March 2007 Archives

keep truckin'

also, today i finally managed to take some time off of work to take care of some business. since i was going to the dentist in the late afternoon and would thus be out for awhile, i decided to leave early and try to meet a aaa tow truck at the potts' house and get my truck into a shop. i got to the potts' residence and called aaa (which was a very simple and pleasant experience), but the first tow truck to come by was not a flatbed. he admired my truck, then said i should use a flatbed. he called in and requested a flatbed to come by. about 30 minutes later, the flatbed truck showed up. again, the aaa people were pleasant and called me to give me updates. this driver was also pleasant and helpful. (and hopefully he didn't jack up my suspension or something when he was cranking down the chains.) the process took a little longer than i'd hoped, but i did manage to get the truck to rms auto care and only be about 10 minutes late to my dentist's office. hopefully, rms will take good care of me and get my truck back up and functional soon.

the tooth of the matter

back in the 4th grade, some buddies and i were playing an athletic version of follow the leader around the school yard. it was probably based on the idea that we were all planning on being star athletes when we got into high school. or it may have been because we were training to be on a swat team. whatever the case, we were running through the monkey bars, doing chin-ups, balancing while running down steel beams, and jumping over things. one particular thing -- a concrete gutter extender for the drains, probably about a foot high and a foot and a half wide -- was my downfall. literally. the front of my lead foot caught on it, tripping me forward. i caught my fall on the far edge of the concrete drain. with my face. specifically, with my left front tooth. my friends huddled around me, checking to make sure i was okay. one of them realized part of my front tooth was missing. they gathered the pieces they could find and i was off to the dentist. fortunately, only the bottom third or so of the tooth was broken off so the nerve wasn't exposed. the dentist checked it out, then put filler on the bottom to finish out the tooth and make it look complete.

this fix has been with me since then. it's discolored unequally over the years compared to my teeth, but it's held on. every time i would go to a new dentist, they would marvel that it had stayed on that long. in addition to being discolored, it also wore a bit faster. so for both of those reasons, and perhaps to make some money, the dentists would always offer to put something new on there so it wouldn't be discolored and would match my other front tooth. i always declined.

a couple of weeks ago, it must have finally worn down to (or close to) at least part of the original tooth. i'm not sure what happened to cause it, but one day i realized i could feel a crack running up the side of my tooth. after about a week or two, i then realized i could feel a whole sliver loose on the back left side of my tooth. it'd been probably about 6 years since i'd been to a dentist, so i decided i should make a dental appointment to have it checked out -- along with my teeth in general. the next morning, the sliver fell out while i was brushing my teeth. like last time, no pain or anything, so no exposed nerve, but a chunk of tooth gone.

on monday i went to the dentist, and she found two low-grade cavities on matching upper molars on each side, and suggested i get a crown for my front tooth. other than that, my gums and everything else looked good. (not too bad imo, considering how long it'd been since i got a cleaning or anything.)

so this afternoon i went and had the work done. i'm not really a fan of dental work -- especially when it involves them giving you shots in your gums -- but i dealth with it. i am currently wearing a temporary crown while they make the ceramic one to match my real teeth and bite, which should arrive in about two weeks. and the painkillers they used are still slowly wearing off. hopefully getting a crown was a good choice. i had kind of hoped they could just fix up the tooth like they did in 4th grade, but that's not what they suggested. and since my dental insurance is pretty dang good, the cost of what i got done was pretty minimal.

oh yeah. i still have that sliver of tooth, if anyone needs it to perform some kind of ritual.

protect internet radio

internet radio is a beautiful thing. it puts an almost unlimited choice for any kind of musical variety or specialization within reach of anyone who has a decent internet connection. it provides an interested audience for artists that would get no shot at airplay on "regular" (airwave) radio. it can even create a sense of community around its online presence, fostering even more interest in and involvement with the music.

i can personally attest to the fact that my listening to internet radio has been directly involved in at least 50 cd purchases over the last 4 or so years. that number more likely is closer to 100 or more though, especially if you include indirect involvement. without internet radio, the recording industry would have made almost no money off of me at all. even though i love music, i dislike my local radio choices and would have had little avenue to learn about new music. in fact, until i found some of the internet radio stations my involvement with music was severely atrophying.

unfortunately, music big business has pretty much always felt threatend by and thus scared of new technologies (cassettes, cds) -- and it is behaving no differently this time around with internet radio. they used their monetary muscle and political power to influence poor decisions regarding internet radio in the past (1995, 1998/DMCA, 2002), and they are doing it again. it's yet another attempt at a crippling blow to the small, independently run shops. airwave broadcasters aren't treated as poorly. some stations were able to successfully argue for decreased fees based on their (lack of) income, but that's all ending and the new proposed rules will, honestly, knock most of them off the air. such an act of sheer stupidity should not be allowed.

here is a really painless way to show some level of support for internet radio:
save internet radio at petitiononline.com
read more here: save our internet radio

please don't let the pushy, ignorant, greedy music big business folk destroy the creative and unique voices that are breathing life into what has become a wasteland composed of bland, predictable crap. internet radio, along with other music-focused internet-based phenomenons, are saving music from the weak, helpless, fecal state the parasitic music industry is keeping it in.

"the industry is the machine that churns blood to green" --my little dog china (kevin clay)

it's only rock and roll

last night i considered going to the firehouse saloon to see back porch mary, a band from austin i've never heard of before, but in the end i decided to go to the continental club and see southern culture on the skids. i'm familiar with some of their songs from boot liquor, and they've been around, so i figured there might be a higher rareness opportunity with their show.

i rode my motorcycle over and parked right by the front. i managed to catch the last few songs of the opening band. it wasn't who was supposed to be opening...evidently one or more of them got the flu or something. the band that played was a local band given the show at the last minute. i really liked them. rockabilly / early rock. i think i recognized one or two of the three guys from other local bands, but i never caught their name. they had a cd though. (after doing a little online sleuthing, it appears to have been the octanes.) scots' show was alright. it sounded pretty good, but it wasn't as...exciting, i guess...as i'd expected.

one interesting thing, as i was standing there near the back, one of the couples from the meat and martini party walked in. she went to the front and he went to the bar. i went over and said hi, and we talked a bit. he said she knew the band. then a few songs later, they called her up on the stage by name to sing one of the songs with them. i guess she did know the band pretty well. ha ha.

after the show was over and i was leaving, i ended up talking with a mainstay at the continental club: big e. he drives an early 70's harley and is into old cars (pre-60's). maybe it'll provide an opportunity to meet some people in the classics/hotrod/ratrod scene in houston.

after getting home, i stayed up until like 5am talking to the snazziest chick i know in sl. (she was disappointed by her lack of mention in my blog -- well, except once in passing -- so this comment is sort of obligatory, but still true nevertheless.) i got a few hours of sleep and still managed to go to church and not fall asleep during the service. this afternoon i met up with brad and kelli and we went riding around for awhile.

another meat and martini, please

yesterday i dropped by cavender's to pick up a new suit jacket. i looked around and saw a few things i liked, but i ended up buying one i'd looked at a few times in the past: a scully black lamb leather western cut jacket (example from corralwest.com). the justification for this purchase was chris and mary's 2nd houston meat and martini party (now with it's very own website: meatandmartini.com). around 8pm i stopped by luling city market and picked up one pound of brisket and four sausage links, along with some white bread and their delicious mustard-based sauce, and headed over to the party. it was a good turnout and there were a lot of both meat and martinis. i smoked my pipe, i had five or so "martinis" (by that, i mean i just mixed various things i liked, consisting of various amounts of: vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, lime juice, contrieau, cherry juice, etc), i talked with a number of people. i still have this idea that perhaps i'll go to a social event and run into some interesting lady, and we'll have a nice conversation and something good will happen. not surprisingly, so far that hasn't ever happened. but it was fun hanging out with friends from work and friends of friends. i left around 1am.

since i brought up my vehicles in the last entry, i should mention the city of houston came by a couple of weeks ago and put a "move this piece of junk" sticker on the vw camper bus, which is sitting over at the potts' in their driveway. i have until april 12th (iirc) to do something with it. humorously, they didn't put one on the pickup which has been sitting in the exact same position in front of the bus, just as long as the bus has been there.

i'm still trying to figure out what to do with that stupid vw camper bus. part of me wants to take it and fix it, just to spite the memory of tamara tied to it. but the fact is, i really don't like or care about old vws. having a fixed, functional 1977 vw camper bus would give me little pleasure. the fact i was forced to pay more than the value of it to tamara (as "half" the value of the vehicle) when it should have been her piece of junk to deal with anyway...well, that's just icing on the cake. have i ever mentioned on here how much she took advantage of me, financially? heh.

in loosely related events, as much as i enjoy reading one of my friend's blogs, my enjoyment has recently been compromised by the comments section. of all things, my ex-wife has decided she should start commenting on it. this isn't someone we both knew when we were together, but someone i met through other friends a year or two after the affair had happened. oddly, soon i after i linked to this person's blog, they were befriended over the net by a good friend of alistair -- most likely because he followed a link from my blog. (he admits to having read my blog, but he denies doing various other things. ha ha.)

shifting to related subjects, i get a lot of people searching my blog for stuff about alistair, tamara, etc. that's old hat though, even if it is (evidently) fascinating to some others out there. the really interesting ones are people getting here from google searches. this usually means my blog is in the top 10 or 20 search results. here are some interesting google searches (just over a 24 hour period) that led people to my pages:

And Darryl couldn't talk at all
suicide rate grand canyon
hot neighbor
my truck is getting poor mileage
on the run from johnny law ain't no trip to cleveland
"alistair isaac"
ear stretching stories
i love technology always and forever
failures in a marriage
"intellectual teens"

some are surprising, some are rather odd, some make me happy. i'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which ones go into which category.

up, up, and...down. up, up, and...down.

saturday i got up late, then dropped by luling city market before heading to the top gun indoor shooting range. (bbq and guns...hoorah.) having grown up in the country, i never really had any reason to go to an indoor range -- we just went to the free outdoor range by the lake, or out to our land. thus, i also never had to shoot indoors around a bunch of other people i didn't know. i was somewhat intimidated by the whole process, but i managed to get through it without any problems. the taurus performed well. i put 4 boxes of cci blazer brass through it. the gun failed to feed two times -- both on first rounds of a clip. other than that, all was nominal.

saturday evening i dropped by academy and picked up some gun cleaning supplies and various things, as well as five new boxes of ammo (2 boxes of winchester fmj, 2 boxes of monarch brass fmj, and 1 box of winchester hollow point). after leaving, i realized honesty had cost me. originally, the guy rang up all 3 winchester boxes at the fmj price. the hollow points were more expensive, so i told him his error. but he took only one item off, then rescanned all three. so i paid for two more boxes of fmj than i bought. also, when i got home and opened the cleaning kit there were a couple of pieces missing. i needed to try to correct all of this, but i decided to wait. instead, i figured out how to field strip the taurus and spent some time cleaning and oiling it. hopefully this will be a pattern i continue.

after that i drove over to the big top to check out jay's band the flying fish sailors. they are a celtic band, and were getting quite the workout due to it being st. patrick's day. the big top was their last of three shows for the day, the first starting at 8am. it turns out i didn't know anyone there other than jay and cynthia, so i stood around for awhile until i couldn't take being by myself in a bar surrounded by groups of people, then i left.

sunday i was planning on going to church, but i ended up pulling an old "college days" pattern saturday night and stayed up on the computer until 5am. i didn't make it to church. in the early afternoon, i went back to academy. fortunately, they were cool about it and refunded the money. after academy, i rode over to crescent city beignets and had some beignets and cafe au lait while i read a book. then i came back home and took a nap. even later i went over to the potts and had some pizza while we watched adaptation. kaufman is such a cool writer.

yesterday i left work a bit early and stopped by rms auto care to talk to the manager there about possibly doing work on my pickup. it's been sitting over at the potts since mid november, and i'd really like to be driving it again. i'm thinking i'll probably take it to rms and see how things go. after taking care of going to rms, i met up with jason and eric. we rode on our motorcycles to top gun and i put 200 more rounds through the taurus. no misfeeds, no misfires, no problems at all. that was nice. we left there and after dropping our pistols off we went to pappadeux's for supper. leaving there, we rode through downtown, picked up tiffany at bohemian photography, and rode around some more. i have to say it was a good evening.

once home i jumped on sl, then ended up feeling down about myself and my prospects for the future. that's something that happens every now and then. given my propensity for self-reflection and pessimism, mixed with the things that have happened to me regarding my marriage (with tamara)...it's not too surprising i guess. but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. i was pretty sure that getting to bed would provide a good solution for turning my brain off, so that's where i headed.

on friday before going into work i also managed to get by the county tax office and pick up my new motorcycle license plate. so without further ado, here it is:


sl4k.jpg

yup, it's a native Texan plate with "SL4K". (may "H4XR" rest in peace. d4mn thieves.)

bob wills is still the king

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thursday after work i went to the houston cfug meeting and listened to a presentation by a guy from new atlanta. they make a cfml product called blue dragon that competes with cold fusion. afterward, a few of us headed to the west alabama ice house, where we had a couple of beers and grilled sausage. then the tamale guy came around. mmmmm.

friday was a maintenance night for work, so i got to go in late. during my free time beforehand i managed to take care of a couple of things. first, i headed over to border's where i picked up my special order and bought a few other things. unfortunately, everything i picked up or used coupons for was mispriced, rung up wrong, etc. i didn't realize until i walked outside and looked at the receipt. i went back in and the first cashier directed me to a second cashier, who wanted to not let me use one of my coupons even though the special order specifically explained the situation, so she had to call a manager down. fortunately, the manager was one of the guys who'd helped me with placing the special order, so he approved everything and got it all cleaned up. going back in saved me at least $28. at the cost of probably at least 15 minutes of time. all that to say, here's the four items i bought:

  • the last temptation of christ - martin scorsese (criterion)
  • saturday night fever - bee gees and various (polydor)
  • outlaw country sampler - various (universal)
  • san antonio rose - bob wills and his Texas playboys (bear family)

i used a current 20% off coupon on the last temptation.... they originally didn't use any coupon on this one. tamara and i rented it from hollywood video 5 or so years ago. i had never seen it before, but i was well aware of the controversy surrounding it back when it came out. after watching it, i was surprised by the completely misguided fervor most of those xians back then were directing at it. it's obviously not a straight biblical telling of the life of jesus (as it fills in gaps and makes some inferences and such), and it deals a lot with the oddness of jesus being G-d and man, along with theories about political and societal motivations for jesus and/or the disciples -- but what it *doesn't* do is state that jesus had sexual relations with mary magdelene, or was married to her. i personally thought generally it was a rather intriguing perspective on the life of jesus, and wrestled with ideas and concepts that most common xian culture doesn't really think about much. so while it added some flesh to a framework provided by the bible, and it may have not been right in those areas, i didn't feel like it contradicted any major facets of the bible. at least not any more than any number of sects, splinter groups, or any of the numerous current denominations have done themselves. so i thought it was a poignant and thought-provoking film, and i think those two things are something more xians these days need to experience.

the saturday night fever soundtrack had a $9.99 sticker on it, but the register rang it up at full price (or near full price, i forget now). i've been meaning to pick this up for some time, and the price i eventually paid for it was decent. i went through a phase in high school and early college where i derided disco, but a couple of years into college i realized that a lot of the electronic music i was getting into was in the same musical family. i cast off the knee-jerk reaction to hate disco common at the time and realized there's some really fun and cool-sounding stuff in disco. i still kind of consider it a guilty pleasure, and i'm not really a club person or a dancer, but disco music is fun. of course, these days disco has already gone through the cultural wringer and come back to be something cool again (although usually in a kitschy way).

the outlaw sampler was priced at $0.02 because it is a promotional item. the register rang it up at $16.99, then from another barcode at $9.99. they had to enter it by hand. i picked it up because it was basically free, and it has one song from a new album coming out with willie nelson, merle haggard, and ray price called last of the breed. most of the other tracks on the sampler i already own on other albums.

the final item is a bear family box set of bob wills. bear family is a company out of germany that makes amazingly good compilations (well-researched, well-recorded, thorough) of mostly vintage american country and rock'n'roll artists. this one is 11 cds and 1 dvd, along with a hardback book on the history of bob wills and the Texas playboys, and session notes for the recordings found in the set. it retails for $300 (border's sells it for $217), but i ordered it on the last day of a 25% off coupon. i couldn't pay for it that day unless i got it shipped to my house, so after verifying several times i could use the coupon once it came in, i just ordered it and didn't pay for it. they put a note in the order that i had the coupon when i ordered it and they would honor it. but of course, when i went to pick it up it didn't go smoothly. at first they applied the 20% off coupon to the box set, and didn't use the 25% off coupon at all. finally the manager took care of it all. using the 25% coupon, along with a 10% off discount "personal shopping day", i managed to get the box set brand new still in shrinkwrap for $146 without tax. not bad. this box set represents the first fifteen years of his recording career - 1932 to 1947. his recordings with milton brown in the light crust doughboys, all of his arc/columbia recordings, plus alternate takes, unreleased material, studio talk, radio airshots -- everything remastered for optimal sound quality. milton brown and bob wills were the twin pillars of the beginning of Texas swing / western swing, and if you live in (or love) Texas it would be inappropriate for you not to have a knowledge of this music on some level.

guitars, girls, and guns (and coffee)

friday of last week after work i headed over to the potts house for supper. then i went to blanco's to see dale watson. i like blanco's, but sometimes they have the sound for the bands down too low. it's almost like the sound level of a jukebox. but other than that, i like the place. it has a good mix of people, they're all pretty friendly, lots of people dance (except me), and that one bartender has a really cool haircut and a cool look. i took my pipe with me and smoked it during a set break. while sitting outside smoking, i struck up a conversation about pipes with one of the guys who works there.

saturday i finally started going through some of the 3+ year old boxes of random crap tamara left behind in her haste to have selective life amnesia and start a new path. as i expected, it was difficult for me to go through at times because of the memories or thoughts tied to certain items i found. i only managed to get through one and a half or so boxes. i have a lot left to go through, unfortunately. it's very possible i'll be posting some bits and pieces about things i've found. on the good side, i found at least $6 in change that was never claimed in the divorce papers, which means i got at least $3 over on the system. yea, me! i left the house to meet up with jack at empire and eat a late lunch/early supper, then we headed to the new inversion coffeehouse on montrose. (on montrose a few blocks north of westheimer, where the art league's inversion house was.) it seemed like a fairly cool space. i thought it was kind of lame they used a cup size naming convention very similar to starbucks. why is it so uncool to have small, medium, and large? because people want you to feel like they're having some kind of esoteric experience that helps justify the price? seems kind of stupid to me. good coffee and well-prepared coffee drinks shouldn't need to hide behind "sophisticated" names for the sizes. (or for the names of the drinks for that matter). i'm not saying that's why they chose to do it -- i don't know why.

since i already brought up that huge coffee chain, i'll make a confession that i finished reading pour your heart into it: how starbucks built a company one cup at a time by howard schultz a few weeks ago. someone at work let me borrow it, as i had gotten interested in the origin of the starbuck's logo and i knew this book mentioned stuff about it. the book wasn't really an exciting read, but i liked the first 2/3 or 3/4 of it. it was interesting reading about the growing and changing of the company, and how much they evidently worked to keep it focused on a company culture that shows more interest in the employees than most companies. the last 1/3 or 1/4 of the book was after they got big and became publicly traded, and in my opinion the tone of the book changes. howard starts to get defensive and sound kind of agitated because people start to become anti-starbucks, and he can't seem to understand why. but i felt like he gave contradictory positions late in the book, trying to appease both the employees and the stockholders. i think it's a good show of how something basic changes at some point when a company is trying to get bigger and starts working toward growth and investors/stockholders.

sunday i went to kaleo. i'd missed the last two weeks. i ate lunch with the potts, then went home. while at the potts', brad and kelli showed up. they'd been down to galveston with jack shooting engagement pictures. once home, i decided to give up on finding the keys to my firebox -- the box they were in must have been stolen. so i took a hammer and broke into the firebox to see if my stuff was still in it. it was. i called the police and told them someone had broken into my house and stolen a gun. humorously, the cop that came out was the same one that came out when i reported my license plate being stolen. he got out of the car and said "aww, man. you again! what is it this time?" when he was entering the gun into the computer in his car, there was no "walther" entry in the drop-down list. odd. he entered it as a smith & wesson, because i told him they are the ones who market the gun in the u.s. now. *shrug* later, i went by border's and placed an order for a somewhat expensive cd box set. more info in an upcoming post.

monday i went by home depot and bought a new firesafe, since i'd destoryed my last one.

tuesday i dropped by a carter's country and bought a new pistol. i was trying to decide between picking up a .40 s&w or a 9mm, neither of which i've ever fired (in a pistol) as far as i remember. i ended up going with a .40. i'm planning on going out to a range soon and putting a few boxes of ammo through it so i can see how it feels and to get used to it. then i'll be taking the conceal carry class.

maybe a culture of fear is appropriate

over the last couple of days i started talking with a person on second life that was into the xian music scene and had been to cornerstone a few times. after throwing around names of people we might both know, we eventually hit on a guy i hadn't talked to in probably at least 5 or more years. the person in sl still had contact with him, so they gave him my aim account and we talked some last night over aim. that was a pretty cool happening.

in much less cool news, i began to realize last night that most likely when the person stole my license plate they also went into the house and stole some other stuff. most of the windows in the house don't latch, and it would be really easy for someone to go behind the house and climb in through a window. for at least a month or more, i've looked for a thing or two and figured i'd just moved or misplaced them since i have been continually in the process or unpacking, rearranging, moving stuff, etc. i can't describe how unnerving it is to be wondering what in the world someone might have stolen. the same thing happened at 9023, and over months to follow i would realize something else they stole. so who knows what they might have taken this time that i won't know about until i go looking for it. the most disturbing thing is what i do know they took though -- my walther ppk/s. now, it is possible i have misplaced it. but last night i started realizing a few other things i am missing that i think should be in certain places, so i'm pretty sure someone came in through the window and stole stuff out of my bedroom and bedroom closet. at least it evidently hasn't been found and traced to a crime yet, or i would have probably already been visited by the police.

and the reason i started looking for the ppk/s seriously -- instead of just assuming i'd moved it somewhere out of sight and couldn't remember where -- is because i was planning on taking the concealed handgun class this weekend, so i wanted to go a night or two this week and make sure i felt comfortable enough to take the class. it looks like i won't be doing that.

i don't recall ever having to deal with people breaking into a house or apartment i've lived in, but it's happened twice now within the last two years. it pisses me off that people do that kind of stuff. i've never been a big fan of houston overall, but these two recent incidents really aren't helping me want to stay in the city. not that it couldn't happen elsewhere, and of course it does -- but it had nevered happened to me or in a place i was living. usually i think the media creates a culture of fear that makes people way more paranoid about the world around them, but i've now had the place i was living broken into twice, with at least one failed attempt. it makes it hard to have a good opinion of the surrounding area or town, or to think maybe too much has changed for it to be a decent place anymore. as with last time, i'm fortunate they were most likely on foot and were just looking do a quick grab and run. of course, i also don't know what else might come up missing as time goes on.

mmmmm, sacrelicious!

i may take pictures of the prayer candles later, but here are some descriptions:

  • (*) la santasima muerte ("most holy death" or "spirit death" -- feminine, btw) -- this appears to be a mash-up of catholicism and previous pagan/aztec/indian beliefs. the spirit is drawn similar to the grim reaper (skull head, skelton hands and feet, in a robe). it might be holding a scythe, but usually is holding the world in one hand and a set of scales in the other. (the one on these candles is holding a human skull in one hand and i don't know what in the other.) this "saint" (more accurately, spirit) is the one referenced as the "death cult" that a lot of criminals in mexico have been getting into -- praying for protection from others, or putting curses on others. she is also prayed to for protection of your house, for jobs/money, and by women to keep the man of their life from straying (the idea being only death should separate you). or any number of other things. colors are actually important when giving offerings or burning candles, and usually people have an altar and burn candles regularly. unfortunately, my only choices were white wax with black silkscreening (i bought 3) and red wax with white silkscreening (i bought 2). i've seen black wax with white silkscreening online, but they didn't have any at either store. one site had an awesome 7-color one (these are seven day candles)...i'd love to get my hands on that one.
  • (*) la anima sola ("the lonely soul") -- this is a redish wax candle with silkscreening of a painting of a woman in the flames of purgatory, with shackles on her wrists with broken chains, one arm raised looking up into the sky. apparently, since it tends to imply being released from purgatory, it's generally used for prayer for releasing loved ones or yourself from purgatory or a feeling of purgatory. conversely, it can evidently be used negatively to pray suffering or purgatory on someone.
  • (*) adam and eve love candle -- pink/red wax candle silkscreened with "attraction, man and woman, love of G-d, happy marriage, love of children, long lasting love". it also has what appears to be a drawing of a greek statue of venus (with the word "venus" above it), and the prayer on it is: "love goddess, with the power of the idealistic love of adam and eve, make me desirable, attractive, and strong so that i may partake in your acts of love and sweetness and your joyful power of love forever. my beloved:" and here it has a place to write in your beloved's name and your desire. it then suggests you pray daily and read the 23rd psalm. how's that for some interesting religious mash-up?
  • (*) this one is a top half blue wax and bottom half white wax candle (note the colours) with a silk-screened picture of a cop writing a ticket and someone looking out of a window behind them and yelling or in shock or something. the caption in big letters above the scene says "law! stay away".
  • (*) (alleged) controlling candle -- this is an orange wax candle with a silkscreened image of a human puppet with strings going up to a human hand on the controls.
  • (*) steady work -- this is a green wax silkscreened candle with a number of jobs listed (like mechanic, dressmaker, politician, mason, minister, etc.) and a couple of pictures (one of two graduates in their cap and gowns, one of a guy doing masonry and/or carpentry). in the center of the jobs list is a six-point "star of david" inside a circle with a lot of other stuff going on that is not detailed enough to figure out, and the word "talizman" below it.

the last two i took to work and put on my desk. i figure the implication that these candles are providing me steady work and the ability to control others will help me keep my job rather handily. how can one fight the spiritual realm when it's so obviously on my side?

there were a few i didn't pick up, but considered. there was one for court cases -- to get the judge to be fair and just, or at least for you to get what you want. if only i had known about these candles when i was going through my divorce! maybe the evil that was perpetrated on me would have had to retreat to the sulfurous hell-hole from whence it came. i wouldn't be surprised to find out most of the people involved smelt of sulfur. but i digress....

with these 10 new candles, my number of 7-day prayer candles now goes up to 16. the other 6 i already had were much more catholic in nature. although the "justo juez" ("just judge") picture tends to get used as the centerpiece of the "seven african powers" stuff, which is generally considered religious mash-up. especially when instead of 7 saints they put the names (or even pictures) from other religious origins.

he aims high. i aim low.

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thursday evening i watched intermission. it's a film set in england about a number of different people, and how their choices effect each other through the length of the movie. it was fairly entertaining and interesting, but it must not have left too deep of an impression because i don't remember it all that well. or maybe i was distracted while watching it.

friday afternoon i left work a bit early to meet up with my friend tim. he's in the air force and is currently stationed in south korea, but was in Texas for a conference and decided to rent a car and drive to houston for the weekend to hang out.

we met at my house, then headed over to tropioca for the monthly geek gathering. the turnout this month was pretty low (around 10 people or so). the original plan was to head to the poison girl afterward, but the shift in tim's sleeping cycle was still throwing him so we headed back to the house. where we ended up having theological discussions until 2am or 3am.

saturday we got up around 11am i think, then i spent a few hours playing various alt.country and Texas swing bands for tim. eventually we got pretty hungry, so we headed over to sylvia's enchilada for a late lunch. on the way back, we stopped at a few stores because tim had a list of things he was supposed to get while in the states to take back with him. it was during one of these store visits that i found an exciting new product i just had to have (more info later). we eventually headed to the house of pies for an evening desert. while there, jay texted me to let me know two tons of steel was playing at the continental club that night. earlier in the day we'd considered driving to swiss alp to see the wild river band play, but our timeline didn't work out for that -- so this seemed like a good substitute. we went over to the continental club and spent the rest of the evening there. two tons put on a good show, and i was able to talk with chris (the drummer) for a fair bit before they went onstage. it's cool to hear that things seem to be going pretty well for him as far as balancing work, music, and family. around 2am we went back to the house and i went to bed around 3am.

sunday tim had wanted to go to a lutheran church, but the night of carousing put an end to that. we got up around 10:30am or 11:30am and pretty quickly decided to go to goode company bbq. the inside seating was full so we had to sit outside. they had the plastic walls down, but the wind was harsh. we turned on the heater units and that helped, and eventually other people sat outside, but most of them appeared to be chilled by the wind. after that, we continued tim's search for items not available in south korea. eventually we ended up heading to the fiesta on hillcroft, where i found even more exciting new products i just had to own -- i found a number of prayer candles i'd never seen before. the ones i was excited about on saturday, i found more of here. but then i found even more versions i'd never seen before. i bought 3 of the same thing on saturday, and i bought 7 at this fiesta (2 of the same as saturday's, plus 5 others). we headed back to the house, and i showed him a few episodes of "robot chicken" and we watched pi. i'm not sure he was as enamored with the movie as i am. after that, it was time for him to hit the road back to san antonio.

after he left, i met the potts at houston first baptist (services were already over) and we headed to a wendy's. dietrich rode with me. when we got in the car, i forgot i'd been listening to the dead kennedys rather loudly. i turned it down and dietrich said "that's nice music." i replied that it was the dead kennedys and they'd been around long before he was alive. he then said "i would like to see them sometime." so i then had to explain they weren't together anymore. not too long after that the song "nazi punks fsck off" came on and i decided i should turn it down beyond listenable levels. while at wendy's i was talking about me and my brother for some reason i don't recall, and dietrich casually dropped in with "brothers from different mothers". i told him we actually had the same mother, and i wasn't aware of any brothers i had from different mothers. at which point sue chimed in about jack, and jack turned a sad face to me. so i admitted except maybe jack. that dietrich is quite the character these days.

candle information in another post...

what was i saying? oh yeah...

bought some cds from cdbaby awhile back...

  • singing, stomping, and strumming - lynda kay (self-released)
  • cowgirl! - lynda kay and the lickity splits (firelight)
  • starbase 109 - starbase 109 (self-released)
  • a little bit faster and a little bit worse - the devil makes three (monkeywrench)

last weekend i went home to brady for my grandmother's birthday. i went ahead and took monday off, since driving all the way home and back is too much for a two-day weekend. a couple of my grandmother's nieces and a nephew were there, as well as a...uh...grand niece? (i'm not too good with the terms for family relations, since both of my parents were only children. well, my mom wasn't, but she was in her adopted family so she didn't know.) i spent some time with my grandmother by myself as well, and some time with my parents. as usual, it felt like a pretty short amount of time.

on the way back, since it was a normal business day, i stopped by the mason county courthouse to see about gathering some records related to my family. i'm curious to have the stuff, but i also need some of it for my sons of the republic of Texas application. i only spent an hour or so there, but i got a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate and his certification of his mom and dad's marriage. some of the stuff i need i may have to go to fredericksburg for, and possibly bexar county (san antonio) as well. then there is the matter of getting ship rolls for entry into the republic of Texas...i'm not sure where i'd go about getting a certified copy of that yet. i'm also hoping to find old deed records that can show me where the original land was that my ancestors got, as well as land they bought and sold. that may take a lot more work than birth and marriage certificates. but i think it'd be pretty cool to buy some of that land if it comes up for sale at some point.

i also stopped by the cemetary where my grandparents and some other ancestors are buried, near the chuch in art. this time, i also stopped at the cemetary a mile or two further down the road, which is where my grandfather's parents are buried, along with some of my grandfather's siblings. i hadn't been to that cemetary in years, but i hadn't actually made the family connection for some reason until recently when i started tracing my family line.

on tuesday for lunch i met with bill, the pastor of kaleo. i basically wanted to be able to sit down and tell him what my background is, as far as my experience with ecclesia, and also with tamara. partially i wanted to him to have that information in case it ever came up through other channels, but i also wanted him to know where i am emotionally and spiritually because of all of that. and i also wanted to let him know what the ecclesia issues were with myself and tamara and a number of friends, so we could see if kaleo would be a different kind of place or fit, both from his side and mine. i did almost all of the talking, which i guess would make sense in the context, but i end up feeling self-conscious in those kinds of situations. plus when i talk about those issues, it's hard for me not to go on at length because they were major events in my life and i tend to provide a lot of detail when i get into telling something. hopefully my verbosity didn't make him feel like he wants to avoid me, seeing as i tend to feel uncomfortable around people who completely dominate all conversations they are a part of.

more catching up to come...

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