Merry Solsmastivus

The magic of the holidays this year has been transposed from one child to another. The feelings of anticipation and wonder and joy have now infused a younger heart. Lil Miss Austin is well aware of who Santa is and that he brings presents. It'll be a while before she understands the meaning of Christmas, whether they be pagan, christian or commercial reasons. At this point all she knows is that she has presents to open and toys to play with.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The holiday actually started before December 25th. LMA's school had an International Night. Not to be seen as Scrooges for avoiding any kind of holiday party, but being comprised of children from nationalities that may not recognize Christmas, the school did a very interesting thing and put together an International Holiday Night. The children were encouraged, but not required, to come representing a country. Being the 1/8th Italian that I am, I decided Italy would be a safe bet. I wanted to do Canada, dress her up in a little hockey outfit, but you also had to bring a dish and I didn't think LeBats Blue would have been wise at a school function. So we went with Italy. You can't really tell from the photo, but she's supposed to be a gondola pilot.

And let me tell you, these school functions are just a MAD house. First off, the herding of the kittens began shortly after we arrived as the teachers attempted to coral the kids onto the stage so they could sing...maybe shout...the three songs they had to push through. The microphone was given to a couple of the older students to "lead" the children in song. Most of the kids were just flapping their sandwich board flag signs around, or hitting each other with their hats. One little gentlemen with the microphone was obviously destined to be the next Rage Against the Machine lead singer. The whole night was a bit unnerving and eventually Mrs. Austin requested we leave before she take a life.

With any family that has new children, there are also grandparnets. With every marriage, there are also in laws and parents. With every Christmas, there is always a visit. With us it's either a drive to Conroe, Texas or a flight up to Colorado. This year we stayed in town because of Mrs. Austin being pregnant and we had gone to CO last year. A quick 3 hour drive later and we're in Conroe. All the family is there and this time we were the last to arrive. We got there just in time to see the Santa on the JetSki, apparently an East Texas tradition. I have no idea. We hung out for a bit, crashed at the hotel and returned the next day well rested and ready to start ripping into the presents. (I'm not overly sentimental or religious, can you tell?) Mrs. Austin's family and mine differ usually, but I can pin point one aspect for you today. There will be crying on Christmas! It happens every year. One person gives someone or a group of people a gift and the tears flow like Niagara. I was guilty of it one year; Mrs. Austin got me a playstation when I first moved here and the thought alone made me weepy. I knew she hated video games, so it meant a lot. But these people are just masochists. They're purposefully out to make someone cry and it's usually family oriented, meaning the two of us that married into the family are left looking at each other and saying, "So, uh. Wanna go smoke?"

But it was a good trip and after a fine dinner the three of us headed home. Christmas Eve arrives (keep in mind, Solstice was on the 22nd, so the rest of this is for the Catholics) and we find Mr. Austin working a half day at his lovely job. The market was open on both Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. The reason for the day after is the market can't be closed for 4 days in a row. See, you learned something today, good for you. So after my token appearance at work during which I got real good at Diamond Mine, I came home to find Mrs. Austin geared up for a new holiday tradition. This was something I'd heard about, but had never been involved in, unless I was 3 and my parents did it that one time and I just don't remember, that doesn't count. She wanted to make a gingerbread house. Yeah, that's what I said. A what? You mean, to eat or just make? (I'm clueless.) So we did our best, she made the structural parts and I assembled the candy. We got some frosting and graham crackers and went to it. Well, while it was a complete hoot to do, I'm just glad we don't work for HUD or something because we suck at building stuff. Unless it comes with little interlocking pieces and instructions, I'm in a fog. After a good bit of eating candy and frosting, the house just caved in on itself. We put it outside for whatever birds or cats wanted it. Good foundation of knowledge for next year.

The big day was at hand. This year I could feel the roles reversing from child to parent. I was no longer welcoming the sweet glow of the Christmas tree as I crept into the living room to see what Santa had left. This year was mostly about LMA, but a good deal was to see if Mrs. Austin liked the gifts I got her. So we stayed up late putting LMA's new bed together and moving gifts under the tree. The next morning LMA slept unusually late, but seeing as she's not quite 3 years old, I don't think the anticipation has worked its way into her system yet. She's been thinking Santa had been to our house for about 2 weeks, so she still has that temporal thing to work on. So just like my dad before me, I put on a bathrobe, made some coffee and started looking under the tree for things to hand out to people. It was a good time. Mrs. Austin started to feel a little under the weather so the rest of the day was kinda dark and medicated, but it was still jolly.

Now I have to work on thank you cards and shopping for some more stuff. One bit of the holiday I like is that immediately after December 25th, you have a guilt free day of going and buying anything you want, even if you got all you wanted for Christmas.

Yeah I'm a merchandise whore, I love having things. So what.


May Your Holidays Be Filled With Magic.


Cruisers Unite

Before I get into the recap of the cruise I'd like to throw out some old pics for our viewers and some side stories.

As you know, LMA had some weird thing with her leg. She's fine now, mysterious ailment that it was, was probably nothing more than a muscle pull. However, she did feel pain and had enough toddler sense to figure that stickers made her feel good, so they should make her leg feel good. We left out all thought of a bath, seeing as she'd had a traumatic day as it was, so we let her fall asleep on the couch and moved her to her bed later, leaving her "sticker-cast" in place.

We can rebuild her, we have the stickers.

Next on the agenda is the Moon Tower Christmas Tree in Zilker Park. At one point, in the late 1800's, there were several dozen of these Moon Towers; over sized street lights about 5 stories tall. There are only a few left standing in Austin. To commemorate the holiday season, the Zilker Park Moon Tower is strung with lights like a big tree and people gather around and under the lights and have a little party. Nearby, but not open when we went, is the Zilker Park Trail of Lights. It's a big deal and having been here just over 3 years we've only now decided to go. We probably won't hit the trail of lights again this year, we gave it the one shot and they had the nerve not to be open. Well, we'll show 'em.

A Rave does not seperate generations.
The experience was one of medium size city trying to be a small town. There was funnel cake and hot chocolate and some music. There were your token christian school kids singing all the carols that had God and Jesus and Angels in them, which was nice background music. There were a lot of little kids and young at hearts looking up at the spiral of lights from under the "tree" and spinning around making the spiral optical illusion complete, then falling on their butts. LMA made a friend in a little girl and her unusually young mom and they did several rounds of Ring Around the Rosie. A short carraige rider later and we were off.

And finally, LMA has figured out how to take pictures. She can also take them of herself. Yes, we take so many pictures of her and the family that you only have to point a camera at her to get a well rehearsed "Cheese!" The fact that she's taken several pictures that have turned out is shocking and frightening and a little hilarious. As an experiment we gave her a camera and told her to take a picture of the Christmas tree, which she did, after a few dozen takes. Turns out, the self portrait on your right must have been a fluke, but how amazing that she was able to recognize a camera, know where the shutter button was and have the vainity of a supermodel to be drawn to it in the first place. Did I mention she did this when we were sleeping? I'm glad she didn't have the camera pointed elsewhere, morning dude issues and all. Yoiks!


Okay, don't forget where we parked.

Now onto the reason why you're all here. To find out how soused I got on our cruise to lovely Cozumel. That is why you're all here right? Ok, well for those who haven't left already after your weekly LMA fix, Mrs. A and I dropped Mrs. Squiggles off at Grandma's house and hit the Gulf. We left Galveston at 5pm Thursday and we in open waters by that evening. The ship was the M/S Celebration on the Carnival cruise lines. M/S stands for Mother Ship, apparently. I would have preferred Flag Ship or The Honorable Vessel or Dingy Extraordinare, actually. Anything but Mother Ship. Trust me, once you see some of the fine folks partaking in this activity, you'll understand why a cultish icon generally uttered in the same breath as Heaven's Gate is not far off.

I digress. The trip was amazing and expected at the same time. There was very little glamour involved, as I thought there might be. I mean, it's a cruise for Pete's Sake, aren't they supposed to be fabulous and full of intrigue and midnight rendevous and tuxes and ball gowns? Ours had some of that. We looked pretty fabulous going to dinner one night, I was intrigued at the amount of liquor I drank, there was a midnight buffet and I do believe the maitre di wore a tux. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but it wasn't the cream of the crop that I was bumping elbows with as the sea cast us fore and aft, it was the people I just left at HEB.

So with our expectations dropped from Breakfast at Tiffany's to Slingblade, we proceded to go with the flow and mix it up with the rest of the cruisers. We learned the Cha Cha, played trivia, bought Carnival imprinted souveniers that labeled us severe tools and ate as much buffet as possible. The 24 hour pizza stand was top notch to have around after a day of slamming Long Island Iced Teas. We did get to dress to the 9's and attend an evening dinner. Our waiter was outstanding, even while he and the other staff of varied nations did their best show routine in the middle of the dining hall. At our table was a couple from Oklahoma (boo hiss) and a family from about 10 minutes from our house. No fooling. We're 400 miles in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and we're sitting with basically neighbors.

So we make it to Cozumel, which is an island off the Yucitan Penninsula, near Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It's only 3% developed and that's almost entirely for tourism. There's a small bit that's an ecology park, but you can tour it so let's say it's ALL tourism. So a big ass boat full of drunk American's pulls up and it's go time for these purveyors of all things tour. First thing we do is find out that while you're pregnant, the only thing you can do on this island is shop and snorkle. Mrs. A was crushed that all the activities didn't have child carrying members in mind, and if you don't like haggling over jewelry and trinkets, you might as well stay on the ship and play Bingo. We did get to snorkle a lot and I did a Sea Trek Helmet Diving thing (which Mrs. A thinks sounds like a gay porn movie.) Afterwards we hit, of all things, a Carlos 'n' Charlies (yeah we have those in Austin) and I drank a YARD of Long Island Iced Tea. Man, after that Mrs. A could have bought the island and I wouldn't have cared.

Head back to the boat and the rest of the day and a half until returning home is a blur of buffet eating, semi interest in ship's events, being a little sea/home/child sick and having our day interrupted by the Saddam thing. Nothing brings you back into reality like a little news from the front. If it wasn't for the fact that the "local" stations were from Nashville and New York, I would have been able to believe I was truly out to sea.

Heck yeah I'd do this again. I'd like to do it when Mrs. A's not preggers so we can both drink and scuba and ride horses and drive jeeps and drink and play with dolphins and drink. Reason I mention drinking so much is that when you're sense are heighted due to child carrying, a sip of alcohol turns into "You're OOZING with BOOZE! Go take a shower!" But we got back safely. LMA missed us but had a good time with her cousins and Grandma.

She's not mad, that's her prepared face.

Had to keep the hat on.

We're both happy there were plenty of lifeboats...and booze.

Mrs. Onasis relaxes in the warm Caribbean winds.

First of many with me and a drink.

Mrs. Ausitn auditioning for the latest Gap ad. Her motivation, "THERE'S NO LAND OUT HERE!!"

Nothing says classy and sassy like a cruise ship robe.

And nothing says truly odd like a towel animal in your room.

"Take the red pill, and I show you just how deep the waters are out here."

We looked this good on The Chairman's birthday, only fitting.

New in time for Christmas from JC Penny.

Beach ball bingo, I lost.

They had vegetarian food on the swank menu. Mrs. A was all smiles.

The answer is 42. (Those of you who know may laugh now.)

Mr. Austin holding a...hmm...sea...thing. Looked like a mini german chocolate cake.

Holding a sea horse. Yes, the water level in my helmet was rising.

I think I saw this scene at the beginning of Perfect Strangers.

I'm tempted to put a shot of NYC in the background and photoshop out the bubbles and mask.

Mrs. Austin has found weapons of mass destruction.

She's got an anchor there, hopefully it wasn't to our ship.

Pancho suddenly realized the gringo sheriff was piss drunk.

Probably because I drank THIS!

Hello? (hello?) Echo! (echo!)

No Beard, the Terror of the Touristy Shops, and that pirate standing next to her.

New thing, pics of me with fruity drinks and that fly shirt. Line up ladies.


"The lo-ove boat. Soon we'll be making another run. The love boat..."

Yes, yes. Mrs. Austin and I are on a lovely cruise to the paradise island of Cozumel in the Mexican Caribbean. It's been quite a trip. As I type this we're heading back to Beautifully Mediocre Galveston to end the 4 day cruise. Lil Miss Austin is staying with Grandma and hopefully having tons of fun herself playing with her cousins.

Internet costs are huge on board a ship (all that wireless crap costing about as much per minute as the drinks, of which I've had mine AND Mrs. Austin's share) so I must cut this short.

Expect pictures and what not in a few days.



Next season's West Wing has Special Aid to the Democratic Minority Leader, Mrs. Austin, confronting the Republican lead Congress on the issue of Redistricting.


Rest assured, dear reader, LMA is doing fine. Sorry to keep you in the dark for days upon restless, eternal days, but physically there wasn't anything the medical professionals could pin point. The tried and true methodology that is Wait-n-See has proved again to be the mighty sword of ambiguity that has solved our pained questions with a definitive "Huh?"

The tests they took came back negative and after another day of favoring it, she was back to her old hyper jumpy self. The whole thing is a memory at this point. No body knows what it was either; pulled muscle, sprained/strained/twisted knee, end of a virus that caused some joint aching, who knows.

So we set up the Christmas/Yule tree last night. Well, we partially set it up. We started around 6:30 and had to deal with a bath, a headache and dinner at the same time, so the tree with lights was done by about 9:00.

I'll tell you what, as much as I like the idea of setting up holiday decorations, the actual act of putting up the tree makes me crazy. I turn into everyone's dad. I get grumpy and short and loud. No one helps the way I want them to so they might as well not help, but you can bet your ass I'll make them feel guilty about not helping. "I had to set up this whole dang tree myself, thank you!" I'm such a Nazi when it comes to lights and stuff, but I'm seeing someone for help now. It's getting ok.

Seriously, it wasn't bad and the tree looks ok with the lights off. LMA calls it the Santa Tree, which is fine with Mrs. Austin and myself, avoids the Yule vs. Chirstmas debate. And MAN does her face light up when she sees it. She came out this morning and got all bent outta shape because Santa himself wasn't sitting on the couch waiting for us. "Ohhh, Santa's not here. Where's Santa?" Looks like our next purchase is a calendar.

Some killer news from Mrs. Austin. As you know she's been going to school to get her psych degree and her first class is Texas History. The professor has ties to the legislature in some capacity and is so impressed with Mrs. A's love for all things Texas and most things Governing, he suggested her for an internship with the next session of the Texas Congress in 2005. Pretty cool stuff. It's not the West Wing, but I'm sure she'll love it.

With this in mind, I'll be setting up a paypal account going to a donation site for when she runs for President. It'll be used to pay bills in the mean time, but consider it a political contribution. ;)

Yes, yes, need to get more pics up.


As most of you may have heard, LMA is having some issues. The little monster has a limp.

I picked her up from school Monday and as she ran towards me, like she usually does (one of the high points of my day) she came up short, her right leg gave out on her, she grabbed her knee and started to cry. It wasn't a full blown wailing cry, but enough that I knew something was wrong. LMA is such an active, playful, energetic kid that this was like TNT in my heart. Instantly I began to think about leg braces and years upon years of medications and treatments that would turn her into a walking zombie, the little fire that is her life force snuffed.

I'm sure I'm over reacting, but I'm not the only one.

So we iced her knee at home and she couched for the evening, standing and jumping long enough to show Mrs. Austin the problem. You could tell it wasn't just a bump as she would wince and her leg would give every time she tried to step up or push off with that right leg. We called the doctor and were told to make an appointment for the next day.

10:15 the next day we hit the sick kids wing of the Pediatrician's office. After almost a 90 minute wait, and a 5 min visit from the doctor, we walked across the way to get an x-ray of her little knee and lower leg. If you thought toddler's legs were small before, image them sitting on an x-ray table while you envision how small those bones inside must be. She suddenly became this creature made of blown glass and wishes. We also pushed for some blood work as well, not wanting to wait it out. Both the x-ray and blood work came back negative, but that doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet. The next step is Motrine off and on for pain for a week and see if it goes away. The doctor thinks it's the end of a virus, she had a fever a week ago and it may be that the bug is in it's final throws of life. After that, if it's still not better, they want to check for jeuvenille arthritis, but that's 3 month's worth of persistant symptoms before a diagnosis. Three months of little 14 inch legs limping around.

Of course the internet has been especially helpful and dreadful in its myriad sites of research on the subject of toddler limping and as you can see, we're all over the place with paranoia and fear. At this point I'm hoping for a hairline fracture that x-ray didn't pick up over, say, septic arthritis or an absess forming on the spince or Legg-Perthes-Calve disease.

One thing the doctors haven't done is say, "Well, it's not this or that or the other thing" which is what parents are looking for. Shoot, any patient wants to hear some things ruled out in their favor. To quote George Castanza, "Cancer? Get outta here!!" I know the medical professionals are just doing their job by running tests and eliminating things, but give the parents some update, some progress report. What are you looking for? What are some causes? What do you suspect?


Meanwhile LMA and Mrs. A are at home buidling blocks. She's been cleared to go back to school on a supervised basis. For a 2 year old, that's a rough deal. Not much more to life than running around the sand pit and playground. Take that away and you're left eating and trying not to wet yourself.

So we're in a wait and see mode now. We're scared of course. Both families have been real nice. Yesterday I made the comment to Mrs. Austin how I felt I was the only one not over reacting to the situation. It's ironic that I'm the one online most of the time looking to compare symptoms to bacterial meningitis.

Will keep you posted.


Dallas Con.

Mr. Austin here. Went to the Wizard Universe Texas Convention in Arlington, TX last Saturday. Boy oh boy am I glad I showered.

Let's face it, I'm a geek. I like Star Wars and Lego and comic books and movies about all of the above, but I will admit that I in no way consider myself a Fan Boy. You might ask, what is a Fan Boy? You might also ask for your 5 minutes back when you're done reading this. You might also ask for pie. To me a Fan Boy is a human being that lives, eats and breaths comic books. They know all about each and every creator under the sun, they know all the story lines, they know all the histories, and they are intimately aware of all news and events surrounding comics.

Most genres of entertainment have similar creatures. Groupies, buffs, 'heads, stalkers. Call 'em what you like, for comics it's Fan Boys.

The main difference between myself and an average FB is I posses some measure of talent. Not to say all FBs are talentless hacks or wannabes trying to schmooze up to any and all creative geniuses they ever meet. Well, yeah that's exactly what I'm saying. I know most artists and writers have had inspiration and a reason that they got into the field, but I've never heard of a true Fan Boy making it big. Likewise I've heard of very few movie critics that have made feature films.

The other difference is that for the most part I just don't care who did what on which issue. I'd like to be entertained by the story, but that's about where my loyalties end. I could really care less some times about the guy inking for Green Arrow or the guy who took over on a back up story of Batman because the main guy had a heart attack or whatever. I mean, there are characters I like, and books I've read that I was blown away by the story telling or art or something, but my life just doesn't end there.

I guess it's different for everyone. I don't mean to harp on the guys and girls who read religiously and follow their favorites and go to cons to get signatures and sketches and press the flesh with the almighties. I wandered around Arlington Convention Center in a daze. I wasn't with anyone for most of the time, and I didn't have any plans other than get a few sketches from the people I knew from Penciljack, so my time was spent searching for books that were recently out, something I never found. I shook hands with and got a signature fromPeter Mayhew, very nice guy, and got a Ray #1 and #2 signed by Joe Q. That's about the extent of my Who's Who.

So you can imagine how humbling it is to come home to a wife who wants to be involved in what I do, but is finding it harder and harder to give two craps about it. All she wanted was to put a sink in, not listen to me go on and on about how Noah Hathaway was in a car wreck and couldn't be there to sign autographs. I don't consider myself a Fan Boy, but I'm sure others would.

So while I was considering leaving early because, frankly, I had no business being there, I realized that no matter how cool I thought I was, or how dorky I thought everyone else was, I paid my $20 to get in. I stood in line for an autograph of an E&C. I seriously considered buying loads and loads of books and figures and toys and shirts and art. So while I can actually claim some Fan Boy Holy Grails such as having sex or owning a home or getting paid pretty decently, I can't claim I'm 100% removed from that life, because like it or not, I made the choice to be part of it. I can either embrace it, or get rid of my pencils altogether.

Completely unrelated note, Mrs. Austin and Little Mystery (as we'll refer to the latest offspring until such time as they reveal themselves to us) are doing fine. Yes there's the typical uncomfortableness and irritability that can only be found when a woman is with child, but Mrs. A is handling it with aplomb. She IS a little worried, though, I mean, look at the size of this kid. Keep in mind this is 3 months.

Kid is laying on it's back sucking it's thumb, probably. If they're anything like LMA, they're picking their nose. But you can see the head, body, toes, elbow. There's a video of the sonogram where you can see the heart beating very strong. Reason we're worried is right now the kid is more than twice LMA's size at the same time. I hope for Mrs. Austin's sake this isn't a large child.

That's all.

And for those requesting New York pictures, you can email us if you want to get copies, but trust me, it's nothing spectacular. Bunch of buildings at night, mostly out of focus. Probably better off watching Letterman or doing a stock photo search of Midtown.



Sorry folks, had to take down the movie. It was just chewing up space on my site.

Will update more later.


17mb - 2mins 10 sec on 10mb/s DSL

Little experiment, we've got a little movie of Lil Miss Austin. Hope it works. It's pretty funny. I don't have a lot of web space so these might get rotated in and out rather than stuck up here ad nauseum.

Anyway, nothing new.


You ever have one of those weeks when you feel like Charlie Brown? Basically a blockhead? You forget things, you lose things, you break things. Doesn't matter how hard you try to remember, take care or be nice, the universe has deemed it your turn to wear the big floopy shoes and pointy hat.

Look ma, no brain
Lately not only have I felt like Chuck right after Lucy pulls the ball away, but I've also felt like my parenting skills are lacking. Lil Miss Austin has become a No Factory as of late and is maxing my abilities to cope effectively without resorting to corporeal measures. I can feel my grip on any situation slipping with every sass or refusal or outburst. Anymore our interaction has become the game Taboo, where I can only say certain things in order for her to respond, but each time those things change. What worked yesterday, won't work today or tomorrow. A year ago I could get away with getting her to go to bed or eat her food by using the same tactics again and again. Now she's become a flu virus and adapted beyond my abilities to synthesize a new vaccine. She knows my tricks and has started to develop tricks of her own, forcing my brain to fire and fire and fire until the synapses are blown and I'm left a crazed idiot using the almighty Time Out trump card.

Which is NOT how I envisioned how this little life would be treated. It makes my heart hurt to always say negative things. No. Get off that. Don't jump. Put that down. Go back to bed. Be quiet. I wish I could slow down and not let her crying and shouting short out the fragile parenting circuits while I think of positive and creative ways to help her become a good, loving person AND keep the house peaceful and orderly.

I didn't expect to play this role, the role of the bad guy, the disciplinarian. Not that Mrs. Austin has it any better. LMA throws things and bites and punches with all she's worth sometimes, and I'm not always the target. Lately, though, I feel like I'm the one who's putting the foot down, while Mrs. Austin is the one providing the love and affection and understanding. Her near limitless patience taxes my imagination and only adds to my fear that I'm not a good parent.

Add that to all the normal adult crap one usually goes through during a slump of brain activity, and you start to feel you're a video camera away from having CPS knocking on your door. LMA is a great kid and her capacity to learn and grow is just amazing to me. Within two years time, she's had to cram in learning how to effectively make me look like a gibbering baboon and at the same time learn our language, customes and gross and fine motor skills. If I had a 2 year old's capacity for adapting, I'd be, at the very least, doing better at my job.


The Matrix Lost You

I hope the rest of you don't see this because, well, it wasn't great. I wasn't HORRIBLE, but it was a giant let down. There's no way it could have pleased everyone, and I've heard there have been folks silently praising this as a decent film, or at least entertaining.


First off, the Neo as the Christ figure was an ok story line, as long as it wasn't handed down with the subtlety of Sherman tank. The Wachowski brothers are very religious or at least very heavy into spiritualism and it shows in their movies, dripping and oozing with imagery and subtext. I was fairly certain at some point a chorus of Hosannas was about to break out above the industrial pounding.

I can complain all I want about this trilogy, but I'd be swimming in hypocrisy. I liked the story, I liked the fight scenes, I liked the special effects. The problem is, I liked them in Star Wars and Alien and Lord of the Rings. Yes Matrix changed the way films are made, but it was the first movie that did it. These latest installments are just so much after thought. There was an attempt to answer at least some of the questions, but to answer a question with a question is not an answer, it's a crappy way to get seven more dollars out of Drool Q. Public. Any movie that lists a character called Deus Ex Machina is just begging to upset people. I left no closer to understanding the story line then when I walked in.

That is however until I was able to process the film a bit, let it stew around in my head for a little while as bits of all 3 movies fell into place. I played a little of the Spaz-tacular Enter The Matrix game, hoping to glean a little more of the continuity, but it was SO bad I didn't play past the first few levels. Even most of the Animatrix was weird and goofy enough not to be bothered with. This leads me to think that the first film was SO cool and such a good idea, but it could have stood ALONE, by itself, for all time. There didn't need to be a sequel, did there? Was there a need to have it all wrapped up? They explained it to us. War between man and machine, the Matrix is a program, Neo's there to get rid of it. Leaving us with him destroying Agent Smith was good enough for me, good way to end it. But no, now we have to live through Zion Dance Party, The Death of Trinity, 150 Tons of Metal and Shell Casings, Blind Neo, and some of the worst writing, acting and directing I've seen outside of high school. A friend commented that Matrix: Revolutions was like watching Blade Runner, Superman and Dallas all rolled into one meaningless story and given to a couple of fan boys with an unlimited budget.

Now I don't want to totally down this movie, there were high points. Ian Bliss was great as Bane, Jada Pinkett Smith I could watch in anything, there's something stoic, sexy and urban about her. She had some crap lines to deliver. I liked seeing all the horror of the machine's final invasion of Zion and seeing the mountain defense around the machine city as Neo and Trinity approached. Sati and her family were good and their scenes were pretty well done, if not long. That was the main problem I think, is that most if not all the scenes in the movie went on WAY too long. Maybe the movie was ghost directed by Lorne Green and he's trying to make an SNL move towards totally blowing a good concept by beating his audience over the head with more words and lines than we really need. Does Trinity have to babble so much when she's dying? She sounded like 5 year old getting home from her first day of school and having so much to tell you just tune it out after a while. There were actually giggles in the theater while she was doing her Hamlet audition.

They handled Gloria Foster's death as well as could be expected. Some thrown in story about them needing to sell her "shell" so the last exile could be freed, but then she got another shell. It seemed over looked as it was a big part of the story in the end, but something that may not have needed telling had she not died.

A couple more high points. One, the preview for Troy starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana. The preview looked SO cool, if you can find it, watch it. It was stellar.

The other high point, for the first time in my life I was first in line for a movie. I got there 2 hours ahead of time, which for Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or Spidey or X-Men it would have been too late by then. So with a bafflement I can only assume was the result of years of inhaling faux butter fumes, the ticket attendant said they weren't making a line yet. 30 mins later when I asked again he said go ahead and I took my place, the only place, at the head of what was to be a fairly long line. What was funny about this, was the ticket guy and I spoke at least 3, 4 maybe 5 times. On the last time we talked, I had gone outside to find some friends and was coming back in, at this point he ripped my ticket and told me where the line was forming. I was sitting 10 feet from him for 60 minutes and talked to him repeatedly about where the line was.

I'd love to go off on this longer, but arguing how much of a dork the guy was as I'm relishing my being first in line for a movie is a little two faced. Let's just say it was my first, and it was a good feeling as I walked into the theater slowly, knowing that my pace dictated the pace of all behind me and I was in fact able to pick, out of all the seats, which was to be mine.

It was a fine day. Then the movie started.