March 2010 Archives

well, i think i may have figured out why i had that rash problem. maybe. this evening i did some laundry, and when i went to get it something didn't look/feel right. the laundry was still loose instead of being against the wall, and it felt like the stuff at top was not that wet while the stuff further down was really wet. i started a cycle and sat and watched it, and sure enough when it got to the part where it should start agitating...nothing. then when it should have started spinning...nothing. so something is wrong with the motor. belt, fuse, dead...don't know. everything else seems to work. anyway, the fact that the clothes weren't really washed and rinsed right might explain the rash (i.e., lots of detergent on certain clothes).

luckily, when i moved here i had a washer and dryer. they've just been sitting in the garage. so i moved the current washer over and put mine in place. i hooked it up and then ran a full cycle of warm water through it with bleach. everything seemed to still work on it. so now i'm re-doing the load of laundry i'd already done in the broken washer.

last night i rented the 99 cent movie from itunes, venice, venice by henry jaglom. i don't think i've seen any of his films before. the review or two on itunes were negative, but i looked on imdb and it was more positive so i rented it. i'm glad i did. half the movie was filmed in venice, italy, because he was going there for the venice film festival for an earlier movie and decided to take the opportunity to film something there. and he's the main character. it's completely a character- and dialogue-driven film. utterly. but i found the dynamics and views of the characters interesting, and enjoyed the thoughts. there is a lot about reality versus perception: in the film itself, between characters in the film, in "interviews" with women in the film, and ultimately in our own lives. one of the biggest themes is how relationships in movies affect our perspective of what relationships in real life should be like. it sounds like he likes to be very free-form about the writing, and lets actors ad lib a lot. i'm interested to see some of his other stuff now. fortunately, one of the 99 cent movies for this week is another jaglom film, eating. which was released before venice, venice. eating sounds like it has to do with the way women view eating, and how it compares to relationships. (not sure if he always has that angle, or i just happened to hit two where that seems to be a very relevant and important theme.)

the last two or three weeks, every few days i've had a dream that i recall when i wake up (or wake up having just had). they aren't the same, but there's a theme. the first one was a very, very good dream involving a previous coworker (i won't give the name, but it's not the hrc). i'll let your mind run about what "very, very good" means. the next involved tamara, and while it was better than i'd expect any interaction with us to be, there was still a lot of apprehension and tension in the dream, and i woke up feeling somewhat uncomfortable and frustrated. the third dream involved the hrc. i ran into her in front of a downtown building and she tried to ignore me. i kept talking to her until she started talking to me, then she would flip between being nice / fair / friendly / affectionate and being distant and rude. plus everyone walking by was looking at us. i woke up and was feeling pretty frustrated. at this point i wondered who the next dream would be about, and how bad it might be (since the trend was obviously going more and more negative). well, the fourth dream was the hrc again. this time i was with a couple of co-workers and we ran into her. again at a downtown building. my co-workers were talking to her, but she kept being snide to me and saying hurtful stuff. i was pretty perturbed in the dream too. the co-workers seemed unsure how to handle themselves. when i woke up from that one, i was pretty flustered. again, i wondered what the next dream might be, and how it might get worse. well, this morning i woke from having a dream. this one was actually fairly positive. i was at some kind of festival and i met a couple of girls. they were trying to find something, and i used my phone to help show them where they were and give them directions. they were with a couple of guys, but the guys didn't want to wait so they walked off. we were sort of flirting (which i don't really do, but it's a dream), and when they went to leave one of them and i kissed. that was a much better way to wake up than my last few dreams on this theme. i wonder if the theme has run its course?


"there's a girl washing her clothes
i'm in love by nobody knows
she looks sixteen or seventeen
my mind grows dirty while my clothes get clean
she's so young and tall
i'm gonna give her my all...or borax"
  --"laundromat song" by the dead milkmen from big lizard in my backyard

pretty much shoes and movies

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in my last entry i forgot to mention why i'd almost decided to not go to austin last weekend. on wednesday evening when i got home i was itching a lot, and when i looked i had red, raised spots on my upper arms and sides. i went to sleep like that, but when i got up in the morning it was all gone. i thought i had an allergic reaction to something, but i wasn't sure what. on thursday evening the same thing happened, but it was even worse. i didn't know what was causing it, and i was worried it might not be just an allergic reaction. but it didn't happen friday night, so i went ahead and went to austin. and it hasn't happened since. i'm still not sure what might have caused that. i tried to think of all the various stuff: new soap, new laundry detergent, new deodorant, etc., but none of that applied. weird.

at some point in the last couple of weeks i watched platoon via 99 cent itunes. i think i forgot i'd seen it. well, i wasn't sure. i guess i had at some point, but i don't recall when. because a fair bit of the plot stuff was hazily in my brain as it came up, more than just a trailer or someone talking about it. it's a good movie, but it didn't seem incredible. of course, some of its impact was probably the time it came out versus what else was in existence at the time.

last week another 99 cent rental on itunes: running on empty. i'd never seen it. it's the story of a couple who are hiding from the authorities because they were in a radical protest group during the vietnam era and blew up a napalm clinic, seriously injuring a janitor (who wasn't supposed to be there). they've had a family (two sons), and move around a lot and create new identities. river phoenix plays the older son. the problem is the oldest son is near the end of high school, and he's never had a romantic relationship or any aspirations for college. he can play piano well, and catches the attention of a music teacher at the newest town they move to. plus he gets interested in the teacher's daughter. i thought it was a very intriguing story, and at the end of the movie i wanted to know what happened after that. i figure if a movie can make you care about the characters and their lives like that, it's done a pretty good job. it's from 1988 and had a couple of oscar nominations, and won several other awards.

friday after work i had supper at mission burritos with jack and the potts kids. then a few hours later sue got off work and came over and we went to watch a movie. we ended up agreeing on hot tub time machine. based on the preview, it was one of those that could either be pretty funny or pretty bad. fortunately, it ended up being pretty funny for the most part. the story is about these four guys, three who are older and they've sort of not had good adult lives, and one of their sister's sons who hasn't ever really done anything with his life except stay in the basement playing second life. one of them almost dies from a running car in a closed garage, so they decide to all take a trip to this awesome ski lodge they went to back when they were younger. but the place has fallen into hard times. then the hot tub turns into a time machine and times them back to 1986, where they are their old selves (except the son, of course, who wasn't born yet) and have to relive that time. hilarity ensues. like most comedies these days, i guess everyone feels the need to have at least a few over-the-top gross / disgusting / sexually perverse bits. this movie was no exception. but gladly it wasn't out of control with the number of those.

kind of funny, when sue and i were leaving the theater i let a couple walk down the aisle in front of me. when the guy was passing i thought "man, his jacket looks a lot like my black dickies hoodie." then when i got in behind him i noticed he was wearing black and white wingtips. doc martens ones. what are the odds? happily, i had decided to not wear either my dickies jacket or my wingtip docs that evening.

speaking of the shoes, yes, i got the doc marten wingtips. fortunately, these are the right size and don't have any discoloration or bad spots. here are a couple of pics. first, lounging on my couch:

doc martens black and white wingtips

and here is a closer view of the shoes themselves:

doc martens black and white wingtips

i managed to call the place i bought my boots from, and i was able to exchange them. so i shipped the boots off via ups on saturday. hopefully the exchange will go well and the new size will fit me better. (at which point i guess i'll be taking a pic or two of them as well.)

since i last put up an entry, the pairs of shoes and boots arrived, as well as the shirts i ordered. unfortunately, one of the shirts was a little snug (even though it was the same size as the other two) so i had to return it for exchange. and one of the shoes had a visible stretch/discoloration mark on the top, plus they were a little big -- so i had to return them for exchange as well. that leaves the boots. they're a little big too (long, not too wide), but i'm trying to decide if i want to exchange them or not. a lot of times i can only find things i want online, but not being able to try stuff on first can be annoying.

last week on wednesday the mechanic shop called and told me they'd talked with edelbrock and edelbrock was shipping them new lifters. they told me when they got them, they'd call me and let me know so i could take the car to them. so hopefully this will get done (and done correctly) soon and i'll feel better about the money i spent on the engine.

thursday night i made some major changes to the dns infrastructure at my place of employment. i figured i'd start around 6pm and get through enough by maybe 9pm or 10pm. i decided to stay at the office to work on it just in case working on it from home would be difficult or impossible. as is often the case with major things, issues arose that one couldn't really expect or plan for, so i had to try and work through those. finally around 12:30am i got to a point where i felt like i could stop, but things weren't all finished. i came home and tried to work from home, but i couldn't get my mac to play well with the java app that is run as an admin interface. (good thing i decided to stay at work...i would have had to go back there anyway.) i gave up around 2:30am and went to bed.

the next morning i got up and went into work around 9:30am. i continued working on the dns changes. eventually, even though i hate doing it, i called tech support and they gave me some pointers and info, and offered a couple of paths to take. i spent the rest of the day making all of the necessary changes to the bind config files on all of the various dns servers, as well as setting up all of the zone files on the admin piece. finally around 5pm i pulled the trigger and started propagating all of the changes. this was a pretty major change, one that could affect...well...pretty much everything. if your dns is borked, pretty much everything for you is borked. i checked the bind logs as i pushed things out, checking to make sure zone files transferred properly, resolution still worked, recursion still worked, etc. everything seemed okay, so i left work and went home.

around 8pm i got in touch with sue to see if she wanted to do something. she was working and would have no vehicle access, so she declined. after a while i decided i had no other plans, so i said i could hang out at their house if she wanted. she said that was cool. i got some movies together and headed to their house around 10pm. when i got there, it turns out they had no electricity. jack and the kids were going to bed, so sue and i took off. we decided to go to sherlock's, but sue didn't bring her i.d. so we couldn't get in. so we went over to the fox and hound. around midnight, while i was drinking a shiner, a security person from work called. they were doing a firewall upgrade (which is why i'd started my dns work on thursday night instead of friday night), and she was calling because dns seemed to be acting weird. *gulp* but she said it was recursion, and the changes i made friday should not have affected recursion at all. she said they'd keep looking at it and hung up. sue and i had another beer, then i took her home. i got home about 2am, and was sort of annoyed at myself since the plan was for me to go to austin on saturday (which it now was). i got in bed and started reading a bit before i turned out the light. then my phone rang.

one of the security guys was calling. things still seemed weird. pings generally worked but lookups mostly failed, etc. i still didn't think i made changes which should cause that problem, but i knew i'd made some major changes, so i couldn't be sure. after talking on the phone a while, i went to my computer to log in and check the dns servers. vpn wouldn't authenticate me. i couldn't ssh to a gateway server. (i even tried by ip, which should bypass dns, so i wondered if it might be something else. the problem is when dns goes south, lots of weird things can happen.) some things did seem weird. finally i told him i'd be there in about 10 minutes. my car was about on "e", so i hopped on my motorcycle, blew through a few lights, and got to the data center. the two security people who'd called me were there. they had the firewall vendor support on the phone and had been talking to one of our network guys, and who knows who else. i hopped on a system and logged in to the dns servers...processes up, zones files okay, transfers seemed okay...but something was weird. i was just getting to the place in one of the named logs for the point in time where they made the firewall change, when the security guy walked over to me and said he thought they figured it out. when they did the upgrade, they evidently missed re-entering an allow line for a route. the main route out of our company. oops. once they put it in, everything started working fine. so around 3:30am i left work and went back home. i hopped in bed, read a bit, and went to sleep around 4am.

i woke up saturday around 11:45am and got ready to go to austin. it was going to be cold, so i had decided to take the car. unfortunately, i woke up to it thundering and raining and the windshield wipers on my car had stopped working a few weeks ago. i went outside and crawled under the dash to see if a fuse had blown, or wiring seemed loose. from what i looked at, things seemed okay. (of course, i'd never looked at it before, so who really knows.) i popped the hood and looked at the wiper motor. i played with the wire that turns the motor on and off. nothing. then when i was tracing the power line, i wiggled it to see if it felt loose and the wipers started working. i guess it was just a loose line. *sigh* i finished getting ready and hit the road around 1pm.

within about 10 minutes of being at highway speeds with rain and mist from the other cars, i realized the blade on the driver's side was messed up and wasn't really actually touching the windshield much. so i could only barely see from one thin section of the glass. i kept driving anyway. it cleared up on the other side of sealy and the rest of my trip was without wetness. i arrived in austin without incident.

my purpose in going to austin was mostly to help my brother do home theater work. i'd bought him some new speakers for xmas, as well as some surround speaker wall mounts and some wall outlet speaker post plates (since the previous owner of his house had done two of the surrounds right with plates, but left the other two as just wires sticking out of holes in the walls). i brought some good speaker cables with me for him, as well as my old logitech harmony remote i described fixing before here on ye olde blog. since i was messing with his a/v equipment, i noticed he could be using hdmi and digital optical cables in a couple more places than he was. we hit lowe's and best buy and got some stuff. we were working on things when my parents arrived. they'd decided to come to austin to eat supper with us. we went to cannoli joe's. it's an italian place that turns out to be all-you-can-eat. after eating, our parents dropped us off at his place and headed back to brady. we did some more work, then stopped and watched moon. i'd almost seen it when it was in theaters, but hadn't gotten around to it (like a lot of movies over the last year or two). it was good. a sci-fi psychological thriller, which doesn't seem that common these days.

on sunday i was supposed to have lunch with a girl i haven' seen...probably since 1991 or something. i was friends in college with a guy, and i went with my church group to his hometown church one weekend, plus i went a couple more times, with my friend and while i was co-oping in san antonio. she was...i think in junior high at the time. back in the day i was actually a letter writer, so i had a group of people from different places that i traded letters with. anyway, she and i had lost touch...maybe in '96 or so. (maybe i stopped writing.) but then a year or something ago she found me. so we'd talked some since then, and i was going to be in austin so we'd made tentative plans to have lunch. all that to say, she ended up having to back out so we didn't. maybe some other time.

since that didn't work out, linc and i ate brunch at the galaxy, then we hit lowe's, best buy, radio shack, and discount computers. why? we got some other stuff, but mostly we were looking for a firewire-800 to firewire-400 adapter. why? because their powermac system had "popped" and stopped working some months ago, but when i plugged it into the network and turned it on (sans monitor) it managed to get online and show up. they had bought a new 17" macbook pro linc was setting up, so i was going to use the cable to attempt a migration. we finally found a cable at discount computers. when we got it hooked up, it turns out their powermac evidently is running os 9, so it couldn't do the migration. but the drive was being shared via firewire so they could pull data off it onto the laptop. and if they get a new monitor (or hook it up to the tv) they can use the desktop. we got all of the speaker post plates in the wall okay, got all of the surround speakers mounted and working okay, rewired several devices to use higher quality cables (hdmi vs. rca, digital optical vs. rca), and got the universal harmony remote set up. i also hooked his blu-ray player into the internet and downloaded/installed a firmware update, and after i did that his blu-ray player gained the ability to stream netflix. so he set that up. and i re-setup and tested the airport express i'd given them. all in all, i think it was a pretty successful outing.

his wife (heather) and their son (miles) had been out of town visiting her parents, and they returned in the afternoon/early evening. i hung out for a couple of hours, then headed back to houston. not long after i left my brother called to tell me the cable box was only playing the lowest (local) channels. i didn't really know what could be causing that. he called the next day to say unplugging it and powering it back on fixed it. so i think so far things seem to have stayed stable.

tonight i rented and watched erik the viking as one of the 99 cent movies of the week from itunes on my appletv. it said copyright 2005, but i thought it was (and looked) older than that. at the end of the movie it said 1998, which makes more sense. i'm not sure why the copyright would have slipped, although i know that happens sometimes. the movie is done by terry jones (of monty python), and it kind of has that feel to it. tim robbins plays erik, which seemed funny to me. i guess i imagine him being a more serious actor, even though i can think of more movies he's played odd/silly parts in than serious ones...so maybe it's just me.


futureman: what the hell you wearing?
clay: yeah
dignan: it's a jumpsuit.
futureman: clay, look at this guy.
clay: he looks like a rodeo clown.
futureman: he looks like a little banana. [...]
(from bottle rocket)

joe's garb hot rod in black and red

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here are a couple of images of my first pair of new shoes. they are black and red "hot rod" shoes made by joe's garb. which evidently is no more, as their website pages redirect and/or comes up with errors.

from poking around online, joe's garb was a mid-range brand based on shoes designed by esquivel. it was around and active in the early 2000's. esquivel also made high end shoes, and evidently he caught the attention of the right people and became well known for his shoe designs (and expensive ones at that). so i guess the joe's garb line was shuttered at that point.

anyway, here are a couple of pics of my shoes before they get all scuffed to hell, taken in my '55 bel air. first, lounging in the front seat:

joe's garb shoes - black and red hot rod (flames), lounging in a 1955 chevy bel air

then, behind the wheel:

joe's garb shoes - black and red hot rod (flames), at the wheel of a 1955 chevy bel air

joe's garb made at least two color combos in the men's model, and i actually wanted the black and white version. but when the pickings are slim, sometimes you have to compromise. (just don't tell the ladies you say that about them. and they won't tell you they say that too.)

back to "normal"

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the shots and pills appear to have worked. my sinuses feel as normal as they usually do (which is still probably not quite normal), and my sleep patterns have gotten back to as "normal" as they usually are.

i went back to the doctor on monday morning for the results of my blood test(s). no mono, nothing abnormal except the expected elevated cholesterol levels (overall a bit high, bad cholesterol too high, good cholesterol too low). the doctor was able to utilize his years of experience in studying and understanding the human body to deduce this: i'm overweight and should exercise. i was shocked. shocked, i tell you! however, unlike my ex-wife's year-old analysis of the root cause of my body weight, he didn't come to the conclusion i am overweight due to "self-loathing". he seemed to think it might be because i eat too much of too many rich/fatty foods, don't exercise, and lead a sedentary lifestyle. what a quack, huh? seriously though, my ex has proven she does struggle with issues directly tying her body in harmful and unhealthy ways to her self-perception, -value, and -worth. unfortunately, i don't think she can be fair or rational about me regarding this issue. maybe others too, but pretty definitely not me. that may be the way her horse and cart works, but she's got the cart in front of the horse for me. i don't manipulate my weight to match the way i feel about myself (either in a rational and healthy way, or an irrational and harmful way). although i would like to weigh less, the "short cuts" are rife with problems (and many of them rather scary), and the legit ways to do it don't seem as enticing or enjoyable as being able to eat the things i like and not having to devote chunks of time to being bored exercising, even though the end result would be nice, good for me, and help my opinion of how others perceive me. of course, shaving more often, paying to get my hair did, and wearing nicer clothes might do that too. perhaps my cost-benefit analysis is out of whack, but i know i'm not alone in the world. i doubt most people smoke because they hate themselves either...but maybe i'm the crazy one.

completely off-topic: for the last week or two, i keep hearing some bird outside of my house. sometimes when it sings, it sounds just like that bit of the song "peanut butter jelly time" where it goes "where he at, where he at" "there he go, there he go". (i.e., the tones the bird sings are the same.) then i get the stupid song stuck in my head. thanks, bird.

this past friday evening was the geek gathering. i had to go straight from work, so i didn't really get to do some stuff for the gathering i'd planned to. but i did drop by the house and pick up kojo's books and the toothbrush i brought back from taiwan for jamie (it was a hotel disposable toothbrush and toothpaste set, and the toothpaste was called "j. me"). i need to step outside my normal bounds of waiting for people to come talk to me. there are sometimes people i'd like to meet and maybe get to know, but i rarely take it upon myself to make it happen.

saturday i was woken about 9am by brad calling to see if i wanted to go riding. brad and i met up with four other guys and we rode around the tomball area for a couple of hours. then a couple split and the four of us left rode to washington-on-the-brazos. afterward i hung out at brad's and talked for an hour or two, then we rode around some more and eventually ended up at antidote for some coffee. from there i met the potts at a five guys burgers (which i'd never eaten at, but is good) and then went to their house and hung out until late.

i was planning on buying some new sha sha shoes (different color, same style -- i wanted the black flames on white shoes), but once i started trying to buy them i figured out they must not be making them anymore because they were hard to find and i couldn't find my size. ain't that how it always is...i search around forever disappointed with my choices until i find something cool, then it's not available or not in my size or whatever. even my second and third choices were not working out. so i gave up on the sha-sha's.

i'll use that as a segue to talk about my recent emotional struggling. you see, this last week was significant for a couple of reasons: [1] friday was the hrc's birthday, and [2] the same week was a two-year marker of sorts. so those things just gave me extra reason to think about the loss of her in my life, and the current lack of anything new. when my mind is positive (which isn't that often:) i like to imagine she bailed on me by quietly slipping away because she knew she didn't have the ability to be the woman she felt i deserve. i mean, after all the things she told me and said about me and such, just ceasing to care about even interacting with me at all seems rather incongruent. but as samuel jackson (as jules...a bit of a coincidence) says in pulp fiction: "and i'd like that. but that sh!t ain't the truth." i don't know the truth obviously, but i imagine it's not really any reason that's good to/for me. whatever. the problem for me is i'm not one to cut and run and move on. i'm slow to commit / get into things, but once i do it runs deep. i can't just move on. i have a hard time giving up, accepting loss, and forgetting about it. (see: the time invested in me trying to deal with and get over tamara and my marriage.) still, i guess it's probably for the best. it'd just have been nice if something good could have come out of it. (other than the time itself.) i think, like jennifer before her, i was really good to julia. (it'd be nice if i could find someone to actually legitimately appreciate that, and me.) still, as much as there were so many things i really loved about the hrc, she probably would have consumed and destroyed me. (that doesn't change the fact such a thing is kind of my ideal relationship i guess...watch true romance to better understand.)

back to the shoes...i thought about buying some new vans old skool shoes, but as usual i can't find color combos i like that much. you can make custom ones on their website, but the end price is about $85. i'm still trying to decide if i can make myself believe having canvas shoes custom-designed (the color choices) by me is worth that. i do think the ones i made look pretty cool though. we'll see. in the meantime, i did manage to find some shoes that compete with the sha-sha's so i ordered them. as well as three retro-50's / lounge / rockabilly / greaser button-down shirts. then i ordered a new pair of doc marten's. then i ordered a new pair of motorcycle boots, as i haven't had any motorcycle boots in some time. i'll provide more info about all of these once they come in.

a couple of days ago when i was looking for vans i went by soundwaves to see what they had in-store. nothing exciting. but i did pick up a couple of cds:

  • the beat farmers - van go (curb)
  • johnny cash - american vi: ain't no grave (american)

today i am going into work late, so this morning i called the shop edelbrock had gotten in touch with for me. they told me i could bring the car today for them to look at, so i drove up there this morning. they're near beltway 8 and 249, pretty far north-northwest. i got there, they came out, i turned on the car, all 3 of them said "yup, it's the lifters", i turned it off, i gave them my info, then i made the drive back home. he's going to call edelbrock and then get them an estimate, so he'll hopefully be calling me back pretty soon so i can drop the car off to get the work done.

sickness is a state of mind

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i went to the doctor monday morning. i explained what was going on and that i figured i had a sinus infection, but was concerned my constant exhaustion and sleeping was more than just jet lag. i told him i thought it might be worse allergies to my cat after having been away from her for a couple of weeks, and that i didn't think so but i wanted to be sure i wasn't having a relapse of mono (as mono sucks). he looked me over and said he thought it was sinusitis and jet lag. he said jet lag can last a couple of weeks. so he gave me a shot of cortizone and an antibiotic shot, as well a z-pack antibiotic prescription. he also went ahead and had blood drawn to do a normal blood test as well as test for mono.

i went by h.e.b. and got the prescription filled, then -- as they were on my way back to my house -- i stopped by old navy and bought two new pair of blue jeans, and stopped by microcenter and bought a fairly cheap sata hard drive so i have one to put into my desktop at work. i've been waiting to get a second hand bigger hard drive from work, but one never has turned up, so i finally gave up and bought one myself.

i went into work after lunch. in the afternoon i had some conversations with a couple of my friends at work about my recent difficulties in dealing with life. i really don't feel like i've got much that i'm content with or happy about right now. i mean as far as big picture things i care about. i'm not particularly happy with my opportunities at work, i don't feel like i have any valid plans or goals for the future of my life, and while i enjoy having time alone i really hate being alone all the time -- i miss companionship and closeness and intimacy, and i would like to be moving towards marriage and a family if possible. these things/feelings i don't have and want tend to overwhelm me during the many hours i have to think about what i don't have. i currently don't have to worry about more basic things some people worry about like failing health, having working transportation, a job at all, having a roof over my head, food. i know i'm fortunate to not have to worry about these things, but it doesn't make me feel better about the higher things i want but don't have (some of which i don't feel like i have much control over). ash mentioned in a comment that he refers to my way of thinking as "dtl: depressed terry logic". i completely don't deny there is truth to that. i want to have faith, i want to have hope, i want to believe, but i find it very easy to be self-critical and self-defeating. i have been that way most of my life. i think i'm a good person, when i view myself by my own standards i'm more likely to like myself -- i just find it really easy to think negatively about myself when i'm considering how other people view me. or if not negative, then that they don't think about me at all...that i have no value or meaning to most people around me...i'm just some odd background noise. and that tends to overwhelm my generally okay perception of myself by my own standards. someone recently mentioned to me (i think it was ash) that germans come across as stoic, but they are really very sensitive. i feel that way a lot. (i'm only "german" by heritage, but i still feel some level of kinship to aspects of the culture/people.) i think most people think i'm stoic, or stuck up, or don't give a fsck about most things, but underneath i'm sensitive and emotional and scared of hurt and rejection. another friend, when talking to other people about me, used to trot out the old cliche: "still waters run the deepest". i wouldn't deny that.

anyway, after work i was still feeling pretty down, so i contacted jack and sue to see if one of them would be interested in having supper with me. sue was at work, but jack and the kids were "in town" so they met me at a chick-fil-a. jack and i talked while the kids played. talking doesn't really ever seem to resolve anything for me, but it at least gets the stuff out of my head for awhile, and i have to explain myself to someone else. that forces me to collect my thoughts and see if they seem reasonable or not, and it also allows me to get someone else's perspective.

i know some of my extremely heightened feelings of melancholy and depression could easily be related to my being sick, my sleep patterns being totally jacked, and post-vacation blues. (i don't take long vacations much...well, almost never.) but i know even beyond the current intensity levels, these are all still issues that i wrestle with normally.

i went to bed around 1am and my sinuses were feeling some better. unfortunately, i woke up at 5am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. but at least my sinuses don't feel as messed up now as they had been.

shifting gears, while i was in taiwan i bid on and won an album on ebay. i got it in the mail a few days after i got back.

  • limited edition (976/1000) - adult. (ersatz audio)

it's a 7" vinyl with a fold-out poster piece of photographic art done by nicola (one half of the band). catalog ez017, released 2002. at this point, other than the decampment series (3 very limited edition 7" vinyl pieces each with a full-color glossy photo by nicola, collectively telling a story, and not cheap), i'm missing about 4 or so of their releases, pretty much all of which are out of print and somewhat difficult to come across.

i also called edelbrock this last week on thursday or friday about the warranty work on my engine. they, of course, had dropped the ball again and not followed up with me at all during the two weeks i was out of the country, or the week before or after. they didn't really even mention anything about not following up, they just said they couldn't use the place they had originally planned on using. so they called around and found some other place, and i talked to the guy on friday, so i'm supposed to be driving the car up there (he's way up north/nw on 249) soon to have him look at it and get an estimate for edelbrock. hopefully all that will go well.

i mention the potts often in my blog, because they are close friends and i hang out with them quite a bit. it's not often i get to create links to something about them in the news. (okay, maybe ever, actually.)

jackson (the oldest son, 10 years old), a budding photographer -- following in the footsteps of his old man -- did an art piece for a stations of the cross installation for the xnihilo gallery (which is directly connected to the ecclesia church). they really got more than they bargained for, and the image has actually created some controversy. the houston chronicle ran an article about it today (monday): friction over young photography whiz's art, plus the gallery has set up a blog about it: station 7 by jackson potts (the blog version has a bigger image, plus jackson's explanation of why he chose what he did and what things represent)

i've discussed it with several friends and a number of them seemed unfavorable toward the content and intent, but i really think it has value as an artistic piece. plus it brings up a number of big questions about any number of things, which is really one aspect of what "good" art can/should do. instead of rewriting things, i'll just repost my comment i left on the article on the chronicle website (which i doubt will win me many new friends, since as is my wont i tend to piss off everyone at some point while meandering longwindedly through all of the points i want to make...but i'm used to that, so oh well):

----------< my chron.com comment >----------

phliKtid wrote:

(disclaimers first: i am a close friend of the potts family, and have been good friends since before jackson was born. that said, i do not unilaterally support people just because they are my friends. believe me, my friends will vouch for that.)

outside of whether this is an appropriate piece for the specific church and their purpose and desires (disclaimer: i have no love loss for ecclesia, but it's their bag), i want to talk about this as an art piece depicting a station of the cross in and of itself (which is what many people here seem to be commenting on, not its value specifically to the church's context.)

the fact is, it makes a lot of sense as a modernization of the most basic theme of that station of the cross: an authority figure beating an innocent as a crowd passively watches. the process of logic is completely there. stripped of that context, as some people here seem to be doing (perhaps they have no clue what the stations of the cross are, or what that means for the purpose of the art pieces), it's a cop beating a child. they don't see the art, or the metaphors, or the symbolism -- they see their own issues and fears and prejudices in the piece, and they knee-jerk react before they have time to process it in context it was created.

of course, isn't that sort of one of the purposes of art? to confront and provoke thought? (although i do believe confrontational/offensive art without a good purpose is not good art. and i don't think all art is all-ages appropriate.) otherwise it's just thomas kincaid paintings and precious moments figures -- cute pablum fluff saying nothing but "how cute/pretty/precious". to me that doesn't seem exactly accurate for pieces that are supposed to blatantly and specifically represent the story of the beating and crucifixion of christ.

perhaps for those people taking affront, jackson could take a picture of a naked, beaten, adult jewish man with a crown of thorns smiling, holding hands, and dancing with an easter bunny in a roman military uniform. that way they could have the station aspect *and* the happiness that is the true point of lent and easter. plus they could keep the event at a detached cultural reference point instead of having to confront it in a context that their minds can immediately relate to. (seriously...have these people seen some of the traditional stations of the crosses pieces)?

yeah, i'm kidding, i know they'd be pissed about that too. but it sort of makes a counterpoint to their reaction to this piece. how should one go about creating a modern interpretation of the stations of the cross? creating post-modern abstract "meditative" pieces is neato and all, but the stations of the cross sort of have a cultural and historical weight to them that really should be considered to, it seems to me.

to be honest though, the picture is somewhat inaccurately modernized. a roman guard would have been more of a military figure than a cop. and the romans were an outsider occupying the middle east. so, really, the figure doing the beating should have been in a u.s. military outfit -- and the innocent christ figure should have been jewish / middle eastern. yes, that would have gone over *much* better. :)

better to just take a pic of black shadows and some red paint splatter and maybe a piece of some gold roman-ish looking helmet, tack on some lacquered text...maybe bible passages, or burned/manipulated pics of the traditional station of the cross imagery to the point they can't really be made out, throw in some grape leaves and/or vines (for the symbolism), and the topper...a barely visible shadowy face of a haggard, bearded, homeless-looking man who looks sad which you can only see if you really look. oh, and a dove feather. perfecto! now let's all meditate on christ being beaten by a military authority while a crowd watched. can't you almost imagine the scene? (heh.)

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