April 2007 Archives

disco infection

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friday i was supposed to be babysitting jackson while jack and sue went to dallas. plans fell through for them, so my evening was suddenly freed up. i ended up eating supper with the potts' at the house of pies, and then headed over to the continental club to see the aqua velva (a b-52's cover band) and disco expressions (all disco cover band). sue ended up joining me, while jack took the kids home. we only caught the end of the aqua velva set, but i'd seen them before. disco expressions was a lot of fun, both to listen to and to watch. they're having a "prom night" at the continental club on friday, may 18th -- show up in a prom dress or tux approximation and pay no cover.

saturday i pretty much spent the whole day over at the potts' house. i ate lunch with them, took about a 5 hour nap at their house, ate supper with them, and watched snl.

this morning i got up and for some reason though kaleo started at 10:30am. so i showed up 30 minutes late. (it starts at 10am.) afterward, i went to lunch at a wendy's with the potts and the hartleys. i managed to get some more leifeste genealogy entered. i have entered all of the updates that were given to me by family members from my great-grandfather's line. i headed to soundwaves this evening and picked up a few cds:

  • the fabulous johnny cash (american milestones) - johnny cash (columbia/legacy)
  • from the cradle to the grave - dale watson (hyena)
  • uaioe - kmfdm (metropolis)

the cash album is a re-release of his debut columbia album, with 6 bonus tracks and some extra liner notes and pics and such. the new dale watson album was recorded in a log cabin johnny cash used to own, but that is now owned by johnny knoxville. (yes, that johnny knoxville.) and no, the cabin is not the cash house that burned down. that is/was owned by barry gibb. (yes, that barry gibb.) at least knoxville is apparently a huge fan of good, old country music and really knows a lot about it. the odd bird out is the kmfdm album -- no connection to johnny cash i'm aware of. or jackass. or the bee gees. but it's good old industrial dance, nevertheless.

is this thing on?

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geez...i've taken a break from blogging, it appears. i have a good excuse! no, really! okay, not that good, but still...

the adult. show at the mink. it was somewhat disappointing, unfortunately. on the good side, it was not due to any of the things i'd feared might occur. it was cool to see them, and to hear them live. but their equipment crashed after about two songs, and it took five to ten minutes for them to get it functional again. that totally killed momentum and excitement. after that, either the sound wasn't mixed right or the equipment was goofy because things didn't seem right -- it sounded like parts were too soft or missing. even if i'd come into the show with low expectations, i think all of this happening would have hurt the show's value. the crowd was also fairly small, but i didn't notice too much since i got up pretty close. (and their were enough cool looking girls to distract me.) they played a lot of songs off of their new ep -- but since i waited to pick it up at the show so i could get more money directly into the hands of them, i was unfamiliar with the songs. i bought two things at the show:

  • * why bother? - adult. (thrill jockey)
  • * t & a - tamion and adult. (ersatz audio) - limited edition 7" vinyl (#1096 of 2000)

still, like i said, it was cool to see them live. hopefully next time they won't have equipment problems, and the show will live up to my internal mental hype.

the other two bands were dan deacon and parts and labor. barrett had actually managed to get dan to call into the radio show earlier in the night (and we gave away three pair of tickets), so at one point i stopped him and told him i was one of the guys from the radio show. he seemed like a very friendly, funny guy. he's going to be playing again at the mink in june. i think he'll be headlining next time around, and he'll have his new album for sale. his set was more storytelling and audience participation than songs, but it was pretty funny. parts and labor was more of an old-school hardcore/emo band with electronics infused...not what i'd expected. they were good, but not what i was in the mindset for, so i didn't really get into it.

i wore my soma fm shirt to the show, and i had kind of hoped someone would notice and comment on it. alas, no one did. but then i didn't comment about a guy's "commodore" shirt, so maybe i got what i deserved. i wore my new shoes, and have been wearing them fairly regularly. unfortunately, their sizing is a bit small. i'm glad i ordered a half size larger than i originally considered, because these just fit. the right one has been digging into my heel, but i think i've finally gotten them mostly broken in. ah, the high cost of fashion. they're flashy, but the blue is metallic and somewhat dark/muted, so i'm not completely self-conscious about them. since my boots are still broken down, i'm having go between the tribal flame shoes and my doc martens sandals. i really need to go ahead and order those new custom-made motorcycle boots.

after the show, i headed to the house of pies and had some coffee and a slice of coconut cream pie. it'd been awhile since i'd been to the house of pies. after that, i headed home and got to work. no, really. i had agreed to do something at 2am. i spent about 2.5 hours taking care of some mail server business for work, then headed to bed. due to this, i slept in thursday morning, but other than that i can't recall what if anything i did thursday. forgive me if i had a great time hanging out with you and have completely forgotten about it.

friday after work i met up with some coworkers at azteca's, even though i wasn't too excited about it. the place has a certain negativeness attached to it, mostly because at some point i heard or inferred that some people that hurt me deeply from my past used to patronize the establishment. (that would be tamara and alistair. duh.) i've been there a couple of times with coworkers, but they'd lost interest in the place a good time ago, and i was none too disappointed. anyway, friday i went. the company was fine. i had two strawberry margaritas and some chips and salsa and a small amount of cheese dip. unfortunately...

friday night my digestive system went into distress mode. i kept waking up and being in pain, but falling back asleep. late saturday morning i was supposed to help out raj by meeting some possible future renters coming by to see one of the garage apartments, but i was pretty pitiful. (if you're interesting in living near me, and in a small efficiency ground floor garage apartment, let me know.) i managed to get up and take a shower, but i was weak and mostly non-functional. fortunately, the current renter had already agreed to show the place so i didn't have to do anything. i went and bought some tums, thinking that was all my body needed. (speaking of that, i found cocoa and creme tums. yum! however, while they tasted fabulous,) they didn't pretty much nothing for my confused and pissed off digestive system. i spent most of the rest of saturday asleep. i did manage to eat some chicken noodle soup, and watched a couple of hours of tv (the history channel) in the evening.

sunday i got up and felt better, but still not quite normal. i met the potts' at a bagel shop and had a bagel with some cream cheese. a small solid food test. things seemed to go okay. i went off to kaleo. after church i opted to go home instead of eat out. i had an all-fruit smoothie from jamba juice, then a couple of hours later i ate some more chicken noodle soup. in the evening i met the potts' at cain's, where i had a chicken finger sandwich. a more substantial test of my digestive system, which turned out nominal.

monday at work i tried to be friendly to my system by eating a chicken pot pie and a cup of fruit from jason's deli. i still felt a little off, but functional enough. monday evening jack called me up to see if i wanted to work on some stuff related to his business. i recently helped him move his site over to my server, and have been trying to help him do some web, mail, apps, etc. stuff. he said he was going to taft street coffee house. even though jack apparently has decided to let the past slip away, i'm still not comfortable hanging out at taft. it's run by ecclesia, and the poor actions of their leadership years ago toward myself and friends still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. so instead we went to inversion coffee house. it's on montrose near westheimer, where the art league is (where the inversion house art project was when it was around). we stayed there a few hours and did some work, but more talking (with each other and various other folk). a couple from kaleo works there, and i ended up having a good conversation with jesse for a while. i had an au lait and a pastry. digestive tract test number three: thumbs up.

tuesday at work i decided to give my digestive system a full-on, hold-nothing-back test to see if it was truly back to normal. i had a chili cheese burger and onion rings. if my system didn't throw up its...uh...hands...in protest, then i knew things were okay. fortunately for me (and probably those i rode to lunch with), everything went well.

tuesday evening i started working on entering genealogy information on my family website. i had entered some a couple of years ago, but my server crashed and i'd lost what i'd entered. it's going to take a lot of tedious work to get the stuff (genealogical info, historical sketches, etc.) entered from the leifeste book, but i'm hoping at some point (probably in the distant future) i'll have it all online.

wednesday i was supposed to get my new crown. (my current one is green, don't you recall?) the dentist's office called and told me my new crown hadn't arrived though, so i had to cancel the appointment. they're supposed to call me and set up a new appointment when the crown arrives. given the fact that everything i've had done there has been problematic, once i get the new crown i believe i'm going to be looking for a new dentist. that's part of what i hate about randomly picking some new dentist or doctor or whatever...you never know what you're going to get.

the show last night was a fun change of pace. jay wasn't around, and he usually drives the show, so it was kind of a free-for-all for the rest of us. i denoted this by replacing the normal moog cookbook "buddy holly" (weezer cover) with the "ma-nah ma-nah" song from "the muppet show". i think things went well. i even think we managed to answer pretty much every question.

did you notice in the last entry that i drove all three of my functioning vehicles in one day? that's a sharp eye you have. a very sharp eye indeed!

i received in the mail my soma fm t-shirt i was given for donating $50 to somafm.com. if you haven't checked them out, please click on the link and give one or more of their channels a listen. (you can also find their streams in the pre-populated radio lists in itunes.)

while you're at it, find out more about the jacked up crap being done to try and silence internet broadcasting. it's just yet another case of monied business in power trying to use unfair legislation to give themselves breaks while destroying competition. just yesterday, the copyright royalty board refused to hear any motions for a re-hearing. it's ludicrous. please consider doing something to try and keep online stations (especially the small and non-profit ones) streaming. (saveourinternetradio.com)

in addition to soma fm giving me a cool shirt, my acquiring of said shirt also provides my wardrobe selection for the adult. show tomorrow (wednesday) night at the mink. i even purchased an advance ticket this last weekend to protect my entry (although i don't think it'll sell out). i'm so completely amped about this show. i just missed them the last time i know they came through houston, as i had just started getting into them. they are one of my current favorite bands, specifically in the electronic-based alt music category. i've been pining to see them live for some time now, so i've got pretty high expectations. nothing better happen to ruin my experience.

G-d and electric cars

sunday i got up and went to kaleo (in my pickup). after kaleo they had "the outlet", which is a meeting they have for new people who are interested in finding out more about the church and how they can become more involved in the activities of the church. i'm not sure where that will lead for me, but right now i'm trying to stay cautiously open to possibility. my tendency to be an outsider instead of a joiner, along with my experiences with ecclesia, have made me resistant to readily identifying myself with any organized church.

to be honest, i tend to feel like an outsider everywhere, but as my life has progressed i feel more and more at odds with average american church culture. there are just too many differences between us in the way i think, the views and interests i hold, etc. i used to feel like maybe it was my purpose to bring some more complexity of thought and views to the culture -- to broaden their cultural perspective -- but after years of fruitless labor and feeling overwhelmed by being around and in it, i'm tired of trying. to me, christianity -- as a religion, as a theology, as a way of viewing the world -- is much bigger than (or even at odds with) the culture they have set up and defined as "christian". it is frustrating and disheartening to try and work inside a system that just doesn't make much sense to me.

that said, kaleo is currently the closest thing i've found to a cobbling together of some of the things i do like about various churches and denominations throughout history. like a lot of life, being a part of a church requires some compromise because nothing is perfect -- unfortunately, the compromises i've chosen to make in life have mostly turned out rather poorly.

this doesn't mean my personal religious beliefs have weakened or fallen apart, as i don't place them in the hands of the people who make up the churches around our nation. kind of like i don't put my beliefs about women or marriage in the hands of tamara (my ex-wife). however, if things continue to deteriorate, i just may end up following through on my occasional threat...to move onto the family land and live a completely isolated life and write manifestos. maybe it's what i'm meant to do... okay, enough of that tangent. if i'm going to become a crazy, manifesto-writing hermit, i don't want to have spoiled it by explaining how i was going to do it.

in the afternoon i met the potts (on my motorcycle) at amazon grill.

later i drove (in the element) over the potts' house. i helped jack move over and/or set up all of his domains on my server, plus we watched who killed the electric car?. it's a really interesting documentary about the creation and disappearance of electric vehicles by the major auto manufacturers. maybe i'm just cynical, but even though i wasn't really too surprised or shocked, it still made me shake my head and wonder "why?" at times. before the movie pitched it, i was already discussing the probability that the oil and car companies were both actively pushing to keep the american consumer hooked on internal combustion engines. it really makes sense. electric cars were a reality -- they were manufacturing them, leasing them, improving them, building an infrastructure -- and it was too real, too fast. they needed more time to diversify, more time to find new revenue streams, more time to maximize their profit from the current infrastructure. so they killed them and destroyed them. to provide distraction, they talked about the negatives and pitched an exciting new alternative -- hydrogen fuel cells! which are of course a number of years out, not an already realized reality. of course, the movie obviously has an agenda -- but i think the actions of the auto companies (especially gm against the ev1) is bad enough that there doesn't need to be much spin to show hidden motives were at play -- the cards on the table just don't add up at all. i loved the battery researcher -- stan ovshinsky -- and his wife in the movie. they seemed like a cute couple, and he seemed like a really cool guy. i think the movie is definitely worth watching, even if you think the movie creators are trying to spin the situation.

watching the movie reminded me of the couple of times over the last few months that i've read or seen something about tesla motors. i tell you what, if i had $100k to spend on a vehicle, i would certainly consider being an early adopter with one of their roadsters. how cool to be a part of that group? from the few things i've read and seen, the ceo, martin eberhard, appears to be intelligent, well-spoken, and insightful. (see this msnbc interview) and i think their strategy of creating a first vehicle that people with money will be excited about and support, thus providing a foundation for the company to build and expand on, is a good one. i hope tesla is able to create a market for themselves.

shoulda, woulda, coulda

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friday's maintenance window for work allowed me to go in late, but i only slept in until 9am and went ahead and got into work around 10am. i'm such a hard worker and so self-motivated! or it's that i knew i really didn't have all that much to do during the window, so i figured i should go ahead and make sure i got in at least 8 hours for the day.

part of my plan on saturday was to make it over to montana's custom boots and hats. the idea being that i was going to talk to them about ordering a custom-made pair of motorcycle boots. from a talk with a motorcycle cop a few months ago (and verified by an online search), it's a (the?) place houston motorcycle and equestrian police get their boots made. or maybe it was. i wasted an hour of time (and gas) riding around looking for what appears to not exist anymore. while i was near where they were supposed to be, i even used google sms (text "googl", i.e. 46645) to get a phone number for them -- but it was a non-working number. back home, i found two other numbers via google searching, but both were apparently out of date.

even though my original plan was defeated, my google search for info about them led me to do more searching about motorcycle boots. besides realizing that an online shop will let me customize a pair to be exactly what i want (although they're not cheap), and deciding i will probably buy a pair from them (west coast shoe company) -- i also stumbled upon a completely different kind of footwear i decided i liked. i searched around until i found the best price, then i added a few other things to my order to get free 2nd day fedex shipping and placed my order:

  • * bob slimline action goggles - clear/reflective lenses
  • * bugeye goggles - dark mirror lenses
  • * "helmet laws suck" patch
  • * "loud pipes save lives" patch
  • * olympia black, fingerless, gel gloves
  • * sha sha blue/black tribal flame shoes

we'll see if i feel they're too much for my personality. although i do like to dress somewhat uniquely, and thus am willing to stand out a bit, i tend to feel most comfortable dressed in what in my mind are muted choices (probably to match my generally muted personality). i'm not much for the bling or the flash. however, i have been shifting and adding to my dress style these last few years, so maybe i can pull these off. they sure look slick in my mind though.

evidently my cowboy boots got jealous about my ordering some new shoes, because on the same day part of one of their heels fell off. i can put it back on, but it continues to fall off now and then. i guess i'll have to find some place (other than montana's) to re-nail the heel on my emotionally wounded boots.

saturday afternoon, after doing a bit of house wiring reconnaissance, i rewired an outlet in the house from 240v to 120v. (a very easy task, so don't think about acting impressed.) this both opens up a whole new location for plugging in devices and gives me a place to plug in a new a/c unit for the upcoming hot temperatures of summer. now if i could just add a few more outlets throughout the place and turn everything into 3-wire grounded...

i then met sue and the kids at texadelphia for a late lunch. i used to enjoy the fact that i liked the place, since i'm from Texas and tamara was from around the philly(ish) area. anyway. afterward i stopped by both barnes and noble and border's and picked up a few books:

  • * hesitant martyr in the Texas revolution: james walker fannin - gary brown (republic of Texas press)
  • * dns and bind (5th edition) - cricket liu and paul albitz (o'reilly)
  • * teach yourself: ajax - phil ballard (sams)
  • * the art of deception - kevin d. mitnick and william l. simon (wiley)
  • * 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k - tapeworm (sams)

i've always found fannin to be an interesting character in Texas history, so hopefully i'll enjoy reading this book about him. i also have been meaning to figure out how to do some web stuff in ajax. (mostly work related, actually -- but i figure it could spill over into personal stuff as well.) the new o'reilly dns book is a much-needed upgrade from the ancient edition i found laying around somewhere at work. and the last two are just statements of my interest in hacker culture.

speaking of books, i finished reading johnny bush's book. it was enjoyable. he spent a lot of time in the Texas honky tonk circuit, so he was able to drop tidbits about people and places and goings on that were really interesting. it's done in a very informal, conversational style and i thought that helped it come across very relaxed and personal. he also seemed pretty honest about stuff, and was willing to mention his own failings and faults in a straightforward manner. it didn't come across as confessional or gossipy to me though, just simple and truthful.

after the book stores i went over to the potts' and we watched stranger than fiction. i'd been interested in it since i saw the previews for it, but i'd never gone to see it while it was in the theaters. i found the graphics and titles work to be really nice -- it was eye-catching and cool. i also enjoyed the plot and the interplay between the characters. i still almost wish she would have left the book as a masterpiece in the end. the chosen ending was okay, but it could have been kept similar without having to be quite as happy and packaged up as they made it. still, the movie was good and worth the time.

after the movie we watched saturday night live. this is something we've been doing for years, even though some of the snl years have been kind of lean. it's still nice to sort of have a tradition that goes on despite the ups and downs surrounding it (both due to show quality, and due to life events).

i'm setting new trends in dental fashion

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yesterday was an exciting one at work. a spammer had figured out how to trick a cgi script on one of our webservers into letting him relay spam through it. once we realized it, i had to figure out how he was doing it and then edit the cgi (perl) script to close the hole. it was a pretty clever hack on his/her part, and hopefully he/she saw the error message i created for what they were doing and enjoyed it.

after work i contemplated going somewhere, but eventually decided to sit down with a bowl of cereal and watch a movie. the movie in question was eragon, which a co-worker had pushed into my hands and told me to watch. no sooner had i got into the opening credits than chris and mary called and asked if i wanted to meet them at berry hill for some food on the patio while the weather is nice. how could i refuse?

after a pleasant supper and a couple of strawberry margaritas, i headed back home and watched the movie. eh. it was okay, but mostly it came across as a thin and 2-d attempt at a movie. it just seemed like too many times it was obvious where it lifted scenes or styles from, and the generic hollywood treatment seemed too blatent. the kid-friendly mode was not handled as well as other kid-friendly movies i've seen, imo.

today i spent a couple of hours at work, then took off because i had a dental appointment to get my permanent crown put on. i'm not a big fan of dentist visits, and this one didn't go quite as smoothly as the last. nothing horrible, but it just wasn't as comfortable. getting the temp crown off started off with some pain, and i kept having to wince or react to get them to offer to deaden my gums or tooth. plus my exposed original tooth was pretty sensitive to touch until they finally wiped something on it that deadened the sensitivity. when they finally got the permanent crown in, it didn't fit enough like my old tooth to give me my normal bite back. but the worst thing is they used some kind of green stuff that stained the ceramic crown, but they didn't realize it until they had permanently glued it into my mouth. they are having another crown made, and set me up with an appointment for two weeks. but right now i've got a permanently glued green-tinted crown in my mouth. and unfortunately, in order to get it off they will have to cut the crown in pieces and take it off. geh! i was pretty excited thinking this was all going to be behind me after today.

i had originally planned to take a couple of hours after lunch to get the camper bus towed from jack and sue's to my new place, but time didn't cooperate. so then i tried doing it after the dentist, but that was going to take too long as well. so i ended up scheduling a tow truck for after the radio show. everything appeared to go nominally, and now all of my vehicles are here at the house with me. that means i've got here (in order of age, youngest to oldest): 2004 honda vtx1300 motorcycle, 2003 honda element, 1977 vw camper bus, 1965 ford f-100 pickup. for one person. and three of them run and are legal. much more and the driveway will runneth over.

hank, tobacco, and taxes

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sunday was the day i was planning on doing my taxes, since i hadn't done them friday or saturday and i had told myself i was going to do them over the weekend. well, it didn't happen. i got up and went to kaleo, went to chuy's with tyler and the hartley's, took a three hour or so nap, bought something at border's, then spent a couple of easter-themed hours at...uh...i don't remember their last name...with the potts'.

i was originally planning to purchase the second bear family bob wills box set faded love, but they didn't have it at the warehouse. well, they had two entries for it online, although neither i nor anyone else could determine the difference -- other than the $60 price difference, that is. anyway, they didn't have any copies. so then i moved on to the complete milton brown recordings box set, but they didn't have that anywhere either. so i looked around in the store and ended up choosing:

  • the complete hank williams - hank williams (mercury)

it's a 10 cd box set that came out in 1998. it has all of hank's studio label recordings, along with various other things (demos, some radio performances, grand ole opry, the health and happiness shows, etc.). it does not include every recording that exists of him. i managed to use a 30% off coupon plus a 10% personal shopping day, so the price was pretty decent. it should give me plenty of hank to listen to for awhile. but that's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

i am supposed to be working on setting up a loosely organized gathering of a limited number of guys from kaleo to sit around and discuss theology, the practical application of theology, etc. over cigars and/or pipes. i've always thought it was cool that folk (like c. s. lewis and j. r. r. tolkein, for example) would contemplate G-d, the bible, culture, etc. while smoking a pipe or cigar. a cigar or (especially) a pipe lends itself to changing gears...changing speeds...and taking a break from the world. it's a perfect time to contemplate things (whatever said things may be). it was common in the past for people to listen to jazz or read while smoking a pipe, for example. i think there is a great deal to be said for taking the time to step outside the fast pace of modern life and just allow the world to pass on by for awhile as you rest and refocus and put your mind to something complex and enjoyable. and a pipe or cigar can help enable and gently maintain that mental transition. while i'm very familiar with the satisfaction of doing so by myself, to share that time with others while enjoying a cigar or pipe should be a pleasant experience. or at least that's my hope. we shall see.

this evening i had supper at the potts' house, then i came home and took care of my taxes. i'm trying to decide if i want to buy an ak-47 with my refund. (how's that for an abrupt transition from a discussion about the mellow contemplation of life?)

i went by the bank thursday morning and got the cashier's check, then dropped my concealed handgun application off at the post office. so if all goes well, in 60 or so days...

thursday after work i decided to head by the west alabama ice house. i called a few people. no one was available, but i went ahead and went anyway. brad and kelli said they might come by a little later. then while i was sitting there alone, natalie called to see if i wanted to eat supper somewhere since she was in the area. she agreed to meet me at the ice house. then chris and mary called and said they'd had a change in plans so they were planning on stopping by. throw in the rather inebriated fellow who sat down with natalie while i was away one time -- and stayed seated with us while everyone else showed up -- and we had a pretty good party of 7 people. it worked out well, since i was worried i was going to be there all by myself until i finally threw in the social towel and went home.

natalie had called about food originally, so she and i left the ice house and headed over to chuy's. it hadn't been a real long time since i'd seen her, but it'd been some time since i'd been able to just sit down and talk with her. we had a good conversation about a lot of the things we seem to end up talking about. hopefully we can manage to see each other again with a little less time passing between.

friday i was off of work, so i got up and drove the pickup down to league city to visit the arms room. i dropped off my charles day 1911 and asked them to change out the recoil spring with an 18 or 18.5 lb spring, along with probably a new (better) extractor, plus polish the throat and check the slide and etc. they were friendly enough and seemed to want to do the best things to make me happy. hopefully once i get this work done to it the problems i've been having will go away and it'll be a fine shooter.

after that i headed over to the potts' house because i was going to eat a late lunch with them. while i was over there, i got in a fight and chipped the temporary crown. well, i got in a fight with dietrich over a stick, and when i clenched my teeth the bottom of the temporary crown along with about the bottom third of the front of it went flying out of my mouth. there wasn't any sensitivity or pain, so i went ahead and ate and drank at lunch and everything seemed okay.

they were having a "guys night out" so i decided i was free and could go. they were going to the dollar theater to see night at the museum. i jumped in the car, and as we were driving off jack said "so how are the tech bytes guys?" i replied "they're fi...uh...oh crap. i can't go to the movie! the geek gathering is tonight!" so jack turned around and dropped me off and i drove to tropioca to hang out with the tech bytes folk. i had originally thought i might go out and do something afterward, but i decided to head home.

today i slept in until around 11am. man, that was nice. around 1pm i decided maybe i should call the dentist just to see if they were open and if they thought i should do something about the broken temporary crown. they told me to come in, so i did. they used some of the stuff they use on fillings to reshape the bottom of the crown. it felt weird, especially in the back, and was a bit long compared to my original tooth, but it was covering everything and looked okay.

a got a message from chris saying they were going to the 6:50pm showing of grindhouse at the alamo draft house at highway 6. which was funny, since natalie had told me thursday night at chuy's that sketkar and some other people were going to the 6:50pm showing at alamo on highway 6. i bought a ticket online in case it might be sold out at the door. i got there and ordered a coke and a hawaiian pizza. about three bites into the pizza my new temporary fix broke off of my tooth. sigh. oh well. the movie was entertaining, although gory and violent in a campy sort of way. which was kind of the point of the film.

after the movie, the two groups were standing side by side in the lobby, but evidently no one from either group knew anyone except me. that was kind of weird, since i'm used to groups i know having some kind of connection other than me. i had driven my pickup there so i told andy to check it out as he was leaving. he came back a few minutes later and told me i had left my lights on. geh. i went outside and sure enough, the battery was too low to start the engine. and i have multiple sets of jumper cables, but evidently none in my pickup. fortunately, a few people were still around and one of them had jumper cables. my pickup takes awhile to warm up, and before it's warmed up it'll sometimes die. i sat in the parking lot for a couple of minutes, but as i was driving out it died in the middle of the intersection with traffic coming. fortunately, i turned the key and it restarted. it would have sucked if it hadn't, especially because a black pickup across lanes in the middle of a dark road with a speed limit of around 50mph isn't a good thing.

i had originally thought i might go out afterward, but with the tooth broken again and the pickup issue, i decided to just call it a night before anything else happened.

friday i left work and went over to rms auto and got my pickup. it turns out one of the front drums had broken in two, and the plate had completely separated from the ring. i guess that would explain why it didn't stop so well. you could see rust partially in the broken sections, so there had been cracks there for some time. (glad it didn't decide to fall apart on me while i was in the hairpin twisties on the trip back from new york.) the work they did included putting on two new front drums, new shoes, new wheel studs and nuts, repacking the front wheel bearings, flushing the brake lines, a new master cylinder, and cleaning and adjusting the rear drums. they had to fashion a connector between the new master cylinder and the brake line...hopefully that will work out. i drove the pickup to the house, then chris and mary came by and gave me a ride back to rms so i could pick up the element. unfortunately for them, i was in the middle of cleaning the litter box, so the aromatic ambiance was less than pleasant.

i've been driving it the last few days. man, it's good to have it back! i'd like it if the engine ran a little smoother, but all in good time. as far as the brakes go...they're working, but there is some amount of rhythmic slipping if i press on them very hard. i may go by and ask about that if it doesn't go away during the first week or so of breaking the new shoes and drums in.

back to friday...a little later, jack and sue came by and dropped off jackson and dietrich to hang out with me for a few hours. i gave them the choice of what to do and where to eat. we ended up going to james coney island and bringing it back to the house and watching return of the jedi. after that was over, we watched uhf. jack and sue showed up before it was over, then jack stayed so they could finish watching the movie. overall, the time with the kids went well. i had originally planned on going to the continental club, but it was getting late and i needed to get up early in the morning...earlier than i do even for work. (i hear i missed an excellent show.)

what was i doing? taking the concealed handgun class. i had set my alarm for 7am, but around 6:30am i woke to thunder and lightning. and the power going out over and over. i ended up setting my cell phone alarm just in case the house power went out again. i managed to get up and get ready in time, but when i drove over to top gun the power was out all around the area. we were supposed to start at 8:30am, but they weren't letting anyone in the building since the power was out. around 8:45am they went around saying if they didn't get power by 9:15am they would cancel. i wasn't too excited about the possibility of having gotten up early and driven over there for nothing. fortunately, the power came on at 9am and they let us in.

i passed everything, but the class itself was...not as stringent as i'd thought it might be. the law states you have to attend a 10-hour course, but i didn't realize a good chunk of the 10 hours would involve sitting around not doing much. the two major portions of the class are a shooting proficiency test and a written test -- those are the two things you have to pass to pass the class. to be honest, it's kind of frightening knowing some of the people in my class are going to have the right to pack. but i guess it's not much different than giving insane 16 year olds the right to drive.

top gun range is a one-stop shop, so they provide the application packages, take the photos and fingerprints, notarize everything, etc. all that's left for you to do is get the state application fee together and drop it all in the mail to austin. after i mail it in, i'll have to wait two to three months for it to get approved and for me to be legally able to pack heat. and as far as the photo goes...i didn't manage to outdo my passport photo, but this one looks pretty bad too. should be a fun photo to have on my conceal carry id.

after the conceal carry class, i headed over to main street. first i stopped by tacos a go-go. i had been in there before, but i don't think i'd ever eaten there. i like the way they've set up and decorated the place. i hear the tacos are excellent, but i went with the pork tamales. they were very good. the rice had a bit much lime juice or something for my taste, but overall the meal was really good. after eating, i headed next door to sig's lagoon, where johnny bush was doing a signing for his new book and cd. then it was two doors down to the continental club, where i talked with the bartender about his 1964 chevy shortbed while waiting for johnny to come do his set. i also talked with the doorman between sets. and i managed to talk to a guy that smokes a pipe that i see at a lot of the local country shows. i think he's cletus from the hollisters, but i've yet to get definite confirmation on that.

the johnny bush swag i bought was:

  • whiskey river (take my mind): the true story of Texas honky-tonk - johnny bush with rick mitchell (university of Texas press)
  • kashmere gardens mud - johnny bush (icehouse music)

johnny's set was good. the crowd was enthusiastic about it, and calvin owens showed up to play his trumpet on a few songs. the jesse dayton band (or at least part of it) was backing johnny, and after his set jesse dayton did a set. i don't think i'd seen dayton before, but i'd heard the name. maybe i didn't give him enough of a chance, but i didn't find it too interesting. he's a great guitar player though, and energetic. and he had a stand-up bass player. but it just wasn't doing it for me. i spent most of his set outside talking with the door guy, which was cool. all told, it was a good saturday.

sunday found me going to kaleo, then heading to chuy's for lunch. other than cleaning a couple of my pistols, i don't recall doing much the rest of sunday.

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