Garden Spider

I need to get these pictures up, but the most interesting thing that's happened to me in the last week is the giant garden spider in our back yard. Just do a Google image search for argiope spider. For those who don't like spiders, don't do it. I didn't post a picture here because I know there are some Marys out there who run for the hills when they see a little white-spotted jumping spider, so this thing'll scare the piss out of you folks. Me? I ran screaming like a little girl when I saw it, and I like spiders. I was mowing the back forty, head down, focusing on the task at hand. I dodged a pair of crab orb spiders and proceeded along the back fence when I tweaked a web that tied the fence to the ground. What scrambled and gyrated around in the web looked like a fucking helicopter in my peripheral vision. It was so black and so large I feared I ripped open a lesser gate to hell and loosed the Kraken upon the world.

Needless to say after leaving the mower running and sprinting 50 feet, I was able to calm down and assess the situation. I approached the curiosity to find the above mentioned Argiope, or Garden or Writing, or Zipper spider. The more I looked, the more my reptile brain was able to go back to managing the mundanity of everyday tasks and allowing my higher functions to appreciate the grace and beauty of the creature. I still got a small chill each time I got near it, but it was a manageable thing.

You have to understand, this is the biggest spider I'd seen outside a zoo and easily the biggest that didn't have a good inch of Plexiglass between us. It, at any moment, could have dropped into the grass and disappeared, waiting for me to walk barefoot and carefree through the lawn where it could sink fangs the size of my pinky-nail into a fleshy, unwary toe. So yeah, even I was a little spooked.

The days went by, LMA saw it, Mrs. A saw it, friends saw it. It became less and less a monster, and more a guardian of all things leafing. Garden spiders are great things to have in your garden. They eat a lot and are generally pretty docile. They don't see well and just sort of hang upside down all the time. I even contributed to her feeding. While continuing to mow, I disturbed a rather large grasshopper. The bug's bumbling flight took it directly into the spider's web and I was able to witness firsthand the ensnaring and paralyzation of the heedless insect. It was the first time I'd seen a spider wrap up and inject venom into another bug, again, outside of a zoo or the National Geographic channel.

I thought about catching it and calling Texas A&M to see if they wanted a good specimen, but then changed my mind. It's a common spider and does more good for itself and for our yard doing what she's doing that being a preserved curiosity.

Today was Yogi's first haircut. Even though both the parents agreed that his hair was cute when long and saddened when it was made short, we got him a trim and were allowed to keep the locks with a certificate stating that Mrs. Austin is allowed to cry when her little boy gets his first haircut. As if the Hawaiian shirt, jean shorts, playing in mud and constantly falling down aren't good enough boy indications, at least now his hair matches his gender type.

I just watched Kirosawa's Yojimbo with Toshiro Mifune. I'm now a big Mifune fan, even though I've seen him before in 1941 and Midway, I didn't realize who he was or that he was such a big name in Japanese film. Of course I've got a ton of Kirosawa movies on Netflix that I have to get through, most of them with Mifune.

House is coming along. All the rooms are done. Now we branch into side projects; planting trees and flowers in the back, finishing the attic space and set up all the Lego sets I have, painting kids and other rooms, etc. We really like and it, luckily, this month we can afford to live here. I'll keep you posted about next month.

I officially quit smoking about 6 days ago. Normally I would tell people I haven't smoked in X amount of days, but it was rationalization lies. Rationalization lies are ones you make that even you believe. I believe I'm a non-smoker because I don't have but 1 or 2 a day, maybe none on the weekends, thus, when people ask, I say I haven't had a cigarette in...blah blah blah . Short of it is, I haven't had a cigarette since Sunday of last week and haven't really wanted one. The hardest part is at work and every couple hours you need a break. Well there's ping pong and foosball and some video games and the net to surf or scripts to write, so I haven't needed distraction. What is needed is to get up and stretch your legs and get some fresh air, as it were. That I haven't found a replacement for.

I can feel the momentum of the Chicago convention slowly but steadily ebb and I'm starting to fear the eventual death of my desire to do another book until it's too close to a convention or show or other arbitrary deadline to use the time effectively. There's a local show in Austin in March for which I'm aiming and I hope to have two books done. However, I'm stuck and stalling and spinning around a frantic and yet stagnant combination of self imposed distractions, actual lack of hours in the day and a general feeling of "Who the fuck cares." That's not to say I need tons of affirmation or I quit, but I was talking to a Canadian friend (I don't think we should hold that against him) and he said that on the comic book message board I go to, more people should have bought it. I'm the second highest poster on the board and I moderate a pretty active forum as well as contribute to two or three other major projects on the board. I'm always available for a critique or advice or help, and when I announced my book was done and how to buy it, 7 people bought it online. That includes my father-in-law.

Now, again, I don't need accolades or tons of cash or the false words of millions, but 7? Actually, come to think of it, it was less. Another board I go to (all the Harvey Turnbolt guys) came through great. There's only about 10 of those guys and I think 5 bought something. Leaving just 2 or 3 on Penciljack.

Reason I think that's crap is because there are people on that board who were there in the dark times, before the Empire. They got their start there and owe a lot of their success to the fan base they generated on that site. And now, they talk of independent artists and writers like they're the life blood of the industry, but when push comes to shove, they don't support those who supported them.

That's what makes me upset. That and somehow, after "selling" maybe 15 books officially, I only have some thirty odd books left and very little feedback.

So, if you're reading this (and you aren't, cuz you don't waste your time with folks like us), for shame. For shame at not giving a small guy a chance by just reading his book. It doesn't make me want to rush out and by yours, I don't care how large the divide in production value.

Battlestar Galactica kicks ass.

Carry on.

No comments: