September 30, 2007
parental roadtrip: day three
we got up tuesday morning and did eat breakfast at a whataburger. i was able to try the honey-butter chicken biscuit, which is pretty good. while there, we learned two inmates had escaped the day before, killed one guard by hitting her and her horse with a pickup, and been loose for about 4 hours. interesting way to be introduced to a town.
from whataburger we drove over to the cemetery where sam houston is buried. his current tombstone is pretty big, but his burial back in the day wasn't very well attended and his original tombstone was rather ordinary. in fact, he didn't enjoy much popularity in the last days of his life. he was buried in a pretty simple casket that was built by some union prisoners of war he had befriended. but he did some amazing things for the country and state of Texas.
from there we headed over to the sam houston memorial museum. we started off watching a 20 minute movie in the building with the gift shop, walked the trail looking at his various houses and such, then went to main museum building.
to tell just one thing: houston was unpopular late in life due to his lack of desire for Texas to secede from the u.s. because of this, he refused to take an oath of allegience to the confederacy, so he was removed from his office as governor of Texas. when he moved back to huntsville, he didn't have a lot of money or clout. (and supposedly no one wanted to rent or sell him a house.) a guy had built a house for his son and daughter-in-law, but they wouldn't live in it because of its odd design...evidently people made fun of it. it's called the steamboat house, and it looks like...well, a steamboat (without a big paddle). it'd been sitting there vacant for a few years, so that's where sam houston spent the very end of his life. they have the steamboat house on their grounds.
overall, the museum has a pretty cool setup. sam houston was a very interesting character, so there's plenty of stories to tell about him. they have some cool stuff that belonged to houston, including a few things he wore in pictures and paintings of him.
after we were done at the main museum, we headed back to the gift shop. i didn't manage to not buy anything this time around. i bought two books:
- sam houston - james l. haley (university of oklahoma press)
- the Texas revolution - william c. binkley (Texas state historical association)
i also picked up a few old documents reproduced on antiqued parchment, created by the historical documents company. i'd seen some of these around and had been meaning to get some, just never had done it. here they are:
- * Texas decleration of independence (1836)
- * freemen of Texas to arms!!! to arms!!!
- * proclamation of sam houston (1834)
- * col. william travis letter of february 24, 1836
after leaving the museum we drove up the street a little and stopped at a wendy's to make plans. my parents decided they should probably go ahead and start heading back toward austin and brady. so we parted ways, and i headed back to houston.
parental roadtrip: day two
i had told my parents we should eat breakfast at a whataburger, but they ended up turning into a denny's before we found the whataburger. after breakfast, we headed to a half price books my dad had spotted on the way into town the day before. i managed to find the two issues of Texas monthly i'd missed because i accidentally let my subscription run out. (and they were in excellent shape, which was nice.) i also picked up a few cds:
- version galore - meat beat manifesto (play it again sam)
- beers, steers, and qveers - revolting cocks (wax trax)
- spit - kittie (ng/artemis)
- i love everybody - lyle lovett (curb/mca)
- car wheels on a gravel road - lucinda williams (mercury/polygram)
- swingin' the devil's dream - spade cooley (proper)
from there we headed to the george bush presidential library. the grounds are pretty nice, although they seemed to like curving roads and walkways in unnecessary ways. the museum was closed because they were redoing it, but we were able to watch the video (which i had a coughing fit in...yep, still ill although getting better). they also had the traveling white house exhibit. it's a 1" to 1' scale model of the white house, including the east and west wings. which means it's miniature, but it's pretty big. the guy who made it updates it every time a new president comes in and changes things, so it's got the right chandeliers, carpets, pictures, chairs, etc. there is a pretty amazing amount of detail, down to books, tvs, etc. they said when a new president comes in, it takes them three years to update and build all of the new stuff and settings. it's pretty crazy, but it's cool to see. the visual model also gave me a better understanding of where everything is in relation to everything else in the white house. from watching videos that are with it, i also learned the press room (west wing...you know, the room with the white house logo on the blue drapes where they give daily briefings) is built on top of a swimming pool fdr used. i mean, the floor is built on 2x4's and plywood and there is still a (empty) pool underneath it. and there are a heck of a lot of ethernet cables running underneath there (for all of the reporters equipment and such). besides the white house model, they also had one of the presidential limos president bush had used during his years as president.
after looking through all of that stuff, we went through the gift shop (where i once again avoided purchasing anything). we then went outside and looked at the sculpture "the day the wall came down" (of the horses jumping over the fallen berlin wall). it's a pretty cool piece. after that we walked down to the pond in the back. my dad and i walked around it, as well as back to the cemetery lot where the bushes will be buried. (more of those unnecessarily winding paths here too.)
from the library we drove and stopped at a mcdonald's to plan our next step. we decided we would go to the messina hof winery for their tour, then head to huntsville. on the drive from the library to messina hof, while driving down university, i looked in my rearview mirror to see another old ford pickup coming up behind me. not just another one...the same model as mine. a black 1965 short-bed f-100 pickup. the guy pulled up next to me and when i looked over he gave me a big thumbs up and i smiled at him. i couldn't tell if it was a v-8 or not. but it was sort of weird to see someone with the same thing.
we got to messina hof and had some time before the next tour, so we decided to do a wine tasting. my dad and i paid $5 each and got to select four wines to sample. after doing that, we decided to go ahead and wait for the tour. at first we thought we were going to be the only ones, but within the first 15 minutes or so after it started about 6 other people had joined us. they gave us the history of the winery, then showed us around the villa and the winery. the villa is an inn/bed and breakfast they built. it looked like a pretty cool place for a couple to go. (something i'll have to keep in mind, should i ever find myself in that situation again.) they also have a restaurant, but it wasn't opened. the tour included another tasting, so we got to try four more wines. the guide also gave some info and tips on wines, how to sample them, how to inspect them, etc. it was informative, since i've never known much of anything about it. i still don't like wine much, but what i did learn is that i prefer white or lighter wines (not dry though) to reds. and all these years i kept buying reds, convinced that's what i should drink. although overall i prefer ports because they are sweeter. i ended up buying a bottle of sweet sangria and a bottle of muscat canelli. we also got a free glass with each tasting, so i have a pair of messina hof wine glasses.
after that we hopped on the highway and headed to huntsville. we got into huntsville and checked into a motel 6, then we looked in the yellow pages for a place to eat. we ended up going to kaldi's (their site plays classical music when you load it, so you might want to avoid it), a coffeehouse near sam houston state university that serves sandwiches, coffee, smoothies, etc.
after eating i drove my parents down i-45 to show them the huge sam houston statue that was put up a few years ago. it's close to white and has bright lights on it. when you're driving up from houston toward hunstville, you can see it from miles away. it looks like it's right in the middle of the road for several miles before you get to it. headed south on i-45, you just sort of suddenly stumble onto it on your left because it's around a curve and mostly obscured by trees and hills. after seeing it in both directions, we headed back to the motel.
after my brother's wedding - parental roadtrip: day 1
sunday morning (the 23rd...a week ago) my parents got up to eat breakfast with the newlyweds and the new in-laws at 9am. i slept until 10:30am or so, since check out for "the out back" was 11am. i still felt pretty crappy, so i took some more dayquil. around 11am my parents returned, then we went over to heather's parents' house and hung out for awhile. linc and heather opened all of their wedding presents. i had some orange juice. my parents discussed just parting ways since i was feeling sick, but i figured since we were already together and in the area, we might as well go ahead and do some stuff. i needed to return the monkey suit to a men's wearhouse to avoid late fees, so we decided we'd head to college station.
they had originally wanted to do the blue bell tour, but i guess they don't do it on sundays and we were leaving the area so that didn't work out. another thing they'd mentioned that we could do was go by washington-on-the-brazos. if you don't know your Texas history, look it up. we went to the information center and gift shop, then through the museum. i'd been there a couple of years ago with jennifer and her kids, but that was during a reenactment of the signing of the Texas declaration of independence so it was packed with people. (okay, i gave it away...but you should still look it up...history is interesting.) this time, there weren't very many folk. the museum is pretty cool. it's in the shape of a five-pointed star, and is two stories. you can learn a fair bit about the general history of Texas at it, as well as the way people lived, worked, etc. somewhere right around here, i rolled 63k on my '65 pickup.
we took off and headed to college station. i dropped my tux off and we checked into a motel 6. my parents were asking about a place i'd like to eat, but most of the places i could think of i used to eat are either gone or were generic chains that aren't interesting to eat at when you're visiting somewhere. they ended up stopping at a chili's. (ah, defeat.) we went back to the motel room so my dad could watch the cowboys play. that was the end of day one.
September 28, 2007
my brother's wedding
saturday started with my brother coming by to pick me up for lunch. (at least i think that's how it started...i don't remember for sure.) we dropped by the mariposa and picked up abheek (another groomsman) and headed into brenham to meet jim and josh (the other two groomsmen). on the way we stopped at a convenience store and i picked up a bottle of dayquil. i ended up using quite a bit of the dayquil over the next couple of days. normally i don't like to take any medicine at all, but i felt like i needed to be reasonably functional if possible. (oddly, the last wedding i was in i was ill for as well. although much worse that time. that was 5 or so years ago.)
we went to the bt longhorn saloon. the saloon has a really cool, big wooden bar. i didn't drink. we ate lunch and linc gave us our gifts. they were invicta chrome mechanical skeleton pocket watches. a very cool gift. after lunch we headed back to heather's parents' house and went upstairs where they have a pool table, pinball machine, darts, etc. we hung out there for an hour or two, then started to take off to get ready for the wedding.
i went back to "the out back" and took a shower, then got into the tux. i had already shaved and greatly trimmed down my goatee before leaving houston, but i tried to clean the goatee up a bit more before leaving. i hopped into my pickup and headed over to the mariposa. i was within a few minutes of being there according to schedule for groom's party pictures, but i went ahead and was driving pretty fast up the first part of the dirt road. some car moved to pull out in front of me at the first house, so i slowed down, then stopped as they sat there for awhile. they slowly pulled out and went down the one-lane dirt road at about 2 mph. when they stopped and parked i stopped behind them, then a lady with two girls got out and came back to me and proceeded to reprimand me. "excuse me, sir, you need to slow down when you're driving here. there's a wedding going on and you're going to kick up dust onto everything. so when you drive out you need to go slower." i smiled and told her i didn't think i was going to be leaving, but thanks. (i had planned on slowing down quite a bit once i got to the part with the houses, but i hadn't thought about going 2 mph to avoid kicking up dust.)
once there, i hung out with linc and my parents and the groomsmen, and eventually had a bunch of pictures taken with me. (not something i enjoy.) at this point my brother and i also got to meet one of my mother's half-sisters (blood related), who had come to the wedding. (i didn't actually see or talk to her much after that.) and i sucked down some more dayquil. and someone brought over some smaller cups of the frozen margaritas for the reception so i had one of those. the wedding party got ready and we all walked over to the chapel.
it was a bit hot at 6pm in a tux, but not horrible. the ceremony went off well. the only abnormality i recall is when heather's mom lit her family candle and walked away, it looked like it had fallen over. what actually happened was the wax was so soft it slumped over onto the unity candle. after my parents lit their candle, it did the same thing. we were all noticing it and laughing, somewhat humorously and somewhat alarmed that the chapel might start on fire. when the judge (who was performing the ceremony for them) got to the point where linc and heather were supposed to go light the unity candle, everyone sort of laughed. then the judge made a joke about unexpected things needing to happen at weddings, but then said she thought it was actually neat because it represented a more real combining of families with the candles touching and melting onto the unity candle. (fast thinking on her feet.) the ceremony ended and everyone headed over to the pavilion right beside the chapel for the reception. when we were walking back down the aisle, i noticed the potts' had shown up.
the reception music was pretty much picked by my brother, so it was a combination of old country, old blues, dylan, Texas swing, etc. later in the evening some funk and more modern stuff started showing up. the groom's cake was a rectangular white icing cake. (perhaps carrot cake with cream cheese icing? i only had a few bites, but it tasted very good.) on top were some musical notes in icing and propped up cd-size copies of three album covers: johnny cash, dylan, and lightnin' hopkins. (i don't recall which specific albums they were.) the wedding cake was also white, but about four or five round stacked layers. it had butterflies on it. (this makes more sense if you know that "mariposa" means "butterfly" in spanish.) i think it was white cake with a strawberry glaze inside...i didn't actually have any of it.
i walked around for some of the reception, then sat at a table with the potts' and drank punch and eventually got a little bit of food, talked with two couples who'd driven from brady for the wedding (friends of the family), and then decided i couldn't really take it any more. i did see the first dance, the father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance. but the combination of a large crowd and lots of motion and mingling, my being sick, and the fact that weddings still cause me to get emotional about my own life, led me to strike off more permanently for awhile. i didn't really feel it would be right for me to leave though, as it was my brother's wedding, but i didn't really feel like being surrounded by a bunch of people, feeling bad physically and emotionally. i think the straw was when "silver wings" started playing. i struck off for my pickup, which was parked 100 yards or so away from the pavilion near a house, dropped the tailgate, and laid down on it, looking up at the sky and the stars.
after about maybe 30 minutes or something, my dad showed up and started talking with me. he said he thought maybe i'd left, and that i could go if i felt bad. i said i felt like i should stay, and he said "i'd go if i could, but your mom wants to stay." we talked for awhile, and i explained i was over there more than just because i was sick. (i think he already knew that, but i went through it anyway.) to give an example, i mentioned my strong emotional ties to the song "waltz across Texas" and the meaning and emotion i've attached to it in my mind (i love the sentiment, and would love to be able to dance with someone i felt it for, especially at my reception if i ever get married again), and said i probably would have had to walk away immediately if they'd played it at some point. then a mere minute or two later, "waltz across Texas" started playing. i think my brother, dad, and i all have some of that same tendency to want to avoid large crowds and big social gatherings. although it shows up in different ways and at different levels for each of us. anyway, eventually my brother wandered over. earlier in the day i'd mentioned to him i'd brought some cigars, so he and i smoked cigars for awhile (my dad deferred) and we all talked some, then linc said he should probably get back to the reception. i'm glad my dad, my brother, and i were able to just hang out alone for a little while. a little later my mom came over and we all talked some, then my mom and dad called it a night. after a while, sue showed up looking for jack. i'd seen him head into the house with most of their kids, so i let her know, then he eventually came by. we all talked for awhile, then they took off back to houston. i tried to collect some internal energy and headed back to the reception.
by this point, a lot of the people at the reception had started leaving. my brother was surprised to see me again, as he'd figured i left when our parents did. it was originally supposed to go until around midnight, but linc and heather decided to go ahead and depart early so there'd still be a decent enough crowd around. we saw them off, then pretty much everyone dispersed. the dj kept playing, even when the only people left were the family and people cleaning up for the night. i still felt pretty awkward, just sort of standing around and not talking to anyone. (it's what i tend to do...i don't initiate conversation usually or jump into the middle of ongoing ones. but if someone starts to talk to me, i'm generally more than happy to converse.) eventually josh (one of the groomsmen) said a few of them were going to head over to the pool and sit there and talk. i wavered for awhile on whether i could handle any more awkward social moments, but eventually decided to go with them. it turned out to be all the groomsmen and beverly (who shot the wedding, and is jim's wife). we sat on lounge chairs and talked for awhile, until most all of the lights were off and everyone else was gone.
as we were parting, i mentioned to jim he'd said i could give him my resume a couple of years ago since i'd like to live in austin but i don't have any contacts there in the field i work in. he remembered and he gave me some contact info and told me he could pass it on because he works with people who do the kind of stuff i do. getting around the hr department is really the best possible path for finding a job, so if my resume can get directly in the hands of a systems department that's good. i'll have to get around to actually sending him my resume this time. i'm in no rush to find a new job at this point, but if something good in austin ever popped up, i'd be happy to be there.
i walked back mostly in the dark through the empty pavilion and back to my pickup, then headed back to "the out back" and went directly to sleep.
September 27, 2007
"wedding at the mariposa" poster
jaime -- a friend of linc's in austin -- does concert posters for various shows, as well as doing various other types of print artwork. based on posters of old westerns, he created a poster for linc and heather's wedding. here's a quick picture i took:
("mariposa" is spanish for "butterfly" so that might help explain the butterflies)
he hand-printed a limited run of 45 and they gave them to wedding party people and family. (the picture above is of mine.) he was at the wedding, and i know he got a lot of comments from various people about the poster.
by the way, jaime is the same guy who did the red and black hand-printed johnny cash poster i have framed and in my living room.
before my brother's wedding
you know, at this point i don't remember much about the earlier part of last week. i ended up buying the second palm/directors label the work of directors box set with the border's coupon. (i already have the first one.) this one has a dvd and book for stephane sednaoui, anton corbijn, jonathan glazer, and mark romanek (he did the johnny cash "hurt" video...*swoon*...which is on this dvd). what i should have bought instead was the 3-disc criterion edition of brasil. i didn't realize the criterion version i have is so much less.
one day (tuesday? thursday?) i went over to the potts' and ate supper with them and watched word wars. it's a documentary about tournament scrabble players. it's an interesting peek into the lives of some intelligent and/or eclectic folk. the movie is rather aware it is making jokes or poking fun at some of the participants, but at the same time you also end up understanding them better and hoping for the best for them. or at least i did. i also determined i don't really want to invest the energy in becoming a "serious" scrabble player. i'd rather know what a word means and not know how to spell it than know how to spell lots of words but not really know what they mean (or have the only reason for knowing them be their odd letters or small size).
if anything else happened before my extended weekend, i appear to have forgotten it.
i took friday, monday, and tuesday off of work. the occasion? my brother was getting married on the 22nd in brenham. i spent a couple of days in brenham for the wedding, then spent a couple of days with my parents. unfortunately, i started feeling sick and was ill with a head cold/fever for pretty much the whole time i was away from work. i started popping vitamin c and zinc lozenges after i got up friday morning, hoping it would take the edge off or (preferably) stop any impending illness. it didn't. (well, maybe it did, but i was still felt pretty bad a few days.) but i was pretty much back to normal by the day i came back to work (wednesday). how is it exactly that's the way things work out?
thursday i went by men's wearhouse and tried on my tux. the pants were a little too long, so they told me to come back by on friday around noon. i went back by on friday and picked the tux up. it was more traditional than i'd been expecting. linc had been looking at some western-ish tuxes, but in the end went with a conservative traditional black tux, silver and grey vest and tie, and a white shirt.
i had originally thought i might ride the motorcycle up there, but in the end i decided to go with the truck because i needed a way to reasonably transport the wedding gifts, my clothes for the weekend, and the tux. as for the gifts: one was a mixer/blender in a decently big box, and the other was a cannister set in a box almost as big and a lot heavier. getting that stuff on a motorcycle didn't really seem practical. i left houston around 2pm, and even though i figured that'd mean smooth sailing i spent half an hour to an hour in slow traffic on 290 headed out. bleh.
i got to brenham an hour or two before the rehearsal and met my parents at the bed and breakfast we were staying at. it's called m's hide-a-way. (seems like an extra hyphen to me, but i'm just copying what they have.) the land around there is nice, but the specific building we were in (the "out back") felt and looked more like a trailer. it wasn't -- it was built on the second floor of a long barn -- but it was long and narrow and had wood paneling. (the other accommodations there look more like typical bed and breakfast fare.)
after being there a bit, i went with my parents over to heather's (the bride) parents' house to help set up for the rehearsal dinner. my parents had conveniently chosen a place to stay that was right across the (rural, dirt) road from heather's parents. i met heather's parents and some of her family, helped do a little setup stuff, and sat around. my mom convinced me to go ahead and take my gifts over to the house instead of leaving them where we were staying. linc and heather showed up, and i hung out there awhile, then we went to the rehearsal.
the wedding was taking place at the mariposa ranch, a few miles outside of brenham. (and only a couple of miles from heather's parents' place.) the mariposa is a bed and breakfast place, but they also have a big pavilion and a glass and wood outdoor open chapel. i met the various people who were going to be in the wedding, linc's other groomsmen all being people i've met and known somewhat over the years. the rehearsal went fine, then we went back to heather's parents' house for the dinner.
they had bbq and sides, homemade blackberry and peach cobblers, imperial cane sugar dr. pepper, etc. they also had some tecate and wine, but i didn't feel like drinking. someone decided linc and heather should go ahead and open the few wedding presents already there, so they did. i had them open the blender first, since it's a higher dollar item than the cannister set. but what i'd added to the cannister set made it worth a lot more, and made it very heavy. everyone who had picked it up was commenting on how heavy it was, and there was plenty of speculation about what it could be. not knowing i'd be there for them to open it, i'd also made sure and added a note to it to make sure they opened it all up. (i had a bit of fear they'd return it or something, not knowing what was inside...although i think that was unfounded considering how oddly heavy it was.) i had also made the additions so that more showed up with each cannister they opened. so what did i add? $1 coins. a lot of $1 coins. everyone seemed to be impressed by the creative gift giving. i felt a bit self-conscious about it, since i hadn't really planned for the whole wedding party and family to be there when they opened it. nevertheless, i think it went over well and they were pleasantly surprised, so i felt good about my method of delivery. my illness was also getting worse, so it sort of heightened my normal lack of social outgoingness, but i stuck things out and left with my parents fairly late.
September 25, 2007
"where are you going?" --rocky (translating for inez)
i'm not dead. yet. i've just been away from internet access since friday afternoon, and cell usage since saturday night. i will provide highlights of my time away as i feel compelled. which will hopefully be this evening/night and/or over the next day or two.
i will mention now i had over 850 messages waiting for me in one of my inboxes when i returned, only 16 of which weren't spam. (although most of the 16 were bulk email.) that's over 200 spam messages per day. i know others have it worse (there are some accounts at work i admin/use that get it worse), but that's a lot of hitting the "delete" button per day. still, having the same email address since 1998 is nice.
September 17, 2007
"i'm just being hypocritical here." --dignan
friday i got to go in late to work, but i met some co-workers at niko niko's for lunch. on the way back, i learned a valuable lesson about the difference between my new vans and the types of shoes i've generally worn for the last 10+ years. the soles are much softer, and the shoe is more pliable in general. how did i learn this? on my motorcycle, pushing on the rear (foot) brake while in a turn. instead of pushing the foot pedal like normal, the soft shoe just sort of squished around it and bent. this led me to go faster than intended, which caused my momentum to push me further out, which led me to pop the underside of my bike on the curb. oops. well, at least i didn't go flying, and the fairly small amount of damage is not visible unless you're looking under the bike.
as we were leaving work, chris let me know that serenity was showing as the midnight movie at the river oaks. i've been planning on seeing it at some point, so figured "why not on the big screen?" i contacted a few people, and kymberlie and lemaster ended up joining me. i think most of the people had already seen it. it was pretty good, but nothing spectacular. i'm not a huge fan of sci-fi television (star trek, babylon 5, whatever else), but i'll probably give the "firefly" series a try when/if someone gives me the dvds to borrow.
saturday for lunch i went and ate at the new jenni's noodle house location. good stuff. i'll probably be going there more often now that it's nearer to me. i also managed to go by and pick up wedding present(s) for my brother and heather. in the evening i was planning on going to see the gore gore girls and reverend horton heat at the meridian, but those plans ended up falling apart so i ended up going down to sugarland with the potts clan to see the free outdoor showing of night at the museum. we got there late, it was distracting, and we walked around quite a bit, so i can't really say i watched much of the movie. what i did see seemed adequately funny in a family comedy sort of way. afterward i went back to the potts' house and watched saturday night live with them.
sunday i skipped church. i think this is the first time i've knowingly blown off church since i've been going regularly. it's something that's been sort of brewing for awhile, but after last sunday i just sort of admitted defeat. ah well. i'm still going to defer talking about it. one of these days i'll get around to it.
i ate lunch with the potts family at the house of pies, then i dropped by border's and picked up a copy of the talking heads' once in a lifetime long-book format box set. with the exception of devo -- which predated everything else by maybe two years -- the talking heads was one of the first bands i can truly claim as my own choice in music. (the eurythmics, the art of noise, and madness being the other big ones i can think of.)
then i spent around 7.5 hours watching roller derby. the governor's cup was held in houston this year. it is a tournament between various roller derby leagues from around the state. it was a good time, but it was a lot of roller derby in one sitting. a couple of the games were blow-outs, so they weren't too exciting. still, being able to sit and watch a lot of mostly alt girls in roller derby outfits knock each other around is a good way to pass the time. those girls have to have some pretty good endurance to be going around the track that many times for that long, knocking each other around, and still have energy to spare.
i came home and decided to watch the deer hunter. which is a good movie, but not necessarily a good idea to start at 10:30pm or so when you've got work the next day. i think it clocked in at over 3 hours, and i was getting pretty tired. i don't think it was amazing...but it was good. i would think a lot of people would find it to be an intolerably slow movie. it spent a whole lot of time just sort of following the characters around the town they were from. and they sang a lot of songs. but i personally didn't end up feeling too emotionally attached to them. i couldn't really place the movie in the context of when it came out, so i might be missing some aspects of what made it so well known because of that. i did think de niro's character was interesting.
tonight i went to border's because i have a 40% off any dvd box set coupon, but nothing really stuck out to me as something i had to have. i guess i'll try again tomorrow, since that's when the coupon ends.
September 14, 2007
"he's out. you're out, too. and i don't think i'm in either. no gang!" --dignan
as i mentioned previously, both of my pairs of vans i ordered online came in. i'm now thinking maybe i should have ordered size 10 instead of 9.5. the 9.5 fit, but they feel a little tight. maybe they'll stretch some as i wear them. we shall see.
i didn't mention it, but a few days ago i placed an order from rpb industries out of georgia. they sell masterpiece arms guns and accessories (among other things). i received my order today. ordered on the 9th, shipped on the 11th, got it today (13th) -- that's pretty sweet. i ordered 3 sten magazines, a mag loader for them, and a muzzle brake. (all for my mpa930, the mac mini 9mm.) i had purchased a used sten magazine at a gun show, but it seemed loose in my mac so i decided to just buy some new ones. after having loaded the previous ones several times, i also determined a mag loader would be really nice. the muzzle brake -- i just thought it looked cool, and it'll be interesting to see what affect it has on noise level, accuracy, etc.
a couple of nights ago i watched the movie rize. it's a documentary about the clowning/krump movement started in l.a. in the early 90's by tommy the clown (tommytheclown.com). krumping is a very fast, very aggressive dance style -- it involves a lot of style, as well as coordination. some aspects of it remind me of some of the styles i started seeing in mosh pits in the late 90's. i don't know if it was influenced by krumping, but it seems possible. one of the most interesting things is the use of the dancing and group inclusion to help keep kids from getting involved in drugs, gangs, dropping out of school, etc. the documentary draws a lot of parallels between the clowning/krump culture and style and that of the african tribal cultures. some of these dancers are amazing to watch, and the inventiveness and energy put into some of the moves is really cool to see. beyond that, it is interesting to hear about the history of the culture, see its development, and put it in perspective with the culture/place/social fabric from whence it came. despite all of this, i still don't like clowns. : )
i also recently ran across the phenomenon of parkour in a couple of places. not really related, but i thought i'd mention it because it's interesting.
a day or two ago, i noticed a jenni's noodle house sign where i had never seen one before: on the corner of shepherd and alabama, across from ruchi's (yuck) in that strip
center where the laundromat is.
i just went to www.noodlesrule.com (that's jenni's website) and checked it out. it is a second store, not a move. the good thing is the new one -- unlike the original -- is open on saturdays and they're open 11am-10pm instead of 11am-3pm. rock!
September 13, 2007
we interrupt the scheduled sunday information to bring you this breaking story...
yesterday afternoon at work my manager called to let us know we could leave early if we needed to take care of some business before the tropical storm hit. the tropical storm? that's right, humberto had stealthily appeared at our southern border out of almost nowhere. with supposedly sustained winds of 25-30 miles per hour and gusts up to 50 or 60 mph possible, a co-worker and i immediately knew there was only one option -- road trip! we hopped in his rx-8 and headed toward the coast. we decided to take 288 down to freeport, then ride the coast up galveston island back to 45.
i had a good time, but to be honest it wasn't breathtaking or anything. the wind was blowing pretty decently, but nothing exceptional. the waves were breaking along the coast line pretty heavily, but not really out of control. it rained, sometimes pretty heavily, but again nothing exceptional that i saw. the only very traumatic part of the trip was when i went to quickly tiptoe through a puddle on a sidewalk in the wind and rain and the puddle ended up getting deeper and going on for about 20 yards. i was wearing my brand new pair of vans for the first day, and they got soaked. (when i got home, my other new pair of vans were waiting for me at the door, so i wore them today and joked about the wetness changing the color.) other than that, the trip mostly involved driving along and making a bunch of smart remarks while filming with the co-worker's video camera. and eating beef jerky and bbq corn nuts and drinking gatorade. (because we needed emergency supplies in case something went horribly wrong.)
we did see several local news trucks down along the seawall near the landmark hotel. i think they picked it for the same reason we stopped there -- it was one of the few places that had lights out over the water, so you could see the water hitting the pylons and the rain blowing around the building in the wind. and the occasional body boarder walking by to go down into the water. heh.
i did of course miss part of the radio show to participate in this event. but jay, ever the gracious taskmaster, saw the hard-hitting, fact-finding, award-worthy investigative journalism that was bound to come out of this pursuit so he allowed me to skip. i called into the show to give a live humberto 2007 update, and actually made it back into houston in time to show up for the last 30 minutes or so of the show.
i'm glad i did it, but hopefully next time there'll be more to see. (where ever i'm heading next time probably won't have the same hope.) it looks like -- as with rita -- beaumont and the Texas-louisiana border saw more action overnight than we did. fortunately for me, the main complainer about my snarky comments about rita no longer lives in the area so i shouldn't have to deal with any of his "anonymous" sniping this time around.
September 11, 2007
"i'm not always as confident as i look." --dignan
i previously mentioned that friday night i was a social butterfly. kind of an odd situation, but i actually had three events going on in one night, all overlapping. fortunately, everything turned out pretty well.
first, after work i headed to cyclone anaya's on grey near downtown. a guy from another organization i've worked with some was leaving his job and having a going away happy hour. there i met chris (from where i work), luis (the guy in question), and three of his co-workers. i had originally thought about getting something alcoholic, but ended up just ordering a tea after i realized i was wearing a minor threat t-shirt. i got to the place a little later than i'd planned, and ended up staying later than i'd planned. but i enjoyed talking with the folk, and when we were leaving and i was shaking hands and doing the "it was nice to meet you" stuff one of the co-workers said "i'm going to give you a hug, because it was very nice to meet you." i decided to enjoy the moment of thought that she might actually have meant she had some level of more interest in me, since she seemed pretty cool and i knew it wouldn't take long for me to rationalize it all away. and of course, it didn't take long. but it was a nice way to kick off the evening. (and who knows? maybe there was something to it. *shrug* my co-workers quickly helped me to squelch that thought on monday.)
due to my schedule shift, from there i hopped on my bike and headed over to tropioca for the geek gathering for the radio show. turnout was pretty good. there were a couple of new faces, but mostly familiar ones. i had a smoothie and was there for maybe about hour. at that point, i had to take off for my next event before it was over.
so i jumped back on my bike and headed to taft street coffeehouse. normally i wouldn't go to that place. it's run by ecclesia and i have some deep, old scars from the way they handled business, and ran things, and treated me and tamara, jack and sue, and others. my issue's not with the members of the church (i've had numerous friends over the years who continued to go there), but the leadership that was in place when we were going there. and since it felt like (imo) more of a chris seay promotional and personal glory vehicle than a true church or church community (even though there have been and probably are people having community there, and i heard things have gotten better), i still just don't really want to have anything to do with things tied directly to the church or chris. all that to say, the reason i went there was the gallery they have in the building - the xnihilo gallery - was having the opening/reception of an exhibit by jack potts. yes, my friend jack who does photography under the name bohemian photography. called "junk yard thoughts", it's photos jack took of various things in a big metal and scrap yard. there are some pretty cool images. there were a fair number of people there that i've known at various points over the years.
once they were closing the place down, i headed back to the geek gathering. as i'd expected, most everyone had left. but treocast was around and he and i had a good conversation for awhile outside.
after that, i went back home and changed shirts, then headed over to eric and amy's place for an after-party for the gallery showing. jack was there, but ended up falling asleep on the floor since he'd only gotten about 1 hour of sleep in the previous three days. the only thing that really stands out in my mind from being there is DON'T DRINK BACARDI RAZZ! they were all complaining about it and i figured "hey, i like bacardi. how bad could it be?" i poured myself maybe a half of an old-fashioned glass, over ice. it was bad. it was really bad. it was like they prepare it by running rum over old rusted pieces of metal decorative fruit in the shape of raspberries. i had to force myself to drink it (hey! i poured it! i'm a guest!), and in the end i literally threw up a little bit in my mouth trying to force it down. okay, i've done my job by warning you. don't make the same mistake i did.
saturday i slept in and eventually headed over to kevin's folks' place for a going away party for kevin and jo. they hadn't been back to Texas for awhile, so their family wanted to see them off. it was good to see them several times while they were here.
saturday evening i went to m2 gallery up in the heights for the opening of the "600 sq mi" photo exhibit. it is a juried exhibition of photos relating to houston taken by various people. jay had a picture in it, laanba had a picture in it, marc had a couple of pictures in it, groovehouse works with the houstonist, and i knew from talking to her earlier in the day that amy was going to be there. so i knew i should be running into several people i know. it was really crowded, with a lot of ambient noise, so it wasn't really the most exciting place for me to be. but i went through and looked at all the photos and talked with a fair number of people. the only bad time happened when i noticed a friend marc had introduced me to seemed to be cut off from conversation and/or isolated, so i thought i'd be nice and try to make small talk. normally i'm alright at it even though i don't really like it that much, but this was just sort of halting and awkward. after a few minutes she ended up saying she was going to go outside. jeebus, i felt like a big loser after that. so after standing around feeling stupid for awhile and not seeing many of the other people i knew, i tucked tail and headed home.
sunday. ah, sunday. i'll save it for a later entry.
September 10, 2007
masterpiece arms (mpa) mac mini 9mm defender (mpa930)
the three items necessary in this life (not necessarily in this order):
 a gun. in this case, a masterpiece arms 9mm mac mini defender (model mpa930).
 an lp of johnny cash's live album johnny cash at san quentin. (the live johnny cash at folsom prison lp is also acceptable. in a pinch, other cash vinyl might be a marginally acceptable substitute. temporarily, of course.)
 a bible. this particular one is an niv study bible. the nasb is also a good choice.
(those of you who know me, know i'm joking. sort of.)
September 8, 2007
"i'm just saying i've never known you to be all that athletic." --anthony
monday evening i watched the aristocrats. i was kind of worried about what i was getting myself into, but the concept of the documentary seemed interesting. wow...that was...something. there were definitely funny parts, but the kind of humour i like generally doesn't go too far down the path of sexual and scatological matter. seeing as that was sort of the central point of this documentary, i was in for a ride. i think the worst part was learning what sexual actions are tied to certain phrases tossed around these days. i didn't realize how innocent and naive i was. i mean, i had imagined what they might mean, but i wasn't really close. *shudder* let's change topics...
i realized not too long after i bought the mountain bike that blue jeans and cowboy boots aren't really the best choices for riding. not that i tried it -- i came to this realization via purely mental exercises. (i'm smart like that.) i actually own some cargo pants and doc marten sandals too...still not so good for riding a bike. if you'll recall, i was on a quest to procure some new jeans since most of mine are threadbare these days, so on tuesday i decided to drop by the sears at main and 59. that place is sort of...run down and ill-manned. so why that sears? well, it's nearby, and i was looking for some dickies. while there, i noticed a lot of their shorts were on sale. remembering that i needed some stuff to ride a bike in, and being aware enough of my body to know i shouldn't be looking at spandex riding shorts, i decided to go the cool mountain biker look route and picked up a couple of pairs of camo cargo shorts. and i picked up a pair of black dickies for work. i've never worn dickies pants before, so this is sort of an experiment to see how i like them.
[aside: why is it a "pair of pants"? is one leg a pant? i mean, it's called a "pant leg" i guess. but the object in its entirety is called "pants". did people used to wear just one leg at a time, so if you wore a left pant and a right pant you were wearing pants? because a shirt has two sleeves for your arms but you don't call a shirt a "pair of shirts" or "sleeves". of course, you don't call the sleeves "shirt arms" either i guess. if only there were some way we could collect known information and then make it searchable through some kind of searching interface or something. that'd be pretty cool.]
at this point you may be saying to yourself "okay TeRRY, i understand the camo cargo shorts -- but do you really think they go well with cowboy boots?" good question! no, i don't think they do. that's why on wednesday after work i dropped by soundwaves to check out their shoe selection. and to pick up centro-matic's fort recovery cd. i looked through their array of shoes and they had some pretty slick stuff. realizing i'm not 15 years old (note how self-aware i'm being), i decided maybe i shouldn't try to pull off wearing some new shoe branded by some skater i've never heard of. so i made the only logic choice -- i headed back to the shoe of my late teen youth: vans. not just vans, but the vans old skool model. here i must admit i diverted from tradition, as i used to wear high tops and now i was looking at low tops. one particular color scheme struck my fancy, but they didn't have it in my size. another i liked they had in a half size bigger than i normally wear, so i tried them on. they were nice, but i decided to wait.
so, of course, i later came home and started doing google searches. i found a number of different varieties, but most of them were only on one or two sites and most of the time they only had very large or very small sizes left. fortunately for me, the one that caught my eye at soundwaves is common, so i was able to find a pair (see? there's a reasonable use of the word "pair") for a good price. i found another site that had one pair left in my size of a style i saw on no other site, so i went ahead and bought them. there were a couple of other color schemes i liked, but i never could find them in my size for sale on sites in the u.s. (japan, germany, holland, etc. though...). both pairs should arrive at my house next week sometime.
thursday evening i decided i should take my bike out for its maiden voyage. i didn't have any good shoes yet, but i had the shorts and i figured i could get by with my clunky leather sha-sha's this time around. holy crap. i came to a few realizations. first: i feel completely awkward on a bike these days. i'm sure part of it is the different geometry of a mountain bike, and this one is pretty light -- but i felt unstable. i didn't think i'd have to learn how to ride a bike again. second: i'm not just in horrible shape, i'm actually in no shape. i probably rode it maybe one or two miles, just to get my feet wet with it. it was humid and hot, and i was going fairly fast, but that's no excuse. i came back to the house and i felt like i was having a stroke. i came in and plopped down and immediately drank a bunch of water. jeebus! i guess i'll be taking awhile before i can ride with anyone.
since i was sitting on the couch not moving anywhere so i could make sure i wasn't about to die, i went ahead and watched one flew over the cuckoo's nest. wow. it was really good. not jaw-dropping good, but it was really good. (and i don't think i thought that because i'd just had a near-death experience.) i'd seen bits and pieces over the years, but hadn't seen most of it and never at once. there's quite a few known people in it, which i didn't recall. it raises some interesting issues, and does a really effective job of making you dislike the head nurse. you should watch it if you haven't seen it.
later kevin texted me to let me know they were heading to the house of pies around 11:30pm. i met up with kevin and jo, as well as amy, mark, brian, and sarah (not sure if i spelled those right, but you get the idea). i'd already eaten supper with the potts at lupe tortilla's around 6pm, but i went ahead and had a couple of eggs, some cottage fries, and an english muffin.
i ended up not going to bed until around 3am, so i wasn't real excited about getting up in the morning for work. i let them know i was running late, and took the time to take a shower and take care of some stuff at frost bank. which brings me up to my social butterfly friday night... (next post)
quechup: yes (*sigh*) / quechump: no (yea!)
sunday i got a quechup.com invite from a friend of mine. him being a net-savvy mover and shaker, i figured it might be something i should check out. as part of setting up the account, it asked me if i wanted it to scan my address book for friends already signed up. "three things," i thought, "first, i don't have many friends; second, i don't really keep up an address book; and third, my mail is mostly read in pine." plus it was asking for a username and password so it could check online address books and i wasn't too excited about giving them that. (not being the hip online scenester, i wasn't aware several of the prominent networking sites now do this and it's generally an accepted practice.) so i didn't let it, and i finished signing up. it didn't add the person who invited me to my friends list, which i thought was odd. i then got another invite from a guy i do the radio show with. i won't give out his name, but his initials are jay lee. to be honest, i wasn't seeing why everyone seemed so excited by this site. i poked around a bit on it and quickly lost interest.
a day or two later i learned what was going on. through vague wording not really explaining what they are doing, behaving differently than other networking sites that do similar things, and doing things even when you cancel or tell them not to, they were quickly building hatred toward them by the online world. (well-deserved hatred, i might add.) when they looked in your address book for people already on their site, they also sent out e-mail invitations appearing to come from you to every address in your address book. for people who have thousands of addresses, professional contacts, exes, etc. in their address book...well, you can see it's not a good thing. people didn't even know what quechup had done until they started getting responses and bounces from lots of people regarding their "invitiation".
quechup basically took advantage of trust and expected behaviour, and they burned a whole lot of people. don't believe me? try google searching their name. remember that radio host whose initials i mentioned? he, along with another host (dwight), blogged about it and were linked to from boingboing. the duped host even came up with a name for people taken by the site: quechump.
September 5, 2007
labor day weekend, post-wedding
i followed joe and kelly back to the beach houses...dang, i didn't know galveston island was so long! i'd never gone much past the main part of the seawall blvd. these beach houses were past jamaica beach. we got there and jack was outside. (i'm guessing he'd just beaten us there. sue had gone back a couple of hours earlier with the tired children in tow.) at this point, i was somewhat tired, but when i was getting out of the truck something fell to the ground. i looked down and it was part of my skull wallet chain. evidently my fears were true, and it's somewhat delicate. i'm assuming my sliding on it across my bench seat was enough to break a couple of the weld points on the skulls. oh well, i picked up the pieces and i'll just have to shorten it a bit. i went in and sue and the kids were already asleep. joe and kelly were going to come over, but kelly went into the house they were staying in and fell asleep, so just joe came over. we hung out and talked until maybe 2:30am or something, then he headed off. i turned everything off and hit the couch. it's kind of funny, i actually had a dream joe was in, but i don't really remember anything about it.
in the morning i woke up and jack was already gone, but lots of other people were around. i think it was around 9am. kelli's mom was staying in the house i was in, and she remembered who i was after i reminded her where we'd met. joe and kelly came back over and we talked some more, then they headed off. (i forgot to menton, at the reception i actually let joe take a picture or two of me without me covering my face in some way. that's a pretty rare event.) sue and the kids were up and were heading to the beach, so i agreed to go with them.
as i said to sue while i was down there: "i just don't get it." the beach holds absolutely no interest to me. it doesn't seem pleasant, or relaxing, or fun -- and only holds mild levels of curiousity or novelty for me. she explained how it was so wonderful to hear the waves, lay out in the sun and get a tan, see the vast amount of water, be in the sand. my response: "nope, i'm just not buying it." i seriously just get no pleasure or enjoyment out of it. i don't even like things with nautical themes.
we headed back up to the house, where i watched some pokemon marathon with the potts' kids, then i started helping to clean up some. eventually everyone left except me and kelli's mom. i mean it. no one else. i was sort of trapped because she'd parked behind me, but i also felt like someone should be helping her finish cleaning up. i'm sure as the mother of the bride she had already dealt with plenty of stress over everything. plus her husband was sick and had barely been able to make it to the wedding, so he wasn't there to help. it's kind of funny though, since i'd really only spent the one night there after the wedding. i hadn't even brought a chance of clothes or anything. right as we were done and started to get in our vehicles, it began to rain like crazy.
i drove back into galveston and met sue and the kids at a quizno's for a late lunch. afterward, traffic was slow on i45 so i thought i'd stop at the gap in baybrook mall, but it started raining so i changed my mind. i figured some coffee would do me good since i was operating on somewhat low amounts of sleep so i headed to coffee oasis. they closed early for labor day. *sigh* so i headed back to houston.
so thus ends the wedding trip. normally i head to brady for labor day weekend. it's the weekend they have the world championship bbq goat cookoff, and the last few years i've made it a point to be there. this year was also a big reunion year for me, but evidently my class didn't plan anything. but i needed to stay here. the goat cookoff happens every year. as with most weddings, it's kind of a bittersweet experience for me. i'm happy for the people getting married and i wish the best for them, but it also reminds me of what i thought i had and what is gone. (gotta end it on an up note. ;)
labor day weekend, brad and kelli's wedding
before i left for galveston, i tried to go ahead and put my new inside door handle and window crank handle on my passenger side door. unfortunately, what i learned was that the mount points have evidently both been too stripped to hold the new handles. so now it looks like i'll be purchasing some more parts. ah well. it's such a nice feeling to be okay with spending money on fixing a vehicle.
i made it down to galveston and found the place without any issues. i managed to get there about 30 minutes early. they had the wedding at an old house (mansion) on broadway (what i-45 turns into) at 24th street -- ashton villa. it was a really nice location. the wedding was held outside in a courtyard with a large open rotunda, while the reception was held inside in the grand ballroom.
the invitation requested black and white casual dress attire, but i couldn't really pull that off with my normal wardrobe. instead, i wore a dark grey long-sleeved pearl snap shirt, blue jeans, and snakeskin boots. to help sort of fit the invitation request, and to class it all up a bit, i wore my black leather western-cut suit jacket. i think it looked decent enough, but it was kind of a lot for outside in late august/early september.
i walked around for a minute or two and ran into a couple of people i knew, as well as seeing a lot of people i've either met in past or have seen before. i headed over to jack and he asked me if i wanted to go inside with him to mess with the projector. we were headed that way when i ran into joe levander. i don't know why i hadn't thought about him being there, since he and brad were roommates for several years, but i hadn't. i hadn't gone to his and kelly's wedding as it was in tennessee (several years ago), but i always really liked both of them and was quite happy for them when they started dating and then decided to get married, so it was a very pleasant surprise to run into him. joe was a groomsman. he and i talked and jack eventually continued on with his work while joe and i were talking. sue and the potts' kids, minus simcha, walked by while we were talking. joe said kelly was there too, so i went back into the courtyard and eventually found her. she was with simcha, and soon sue and jackson, dietrich, and calista showed up.
the wedding was very nice. the attendance was very good, and a lot of people managed to handle the requested dress code. mirroring the requested dress code, and the dress style of the wedding party, the ceremony was pretty informal, with a good mix of both traditional and non-traditional elements, and brad and kelli seemed to both enjoy and find meaning in the whole process. although it's irrelevant these days, i like to imagine my wedding had a somewhat similar feel to it. after the ceremony everyone headed to the front entrance of the main house to go to the ballroom.
the ballroom was packed to overflowing, and with all of the seat wrangling, talking, moving, etc. i started feeling sensory overload. i excused myself and went outside. i spent some time walking around looking at the mansion and the grounds, then eventually i went back in. it was still packed and there was an incredibly long line for food; however, it was nice to be in the a/c so i stood against the wall for some time. eventually i went and got a glass of water and went back outside. i sat down in the courtyard area on a concrete bench and started smoking my pipe. after awhile i went back to benches closer to the ballroom, and eventually some smokers came out and started joining me. joe came out and sat down and we talked some more, then kelly came out and we all talked some. sue and the kids came out for awhile, then went back in.
after it seemed like a fair number of people had left, i ventured back inside. they were playing loud music, but there were no lines and plenty of seating. i sat down with joe and kelly, and jack sat down to eat some while he took a break. i didn't actually eat any of the mexican food they served. i ate a handful of raw baby carrots and had a slice of the german chocolate cake (which was very good). as we were sitting, brad's mom came by and talked to kelly for awhile. i didn't really say much, as i didn't figure she'd remember that i'd stayed at her house back in the summer of 2000 for a day or two while tamara and i went with brad to cornerstone. i'd seen kelly's dad earlier, and he actually remembered who i was, which was cool. i met him about a year ago i think, at brasil. he rides, and remembered i rode with brad and kelli. eventually the dancing came to end and it was time for brad and kelli to leave.
outside, they handed out a bunch of little water guns for people to spray them with as they headed toward the car. i kind of stayed back a bit and didn't pick up a water gun, not too excited about getting wet. as everyone waited, suddenly brad and kelli showed up from a different direction in rainsuits with big supersoakers and started spraying everyone. it was pretty clever, and funny. they hopped in the back of their ride and were driven off.
joe and kelly and i decided to try and help do some clean up with the people tearing down, so we stacked and loaded chairs, cleaned some , etc. sue had offered that i could stay at the beach house they were staying at (brad and kelli's families had rented three beach houses for wedding party folk and guests and such), but i figured i'd make up my mind at the wedding. i decided i'd go ahead and spend the night.
September 4, 2007
labor day weekend, pre-wedding
saturday evening i headed over to main street. first, i stopped by sig's lagoon and picked up a centro-matic cd he'd ordered for me. it's their latest, the operation motorcide ep. it's unreleased cuts from the fort recovery sessions (which i will probably purchase sometime in the near future).
from sig's i went next door to tacos-a-go-go, where i had the taco plate. my selections were the picadillo and the pollo guisado, both on corn tortillas. both were good, but the picadillo (seasoned, ground beef) was excellent. while there, some amazing flashes of lightning started -- a precursor to the rain that lasted pretty much the rest of the night.
after the meal, i walked next door to the continental club. there i saw whiskey river revival, followed by scott biram. i liked whiskey river revival. kind of an alt-country act in the vein of maybe hank iii but with more Texas music influence, they had dan johnson on steel. (that guy gets around!) i wasn't sure what to expect from scott biram. he does a one-man show with an impressive amount of gear onstage surrounding him. he uses a road case (from what i could tell) as a bass drum, and sings through what appeared to be several mics, which had what sounded like varying levels of vocal effects. he was pretty crude, drank, cussed, etc. it was interesting, but i guess overall it's just not meant to be for me. i stayed until about 1am and then headed back to the house. i guess i should also mention this was the first evening of the city smoking ban. the continental had a big red "no smoking" sign on the front door. there were some interesting conversations throughout the evening about the ban, as well as various smokers standing under the front awning trying to smoke and stay out of the rain.
sunday morning i planned to sleep in, since i was going to miss church to go to brad and kelli's wedding in galveston, which i had put in my calendar as being at 1pm. my body managed to wake me up earlier than i'd set the alarm, so i contemplated going to church but decided it'd be cutting things too close. i took my time getting ready, and as i was leaving i realized it'd probably be a good idea to have the invitation to look at. it was then i realized the wedding actually wasn't until 7:30pm. oops. i had already missed 30 or 45 minutes of church, so i decided to not show up for the ending of it. but i had a lot of time suddenly.
so i got in element and headed to border's to use a 25% off coupon i had. i was originally hoping to use it on a bear family box set, but the two i was interested in (the 2nd bob wills box and the sarg records box) weren't available in the warehouse so i had to improvise. i ended up using it on the rhino rockin' bones "1950's punk & rockabilly" 4-disc set.
from there i headed down kirby to the bike barn in rice village. if you recall, a number of months ago i'd gone and looked at mountain bikes, but ended up dropping it before i made a purchase. i even test rode one then. i ended up talking to the same guy this time, although i doubt he remembers me (and i didn't mention he'd talked to me before). he talked with me a bit, but then i ended up talking with another guy. we talked for quite a bit, and he had a much more low key personality and i enjoyed the conversation and information. i also didn't feel rushed or pressured by him at all. i eventually decided i might as well go ahead and jump in, so i bought a bike. he didn't try to do much in add-on sales (which they evidently are supposed to do), but i ended up asking about various things and bought a few accessories. one thing i did not buy is a helmet. i don't wear a helmet on my motorcycle, i don't wear a seatbelt in my pickup -- i'm not going to suddenly switch and wear a helmet on a bike. but enough on that. the bike i bought is a gary fisher mountain bike -- it's the 2007 hoo koo e koo (specs).
my hope is that the price i paid will force me to use it, then i will realize how much i enjoy it. because honestly, biking is about the only form of exercise that seems in any way enjoyable. running? ick! walking? boring. weights? painfully repetitious and horribly boring. etc. plus, off-road bike riding has always seemed like it should still be fun. i used to love riding my cheap huffy bmx bike around when i was a kid, i used to ride trail and dirt bikes (motorcycles), and i love riding my cruiser -- so this seems like as good a fit for me as any.
from the bike barn, with my newly purchased bike in the back of my element, i headed across the parking lot to fuzzy's pizza. apparently this one is moving soon, but i managed to get to them before they did. after that, i headed to the gap to try and use a $10 off coupon i had for jeans. unfortunately, nothing both struck my fancy and was available on the shelf in my size so i left empty handed.
i came back home and dropped off my bike, then jumped in the pickup and took off for galveston, and brad and kelli's wedding.
September 2, 2007
poison girl, and when blogs collide
friday night i watched jarheads. i was somewhat interested in it when it came out, but i heard enough negative reviews complaining about it being blatantly anti-war and such that i lost some interest. having watched it now, i'm not sure why there was as much complaining about it -- excepting of course the knee-jerk reactionary conservatives who can't help but spew vitriol towards anyone not toeing the rhetoric line. the movie seemed like one person's experience, and seemed to combine world views of war, military, politics, personal relationships, etc. in what seemed to be a reasonable and realistic way. in fact, i rather liked the film. i feel like it pretty accurately portrays what a lot of people feel and go through (not having gone through it myself, of course -- i even decided against going forward with the air force and army rotc scholarships i had applied for when i was headed to college).
people can try to turn everything into a black-and-white, good-and-bad, right-vs.-wrong dichotomy, but the real world simply is not that way. doing so to the real world distorts and manipulates the reality of things, and many times can force you to make incorrect judgments and have incorrect perspectives because your simplified sifting mechanism just can't handle the diversity and complexity that actually exists in the world. sure, someone like me can slip into cynicism and negativism just as easily as someone else can slip into blind allegiance and unquestioned trust and faith. the key is to try to be who you are while maintaining a balance that keeps you from falling too far in one direction or another. consider the situation, mull over the facts, listen to what the other people are saying -- even if you don't agree, there may be some truth there, or something you can learn to help understand why they believe what they do. you don't have to agree in order to respect and understand. and you can use their information to create a better built and more accurate perspective for yourself.
after watching the movie i jumped on second life for awhile, then i went over to poison girl for about an hour. whoever thinks i'm too picky about being attracted to women obviously hasn't been with me in places like that. it's chock full of the kind of girls that make me swoon. (unfortunately, almost all of them smoke and drink a lot. ...just a second...is that being picky?) i was slack-jawed by a girl who looked amazingly like jennifer (the girl my heart beat for over so many years), except with jet-black hair, a bettie page/alt girl attitude, and a top that accentuated an impressive...uh...personality. if only somehow the two of them could be melded into one person. oh. my. L-rd. my brain would explode. *sigh* but there were plenty of other sites to see. all the alt chicks in black with tattoos and piercings, the indie girls, the trendy alt girls (not so much my cup of tea, but you never know.)
not being a conversationalist, or particularly outgoing, or filled with the slightest bit of confidence or optimism, i was content to play out the awkward meetings followed by dismissals and brush offs in my mind -- thus cutting out the middle-man (or middle-woman, as the case may be) and saving myself some time and embarrassment. i can't decide if it's better to be ignorant that such places exist, or if it actually gives me hope that maybe out there somewhere there is someone who would match up with me. (although tamara was a rare girl who matched more of the list in my mind than most...and look how that turned out. maybe i don't know what my match really is.)
saturday i headed to saint arnold's brewery for their saturday tour. it's the first time i'd been there since they started charging $5 a head. for years it was free, but it was getting incredibly crowded. even charging, the place was pretty packed. i was somewhat surprised. i forgot to take the six-pack containers i've had sitting around for months now (you can turn them in for glasses, shirts, etc.). of course, they still didn't have any glasses with their logo in black, so maybe it's just as well i forgot the cases. (i've got two of the black logo glasses and have been wanting to make a set for awhile now.)
the reason i went up there was to meet up with kevin and jo, who are back here visiting from seattle. (kevin's blog is linked from mine, over on the navigation on the right.) after partaking of saint arnold's fine crafts, i joined the group in eating a late lunch at onion creek.
on the way back home i stopped and got my pickup inspection done, so i'm good for another year. it's so nice not having to get an emissions tests -- cheaper, faster, easier.