with me and i can't help but have feelings for her. she wishes we still had our friendship, but for me it was always a double-edged sword -- i enjoyed our friendship, but there was always a part of me that wanted more than that. i lived for years with that mixture of happiness and pain whenever i was around her. i guess although the scenario is different now since we actually dated, nothing's really changed either. i kind of keep hoping those feelings will go away at some point, but based on the previous track record it seems unlikely.

on the way back to houston i stopped by the graveyard where my grandparents -- as well as numerous other relatives -- are buried. that's something i started doing recently. sometimes i also stop by the house in art, or go up to the church my ancestors helped build. it kind of gives me a chance to reflect on my life, and put it in a larger perspective. a lot of times it makes me cry because...well, because i'm not too happy with what happened with tamara, and that was one of the most important pieces of my life. but sometimes it just makes me realize my relatives also had hard lives and disappointments, and they persevered, and there is still the possibility that my future can be filled with a meaningful relationship and a family of my own.

i also stopped in austin and ate at kerbey lane with my brother. on my way out of town i was at a stop light before getting onto i-35, and a guy with a big bushy beard and a squeegee standing on the sidewalk at the intersection said "nice truck, man." i looked at him and said "thanks." then he said "'65, huh?" i got a big grin because he pegged it and i said "yeah." he said "i've got a few classics myself." then as the light turned and i started off, he said "take it easy, brother!"

home for sale

home for sale that's much too large
too many rooms, big old empty yard
far more space than the owner needs
price includes all the memories

home for sale, restored like new
just a place two lives outgrew
a change in heart forces move away
would like to keep but just can't stay

listen close and you might hear the sound
of what you think is rainfall leaking down
the roof is fine, set aside your fears
it's just a few remaining tears

home for sale, not all that old
a family's dream stands dark and cold
scenic views that go for free
of all the love that used to be

home for sale that's much too large

-- dwight yoakam -- "home for sale"

i took off this morning from work and did some cleaning at the house, then went and cut a new key for the front gate (because i couldn't find the other one i should have somewhere in the house). the realtor came by this afternoon and put the keys in a lockbox, so there should be a "for sale" sign in the front yard at this point.

i love it when i have to do things that remind me of my marriage and what tamara eventually chose to drag me through and take from me. what a class act she turned out to be in the end. which is just sad, because she has the ability to be so much better than that. the eventual move should be overwhelmingly joyful. but i guess after that it'll pretty much all be over except the crying. well, assuming her attorney's office ever gets off their butt and takes care of the qdro. maybe i should contact the courts and get it myself and submit it. i wonder if i can do that...

labor day weekend bookends

friday morning i was riding my motorcycle into work up 59. i was going over the speed limit (as usual) but i slowed down because i saw a motorcycle cop getting on from the feeder. he got on then sped up, so i followed behind him. up ahead, i then saw an ambulance with its lights on. right before the 610 exit, a car or two got between me and the cop and ambulance. then suddenly traffic stopped. fast. i had been in the fast lane so i moved over one while coming to a stop. that's when i noticed a wrecked car -- a green cavalier, i think -- right in the middle of the freeway. it was still smoking. then i noticed the ambulance smoking its tires as it slid over against the divider wall. "huh," i thought, "did the ambulance miss the wreck?" then i noticed a tire rolling down the freeway. it was the ambulance's right front tire. evidently the ambulance and the green car were in a wreck right at that moment. the motorcycle cop had stopped and started directing traffic. the cavalier was facing back toward traffic and its front end was totally crushed...it was hard to even believe a motor could have been in there before. as i drove by, there were parts all over the road. but the driver of the car was getting out and appeared unharmed. a few hundred yards down the road, the ambulance's front tire was in the middle lane.

last night i was on highway 6 at the light between westheimer and richmond, headed south. i was about 10 minutes from home. the light turned green and people started moving. i heard tires squealing to my left and i saw a car fly by in the center turn lane. it got past the intersection then whipped back into the regular lanes...right into all of the cars that were in front of me. it hit one, two, three cars...at least...and then came to a stop. it sat there for 5 or 10 seconds, then took off down 6. i started to follow it to try and get the license plate, but there were multiple disabled cars in front of me and by the time i got through them he was gone. i turned around and went back, where people were pulling their cars into a circuit city parking lot. fortunately, no one was seriously injured at all. about 10 minutes later a black chrysler came up and said they'd followed the guy and got his plate, then he'd stopped and they'd confronted him because he almost hit their car. when we heard sirens, the guy wrote down the plate and gave it to someone and said "sorry guys, i gotta go, i got warrants." the ambulance and the wreckers showed up pretty fast, but the police didn't show up for like 2 hours. the wreck happened around 10:30pm and i didn't get home until 2am.

what's that you say?

you know how there are always those words or phrases you misunderstood? or misused? well, for years i didn't quite get this exchange:

"see you later."
"not if i see you first!"

being the methodical, concrete little thinker that i was (and perhaps a bit of the naive, sweet, innocent, rural kid that i was too), the only thing i saw up for discussion was the order in which the two people saw each other. this made the response make no sense at all, because if the second person saw the other first, they would in fact be causing the truth of the first comment (which is the first person would see them later in time). this could not be! i thought the second person was trying to be clever, yet being completely incorrect. i could not for the life of me understand why such a nonsensical rejoinder was being perpetuated by society at large. i think i even began to try and correct people, telling them the rejoinder should be "not if you see me first!" (along with the requisite explanation of the order in which the two people saw each other.)

i don't recall exactly when i learned the response meant "if i see you before you see me, i'll hide so you don't see me." but i think it was in junior high, or maybe high school, probably after offering my suggested change and having someone say "that makes no sense. are you a moron or something?"

here's another one. for years, i thought the phrase shouted at people to get them up and motivated for action was "up and adam!"

i had no idea what kind of mystical origin such an obtuse phrase must have had. the best i could come up with was that it must have something to do with adam from the bible, since he was the first human, and somehow the phrase related to being full of energy and zeal because of being newly created or something. i opted for some unknown meaning that must have been lost through the annals of time, because obviously my best guess was pretty lame.

i do, in fact, still remember the time when this misunderstanding was ended: i read the phrase in a beetle bailey cartoon. "up and at 'em!" the seargant yelled in big, bold, black letters right there on the sunday comics page. and suddenly it all made sense.

and just to drag my brother into this, i remember he used to say "adoption" instead of "adaption". as in, "did you hear they were going to do this awesome punisher movie adoption with dolf lundgren? i hope they get duran duran and billy idol to do the soundtrack!" he used to get totally pissed at me when i would correct him and tell him the word was "adaption". then he'd restate it incorrectly in front of me just to piss me off.

hopefully revealing this about him won't still bring down his ire upon me, since i'm supposed to be seeing him this weekend. and if it does, perhaps the fact that i come bearing a gift will help quell his furor. maybe i should try to find some tiger beat pics of duran duran for him too, just in case.

apple is a no-good tease!

d4mn. another apple battery recall and no battery replacement love for me. this is the second time they've had a recall on my laptop model, and the second time i've been dissed by their wanton glances and throaty promises of a virgin battery. so now, my experience in the form of a short performance piece:

(old-school beatbox rap music playing in background)
coworker: and what's up with your batteries, steve-o, man?
me: yeah, i hear apple's been giving that stuff out to all them 12" ibook guys.
steve jobs: yo, shut the fsck up, phliKtid, man!
coworker: i'd paint three of those murals for some of that 4ss.
(sound of needle scratching across record)
me and jobs: (looking at coworker) huh?

*bows* thank you.

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