“is there any risk of brain damage?”

well, as i mentioned before i didn’t go home to brady this last weekend, so i was in town. i don’t really recall much of what i did over most of the weekend. saturday afternoon, a former coworker (josh) came over with his dad to look at the vw camper bus. his dad was thinking about buying it. he seemed to like it, but josh later called to say his dad had decided to pass on it (most likely because he decided he already had too many “projects” at home). oh well. it would have been nice to get rid of the bus so easily. while driving somewhere saturday evening i remember being worried i was going to run out of gas, so i pulled into a gas station, swiped my credit card, put the gas pump in my pickup…then they shut off the lights. and evidently the pumps. i got 7 cents of gas. i was kind of pissed. sunday afternoon i went looking for some two-tone dickies work shirts (which i didn’t find), then i ate at star pizza.
i had already asked for monday off, and i was maxed out on my vacation time, so i decided to go ahead and take at least part of monday off. i ended up taking the whole day off. because lucky for me, having monday off provided an opportunity to make plans to hang out with the hot russian chick from work before she had surgery on tuesday morning. (okay, that cutesy pseudonym is getting tedious…should i call her “thrcfw”, “thrc”, “trc”, or “julia”? decisions, decisions. anyway…) she came over and we hung out for a while. i’m happy i was able to spend some time with her before she had surgery, as she will be out of commission (and away from work) for probably at least a month or two. she also gave me her parking card so i can use it to park in the lot at work while she’s out. later i walked to subway and got a sandwich, then came back and watched some more episodes of dead like me. and that was my monday.
so my 3.5 day weekend didn’t really happen like i’d originally planned, but it ended up being a mostly relaxing and pleasurable time.
julia’s surgery was on tuesday during the day, so tuesday evening after work i dropped by the hospital to check on her. she was in pain and pissed off, but she was walking around some. i was planning to go check up on her again wednesday evening, but she and the hospital staff evidently both decided she didn’t need to be there anymore so she went home.
a while back i hooked up my old windows 98 desktop machine, but i never had turned it on. a few days ago i turned it on. i think the last time it was powered up was in 2004 or something. i basically stopped using it in 2002. it booted up — all hardware was fine and the o.s. booted. 98 was a good o.s. i shared the c drive over the network, mounted it from my mac desktop, and spent some time wednesday and thursday going through and finding everything i wanted to copy off. i found a bunch of stuff i’d sort of forgotten existed, or i’d written off to being lost in time. including some pics of tamara i’d forgotten i’d ever taken. *sigh* oh well. once i copied everything i wanted i went over to the box to look around on it, but the screen saver was on and for the life of me i can’t remember what the password was/is. ha. i’m still not sure what i’ll do with the hardware once i’m through with it. it’s all pretty old at this point.
joel: is there any risk of brain damage?
howard: well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking. nothing you’ll miss.
(from eternal sunshine of the spotless mind)

then again…

i haven’t done much lately because i’ve been trying to make plans to do something with the hot russian chick* from work before she’s out of commission for at least a month, but she keeps canceling on me. so i’ve been crying myself to sleep every night after sitting at home waiting for her to call.
okay, not really. well, not completely. i don’t think i sat at home waiting for her to call the whole time. and i suppose i didn’t actually cry myself to sleep. i did laundry, i cleaned the house some. a few of the times i even did other stuff. sunday i met emily at inversion coffeehouse for awhile, then later she came over and we watched heathers. and last night i went to inversion coffeehouse for jack’s “opening” of his art installation there (which has actually been up for a couple of months at this point).
last night after inversion i went to taco cabana on kirby near 59. i was in my pickup and was driving a little crazy down montrose and westheimer. i hit some standing water in the outside lane on westheimer and couldn’t really see where i was going, but i think i mostly managed to stay in my lane. and i didn’t hit anyone. then on kirby at the alabama light — where i wasn’t driving aggressively or crazy — i was in the inside lane and it was going real slow after the light changed to green, so i moved into the middle lane. behind me, some black honda or acura or something had just come across all lanes (in both directions) from the whole foods parking lot and gotten into the outside lane. as we got up to the intersection the black car started angling over like it was going to make a wide swinging right onto alabama…except it didn’t…it just kept coming into the middle lane…into the space the front half of my pickup was occupying. i slammed on my brakes and started skidding. my backend started sliding to the right and my front was starting to angle toward a car beside me in the inside lane as i was veering away from the black car, now almost halfway in my lane. fortunately, the squealing of my tires got the black car’s attention and they pulled back into the outside lane they’d be occupying. i had the presence of mind to turn my front wheels facing down kirby again, so when i let off my brakes i didn’t go flying into the inside lane (and the car occupying that space) but instead continued down the middle lane. i caught up to the black car and inside was an asian chick talking on a cell phone. grr. she would have totally driven right into my pickup as she jumped lanes in the middle of the intersection if i hadn’t slammed on my brakes and taken evasive action.
on monday (a holiday for me) i had a late lunch with sue and the kids at lupe tortilla. there was a girl there that looked a lot like tamara did when we were together: same kind of clothes, watch, body type, fingers, haircut, skin tone, etc. it was kind of weird. she had a kid and was there with another mom with a kid. it definitely wasn’t tamara though. after lunch i went back to the yankee candle store and bought a full size red apple wreath candle, plus three small candles: black cherry, buttercream, and juicy peach.
wednesday night at the radio show i got to handle the mac book air dwight has as a review unit. it was pretty slick looking in person. i didn’t actually use the operating system to do anything, but i was able to handle it, open and close it, and check it out physically. i’m still not sure whether to buy one or not. i know it should be able to beat my current laptop in all respects, and i’m not going to be going back to a windows laptop so i don’t have to consider many other laptops, but i can’t decide whether to try and wait for some revs to this air model or suck it up and go with a regular mac book.
over the last week or two i watched all three of the netflix movies i currently have, but i never have mentioned it. i watched munich, which is a spielberg film about mossad agents hunting down the terrorists who killed the israeli athletes taken hostage during the 1972 summer olympics. it was pretty good. i watched the three burials of melquiades estrada, a movie starring and directed by tommy lee jones. it’s set in south Texas and is about a border patrol guard accidentally killing an illegal alien and burying him. the mexican was jones’ character’s friend, so when he finds out who did it he kidnaps the border patrol guard, makes him dig up his friend’s body, and takes them to mexico (on horseback) to bury him in his hometown. it wasn’t as good as i expected it to be, but it was good. finally, i watched late marriage. it’s set in russia, and is about a 31-year-old grad student trying to have marriage arranged for him by his parents. he’s actually dating an older woman with a child, which doesn’t please his parents at all when they find out. i think most of the characters are russian jews. it was pretty good, and the ending wasn’t really what i’d expected so that was kind of cool.
to completely jump offtrack: after looking into the dental bills and the money paid out by my insurance, it does appear that i owed the dentist’s office the $17x.xx i mentioned awhile back. so i sent them a check a couple of days ago. i’m kind of annoyed they were off by that much though. i can’t find their estimate so i’m not sure how they managed to be that off, but they didn’t appear to double-charge me for anything that i could tell. *sigh*
i took off work early today and was planning on going to brady, but my grandmother changed her plans so i ended up staying in town. i’ll be going at some later day. i couldn’t justify two trips close to each other because it’d cost me around $200 just to make a trip. (higher gas prices and old v-8 engines are a costly combo on long trips.) i thought about going to see dale watson at blanco’s, but instead i stayed at home and ate some cereal and watched a few episodes of “dead like me”. (the previously mentioned co-worker is letting me borrow the season one box.)
aside: why exactly does “what do you want me to do?” always seem to have to be such a complicated matter? why must making life simple seem to necessarily strip most of the possible enjoyment and/or benefit from it? what is it about the messiness of complexity? does the uncertainty of complexity allow for a hope somewhere in there that the sterile confines of simplicity just doesn’t have the capacity for? and is it really hope in complexity? or merely distraction?
“doc: my dear, it appears that we may have to re-define the nature of our relationship.
kate: i take care of you doc. haven’t i always been a good woman to you?
doc: yes, yes you have always been a good woman to me. then again, you may be the antichrist.”
–val kilmer as doc holliday in tombstone
* oh yeah. about that “hot russian chick” comment up at the top. not that it’s not true (especially with the new haircut…i <3 short angled bobs), but i mostly phrased it that way because i’d recently said i couldn’t just go and put something like that on here because some people who read this might read too much into it. so, i thought it’d be funny to do it anyway. y’all did note the asterisk and read this footnote, right? right? hello?

i rode up into austin…

back in my jan 11th entry about visiting austin and seeing my nephew, i mentioned i had taken a few pics with the crappy camera on my motorola razr phone. i finally found the license key i needed to activate the image manipulation software, so now i can show you the pics.
this is the banner for linc and heather and miles when they returned home:


it’s a play on the song “miles and miles of Texas” by asleep at the wheel (see below for more on that).
and here’s a picture of miles, and one of my brother:

my brother was out on the front porch, smoking cigars with me and our dad. note the pensive “just what exactly have i gotten myself into? but somehow i’m still happy about it.” look he’s got.
“i rode up into austin, the cradle of the west —
just ask any cowboy, he’ll tell you it’s the best.
i met a Texas beauty, i got friendly with her pa,
i looked into her big blue eyes, this is what i saw —
i saw miles and miles of Texas, all the stars up in the sky.
i saw miles and miles of Texas, gonna live here ’til i die.”
–asleep at the wheel “miles and miles of Texas”
(perhaps my brother is singing it right now.)

’cause once you’re down in Texas…

about a week ago i ordered some cds from the february sale at bloodshot records. i got them on valentine’s day. here’s what i got:

  • * the virginian – neko case and her boyfriends (bloodshot)
  • * furnace room lullaby – neko case and her boyfriends (bloodshot)
  • * 13 hillbilly giants – robbie fulks (bloodshot)
  • * hope is a thing with feathers – trailer bride (bloodshot)
  • * hard headed woman: a celebration of wanda jackson – various (bloodshot)

i’m not sure if i’ll like the neko case cds or not, and i picked up the trailer bride cd from hearing one song — but at $6 per cd, why not? i mostly picked up the wanda jackson cd for the wayne hancock version of “let’s have a party” on it, although i like wanda jackson’s music.
speaking of valentine’s day…eh. i wasn’t in particularly good spirits. i got close to watching eternal sunshine of the spotless mind and communing with the spirits, but i ended up going over to the potts.
yesterday i made a spur of the moment decision. i bought a ticket to see a ride with bob at the grand 1894 opera house in galveston at 8pm. i made the decision around 5:30pm. i bought my ticket online, took a shower, got dressed, and drove down to galveston. the weather was pretty bad, but i made it about 30 minutes before showtime. the opera house is really nice. they renovated it starting in the late 70’s i think. i had a decent seat. i ended up sitting next to an older guy who was pretty cool. we talked about old country music, Texas, our german-Texan roots (he was also of mid-1800’s german immigration heritage), etc. the average age was definitely older, but it was cool being in a place with so many people who know who bob wills is, like him, and know his songs. the play was pretty good. i already knew most of the stories they told about his life, but it was nice to hear good live versions of some of his music and see some of it played out on the stage. there was a 13 year old girl fiddle player and a 17 year old boy fiddle player in the show, and both of them were really good. (i think my brother and i may have seen them in san marcos a year or two ago…whenever we went to the western swing festival there.) when i left after the show, it must have been storming because the streets were somewhat flooded. but i made it home okay.
i guess this would be an appropriate time to mention a while back i got the second bear family bob wills box set, faded love. it covers 1947-1973. 13 cds and 1 dvd. i have a heck of a lot of bob wills music now. which isn’t a bad thing at all.
today i met the potts at the half price books in rice village. of course, i couldn’t help but look through the cds…and buy some…

  • * selmasongs – bjork (elektra)
  • * vespertine – bjork (elektra)
  • * violator – depeche mode (sire/reprise)
  • * from western swing to rock – bill haley (proper)
  • * the boogie man – john lee hooker (proper)
  • * louisiana hayride story – various (proper)

from there i was compelled to wander over to the yankee candle shop and see what candles they had on sale during their president’s day weekend sale. i had limited carrying capability since i was on my motorcycle, but i went ahead and bought two medium size candles anyway: canary island banana, and shortbread cookie.
“you can hear the grand ol’ opry in nashville tennessee.
it’s the home of country music, on that we all agree.
but when you cross that ol’ red river, hoss, that just don’t mean a thing —
’cause once you’re down in Texas, bob wills is still the king”
–waylon jennings “bob wills is still the king”
any song that can use the word “hoss” and not sound hokey must be good. and the lines above are that much more poignant knowing the story behind bob wills and the first time he and the Texas playboys performed on the grand ol’ opry. drums were verboten at the time. bob wasn’t excited about that, but they capitulated by telling him they could set them up behind the curtain where they wouldn’t be seen but could be heard. as show time was approaching, bob said the heck with that and had them pull the drums out on stage. it caused quite an uproar. but bob and the playboys wowed the audience, and their look and sound helped divert the direction of country music. at least that’s the way i’ve heard it.

i’m gonna find me a river…

interesting times. friday night i went out on a date. no, really! i was set up with the sister of someone from work. i drove out to pasadena after work and picked her up. we came back into town and went to empire cafe. from there we headed to the continental club and watched disco expressions. then i drove her back to her place.
overall, i thought things went alright. there weren’t a lot of awkward silences, we didn’t seem to get on each other’s nerves, we laughed, etc. unfortunately, i also didn’t really feel there was a lot of chemistry either. i’m not sure how she felt about things. but she seems like a nice girl. (and no, i don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment — she genuinely did.) i’m feeling friendship is likely where things will fall. of course, we only just met and it was only for a few hours though.
still, it’s a new step for me. i don’t really know that i’ve been on many actual “dates” — usually i start off just hanging out with a girl as friends, and eventually things build from there. not that friday night was a big to-do kind of date. but going out together — being set up — was the intent and reason. we went out as a boy and girl, not merely as two friends. although i probably helped keep it more at a two friends level, i was pretty happy that i seemed to not feel too awkward about the situation.
on my way home after dropping her off, my car started making these horribly loud rhythmic pinging or clanking sounds. i’m not sure what caused it. i’d push in the clutch and let the engine idle for awhile, which would make it stop making the sounds — then i’d let out the clutch and after a bit it’d start doing it again. i got home and parked it. sunday i started it up and it clanked once or twice, then it seemed to idle okay. i guess i’ll drive it at highway speeds soon and see if it does it again. i’m wondering if it’s either pistons hitting valves, or something not getting oil, or what. whatever the case, it’s not a good sound.
after the date friday night, and then throughout saturday, i was compelled to analyze the situation in my head — why i had felt the way i did, what i liked, what i didn’t, what was missing, etc. honestly, it made me miss some of the combinations of things tamara was when i met her and we were first together. not that she was perfect. (believe me i don’t think that. i was aware of things i had some concerns over from the beginning.) but she was a rare mixture of things, things that almost never seem to come together in one person. some of the bad things eventually took over and destroyed our relationship — even though some of those bad things may have helped contribute to things i liked early on. (ironic, or is it?)
the conclusion i eventually came to wasn’t really a revelation, but i guess my experience just reinforced it: i’m more attracted to girls that are quirky and/or have an edge. whether that’s being alt, or punk, or goth, or rockabilly, or whatever…or just being unique and not fitting in with the majority common culture…that’s very attractive to me. i want to be curious about them, to wonder what they’re going to say and do, for them to have interesting or unique takes on the world around us and to be able to articulate it. i mean, there is a part of me that is very attracted to a pretty girl that has an aura of purity and goodness to her — but i think i’m more drawn to a girl that you’re not quite sure what she’s thinking or what she might do. (why is it the “pg-13” speech from swingers seems appropriate?…

trent: i don’t want you to be the guy in the pg-13 movie everyone’s *really* hoping makes it happen. i want you to be like the guy in the rated r movie, you know, the guy you’re not sure whether or not you like yet. you’re not sure where he’s coming from.

plus, i figure i haven’t really got a shot with a pure, pretty girl anyway.)
i feel like i’m basically like a moth drawn to a flame. but i’d rather have a relationship with a girl i find interesting and enticing than just have a friend with whom i feel comfortable. (despite what tamara kept wanting to believe later in our relationship.) i want to be excited to be with them, be excited when i think about them, i want to miss them when they’re not around, i want attraction. by that i don’t mean i’m just looking for a feeling, and once it’s gone i don’t care anymore and am gone, because that’s not it. but i would like for it to be there in the beginning at least.
but i do think i’m attracted to things that make someone tend toward being somewhat unstable. maybe that doesn’t matter much though, since i tend to feel like i’m caught in the middle anyway — i.e., i feel like i’m too normal and boring for the quirky and/or edgy girls, but i’m too quirky or weird for the attractive normal girls. i’m sure my fear of rejection and the low opinion of me i tend to assume others have doesn’t help.
in a lot of ways, i tend to think i’m just sort of forgettable. some people just have captivating or interesting personalities, some don’t. i don’t seem to. i may dress differently, act differently, think somewhat uniquely, have somewhat unique interests…but in the end, i feel more like a shadow passing through this world, a vapor. people may see me for a moment, but i’m quickly lost in the background and forgotten. do i make myself that way? or is it an intrinsic part of who i am, something built into my being?
as a more pessimistic and jaded nat king cole or frank sinatra would have sang: “so forgettable, that’s what you are…” (mp3)
“i had me a woman who couldn’t be true.
she made me for my money and she made me blue.
a man needs a woman that he can lean on,
but my leanin’ post has done left and gone.
she’s long gone, and now i’m lonesome blue.
i’m gonna find me a river, one that’s cold as ice.
and when i find me that river, L-rd i’m gonna pay the price, oh L-rd!
i’m going down in it three times, but L-rd i’m only coming up twice.
she’s long gone, and now i’m lonesome blue.”
–hank williams “long gone lonesome blues”
hank williams wrote some incredible songs about heartbreak. just incredible. but the line “i’m going down in it three times, but L-rd i’m only coming up twice” is about as good as it gets.

you say you’ve got a bone to pick…

wednesday after the radio show i met up with jack and we went to brasil. it was the first time i’d been in there since they expanded. wow, it really added quite a bit of space to the place.
thursday after work i headed over to the potts house and played the pirates of the caribbean dice game with them. that was pretty fun. after that, i went by a redbox and picked up hot rod. (which i’d already seen, but sue hadn’t.) i still think it’s a pretty funny movie.
i mentioned in an earlier entry about sue having hurt her leg — well, it turned out she cracked her knee cap, so she’s have to had her leg in an immobilizer. earlier in the week, jack came by and picked up the crutches tamara had used when she broke her foot (stepping off a curb downtown). sue had called me to thank me for letting her borrow them, but i told her she couldn’t borrow them…they were hers now. so that’s one less thing i need to figure out how to get rid of.
friday night was the geek gathering for the radio show. it was a really good turnout, and things went fairly late into the evening. kd5 brought a few olpc laptops, which was cool. i managed to completely freeze one up, so i exclaimed that i had managed to destroy the dreams of some underprivileged third world child. of course, it was by going to youtube….
saturday i hung around the house until in the afternoon when ash showed up. he’s in the states right now (from taiwan), so he came down to hang out. we went and ate at luling city market, hung out at agora for a couple of hours, then came back to the house and watched the good, the bad, and the ugly. i let ash have the bed and i slept on the couch. my couch would probably comfortable for people under 5 feet tall. plus my sinuses were freaking out most of the night. i’m not sure if it’s because i was sleeping by an open door or what.
ash left sunday morning around 10am. i ate lunch with some people (the potts, emily, some of the hartley clan, and sue’s brother) after they went to church (i didn’t), then i came home and ended up taking a nap. i woke up and watched the game at home by myself — i felt kind of tired and was still having sinus problems on and off, so i decided to not watch the game at chris and mary’s. i don’t like either team, but i like the patriots less and the giants were the underdog — so i was happy with the outcome. plus it would have been a good game even if the patriots won. (just not quite as good.) after the game, emily came over. i started having some crazy allergy problems, so she went to a store and got me some benadryl allergy quick dissolve strips. i used one and fortunately it did seem to help. i’m wondering now what it is i’m allergic to…something outside, my cat, or what?
i initiated a talk with emily i felt like i’d been needing to have for awhile. we’ve already had a few discussions, all about pretty much the same issue(s), but we’ll see how things go. without going into much detail since i don’t feel it’s necessary (i reserve going into detail for people who fsck me over and don’t seem to respect or care about me as a friend or human being), our age difference is just too much. i joke about being like matthew mcconaughey’s character in dazed and confused, but i really don’t want to get older as the girls i’m interested in and involved with stay the same age.
today after work ash came back through town so we went and ate and hung out at brasil. it’s possible he may be able to come back by before he returns to taiwan. it was good to see him and hang out for a few more hours. hopefully i’ll be able to actually act and go visit him while he’s in taiwan…maybe this summer sometime. we’ll see.
“you say you’ve got a bone to pick —
well, there’s plenty showing on me.
come on up, yeah, bring your temper boy.
we’ll see…we’ll see…”
-sixteen horsepower “american wheeze” sackcloth ‘n’ ashes
(and live on hoarse — 16hp remains one of the most intense live shows i’ve ever seen. the raw emotional force was so thick it rolled off the stage into the crowd. add to that david eugene edward’s piercing stares and clenched jaw while chewing his way through the songs, and the slow, plodding, disturbing burn of the music…wow. just wow. i still remember a writer describing a mental image of 16hp as a fire and brimstone preacher with a grinder organ standing at the gates of hell preaching salvation. it’s true.)