Meeting of the Screamers

Schuyler and Rowan meet, in a cage match to the DEATH. Two enter, one leaves. No fish-hooking, biting or groin punches.


Ok for real. I doubt any of my regular viewers, the pulsating, frothy mob that you are, have read Darn Tootin, but it's been a staple for the Austin family for a few years now. The proprieter of the site is a family friend of Mrs. Austin and their roots go back to the days when men were men and women were in the Permian marching band. We'll call him Mr. Pollyana (heh) because I love making up names for people, and I think he'll appreciate that one. So Mr. P and his family recently moved back from the lovely state of Connecticut to our lovely city of Austin. I've been to Connecticut, and it is rather pleasant, as long as you're not there in any month besides June. The rest of the time it's, well, you know, cold. I'm all for cold, being a western yank me-self, but something about cold on the East Coast just gets in your bones. Must be the crappy Mexican food.

So it was destined, I suppose, that our two children should meet. I mean, they have virtually the same haircut. Hel-lo. Plus Lil Miss P probably needed a playmate, being new to the area, and Lil Miss Austin could ALWAYS use another underling to do her evil bidding. The chemistry seemed solid.

We were worried about how they'd get along. LMPs a little older than LMA and LMA is a wicked chat hound and task master when around her friends at school. The trepidation was high. However, once brought together, they acted like two toddler girls would under any circumstances.

They squeeled for 7 straight hours.

Now I'm not saying they screamed or horseplayed or got on each other's case for not sharing the baby or the pony or the swing, I mean that's how they talked, for what amounted to the length of 2 hockey games. It was funny and sweet and warm to see them chase each other around the house. One slams a door, squeels, the other runs away, squeeling. They peek around the corner at each other, catch eyes and, yep, squeel.

So we took the fun outside. We added a liberal mix of hyperkenetic and overly large beagle and a swing set and the noises became a mix of squeels and laughs. Leels. Squaughs. (Boy that's an odd one, love the English language.) Ok, Squafs. The two swung and slid and hung and scampered. At one point they would hide from the dog in the dog's house, because it's the last place a dog would look. When the dog found them they would squaf and flee like pigeons released from a captivity infested with army ants. Then they'd do it all over again, as fast as they could, which is funny because toddlers have really short legs so "fast" is relative. Sort of like "sudden geological change."

In our infinite wisdom as parents, we then decided to add some rocket fuel to the burning chemical labs and feed the children ice cream.

With chocolate syrup.

And sprinkles.

And thus the Crack Ferrets were born. Their adrenaline heightened by sugar, the pitch fevered, the two marines set out with only their stim packs to bring down the last remaining Zerg Hive. Bringing them back inside didn't help, but they did end up sitting still for a few minutes while Dora was on.

All in all it was a great day. It was fun having company over, meeting new people (for me) and the kids got to play and forge new alliances against the tyranny of the Adult Horde. (Notice how I think in video game? It's a sickness, please help me.)

Faster Fräulein! Ve must overtake ze Americans!

Ok, Abbot. This should really work.

In her best Ethel Merman opening bit...


Look ma, no adult supervision!



The universal language of ice cream.

I hold jour hand, jou think I'm sweet until I YANK you out of jour swing!

Swiper no swiping anymore blankets!


Stay in your hole Nader.

God, you know, you just can't win for losin'.

Least that's what they say in Texas. There's a lot of phrases that somehow make sense even though they don't, really.

Anyway, moving on. I was just getting excited to have a Democrat start to threaten the current administration, even though the closer we get to the convention, the further to the center they all become, and since nature abhors a vacuum, here comes Ralph Nader. The candidate for the everyman, as long as everyman isn't someone working for a big business so they can pay their SUV note down a bit before trading it in for a Toyota Prius. That's right, you heard me.

But what gets me the most about Nader's choice to run is what everyone's talking about; taking votes away from the Democrats. You might as well just hand the White House back to Bush. But I'm torn, I mean there are ideals the Green Party has that I have, but shit there's also Republican, Democratic and Independent views I agree with. Saint Ralph needs to take a bullet for the team and scurry back to his Ivory Hole before Al Gore beats the stuffing out of him.

And while I'm all riled up, screw you homophobic jackholes. I'm serious. You're looking to amend human rights, not the sanctity of the family, the basic human emotion that craves life long companionship. Republicans would rather continue to allow Federal prisoners to be able to wed while IN PRISON then to allow gay couples of 40+ years to receive benefits and estates and entitlements like straight couples.

So I say again, screw you homophobes. Mayor Newsom is refusing to give up his seat on the bus and if I could fly out there and give him a high five I would. Take out the word 'marriage', call it a Civil Union, call it a freakin Spatula for all I care, but let these loving people, loving TAX PAYERS, receive the same rights we all do.

There was a word for you people 40 years ago, it was racist. I don't care what your Bible, Torah, Quran tells you, you are calling another human being lesser by not allowing them to do what you do and making your religion paramount to the basic entitlements given to us by the framers. Sanctity of Marriage my ass, how about sanctity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How about a 50% divorce rate among marriages of one man, one woman. How about equal pay for women and equal protection for minorities. You want the US to be Leave It To Beaver, I just want it to be Leave It Alone Bush. I'm tired of the Right hiding behind a book while they spit in the face of fellow human beings. I'm tired of hearing Republicans state how disturbing the situation is.

I hope Governer Perry did take a cabana boy to the hoop and score. As little as will come out about it, I'd love to smack that into the face of every sanctimonious Rep. from here to Camp David. Because the next time you guys want to tie up Matthew Shepard, make sure to keep a little extra rope, I'm sure there's a lynching somewhere you late for. We're just a few orders to Kinko's for yellow construction paper away from resurrecting the Reich, and if that turns your stomach as much as it does mine...

...keep your freakin votes away from Nader.

That's right.

Otherwise they'll even take your captioning away.

That's right, he's crazy. It's best if you just pretend you're playing a game when he gets like this.


Dang my feet hurt.

So there's a 5k run coming up. I want to run it. I've been doing the jogging thing for a few months now and I think I could do it. I won't kid myself and say that I'll be able to run the full distance in 24 minutes, but I think I've built up the endurance to finish before the day is over.

I'll also be running with a couple buddies of mine that range from work out fiend to beer drinker. I have a feeling in order for us to stick together for the whole race, the work out guy will have to settle for a really crappy time, if that's what he's going for. I'm starting to feel, again, like my dad. I remember the family packing into the station wagon and heading out at really God awful times on Saturdays so we could get to the start of the race in time. They all start at 8am for some reason, and missing cartoons was a big deal.

You have to pay to run too, that's the part that gets me. To be official, and numbered and to get the shwag you have to register and pay. It's not bad, and I'm sure the masochists in the audience, in between dominatrix beatings, are saying, "Yeah, so?" So we'll see how it goes. It's next week and I'm going to kick up my running a little to get ready for it, since I found out about it about 8 1/2 weeks to late to start officially training.

Lil Miss Austin's face is changing. (no pics today, sorry)

That's was Mrs. Austin said this morning. She's slowly becoming a little girl, less a toddler. Toddler seems like such a brief age. I'm only now getting out of the habit of calling her "the baby" and moving toward "the kid." "Oh I can't go drinking, I gotta pick up the kid." But toddler, that's like, the period between being able to vote and being able to drink, almost a none period. Another made up age group. (If you haven't noticed, that's a problem. I'm looking to the Democrats to fix this.)

Physiology aside, she's doing pretty well in school and what not. I've never spent a full day with her, but I'm guessing there's a lot of playing in the dirt outside, a nap maybe, then some activities involving construction paper, liberal amounts of glue and more than a few contributions by the teachers. Lately she's tired on the way home so I think at the very least the playing is going well. She's also in what I'd consider a group. There are 4-5 kids, all around the same age, that hang out together. Hang out. You know, shoot some pool for 20's while drinking pitchers, then off to downtown to roll their own smokes and poke at bums. Hang out. Two white boys, an asian boy and a little white girl. Perfect gang. I can just see it now.


A little white to add to that red outfit.

St. Valentine's Day in Austin this year brought a little unexpected weather condition, snow.

That's right, snow in central Texas. It was a wonderous day. Of course, you had to be up at 7 to see it, because by 10am it was all gone. The snow started out as sleet and small hail the day before, then some rain in the evening, then about 1am it started snowing. At our place we accumulated about 1 1/2" of snow, a good portion was already starting to melt when I woke the family up at 7:30 to check it out.

So we bundled up and headed outside for a little frolicking. Being in Texas we don't own snow pants, snow boots (or moon boots) or gloves designed to repell moisture, and this wasn't the packing kind of snow. Still, we had a good time throwing snowballs at each other and making snow angels. There was probably enough for a snow man, but that would have required some effort. As it was we took a walk around to the end of the street, which turned into a walk to Starbucks, which turned into me running back to get the car, which turned into a trip to the mall to buy clothes and stuff.

After we got back from the mall, Mrs. Austin and I got ready for our big V-Day date. We were going to Phantom of the Opera, then a romantic dinner at Caramelo's, a highly rated Italian eatery downtown. Phantom was outstanding. Mrs. Austin has never seen it, this will have been my 3rd or 4th time. She was overwhelmed. A few parts of the show surprised her and I have the bruises to show for it. After the show we had about 4 hours to kill until our reservation time, so we bought some bread and feed the ducks on Town Lake. Yeah it was cold but we were dressed very much like a Mamas and Papas song.

We also dropped by Book People and actually got a few things. This whole time Lil Miss Austin was playing with the baby sitter. Yes, I got tickets to Phantom AND dinner at a great restaurant AND secured a baby sitter. I'm a thoughtful bastard and you know it. The day was awesome, it was the best Valentine's Day I've ever had, Mrs. Austin agrees and thanks to the snow, one of the better days we've had altogether.

This was icing on the cake.

So, here's some pictures of the snow, it's a lot so if this page takes 15 mins to load, I apologize, I tried to keep them small this time. Plus, in a week we'll have faster upload time.


Oh the fun of being slightly available.

Ok, so all five of you who read this no doubt know by now that I'm having technical problems with the server. It's up from about 6pm when I restart it, till about 9 am the next day. Perfect viewing time for all my constituants. Mrs. Austin has officially had it with my moping and skulking about, heavy exasperated sighs and feelings of doom and dread because I can't get the freakin thing to stay connected. She wants me to call a technician or spend more money on getting a more stable line. She's sweet that way. Whatever we can do to make it work, just do it. Her analogy was effective as well, something about a flute and a toothpick.

Anyway, I've got a few more things I can try, then it's the official call to tech support. I'm not going to say I'm rigging my system to work, I'm using actual factory issued equipment and licensed services, software and firmware. The issue is, I'm trying to run a website on a line that's not static, so part of the setup requires some translation and monitoring and, shoot, it's just not clicking. I'm finding out it may be the router that doesn't do well with this setup, it may be that my ISP doesn't handle client routers well, at this point I'm guessing. The problem with calling a tech and having them come out is I'm sure they're not going to be really happy about helping me setup a web server instead of using one of there hosting services, or getting around the dynamic IP instead of paying for a static. But I mean seriously, $30 extra a month for 1 IP I'd use and 4 I won't? I don't know, I may have to take a bullet for the team, (team being me and my sanity) and call them up and just do whatever they tell me. It's admitting defeat and it's accepting that I'm weak and stupid and can't learn enough to make this work, but such is life. I feel like that most days at work anyway.

I'd like to take this moment to wish my cousin Hillary, Happy Birthday.

This picture will be up for a couple hours I'm sure, but please check back in the evenings as it should be up after 6pm. This is a family portrait drawn by Lil Miss Austin. She's gradually gone from scribbles, to circles, to circles with dots in the middle, to more than one circle together, then connected with a stick, and now rudamentary human figures. She's got almost the whole family, but here's what I have so far.

My comic book friends have already said she needs to work on her anatomy and perspective, so we're doing that. I think it's neat that she's drawing. I'm always trying to give her some scrap paper to doodle on, and hopefully she will wile away the hours in school perfecting her craft and become an artist like her father, grandmother, uncle and late grandpa. That'd be cool.

Of course it'd also be cool if she just kept growing and learning and being friendly, I won't set the bar so high.

More late.


Good eggs need bacon grease.

So far the new diet has been going well. If you take a look at the sampling of food in the above image, that's actually my breakfast. Few pieces of real bacon, two eggs cooked in the grease left from the bacon, Atkins bread ($6, HEB, not kidding) and real butter. Wash it down with some decaf coffee, with Sweet 'n' Low and a few spoon fulls of whipped cream.

Yeah, this is a diet.

And guess what, I can have this EVERY SINGLE DAY!! So, not a bad thing, you might think. Well you might be wrong. After a couple weeks of this nonsense I'm about ready to kill my family for a freaking glass of juice or an apple or a bagel with cream cheese. Don't get me wrong, this plus the running and I've lost 10 pounds in just over two weeks. I am just getting pretty tired of naked chicken wings, bunless hamburgers, italian sausage with no sauce or pasta. I've learned a lot from this new structure, how to count carbs and calories and sugars. It'll be helpful, I'm sure. But as soon as I'm done here, I'm gonna get a Coke.

Something else I've had fun working on lately has been our web server. (I say "our" because it hosts the pictures for the family site here as well as the comic book site. I'm sure Mrs. Austin would say it's 5% hers, 95% mine. That 5% she's splitting with Lil Miss Austin too by the way.) The web server has been just so much fun to work on. It's almost a guarantee that there will be down time, I even have a clock to show how much precious temporal juice this thing has left. By my calculations, all these photos and images have about 3 1/2 weeks until they disappear for another 4-5 days.

I do have the resurrection down to a science. Once the thing falls apart, I've jumped it enough times to know how to get it back up and running. It's the things that pop up in the meantime that make you crazy. It's like that game where you're going on a picnic and take an Apple. I'm going on a picnic and I'm taking and Apple and a Basket. Apple, Basket, Carrots. Apple, Basket, Carrots, Dingo...and on and on. Well at this point I'm going on a picnic and I'm taking you all down with me because if one more thing goes wrong with this, I'm going to hire a hitman to take the machine into a field and have it put down execution style.

Mrs. Austin continues to do "pleh" with the pregnancy. For every warm and snuggly moment where she breaks down and buys a new stuffed animal and a blanket, there are 47 moments of falling, aching, not sleeping, eating weird, not eating at all and being iritable. So, pretty much normal. Lil Miss Austin is getting to be a BIG WHINER. Man, I haven't heard this much nasal in speech patterns since The Nanny went off the air in '99. I'm sure there could be more things I could complain about, or report on, but this little nugget has stuck in my brain like a commercial jingle because that's what I'm hearing all the time. She can't sit for 2 minutes without that dipthong "Da-addy" removing the marrow from my bones. She's at that funny age when she still requires a lot of attention, but is pretty self sufficient. It ends up looking like she's both starved for attention and doted over. Who knows. I'm pretty sure that I've got it all figured out, just in time for a second one. Oh yeah, I've got this parenting thing licked.

All of you who are laughing may leave now.

To give you an indication of how things can go from really serious to downright silly, I'd like you to meet Wilson Fruit. Wilson Fruit is the product of 3 people living in a 1400 sq ft house all being within the same 3 sq ft right around dinner time. At dinner time we have to figure out a way to feed a 2 year old, a vegetarian and an Atkins diet. Plus we've all just returned home from work and school, 2 of us need naps, the other needs a foot, back, face, tummy rub, and we're all just grumpy.

So out comes Wilson Fruit. Wilson Fruit made us laugh, cry, scream with joy and jump up and down with excitement. Wilson Fruit, sporting the spikey hair and bugged out eyes, is giving us his pattened Cheerio Pout, something Little Miss Austin is trying very hard to perfect herself.

Wilson Fruit came at a time when everyone was on each other's nerves and was about to snap. It would have been another long evening of yelling, time outs and slamming doors, but luckily, we had Wilson Fruit to break up the monotony of the every day homelife and help us remember that we can laugh, even if it's at food we can't eat.



Just a quick update. As much as we all like to think that this site has nothing to do with Mr. A's comic book site, it in fact does and you can now see that by trying to locate any of the recent photos on this site.

Rest assured I'm doing all I can to resolve the situation. I moved web servers from Pepperjack's hosting to my own server and the DNS lookup may take up to 72 hours, so give it some time. Plus I'll have to make sure I don't have to edit ALL of these entries to reflect the new address. (That last part is going to be a nightmare if it is.)

So that's about it. Mrs. A starts her new job today as bringer of technology to uneducated and sick children everywhere. It's both noble and lucritive, we applaud you.

Saw the game last night. Yes, yes, I saw that too. Couldn't help it. Even if I didn't I couldn't help but hear about it the next day, could I?

Oh well. Good game though. I have a friend that thinks it was TOO good, that somehow the league, unimpressed with viewer ratings and getting wind of the "fans" saying they're watching for the commercials, concocted an elaborate scheme to make sure the game ended with a field goal in the last 4 seconds.

Still no cure for cancer.

Pictures will be back soon, promise.