Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rockin' Out 2007

As I mentioned, I received a bass for Christmas. It is shiny. It is blue. I have no idea how to play it. I do know that no matter how long I sit down and play the thing, Jamie says "You didn't play your bass very long." I'm not sure she really wants me cranking away on it for hours when I know exactly one bass line (U2's "With or Without You").

The main problem is that I did not want a bass guitar for Christmas. I wanted a delicious bass. Oh well. Some things get lost in the translation.

Jason and I played some tonight, and he showed me some other bass lines. It seems Adam Clayton may not be the genius I have often given him credit for if I can already play two U2 songs.

Anyhow, its fun. I may not get a chance to pick up chicks playing bass (unless Jamie starts throwing the house keys at me while I'm playing), but it is fun. Sooner or later, we will need more than just me and Jason, but for right now, it's kind of cool to be able to play with him and try something he's into after all the trips to Austin books he's suffered through to amuse me.

So look forward to more future rockin' announcements in these pages.

Friday, December 28, 2007

More LA Crime

It seems that JAL has uncovered a lost collection of Chandler's famous "Melbotis Mysteries", dealing with a similar theme to the current traffic ticket crisis we're experiencing at League HQ.

Never Been to Los Angeles (and now I never will)

It's becoming increasingly likely that if I ever return to the State of California or ever actually make it to Los Angeles, that I will be arrested.

I think as far back as October, I received a notice of a parking citation with the City of Los Angeles. An oddity as I have never actually been to Los Angeles, and certainly not in my own car. I once went to Anaheim, but there I took cabs and never left the Disneyland Resort area.

It seems that when I traded in the Forester, the car made its way out to Los Angeles either as part of a fleet deal, or as a rental. I'm not sure. At any rate, at some point in September, someone driving my former ride received a parking violation. And as the City of LA doesn't maintain updated State of Texas tax records or whatever, they've sent me the violation.

Not wanting to pay someone else's $70 ticket, I sent the City of LA a letter saying "I didn't own this car at this time. Thanks for playing." This, of course, did nothing. And so Jamie sent in a copy of the trade agreement. Here's where things get wacky and where bureaucracy falls apart.

About two weeks ago I called to follow up after receiving a letter that essentially said "Oh yes, you do too own that car." I talked to a person named Lupe on the phone who said "Oh, yes. We do have the right documentation. Call back n 3 to 5 days and we'll get this straightened out."

I called back in seven working days to give them time (hey, I'm busy... they're busy...). Apparently the state of California looks for some document called a "Transfer of Liability" which we don't have in Texas. Because I didn't submit this document, the city of LA doesn't seem to know what to do. In addition, because the transfer of title wasn't from California, Lupe (who I happened upon again) said she couldn't read the document, but from what she described, she was looking at the right document. At the time, I agreed to send in a copy of some other documentation, but upon returning home figured out that I HAD sent in the right documents.

I called back today to check on things and tell them what I had sent them, and today Jessica said "Sir, you said you'd send in the documentation..."
"Yeah, that was before I realized you had my paperwork. You have all the paperwork I have. That's all we have in Texas."
"But you said-"
"I know what I said. Now I'm telling you, you HAVE the paperwork you asked for before. I was calling from work and wasn't sure."
"You said you'd send a FAX-" (I actually never said that)
"It doesn't MATTER what I said before. You have my documentation."
"All I have from you is a letter and two pieces of blank paper".
"Why would I send in two pieces of blank paper?"
"Sir, I don't know."
"I can't help it if your scanner doesn't work, but you guys had this documentation before."
"I don't see it, sir."
So I am kind of wondering what the @#$% is going on at the City of Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau.
I do know its run by nitwits, and that in order to speak to a supervisor, I will have to wait 72 hours. 72 HOURS.
But here's the kicker. I could hear people discussing my situation in the background during the call. I kept hearing "Austin" and "Texas". Pretty clearly whatever system they have going isn't working. And has already passed some deadline which means I will have, at best, an arrest warrant out for my name in LA. At worst, they could put this against my credit score.

What I am trying not to do is spend a huge amount of time on this problem, but I am increasingly frustrated with my inability to prove I did not own a car the City of LA's least impressive public servants claim I owned.

If an attorneys want to start sending letters on letterhead, I can send you the address.

Holiday Bowl

Not many people get to watch their two former employers duke it out on the gridiron, but last night I watched UT play ASU in the Holiday Bowl. I was a bit nervous about the game going in as UT's performance toward the end of teh regular season hadn't been anything to write home about, while ASU had their best season in recent memory. Add in the disdain most folks in Arizona have for Texas in general, plus the bad taste in their mouth about Ut beating USC a few years back in the Rose Bowl, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Well, I needn't of worried. UT came out strong and scored on their first drive. The UT defense, which had looked less than intimidating all season, came out of the gate pummeling ASU's quarterback Rudy Carpenter, and more or less had him on the ropes through the first half. There was an odd play that should have buried ASU and ended the game early on when Carpenter fumbled and the ball came loose. UT picked up the ball near the sideline after some crazy bobbling, and got the turn over with great field position. However...

A mysterious figure on the sideline for UT decided to get involved and, according to the refs, touched the ball. This wound up giving the ball back to ASU in a 4th and goal situation, which, sadly, led to ASU's first touch down.

It looked like momentum might swing back to ASU, and had it done so, the name Chris Jessie would have been mud in Austin for the next ten years. However, on review, its hard to say that Mr. Jessie actually touched the ball. It certainly didn't make the ball dead, and it never seemed to, in any way, effect the momentum or trajectory of the ball. But, nonetheless, Mr. Jessie would have been responsible for one of the most unfortunate plays in UT history.

Here's highlights, the play, etc...

And poor Chris Jessie

Fortunately, UT pulled it out with a solid win against ASU, 52-34.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Wrap-Up

Hey, Leaguers

Well, we had a small hiccup in our plans and Jamie's dialysis unit sort of had a problem with the dialysis she was supposed to have in Houston/ Spring. So, we returned this afternoon/ evening.

I am a weird sort of tired.

Mel came with us on our trip, and he is sacked out now, taking up the whole couch. Poor little Lucy spent Christmas away from the family at doggy resort Austin Pet Ranch, and Jeff stayed home to keep guard over our valuables. Luckily, Cassidy was also able to make the trip, so we had her eager little face following us around during our stay in Spring.

We arrived in Spring on Sunday afternoon, the last folks to show up at my parent's house. Jason had taken point and gone in on Friday, and my grandparents got into Houston an hour or so before Jamie and I arrived. My grandparents live in Florida, and as we don't travel much, and as we didn't make it it home for Christmas the last few times my grandparents were in Houston, it had been a few years since we'd seen each other. Luckily, ain't none of us change too much, so it wasn't too tough to pick up where we left off.

Christmas Eve day the Bridenstines came over as Wayne and Jane were in town, and it was my first chance to see Cousin John and Julie's baby, Brandy. She is cute and babyish, but still very tiny and not yet up to much other than looking at you with big eyes and occasionally sticking her tongue out. Christmas Eve was lovely, with a dinner we ran out and grabbed from Rudy's BBQ. We hit one of the 5 Christmas Eve services at my folk's church, then came back and had some egg nog and played Cranium. Yes, Team Steans Bros. won.

Christmas morning we enjoyed Jamie's famous roll-wreath, and then the gifting of loot began.

Here's the big news, I suppose: I received a bass guitar and amp for Christmas from my folks and Jason. So, really, the clock is ticking on me quitting my job and Jamie getting used to being the wife of a musician, what with me touring and rocking all the time. It's a lovely, shiny blue Yamaha, and I plan to be rockin' out on the thing under Jason's tutelage. Really, I'm very excited. It's something totally new for me that I've always wanted to try. So if anyone wants in NOW on joining the Ryan Steans Bass-heavy Experience, let me know.

From Jamie came the big surprise present. I got a copy of Superman #199, the first race between Superman and The Flash (before Randy asks: they tie). This is one of maybe five comics that I've always wanted a copy of, and I had no idea it was coming. Well done, Jamie.

Jason had to leave to be back at work for today (your tax dollars at work, Travis County tax-payer), and so he left after watching me down about two pounds of ham at Christmas dinner. Not much else happened.

Anyhoo, this morning we had a trip to IHOP with the family, loaded ourselves into the car and were home by evening. Jamie had dialysis tonight, and aside from that, we laid low. I also just saw I missed a call from JAL, and we WERE supposed to meet up tonight. Sorry, man. My phone turned off and I didn't notice. It's been doing that. Hope you and Gene had fun.

So... that was Christmas. I could also talk about how I worked with the Admiral to hook-up the wireless router in their office, or the walk I took with Mel, but, you know... who cares?

I did not make it to Bedrock City, but I am headed down to Austin Books on Saturday, if anyone wants to go. I'm going to limit myself strictly to cheap Superman back-issues, so we'll see what happens.

Oh, and when we got home, a present was waiting in the mail for me from Jamie's brother, Doug. Somewhere, somehow, he'd found a lunchbox with images "Superman: The Movie" on it. It still had the thermos and none of that weird lunch box smell you sometimes find in vintage lunchboxes. So, yes... I now have a lunchbox with an image of Marlon Brando on it. Where's your Streetcar Named Desire luncbox? Hmmmmmm?

Hope you had a good few days off, and, if you celebrated the day, I hope you had a good Christmas. Also, Merry Christmas to Judy and Dick, who are currently in Portugal. Live it up, in-laws. Next year we're in San Marcos.

I'm sort of off for a few days, so I'm hoping to have time to read comics and maybe crack this Cormac McCarthy book I picked up.

We are back

and I am tired. A full report of the Holidays perhaps a bit later.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from League of Melbotis

Merry Christmas from all of us at League of Melbotis to all of you and yours.

-Ryan, Jamie, Melbotis, Lucy and Jeff the Cat (Jason, Cassidy, KareBear and The Admiral)

Hope yours is a Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas: Gettin' out of town

Hey Leaguers,

We head out a little later today for Spring, Texas, which is sure to be a winter wonderland.

We planned on being back on Thursday evening, but something got screwed up with Jamie's dialysis schedule, and so we're having to come back a day early, right after Christmas. The biggest impact is that now we'll not get to see any friends while in Houston, so my apologies to Randy and Family, as well as Shannon and Josh.

Yesterday we wrapped presents and packed, as well as did some last minute shopping with Heather Wagner for her family. And, yeah, the stores were crazy. Which made my trip to go pick something up for Cousin John's new kid something I knew I'd have to brace myself for. I also bought myself a pair of pants for goin' to Church, and even the fat-guy store was busy. Mostly full of fat guys buying pants for church, I think.

This is probably my last post for a few days. So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all! We wish you and yours the best this season. May the days be merry and bright. Be safe. We'll see you on the other side of Christmas.