April 2010 Archives

this post's hidden theme: dirt

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tuesday last week i went to lunch by myself. i went to brasil. it was the first time i'd been there for lunch in some time. i was on my motorcycle. on the way back from lunch, somewhere on 288 something managed to fly through/around my goggles and hit my left eye. it hurt when it hit and it hurt to blink. i had no choice but to keep going since i was in the middle of traffic. when i got to work i looked at my eye in one of the mirrors on my bike, but i couldn't see anything. same thing once i got in the building. after a few hours of it still hurting when i blinked and me trying to find/remove whatever might be there, i decided maybe it'd scratched my cornea and i should see an optometrist. i called and made an appointment before they closed, then left work a bit early and went. he irrigated my eye and checked things out. he said i had some small scratches, so he gave me some antibiotic/anti-inflammatory drops. i was glad it wasn't anything worse. my eye as of the last day or two seems to be pretty much back to normal.

last tuesday night i watched a 99 cent itunes rental: happy campers. it's about a group of camp counselors and their goings on at a summer camp. it sort of plays like it could have been cool, but unfortunately it comes up very, very short. there is a lot of moral ambiguity, and a lot of complexity, and some darkness, and things are "learned" i suppose -- but it's couched in so much slapstick and goofiness, and perhaps is too unfocused or has too many irons in the fire, that it doesn't come across as dark or complex as much as shallow and silly and you just don't really care about the characters. (except maybe pixel. but that's because i'm screwed up. :) when i was watching it i kept thinking "it's got the possibility to be a great, extremely dark comedy like heathers, but it falls so short." interestingly enough, and unknown to me at the time, this was the directorial debut of daniel waters...who wrote the heathers screenplay (and also wrote this one).

thursday i called the auto shop to ask about the lifters from edelbrock. they said they'd had them for a few weeks. *sigh* i them i'd drop it off monday.

thursday night i watched zach galifianakis: live on netflix streaming. zach's humour is odd, groan-inducing, and much of the time awkward and stilted...but man, is he funny.

friday during the day we suddenly had a major saturday dr test that had been in the works for months cancelled. someone higher up complained at the last minute i guess. it seems kind of stupid since it'd been on the calendar for a long time, and i'm not sure the testing would have affected anything related to this person anyway. whatever. it's kind of annoying to be all geared up and prepared to do some work in uncharted territory, then have the plug pulled at the last second. it also meant my saturday was suddenly free.

friday night i came home and didn't see any interesting live music shows going on, so i stayed at home and watched a 99 cent itunes rental: rescue dawn. it's based on the true story of dieter dengler, a german-american u.s. pilot who got shot down during a bombing run over laos before the u.s. was supposed to be involved there (pre-vietnam war). he got captured and spent months in a prison camp. eventually he planned an escape, and somehow made it far enough to get rescued. christian bale plays the main character, and it was directed by werner herzog. it plays a bit slow, and doesn't feel like it tries to pump drama like a lot of movies -- but i thought that made it feel more realistic and true, and i really liked the style.

of course, i didn't really take advantage of the open saturday. i'd thought about going on a motorcycle rally ride, but it got canceled due to the major weather going through most of Texas. (it was a ride to san antonio and then to kinky friedman's utopia animal shelter.) so instead i just took my bike to a fundraiser wash brad was doing for his youth group. i'd been waiting to wash it due to the weather being colder, so i was happy it was going to finally be all cleaned up. but i learned there was stuff all over the bike that couldn't be washed off. grr. a while back late at night i'd had to drive through some liquid running across the highway where they were doing some work. it was a tan/grey liquid, and it looked like they were cutting the concrete. well, evidently whatever that tan/grey stuff is, it stuck to my paint, my chrome...pretty much everything. i'm hoping maybe some tar remover will clean it off, but i don't know yet.

remember me replacing raj's busted washer with mine? well, now my washer isn't working right. it does everything okay except it won't do the spin cycle at all. i spent a couple of hours sunday pulling it apart, removing the motor, taking off the clutch assembly (and breaking one of the stupid pad support prongs), testing the motor, etc. i'm not sure what the problem is, but i cleaned up the clutch assembly and if i can fix the pad support (jb weld?) i'll see if cleaning the clutch assembly fixed it. otherwise it's either the motor burning out (in tests it still works during the spin cycle with no load) or the motor-to-basket transmission seizing. in either case, i think it'd cost so much to get replacement parts it'd be more cost effective to just ditch it and buy a new one with a warranty.

sunday night i watched extreme engineering: offshore oil via netflix streaming. it's a documentary about a company in mississippi that is building a "jack-up rig" for the gulf of mexico. while it talks about deep water offshore drilling rigs, how they work, how they're set up and moved and such, most of it deals with some of the process the company was going through in the process of building out one of these while the film crew was there. it was interesting to find out more about how they do this stuff.

monday i took off work in the afternoon and dropped off the belair at the shop. jack and the kids went up with me and gave me a ride back to my house. we stopped and at saltgrass steakhouse on the way back.

monday night i watched the 99 cent itunes rental bad lieutenant. i'd seen it a few years ago and didn't see what the fascination people seem to have with it. i thought perhaps a few years' time might change my perspective of it. nope. it's not that it's bad or anything, i just don't find it deserving of a lot of praise. it doesn't move me. and i still think harvey keitel's periods of anguished wailing seem odd and unnatural rather than moving.

tonight i watched the island via netflix streaming. no, not the michael bay film from 2005 with scarlett johansson. this is ostrov, a russian film from 2006. it's about a man who makes a fateful decision under pressure as a young man, and ends up in a remote russian orthodox monastery as a father who seems to be crazy but is visited by a lot of people because of the powers/insight he seems to have. he is constantly seeking forgiveness for his sins, particularly for that fateful decision he made. all of the other orthodox fathers struggle to deal with him. he is what is considered a "fool for christ". the pace is slow, but the visuals and contemplative nature of the story are beautiful. the dynamics of the interactions of the characters and what it reveals about people -- our perceptions, our vices, our misunderstandings, etc. -- is really great. you really should see this beautiful film, particularly if you search for something deeper and more meaningful to christianity than a lot of the mainstream american stuff you see around you. and from reviews, evidently it really hits at the heart of russian culture as it ties to faith. the more i think about the movie, the more i like it.

i've now gone two weeks without having any soda, tea, or coffee. mostly water, some fruit juice. i've also been pretty successful at avoiding eating purely "filler" sides. i've completely avoided fries and chips so far. i'm sure i'm still making poor eating choices, but i'm not trying to be healthy, just healthier. and it's probably just temporary anyway.

"a sick, sadistic side" --dignan

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after writing my last entry i suddenly fell horribly ill. as in i felt utterly like crap and after i got in bed monday night, with the exception of getting up to go the 30 ft round trip to the bathroom every few hours, i was not out of bed until late wednesday morning. i had chills and was semi-delirious. picture me in an old western (or movie set in the 20's or so) where people are in black and white and in bed covered in blankets with a wet cloth over their head and mumbling incoherently about things that don't make sense. that was me. i knew i was talking nonsense, and doing it to an empty house, but i couldn't help myself. i suppose it's from having an engineering/technical background, but my delusions tend to involve some weird variation on my body and/or the world being systems that have weird rules that i need to follow in order to help alleviate the pain and suffering. this time it had to do with the orientation of my torso and limbs, and some kind of distribution of energy or flow or something and how it would affect my overall body. i would intentionally place my limbs in certain configurations because i *had* to or i would feel worse. oh yeah, i also didn't eat or drink for that day and a half. i finally drank about 12 ounces of water the last few hours i was in bed.

when i finally did "get up" i still felt awful, but the illness had "broken" and it wasn't *as* bad. with much difficulty, i convinced myself to get in my car and drive to a clinic. i got there around 1:30pm. and of course they were out to lunch until 2pm. so i went to the house of pies and ate a big bowl of fruit and drank water. i went back to the clinic and they gave me a 10-day supply of horse pill antibiotics. i also picked up some cans of soup (2 low-sodium chicken noodle and 1 won ton) and "hint of salt" premium crackers.

thursday was about the same as wednesday. in total on wednesday and thursday i ate two big bowls of fruit with water, one english muffin, and three cans of soup with crackers. i also learned salt adds a lot of flavor to campbell's chicken noodle soup. but i wasn't feeling up to being picky. i had no energy and felt too crappy to go to work, but i'd slept so much my body didn't want to sleep. so of course i ended up watching the television. but not cable, i watched movies. (and all but the first was via netflix online streaming.) here's what i watched, and my thoughts:

  • picture this: the times of peter bogdanovich in archer city - this was actually an itunes 99 cent rental. it was interesting, as i really like the last picture show, but it's a documentary and not explosive or anything. it gives some interesting history of the various people and what was going on in their lives before, during, and between the filming of the two movies in archer city. it also discusses archer city's opinion of itself as an object of mcmurtry's writings, citizens take on the people, places, etc.
  • this is england - a semi-autobiographical story about a young school kid in england whose father dies in the falkland war, and his having to deal with that. he ends up befriending some skinheads (which isn't in and of itself a bad thing, as most skinheads aren't evil or racist...although they are sort of gang/mob-mentality-oriented usually). but an older skinhead who went to prison comes back with white power ideas and everything gets messed up. it is a good movie.
  • fast food, fast women - i had already seen it before. it's a kind of odd movie about quirky people in new york acting quirky. but there's an innocence to it that makes it cute, even though there are really a lot of kind of bad situations and choices. i wouldn't say the acting is that great overall either. but it's a quaint story.
  • the price of milk - this is a surrealistic story set in new zealand. the colors are pretty nice in the film. the story is odd. imagine perhaps a classic fairy tale, but set in modern new zealand. odd "magical" things happen, and sometimes people in the movie think it's odd, sometimes not. mostly it plays like a fairy tale -- bad choices, evil people, manipulation, trickery, and -- something not in all classic fairy tales -- a happy ending.
  • the animatrix - i had already seen this, but there are some *really* good segments. various animation styles and various storytelling styles, but the world/framework created in the matrix provides such interesting possibilities.
  • le femme nikita - i saw this a few years ago, but it is worth seeing again. it made me miss the hrc. :)
  • lady vengeance - this is a korean film, the last in the "revenge" trilogy (which includes oldboy, which i've also seen). a young lady confesses to a murder she didn't commit, and during the years she spends in prison (acting like the model prisoner, but being anything but) she plans her revenge on the person who forced her to confess to the murder. beautiful imagery, graphic and disturbing. i love the importance asian cultures place on symbolism, ritual, customs, honour, etc.
  • for all mankind - this is a documentary based on video and audio footage from the volumes of material from the apollo missions. it's really cool to see documentary footage of the astronauts and engineers and crafts and everything from then. it was an amazing feat of determination and will (and luck), and it must be incredible to have been a part of it. all that stuff is what made me want to be a part of the space program when i was a kid. but the drive and support died in lots of ways before i made it, both for the program and inside myself. it's still cool to know that i *did* make it though, and for 4 years actually was a part of the u.s. space program as an aerospace engineer. (and 2.5 more as a unix admin.) usually the job was boring and drab, but every now and then i'd have a moment of clarity and think "i'm at jsc working at nasa on the space program. how *fscking* rad is that?"

friday i went back to work, even though i still wasn't feeling too great. but it went okay. it was a maintenance window, so i actually didn't have to go in until the afternoon. but of course i had to work until around midnight.

saturday i ate lunch with the potts, then i went and saw how to train your dragon in 3d with them. this being an animated film, it was "filmed" in 3d, so the 3d stuff was better than clash of the titans. i still think it's gimmicky though, and i'm not sure why some people seem so excited by it. the movie was fun to watch and was a cute story. some of the animation bits were really impressive, even if the characters were very cartoony. i had forgotten about it being record store day, so in the early evening i went to a couple of places to see if i could pick up the devo 7" of new songs. no luck. i had been thinking about doing something that night, but my body reminded me it was still sick and still had way less than normal levels of energy. i ended up staying home and watching snl by myself, then going to bed.

sue had been bugging me the last several days to get a neti pot, as she'd recently started using one and evidently thought they rocked. neti pots are the short long pots (like tea pots or watering pots) that are used to irrigate your nasal passages. yeah, you take lukewarm saltwater and pour it up your nose for a minute or two. it sounded odd, but i watched a lot of youtube videos of people doing it (including doing it horribly "wrong"), so i figured "how bad could i do at it?" i ended up buying one at whole foods (a nice ceramic multi-colored glazed one) along with some fine-grain non-iodized salt for it (you can also use kosher or sea salt). i then went over to the potts and all of us (minus sue, who was working) ate at sweet tomatoes. then we went to fry's. at fry's i bought a new multimeter (i've only ever owned pocket ones, so this full-size one is my first), a bit set for very small screws (security, hex, torx, etc.), 3 different color 7ft cat 6 cables, and a netgear 5-port gigabit switch (with management features...which unfortunately is configured with software for windows only).

when i got home, i broke out the neti pot. i was a bit nervous, but i'd seen plenty of people do it on youtube and read enough about it to not feel too freaked. the deal is, if you get the salinity and temperature right, it doesn't burn or feel painful or anything. so i mixed it up and...it feels a little odd, but it didn't feel like burning or getting water up your nose (haha). and it definitely helped clean out some stuff that was just sort of hanging out up in my sinuses. after i was done with that i set up my new switch and cables. it's to network all of my home entertainment center devices, which were previously all on an old 10base netgear hub. i'm hoping it'll provide a better pipe for streaming and downloading with my apple tv and samsung blu-ray (it's what does netflix streaming).

i should also mention after having gone 4 days or so without any soda, tea, coffee, etc., and having eaten "healthier" stuff, i decided to try and continue that for awhile. i've now gone one week without sodas, tea, coffee, etc. and i've decided to not get combos with fries. i'm not trying to become a health nut or anything, i just figure cutting out sugary sodas and fries should get rid of a fair number of calories i normally consume because they're there. even if i continue to eat everything else the same, that'll probably cut my calorie intake one third i'd bet. i've done this before though, so i doubt it'll last too horribly long. it begins to lose its value when you don't see any results in making the effort to sacrifice something and change your habits. (it's either that or my ex's theory that i hate myself...choices, choices.)

i still feel somewhat sick today, even though i've been taking the meds. since antibiotics usually work pretty fast, i'm guessing this was actually a virus. hopefully the antibiotics will at least keep anything else from cropping up during my body's weakened state from fighting the virus.

tonight i watched (via netflix streaming) this film is not yet rated, a documentary film about the inconsistent and secretive practices and ratings of the mpaa that also serves as an attempt to expose the "secret" raters. while i wasn't shocked by much about the mpaa and their behaviour, it was interesting to learn more about just how few people make the arbitrary and somewhat inconsistent decisions about the rating each movie gets. and how horribly secretive they want it all to be.


"...that if our paths cross again, you're going to see a side of dignan that you haven't seen before. a sick, sadistic side because i'm furious at bob..." --dignan, bottle rocket

last friday (april 2nd) was a work holiday. i don't think i accomplished anything. i had a cafe au lait at coffee groundz in the early afternoon, then ate a late lunch with the potts at fu's garden in rice village. (my fortune said "a romantic mystery will soon add interest to your life" ...i wish i believed in fortunes.) afterward i went next door to half price books and picked up some cds:

  • my life with the thrill kill kult - 13 above the night (interscope / atlantic / time warner)
  • styrofoam - i'm what's there to show that something's missing (morr music)
  • porter wagoner - wagonmaster (anti / epitaph)
  • hank williams, jr. - high notes (curb / warner)
  • dwight yoakam - hillbilly deluxe (reprise / warner)
  • various - napoleon dynamite soundtrack (lakeshore / fox)
  • various - pulp fiction soundtrack (mca / columbia)

in the evening that very same friday was the geek gathering. on my way there, i stopped by the half price books on westheimer near montrose and picked up a few things for wheresthatbeen.com. i managed to get 3 softcover sandman compilations (i can't recall for sure which three...i think maybe the doll's house, dream country, and fables and reflections). i also got a copy of aliens. barrett and amanda brought some of her dj gear to the gathering to play music, but i guess barrett didn't have much to play. i offered to play geeky/tech music from my iphone, so i actually ended up playing dj the whole evening. i'm not sure anyone really paid attention to the music or cared that much, but i did it anyway. perhaps emboldened by my fortune earlier in the day, before my arrival i'd decided i would perhaps try talking to someone who's been at a few geek gatherings. but once there events and my mindset persuaded me otherwise.

i don't recall doing anything good with the daytime saturday (april 3rd). in the early evening i ate at chili's with the potts clan. afterward, i joined jack and jackson and dietrich for a "guy's night out" (using my belair). they were planning on seeing alice in wonderland in 3d but it wasn't showing or something so we ended up watching clash of the titans in 3d. it was the first 3d movie i've seen with the new, hip 3d technology. i wasn't that impressed by the 3d. although i've since read neither was the director. the movie wasn't filmed in 3d, the studio added it later. which means it comes out looking sort of like a viewmaster. the movie itself was pretty enjoyable, although i didn't think it was epic or anything.

easter sunday i met the potts at the martin-weber's place. we talked and ate and drank and had an easter egg hunt, then hung out and talked more. i spent most of the day and evening there. i don't know them that well, but they seem like really cool people. their neighbor and her son joined us on the egg hunt. i didn't really get to talk to them much, but they seemed cool too.

one night earlier in the week i watched a 99 cent itunes rental: showtime. this isn't a movie i would jump at seeing, but itunes has three a week at 99 cents and the trailer looked like it might be funny. it's a cop movie with robert deniro and eddie murphy. deniro is a serious detective, murphy is a beat cop that wishes he was an actor (but doesn't have the chops). deniro gets tagged to do a "reality" show about cops, murphy gets picked to be his partner, wacky hijinx ensue. william shatner plays a small role as himself in the movie, and his bits are pretty hilarious. deniro is also fairly funny as the straight guy. but overall it's mostly predictable, and nothing to get excited about. still, it was okay for a laugh.

tuesday night after work i was going to see a free screening of after.life with sue. but i guess a lot of people had the same idea, because i was there about 45 minutes before showtime and there was a long line and they'd already given out all the tickets. so instead i met sue at chuy's and we sat on the patio and had some margaritas and i ate supper. i went home and watched the henry jaglom film eating.

tuesday i got my new pair of boots. these fit better, so i'll be keeping them. i'll probably take a pic at some point, but they're really just black steel toe engineer style motorcycle boots. i have learned that after the accident i don't think i can bend my left ankle quite as much as my right, as the left boot is a little harder to get on. also, since the boots are "stovepipe" style (that's what i'll call it...not sure if that's actually a used term), my left leg/calf doesn't fit as well as my right. ever since the accident my left leg from my knee down is a little larger than my right, plus as i'm up and about the left still retains fluids and bloats/swells some. (i'm assuming that may never go away.) it doesn't hurt, but it's there. this makes the top of the boot not fit as well as it should. but it still works okay.

wednesday a strange thing happened on the way to the show. it'd been raining lightly some for awhile, so everything was somewhat wet. i was in my pickup on alabama and turning left onto montrose, when suddenly about one third of the way into the turn my pickup stopped turning and started going straight ahead. i let off the gas and hit the brakes, but that didn't solve anything. as my backend started to come around, my right front tire bumped the curb and jumped it, soon followed by my right rear tire. fortunately, there is nothing but grass and then sidewalk there. i put it in first and took off. i was worried my steering had gone wonky, but after driving and playing with the steering i guess i just hit a slick spot and my front tires lost traction. it being a pickup (and one with lots of torque and a low gear ratio), i have that happen with my rear tires all the time. but i almost never have my front tires lose traction.

late in the week i had another dream in my recent thematic dream sequence. this time it was back to tamara. i was hanging out with a bunch of people i didn't know very well, and somehow tamara ended up there and knew at least one or two of them. then she and i ended up going back to where she lived, which i was unsure about doing the whole time i was going with her, but i did.

friday night i watched the 99 cent itunes movie igby goes down. i saw it in the theaters when it came out, but it'd been awhile and i hadn't seen it since. it's a pretty good movie about a dysfunctional rich family on the east coast, igby being the youngest of two sons. his father went mental, his mother is overbearing, and his brother is a manipulative overachiever. igby is just sort of screwing up his life. (although with that family, it might be hard to not want to screw up your life.)

saturday around noon i finally made the call for a plumber to come by and fix the leaking (no longer dripping, as it got worse) shower fixture. he came by a couple of hours later. $316 in time/labor, $24 in parts = $340 total. time here? i'm guessing about two hours tops. plumbers make bank. but the shower is no longer leaking, and it would have taken me much longer to learn about the fixtures and find the parts i needed (if i could find them) and do the work...then hopefully it wouldn't have leaked when i was done.

saturday i also got a shirt i ordered. what shirt? why a brand spanking new shirt for the crucified! pretty much just like my old, threadbare one. same old versions of their name and logo on the front and back. sweet!

saturday evening i dropped by a liquor store and picked up some potato vodka, then i went by luling city market and picked up some brisket and sausage links. why? meat and martini, of course! this of course is the yearly party thrown by chris and mary, where you dress nicely and drink martinis and eat lots of red meat (although bacon is temporarily deemed a red meat for the evening). i wore my green fedora with brim up all the way around, my black 50's style dress shirt with two vertical grey stripes down the left chest and "v8" buttons, grey slacks with my wallet chain, and black and white wingtip docs. i thought i looked appropriate for a 50's-era martini party. but that's one of the ways i dress anyway, so it wasn't really out of the ordinary. the party was cool, as usual. even though i don't really expect it to happen, i still generally hope maybe i'll meet someone there and we'll hit it off. i guess it didn't happen again. :)

i've still not gotten a call from the shop about my belair lifters from edelbrock. i guess if i haven't heard anything by near the end of this week i'll break down and call to see if i can figure out where the hold up is. this process has been insanely, stupidly long.

and tonight i did my taxes. it's nice that i don't have to fill out all kinds of forms related to all sorts of things. while it's possible i may pay more in taxes than i need to, i don't know that i really care. if i do overpay, the rest of you that pay taxes and/or receive benefit from the federal government can thank me.


"my head they tried to wreck
and i just laughed and said
guess who lost the go in the go for it"
  --"the go in the go for it" by grandaddy from sumday

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