b: books, beer, bike, bel air, brakes, 'bacco

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here are the books i bought off amazon recently:

  • d!rty russian - coyne & fisun (ulysses press)
  • essential russian grammar - kemple (dover)
  • how to learn any language - farber (mjf)
  • random house webster's pocket russian dictionary - reference (random house)
  • russian word picture book - rogers & steadman (dover)
  • teach yourself russian - west (teach yourself)

obviously all of them are related to the russian language. except how to learn any language, which was suggested by ash as a guide for how to go about learning a language (such as russian).

friday after work i took my bike to meet the potts (minus sue) at the petrol station in the heights for supper. it'd been awhile since i'd been there. it was a pretty happening place, and they had expanded their tap beer selection. no giant domestics at all on tap. (awesome.) they had also fenced in the back area and put in some landscaping elements. it felt more like the back of poison girl or such, although there were lots of people with kids. (they are kid-friendly and have kids' items on the menu.) i had a stone brewing company imperial russian stout and a burger with swiss cheese. i gave the fries to the potts. the burger was juicy and fresh, on more of a sourdough style bun than a generic white bread bun. it was good. then, unexpectedly, the rain came. the potts left, and i waited for the rain to stop and the streets to dry up some. so i had another beer while i was waiting: the hairy eyeball by lagunitas brewing co.. it was very good. unfortunately, it's a seasonal. i figured i'd wait for the roads to dry up some, but i checked the radar on my iphone and another band was coming, so i hopped on the bike and rode home. i didn't get rained on, but the streets were still wet and at one point i slid some coming to a stop at a light. i also narrowly avoided getting splashed by cars a few times. but i made it home in one piece, with only my pants' legs wet.

at midnight i went to river oaks and saw a midnight showing of a clockwork orange. i had hoped i would have someone to go with, or at least to meet up with there, but of course i ended up watching it by myself. and i of course neither met nor talked to anyone. normally i'd just not go anywhere instead of go alone (which is why i stay home often), but i really wanted to see the movie again on a big screen. it was nice. there were maybe around 200 people for the showing, half a dozen to a dozen dressed as alex and/or his droogs. i wore my moloko vellocet shirt. no one else cared. :)

i had decided saturday i would try to get my brakes on the bel air fixed, so that's what i did. since it was only the brakes, and the brake system is fairly simple, i decided i'd drop by brake check just to see if they would look at it. (the one at 5637 southwest freeway, since that's the one jack went to a few weeks ago and they seemed nice.) they didn't know how to drive a 3-on-the-tree, but they said they'd try to check it out. i drove it into the bay, then they took the tires off and checked all of the drums and everything looked fine. they then said they could try a bleed and flush, since that would show any blocked lines or air in the system. and if it went fine, that meant it was the master cylinder or something mechanical with the pedal itself. it was only ~$40, and couldn't really hurt, so i figured that was worth it. they did the front brakes and everything was fine, but when they went to the back brakes both sides barely leaked. they brought me out to look at it at that point, because the connectors on the rubber line between the steel line coming from the front and the split on the steel lines in the rear were corroded and they weren't sure they could get it off without mangling/breaking the hose. (which meant waiting for and buying a new hose.) i told them to go ahead and do it. the steel line from the front flowed just fine, but the rubber hose barely leaked. so the rubber brake line hose was the culprit. based on that knowledge and the way my brakes were acting, apparently the clog was causing both rear brakes to always be at least partially on (thus the feeling my brakes were on at all times) while in the front the pressure was all messed up so my brake pedal was immediately tight (and was only really working the front brakes). they had to order the hose and said it'd be in the next day hopefully, so i decided to walk home. (probably about 4.5 to 5 miles.)

i walked over to chimney rock, then up to richmond. i stopped in the hat store to look at their fedoras (they didn't have that many...they're mostly cowboy hats) and see if they had plastic travel boxes for fedoras/bowlers (nope, just western size). i continued walking down richmond, and after i passed 610 i decided i'd stop in the pipe and cigar store there by luling city market. it's called serious cigars (4722 richmond ave, it used to be crofts pipe and tobacco shoppe). i was in there i guess a couple of hours, talking to the guy working there about all sorts of things while i looked at the pipe tobaccos, meerschaum pipes, and briar pipes. a guy smoking there gave me an aromatic to try, and the employee gave me a blend they'd made for xmas. i bought a custom blend he made, and i also bought a new pipe: a savinelli black rustic (trevi rustica, style 626). it's only about a 1/4 bent, with a fairly small bowl. so it's somewhat different than my other pipes. but i like the way it looks. (and of course i paid more than if i would have bought it online.) while i was in there for so long, brake check called me and said they'd gotten the hose in. so i told them i'd walk back. i made my purchase and left.

i only made it part way back before they called to check on me. they were already staying late to get mine done. i told them i was still walking, so one of them came and picked me up. we hopped in my car to test drive it, and the brakes were obviously better. i got about 1/4 mile and my car almost died. i guess i should have put gas in it. i drove a bit further down the road, asked if there was a gas station that way, he said "no" so i did u-turn to head back to the closest station. the car died and i coasted across the road and up to a pump. whew! i got out and put some gas in it, then we were on our way again. the brakes seemed fine. so fixing the brakes cost about $120: $40 for the bleed/flush and $80 for the hose/labor. anyway, i recommend these guys. they seemed fair, and willing to explain to and discuss things with me.

after leaving brake check, i went back by the pipe store to pick up another thing of tobacco. i had smelled it earlier and it reminded me of...something relating to our family land. maybe the house, or the barn. i couldn't place it exactly. but i smelled it again and it was still in there. i'm going to send some to my dad and brother and see if they can connect the smell as well.

saturday evening i went over to the potts and watched snl, then i came home and watched district 9 on netflix streaming. it was a good movie, although i wasn't overwhelmed by it. i seem to recall hearing it was done pretty cheaply, and if that's the case then the cg work is pretty impressive.

sunday afternoon i ate lunch with the potts, then sunday evening i went over and had supper at the potts. we had pierogies, sausage and links, sauerkraut, french bread, and real ale's devil's backbone (a belgian-style tripel). later that night jack and i watched art & copy via streaming netflix. it's a documentary, sort of about the history of advertising in america but really focused on the work/history of about six or so gods or rock stars in advertising. it was pretty interesting, although i think i would have liked it more if it delved into the creative process and the life cycle of ads from brainstorming to print more than being more of a reminiscing. they tried to stitch it, or add a different angle, by interleaving data and interviews with a guy who actually puts up billboards -- but, while connected in a general sense by the topic of the film, it really seemed sort of disjointed instead of in the flow.

today i ate a late lunch with the potts, then i headed over to the half price books on westheimer way out west. i picked up a few comics to add to wheresthatbeen.com, and i bought a few cds and a book for myself:

  • belle and sebastian - the life pursuit (rough trade)
  • circlesquare - songs about dancing and drugs (!k7)
  • japanic - red book (plethorazine / southwest wholesale)

not sure i'll like the belle and sebastian, but i figured i'd pick it up and try it. i'm hopeful about circlesquare based on the label he's on and the description of his stuff i read via google. japanic was a local houston band...i think i heard them on ktru back in 2001 or something and always meant to try and see them and pick up their cd(s). well, i finally got this one. (i think they had two, one before this one.)

  • the torrents of spring - ivan turgenev (grove press)

tonight i finished watching alexander nevsky, a 1938 russian film by eisenstein. it tells the story of alexander nevsky, a 13th century russian prince who (for the part of his life the movie is concerned with) protected novgorod (and thus most of what is now russia) from the germans (an order of the teutonic knights, actually). it was, in fact, part of the northern crusades -- the roman catholic church trying to take north and east (pagans and orthodox) instead of the east (muslims and the holy land). by chance ;), at the time this movie was made and released the nazis just happened to be building in germany and looking at russia. this was a motivational call to arms to the russian people to defend their homeland from invaders (such as...oh, the germans). in fact, nevsky was used throughout that time period as a symbol of protecting russia from the invading germans. the movie worked, as nevsky is still considered one of the most important people in russian history by the russian people.

4 Comments

Before there were iPhones, I used to call Jo while I was working so she could look out the window at her work and tell me where the storms were so I could route myself accordingly. It worked surprisingly well.
I once pushed my scooter from the galleria on richmond to our house in the montrose. It was raining a lot and dark. Glad to hear you didn't have to walk it.

Terry,

I was looking over the crown at CW Orange and I am so sorry I missed you! I was with a crew of four and would have loved to hook up with you. give me a shout when you can.

Jeffrey Bottoms
www.siliconswami.com
(A work in progress)

It's always good to hear that tobacco is on the way!

I felt the same about District 9...good, not great. I was underwhelmed because all of the hype. If I hadn't heard much about it I probably would have been more impressed.

I'm really pumped that you bought some books on Russian, but at the same time, I HIGHLY recommend you don't use them yet. What you should do, is start listening to Russian radio, especially talk show type stuff (not news programs, unless they are in talk show format). It doesn't matter that you won't understand what's being said (in fact that's good), just pay attention to the sounds.

Most books will teach you grammar the traditional way, which is both difficult and ineffective. I can show you how to do it in a much better way and I'll be in Austin on the 16th (take note Linc). Language learning is all about time on task and what you want to do is train your ear to the language before engaging in any kind of written stuff. I'll tell you more later, but try and get your hands on as many audio-only courses as you can. Don't buy Pimsleur though, I can loan you mine.

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