in soviet russia, you don't fix car...

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monday evening i watched paths of glory (netflix streaming), an early kubrick film starring kirk douglas about a french troop during world war one. it was pretty good, but played like a fairly normal movie to me. (although i'm not well-versed in movies from that time period, so it may have been quite out of line for its time.) it's kind of negative about the abuses of power and rank in the military, as well as showing the decisions and...well, the culture...of the military as being less honorable and noble than it presents itself to be.

tuesday and thursday nights i watched the two parts of ivan the terrible. it's yet another russian film by eisenstein. this one was filmed later than his others i've watched, so it's a talkie! but it seems like a stage acting style also took over -- it feels much more like filming of a stage play than the earlier movies (that i watched). by "stage acting style" i mean overly dramatic gestures and facial expressions, etc. it was kind of out of control. it was interesting just for some history about the russian czar system and what was before it.

speaking of russian history, i'm still trying to figure out a way for me to move to russia. it doesn't seem like the job market there is very active, at least for foreigners looking for tech jobs. i've started to consider teaching english, since there is some demand for that. but it doesn't pay that well, and it can be sort of a crappy job (depending on the company you work for, etc.). plus i'm not actually a teacher, nor do i have a teaching background. and my degree and experience are technical, not in linguistics or some area of liberal arts that might relate better. but it'd get me over there and some of them would give me a chance to learn russian while i'm teaching. of course, i've also starting wondering if russia is a very safe or stable place for me to be. i really have enjoyed reading russian novels, watching russian movies, and i think the culture and history are interesting (plus i enjoyed many aspects of the time i spent with a russian -- the hrc -- here, although she didn't really seem to care about her russian background much), but i've heard a lot of stories about russia being a sort of hardened, rough kind of place due to their history. (not just recent, either.) so i don't know. plus the two big cities for jobs are moscow and st. petersburg, and they are both pretty far north and really cold for stretches. i'd still like to do it anyway, because, "hey, why not?" it'd be way out of my comfort zone, and what really do i have to lose anyway?

i got my car back on friday. the new shop i took it to was very good about contacting me, telling me what was going on, etc. it turns out houston performance had pretty much not adjusted any of the valves correctly (with one on the driver's side having over 1/2 inch of play). in addition, they'd not put the distributor on correctly so the timing was all off. and they'd re-used the gasket on the thermostat housing at the manifold so it was leaking. the new shop fixed all that stuff, although they said even with a new gasket the old thermostat housing was still leaking some so they put on a new one. (that's probably because the original mechanic re-used a lot of parts of my old engine.) the only out-of-pocket cost to me was the new housing. i talked for some time with both of them during my visits, and they both seem to be knowledgeable and professional. i'm thinking it's very possible i'll be looking to them to do some work for me in the (near?) future.

of course, it wouldn't be my car if something wasn't wrong. so with the engine seemingly fixed, something new had to start up. now it feels like my brakes are constantly at least partially on. (yes, i checked to see if i left the parking brake on.) in addition, my brake pedal feels really tight, like it won't depress much (as much as it used to). it also feels like my brakes don't work as well, so it takes me longer to stop. i don't see how any work of either shop should have affected my brakes. i guess it's possible that during the tow the towing hooks crimped one of the metal brake lines or something. i'm not sure yet. it's just yet another thing to keep me dealing with the car instead of enjoying it. my pickup, on the other hand -- while sounding like crap and being in moderate to bad shape -- just keeps plugging along.

saturday i went by ikea, then headed to an auditorium at a middle school to see calista perform in a dance recital. the whole thing was a bit painful. (not meaning calista's performance or anything.) i mean: all of the kids dressed up and performing on stage, all of the proud and overly support parents, all of the costumes and music and announcing. i kind of felt like the jaded guy with earplugs in little miss sunshine. fortunately, none of the dances played the song "superfreak", so i didn't have to stand up at the end and yell "yeeeeah!"

this evening i watched video games: behind the fun (by the history channel) on netflix streaming. it's somewhat outdated, but it provides some interesting tidbits of info about the history of computer gaming. plus it's kind of fun to see people talking about some of the older games, as well as what was current and expected at the time the show was made.

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Glad you got your car and that the business you dealt with was good! About time.

Russia! You should go! Then I can come visit you! Don't listen to Mom when she says it's a crazy idea.

I never said it was a crazy idea did I Terry? Actually I believe I said I thought that would be interesting. :)

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