and now for something completely different…

friday night of last week was a maintenance night at work. for that reason, i got to stay up really late thursday night (since i wasn’t going into work until friday afternoon). friday night i ended up staying at work until around 3am, which was a fair bit later than i had expected. most of the last hour or two was me just hanging out, waiting for some other people to finish. i went outside in the cold for awhile and smoked my pipe and talked with a coworker.
saturday i decided it was too close to nice weather, so i hopped on the bike and rode around. the temperature is still a bit chilly for me, but it was nice to ride around. i called a couple of people i ride with, but found no one to join me. i headed up to empire and got some coffee and a slice of cake, then brad called and i talked with him. he said they’d be up for riding around after kelli got off work.
while at empire, i saw a group of younger alt-ish folk sit outside. one of them had a bag with a bunch of pens and junk, and he started writing or drawing on name tag stickers. i took an interest and started watching them, and he ended up getting out a bunch of stencils and stuff. i’m assuming he’s one of the guys that does graffiti around town, which these days includes drawing on name tag stickers and using stencils. i was hoping he’d walk by me, because i was going ask who he was, but he never did.
i took my time eating and drinking, but it’d been over an hour and a half and i hadn’t heard from brad and i was pretty tired of picking at the huge slice of cake, so i gave up and headed to a border’s. yes, i bought some stuff:

  • the binet-simon test – miranda july (kill rock stars)
  • the knife – the knife (rabid/brille/mute)
  • fresh fruit for rotting vegetables – dead kennedys (cherry red/decay/manifesto)
  • plastic surgery disasters and in G-d we trust, inc. – dead kennedys (decay / manifesto)
  • little miss sunshine – jonathon dayton and valerie faris (20th century fox)
  • the complete monty python’s flying circus (16 disc set) – monty python (a&e)

(i had a 30% off coupon for a book or dvd, so that’s where the monty python set comes from.) while at border’s, brad called and said kelli’s dad would be joining us (on his own bike, a triumph). we met at brasil. after hanging out there awhile and having a good conversation, we went riding down our usual paths. as i said above, it was a bit chilly, but nice to be able to get out and around on my bike. it was also good to see brad and kelli (it’d been some time) and nice to meet kelli’s dad. he seemed like someone who’d be interesting to talk with.
when i got home, i learned one of the girls that lives in the place behind me found a dead dove on her stairs and a broken window. she’d recently had a guy come over late at night yelling at her and trying to get her to talk to him, so she thought he’d done it and was justifiably freaked. i had actually seen doves flying and heard something shatter near her stairs earlier that day, but i thought a bird had broken a flower pot, and i hadn’t seen the dead bird itself. knowing the window and bird weren’t from a crazy stalker relieved some of her stress.
some of my time this past weekend was also spent hanging out with the potts, and a guest visiting them from out of town (from pennsylvania). most of the time i spent around him involved eating and/or talking. he’s actually the guy whose house i spent the night at on my road trip to get my ’65 pickup from new york to Texas.
sunday i got up and went to kaleo. i didn’t talk with the new guy i met last week, even though he was there. he and his wife seemed pretty occupied talking to other people, and i was talking with people too. i also managed to talk to bill (the pastor) before he took off, to let him know that i’d like to talk to him sometime about things. i feel like i should get more involved, but i want to be upfront with him about where i’ve been and the things i’ve gone through — both in my personal life and with ecclesia. he said we could meet up sometime this week, so i’ll be emailing him about that.
just to drop this in, the numerous discussions of G-d and theology and such have continued since i wrote my last post (which was written around the 14th, though posted later). i’m really hoping maybe it is an indicator i’ve finished my time wandering in some level of spiritual solitude from all of the things that have happened to me over the last number of years. i doubt that would ever mean i won’t be a loner or outsider, but perhaps a new path is being offered…perhaps some way i can combine my personality and traits with a xian community that isn’t like the typical church culture (which i find very off-putting).
after church the potts’ and i went to chuy’s. a bunch of other people from the church ended up going too, but we got there earlier and were at a separate table (except for a couple who sat with us). sunday evening i watched little miss sunshine over at the potts’ house. it’s still standing up rather well. it’s been awhile since i watched a movie i was this enamored with.
monday was a vacation day for me. since that was the case, i stayed up sunday night (monday morning) until around 4am, spending some more time in sl and reading. then my boss called me at 9:30am to ask me to do some work stuff. ack. i ate lunch at a chinese place with the potts (although i had a vietnamese dish), then i passed on watching flushed away at the dollar theater. instead, i ended up dropping by a local office furniture place (continuing my quest for the perfect desk), but they didn’t have anything that stood out to me. they did have some barrister bookcases, which i love — but i didn’t buy anything. in the evening i finished watching the good, the bad, and the ugly. i don’t think i’d ever seen the whole thing before. it’s an odd film.
tuesday i went over to the potts after work to maintain a tradition started back when tamara and i were married and jack and sue had no kids — the king cake. i think we missed at least a year or two, so sue offered to buy this cake this time around. sue’s brother was visiting, and he actually ended up getting the baby jesus. after hanging out there awhile, i headed downtown to hang out at the flying saucer with a co-worker. (it was his birthday.)

falling in love was easy

(i actually wrote most of this in the middle of last week, but just never got around to posting it. i’ll catch up on things that happened later in another entry.)
i bought a few things at border’s last weekend. i was originally hoping to pick up some box set dvds, but they didn’t have the stuff i was interested in on sale. here’s what i got:

  • mtv unplugged in new york – nirvana (dgc)
  • tulsa – wayne hancock (bloodshot)
  • deep cuts – the knife (rabid/brille/mute)
  • 10 million hours a mile – miranda july (kill rock stars)
  • a revolution remembered: the memoirs and selected correspondence of juan n. seguin – edited by jesus f. de la teja (Texas state historical association)
  • anansi boys – neil gaiman (harper torch)

most of the last couple of weeks was pretty uneventful i guess. i watched you, me, and dupree with sue at some point. parts of it were pretty funny, but overall it was kind of average. it seems like you could tell parts where owen wilson had modded scenes or ad-libbed stuff. i did manage to get the first bowl through my new pipe while i was over at the potts’ place. it’s a different experience, mostly because of the stem and lip style i think. maybe over time i’ll be able to tell more subtle differences.
i got the devil makes three shirt i ordered. it’s pretty cool. i look forward to wearing it.
i also spent some time on sl — talked a bit to guy who helps run a radio station on there, hung out with a pretty cool girl, and had a number of interesting theological conversations.
getting to have numerous theological conversations was an intriguing phenomenon. i managed to have at three or four separate long conversations about theology, G-d, christianity, belief, etc. in all different settings and with different people, both in sl and in real life. it was really cool. that’s something i haven’t gotten to do much of in a long time, so it’s always nice when the opportunities come along.
that whole arc of conversations was capped last sunday morning at kaleo, where i really felt like the sermon had a lot to do with the way my life has been for some time now. i felt like i should look more seriously into getting involved at kaleo (or in a christian community in general) in a deeper and more meaningful way. i just feel like it might help provide more direction and depth, and is perhaps something that i should in fact be doing.
as with most everything though, what has energy in the moment quickly dwindles. i did manage to meet someone new, who seemed like a pretty cool guy. he’s married and they have a 2.5 month old daughter. they just moved to houston recently. perhaps that will be an opportunity for me to strike up a new friendship.
even though most of my days come and go without much to keep me from mindlessly trudging through life, something always comes up at some point that causes me to remember the difficult path i have been put on due to my ex-wife’s actions and choices. i am then forced (on some level) to remember and feel the losses, the anger, the pain…mostly these days when it happens it’s a remembrance of the losses. fortunately it comes much less often than in the past, when it was pretty much guaranteed to happen throughout the day. sometimes i wish moving on came easier to me, like it seems to come to some people.
for the record, it wasn’t valentine’s day that brought this up, but something entirely unrelated. it’s sometimes funny, and sometimes disturbing, how easy it is to find third party connections between my ex and me. i personally think some of the things that have transpired in the past were intentional from other people, but i guess there’s not much i can do about that.

new plate update

the weather has been getting way too close to being really nice, so today i took off early from work to try and take care of business related to my motorcycle license plate being stolen.
first i went by the houston police department and picked up a police report to prove that it had been stolen (or at least that i had reported it as stolen, i guess). the process was actually simple and pretty fast, and since i didn’t get a certified one or anything it only cost me 10 cents (1 page at 10 cents per page). i put 10 times that (or more) in the meter, which turned out to be rather unnecessary — but when you’re dealing with bureacracy, who knows?
after the police department, i went over to the county tax office to see about getting a temp tag or something until my new personalized specialty plate comes in. other than a broken meter causing me to have to move to a different block to park (and eating one of my quarters), the process was again pretty fast and easy. the lady at the tax office suggested i actually get a new plate instead of a temp tag, since a replacement plate costs $6.30 and a 30-day temp tag costs $25.00. i decided that was a good idea. after my new plate comes in, i’ll simply return this one to the tax office when i pick up the new one.
i came back to the house and put my generic new plate on the bike, wiped the dust off the seat from the weeks of it sitting there sad and neglected, and went for a ride. the bike started right up and ran fine. i drove over to the office and faxed my new plate request (along with the police report) to the specialty plates division in austin. the only exciting part was during my return, when my engine started sputtering and died while i was going 90 or so mph up 288. i use the trip odometer to gauge how much gas i have and it was only at around 46 miles. once i got over and came to a stop on the shoulder, i went ahead and flipped to reserve and the bike started right up. later on i remembered my battery connections had been loose and i’d had to retighten them. that loss of battery connection would reset the trip odometer, thus explaining why i had to go to reserve at such a low trip value.
anyway, with all that taken care of, now i just have to wait the two or three weeks for austin to approve and cut my plate, then send it to the tax office here in harris county. so hopefully soon i’ll be back on the road again with a cool plate. although it won’t say “h4xr” anymore. what will the new one say? stay tuned and find out.

apple mac os x, nfs, and the finder = slow

here’s a tip to anyone planning to use nfs with mac os x through the finder: don’t do it!
i mentioned on here i was helping a friend build a linux server with a 2 terabyte raid system (at least i think i mentioned it). well, i finished it last week. i decided nfs would be the easiest path for sharing out the data. i tested it at home on my mac — it mounted, i could see the files, i created a directory. functionally, it worked.
i took it to my friend’s place of business and (after reconfiguring his network setup) we brought it online. he went through the finder and used Go -> Connect to Server to enter nfs:// and it mounted. he dragged some big folders and his mac said it was going to take some ungodly number of hours. maybe it said days. i mean, it was SLOW.
after mulling it over for a couple of days, i decided to troubleshoot it. we used a 2 gig file and i did ftp transfers, then nfs mounted from the command line and did copies (cp) from the command line. ftp vs. nfs performance was about the same, and pretty decent. as soon as we went into the finder to do a drag-and-drop transfer, the time increased by a magnitude of 10. seriously. the same system, using the command line, copied 10 times faster than through the finder. after discovering this, i did some google searches and found a few other people that have noticed the same thing. (the systems we used are 10.4.8/ppc, btw. since this the first time i’ve tried to use nfs with mac os x, i’m not sure if it got borked in recent revisions, or if this has been a long time thing, or if it doesn’t happen to everyone.)
so i decided to use something besides nfs on the linux box. i contemplated smb and afp, and on a whim decided to give afp a shot. (i’m rather familiar with samba, having used it since 2000 or so, but i figured i’d try out netatalk since this is in a mac shop.) netatalk/afp functioned nominally. (i may do a performance comparison later against samba.) sorry nfs, i don’t think it’s your fault.
in a completely unrelated mac happening, a few weeks ago i plugged my griffin imic into my power mac and it worked. huh? it’d stopped working back in late july last year (2006), seemingly coinciding with my update to 10.4.7. i contacted griffin tech support and they offered no help, really, other than maybe it was too old or maybe it had died. now, months later, i plug it in and it works just fine, as if nothing had ever been wrong. i wonder if they fixed something in 10.4.8? or if it was something else that caused it to not work over several days/weeks of me mucking with it, then magically working months later? whatever the case, i’m enjoying being able to use it again. i’m also glad i didn’t toss it months ago.

more about movies and life

i watched pay it forward over at the potts’ a few days ago. i walked away feeling kind of mixed about it. it wasn’t a hollywood storyline, but it felt like a hollywood film trying really hard to be edgy and non-predictable. either that or it really was an edgy and dark story, but it got in the hands of hollywood and they sort of cleaned it up and made it sort of awkward. the idea was kind of cool, and the characters were interesting takes on things. but it felt like hollywood portraying people like that, and not really getting it right, instead of really being the people they were supposed to be (that goes for everyone in the film).
i was going to watch wishing stairs a few days ago but the dvd was scratched too much for my player to read it very well. i’m returning it to netflix for a replacement. this is the first one i got from them that was this scratched up.
yesterday i watched little miss sunshine again. that movie is really, really good. i’m not going to say it’s one of the best movies i’ve ever seen or anything like that, but it’s really well put together and nice to watch. it deals with serious subjects well, it does slapstick well — it packages real life, amplifies it, and plays it back. i really do recommend it.
a few days ago i ordered a t-shirt from the devil makes three. i was poking around online and discovered they just released a live cd recently, which i’ll probably be picking up soon, but i also decided i needed to have one of their shirts. the first album (self-titled) is really brilliant, imo, and i highly recommend it. 2 of the 10 songs aren’t very good and don’t fit in well with the other 8 (imo, again), but most of the album is top notch.
yesterday evening i ate at chuy’s and had the good fortune to sit near axl rose and the karate kid. well, actually it was two teens with dates, and the guys looked (were dressed) like axl rose and the karate kid. it’s possible they wouldn’t even know who those people were, but they provided our table quite the laugh. they obviously thought they were really cool, as you could tell from their body language and behaviour and very loud conversations. but they were both there with attractive girls, and they all made sure to show plenty of pda, so maybe that’s what attracts the junior high girls and they have reason to be confident about their hilarious styles.
after chuy’s i went over to the briar shoppe and picked up my barling pipe. because the manufacturer was evidently going to take several months to get it and repair or replace it, they ended up just sending it to their guy who replaced the original vulcanite stem with a lucite stem. on the good side, this should mean that i won’t have to worry about oxidation, but on the bad side it means the stem no longer has the “barling” logo on it.
there are some changes going on at work. nothing too exciting yet, but we’ll see if anything develops out of it or not. also, someone was looking to ditch an old sgi indigo 2 (circa 1995 or so), so i offered to take it. i ripped the guts out of it and am planning on putting either a dell box running linux or a mac mini inside of it. what i really wish they had given me was an sgi o2. i love those toaster boxes. i found out from someone else there were a couple in storage or somewhere, so they asked if they could get them. unfortunately, they’d evidently already been sent off to computer heaven. *sigh*
the superbowl. yawn. i didn’t care about either team, and the game wasn’t all that interesting. how the score managed to stay as close as it did, i’m not sure. and the commercials didn’t fare much better. oh well.

movies: two “eh?”s and one “bleh!”

this last week or so i watched a few things…
first up is eraserhead. an old david lynch film that he made over a number of years. it was done in the early 70’s and was filmed in black and white on the cheap. at the end of the bonus interview stuff on the dvd, lynch says it’s a personal film with meaning but in all of the years it’s been around and reviewed he’s never seen anyone give an accurate analysis of what it means in his mind. which isn’t too surprising, once you’ve seen much of lynch’s work. eraserhead is considered a classic, and it certainly has its own dynamic. i can see why it made the midnight showing rounds for so many years, and why so many people preferred to watch it while under the influence of something. it’s an odd, disturbing film, telling a story that generally makes some kind of sense with numerous oddities and rapid excursions into the absurd. the characters sometimes recognize the absurd, at other times they seem to accept it as completely normal. i think that, along with the constant sound of humming and machines and vibrations through the whole film, is what sets and keeps the viewer on edge. some of the techniques and effects seem dated now, but there is a lot of camera and lighting work that holds up well and helps to solidify the style of the film.
next up is tetsuo: the iron man. this is a japanese film done in the early 90’s. it is also in black and white. it’s about…i think it’s about a guy who gets infected with metal by shoving a piece of conduit pipe into his leg (so he can run fast or something), then he gets hit by a car while running down the street in pain from the alteration he just did to himself. the driver and his girlfriend put the body in the car and dump him somewhere. the guy who got hit and the guy who hit him both start to become metal/machines, and they fight a number of times through the rest of the movie as it follows the metamorphesis of the driver. the driver also ends up with a huge drill as his…member. it’s a very disconcerting and odd film, and parts are pretty goofy, but there are some really cool visuals in it. the effects and style are pretty unique. i could easily see this playing in clubs where you can see it, but instead of the movie soundtrack you hear whatever the club is playing. it’s just rather visually arresting.
finally, i have to mention heights. when it came in, i read the blurb on the sleeve and couldn’t recall for the life of me why i would have put it in my queue. i thought maybe someone recommended it to me, but later i decided i probably just read a very short synopsis and thought it sounded interesting. i believe it now holds the honor of being the first netflix film i’ve gotten that i actually responded with “i hated it”. the acting was okay, the filming was generic, but it was the storyline that just completely didn’t do it for me. first off, the main subject matter was people in relationships being unfaithful. (as you might guess, that’s a somewhat sore spot for me.) beyond that, it treated it as normal and/or acceptable, at least on some level. another issue i had was that the main affair was a gay affair. movies centering around gay issues, gay relationships, etc., or using them as plot devices, is just not something that interests me. that’s part of the reason i’ve never bothered to watch brokeback mountain (and probably never will) — it’s just subject matter that holds less than no interest for me. this movie also held the gay affair back as the surprise twist at the end. whatever. it was not very good no matter how you slice it, but the whole “gay surprise” tactic just really showed how desperate the movie was to try and be something it wasn’t.