keep truckin’

also, today i finally managed to take some time off of work to take care of some business. since i was going to the dentist in the late afternoon and would thus be out for awhile, i decided to leave early and try to meet a aaa tow truck at the potts’ house and get my truck into a shop. i got to the potts’ residence and called aaa (which was a very simple and pleasant experience), but the first tow truck to come by was not a flatbed. he admired my truck, then said i should use a flatbed. he called in and requested a flatbed to come by. about 30 minutes later, the flatbed truck showed up. again, the aaa people were pleasant and called me to give me updates. this driver was also pleasant and helpful. (and hopefully he didn’t jack up my suspension or something when he was cranking down the chains.) the process took a little longer than i’d hoped, but i did manage to get the truck to rms auto care and only be about 10 minutes late to my dentist’s office. hopefully, rms will take good care of me and get my truck back up and functional soon.

the tooth of the matter

back in the 4th grade, some buddies and i were playing an athletic version of follow the leader around the school yard. it was probably based on the idea that we were all planning on being star athletes when we got into high school. or it may have been because we were training to be on a swat team. whatever the case, we were running through the monkey bars, doing chin-ups, balancing while running down steel beams, and jumping over things. one particular thing — a concrete gutter extender for the drains, probably about a foot high and a foot and a half wide — was my downfall. literally. the front of my lead foot caught on it, tripping me forward. i caught my fall on the far edge of the concrete drain. with my face. specifically, with my left front tooth. my friends huddled around me, checking to make sure i was okay. one of them realized part of my front tooth was missing. they gathered the pieces they could find and i was off to the dentist. fortunately, only the bottom third or so of the tooth was broken off so the nerve wasn’t exposed. the dentist checked it out, then put filler on the bottom to finish out the tooth and make it look complete.
this fix has been with me since then. it’s discolored unequally over the years compared to my teeth, but it’s held on. every time i would go to a new dentist, they would marvel that it had stayed on that long. in addition to being discolored, it also wore a bit faster. so for both of those reasons, and perhaps to make some money, the dentists would always offer to put something new on there so it wouldn’t be discolored and would match my other front tooth. i always declined.
a couple of weeks ago, it must have finally worn down to (or close to) at least part of the original tooth. i’m not sure what happened to cause it, but one day i realized i could feel a crack running up the side of my tooth. after about a week or two, i then realized i could feel a whole sliver loose on the back left side of my tooth. it’d been probably about 6 years since i’d been to a dentist, so i decided i should make a dental appointment to have it checked out — along with my teeth in general. the next morning, the sliver fell out while i was brushing my teeth. like last time, no pain or anything, so no exposed nerve, but a chunk of tooth gone.
on monday i went to the dentist, and she found two low-grade cavities on matching upper molars on each side, and suggested i get a crown for my front tooth. other than that, my gums and everything else looked good. (not too bad imo, considering how long it’d been since i got a cleaning or anything.)
so this afternoon i went and had the work done. i’m not really a fan of dental work — especially when it involves them giving you shots in your gums — but i dealth with it. i am currently wearing a temporary crown while they make the ceramic one to match my real teeth and bite, which should arrive in about two weeks. and the painkillers they used are still slowly wearing off. hopefully getting a crown was a good choice. i had kind of hoped they could just fix up the tooth like they did in 4th grade, but that’s not what they suggested. and since my dental insurance is pretty dang good, the cost of what i got done was pretty minimal.
oh yeah. i still have that sliver of tooth, if anyone needs it to perform some kind of ritual.

protect internet radio

internet radio is a beautiful thing. it puts an almost unlimited choice for any kind of musical variety or specialization within reach of anyone who has a decent internet connection. it provides an interested audience for artists that would get no shot at airplay on “regular” (airwave) radio. it can even create a sense of community around its online presence, fostering even more interest in and involvement with the music.
i can personally attest to the fact that my listening to internet radio has been directly involved in at least 50 cd purchases over the last 4 or so years. that number more likely is closer to 100 or more though, especially if you include indirect involvement. without internet radio, the recording industry would have made almost no money off of me at all. even though i love music, i dislike my local radio choices and would have had little avenue to learn about new music. in fact, until i found some of the internet radio stations my involvement with music was severely atrophying.
unfortunately, music big business has pretty much always felt threatend by and thus scared of new technologies (cassettes, cds) — and it is behaving no differently this time around with internet radio. they used their monetary muscle and political power to influence poor decisions regarding internet radio in the past (1995, 1998/DMCA, 2002), and they are doing it again. it’s yet another attempt at a crippling blow to the small, independently run shops. airwave broadcasters aren’t treated as poorly. some stations were able to successfully argue for decreased fees based on their (lack of) income, but that’s all ending and the new proposed rules will, honestly, knock most of them off the air. such an act of sheer stupidity should not be allowed.
here is a really painless way to show some level of support for internet radio:
save internet radio at
read more here: save our internet radio
please don’t let the pushy, ignorant, greedy music big business folk destroy the creative and unique voices that are breathing life into what has become a wasteland composed of bland, predictable crap. internet radio, along with other music-focused internet-based phenomenons, are saving music from the weak, helpless, fecal state the parasitic music industry is keeping it in.
“the industry is the machine that churns blood to green” –my little dog china (kevin clay)

it’s only rock and roll

last night i considered going to the firehouse saloon to see back porch mary, a band from austin i’ve never heard of before, but in the end i decided to go to the continental club and see southern culture on the skids. i’m familiar with some of their songs from boot liquor, and they’ve been around, so i figured there might be a higher rareness opportunity with their show.
i rode my motorcycle over and parked right by the front. i managed to catch the last few songs of the opening band. it wasn’t who was supposed to be opening…evidently one or more of them got the flu or something. the band that played was a local band given the show at the last minute. i really liked them. rockabilly / early rock. i think i recognized one or two of the three guys from other local bands, but i never caught their name. they had a cd though. (after doing a little online sleuthing, it appears to have been the octanes.) scots’ show was alright. it sounded pretty good, but it wasn’t as…exciting, i guess…as i’d expected.
one interesting thing, as i was standing there near the back, one of the couples from the meat and martini party walked in. she went to the front and he went to the bar. i went over and said hi, and we talked a bit. he said she knew the band. then a few songs later, they called her up on the stage by name to sing one of the songs with them. i guess she did know the band pretty well. ha ha.
after the show was over and i was leaving, i ended up talking with a mainstay at the continental club: big e. he drives an early 70’s harley and is into old cars (pre-60’s). maybe it’ll provide an opportunity to meet some people in the classics/hotrod/ratrod scene in houston.
after getting home, i stayed up until like 5am talking to the snazziest chick i know in sl. (she was disappointed by her lack of mention in my blog — well, except once in passing — so this comment is sort of obligatory, but still true nevertheless.) i got a few hours of sleep and still managed to go to church and not fall asleep during the service. this afternoon i met up with brad and kelli and we went riding around for awhile.

another meat and martini, please

yesterday i dropped by cavender’s to pick up a new suit jacket. i looked around and saw a few things i liked, but i ended up buying one i’d looked at a few times in the past: a scully black lamb leather western cut jacket (example from the justification for this purchase was chris and mary’s 2nd houston meat and martini party (now with it’s very own website: around 8pm i stopped by luling city market and picked up one pound of brisket and four sausage links, along with some white bread and their delicious mustard-based sauce, and headed over to the party. it was a good turnout and there were a lot of both meat and martinis. i smoked my pipe, i had five or so “martinis” (by that, i mean i just mixed various things i liked, consisting of various amounts of: vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, lime juice, contrieau, cherry juice, etc), i talked with a number of people. i still have this idea that perhaps i’ll go to a social event and run into some interesting lady, and we’ll have a nice conversation and something good will happen. not surprisingly, so far that hasn’t ever happened. but it was fun hanging out with friends from work and friends of friends. i left around 1am.

dead wait…er…ded weight…er…searching…

since i brought up my vehicles in the last entry, i should mention the city of houston came by a couple of weeks ago and put a “move this piece of junk” sticker on the vw camper bus, which is sitting over at the potts’ in their driveway. i have until april 12th (iirc) to do something with it. humorously, they didn’t put one on the pickup which has been sitting in the exact same position in front of the bus, just as long as the bus has been there.
i’m still trying to figure out what to do with that stupid vw camper bus. part of me wants to take it and fix it, just to spite the memory of tamara tied to it. but the fact is, i really don’t like or care about old vws. having a fixed, functional 1977 vw camper bus would give me little pleasure. the fact i was forced to pay more than the value of it to tamara (as “half” the value of the vehicle) when it should have been her piece of junk to deal with anyway…well, that’s just icing on the cake. have i ever mentioned on here how much she took advantage of me, financially? heh.
in loosely related events, as much as i enjoy reading one of my friend’s blogs, my enjoyment has recently been compromised by the comments section. of all things, my ex-wife has decided she should start commenting on it. this isn’t someone we both knew when we were together, but someone i met through other friends a year or two after the affair had happened. oddly, soon i after i linked to this person’s blog, they were befriended over the net by a good friend of alistair — most likely because he followed a link from my blog. (he admits to having read my blog, but he denies doing various other things. ha ha.)
shifting to related subjects, i get a lot of people searching my blog for stuff about alistair, tamara, etc. that’s old hat though, even if it is (evidently) fascinating to some others out there. the really interesting ones are people getting here from google searches. this usually means my blog is in the top 10 or 20 search results. here are some interesting google searches (just over a 24 hour period) that led people to my pages:
And Darryl couldn’t talk at all
suicide rate grand canyon
hot neighbor
my truck is getting poor mileage
on the run from johnny law ain’t no trip to cleveland
“alistair isaac”
ear stretching stories
i love technology always and forever
failures in a marriage
“intellectual teens”
some are surprising, some are rather odd, some make me happy. i’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which ones go into which category.

up, up, and…down. up, up, and…down.

saturday i got up late, then dropped by luling city market before heading to the top gun indoor shooting range. (bbq and guns…hoorah.) having grown up in the country, i never really had any reason to go to an indoor range — we just went to the free outdoor range by the lake, or out to our land. thus, i also never had to shoot indoors around a bunch of other people i didn’t know. i was somewhat intimidated by the whole process, but i managed to get through it without any problems. the taurus performed well. i put 4 boxes of cci blazer brass through it. the gun failed to feed two times — both on first rounds of a clip. other than that, all was nominal.
saturday evening i dropped by academy and picked up some gun cleaning supplies and various things, as well as five new boxes of ammo (2 boxes of winchester fmj, 2 boxes of monarch brass fmj, and 1 box of winchester hollow point). after leaving, i realized honesty had cost me. originally, the guy rang up all 3 winchester boxes at the fmj price. the hollow points were more expensive, so i told him his error. but he took only one item off, then rescanned all three. so i paid for two more boxes of fmj than i bought. also, when i got home and opened the cleaning kit there were a couple of pieces missing. i needed to try to correct all of this, but i decided to wait. instead, i figured out how to field strip the taurus and spent some time cleaning and oiling it. hopefully this will be a pattern i continue.
after that i drove over to the big top to check out jay’s band the flying fish sailors. they are a celtic band, and were getting quite the workout due to it being st. patrick’s day. the big top was their last of three shows for the day, the first starting at 8am. it turns out i didn’t know anyone there other than jay and cynthia, so i stood around for awhile until i couldn’t take being by myself in a bar surrounded by groups of people, then i left.
sunday i was planning on going to church, but i ended up pulling an old “college days” pattern saturday night and stayed up on the computer until 5am. i didn’t make it to church. in the early afternoon, i went back to academy. fortunately, they were cool about it and refunded the money. after academy, i rode over to crescent city beignets and had some beignets and cafe au lait while i read a book. then i came back home and took a nap. even later i went over to the potts and had some pizza while we watched adaptation. kaufman is such a cool writer.
yesterday i left work a bit early and stopped by rms auto care to talk to the manager there about possibly doing work on my pickup. it’s been sitting over at the potts since mid november, and i’d really like to be driving it again. i’m thinking i’ll probably take it to rms and see how things go. after taking care of going to rms, i met up with jason and eric. we rode on our motorcycles to top gun and i put 200 more rounds through the taurus. no misfeeds, no misfires, no problems at all. that was nice. we left there and after dropping our pistols off we went to pappadeux’s for supper. leaving there, we rode through downtown, picked up tiffany at bohemian photography, and rode around some more. i have to say it was a good evening.
once home i jumped on sl, then ended up feeling down about myself and my prospects for the future. that’s something that happens every now and then. given my propensity for self-reflection and pessimism, mixed with the things that have happened to me regarding my marriage (with tamara)…it’s not too surprising i guess. but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. i was pretty sure that getting to bed would provide a good solution for turning my brain off, so that’s where i headed.

bob wills is still the king

thursday after work i went to the houston cfug meeting and listened to a presentation by a guy from new atlanta. they make a cfml product called blue dragon that competes with cold fusion. afterward, a few of us headed to the west alabama ice house, where we had a couple of beers and grilled sausage. then the tamale guy came around. mmmmm.
friday was a maintenance night for work, so i got to go in late. during my free time beforehand i managed to take care of a couple of things. first, i headed over to border’s where i picked up my special order and bought a few other things. unfortunately, everything i picked up or used coupons for was mispriced, rung up wrong, etc. i didn’t realize until i walked outside and looked at the receipt. i went back in and the first cashier directed me to a second cashier, who wanted to not let me use one of my coupons even though the special order specifically explained the situation, so she had to call a manager down. fortunately, the manager was one of the guys who’d helped me with placing the special order, so he approved everything and got it all cleaned up. going back in saved me at least $28. at the cost of probably at least 15 minutes of time. all that to say, here’s the four items i bought:

  • the last temptation of christ – martin scorsese (criterion)
  • saturday night fever – bee gees and various (polydor)
  • outlaw country sampler – various (universal)
  • san antonio rose – bob wills and his Texas playboys (bear family)

i used a current 20% off coupon on the last temptation…. they originally didn’t use any coupon on this one. tamara and i rented it from hollywood video 5 or so years ago. i had never seen it before, but i was well aware of the controversy surrounding it back when it came out. after watching it, i was surprised by the completely misguided fervor most of those xians back then were directing at it. it’s obviously not a straight biblical telling of the life of jesus (as it fills in gaps and makes some inferences and such), and it deals a lot with the oddness of jesus being G-d and man, along with theories about political and societal motivations for jesus and/or the disciples — but what it *doesn’t* do is state that jesus had sexual relations with mary magdelene, or was married to her. i personally thought generally it was a rather intriguing perspective on the life of jesus, and wrestled with ideas and concepts that most common xian culture doesn’t really think about much. so while it added some flesh to a framework provided by the bible, and it may have not been right in those areas, i didn’t feel like it contradicted any major facets of the bible. at least not any more than any number of sects, splinter groups, or any of the numerous current denominations have done themselves. so i thought it was a poignant and thought-provoking film, and i think those two things are something more xians these days need to experience.
the saturday night fever soundtrack had a $9.99 sticker on it, but the register rang it up at full price (or near full price, i forget now). i’ve been meaning to pick this up for some time, and the price i eventually paid for it was decent. i went through a phase in high school and early college where i derided disco, but a couple of years into college i realized that a lot of the electronic music i was getting into was in the same musical family. i cast off the knee-jerk reaction to hate disco common at the time and realized there’s some really fun and cool-sounding stuff in disco. i still kind of consider it a guilty pleasure, and i’m not really a club person or a dancer, but disco music is fun. of course, these days disco has already gone through the cultural wringer and come back to be something cool again (although usually in a kitschy way).
the outlaw sampler was priced at $0.02 because it is a promotional item. the register rang it up at $16.99, then from another barcode at $9.99. they had to enter it by hand. i picked it up because it was basically free, and it has one song from a new album coming out with willie nelson, merle haggard, and ray price called last of the breed. most of the other tracks on the sampler i already own on other albums.
the final item is a bear family box set of bob wills. bear family is a company out of germany that makes amazingly good compilations (well-researched, well-recorded, thorough) of mostly vintage american country and rock’n’roll artists. this one is 11 cds and 1 dvd, along with a hardback book on the history of bob wills and the Texas playboys, and session notes for the recordings found in the set. it retails for $300 (border’s sells it for $217), but i ordered it on the last day of a 25% off coupon. i couldn’t pay for it that day unless i got it shipped to my house, so after verifying several times i could use the coupon once it came in, i just ordered it and didn’t pay for it. they put a note in the order that i had the coupon when i ordered it and they would honor it. but of course, when i went to pick it up it didn’t go smoothly. at first they applied the 20% off coupon to the box set, and didn’t use the 25% off coupon at all. finally the manager took care of it all. using the 25% coupon, along with a 10% off discount “personal shopping day”, i managed to get the box set brand new still in shrinkwrap for $146 without tax. not bad. this box set represents the first fifteen years of his recording career – 1932 to 1947. his recordings with milton brown in the light crust doughboys, all of his arc/columbia recordings, plus alternate takes, unreleased material, studio talk, radio airshots — everything remastered for optimal sound quality. milton brown and bob wills were the twin pillars of the beginning of Texas swing / western swing, and if you live in (or love) Texas it would be inappropriate for you not to have a knowledge of this music on some level.

guitars, girls, and guns (and coffee)

friday of last week after work i headed over to the potts house for supper. then i went to blanco’s to see dale watson. i like blanco’s, but sometimes they have the sound for the bands down too low. it’s almost like the sound level of a jukebox. but other than that, i like the place. it has a good mix of people, they’re all pretty friendly, lots of people dance (except me), and that one bartender has a really cool haircut and a cool look. i took my pipe with me and smoked it during a set break. while sitting outside smoking, i struck up a conversation about pipes with one of the guys who works there.
saturday i finally started going through some of the 3+ year old boxes of random crap tamara left behind in her haste to have selective life amnesia and start a new path. as i expected, it was difficult for me to go through at times because of the memories or thoughts tied to certain items i found. i only managed to get through one and a half or so boxes. i have a lot left to go through, unfortunately. it’s very possible i’ll be posting some bits and pieces about things i’ve found. on the good side, i found at least $6 in change that was never claimed in the divorce papers, which means i got at least $3 over on the system. yea, me! i left the house to meet up with jack at empire and eat a late lunch/early supper, then we headed to the new inversion coffeehouse on montrose. (on montrose a few blocks north of westheimer, where the art league’s inversion house was.) it seemed like a fairly cool space. i thought it was kind of lame they used a cup size naming convention very similar to starbucks. why is it so uncool to have small, medium, and large? because people want you to feel like they’re having some kind of esoteric experience that helps justify the price? seems kind of stupid to me. good coffee and well-prepared coffee drinks shouldn’t need to hide behind “sophisticated” names for the sizes. (or for the names of the drinks for that matter). i’m not saying that’s why they chose to do it — i don’t know why.
since i already brought up that huge coffee chain, i’ll make a confession that i finished reading pour your heart into it: how starbucks built a company one cup at a time by howard schultz a few weeks ago. someone at work let me borrow it, as i had gotten interested in the origin of the starbuck’s logo and i knew this book mentioned stuff about it. the book wasn’t really an exciting read, but i liked the first 2/3 or 3/4 of it. it was interesting reading about the growing and changing of the company, and how much they evidently worked to keep it focused on a company culture that shows more interest in the employees than most companies. the last 1/3 or 1/4 of the book was after they got big and became publicly traded, and in my opinion the tone of the book changes. howard starts to get defensive and sound kind of agitated because people start to become anti-starbucks, and he can’t seem to understand why. but i felt like he gave contradictory positions late in the book, trying to appease both the employees and the stockholders. i think it’s a good show of how something basic changes at some point when a company is trying to get bigger and starts working toward growth and investors/stockholders.
sunday i went to kaleo. i’d missed the last two weeks. i ate lunch with the potts, then went home. while at the potts’, brad and kelli showed up. they’d been down to galveston with jack shooting engagement pictures. once home, i decided to give up on finding the keys to my firebox — the box they were in must have been stolen. so i took a hammer and broke into the firebox to see if my stuff was still in it. it was. i called the police and told them someone had broken into my house and stolen a gun. humorously, the cop that came out was the same one that came out when i reported my license plate being stolen. he got out of the car and said “aww, man. you again! what is it this time?” when he was entering the gun into the computer in his car, there was no “walther” entry in the drop-down list. odd. he entered it as a smith & wesson, because i told him they are the ones who market the gun in the u.s. now. *shrug* later, i went by border’s and placed an order for a somewhat expensive cd box set. more info in an upcoming post.
monday i went by home depot and bought a new firesafe, since i’d destoryed my last one.
tuesday i dropped by a carter’s country and bought a new pistol. i was trying to decide between picking up a .40 s&w or a 9mm, neither of which i’ve ever fired (in a pistol) as far as i remember. i ended up going with a .40. i’m planning on going out to a range soon and putting a few boxes of ammo through it so i can see how it feels and to get used to it. then i’ll be taking the conceal carry class.