yet another weekend

i signed up for netflix saturday. my first three movies should be 3-iron, the wild parrots of telegraph hill, and the girl in the cafe. (thanks for the suggestions, kevin.) i’m interested to see how the whole netflix thing works out for me. i went ahead and signed up for the unlimited 3 movies at once option. i thought about going with the one unlimited, but i thought it might be too restrictive. and the unlimited 2 didn’t seem to be linear between the 1 and 3 as far as cost-benefit. that’s probably intentional.
i also went to the imax at the houston museum of natural science on saturday and saw roving mars (about the mars rovers). jamie was taking her kids and asked me if i wanted to go, so i asked sue and she came along with the potts kids.
i put my new straight baffles in today. my bike got lower and more throaty, and louder. not scary louder, but louder. i might need to get the carbs re-jetted. but i went ahead and rode it around. i met up with stephen and we went into the hood. we went to an icehouse off of cullen inside 610. there were 75 or more bikes there at any one time and i was one of very few white folk. 🙂
later in the evening i got sort of down, sitting here at the house by myself. i’m trying to keep hope alive. sometimes i’m just not really sure if there’s enough potential available.
since i’ve been listening to cash (as well as paycheck, kmfdm, and the talking heads), i’ll throw this gem out as a statement:
johnny cash – “guess things happen that way”

Continue reading “yet another weekend”

answering machine magic

i love answering machines. or, i should say, i love clever or odd outgoing messages. ever since i got an answering machine, i’ve always loved making funny or bizarre outgoing messages. my creativity was unfortunately squelched by roommates or marital partners for various lengths of time due to some need on their part to present a professional appearance to potential callers. usually at some point i cracked and created a weird message anyway, only be chastised and see my beautiful work turned back into a mundane, sterile, “we’re not here” message. for the last couple of years i’ve not had roommates or a marital partner though, so i’ve been able to let my repressed outgoing message juices run wild. (not that losing my marriage is worth that, but it’s one of a very few bright spots i saw for a long time.)
so anyway, i got a new answering machine a year or so ago. it doesn’t lose the messages if the power goes out, which is pretty cool. unfortunately, i have a tendency to let messages slowly build up. some of them i keep for sentimental or humorous reasons, others just because i plan to keep them as short-term reminders but then they build up (sort of like my email inbox). i guess i should record some off and delete them.
this week i had hit the 40 messages mark, so i decided it was time for a cleaning. it was kind of interesting going through them, as some of them were from back in october (or even earlier). the one i had the hardest time deleting was one from jennifer. she wasn’t saying anything of any importance or weight, but her voice…man, it just sounds so good to me. to use an old phrase, it’s positively dreamy. like i feel all mushy inside and grin like an idiot. well, i deleted it.
now i just need to keep from trying to figure out some reason to get her to call and leave me another message. 😉


this morning when i was backing out of my driveway, i noticed something out of the norm.
let’s step back a few years first…
my doorbell rang, i went to the door and it was this cute young asian girl and her father. he didn’t really speak english, but he wanted his daughter to talk to me. she’d hit my pickup. i went out and looked and it was barely scraped, mostly just white paint from her new mustang. they were my neighbors across the street, and i’m guessing she was still learning or very early in her driving. i told them it was no problem at all. he smiled and nodded, she looked relieved. over the years since then, i’d see her from time to time, coming or going in her car. it was parked in the driveway, or every now and then by the curb on their side of the street.
back to the present…
this morning i looked in my rearview mirror as i was preparing to back out of my driveway and i saw a crushed white mustang across the way in my neighbor’s drive. it had to have been dropped there by a tow-truck — the tires were flat and both the front and back were crushed. but it looked like the cabin was intact, and the roof wasn’t crushed or anything. i’m guessing it was in the middle of a pile-up on a highway.
anyway, it just kind of struck me this morning — seeing that wrecked white car — how much change happened in such a short amount of time. the rest of the world around me was pretty much the same, but this one static piece of my surroundings had been dramatically changed overnight.
sometimes life is like that.

the big catch-up entry

gee…catching up a bit…
thursday evening after work i headed over to the armadillo palace with the “co-worker i like to take weird pictures of” (we’ll call him “michiel”) and the co-worker who threw the meat and martini party (we’ll call him “chris”, and that’s a forward reference to an event later in this entry). i had agreed to buy michiel a well-deserved drink after he managed to, without using his hands or arms, call my phone with his blackberry (which began in his front pants pocket), then proceeded to build an origami cube just using his head and mouth. this whole thing started when we joked about him accidentally supergluing his fingers to his nipples, and he felt compelled to prove that he could still function like that. (who said my work environment was odd?)
after some empanadas and a couple of margaritas, i left the co-workers and headed over to the grand palace 24 to watch grandma’s boy. i kind of figured it might be a lot of low-brow sex and drugs jokes, and that’s mostly what i got. (but we were looking for something funny and shallow.) the saving grace for this movie was that the story is about a console game tester and the people he works with. while i’m not a gamer, game and computer culture tend to intersect quite a bit so i was able to find humor in a lot of little stuff and connecting characters to stereotypes or even people i actually know. and, honestly, there were a lot of jokes/gags in it i thought were funny. think of it as the illegitimate love child of revenge of the nerds and there’s something about mary in its teen years. i wouldn’t suggest a need to see it in the theater, but it might be something funny to rent at some point. (and no, please don’t relate it to adam sandler films. even though he is connected to it. bleh.)
friday after work i headed to pub fiction with some co-workers to celebrate one of them getting accepted into an mba program. pub fiction appeared to be a fairly trendy hang-out of downtown/midtown yuppies. joy.
after that i headed to the daily grind, which was closed, then to empire, which was closing, then to agora, where i met jamie and smoked my pipe while she experienced vertigo. (and evidently i helped to provide a “kinda eh” evening for her…i rock…)
saturday my brother came into town, so once he arrived we joined up with sue and her kids and headed over to st. arnold’s brewery for the tour. they are going to start charging for the tour soon ($5, but you get a special sampler glass to keep). that’s kind of annoying, but they are getting way too many people coming so they were trying to find a way to limit it some. and there were definitely a LOT of people there. at least 3 or 4 times more than the first time or two i went.
my brother had been sick earlier in the week, but was feeling better so he had decided to come down; however, he started feeling kind of sick again so that left me going solo to the meat and martini party a co-worker was having. this was the second m&m party, the first taking place a couple of years ago in the northeast. the spark that ignited this event was a conversation about how people complain too much about what they eat and about diet and light drinks…the conclusion being there should be a time where the whining stops and you just eat some meat and drink real drinks…like the rat pack did…like martinis. so the deal was each guest brings a meat-based dish (no sides), and the hosts provide the ingredients for numerous types of martinis. stylish dress highly suggested. since my brother was grounded, i tried sue…but she was occupied, so i asked natalie…and she was occupied as well. so alone i went, with my pipe and four rings of houston’s luling city market sausage. (this article in the houston press is the best synopsis i’ve seen of the city market in luling vs. luling city market situation, by the way. read, learn.) i ate some meat, i drank some martinis, i smoked my pipe. natalie did manage to show up later in the evening and after awhile we headed off to the house of pies.
sunday came early, but my brother — who had spent the evening on my couch watching movies and then sleeping — was feeling better, so we headed to bed, bath, and beyond. i hadn’t bought him anything for xmas or his birthday so he decided he wanted some kitchen items. we then met jack and sue and the kids at sylvia’s enchilada for lunch (mmmmm). after that, linc and i went to target where i purchased some more cooking/dining items for him. i also gave him a bunch of kitchen stuff i had but never use (blender, knives, waffle maker, mixing bowls, cooking utensils, etc.). he refused to take the cd/vhs cabinet…*sigh*. he took off for austin around 5pm.
later in the evening i met natalie at agora. where i once again smoked my pipe. for not having been to agora in a couple of years, i’ve recently gone there a lot in a short period of time.
monday after work i saw good night, and good luck. my movie partner decided the “good night” aspect sounded really intriguing, so she proceeded to perform extremely deep meditation after about the first 20 minutes. i brought her out of it twice, but she was dedicated and went right back to studying the inside of her eyelids. it was a really good film. i’m not sure how accurate a portrayal of reality it is, but the look and feel was nice. and what an interesting time in recent american history. as i saw someone mention somewhere, the amount of smoking and smoke in the film was insane, but i guess it helped set a mood and style. it seemed like some of the plot elements were put in as filler or to pad it out to feature length since they didn’t really have much to do with forwarding the plot or anything, but they weren’t out of place or distracting. we’ll just say they were creating a mood and backdrop with it.
tuesday after work i headed to the flying saucer for trivial tuesdays. i started doing that a few months ago, and am predictably inconsistent in showing up. as per the norm, after trivia the group moves over to sambuca. i hung out there until around 11:30pm and then headed home.
wednesdays after work i of course have the radio show. on this evening i managed to fit in references to the g.i. joe psa remixes from ebaum’s world (link) as well as 20 or 30 seconds of peanut butter jelly time.
which brings us up to today. so far today after work i’ve done nothing. but it’s still (relatively) early. ha.

i’m baffled, but not for much longer…

today i called dg performance, the makers of hard-krome motorcycle pipes. i have a set of their k-2 pipes on my bike. they come with a set of standard baffles, which is what i currently have. however, they are replaceable, so i just ordered a set of their straight baffles. when i replace the current baffles with the straights, it should increase the loudness of my pipes. hopefully significantly. they’re already fairly loud when i’m accelerating or at decent speeds, but i’d like for them to be loud even when i’m idling. i can hardly wait to see how they affect the sound.

cd organization

i used to be meticulous about my cds. i may be disorganized and lazy and sloven about any number of other things in my life, but my cds were always tip-top. not only continually properly organized alphabetically, but by date of release per artist/group, broken into a few simple genres, and the cds were always placed in the case so they were right-side up and perfectly aligned. this fell into quite a level of disarray over the last few years. (hhmmm…high fidelity anyone?)
but no more! or at least on the way to no more! one thing i did over my three day weekend (that i failed to mention before) was i started going through all of my cds. i quickly determined that i needed to buy some new kind of cd shelving or cabinet(s). tamara and i had bought a couple of multimedia cabinets years ago from ikea, but i wasn’t all that excited by them and i only ever put one together. a couple of months ago i gave the still-boxed one to my brother, and hopefully i’ll be giving the other one to him very soon. (he’s been getting a lot of stuff i’m burning through.)
i started half-heartedly looking around back when i gave him that one unit, but i could never find anything i was too excited by. (i tend to like stuff that keeps everything visible instead of behind solid doors, but that looks cool and is fairly sleek and/or minimalist.) then i remembered some i’d seen…either a friend had one or i saw it in a store or in magazines or something. i couldn’t remember the name of the company, but once i started doing some google searches i eventually hit on it. so today i placed my order for the boltz cd-600 floor-standing cd rack unit. it’s a little over 5.5 feet tall with 11 shelves, holding approximately 600 cds. i chose the “anthracite metallic” finish.
while you’re at the boltz site, check out the raw steel multimedia cabinets. i’d love to have a couple of the double cabinets, but there’s no way i’m spending that sort of dough at this point in my life on that. although i am sort of eyeing one of the bed frames…(still not sure it’s worth that though)…

on my day off

let’s see…so…first of all i slept until a little past 11am. that’s always nice. i then got up and headed to the briar shoppe. i was specifically looking for a bag designed for carrying a pipe and all of the necessary pipe-related items. it’s kind of annoying trying to carry everything loose, and i figured as long as they make products especially for that, why not buy one of those instead of trying to make something else work? so that’s what i did. i’m pretty happy with my purchase. i also picked up a few more one-ounce bags of tobacco: blue note, mark twain, peaches and cream, and tropical storm. (note how this time i was all over the alphabet, not stuck on one letter.) i also looked at lighters and pipe stands, but i figure i’ll buy those online and probably save myself some money (and get a wider selection). the girl working the counter was cute and had the most beautiful eyes. and, as it turns out, was 21. *sigh* not that it would matter if it were otherwise. 🙂
after the briar shoppe, i headed over to the bike barn to look at mountain bikes. i’ve been thinking about getting a mountain bike for years, but i’ve never done it. and (like with the pipe) i figure if i’m going to buy one, i should buy a decent one so my experience isn’t hindered by a poor quality piece of equipment — that way if i don’t like it i can’t blame it on the bike. after talking to a sales rep for awhile, i ended up test riding a trek 4500 around rice village. i hadn’t been on a bike in a long time, so it was a weird experience. and since i ride my motorcycle so much, it all felt really awkward and i kept trying to look into rearview mirrors that weren’t there and going for the turn signals every time i came to an intersection and planned on turning. i had hoped to also test ride a gary fisher marlin, but it had started raining so i didn’t get to. the marlin design is more for actual off-roading, while the trek is sorta a hybrid for daily riding around town. we’ll see if i continue the quest and actually make a purchase.
after that, i headed off to check out the daily grind. it’s a coffee house on washington. it was pretty cool. it reminded me of what empire has become (meaning a restuarant and coffee house, and that i preferred the “corporate coffee sucks” empire of old better), although it seemed more balanced while empire seems to have become more restaurant. when i first came in, there was some old man in running shorts and some way younger hot blonde in tight clothes, both seeming to be rather intoxicated and causing a ruckus. (i guess if you’re old and rich it’s okay to be a lecher, eh?) anyway, i was checking out the daily grind because kaveh kanes (downtown on praire, behind the rice lofts) closed down, so the radio show i’m a part of is looking for a new place for our monthly gatherings. i guess i’ve not mentioned that on here, but since pretty much the only people who read this are my friends, they already know that i’m one of the co-hosts on the radio show “technology bytes” on 90.1 kpft. so now everyone else knows too. don’t you feel privileged?
going back to saturday night, i watched the other movie i’d rented: murderball. it’s a documentary centered around the u.s. paralympic rugby team. (the sport was started in canada and was originally called murderball, thus the title.) the documentary was really cool. it didn’t take any kind of pity angle or anything — in fact, rather the opposite. there was a lot of drama and conflict too. i definitely suggest giving this one a view.

neighbor update: hot and bothered

today as i left on my motorcycle to go eat at sylvia’s enchilada (a great mexican food restaurant on westheimer toward highway 6), i noticed a couple of white folk going up to my next door neighbor’s house. mormons? christians? activists? the guy was older, mostly bald with short white/grey hair and a well-trimmed beard, wearing slacks and a sweater. the woman with him was blonde and skinny, wearing tight black slacks and a tight blue dress shirt.
as i got on my bike they walked over to me, which made me figure they were indeed going door-to-door. then the guy spoke: “do you not have any problems with your neighbor?” he had a heavy russian — or at least slavic — accent. she hardly spoke. it turns out he lives in the house caddy-corner to my back fence (thus sharing back fences with my neighbor) and is annoyed by my next door neighbors. he said they’ve been throwing trash in his yard, throwing or shooting things at his house, yelling things, etc. which i have no doubt is true, because while the guy and his wife are nice, at least one of their sons is an annoying idiot. i think it’s that he hangs out with trouble kids more than that he is one himself, but unforunately he is currently choosing a poor path in life. tamara and i had numerous problems with him and his friends over the years (mostly petty vandalism, though one time they dented up and marked on tamara’s kia sephia), and they still continue to be a nuisance. i wouldn’t doubt it if he was involved with the kids that were breaking into houses in our neighborhood (and stole my ipod, 13 dvds, and some other stuff).
the white guy seemed pretty frustrated and kept going on and on about them. unfortunately for him, my neighbor’s wife can hardly speak any english and she was the one who was home. (my neighbor’s english isn’t so great either, but it’s better than hers.) i think some of it may have been a lack of understanding of the stupidity of kids, but i’m sure he has some stuff to be justifiably annoyed about as well.
it’s too bad he was fixated on his frustration, because it would have been kind of nice to have a conversation with him and find out where he was from and such. plus his daughter was hot (i’m assuming it was his daughter), and maybe she needs a good Texas man with a loud motorcycle and american citizenship to help her out. 😉

music and movies

let’s see…the latest purchases in music:

  • the little darlin’ sound of stonewall jackson: the mighty stonewall jackson sings modern hits and original favorites
  • the little darlin’ sound of johnny paycheck: on his way
  • cake: motorcade of generosity

i already have the first “little darlin’ sound of” release of johnny paycheck. i thought the stonewall jackson album would be interesting. and i love “rock and roll lifestyle” by cake, but for some reason just kept putting off buying their first album. i’m currently looking for the little darlin’ lloyd green album. he was little darlin’s house steel guitar player.
i’m also slowly working my way through my christmas present from my brother: a 7-cd box set of re-releases of all the original johnny cash sun albums (each one containing the original album plus some bonus tracks of alternate takes, unissued, demo versions, etc)…

  • johnny cash: with his hot and blue guitar
  • johnny cash: sings the songs that made him famous
  • johnny cash: greatest!
  • johnny cash: sings hank williams and other favorite tunes
  • johnny cash: now here’s johnny cash
  • johnny cash: all aboard the blue train
  • johnny cash: original sun sound of johnny cash

let’s see…i also recently placed an order from scatch (scott hatch), my arch-nemesis and owner of burnt toast vinyl:

  • woven hand: woven hand
  • woven hand: blush music
  • woven hand: consider the birds
  • bosque brown: plays mara lee miller

woven hand is a project by david eugene edwards from sixteen horsepower. i’ve been meaning to pick them up, i just never had done it. throwing some scratch the way of ol’ scatch seemed like a good way to do it. (as compared to throwing scatch the way of ol’ scratch.) i also picked up a burnt toast vinyl black t-shirt. i knew bosque brown was in dallas, but i just recently read the album description on the burnt toast site and realized she is originally from stephenville. that’s where my grandparents lived, where my mom grew up, and where my mom and dad met (because my dad went to tarleton).
and last night i went to blanco’s and listened to james hand. he invokes hank williams in dress, voice, and stage presence. during his first break i talked with him and told him i saw him in san angelo months ago, to which he quickly responded “and you still came to see me?” they were good at that show, but the audience was totally not into them and in fact they had to deal with some heckling. it was pretty lame. gene, the guy that plays bass for dale watson, was playing bass for him last night. i drank, i smoked my pipe, but i didn’t dance.
on to movies…
on friday i rented and watched pretty persuasion. it was a biting, dark satire on american culture. because it’s set at a school, it brings to mind election. and i must admit, it’s got some similarities. sometimes the irony is a bit too obvious or stretched, but i think it says some very accurate but sad things about our culture. and it’s funny, but you’re wincing and annoyed at the same time. there’s little if any nudity, but a lot of implied and just-off-screen sexual activity, plus a lot of crass sexual comments and such. i didn’t expect it to be quite as dark as it was (kind of like when i went into election).
i think i’ve also decided that i’m finally going to break down and join netflix. i used to do cost-benefit analyses in my head over it, and my renting habits were just too random to justify the cost. but after talking to some people, i think joining netflix will actually alter my watching habits and get me watching more stuff. plus it’ll give me a much larger pool of movies to pick from. and if i see some trailer for something, i can add it to my list instead of having to try to remember it and look for it the next time i go to rent something.

a new vice


thanks to a visit to the briar shoppe in rice village, i am now the proud owner of a peterson cara smooth (ebony pipe with a sterling silver band), style 69 (as seen above). i also picked up various accessories and four one-ounce bags of tobacco: accountant, ambrosia, amaretto, and colombian mocha (it would appear “things starting with the letter ‘a'” was popular with me that day for some reason).
i have since realized buying pipes online is a much better deal. but, oh well. it was my first real pipe purchase, and being able to see a variety in person and actually handle them was part of the experience. we’ll see if this is something i pick up, or if it is a short-term interest. either way, i figured i might as well jump in head first so i know that if i don’t like it that it isn’t because i was working with cheap equipment and tobacco.
friday night i rented and watched the baxter. it’s a romantic comedy, but not standard pop movie fare. while sometimes it seemed like they were overdoing the quirkiness of the characters, and it sort of felt like british characters except they were american and it was set in the u.s., i enjoyed the plot and the execution. a clever twist at the very end (i mean the very end) really made me smile. but all in all it was nice.
sunday afternoon and evening i rode around with brad and kelly. we ate at the amazon grill on kirby, then headed downtown and went to the franklin street coffeehouse (which i’d not been to yet). after that, we went to brad’s and he helped me give my bike a highly-needed cleaning. i ended up going with them over to a friend’s place, where several folk gathered to eat and hang out. it was cool being in a group of people that i feel like i actually have something in common with as far as interests in music, movies, and faith. of course, they were pretty much all a lot younger than me. oh well, can’t have everything. i didn’t leave there until like 4am or something…monday morning hit not too long after i put my head to the pillow…