random braindump

i went by sugarbaby’s cupcake boutique a weekend or two ago. it’s near shepard and richmond, on shepard. i found out awhile back before they were open that it is owned by a couple that goes to kaleo (the church i go to). i’d been planning on dropping by, but it seemed like they were always closed when i was around. i finally went up to the door and their current hours are 10am-6pm tuesday through saturday. which would explain why they’re never open when i’m around on weekdays. (as i found out while there, they are planning on staying open later but need to hire people for the later shifts.) so on a saturday afternoon i dropped by. both of them were working, so i had a chance to ask them how things were going and some stuff about the store. i knew from previous conversations the process to open the store had taken way longer than they’d ever dreamed it would. i had two cupcakes: a german chocolate and a red velvet (i forgot their names for them). they were both really good. they make them fresh from very simple and very real ingredients. and the recipes come from family recipes. i also picked up a vanilla bean with vanilla icing and a chocolate with chocolate icing for jack and sue. if you like cupcakes you should check out the store.
a couple of weeks ago jason isbell and centro-matic were playing at walter’s on washington on a wednesday night. i thought about going over after the radio show, but decided not to. i was interested in jason because he’d been in the drive-by truckers for a while and recently gone solo. i like the drive-by truckers quite a bit. i’d never really heard of centro-matic that i could recall, but i checked out some stuff online and i thought they sounded really good. they’ve evidently been around a long time. anyway, i was impressed by their sound, from what i heard. but i didn’t get to see them.
this past friday night at the continental club i saw the weary boys‘ “last show”. officially they are going on hiatus, and they were playing a double set at the continental club in austin the next night. before the show i ate at tacos-a-go-go (barbacoa taco = very good, tex-mex frito pie = eh). i also dropped by sig’s lagoon and bought jason isbell’s cd.
when i was going around town buying up the boxers with skulls, i bought a tie. why? i don’t know. it’s not like i ever wear ties, even though i have quite a few. it was on sale and i thought it looked cool. i used to wear ties from time to time. i used to enjoy dressing up sometimes. i haven’t done that in years and years. i was on the debate team in high school and we had to wear ties…maybe that’s why.
i let my sirius subscription die. i signed up for a year during my road trip bringing my newly purchased pickup back from new york. i really never listened to sirius very much. part of it is that it wasn’t very convenient to get it all hooked up and going in my pickup. in fact, that may be most of it. but i never moved it to the element. and i can’t really use it on my motorcycle. the model receiver i bought wasn’t made to be hooked up in the house. but that’s okay because the digital satellite in the house i’m renting streams sirius channels, so it’s like i still have them at home anyway. plus after hearing some of xm’s programming, i think i probably prefer it as far as americana/country. or let’s say i prefer willie’s place (xm) to outlaw country (sirius). but i’ve got plenty of cds, and boot liquor on soma fm.
the weekend before last i went to ikea and bought a desk. yep, i finally gave up and bought something. it’s pretty simple and was only around $160, so i can use it until i find a better one and then figure out something else to do with it. it looks okay though, and it’s better than having parts of a garage shelving unit as a makeshift desk.
i saw raj and kiera a while back. they were in town for awhile. it turns out raj had gotten in a wreck (in mississippi, i think) driving back from d.c. to houston. one of his tires blew out and his car went off the road, scraped a tree or two, then the back half slammed into a tree. both he and their dog were mostly okay, but the car was totaled. kiera was still in d.c. and got a call that raj had been in a wreck.
last saturday i dropped my charles daly .45 off at the gander mtn near 290 and highway 6. this saturday i picked it up. they said nothing was wrong with it. he fired around three magazines worth through it and had no problems. i guess i’ll take it to top gun here soon and see if it seems to be behaving better for me. i may end up just chunking it and getting something else.
saturday afternoon was calista’s birthday party. they had it at a public park that has some water stuff for kids, in addition to the regular playground stuff. it was kind of hot until the sun got lower. overall it was cool, and i think the kids had a good time — and that’s what’s important, right? of course, as we were leaving there were some goobers smoking pot. in a public park. brilliant.
saturday night i stayed up way too late talking on second life. sunday morning i did manage to get up and go to church. immediately after which i had an emotional meltdown. i mean, i completely flatlined. i left fairly quickly and went home. it’s weird how overwhelming emotions can be at times. i’m still feeling the after-affects or emotional residue or whatever at times on some level from that event. (maybe i’ll discuss and analyze myself at some point in the future.) after a couple of hours i got out and went to the gun show. i managed to keep from buying anything this time though. i got close to buying a beretta cx4 storm .40 cal, and/or a kel-tec 9mm collapsible rifle. i also thought about getting a 9mm glock. but i held out. i’m hoping my next gun purchase may be an ak-47. i just don’t want to buy a questionable or shoddily built one.
i’m beginning to work toward having information up on the army of Texas website.
a few days ago i got an order i placed with dennis-carpenter.com. they make parts for old fords. i picked up a new accelerator pedal, inside door handles, window crank handles, and 4 key blanks. should be nice to have tight fitting and properly functioning passenger-side handles. and a gas pedal.

movies flowing again

i’ve actually managed to go through some of my netflix queue.
i watched the last part of wishing stairs. the previous copy i’d had months ago kept pausing and stopping. if you don’t recall, it’s an asian horror film. it’s set at an all-female private magnet school. the story is, there are these stairs that have a certain number of steps, but if you count them going up and you count an extra final step then you can make a wish and it’ll come true. it’s sort of a mix of a story about ambition, friendship, betrayal — and the unknown power and methods of spiritual forces. i didn’t think it was all that great. asian film in general seems to employ what i see as overacting…kind of making things cartoonish, a caricature of the most important aspect(s) of someone’s personality or actions/reactions. watching the extras on the dvd actually made me appreciate the film more, but i still didn’t think it was great. of course, i didn’t watch it from the beginning and it’d been months since i’d seen the first part so that may have made it more difficult for me to appreciate.
i also watched the corporation. it’s a documentary about the history of the corporation. how it came to exist, how it came to be what it is today. i’m no fan of corporate culture, and i think the idea of a corporation being treated as a “person” by our legal system is pretty stupid. but in the extras the creators seemed to want to pitch it as if they tried hard to be impartial and give corporations a chance to state their position — but it’s pretty obvious from the editing, timing, topics, etc. that there is an agenda and an opinion. i thought some of the conversations in the extras were better stated and had more meat than the film itself, but the film does make some interesting observations and provides some good information about the history of the concept of the corporation.
next up is annie hall. i don’t think i’d ever even seen parts of this movie. i’ve never been much of a fan of woody allen, and don’t recall ever being around people much who were. or at least who shared it with me. although i know there are people who are huge fans of his films out there. the only one i ever liked much is one i saw part of on tv and don’t even know the name of. oddly, it seems like i should like woody allen. i could easily see how people could compare some aspects of my general worldview or personality with what he portrays on the screen. as far as annie hall specifically, there were some things i like about it but overall i was just okay with it. i still have a tendency to compare movie relationships to my experiences with tamara, so that always puts an interesting spin on things.
then we have paper clips. this is a documentary about a school in rural tennessee. the administration decided they wanted to do a program to give the rural, almost completely white, conservative, christian kids exposure to different culture and life experience. they decided to cover the holocaust and nazi germany. when brainstorming for an idea for a project, they decided to collect paper clips for each of the jews killed by the nazis. the project started off slowly, but they got in the news and things snowballed. the documentary does a wonderful job of both giving information about the holocaust and how it affected people, and also how this project took over the school and affected the kids, the teachers, and the community, as well as the participation of people who found out about the project. i really suggest taking the time to watch it.
i also watched my bodyguard. it’s a film from 1980 that tells the story of a kid who moves from private school into a public school and finds out he’s supposed to pay protection money to the school bully. he thinks not, and ends up hiring an outsider kid everyone is scared of (adam baldwin…”animal mother” in full metal jacket) to be his bodyguard, by doing so giving all the kids power and hope, befriending the outsider in the process, and everyone learns something about themselves and life in the end. the movie was…eh. the best part was seeing a very young matt dillon play the bully. the main character’s loopy grandmother was played by the lady who played maude in harold and maude. it makes me wonder if she got typecast, because it’s pretty much the same role. george wendt (norm!) also has a very small one scene job. who else…oh yeah, a young joan cusack plays the awkward high school girl.
and finally we have rock school. this is a documentary about paul green’s rock school in philadelphia. basically, paul created a school to teach kids how to play and perform rock music. the documentary follows him and a number of his students, while also building toward the public performances they are working toward. i don’t think the documentary was great, but it was interesting and sometimes funny. paul comes across as an interesting guy, as far as his perspective of himself, the kids, and the world. i liked will o’connor and his personality and takes on things. and watching c.j. play guitar as well as he did at that age was an experience.

wallet chains

in my “i’m the firestarter” entry i mentioned getting a new wallet and ordering a couple of wallet chains. the wallet i bought that day came with a wallet chain, but it was maybe 12 inches long and generic, with a satiny finish. i quickly realized it wouldn’t do.
i spent a number of hours over a couple of days looking around online for cool wallet chains. surprisingly to me, i found very few sites that had cool wallet chains. (and yes, i searched quite a bit.) i finally narrowed it down to two sites. my favorite (www.walletchain.net) had much cooler choices, but they were in south korea and their english wasn’t so great. it made me a bit worried about their legitimacy. i was getting ready to go with my second choice (www.amigaz.com), then i saw that walletchain.net was selling their wares on ebay. they had a lot of positive scores and comments and very few negatives or neutrals, so i decided they were probably legit. i went to their website and ordered my two favorite choices. (i did choose to use paypal instead of giving them my credit card info, just in case.)
after a couple of weeks, the package arrived from south korea. each piece comes in a zip bag with “you are a hero”, a skull and crossbones wearing a crown, and “walletchain all the best wish you! from: genghis khan” printed on it. both chains looked as good as or better than i’d expected them to.
the first is a very heavy, double-linked, antiqued pewter chain, around 31 inches in length. on the site it is called “executioner”. here it is on my person:


the second is an antiqued silver chain alternating between skulls and simple circle loops, around 23 inches in length. on the site it is called “bad man”. here it is on my person:

i haven’t been wearing them too long, as i only got them a few days ago — but i am happy with the style and look. we’ll see over time how i like the quality. anyway, i don’t know how many people might be looking for cool wallet chains, but consider buying from these guys. the prices are a little better if you buy directly from them instead of through ebay too.
oh yeah…and i have managed to purchase 5 pair of the exact same skull boxers i mentioned in that same earlier post. i’ve always thought it’d be cool to have a number of the same pairs of clothes (pants, shirts, etc) and always wear the same thing — that way when anyone saw you, you’d always look exactly the same. it’d be sort of like being a peanuts character. so far, the closest i’ve gotten is having about 5 or 6 of the exact same black gap knit polo short sleeve shirt. but i have lots of other shirts and i rotate through things. G-d bless steve jobs for getting it down to two outfit options.

“how’s the weather down there?” –mr. henry

well, i never did make it by west alabama ice house thursday. i did go eat a late lunch at empire cafe though. in the afternoon chris called and asked if i wanted to borrow a carpet dryer they had. he brought it over that evening. i used it for a few hours thursday night, but unfortunately it’s continued to rain and i don’t have a garage or anything so it’s kind of hard to leave the windows down and let it air out. i’ve also noticed that my airbag and engine lights are on. i’m guessing it’s probably just sensors that got wet. i’ve been planning on taking the vehicle in for its 50k work, so i guess i can get them to check it then. i’m not too excited about the idea of it getting marked as being flood damaged though, since it wasn’t in the water that long, the water didn’t get terribly high, and i’ve been driving it since. but i guess i need to find out what’s making the lights stay on.
now i’m going to interlace parts of this and last weekend…
last friday evening i went over to blanco’s and caught the show by james hand. i don’t remember the name of the steel guitar player he had with him, but she was good. the lead guitar was also good. i think james mentioned both of them had been from the appalachians. i also spent some of the time sitting outside smoking my pipe. i had to deal with some loud and horny drunks, but i also had some decent conversations with a few people. some of the people working there seemed cool, and they actually asked me to join them at another bar when they were leaving. i decided not to join them, but i figured i’d see them again the next friday since dale watson was playing blanco’s then.
yesterday was maintenance for work, so i went in after lunch. in the morning i finally got around to ordering a few things for my pickup — inside door handles, window crank handles, an accelerator pedal, and 4 ignition and door key blanks. after the maintenance work, i headed back home and then over to blanco’s to catch dale watson. i saw one of the people who work there that i’d met the previous time and we talked for awhile. other than that, i stood or sat by myself and just watched the show. which was good. but it’d be nicer if i knew at least a couple of people who i could meet there, or wanted to go to shows with me. a date would be nice too. (i’m trying to be content being firmly single, but sometimes i’m not too excited about it.)
last saturday i pretty much spent hanging out with the potts and scott and kendra, who were visiting. they were helping jack and sue do some house repair and remodeling. i didn’t help much, but i did reconfigure the linksys wireless router and airport express systems they have so the airport express can be used as a wireless repeater.
last sunday afternoon i went with jason to top gun and spent some time putting rounds through my kimber, glock, (first) walther ppk/s, and kel-tec. i bought a wilson combat 7-round magazine at top gun, but when i tried using it the kimber jammed after a couple of rounds. i’m hoping i just need to break in the magazine. i’ll probably go ahead and buy another kimber tactical magazine anyway. i also got the kel-tec to jam on hollow points and winchester fmj. monarch round-tipped fmj bullets fed through okay. i did note it seemed to jam on the third round. the glock and kimber are both very accurate, very nice pistols.
today i got up fairly early, considering how late i was up. at top gun i’d talked with a guy there about my charles daly and he said the gunsmiths at gander mountain are really good. he said he’d sent a couple of people there after he’d had good experiences with them and everyone had been pleased. so i got up and drove up to the gander mtn at 290 and 1960/6. (that’s the one he and the other people had gone to.) i explained what was going on and they said they’d let me know. hopefully they can figure out what’s going on with it and fix it without it costing too much.
on the way back home i stopped by the men’s wearhouse and got fitted for my monkey suit for my brother’s wedding. it wasn’t raining when i got there this time, but after i was in the store it started pouring down. it didn’t last too long though, and by the time i left it was misting a bit.

where the flooding is

normally i wouldn’t be home right now, but i am. the street i park my car on at work flooded this morning, and by the time i went back there the water was around the top of my rims, just at the bottom of the door frame. i walked up and peered inside and there was several inches of water in the front floorboards. fortunately, the element has stadium seating so it was only the floorboards of the front seats. the water was pretty much up to my knees where i was parked, but it was deeper in other areas i had tried to avoid to get to my car. i popped the back top and crawled in, took everything out of my pants pockets, crawled into the front and put it into neutral. then i crawled back out and commenced to pushing. i didn’t really want to start it while the tail pipe was below water. i pushed and pushed, but got stuck at some point. i was worried the water would rise more, or it would start raining again before i got it moved. just as i was starting to give up hope of pushing it, i got past whatever was blocking it. at the same time, a couple of guys from work showed up. they’d waded over to help me. i was pretty freaking tired at this point (and now have bruises on both shoulders), so i really appreciated them showing up. they helped me push it back 50 feet or so and into the middle of the road, where there was only about 8 inches of water. i got in and started it up. it blew water out of the tail pipe for awhile and smoked some, but it was okay. they hopped in and then i drove around trying to get one of them back to his apartment near reliant stadium. 288 was blocked and flooding, so we had to go through some neighborhoods for some time. the bayou was running high, which we could see because we drove along it for a few miles. the water appeared to be slowly draining from my floorboards, but it was still sloshing around whenever i made turns or changed speeds. at his apartment i took a cup and we got most of the water out. he gave me a couple of towels to dry it. but as we started moving again, water started showing up. i dropped them off back at work, then i headed home. i had realized my phone was dead before i got to work, so i had no way to call anyone or take pics. i think one of the guys took a few pics with his phone though. anyway, i’m going to clean up, put on some dry clothes, drop my flood-water-soaked clothes in the washer, and get something to eat. then maybe i’ll go sit at west alabama ice house for awhile and have a beer.

i’m the firestarter

slow week. the only thing of much excitement was going to be the new apple wireless keyboard. after seeing the new imac, then seeing the new wireless keyboard on the apple website, i decided to get one. the keyboard, not the imac. unfortunately, i wasted life and energy going to the galleria for no reason. they told me hopefully by friday. friday i called them, plus two or three other local apple stores, at which point i learned it was going to be probably at least a month. eh. maybe by then i won’t be interested.
i did get a couple of zippo lighters i ordered a week or two ago. i had three before: one black chrome i bought back in 1994 or so; an antiqued brass cynthia bought for me in 1995 i think; and the brushed steel pipe lighter i bought a few months ago. the “black” of the “black chrome” had been chipping off for years, leaving more of a black chrome lighter with the mange. it was my daily carrier for the last several years. years ago i tried to clean up the antique brass lighter (with brasso or something) and stripped off the antiquing. it looked really shiny and nice when cleaned, but it pretty quickly tarnishes and looks like…well, tarnished brass. i’ve carried it at times, but not as much.
a lot of times, once people realize i carry a lighter they get a quizzical look on their faces and say “you don’t smoke. why do you carry a lighter?” (of course, i do smoke pipes and cigars on occasion, but i don’t smoke cigarettes — and have actually never even taken a puff off of one.) my generic response is: “the ability to control fire is what separates us from the animals. sometimes i need to be reminded of that.” i usually at some point also add: “plus, being able to start a fire whenever you feel like it is a really good thing too.” and add a somewhat devious smile.
anyway, i’d been looking for a new zippo on and off for a couple of years, but nothing ever really caught my eye enough. not that there were no designs i liked, but after having my previous issues i decided i didn’t really want one with something screened onto it since it would just chip off in my pocket. this year they came out with a new model, which i decided would be worth purchasing:


i’m not completely enthralled by the candy red coating, and it’ll very likely chip over time — but the skull is embossed into the metal, so even if the red starts chipping the skull should still be fine (and that’s what’s important).

[aside: skulls seem to be popping up more in my life. in addition to the lighter, i also recently picked up a couple of pair of boxers with skulls on them. (i have a couple of other ones from halloween season a couple of years ago, but the new ones are better.) last weekend i picked up a new chain wallet. while it doesn’t have skulls on it (it has a gothic-style cross), i ordered a couple of wallet chains and one of them has skulls. i’ll give more info on the chains after i get them.]

the second zippo i purchased to stay in my ’65 ford f-100 pickup. it’s a vintage series zippo with an old ford logo laser-etched into the chrome:


so it shouldn’t chip or flake or whatever. it’s also a pretty cool design, and the shape of the vintage lighter is cool (squared top, smooth bottom instead of indented). related to this, a few weeks ago at the briar shoppe i got a butane torch insert that’s designed to fit in a zippo lighter. i’d looked for something like this years ago but never could find one. since i will not be using the lighter all that often, a regular zippo would dry out and be useless when i actually wanted to use it (and i’d have to be refilling it for no reason all the time). even though i’m sure die-hard zippo-heads are feeling a disturbance in the force, it’s practical for me.
as long as i’m putting up pictures related to lighters and such, i might as well put up a picture of my barling pipe:

i realized a while back i never did put a picture up of it. note how i took the pic in front of the harvard classics, to make me look all intellectual and stuff. also note that immediately to the right are comic books and work by people related to the comic industry (dave mckean, neil gaiman, etc).

fun with a capital F U

friday evening was the 12th anniversary party for the radio show. it was at dean’s downtown on main street. the turnout was pretty good, and i think overall it was good. while there, groovehouse mentioned some guys were going to be spinning old country vinyl at leon’s lounge that night. i thought that would be cool, but unfortunately i had committed to doing something for work at midnight so i wasn’t able to check it out. groove also told me someone had bought mary jane’s on washington and although they are remodeling the inside, outside on monday night someone spins old country. i might have to check into that.
saturday i slept in. as usual. after getting up i hopped in my pickup and went by the houston shoe hospital and picked up my boots, which appear to be fixed. i then stopped by goode company bbq. (i was so close…how could i not?) i was going to drop by the men’s wearhouse to get fitted for my monkey suit for my brother’s wedding, but it started dropping buckets of water from the sky so i headed back home. i field stripped and cleaned my kel-tec .380 and my new kimber, then i headed to top gun. i put about 150 rounds through my kimber. it’s a 3″ barrel and an aluminum frame, so i was a bit worried about kick — but it wasn’t bad. if you don’t recall, my kel-tec had some problems last time at the range, so i was hoping my cleaning would help. i put most of a box of remington through it no problems, but when i switched to winchester it jammed within a few shots. because of this, i’m thinking perhaps my kel-tec doesn’t like the blunt tips on winchester fmj. which makes me wonder how it’d handle hollow points. i might have to fire a box through it to see. i had my (newer) walther ppk/s so i fired the box of winchester fmj through it, no problems.
i came home, then around 10pm i headed to the continental club to see steven reynolds and the Texas two and the octanes. i don’t recall seeing steven reynolds and the Texas two before, but their myspace page made me cautiously interested. when i got there, a three-piece punk band was doing a punk rockabilly song. then they switched to just punk. it was kind of odd for the small crowd there. the funniest thing was the lead singer was the guy with the bright red mohawk i see driving around the montrose/westhheimer area all the time. turns out he’s the lead singer and guitar player for the hates, a punk band that has been around in houston since the late 70’s. weird. i know this from talking to jay, whom i happened to notice at the bar after i’d settled in. steven reynolds’ set was okay. i liked the music alright, but it generally seemed to be lacking in presence, at least to me. between reynolds’ and the octanes’ sets i headed next door to tacos-a-go-go and got a couple of tacos (one barbacoa and one chicken fajita, both on flour tortillas). i recommend either. i hopped back over to the continental club to catch the octanes and got a lone star to wash down the tacos. i left part way through the octanes set — partially because i was tired, partially because i wasn’t real into it, and partially because of the two drunk couples acting stupid and making out and blocking my view.
today i got up and went to church. the message was about being a christian at work. bill based it on the text from titus about how bond servants should behave. i generally agree with what he said, but i’m not very good about having that mindset. not that i’m a horrible employee who sows dissent or strife or whatever, but i’m not the model employee either.
and now once again i’m going to talk about not feeling like i belong. and yes, i understand it is as much up to me as anyone else to make myself a part of anything. i’m not faulting the church, or bill, or anyone in particular. i’m just saying i don’t really feel like i’m part of a community. i feel like a guy who goes to the service, might or might not talk to a few people, then goes home. but this is generally how i’ve felt about my social status throughout most of my life. i’m an introvert, i’m not an initiator, but i’m not emotionally built to be a complete loner. i need friendships and activities on my own terms and timelines (meaning i need personal space and alone time as well), but i do need them. sometimes my feeling isolated leads me to want to completely sever all ties to anyone and embrace complete isolation. even to the point of quitting my job. but i know that couldn’t end well. even if the failure of my marriage and the continuous betrayal by my best friend crushed my spirit and psyche, i have to continue trying to lead some semblance of a functional life or any hopes or dreams i have for the future will disappear, and with it me.
in that vein, today is the two year anniversary of my official, legal divorce. it’s significant only as a stamp of status though, since my marriage had been over for pretty much two years before that. at least that’s how i interpret your wife living in another state with the guy she had an affair with…but maybe that’s just me.
fortunately, the status of this day as the day of my legal divorce can be overshadowed by this being the one year anniversary of the date i legally took ownership of my 1965 ford f-100. i still need to do a lot of work to it, but it’s a very cool vehicle nevertheless. now if only anyone else cared as much as i do. 🙂

superbad vs. supergood

thursday after work i headed over to see a free screening of superbad. from the previews, it looked like it could be really funny or pretty bad. i got to the theater about an hour early and paid $3 to park in their garage, but when i got to the ticket takers they weren’t letting people in because it was full. i was kind of miffed about paying them $3 i almost certainly wouldn’t be getting back, so i just sort of stood around in the foyer. after five or ten minutes, a guy came out and was asking people what movie they were there for. a couple said superbad and he said he was letting a few more people in, but only had a few seats. i went up and asked him and he let me in. i had a pass for two, and as i was walking through the new line, a guy asked if i could let him in with me. so i did. then they stopped us and wanded us. they wouldn’t let anyone in with a cell phone that had a camera on it. so i had to go back out to my car and drop it off. by the time i got back in, the only obviously open seating was in the very front row. so i slouched through the movie, which pretty much consumed my entire field of vision. as for the movie…i’m not sure it was worth the hassle. i’m sure a lot of people will love it, because it was rather funny. unfortunately, most of the humor was related to sex, pr0n, body parts, etc. the same people did 40-year-old virgin and it was on the edge for me personally, but this one pulled out the stops. i’m afraid it was just too much for me. even though i thought some parts were hilarious, i left the theater feeling kind of emotionally soiled. and perhaps a few iq points dumber. so if you’re the kind of person who thinks the american pie movies were awesome, you’ll probably dig superbad.
shifting gears entirely, i recently listened to 2 3-part podcasts from dallas theological seminary about the emergent/emerging church movement. i thought the “key points” podcast was better than the (what is the) “emerging church movement” one. the dts folk are seminary professors, scholars, etc — i.e. intelligent, thinking, analytical individuals. they’re also part of what would generally be considered the elite that drives the theology that trickles down to the masses over time. (at least for certain segments of christianity.) so i was curious what their take would be. as scholars, and establishment scholars at that, it’s not surprising to find them having positive things to say, but finding faults as well, and making somewhat negative comments about it being a “reactionary” movement.
having been involved with scenes and cultures in the church before the movement really existed, but having a background and mindset to identify with it (quite strongly in areas), it’s interesting to me to watch it grow and build and see where it’s headed. i’m not a fan of some aspects of the movement, but some of the reaction against current church culture i totally understand. i was also involved in ecclesia here in houston (1999-2000 or so), which was/is connected to the movement. (which was a horrible experience, mostly due to leadership in the church…or the lack thereof. chris seay, the pastor/creator of ecclesia, has been a minor player in the emergent movement.) and i’m currently going to kaleo, which is also related to the movement.
having been involved as a mostly passive participant in the movement, but not looking at it or analyzing it from a removed enough perspective to label it a movement, it was interesting to learn about the divisions that are now being drawn between the terms “emergent” and “emerging”. “emergent” tends to be specific people and churches, with more specific beliefs — whereas “emerging” tends to be a broader term that refers to churches that have at least some of certain core views or beliefs. (thus i would label kaleo as part of the emerging church.)
now getting back to what seemed to be one of the dts podcasts’ main issues…that the emerging/emergent movement is reactionary — i personally think there is nothing inherently wrong with reactionary movements. the status quo has inertia, and many times it takes something strong to force it to shift. the protestant movement, which dts is descended from, was reactionary. many aspects of christianity were (at the least conceived as) reactionary in jesus’ time. many christian movements since then have been reactionary. populist movements are reactionary. but even if reactionary movements flourish and die instead of gain permanence, they generally can at least make the status quo analyze itself a bit — if not actually get it to shift and deal with the deficiencies the reactionary movement saw. look at the history of the william jennings bryan era populist movement — it withered and died, but mostly because most of the issues it was raising were eventually accepted and absorbed into the political system. the catholic church didn’t deal with the points nailed on the wittenburg door. from their handling of that, we now have entire systems of churches courtesy of the protestant movement. (notice the word in the word “protestant”?) so i think their slights on it being “reactionary” are weaker points than perhaps they do.
but overall, if you’re interested in the movement, and are interested in the perspective of some intelligent establishment folk toward it, check out the podcasts. learning generally isn’t a bad thing.

doh! stupid sony receiver 2nd zone.

sunday afternoon i saw the simpsons with the potts at the alamo draft house in katy. it was good, but it was pretty much just a longer, bigger viewing of the tv show. not too surprising i guess. the animation work seemed to be higher quality overall, which should be expected i guess. but i didn’t go because i was super-excited about seeing the movie — it was just the best of the choices that were showing.
i had a “good idea” [tm] recently, and on tuesday i went about bringing it to fruition. i have this nice enclosed front porch where i’m currently staying, and when the temperature is agreeable it’s nice to go sit out there. (there’s a ceiling fan, so that helps widen the definition of “agreeable” to include times during the houston summers.) i have a recliner out there, plus a chair and sofa that came with the house. so anyway, i realized my sony str-da2000es receiver has a 2nd zone, which allows you to run an output line to another area. the 2nd zone is controlled separately from the rest of the receiver: you can choose a different source than the one currently playing on the receiver…it’ll even stay on when you turn off the “primary” portion of the receiver. so i went and bought some cheaper but still decent sounding logitech z-4i 2+1 speakers, then picked up a 20 foot 1/8″ stereo extension cord and an rca to 1/8″ stereo adapter. i hooked it all up and commenced to configuring.
unfortunately, upon reading the manual for my sony receiver, i learned the 2nd zone will only play analog audio sources. that knocks out my dvd player, since i currently only use digital co-ax for it — but that’s not too big of a loss. the bad one it knocks out is the itunes audio coming from my airport express, as i have that feeding from an digital optical audio line. on other devices i could possibly feed digital and analog signals at the same time, but the airport express uses the same plug for either analog or digital. one of the cool things was going to be playing itunes and hearing it in my computer room, the living room, *and* the front porch. i had hoped maybe i could trick it into feeding some out line into an analog in line and cheating the system, but some tinkering with it never produced good results. oh well. i can listen to my cd player on the front porch, as well as the tv audio. and since my tv is dish, it has a number of music channels — including sirius satellite. so it’s not all bad.