Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anniversary of Aggie Bonfire Tragedy

The 18th marks the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the Aggie Bonfire. Leaguers will remember the bonfire as one of the great traditions not just in sports, but a great Texas tradition.

It was always mind-boggling to hear about the bonfire, a massive, multi-story structure that was built by students, and whose eventual torching was the social event of each year at Texas A&M for many students and alumni. The fire, of course, was Texas A&M's good-natured effigy of UT, and the fire was equal parts man-made wonder and joke. Unfortunately, unforeseen construction issues occurred with the fire being built for the 1999 UT/ TAMU match-up, and the tower fell, killing 12 students.

I was working on campus at UT at the time, and what I remember was the shock on campus, and the line that went around the mall in front of the tower as students queued to give blood, unsure of what else to do. Neither students nor staff could imagine what must have been going on at the Texas A&M campus.

Anyway, the ensuing years have certainly not meant that people have forgotten. Texas A&M has erected a very nice memorial to the students, and memories of the bonfire are still a favorite topic of conversation among Aggies and friends who were able to ever see the fire.

I am not sure what Aggies do these days prior to the game. But Aggie spirit is something to behold (and fear a bit, if you're a Longhorn on gameday), and hasn't flagged a bit in the years since the tragedy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


You won't hear me say it often, but I love Houston. If Austin is my tried and true lady, then Houston is the girl who is going to get me into trouble. Young, more money than brains, tarted up just enough to hide the scars and disguise the fact that all the drinking and cigarettes are causing her to decay in odd ways...

And like that girl who is nothing but trouble, you kind of love her all the more for it, even if she's probably going to mean your doom one of these days.

I was happy to consider Houston as a destination when we plotted our escape from Phoenix, but I had stipulations. Not in the suburbs. Nowhere that, when the storms blew in, our house would go beneath water, and hopefully in a place that had some trees.

This town has a lot to offer, and the change from burnt-out, post-80's-era decay to a usable downtown with places to live, sports, theater, what-have-you... I can see the appeal. If not for the 90% humidity year-round.

I'm staying in a phenomenal hotel near MinuteMaid Park, The Inn at the Ballpark. I have some questions about why they have, apparently, no parking. But I'm dealing with that. Someone else is going to pay the damn valet charge.

The waitress even expressed interest in the Jack Kirby war comic reprints I was reading. "Oh, comics," she said. "It's been a long time. I used to love 'Johnny the Homicidal Maniac'." I think I beamed a little too much.

Anyway, its raining and a front is coming in, and I'm downtown, which was where I always liked Houston best (although I'm not enamored with the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is what I can see from my window).

To UofH to see Michele in the AM. And then returning to Austin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I met with some good folks here at the UT Medical Branch Moody Library today, and it was interesting to see what their ideas, concerns, etc... are.

Digital Librarianship is different from the librarianship of the past, oh, 2000 years, and one can expect that by the time your grandkids are rolling their eyes at you over the Thanksgiving Protein-Turk-o-Form, they will wonder in amazement that people used to actually have to go to a big building with lots of books in it and not just think about whatever information they want to access. Also, bellbottoms will be in again.

Galveston itself was hit incredibly hard by Hurricane Ike last year, but being less populated and coming after the Katrina/ Rita one-two punch, and the press almost morbidly more interested in the 1900 storm, I am sort of wondering about the reconstruction of Texas's once prosperous gate to the southwest. Its clear that much of the city is not recovered, and while not exactly Omega-Man in effect, there just doesn't seem to be all that many people here at all.

In fact, I had lunch at a bistro in town, and before dinner this evening, I stopped at Target to pick a few things up, and ran into one of the waitresses in the aisle, four miles from the bistro (no, she didn't recognize me, but I wasn't wearing my tie and sport coat, either). And, truthfully, the Target felt sort of deserted anyway, before I started thinking maybe I'd seen everybody who lived in Galveston.

That said, there's still history in every corner of the place, with impressive Victorian houses on Broadway and large, old brick buildings which are likely 100 years old if they're a day, left over from Galveston's heyday as a port. But there's no doubt that the place is barely a whisper of the prosperity of 110 years ago.

I've suggested to Jamie that she and I take a few days and come back this spring. In addition to the beaches, there are museums, I'd like to take her on a tour of the Moody Mansion, and I think there's a place you can hire to take you up in a B-25, but I'd need to check the price on that. Oops. Just found the price. Never mind!

But there's still an airplane museum, and I know that Jamie would like nothing more than to spend a day looking at WWII vintage craft. Yessir.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Texas Coast Trip

I'm traveling this week for work, visiting some universities on the Texas coast who are members of the organization I work for. I actually really like this part of the job, if you don't include the "being away from Jamie for several days" bit.

Spent yesterday driving to Corpus Christi, today presenting at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, then driving across the Gulf Plains to Galveston by way of GPS. I'm now in Galveston, where I'll be for two days meeting with UT Medical Branch and Texas A&M Galveston. Friday, I'll be visiting Univ. of Houston, and then home.

Texas is a big place, and I love that its geography and flora change every 30 minutes when you're driving at a good clip. I'd not driven up the coast, crossing bridges over bays, driving through towns with no seeming point in existing, watching the flat of the coast turn into the East Texas swamps of Brazoria and Angleton, and back into the coastal flats outside of Galveston.

I'm hoping UT El Paso joins up so I can do that drive again (there's a lot of changes between Austin and El Paso).

But I also like getting out and seeing people where they work and live. Its great when they come to conferences, etc... but I find they're a lot more relaxed and talkative in their own offices. Its kind of nice.

Anyway, it's going to be a good couple of days, pending any technical difficulties.

I'm also reading "Moby Dick" in spurts, and listening to "Dracula" as an audio book. This is my first reading, which i decided to do to get it checked off the list and do it in time for Halloween. I'll be honest, that's a pretty scary book, thus far. I'm finally beginning to see the appeal, and why its been imitated so often. But, man, have people screwed that thing up in all the plays, movies, adaptations that we've seen.

I can say I finally understand why adapatations seem to reverse the roles of Lucy and Mina now that I'm fairly far into the book. I always found that decision baffling.

Anyhow, its great to get out and about, but I also know I wasn't exactly cut out for the Willie Loman lifestyle.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Farrah Fawcett - Now chatting it up with Charlie in a better place

The passing of Farrah Fawcett would have been the big headline had the sudden death of Michael Jackson not occurred within hours.

I didn't follow Fawcett's career, in particular. I was quite young during the Charlie's Angel's era, and when "The Burning Bed" aired, I was at an age where that probably wasn't going to be something I was watching.

When I think of Fawcett, literally every time, this is the image that comes to mind:

I don't know what the current status is, but at one point, this was (by far) the best selling poster, ever.

Even many Central Texans don't know that Fawcett is a Longhorn. She's actually from Corpus Cristi, and attended UT circa 1968. The crazy bit is that, according to Wikipedia, she lived in Jester. Who knew?

She was in a large number of film and television projects, and somehow managed to be married to Lee Majors at one point, which is awesome (and had such an impact, I heard one eulogy incorrectly identify her as Farrah Fawcett-Majors).

Of course Fawcett had most recently been in the public eye with her fight against cancer.

Interestingly, Fawcett's 1970's style had become re-adopted by today's youth, whether they knew the source of the look or not. But a quick Google Image search is kind of interesting.

In this image, Fawcett has just run out her door in time to see the ice cream truck is now too far down the street to catch

So long, Farrah. You'll be missed.

Monday, April 27, 2009

6th and Lamar

This weekend I watched "Slacker", the circa 1990 movie from Richard Linklater that more or less made the Austin film scene.

From the opening scene, its clear its an Austin that many in the town today will have found plowed under and turned into condos. Even the opening shot, looking out the window of a bus headed north on I-35 at dawn passes the location of what was Robert Mueller Airport, where today we have tract housing, Best Buy and a sea of chain retail. I think the only thing still standing and the same today in the extended shot is the McDonald's at Capital Plaza.

As a movie and cultural artifact, Slacker is a curious item to watch. I've come to have more personal feelings on the thing than I usually associate with a movie. Its a time capsule from an era of my youth when I was coming of age. Its a time capsule from a period in Austin that most of the people I know in Austin don't recall, or weren't in town for yet. It may also be responsible for some of the image making of Austin, which has led to the flood of people into Austin, which, in turn, has greatly changed Austin. In some ways for the better, and in many ways...

There's a scene about thirty minutes into the movie where a guy is buying a newspaper (a USA Today, I think) and he's at the GM Steakhouse, and the horizon is flat. The high rises of the intersection aren't even imagined yet. Traffic on Lamar is moving fast headed south. There's an auto dealer, Charles Coffey Motors, I think, that had been there for decades.

Today, Les Amis is gone. That whole area has been bought by real estate developers and they put in a Smoothie King and a Panda Express.

The entire film is, in so many ways, the same rush of sense memory you get when you step into your parents' house after being away too long. Or, perhaps even more, when something smells exactly how your grandparents' basement smelled, a place you would have to dig deep to recall when was the last time you spent time there.

Sure enough, time goes by. The town has always been transitory to an extent, memories are short. And those places were houses and other things that people may have lived in before I was imprinting on them as record stores and cigarette shops. Time waits for nobody, but that doesn't mean, I think, you can't be nostalgic. Or that you can't feel a bit of melancholy that time has marched on, especially when you wonder how you suddenly got so old.

Intentional or unintentional, there's something to the young faces of the film living in the old, unpolished parts of the city. In houses left over from grander eras, walking past the burnt out and unused warehouses that once made up several blocks of Austin (and which, from what I've read, on that land may have been brothels and bars before the warehouses took up the space).

Seeing people as I remember them from that era, not as how they appeared on TV from studios, or how they looked in catalogs, or taking their fashion cues from either. Texas accents. All that. It makes it tough to separate nostalgia (and what was at the time, recongnition) from any objective viewing of the film.

The content of the film, is, of course, the 2:00 AM-over-a-beer academic discussions of the 20-something quasi or pseudo intellectual, that rarely appeal to or fit in with the hours available in a life once you've rolled into a job, paying taxes, etc... Even when or if you fundamentally still agree or find yourself arguing with 20-something you. Its distended out to two hours, and at times its a bit much, and at times you want to slap the characters, but its also still a bit like slowing down and listening as you walk across campus. Students will always be students, and Linklater was just out of school (or maybe still in?) when he was working on Slacker.

And that's not going to do a lot for a lot of people. And I appreciate that. Or, I guess, I am aware of that. And the undercurrent of anarchy that's romanticized will drive some nuts. But, as I said, its a time capsule. And its not indicative of many people's time in this town, even lifelong residents.

My favorite scene is still that of the old revolutionary/ anarchist who takes a liking to the young man pointing a gun at him. That's going to be Jason in 30 years, so help me.

Admittedly, at one point, I was fairly certain that was pretty much what I'd be doing in my mid-20's (I was about 15 or 16 when I saw the movie the first time), and had I not jumped in that taxi, who knows where I would have diverged and seen this life as a dream, right? One does not work towards a history and film degree because one's life's plans are centered around financial security, 2 kids and a house in the burbs. It wasn't so much an aspiration as much as what seemed like a likely trajectory when you really have no clue what you're going to do with yourself beyond your 21st birthday.

Anyhow, its a movie I find odd in what a gut, emotional reaction I have to it for reasons that aren't necessarily tied to the content, although that certainly plays a part (at least as echoes of old voices).

Since the movie was released, the term "slacker" was co-opted, most egregiously by the movie "Slackers", which was sort of a gross-out comedy of no redeeming value. Various websites, properties, etc... have tried to take on the term. But, whatever.

All part of it I suppose.

It's like getting a little closer to the rock goddess herself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Should I be:

1) comforted to know there are fewer bullets available?
2) terrified that all the bullets are sold to people who would use them against me?
3) disappointed that Central Texas is also full of wingnuts that believe an Obama administration would mean the end times and who are stocking up, a la Timothy McVeigh?
4) angry with ammunition suppliers for failing to keep up with demand?
5) curious as to who owns the bullets?
6) joining Lou Dobbs in believing its all the Cartels?
7) buying my own weaponry and getting ready for my life to turn into "The Magnificent Seven?"
8) not surprised? This is Texas.
9) admitting its me who has all the bullets?
10) thinking bullets should cost $5 a piece if cigarettes are $7 a pack.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Texas Secede!!!

Now there's a terrible idea.

I still don't think anyone honestly believes Perry is serious about this stuff, so I don't know why everyone is up in arms about the fact he made a joke that reflects Texas bumper sticker humor. Aside from the fact that you guys outside of Texas are all a little bit afraid of us. Which is awesome. Because you should be.

Legend has it, Texas legally has the right to do two wacky things as defined by the agreements under which Texas entered the Union.

1) We can, Voltron-like, break into five states any time we like. Apparently the vast expanse of Texas seemed unweildy to the folks who annexed Texas, so that provision was pretty darn clear in the Annexation paperwork. It was also tied to the Missouri Compromise in ways that probably amde more sense to folks back then than to me, but... anyway. It was (and maybe still is) an option.

I say we get rid of Orange County and Vidor, if we have the option, but nobody listens to me.

2) Secede. From 1836 - 1845, Texas was its own, independent, yahoo-filled, broke down country. Sure, Mexico mostly just considered the Tejas part of Coahuila y Tejas a rogue state, but still part of Mexico until the US brought Texas into the US. This led to a little skirmish most Americans have never heard of called "The Mexican-American War", in which America wound up invading an already weakened Mexico (years of infighting did Mexico no favors), and wound up grabbing most of what you think of as the Western US from Mexico as a prize. So if you think the US doesn't do stuff like that, we absolutely do. We mostly do that @#$% all the time.

And if you don't think they didn't put the Texians out in front to try to get a little Alamo payback during that war, they sure did.

Its more of a question of international law than US law, and how Texas was annexed to the US that suggests that maybe Texas was never actually annexed, and we're all living on occupied Mexican soil. Which is sort of a moot point 160 years later. I'm sure some academic, somewhere, is very bent out of shape about all this.

Different people have different viewpoints on whether Texas could secede or not, based upon the paperwork, but as far as the average Texan on the street is concerned, the ratifcation of the Annexation of Texas gives Texas the right to take their ball and go, any time they want. It inflates our sense of superiority as a state, and, man... that's sort of what we're all about down here.

However, (a) this deal was null and void thanks to re-entering the Union after the Civil War, (b) the paperwork nowhere actually says "you guys can go any time you like", and is sort of a mix of cultural legend and skewed reading of the annexation papers, and (c) this actually came up in court about ten years ago, and... no, Texas can't secede.

The fact is that Texans can't and won't secede, so, CNN and US media... chill the hell out. Its just an old joke. And if anything is more ridiculous than Perry's fake claims for secession, its the fake outrage and agreements by fake newsmen and pundits with fake opinions on this fake topic.

And yet, America is abuzz. (Cue exaggerated eye roll)

While we would do better than, say, Wyoming, if we were on our own again, we're pretty darn tied into the US. And while there's always some blowhard (see: Rick "The Hair" Perry) talking about how if these Democrats keep doing X or Y, we could bail, its the sort of dimwitted bravado that Texans are known for and handily reinforces the notions folks have out of state about Texas.

What is utterly moronic is that people outside of Texas hear this stuff, don't know the culture of Texas, and begin making assumptions that Texans really want to secede, or that a critical mass is for this idea.

Rest of the World: I assure you, they are not serious. We are not going to secede. Not over this, anyway. We take our US Citizenship as seriously as anyone else (we went through a hell of a lot between 1836 and 1865 to get it sorted out, after all). But thanks for playing that card, media. And thanks, public, for eating it up.

Bear in mind, we've had more Presidents than pretty much any other state even with our short history of Statehood. We have 4th of July picnics. We serve in the military in hge numbers. And we put up with Oklahoma being so close by with a minimum of complaint. What else do you want as proof of loyalty?

What I'd love to see is Perry, if he really, really wants to be governor again, actually do some governing. The Texas Governor's job is honestly pretty cushy when some hobo isn't burning your mansion down. Rather than threatening secession, try to dream up a plan to stimulate the Texas and regional economy rather than crossing your arms and throwing a hissy fit that the federal government has to take drastic measures to keep up all from becoming Tom Joad. (You are aware that our banks suddenly have no money, yes? And that's bad? And maybe that happened under the watch of the dude who got you your current job?)

In short, real leaders actually DO SOMETHING about a problem (usually staying within the law). It takes creativity and know-how, which is something Perry actually managed to do once, when he set up the Gulf Coast hurricane planning that worked like gangbusters for recent storms like Ike. So, Rick may want to put his thinking cap back on and get his pals in The Zoo at the Capitol to actually do some good.

Real leaders do not behave like a sixteen year old slamming his door in his parents' face because they totally won't let him have an XBox, even though Dad lost his job and money is tight. (But they totally promised...!)

I've lacked respect for Perry by-and-large all along, but it may be time for the guy to either take some sort of leadership role or get out of the way.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Back to Austin

I'm home. Not in some metaphorical or romantic sense. I am quite literally back in Austin, decamped to the sofa.

For those of you who are wondering: No, I have not seen Watchmen. No, I don't know when I'm going to see it. I've been a little busy, and I don't know when its going to happen. Maybe next weekend, but that's just a guess.

Lubbock was... interesting.

Look, I didn't see much of the town at all. What I will say: Texas Tech is a lovely campus. I was actually glad to see that the campus defied my expectations of being several squat, lowest contract bidder government issue buildings against a bleak landscape. Instead, its actually a very pretty campus of large brick buildings in the style of its Eastern counterparts.

Off campus, Lubbock is a low-slung town of about 200,000 people cutting out their part of the American Dream, I guess. Last night I hung out with longtime pal Heather, starting at Orlando's Italian, a family restaurant, where the portions were generous and the folks eating seemed as if perhaps they were a bit more immune to the passage of time than the folk of the big city.

Lubbock, being a dry county, serves liquor and beer in the restaurants, but you can't buy your own stuff at liquor stores or the grocery. So, of course, just across the county line, a five minute drive from Orlando's, sits a street filled with huge, flashing neon signs and warehouse-style liquor stores and drive-through liquor marts.

There's a culture and economy that's sprung out of the tradition of pretending that people don't drink or that Carrie Nation was a raging success. It basically boils down to the outskirts of many a town marking up liquor and encouraging people to drink and drive. And for there to be a scale model of a 70's-era Vegas in the Great Plains. But oddly free of "gentlemen's clubs". The only one I saw was about ten to fifteen minutes outside of Lubbock. You know, far enough out that your wife or church elder wasn't likely to spot you unless they're at "Playmates" themselves.

We also hit two fabulous Lubbock night spots, which I won't pretend are indicative of the actual Lubbock night scene. But "The Silver Bullet" and "Adolph's" share the same burnt-out building, the vision of whose creator is lost to time. But I suspect someone thought this was going to be an office park at some point in the distant past.

Lubbock has also not instituted the smoking ban in their bars, which I realized I've come to take for granted. So, yes, I had an awesome voice as if I'd been smoking half-a-pack myself. Which might have served me well had I gotten on the list at Adolph's to sing karaoke, tucked between locals warbling country songs with which I was utterly unfamiliar, and an awesomely bad cover of "Hotel California".

Woke up this morning and drove the 6 hours back.

I might add, I haven't checked e-mail since about 8:00 AM Friday, so I apologize if you really missed me. I detoured before dinner on Friday and picked up a Garmin Nuvi 255 at Target, which was selling the model I chose for quite a bit off MSRP.

After my near-disastrous drives on Tuesday and Thursday, I decided I need to relax a bit more when I'm driving, so the soothing voice of the Garmin Lady assisted me in the drive home, taking me on a great route I never would have picked myself by looking at the Rand McNally map I picked up near Ft. Worth (and which kept me from driving East by Northeast into Oklahoma by accident).

Anyhow, I'm home. I'm tired as heck. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lubbock and Dallas

So. Okay. I'm buying a @#$%ing GPS.

Driving and trying to read directions off a printout from Google Maps in the middle of Texas, twenty miles from anything resembling a landmark just sucks. Especially once it gets dark.

Today I drove from Dallas to Lubbock, using the directions provided me by my faithful admin. I knew I was kind of screwed when the directions took me in this weird partial loop around part of Dallas, and I drove back past my hotel fifteen minutes later.

I'll be doing a lot of driving for this job, so from now on, I will have a polite lady's voice telling me where to go.

I didn't see much of the Llano Estacado or whatever driving in as the sun dipped around 7:00ish, and I arrived about 9:10. So, Wow, Lubbock. Nice, terrifying dark roads you got going on out here.

SMU's campus is very nice, btw.

Tomorrow is Tech.

I had a dinner at the bar where I made the bartender tell me her life story. The BBQ was okay, but very salty. Still, for getting a BBQ plate at 9"30 at night, it was okay.

Dallas Radio

So Driving around Dallas I was having trouble finding rock or classic rock on the radio, but I did find a number of religious stations and a metric-ton of Tejano. It was kind of an interesting juxtaposition of listening to Sarah Vowell's discussion of our forefathers, Puritanism, etc... and then listening to the confluence of religion and politics on the radio, and how political issues aren't actually up for debate. The debate has been settled by an interpretation of the Word of God as channeled from the chosen radio DJ.

It's not exactly news that the endgame here isn't entirely different from how law was decreed and interpreted by the separatists and Puritans who fled England to set up shop far from the Papists and not-as-pure-as-themselves Englanders. Its still a fairly crude set-up of abject paranoia and ego manifested as decrying anyone not onboard with your viewpoint as sent from the devil (let alone finding a flock that will buy into your line). And seeking to rule based upon God's authority (ie: your authority, because only you have the "correct" interpretation of scripture, current events, etc...).

It's just kind of kooky to listen for a while and hear the repeated insistence that there's a conspiracy to silence Christians, how many people aren't really Christians (ie: do not listen to this radio show), and how Obama's spending versus Bush's equally reckless spending (if we want to talk deficit numbers) is somehow a sign of the end times. Oh, yes. The end times. Everything is a sign that the end times are drawing nigh.

Bear in mind, I only listened to this for under an hour and heard these messages repeated over and over. This is on every single day, all day.

Anyhow, having had my earful of people calling in to talk about how nobody else is as Christian as the caller and DJ are, I tuned around until I found some classic rock.

On my way out of Dallas, I was listening to ACDC's "Back in Black". I don't particularly care for ACDC, but they'll do in a pinch. And the DJ came back on the air to announce, "You know what's black but won't be back? Terrell Owens."

Well, yes, technically, TO is African American/ black, and he was just released from the Cowboys' roster (setting them back $9 million). But, still... wow. I don't even know what's specifically wrong with that, but I think there's plenty there to work with.

Something else

Here's something new: My pals in Seattle, The My and Bryan have put together yet another musical act. Here's a link to a sampling. Behold, its the dawning of Jupe Jupe.

So where the hell is your latest, T-Jeff?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today I headed to Baylor for what I thought was a productive and instructive meeting. Liked the guy I met there, and I think its going to be good working with the dance-less folks of Waco.

Apparently there's an unwritten rule that lunch is involved in these trips, which is great for me. I get a little annoyed when I've traveled in the past and my boss, etc... decides we don't need to eat because they're on some crazy diet of water and carrot sticks or something. Not going to be a problem with this bunch as we headed to Waco's "Jasper's", a side-road BBQ joint that had all you can eat ribs for $9. Plus, Dublin Dr. Pepper, which I tasted for the first time. And, yes, Dublin Dr. Pepper is completely different and much, much better than regular Dr. Pepper (Dublin uses Imperial Cane Sugar rather than corn syrup). So I can confirm that legend.

Jasper's wasn't screwing around with its portions. Despite the "all you can eat" promise, I ate three ribs and was done. Maybe because I was still reeling from Monday's lunch and then winding up at Threadgill's for dinner.

It turns out that the meat at City Meat MArket in Giddings is supplied by a friend's meat company. I'm going to look into whether or not I can get a map of the place Mikey's company supplies meat to, and see if that isn't one way for this to play out.

Also, Jason and I are already talking about a short trip to Elgin for sausage.

Sadly, I am bypassing food and friends on Saturday. Juan and Letty e-mailed me to see about hitting Snow's BBQ in Lexington on Saturday. Now, here's the weird part:

Snow's was recently voted "best BBQ in Texas" by Texas Monthly, a publication that doesn't screw around when it comes to food. Especially Texas cuisine. But... supposedly they sell out of their meat by 10:00 or so on Saturdays. Which means you have to BE THERE before 9:00 to get a meal.

I love BBQ, but getting up at 7:00 to eat BBQ at 9:00 on a Saturday somehow robs the Meatgrimage of its joy.


The Fox Terminator TV show (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) must not be doing very well in ratings. I hear its being shuttled off to Fridays.

I've been enjoying the heck out Terminator. As much as I dig sci-fi, I don't jump on too many sci-fi TV shows. Stuff like the Stargate franchise doesn't do anything for me, or the semi-popular "Highlander" series from the 90's. I think it helps that the Terminator premise is deceptively straightforward. Robots from the future are trying to kill John Connor.

Now you've inserted time travel, plus re-programmed robots, which all hangs from the central conceit of the first two terminator movies.

What really helps is that the rest of the world around our band of un-merry adventurers is very set in reality. Whenever a robot does start shooting, its not as if the populace is aware of what's going on, or would come to the logical conclusion that there are killer robots on the prowl.

Anyhow, I'm a little sad that the show is being moved to the death zone that is Friday night on Fox. But perhaps two really good seasons of a show is infinitely better than the bizarre, slow death spiral that we've seen out of "Smallville" (a show I quit watching for years, but came back to watching to revel in the badness).

Big Bang Theory

The show has taken a decidedly better turn this season, and I liked it last season. The decision not to further pursue the "it's a sitcom" romantic path of Leonard and Penny has been hugely helpful, and its given Kaley Cuoco a much wider range to play with instead of "pleasantly unaware of Leonard's affections".

Anyway, kudos to Jim and the cast of BBT.

One disturbing trend. It seems Jim is becoming a bit of an item of lust for nerd girls on the internet. See the comments on this post at Lady, That's My Skull.

Edit: The Office I should note that I have recently officially quit watching "The Office". As noted above, I do not find the "will-they-or-won't-they" romantic entanglements of sitcoms interesting or funny. They always stink of the suits forcing their way into the process. The Office has managed to drag the concept out, painfully, for several seasons. I was pleased they'd resolved the issue to some extent, and had hopes they were finally just going to @#$%ing move on with it. Last weeks episode proved that was not so.

I feel guilty, because Jamie and I really don't have that many shows we watch together, and The Office has long been one we can agree upon. That is no longer so. Worse yet, I lack the ability to just sit in the room on a laptop and quietly ignore a show. I must make comment upon it, which detracts from Jamie's enjoyment.

Anyway, we have a DVR. I guess we'll put it to use.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

UT wins (a big surprise)

So, I had gone into today's UT game believing that #1 ranked Oklahoma would surely rack up about 45 points, and we'd get, maybe 35. It was a test not to see if we could beat Oklahoma, which we surely could not, but to see how we would stack up against the rest of the teams we would be playing.

As you probably already know, UT won the game 45 - 35. And if the refs hadn't made that horrendous "roughing the kicker" call (which was really just the kicker cramping up again after his ill-advised running play), who knows what the final outcome would have been.

"At least it's a good game" we were saying well into the 3rd quarter, pleased that UT was keeping pace with OU. And then UT took the lead, and... well... 2008 just got better in a lot of ways.

I have no idea where UT is headed BCS-wise, but I know Colt McCoy and Co. now have a huge target painted on their backs for the remainder of the season. I am now believing we could very well end up in a real BCS bowl this year.


Oh, and a very special welcome to Texas for my in-laws, who just moved to San Marcos from Oklahoma this week.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Unemployment Chronicles: Team League (plus Lauren) get some culture

Today Jamie and I met up with Lauren at the interminably-just-about-to-close Las Manitas on S. Congress for some lunch. Apparently, as we were circling to park and I was discussing parking options on the phone with Lauren, a hobo was making idle threats upon Lauren's person.

We did not know this, and so when we jumped out of the car, Jamie gave the hobo a few quarters. So, you know, if you want to make some easy money by Jamie, just threaten Lauren a bit.

After a delightful lunch, we headed to the Bob Bullock Museum (aka: The Story of Texas) to try to squish a bit more Texas pride into Lauren, who did not have the good fortune to be raised in The Friendship State. I should also comment how different the Bob Bullock Museum is from the Jim J. Bullock Museum, which doesn't exist (yet), but which I would endorse.

I think it was a bit of a challenge for Lauren getting past the subtle delivery of the Bullock Museum to try to understand how Texans might feel about their state. Its a well-concealed message, but I think we were able to come away with a sense of the humble dignity Texans carry in their hearts.

We enjoyed the Spirit of Texas Theater, which is a multi-sensory entertainment experience, in which they spritz water on your face for rain, put a low rumble under the floor for a stampede, and shoot off a piston to represent a snake surprise (a piston, which, in 2000 or so, when I went to see the same show and slouched, got to know me a bot more intamtely than I would have liked). They also really spin Texas history like crazy, sweep racism and institutionalized bigotry under the rug, and suggest that all those crazy Indians should have done was put on a tie, and everything would have been cool to begin with.

We also went to the 3D IMAX, which was about an hour of new-age music, images of whales and dolphins swimming around, and Darryl Hannah's soothing voice DARING me not to fall asleep.

For the first time ever, Lauren is able to see things in 3D. Normally she sees objects in 4 dimensions.

I like me some 3D IMAX action. But someone needs to tell children "hey, kids... these are not solid objects. You don't need to wave your arms and squeal everytime new objects appear on screen."

The displays at the Bullock Museum are pretty good, but you sort of wonder if they mean much to the folks who weren't raised in Texas with the sort of basic level of understanding to really put the pieces together. For example: There are pieces of French and Spanish weaponry from the 17th Century, but there's no real context around those items. What were those guys doing? Did they succeed?

The Bullock museum paints everyone as a good guy (expect the Mexican military of 1836), and that's somewhat problematic in explaining what was going on.

There was also a mostly dismantled T6-Texan on the 3rd floor of the museum, which had the nose taken off so you could see the radial engine. Which led me to Wiki-search Radial Engine, and hey... now I understand how they work. I also confirmed the vast difference between a radial and rotary engine. Thanks, internet!

We also toured the exhibit on the TV show, Dallas. Which, for legitimate reasons, Lauren believed to be a huge, permanent fixture. Which would be awesome, if true.

Anyhoo, I hope Lauren got something out of this mess.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Willie Nelson at 75

What can one write or say about Texas legend, Willie Nelson, that hasn't been written or said before? As much as folks down our way like to listen to Willie, it seems like the man graces the cover of Texas Monthly once every 18 months or so, with article attached.

On the radio this weekend, they were focusing on an all-day Willie retrospective. Tomorrow night, KGSR is dedicating the evening to a Willie celebration. And News 8 Austin is dedicating a good chunk of their day tomorrow to celebrating Willie.

Willie crosses all lines around here. Everyone from the hippies to the old, tarnished Texans loves the guy. Few self-respecting Texans do not know the words to, at least, "On the Road Again".

And if you don't own a copy of something along the lines of Willie Nelson: Super Hits, well, hang your head in shame, sir/ ma'am. But, mostly, pick it up and give it a listen.

I regret that I've never seen the man perform. Perhaps one day.

So, today and tomorrow I salute you, Willie. And I promise to listen to an album or two of your tomorrow in your honor.

Willie's very nice website.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some Excellent News

A) It sounds like The League's own CBG is packing up her belongings and returning to the Capital City. Read her announcement here.

That's excellent news for The League who is quite fond of CBG, and was pleased to find he enjoyed the company of CBG's husband as well. Let's all hope baby Xander doesn't spoil it for everyone with an anti-Texas stance.

We're glad to hear that you're coming back, CB! We'll leave a light on for you.

Oh, and there's no reason for Xander to know he was born anywhere but Texas. We'll cover for you.

B) It seems The League's own Peabo knows not just the day, but the time of his soon to be arrived child's, uhm... arrival? Birth. Yes, birth.

So this Friday everything changes for Peabo as he transforms from irresponsible purveyor of hare-brained schemes to irresponsible purveyor of hare-brained schemes involving children. Huzzah!

I need to get that kid a present.

Ah, who am I kidding? That kid is going to be a baby and won't know if I've picked it out a present until it's at least four. And it's not like Peabo will be keeping track...

Big doings here among Loyal Leaguers...

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Bit of Difference

As I recall, Leaguer Randy once opined something along the lines of "Why does The League obsess about Austin? Stop living in the past, dude."

The past week or so has proven to me in no small degree that our return to Waterloo was a well-conceived plan, if you don't take my current jobless situation into account.

1) Last Friday, my former roommate and eternal pal was here for SXSW hi-jinks. I was able to see the guy and dine out with he and other friends. This led to running into old pal, Amy C. No longer same-city e-mail pals, we got to catch up.
2) The parents were able to come for a nice weekend March Birthday celebration last weekend.
3) Monday night, Nathan C. (no relation to Amy C) was in town for SXSW. Got to catch up with one heck of a guy and once-again expectant father.
4) Not much going on Tuesday aside from Crack fun.
5) Wednesday, outdoors in the rain, got to see some fun music and rock out. Also allowed to participate in said rocking.
6) Wagner arrives for the rocking.
7) Wednesday night was "booze night".
8) Thursday mostly uneventful, but Wagner continues to linger.
9) Thursday night prioved difficult to find a place to eat as SXSW is everywhere. Jamie grumpy, but, honestly, I was just happy we had options. Just not something we had in AZ.
10) Friday braved the crowds and hit certain shops in pursuit of Jason's birthday present.
11) Friday night somewhat tame as I miss the FREE Public Enemy Show, then proceed to miss a birthday party as I just couldn't bear the thought of going into town during SXSW.
12) Saturday hit Curra's for Jason's b-day lunch. (Finally re-locate Texicalli... which is next door to Curra's).
13) Saturday night is Jason's B-Day party at his place. I hang green streamers and almost deafen the birthday boy when "popper" is actually very loud and does not just shoot confetti as I believed.
14) Spend some time with Jason's quality friends, including catching a rare glimpse of the elusive Meredith Shaw. Although the evening's highlight may have come with Ellie's gigantic Hulk hand beer holder.
15) Nearing midnight head to Pat's where I see The My for the first time since 2000, meet his wife, and am also able to celebrate wedding of pal Jeff Shoemaker (formerly a Loyal Leaguer) who had a small civil ceremony on Friday.
16) Sunday, some folks from Saturday late party drop by, we all wind up having a late dinner at Trudy's.

Last year at this time we were getting rained out of the Ostrich Fest.

Sure, this week was crazy. It was nutty crazy. And next weekend we have a wedding in Houston (Bug's wedding)). The following weekend the lovely La La is marrying this Mike fellow.

The League likes a busy calendar. We enjoy having stuff to do and peopel to do it with. Somehow this tops the weekend trip to Target being our only journey out of the house from Friday to Monday.

Yes, it's been a good week.

Now, if only I had a job.

Friday, January 19, 2007

2 things

Comic reader appears in TV show The League enjoys

The League doesn't watch too many one-hour dramas on TV. But we do hunker down once a week to watch NBC's Friday Night Lights.

If you haven't watched the show, it's based upon the award winning book from circa 1990, and produced by Peter Berg who handled the feature film version from a few years ago. The show is framed by a small-to-medium sized Texas town that lives and breathes for the local high school team.

One of the characters is former quarterback Jason Street, played by actor Scott Porter. Street was injured in the first episode and is now confined to a wheel chair.

Apparently, Porter is a big geek and reads quite a few titles. Read more here.

John Kelso is a moron.

In his column for today he argues that Austin was perfectly safe during the recent ice storm, and that the newscasters had brewed up a conspiracy to keep us off the roads and watching their news stations rather than going to work.

Kelso has lived in this town long enough to know better. People in Austin can't handle the ice. They tend to do things like cause 60 car pile-ups on I-35 (which occured in Dec. 1998), drive off of roads into ditches and each other. And, apparently, the number of emergency calls for the elderly escalates tremendously as some fairly frail people slip and fall on icy patches.

Kelso has made a career out of being a grump, and it's occassionally difficult to tell if he's being serious or not as he stays in character. I think, in this case, he's throwing in with the folks who would like Austinites to cowboy up and just keep on with business as usual when the ice hits. And, yes, some of the reports were flat out dumb. But apparently he missed the part of Amy Hadley's news8 story that he makes fun of that remarked that the trucker he mentions was, in fact, stuck. (It's not the trucks which are the problem here, it's our inability to sand and salt our roads). I guess Kelso missed the footage of trucks jack-knifed all over I-35 on his voyages.

Look, we suck at this ice thing. We're very bad at it. So quit whining and watch some movies or get ahead on your columns, Kelso.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Sons of Katie Elder

Texas is a woman, she used to say. A big, wild, beautiful woman.

You raise a kid to where he's got some size, and there's Texas whispering in his ear and smiling, saying, "Come and have some fun."

It's hard enough to raise children, she'd say.

But when you've got to fight Texas, a mother hasn't a chance.