|26 August 2000||Drinking: The strongest margaritas on the planet, at Spanish Village earlier|
Today has been quite a social day! I spent much of the morning just catching up on webstuff and miscellany, then headed off to west Houston (my old part of town) for a haircut. People ask me -- why drive 20 minutes for a haircut? After all, she doesn't work in a fancy shop (in fact, it's an old-fashioned barber shop). She doesn't do trendy hairstyles. She's not in great demand. Now, if those last don't actually recommend her rather than the opposite, the main reason I go to her is because I like her, and I like her haircuts. Over the years I've been going to her, I've gotten to know her. I hear about her family, her moving, her outlook on the world (surprisingly libertarian! She's quite self-reliant), her aspirations. Today I got to hear about her plans to see the Gipsy Kings later in the evening, and she gave me a hard time that I wasn't going to see them this year (she remembered that I had gone to see them a year ago, and that she could not make it then). And I didn't have to tell her a thing about how I wanted my hair done. She just cut it, efficiently, without letting it interrupt our conversation. I like that combination of familiarity, friendliness, and efficiency. It's almost like the lady I used to go to growing up in small-town Oklahoma. It's refreshing in a metro area of 4 million.
* * * *
Later I met up with Pete Adams at an icehouse in the Heights. Pete is an old grad school buddy of mine. He, along with Cookson and a handful of others, made up the short list of people I found at all compelling in the program. When we get together, we always have wide-ranging conversations about politics, political philosophy, society in general -- the sorts of conversations that are discouraged in academia because they concern applying academic knowledge to the world around us. He let me ramble on about a fairly significant thesis I'm developing regarding international politics, for which I expect to need to collect data for quite a few years. We also came up with a plan of sorts to sit in on a graduate seminar this semester together. Lence is offering a graduate seminar on the Federalist. I saw this ages ago when schedules came out, but knowing the dreadful state of the program and its students these days, I just wasn't interested in sitting in a seminar likely to be hijacked by idiots, especially when could accomplish much more by simply revisiting the Federalist on my own. Now, my good friend Mr. Adams has agreed that we should go sit in on the thing -- which ensures that I can have intelligent conversation about a very important topic with at least one other person. This pleases me, as Lence is really a tremendous teacher. But as good as he is, he needs good students.
Incidentally, before going to this icehouse (Jimmie's Place), I had stopped at CompUSA and found an html manual in the bargain bin. I dragged it to Jimmie's since I was a little early, and one of the regulars -- a fellow who looked a lot like Jerry Garcia -- asked me if the manual covered HTML 4.0, telling me as he wandered off "HTML 4 is the way to go." Lesson: Never, ever let appearances be your only impression of someone.
* * * *
I spent the rest of the evening sipping margaritas and having the best Mexican food in town with Callie and Hallmark at Spanish Village. In some ways, I'm nearly a clone of Terry Hallmark, who actually hired me at Petroconsultants/IHS Energy to help him with the political risk analysis he's done for nearly 20 years. We studied with some of the same professors, taking slightly different routes. We both love the study of political philosophy and international politics. We both like a genre of music that some call Americana and that I just call Texas music. We both made the mistake of taking a full-time job before finishing our dissertations, thereby delaying the final award of the Ph.D. (but honest to gawd, I intend to finish the writing this semester). He was in fine spirits, and we had quite good, wide-ranging conversation as well. And Spanish Village is another of those familiar, good things -- Pete, our favorite waiter, knows us, knows what we like, and just takes care of us, seamlessly and efficiently. We're treated almost like family. Also refreshing.
Copyright (c) 2000, Kevin L. Whited