Friday, August 11, 2006

Report out of Austin

Well, we looked at houses with the woman formerly known as Duda. It's been actually a pretty good bit of fun, and I suggest that if you want to find a way to spend your weekends, find a realtor and go through other people's houses.

I can honestly say, every comment we got back regarding other people's houses sort of makes sense now. I didn't mind other people's stuff being in the house. What was odd was that some people didn't appear to have actually cleaned their house, and one house just had a sort of "crime-scene" vibe. It didn't take a lot of imagination to think some bad hoo-doo had gone down.

We found three houses I could move into tomorrow. That's good news, to me. The down side is that we haven't sold our hourse in Chandler, so all this looking is a crap shoot. A lot of things have to fall into place for us to get one of the three favored homes.

We finihes after 2:00 today, so I hit Austin Books. Jim asked for a report-out, but, honestly... it was mostly me digging through long boxes and trying not to wear Jamie's patience too thin. Jamie has sort of found her own niche of comics, so that was okay. She's fine to look on her own and doesn't get too bored.

But here's the deal with Austin Books... I could walk around all day in that store. And with a few hundred bucks to keep me going, I could probably be a happy man.

Here's a big confession I made to Jamie: I now have every issue of all three volumes of Mister Miracle. Hooray, Austin Books! Together, we finally finished my collection. Now to move on to New Gods, Forever People and all the Simonson stuff I don't have yet.

Also, I found some Superman back-issues to pick up, some issues my comic shop apparently just never ordered in, and the Public Enemy comic. Yes, PE put out a comic. It is morbid curiosity which drives me forward.

As much as I enjoy my weekly jaunt to my LCS (local comic shop for you non-comic types), Austin Books is just ten times more awesome. They treat comics as an artform, not as tawdry collectibles, and the organization of the store is testament to their intent. All the indie stuff is near the entrance, prominently displayed. Creators get their own organization, with guys like Kirby, Jack Cole and Gil Kane getting their own sections right beside guys like Mark Millar.

Back issues are easy to get to, easy to rifle through and the store often has multiple copies in many different forms of condition (I found one copy of an issue of Superman where the villain had been clipped right out of the cover). All the usual other stuff is well displayed, from toys to statues to T-shirts.

Dizzam. One nice shop.

I need to go back and buy that New Gods #1.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Wednesday evening Jamie and I will be touching down at Austin-Bergstrom Airport. We'll be spending some time with the woman formerly known as Duda as we scout for homes in the greater S. Austin area.

If you are in Austin and have time, League of Melbotis may also have time, and maybe we can meet up at Gatti's or something. I know I officially owe Peabo and Adriana dinner, and definitely owe Jeff Shoemaker a visit. We also need to pop in to see Meredith "The Destroyer" Shaw and maybe grab a bite with her parents. I also feel bad as I have as of yet to meet The Man Named Harms, who also recently re-relocated to Waterloo. Not to mention seeing the recently engaged Lala, and maybe finally meet her mystery beau.

I'd feel more pressure to squeeze in more fun, but we do plan to live in Austin within the next two months, if all goes well. So, you know, if you're feeling like we're ignoring you, just imagine all the fun we'll have each and every day once LoM relocates. Our doors are always open, except when they're not.

The realtor came by this evening. She's going to run open houses while we're gone. Just Pat the Realtor and Jeff the Cat, hanging on Hawken Way. I sort of wonder how many neighbors will wander through just to see what we've been up to for the past four years.

Both the job hunt and house-selling bit are going slowly. Part of me is hoping to land in Austin with some free time, but the dollars and cents part knows a job now is better than a job later.

Speaking of, Sunday marked my 4th anniversary in my current job. While the job is okay, I do not see how people make a career in a single job. I definitely am feeling the itch to move on. Perhaps I shall become a soldier of fortune. Or an NFL linesman. Or a Weinermobile Driver. Or some combination of all three.

I need to find time, while in Austin, to hit Austin Books. It's been too long. And I am sure they have a kick-ass selection of Superman, Action Comics and DC Presents back-issues (but can any top the DC Presents: Superman & Santa Claus team-up book Jim D. sent me?).

Also, looking for Kirby's Fourth World stuff. I have reprints of some of the original 4th World, but it's in black and white. I'm looking for original issues. Not just of Kirby's original runs, but the later series as well by Simonson and Co. Still, nobody writes Fourth World like Kirby. Especially the dialogue.

Anyhow, this is pretty much it from me until Sunday night, I'd guess. Have yourselves a good few days, Leaguers. We'll be back next week.

The League promotes a few shows...

Okay, if you have Sci-Fi, Channel, the League once again suggests "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace" running Sunday nights on Sci-Fi. And, once again, if I try to explain it, I'm just doing the show a disservice on many, many levels.

And "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" on Sci-Fi is actually a good show. All of my fanboy worries are wiped away. Stan still really knows what it is to be a superhero, and it's interesting to see the contestants facing challenges, both physical and of character. It's not all about putting on a costume and acting like a lunatic, Leaguers. The rules of polite society (and not so polite society) sort of go out the window when you're hanging with the cape and cowl set.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ok, Steans Family. So my 4th of July "Mentos + Diet Coke Display of Patriotism" was less than a roaring success.

Here's what we're trying next time.

Dry Ice Bomb.


Roy's Taxi - RIP

read here

When I was but a wee League living in the suburbs of Austin, one of my earliest impressions of town was Roy's Taxi service's fleet of red and (aqua? turqouise? What's that color?) taxis which could be seen all over the place.

The first time I moved away from Austin, KareBare was a sport and took Steanso, the League and a few others to see "Slacker" at the River Oaks theater. The movie, of course, opens with Richard Linklater getting a ride in one of Roy's taxis and getting all metaphysical on the driver about his choice to take a taxi and how that would effect him for the rest of his days.

There are always local establishments which are truly part of a city, and Roy's Taxi was certainly one of the least appreciated of those establishments. After all, you had to be going somewhere without your own transportation in order to call upon Roy's. I can honestly say I think I called a cab a total of three times in 16 years in Austin, and that was never going to be enough to keep those red and tuquoise cars in service. But I always called Roy's.

So long, Roy's. Austin's streets will be a little poorer without your services.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Not much to report.

We went to see "Talladega Nights" and walked out before the movie had even started. I've gone on at length about Gilbert, AZ movie audiences, so I shall elaborate only in bullet form.

-crying baby, no older than 6 months
-mom of crying baby sitting in center of theater, conveniently placed so she can't escape, constantly bouncing baby with synchronously timed "SHHH, SHHH, SHHH!!!" to weeping infant
-teenagers arrive during trailers, and despite row of empty seats in front of us, sit beside me and begin talking
-teenagers arrive just as movie begins, and despite row of empty seats in front of us, sit beside Jamie and begin full blown conversation

Anyway, we left.

Movies are quiet time. Even silly NASCAR movies. Silencio!

Perhaps that is what I should have done years ago. I should have become the masked crusader of the Gilbert WTC. Dressing in a Zorro-like outfit, I could have walked to the front of the theater at the beginning of each movie, address the audience with my concerns regarding their noise making and text-messaging. Politely informed, it would then be their responsibility to adhere to the rules of basic etiquette. Should the rules be broken, they would then be adequately prepared to face the wrath of Silencio the Vengeful.

I'm not sure what would have embodied the wrath of Silencio, but I'm fairly sure it would involve a handful of roofing nails and a string of profanities.

The fortress is de-fortressed. I am sad. I have no idea what my next house may be like. I do not know if there will be another fortress like it again. Jamie is promising me I will have a fortress once again, but I know how these things go. We're not going to find the right kind of house, or the house we do find will have some sort of lay-out where I can't really pull off the fortress once again with quite the same panache.

It was a beautiful dream.

Jamie is very understanding, and she DOES want for me to have my space. But the problem sort of becomes the insistence on the ghetto-ization of that space. I may once again get a back room, but I want a functional room. I want room to move around and do things in my fortress. The fortress of Arizona was always too small and cramped. It had bad airflow. There was not room to just sit and relax. In fact, the only seating I ever had was the stool I had at my drawing table. Consequently, each time I sat in the fortress to read, it was on the floor, where I'd soon be joined by dogs and cats and the wife. And it all felt a little stupid, us all sitting on the floor....

I want square footage. Space for my drawing table, somewhere to sit to read or watch the tube, and maybe some space for organizing comics. Is that crazy? Is that completely insane? We'll see.

We're headed to Austin for a house hunt this weekend. Keep your ear to the ground.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Saturday Night

Just proving that either old age is setting in, or that the Arizona sun has finally melted my brain... I've come to enjoy baseball.

Originally I watched the sport to humor the in-laws and because I like hot dogs. And I'm lazy and like sitting still for hours on end. Then I sort of got into the whole Americanness and nostalgia factor. Baseball is a common thread from generation to generation, it's been there across three centuries, and is simple proof that people really like to watch people in funny pants while they enjoy a beer and peanuts. Then I kind of started digging the idea of The Cubs. The League loves an underdog, and if you want to find a perennial underdog... hey, why not the Cubbies?

Baseball is also on TV 24 hours a day for six months of the year. So it's accessible. And each team plays like 800 games a season. And it's mind-blurringly slow, so you can turn on a game and sort of wander in and out of the room and do other stuff while the game is on. Initially I couldn't get past the fact that it's not the rapid-fire style of play like basketball where you can see change on a half-second by half-second basis. I've slowly come to appreciate the flow of the game, the challenge of each pitch and the face off between each pitcher and batter. Also, I like the Taco Bell taco race in the 5th inning.

We've been to a few games this season. Tickets are $10 a seat, so how can you go wrong?

Anyway, this evening we saw the Astros beat the tar out of the D-Backs. I can now say I've seen Roger Clemens pitch, and I've seen my first grand slam. Good game. For Astros fans.

Our process for evacuation is slow going. But ongoing.

We've had a lot of people walk through the house. It's sort of depressing as realtors and people walk through the house and you never hear anything afterward other than "your house is too cluttered." Well, we're working on that.

The Fortress of Nerditude is slowly being disassembled. I've packed all my graphic novels and toys away. Most of the pictures have been pulled down. So now it's mostly empty shelf space and a half-assed blue paint job. I have no doubt we'll continue to get those same comments. Apparently humans and realtors alike fear blue walls. I haven't quite yet decided that I need to paint the walls yet. I'm willing to wheel and deal. I'll negotiate. But I also don't want to paint walls if the people plan to paint them a different color later, anyway.

It's all very irritating. Who wants people who you don't even know walking through your house and thinking you're insane? Because you have blue walls.

Anyway, the realtor today called and said "we'll be there between 11 and 12". And then showed up at 2:30 when I was talking to a new potential landscaper in the front yard. After the realtors are an hour late, you sort of give up on them. But, if you want to sell your house, you have to act like a trained monkey every time they want you to hop.

No, I am not enjoying this process. I had always dreamed of just going ahead and buying a house in Austin, moving into it, and THEN putting the house up for sale. You could then actually clean the house and it would stay clean. You wouldn't have to worry about buyers having no sense of spatial relationships as they "can't imagine their furniture in your house." And you're sort of standing there wondering how anybody ever @#$%ing sold a house before when that's what everybody says.

It's a couple of rooms and a toilet. Try to use your imagination.

Must be patient. Must. Be. Patient.

Anyway, I'm going to bed.

Goodnight, Leaguers.