July 16th, 2005

Cars, dancing, and pooling...

I had big plans for work on my car today, but they didn't all pan out. I needed to check out my "Check Engine" light, to have my brakes looked at, and to talk to Just Tires about incorrectly documenting my mileage when I purchased my tires, which is important with regards to my 80,000-mile warranty.

I ran to Jiffy Lube on Western Boulevard, and the "man with the meter" "read the code" causing my "check engine" light to come on. Turns out there were four codes to read, but two of the four duplicated, so in reality there were only three of them -- all interrelated -- and all having to do with my emissions system.

The meter man recommended getting that all checked at a dealer, or some place that specializes in Toyotas, but I'm going to call Triangle Car Care to see if they can do it.

I called the AAA shop on Avent Ferry about looking at my brakes, but they were full for the day, so I will look at taking my car there on a day next week when I can work from home. I will also deal with Just Tires later in the week.

Later in the afternoon, Robert arrived, and ran to get us Chinese for dinner. While eating, we listened to a rather riveting, and poignant, story from This American Life. It was the "Go Ask Your Father" episode, described as follows:

In this show, sons and daughters get to find out the one thing they've always wanted to know about their father. And the answers aren't always what they hope for.

When Aric Knuth was a little kid, his dad would leave for six months at a time. He was a merchant marine. And Aric would record cassettes of himself and send them. He'd leave one side blank, for his father to record a response. But he never did, even though Aric asked him to on every tape. Aric talks to host Ira Glass about what it was like to finally ask his dad why. (7 minutes)

Act One.
Make Him Say Uncle. Lennard Davis grew up hearing from his parents that he should at all costs avoid being like his good-for-nothing Uncle Abie. Later, after his father died, that very same uncle told him that his father was not, in fact, his father. Instead, he said, Lenny was a product of in vitro fertilization, and he, Uncle Abie, was the sperm donor. At first, the evidence points to the possible truth of Abie's story, then more evidence seems to indicate he was lying. It takes Lenny more than 20 years trying to sort out whether it was true, and he finds out the answer – definitely – as tape is rolling. (30 minutes)

Act Two.
My Favorite Martian. Paul Tough's father was a mild-mannered professor. And then one day he left his family and went on a quest. In this story, for the first time, Paul joins him on that quest: to make contact with extraterrestrial life. And Paul asks his father the questions he's always wanted answered about his alien pursuits. Paul is an editor at The New York Times Magazine. He first read a version of this story at the Little Gray Book lecture series in New York. Paul's father has set up a website for extraterrestrials to use in contacting humans: www.ieti.org (IETI stands for Invitation to ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence). (18 minutes)

Song: "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft," The Carpenters

We only listened to the prologue and Act One. We didn't get to Act Two, before it was time to leave for dancing.

Dancing was fun tonight. I particularly loved these three dances: Two-Stepping with Roy leading, my Shadow Dance with Joe, and the second time doing the Couples Cha-Cha with Robert -- to that fast song.

We left Flex before the porn star came on, and stopped for a hot dog on the way to CCs. At CCs, I spent most of the time in the Piano Lounge.

When we got back to Flex, where my car was parked, we ran into Van, Adam, Shawn, & Josh, who invited us back to their (Shawn & Josh's) house for a "pool party."

It was a Wal-mart pool, but a big one, where we (almost) all "swam" naked, while enjoying drinks, leftover fireworks, and eventually snacks (BLTs (YUM!) and Pizza Bite Snacks with Ranch Dressing and Texas Pete).

Josh showed me a most magnificent collection of glass dildos. Who knew?

At one point, during one of the fireworks sessions, Josh had come out in this flowing silver gown, which was flapping in the breeze it seemed, and stood beside the pool, with the fireworks going off behind him, and his one arm up in the air like he was the Statue of Liberty. At least, this is how it stands out in my memory. It could have been the liquor talking.

We left there at 5 minutes to 6, after some drama finding my keys. It was light out.