mental floss

the plan friday after work was to head to the west alabama ice house for a bit, then to brasil to check out the local band sk-1 project, then to head to superhappyfunland to check out atarimatt (from bryan/college station) and drums and tuba (from california).
what ended up happening was i called brad and he was moving into his new apartment, so instead of going to the ice house i went to his apartment. i hung out there for a couple of hours and then headed over to brasil. by the time sk-1 project started, it was already after the time i was planning to leave to see atarimatt, so i just stayed at brasil. sk-1 project is a few folk playing mostly electronic equipment, including a speak and spell, mini-moog, some circuit-bent stuff, keyboards, samplers, etc. it’s fairly mellow electronic stuff generally, some ambient but mostly beat-oriented. i met chris and mary there, then brad and kelli showed up later, as did another coworker and an ex-coworker. jamie was there as well, but was sitting with the sugarhill gang the first half of the evening, looking pretty dazed. (i later learned she’d bent/scraped up her car on 59.) i talked with dan workman, who is in sk-1 project, and he seemed like a pretty cool guy. he had recently gotten “agape” in greek tattooed on his left forearm. he goes to ecclesia. we talked some about being a christian and our concepts of what a church should be, etc. like i said, he seemed pretty cool. i talked a bit with the main sk-1 project guy because he’s into circuit bending, but it was a pretty short conversation during their break and we never continued it.
saturday i bought the directors label “work of director” box set. it’s a collection of the earlier work of spike jonze, chris cunningham, and michel gondry. they all did some pretty innovate stuff in music and short-form videos before they moved on to other things. it includes a dvd and short book for each guy, a fourth dvd of more recent work and other extras, and a poster.
today i went over to the potts for calista’s second birthday party. a number of people i’ve known over the years showed up, and i had a good time talking with them.
afterward, i headed over to church to see jackson get a bible as a sort of “graduation” gift for going into older classes (i think). i ran late though, so i figured i missed it. but jack and sue had run late too, so we all missed it.
while we were wandering around skipping classes and church, i basically followed jack and sue. they ended up walking down the hallway on the second floor where we all met with tamara to negotiate money in our divorce. (after which she completely ignored it — and me — and took advantage of me in the legal system.) that whole experience at the church with tamara was rather traumatic for me. (i used to have a blog entry about it, but my server crashed in sept 2004 and i lost a lot of entries i made during the earlier months of me dealing with tamara’s infidelity and her subsequent loss of any sense of fairness or honor toward me or the situation.) well, even though that event took place about two years ago, today i seriously think i almost had a panic attack. i got really nervous and my heartbeat was probably up. it was classic “fight or flight” symptoms, and i almost turned back to go down the stairs instead of walking by the room. i actually kept my field of vision mostly turned away so i wouldn’t see the wall or hallway or door to the room. but i managed to make it by without too much of an incident. if you call what did happen “not much of an incident.” i felt kind of stupid for it still having that amount of effect on me. maybe that was just a fluke and it wouldn’t happen every time. i may have even walked by it once or twice before and done okay with it, i don’t remember.
as long as i’m talking about my mental/personality issues, let me mention something i’ve had for years and years. i’m mostly a loner and i will generally sort of go off by myself in public places, but i enjoy talking with people so i usually like it when they come over to talk with me. the odd thing is that usually at some later point in the event i’ll end up feeling like i’m not interesting or people don’t really want to talk to me or while talking to me they were wishing they could move on. and/or when things are over and i’m walking away i’ll feel like a social failure. even if i had some really good conversations and people seemed to enjoy interacting with me. and even if i can rationalize reasons that wouldn’t be the case, it’s pretty easy for me to just as easily see reasons that would be the case, and i tend to focus on the latter. i’m not sure why that is, but i’ve had that sort of pattern since at least junior high probably. it’s some kind of thing where i want people to like me, but i’m almost always convinced they really don’t. by that i don’t mean they dislike me (or maybe they do) or even hate me — more like at the best they just think of me as an okay guy, but mostly they just don’t think of me at all. i honestly pretty much believe this to be the case. basically i manage to find some reason to think i failed, whether it was because i talked too little or i talked too much, or i’m boring, or i’m offensive, or i’m not cool, or whatever. these feelings tend to be at their strongest right after something happens, so when i’m not busy self-analyzing things seem to be better or at least not as big of a deal. my self-esteem seems more stable and stronger when it’s not being put out in public for reaction or response.
and yes, this attribute could very well help explain why i’ve not dated much over the years. very astute observation! of course, you might want to throw some of my perfectionist tendencies and fear of failure into the mix too. …or maybe this trait is just an outcropping of those tendencies. looks like you’ve got some more psychoanalysis left.

the advantage

i forgot to mention in my review of labor day weekend in brady that i rolled 60k miles on the truck. that means i put about 3k miles on it in the month i’ve owned it. i don’t think that pattern will continue. although i do like driving it. in other truck news, i got the title for it in the mail: it was made out to “tetrerry” or something not quite right. *sigh*
wednesday after the radio show i headed over to walter’s on washington to check out a band on rc5 called the advantage. they’re a traditional rock band — two guitars, bass, and drums — but all they do is covers of nintendo video game music. it was pretty cool. i never had a nintendo though, and i never played the one my brother got after i went off to college much, so i didn’t recognize…well, any of the songs. but it was almost as enjoyable to watch the eyes light up of groups around me as they looked at each other and smiled and obviously knew the tunes. the sound was sort of like a mixture of straight ahead 4/4 hard rock and jazz music (since a lot of the video game tunes used harmony a lot, which was emulated by the two guitars).
there is definitely a “for sale” sign in my front yard. yep. that’s what i call excitement.

labor day 2006 review

for labor day weekend i went home to brady, Texas. here’s a brief overview of some of the goings on:
i took the truck and it performed nominally. i decided to leave work early to see if i could make it to mason by 7:30pm so i could surprise my parents and brother and his girlfriend and watch the 2nd pirates of the carribean movie with them. i was making good time until i hit austin. at 5 minutes before 5pm. the east side was slow moving for 25 minutes or so, then near i-35 it cleared up. a few miles after 71 and 290 split on the west side it backed up…crawling…for miles. i was afraid my engine was going to overheat. by the time i got through that crap it was like 6:15pm. i decided to go for it anyway.
i had been doing ~75mph before austin, now i picked it up to 80-85mph. a car that didn’t want me passing it sped up, so i stayed behind him. a few miles later, a cop came over the hill and whipped around on us. i slowed and got in the slow lane, then the car in front of me did the same. the cop passed me, pulled in front of me, and turned on his lights. i kept going. after the marble falls intersection i kicked it back up to 80-85mph. once i got on 29 past llano i went 90+mph most of the way to mason. i got there at 6:45pm, and was a few minutes late for the movie. so i saw it in the same theater as my family, but not exactly with them. i didn’t see them until after the movie was over.
the movie was entertaining, but it got pretty absurd in a lot of ways and it totally ended with the intention of having a 3rd one. it was also really long. so overall it was sort of mixed for me — it had some great parts, but it was too stupid in parts and lengthy overall, and that brings it down some. the special effects were pretty impressive i thought, especially with davey jones.
changing tracks, my dad was in the jaycees when they started the annual event that still happens on labor day weekend in brady — the world championship barbeque goat cookoff. so most years i head home and go down to the park to eat goat for lunch on saturday. this year was no exception.
even though i enjoy (and need, really) having a few friends around to do stuff with in general, i’m not a big socialite and don’t really enjoy going out and meeting a bunch of people and chit-chatting about nonsense. i also don’t really like “catching up” with people i hardly remember and honestly don’t feel i have much in common with. which doesn’t mean i can’t do it, i just prefer to avoid it if i can. (call it a character quirk…or just call it a flaw if you don’t like such traits.) so one thing i don’t like about going to brady is i am likely to end up running into people i knew when i was growing up. i say all that to mention that this time not one single person recognized me at the goat cookoff. yea!
or maybe they recognized me but didn’t care to talk to a pompous, snotty jerk like me. (which actually i’m not, i just don’t like superficial conversations, going on in excited tones about what each of us is up to and where so-and-so is and “remember when”, and all that jazz.) but i’m pretty sure they just didn’t recognize me.
as seems to be the case lately, whenever i go home i end up feeling like i’m getting sick when i wake up after the first night there. i had decided it’s allergies. this time was the same, however it got worse than it’s been before. i’m not sure now if it was just allergies or not. i still think that’s probably the case, and me being out at the park just intensified my reaction. but i’m still having some sinus issues as i write this, and it got pretty nasty while i was there.
sunday evening i drove with an ex to brownwood to eat supper. we haven’t seen each other in 9 or so years. it was kind of awkward, but so much has happened to both of us that there was definitely plenty of things for each of us to talk about. it’s weird how much time changes some things, while other things can make you feel like hardly any time has passed at all. (and by that i don’t mean i’m looking to get involved with her, just in case you were going there.)
monday for lunch i ate with my parents at a new place on the square. it’s run by the wife of the pastor of my parents’ church. when we were driving up to park, i noticed jennifer’s suburban was parked out front. she was my first post-marriage relationship, a hometown girl i’ve had some level of thing for since pretty much the 5th grade. she moved to houston, months after tamara had told me about the affair and in no uncertain terms that she was finished with me and moving on, and eventually we started dating. about 8 months later, she broke up with me. i’m sure she saw me and my parents walk in, but the one time i glanced over at the table she wasn’t looking so i never said “hello” or anything. and she never came by before they left. so we managed to not interact.
it’s kind of awkward since she broke up with me and i can’t help but have feelings for her. she wishes we still had our friendship, but for me it was always a double-edged sword — i enjoyed our friendship, but there was always a part of me that wanted more than that. i lived for years with that mixture of happiness and pain whenever i was around her. i guess although the scenario is different now since we actually dated, nothing’s really changed either. i kind of keep hoping those feelings will go away at some point, but based on the previous track record it seems unlikely.
on the way back to houston i stopped by the graveyard where my grandparents — as well as numerous other relatives — are buried. that’s something i started doing recently. sometimes i also stop by the house in art, or go up to the church my ancestors helped build. it kind of gives me a chance to reflect on my life, and put it in a larger perspective. a lot of times it makes me cry because…well, because i’m not too happy with what happened with tamara, and that was one of the most important pieces of my life. but sometimes it just makes me realize my relatives also had hard lives and disappointments, and they persevered, and there is still the possibility that my future can be filled with a meaningful relationship and a family of my own.
i also stopped in austin and ate at kerbey lane with my brother. on my way out of town i was at a stop light before getting onto i-35, and a guy with a big bushy beard and a squeegee standing on the sidewalk at the intersection said “nice truck, man.” i looked at him and said “thanks.” then he said “’65, huh?” i got a big grin because he pegged it and i said “yeah.” he said “i’ve got a few classics myself.” then as the light turned and i started off, he said “take it easy, brother!”

home for sale

home for sale that’s much too large
too many rooms, big old empty yard
far more space than the owner needs
price includes all the memories
home for sale, restored like new
just a place two lives outgrew
a change in heart forces move away
would like to keep but just can’t stay
listen close and you might hear the sound
of what you think is rainfall leaking down
the roof is fine, set aside your fears
it’s just a few remaining tears
home for sale, not all that old
a family’s dream stands dark and cold
scenic views that go for free
of all the love that used to be
home for sale that’s much too large
— dwight yoakam — “home for sale”
i took off this morning from work and did some cleaning at the house, then went and cut a new key for the front gate (because i couldn’t find the other one i should have somewhere in the house). the realtor came by this afternoon and put the keys in a lockbox, so there should be a “for sale” sign in the front yard at this point.
i love it when i have to do things that remind me of my marriage and what tamara eventually chose to drag me through and take from me. what a class act she turned out to be in the end. which is just sad, because she has the ability to be so much better than that. the eventual move should be overwhelmingly joyful. but i guess after that it’ll pretty much all be over except the crying. well, assuming her attorney’s office ever gets off their butt and takes care of the qdro. maybe i should contact the courts and get it myself and submit it. i wonder if i can do that…

labor day weekend bookends

friday morning i was riding my motorcycle into work up 59. i was going over the speed limit (as usual) but i slowed down because i saw a motorcycle cop getting on from the feeder. he got on then sped up, so i followed behind him. up ahead, i then saw an ambulance with its lights on. right before the 610 exit, a car or two got between me and the cop and ambulance. then suddenly traffic stopped. fast. i had been in the fast lane so i moved over one while coming to a stop. that’s when i noticed a wrecked car — a green cavalier, i think — right in the middle of the freeway. it was still smoking. then i noticed the ambulance smoking its tires as it slid over against the divider wall. “huh,” i thought, “did the ambulance miss the wreck?” then i noticed a tire rolling down the freeway. it was the ambulance’s right front tire. evidently the ambulance and the green car were in a wreck right at that moment. the motorcycle cop had stopped and started directing traffic. the cavalier was facing back toward traffic and its front end was totally crushed…it was hard to even believe a motor could have been in there before. as i drove by, there were parts all over the road. but the driver of the car was getting out and appeared unharmed. a few hundred yards down the road, the ambulance’s front tire was in the middle lane.
last night i was on highway 6 at the light between westheimer and richmond, headed south. i was about 10 minutes from home. the light turned green and people started moving. i heard tires squealing to my left and i saw a car fly by in the center turn lane. it got past the intersection then whipped back into the regular lanes…right into all of the cars that were in front of me. it hit one, two, three cars…at least…and then came to a stop. it sat there for 5 or 10 seconds, then took off down 6. i started to follow it to try and get the license plate, but there were multiple disabled cars in front of me and by the time i got through them he was gone. i turned around and went back, where people were pulling their cars into a circuit city parking lot. fortunately, no one was seriously injured at all. about 10 minutes later a black chrysler came up and said they’d followed the guy and got his plate, then he’d stopped and they’d confronted him because he almost hit their car. when we heard sirens, the guy wrote down the plate and gave it to someone and said “sorry guys, i gotta go, i got warrants.” the ambulance and the wreckers showed up pretty fast, but the police didn’t show up for like 2 hours. the wreck happened around 10:30pm and i didn’t get home until 2am.

what’s that you say?

you know how there are always those words or phrases you misunderstood? or misused? well, for years i didn’t quite get this exchange:
“see you later.”
“not if i see you first!”
being the methodical, concrete little thinker that i was (and perhaps a bit of the naive, sweet, innocent, rural kid that i was too), the only thing i saw up for discussion was the order in which the two people saw each other. this made the response make no sense at all, because if the second person saw the other first, they would in fact be causing the truth of the first comment (which is the first person would see them later in time). this could not be! i thought the second person was trying to be clever, yet being completely incorrect. i could not for the life of me understand why such a nonsensical rejoinder was being perpetuated by society at large. i think i even began to try and correct people, telling them the rejoinder should be “not if you see me first!” (along with the requisite explanation of the order in which the two people saw each other.)
i don’t recall exactly when i learned the response meant “if i see you before you see me, i’ll hide so you don’t see me.” but i think it was in junior high, or maybe high school, probably after offering my suggested change and having someone say “that makes no sense. are you a moron or something?”
here’s another one. for years, i thought the phrase shouted at people to get them up and motivated for action was “up and adam!”
i had no idea what kind of mystical origin such an obtuse phrase must have had. the best i could come up with was that it must have something to do with adam from the bible, since he was the first human, and somehow the phrase related to being full of energy and zeal because of being newly created or something. i opted for some unknown meaning that must have been lost through the annals of time, because obviously my best guess was pretty lame.
i do, in fact, still remember the time when this misunderstanding was ended: i read the phrase in a beetle bailey cartoon. “up and at ’em!” the seargant yelled in big, bold, black letters right there on the sunday comics page. and suddenly it all made sense.
and just to drag my brother into this, i remember he used to say “adoption” instead of “adaption”. as in, “did you hear they were going to do this awesome punisher movie adoption with dolf lundgren? i hope they get duran duran and billy idol to do the soundtrack!” he used to get totally pissed at me when i would correct him and tell him the word was “adaption”. then he’d restate it incorrectly in front of me just to piss me off.
hopefully revealing this about him won’t still bring down his ire upon me, since i’m supposed to be seeing him this weekend. and if it does, perhaps the fact that i come bearing a gift will help quell his furor. maybe i should try to find some tiger beat pics of duran duran for him too, just in case.

apple is a no-good tease!

d4mn. another apple battery recall and no battery replacement love for me. this is the second time they’ve had a recall on my laptop model, and the second time i’ve been dissed by their wanton glances and throaty promises of a virgin battery. so now, my experience in the form of a short performance piece:
(old-school beatbox rap music playing in background)
coworker: and what’s up with your batteries, steve-o, man?
me: yeah, i hear apple’s been giving that stuff out to all them 12″ ibook guys.
steve jobs: yo, shut the fsck up, phliKtid, man!
coworker: i’d paint three of those murals for some of that 4ss.
(sound of needle scratching across record)
me and jobs: (looking at coworker) huh?
*bows* thank you.