October 2006 Archives

well, rumor has it that tamara responded to a friend's email within 24 hours of it being sent. so that means she is reading email. hopefully that means she has also responded to the requests of the realtor and/or her own attorney. (yes, the realtor contacted her attorney since tamara has not been in touch with the realtor for a long time now.) i've not heard anything yet from my realtor about tamara initiating communication again, but hopefully that's the case. (if it's not, i'll be contacting her attorney as well.)

not that i really need to finish the sale or something. it's just that we've gotten this far, so it'd be nice to go ahead and take care of what is already in motion (and, in fact, near the end). she was the one who forced the sale of the house after all -- it's kind of silly for her to be holding it up.

house? what house?

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from the last couple of entries you might be able to surmise that some complications have arisen with the selling of my house. well, okay, here's the situation. it turns out the cash buyer was an l.l.c. who looked at the house early on and was interested, but they held them off as a backup in case the other deal fell through. which it, of course, did.

the plans to close on october 26th with the cash buyer obviously fell through too. i sent off the release of earnest money form on the 24th, but i just got a copy friday evening of the contract that was faxed to my realtor last week. i've had some difficulties getting very quick responses from my realtor, but so far it seems like things are still going okay on that front. at this point the house has been off the market for nearing a month. it'd suck if all that time off the market was wasted.

unfortunately, the real problem is tamara. after a month or two of being responsible and inquisitive and responsive, she evidently has begun having some problems (which i won't go into here) and has not been returning phone calls or voice mail messages or email for the last couple of weeks. (you may or may not be able to learn more about it by reading her blog. i've still never gone to look at it and don't plan to because i think it would just be more torture for me, something that i definitely don't need.) since she has to sign all of the paperwork, it makes it very hard for things to move forward.

this is all somewhat annoying since she was the one who pushed to sell the house to get money for herself from it, and now that it needs to happen she isn't taking care of her side of things. (i'm not claiming she's doing it maliciously...i think she's probably really having some problems.) hopefully she'll get things together enough to sign a few papers, or we can get power of attorney or something to finish things. fortunately, the latest buyer is giving us time.

pity the fool

G-d d4mn it. i hate it when i get updates about tamara. they either piss me off or break my heart. rarely do they ever fall somewhere in the middle, or outside of that continuum.

tonight was no exception. it started off as something that pissed me off, but it quickly turned into breaking my heart. if i were one to tie events together, i might think my recent deluge of dreams about tamara might somehow be tied to goings on in the real world i was unaware of. but how do i have any idea how strongly i should really feel?

it's been like this ever since things really started falling apart in our marriage. she'd do something or i'd find out something and i would be incredibly angry and feel betrayed and/or taken advantage of by her. or whatever it was would make me feel incredible sorrow for what kind of sad or screwed up state i imagined her to be in. inevitably i would end up feeling like my grieving had been in vain, because a short time later i'd end up having something done to me that totally pissed me off, or i'd get new news to the contrary of what i'd heard before.

sometimes, when i find out something, i want to email her and tell her that i love her and care about her no matter what, even if we can't be friends. sometimes i wish i could help her -- i made vows to her and G-d to cherish, and love, and protect her. no one else did that with her, just me. those are hard commitments for me to shake or give up. and even though she broke her vows and threw them and me away and divorced me, even though she took advantage of me financially, even though she lied to me about any number of things, i still care about her and want her to be whole. my heart grieves for her brokenness.

but then she ends up doing or saying things that hurt me -- emotionally, financially, whatever. and i recall everything i've had to go through, everything i've had done to me, and the state of things now because of it. and then i want to tell her i hate her for what she has done and is doing to me and putting me through. that she knows i don't deserve to be treated like that or done that way. and i want her to reap what she has sown.

...but then i end up finding out once again that she's frail and broken and messed up. and it breaks my heart. and so the cycle continues.

something has to give.

art, Texas, church celebration

thinking that i was going to be knee deep in the process of moving this past weekend, i never made extended plans for a trip home; however, a trip home was important to me and i had been planning it for some time. the reason? the methodist espiscopal church in art was celebrating 150 years of m.e. in central Texas (1856-2006). my ancestors have been members of the congregation since its inception, and helped build the churches -- including the current one, which was built in 1890. in fact, my great great great grandfather (my grandmother's grandfather) ernst jordan donated the land for the church. they were planning to have a service with a history of the church, followed by a chuck wagon lunch and visiting afterward. so i wanted to be there.

i left saturday morning and picked up my brother in austin. we then headed to brady. the two interesting bits of the journey were the argument we got in over the appropriateness or lack thereof of smoking bans (houston just extended theirs recently and austin has had one for a while) and my realtor calling right as i was getting to the edge of brady.

once there, we headed with the parents to brownwood to eat at underwood's and see a movie. (i'll discuss the movie in a separate entry.) i guess a combination of various things caused me to be retrospective and sullen after the movie, and when we got back home i pretty much just went to bed. it was a restless night of sleep occupied by dreams of me arguing with tamara about what happened with us and why it happened and who did what wrong. good times.

sunday morning we got up and headed over to my grandmother's for breakfast. after that we headed down to art. the weather was chilly, but the sun was shining and if you were out of the wind it wasn't too bad. we spent a fair bit of time outside the church, both before and after the service. most people had nametags, and it was weird to see all of these people running around with my last name. old people, kids, toddlers...i'm used to my name being an oddity and mostly older people having it. plus there were plenty of other people with other german names that i'm either related to somehow or familiar with from the area. there were probably 350 or more people there, which was a problem for a church which only seats around 200. a lot of people stood. they had spent some time putting together a slide show detailing the history of the church. there were some pretty cool pictures (including a few with my dad as a very young child in the youth group), but it seemed to have too many more recent pictures. (maybe i wouldn't think that if i were a regular there and knew a bunch of the people from the last 30 or so years.) they sold copies of the show afterward and my parents bought one, so i should have access to the pictures. near the end of the service they opened all of the outer window shutters and the inside of the church lit up with the sunlight coming in through the stained glass windows. (when i was young, only one or two were stained glass, and those were recent then. now they all are.) the chuck wagon meal was good, although not great. during the lunch, i also got to see and speak with a number of relatives that i don't see very often. (though obviously i'm not much of a social fellow. which i seem to get from my dad. and probably my dad's dad too.) overall i'm glad i went and was able to participate in the event. it's a cool connection to have with the area.

after it was over, my brother and i hopped in my car and we headed back to austin. after a brief respite there, i headed back to houston. all told, i left houston around 9:15am saturday and got back around 7:15pm sunday. a short timeline for all of that driving.

while i was sitting there under the pavilion hanging out with my family and a bunch of extended family and people who live in the area, i reconnected with how much i love the central Texas land. i have deep roots in the area, and we own land just a quarter to half mile from the church, across willow creek. i'd love to be in austin, or even there in art if i thought i could pull it off. it was then that the feeling sort of struck me that maybe i'm just a rural boy, and this whole experiment -- me going off to college and getting a complex degree, moving to the big city and getting a techincal job, marrying a yankee city girl -- it was all a failure, it all fell apart and left me brokenhearted and taken advantage of, and it's time to just admit defeat...time to admit i've been beaten by a system i was never made to be a part of, and i should just head back home to where i truly belong.

which sounds nice and neat and tidy, but there are some sticking points. one, i don't think i'm quite as simple as that. two, it hasn't really all been a failure. three, if i moved back and lived by myself in the country i'd probably end up writing manifestos and getting arrested for committing violent acts against society. i really would still like to have the opportunity to be a boyfriend, and husband, and father. i'm not sure i'm ready to resign myself to spending the rest of my life as a manifesto-writing hermit. which doesn't mean it's not a possible future, of course.

fun house (not)

here's the latest on the selling of the house...

after hearing nothing since noon last tuesday, friday around lunch my realtor called me and said the buyer wanted to come by and bring another inspector. i said that was fine. (not that i saw much in the way of other options.) i wasn't sure if that bode well for the sale or not, but i've felt unsure of what was going on during this process numerous times.

i didn't hear anything friday, but saturday afternoon my realtor called. she said the inspector i let in (whom i think she then made some disparaging comments about) told either the bank or the buyer (whoever he reported to) that it would cost $25k-$30k to do the repairs to the house. because of this, the buyer said she either didn't have the funds to do it, didn't want to do it, or saw no profit in it. or maybe it was the bank and they didn't want to lend on it. whatever the case, the other realtor had called mine and said the buyer was going to back out.

i personally don't think that was an unreasonable cost estimate, but that's me as an individual with no "connections" finding contractors to do all the work. in fact, i wouldn't be surprised if the amount would be higher than that. a person who flips houses should be able to get a lot better deals out of people they work with and such. plus they'd probably try to do a lot of cheap cosmetic fixes for resale. but i was honest about everything i am aware of that is wrong with the house in the sellers' disclosure, so i've got no feelings of guilt about trying to hide anything. (note to paranoid/conspiracy readers: this is all repairs to things that either tamara and i did to the house together while we were married or that happened to the house while tamara was still around. despite the fanciful musings of certain individuals, i have not done anything to destroy the value of the house.)

anyway, my realtor went on to tell me she said she told the other realtor that she would pass it along to me but that i likely would not be very happy about things because i'd had to take the house off the market for a few weeks and make plans to move and such while they drug their feet for a week after the original closing date. the other realtor said he might know someone who would pay cash for the house, but he didn't know what timeline he could do. my realtor said she told him things needed to be taken care of by friday (one week from the call). the other realtor said he would find out and get back in touch with her. later friday he called and said the other buyer would do it. my realtor said that sounded good, but she would need to see a contract. friday night he evidently sent her a contract, with closing on thursday (oct 26th) for the same amount as the last sale, and with me still getting 7 days after the sale to move. my realtor evidently also demanded we use the same title company, since the title is already opened there. that way things wouldn't take as long and no new title costs would be accrued. she emailed me a form to release the earnest money from the first buyer, which i signed and forwarded to tamara before lunch today.

obviously i'm hoping this new stuff is true. because there is the obvious possibility that this new all-cash buyer could quite easily flake out as well, if they're even truly interested as it stands anyway. i'm not saying this is the case, i'm just saying it seems possible. i've already had two buyers back out after they considered the cost of repairs, and now there is this mythical all-cash buyer coming in with no prior involvement, either trusting the info or advice of the realtor or previous reports or something?

like i said, i'm hoping it's true. as much as i hate the idea of packing and moving, i'm more tired of having financial ties to tamara that leave me worried about her and her attorney's ongoing actions. i felt like we were in a spot with this house for years, so if we get out without owing money then i'll feel like we were lucky. why tamara and her attornies expected much from it -- unless tamara never told them the truth and let them think it was worth market value and thus we should have about $40k equity in it -- i haven't the foggiest.

monster house

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well, closing on my house was supposed to be monday (oct 16th). but that didn't happen. early last week my realtor had told me the funding was approved/secured/something already and they weren't getting a home inspection done. i figured it was in the bag. then on thursday she called me at work and asked when i got home because an inspector for the bank needed to come by. i showed up and someone had been in my house, but the inspector never showed. so i called the realtor to see if the inspector had already been by, but he hadn't. the next day she called to let me know it was the bank appraiser that had been in my house. so suddenly we went from it seeming pretty much all wrapped up to any number of people needing to look at the house and decide if the sale can go through.

monday morning on my way into work the inspector called me. he asked when i could let him into the house because he'd talked to multiple people and no one could let him in. i said around 7:30pm and he asked about doing it at 8am or something the next day. me not being one to have leisure time in the morning, i suggested after work and he said okay. i also realized at this point we probably weren't going to close on schedule. i called my realtor and asked about someone letting him in, and she seemed to be annoyed at him and sort of took an attitude. i was just thinking "geez, y'all all do this professionally, i think. how is it that no one can take care of this during the working hours when y'all are supposed to be working?" i got home around 7:30pm but i missed a call from him and he said he didn't realize it got dark so fast so could we do it at 7:30am or 8am the next morning. he didn't know when it got dark? *sigh*

anyway, i waited until this (tuesday) morning to call him back and suggested 9am and that i would just be late for work. i called him back about 15 minutes later and he answered and said 9am would be good. he showed up and started to look around a bit and we started talking. i gave him a copy of the seller's disclosure. he really only did a cursory glance around the place, but we ended up talking for a long time about divorce and trying to deal with it and trying to move on. he was obviously a christian, and seemed like a pretty decent guy. he'd gone through some difficult times in dealing with the end of his first marriage, and i really felt like he could understand a lot of the feelings and emotions i've had to struggle with and deal with from what happened to me. it was actually pretty cool to talk to him about it, and if you believe in G-d sort of tweaking things to make certain people meet up and have a conversation one or both need to have then i would suggest this might be one of those times.

with the inspection taken care of, all things related to the bank making a decision should be done. i think. i still don't know when closing might take place, assuming the bank okays the sale. i'm guessing it'll probably be next week, but i suppose it could be in the next few days. after closing, i'll have seven days to pack up and get out.

night time come and heal me

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i had to work friday night for my job, so they allowed me to come in late. i slept in, then headed to empire for lunch. i managed to strike up a conversation with a cool-looking alternative girl. who was of course into debauchery and hedonism. score one for the away team.

i had a late evening/night at work. afterward, i met up with jack at the house of pies. we brainstormed ideas for a magazine ad for which the deadline was rapidly approaching. we eventually came up with something that was pretty clever in my opinion, but was evidently judged too edgy by others. and it was a bit edgy, i'll grant. but i thought it was the kind of edgy advertising that gets you noticed, and not in an utterly controversial and offense way. (at least not by most people these days.) of course, it was also around 4am when we hit upon this, and i was tired, had just worked a number of hours, and was hopped up on sugar and caffeine.

saturday i went over to raj and kiera's house and helped them move an air hockey table over to raj's parents' house. before we did that we dropped by goode company for some bbq.

saturday evening i watched green street hooligans. it's the first ripped movie i've ever watched. no, actually, i was over at someone's house a year or something ago and i saw part of a blackmarket copy of the incredibles. that was funny because the color and sound weren't very good, then during a scene a shadow stood up and walked across the screen. then a couple of minutes later, the shadow came back and sat down. someone gave me this most recent one to watch. this time it must have been an actual digital rip, because i couldn't tell any degredation in audio or visual quality. it was a decent movie. assuming it was accurate, i did learn a bit more about the culture around british soccer and a some new cockney slang. i did find it to portray most harvard types pretty accurately. ; )

i'm not a proponent of ripping movies or music. as i just said, i've hardly watched anything ripped. i've never ripped any movies myself. all the stuff i own is legit. plus, having access to any kind of decently priced renting system pretty much renders ripping dvds unnecessary in my opinion, because i'll rent most stuff and buy a real copy if i like a movie enough to want to own it. i also have never used any p2p software to download anything. my moral code with music is more along the lines that i think it's okay to copy it, but if you listen to it and like it then you should go and buy it. i don't think ripping all music instead of ever buying anything is cool. that said, i don't hardly ever copy anything, but sometimes other people give me stuff to listen to. i have very little music of which i don't own a legitimate copy. but, for example, someone gave me mp3s of grandaddy's sumday album and i now own three legit cds of theirs (including that album). that seems like a pretty good deal for the record labels.

sunday i was considering either going to kaleo or going to a pumpkin festival or something with the potts. the heavy rains nixed the pumpkin festival, and my saturday afternoon interaction with a shaver/trimmer kept me from kaleo. (you see, i'm not sure i'm comfortable with the current look i'm attempting -- and you only have one chance to make a first impression.) i instead went and ate lunch with the potts clan. later i went to church with them. i'm really starting to think i should stop going to that church. maybe to churches in general. i don't really want to give up on finding a place of fellowship with other believers, but i'm not sure in my current state it doesn't do me more harm than good. or at least doesn't do me much good. perhaps i can find a place i feel like i fit with better and deal with better. but then again i wouldn't be surprised if a large part of the issue currently is me.

sunday after church brad and kelli called to tell me they were heading to a show by a band called the sad accordians. one of the guys in it went to ecclesia and was in the church band, but he has since moved to austin. and the show was at the taft coffeehouse. i was reluctant about heading into a place that is run by some people who caused a great deal of spiritual and emotional stress for tamara and myself, but in the end i decided to go ahead and do it. the band had evidently changed their sound a fair bit since brad saw them around a year ago, so they weren't what i was expecting. they were good live, but their current sound isn't as much the kind of stuff i'm into. i also ran into eric hartley while i was there, so i talked to him some.

donald miller's road trip

i finished reading through painted deserts: light, G-d, and beauty on the open road by donald miller recently, a road trip story by the guy who wrote blue like jazz (which i've also read). this appears to have originally been written before his other books, although it sounds like it was cleaned up and fleshed out after years of sitting in a rough state. i must say i believe it was a better read than blue.... when reading blue... i felt like sometimes he was too clever and ironic for his own good -- like the style was so constantly used that it became overbearing and was less effective than if it would have been used more sparingly.

this book finds donald deciding to leave his hometown (houston, Texas) and go on a trip to oregon by way of the grand canyon. the friend he's going with owns a vw camper bus, which is their means of transportation. it broke down and had problems, of course (though not nearly as much as my pea green albatross). the book has a casual, easily readable style, and is more suited to his clever quips and turns of phrase. there's also plenty of ruminating about G-d, life, girls, nature, etc.

something that seemed to be a theme of the book was his constant wondering of "why?" and the thought that people who are able to ask "how?" and not "why?" are probably able to live a much easier life. he also seemed to think of most people as better than himself, but he obviously has some pretty deep thoughts. i guess some kind of mental torture and deep thinking tends to go hand in hand, as philosophers having one of highest suicide rates attests. although i think most people who call themselves philosophers tend to be pompous 4ss3s who use their knowledge as a weapon against others in what they view as a giant game of mental oneupmanship, instead of being how the profession is pitched -- altruistic intellectuals on a quest for Truth. (come to think of it, maybe it's not a surprise their suicide rate is so high.)

another big theme seemed to be the fact that we as humans strive way too hard for success and making it and become "comfortably numb" (to quote something else) and/or never fulfilled, when perhaps what we should be striving for is to simplify and seek G-d in nature and the skies and the stars. how many people live in a way they can and do take the time to just sit in nature or in the open and enjoy the world around us? to really just sit and watch and appreciate a sunrise, or a sunset, or a lightning storm? instead we're running from here to there, trying to climb the corporate and social ladders, gathering more and newer stuff, never feeling like we have time to just relax and enjoy life. have we lost something critical by insulating ourselves from the real world with asphalt and sheetrock and plastic and concrete and glass and metal? by buying into the idea that money -- that stuff -- will make us happy, will make us content, will make us fulfilled.

the power of positive thinking

this past friday i left work early and went downtown to get my motorcycle registration. i was in and out in about 10 to 15 minutes. that place is so much better than the office on chimney rock. after that, i headed down to 59 and 6 for a couple of hours of a 7-year old's debauchery -- that's right, a birthday party at chuck e. cheese. (it was jackson's birthday.) from there i headed to tropioca on milam near elgin for the geek gathering for the radio show. as that was winding down, i called brad. he and kelli were at the twelve spot downtown, so i met them there. jay lee saw my truck drive by near warren's so he called me and joined us. jay left and a bit later brad and i headed to the poison girl. there were some girls playing dominoes, which was cool, but they were just playing fives. jamie showed up around closing time, then she and i headed to the house of pies on kirby. i got home around 5am and hit the bed.

saturday my brother came into town. we headed to the fox and hound on westheimer to watch the t.u./ou game. there was a loudmouth ou guy there, but he lost interest by halftime and left -- perhaps he'd drunk too much, because ou looked okay the first half. i must admit it would have been nice to watch him squirm more and more through the second half. the plan after the game was to watch a movie or go to some music stores, but we went back home and he got online and my lack of sleep rapidly caught up with me. we ended up not doing much of anything.

sunday morning i was going to get up and make my first visit to kaleo (which i've been planning on going to for a month now), but my brother called so i joined him and heather for breakfast at the house of pies on westheimer. they then took off for ikea, and i headed for...i didn't know. i ended up going to soundwaves, where i purchased the new album classics by ratatat (on xl recordings). it's instrumental with guitars and drum machines...kind of an electronic alt/emo meets rock. lots of hooks, and pretty catchy.

some evil force must have infiltrated my mind at this point, because i decided i would drop by cityfest to see brad and kelli. fortunately, G-d made parking around the event difficult and/or costly so i decided to just head home instead. sunday evening i went to houston first baptist with the potts clan.

at some point on friday or saturday i decided i probably should stop riding my motorcycle. i knew the rear tire had been pretty slick for awhile, but on friday i noticed i could see in the center where the slick tread was starting to separate. not a good sign for tire life, which is a bit more important when you've only got two of them. so hopefully here soon i'll be taking my motorcycle into the shop for its 24k maintenance and a new rear tire (and perhaps front tire too).

monday i think about the only thing i did after work was watch my true stories dvd. it's really a pretty cool movie, and considering it's from david byrne and the talking heads and stars john goodman, it's kind of surprising the only dvd version of the movie you can get is a fullscreen version with absolutely no extras at all. it was filmed in Texas and has a number of large outdoor shots (in areas up around where bottle rocket was filmed), so you know the widescreen version would have a different look and feel.

tuesday i left work early to go with a realtor to look at a few lofts around downtown. i saw some decently cool places, but getting the amenities and the prices to line up with what i'd like to be paying -- along with not knowing whether i would have a roommate or not -- made things uncertain. we finished up around 5pm, so i decided instead of going through 5 o'clock 59-south traffic i'd just head to the petrol station in the heights. i had a nice conversation with ben and sasha (the owners, who were there with their three kids). brad and kelli showed up later, then we headed to the theater and caught the departed. it's scorsese's new film, based on a hong kong film titled infernal affairs. it's a good story and has quite a few big names in it. i enjoyed watching it, although as with a lot of "extreme" hong kong films it has sort of a bittersweet ending.

regarding my living situation, i think i've decided i'm going to stay at raj and kiera's house. i did find out their "destination: d.c." date will apparently be december instead of october, so that'll leave a 1+ month overlap between the time i have to be out of my house (assuming the sell to the current buyer goes through) and they leave for d.c. we're now trying to work out all of the specifics regarding me moving stuff, storing stuff, moving, cats and dogs living together, etc. i keep fantasizing that i'm not going to do anything at all to pack, but that i'll just pay the movers to do all the packing and moving. but i don't think i can do that. so i'll hopefully start trying to pack some stuff tonight.

[i'm going to go ahead and mark this occasion with this placeholder, but i'm not going to actually post the full entry yet. i've got too much divorce-related stuff nearing completion to jinx it with another painful anniversary post. it'll probably show up in two or three months.]

yes, it's that time -- the third anniversary of tamara tabo (my ex-wife) telling me she was having an affair with alistair isaac.

this anniversary time appears to be one of endings and partings. on numerous fronts. [more later...the following paragraph is just a redux of part of the 2nd anniversary post]

but yeah, it was three years ago today that she finally felt so sorry for what she was doing to me that she admitted she was having an affair. i was at work, at my desk, on the phone with her when she told me. i have no idea how to express how it felt to hear her tell me she was having an affair. to hear the person i'd put all of my faith in, put my life in, who i'd suffered for and with trying to work toward a better future, who my whole world was intimately tied to, who had told me she loved me, who'd told me so much...and while i was trying to figure out for the life of me what i could do to maybe pull our unravelling life back together, to have that person be having a relationship and sex with someone behind my back. i had put my complete trust in her, i had given her my heart and soul, and she was scheming to leave me while fscking some [jerk] behind my back.

[end redux. now back to the current stuff...]

now don't tell anyone, but the sad fact is i'd still try to reconcile with her if i thought she was sincerely repentant of what she did and seriously wanted to try and rebuild our marriage. stupid, i know, but that's the truth. i'm definitely trying to move on with my life, but that part of me is still there.

so here's to three years after. maybe one day it won't matter to me anymore. maybe one day i can be as callous about my past marriage as tamara was and has been via the legal system toward me. but i doubt it.

"pci"s in a "pod"

pci and "pod" -- these are two of my (currently) least favorite things.

as regards the pci thing... i haven't bought a motherboard (by itself), or really looked into motherboards, in probably five years. the last time i was looking around the card slots were isa (dying out), pci, and agp. recently i decided to try and help a friend spec out a new motherboard based on what he needs and what hardware he already has. one thing he has is a pci-x card. so a few years ago they evidently added pci-x. okay, i can understand that.

then they added pci express. so now, back to back, they added two names which are totally easy to confuse. trying to find a pci-x board is a pain, because half the time websites say pci-x they are actually referring to pci express (which is every now and then referred to pci-e). pci express can also come in 4 fruity flavors: 1, 4, 8, and 16. so you'll see pci express x1, pci, pci-e, pci-x, pci express, pci x16, etc. and sometimes even things like pci-x 8 (which doesn't exist because pci-x is just pci-x).

how in the world could the pci folk have pci-x out, then decide they should take this new thing originally called "3gio" (a name quite unique from the current standards) and rename it "pci express"? like that's not obviously going to lead to confusion. hhmmm...what could "x" stand for...how about "express"! but no, they're completely different.

as regards "pod"... apple created a portable music player and called it the ipod. there were other players, but apple's device dominated the market. consumers started to call all portable music players "ipods". then some people figured out they could record things and other people could download them. (okay, that happened long before the players.) but someone figured out they could make it easy to "subscribe" via rss and end users could get the latest recording easily. especially nifty was that you could download it and put it onto your portable player and listen at your leisure while away from your computer. this was similar to broadcasting, but it needed a snappy name (like "webcast", but that was already taken). terms were thrown around, but the one that eventually stuck was "podcast". which is kind of dumb, because the whole concept is in no way tied to ipods -- but the marketplace loved calling everything an ipod, so the marketplace decided. apple apparently was more than happy to embrace this branding terminology, eventually (years after the term was coined) incorporating podcast capabilities into its itunes software. the term "podcast" was being thrown around by everyone, including a lot of people who had absolutely no idea what a podcast really was. the word "podcast" came into its own. eventually people started tying the word "podcast" to products and websites and all sorts of stuff, using the word for the purpose it was meant, which was player agnostic. as companies and brands are wont to do, people starting contracting and combining terms to make new names for their products and services that can be used for/with podcasting.

at this point, apple suddenly seems to have decided it doesn't want people using the term "pod". no, not "ipod". just "pod". even though they lovingly embraced "podcast", now that it's become a word in common usage (a word the u.s. patent and trademark office has deemed common and thus can not be trademarked) they start worrying -- it seems the nice brand advertising potential they embraced now may dilute their good name (which isn't even actually their name since it doesn't start with an "i"). they've gone after a golf podcasting group, people who make software to keep track of arcade game profits (profitpod), a lady who makes a neoprene slip cover for laptops (tightpod), and a group who makes software along with a website to centralize and automate podcast subscriptions and downloads (podcastready (website) and mypodder (software)), among others. the frenzied sharks...er, lawyers...have even gone after a company who makes moving bags for grand pianos because they're called "pianopods".

i must confess that russell from podcastready.com listens to the radio show i help do (technology bytes -- geekradio.com) and has gone to a number of our gatherings, both monthly and weekly post-show. but that only explains why i'm more cognizant of what has happened -- i'd have the same opinion whether i knew someone involved or not.

also, please don't take my timeline and explanations above as absolute truth of all events. think of it more as a wikipedia entry...maybe it's true, maybe it has some inaccuracies.

body piercing saved my life

i completed body piercing saved my life: inside the phenomenon of christian rock by andrew beaujon recently. i thought it was a pretty fair-handed attempt by an agnostic outsider to look into the world of christian music -- where it came from, what it is, and what makes it tick. he had interviews with brandon ebel (from tooth and nail records), david bazan (pedro the lion), mark soloman (the crucified and stavesacre), steve taylor, doug van pelt (hm i.e. heaven's metal), etc. as you can see from my list, he -- unlike a lot of people writing about christian music -- actually pays a lot of attention to the alternative xian music scene. which is cool for me, since that's where most of my past experience and interest is. it would have been really easy for him to turn the book into a way of belittling and mocking the scene. and there is certainly plenty about it to dislike or find odd, especially if you are an outsider to it. but fortunately, he manages to rein in some of the knee-jerk reactions a lot of people have and present what i found to be an interesting and worthwhile outsider perspective of the scene. if you've ever been into the xian music scene, i recommend this book. and if you haven't, i think it's a good introduction to the scene and its oddities.

intelligent design

i completed reading by design: science and the search for G-d by larry witham a few weeks ago. i had feared it would be a semi-intellectual attempt at defending the intelligent design movement. (there are a lot of semi-intellgent people clamoring to defend it. ;) i was pleasantly surprised to find it actually did a decent job of presenting the various modern views in science, and name-dropped quite a few different folk. i could definitely read a slant toward the i.d. side and a number of times it sort of seems to take shots at darwinists and anti-i.d. folk, but overall it read at a higher level and with more info than i'd expected. thank goodness. i really expected it to come across more as a semi-intellectual muckraking job in an attempt to defend i.d. and attack everyone else. you could do a lot worse than this book if you're trying to find a book about science and i.d. and modern views. (though if you don't like i.d. and christians who are scientists, then you probably would get annoyed reading it.)

more books and music

i mentioned going with my parents to a couple of half price books and 75% off books late last week. what i didn't mention was the stuff i bought. let me take a minute to correct that:

from the half price books at westheimer and montrose:

  • * spadella!: the essential spade cooley - spade cooley (legacy/columbia)
  • * legends of country: 27 all time favourite country hits - various (prism leisure)

from the half price books in rice village:

  • * return to reason - kelly james clark (eerdmans)
  • * letters from a skeptic: a son wrestles with his father's questions about christianity - dr. gregory a . boyd and edward k. boyd (cook communications)
  • * the eleventh commandment: a story of success - g. vaughn smith (thirsty turtle press)
  • * the gospel according to the simpsons: the spirtual life of the world's most animated family - mark i. pinsky (wjk)
  • * the gospel according to peanuts - robert l. short (john knox press)
  • * volkswagen military vehicles of the third reich: an illustrated history - blaine taylor (da capo)

and from 75% off books:

  • * the life of st. francis - bonaventure (harper collins spiritual classics)
  • * eyes wide open: looking for G-d in popular culture - william d. romanowski (brazos press)
  • * pop goes religion: faith in popular culture - terry mattingly (w publishing group)
  • * searching for G-d knows what - donald miller (nelson books)
  • * through painted deserts: light, G-d, and beauty on the open road - donald miller (nelson books)
  • * xml - magnus stein and ingo dellwig (addison wesley)

expanding identity

(this is the follow-up to the comment about my mom meeting the lady here in houston at a starbucks...)

my mom was adopted. her parents never hid the fact that she was adopted. from the way it was told, they made it into a positive instead of a negative -- other parents were stuck with whatever kid they had, my mom was picked. she had always been told her adoption records had burned up in a fire at the hospital or the adoption agency or whatever. evidently that part of the story probably wasn't quite true.

in the last few years the story expanded to include that a girl had come from out of state (i recall georgia being the state given), had her, then immediately given her up for adoption. turns out that wasn't quite correct either.

my mom requested her adoption records be opened a few months ago (or maybe it's been over a year by now). i think you have to wait like 25 years from the adoption date or something, then the judge in the county where the records are has to approve it. so she got those, and there was almost no info. there were two documents she got that had a signature. after she got them she started looking around some, but nothing came of it.

then a couple of weeks ago she picked up the search again. this time she hit pay-dirt. and on the first contact she attempted. turns out her biological mother lived a couple of counties over in Texas. and my mom's grandfather was german. not sure about the grandmother. i'm not sure if anything is known about my mom's dad either. but i guess now i know i'm over half german.

it also turns out i've got like five half-aunts and half-uncles. or whatever the term is for aunts and uncles from different fathers. that's kind of weird, considering my mom and dad were both only children, and thus our immediate family tree was very small.

i don't know that this will change much of anything for me as far as things go, but it is an interesting bit of information to learn about my biological ancestry.

oh yeah...the lady my mom was meeting at the starbucks. she was a women here in houston who saw a post my mom made on a website asking for information. she evidently helps people try to locate their birth parents in her spare time, and had chosen to try and help my mother. my mom wanted to meet her and show her the pics she'd taken with her two sisters (or half-sisters, or whatever), and thank her for helping.

parental units

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the parents came down thursday. i met up with them at half price books on westheimer near montrose, sometime around 1pm. we then went and ate at angelo's, which is a german restaurant on montrose just north of westheimer. from there we went to the holocaust museum. i'd parked near it for a year or two but had never gone. it is a pretty powerful statement about goings on before, during, and after world war ii. there's almost certainly at least one thing there -- an object, a picture, etc -- that will deeply affect you. it's also pretty amazing how easy it seems to be to get ordinary people to be involved in committing atrocities while they convince themselves they're not culpable. we left there around 5pm, so to avoid rush hour traffic we stopped by the west alabama ice house. we hung out there for a couple of hours, then went to james coney island at the corner of shepard and richmond. from there it was off to the half price books in rice village. the evening was finished off with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie at the house of pies.

friday we got up and headed down to galveston. the original plan was to go to moody gardens, but after discussing options we ended up going to the Texas seaport museum. i was mostly interested because on their website they have a database where you can search ship rolls for immigrants, and they talk about immigration to Texas through galveston. unfortunately, the museum itself only has a very small area discussing immigration. the 1877 elissa is docked at the museum also, and that was definitely interesting. i'm not much of a fan of sea culture or the sea though. it doesn't capture my imagination. i don't like nautical themes, seafood, etc. after the museum visit, we headed back to houston and went to sylvia's enchilada. the food was excellent, as usual. my mom planned a meeting with a lady at starbucks (more about that in an upcoming entry), so my dad and i dropped her off and then went by cavender's and a barnes and noble. afterward, my mom thought it'd be good to grab some microwave popcorn. except i don't have a microwave. so i went old school and bought a jar of popcorn and some cooking oil. the popping went well. but i didn't have any butter or salt in the house, so the popcorn was kind of bland. (i live like a true bachelor.) my dad started to look at some of the books he'd bought and my mom and i watched the coen brother's first film blood simple. i think it's a great movie, but i don't think my mom was too excited about it.

saturday we got up and ate brunch at le peep (westheimer and wilcrest). we dropped by 75% off books and whole foods as well, since they are in the same strip center. we then headed back to the house where my parents packed, loaded the water trough from the back yard into their pickup, and headed on their way.

they offered to haul off a bunch of the stuff tamara left behind, but i still feel guilty just tossing it and not going through it. i seriously think one day she may realize how stupid it was of her to leave some of the stuff she did. given what she's done to me i should probably not care and gleefully burn it in a big bonfire, but most of the time i just don't have the heart to do it. plus i don't really feel like it'd give me much satisfaction. yeah, she fscked me over...and over, and over -- but it just doesn't seem to be able to make me stay a sadistic, evil b4st4rd. that only comes in fits and spurts, usually right after she's done something new to me, or i'm having to deal with some painful issue that's a result of her actions. but those moments don't last, and usually i don't accomplish much in the way of dastardly deeds during those phases -- i'm more likely to just fume and scream for awhile, then break down and cry and wish this all weren't really happening. i'm much more evil and sadistic in my mind than most anything that ever sees the light of day.

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