Saturday, June 05, 2004

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

For some reason if you Google for "Melbotis" today, this site comes up...

What, exactly, are they insinuating that The League needs?

I suspect the linkage is due to my earlier posts about the host of an Alzare infomercial.
Yesterday my brother e-mailed me to snap me back from my reverie and remind me that, even now, Austin is hitting the high-90's and 80% humidity. Even this did not dissuade me from my illusions. After all, it is supposed to be 111 degrees here in Chandler by Friday. When we cross the 110 threshold for two days in a row, I am often heard to declare loudly that I wish I were dead.

Before I ever blog in the morning, I try to make it a practice to see what my little blogging loop of Dedman, Randy and Molly are up to. I was surprised my posting pinged off anyone at all, let alone would it cause others to blog in response.

Dedman blogged on it here (drawing Garrison Keillor comparisons that I can only take as a compliment, I guess). And also twice here, where he brings up a hilarious quote concerning nostalgia, and points over to where Molly shares my sentiment regarding Austin summers.

1) I'm not sure about the actual chronology of O'Henry's stay in Austin vis a vis the introduction of the Moon Towers, but at one point Austin was illuminated by a series of "Moon Towers", meant to keep the streets lit in an era after the gas lamp. These towers (seen most famously in Dazed and Confused) gave off a blue/ purple glow. Which might account for the Violet Crown. Or he might have just been drunk. At any rate, several of the towers remain standing and unused. You can still spot them around town.

2) I did not just spend 4 years of college in Austin. I moved to Austin when I was in 4th grade, and moved the summer after 9th. I returned in 1993 for college, spent 5 glorious years getting kicked around UT. I then lived and worked there until May 31st, 2002. In the end, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-15 years I lived in Austin, which is far longer than I've lived anywhere else. I graduated, got educated and got my first real job in Austin. I even got married down on Live Oak (just South of Mary). My brother and many of my friends still live and work there. So, kids, to me, Austin is homebase.

Was it a time of limited responsibility and all that while I was waiting for life to begin? Tough to say. I never really had any plans for moving on past that stage. After all, it was pretty pleasant.

3) How can you not miss those disgusting rats of the sky, the grackles? They're unbearably loud, they poo everywhere and, for some reason, they're considered endangered. Which means UT employs someone to go around with a shotgun filled with blanks so they can scare off the birds in the evening hours (which, as we all know from the condition of the pavement around UT, must have made the groundskeeper responsible feel a bit like Sisyphus). Grackels are as omnipresent as musicians and sound engineers in Austin, and baffle the mind with their shameless aggressiveness... I had a grackle try to share my fries once at Mad Dogs and Beans.

But here's the deal: As I no longer live in Austin and have moved to the desert, I have noticed that NOTHING GOOD LIVES IN THE DESERT. All of those squirrels and birds you see everyday when you look out your window? I've got none of that. Occasionally birds perch on the fence or in a tree, but you're never going to see an opossum hanging from your tree here. You're never going to see a squirrel jumping from your fence to your garage. You will see a lizard or spider occasionally skitter by, but that's about it. Disney didn't fib in their old nature films when they discussed how the desert is abundant with life, you just need to look for it... but a lot of the life is poisonous or creepy. So I try not to turn over rocks out here unless I have to.

I'll be curious to follow the talkback threads over on and on Osakatomebaby. The former Austinites are coming out of the woodwork.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

It's hard to get wistful about the greater Chandler area, but I know one day, that may change.

But summer is newly arrived like a ferocious housecat. You want to love it, but, let's face it... it's kind of mean. And it smells bad.

Austin summers are great. There's so much to do that it can actually be paralyzing. The Paramount has the classic movies showing with the shorts beforehand. The snow-cone stand is open on South Lamar. Barton Springs is open and taunting you (sure I'm refreshing, but you KNOW you can't stay in for more than 30 minutes, sissy...). People are out Bar-B-Qing, the 4th of July offers fireworks and live music. Baby A's is never that far away for a drink. Or really any place on Barton Springs.

Hot as hell, but it's a good place to be for a few months.

Of course, we used to have a squirrel infested back yard where I could toss some tennis balls for Mel while I was grilling out. The back stoop was ideal for sitting and watching grackels while enjoying a beer or two. And we had the front porch where you could sit and watch the neighbors go by while Mel threatened them from behind the chainlink fence. We had a horseshoe set we put in the front yard, and we'd chuck them around a bit, occasionally playing with the neighbor kids until they decided to become thugs when they hit middle-school.

Occasionally, I even mowed the yard. Good neighbor Ry, Jason would call me, as I was out there whacking away at weeds. Don't ge tme started on the sticky grass and burrs in the yard.

We had good neighbors. Todd the mysterious Catholic guy on our right. And the ever-changing cast on our left. The ever changing cast (starring Henry and Carol) invited us over for Bar B Q and their son's 13th birthday party. I mean, how cool is that? And we had flamingos in the yard, and the pinwheel sunflowers and the weird silver ball Jamie always hated. Our landlord was this great lady who LOVED Jamie. She even dropped our rent when Jamie asked nicely.

Sure, we had no hot water, and the AC barely pumped out from the window units, and the house occasionally threatened to burst into flames, but it was a fun place to live when we didn't fear for our lives.

And it got SO HOT in the summertime that we would just lie on the bed in front of the AC unit, wishing it were winter.

But, man, I loved that house.

In the summertime, folks would swing by, and you'd sit in the house for a while, but there was ALWAYS something else to go do, you know? We didn't go to swimming holes too much anymore by the time I left (that one sunburn in '98 really turned me off of swimming too much), but it was a possibility. And we could always walk to David's Food Store and get some soda and gum.

Summertime, man. Hurray for summer.

Monday, May 31, 2004

The weekend passed without incident, for the most part.

I saw Shrek 2. The movie definitely was a crowd pleaser and had parts I liked, but it still isn't in my "Holy cow, I NEED THIS ON DVD" list. I will say, I was a tremendous fan of Puss in Boots. Especially during the "Knights" sequence. Jamie even picked up on a Garfield reference which went right over my head (which is weird, because she kind of hates Garfield).

But even better, I saw the Justice League Series Finale. Now THAT'S what Justice League is all about, Leaguers. Hoo-AHHH!!!!

And don't read too much into it, but it also cemented my preference for John Stewart GL as my favorite part of that show. No no no... he has not supplanted Superman as best of the best... They've just given John Stewart a lot of room to grom on Justice League, space that I don't think he gets enough in the comics.

At the end of the show, CN showed a preview for this Fall's new series, Justice League Unlimited. Supergirl. Green Arrow. Captain Atom. The Question. Holy Hannah! I hope that the actual Atom (Ray Palmer) was just too small to see in the pan-shot they did. He's a favorite second-stringer here at League HQ.

Am busily re-arranging the comic-book room/ office. I'm trying to maximize space in there, and I think I figured out a fairly decent solution for the time being. The moving of furniture also means I can plan to build shelving, which allows me to use power tools. And that's always a high light. I really want to do something different with this shelf, so we'll see how it goes.

Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day, and I hope every got to see the footage of the new WWII Memorial in DC. It looks amazing, and I hope to make it up there to see it soon. I also have an aunt and uncle in DC whom I haven't seen in two years, so I'm probably due, anyway.

Hope all is well with you Loyal Leaguers.