April 2009 Archives

this post is fluff, and unfulfilling

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after finishing up that last entry, i did some stuff around the house and eventually got into bed and started reading wired magazine. a little after 1am i got a call from jamie. she was at the continental club and had gotten a flat tire. she said she could change it, but she was concerned about some of people hanging around in the area. so i got up and got dressed and headed over there. (it's only a few minutes drive.) we put the spare on, then tried to think of somewhere nearby we could go so we could eat something and she could get some "good" coffee. (that "good" was her qualifier -- she doesn't like the coffee at house of pies. i think maybe she was dropped on her head as a child or something.) we couldn't think of anything, so we went our separate ways.

sunday jack came by and picked me up and took me over to their house. they'd gotten their jetta back from the shop a week or so earlier, but when jack had gone to give me a ride home in it the thing started overheating so he'd had to turn around and switch to their van. he was in the jetta, and said they'd taken it back and it was running well. going down 59 it started overheating again. we had to pull over several times and stop and let it cool down before we made it to their house.

i had easter lunch over there, which was king ranch casserole. somehow, their family developed a tradition of sloppy joes for easter over the last few years, but they switched it up this year. sue's brother shawn was their with his fiancee, as well as chip and chip's dog. the other visitors left, then it turns out sue was on call and she had to leave for work. at this point in the story, the jetta situation becomes important. well, that and the fact jack had four sleeping children. i was stuck. we watched iron man, which was okay. then we watched natural born killers, which i hadn't seen in years. there are things i like about it, but while some of the visuals and storytelling techniques are cool, it kind of starts to get old after awhile. the dialogue is pretty nice, but then it's a tarantino script. then we started watching dazed and confused. sue showed up around 3am or so and drove me home. i hadn't really planned on being out that late, since i had work in the morning.

tuesday morning i had my ortho appointment. unfortunately, i didn't really learn anything. he pretty much just looked at it and said "yeah, it looks like it's getting better." everything else was along the lines of "who knows with crush injuries? they're all different and you don't really know." i asked him about the fact that my foot and ankle stay swollen pretty much all the time since i'm on my feet so much now, so he wrote me a prescription for a t.e.d. compression hose. i'm planning on going by a medical supply store to get fitted for one here soon.

since i couldn't get any guidelines on driving or anything other than "if you feel like it, but don't push it" i went ahead and started driving to work. my ankle has hurt some when i was in stop-and-go traffic for awhile, but nothing too horrible. i'm never really sure at what point i should stop "taking it easy" and when i should start to try to do stuff with it to get it better.

yesterday sue came by with the kids and picked me up. we ate at quiznos, dropped by michaels, and then went to a dollar theater and saw paul blart: mall cop. there were some funny things in it, but it wasn't all that great. i suppose it was worth $1.50.

earlier today i finally made all those old blog entries from 2003 and before october 2004 live. you know, the ones that were lost in a server crash, then even further lost in a desktop crash, but then i recovered off the desktop hard drive when i found most of them in some cache files while i was trying to do data recovery on the drive.

i decided to get an apple tv and try to play around with boxee, but then i started talking myself out of it. (i've talked myself out of getting an apple tv at least 3 or 4 times over the last couple of years.) then i decided to go ahead and do it. i didn't feel like going to the galleria, so i headed to meyerland. except i guess the apple store went away at some point. so i had to go to the galleria. the guy at the apple store then actually talked me out of buying one, suggesting i get a used mini since i wanted to play with boxee and the mini would give me a full functional computer hooked up to my tv. but once home i determined his estimate on the prices of used minis was off. so now i'm not sure what i'm going to do. maybe i effectively talked myself out of buying any of these options for awhile. it's not like i watch that much tv anyway. while i was in the galleria i went by the borders there. they didn't appear to have much selection at all on 50% off cds. on the way home i stopped by the one near my house, but i didn't buy anything there either.

i'm also starting to flounder on what engine to get and put in the bel air. it appears i can get a gm built crate for about $2k, but it doesn't include manifold, distributor, etc. like the edelbrock crates. (nor does it have as much hp or torque.) it'd also be nice if i had a mechanic who i thought would be interested in talking about this sort of stuff. as it is, i feel pretty much on my own about any decisions, and there is a lot i don't know about engines and what all it takes to get one in and running (what parts need to be replaced, what additional parts are needed, etc.). if only there were some sort of place that was a collection of information about stuff, like virtual pages of books or something, but all interconnected...kind of like strands on a web, and you could have a thing where you could search for the information you wanted and find lots of resources instantly. like maybe even via computers. yep, that would be pretty cool.

"why'd you call yourself voltron?"

back on thursday april 2nd when i complained about my digestive system and cutting my foot, i had no idea that my digestive system would feel like its thunder had been stolen by the cut foot and thus do everything within its power to prove that it and it alone is enough to provide me with major misery. thursday night it spent from around 10pm until around 8am re-enacting what it might possibly feel like to have two feral wildcats hellishly fight their way from one end of my digestive system to the other. appropriately, once the wildcats relented, i spent pretty much the whole day friday in exhausted, semi-delirious sleep.

i had originally thought perhaps i might make it to the geek gathering taking place friday night, since the drama was over and i wasn't feeling like my guts had been invaded by a slightly retarded alien who was mistakenly gestating in my bowels instead of my chest. but as the time drew near, even though i managed to eat something and keep it down, i realized i felt like i'd just been put in a potato sack and used as a punching bag by george foreman for about 30 minutes. it was better for me to just stay home and immobile.

i had been looking forward to my ortho appointment on tuesday, hoping to find out there was no ligament damage and it would be okay for me to start driving and such. unfortunately, on monday the ortho office called me and canceled. they rescheduled me for the same time a week away, so i'm now supposed to have my visit this coming tuesday. i went ahead and took the bus to work and home, getting rides one way or the other a few times as well. a 10 minute or so drive for me is about 1 hour by bus (40 or so if i time it exactly right).

i went to work every day (well, except today, which is a holiday), but i'm working about 5 hour days right now. at some point my leg seemed to improve as far as swelling and pain, but the last few days it seems to have gotten stuck. my ankle and foot swell up fairly quickly and stay swollen most of the day. (i don't get to put my leg above my torso much.) i'm still limping some, don't have feeling down the front of my leg, and going down stairs is not very easy.

i did go ahead and allow myself to drive a few times since the doctor didn't keep his appointment. but i've kept them to short jaunts. i drove to get bubble tea one night, to kpft for technology bytes on wednesday, to the grocery store last night, and today i drove to the house of pies for lunch. (first time i've been there in over a month! and why were there so many hot alterna-chicks there today?)

borders has been having a 40% off sale/clearance on some of their cds. since i hadn't really been making much in the way of purchases over the last month plus, i made a trip last week and today and went through their stock and picked up some stuff. the trip last week was almost all country, the one today almost all rock. here's the haul:

  • first ten years - david allen coe (columbia)
  • the ultimate charlie daniels band - charlie daniels band (epic/legacy)
  • hell yeah - horrorpops (hellcat)
  • 16 biggest hits - johnny horton (columbia/legacy)
  • the wolf - shooter jennings (universal)
  • the essential kris kristofferson - kris kristofferson (columbia/legacy)
  • the definitive collection - jerry lee lewis (hip-o)
  • pontiac - lyle lovett (mca/curb)
  • c. w. mccall's greatest hits - c. w. mccall (polydor)
  • will the circle be unbroken - nitty gritty dirt band (capitol)
  • no depression - uncle tupelo (columbia/legacy)
  • 89/93: an anthology - uncle tupelo (columbia/legacy)
  • rowdy - hank williams jr. (curb)
  • the pressure is on - hank williams jr. (curb)

a lot of this is stuff i've wanted on some level or another for various reasons, but didn't want enough to pay full price for.

  • the singles 81>85 - depeche mode (mute/reprise)
  • open season - remixes and collabs - feist (cherrytree/interscope)
  • fever ray - fever ray (rabid/mute)
  • minimum-maximum - kraftwerk (astralwerks/emi)
  • public warning - lady sovereign (def jam)
  • complete discography - minor threat (dischord)
  • the moldy peaches - the moldy peaches (rough trade)
  • portishead - portishead (go! beat/london)
  • talking heads: 77 - talking heads (sire)
  • the best of rob zombie - rob zombie (geffen/universal)

i got feist mostly due to a postal service remix i've heard and liked from this album. the minor threat album is a remastered version, the original version of which i already own. i'm almost positive i already owned that talking heads album on cd, but i haven't been able to find it for a couple of years (if i owned it) so i bought it. the fever ray album, which is an album by the girl from the knife, was actually bought at soundwaves a week and a half or two ago -- i got the hrc to take me by there after we ate lunch at tacos-a-go-go because i knew the album should have been out by then. the hrc was just accompanying me, but she ended up buying 6 or 7 albums for herself (by the knife, adult., and grandaddy). i only got fever ray. haha. anyway, feist was at one time the roommate of the lady who does work under the name peaches, and there is one song on the feist remix album she was involved with. i love the way the music by peaches sounds. unfortunately, her songs are highly sexual and raunchy (i mean highly) so i have yet to buy any peaches albums. it's sort of funny she evidently used to be a school teacher.

oh yeah, i also picked up a movie that first time at borders:

  • hot rod - andy samberg (paramount)

that movie is hilarious. it's stupid humor, but it's really funny. to me it's kind of like napoleon dynamite, but more slapstick and silly instead of odd and obtuse. but both sort of take the way elementary school age kids think and act and have older people behave that way.

i never mentioned that a while back i managed to score a madman statue on ebay for a decent price. i didn't know the number (the run was of 1500 i think), but when it arrived it was #144. nice! unfortunately, when i opened the box the statue version of the lady from the movie misery must have gotten to him because both of his legs were shattered at the shins. *sigh* i was originally thinking i would make an insurance claim on it, but i think i may try to keep it and piece it back together instead.


cathy: why'd you call yourself voltron?
dave: i don't know. maybe 'cause it's super badass!
cathy: you're weird.
dave: hellz yeah, i am!
(from hot rod)

poor, naive facebook

ha ha. this recently popped up on facebook...

tamara tabo on facebook

thanks but no thanks, facebook. i think i'll wait for the "add as messed up, lying, money-grabbing, ex-wife" option.

oh wait. that "x" to the far right has hover text that says "do not show this person".

never mind, problem solved. ; )


(for the record, i don't harbor ill will toward tamara due to things in our marriage. there were difficult as well as really good times. what i do still feel ill will toward her about is her behaviour during and after the affair, including during all of the divorce settlement proceedings. she was less than honorable, less than respectable, and less than fair -- and everyone involved knew it. i worked very hard to try and understand what happened in our marriage and why she had an affair, and to try and be able to reconcile. she lied. i worked to end our divorce fairly, based on our history and situation. she lied. i also have been continually upset by her revisionist re-imaginations of our collective past once she decided to "move on". it's these flaws in her character that took advantage of me and my attempts to have faith in her that i still have a hard time getting past. i wish she could have been the person she had the capability of being, but she wasn't. maybe one day she will.)

addendum: what i have come to realize through the many times i've spent going through all of the stuff she left behind (clothes, school notes, papers, letters, personal writing, etc.) is this: she was pretty much always fscked up. i mean weirdly obsessive, highly self-critical, both hyper-rational and hyper-irrational...with a huge hole in her heart or soul that she couldn't find anything to fill. she was unrealistic about so many, many things. i thought i had a pretty good understanding of her, i thought we were fairly honest with each other, and i truly loved her even with the flaws i knew about -- but she kept frightening concerns and irrational thoughts and perspectives locked inside of her head (that probably no one ever saw). it seems an odd conclusion to reach given the complicated mess i and the rest of the world saw in her, but i guess it was, to be cliche, just the tip of a giant mess of epic proportions -- a jumbled mess of dark confusion and sad misunderstanding. it's weird to know that her secret concerns... fears... hatred... disappointment... were probably dooming us from the beginning, and i was clueless about the bizarre contortions going on inside of her. i guess the pure randomness of it all meant it was as likely to work out as to explode into a giant fireball, or melt down and just disappear. oh well, it was only my future, my happiness, my life at stake. i still believe she has the ability to truly be a great person. and it's too late for that to be her legacy on my life i suppose, but i hope she manages to pull it together someday.

you know, pandora is really cool. i know i've said it before, but it deserves repeating.

here's the deal: you put in a song or artist you like, it creates a "station" for you based on that song or artist. then the station randomly plays songs that are similar in some form or fashion to what you put (vocal style, instruments, beat, genre, etc.). you can give a thumbs up to songs you like and thumbs down to ones you don't, and over time the station centers more (hopefully) on what you like about the original artist/song. so you get to hear a bunch of songs you'll probably like -- some of which you've probably never heard. it's a great way to find new bands based on bands you know you like. and you can have multiple channels based on different starting points.

it's really a neat offering. unfortunately, along with the rest of the online music providers and streamers (like soma fm), they've been getting screwed by soundexchange and the copyright royalty board (crb) and seem to always be near death due to the unfair royalty fees the idiots want to hoist on online music providers.

anyway, that's really all just background, as the story i want to tell is how something weird happened with my pandora account a few months ago. i logged in and suddenly there were all of these new stations i hadn't created. unfortunately, this magical musical fairy godmother didn't have good taste in music. i mean, it almost made me give up on humanity entirely. it was that bad. and it was in my pandora account! i wiped out the channels and continued on my way.

a month or so later i noticed most if not all of them were back. so it wasn't some one-time random anomaly -- this poor being, whoever they were and however they were in my account, was serious about choosing this list of..."artists." i wiped them out again, and this time changed my password even though i didn't think anyone knew the password.

a month later the crap was back, now with even more friends. at this point i really didn't know what to do, but it appeared my evil musical fairy godmother wasn't going away, so i emailed pandora support:


From: slacker@failure.net
Subject: pandora station oddities on my account
To: pandora-support@pandora.com
 
greetings. i have this odd problem where somehow someone with crappy taste in music (in my opinion) keeps adding channels to my account. this has happened on several occasions. i delete them and then they come back. a few weeks ago i went so far as to change my account password, even though i don't think anyone has or had it. the last time i logged in, the channels were back (bon jovi, rick springfield, nickelback, alien ant farm, etc?) and i even noticed they'd added an artist to my list of bookmarked artists. (i mean... lifehouse. seriously?) this stuff happened on numerous dates, including 2/28, 3/10, 3/11, 3/12, etc by looking at the add dates.
 
anyway, i was just wondering if perhaps there is a problem in the backend database or something where my account is somehow tied into that of either a small child randomly pressing buttons or an alterna-rocker in their early 40's with a secret love for crappy male crooners. in either case, is there any way y'all can exorcise this sad ghost in the machine? (and if the person who happens to get this email really really likes kings of leon and...whatever a micheal buble is...i apologize for talking smack about your...uh..."taste" in music. sorry, i tried to be nice. really. if it makes you feel better, you can make fun of my music too.)
[...]
for what it's worth, i really appreciate y'all and what you're doing. it was a cool idea, and i've tried to promote it by word of mouth, as well as do my part to help online stations such as yourself and soma fm not get screwed over by the royalty board and soundexchange. i'm sorry a bunch of greedy idiots want to fsck good things up because they don't understand the value or how things should work (killing promotion for small artists so the big guys can make some more bucks is pretty lame).
 
anyway, thanks for any assistance.


later the same day i got a response:


From: xxxx@pandora.com
Subject: Re: pandora station oddities on my account
To: slacker@failure.net
Cc: pandora-support@pandora.com
 
Hello TeRRY:
 
Thank you for taking the time to write us here at Pandora. I apologize that you are having some issues.
 
I believe I see the issue - you have 2 iPhones and a Samsung Blu-Ray player associated with your account. Are all of these devices yours? If not, I will remove the associations with your account.
 
Also, thanks for the kind words TeRRY. We strive to connect people with music they will love. It's rewarding to hear that we have succeeded with you. Thanks for spreading the word to so many people - that means EVERYTHING to us.
 
Let me know on the devices and we'll get your account back on track. Thanks Terry.
[...]


i replied the next day...


On Apr 1, 2009, at 6:43 PM, xxxx @ Pandora Support wrote:
> Let me know on the devices and we'll get your account back on track. Thanks Terry.
 
hey josh. thanks for the reply. i do have an iphone and a samsung blu-ray player. i don't have 2 iphones though. i'm not sure how my account would have gotten on a second iphone. although i did buy an 8-gig when the 3g first came out and then returned it 2 weeks later for a 16-gig. i'm sure i wiped the device...but maybe if pandora remembers the device id outside of the account info being stored on the iphone? i don't know. anyway, i'm assuming i can re-associate any of my devices if you wipe the association from your end, so if you want to be safe you can go ahead and wipe all of them and i'll just reconnect the ones that i am currently using.
 
> Also, thanks for the kind words TeRRY.
 
it's not hard to find kind words - y'all have a cool product and i've found new bands through pandora that i've gone on to buy cds from. these aren't platinum-selling artists that are pushed by their deep-pocketed record labels -- these are independent artists and artists on smaller labels who stand to benefit the most from your kind of offering (and stand to be hurt the worst by those same deep-pocketed record labels who don't care about these kinds of artists in general, despite their lip service to the contrary).


josh wrote back a little later:


Thanks for writing back - I have removed the iPhones - you will need to sign in on it - let me know if you have any trouble. Thanks again for the words - You truly GET IT..... very cool. Rock on Terry

so, thank you josh at pandora support. hopefully this will resolve my problem, and any poor musical choices on my pandora account in the future will only be my own. so far the bad music hasn't come back, but the last times it took a while. hopefully my pandora account was somehow tied to some other iphone, and that was the source of the poor musical choices. if it was your iphone, please don't hate me for my disparaging remarks about your love of generic altra-rock and male pop-rock crooners. i noticed the last time you'd also put the classical composer bach in, which gives me hope. (even though you'd also added an all-live bon jovi channel, which kind of took the wind out of my new-found hope's sails.)

for those interested, here's the page for my pandora account:
http://www.pandora.com/people/slacker8

side note: as cool as pandora is, sometimes it's annoying to have to run it in a browser. so i run the pandora desktop app on adobe air on linux, and i just started running pandoraboy for mac. being able to stream it over the network through my samsung blu-ray player (and thus play it over my home stereo) is pretty slick too.

sunday night my body decided it wasn't too excited about something i'd eaten recently and determined mass evacuation was the best course of action. i managed to sleep okay despite this situation; however, when i woke up in the morning my body told me i needed to head toward the bathroom. i got out of bed, put my left (injured) leg forward and put my weight down on it, and immediately felt a piercing pain on the front left pad of my foot. i thought i'd stepped on some of the stray cat litter crystals my cat occasionally leaves around the house to sabotage me with, but the pain made me quickly realize if that were the case she must have taken the sabotage up a level and sharpened it into a makeshift crystal shiv. i dropped back onto the bed so i didn't step on my foot again, and to try and see what was going on down there. unfortunately, i can't really bend my injured leg very well so i couldn't see my foot. then i saw blood dripping from my foot onto the floor. i figured that wasn't too good. after sitting there a bit dripping blood, my body reminded me it was serious when it told me earlier i should head to the bathroom, so i jumped up and managed to hop into the bathroom. after dripping blood in the bathroom some, i managed to get my leg and foot angled just enough i could see something barely sticking out of my foot. i reached down and grabbed the edge of it and pulled it out. it was some shard of clear plastic or glass about 1/4 inch wide by 1/4 inch high, and somehow i'd managed to shove it pretty much all the way up into my foot. i got some toilet paper and held it on the spot until it mostly stopped bleeding, while i let my body continue its cleansing of my digestive system. so began my monday morning.

i had hoped to practice driving my pickup over the weekend to see if i thought my knee and ankle could handle it okay, but i hadn't gotten to do that. there was a meeting at work in the afternoon with several vendors and such i wanted to attend, so i decided to go ahead and try driving. after sitting for 3+ weeks, my pickup still managed to start up okay. after trying my leg some in the driveway, i got on the road. it was a little awkward as far as the amount my knee would bend, and it hurt a little, but not too much. in my state of focusing on getting back to work and driving i forgot my cell at home, so i'm glad things went alright. unfortunately, the ride there was in the middle of the day and there wasn't much traffic, but the ride home was around 5pm and there was a lot of stop and go traffic. i didn't feel intense pain or like i messed up my knee or anything, but it started hurting enough before i got home to make me decide maybe i should put off driving until i see the ortho doctor again to see what his opinion is on what i should and shouldn't be doing. i called his office the next day and have an appointment for the 7th.

i applied online for a credit card with 0% interest until june 2010, and was approved. so hopefully here pretty soon i'll start the process of putting a new engine in my bel air. yea.

yesterday i called hpd reports division to find out info about the police report. after about 30 minutes on automated hold, a person got the incident number from me, the date of the incident, and my name, then said "okay, your report is ready. you can pick it up at 1200 travis." i asked about that, then asked how much it cost (since i'd seen some cost stuff when finding the phone number to call) and she said $6. then she added or i could use "vectra" (?) and pay $7.50 online with a credit card. i assume that's a web-based report ordering thing. from the conversation it sounded like she'd already sent my report to be printed, so i figured i should go ahead and go downtown to get the report as i didn't want to pay the $7.50 and then also get a bill for $6 too. the hrc came and got me and i went to the building and picked up my report.

neither of us had eaten, so i decided while we were already downtown we should eat at frank's pizza. during the drive, i looked over the report. it appeared they used the license plate to get registration info on the car. but the driver was just listed as "jamie" and there was no insurance info. they also didn't really get the description of the accident completely correct, as in the drawing it made it look like they were turning right and only partially blocking the lanes. but whatever, i guess. there were accounts from two witnesses. evidently one of them had just gotten dropped off at his job at petco by the two people in the car. he claimed he didn't know them very well. i guess that's how they got the female's name. both of the witnesses basically corroborated my story. i also noticed the acronym "fsra" was written in several places by the info for the other car, but i didn't know what that meant.

while we were eating at frank's, a cop walked in and got some pizza. i had left the report in the car, but as we were leaving i asked him if i could query him about something. i explained the situation and asked if there was some way i could go about seeing if there was insurance on the vehicle or what the status of the investigation was. he told me i should go by the hit and run division offices, which are over by the municipal courts. the cop actually asked if the report said "fsra" or something else on it, and i said it said fs-something...i think ra. he responded in surprise and said it must have been a pretty good wreck as that's for "failure to stop and render aid". i thanked him for his help and we left.

i decided since i was in the area and it was still an hour or two before 5pm, i'd go ahead and drop by the hit and run offices. we drove the short distance over there and i went and asked about my incident. the secretary said the name of the officer investigating it, called his desk and he was in, so i went in and talked with him. he said he'd been looking into the case, and basically the guy is a loser, on drugs, living from place to place. the officer had gotten in touch with his wife, whose name is also on the vehicle, but she said she hadn't talked to him in several months and she's been trying to find him to serve him divorce papers. evidently she was crying on the phone because she's shocked at what a fsck-up her estranged husband is or has become. the officer said she said she'd taken insurance off the car when her husband took it and left with it or whatever, so he's sure there was no insurance on it. he said if they caught him i could sue, but there's not going to be any point. i didn't really care about suing, other than to cover my personal medical expenses and motorcycle losses. i was hoping there would be vehicle insurance though. i guess progressive (my motorcycle insurance) and my personal healthcare providers are going to be eating this one unless they can get money out of mr. read or his mostly unidentified companion who was driving.

so... on march 7th, 2009, in front of the petco on the 2100 block of shepherd, a 2006 green 4-door hyundai with Texas plates 359kym, driven by "jamie" with douglas read (the listed registered owner of the vehicle) as a front seat passenger, pulled out in front of me quickly and then just as quickly stopped, completely blocking both lanes. after i put on the brakes and tried turning to my right some, i hit them and my left leg was smashed between my bike and the car, jamie screamed and i hopped off my bike as it fell to the ground. douglas (doug?) read then said "go. go! go! go!" and jamie squealed the tires and they took off. my bike was totaled.

so thanks "jamie" and douglas read. many happy returns.

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