Saturday, November 24, 2007

I should probably be getting to bed.

It's Saturday night at the end of a few days stay here at Jamie's parents' house, and, as I understand it, this could be the final holiday we spend in Lawton. Jamie's parents recently purchased a home in San Marcos and will be moving there in the not-too-distant future. It's going to greatly change things, which I think came to a stunning conclusion in my head during dinner when Jamie suggested that my desire to consider Wisconsin or Minnesota as a destination when we were looking and wound up in Arizona was something that would no longer apply. Not sure of where she came to this conclusion, I stated that I would, in fact, go to Wisconsin now.

This was met with a "You better not" by the in-laws who have recently made plans to live closer to their daughter by buying the aforementioned house. Luckily, I have no plans to leave Austin, so all is well. But it does illustrate a point as to where I am in the game of life.

Fortunately, the point I was trying to make vis-a-vis the Wisconsin conversation was that I still don't mind the cold. When you are of the unconventional size of a Steans Bros., and tend to sweat when you just think about a hot day, places like Arizona lose some of their je ne sais quo. Even Austin on a humid day in August loses some of its charm.

Today we visited the new Comanche Nation Museum in Lawton, as well as the Great Plains Museum. The past which is reflected in both museums is not necessarily long-forgotten history, but of people who have lived during my parents' lifetime. Oklahoma is only now celebrating its Centennial of Statehood, and as much as one would like to imagine that the range wars are of the ancient past, they most assuredly are not. The inhumane treatment of Native Americans continued through much of the 20th Century, well after the Comanche were on reservations and the paternal Federal government took children from their families and placed them in Indian Schools.

As much as that recent history continues to live on in the language and memory of the people who've established and run the museums, its too infrequent we look away from our laptops and iPods and remember that 100 years ago, the machines we used to till the soil were pushed by hands and pulled by animals. It's the dates on photos of men busting horses and pulling steer to the ground with their bare hands that now is left as mostly a sport, when, once, that was s kill that put meat on the tables of millions across the US. Maybe we haven't grown soft, but it reminded me that I am.

Perhaps we weren't meant to sit behind desks and push icons around on a screen of glowing liquid crystal, or maybe that's where we're headed. Maybe that's why we try to invent $100 laptops for starving kids in Africa, because we haven't got a clue what those kids need to make food as readily available as a Lunchable for them, but maybe if they can blog about it..?

There was a time in our grandparents' and great-grandparents' lives when they could live in Indian Territory, at the edge of the world as maybe they'd known it. When a day of work meant pushing the seed tiller and hoping it didn't break today because you had how many acres to plant, and you had no animal behind which to pull the damn seed spreader.

It's an odd thing to realize you could not survive in your great-grandparent's shoes, and wouldn't begin to know how to put in the effort that was expected daily of people for the past 60,000 years. But, hey, you know how to freeze a pane in Excel, so that's something, right?

I have an idea how to carve something out of nothing, but we're an odd people now, we are. Brilliant leaps as we've touched the moon and done the math that tells us the Universe is expanding and collapsing. We've got the ability to store our food endlessly and the ability to chat with someone via voice and picture as a basic add-on to our Power Mac. But, really, we can't feed or clothe ourselves.

I dunno. I'm going to bed.

Hope you're well, Leaguers.

Friday, November 23, 2007


It is into the fourth quarter of the UT/ A&M game, and, goodness, UT's offense has not actually played a lick of football yet this game. Any doubts I've had about UT's offense have been completely confirmed as they look towards being stomped for the second year in a row by the sheep romancers of College Station.


Thanksgiving has thus far been lovely. Yesterday we had a very nice Turkey Dinner complete with yams, green beans, homemade rolls, and several other items. Dallas handily won their game and Green Bay also went to 10-1.

It's now 37-17. Our defense just rolled over and died. Because Colt McCoy will not keep the offense on the field for more than three plays.


Today we dropped Jamie off at a dialysis unit in downtown Lawton and then Doug, Kristen and myself hit the two comic shops here in Lawton. One shop was in a former house and completely filled, wall-to-wall with back issues in absolutely no organizational order. I lucked into finding some of Jack Kirby's "Captain Victory" issues from his Pacific Comics days when he went indie, and some back issues of Airboy, The Spirit and a few DC comics which looked kind of interesting.

If this guy who owned the shop cleaned it up a bit, bagged and boarded his stuff, actually inventoried his comics, and got rid of the mountain of 90's-era refuse clogging the shelves, he might actually have a really interesting store on his hands. In the meantime, I suffered through an allergy attack after leaving the store, my stack of comics in hand.

At the second shop I found some Superman comics that are probably worth exactly what I paid for them, but were good finds for me, anyway. This shop was obviously a lot newer, and was very tidy inside, even if the selection was not as wildly varied. I mostly grabbed what 70's and 80's Superman stuff they had that I didn't (with an eye toward trying to keep the cost down), and then stumbled into the original Superman Red/ Superman Blue issue up by the counter (Superman #162).

It's been very chilly here in Lawton, although thus far no precipitation has come down. It's just cold and dry. Austin was warm when we left, but it won't be that way when we return Sunday and I'm supposed to be hanging Christmas lights.

Mel came with us for the trip. Jeff is staying home under Nicole's watchful eye, and Lucy has been dropped off out in Driftwood at a place called "The Austin Pet Ranch". I do not like leaving Lucy behind, but the guilt evaporated when I saw Doggy Fantasy Camp when we arrived. The place sits on a couple of acres, and she'll be able to run around and play with other dogs all day. The people running the joint were also really nice. I look forward to seeing her roll over and go to sleep from so many days in a row of excitement.

I hope your Thanksgiving Holiday is going well.

We'll be back in a few days.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day Man

Thanks to CB and David, I've been watching a lot of the FX Network's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia".

In an episode this season the characters put together a couple of bands, which resulted in two songs, "The Night Man" and "Day Man".

Apparently a few folks have adopted the "Day Man" tune as their own:

And, of course, jack-hole frat boys

Curiously, I could find no covers of "Night Man"

Doug Makes a Friend

Originally uploaded by RSteans
Also seen in Wisconsin this past September.

Yes, it seems the Weiner Man is prepping himself for some form of auto-cannibalization.

Best comic page ever?

Non-sequitur lifted with proper awe from Mike Sterling's "Progressive Ruin"

Nash Rambler

Originally uploaded by RSteans
I meant to post this a while back. When we were in Wisconsin in September for Jamie's cousin's wedding, there was a car show. The car I'm posing with here is a 1951 Nash Rambler. This isn't the exact car, but its the same make, year and model as the car driven by Lois Lane (played by the lovely Noel Neill) in the TV series "The Adventures of Superman".

Sadly, I started telling Jamie about how this was Lois Lane's car and how exciting it was to see one, before I saw the license plate. Yup, it read "LOIS LN".

By sheer coincidence, I'm wearing a very pro-Lois shirt in the photo.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Howdy, Leaguers.

It's in the 80's during the days right now and someone on the street perpendicular to mine has hung Christmas lights. Thanksgiving is at the end of this week, so its hard to say that its too early to hang the lights. After all, Christmas commercials hit the air in the days around Halloween and we've already sent out the announcements about our own Holiday party (you're coming, right?). Which means I'll be using the Monday after Thanksgiving (I asked off way back in September) to climb a ladder and string the front of the house with a million twinkling white lights.

There is a point: This Fall is going by too fast. Just how summer seemed to come and go too quickly, Fall is only a month from wrapping up. Hell, there's only one football game left in the regular season for the Mighty Texas Longhorns. With the change in time, the windows of my office (which face out onto a derelict building, complete with hobos, smashed bottles, graphitti and the occasional colorful act) aren't waiting until 7:30 to begin to go dark like they were during the summer. At 5:00 the sun dips low enough that my office is abruptly plunged into darkness, leaving me typing away by the light of my monitor. So I get up, turn on the $15 floor lamp, and sit back down to spend another hour-and-a-half or so wrapping things up, trying to catch up for another day.

It seems like there's been a lot of catching up lately, which makes me wonder where the time is going.

This weekend I bagged, boarded and boxed more comics than I want to think about. We made time on Friday night for grabbing BBQ at the Green Mesquite and then 18-holes at Peter Pan Mini-Golf on Lamar and Barton Springs. Matt demonstrated some amazing superhuman ability at the course, coming in pretty well under par and sinking at least four hole-in-one's.

Two photos can be seen here. As always, I wound up mixing and matching friends from various concentric circles in my life, with Julia from the office coming along with Matt, Jamie and Jason.

A somewhat impromptu Austin-Thanksgiving was cut short when poor Nicole, who'd planned to cook, was laid low with an illness I have yet to hear properly described. She's been out of pocket, staying at Matt's, so hopefully they've gotten all that resolved.

As much as I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving with the family (we're headed to Lawton), a part of me is really trying to figure out how to better incorporate friends into the Holidays. Sure, we throw the Holiday Heckstravangza, but that's also seeing 40 people in the span of a few hours. My mother always had some folks at Thanksgiving and Christmas who (especially when I was in college) I really didn't know. I used to wonder how on earth that happened, but generally was so busy emptying the Box O' Wine at the end of the table that the mystery was never fully resolved... but I think I get it now. You open your doors and your table to your friends and even folks who maybe you don't know all that well, you feed everyone and pass around a few bottles of wine and hope for the best. Maybe that's where I'm headed, trying to coordinate some force of will that insists we'll all see one another on the Holidays despite the shopping and perfunctory office parties.

There won't be time enough for everyone between now and Christmas, and that's too bad. Hell, there's a birthday or two in there (right CB? when is that), and I know people with kids and jobs and all that are even more busy than their usual crazy schedule...

All that said, this weekend Jamie and I stuck close to the house and had a weekend not unlike the ones we'd have in Arizona. I was dinking around with comics, Jamie was on her laptop or puttering with the pets. It was very quiet and, should I go to bed sooner rather than later, I might actually catch up on my rest.

Time for bed, Leaguers.

I have no idea how busy I'll be over the next several days. Hope everyone has a good Turkey Day.