October 2009 Archives

some perspective

here's yet another entry from 3 years ago (oct 29th, 2006). i don't recall the exact reasons behind why i wrote this, but i think it was at least partially because i was getting 2nd- and 3rd-hand information through friends of mine about friends of theirs who were friends with tamara. (clear as mud?) perhaps related to the "last entry" i mention (which was this one), since i had learned yet more new bad stuff about tamara recently at that point. regardless, it's obvious i felt i needed to explain my position to the "faceless" readers of my blog who were "new" friends of tamara's (of which there were at least several). in the end, i probably decided to hold onto it because i figured they wouldn't care about what i had to say for myself anyway, that i would be opening myself wide open just to get spit on or mocked. which was probably true.

but it's three years later, and there is truth in what i wrote, and they probably don't read my blog or care anymore (and they probably aren't friends with tamara anymore now anyway), so fsck it.

----------< original entry, october 29, 2006 >----------

as i laid out there for everyone to see in my last entry, understanding how to deal with tamara and the choices she's made and makes (and the person she was and is) is very difficult. how can you appropriately respond to someone who you loved dearly but that has taken advantage of you again and again? sure, if you're not the one who was betrayed, if you're not the one who was financially ripped off, if you're not the one who was led through an emotional hell, then it's easy to see past that and just feel pity for the awful things she's gone through and is going through. but if you feel sadness for her, imagine how someone feels who devoted his life to her? to know what she's done to herself, what she's gone through. and that you are powerless to do anything about it.

but it's not that simple for me. because she also did so many things to hurt me. she tore apart the future that i thought i was trying to work toward. she betrayed my trust, she broke our vows, she lied to me about so many things. i went through ups and (a lot of) downs with her. i tried to help her through a lot of things. we shared a lot of good times, as well as the bad. but in the end, she betrayed me and left me and then came back for a cash grab. i was left emotionally beaten and robbed, and i can't just walk away and forget that. maybe a stronger man could take it and quickly move on to greener pastures -- forget about the wife, family, and future that was supposed to be there in the years ahead.

well, at this point in time, i'm not that man. i've been trying, but those blows she inflicted knocked me down hard. nothing was resolved for me -- i had a massive injury delivered and then she walked. then sort of came back and said she wanted to work it out, but then drug me through way more emotional pain. so excuse me if i don't act like everything is okay and nothing wrong happened and she had the right to do the things she did. because she didn't. and her failures and issues and complications since that time do not erase or negate those past actions.

i understand if she's your friend. if she told you her latest version of who i am and what i did or didn't do and that makes you think less of me. if you feel anger or annoyance at the ex-husband who is displaying his version of the past, which differ from hers no doubt. but you need to understand that i weep -- that my heart and soul grieve -- for tamara. even to this day. in the beginning, i spent months crying every time i came home. every time i had to think about or interact with the "new" tamara. i came home to my empty house and, alone, i literally curled up on the floor and cried, sobbing uncontrollably, shaking until my body ached and i couldn't stop coughing. for me? yes. but also for her, and for our marriage. i spent months numb, walking through life as if it wasn't real -- as if the world around me was unfamiliar and irrelevant. i went to counseling and tried my d4mndest to figure out how we could reconcile to some reasonable semblance of a rational future. i have plumbed the depths of my being trying to process, work out, and deal with what happened between us, and her choices toward me. i've spent months...years...trying to understand my responsibilities in what happened, trying to figure out what if anything i could have done differently that could have lead to a different outcome. i want the experience to make me a better person, but most of time it just leaves me feeling confused and broken.

so, yes, i do know what it means to have loved and lost. and to be honest, i'm not sure if it's better than to have never loved at all.

ack. one bad pig flashback.

i've spent this past week getting to and being sick. i took thursday and friday off of work. i don't know what i have, but i'm assuming it's some kind of flu. i've got the symptoms, although they aren't debilitating. just enough to make me uncomfortable and feel run down and gunky and feverish and such. but not so bad i just lay in bed all the time.

over the last week i also spent some amount of time buying parts for the belair. here's a list:

  • new deluxe heater core
  • heater control valve
  • trunk and glovebox lock set
  • radiator and mounting kit
  • a/c condenser
  • radiator cap
  • 7-blade engine fan
  • radiator fan shroud
  • gm valve cover wire looms
  • msd red 8.5mm spark plug wires
  • hooker headers slash exhaust tips
  • edelbrock signature series 14" air cleaner

the radiator kit i bought is a nice aluminum crossflow custom setup made for tri-five chevys. it'll require some notching, cutting, and general manipulation of my core support, but it should work. it's a lot bigger than the stock radiator. the shroud will also have to be cut to fit with everything, but it'll help the cooling from the engine fan. i went with a straight engine fan instead of a clutch fan.

hopefully i won't have to buy too much more in parts, although i know the mechanic has bought some stuff himself (motor mounts, water pump) which will be part of his bill. i also am thinking about buying a gauge cluster to put in the car so i have a better idea of the water temp, oil pressure, and voltage. what's money anyway?

in pickup news, for awhile now sometimes i'd smell gas pretty strongly when i got near it. i didn't get too worried about it, since sometimes old vehicles just sort of have smells. but at the show wednesday night it was pretty strong, and it didn't go away by the time the show was over. so i got my flashlight and popped the hood. i could see where some gas had been leaking where metal fuel line meets rubber hose fuel line. it looked like maybe the rubber hose was deteriorating. the next day i went outside to continue looking at it, when i noticed a wet spot under the driver's side door. the gas tank on these pickups is behind the driver's seat. (yes, inside the cabin, filling the space behind the upper back of the seat. they changed that in later models.) i looked under the pickup and gas was dripping from another deteriorating rubber fuel line.

i used a pair of needle nose vice grips and pinched off the rubber tube near the tank side, then i disconnected all of the rest of the rubber tubing between there and the line to the carburetor. i went and bought some new fuel line and screw clamps, plus a new fuel filter. i took the current fuel filter and moved it before the fuel pump, then i put the new one after the fuel pump (before the carb) and tightened them all down. once everything was in place, i laid down and pulled the old pinched-closed rubber fuel line off the tank side. gas poured out while i grabbed the new line and pushed it on. then i tightened the clamp on it. i only managed to douse myself in gas a few times in the process.

but everything appears to be successful. i've seen no leaks, and my pickup runs. so i think i pulled it off. now if i could convince myself i could replace the exhaust manifolds myself. mostly with that it looks like some difficult angles getting to bolts and such, plus i don't think i have a torque wrench that goes as high as i need to torque the bolts. i don't want to strip bolt holes on the engine block by over-torquing. it sure would be nice to have the pickup not sounding like crap and getting hot from the exhaust going straight into the engine compartment though.

while i was on my journey for fuel line parts, i made a stop at the briar shoppe. i went looking for a certain type of lighter. they had one, but only one, and of course they had the only color i definitely wasn't interested in. so i didn't get it. they also didn't have any of the style of savinelli pipes i have been thinking about getting. i did go ahead and buy some pipe tobacco: pina colada, and black russian.

friday night sue came over. she asked if i'd be okay watching a chick flick. i like some of them, so i said okay. we ended up watching both the movies she brought. one was the proposal, which has sandra bullock in it. it was okay. betty white was pretty funny. the other was sunshine cleaning. at first i didn't know much about it and was more interested in the proposal, but after watching the trailer and some clips online, i thought it looked good. it was. it was kind of a quirky character film. think maybe a mixture of little miss sunshine (quirky, light-hearted, funny, deep, messy, and dark all in one) and juno (without the self-aware dialogue). i also saw touches that reminded me of wes anderson at times. but the story is good and the characters are interesting. i recommend checking it out.

in blog news, i believe i fixed the problem with utf character sets. i installed another instance of movabletype and it worked fine, so i knew it was probably something in the database tables and not any of the software pieces. i compared table properties between my blog and the new install, and it appears the problem was most of the text values had collation values set to "latin1_swedish_ci" instead of "utf8_general_ci". both on the tables and the rows. "latin1_swedish_ci" is the default setting for mysql. i changed them and international fonts started working again. i think the problem was a database upgrade of mysql that happened as part of the plesk update from 8.x to 9.x, and when the upgrade happened it reset the table collation values for some reason. not sure about that, just a guess. but changing the collations to "utf8_general_ci" (which is what the movabletype install sets them to) made it work correctly. unfortunately, i'm assuming most of the stuff that was already in my blog in utf format went through a one-way "hash" (i.e., got scrambled) and is now garbage in the database. fortunately, i didn't have much of it. and as long as i never have to re-publish those pages or my entire website, the static pages will still look okay.

i'm still struggling with the way the girl i was seeing handled me. was it really necessary for her to start avoiding me, and then completely stop replying to me? beyond all the other stuff, i thought we were still friends. so even though she misled me about her intentions related to me, i had believed we were still friends. i wish she could have just told me at some point that the way she viewed me...my value to her...changed. perhaps that she wanted to keep things like they were indefinitely. because she never did -- she maintained up until the time she completely stopped talking to me that she felt the same way about me as she always had. and she'd told me way too much for just ceasing to talk to me to be a fair way of dealing with things. i guess if she never planned to get serious about our future, it doesn't matter that it's over. it just sucks she said all the things she did about how serious she was about me, and how strong her feelings were for me, and what she wanted for our future -- and that i believed her. it also sucks she chose to deal with this in a way that keeps a friendship from being a possibility. i miss talking to her. but i can't control her actions.

other than that...

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i got something recently that i purchased on ebay:

  • adult./the dirtbombs - pray for pills/lost love 7" vinyl (ersatz audio/cass)

this is a split 7" vinyl adult. and the dirtbombs put out where they did a cover of each other's songs. it was limited to 3000 copies and i have #233.

border's had a 50% off coupon for blu-ray disks, so saturday i picked up these:

  • the matrix 10th anniversary edition - wachowski brothers (warner bros)
  • synecdoche, new york - charlie kaufman (sony)

saturday afternoon i went over to the potts' house, and we ate supper at sylvia's. sunday i spent some time looking online at radiators, fans, fan controls, etc. for the belair. then i met the potts at double dave's for supper.

today i talked on the phone with a guy who makes radiator kits for tri-five chevys. i'll probably be ordering a kit from him. i also looked at some other stuff at different sites. plus my mechanic called me and told me he'd gotten my old engine pulled from my belair, and he'd gotten the old heater core out. i'm not sure which type of heater core i have, but i'm hoping it's the deluxe so i can buy a cheaper new one than a more expensive reconditioned one. i asked him about my old engine, and i think he said there was a hole in my oilpan and that i should have heard a loud "boom". so i guess i blew up the engine real good, maybe even throwing a rod or something exciting like that.

my "real life" wasn't enough for her, i guess

well, as you've probably been able to figure out if you read my blog regularly, i've been going through some rough times emotionally lately. especially the last month. but it goes back a few months. it might have seemed overboard or incongruent with what was going on in my life from what you read on here.

but there's a reason. and, of course, it's a girl. what else?

without going into much detail (at this point in time), much was claimed and promised but in the end she just...tapered off interaction with me until she stopped completely. no reason(s), no explanation(s). the few times i did manage to get hold of her (after not hearing from her for days or even a week) she gave me reassurances that everything was okay. but it wasn't. what a spectacularly crappy tactic, eh? it left me dealing with a one-sided conversation, trying to figure out if what she said was true or if her actions showed motives/intentions she kept to herself. i myself was too deep in to just walk away like there was nothing there. i still don't know, but i have to assume she decided i wasn't worth it but didn't have the heart and/or guts to tell me. very odd, and sad. i'm guessing she lost interest in our friendship as well. but who really knows? not me.

when jack had to come over on the 11th (and he took me to empire...haha), it was really about my current situation more than the anniversary of the affair announcement from my marriage. but my current situation was similar in aspects, so the anniversary was sort of a twisting of the current knife. the sum was greater than its parts...a kind of emotional harmonic frequency was reached. my "cutting through the haze" entry (oct 15th) is full of really awesome "hidden" meanings, even though a lot of them weren't pre-planned (i.e., the band names and album titles. the cake lyrics, however, were intentional.).

wednesday night (oct 14th) i finalized my decision on what i needed to do, and sent her an email to give her one more shot at talking to me. *crickets* thursday night i had to ask jack to come over again, because i was having a hard time dealing with my decision (which also involved collecting stuff at my house with connections to her). ironically, he took me to brazil, then to the tea house. jack also reminded me that i had told him back at the beginning this was how things were probably going to end -- me abandoned, and hurt. and sure enough, between then and now (with the help of her many professions and claims) i developed very strong feelings/bonds, and believed good things were going to happen between us. (very clever, earlier me. earlier me knows i'm an emotional, sentimental softy on the inside. and could see i was likely to get hurt.) once back home, i sadly sent the email.

friday i had the day free because i was working downtime in the evening, so i used the day to drop something off at the previously mentioned person's apartment complex office. that's not really how i wanted to deal with it, but since she won't talk to me or see me i didn't have much choice.

i also dropped by the post office to mail some stuff. in line in front of me was this really cool looking chick with tussled bleached hair (like tamara wore her hair at times), 0 gauge or so plugs in her ears, a cool shirt (kind of like some the recently stricken mute girl wears), and a tattoo of a skull and crossbones on the base of her neck and another skull tattoo with some writing on her right wrist. in fact, she was visually a lot like tamara and my recent loss mixed together. i wanted to talk to her, but i reminded myself what has come of my previous interest in girls like that and avoided opening my mouth.

i ate a late lunch alone at tacos-a-go-go, then went by a bank to talk to someone there. that's part of another story, which i will get into in a different entry sometime (hopefully soon).

for the record, i've come to the conclusion i have some kind of cosmic bond with the guys in cake. or maybe they just like old cars and date the same kind of girls i have. hopefully i can change that. (the "kind of girls" part, not the liking old cars or dating parts.)


"you keep pushing me away
in spite of what you say
i found out yesterday
that i've been wasting all my time
trying to make you smile
trying to make this seem worthwhile"

--cake "take it all away" from pressure chief

love makes a house a home

here's yet another entry i wrote that never saw the light of day. i originally wrote it on oct 10th, 2006. that's the day before the 3-year anniversary of me finding out tamara was having an affair. i was right in the middle of the process of trying to sell my house, and planning on moving into raj and kiera's place (which is where i still live now). i'm not sure why i never posted it, beyond perhaps not wanting to give tamara and/or her attorney(s) yet more reason to be more malicious toward me. (which they had been being.) or maybe my fairly raw spilling out of my thoughts and emotions seemed too much for me to post at the time. or maybe it was both. i don't recall. whatever the case, here it is now.

----------< originally written oct 10th, 2006 >----------

it should be interesting, moving and living in a new place and all. hopefully all of the details will work out well. and hopefully i can sort of use it as a new start -- shake the dust off my shoes and move forward, if you will. we'll see. so far, forgetting about my marriage and her choice to have an affair and leave me has been something i've been unable to completely do. even though i've worked at fully forgiving her for the affair for a long time, and trying to restart my life regarding relationships, the destruction of what i had thought was forever, and the way she did it, and the things she has done to me financially afterward, makes it very difficult for me to move on. she not only hurt me as a response to ways she came to feel i'd hurt her, she then went on to completely take advantage of me in numerous ways. i'm pretty sure she's created a villified version of me that she pitches to people who don't know me (either very well or at all), something that helps justify her previous choices and actions. as much as it hurts me to know she does that, i can take solace in the fact that numerous mutual friends who knew both of us -- who saw the events, who knew each of us, who talked with both of us -- are still my friends; were surprised by her actions; think her choices were wrong; and think i did what i could to try and deal with a fscked up situation. believe me, i have admitted my failings to them, and have been quite honest about where i was at any point in time. if i was deluded or a liar or unfair, i believe they would have called me on it. i care about others' opinions and views of me. but like a person who is surprise-attacked by someone they trusted, it's difficult to handle the situation with poise and grace. we dealt with difficult situations, and i had points of failure, as did she. but what i didn't do was craft a new persona of myself, find other things and people to fulfill my new desires, then cut and run. then come back for cash. her actions were not justified by anything i did or didn't do. in her moments of clarity in that time she confessed as much. (i've seen it written, i've heard it said.) jesus, all i wanted was for us to be happy. but the person i was, the person i am, wasn't able to do it. i couldn't be someone i am not. the "me" then was the same "me" she married five years before then, and in the end it wasn't what she felt she needed or wanted. she was also in a poor state of mind for numerous reasons, and some of the difficulties of the situations made me not be able to be the kind of supportive person i generally strive to be. i was upset about a number of things at different times, and was trying to deal with a lot of problems that seemed to be piling up for us. but G-d, what she did was not just or right or fair.

believe it or not, i do pray for tamara from time to time. i know she's gone through a world of sh!t most of her life, in numerous ways. before, during, and after me. i wanted her to be happy. i wanted to make her happy. i loved being able to make her happy, to see her smile. i spent a lot of time in our marriage trying to do the things that she wanted, that i thought would make her happy. i didn't say i always did that, or i was never selfish. but i really tried, and i think mutual friends who knew us over the years while we were married can agree with that. but the pain she has inflicted on me in so many ways is very difficult to see past at times when it comes to her. the ending -- the lies she told me, the lies she told others, the things she did to me -- makes it so hard to accept the failure of the marriage as a whole, and makes it hard to feel like the truth was known or used as an accurate measuring stick. it is very difficult for me handle feeling like lies were used to hide the truth, to marginalize and even deny my existence in the situation and what was done -- that a result she herself deemed "unfair" is what she pursued in the legal system -- these things eat away at me. what she's done to me tears me up inside -- both in anger and in sorrow; what's she done to herself breaks my heart. it's the incompatible mixing of those two things inside of me that makes it all so hard to find a way to deal with.

moving on is a process. it's all much less intense, less often, than it used to be. but it's still in there. i hope one day it will merely be memories, both good and bad. something that i will have learned from, that i will be a better person for having gone through. that i can empathize with and comfort others who are dealing with similar situations. but it was marriage, and that will always be sacred to me. the broken vows will always mean the world to me, and break my heart. it wasn't supposed to be this way, but i have no choice. G-d knows my heart was broken and i was crushed under the weight of this -- i think during her more honest moments, tamara was as well. G-d knows i tried to understand it and figure out some way to reasonably reconcile -- i gave up most of my pride and my indignation to try and reconcile, but it was never enough.

it shouldn't have been like this. but it is. here we are. G-d forgive us.

i've bought a few things lately. first, i got the xkcd book i ordered. next up, we have a book i picked up at border's with a 40% off coupon:

  • lolita - vladimir nabokov (everyman's library)

it continues with my stint of reading classic russian authors. while perusing at the store i read a short story called "the russian beauty" in a collection of his works. it was pretty cool. i was hoping to find a copy online to link to, but alas i did not.

on ebay i managed to grab:

  • the knife - heartbeats ep (rabid)

this is one of a few cd singles from their deep cuts album. i don't see them very often.

i also ordered this from ersatz audio:

  • adult. - let's feel bad together (ersatz audio)

this is the authorized bootleg cd-r made by ersatz audio for an album they released as a digital download purchase. i still prefer buying physical media, so i got it when they made a physical copy available. although the songs are burned out of order compared to the listing on the sleeve.

in bigger news, i took the afternoon off of work and had aaa come by and tow (on a flatbed) my belair to the mechanic. we discussed some of the various things i want to do, and i tried to get a bead on what else i need to purchase and such. since there are still a number of things i have to buy (and some i need to research to make a decision on first), i'm guessing the job is going to take at least a couple of weeks, if not a month (or possibly more). but when i'm done i'll hopefully have a very nice looking, reliable engine in the car.


"it's 3 o'clock in the morning, or maybe it's 4.
i am thinking of you, wondering what I should do,
but I'm finally cutting through this haze.

it's 4 o'clock in the morning, or maybe it's 5.
i think i'm alive, and i think i'll survive.
i'm finally cutting through this haze of love."

--cake, "haze of love" from motorcade of generosity

happy 6th affair anniversary!

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well, yesterday was pretty much a completely sh!tty day. as a reminder, it was the anniversary of the day i was told by tamara that she was having an affair. (that happened in 2003, so 6 years ago.) the day she finally had the guts to tell me...well, actually i think it's because she finally felt so sorry for how much she was fscking me up, and i wouldn't just give up and seek a divorce so she could keep her secret hidden. she went on to take advantage of me in numerous ways, while she told everyone else in earshot who'd listen she was simply doing "the right thing" (and wanted to be "fair"). funny how doing "the right thing" involved doing plenty of wrong things to me. but then none of it was ever really about me or about the greater concept of "right" (or "fair"), was it? no, it wasn't.

but it no longer even really matters about tamara specifically. it's more of a big picture kind of thing. it's what it represents. (plus i've got fresher wounds to concern myself with.) no, the date is more a symbol of loss. a loss of relationship, a loss of friendship, a loss of a future. all endings are painful on some level. even if you happen to be the one choosing the ending, it is still the shuttering of what was once a dream -- something that once had possibility and happiness and hope. unfortunately, this anniversary symbolizes someone making an ending more painful than it needs to be. but in the end it's still loss.

so i drank, and cried, and slept, and drank some more, and cried some more, and then sue was concerned so she sent jack over, and i was concerned enough to let him. it really wasn't a good day.

when i was younger, my loneliness via lack of dating was depressing, but there was still an underlying hope because there was plenty of future -- sure it sucked, but i was young and there was a lot of time still to find someone and create a "normal" future together. (or even to change myself to help that come about.) now that "normal" window is mostly in the past, partially ripped up by one bad marriage, and every year that passes there is less and less future to hold onto as hope to fall back on. i want to believe that what i wanted is available to me, that if i have faith it will happen, but 25 years of experience have taught me not to trust in much except being alone and being misled. most of my faith and hope has been ripped out of me. what's still there is trying to repair itself and re-grow and become strong again, but it's been gravely damaged. it's sad that's the point i've been brought to, but it's hard to argue with years of collected data and experience.

"if you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn't be a human being -- you'd be a game show host." --veronica sawyer heathers

but ociffer, i dron't dink!

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friday evening was the geek gathering. i remembered to take maus and passed it on to kojo. scott/loopylow is still working on getting the wheresthatbeen.com website up. the gathering appeared to be a success; unfortunately, i wasn't feeling very socially "up". it happens. not that i'm ever a social butterfly. but sometimes i'm more in the mood to be smiley and excited and communicative. i felt more introspective and contemplative and melancholy.

saturday my brother came down to visit. we went to the saint arnold's brewery tour. at the tour they said they are hoping to be moving into their new building by the end of the month. afterward, we hit a half price books (the one on westheimer). i bought some stuff. i'll split the list into not-country and country:

  • eurythmics - revenge (rca)
  • goldfrapp - supernature (mute)
  • the heads - no talking just head (mca / universal)
  • kmfdm - nihil (wax trax! / tvt)
  • lard - the last temptation of reid (alternative tentacles)
  • refused - the e.p. comp cd (burning heart / epitaph)
  • santogold - santogold (downtown / lizard king)

even though i was a huge fan of the eurythmics back in the day, i never really went back and picked up all of their stuff on cd. so i have one more now...still missing a couple. the goldfrapp and santogold cds are randomish. both have been played on pandora/soma and/or recommended to me via amazon/others, so i decided to try them. i've never owned the heads' album, which is the talking heads minus david byrne. i've got that lard album already, but the copy i have is one of a run where one of the track indicators was put in the wrong place. so i bought this one, and it's one where the tracking is correct.

  • johnny cash - love god murder (columbia / american / legacy)
  • merle haggard and george jones - a taste of yesterday's wine (sony)
  • willie nelson, merle haggard, and ray price - last of the breed (universal / lost highway)
  • dwight yoakum - dwight live (reprise / time warner)

none of these were "gotta have"s, but they piqued my interest enough to pick them up. i assume i already have most of the songs on the cash box, but i haven't checked and i didn't own this particular comp box yet.

a while after my brother left, i headed over to the potts for supper. i hung out there a few hours, including watching saturday night live (a fairly common tradition), then i headed back home.

sunday, like a lot of days, was sort of a wash. i ate lunch with the potts, then came home and went through some of the massive amounts of junk i need to sort, order, and/or throw away. i think i'm getting pretty close to getting most of the divorce junk processed.

i ordered the new xkcd volume 0 book sunday evening. and to tie it to the normal attitude/perspective of my blog, here's a clever xkcd cartoon: creepy. unfortunately, while reality is not as pessimistic as the guy's thoughts, it's also not as optimistic as the cartoonist's.

i recently installed virtual box at work. it's an open source virtualization product from sun microsystems. it seems pretty slick. i've got a win xp virtual running to use office 2007. i got it set up in seamless mode, which makes the virtual os windows show up as if they just regular windows on my normal linux desktop. the only problem i'm currently having is the text within outlook 2007 seems just a bit fuzzy/blurry, and that's annoying my eyes after using it for very long. i haven't figured out how to fix that yet.

i'm still no further on figuring out the encoding problem on ye olde blog. i've been searching and reading stuff, but i was hoping for a google-fu'd fix and not a lot of personal effort. no such luck so far.

the mechanic called me today and my engine arrived. he's got to get some work done so he has a bay open for me to bring my car in. hopefully that'll be done by the end of this week. then i can start the process of getting all the various pieces in place to get the engine in the car and functioning. the end of november is the year-point for the car not running (due to the old engine blowing), so maybe it'll be done before then.

lately things seem bleak and bland and pointless. work, personal, pleasure, hobbies, whatever. even though i'm somewhat pessimistic and melancholy about certain things, i usually have a sense of humour and some level of levity about day-to-day things -- i enjoy joking and being silly and smiling. i'm kind of finding it hard to want to joke, talk, or care about much of anything. perhaps i just need to lower my standards some more.

unknown


i originally wrote the attached entry on oct 6th, 2007 (two years ago). i presume i was going to write up my feelings about the three books i'd read, but it appears i never got around to it. at the time i was going to kaleo, and the whole reason i'm going ahead and posting this is for the thoughts i wrote that came from the sermon. i still think there is a lot of truth to what i wrote then.


----------< original entry, written oct 6, 2007 >----------

neil gaiman's fragile things
bonaventure's the life of st. francis
the introvert advantage by marti laney

sunday i went to kaleo. the sermon was really nice. and not just because bill mentioned the matrix, the iphone, apple mac vs. microsoft windows, and bbq in heaven.

during the sermon, i started thinking about how early christianity was attractive to people because they saw the devotion, peace, and faith early believers had. they suffered through amazing things. others wanted to understand this amazing faith that allowed the followers of christ to find peace and acceptance in the face of adversity, and even death. it annoys me when people in the u.s. trivialize suffering or being persecuted for their faith by saying it happens to them. i'm not saying it never happens, but very rarely is it ever justified when those terms are thrown out by american church culture christians. i also started thinking about how a capitalist system and the general acceptance of greed as a motivator has perverted xianity in america. today, many christians pitch being wealthy..."blessed" by G-d (financially, of course)...as the attraction for non-xians to xianity. it's peace and happiness through wealth, through nice cars and expensive clothes. it's a perfect fit with people whose views of the world have been shaped by living in a capitalist system. look at my house, look at my car, look at my nice clothes -- don't you want this too? G-d can bless you as well. i'm not even talking about blatent cases like the blab it, grab it (name it, claim it) or health and wealth / prosperity movements -- i'm speaking about a layer covering american christianity as a whole.

people like us

i originally wrote the attached entry on october 12, 2006. i posted a different entry on that same day and mentioned the movie, but i never posted this. here's the related bit from that posted entry:

monday i think about the only thing i did after work was watch my true stories dvd. it's really a pretty cool movie, and considering it's from david byrne and the talking heads and stars john goodman, it's kind of surprising the only dvd version of the movie you can get is a fullscreen version with absolutely no extras at all. it was filmed in Texas and has a number of large outdoor shots (in areas up around where bottle rocket was filmed), so you know the widescreen version would have a different look and feel.

interestingly enough, three years later it's just as apropos. (which sucks, btw.)

----------< original entry, written october 12 2006 >----------

(this is some stuff from the movie true stories)

louis fyne is looking for a wife. he even took out an ad on tv. and he's got a portable arrow sign in his front yard with "WIFE WANTED" and his phone number.

in this scene, he's got his green amc pacer parked in front of a grey house with pink trim and lots of flowers and landscaping and frill. inside, louis and the lady who is only referred to as "the cute woman" sit on flowery furniture in a room with grey walls with pink accents, lots of frill everywhere, pink butterflies and "smile!" accents on the wall, a white wicker coffee table between them and some old fabric throw rugs on the floor. she is in a dress made of the same fabric as the couch and chair, with lots of makeup and curly hair with a hair band. she asks if he has any hobbies, if he has any pets. after talking about his "heinz 57" dog named buster he used to have when he was a boy, this ensues:

louis: well, i like music a whole lot.
the cute woman: what kind of music?
louis: oh, country music.
the cute woman: you like country music.
louis: oh, you know i do! well, not that hollywood country. oh...hank williams and merle haggard... and tammy and lefty... and patsy...
the cute woman: oh yeah!
louis: mm-hhm.
the cute woman: you know, i think music is one of the sweetest things. and if it's sweet it's probably cute. and...you just can't have enough sweetness in this world.
louis: no ma'am, you can't. yeah...matter of fact, i've written a little song myself i'm gonna sing at the show tomorrow night. it's about my life. i mean, what else do i know, huh?
the cute woman: [laughs politely]
louis: uh...i can give you a little sneak preview right here.
the cute woman: would you?
louis: you hold on right there! i hope you like it, it'd mean a lot to louis.
[stands up]

[sings]
in 1950 when i was born
papa mmm i haven't written this verse quite yet...
six feet talk and size twelve shoes
ba da da da da da da da people like us
we don't want freedom
we do...eow meow meow-meow
we just want someone to love

[dramatic pause]
louis: [jumps forward suddenly and says loudly] ta-da!!!
[the cute woman gasps in fright]
louis: well, what'd you think?!
the cute woman: you know, when you sing your eye sockets go back in your head and it makes your eyes get beady.
louis: well, what about my music?
the cute woman: it's awful sad. i couldn't have that kind of sadness in my life. do you really feel that way?
louis: i...i never thought about it. maybe i am kind of sad. i like sad songs. they make me want to lie on the floor. louis the bear, on the floor.
[long pause, they both stare at the floor]
louis: i guess i'll go now.
the cute woman: [smiles politely with regret at louis]
louis: sorry. it was nice talking to you.
[they stand up and he shakes her hand]
louis: [makes leaving motion pointing toward door] louis the bear, out the door.
the cute woman: goodbye.
louis: [removes hat and bows]
the cute woman: [as he walks out the door] cheer up!

later that evening, louis goes by mr. tucker's for a little spiritual help. mr. tucker's house is small and has all kinds of odd lawn ornaments and such in front. once in, he's led by his hand by a small black boy to a wide door with beads. the boy puts out his hand and louis gives him some money. the boy draws back the beads and motions for louis to enter. inside is mr. tucker, sitting down and talking on a phone. the room is full of religious trinkets, candles, pictures of jesus and mary and elvis, crosses, etc.

louis: ramon gave me this address.
mr. tucker: [hangs up phone and puts it on the floor] well, hi! come on in! did you bring the photograph?
[louis hands him the polaroid of himself]
mr. tucker: thank you!
[mr. tucker takes the picture and puts it on a mirror with lots of other pictures]
louis: you know, i'm new at this.
mr. tucker: don't matter. you don't have to believe. if you follow directions, you can't go wrong.
[mr. tucker leans back and forth, looking at louis, sizing him up]
mr. tucker: mm-hmm. you want to attract love.
louis: [laughs in surprise] how'd you know?
mr. tucker: your heart is too large. you're an honest man.
louis: matrimony...it's my life. and i want to share my life. i've tried everything.
mr. tucker: often our true nature is not what we hope it is. but you...in your case, you're drawn to love. whatever you think is what you get. love must be drawn to you.

if it weren't for bad luck...

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well, tuesday night was a bit of a blur after i posted that entry. i did manage to get some sleep, i suppose. and had some dreams.

wednesday i drove my pickup to work and took some tools with me. at work, some co-workers used google maps to track my walk home: turns out it was almost exactly 4 miles. after work, i went into the garage and pulled the battery out of my bike and took it home with me. i put it on the charger, then went and did the radio show.

this morning, i woke up on my own rather early (around 6am or something) and couldn't get back to sleep, so i eventually decided i needed to complete my punishment. so i grabbed a backpack and put the battery in it and walked to work. the backpack weighed in at about 16.5 lbs. 4 miles. it took me longer to walk it than it had tuesday evening (around 1.25 hours), so i started freaking when i realized i might not make it to work in time for a meeting. and would smell like sweat, and look like an out-of-shape person who'd just walked 4 miles carrying a 16.5 lb. backpack. i barely made it into the office on time...with only a minute or two to spare. but the meeting was canceled.

before i left work wednesday, i set a password that is automatically distributed to a fair number of servers. after i hiked in today, i learned that no one could get into the systems. evidently i'd fat-fingered the password exactly the same twice, so the command accepted whatever i had mistyped. oops. a few variations had been tried, but no one had figured it out. i was able to find a copy of the shadow hash value somewhere, so i used perl's "crypt" command to quickly make hash values with the known salt. i figured out my mistake after about 15 tries. whew.

in case you're curious, here's the command:
$ perl -e 'print crypt("password","salt"),"\n"'

for older (but not oldest) unix password shadow crypt hash styles, the encrypted password value is two salt characters followed by the hash value. for example, in "SaIQ1RiNlnVxc" the first two characters "Sa" are the salt, and the rest is the encrypted password. so if i wanted to create a hash of the password "password" with a salt of "Sa" i would run the command and get this:

$ perl -e 'print crypt("password","Sa"),"\n"'
SaIQ1RiNlnVxc

so if you know the value in the shadow file, then you already know the salt. using that salt you can just start guessing password values and check to see if the hash of your guess matches the value in the shadow file. it's a one-way hash, so you can't reverse what you found in the shadow file -- but you can loop over every combination until you get a match of the hash values. (it's possible different password values could create the same hash value.)

anyway, enough of that. (and i apologize if there are some inaccuracies in my terminology.)

at lunch today i went out to my motorcycle and put the newly recharged battery in. the bike started right up. i drove it around to the uncovered parking in the front of the building to pick up something i'd forgotten at my desk, at which point it immediately started to rain. i can't win. once the one big cloud in the sky finished dumping rain on my bike, the sun came back out and i went to lunch. on the way back, a car in the middle lane (which i was 2 or 3 cars behind) suddenly decided to slow down and stop at a green light...to take in the scenery or something. i had to hit my brakes pretty hard, and eventually started skidding. but i came short of the car in front of me by a couple of feet.

this evening jack called me and asked if i'd be able to make it to a birthday surprise (not exactly a party) for sue. the short notice pretty much made it a surprise for me as well. but i have a whole hell of a lot of free time on my hands, so it was no problem to squeeze that in last minute.

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