“he remembers those vanished years…”

thursday i took a vacation day from work and made a trip to brenham with the potts. they were going to take some family pictures for easter. they had a full mini-van with them plus sarah, and they were planning on leaving earlier than i wanted to, so i ended up taking my motorcycle. i had no sunscreen and got a bit more sun than i’d thought i would, but that’s what is supposed to happen on the first spring road trip i suppose. we met at der weiner haus and biergarten in downtown brenham for lunch. i had a brat with sauerkraut, some german potato salad, and a couple of shiner bocks. after that we headed to the blue bell creamery for their tour. it was interesting, but i didn’t think it was awesome or anything. from there we headed out 105 to the franciscan poor clares monastery. the nuns who live there raise miniature horses. i got very little sleep the night before, so i actually ended up opening the sliding door on the potts’ mini-van and getting in a seat and sleeping for an hour or two while everyone else looked around. we left there and headed down 105 to the washington-on-the-brazos state park. sarah and sue had been trading riding with me on my motorcycle, so on the way there sarah took some pictures of sue with me riding down the highway. when we left the park, jack took a few pictures of me, and me and sarah, on my bike in front of an old metal shed building. hopefully i’ll be able to get copies of all of these pictures, and maybe i’ll put some up. the plan was to eat at some buffet place, but we we ran long at the park so they were going to be closed. instead, we headed toward navasota and ended up finding a mexican food restaurant near where 6 and business 6 meet. it was pretty good. the ride back to houston was kind of chilly, but fortunately i’d taken my leather jacket and a knit beanie so it wasn’t too bad.
friday when i was on my way to lunch in my pickup, i came up to a red light on montrose. a car pulled up next to me and the guy wearing a fedora driving the car looked over at me and said “bob wills is still the king.” that was nice.
friday evening chris had invited me to hang out with him and some of his friends. they were celebrating a couple of their birthdays. i know most of that circle, but not real well. so normally i would have politely passed, but the place they were going seemed too possibly cool to skip. the place is called joystix, and is in downtown houston on franklin near minute maid park. the guy buys, repairs, and sales arcade games and pinball machines. the showroom probably has 100+ arcade games and 50+ pinball machines. the first and last friday of every month, they open up the showroom and for a $15 flat fee you can play all of the games between 9pm – 2am. they have a cash bar, and even have staff that will let you order at the games and bring your drink to you. pretty slick. i played frogger, asteroids deluxe, tempest, donkey kong, donkey kong jr., joust, centipede, tron, deer hunter ii, mortal kombat, simpsons pinball, and family guy pinball. but the best thing of all was an original stand up version of wizard of wor. i pumped so many quarters into one of those back in 1982 or so. it was awesome to see the game and play it again. i recommend checking it out.
saturday afternoon i headed to the potts and had supper there, then we all watched winged migration. it’s a very impressive film following various types of birds in their migratory patterns. the cinematography is incredible. it said they spent four years collecting the footage for the movie. a lot of the shots were of birds taking off, landing, and in flight. they had to have used gliders or drones or something to get the shots they did. (i haven’t watched the extras yet, they probably go into that.) there are a lot of really beautiful shots, along with a bunch of amazing sequences of birds in flight.
sunday i slept in late, then in the evening i headed to the potts because they were grilling and asked me to come over. i brought beer brats, jalapeรƒยฑo hot links, and some andouille sausage. i had some of each of those and a couple of big reds while we sat outside and talked.
this evening i watched kar wai wong’s in the mood for love. a beautifully shot movie, but jeez how sad. it’s set in hong kong in the early to mid 60’s. two married couples move in next to each other. the husband in one couple is gone a lot, as is the wife in the other. the two left behind eventually discover their spouses are having an affair with each other. they end up spending a lot of time together and become close, but they don’t want to be like their spouses. i don’t really want to lay out the whole storyline. but i will say i think it was a really cool decision to never really show the faces of the spouses who start off having an affair with each other. and d4mn, it’s a sad story of possibly prevailing morality leading to utterly heart-breaking missed moments in a fscked up situation. okay, i guess i couldn’t help but mention that.
that era has passed.
nothing that belonged to it exists any more.
he remembers those vanished years.
as though looking through a dusty window pane,
the past is something he could see, but not touch.
and everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.
(texts used in in the mood for love, from “intersection” by liu yi-chang)

“sounds like somebody’s got a case of the mondays.”

well, the holiday weekend didn’t pan out like i’d thought it would. but it was still a nice break, and pretty relaxing i suppose.
friday i ate a late lunch at sylvia’s enchilada. i met sue and the kids there. about the time we got our food, jack called with an emergency from the wedding he was at. we ate, then i went to fry’s and got some compact flash cards and gave them to sue to get to jack. i then went to the potts house and waited for sue and the kids to get home. they showed me their newly renovated back yard — new huge playset installed, the deck freshly power-washed and painted, a covered area, etc. i left late, then when i got home i remembered chris and some people were going bowling and had invited me, but it was already after time so i decided to just stay home.
saturday i got up late, then took my bed quilt to a laundromat to wash and dry it (since i’d rather wash it in a front-loader). i chose the laundromat right next to jenni’s noodle house, so while i was doing the laundry i was eating at jenni’s. very convenient. i spent some time searching for stuff online (which perhaps i’ll mention when it arrives), then i went over to the potts house. i stopped at the sonic by beltway 8 on bissonnet to pick up some food. boy, they weren’t running a very tight ship. eventually i got my food. i went over to the potts and sue and i ate and watched cowboy del amor. we watched the tail end of the snl rerun on that night, then i returned home.
easter sunday i got up around 11am or something. jack called and we had to decide between two traditional easter sunday meals — sloppy joes or double daves pizza. we decided to save the sloppy joes for supper, so i met the potts family at double daves there on 59 across from lakewood church (nee compaq center, nee the summit). while there, jack went around by the bathroom, then came back and commented that they had both of the bumper stickers i have on my pickup on the wall…”G-d bless johnny cash” and “bob wills is still the king”. i wasn’t particularly surprised, as the johnny cash one i’ve seen around a fair bit, and i’ve seen the bob wills stickers around too (although they’re less common). a little later i got up and walked around to look at them. then i noticed…it was actually my bob wills sticker. the exact same one i have on my pickup. the one i made on cafepress because i couldn’t find any of the vinyl ones i used to see. that was pretty bizarre. i didn’t know anyone else had ever bought any. i didn’t set it up to charge over their base price, but i thought cafepress would let me know if anybody ordered anything. i went around and talked to the guys in the kitchen area about it, but they seemed non-plussed about it and just said “yeah, people put up all kinds of stickers and stuff in here. *shrug*” after eating, i came back to my house and picked up my macbook air and bottles of triple sec and sauza commemorative tequila and headed to the potts house. we took one of their couches outside, and i spent most of sunday evening sitting outside. i drank a couple of margaritas, smoked a cigar, ate a sloppy joe, and we just sat around and talked and watched their kids play. it was really nice. but i kept wishing i had someone by my side. sometimes you feel really content and comfortable in a situation, but you wish there was someone sharing it with you. or at least i do. somebody had bought their kids some chocolate from some small local chocolate company. i had a little candy egg with a hard sugar outer shell that was filled with truffle chocolate or something, and my response was “i’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but if i were a woman i think this would touch me in my ‘special place.'” man, it was really good.
monday i still didn’t feel like my weekend should be over, so i burned some personal time to take an extended lunch break. i think it capped the extended weekend nicely.
this evening i went to crescent city beignets and had some cafe ole and some beignets. i finished the book i’ve been reading for a while now: the catcher in the rye. i read it for the first time probably 7 years ago or something. i’d pretty much forgotten most of it, so i felt like it was about time to read it again.

that’s the whole trouble. you can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. you may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “fuck you” right under your nose. try it sometime. i think, even, if i ever die, and they stick me in a cemetary, and i have a tombstone and all, it’ll say “holden caulfield” on it, then what year i was born and what year i died, and then right under that it’ll say “fuck you.” i’m positive, in fact.

i only had a chapter or two left to read, so i went tonight i went ahead and took the next book i’m starting: crime and punishment. i’ve never actually read any dostoevsky that i can recall, other than bits and pieces. and in the very first pages i found a bit i loved:

hm…yes…man has it all in his hands, and it all slips through his fingers from sheer cowardice…that is an axiom…i wonder, what are people most afraid of? a new step, their own new word, that’s what they’re most afraid of…i babble too much, however. that’s why i don’t do anything, because i babble. however, maybe it’s like this: i babble because i don’t do anything.

something to think about, eh?
peter: hey, guys.
michael bolton: what’s up, g?
peter: want to go to chotchkie’s? get some coffee?
samir: oh, it’s a little early.
peter: i gotta get outta here. i think i’m gonna lose it.
female: uh-oh. sounds like somebody’s got a case of the mondays.
(from office space)

“i mean, let’s leave the party.” –randy

sunday night i watched broken wings. it’s an israeli movie about a family that has collapsed after the husband/father died. the movie is set a number of months after he has died. the movie deals a lot with the mother and her relationship with her four children. she is trying to hold a job (as a midwife) and be a single mother, and trying to be able to survive and maybe even move on in life. each child is trying to cope with things in their own way, but the hardest hit are the two oldest — a daughter and son. as far as the children, more time is spent on the oldest child, a daughter. it was an interesting film and deals with what would be a difficult time for any family.
monday i took a sick day. you know, i have a lot of sick time. i generally rarely take it. it kind of makes me wish my work would just give us generic “time off” that we could use for sick, personal, or vacation time. i think i’d come out a lot better. it’s not like i take vacation time much either. not that i’d admit it on here anyway, but i didn’t go anywhere on my sick day — i was at home. the only time i left was to eat supper (because i don’t really have any food to speak of in my house). monday night i watched the libertine. it’s a movie with johnny depp and john malkovich about john wilmot, the earl of rochester (played by depp), who lived in 17th century england during the reign of charles ii (played by malkovich). it’s a pretty impressive piece of work — both with dialog and visually. it’s a very rich, decadent film. it’s based on the real life of the earl. the film deals with a lot of overindulgence and debauchery, but there is a kind of sadness in the revelry and what drives it.
tuesday night i watched my copy of valley girl. it’s kind of campy, but an 80’s version of romeo and juliet (“randy” and “julie” — nicolas cage and deborah foreman) set in hollywood and the valley can’t be all bad, right? there is some really goofy stuff, but there are also some pretty cool bits as well.
wednesday at the radio show, we spent some discussing whether it is acceptable to be putting stickers of any kind on laptops. (see the picture of my previous entry to know where i stand on the issue. ๐Ÿ™‚ dwight isn’t a fan of stickers on laptops (as his comment on my previous entry states), so we talked about it and had some conversations about it during the show. after the show, i went to the richmond arms with amateria (jamie) and aphelia. jamie had dropped by the studio during the show, and aphelia was in town from england for work, so jamie hatched a plan to meet up somewhere. we picked a place near the galleria since that’s the area where aphelia was staying. i don’t think stickers on laptops came up.
tomorrow is a holiday. i plan to enjoy it.
julie: wait a minute. where are we going to go?
randy: i don’t care.
julie: what are we going to do?
randy: anything.
(from valley girl)

and in the new corner, weighing in at 3 lbs, it’s…

saturday i finally made up my mind. i stopped by high times and picked up some incense and other stuff. (head shops have really good incense, yo. if you like incense, try one.) but before that, i’d headed to the galleria. i called ahead and the store verified they had them in stock. when i got to the mall, i pulled on to the second floor parking by macy’s and sak’s and there was a parking spot right by the catwalk. this was when it was verified to me that G-d wanted me to have this. i walked in, said what i wanted, and was out within 20 or 30 minutes. so without further ado:


yep, i bought a macbook air. and today i modded it to show off its unix roots (as you can see in the low quality, poorly lit picture above). i also got the ethernet dongle, an apple remote, the superdrive, and applecare. i got an edu discount on everything, so that helped some.
i’ve yet to really do much with it, but i got it up and configured and downloaded all of the patches for it. it was kind of a hard decision, even though i was pretty sure it would serve my needs well. in the end, it just seemed like a reasonable choice, and dwight’s positive experience with his review unit helped seal the deal. so hopefully i’ll be happy with it for the next 3 years or so.
later i met up with the potts in hermann park, where they were taking easter pictures of the kids. that was kind of like herding cats. due to some issues, jack ended up taking the kids to eat while sue went with me. we went to chipotle and hung out for awhile, then we came back to my place and she saw the macbook air. we talked for awhile, then i drove her back to her house. we were supposed to all watch snl, but jack had already gone to bed. so sue and i watched the rest of snl and then i headed home.
today i met up with sue at the bopho loft and we went to eat for free at a new chili’s. it was their training period because the store was getting ready to open. from there we went by the yankee candle store in rice village. i have evidently successfully managed to lure sue into the yankee candle camp. of course, i couldn’t help but buy something while i was there too. i bought two big candles: juicy peach and lemon lavender. i mostly got the lemon lavendar because it was on sale…i’m not sure if i’ll like it when it’s burning or not. from there we went back to the loft, and i played some with dietrich and calista, plus i had a nice conversation with ryan (who’d come by with sarah.) he’s also the one i had a nice conversation with at the house of pies a couple of months ago. he seems like a pretty cool guy.

it’s all building up to something

thursday evening i watched cowboy del amor. it’s a documentary about “cowboy cupid” ivan thompson, a down-home cowboy who discovered there was money to be made in setting up lonely american guys with mexican women for matrimony. ivan is a funny guy with a lot of home-spun wisdom, and it’s very interesting to watch him. for $3000, ivan could set me up. of course, it appears his own personal life isn’t as idyllic as his wisdom and matchmaking skills would suggest.
friday was a maintenance day, so i was able to go into work late. i was originally planning to not go in until 4pm, but i ended up not doing anything so i gave up and went into work after lunch. at the datacenter i had some spare time so i logged onto my netflix account through a windows box and randomly picked a movie to watch. i watched film geek. it’s an indie comedy about a guy who is infatuated with film and doesn’t really have any kind of life outside of that. it’s both sad and funny. he ends up meeting a cool girl (who was really attractive…it’s a movie made by film geeks, after all ๐Ÿ™‚ and she sort of causes him to come out of his shell. well, some. it’s got a happy ending that sort of acknowledges the absurdity of itself by being over the top. but i was happy to see the movie, especially considering it was a random fast pick just to watch something. (site for the movie: http://www.scottysfilmpage.com/) i had a little more time, so i started watching ham and cheese. it’s a mockumentary about two guys who want to be actors, but aren’t very…aren’t any good. imagine movies like best in show, waiting for guffman, etc. except canadian. ๐Ÿ˜‰ it was pretty funny, but not great. and i didn’t get to finish it because we completed the work we needed to do. of course, it may also be because i was distracted by work. stupid work interfering with my movies. haha.
a few days ago i noticed somafm (www.somafm.com) added a couple of channels. one of them is a jazz-based channel, so i haven’t tried it. but the other is called digitalis, and is geared toward electronic alt/pop rock stuff. think bands like the postal service, lali puna, dntel, styrofoam, ms. john soda, etc. i’m pretty excited about it and have been listening to it quite a bit.
i’ll save yesterday for another post, probably later today. i’ll just say i made a pretty exciting purchase. (well, exciting to me.) hopefully will have a pic or two.

my G-d…

last weekend (feb 29th – mar 2nd) was a pretty emotionally fscked up weekend. jack agreed to hang out with me sunday evening, so i went over to the loft and ended up helping him re-purpose some office chairs that were destined for a landfill. later, we went and ate at the house of pies. and we spent a few hours just hanging out and talking. that helped a lot.
comparatively, this weekend — while still not totally without internal drama — was much better. thank goodness. i prefer it when i’m not sitting around thinking maybe it’d just be best if i got my will in order.
at some point earlier last week i watched young adam. that was interesting. the story is pretty well told, and it keeps your interest even though the pace is fairly slow overall. but the characters and situations were kind of screwed up. it’s one of those things where it seems like everyone is mostly interested in what feels good and not too willing to consider the consequences. (or maybe even care.) a lot of the people were just doing screwed up stuff — like the main character. they were just sort of stumbling through life. i don’t think i’d recovered enough emotionally from the weekend to watch that kind of stuff and not be affected by it. so that was a bit of a setback for awhile.
thursday i was out sick. it was more of a mental health day than being physically sick, and i certainly used the day to work on my mental health. it was a wonderful diversion from the normal work schedule and drudgery of day-in/day-out life. in the late afternoon the ups guy delivered a couple of dickies two-tone work shirts i’d ordered. i hadn’t been sure of sizing or how much i’d like one of the color combos, so i bought two just to test the waters. as for size, i got xxl. the size appears to run pretty big. as for colors, i got a black/charcoal and a black/red. it’s a slightly dark red, but i’m not used to wearing red so it feels kind of weird. i’ve worn it a couple of times. i’m not sure if i’ll buy any more of the black/red or not. i wore the black/charcoal today, but i already knew i’d like it.
friday evening was the geek gathering. sue called me up in the afternoon and asked if i could take jackson and dietrich as they had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t use their normal sitters due to the short notice. dietrich is a bit of a hyper firecracker, so i wasn’t sure i’d be able to handle him at tropioca, but i said i could take jackson if necessary. she called me back and asked if she could drop him off at my work. when she showed up and he was getting out, dietrich was acting really dejected and sad. i felt bad for him, so after jackson shut the minivan door i quietly asked sue if dietrich wanted to go with me, and if he did it would be okay. she said he wanted to, so i leaned in and asked him if he wanted to go with me and jackson, he said yes, and i said it was okay if it was okay with his mom. she said it was okay, so he bounced up and got out. they hung out at work with me for an hour or something. i got them onto pbskids.org since that seems to completely occupy their attention easily. from there we went over to tropioca. the turnout this time around was okay. kd5 brought the olpc laptops again this time, so he let jackson and dietrich use them. i joked that he brought the olpcs and i brought the c’s. jack was supposed to pick them up at 9pm, but i hadn’t counted on that. so after a couple of hours at tropioca (they liked the smoothies, but not fans of the tapioca balls so much) they were chomping at the bit to move on. so i took them back to my house and we watched the empire strikes back (the original theatrical version, thank you very much). jack showed up to get them after midnight some time, and both of them had fallen asleep. i helped take them out to the car, then jack and i stood around and talked about things for awhile.
saturday i watched dark days. it’s a documentary shot in black and white about homeless people that were living in some underground areas of the amtrak subways in new york city. it was really interesting hearing their stories and seeing how they were living. it has a feel-good ending, which was actually somewhat surprising. the extras on the dvd are really good too — they backfill the story a lot and make you appreciate the film and who made it and what went into it.
a little later in the afternoon, i was at my computer when someone banged loudly on the screen door. i heard it open and saw the silhouette of a head coming into the patio and toward the door to the living room. i was thinking “who the hell is pounding on the screen and then just walking into the house?!” i got up and walked around the corner and saw that it was raj. i didn’t know exactly when he was going to be in town, but i knew it was early march. he hung out and talked to me for awhile, then he left.
not long after that i went to the dollar store to pick up some stuff. a little later i drove over to luling city market and picked up some brisket and sausage. i came home and got dressed up in boots, long sleeve western pearl snap shirt, western black leather jacket, and my dark grey fedora. why? chris and mary’s meat and martini party, of course! i was thinking it was possible i was going to have a date for it, but it didn’t pan out. it was still an enjoyable time. at the dollar store i’d bought two plastic barbie plates, a couple of big steak knives, and a plastic/ceramic cross with a psalm on it that ended in “have mercy.” i figured it was appropriate for all of the red meat about to be consumed. i also picked up a couple of bags of dinner mints, because i figured “hey, what is classier than a bowl of dinner mints?” i got to the party and sat up my meat display. i had a few drinks, smoked my pipe, and talked to a number of different people. red meat, alcohol, pipe, conversation — the only thing that would have made it better is having a date. ๐Ÿ™‚ maybe next year.
sunday i ate lunch at onion creek with emily and the hartleys. i rode my motorcycle, but i didn’t take any kind of jacket and it was a bit chillier than i’d thought it was. a little later mark and adam showed up. i had a good time sitting there talking and joking with the people at the table. later in the afternoon i met emily at the angelika and we watched be kind, rewind. i really like gondry a lot. i don’t know that i think the movie was great, but it was funny and felt like gondry. i came home, and not too long after i showed up raj and kiera showed up. they got their mail i’d been saving and talked to me for a bit. later sunday night i watched operation: dreamland. it’s a documentary about a group of guys in the 82nd in the army that were stationed in fallujia in iraq during late 2004 or so. i thought it did a pretty good job of just showing what it’s probably like over there for the people, both the u.s. military guys and the iraqis they interact with.
monday when i got home there was an amazon order waiting for me. i’d bought some dvds a week or so ago, most of them were on sale. here’s what i got:

  • * aliens collector’s edition (20th century fox)
  • * american beauty awards edition (dreamworks)
  • * barton fink (20th century fox)
  • * desperado special edition (columbia)
  • * the terminator (mgm)
  • * uhf (mgm)
  • * valley girl (mgm)

“my G-d. it’s full of stars…”
-dave bowman 2001: a space odyssey

“they say it’s the light leading you to heaven.”

even though i went to bed around 2am last night, i woke up on my own around 9:30am this morning. suck. not too long after that, i learned my managers from work had been trying to get in touch with me. in an email they said they’d called me and left a message. odd, since my phone hadn’t rung. i went and checked it…battery, signal, on…no missed calls, no voicemail. after taking care of the work issue, i turned off the phone, pulled the battery, put it back in, and turned it on. i immediately got 3 voicemails and 5 text messages. evidently my phone pretended like it was fine starting sometime around 10pm the night before, but actually wasn’t able to send or receive anything. *sigh* this has happened a few times before. i was hoping i could hold out for awhile, but i guess i may have to look into a new cell phone.
i walked over to jeni’s noodle house for lunch. on the way back i stopped by a custom stationary store to talk to them about getting custom notecards and wax stamps and such. i didn’t make any decisions. i then walked down to the new cactus music. it’s a pretty big store, and they have a whole section devoted to only vinyl. i didn’t buy anything though. they used to have it categorized by type of music, now it’s pretty much all just a-z. i kind of liked being able to peruse the country section. oh well. from there i walked back to the house.
i’ve been wrestling over some issues lately, and this afternoon provided a lot of time for me to do just that. i eventually decided i needed to stop thinking and do something for awhile. i called sue and she came over with the kids and picked me up. i went to a park with them, then we went to star pizza. jack showed up a little later. i talked to them about life and complexity and the seeming unfairness of it all. what can i say? it feels like life is a string of hopes and newness, followed by endings and disappointments. i guess that’s the cycle of life, or the way things are, or whatever, so it’s probably my perspective affecting that as much as anything else. i guess. things would probably be better if i could focus on the good and ignore the stuff that surrounds and undermines the good parts. or if maybe something could come along that didn’t actually have the bad aspects. or at least a minimal amount of them. that’d be really nice.
morgan earp: i read this book, book on spiritualism…
virgil earp: oh, G-d, here he goes…
morgan earp: …said a lot of people, when they’re dyin’, they see this light, like in a tunnel. they say it’s the light leading you to heaven.
[later in the movie, morgan is fatally wounded in a gunfight]
morgan earp: remember what i said about people seein’ a bright light before they die? it ain’t true. i can’t see a damn thing.
–bill paxton as morgan earp in tombstone