No YOU'RE a tramp!

Trying to bring some levity back to this place, here's some welcome air time.

Yup. We decided since we didn't have $20 grand to sink, if you will, into a new pool, a trampoline was next on the list. At a tenth the price, it brought hours of enjoyment. LMA likes to run in a big circle and feel her knees buckle. Being 30 lbs, she doesn't have the mass to canvas ratio her old man has, so her jumps were a bit sad.

The dog likes standing under the tramp, barking, until one of us lands and smacks her in the schnoz. Seems to be her favorite game, and one she seems to be good at.

More later I'm sure, including the First Trip the Emergency Room and Hey, Is That My Ankle In My Ear? photos.


What's the hubbub, bub?

While I don't read many other online journals, I do read Rob's page. It seems that I caused quite a stir by my little entry the other day. Times like this make me appreciate my husband more than ever. While he doesn't always understand how bad the noise in my head is, he at least agrees with me that if I have told someone that I'm not doing all that well since the baby was born, they have to be a special kind of ass hole to then make snide comments about me having him in the first place or needing to get out of my house with him on occasion. I was surprised and touched by how rabid he was about the whole thing.

I'm about to let you in on my little secret. Something I've only told five people. I'm not doing all that great. Some days are better than others but none of them are what I'd call "good". For the past two months, I swear I've been doing all I can to hold everything together with twine and spit. Right now is a perfect example. The baby is screaming his lungs out in the floor next to me. I've tried feeding him, burping him (something only my mother can do, apparently) holding him, singing to him, offering him riches beyond belief but nothing will get him to be happy and stop crying. Maybe it is because I haven't slept in two months since he was born and didn't sleep for the two months before either. Maybe it is because I try to hide what I perceive to be imperfections in myself and not share my problem and therefore deny myself help. Maybe it is because I was mean to someone in a past life and this is karmic retribution. Whatever the reason, there it is. I'm not doing so great.

To top that off, my uncle just died. He finally gave in to a horrible form of cancer this past Monday. He and I were never close. He made a comment to me a decade and a half ago that stung my little pre-adolescent ego and I can hold a grudge like nobody's business. I never really gave myself a chance to get hurt by him again, a pattern that has followed me throughout my entire adult life (hurt me once, shame on you, hurt me again, well, you just aren't going to get the chance). This was my mother's brother and he had been fighting this for a few years now. To be honest, I was expecting it last summer. I even told my boss about it in case I had to be off work suddenly. He was a typical Leo, though, and fought to the very end. He was determined to win. When we found out late last week that things had taken a turn for the worst, my mom drove out to Brownwood to be a good little sister. I went out there Monday afternoon. I'm very glad that I did.

Most of his family was out there, all three of his kids and a few of his grandkids and the two remaining members of his original family. When the moment came there were tears but not the kind I really expected. I only saw one of his kids crying. The other two either have better poker faces or were just relieved that it was finally over. I'm betting on the latter. In situations like this, I don't understand the laws against assisted suicide. While not for mothers suffering from ppd, it seems the logical choice for someone in the final stages of a horrible disease.

My mom had been doing fine until she was about halfway through a much needed and deserved margarita. It was the first time she left the hospital since I'd gotten there. It seems he died about fifteen minutes after I touched him on his head and shoulder and mom and I left. Mom cried that cry that you can feel. The one that starts with a pain in the middle of your body and just rolls out of you from all directions. The cry that leaves you as devastated as being too near the epicenter of an earthquake. Then she said what I was afraid to hear. She said there was no safety net above her anymore. Her big brother was gone. There was no one left above her to take care of her. This isn't to say that he had taken care of her much in the most recent past, but that it was his role in life as her older brother.

I get it.

I love my husband, my children, my parents and my sister. But somewhere deep inside, down where I'm still a little girl needing a boost up to the water fountain, I'll always need my big brother too. And with that in mind, the world is a more cold and dangerous place now that one more big brother has left.

Now that I've gotten all that off my chest (and the baby is still screaming) here are some patiently awaited pictures. Enjoy.


How it all got started.


Where it all ended.


Testing, one two!  Testing!


Mrs. Austin and Grandpa Conroe


Mrs. Austin and Grandmama Conroe


Proof that Mr. Austin can get him to go to sleep but I can't.


I'll leave you with this.




The new form of hatred

This is Mrs. Austin and I want to talk about something for a few minutes.  Please humor me.
I have a friend named Jason.  He is one of my best friends, really.  He's from England (though I try not to hold that against him).  We try to get together a few times a month at the very least and we can talk about everything.  We talk about politics, religion, sex, movies, families, the economy, travel, real estate, boyfriends, girlfriends, strange relationships and stranger patterns of behavior.  Everything.  When we first met we would hang out after work in one of the many bars around the "office" where we work.  Jason has had the misfortune of seeing me at my most drunk when all I want to do is either flirt with anything and everything in site (including parked cars) or pass out on a cold hard flat surface.  In both instances he has always been a perfect gentleman (even that time he says I ran over his foot). 
I tell you all this to illustrate what a good friend and person Jason is.  Here's the thing: Jason's black. 
When we go out I notice that sometimes we get looks from "those" people.  You know the ones.  I'm talking about the people that think a black guy and a white girl shouldn't be together.  It doesn't happen much, but I've seen it.  My guess is that it doesn't happen much because we as a society don't tolerate racism.  Racism went out in the dark ages and is a very uncool expression of ignorance.
I have another friend.  His name is Adam.  Adam is also a very good friend of mine. 
Adam is Jewish.
I have acquaintances that will make jokes about our friendship.  They ask questions about how much he pays when we go out.  They joke about whether or not he gets out a calculator when the bill comes.  These acquaintances of mine are not my friends.  They don't want to be my friends.  You see, when they cracked their first "joke" about Adam I made it very clear that it was unacceptable. 

Just like you would. 

We, as civilized and polite people, don't tolerate discrimination in any form.  We expect people to have evolved past this type of behavior.  We even have legislation to prevent people from acting on this type of ignorance. 
So let me ask you something.  If we don't tolerate this type of behavior, why is it all right for people to treat "breeders" like second-class citizens?  Why is it alright to not only give dirty looks to people with children in public places but then to defend others that do?  Why is it all right to tell people that they shouldn't take their children into retail establishments?  Why is it all right for people to tell me that I can't take my newborn into a bookstore?  I can understand not wanting children in adult environments like strip clubs or movie theaters when the movie isn't a cartoon.  I can understand being annoyed at the family next to you in the expensive restaurant when you are trying to have a romantic, candlelit dinner.  I can understand kid friendly environments and non-kid friendly ones.  I get all that.  What I don't get is when I'm in a kid friendly environment (a book store where there is a children's section with - get this- TOYS) why "those people" think it is all right to wish I wasn't there.  What I don't get is why "those people" think it is all right to say something about my unwanted presence there. 
"These people" seem to think that segregation was a good idea.  They seem to think that it should be brought back. 
If I have described you, and you know in your heart if I have, I don't hate you for thinking this way, even if I say that I do after a few beers.  If you don't want kids for whatever reason, that's fine with me.  If you are too selfish, too self-centered, too grossed out by jelly kisses and peanut butter smeared couches that's perfectly acceptable.  It is better that you think you shouldn't have kids than have them and be a bad parent.  I completely respect your decision.  I'll never suggest that you change your mind.  I'll never even ask you to babysit.  I'm down with your right to not overpopulate the world and I might even thank you for it. 
All I ask is for you to respect my right to use my ovaries as I see fit and uphold my right to take my kids out into the light of day.  If you can't handle seeing small human beings at your local Starbucks just keep your dirty looks and mean remarks to yourself.  At least until they resegregate America.  Then you can go to your Adult Only Starbucks and I'll go to my Tolerant People Only Starbucks.
Until then, I'm still going to love Jason, still going to hang out with Adam, and I will take my two beautiful children anywhere I damn well please.
Ok, now will someone help me off this soapbox? 


Deep Thoughts

I wanted to get some things out, sans the pictures. Don't get me wrong, we have pictures, we have LOTS and LOTS of pictures. But for the sake of this post, I will be foregoing them until such time as I am able to adjust them and post them online.

So I'm driving home yesterday from picking up a dress for LMA, (more on that later) when NPR decides to fill my commuting ears with more talk about gay marriage. There will be debate today in the Senate about this and either today or tomorrow a vote to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage.

Now, the GOP will probably not term it as a ban on gay marriage, they will say something more euphemistic, like, a strengthening of the family unit, or, a constitutional right to preserve a conservative way of life. What they should call it is the Homophobic Amendment, or the Right to Divorce Amendment, or the Alienate and Discriminate Amendment. They want families to be strong. I think they want stronger families because so far these heterosexual, monogamous relationships haven't done to well. What are Republicans and Conservative Democrats preserving? I'm serious about this. What exactly are you holding so dear. Why don't you make divorce illegal? To me that would fix about 50% of all your problems with keeping the family together.

The line that cracked me up was "securing the future of this nation against immoral behavior." Because as well all know, in the fight to separate church from state, what you want to do is legalize a Christian belief in the union of a man and a woman rather than a civil belief in the union of two people. See what I did there, I separated them, a Christian belief and a Civil belief. If I do not believe in the same thing you do religiously, how you can fairly represent my ideals in any federal law if you are trying to incorporate your belief structure? The Academy of Arts and Sciences does not award the biggest money maker with Best Picture, and I think the GOP should not amend a civil constitution just because the majority of the people have a religious beef.

Plus, I mean, come on, aren't there bigger things to worry about? We're currently at war with Terror (or as I like to say, Feudin' like the Hatfields and McCoys.) We've got poverty, an AIDS crisis in Africa and India. We've got a President whose grasp of the English language is no better than my 3 year old daughter. Why are we even discussing this wedge issue? The Senate doesn't have the votes, the House shouldn't have even seen this. It shouldn't have come out of whatever subcommittee that didn't bother to read it in the first place. It's a joke, a travesty, a perfect example of the disintegration of America's body politic.

Ok, this is the part when I ask for help. I'm working on something with a few people I know. I don't know them personally, but I know them well enough. The idea we're working on, or at least, I'm working on and they're waiting till I'm done, is taking a movie and turning it into a comic. Now, I can't really say what, because I want to keep the idea, but I'll use an example.

I have this idea of taking a known movie, we'll say fairly well known, and creating a larger universe in which to tell either prequels or sequels. It would something along the lines of seeing the first Star Wars movie, not thinking there will ever be more movies and saying "Yeah, that's cool. I'd like to tell a story about where Luke came from and who Vader really is." But in comic book form.

So here's my dilemma. I have zero contacts in any biz you can name. My contacts in the comic book business are tertiary at best. I have no irons in any TV, Movie or Literary fires. I have no agent and I don't have 100 million dollars to buy the rights to anything. My cohorts might be slightly better off because I know one of them has had some work published in comics as a secondary artist, we'll leave it at that.

So that leads me to this request. For all our loyal readers out there, if you have ANY ideas pertaining to pitching an idea about a comic adaptation of a film, please let me know. I will say that Sony/Columbia was the studio, but that's about it. (That should be enough really.) Once I get something written and we get something drawn, who do we pitch it to for publishing? Sony? Image? Who has the rights, who needs the rights, and who can do what with what? Who do we ask?

Think on that and either leave me a comment or email me.

So my brother is getting married in September. I am a Ring Bearer and LMA is a Flower Girl. Yeah, I'm not the Best Man, but to be honest, I can't really do the Best Man duties since he's in Colorado and I'm not, so I don't mind much. I'm still part of the party and that's all that counts. Plus I think walking along with LMA would be really cute.

Yesterday I have to go pick up her dress from a nationwide chain, we'll call it Mavid's Bridal to be safe. They're all over the place so it's easy for Bride to find Dress and have Party Member pick it up in Hometown. Plug in the variables and you have the equation for success, or at least a large monopoly.

Anyway I'm getting off track. I'm in the store and the lady is looking for the dress and I ask to use the bathroom. She escorts me to the back and says it's back here, just on the left. There is, of course, His and Hers variety. I go into the dedicated His room and realize, as I'm standing there in the cleanest public bathroom I've ever seen, that it's maybe been days, even weeks since a male has relieve himself here. An odd thought, make no mistake. I felt like I was at the house of a new girlfriend, meeting the parents. It was too clean, I almost didn't want to go.

Later at the counter, the musak overhead starts playing "Supermodel" by RuPaul.

No one flinched. In fact, the music seemed almost perfectly appropriate for the surroundings. There was no sniggering or gasps of "Oh my God, do you remember this song?"

I knew I had to get out of there.

(By the way, I had to get the name of the song right, which meant I had to do a Google search for RuPaul. You should read the Timeline on his website, it's actually a pretty interesting, if not tragic, read.)

I just read a story that Tom Delay solicited Enron for political contributions that were fed into the Texas Republican party to fund the campaign to redistrict Texas congressional map, against state laws prohibiting it.

So, to recap, Kenneth Lay allegedly took money from employees retirement funds to pay for, among other things, a greater republican presence in the White House. Add to that the fact that Ken Lay is the biggest Bush patron when it comes to money and is it any wonder that your gay cousin can't get married in Texas? They'd be lucky to get to New Orleans before the lynching starts.

These guys are dirtier than a crackwhore's cookie jar and if we don't rise up and take them out of office, you can expect more "soft money" to reduce your freedoms to nothing. Yeah, MOST Republicans are nice people, in favor of good education and smaller government. Unfortunately those Republicans aren't in power.

For more on this story, you can listen to this Market Place report, but you must have Real Player (sorry) to hear it. I can't find the text of the report anywhere, but I'm sure it's got to be public somewhere.

On a sad note, my childhood cat Penfold past away this last weekend. He was 19.

(Seriously, pictures will be up soon. Don't fret.)


Everything Old is New Again.

I have to brag about some birthday gifts I received. Mrs. Austin was wise enough to listen to my obsession over cool T-shirts and purchased some Think Geek Loot. On top of my I Eat Glue, Wise Ass and Guinness shirts from Father's Day, I now have just enough cool shirts to get me through the week. It's unfortunate that I can't really wear them to work.

Travel back with me, if you will. The year was 1981. Sandra Day O'Conner was the first woman to be named to the Supreme Court. Ronald Regan was inaugurated as the 40th President of the US. Prince Charles announces his engagement to Lady Diana Spencer. And a man named Howard Scott Warshaw created the groundbreaking Atari game, Yar's Revenge. Apparently, Yar had been wronged somehow and his only recourse was to endless chip away at some kind of forcefield that held his focus for vengeance, all the while being pursued by a glowing cursor of death. But don't fret, Yar has a safe place, a happy place in the form of a thin band of TV snow.

Ah yes. The height of 8-bit technology. Yar's Revenge was released just short of the onslaught of Intellivision, Colecovision and it would be years yet before Nintendo would be a household name. Atari, along with creating classics like Combat and Space Invaders, was also notorious for adapting arcade classics like PacMan, Asteroids, and Centipede. But at the time, we couldn't get those 3x3 plastic cartridges into our homes fast enough. In fact, I may have a certain father type person who possibly still possesses an Atari 2600 with a fair amount of games. ebay here I come.

Knowing I'm a Child Freak of the 80's, Mrs. Austin again tops herself by surprising me with the 10-in-1 Classic Atari Game Controller. It was as near Nostalgic Bliss as I think any 30 something could probably get. Not only was my friend, partner, wife understanding of my addiction to all things 80's, she was a down right enabler.

It's a good thing she did, too. I have young minds to turn on to such classics as Breakout.

Oh, hey. Happy Belated Birthday, America. I know that we've disputed the claim to who found you, who established you, and who named you, but just because your mom and I got divorced, doesn't mean we don't love you. Anyway, I hope you had a happy 228th birthday.

To celebrate, the Austinistas and I headed down to Zilker Park for some symphonic and explosive festivities. Getting down there wasn't bad. Austin's Metro mass transit system was kind enough to provide shuttles from downtown to the park, for free. So the transportation was free, the concert was free, and the enjoyment was free. I guess they only thing we had to pay for was the 2 mile walk to get to the park from the drop off and the hour wait to load the shuttles going home. I hate to mar such a precious memory of family watching fireworks, but I tend to focus on things like carrying a tired 3 year old on my shoulders because she has a blister from walking so far.

I suppose it wasn't THAT bad, the rest of the evening was pleasant.

And now, on with the event photos.


He's a thief! He's a crook!

Oh YES! Can you say best comic movie of all time? Hot diggity dog!

Ok, I'll slow down. Spiderman 2 was a kick ass movie, and I'll review it in a second so as not to spoil it for you people wanting to see both it and some new pictures (of which there are many.)

Well, yesterday was Mr. Austin's 31st birthday and although I don't remember all my birthdays, I do remember my 21st, my 30th and my 13th. When I was 13, I had chicken pox. When I turned 21 I got wasted, I think I got lucky, and I'm pretty sure I got a free cake at Denny's. This year the old man started noticing the small things that lined up nicely on his day of days. After submitting headlines for about a year over at Fark.com, I finally got one listed. I usually scour the local news sites, figuring not many Austinites are both witty and quick with news look ups. So yesterday at two in the morning I submitted a couple things while hanging out with our new child, and later that day it was listed. I'm very excited. Don't ask why, I just am.

Also that day, the guy at my comic store knew my name and greeted me when I walked in. That's sort of a "Hey cool, they know my name" and a "Aw crap, they know my name" at the same time. I figure if I keep talking nice with them they'll be ok with shelving anything I give them. Now I just have to draw and print something to give them.

Part of Mrs. Austin's gift to me was to allow me to get in line for Spiderman 2 early so we could all get good seats. That was very generous of her considering the hell she's been through over the last few weeks. So not only did I get in line for seats early, I got in line first. I some comics with me and I got to the theater at 5:00 for a 7:00 show. Yeah, it sounds lame and waste of time, but if you haven't tried it once, may I suggest it. There's nothing like walking into a newly "cleaned" theater and having your absolute pick of seats. Any seat you want is yours. 6 rows back, dead center. And the movie...well. The movie was spectacular.

Before we go on, I'd like to point out that Little Mr. Austin was born on the same date as John Wayne. So while Giblets and Space Cadet are cute, and what I call him in the real world, for the sake of this blog he will heretofore be known as Pilgrim. Yeah, it's a weird thing to agonize over, but such is life, eh?

Both the kids are doing fine. LMA has, as of today, officially graduated into the big kids class at school. It's the last class they offer before kindergarten. She will be in this class until she's probably 5, or maybe earlier depending on how "good" she is. She's one of the younger ones in this class. These other kids are learning math and nuclear fusion and who knows what else. It's another sign that she's growing exponentially and will soon outdistance the knowledge and aptitude of me, at least. Mrs. Austin probably won't ever admit to not being smarter than someone.

Pilgrim (heh) has actually been doing some sleeping the last few days. Not a lot, but more than before. The lengths of time he's asleep are actually longer, and when it's overnight, it translates to a little more sleep for the adults. Keep in mind, he's still only 5 weeks old and has another 5 weeks yet to go before we should be worried about cycles and patterns and what not, so don't give me any guff about getting them ready now and you have to establish roles and schedules early. Yeah, I'm sure you're right, but I'm going to give the 5 week old a little slack.

Mrs. Austin will of course kill me for that because she's the one that has to handle him. If you put him down, he cries. If he's hungry, he cries. If he has gas, he cries. You see, he's a baby, so he cries a lot. The deal is, he cries when he's hungry. So you feed him. While you feed him he poops, then falls asleep. Well, you can't leave him sleeping in poo, so you change his diaper. He wakes up now, and cries. But you think, he's clean and fed and I've been holding him since Tuesday, he's fine. So you leave him alone. We'll, he'll cry until you pick him up, be that 10 minutes, be that 45 minutes. He will not be quiet or still unless he's being feed or asleep and you can't feed him to sleep, and he doesn't go to sleep easily.

Yes yes, it's a big circle. It's the circle of life. Food. Poop. Sleep. (Or as they say in band camp; food, poop, rest.)

I know we've been short on photos, so you're going to get a glut right now. Hope you enjoy. Hope it doesn't blow your browser up.

Our cat George. Yes, his name's George.

This was four different lumps of Playdough.

Fashion clean up on Isle 12.

No words. Just too cute. See, that's a little pink umbrella...and...ah never mind.

Big Sister helping out. This lasts about 12 seconds.

Head size comparison. My hair adds height.

Again, 12 seconds.

All we need is a small corn costume and we've got ourselves a calendar.

Serenity now. Serenity now!

For those of you that stuck around, here's a quick review of Spiderman 2.

Go see it.

Ok, here's a longer version.

This has to be one of, if not THE best comic book movie ever. EVAH!! I mean, you purists with your Superman: The Movie can't just frellin shut up because no way these two movies come close. Superman was a good flick, for its day. Spiderman 2, also a good flick for its day. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?

You couldn't have a more well crafted movie. From start to finish, I was blown away. The imagery, the writing, the cinematography, the effects, the performances. I'm not a big Kirsten Dunst fan, I wish she'd open her eyes, but even she was palatable. I found it hard to dislike much of anything in this movie, which makes it hard to review.

Rami and company did, what most consider, the impossible. That is to have a better sequel than the original. Some exceptions include The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens and X-Men. But all that is debatable. Spiderman 2 is above and beyond the original installment. You feel every fall, you see every punch. There is no clutter, no darkly lit action scenes, and the campy lines you get are there because it's a comic book and you expect them. Alfred Molina was amazing and the depth of character he brought to the set was evident. It's hard acting against a green screen, most people (*coughnatalieportmancough*) can't do it, but Molina and Maquire did just fantastic jobs. Maquire has always been perfect for this part. At first I thought he'd be too squirrely and whiney to play Peter Parker, but then I remembered that Parker is a dork and it would fit just nicely. Molina's role will be remembered in the annals of villian history for many years. Darth Vader, Hannibal Lector, Doc Ock. I'm serious, he was that good.

Now, the effects are just really good. No need to comment on them, they were top of the line, state of the art. My belief was suspended, nuff said.

I was a little put off by James Franco. It seems in the interim two years he's put on some bulk, aged a little, and nicely, and got a good tan. What I think he forgot to do was learn some acting skills. He's no hack, but you tire of the mumblings and over charm he displays. Kirsten Dunst still didn't open her eyes much. Yes, I saw the Stan Lee cameo. No I don't know what happens with John Jameson. Yes Skoda still steals the show.

There's been some grumblings in some online arenas that this movie was really bad. A few guys I know gave it 2 stars out of 5. I can't fathom that. I mean, the expectations were high, but I don't think they were any higher than the Hulk and THAT movie was not very good. Coupled with the upcoming bomb that is Catwoman and you have a man that doesn't understand what these film buffs are expecting.

Just go see it. You won't be sorry.