Saturday, October 21, 2006

In no way did UT deserve to win that game.


I'll take it.
Of late, Jamie's been waking me up at the crack of 9:30, and before I can have a cup of coffee or settle in to my hour of morning news, she's got me putting the leashes on the dogs, and headed out the door.

An oddity of our neighborhood that we did not know about when we purchased the house is that the neighborhood is ringed with trees. In some spots, the treeline is just enough to keep the cars on Manchaca from seeing into houses, but in other areas the density touches upon an unknown expanse of trees and a creek. I suspect that the area was not previously developed as no builder had the foresight to keep this little piece of what-came-before, but, also portions of the woods act as run-off from the neighborhood itself. Between the trees, the developer planted a very nice trail which we can enter about four houses down and then follow the entire circumference of the neighborhood. The dogs, of course, love it.

On Thursday Jamie woke me up to a chilly Austin morning, the heat had broken again and the temperatures a wet 50+ degrees.

On this morning, we were only 50 or so yards into the trees when Jamie whispered, "It's a deer."
It was not just a deer. I counted two more. Than three, then four more. All hidden just behind some trees, possibly thirty five or forty feet away. The deer did not move, just watched us and the dogs (who were more baffled by the deer than excited), and continued to rest in their spot. We walked on a little further, me whispering "You musn't ever go out onto the meadow...", when I saw another deer. And then another, at least a two-point buck.
We walked a loop of the neighborhood, taking a short-cut through a portion of the neighborhood, cutting ourselves short and not walking the entire trail. Back by the house, we cut up to the park so Mel could investigate and wag his tail at squirrels. Down below, the deer passed by, heading westward.

It was still chilly when we left for Las Manitas, and, of course it was plenty warm inside. We had migas and didn't really talk much. Just sipped on cinnamon coffee and looked around one of our old favorite places.

The owner of the building where Las Manitas is located has sold out to Marriot hotels. Las Manitas won't be here anymore in a year. The owners of the restuarant have put up a bit of a Quixotic battle to... I'm not really sure... But Marriot didn't do itself any favors when one of their executives recently complained publicly why a little restaurant would want to get in the way of a nice hotel.

In the end, the most Las Manitas can hope for is a moral victory, but it's not one that the folks who will stay in the Marriot will ever have heard of. They might walk out onto Congress and say "Hey, my friend used to come to Austin and said there was a great place to grab breakfast somewhere down here..." and then wonder what the fuss was about. Not just about the place, but, one wonders, about Congress itself.

Still, progress is progress. I hadn't been on Congress since we returned, and I had never been to the Frost Bank building. The Frost Tower is the new defining element of the Austin skyline, its architecture seems lifted from the exterior shots in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and jutting far above the more mundane towers along the way, surely the first of what will be a handful more.

"Is there an observation deck?" I asked the gentleman at the Information desk. "No," he nodded, "But if you want to see Austin from that high, you can just fly up there," he moved his hand in a swooping motion and winked at the red S across the chest of my sweat shirt. Guys over 50 always love the sweatshirt. Yes, yes... we all love George Reeves.

We are enjoying our retirement, but we are aware that it can't go on forever. The job hunt is on. Jamie's looking, too, which makes me happy. Not so much because we could use the extra income, but because she's feeling well enough to work, and because she's antsy and ready to take on new challenges. The move has done us both well.

Today was lunch with Denby (who is doing fantastically well, thanks for asking), reading another forty pages or so of "In Cold Blood". I've picked up two books recommended by Harms (one of which is Time Travellers Wife, which I believe JMD4 also recommended to me six months ago). I'm digging out from under a busy Wednesday at the local comic shop and a stack of back issues I picked up last weekend.

The dogs are loving the cool weather. I am, too.

We're going to maybe make some hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill around 1 on Sunday. Feel free to stop by anytime after 12.

We're living in halcyon days, we are.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuesday night we had a delightful dinner with Shoemaker and his lovely companion, whose name I can't spell. Hut's was still Hut's, as I suspect Hut's will be for fifty years after I'm but a distant memory.

What's interesting is seeing the area down near Hut's (East of Lamar and 6th) grow up. When I was a kid, that area was a lot of desolate parking lots and auto dealerships. Basically, just not a place there was a single reason in the world to hang about. Katz's, GM Steakhouse, and a few other establishments are still there. But with the new Whole Foods Global Domination HQ and other shopping, etc... in the area... well, go back and watch Slacker. There's a guy who walks into Gm Stakehouse on Lamar, just North of where Waterloo Records is... the area is unrecognizable.

But I digress.

What I meant to say was:

Save the cheerleader...
Save the world...

I am sure NBC did not mean to provoke laughter in me with their promo for "Heroes", but, gee... There's something that says "Well, if you're relying on a single, perky 15 year old girl and her startling Powers of the Herky to 'save the world...', Leaguers... Powers or not, maybe we should throw in the towel."

It's sort of mindblowing how cheerleaders are only tangentially in our lives for a few years of high school, but in the world of fiction, the spritely cheerleader is an all-consuming fetish. KOHS was a very typical, All-American sort of high school, but I don't even really remember the cheerleaders in high school, except wishing they would clear the court more quickly in my few high school basketball games. But, I wasn't too concerned with KOHS School Spirit, painting banners on strips of butcher paper or asking the opposing team if they "got spirit".

I also don't remember what are now called "mean girls", bullies picking on hapless nerds, jocks ruling the school, everyone dreaming of dating the prom queen, or any of the stuff of TV's depiction of the 9-12th grade experience. But, hey, the League spent high school doodling Spider-Man in the margins of his notes and trying to lay low until graduation. We may have missed all of that.

But I digress...

What I meant to say was: Dinner with Jeff and Keora (sp?) went well. Keora is, of course, too good for Jeff.

Today, Jamie and I hit the comic shop, hit the grocery and took Lucy to the vet for her ongoing ear-issues. Poor puppy. We will get her better.

Note to JMD: This week's issue of 52? Ambush Bug. Seriously. I was ecstatic.

Jason came over for dinner, bringing Cassidy, which was a nice post-veterinarian treat for Lucy. We hit Hunan, then came home to watch some TV.

Jason was far, far more skeptical of the evidence provided on Ghost Hunters. I did vent a bit about my frustration re: Ghost Hunter's inability to remain at a location for more than a few hours of a single evening. The League is a man of science (fiction) and thusly believes in following sound scientific principles when making an observation. IF the Ghost Hunters find a location which presents evidence that the area may be "haunted", would it not behoove them to stake the place out for a longer duration and see if they can replicate and repeat the manifestations which they cannot explain? If, as was noted in the Tombstone, AZ episode, they DID see a full-body apparition, would it not benefit their research, teh world of science and (dare I say it?) all of mankind if they were to return for several more evenings with more cameras, more microphones, etc... Further, a longer duration and the use of the element of surprise upon their hosts might further guarantee that no evidence was planted in bad faith.

How would the world change tomorrow if these guys from TAPS and the Sci-Fi Channel production team recorded an honest-to-goodness ghost? I mean, presented real, live evidence rather than humanoid shadows and creepy sounds? I have NO idea. I assume we'd all lose a lot of sleep for a few days.

I guess maybe that could be the next generation of the Ghost Hunter shows. Sure, these gusy are skeptical, but shelling out a few extra bucks for a genuine research team to come in for more than a day seems like a small price to pay for something passing greater than circumstantial evidence of a world between this and the next.

Also, we should drain Loch Ness.

It's one thing to take recordable measurements. It's another to determine, without a doubt, the source of an anomaly in those measurements. It's yet another to show up on a second night and get a picture of the darn ghost with the right camera angle. Until that happens, it's all a bunch of yahoos tripping over each other in the dark and seeing what they want to see...

Wow. It's late. I'm tired.

Wagner may be coming into Austin tomorrow. or maybe Friday.

If anyone is up for anything this weekend, let me know.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You know, Leaguers.... there's been a sad lack of participation around here.

So what are YOU doing for Halloween?

BTW, as we're not having a Halloween party, we're, instead, just going to have some extra food and candy on hand for any humans who want to drop by (no zombies, PLEASE).

Anyhoo, speak up. What's on your Halloween plate?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"New Delhi has an unusual urban woe, marauding monkeys. Its solution is even more unusual, and controversial - bring in even bigger monkeys",8599,1546980,00.html?cnn=yes

I recently returned from having brunch with Steven G. Harms and his lovely companion, Lauren. I have decided that I like Steven and Lauren enough that I shall begin to stalk them. Why, if they play their cards right and look out their window hard enough tonight, they may see me peeping through their blinds with a night-vision scope.

It is an odd thing, this meeting folks you have previously only spoken to online. Not awkward, but every once in a while I did have a little moment of clarity wherein I would think "gee, you'd think we'd done this before," but I guess that's the magic of the interwebs.

I look forward to seeing more of Steven, especially when he has no idea I'm staring at him from behind the drapes.

Tonight I am joining up with Shoemaker for a bite at Hut's. Jeff loves the burgers, and I love, specifically, the Ritchie Valens burger. I hope that my four year absence has not allowed them to remove it from the menu.

I also received a few pictures of Arden H-W, who is bracing himself for another K-Zoo winter.

Jill sent out photos with the following:

We are in the midst of fall and winter!! Arden's snow person, Vince, has melted--as it melted, he kept looking out the window saying, "Poor Vince. Poor poor Vince!"

A moment of happiness for Arden and poor, doomed Vince

I literally only caught the last 2:00 minutes of the game and then the post game highlights/ SportsCenter, but I only really see one of two possibilities:

(a) God loves the 06 Bears
(b) God thinks its funny to mess with the Cardinals.

Having lived in Arizona, I think its (b)

Read about the goofiest NFL game ever, right here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I did post a little over the weekend, so take a look and see the posts below, including a few photos of the new Austin house.

The weekend went well. In truth, as I'm currently jobless, there's not much difference between weeks and weekends other than my ability to call upon people. On the weekend I can call Jason and make him go to lunch. During the week I can upon businesses and services.

Example: When we moved in to our house, we bought two garage door openers as we have two garage doors. The installer finally came out, was here for five minutes and pointed out that one door was installed at an angle and the other door's rails come together near the floor. "I can install the openers," he said, "But the motors going to wear out pretty fast unless these doors are fixed."

So I called the builder to come out and look at the doors, but he said, "Well, the doors are only under a one year warranty. The previous owner should have fixed them. Also, they ran into the doors, so your warranty is void, anyway."

So now I have to call the garage door services people to come fix the doors they installed improperly the first time, and I have to pay them for it. All I want is to have a garage door opener and tro cruise into the garage without thinking about it. Instead, the whole operation is costing me time and money I don't have.

-Saturday we grabbed Steanso and headed to North Austin, visiting the intersection of Pond Springs and 183, which had once been a wee League's old stomping grounds. We popped into Austin comic shop "Thor's Hammer", which was having a massive clearance sale and table-top gaming tournament. The League does not play table-top games and must confess to being a little weirded out by the squeaks and squeals of nerdish delight coming from the gaming area. I know gamers and comic geeks may appear to share kinship to even a team of trained anthropologists, but I think we're a pedigree apart on the nerd-scale.

I bought a stack of back-issues for a dollar apiece, picked up three trades at 40% off cover, and had a moment of geekish horror when I unwittingly entered a trivia contest.

I was elbow deep in long boxes, desperately seeking out stray New Gods back issues when someone burst into the back-issue room.

"Quick! Who was the director of Empire Strikes Back?"
"Irvin Kershner!" some geek blurted. I looked around for a moment and realized the geek in question was none other than your humble League. The room was oddly silent. The other geeks looked a little stunned. The guy who had asked the question ran back out of the room.
I felt awkward, as if I had crossed some geek-trivia line and had somehow revealed myself as somehow even more of a knob than the guy yanking back-issues of old Image comics out of the stacks. I had assumed that knowledge of who sat in the director's chairs for Episodes V and VI was common knowledge in geek-circles.
A moment later, the guy asking the question shoved a DVD in my hand. "Your door prize!" I looked blankly at the DVD, turned it over in my hand and saw the title: "Star Wait". I use the term "documentary" loosely, as its really just somebody's home videos as they waited in line for the opening of Star Wars Episode II.
Not Episode I.
Episode II. When we all should have known better.

The DVD is very, very bad, and full of unpleasant geeks being unpleasantly obnoxious. I am very tolerant of Star Wars geeks for the most part, but geeks in packs are a danger more to themselves than to others. Unfortunately, when geeks mass for a geek related event, the lack of proper social acumen becomes a genuine liability. And, even worse, you may bear witness to geek-on-geek hook-ups, the most grisly of geek behavior.

Anyhoo, the trip north was good. "Thor's Hammer" was much nicer than I thought it would be, but has miles to go before its anywhere near the mecca of Austin Books. I might also point out that Austin Books does NOT cater to table-top gamers, instead using its vast space to provide a wide variety of comics of all stripes and eras. Plus, you don't have to hear some dude proclaiming his half-orc had totally made some other guy's halfling his bitch thanks to rolling a natural 20.

Some of us just want to look at our burly men in spandex in quiet.

Oh, and Ty (my LCS manager) has tapped into my utter geekness. My shop, South Side, is part of the Austin Comic Ring, owned by Thor's Hammer. Anyhoo, Ty had been called in to help with the event and had an excellent time making fun of me for heading 20 miles north in search of deals on comics.

Leaguers, Ty has only begun to scratch the surface.

-Saturday Night, Steanso and I headed to Alamo Drafthouse South to see a midnight showing of "Friday the 13th III (a New Dimension in Terror!)". I am not a slasher movie fan. I do not see the appeal. Unless, of course, there's 3D technology at work. I tell you, Leaguers, there's nothing like seeing an axe-handle protruding from someone's noggin when you feel like you could get smacked with that same handle as the victim looks surprised for a beat or two before falling out of frame. I just really felt like I was immersed in all of the blood splattering action.

As the gentleman introducing the movie pointed out: in order to provide the most out of the experience, the script was apparently written to take the utmost advantage of the 3D technology, occasionally at the expense of details like plot, dialogue and a coherent narrative.

All I can say is: ladies, when you see a dude slowly ambling toward you with a ski-mask and a spear-gun, do not make small talk. Assume the worst and flee.

-Today we met up with Cousin Sue, showed her the house, the grabbed lunch at Cherry Creek Catfish on Manchaca. Not much going on today, and even less when you take into account the hours I lost when I fell asleep on the couch reading those Superman back issues I picked up yesterday.

-Hope everyone had a good weekend.