Saturday, October 14, 2006

A little football

UT wins! Well, it's Baylor.

Colt McCoy is not as dazzling to watch as Vince, but it will be very interesting to watch this already solid quarterback mature. He's not throwing any more interceptions than Simms, and he seems to have a better head on hsi shoulders... But when things go south on him in the pocket, he just isn't Vince Young. That's okay. He's good.

Of course, my favorite player this season is Limas Sweed. Limas looks like he's planning to get UT into one of the big bowl games all on his own if he must.

I am very tired of UT looking like deer in the headlights in the 1st quarter, but they do seem to wake up in the second quarter... I just can't believe UT gave up so many points. To Baylor.

A moment for OU's Adrian Peterson and Sooner fans. Geez... well, he'll be back maybe before end of the year. Maybe.

A&M, well done again this week.
Picture Parade

Recently, the in-laws came to town. Jamie's Dad (that's Dr. McB to you, mister!) took some photos and sent them our way. We're not really done with the house, but this might give you an idea of what we're up to.

If you're looking for a house in Austin, btw, I totally recommend our realtor.

Why, look! It's a comforting suburban street in Anytown, USA!

This is our house. There are many like it, but this one is mine. You will note the upstairs and downstairs patios. A big selling point.

These are the shelves we painted red. Now many Supermans and Batmans dwell upon the shelves. It's probably a little overwhelming, but not nearly as much as my office will be when I finish. Yes, these shelves are in one of the two living areas which comprise the downstairs.

And there's me with my giant Spider, Mr. Spider. He was a gift from the in-laws. Mr. Spider used to adorn the walls of their home every Halloween, but Judy decided to give Mr. Spider up so now he has a new Halloween home. And given the number of spiders we've found in the house, Mr. Spider will have lots of friends.

the photo was taken before Jim Deadman had been constructed. photos of Jim Deadman will hopefully be forthcoming.

Friday, October 13, 2006


-Leaguers, I often remind you to take my opinion of your favorite programs with a grain of salt. I am but a deeply opinionated and intellectually bankrupt blogger trying to find television programming which appeals to my own particular brand of amusement. Keep in mind, I still giggle and clap when someone turns the key for me on one of those wind-up cymbal monkeys.

With that warning, I've been watching a lot of Sci-Fi Channel's original series "Ghost Hunters".

It's October, our spookiest month, and I feel I can ponder the supernatural a bit. "Ghost Hunters" is all about attempting to debunk ghostly evidence while simultaneously creeping you out. Honestly, The League is not one to believe much in ghosts, flying saucers, the Loch Ness Monster or most traffic laws. I confess that I do believe in El Chupacabra. Too much damn evidence.

If you have basic cable and a free Saturday afternoon, you really can't miss all the programs which bring us re-enactments of mysterious visitations, hauntings and horror. You may have seen one of the programs such as "Most Haunted", "Secrets of Area 51", "World's Scariest Places" or "Bigfootville". Basic cable has a made a mint out of promising to present compelling evidence of the mysteries of our childhood, but the programs never really deliver. After all, it seems unlikely at best that if someone WERE to capture video footage of The Yeti of Norman, Oklahoma, the first place you might stumble across it would be on a Saturday afternoon rerun of a two-year-old one hour basic cable show.

But, what the heck... I like "Ghost Hunters." Mostly, I like the fact that two blue collar dudes have parlayed their otherwise cynical nature and problem solving skills into a successful Ghost Hunting business (whose services may be, I think, available pro bono). Each weekend these gentlemen jump in the car with some friends and go videotape old, creepy houses. But I DO think they try to be skeptical, and I do believe them when they see something they can't explain (I've seen things I can't explain, such as Jamie's ability to put away a 1 lb. bag of Skittles).

As you may know, The League is currently jobless, and we think Ghost Hunting may be the next exciting career opportunity we should explore. Jamie has already declined to join me in my investigations, stating, "You know, I don't believe in ghosts, but there's no way in hell I'm sitting in a dark house all night waiting to see if something jumps out at me." So, looks like I'd be flying solo if I were to pursue this to its logical conclusion. That's where Mel comes in. Mel with a flashlight strapped to his head.

-Today I assembled my new front porch decoration. I have named it: Jim Deadman.

Jim Deadman is my latest version of The Great Pumpkin. I took one of the artificial Jack O' Lanterns from Target, drilled a hole in the head, put an eyelet in the porch roof and attached string. I attached two "skeleton hand" gloves to a beige bed sheet and then suspended those from some eyelets. All of this creates a nice "ghostly" motion for Jim Deadman and allows Jim to sway in the breeze. Unfortunately, I was trying to be careful and removed the bulb from Jim's artificial head, and in the process of replacing the bulb, I dropped it. So. I need to go buy Jim's head a new bulb.

Home-made decoration construction tip #1: Zip ties. Everything can be solved with zip ties.

-I decided to go out and hang Jim Deadman today as the weather finally broke. It's cool outside. It feels like Fall. I am inclined to put on jeans tomorrow. And maybe take a shower if Jamie is lucky. I have not lived somewhere that has Fall in a few years. I plan to enjoy it.

It was so nice out, in fact, that Jamie and I sat on our upstairs patio and ate dinner. I tell you, Leaguers, you cannot go wrong with an upstairs patio. Add an upstairs patio to your home today.

-I spoke with an old pal from years gone by. Some of you WW Warriors may remember Shauna C. from the checkout line at K-Mart circa 1991. I remember Shauna as a mean dancer and the person who pointed out that a McDonald's cone is less than a dollar (circa 1994). Anyhoo, Shauna has landed on her feet in sunny LA and is doing quite well for herself as a bit of a writer.

You know, normally The League loathes hearing success stories about people with whom he once shared a cafeteria. After all, The League is currently unemployed and hasn't bothered to shave in a week (we've decided that The League's outward appearance must match the grimness of his career prospects). So it's nice to hear a success story about someone to whom you don't want to immediately respond "That @$$hole? His own plane?"

Those sorts of conversations inevitably end with the League standing on a cliff overlooking the pounding surf, staring into an empty bottle of wood grain alcohol while contemplating the injustices of being born into this meaningless existence.

Then you hear one of the good ones did well for themself and it's punch and pie all over again. Good for Shauna C. Hopefully she'll be willing to spend her hard-earned monies funding my ghost investigations.

-This evening I cracked open my first Halloween movie, finally attached the DVD player to the TV and enjoyed. In a fit of Elvira love, spawned by my post from earlier this week, I watched my recently purchased copy of "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark". It was nostalgia and my memory of Elvira's final dance number that got me through the movie. In some ways, the movie was a lot funnier now than when I was 13 and watching it for the first time, but in many ways... well, if you want to borrow it, you know who you can call.

-Also, I watched an Elvira hosted original version of "Little Shop of Horrors". I've been a fan of the film musical starring Ellen Greene, Rick Moranis and Steve Martin since the mid-80's (Ellen Greene as Audrey probably deserves her very own DITMTLOD). However, this was the black and white original, which I'd never seen.

Film legend has it that the entire movie was filmed in two days for a few thousand dollars, but is probably just as famous for including a very young Jack Nicholson in one of his first roles (he plays the masochist part you may recal Bill Murray took on in the musical). It's worth noting that the movie is actually pretty funny in parts, and certainly never seems concerned with being taken seriously. I'm not sure if the characters were each given business and a base personality by Roger Corman (the film's director and producer), or what happened, but in a lot of ways, the film almost reads like the actors were entertaining themselves as much as trying to get the film made.

Occasionally, Elvira pops up in the movie (it's a menu selection before you start the movie), and while her comments are welcome, the technology isn't as seamless as it should be to make this work.

-You may note a lack of Halloween Contest this year. Sorry about that. I'm a little pre-occupied. Maybe next year.

-Hope all Leaguers are doing well.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Because I can think of just too many Leaguers who might find this amusing...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

From Television Without Pity regarding the Season 3 Premier for "Lost"

Closeup on an eye, which turns out to be scanning a CD rack. A hand reaches out and grabs what is recognizably the case for Speaking in Tongues by the great Talking Heads, and since I am one of those guys who have to know these things and let everyone else that I know these things, I immediately announced, "Cool! Talking Heads!" to everyone watching with me. Much to my chagrin, Petula Clark starts warbling "Downtown," instead. That is not a song I hate. But it is not Talking Heads. And I can only surmise that either a) Lost planned to use a Talking Heads song but couldn't work out a deal or b) this person is a natural enemy to music geeks like myself: that person who takes CDs from the player and puts them in the case of the CD they now want to listen to instead, such that none of the discs match up with the cases in their collections, and when you want to listen to something, you have to work your way backwards until you suddenly find the Talking Heads CD in, like, the My Bloody Valentine case or some such. And forgive me if it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but those people are the greatest evil mankind has ever known.

Besides, for this show, the Talking Heads album you want is Stop Making Sense.

I went through almost this exact same inner-monlogue while watching the opening scene, going so far as to blurt out "Talking Heads!" when they exposed the interior of the CD case. The person in my house with no respect for CD's v. CD Cases? Jamie, and her blase attitude toward making the two jive.

Her acquisition of an iPod saved our marriage.

For those of you who've never been there: Television Without Pity

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


On the coattails of Lost's success, several would be contenders have leapt aboard the "One Hour Drama Mystery Train" this season. Kidnapped. Nine. Heroes.

Well, Hollywood, The League would love to make an easy buck, and will be happy to let you buy my idea for a show. My show is called "Nonsensical Mystery @#$%".

On "Nonsensical Mystery @#$%", several people who seemingly have nothing in common come together in, oh, say... Cincinatti. And really bad stuff happens to them. It is key that nothing is ever explained as to why these bad things happen, but we will hint that there is a mysterious agency at work which will always have seeming omniscience. And make the protagonists (who seemingly do not have any common bond) really upset alot. Too bad they can't get along. Or just walk away when they smell trouble.

To spice things up on NMS, the agency will occasionally kill cast members and find ways to beat them up. As a rule, all members of the agency will spend a lot of time looking off camera and refusing to blink. Oh, and they will have a seemingly decent pretty one who will play traitor to our "heroes".

It is of the utmost importance that absolutely nothing anybody, hero or villain, ever says be the truth. Why, what better way to keep our audience guessing than to make sure whatever they THINK they understand to be what is happening is actually a tremendous fib. THAT'S how you keep folks coming back week after week. You THOUGHT you were watching a show about people in Cincinatti? You're so stupid! The characters only THINK they're in Cincinatti. They're actually on a huge floating platform built to resemble Cincinatti in every way! Suckers. Or are they actually in Cincinatti? You can't tell? The mystery deepens...

The great thing is, we'll keep dropping "clues" for the audience to figure out what the "Nonsensical Mystery @#$%" means, but as the writers, we won't actually know what the clues mean ourselves. Or remember what half of the big clues pointed towards.

Don't worry, when the show limps into it's final season and we have to finally poop out a conclusion, the writing staff (most of whom will be new to the show by this point, the original writers having left before season 4 to chase new projects) will have a retreat in Vegas. As a "producer", I will lock our hung-over staff in a ballroom until we find a way to tie most of the major plot points and clues together. No, it does not matter how weak the "big reveal" shall be. When a lot of the conclusion makes no sense to die-hard viewers (who helped buy our mansions and Mercedes) we'll post internet interviews making fun of them for taking a TV show too seriously. Dorks.

In case you can't tell, I thought the season premier for Season 3 of "Lost" was pretty awful. Granted, I only watched a few episodes of Season 2, so I don't actually know what's going on, but I don't think that really matters at this point. Tonight I watched the three characters I do know get treated inhumanely for an hour by people I was unfamiliar with. It was the "Saw" of TV shows.

Is it too much to ask for characters on a TV show to occasionally answer a question anymore? Yes, it's MYSTERIOUS when people walk out of a room after being asked a question like "what's going on?" or "where am I?", but, to me, it's lazy writing. How long can I be expected to care about what's happening when I have no idea what is motivating a character? Even our creepy island people? And, really, what can they possibly be doing other than taking extreme measures to protect their perfect island intellectual retreat... blah blah blah...

I know this is a TV show and this was but a single episode, but if this were a movie, I would have walked out after half an hour.

Also, "Lost" producers, 110 pound girls cannot knock out muscle bound dudes with a single punch to the jaw, especially when they're thrashing around in the water. And especially when the punch leaves no visible mark in the next scene occuring a few hours later.

All sci-fi shows should be 22 episodes. And there should be a moritorium on anonymous, omniscient evil government agencies on TV for at least the next five years.

Remember when Lost wasn't about unlikely people living on an unlikely island under unlikely circumstances acting in a completely unlikely fashion for unlikely reasons?

I miss the possibility of a giant monster on the island. As much as the idea now seems almost quaint, it now seems insanely original, even if it did parallel Land of the Lost.

Sleestacks! Now that was a show...

Monday, October 09, 2006


It took the words of Randy to remind me I needed to update the poll. I have now done so. This month is particularly lame. C'est la vie.

Here are the results of last month's poll.

Based on these results, I suspect we must all take Randy's word as Truth with a capital "T". I am saddedned more people do not want to send me money, or that we can't fit McDonald's into our religion, but I am excited by the prospect of wearing a Commodores outfit.

Obviously Melbotis is a higher being and The League is but his mouthpiece. - 24% 4 votes

Randy worship. - 24% 4 votes

It is not we who read the comics, it is the comics which read us... - 0% 0 votes

we're not sure, but we not only will we dress like 70's era Commodores, we'll also take the lyrics of "Brickhouse" to heart - 12% 2 votes

We're just really, really, really not giving up on Pluto being a planet. - 18% 3 votes

all we can tell you is that it involves party hats, an unsuspecting cat and a trebuchet - 18% 3 votes

The true path to enlightenment involves mostly watching TV and sending large, unmarked bills to The League - 0% 0 votes

...his name is Ronald and we, like his apostle Grimace, bear witness to his hamburgery truth.. - 0% 0 votes

Behold the Oprah! - 6% 1 vote

What do you mean you don't like Superman...? - 0% 0 votes

17 votes total

Sunday, October 08, 2006

UPDATE: We are not having the party. Apparently we got our dates mixed up. We will actually be attending a wedding that weekend. A wedding we knew was coming, but, for whatever reason, we thought was the 21st.

Soooo.... no party. Sorry, Leaguers. It was going to be a good one.

I assure you, getting an e-mail asking "But aren't you coming to the wedding?" from Loyal Leaguer Shannon L. was not how I wanted to begin my morning.


Hey, Leaguers...

So Jamie sez to me: Are we having a Halloween Party?
So I sez to her: I don't know (translation: I'd love to, but I am one lazy League)
So, she sez: We are.

Both fascinated and horrified, two who dared to witness the Spooktacular...

So! Leaguers, come one, come all to the 2006 League of Melbotis Halloween Spooktacular!

Here's the dealy-o...

what day is good for you? Friday the 27th or Saturday the 28th?

We're really trying to figure this out as we suspect we may be a bit late in trying to match everybody's Halloween and concert-going schedules. We are not having a party both nights. We just can't afford that much candy corn.

Ladies, this guy may corner you and ask about your major...

What you can expect:

-Jamie in her official League of Melbotis "Iron Butterfly" costume (plus, a demonstration of Iron Butterfly style kung-fu)
-Melbotis trying to get attention
-Spooktacular movies sort of playing in the background
-Some nifty Halloween decorations
-I suppose we may provide some food and drink
-Maybe Shoemaker will spin a record or two if I can get him to committ
-In the spirit of Halloween, Steanso will kill and eat a party-goer before our terrified eyes

Heck, it's really just a house-warming party, but it befits the League to make it a costume party. When are you available?

Post here by October 19th so we can make a formal announcement!

We guarantee this guy will be all partied out by midnight...

IMPORTANT NOTICE: official by-laws of The League of Melbotis state that if we do not receive enough or appropriate responses, no party shall occur

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dames in the Media the League Once Dug: October Edition
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

We're creeping up on Halloween once again, Leaguers. And this year, I thought I'd pay tribute to one of the sirens of the Halloween screen who did so much to really screw up my notions of womanhood.

I speak of none other than Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

Each Halloween I try to find some excuse to post a picture or two of the Elvira, so this year I'm bringing up my favorite cheesy media figure in the context of DITMTLOD.

(It should also be mentioned that for a short while I've been picking up Elvira's Claypool Comics series, and I believe the series will soon be coming to an end.)

On with the show..

Sweet guacamole... if you were a goofy, sci-fi/fantasy/horror/camp movie loving geek-in-the-making, you stumbled upon Elvira at some point. Played by actress Cassandra Peterson, Elvira was somebody's answer as to how to fill those odd hours on a Saturday night with an imminently watchable and often hilarious host for the cheaper creature features.

Elvira's television persona did not just depend upon her wit and agile mind.

Unfortunately, Elvira's program didn't actually air anywhere I lived. Texas in the 80's loved a woman with Elvira's assets, but may not have actually known how to deal with an intentionally campy, funny, vampire-lookin' lady showing really bad movies. At least I never saw her on TV. It's possible I saw a few of her cameos in the 80's on shows as diverse as The Richard Simmons Show or ChiPs (I turned up cameo listings on Cassandra Peterson's IMDB listing that made me both miss and mourn the 1980's).

It's my guess that Elvira was a bit of a local phenomena in LA and that she sort of blew up into a celebrity based by accident. I suspect she was booked for guest appearances on prime time TV based on local LA celebrity, and that mixed with her presence in beer ads had far more folks identifying her than might have been actually watching her program.

I first recall seeing movies for rent back when The Admiral and Karebear broke down and finally bought a VCR (which Karebear had fought tooth and nail, convinced that the VCR would mean a second mortgage) and we would go to Video Station up on 620 and 183 to rent movies. I recall lingering in the horror movie section and trying to figure out who this Elvira lady was, and why she was on the cover of so many movies. I eventually puzzled it out, but I could never work up the courage to bring that box to the counter for Mom's approval.

Would not have received the KareBear's approval for movie rental in 1987. Curse my inability to rent my own movies...

All of this was going on as I was more or less "discovering girls", but wasn't actually terribly interested in the girls around me. Somehow the girls in the brass section of the Canyon Vista Middle School band just didn't hold the same appeal as a buxom lady in a slinky dress hamming it up and who was seemingly interested in intentionally goofy jokes and bad movies. Like all the twirling I wanted to do alongside Wonder Woman when I was 4, I thought Elvira seemed like a decent sort of dame with whom I could watch the endless line of cheesy movies I took in every weekend via USA's "Up All Night" (a program which apparently only bored teenagers and those in our penal system enjoyed).

Receiving the media attention she deserves

And then came Elvira's big screen debut in "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark". Finding no way to actually ask my Mom to drive me to the theatre to see Elvira without suffering the usual endless line of shame and ridicule which accompanied such a bold request, I finally saw the movie on cable. I then predicted there would be no stopping Elvira as she moved from cult-celebrity to media mainstay.

Well, The League was wrong then, and I'm going to be wrong again in the future. So just be prepared for a few of my crystal ball predictions to be a little less than accurate.

I guess at some point paranoid parents decided that Halloween was too scary for kids or that their kids were all going to get snatched away (note to parents: My Dad took me trick or treating every year through fourth grade... what exactly are you doing that you're so busy you can't walk your kid around the neighborhood once a year?). Anyhoo, it all evens out as Halloween has since been embraced as a holiday for adults. Time for Betty in accounting to dress up as a pirate and crack open a bottle of rum, I guess. And who better to embody that spirit than our very own Mistress of the Dark? She seems like someone who might be fun at a party, does she not?

Well, I hope so, because Elivra declared last Spring that it is her new mission to be as identified with Halloween as pumpkins and black cats. I don't know exactly how one lays claim to a holiday, but The League is here to assist Elvira in her madcap scheme. My gosh, we owe her that much after all she's given us.

Looking back, it's now no surprise I had some odd ideas about girls

Some people come and go. Others are created and stick with us.

So this Halloween, raise a glass to Elvira, the hardest working late-night movie host.

Click for more Dames In The Media The League Once Dug.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What it is

-If this were Steanso's blog, I'd talk about how last night I went to Mandy's house to watch Project Runway. How we ate dinner before we went over but other folks enjoyed some food from Central Market prior to the show, and then how we all ate a cake and watched the show. I'd mention that Elie, Donna Rene and Kellie were there, as well as Mandy and Steanso.

But I'm not Steanso, so I won't.

- I want to help out Team Bridenstine with their Amazing Rocket Racing Team. How? Leaguers, send in ideas.

- So I finally watched a pilot I DID like the other day, NBC's "Friday Night Lights". Sure, Peter Berg already worked through this material once from a well-received movie based on an extremely well-received book based on a successful real-life team, but... heck. And if you missed Mack Brown's 20 seconds of "acting" (Mack Brown played a local who looked and acted suspiciously like Mack Brown) you missed 20 seconds of the finest TV this season.

No idea how they will pull the show off for a whole 22 episodes when that's about 5+ more episodes than games played for even championship teams, but I'll watch for a while longer.

- I was cleaning today and left the TV on CNN while performing various tasks about the house. The Mark Foley scandal was taking up a pretty good amount of time, but even more so was Hastert's accusations that the Democrats and ABC News were somehow to blame for the flap. The logic is that ABC News has a liberal bias and the Dems (specifically Clinton somehow...) pulled the trigger on the story leading up to the November elections. Possibly. This may possibly be true (though I think the Clinton connection is dubious at best). But what Hastert isn't mentioning is that this doesn't really change the line of details coming out regarding the Foley scandal.

As much as I'm disgusted by Foley's behavior, it's not a national emergency. Properly arming and equipping US Troops and giving them the tools they need to successfully defend themselves in an increasingly volatile conflict (20 US troops dead in October) is important. North Korea supposedly about to test nukes is, to me (and this is just me) what Americans should be far, far more concerned about. American jobs, education...

I am not suggesting the Foley story be swept under the rug, but we have hundreds of thousands of cases like this in the US on a routine basis. We KNOW what the course of action should be, and we KNOW what should happen to those who covered it up (if that can be proven in the investigation we KNOW should occur). There isn't even a questionmark floating over this one.

I did find the comments of former US Rep JC Watts (R - Oklahoma) on CNN to be interesting. He was much more concerned (and maybe this is the unspoken story) about the culture of the Congress when a cover-up is what people can expect, not to mention a constant, ongoing line of scandal on both sides of the aisle.

And, honestly, I'm still not certain why this scandal should pertain to any voting (which is the big threat played up by the talking heads) for local reps. And I doubt Ma and Pa Kettle in Goober Springs, Alabama are going to see any connection between their local rep and Foley, or even Hastert. Nor is there a solid reason that they should.

Just my opinion. Take w/ 1 grain salt.

- This evening the in-laws arrived for a three day visit. I am quite pleased that (a) they are here, and (b) the house isn't a TOTAL wreck.

No idea what's on the agenda for the weekend, but we may be doing some painting. We'll see. It's all about a lot of blue when we paint my office. And maybe some red and gold stripes. We'll see how fancy we can get.

- No word from Harms. Donde esta?

-I still haven't seen Hollywoodland, Black Dhalia, Flyboys (not supposed to be too good, but when's the last time you saw tri-planes in a dogfight?), Idlewild, The Illusionist, The Science of Sleep... I probably never will. Odd. You'd think being unemployed that I'd have more freetime.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Infrequent Blogging

Howdy, Leaguers...

Yes, it's been a while once again since I've hunkered down and dreamed up a decent post. We've been enjoying our return to Austin and visiting with friends, etc... But also we are still unpacking.

Last week my new shelves from Neal's Unfinished Furniture arrived. We primed them Thursday, put on one coat Friday and a second coat on Sunday (which Steanso happily participated in). Lesson #1: I am a bad, bad painter. Lesson #2: Check your feet before walking across the carpet after painting.

I am now enjoying my shelving which has allowed me to unpack my comics and some of Super-collectibles. I'm not entirely done, but I feel like we're making progress. It's funny how things sort of have to happen in order so that we can fully unpack and finish moving in. Next we will paint my office, and possibly Jamie's office. When the paint is dry, then we can put that furniture away and I can move my comics and crates of other stuff from the dining room. And Jamie can square away her office.

Saturday night I grabbed dinner with irredeemable Matt Mangum, the irreplaceable Juan Diaz and the irrepressible Nicole. I honestly didn't recall caring too much for Castle Hill Cafe, but maybe my palate has changed in the desert heat. We came back to the Fortress and chatted for a few hours until Jamie was ready to be put back in her stasis chamber. Sunday we got up at the crack of 11:00 and drove to Central Market for a coffee and pastry. I ran into Chris and Kelly C., whom I had seen at the same Central Market just over a month ago when we'd come to look at houses. Long ago Chris was in my employ. He was a good worker, but perpetually tardy. Unwilling to fire Chris for his tardiness, I tried negative reinforcement. Push-ups for each minute late didn't work as Chris was in good shape, so I began to force Chris to eat circus peanuts, one for every minute he was late. Oddly, I have no recollection regarding whether or not this method was effective in increasing Chris' punctuality.

No sooner had we seen Chris and Kelly than John and Glen, some old pals from work/ outside of work made an appearance.

Today I was scheduled to have lunch with my former manager. Not two minutes on campus and I ran into our networking specialist, who immediately recognized me. I even stopped off to check my grafitti in the restroom, and, sure enough, parts of it are still legible 8 years later. I am glad to report, my grafitti is exactly as hilarious today as it was when I had not yet graduated.

It's good to be back, Leaguers.

Oh, by the by... Steven, how's Tuesday or Wednesday evening?

Sunday I went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Mike Judge's latest, "Idiocracy". The movie is funny, I am happy to report. Unfortunately, some of the best gags in the movie fall in the first twenty or thirty minutes. A lot has been said about "Idiocracy" receiving no wide release (it's playing in 7 theaters nation-wide) and having received no studio build-up or marketing.

FOr those looking for goblins in the shadows, I don't see a studio conspiracy, but I also don't think the movie was going to play well in Goober Springs, Alabama. Some folks who eventually see the movie will get a little irritated with the basic premise, so I'll be curious as the movie reaches wider release to see if there's any negative backlash. My guess is that "Idiocracy" will wind up a cult movie with a smaller audience than "Office Space". Most likely, the studio just wants to see if Judge's cable and video-release success from "Office Space" can be duplicated once the DVD hits the market.

To the point, the movie satirizes the culture of instant/ mindless gratification, and everyone but subsistence farmers is going to, in some way, recognize themselves as willing participants in Judge's vision of the future. Some folks may take more umbrage than others at the steps that will lead us all there. But I think that's the nature of decent satire.

The Fall TV season is upon us.

I know that I, as a warm blooded mammal, am supposed to like "Studio 60". I have covered this with RHPT and Jim D.

I watched the second episode of "Heroes" (a first episode for me) and felt as if I had been dropped mid-way through the second season of "Lost". I didn't know who anybody was or what was going on. This is a very, very bad way to grow an audience. To comic-fans, all of the bigger and smaller story-arcs will have a certain ring of familiarity. A little from X-Men, a little from Rising Stars, a little from this comic or that comic... add in shadowy organization who knows absolutely EVERYTHING already... I dunno. I guess I was hoping for more of a Misfits of Science that would develop a mythology, not a show which is so locked down that the predestination feels like a heavy weight over the whole show. To my eyes, the show doesn't even qualify as episodic, it's chapters in a longer narrative that I'm being asked to buy lock, stock and barrel.

"Lost" has been a huge phenomena for ABC, despite it's required "pay attention to the details" mythology and narrative demands on viewers (thank God for DVRs, huh?). Unfortunately, for every "Lost" there are five "Invasion"s and other "mystery" shows which hope to hook the viewer and create a cult phenomenon.

Oh, and just from a narrative standpoint from a mystery show that asked viewers to be similarly engaged... remember in Twin Peaks how we found out Bob was living in Leland Palmer, so it was creeeeeeepy when we found out the dad was a bad guy? Remember how well that worked? Well... mayhaps the writers of "Heroes" could take a page from that kind of storytelling and less of the "Ha Ha, what a bastard am I!" sort of drawn out thing they've got going on with the cheerleader and her dad.

Also, lighten up a little, for God's sake. Your characters are super heroes and villains and they all look and behave like mopey models who couldn't land a "Gap" ad.

I'm not sure I buy all of the characters and all of the storylines. I just wanted to follow that Hiro guy around and see what he was up to. Somehow the guy who basically couldn't speak English was five times more believable than any other character/actor, which isn't a good sign for either the writers or the actors. I sort of liked the "mind reading Cop" guy, but you could see that coming from a mile away...

Honestly, it's going to take quite a bit to get me to watch "Heroes" again next week. But, heck... maybe... I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've never been a "weekly episode" show kind of guy, and I doubt that's likely to change in the future. But I'm also only batting about .500 on criticizing new shows before they prove me wrong. So I want to give it another chance, but I can't shake the feeling this is a hokey cable show (ie: The 4400 or any regular series on Sci-Fi) with better production effects.

So that's about it for tonight. Hope that helps you guys out.

In case it's a while before I blog again, here are a bunch of videos courtesy of YouTube...

Is it just me, or could Luthor's diabolical genius be better spent doing something other than trying to discover the source of peanut buttery goodness (especially at such a low, low price...)?

I don't want to hear anything else about the "Can You Read My Mind?" scene...

More Superfun from our friends overseas

I don't know what's going on in this scene, but with his mask off, Spidey's cuter than I remember him being...

How I should have abruptly ended my employment at my last job...

Weird Al is back... discuss.

Portions of this are all too accurate.

Better than Episode II!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Random Comments: September

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I believe I've made my new LCS manager a very happy man. He was all too excited to see me today when I came in the door.

It didn't hurt that this week was a big haul for DC. I walked out with a nice stack of books and a decent discount. All told, I'm fairly happy thus far. I admit that I find the lack of back-issues disheartening, but I'm getting used to the idea, and it should make my weekly Wednesday trip go a lot faster if I'm not digging into piles of old issues of The Atom.

I had two 2nd interviews today. Thusly, I never removed my tie from 9:00 until 3:00. I know the lawyer-Leaguers will tut-tut me for not tolerating the tie, but The League only likes to wear ties when presenting to a group of strangers or when he's trying to make everyone else uncomfortable at the dinner table at Christmas. "You didn't find Christmas Dinner to be an occasion worthy of looking nice? Well...." I've sort of quit doing that in recent years. At work I prefer a sort of casual-everyday style. but I am well enough aware that wardrobe will be dictated by the office. Both jobs are great opportunities, and both have something different but equally appealing to offer, so... anyway. We'll see what happens. Someone has to want to hire me first.

We also finally got our gas turned on, so that's a plus. We can now take a hot shower or bath. We can cook. It's no longer 1863 in our house. We also have cable, our own internet and will soon have a land-line phone. When they connected the phone, we dialed the number that came up on caller-ID and we got some couple elsewhere in Austin. It was awkward. Time Warner is trying to fix this.

For those of you who may not have dug around in the comments of late, Cousin Jim of the US Navy has recently joined up with the upstart organization: The Rocket Racing League.

Jim had this to say in my comments:

Hello Leaguers,

Thought you might be interested in my new venture into the Rocket Racing League. Here are a few news articles regarding the announcement of my team, the Bridenstine Rocket Racing Team: 4275.aspx .v=67

Here is the Bridenstine Rocket Racing Team website:

Here is the Rocket Racing League website:

Of course, Jim being Jim, he offered me some vague opportunity to help out a while back and I couldn't take him up on it. It's too bad, because I've long dreamed of launching Jim into space, but most folks assure me he would find a way to come back. In addition to thinking working with/for Jim sounded good, I've always dreamed of somehow working with jets or rockets in some capacity. In my office I've always kept pictures of spacecraft and astronauts nearby to remind me I was working with engineers, and those guys might be helping to launch folks into the air.

Well, I don't know what Jim had in mind for me, but I had visions of The Right Stuff dancing in my head. I could foresee cold, crisp desert mornings on the flightline, the crew standing around the rocket while Jim jumped into the pilot's seat, said something hilariously dark to get us to laugh off the jitters. When the others dispersed, I'd give Jim a stick of Beemans and then signal the crew that he was ready (I might have to use my own wad of gum and some duct tape to lock the cockpit door down). Jim would go and break some speed records while I wore cool aviator sunglasses and listened to the flight radio out on the tarmac.

Needless to say, you may note that this imaginary sequence (that sounded so cool in my head) in no way includes Jamie. So. Anyhoo, Jamie wasn't too nuts about my dream of moving further out to the desert while I ran around all day smelling like rocket fuel and chewing on matches (cool guys chew on matches. and stylishly out-of-style gum. I promise you.). That and I have absolutely no practical skills of any sort which could assist Jim or his team. So, my dream of joining Jim's team evaporated like a vapor trail on a clear, blue afternoon.


So, I'm pretty sure working at a computer all day managing eLearning projects is exactly as cool as shooting Jim into the stratosphere. Right?

Ah, well. Maybe some day Jim will give me the grand tour.

elearning is so not Alan Shepard.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What goes on

-Not a hoax! Not a dream! Maxwell and Motolove are going to bring life onto this fragile marble. I cannot wish them more luck. Maxwell is completely fit to be a mother. Especially when you get past her lengthy criminal record. I hope little Maxwell II is half the earthling as his/her mother.

-Sort of took today off and saw Jet Li's "Fearless". Supposedly based on a true story, but seemed oppressively formulaic. Also, this is the second Jet Li movie I've seen in recent years where it seemed the Party leaders wrote the dialogue toward the end of the movie. Still, a good afternoon martial arts film with a good narrative arc. But mostly eye-popping fights.

-Why are all horror-movie trailers the same, and why do they try to give me a headache? And why does none of the non-strobing effect look remotely frightening? Why did they make a second Grudge movie? Why a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Why? Why? Why?

Why can't someone take the Creature from the Black Lagoon and update it? Oh, yes... because nobody fills out a swim suit like Julie Adams...

Wait, IMDB tells me there may be a new Creature movie... sweet! Still, no Julie Adams.

-We have an insane number of framed pictures. Big. Small. Medium. I am not sure I want to hang them all or find flat surfaces for them. The question becomes: What do you do with a nice framed picture of Theodore Roosevelt on the campaign trail when you can't find a good place for it in the house? Help me, Leaguers.

-I think I've found my local comic chop. It will be a nice, new shop named "South Side Comics", about two miles from the house. It's run by a chipper guy named Ty who seems to really have his act/ shop together. I'm excited. One oddity: no back issues. Apparently this is one of four shops and they've centralized all back-issues in North Austin at a shop called "Thor's Hammer". "Thor's Hammer" sounds less like a comic shop and more like a punchline to a joke I might have dreamed up in college. I am told the shop is huge, so i may beg Jamie to go with me this weekend and look for "New Gods" back issues.

-I need to test paint colors tomorrow, plus iron a shirt and bring Jamie's car in to the shop to get the alignment checked out.

That's it for me. I'm going to bed early. I went from AZ time to central and adjusted already to getting up early central time. C'est la vie.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

So it's been intermitten blogging, as promised. But I thought a lot of you might feel your Monday was not complete lest you get an update from The League.

As previously mentioned, as of Wednesday, we're in the house. Of course we welcome anyone interested to pop on by. Say hi to Mel. He'd love to meet you.

I have to take time out for a special thank you to the KareBear.

As many of you might not know, The KareBear heard we were planning to abandon our digs in Chandler and immediately volunteered to be a part of our madcap scheme. She offered to assist in packing and many of the other painful duties of moving, and, good to her word, wehn I was looking for someone to jump in the car and drive cross country with me with two smelly dogs, she didn't hesitate to sign up to be Chewbacca to my Han Solo. She flew herself into Phoenix the day before we left town, then jumped in the car the next day and chatted with me, keeping me frosty for the 16 hour trip (no, she did not drive. Nobody is allowed behind the wheel of the Krypton Kruiser but The League and Jamie. It is far too formidable of a vehicle for an amateur to handle with its four valves of earth-shattering power). The KareBear saw us to Austin safely. She was willing to spend a brief evening in a hotel room with two smelly dogs and her equally smelly son.

This weekend, a mere five days after leaving, she returned to assist in the unpacking, did some significant house-shopping with us (yes, we all agree... when it comes to a guest bath you cannot go wrong with monkeys...), and assisted us in our duties from morning until evening from Friday midday until late on Sunday. Thsi is not to mention the many small and not-so-small financial contributions the KarteBear helped with, picking up the tab for some meals and a very nice house-warming gift I hope to highlight in the near future.

KareBear, we salute you at the League of Melbotis, and we hope that you will accept your honorary membership as a reserve member of The League.

What else...

Oh, heck, Leaguers... it's mostly been all about the move. Poor Jeff the Cat didn't get to leave Matt the Human's apartment until Saturday night (and in the middle of the nasty storm which delayed the UT game). Matt the Human deserves mad props for hosting Jeff the Cat for such an unexepcted amount of time, but, Leaguers... that's how things fall out when you agree to pet sit for the League. We might say four or five days, but we really mean four or ten days. Besides, Matt the Human loves cats. Or at least he used to. Jeff has that effect on people.

Doug the McBride gets wild applause for his handling of Jamie during the car ride and subsequent hanging out with Jamie and The League as we went through the rigamarole of moving in. He was here right up until the last box was delivered, and then was whisked away to the far off land of Berkeley where we will now count the whiskers on his cats and plot his next move. Thank you, Doug, for your over-and-above-the-call-of-duty role in our little drama. Now get K out here for a visit. I think there's a house for sale on the next street over.

Speaking of McBride's... Thanks to Judy and Dick for their not-so-small role in all this.

Thanks to The Admiral, not just for double-checking my proposed solutions to the refrigerator, washer & dryer, and doorbell issues, but his implementation of said plans while I stood idly by. Also, for killing the very large spider.

To Steanso, who opened his house to me, my wife and our two smelly dogs. And who didn't mind that I made coffee in his house, drank his bottled water, tried on some of his clothes and put them back on the hangar, and didn't mind that I used his toothbrush for four days. On Mel. Thanks, Steanso.

I knew when we started this madcap plan that the League reserves would come out of the woodwork. That's what superheroes do during a huge summer-time crossover event. There are a lot of people who aren't listed here. Folks who offered moral support (which, believe me, we needed), folks who offered to help us move, folks who scrambled to get their contacts contacted and handed them my resume when they heard I was coming, folks who told me it was time to get out of Dodge...
And, of course, to Jim D., who managed to pull off his own miraculous escape.

I hope all of you know who you are, and know that I thank you.

And special thanks to Jamie. For keeping us on track and keeping those detailed notes on each and every thing that needed to happen, from bank transfers to calling moving companies... Jamie worked more than 40 hours per week on the move. Now that we're here, I expect her to turn that energy to making sure all three pets can read and write by the end of '07.

Today we stepped out the front door to go grab some breakfast items at HEB and the temperature had dropped abruptly (just another Central Texas weather change), and we could stand in the cool wind, smiling at each other, knowing we had made the right decision.

It was all worth it. Every bit.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

We are in our new house. Surrounded by boxes.

Actually, we're currently at Steanso's house surrounded by dogs. It turns out we can not get gas (and thus heat, hot water or be able to cook), nor any Time/Warner services until next Wednesday (internet, cable, phone). So it's all a bit odd. We are camping in our own home.

My biggest dilemma is unpacking versus seeing people. I want to see all of you. I want to not live out of a box.

I want a job.

Hope everyone is well.

I slept in my own bed in my own house in Austin last night, and that's got to count for something. Unfortunately we couldn't find the comforter, so it's kind of like that right now...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today we met with the title company and our realtor, Kerry. We are now proud owners of a lovely two-story abode. It is teal. Not green. Teal.

When I was at my former employers' offices, co-worker Juli would pop into my office as my time grew increasingly short and ask, "Does it even feel real?"

"Yeah," I'd answer, rolling my eyes a bit inwardly. After all, we spent most evenings packing or doing something moving related. All of that tape, cardboard and other accessories seemed pretty darned real. As well as the hassles of buying one house and selling another.

But she was right, of course. It was when I emerged from my office last Wednesday where I'd holed up with Jeff the Cat while the movers collected our goods, and walked out into the now-empty house that it suddenly shifted into the dream-like quality that in a year I will barely remember. The house was empty, and rather than the collection of colors and semi-organized chaos which had defined all of our recent homes, the place was a bare shell, ready to be filled by someone else.

Of course the days in a hotel in your own town are a little off, especially when your time is filled with a lot of sitting and planning your next meal. Add in a two day car-ride through the empty hills and praries of the Southwest, plus a stay in my brother's semi-occupied house...

It was in Southern New Mexico when I saw the endless line of billboards advertising a road-side attraction/shop where I had no intention to stop that it really hit me: The last time I saw these signs was when I drove into Phoenix. I may never pass this way again. How did this happen?

I wasn't entirely sleep deprived when we rolled into Oak Hill, but we were past Dripping Springs and safely within Austin, as most folks would define it. The mishmash of Oak Hill is both Austin of my childhood (we'd drive out to a shop called ZooKeeper where we'd buy rats for Jason's snakes) and much changed from the days when Oak Hill was almost its own sleepy little town. That, and they've plowed down the diner that stood on the corner.

I had to remind myself every hundred feet that, for good or ill, there is no house in Phoneix we will return to with all of our worldly possessions and our usual routine. Everything is a blank page. And every once in a while the idea hits me like a sledge hammer all over again, leaving me a bit stunned, like I'm looking back at the tank of water I've just managed to free myself from and I'm still dripping wet and I can't believe I'm alive.

This happens every few hours, and new things trigger it. I've been in our hosue three times since we've arrived. A total of four times. How is it that I will live here forever, maybe? How did this happen? When will I walk on the floor with bare feet and treat it like it's mine and not some stranger's house in which I feel obliged to tread lightly?

Though I have no intention of doing so, there's no turning back, and while I've always laughed about folks who fear change, when everything is new, the caveman part of your brain that worries about what might be creeping at the edge of the campfire starts to work overtime.

In a month the feeling will be gone. In the meantime we'll adjust.

But, yes, Juli... you were right. None of it seems real. But that's okay. This is one dream I can ride for quite a while.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well, I am tired. And I don't feel particularly great. Sure, I partially blame that on eating curry when I haven't had curry in a few months, but my internal clock, digestive track and sense of time and space is all pretty out of whack.

At least the jabbing feeling behind my left eye went away with some Tylenol.

We moved our stuff out of the house in AZ on Wednesday. One of the movers broke the nozzle seal on the hot water for the clothes washer, so we ended up turning off all the water to the house and then cleaning. We finished with the plumber at 8:30 PM and left our house for the final time.

KareBear arrived Thursday. We ran a few errands and then spent a nice hour by the pool, ate dinner and then got some shut eye.

We left Friday around 1:30 after picking up Doug from the airport and the pets from PetsHotel. Before even leaving PetsHotel we got a phone call from our realtor telling us that when they moved our refrigerator, they didn't properly close off the water to the fridge. This meant that when we turned the water main back on, water slowly dripped out of the wall and seeped into the carpet in the next room rather than pool in the kitchen. This, Leaguers, is why you hire the companies listed as "bonded and insured".

We drove out of town, passing through Tucson and Tombstone, and wound up staying in El Paso for the night. By this point Lucy was going berserk in the back seat, and I didn't really blame her.

We got up at 7:00 and walked the dogs, trying to convince them to go patty. By 8:00 we were in the car. There's honestly not a lot between El Paso and Junction, Texas. So KareBear and I mostly chatted and drove, occasionally yelling at the dogs to lay down. We had to stop about every three hours for gas, to let the dogs out and stretch our legs.

Last night we rolled in around 6:30. Steanso is, of course, partaking in ACL Fest and is, thusly, not around. That hasn't stopped us from setting up The Hop-a-Long Lounge as a center of operations.

Jamie dropped off Jeff the Cat at Matt Mangum's apartment, grabbed Matt, brought him back down to H-a-L Lounge. Literally just off the plane from Paris and then immediately on the road, The Admiral arrived shortly after we did. Cousin Sue appeared and we all went for dinner.

After dinner Jason showed up at 10:30, played me his new Doctor Octagon record and we chatted until fairly late as he came down from his day at ACL Fest.

This morning I had breakfast with JAL and CBG. I don't think all three of us have sat down together since the late 90's. It was fun. I really missed those guys.

Jamie and Doug came from the hotel and we all jumped in the car to see the new house. We couldn't get in today, but we're scheduled for a walk-through tomorrow.

So we're back. It's a new chapter, I suppose.

Despite the curry-related upset stomach and the stabbing pain behind my eye, I'm feeling good. I did some driving today while Jamie and Doug went to a movie, and I still know this town. It's like what they say about not seeing a good friend for years and when you run into each other, no time has passed.

But time has passed. They've torn old houses to build new ones in the neighborhood I used to live in just north of Hyde Park. It's new architecture. Fun architecture. I'm glad to see the neighborhood is a living, breathing, thing.

This morning at The Omlettery our granola waitress butted into our conversation to let us know Backstreet Boys was one of her favorite bands (yes, Backstreet Boys had come up).

This is why I missed you, Austin. I missed your trees and your ridiculous signs up and down Burnet. I missed the Frisco. I missed your hills and your twin devotions to live music and football. I missed the weather changing five times in 7 hours. I missed kids in shorts and cowboy boots and hats walking with their moms up to Central Market. I missed knowing that my loan officer was secretly an aspiring film-maker with a deep knowledge of kung-fu films and what makes Bruce Campbell just work, dammit. I missed knowing Thursday night is (was and always shall be) Mariachi night. I missed people lining up in the rain to show tribute to a one-term fire brand governor as she lays in state. I missed bats under bridges and overgrown oak trees. I missed getting right on 35 to get onto the ramp and knowing that turning onto 290 from Loop 1 is a left exit. I missed picking up the phone and asking a friend to watch my cat for a week and him saying to come by whenever and paying him back with an enchilada and a margarita. I missed rickety metal stairwells and wall-units. I missed an orange tower on Saturday nights and the hope of hundreds of thousands embodied in that edifice of an arena just off the freeway. I missed couples standing in the ice-cream aisle at 10:30 at night looking like they just rolled out of bed and knowing that they've looked like this all day. I missed your gentle hills and your white limestone faces where they cut you to make way for the roads. I missed a million, tiny little details that whisper to me and say "that was where you learned to drive," "That was where you learned to love learning," "That was where you kissed her for the first time," "that was where on that one Tuesday afternoon you cut out early and you and Justin tied one on because it was sunny out, but it was too early in the year to be hot," "That was where you jumped in the water and you thought your eyes would pop out," "that was where you decided you were coming back here to go to school", "that was where you figured out this was forever, and over there by the peacocks is where you made it official."

I missed you, Austin.

You change but you never do. For the third time you welcome me, and for the second time you treat me like we can pick up where we left off. Just put down your bag and grab a drink. And how's all that been going...?

I am glad I am home.

No limits.

No limits.
We made it. We're here.

It's raining. We will move into our house later this week, so in the meantime I'm at Steanso's Hopalong Lounge.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I guess we know how Marvel's Civil War event ends now.

Do not... I repeat, DO NOT... go to this link if you don't want to know how it ends. This isn't a joke. I accidentally stumbled on this today, and, uh... yeah.

Official League warning: You cannot unsee something. This is an image which gives a lot away.

Also, if you want to comment on the image, fine, but...


here. But don't blame me.

Marvel needs to learn to be a spot more careful in how they release images. Of course, you know, this is probably a red herring (so Marvel can drop a FOOLED YOU! later). But, uh... yeah.