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.


All Hallow's Eve

Remember Halloween? Remember being a kid and the unbridled thrill you could feel creeping into your bones as you applied copious amounts of make up and donned yarn wigs and thing colorful material. Remember putting up with the fact that you couldn't breath through the mask because you knew the mask made you look cool? Remember the sugar starved insanity that preceded dumping a bag of candy onto the floor, sifting it through the haul like a gold-digger looking for flakes, weeding out the good candy from the crap trinkets?

Yeah me too.

I also remember carving pumpkins and watching Peanuts on CBS and football games and raking leaves and the light going out early and the weather being on the cusp of winter, nipping at your heels as your tennis shoes, which didn't match your costume, mounted assault after spirit of the dusk assault on lighted porches and driveways. It's a magical time of year for me, one of which I never forget and always look forward to, but one that I never plan for until about 3 days before the event. There's no commercialism in it for me, there's only the deepening of the sky and the chill on the air and the smell of apples and cinnamon and burning pumpkin guts. What this translates to is an almost obsessive desire to see Lil Miss Austin dressed up in something cute. Yeah, I'd like her to have the most creative costume, or the most endearing, but when she sees the costume at the store and goes into toddler bliss, who am I to argue?

Yeah I think it's a bit different now then when I was a kid. I had a mom that was pretty skilled in the area of, how shall I say, Seemsteric Creation. I had a clown outfit as a standby for a good couple years just in case my Tron costume didn't pan out. And while I constantly tell people about my infamous Mystic costume from the Dark Crystal as they politely go inside their own heads and scream at me that they've heard it before, I haven't considered creating a costume for LMA. There was talk of the three of us dressing up as Lego pieces, then the Ragedy's (Anne, Andy and, hmm, is there a third?) but in the end, $20 at Target did in a pinch. Next year. Right? Next year she'll be a beautiful butterfly with home made wings and teased up hair and sparkly make up. Next year she'll be Kyra the Gelfing and I'll reprise the Mystic role. Next year Mrs. Austin and I will dig out our M&M outfits and make a Mini M&M outfit for her. Next year. Promise.

ooOOooo, the ghost is so scary!!

Don't get near me clown, I'm mischievous as all get out and I WILL take your bubbles.

A bumblebee on the edge! Look at that barely contained excitement. Anymore sugar and she'll explode.

Mrs. Austin let's me play with knives. Lil Miss Austin was there to supervise.

"That's right honey, get the whole arm in there. It's not Halloween until you're covered in orange slime."

Not so ghoulish after all, well done kiddo.

I keep saying, Halloween, when in fact only 1/3 of our household celebrates Halloween. That minority is I. The women of the house celebrate Samhain, the Last Harvest, the darkening of the days before the god is reborn. It's yet another holiday that all good Christians celebrate that has its roots firmly founded in more ancient beliefs. It's ironic; Samhain is all about reflection and recognizing that the end of the light is coming, but with a strong belief that the light will come again. It's in no way evil or satanic or even spooky. The fact that Christianity has both adopted this as All Hallows Eve and bastardized it's meaning is quite extraordinary. It's like ignoring a family member for most of their life, then towards the end creating an imaginary friend in their likeness that you tell people you hate. It makes no sense. Ah well, with Resurrections being portrayed as Chocolate Eggs, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

At any rate, regardless of what you call it, it still seems ok to go out and basically beg for candy from strangers, which I find mind blowing. As a kid you don't catch the subtle hypocrisy of "Don't take candy from strangers, except for this one day and you have to ask them for it while dressed up all funny." I haven't worked out if Trick or Treating is cool on Samhain, but I will say this, I had to do a lot more Tricks when I was a kid. Between having to tell jokes or sing songs, it's a wonder I got any flippin candy at the end of the night. I think next year I'm also going to put a sign up, or carve it into a pumpkin on the porch. "No costume, no candy. And some face paint doesn't a costume make." There's no effort there, grab a pillowcase and bum rush all the little kids in costume at a doorway, not even saying Trick or Treat. They just hold their bags out like if I don't give them candy they're gonna tell on me. Man, kids today. (Yeah screw you I'm old.)

Random Pictures

Fresh off her role as Ms. Nora Dinsmoor, the starlet takes time for a photo op.

Uhhhh...I hope I can retrieve all Daddy's files before he gets back.