awkward silence

i failed to mention that last week i got a couple of things in the mail. one was a letter that verified the payoff of the mortgage on 9023 (a release of lien). the second was a couple of letters indicating that the qdro i mailed off was accepted and the money had been split and moved into a separate account. i also got a letter from honda financial as proof that my account with them was paid. which means that almost all the loose ends have been tied up related to tamara. the only things really left that i know of are her name on my state farm insurance and her name on the element title. the second one should already be in motion by the bank. i also probably need to strike her name from a few other things, but not much. then i need to go through her crap and either get it to her, get it to her parents, or throw it away / burn it.
i’ve been pretty stable about my lot in life the last few months. although i’d love to be in a relationship of some kind, i’ve been mostly content with just being on my own.
while i was at home for xmas, on the last day i ran into jennifer and her oldest daughter at the bank my mom works at. (how’s that for a whiplash segue with an obvious direction?) i hadn’t seen her daughter in over a year. she’d grown and looked older. i think i handled the interaction and such okay, but it made me remember how much i liked doing stuff with her kids, and made me wish i saw them more often.
and unfortunatley, it also brought some of my feelings for jennifer back up. it’d been some time since i just sort of fell into the ache of longing for what i’ve lost (meaning marriage, family, friendship, etc). i wish i could just get rid of that stuff — it isn’t doing me any good and doesn’t really have any value. no wonder i don’t let myself get interested in many women…i’d be an emotional wreck (which might make it more difficult to maintain my stoic exterior). i’m not sure if that makes me a hopeless romantic, a masochist, or an idiot when it comes to emotions. (maybe those are all the same thing.) anyway, it caused me to get contemplative for the last few hours i was at home, then i headed back to houston.
as has been my custom lately, i stopped in art at the cemetary where a number of my ancestors are buried. while there, i went ahead and packed my pipe and thought for awhile. after that i headed down to the house and walked around. my mom and dad showed up, but they were going to the deer feeders so they didn’t stop very long. after i finished with the pipe, i got in the element and headed back to houston.

goo is go

last night jamie came by the radio show, then afterward we went to eat at the house of pies. turns out she had called there earlier in the day and had them set aside my xmas present: a whole pie of bayou goo. after a couple of months of playing dessert tag, it was good to finally catch up with my old friend. and eat a slice of him.

xmas loot 2006

yep, i went back to ye olde hometown for xmas. other than visiting with my family, i didn’t do much. let’s go ahead and take care of what i’m sure is on everyone’s minds (that being “well, TeRRY, what did you score for xmas?”):
from my parents:

  • * monty python and the holy grail (extraordinarily deluxe edition) — monty python (sony)
  • * the introvert advantage: how to thrive in an extrovert world by marti olsen laney (workman publishing)
  • * the twelfth man: a story of Texas a&m football by wilbur evans and h. b. mcelroy (strode publishers)
  • * a framed 8×10 picture of a “leifeste” street sign in mason
  • * some money and various stocking stuff

the a&m book is actually an older book, printed in 1974. the holy grail dvd is a version i’d not seen before — it’s now up to 3 dvds. the street sign pic was a unique and cool gift. i don’t know how many times i’ve thought about going and stealing one of the signs. of course, that would be stealing, and i’m an upstanding citizen.
from my brother (and heather):

  • * fragile things: short fictions and wonders by neil gaiman (william morrow / harper collins)
  • * tattooed on their tongues: a journey through the backrooms of american music by colin escott (shirmer books)
  • * dazed and confused — richard linklater (criterion)
  • * johnny cash at san quentin (legacy edition: 2 cd + dvd) — johnny cash (columbia / legacy)

i didn’t know about the new gaiman book. it apears to be a collection of various odds and ends. i’m glad to see the criterion edition of dazed and confused, and i’m more glad to have it. and the new cash san quentin edition…*drool*. san quentin is probably my favorite cash album, and this is it on steroids. nuff said.

this is about pipes, not xmas

this past tuesday (?) i went into the pipe store to look at some lighters they’d ordered. i’d gone in a few weeks before to look at lighters and they’d had a style i liked, but only in one color. they were ordering more and told me they’d call me when they came in. i took about a week to make it into the store from when they called me, and they’d already sold all of them except the color i’d already seen. so i ended up buying a pipe for my brother for his birthday/xmas. and some tobacco samples, a portable folding pipe stand, 3-in-1 pipe tool, pipe cleaners, and a cheap lighter. (i didn’t post that earlier since he might have read it before he got the present.) i also found out they were having a 20% off sale the whole week. all of this is build-up to my new pipe story…
so on thursday i went by and bought myself a pipe — a barling balmoral 1/2 bent apple (if i recall correctly) — as a present to myself (at 20% off). i also bought a wood stand for two pipes (i was scared if i bought one for more pipes i’d feel a constant urge to fill it up). when i bought the pipe the saleswoman said she was going to take it into the back and polish my stem. (and there was much guffawing by audiences on later re-telling. minds in the gutter, i tell you.) after leaving, i took out the pipe and admired it. i then put it to my mouth…the stem tasted horrible — like a mixture of rancid plastic and rusty metallic death, or something very nasty at the least. i thought maybe it was the polish, so i wiped it off a few times and tried again. same thing. i also noticed the stem was discolored. (though almost not at all in two strips on the underside.)
the next day i took it into work, where in the afternoon i decided to try cleaning it. i took the stem off, took it into the kitchen and tried cleaning it off. this did something — it made the stem more discolored. after drying it off, the taste was still there, but much less intense. at this point in my ownership of the pipe i’d removed the stem about half dozen times. i pushed the stem in, and when i went to pull it out the next time the tenon (the part that connects the stem and shank) came off in the shank. it’s not supposed to do that.
later that day, i went online and did some investigating and determined the problem with the taste/discoloring was probably oxidation. the two strips of almost no discoloration…which i realized were where the tags had been…were because light is important in oxidation and they were covered by the tags. it also seemed like one side had more discoloring than the other, probably due to which side had been down. i think my peterson has a lucite stem, while the new one i bought is vulcanite. i’ve not had a problem with the peterson (an ebony 1/2 bent billiard with a p-lip, i think), but lucite stems are harder and don’t oxidize (either at all, or at least not like vulcanite).
there are numerous suggestions and techniques on the web for dealing with oxidation (and many people tauting one method while deriding others as neutral or bad), but the tenon coming off was a bigger problem. i was feeling like i’d bought a dud — even though i really liked the shape, look, feel, etc. of the new pipe…and barling is supposed to be a decent brand.
after work, i headed over to the shop and talked to them about the problems. they agreed the taste was oxidation, but they said the tenon should not have come off like that. they offered to return it for a replacement or send it off to their repairman for a lucite stem instead (at no charge to me). since the stem has a barling logo embedded in it, i decided to try the replacement route. hopefully it will work out and i will have a better experience with the replacement. i should know something within a week or two.
i’m still a rank amateur with pipes and i’ve got no one teaching me, so i’m sort of having to figure this all out on my own. one thing i’ve definitely learned — an oxidized stem tastes brain-numbingly horrid. and from the web i’ve learned: since it’s like rust on metal, the only way to get rid of it is to sand off or chemically remove the vulcanite that has oxidized. once removed, protect the good vulcanite with wax or something to retard or stop future oxidation. now i know. (and as we all know, knowing is half the battle.)

twas the week before xmas

monday night i spent a number of hours trying to help jack get a linux server set up. actually, we never got to the linux part, as we were putting the hardware together and when we finished it wouldn’t boot. *sigh* i’m not sure at this point what the problem was. hopefully it was a bad cpu — the one jack had was “new”…except it’d been opened and there was thermal paste on the edges. so obviously someone else had used it. what with overclockers and people not knowing what they’re doing, who knows if the cpu was any good. jack returned it and ordered two from somewhere else. hopefully the system will boot when we put them in. i left his office at 4am.
when i got home, i started working on setting up a webmail server that uses imap. some problems had happened at work over the weekend and i had offered this as a possible solution. i finished that around 6:30am and went to bed around 7am. i got up at 10am and went into work.
i watched the war within tuesday night. i was originally planning on watching the big kahuna as i was in the mood for something funnier, but unfortunately the dvd had been cracked in the mail so i couldn’t watch it. the war within was produced by mark cuban / hdnet. it’s the story of a middle eastern guy who gets wrongly abducted and abused by the u.s. govt because they think he’s involved with terrorists. this puts a burning hatred toward the u.s. in him and he sneaks into the u.s. to be part of a terrorist attack. he lives with an old friend and the friend’s family, but they like the u.s. anyway, that’s enough of a plot setup. overall the movie was pretty good, but not amazing. it delved into interesting territory and covered different perspectives. plus the visuals were pretty good (although sometimes it seemed like it was trying too hard to have a cool visual and became cliche-ish). although it didn’t go as far as crash, it still seemed to have the (trendy) need to show the good and evil nature of most characters and how perspective justifies each of them, and how good and evil happen to every character. still, i think there are probably some people that could stand to watch it and discuss it.
wednesday after the show i had a late supper with robb zipp at the kirby house of pies. i didn’t have any pie, but once again they were out of the bayou goo. i’m having trouble deciding if i think it’s a conspiracy against me or if they’re shortchanging all of their patrons by not making enough bayou goo. jack joined us right about when we were leaving, as he wanted to drop off the linux server at my house so i could work on it at home after the new cpus come in.
thursday i took an extended lunch and got a bit more shopping done. i managed to get a few more gift cards, and i bought myself a present: a new pipe. i’ll go into more detail about that in another post.
thursday after work i went over to the potts’ house for a pot roast dinner. i had toys’r’us gift cards for jackson, dietrich, and calista, and jack and sue had a present for me. (neither of us knew the other was bringing presents.) they got me a very nice universal remote. while i was very appreciative of it, i was kind of worried about how the cost would fit into their current budget. i don’t have any mouths to feed (other than my cat, and she’s cheap), so my budget has a pretty good amount of fat available in it.
from there i took jack over to eric and amy’s so he could pick up their truck (he’s moving his business to 77002…he’s cool trendy like that). we talked with amy for awhile, mostly about ecclesia and theology and churches and such. (i’ll have to talk some more on here about ecclesia sometime.) i stopped by brasil with jack so he could get some coffee. it looked like the island of hip young tv show casting call rejects. everyone was dressed to impress — fashionable and nice, but quirky in some way. kind of funny. while there we ran into a girl jack knew, and i learned she is going to tarleton. she’s the first person i’ve met in a long time who was going or went to tarleton. (the reason this is of interest to me is that my parents went to tarleton, and my grandparents lived near tarleton.)

yet another week gone by

things have been pretty uneventful lately. i started feeling sick on thursday afternoon, but fortunately it hasn’t gotten too bad. i’ve been popping zinc and vitamin c since thursday evening. we’ll see if it gets better or worse.
i’ve managed to get probably about half of my xmas shopping done — i decided to go gift cards. i figure i pick places i’d buy them stuff, then just give them money to that place instead of trying to figure out what they’d want there. less personal i suppose, but they’re more likely to get what they want.
i managed to get all of my new netflix films (they were sent to 9023). i watched sympathy for mr. vengeance friday night. it’s a korean “ultraviolent” film about a deaf and dumb guy who ends up kidnapping a girl to try and get money to pay for his sister’s organ transplant, after he gets ripped off from selling one of his kidneys on the black market. some of the visuals were pretty cool, but overall i thought the movie was fairly mediocre.
i went to kaleo both last week and today. that’s two weeks in a row. i would say i’m going to have to be careful or it’ll become a habit, but i don’t think i’ll be going this coming sunday. *whew!*
friday when i rode my motorcycle, it was cutting out some on the way home. i was kind of worried about what might be going on. this morning, i went outside and took the seat off to get to the battery, and the terminal screws were both loose. i guess the dealership didn’t tighten them down very well after they finished working on my bike. grr. at least it was a cheap and easy fix.
i’ve been to ikea about 4 times since i last posted. i keep forgetting something, or deciding to get more. i bought a metal filing cabinet on casters, but other than that it’s pretty much all curtains and curtain rods. i think i’m almost done.
earlier today i was sitting on the couch in the living room and i had a sudden “realization” that this place i was in is where i live. like this is my stuff, and i’m living here. kind of a weird feeling/sense, but obviously true.

army of two?

well, tonight was the gathering for the radio show. it was at tropioca, as usual. it’s over and i’m back home. this week was pretty uneventful. i did manage to return all three of the netflix movies i’d had since late july (!). that’s a grand use of my monthly netflix fees. ah well. i re-watched spring, summer, fall, winter…and spring and bad news bears before i returned them. they sent out new ones, but i hadn’t gotten them. i was starting to wonder, but then i logged on and checked my address on netflix and it was still 9023. *sigh* i thought i’d changed that. oh well. i guess i’ll be getting them next week sometime after they get forwarded.
i did have one interesting thing happen to me this week. sit back, and i’ll tell you. wednesday during the radio show someone called me. i had set my phone to vibrate, but i didn’t recognize the number so i didn’t answer. they didn’t leave a message. the next day at work around 10am i got a call from the same number. the conversation went something like this:
me: this is TeRRY.
him: yeah, um…i was doing some research online and i came across the army of Texas website, and i used godaddy and looked and it said the owner was TeRRY leife….st….e. is that you?
me: yeah, that’s me.
him: well, i called the number and it was disconnected but it said this was the new number, so i was calling to find out more about it.
me: uh, okay. what do you mean?
him: like, what is it?
me: um….it’s really not much of anything.
him: well, i mean…like, what is it? is it a paintball team? a paramilitary organziation?
me: well, it’s nothing really, at this point.
him: i mean, what do y’all do or what?
me: i bought the domain name, but i haven’t really used it at this point.
him: oh, okay. alright thanks.
me: hey…what’s your name?
him: um…my name’s anthony.
me: how’d you find the site? or what were you searching for or what, that you got to it?
him: well, i was researching stuff about like the republic of Texas and stuff
me: oh, okay. yeah, i’m familiar with them, but i’ve never really talked with any of them or i don’t know any of them or anything.
him: oh, yeah, well, me and my friend used to be in it, but we didn’t really feel like they had the right thing going on. like, they didn’t really have the right idea. you know?
me: uh-huh.
him: so we kinda got put off by them. but then we were putting our heads together to try and come up with something, and we thought “army of Texas” would be perfect. but then we googled it and your site was there already and it said “the army of Texas — ready to fight!” so we wanted to find out what y’all were about, maybe if someone was already doing what we were thinking, and maybe we could merge or whatever.
me: um…well, i’m not really doing anything with it. i bought it awhile back. i actually own republicoftexas dot org as well. but i haven’t really done anything with armyoftexas. i only bought the dot com though, so the net and org domains should still be available.
him: yeah, but everyone knows com.
me: yeah, that’s true.
him: do you think you might be interested in selling it?
me: well, i haven’t really done anything with it. yeah, i might be.
him: okay, well, i’ll talk to my friend and then we’ll get back in touch with you.
me: okay.
so that was quite curious. i wasn’t sure if i was being contacted by a government fellow trying to get some info about what i might be about, or if i was being contacted by someone that was actually part of a republic of Texas splinter group. (based on the area code and prefix, the call was coming from kilgore, Texas.) about an hour later, i got another call from the same number…
me: this is TeRRY.
him: hey, is the email address on your godaddy still good?
me: what is it?
him: terry [at] leifeste [dot] net
me: yeah, that’s still good.
him: okay, can you check your mail?
me: yeah, i can check that one.
him: when?
me: probably in about an hour or two. i’m headed to lunch.
him: okay, check it. we’ll be sending something right away.
me: okay.
so off i went to lunch. after i got back from lunch, i checked my mail and sure enough, there was an email. it contained a word perfect document. i opened it up and it was indeed an offer. but not an offer to buy the domain — it was an offer from the commandant of the “army of Texas” to give me a commission as a “captain in the public affairs department of the rear services section” if i would agree to maintain and update the website on a regular basis with info provided by the commanding officers of units in the army of Texas. upon acceptance of the website design by the commandant, i would also be named “the commanding office of the public affairs department – internet division”.
so as if i wasn’t already worried enough about the fact that i might be on some government watch lists for the domains i bought and the text i put up on them, i’ve now been called three times and emailed once by possible former members of the republic of Texas group(s).
beyond that concern, i’m still trying to figure out exactly how i’m going to handle a response to the commandant.

the weekend in review

saturday i got up with the intent of looking for a new computer desk. months ago i gave my brother the old desk i’d bought from ash back in 1995 or whatever, and i’ve been using pieces from a cheap metal storage shelf unit as a makeshift desk ever since. i have this idea of what i want, but i’ve never actually seen it. most stuff i see today is either “contemporary” or “modern” and thus some metal skeleton work with glass surfaces, or it’s a traditional or tinker-toy wooden job. neither of which i want. i want something that is somewhat minimalist, but wood and metal, or wood and glass and metal, and is fairly modern in style. it’s sort of the old “i’ll know it when i see it” thing.
i was also planning on seeing dale watson at the continental club later that night.
anyway, i decided to call the potts’ and see if they were available for lunch since it was about that time and i’d be heading in their general direction for at least one store i could think of. jack was working, but sue was interested. people had taken the rest of the kids, so it was just sue and simcha. i went and picked her up, and it turned out to be simcha’s first time out of the house. sue was a bit concerned jack might want to be there for that, but she called and he said it was okay. i didn’t want to be causing any trouble either. we went and ate at sylvia’s enchilada. (another good thing to do when over in that part of town.)
afterward, we went over to eurway. i’d been there a couple of weeks before and had noted a floor lamp i liked. i went through the store again, and in the end decided to get the floor lamp i’d eyed the time before. they also have a computer station i like, but i can’t use it because the space for the chassis isn’t big enough for a powermac. anyway, my new living room doesn’t have a ceiling light so i decided i needed to have some kind of floor lamp to provide light in the room.
we then went back to their house, where marty and christine dropped off calista. after staying there an hour or so, i made my way over to jamie’s where there was supposed to be xmas decorating going on.
except no xmas decorating was done. i actually met them at jason’s deli because by the time i called they were getting ready to go eat. jamie’s niece morgan was over, as well as hayden and peyton. after eating we went back to their house, although i made a quick stop by lowe’s to pick up some bulbs (which i ended up not needing because the lamp came with some). i ended up mostly playing with hayden and morgan, playing bells and talking drumming with peyton, watching jaime and peyton play guitar hero, and seeing more of the movie mary poppins than i’ve ever seen. i ended up leaving around 11:30pm with the plan of heading home then going over to the continental club.
but i never made it to see dale. i got home and i was tired and i felt like my sinuses were kind of messed up, so i decided i’d just hang at home and maybe go to bed early.
then around 1am jack called to see if i was hungry and wanted to eat. i said “sure” so he came over. he helped me get the base of the new floor lamp on, then we headed to the house of pies on kirby. it seemed like it was much more “house of guys” than normal…not sure why that was. once again they were 86’ed on bayou goo. this makes like the fourth time i’ve tried to order it and they were out. it’s gotten frustrating. they were also out of my second choice, german chocolate cream. so i had to go with the coconut cream standby, which i’m beginning to burn out on. i got back to my house around 3:30am i think.
so today i got up and made quite a circuit of furniture stores. i hit star (no modern style desks at all), the leather shoppe (no desks), danish inspirations (style, but nothing like what i want), spazz (not much), total furniture (not much), simply furniture (not much), and castle (one or two okay, but nothing exciting). i tried dropping by hoeffner’s (sp?), which is all office furniture, but they aren’t open on sundays. after hitting this many, i also began to learn a lot of them get products from the same companies so you start to see the same things popping up. (although most of them have some things you don’t see elsewhere.)
the one i didn’t mention that i went to was cantoni. tamara and i went in cantoni a few years ago. they have some cool stuff, but we looked at the prices and quickly determined we should gingerly and carefully walk out before we breathed on something and had to pay for it. i decided to go and look at their desks anyway. yeah, they’re expensive — but man, they have some really cool looking stuff. it’s about the only place that had desks even close to what nebulously exists in my mind. can i justify paying $2k or more for a desk? (i didn’t even consider the ones they had that were $4-5k.) i’ll have to get back to you on that.
after my massive furniture run, i headed over to ikea. every now and then i go and look at their desks and remind myself that i don’t like any of them. but they invariably have some other stuff that catches my eye and imagination. (after going to so many “contemporary” furniture stores today, ikea didn’t really impress me overall other than volume and breadth of merchandise.) i did buy a couple of packages of window curtains and some curtain rods and hangers. the house i’m in has semi-transparent privacy shades or something, but you can see in pretty well when it’s dark outside and the lights are on. i was getting kind of tired of having to always be aware someone might be able to see me, particularly in my bedroom. honestly, given my physical condition and looks, it’s more for their benefit and peace of mind than mine. i managed to get one set of them put up today. i also realized i bought one too few rod holder packs. right now i dread the thought of going back just for that, so maybe in a few days.

the week in review

i had a motorcycle twitch because i hadn’t ridden in so long. i knew it was supposed to be raining on wednesday and it was supposed to get freakin’ cold on thursday, so tuesday night i called brad and kelli up to see about riding around. kelli backed out, but brad and i hit the town. well, first i had to jump my motorcycle battery off my element because i’d accidently left the key in the ignition with the light on for several hours and it didn’t have enough juice to start. but after that we hit the town. we went to poison girl for an hour or two and sat out in the back, then after a quick stop by hollywood for me to get a cigar (a havana honey) we headed to la carafe. after an hour or two there, we drove over to late night pie where we ate some pizza and then played joust. around 1:30 i made it home.
wednesday after work i met some of the guys for a going away event for a co-worker. they started off at hooter’s, which i missed (and am not too upset about), but i met them at the westbury square cigar shop. the shop is a shady kind of place, but they have a big walk-in humidor and a pretty interesting cigar selection. they also carry pipe tobacco. the owner and some of the (what i assume are) regulars kind of gave me the cold shoulder and/or talked down to me, but i’m guessing maybe it’s the kind of place that treats “newcomers” like that. at least the owner seemed to be satisfied enough with my cigar selections (i bought two), and i also bought some low odor zippo fluid and a cheap butane lighter whose head can be tilted 90 degrees to be used as a pipe lighter. the guys from work were playing poker in one of the back rooms, so i sat and watched them for a few hours and smoked one of my cigars. the walls in the room (and in the humidor, and i think in the rest of the store) had framed small pics of what appeared to be mostly playboy pics from the 80’s. like they cut them out of the magazines. i had originally planned on asking about the concealed handgun class they were supposed to be getting together…and there were several police folk there while we were there…but after getting the cold shoulder and talking down to i decided to not bother. maybe if i go there a few times and they soften up some.
thursday after work i went to chuy’s with a couple of co-workers for happy hour margaritas. one of them was actually buying me a couple for helping her out at work. it was sort of a big deal because it dealt with the contacts and info on the cell phone of one of (if not the) most famous doctor where i work. phones aren’t something i support for my job, but they asked me and i thought of a solution and i did it, so they were all happy. it’s somewhat ironic that the first big congrats i’ve gotten in awhile from outside of my group was for me doing someting i don’t even actually do as a part of my job.
after i got home i took the time to figure out how to turn on the pilot light on the heater in the attic. raj and kiera had turned it off before they left and gave me rudimentary instructions on how to turn it back on, but i’d never had to mess with a pilot before (that i can recall) so i was somewhat apprehensive. a couple of other nights before had gotten kind of chilly without any heat, but i decided i’d rather not tough out freezing temps. and it’s a good thing i got it going too, because it got down near or below freezing. so far the house hasn’t blown up and/or burned down, so i think i must have done okay.
friday i think i took the evening off. seriously, i can’t remember what if anything i did. i think maybe i reconfigured my stereo system and watched most of a clockwork orange. i know i did that at some point. i’m at a loss. it must have either been a horribly boring or horribly exciting evening.
i also evidently ordered a 12 can mix-n-match case of timemist refills for my timed aerosol device, because i have a confirmation email from around 11:30pm. yes, i have one of those misters they use in restrooms in businesses. i like the idea of my place smelling nice, but i don’t like having to constantly burn incense or candles or oils or whatever, so a few years ago i bought one of those timed metered spray things. i like it, except it starts chirping when it thinks i need to change cannisters. and it kind of scares people when it whirs and sprays every 15 minutes or whatever i have it set to. i’ve gotten used to it, so it doesn’t phase me, but visitors are usually thrown a bit by its sounds.