i had to knock this out before xmas…

wow. almost two weeks since an entry. i think this has been the longest gap in a number of months. i’ll try to rattle off some of the interesting goings on i can think of…
back on the 16th i heard from the missouri owner of the bel air. he had one question for me, then he was dropping the s.a.s.e. i sent to him into the mail for me. unfortunately, it didn’t arrive at my house until friday, so i couldn’t go and get the title and plates taken care of. my temp tag expired on the 23rd, so my choice of which vehicle to take to brady for the xmas holidays was limited. i took the pickup.
i rolled 64k on my pickup odometer at the san saba river bridge on 87 on my way to brady.
i’ve seen a few movies over the last couple of weeks. i watched knocked up over at the potts’ house. it was pretty good. not great, but enjoyable to watch. i rented and watched hot rod a few days ago, and watched it at my house with emily. it’s kind of stupid, but fortunately it’s the kind of stupid humor i enjoy. it’s not like a lot of dumb comedy films of the last number of years, that tend to be based on crude sex and gross bodily function humor. i watched most of elf on tv while at my parents’ place. it seemed to be pretty funny as well. this past thursday i went to a free screening of juno with sue. it was good, with quirky humor. the only thing i kind of didn’t like was that it seemed utterly self-aware most of the time — almost every line was some kind of clever and/or sarcastic quip. but the main female character was played really well i thought, and the storyline kept it interesting and not completely predictable.
on the 14th i took the bel air to a mechanic. he looked at it and told me what he thought about things. he talked to me for a long time. he seemed most worried about the brakes, so i suppose i’ll get them done first. of course, i hadn’t driven it for a week or two, and when i got in it and drove it over there the clutch or whatever didn’t ever make a sound. he also discussed the fact that the back end was dropped, so it wasn’t just bad shocks or leaf springs. when i talked with the previous owner on the phone i asked him about it and he said that yes, his dad had done that. he claimed it shouldn’t be anything that would be difficult to switch back. so hopefully they just put the axle above the leaf springs or something simple like that.
so i drove the bel air to work from the mechanic after that (on the 14th). it was a maintenance friday, so after work a few of us went to the volcano (or something like that…it’s in rice village) and had a break before we went to do downtime work.
on the 21st i drove the bel air to work as well. i and five other coworkers went in the car to the cleburne cafeteria. we got out early for the holidays, and i met a number of coworkers at vietopia for happy hour. it was an enjoyable time.
saturday i drove to brady for the holidays. i didn’t hit any animals. i did stop where i’d hit the antelope, just to see if perhaps its body would still be there. it wasn’t, of course. i stopped in austin and did most of my xmas shopping. that was nice, since i hadn’t really planned to do it. i hadn’t really been in any kind of holiday spirit, so i was originally just planning to go home and skip doing any holiday shopping and do it later. but i managed to knock out almost everything within about two hours in austin. i did a little bit more online the next day once i got to brady.
this last week i spent a lot of time with emily. i’ll have to write more about that at some point. i’ve had several people get in touch with me i haven’t seen in various amounts of time. a couple were through facebook, one was through myspace, and the last was via my blog due to a google vanity search. interesting times.
on the 15th i went to miller’s hats and ended up buying a couple of fedoras. that was kind of an interesting experience. the fear with fedoras is that instead of looking like a guy from the 50’s or a cool ska/swing guy, you end up invoking memories of michael jackson, corey feldman (?), or the one zany character in the fedora from all teen 80’s films. we’ll see how i feel about the look for me. i bought one nicer one — dark grey with a thick black band, and a cheaper second one — a brownish tweed or twill kind of pattern.
i picked up a 5-pack of alamo sweet cigars on friday (21st). they’re made by the finck cigar company in san antonio. i smoked one friday after work. they tasted similar to swisher sweets to me. i just like the fact it is a Texas company and they name their cigars after Texas people and/or places.
i’m sure i’ve forgotten some stuff, but i can fill in gaps as they come to me. i just need to get something up here before everyone decides my blog is officially dead. it’s not dead, it’s just resting.

“we’re through being cool” –devo

friday morning i called classic toyota honda in austin and paid for the work done to my element. my brother and his wife (that’s still an odd thing for me to type or say…my brother with a wife…and a baby on the way) went up there during an extended lunch break and picked it up. so that’s taken care of. they will be borrowing it until i retrieve it, or they may decide to purchase it from me. we’ll see what happens.
friday evening was the geek gathering. it was a pretty small turnout. after the gathering, i went over to the studio and met with jack and sue for a couple of hours. they claim i am a good mediator between them. i just like to think that even though i couldn’t make my own marriage work out, at least maybe i could help another one survive. of course, a failed marriage of my own doesn’t exactly instill confidence in my skills in regards to marital relations. plus i’d rather be dealing with a relationship of my own than that of others. i think.
saturday afternoon i met the potts clan at the dairy queen on westheimer near beltway 8. i was craving dairy queen (i grew up in a small town), so i let them know where i was going and they joined me. afterward, they were heading to an aaron brothers to purchase some picture frames, so i decided i would go ahead and buy one too. i had been meaning to pick up a frame for the poster from my brother’s wedding. i picked up that, plus a couple of other frames. i then went by a target and picked up some d-cell batteries for my many 3-cell mag-lites, then headed to the potts’ house. i ended up spending the rest of saturday there.
sunday sue came over around lunchtime and brought some food from wendy’s, and we ate outside because simcha was asleep in their van. it was a nice day. and i don’t get outside that much in the middle of the day, unless i’m on my motorcycle. sunday evening i had tentative plans to either watch a movie at home with natalie or in the theater with sue, but both plans fell through so i just stayed at home at did stuff around the house.
monday night i finished reading searching for G-d knows what by donald miller. i didn’t really like it all that much. blue like jazz was better in my opinion, and i really liked through the painted desert more than searching… or blue…. the last fourth of searching… was much better than the rest of it, i thought. but i think part of it is that the ironic and coy attitude that bugged me some in blue… was turned up a lot more through the earlier parts of this book. or maybe i just noticed it more. or maybe i agreed with the sentiments behind it less this time around, so it made it seem more noticeable and annoying. whatever the case, there are some beautiful ideas and points to be found in this book, but i didn’t enjoy having to go through most of the book to have to get to them. obviously your mileage may vary. i do agree with the general premise, which is that american xianity has attempted to turn belief into a formula or a set of steps, and it’s really not that simple at all. it’s especially funny that the very people who scream about how “it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship!” are some of the worst about trying to turn it from a relationship into a set of steps to salvation, happiness, fulfillment, weight-loss, financial success, or whatever else.
tonight i headed over to crescent city beignets and had some beignet strips and cafe au lait. i had meant to bring velvet elvis, but i ended up picking up the l33t h4x0r h4ndb00k by mistake. i was already there by the time i realized it, so i went ahead and read what i had. it wasn’t the kind of material i’d been planning to read, and to be honest the …h4ndbook is not particulary l33t …or w3ll-wr1tt3n. there was a table of attractive younger women there, from various races and cultures…kind of like a benetton ad. from bits of conversation i overheard, i decided they were all mail-order brides in some kind of support group. which i doubt is true, but it made it more interesting to think that. it was also at this point that i decided the next woman i date needs to be a pale-skinned brunette russian (or at least eastern bloc) with a name like nadia or such. (nadia is a nice name though.) jennifer was a brunette but wasn’t eastern bloc (so far as i know), and tamara — though having the russian pronunciation of her name and being of polish descent (eastern bloc) — was a dirty blonde. (note how my dating options are so wide open these days i have to drastically limit them with such artificial limitations.)
i’m still waiting on some stuff so i can finish up transferring the title of the bel air into my name. i’ll be happy when all of that is taken care of. i also still need to drop it off at the shop. i should take care of that so i’ll have it in time for the holidays. speaking of the holidays…i wonder what i’m going to drive back home? both of my 4-wheel vehicles aren’t exactly friendly with gas, and my 2-wheel vehicle isn’t so fun in the cold and/or bad weather. what to do?

old car, new car, toy cars

classic toyota honda service dept. called me yesterday. they were going to do the 60k maintenance and the free windshield replacement, but they called to ask whether i wanted to go ahead and get my brakes done. i decided as long as it was in the shop i might as well. they said they’d do the work and send it back to the body shop. no one has called yet to say it’s done.
while talking to the service guy, i asked them if they had any opinions in-shop as to what the problem was with the 2003 and 2004 element front windshields. (because i really don’t want to have the windshield crack on its own again.) he said they thought it was because the original glass was too tight of a fit, and with the large opening and big cabin space there was too much stress put on the tight glass from the vehicle roof and pillars bending. he said the new glass they use doesn’t fit in as tight, and they haven’t had the same problems. hopefully that’ll be true. although i’m not planning on keeping the vehicle a whole lot longer, so i guess i hope it’s true for the next owner’s sake. but it’ll also have just gotten a good service job, as well as new brakes.
i haven’t driven the bel air lately, as i’m waiting to get it worked on. (which — with the element in austin — means i’ve mostly been driving the pickup.) the car is an attention grabber for sure — it’s just not the right kind of attention to be drawing if everyone looks because your car squeals loudly at times, and rattles when going over bumps. i’ve been meaning to take it to the shop the last couple of days, just haven’t gotten around to it. perhaps tomorrow.
speaking of the new car, i got some 1955 plates for it on ebay a while back. i was wanting some others, but — though i got the high bid — i didn’t meet the reserve. he has not decided to re-list them so far. the ones i didn’t get have a pattern that would be very easy for me to remember. oh well. so i went ahead and bought a different pair, since i managed to get them at what i thought was a decent price. i figure i can use them if nothing else comes up by xmas time. and if something else does, i think i should be able to sell these i bought and get most of my money back (at the least). so we shall see.
i’m still waiting to get the bel air titled and registered though, because of some extra legwork i’m having to do with the title. i had to track down the previous owner via google searches, but i eventually got in touch with him/them. on the good side, i managed to find out some more stuff about the vehicle. hopefully i’ll be able to get all of the loose ends tied up in the next week or two and the car will be in my name with 1955 plates on it. and be fixed up and running nice and smooth.
i can’t remember if i’ve mentioned on here or not, but i’ve sort of tentatively named the ’65 ford f-100 “hank” (since there are plenty of good hanks in country music). i’m still not 100% set on that though. as for the ’55 bel air, i’m leaning toward “loretta”. because i want a female name — but a kind of a tough, bad4ss female name. and loretta lynn certainly fits that. if you listen to her old songs, she was all woman — but she would kick your butt if you messed around with her or her man.
this evening i went to a toy drive kickoff event at the corkscrew (chris reminded me about the invitation luis had sent, which i’d completely forgotten about). i brought all toys for boys. i had originally thought i’d try to get things for both, but once there i realized i really had no clue what girls are into these days or what i think they’d like. oh well, i’m sure someone else made up for my gap. chris put my name into the drawing without me knowing, then my name ended up getting drawn. i won a couple of framed 8×10 black and white prints from a local photographer (whose name i am currently not recalling). then i went over to rudyard’s with chris and mary and ate supper. i’d never been there before. the burger and tater tots were good.
i think my solidly single status is slowly driving me crazy. sometimes i don’t care, but generally i’d enjoy some kind of relationship. not that i’m actually making any kind of meaningful effort to get myself into any kind of relationship. it kind of sucks being a lonely loser, when you have time to think about such a status hovering over yourself. even if you do have some freakin’ cool vehicles, an interesting and somewhat eclectic music and dvd collection, and think you’re a pretty decent guy. seems like someone should be at least a little interested in what i have to offer. maybe i just need to figure out how to actually get my information into the hands of the appropriate people. of course, i guess that’s what i’ve not known how to do pretty much all of my life. which brings us back around to the category i find myself falling into. ah, sweet bliss.

“and then i woke up.” –ed tom bell

back on nov 19th or so i attempted to do a leopard install on my g5 power mac, but it didn’t go so well. yesterday i went at it again and was much more successful. in fact, i’m typing this from mac os 10.5 right now. instead of trying to do a “super” erase on the 160gb hard drive, this time i just chose to do a basic wipe. i also recreated a single partition (even though that’s what it was in the first place). after that went well, the installer saw the drive and let me install to it. the install went okay. the only annoying thing was it got to the point it said “about 1 minute left” and it sat there for at least 10 or 20 more minutes. but eventually it finished and wanted to reboot. after the reboot, i put my original hard drive back in (in the second internal slot) to see if i could import the data from my 10.4 tiger drive. it never would see the drive. i even — against my better judgement — rebooted the system in the middle of the installation questions to see if it would see the drive then. it didn’t. but fortunately the installer came back up and let me go through it again. once i made all my settings and created a new account and got logged into the gui, i manually ran the migration assistant out of applications/utilities. it saw the old 10.4 disk and went to work migrating my accounts, files, settings, etc. it appeared to all go well. it was kind of annoying i had to create a new account and then import my old account, but that’s not that big of an issue.
thursday last week i got a letter from state farm stating i would get an estimate and blah blah. all i could tell from it was that state farm knew i had made a claim. it didn’t provide any info about the place i’d selected or any status info. yesterday (monday) i got two letters from state farm. one was an estimate from a state farm inspector, the second was a revision based on other stuff the shop had found. even though i’d told them to cut the checks to the shop, they were included in the letters i got. oh well. at least i could tell my element really had made it to a legitimate shop and was in the process of being worked on. today i got a call from the dealership and they said my vehicle was going to service and it should probably be ready tomorrow. i reminded them i wanted them to do the 60k maintenance and replace the windshield as part of the class action lawsuit settlement. hopefully that will be taken care of. they said they’d call when everything was done. so i may be making a trip to austin this weekend.
friday night i went and ate supper at tacos-a-go-go and then caught the disco expressions show at the continental club. it was a good show, other than being there by myself. while there, i asked trey where he got his ’64 chevy pickup work done. he mentioned a place far away, but he also mentioned another place. i tried calling them over the weekend but i guess they weren’t open. i called today and talked to them. i’ll probably be taking the ’55 over there sometime this week.
saturday i went to simcha’s first birthday party. beforehand, i went on my motorcycle to a babies’r’us and bought some presents. i took my back rest off awhile back, so i don’t really have anywhere to attach stuff. i was holding the bag between my legs, but in a turn on westheimer it went flying. i had to slow down and turn around and go get it. the bag had some road rash, but i guess all of the contents were okay. after the party i stayed and eventually spent a couple of hours playing mario party with jackson and dietrich. at one point i exclaimed “yoshi keeps stealing crap from me!” to which jackson said “‘crap’? what do you mean?” i kind of sat there with a blank expression for a few seconds, then he said “i think i’m going to put that on my bad word list.”
sunday i went by microcenter and picked up a sata and ide to usb 2.0 adapter. it’s a slick little external connector that can attach to 3.5″ ide, 2.5″ ide, or sata drives and then connect them to your system via usb. it allows you to easily and quickly hook up drives without having to open the case or have an external closure or whatever. from there i went to target to pick up some 3-prong-to-2-prong adapters, but they didn’t have any. i guess they aren’t a commonly needed item these days? so i went by home depot and picked up a few outlet adapters, as well as a 2-aa and 3-d cell mag-lite pack. i went ahead and bought a 3-d cell l.e.d. bulb too.
i ate a late lunch at the house of pies. there was a new waitress i hadn’t seen before and she had an intriguing accent. i asked her about it, and she said she was russian.
after house of pies, i went to the theater and caught no country for old men. it reminded me of blood simple in some ways. it was well-filmed and well-acted. it seemed sort of self-aware sometimes, like the dialogue was too clever and appropriate. it was nice to see the Texas i grew up in. (although idealized, and further west.) the movie mostly had a leisurely pace, but the ending was kind of abrupt. at least to me. it makes me curious how it compares to the book. i’ve never read any of mccarthy’s stuff.
here‘s a good discussion (read the comments) linked from the movie’s website.
sunday evening i managed to repair a 2-aa mag-lite that i’d had to pull apart a month or two ago. i also pulled apart and cleaned a 3-d mag-lite that the batteries has leaked in. after buying the pair and fixing a pair that was broken, i’m mag-lite rich.

thanksgiving weekend redux

i used vista some while in brady because my parents’ new computer has it. i don’t really like it. it seems kind of clunky. and it looks like it’s trying to look cool, but it just doesn’t seem right. kind of like metallic silver paint over plastic as compared to actual chromed metal. i guess it just didn’t feel natural to me either. if i used it more and did some tweaks to it i’d probably get used to it. but i shouldn’t need to do that, thankfully.
when my dad and i were in mason we stopped and ate at a locally owned place called the northside cafe. they are a burger and fries kind of place, located in the small building that for years was the northside grocery. (which was run by a leifeste. there are no leifestes involved in its current incarnation that i am aware of.) it’s off the beaten path — a few blocks off the square — but it’s worth it. they have imperial sugar dr. pepper as a fountain drink, and that’s reason enough to go. but they also have really good made-to-order homemade style burgers. and not expensive.
i listened to the first part of the a&m/t.u. game in the pickup on the radio (we’d gotten a late start due to all of the calling around i had to do related to the elemen), then watched the rest of it on tv. it’s nice to see a&m win that match.
the bel air made the trip from alpine back to brady with no problems. i learned it doesn’t like to shift into first gear unless it isn’t moving at all. i also learned the driver’s side door lock is finicky. the brakes are pretty soft, but work. they appear to be driven off a single master cylinder (like my pickup).
when we stopped at the edge of alpine to get gas before we went down the highway, i stopped and bought a big red even though it was cold outside and the car didn’t have the heater core hooked up. when my dad and i went to mason and bought my first vehicle ever — a baby blue 4-wheel drive chevy luv pickup with mud tires — i stopped on the way out of town and bought a big red and got some kind of candy bar (what it was for sure escapes me). anyway, i thought it would be appropriate to have the same initiation for this car.
it never got unbearable, but the last hour of the five hour drive in a car with no heater core and the temperature between 33-36 degrees the whole time was uncomfortable. i had bought a cool drink and wanted to drink it warm, but it actually stayed colder in the car than when i bought it from the store.
i’m glad i decided to get him to have new tires put on it for me. the weather was cold and misting/damp the whole way. i would have been nervous about the whitewalls from 1979 on the car. he put all four old tires in the trunk. with the full size matching spare, that makes five full size tires in the trunk. and i think i could still fit a couple of bodies in there. i told him to put blackwalls on it. the blackwalls make the car look tougher or meaner or like it means business, more than the flash or showy look of the whitewalls. i originally was kind of disappointed i wasn’t going to be able to consider my options and make an informed decision, but i’m pretty happy with the look of what i ended up with.
on the way from brady back to houston, i had my first disappointment with the vehicle. i hadn’t ever really punched the gas, so at a highway stoplight i decided to give it some acceleration. the vehicle next to me evidently decided i was trying to race, so i quickly decided to give it a shot. a 3-on-the-tree manual isn’t really designed for speed shifting. i got beat. it was some bmw suv. i guess bmw makes nice, performance vehicles at least. but my car will always be cooler. *grin*
i thought about stopping to see if my roadkill was still on the side of the road, but i ended up not doing it. it’d be cool if i went by on my way to pick up my element in austin and it was still there. well, the horns at least.

a weekend with no email or webserver

my server went down around 7:30pm friday evening. i noticed around 11pm or so. i couldn’t ssh into it, ping it, console into it, or even reboot it in rescue mode. i eventually contacted support around midnight friday to have them work on it. things came back up around 9:30am this morning. everything appears to be intact. personally i think the hardware is failing, but they didn’t really provide any detail.