Fri Mar 13 17:45:19 CST 1998
Good evening. My name is Rose, and I am speaking tonight for the Progressive Resource/Action Cooperative, co-sponsors of the first National Conference on the Elimination of Racist Mascots. A few years back, I would have been arguing on the side of the College Republicans and the Orange and Blue Observer. This is my third year here, but because both my parents, my brother, and most of my dad’s side of the family is alum, “Chief” has been part of my life since I was old enough to go to the football games and pick out my own “Chief” t-shirt from the old IUB. During my first year, however, I participated in the Alternative Spring Break program’s Cultural Education trip to the Ojibwa reservation in Lac Du Flambeau, WI. Pro- “Chief” students stress that “Chief” is an expert on Native culture because he visits an undisclosed reservation. Well, that must make Sanji and I experts, too, although I don’t think either of us would accept that title.
Our BOT defends “Chief” by claiming that it honors the Native Americans that it in no way attempts to represent. Dr. Ostrovsky listed the international and national American Indian organizations and tribes who insist that “Chief” is a slap in their face. Is “Chief” consistent with how mainstream America honors people? Don’t we normally build a monument, a bridge, an airport or name a national park or a scholarship fund after someone? I saw some Republicans on CNN the other night. They were collecting money to build a monument to President Reagan in each state. Why do I think that these guys would find the state of Illinois’ interpretation of honor-to run a non-Caucasian man in white make-up and a Hollywood costume out on our football field to recreate the Reagan presidency in dance-completely dishonorable and unacceptable? This symbol wouldn’t honor Reagan anymore than it would educate us, remind us of the history of the Reagan presidency that we would otherwise forget.
The BOT argues that “Chief” is tradition. But, there are other traditions which should guide our thinking at this time. All people are created equal-equally honorable and equally dishonorable. Equal opportunity for an equal education. Ask yourself if you would be here, a student senator at the U of I, if a stereotyped image of your religious leader was sold on butt warmers and underwear, decorating porto-johns and porn stores? Would you feel comfortable learning on this campus? Would you even have been admitted if you differed from the image the school promotes? Can you understand why many Native students choose not to come or stay here? Can you understand why we must discontinue the use of “Chief?”
From a speech delivered before Champaign-Urbana Senate Caucus
So the Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution to retire Chief Illiniwek. I was very pleased at this news, but I think all us anti-Chief activists understand how we have our work cut out for us in getting students, alumni and community members better aware of the issue. There’s already the feel of a backlash, people crying out in the editorial pages of the DI in pain over their identification with the school mascot.
And nobody expects that the Board of Trustees will let this measure be approved any time soon.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matthew Ivaliotes)
Subject: Re: University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign Mascot
Date: 15 Mar 1998 01:07:12 GMT
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
References: <350603FB.7A09@uillinois.edu> <35060E11.99ABAE66@cu-online.com> <Pine.SOL.3.96.980310224904.6634Aemail@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <3506A611.email@example.com> <350B4418.61E5@NOSPAM.uiuc.edu>
Xref: vixen.cso.uiuc.edu uiuc.general:60767
Kyle Levenhagen <levenhag@NOSPAM.uiuc.edu> writes:
>Who says we have to have the Chief as a mascot? I mean, we can have a
>different mascot and still be the Fighting Illini. Possibly the best
>example would be the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL… they have a WOLF
>as a mascot, for cryin’ out loud. Why can’t we have a big, plush
>squirrel (I’m thinking of Rocky, from “Rocky and Bullwinkle” here), or
>something? It would make some sense, too, considering how many of those
>damned things we’ve got running around here.
I could live with us being the Fighting Illini and getting rid of the dork in the costume and the music from a cowboy movie. Then again, I am of the very strong opinion that all team names with gerunds in them are inherently dorky. If the name itself doesn’t strike fear into your opponents’ hearts, adding ‘fighting’ to it won’t help, and just points out how unintimidating you are.
And for fashion considerations, I’d like something a bit more aesthetically pleasing than that round, physically improbably head-in-a-headress symbol which is in ever-waning use on merchandise.
speaking only for me
Mon Mar 23 19:39:28 CST 1998
There’s a guy on the radio who is talking about public school reform, and is lamenting that the ideals of Horace Mann have been replaced with those of Adam Smith.
Mon Mar 23 21:28:14 CST 1998
You know, I really can not concentrate in the presence of any noise that might stimulate me in any way. Certain background noises are okay, but speech that might interest me, or music … no.
We’re over next door for a few days. I’m back in Chicago for Spring Break. The guy at Drollinger Auto Repair managed to get the van fixed after I managed to reproduce the problem I had been having with it. I made it back to Chicago alright, and now, like I just wrote, we’re taking refuge next door on account of they’re refinishing the floors. It is no small production to move everything in your apartment over next door for two or three days and then back again. Uncle is having the apartment here done after ours is done. We’re being done over Monday and Tuesday and this apartment will be done over Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, Uncle is busy painting ceilings and getting other nice things done to this apartment because the guy who’s moving in next door to us, a middle-aged African guy, will be storing stuff in the apartment in the part that wont be finished starting Wednesday. I’m wondering how quick Uncle’s going to get the kitchen here done. I know he’s going to fix up the floor before the guys come to sand and finish it, ripping out the tile to let the wood come out, but to get it to be a nice kitchen like ours, with lots of cabinets and neat things instead of the pantry he ripped out, that’s going to be some work!
Anyways, Wednesday will be busy – we gotta move a lot of our stuff back and wash the walls next door, so that the guy who’s moving in can move his stuff in. It might be worth it though. Mom says that since she’s getting the floors done and the walls washed, it’ll be like a new house – a non-smoking house. She’s going to make another try at kicking the habit – she says that she was pleasantly suprised that the nicotine gum that a friend had offered her on a long trans-Atlantic flight, didn’t upset her teeth and calmed her nerves during the long, smokeless trip. I offered that a gum might also satisfy the oral fixation, which I understand to be an ingredient in cigarette addiction.
I went in to EnterAct today to talk to Tracy about summer work. Ended up sitting on an admin meeting, and discussing oh-so-briefly what I might be able to do with them this summer. Tracy beamed at the idea of having four full-time admins! Charlie bragged to me that they were signing two to three CompleteAct accounts per day – that’s the expensive business stuff that makes them the real money. $20/month dialin accounts are a lot lower revenue. EnterAct seems even more complicated than NCSA’s network … but that’s largely because the admin staff do a lot of things that at NCSA is handled by other departments, partly because they’re dealing with commercial dialin access mostly off of PCs as opposed to networking several hundred people in different buildings to campus, Industrial Partners, vBNS and some other experimental networks … well, actually NCSA seems more complicated, but the stuff we do downstate is a little more static – EnterAct is growing at least as fast as the Internet at large, whereas NCSA has been around since before the modern commercial Internet has been on anyone’s mind, and so doesn’t have to move quite as fast, or something. EnterAct is about three years old see, everything’s being reinvented at once.
Anyways it’s a bit chilly in here, I’m going to lay off typing for awhile and scan in a few pictures before I go to bed. Jessy’s boyfriend, Dion, managed to get the scanner working with mom’s computer, and now we’ve got it talking to stumpy’s Sambda via NetBEUI, not to mention sharing stumpy’s ppp connection. Sweet. WinAmp was able to read in stumpy’s directory of MP3 files and throw them into a random playlist a lot quicker than I was able to write a rather crude perl script on stumpy to do the same thing. Sometimes, Windows-based software does just what ya need it to do … maybe I need to learn me some Unix GUI programming! :)
Fri Apr 3 01:28:39 CST 1998
I started the journal back in … well, sometime between early 1995 and the March of 1997. I’d say sometime during 1996. If memory serves, it ran for more than a year, closer to a year and a half. Put that around late 1995. The web seems awfully young back then.
Originally, the idea was taken from some sites in Hawaii, notably Stacey Hayashi, who had not only a pretty face, but a compelling website with a journal on it. A journal, I observe, that is no longer present. It seems some of the pioneers in the Hawaii crowd, like Stacey, Jay, and Kat have since abandoned their public journal-writing practices. At least with the latter two, I know that part of the equation is busy-body Asian parents, whom I’ve met from time to time in my life, but have never had to worry over. My Dad’s still a hippie!
Anyways, in Marc of 1997, the old journal – hell, my entire website, in it’s second or third incarnation, was no more. It, and the entire contents of Dannyland had been wiped out in a hard disk crash. Nowadays I keep some backups. I didn’t mind terribly starting over from scratch – regrowth and renewal, but the lack of backups meant that that First Epoch, as I now call it, is gone, probably forever.
The Second Epoch ended just yesterday, as I concluded that the journal could reflect my interest in segmentation – dividing stuff into months and such. This era lasted a year, from the time I brought Dannyland back up with a new hard drive last March. I think, most immediately memorable in this period, is my relationship with Asao. I’d been dating her when the new journal came to take the place of the old one, and I dumped her in July after reluctantly concluding that the way things were just weren’t going to make it. I start out with a lot of cocky self-confidence, got shaken up by the whole break-up thing, then hide in pretentious soul-searching, reading Gandhi and all … I’m feeling much better now, and more honestly righteous, a little bit wiser, and somewhat humbled.
Another thing reflected in the Second Epoch is my growing prowess with Unix. From the start, the journal was indexed by a CGI program, which I revised over Winter Break. It has now been considerably lobotomized, to form more a role of that of a museum, because it should no longer be actively used. I’ve already adapted a few bits of the old code to indexing in the month section here though. In June I return to EnterAct where I will work in a system administration role – a definite change from my old technical support position!
Today, it is the Third Epoch – the perl wizardry can fill in the cracks, ligaments between the bones, but now my concerns are with information structure, hierarchy, and interrelationships between different modes of authoring and different contexts of experiencing the information. I want to structure my journal much as I would want to structure my life … I’m bringing form in, I hope, something that while it won’t give me doctrine or answers, it can at least serve to structure information, and facilitate my understanding and other’s understanding of me and my life.
Noble, immaculate goals, spoken so flowerily at 0200h. We shall see what may become of them. Feedback solicited!
To the editor:
I have a simple question that I would like anyone who is pro-Chief to answer. Who are we as Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, etc…. to say whether or not the Chief is a racist mascot/symbol in the eyes of Native Americans? Did any of us grow up on their reservation? Did any of us grow up in their culture? Did any of us grow up in their traditions? Did any of us grow up in their footsteps? If you answered no to any of these questions, then I ask again, who are we as black, whites, Latinos, Asians, etc…., to say whether or not the Chief is a racist mascot/symbol in the eyes of Native Americans?
Jules Murray, Jr.
sophomore in LAS
Daily Illini letters,
3 April, 1998
Interestingly enough, it is the anti-Chief folks who use the word racist, so aside from Charlene Teters and all the other Native Americans who take offense at the Chief, Chief protesters might ask themselves the same question. Personally, I’m uncomfortable with the catchily short slogan “racist mascot” and think of the Chief more as being ignorantly offensive … is black face racist, or just dumb? Same thing. The intent of the Chief is arguably quite honorable – Chief isn’t setting out to denigrate Native Americans, it simply does because it’s really just a bad idea.
Fri Apr 3 21:08:14 CST 1998
So this weekend is our family celebrating Easter a week early. Some family members are going to be out of town, and Jessy moving to Texas, so … well, this weekend it is. I hope I don’t have damned head-winds driving back and forth this time. they really mess up my fuel efficiency.
Last night I had insomnia. Linda emailed me around 0300h saying she had pink-eye … we considered driving over to Carle but it seemed impractical .. mainly it was too irritating for her to get to sleep, poor girl, and her voice was getting hoarse. I considered if I couldn’t get to sleep I’d give her a call and we could hang out and watch a movie, maybe fall asleep … conveniently though, I fell asleep by myself. I hope Linda fared well.
At 1700h we had a labsitters meeting. Don explained that there were certain problems rearing their heads, and what he wanted done about them. Me and Toly ate together at Cantina afterwards, a specialty restaurant run through the dorms which is cheaper than Murphy’s where we first considered going. You just have to stand in line a long while, which reminded Toly of Russia. It’s nice to talk to Toly coz we have plenty of things we disagree upon even though we basically agree on everything … it’s kind of like we’re of like mind, only with different semantic conclusions. He tends toward being Libertarian, where I’m just a good, old-fashioned Liberal kinda guy, who sympathizes with Libertarianism, even if I strongly disagree with a lot of it. I love to exchange views with the opposition.
Maureen just dropped by the lab, and I was talking to her for awhile. She just got back from working in a soup kitchen, and she said she was talking to this guy who smelled of beer, and so she wanted to shower. It was nice to talk to her … I think for both of us. This all hints at some larger stuff I’ve been working out in my mind, that doesn’t/won’t quite make it here into the journal.
Thinking too much. I told her I’d be down here working on computer stuff if she wanted to step out later. She said she planned to study – three exams next week!
Still, perhaps I could call her later, maybe invite her out to the Etc. for a little while.
Okay, clearing my thoughts. Time to take a break!
OSLO, Norway (AP) — After terrorizing a small Norwegian town for weeks, a buck deer went too far: he stole a chain saw from Olav Haereid’s front yard.
The large stag had knocked over garbage cans at a child care center, threatened cars and had begun to frighten residents of Aardalstangen, the Aardal og Laerdal Avis newspaper reported Wednesday. The town is 220 miles north of Oslo, the capital.
Last weekend, the renegade herbivore spotted a chain saw in Haereid’s yard, picked up the saw with its antlers and ran off with it.
The saw was so heavy that the deer only managed to carry it a few yards, but the theft was enough for local officials to impose the ultimate penalty. The buck was shot.
“Sad, but we had no choice. People were becoming frightened of the big animal,” forester Vidar Moen told the newspaper.
Fri Apr 17 23:34:18 CDT 1998
# Just to be sure anything mailed TO me aint filtered elsewhere ...
# (after deleting duplicates)
:0 c: .msgids.lock
* ^Message-Id: *\/[^ ].*
| formail -D 16384 .msgids
That’s what I spent my evening hashing about. That’s a procmail recipe which I wrote because often when someone responds to a mailing list that I’m on, I get two copies of the message – one sent to me, and one sent to the list. That recipe will send the first copy of a message that I receive to my INBOX if it is appropriately addressed. Subsequent copies will not be placed in my INBOX, the net effect being that if someone responds to me and a list I’m on, then that email will go once to my INBOX, and subsequently to the list folder. This keeps my INBOX slightly less cluttered – which with 207 messages sitting in it is a bit crowded, and will help in keeping context in a message thread on a mailing list.
Personally, I think it’s a very very cool thing.
Wed May 20 10:22:55 CDT 1998
I’m an admin guy – woohoo! finally getting paid money for doing the sort of thing I’ve been doing experimentally for at least the past two years – running systems. I was thinking the other day that we’re kinda like train crews in the old days – a chosen few who get to do the job of keeping these complicated machines that many people are depending on running, and running well, without crashing. Of course, much of the drama is lost in that our machines don’t barrel down iron rails or even weigh several tons, and nobody dies if we slip up, we just risk losing a lot of business by pissing off people who can’t do their email. Not that we’re gonna slip up in any big way of course.
No train though can route millions of email messages for tens of thousands of customers a day. Of course, I’m not actually certain how many customers we do have, but that’s not so much my concern.
I didn’t work for EnterAct at all last year, but records show I answered 73 support messages. Neat huh? I felt I had to make up for sasquatch’s free CoLo somehow ….
Ahhh, so you may have noticed that I haven’t written much here lately eh? Been busy … the biggest pain in the ass at EnterAct has been the whole moving thing, compounded with disorganization over administrative priorities and getting equipment together.
But the moving is done now. Got my own folding table, machine, window view, chair, and phone. Whee! We’ve got our own admin room where we all very much enjoyed ourselves today.
And I’ve got a negotiated salary, and health benefits and all, and my perks all sorted out – given the salary I’m now working at, and the likelihood that it will still go up considerably, there is very much reason to believe I shant be returning to school anytime soon.
I’ll need to order that ISDN line soon.
The Admin team is a cool group – Kevin is something of our fearless leader and a master of FreeBSD, Blake knows telco stuff and has what could most politely be described as an intriguingly strong personality, Eric speaks French, and will be working full-time this summer, and part-time when school starts back up, and just yesterday, we acquired Paul – a friend of Blake who apparently knows FreeBSD well enough, but I don’t know much else about him. He’s taking a vacation in Florida this weekend.
I’ve been working, for lack of anything more being demanded on me, of the interesting puzzle of rewriting some of the tools used by the techs to do user stuff like add users and change user names – the stuff we’re currently running stands a considerable bit of improvement.
So, for dinner Uncle flew out to Popeyes on his bike. To quote him, “If you buy, I’ll fly.” It wasn’t until he explained just how he’d “fly” that I actually understood, but I had no problem whipping out a $10 bill for dinner. Had some nice beer and a Dad’s Root Beer too.
Speaking of Dads drinking Root Beer, Dad was in town the other day. He was just about to head out to the Rainbow Festival, but I got to meet with him. You can tell you’re getting old when you walk over to the nearby bar with your dad to share some beers and a couple games of pool. Luckily he shoots as bad as I do. It’s nice to know that things might run in the family at a
For the Fourth of July we went out to eat at Gullivers, and were visited mid-meal by a scraggly-looking cockroach. Uncle showed this to the waitress and when we were getting ready to settle our bill we found that the meal was on the house. Turns out the restaurant is very concerned with the problem and thought it had had it licked … now, I hadn’t particularly enjoyed my cheeseburger, but seeing how concerned the place was on another front, I was really reassured. Gullivers is this cool restaurant that serves Mexican, Italian and American food – Deep Dish pizza included … anyways the interesting thing with Gullivers is the interior is covered with weird antiques. I hypothesized to myself that the decor only makes pest control all the more tricky … as much as they may have already spent on the “problem” then a free dinner for us was probably a bargain.
I wish them well fighting the almighty cockroach.
Before We Start
This bit is written on 31 October, 1998 as a followup coz I’ve been receiving some weird email lately. A quick mini-FAQ:
- Why do you hate homosexuals? God preaches love.
- I don’t hate homosexuals. I like homosexuals. I definitely prefer homosexuals to bigots. I’m sorry if it is not clear to you that I’m poking a bit of fun at godhatesfags.com.
- You god-damned faggot, why don’t you turn to Christ and stop preaching your false testament you Satan!
- First of all, I’m heterosexual. Second of all, Christianity aint my style, so don’t hold your breath. As for preaching … I deliver only opinions, and haven’t damned anyone to Hell. As for my identity, my Driver’s License says “DANIEL JOSEPH HOWARD” on it, though many call me dannyman. Please seek psychiatric counseling.
Thank you for reading this brief mini-FAQ. If you have any degree of intellectual competence, you are welcome to read on and even send me email if you like.
31 October, 1998
God Hates Fags
Aren’t they cute? I like that if young ladies are to spread a message of unwarranted hatred, that they should smile for the camera.
According to godhatesfags.com, gay people average twenty to 106 partners per year, whereas us heterosexuals average a mere eight in a lifetime. It also says gay people are far better educated than the average American, and make more money.
I dunno, but it seems that the universe treats them rather well, as far as godhatesfags.com can report.
Jeff reports that his only irritation is that only guys hit on him, and never women. I’d say this is a problem more so for women than a problem with gay guys.
Last Thursday Sean drove me out to Naperville. It was a long, epic voyage through strange country and confusing roads with similar names. Anyway, I bought him dinner because our destination was the garage of a guy named Jeff who’s moving out of town, and wanted to sell off his 1972 Super Beetle.
Now, originally, the low price had us fishing for a catch … but the car looks good, for a hunk of metal older than Sean or myself, and it putters down the road quite ably too. Sean’s assistance was required not only for his more expansive knowledge of cars, but also for his crucial ability to drive stick.
It’s a lovely blue volksy, and we couldn’t find anything against it. Sean fell immediately in love, and I warmed to it in my own skeptical way, wary of these newfangled automobile things. (I’m the one who has cheerfully subjected myself to public transportation since the opportunity presented itself in High School.) Said Sean, “I’ll be very upset with you if you don’t buy this car.”
So, Friday evening I met Jeff at his studio downtown, and he drove me home in my new car. A long stop at the bank and I swapped $1350 for a title and a key to 800 pounds of automobile history, not to mention family tradition.
Mom drove the car to work this morning, her minivan being borrowed by Uncle John. Mom is now out at the library with my new vehicle. A white Beetle was her first car, a good “learner’s car” as she describes it, for it’s simple design and maintenance and cheerful disposition on life.
Dad still drives the blue 1974 bus with the one red door that it was repaired with after the time in Texas when I woke up at two in the morning and was soon walking out the windshield of a bus that had fallen on its side after the driver, who is now Dad’s wife, handled a patch of gravel poorly. The next seventy-two hours I spent managing a group of younger kids from one Greyhound bus to the next, bound for Chicago with a touch of diarrhea thrown in for good measure. ’twas actually more fun than it sounds, though I’m not eager to repeat the experience.
Well, I hope I can make something worthwhile of it. It seems more compelling to work with than the van, whose sheer size, complexity, and creeping rust really intimidate an automotive newbie like myself. The Beetle, on the other hand, is small, less complex, and frankly, more fun. If it were a computer it’d be an Amiga – a neat, mass-produced, economical gadget with good performance for its economy and a lot of people into tinkering with them and keeping them going strong long past their parent company has passed them on.
This last weekend just passed I went out to dinner with Sean and we caught “Ronin” which I didn’t particularly want to see, but that was actually pretty cool right up until the very moment Hollywood woke up and reclaimed the movie’s soul during a car chase scene that lasted way too long. After that, the movie didn’t quite make sense to me, and was acting pretty silly, imho. Well, Sean liked it, and I think the MST3k version should be quite stellar.
Practiced driving in dark rainy weather. More parallel parking, where a neighboring car was, in Sean’s words, “kissed by a Beetle”. I’m getting used to the ordeal, and growing to love driving my car, even though I’m still no stallion with the stickshift.
Saturday I slept a lot, washed the car with my hands, a sponge, a bucket of water, and some special secret sauce I picked up at Pep Boys, and after another evening nap Mark called and I drove down by his girlfriend’s place and we headed down to the south side for my first Rave.
Had a minor accident with a parked car as I too eagerly smashed the brakes down for a stop sign I noticed only late. Swerved out of control, making scary noises and a soft crunch. The other guy had a little paint on a part of his car which was in the process of body work anyway, and I’ve got a minor dent. Well, it didn’t seem like the sort of damage that anyone would care enough about to worry over compensation even if they did notice, so we continued on our way. I now pump the brakes for a sudden stop, and use “calm and controlled” as my good-karma mantra for drivin’ the Beetle – it’s calm and controlled that one needs as a motto to get off the clutch and into first gear anyway, neh?
Now picture a bunch of baggy-pants wearin’ house-music listenin’ hoodlum-lookin’ kids going into a smoky room to dance all night long, and possibly do some recreational drugs. That’s a Rave, as far as I can tell, and apart from the poor ventilation at this one, which let the smoke irritate the heck outta my eyes, the dancing is pretty fun, even if I’m not an all-night kinda guy.
The drug use didn’t seem too heavy to me … they were there but they weren’t particularly in my way. I smelled pot only once, and encountered far more pixie sticks and gratuitous candy-sharing more than anything. The peeps are pretty friendly, and the ones who rode in my car were polite enough to ask if smoking was verboten. I met Mark’s friends, members of the Brilliantly Mad crew, and got along quite handsomely with a nice gal named Misty.
The Rave finished a bit early by everyone elses’ standards around 0400h. I was longing for my sleep schedule, but chauffeured three new acquaintances, including Misty, down to the Belmont Harbor, where the Ravers like to go afterwards to party ’til dawn. After a short and reflective wander onto the cold pre-dawn lakefront, I arrived back at my car to find two of my passengers had managed to snuggle into sleep in my backseat. Well, I’m not about to kick anyone out, and didn’t have to be anywhere, so I snuggled up and napped in my trunk, which I imagine was quite a neat picture.
My front-seat companion, Jason, had pontificated about the Rave philosophy and seemed postulate that it was some modern incarnation of the beat generation and 1960s hippies. He didn’t quite sell me, but I was concerned with steering down Lake Shore Drive and appreciating the finer points of shifting a fully-laden car. Religion, as I see it, isn’t something I care to argue at such a time, especially with a relative stranger.
Around sunrise, only Misty was left sprawled across my backseat. She offered me money for a ride home, saying she was dreaming of her own bed. ’twas on my way, so I took off and dropped her at her place for free – the offer was kind but unnecessary. I think it’ll be nice to see her again. I dunno that I wanna get too much into the Ravin’ thing though. I’m not an all-night kinda guy. A good party though picks up the spirits, and I like to let loose and dance.
So, last weekend, or was it the weekend before? Anyway, I was driving along and I realized once and for all that I really really needed brake work. I was turning a corner at one of those six-sided intersections and an SUV stopped suddenly in front of me for a pedestrian. Well, pump the brakes or not, can’t stop that suddenly. Dents in the hood, and a recessed headlamp.
The yuppy gets out, scrapes my paint off his spare tire, and offers that my bumper is awfully low. I was a little out of it, otherwise I might have offered to him that his vehicle is far larger than he needs to be driving about. I have felt terrible since because my Beetle is a classic, beautiful car that I am falling every day deeper in love with. At the price I got it, it is like a gift, an honor that has been bestowed upon me, and an honor I need to live up to. The car is older than me, and I’ve already neglected it.
Well, found a mechanic who is rather cool, after asking around on the ‘net. Nick’s Auto Repair over on Ashland by Irving Park. His is a one-man operation – a ramshackle-looking garage with a small lot out front packed chock full of old cars. This is the sort of mechanic I need – a geek who’s in it for the love of the job. Well, I got the car back today, I think he has a rough time getting parts. Brakes work. I asked him if he could hit the shocks as well, and asked him about body work. He said he could get the headlamp back into shape, and repaint the car, which would be cheaper than trying to find the right color mixture. The car already has these subtle variations in shade from different touch-ups that have been done on it. One factor is that it uses a different sort of paint or somesuch, because of its age and Germanness perhaps, which just goes to complicate matters, meaning it makes things slower and/or more expensive.
We’re starting to talk some money here – but like I said, I got the car on the cheap, and pouring money into this one to “restore” it is I think, a lot more fun than if I were to buy a new one. Money’s a bit tight lately though, but I’ve got plenty of cash waiting around in savings. I’m actually pretty glad I’ve been saving so well, even if it means the spending fund gets rather cramped.
I call the shop tomorrow coz he’s got to order a new brake light switch – that’s right – new brakes, but no brake lights. No parking brake either, though I think I’d like to find what part it is he needs and get that fixed up on general principle. The no brake lights was discovered by a guy next door to Nick. A Beetle admirer. I’ve met a few Beetle buffs now driving my little buggy around.
Great car – and it’s not the people. Driving stick, once you get the hang of it, just feels good. You know what the car is doing, you’re more aware, more in control, more competent. It’s the difference between watching Windows boot, and watching FreeBSD scroll it’s boot output past, as it describes which devices it’s probing and whatnot.
Augh, shut up now!
When I was a young lad, my momma would sometimes tell me a story, that once upon a time, some scientists took two groups of lab rats, and ran an experiment with them. This time, the scientists gave one group of rats a diet of breakfast cereal, and the other group the packaging that the breakfast cereal came in. She concluded the story with the result that the rats fed breakfast cereal packaging came out healthier than those who ate breakfast cereal.
Perhaps there’s something to be said for fiber.
Today I was treated for the second time in as many weeks to lunch by Patrick. He gave me the money because for some reason his Michigan native self isn’t fond of walking in the winter over to Sbarro’s. Free food for me, but today as I walked to S’Barros the story momma used to tell came back into my head as a metaphor for the day’s free lunch. Something about S’Barros pizza reminded me of cereal packaging, and I had to question myself as to whether the free “food” was worth it.
Not that free food is ever not worthwhile, but well, greasy “pizza” has only so much charm. Last week it had more charm, but then it was Christmas Eve, and I was broke and didn’t want to be at work anyway, so any free food from the boss sounded pretty appetizing.
Earlier this year I once went to Sbarro’s and forgot to pay. After agonizing some whether I had forgotten to pay or not, I eventually returned and asked them to ring me up for my misbegotten order. Shoplifting is one of those things that just really violates my moral code, though I’ve never particularly understood why. Probably because it has never seemed necessary in any reasonable way. Why should someone steal from a store when they should just as easily do without?
And yet I’ve encountered people who have no second thoughts about the five-fingered discount. Makes you wonder about morality, but then I’ve got work to do at the moment.
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