what have i gotten myself into?

I consider myself an accomplished woman. I'm attractive, funny, successful in my career, surrounded by friends and generally very happy.

So tell me then why I had to clean up a puddle of poo yesterday.



I got up early this morning and got myself and the Space Cadet dressed and sauntered to the theater nearest me for the 10 a.m. showing of Fahrenheit 9/11. I figured that since it was so early in the morning and it was a Friday that not only would I not have a problem finding a parking spot, that I'd have my pick of seats in the theater and if the little one happened to get fussy in the middle of the movie at most he'd be disturbing a handful of people. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The theater was packed. If I hadn't been going alone I'd have had a hard time finding two seats together. As it was, I sat very near the front and Little Mr. Austin slept through most of it, except for the parts where people in the theater were cheering, booing, or clapping. It felt like a Democratic convention in there. I was so proud to be at the very first showing in the Austin area today. Being surrounded by like-minded people didn't bring it on but being surrounded by people that care about the direction our country is headed did. It felt patriotic sitting in a theater watching a movie bashing our current administration. Ironic huh? I can honestly tell you that I don't care how those people vote in the November election, I just hope they all vote. It is hard to imagine that anyone paying $8 a ticket ($5 for the 10 a.m. show) wouldn't go vote after seeing this. Actually, it is hard to imagine anyone that sees this won't walk away with a passionate opinion either for or against Bush and either way is fine by me.

I think it is evitable that some people will rush to the defense of the President now. That's great. What I want to happen is for the country to get all fired up about politics. I want people to get passionate about what they believe and stand up for it. I want people to go vote. I couldn't be happier that Michael Moore has pulled this off and started such a great debate.

I'll be honest. I haven't read any of Moore's books nor have I seen any of this other films. This gives me an advantage of not really having an opinion about his work. I think if I had any opinion of Michael Moore it would taint the way I approached this film. As it is, I consider him to be a great conspiracy theorist and political provocateur. I'm very glad that Moore found a way (through Canada) to get the film released just before the 4th of July. I'm even happier that it will be released on DVD before the election. I can almost guarantee that I'll be sending out some to select friends of mine as soon as possible before Super Tuesday.

I know this is a long rant. Sorry for the lack of actual movie review content. I figured that every one and their dog will be reviewing the movie and I thought perhaps if I didn't give you any spoilers you might actually see two movies this year. One can hope.

Mrs. Austin.


Welcome Summer!

The Summer Solstice saw the Austin Family awake for a good portion of the evening nursing a new born and a 3 year old with a urinary infection.

That's right. For a limited time, you too can enjoy constant screaming, unrelenting crying, high fevers, baby poo, kid puke and all around crankiness. Our state of the art technology has allowed us to create the perfect in home Chaos Filter, which delays each cry, diaper, TV volume spike, toddler whine and phone call until the last possible moment, then unleashes them all at once.

But wait there's more. You'll also enjoy our patented KeepYerAssUpAllNight kit which does not include ear plugs, liquor, muzzles or another house to live in.

If you order today we'll enter you into our Going Broke Sending Two Kids to College Sweepstakes where you and a friend can celebrate the next 24 years of budgeting what will basically come down to beer money. This contest is void in Texas where the legislature is already spending education funding on intoxicants.

How much would you pay for this once in a lifetime event? $500? $200? Not low enough you say? You can have all this for the once in a lifetime price of Zero Dollars! That's right, Parenting can be yours absolutely free. No money down, no interest forever, nada, zip zilch.

Of course the fine print will read all the medical costs of having a delivery in a hospital, clothing for someone who grows faster than you can keep track of, food for someone who eats 25% of what you put on their plate and entertainment to keep them placid. Because let's face it, raising a newborn is a constant effort in keeping a creature asleep. That's all you want to do, make it sleep. Quick, feed it, change it, pat it, burp it, wrap it up, make it sleep. How much did it sleep today? I can't get it to sleep. Don't babies sleep 20 hours a day?

I'm starting to get the familiar muscle twitches that accompany lack of sleep. They start in the eye. The slow madness that creeps over a person from a week's worth of eye twitching is just a primer for the rib cage twitches. Finally, the breath is robbed from my lungs as the back twitches swing in to full gear. My only hope is my brain stem will twitch loose and I'll be free from this insanity.

It's chaos I tell you. Of the highest order. Last night was a good example. We're currently playing a game of Musical Beds. There are 3 in our house and currently, with LMA being sick, whoever wants to sleep will rotate to the bed that's not occupied. The other will act as a gravitational force for small people and pull the kids with them to another room. After 90-120 minutes, the orbits shift, medicine is administered, diapers are changed, thirsts are quenched, bellies are filled, and the beds are rotated again.

But it's all part of the duty. You become a parent, you become a Doctor, Psychiatrist, Friend, Story Teller, Rocking Chair, Restaurant and Police Officer. I hope I act better now than I did 3 years ago when it comes to interrupted sleep, because this time I know it's going to happen. It's just a fact of life that for 3 months we aren't going to get 8 hours of sleep.

Moving on. Father's Day was pretty hip, I got some cool T-shirts and some DVDs, notably season 1 and 2 of The West Wing. We've been trading nights off so I've been able to see a couple movies, Mrs. Austin's been able to go out with friends, it's not too bad.

I am a little upset because I lost an important notebook the other day. I had this little red notebook that had 2 issues of my comic book plotted out with thumbnails for each page. There was dialogue, reference material, sketches, names, clothing designs, places, plot points, etc. I made a schedule for myself a few days ago that would get me back on track for making my book. I had it planned out from now until November. I would be drawing character sheets, pinups, covers, material to be put on my nearly defunct Cafe Press merchandise, images for the web site. Now it's all gone.

This stupid little notebook was in my backpack for months. Every time I thought of something to add or change or remove, I had it right there. When we went to the hospital, I took it all out to pack clothes and necessities, and now I can't find it. It's no where. I even called the hospital's lost and found. Boy that was a lame call. "Hi, I lost a notebook. It's red. No, no name on it. Um, it's got some really bad handwriting and some sketchy images that look like a comic book. Hello?"

So now I'm in a creative tail spin. I know the characters I'm working with and how they look so I can still draw, but I've lost the story. I know where the story is going, but I lost the dialogue and the pacing and the plot points and the page layouts. I feel defeated on the eve of a creative surge. It's a deflated feeling, so I'm taking liberal amounts of West Wing viewing to cure my little depression.

Little Miss Austin (Spazoid) and New Mr. Austin (Space Cadet) are having their own issues. As mentioned, LMA has an infection so she's been dealing with a fever and lack of motivation and appetite for the past few days. Her friend came over on Sunday and we had to send her home because Spazoid had suddenly developed a very high fever and we didn't want her friend to get sick. It was a bad situation in that we were watching this girl because of her parents overlapping schedule, but we didn't want her to get sick. Tough spot. In the end we decide the last thing this girl needed was more reason to see a doctor, so we erred on the side of being bad hosts and sent her home.

Space Cadet just grunts a lot and turns red. So far that's his only trick. He's starting to focus on faces, or eyes, or whatever. There's no motor control and he still scratches at his face. The jaundice is gone, the weird breathing has abated slightly. He's now just another squirmy little bag of still forming bones. He's adding weight though, which is good. He looks less like an elephant’s knee and more like a human baby.

So that's the news here. I realize there aren't any photos at this time. Frankly, if we had time to take and upload pictures that would mean there's a small human necessity not being met elsewhere.

Carry on.


Wouldn't you like to be a Christian too?

At the risk of alienating my entire family and family in law, what is it with the Christians? We got a call this evening from the coalition for Prayer asking if we'd sign a petition getting prayer back into the classroom.

A phone call. At night. During what could be dinner.

"Good evening. I hope I'm not disturbing your dinner, a dinner before which I have no idea whether you said Grace or not, but would you like your kids, or possibly other peoples' kids, to pray in school? Now I don't mean any of that heretical moment of silence or zealous facing toward Mecca, I mean the good ol' Lawd's Prayah!"

"What the hell?"

Come on now guys, get it together. You picked a day on which the Supreme Court basically said, "Uh, we don't give a rat's ass about Church and State" to call a Pagan to ask if she'd like to put her name down on an official document to get prayer (Christian, make no mistake) back into school. Does that make any sense to you? You don't know who's on the other line. Pass the dang petition around at church and leave the rest of the world alone. I don't call you asking if you'd sign a petition asking George Lucas to get rid of that goofy ass Han-Shot-First scene, so leave us the bloody hell alone.

Damn it all.

See, the more I type, the more steamed I get about this. You can set aside national unity and identity and all that other crap, but when you say "...one nation, under GOD..." you are eliminating all other religions and beliefs that don't believe in God. The only positive side to that is we don't believe in your Hell so save that threat. The saying was put in to the Pledge to combat communism 50 years ago, which is ironic as communism is a political structure having little to do with religion. Godless Communists? Hardly. That's like saying a Greaseless Denny's.

Look at it this way, the original intent of adding the phrase just made no sense. In order to combat a state that did not have freedom of religion, the heads of state and those in power enacted this tactic, which, then and now, is exclusionary. What happens to all the Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims and Agnostics and atheists and Pagans and Buddhists who don't pledge every morning at school? Well back then they had their homes burned, their cars vandalized and their relatives run out of town.

Doesn't anyone see that by forcing themselves into every aspect of our lives, the Christian Right are becoming the new Communist State? Before long we'll be required to Pledge to God, The Almighty or be deported to Uzbekistan. Employers will be required to pull credit and tithing history. The states will not marry anyone unless a pastor has approved of the union.

Trust me, I love this country, but if we let these people continue with these invasive tactics, we WILL become as hateful and close minded as those against which we are waging a war.

Before you send me hate mail, by "these people" I don't mean those fantastic Catholics, Lutherans, and Baptists who go to church on Sunday, pray for their families silently, and then leave it alone. I mean those people who are legislating what TV I can watch or who call me asking to sign a religious doctrine stating that something I don't believe should be taught to my kid. How dare THEY, not you.


You know, I have it all wrong. I think I'm going to start a The Rest of Us phone campaign. I want God and Prayer to be in our schools as well. I also want Allah and Buddha and The Goddess and Ra and Jim Nabors and whoever the hell else you want to worship back in school. Make sure to add something about, you know, SCIENCE, that damnable and highly provable religion. Stupid facts and figures. Where was your mercy, your Jesus dictated mercy, when you blew up all those atoms and created this universe. DAMN YOU SCIENCE!!

So onto some pictures. This last weekend was spent with some of Mr. Austin's family. We did some shopping and went to the outlet mall, but as all visitors over the next few months, they are here to see the new sack of mostly water and watch him squirm and poop and cry and...nope, that's about all he does.

Pictures off the starboard bow!

She's about to learn the meaning of hot.

This reminded me, I need to copy that Return of the Jedi tape to DVD.

As my cousin said, "She only has 28lbs to jump around, of course she has more energy."

Nothing clever here, just a cute picture.

And welcome, to Fantasy Island!

The stars at night, are big and bright (clap clap clap clap)...

Ok, everyone look natural.

I think we got the shot.

Ok, but you CAN'T tell your mother we did this.

That's what happens when you jump all day.


(insert witty/creative title here)

With the pregnancy now just a memory, I'm no longer in the role of burly protector. It was nice to feel like I was rippling with muscles and adorned with warpaint as I strode boldly ahead of the caravan fending off all threats to my family. In reality I was just walking around in a fog doing whatever it was to keep Mrs. A from hating me or life or whatever was on TV.

Now it's just day to day again with a new born. It's 15 diapers a day, crying, screaming, no sleep, and that's just me. I no longer have to worry about what Mrs. Austin is lifting or if she's eating enough or too much or not getting enough water or enough sleep or taking her medicine. Lil Miss Austin is to the point where verbal communication is almost 100% affective. You can ask her to do something and she'll do it, making her pretty self sufficient, making my job less important. I'm back to being a jungle gym. No war paint, no rippling muscles, no caravan of needy prospectors.

It's sad. It's double sad because this will be the last kid so that sense of macho protector is fleeting and will probably not be rekindled again in my life time, barring some actual threat like a home invasion. Mrs. Austin is strong and right now is all Giblets needs. Lil Miss Austin can open all the doors she needs to and get at all the survival items crucial to her continued thriving. This leaves me with my art and fantasies of being Rick Hunter, flying a veritech fighter against the Zentraedi invasion. Yeah, I'm not proud of that.

What I am proud of is my family. As sappy as that sounds, I am. I'm proud of my new son who can already roll over after only 2 weeks. I'm proud of my going back to school and career minded wife. I'm proud of my lighting quick 3 year old who's progressing at a rate that will require she gets some smarter parents by the time she's in 1st grade. Yeah, this wasn't about much this time around, sorry about that. I know you fine folks rely on the insight and clever banter to get you through the week. My only hope is one day I can accomodate you with animation and sound. Maybe reading emails we get. Maybe as a character, something funky, like a little guy wearing a mexican wrestling mask and boxing gloves. Who knows.

Maybe I should just post some pictures and shut up.

Grandma and Great Aunt visiting the Austinstead.

I really shouldn't have more kids.

And she's worried about being a good parent...p'shhh!

First cousin once removed? Twice removed? Second cousin? Aw screw it, let's watch TV.

You know, I'm not too sure about all these people.

I'd like to pimp a little art, speaking of. I'm really proud of this piece that I did as a fan pic for the comic The Walking Dead. It didn't get the reaction I was hoping for. I mean, most of the PJers liked it, which was a first in itself, but I just wanted more. It's selfish I know, but I really worked on this piece a lot and not only did the creator kind of give me a form response, I haven't heard from my comic buds about it. I don't know, I'm asking too much. I feel I'm drifting from the online community. There are a few cliques and I don't feel I'm involved in any of them. I don't hang out with people that draw, I don't communicate with people online that draw like me. I don't collect and have the knowledge that these other guys do, so I feel like an outsider. This drawing was my shot at trying to break into one of the cliques and I think I may have either been too late, or been too obvious. Either way I'm too old to worry about it now. I'll keep drawing slowly while everyone else I know becomes successful and famous.

Wow, didn't mean to go off like that. Mrs. Austin always knows when I'm passionate about something by how much I talk about it, because most of the time I don't have an opinion about shit. I must have an opinion about this. I wish we all had more time to do what we wanted. I wish I had more people I could work with in comics. Blah blah blah.

Back to you.


Still another non-goal.

Man, the NHL's got some splainin' ta do. First this now this. I'm glad the Avs didn't make it, they'd fall prey to these aging refs bad eyes and the doddering officials withered brains.

Well, it's just after 1am and Giblets has finally found his lungs. Oh he had them before, but now they are powerful and snurgly. Yeah, snurgly. No I'm not Dr. Seuss, but there has to be a term for that little hiccup/sucking/clearing throat sound that babies (god I hope it's "babies" and not just this baby) make. It's a panicked, I can't breath, I have a burp, I'm straining to fill my pants sound, but nothing ever happens. No cry, no burp, no messy drawers, nothing, just a constant, kenetic, constant sound. Even when he eats he's making noise like he's both hungry and inconvenienced that this bottle/breast is in his face. It's starting to drive me batty.

Now before you people with kids or you granparents chime in with advice or little snickers about how you've lived through this and it's part of the territory, stow it. It's 1 freakin AM and I've already had a kid, so don't get your annectdotes all polished up. And for all the non-baby havin' people, this is your fair warning: As cute as they are, babies are the loudest things Mother Nature has ever created. They are the grumpiest, crabbiest, most finicky, unpredictable hunks of non-sentient flesh this world has ever seen.

It is possible I'm not meant to be a parent, I mean the sound of a baby crying when I should be sleeping isn't endearing, it doesn't make me want to find out what's wrong, it doesn't make me rush to attention, it makes me want to find a railroad spike and try to stab my ear drums out. I don't remember felling like this with LMA. I mean, I was a little peaved and exhausted with her 2 AMs, but that was a good year into it. I haven't given this one but 10 days and I'm already giving it ultimatums. "Yeah, you BETTER drink this bottle." Or what? OR WHAT? At this age it's going to be MONTHS until the kid sleeps through the night.

Oh, and all you people with your "you need to sleep when the baby sleeps." Screw you, when is that exactly? 11am to 3pm? I don't think my boss would be too keen on that. "Sorry bossman, the wife just called and junior is asleep. Mind if I knock off for 40 winks?"

If nature wanted humans to survive, and I mean REALLY survive and take over the galaxy, she wouldn't have made babies so damn loud. I mean, we're right here, you don't need to crank those decibles. Thanks to our upright walking and our huge craniums, we can't afford giving birth to animals that walk and talk already. So we have to nuture them. Well gosh darn it, at least make them sleep through the night. I think more people would have babies if it weren't for the hourlies that go on at night.

I know Mrs. A's gonna have my ass in a sling for this, but you know I rarely speak out about kids. I love kids. I love both my kids, and my wife. There's nothing I wouldn't do for any of them. But at 1:30 am when that kids crying and he's neither hungry, nor wet, nor cold, nor unloved, nor gassy, it really makes me want to scream because there's nothing you can do but just take it. Like a verbal shallacking from a boss on a job you can't lose, you just have to take it on the chin and hope it doesn't kill you.

Seriously, I don't want to hear it. This will pass, but right now I'm just super tired and very touchy for other reasons.

In the mean time, have some pictures.

Mom's first shower with Little Mister Oompa Loompa

See, a few of these pictures, and the crying sometimes doesn't matter.

There's one of LMA like this. Very peaceful.

Yous talkin' to me?