December 2008 Archives

running out of gas before xmas

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the beginning of my last work day before the xmas holidays started off poorly. the day and night before it'd been freezing cold. i needed to get gas, but i knew the next day was going to be significantly warmer, so i decided to drive home and get gas the next morning instead of freezing my butt off getting gas that night. the next morning everything was wet and it was misting, but at least the temperature was reasonable.

of course, as is my way, i got up late and was thus running late, so i decided to just head to work. it's only about 5 to 7 miles after all. about halfway there my pickup sputtered a bit. i got worried, but then it kept going fine. so i decided i'd go ahead and stop and get gas at the next station. the next gas station i knew of was an exit before my normal exit and probably about a 1/4 mile from the feeder -- but it was only about a 2/3 mile to my normal exit, which has a gas station on the corner. i blew past the exit before my normal one...then, almost on cue, my pickup immediately died. i was in the slow lane, so i pulled over but was coasting toward the on-ramp from the street whose off-ramp i'd just bypassed. i had to put on the brakes so i wouldn't roll to a stop in the middle of on-ramp traffic. of course, this also meant i'd wedged myself tightly in the triangular corner between the highway and the on-ramp. which makes it rather difficult to get in and out of the pickup without having someone going at 60 to 80 mph knock my door off.

i tried to start it a few times, but it was dead. i got out my cell phone and called a co-worker. he said he'd buy a gas can and some gas and come get me. in the meantime, i was trying to push my pickup back further from the highway. no easy feat, since i had to move my steering wheel over and over -- which meant getting into and out of my pickup, which meant waiting for a gap in traffic. that highway is insanely busier than i thought.

during my time waiting for my co-worker, another co-worker called me and said he'd driven by and saw me and asked me if i needed help. i told him i was just out of gas and i'd already called our co-worker. he said he'd see if he could borrow someone from work's gas can and bring me some gas. i called the first co-worker to let him know, but he didn't answer. plus at this point my phone was dieing. (i love it when planning comes together.) at some point a black guy in a pickup pulled over and stopped (and almost caused a wreck in the process) and asked me if i needed help. i told him i just ran out of gas and someone was on the way, then thanked him for taking the time to stop. he said okay and was on his way. also, during my waiting time, numerous police vehicles had passed and not stopped. which i was a bit surprised by. also, if you aren't aware, houston has a policy that wreckers get to tow vehicles on the side of freeways. you don't really have much of a choice in the matter.

so of course, a tow truck driver showed up. and of course it was one of the ones that seems haggard and hung over, and sounds and acts like they're trying to con or force you into something even if they aren't. but they probably are. he asked me if i broke down. i said i was just out of gas and someone was bringing me gas. he looked at me like he didn't believe me, and i could see he wanted to tow me. fortunately, the co-worker i'd called rolled up behind me and i said "there he is now." the tower seemed disappointed. he pulled in front of me and sat there for a minute or two before he left, perhaps fuming or scheming or contemplating the subtle nuances of modern city dwelling.

my pickup was still right up against the freeway, so it was a bit difficult putting gas in. i got the gas in, then jumped in and tried to start it. it didn't start. i thought maybe one gallon wasn't enough...maybe it all ran to the wrong end of the tank or something since i was on a bit of an incline. about that time, the second co-worker showed up. he had borrowed a 3-gallon tank, and brought it over. we got the pickup pushed away from the highway some and i added the gas he'd brought. i went to start it up and...nothing. at this point it didn't sound like it was turning over. well, i had left my lights on, and i'd tried to start it quite a few times. okay...so...now my battery was low. "no problem, i'll just get my jumpers."

...that are now in my bel-air. and i'd never put another pair i have into the pickup. *sigh* the 2nd co-worker went to get his...but he'd recently put them in a car he races, because he'd had it out over the weekend. so none of us had jumpers. the 2nd co-worker called the co-worker who he'd borrowed the gas can from, and he had some jumpers and said he'd be there soon. while we were waiting for him, the first co-worker decided to go ahead and go back to work. the 2nd co-worker and i went ahead and pushed my pickup all the way back to the on-ramp curb and he pulled his pickup up to mine and we waited for the 3rd co-worker.

then the tow truck driver pulled up again. "can't get it started, huh?" i told him i had gas in it now, but the battery had run down so we were waiting for someone to bring jumper cables. "when i was here last time i could tell your lights was dim." i told him it's an old pickup so the lights are always dim. i figured i shouldn't have to tell a tow truck driver about old vehicle lights. he said "well, i'm gonna have to tow you. if you can't start it. i'll be back by later." i figured at this point i should try to get on his good said, so i asked if he had a card, and if i couldn't get it started i'd call him. that seemed to pep him up, and he gave me his card. (i figured i'd call aaa if i couldn't get it started.) plus the 3rd co-worker drove up while we were talking, so i told him the guy with jumpers was here now. the tow driver did the same pull-up-and-wait-for-a-bit thing, perhaps contemplating some epistemological quandry he'd recently read about and been mulling over, then drove off. (according to his card: "request the best. ask for randy.")

the 3rd co-worker came over and we hooked up the batteries. i hopped in and it cranked up and started. the co-workers hopped back in their respective vehicles and we all headed the 1/2 mile or so back to work.

fortunately, the rest of my day was much less eventful.

i spent most of xmas day over at the potts house.

in addition to xmas shopping for others, i also did some xmas shopping for myself over the last couple of weeks. here's the stuff i can remember that i got myself...

  • bottle rocket - wes anderson (criterion)
  • underworld - (screen gems/sony)
  • gattaca - (columbia)
  • run lola run - (sony)

i got all of those off amazon. bottle rocket i'd ordered a couple of months ago in advance, but it was released and sent out to me just in time for xmas. the other three i got as part of a "buy 2, get 1 free" deal.

all of the above came from thinkgeek. they were all on sale. i'd had my eye on the tix clocks for awhile, but never had broken down and gotten one. they are really slick, in a kind of campy 1960's futuristic space travel sort of way. cool looking like that, yet functional. the 8-bit tie is just funny.

the bobster bugeyes i also ordered through amazon, although they came from a third party. i'd been craving some nannini goggles for a long time, so i finally bought a pair. i found a scooter site that had them on sale for about 20% less than you can normally find them for.

gettin' bent for xmas

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most of my free time lately has been occupied taking care of xmas shopping. which i believe, earlier today, i finished. yea! now i've just got to finish wrapping everything. bleh.

one interesting thing i can think of happened while i was running around doing my xmas shopping. saturday afternoon i was on my motorcycle heading into rice village. i'd just turned off kirby onto times when the black dodge pickup in front of me slowed down. he motioned/yelled at a guy in a white sedan going the other way on times. they both stopped, but a little past each other. they were yelling some stuff to each other, then the guy put his pickup in reverse and started slowly backing up. i started backpedaling, kind of laughing, but he kept coming. i didn't manage to back up fast enough. fortunately he stopped...or maybe he realized he was sort of stuck on something. his pickup was high enough that the bumper went just above my front tire. it didn't quite make my front fender though. so his bumper went between my fender and front tire until he got near my forks. here's a pic...

bent-bike-fender.jpg

(yeah, that's not how it's supposed to look.) good times. he finally noticed me...sort of...and asked the other guy if he'd hit me. the guy said "uh...yeah" so he pulled forward and stopped. i pulled up behind him. he got out and seemed to be pleasant. he wanted to take care of it himself so we traded phone numbers and such. i wrote down his plate, vehicle info, name, etc.

i got home and looked up the cost of a fender. i found a site online with one and was able to get the part number from it. they had it for sale, painted from the factory, for about $260. so even if he ends up flaking, it still won't be too painful. (not that i can't think of better things to do with the money.) of course, if he flakes i'll also be posting all of his info online and seeing if i can get more info about him. :)

charlie kaufman's synecdoche

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sunday late morning last week i was looking at the movies showing when i noticed the name synecdoche, n.y.. i watched the trailer and lo and behold it's a movie both written and directed by charlie kaufman! with philip seymour hoffman in the lead! that was that, i had to go see it. when i got in the theater, right about the time the previews started, i was the only one in the whole big stadium theater. i thought that was going to be the case for the movie, but 3 or 4 people came in right around the time the movie started. i got my most favorite seat in the house because of this -- middle of the row, middle to lower middle of the screen. i like the picture to take up most of my field of vision, but not so much i have to turn my eyes to see the whole picture.

as for the movie...it was a very slow mindfsck. it had some great parts, but i can see how a lot of people wouldn't be able to sit through it. i personally left the theater feeling a bit groggy and addled, not sure if i was me or an actor playing me...and what would the difference be? the premise is that hoffman is a theater director whose life is sort of falling apart, and he gets a grant to create a new piece, so he decided to create something huge and real and gutsy. he rents an impossibly large theater space and starts to work on creating a microcosm of life itself. the actors live lives, playing parts as instructed by him. his life, and the lives of those around him, included. and the piece spans 40 years of his life. it's a bit surreal (as kaufman movies tend to be), and loops back on itself multiple times, creating copies of copies of copies (since the actors eventually need to have actors to play them playing the principal characters because they are now a part of his life). it's maybe about how each of us live our life, how we try to process it and control it, how we manipulate it in our mind. there are paths that are shown but never followed, paths that are dropped somewhere, and paths that jump impossibly from here to there incongruently. (kind of like our minds, eh?) but in the end, i personally think it's a very complex piece that stretches your brain to process the possibilities inside the film and what it means. there are some emotionally beautiful scenes, as well as some visually beautiful ones. i think second, third, or more viewings will probably help validate that there is a lot of meat on this one, and that it's not just pointless navel-gazing. kaufman movies tend to be all about the self anyway, and where the line is between it and the rest of the world and others, and how a mind perceives and processes and stores happenings and feelings and etc. but this movie is much more ambitious and complex than his previous works. i was actually really impressed with the review and later blog entry about this movie by roger ebert. and here's a good interview with kaufman from salon.com. and if you're intrigued, check out the hilarious interview with colbert from the colbert report. (search, or hit beingcharliekaufman.com for it and lots more links.) that critics' reviews are so split on it in my mind is a good thing. strong reactions by critical minds are good.

on wednesday it snowed. here. in houston. really. it started in the afternoon i guess, and by the evening objects were cold enough it started sticking. the ground never really got cold enough, but other things did. i did the radio show while a lot of the snow was falling, so by the time the show was over we walked out to a lot more white than was there when we went into the studio 2 hours earlier. both jay and groovehouse were taking pics, and they got some of my pickup. here's my snow-covered pickup by groovehouse, and here's one by jay. while we were hanging around outside, i took the opportunity to do some snow writing on the back of jay's car (with my fingers!). by late the next morning, the snow was pretty much gone.

friday was a maintenance window, so i went into work in the afternoon. that gave me a chance to do a bit of shopping. that continued saturday. and sunday. boy, there's nothing more fun than finding parking spaces and walking through crowded stores filled with customers and frazzled employees. fortunately, i've managed to get most of my xmas shopping done -- and i've mostly avoided horrible crowds and lines. i've got a couple more stores to hit, and maybe an online purchase or two, and i'll be done. except for the wrapping, which i just started this evening.

iphone: at&t vs. apple store (rematch)

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back when i bought my 3g iphone, i had an annoying experience when i went to upgrade it from the 8 gig (i bought on the first day they were out) to a 16 gig (during the two week return period). here's a link to the relevant july 26th blog entry. basically, even though apple and at&t are in a partnership, it doesn't seem like they work very smoothly together. this opinion was further verified last week.

the hrc had accidentally dropped her 1st gen iphone in a bucket of water, then watched as her tree frog screen background pic went from bright green/red to yellowish hues and then faded to black. she was a bit frantic over this, and understandably, since in addition to it being a pricey bit of gadgetry she uses the phone all of the time for work (it is necessary, not nice). so after her dramatic retelling of the events, i went with her to the apple store in the galleria to get a replacement. (what with my previous experience dealing with iphone purchasing and exchanges, plus for support.)

here are the complications: [1] her previous at&t account for the 1st gen iphone was a pre-pay go phone account. it was a pre-pay at least partially because [2] she needed a $750 deposit to set up a regular account.

we went to the galleria and she decided to get a 16gig white 3g iphone. the 3g iphone can only be purchased as part of a regular account (it's not available for pre-pay go phone accounts) and they said they couldn't do number transfers, just new activations, so they would give her a new account with a temp number and then she could go to the at&t store and have them transfer her current number. this made her a bit nervous, but she agreed. the deposit was made, the phone was bought, etc. (although the receipt system broke and it took forever for them to figure out how to get a print of a copy and paste of a screenshot or something.)

we drove over to the big at&t store on 59 near buffalo speedway, and when we walked in she said she needed to transfer her current go phone number to the new iphone she just bought at the apple store in the galleria. they said "great!" and took her name. we waited a bit and then the rep came up to help us. the hrc said what needed to be done and he didn't say "sure, no problem!" no, he said "i don't think we can do that." he went and called to be sure, and the final verdict was that there is no way for at&t to transfer a pre-pay (go phone) account phone number to a post-pay (regular) account. i tried to think of ways it could be done, but there was nothing. we tried suggesting second line flips, account mods, closing/re-opening accounts...nothing. the only way was to return the apple store iphone and cancel that account, then come back to the at&t store and buy the iphone there then upgrade the pre-pay (go) account to a post-pay. the only way.

and the apple store normally charges a 10% restocking fee on items. but they might be willing to forgo that under these circumstances.

and, oh yeah, there'd be a $750 deposit on the phone purchased from at&t. what about that $750 deposit made at the apple store? we were very adamant he make sure that canceling the just created account would not forfeit the deposit. he called to verify, and it seemed to be the case that if you canceled the account within 3 days then they would...no, not refund the deposit to your credit card...cut you a check and mail it to you. *sigh*

while we were at the at&t store and he was talking to people on the phone, i called the apple store to explain the situation and see if they had any answers. the girl i talked to didn't seem to know, but she said a manager might be willing to waive the 10% restocking fee but she couldn't guarantee anything. but we should be able to return it.

with a bit of a queasy feeling about the whole thing, we went back to the apple store. fortunately, as we were explaining what was going on, they were very nice and apologetic about everything. they said there was no restocking fee. (maybe that is a policy on iphones, i don't know.) they took the phone, refunded the money, and wished us luck. (of course, the $750 deposit was out of their hands and they had no control over it.) we were in and out pretty quickly.

we trudged back to the at&t store. a new phone was purchased and another $750 deposit was dropped down. the go phone account was changed from a pre-pay account to a post-pay account. finally, the hrc had a new, working phone and her original phone number.

so the lesson from this is that unless you are new to at&t or are upgrade eligible, don't buy from the apple store because at&t can't handle it. you will be forced to return the phone to the apple store and buy it from at&t directly. ironically, the customers at&t can help the least are their own (current at&t customers).

and she's still waiting to find out that first $750 deposit has been refunded and a check cut. when she called the next day to make sure the account had been closed, i don't think it had been. even though we were told returning the phone should cancel the account. they also said an email would be sent when the check was cut, and she hasn't gotten an email yet. then a day or two ago she got a text message saying they were about to charge her go account for the next month in 5 days. she called and they claimed it shouldn't...maybe the text system just hadn't updated...so the rep "added a note to her account" and "hopefully that would work".

yeah, "hopefully" appears to be about the best you can expect with at&t.

at some point awhile back i went by the tweeter on westheimer again and bought some more cables and stuff. they were around 70% off. all audioquest, i got one cable each of: vdm-xr 2m video/digital audio, vdm-1 2m video/digital audio, yiq-x 4.5m component video, mini-a 1m 3.5mm to rca stereo, mini-a 3m 3.5mm to rca stereo, and mini-1 1m 3.5mm to 3.5mm.

i had thought i'd go by the one on kirby again tuesday (dec 2nd) after work, but they were closed. i knew the sale was supposed to last until the 7th or the store ran out. i figured they just shortened their hours, or maybe the stores in houston collapsed down since they had less inventory. i got home and went online trying to find info, and that's when i was led on the tweeter odyssey. it turns out schultze, who bought them after they declared bankruptcy the second time, decided to shut down the stores early. they fired all employees and locked the doors. the liquidators were freaking, the employees were freaking. no one was getting paid. then schultze filed to change from chapter 11 (restructuring) to chapter 7 (liquidation). it was approved. they had paid off wells fargo, their largest secured lender before they shut down. in the chapter 7 filing, they set aside $900k for employee pay. supposedly employees are going to get at least some of the pay they are owed. and under chapter 7 it's possible the stores will open again to liquidate their final stock. under the chapter 7 agreement a court trustee was appointed to run the liquidation. oh yeah, and the day after this happened someone hacked the tweeter website and put up some disparaging remarks about schultze and boucher (another tweeter guy). there are lots of interesting comments from tweeter employees in the various news articles online. it's pretty crazy how things happened. two of the best sources have been twice and george gombossy at the hartford courant. it comes across like corporate greed and me-ism at the cost of the employees, and vendors, and trust, and honor. just another day at the office for most of corporate america i guess.

while doing all of this reading, i also come across a few audiophile sites i hadn't seen before, and they had some really cool articles and commentaries. (audioholics.com) they seem practical and reasonable to me, and it's led me to re-think some of the esoteric claims of lots of the "high-end" audio cable companies. (including the company who makes a lot of the ones i've bought.)

on tuesday (dec 2nd) i used a border's coupon to get a 40% discount on dvd/blu-ray box sets. i was looking at a couple of things, but they were cheaper through amazon even taking the 40% discount into account. so i ended up getting these (which were cheaper):

  • peanuts deluxe holiday collection
  • the original christmas classics (limited keepsake edition)

the peanuts collection has "a charlie brown christmas", "a charlie brown thanksgiving", and "it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown" as well as a few other odds and ends and a cd of some music from the shows. the christmas classics collection has "rudolph the red-nosed reindeer", "frosty the snowman", "santa claus is coming to town", "the little drummer boy", "frosty returns", "mr. magoo's christmas carol", and "cricket on the hearth". i already have a christmas story, so now all i need is "how the grinch stole christmas" and maybe the missing christmas classics like "jack frost". (why is it not in this classics collection i bought?)

friday night of last week (dec 5th) was the geek gathering. i convinced the hrc to go, seeing as she is a geek and all (and she'd been before). this gathering was at coffee groundz, which seemed like a decent enough place. unfortunately the gathering was outside and it was rather chilly. there were free-standing tower heaters which helped when you were near them, but it was still chilly. plus this gathering was a mash-up with the tiara happy hour -- which meant a lot more people, but it seemed like it changed the vibe of the whole thing. i ended up not talking much, mostly just sitting and talking with the hrc. nevertheless, jay managed to get a pretty cool pic of me (yes, my face is covered).

last saturday evening (dec 6th) i was picked up by jack and sue and their daughters, and we went and ate at chuy's. where were the boys? they'd already been dropped off at houston's first baptist because they were in the children's choir for the xmas celebration. they've remodeled the big auditorium since i was last there, so now they have big projections on the walls along with the two big screens. it was funny, but kind of cool, that the first kid they zoomed in on during the kids' part was dietrich. his white turtleneck sort of stood out, but i think it was the 3 inch tall mohawk that did it. i wonder what some of the people in the audience were thinking? probably either "oh, it's a good thing that kid is in church so he can be saved and set straight" or "oh, that's disgusting they would let someone looking like that on the stage!" i've seen and heard both reactions over the years. the orchestra performed some classical pieces, which were cool. the modern soloists and operatic bits i could have done without.

thanksgiving weekend 2008

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i went back to the old hometown for thanksgiving. i took the pickup. fortunately gas prices dropped enough that it wasn't overly painful on the pocketbook. and the pickup made it there and back without major drama.

it'd been awhile since i'd been back to brady, and sometimes i am reminded of the difference of small towns. i'm the product of a small town, so i understand it, but i've lived for so long in the sprawling metropolis that is houston that over time my familiarity with it is pushed to the dark corners of my mind. neither is inherently better or worse than the other, but they are very different. and the products of one tend to dislike or dismiss the other. small towns live by different standards -- they are concerned about different things, and they do it at a different pace. some level of urban pretentiousness is lost, but it is traded for a mistrust of change or difference -- perhaps two sides of the same coin. there is a lack of sophistication, and it seems fake and awkward when attempted -- but that's because a small town's strength is its simplicity...in it's refreshing basics that are lost in the complexity of an urban and suburban landscape. there is good and bad in both though. sometimes it's refreshing to be reminded of it.

to perhaps try and illustrate it a bit, i'll give some thoughts/examples:

  • i ate out (as i don't cook or tend to eat at home, unless someone has prepared something since i should appreciate their efforts) and i was reminded of the differences. the places in small towns are usually very sparse and simple compared to the lavish efforts of restaurants in urban environements. a small town cafe will put out the bucket of cottage cheese -- the urban cafe will dole the same stuff into a serving tray. a small town cafe will put up some pictures and paintings that seem generally unplanned and don't really consider the space, get a hold of the cutlery and plates and glasses they can -- an urban cafe will spend lots of money making the enviornment seem just right. (these are generalizations, of course.)
  • while i was eating, a group of older women dressed nicely and probably out shopping came in and sat at a table. i overheard them talking and one said "susan is a vegetarian" to which one replied "what kind of vegetarian? i mean, is she vegan?" and none of them seemed unfamiliar with the term. it was kind of funny, because hearing a group of older women talk about veganism in a small town cafe shows how far the term has come. of course, when i told my dad this story, his response was to ask if i knew any freegans. the world truly is becoming a smaller place.
  • i ran into cynthia (an ex) at the super walmart in town. (i know, i know. i'll explain why i was there later.) you run into almost everyone when you go out in small towns. in the big city you can be almost anonymous -- you can go out every day and almost never run into anyone you know but don't see regularly. in small towns, you see most people most of the time. especially at the wal-mart, because that's about the only place in town to get stuff (especially after about 6pm).
  • i went to a butane and hardware store while i was in town to get some j-b weld and stuff to try and do some stuff to my pickup exhaust headers. (i had actually run into one of the owners or managers of the place while i was in the bank talking with my mom.) a lady there was very helpful, walking around the store to show me where things were and talking with me about them. while i was doing this, i overheard an old man somewhere in the store say "well, you know with the niggers and mexicans...". it was shocking, but at the same time it wasn't. racism in urban areas tends to be either hidden or very, very obvious. racism in small towns can take on all kinds of hues, and can't always be judged by the same standards as in big cities. i don't think small towns necessarily have it better or worse, just different.

so about me being at wal-mart. i went there -- on black friday of all days -- because my mom wanted to get a new flat screen tv. she had been looking at a philips i think, but i convinced her to get a sony. it was the same size, and at $100 off it was the same price as the philips. she also wanted to pick up a blu-ray player, so she got a samsung bd-p1500. so now my parents have a better tv than me. : ) it took a long time to get some help (and i ran into more people i know), so i had plenty of time to look around at things. my parents' computer's mouse and keyboard (both bluetooth) had stopped working after i'd uninstalled some software they were annoyed by, so i bought a usb keyboard while i was there. i needed to fix it right then. but then, since i was already buying something, i ended up buying some blu-ray dvds that were on sale for black friday. i felt kind of bad since i have a sort of personal thing to not patronize them. i returned the keyboard once back in houston, but i'll keep the movies. i did restrain myself from buying an 8-gig pny usb memory stick that was cheap. *sigh* anyway, here are the movies i got:

  • the fifth element - luc besson (columbia)
  • hellboy - guillermo del toro (columbia/revolution)
  • curse of the golden flower - zhang yimou (sony)

the day after seeing cynthia at wal-mart, she called to see if i wanted to go to a movie with her and her brother and his daughter. but it was madagascar 2, which i'd just seen. then she called back later and said her brother had forgotten, so she wanted to know if i wanted to go to supper with her and her daughter. the phone conversation leading to this was kind of amusing, as it went something like this:

me: i've eaten at "down home cooking", dairy queen, and flores cafe.
her: i guess that leaves la familia and tex-mex.
me: la familia isn't tex-mex?
her: *laughing* well, it is, but they aren't.
me: so the food is, but the people who own it or run it aren't?
her: *laughing more* uh...yeah, something like that.

it wasn't until i relayed this odd exchange to my dad that it made sense. i told him and he said "tex-mex is the name of another restaurant here in town." when i told cynthia, she thought i'd known that and was joking with her. anyway, she came by and picked me up and we ate at la familia. her daughter is really cute, and was being pretty funny sometimes. after eating, i ran an errand with her to wal-mart (more wal-mart! but i didn't buy anything.) and her daughter rushed to hold my hand instead of hers in the parking lot going in and out. it was funny.

as for the j-b weld, i was trying to fix some leaks in my pickup's exhaust headers. i'd looked a bit earlier and noticed a crack in one. i figured i could slap some j-b weld on it and that would fix it up. unfortunately, after i bought the stuff i started looking more closely and the other exhaust header appears to be both cracked and shifted. or maybe even a piece fell out. whatever the case, j-b weld isn't the right thing for that kind of hole. so i guess my pickup will sound crazy until i get the engine rebuilt.

on the way back to houston i stopped at the graves of my grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as the house in art. once in austin, i stopped at linc and heather's. they had just bought an xmas tree and were putting stuff on it. my parents had given them their old tv, so i helped my brother bring it in and move everything around and change the way some of the things were hooked up. (having just changed the connections on my own tv/stereo equipment a couple of times, i then got to do my parents' and my brother's.) i ate supper with them, watched a charlie brown special i'd never seen before, then was on my way back to houston.

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