Face Recognition

This is pretty cool. Of course a picture I put in returns Kiefer Sutherland, George Clooney and John Cusack so I know it's full of crap.

But it's fun anyway.

Behind the Scenes

Got a comment about how my writing is weak when it comes to affairs of the heart, that Mrs. A has me whipped or that I'm afraid of what she'll think when I write in here.

Truth be told, not all is roses with me and the Missus, but guess what, it's no one's business but our own. I'm not going to turn this place into a grudge blog full of reasons I don't like my wife or things she's done to piss me off. Why? Because it's been done, it's boring, and it's not what I want to do.

Yes I'm whipped. I don't know if you've seen pictures, but I'm damn lucky to have Mrs. A as my partner. I know where my bread is buttered, and it isn't buttered by me badmouthing the love of my life, even if she does something to drive me crazy. Some things just aren't meant for public consumption.

And if you're that hard up for spousal angst, go here or watch Wife Swap on ABC. I won't cater to AFV/Schadenfreude culture by pissing off the person I sleep with.

You don't like it? Get bent.


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What to do

I realize it's been a couple weeks since I've written, but I have a reason.

I'm extraordinarily lazy.

Ok not really. I've actually been quite busy lately, even having taken two weeks of vacation in the last three weeks. Between the Marine Ball and a couple comic book/design gigs I've taken on, it's been crazy around our house. You'd like I could take a couple minutes to write a little entry about the Austinites. You'd be wrong.

What I really want to talk about is the job situation, but I can't. On my side, I haven't really settled everything yet. The only thing that's even remotely certain is that my last day at my current job will be November 30th. I've had some calls and been on some interviews and I'm happy to report that things are positive, but not knowing who's reading this, I don't want to talk about it and jeopardize anything.

On Mrs. Austin's side, she's having problems with Dell. It's draining and emotional, but again I don't want to give out specifics. Let's just say we don't like them anymore.

On December 2nd, I'll at least be talking about where I am and what my change of employment has brought. It may be a great move or just a good move. I'm at the point where I have to look out for my family and if there's a chance for making that better and easier, I'm gonna take it. I have to suck up this feeling of anxiety and fear of rejection and realize that we have a house and cars and daycare bills and food to pay for. This isn't just me in an apartment where I can go without nice juice and fancy bread for a week or two, or stop going out for a month while I make rent, this is bigger than me. It's now us.

So us is hopefully going to have a full house on thanksgiving. Starting Wednesday night, our house will be a hot spot for about 5 days. We have friends coming in Wednesday night and staying until Thursday night. They work retail, though, so they have to get back for the biggest shopping day of the year. I do not envy them at all. That's got to be rough. We have Friday off, then Saturday we have Mrs. A's Dad and friend coming into town for the evening, the Sunday night more friends to watch Lost and have dinner. At some point Mr. and Mrs. IG will be coming over as well, but we don't know when really.

During this time we still have to get photo and comic book work done.

The vacation time off has been nice. I've been given a chance to do some lettering for a Bronx Angel, written by a fellow Penciljack-ian. The regular letterist had another gig come up so the EIC asked me, seeing some of the stuff I'd done for the ASJ41 project. (I'm xadrian, btw.) So this is cool. It's not just a page or two, it's a full book, it will see print, and I'm getting paid for it. It's an Indy book, but so what. It's a great story and I hope it sees some store shelves. I never thought I'd be a letter jockey, but I've learned a lot that I can use for Project: Gemini or other books I may do.

Speaking of P:G, I added it to the Comic Book Database or comicbookdb.com. It's dorky to add your own book, but fuck it. It's been printed, people have purchased it, it's been in a store, it's a book. Yay me and my self promotion. This just means I REALLY have to get back to working on issue #2.

Completely off topic, I hit our local Walgreens the other day to get some Tylenol Sinus. We had a couple freezes over the past weeks and the weather has officially become non-summer. With the change of the seasons came a giant Canadian cold front which basically killed our sinuses and gave most of us raging headaches. But we knew it was coming, so I wanted to stock up on Excedrine and Tylenol Sinus (proven deterent to both weather front headaches and hangovers.)

Apparently, a while back, some measure was passed (and I still have to find out if it's a Federal thing or not) in which pharmacies are now locking down on psuedoephedrine because it's a key ingredient in making meth. So now, whether you have a home meth lab or not, all sinus/pain reliever with this drug is no longer available over the counter. This means they have these cards where the medicine usually rests. You take the cards to the pharmacy counter and they get it for you after you show an ID and sign a piece of paper.

I wouldn't mind it if the pharmacy wasn't already tasked beyond belief with regular prescriptions. Plus you have to deal with the AARP card holder who sits in line and huffs and puffs about the indecency of having to wait in line for cold medicine.

It took me 45 minutes to get Tylenol Sinus. First they were out of the extra strength, then they were out of the extra strength Walgreens brand. Finally I told them to just get me whatever they had that was similar.

I can't even really blame the drug addicts and illicit manufacturers for this probelm. It seems like governmental ineptitude. They can't find the labs fast enough to shut 'em down, so make it harder to buy at Walgreens.

Meanwhile, I think you can still get this stuff at gas stations.



Hoo rah

Saturday was the big event we've all been waiting for. It's been a month,
maybe 6 weeks, that we've known about this big contract. Mrs. A has
stressed her sanity, business finances and endurance to the maximum in
preperation for this day.

Was it a resounding success? Not really. But it wasn't a complete failure
either, let's get that out of the way right now. Many, many, MANY things
could have gone wrong that didn't. The few things that happened I feel were
handled with adoitness and efficiency. Mrs. A didn't even know things had
gone bad we handled them so well.

And everyone pulled together and did a great job helping out, so I'd like to
thank them. We were completely slammed, then completely idle, then slammed
again, and I feel each person pulled their weight and did a great job.

So what went wrong? Why the sombre tone? Well, we didn't pull down what we
were expecting. Mrs. A and I gauged the number of party goers and made a
guestimate on how many would purchase what packages and came up with what we
thought was a conservative number, (something like, if half the guests
bought only one picture.) Not only did we not hit that number, we didn't
even come close. We fell short on an order of magnitude. It was depressing
and shocking. It was almost insulting. It felt like we had wasted our

I don't want to really belabor the point. Mrs. A is taking this the hardest
of all. This was supposed to be a big thing for her, for us. It was
supposed to help get us through to the end of the year and into next year.
The contract would lead to more contracts like it. There would be contacts
made, and possibly more wedding bookings for these young couples. We
thought the online store would be a great idea and it would pull down at
least as much as we took in with cash that night.

None of it happened. The only thing that happened is 7 people (some would
say 8) worked very hard and sacrified a large chunk of time for what
amounted to very little payoff. Mrs. A has worked just has hard by herself
at weddings for five times what we made that night. It was kind of a

Now, she's not going to like that I wrote that, and I've tried to keep all
the names out of it for that reason. I'm actually kind of ticked at the
whole situation because I know she worked her ass off to make this happen
and it was received with such tepiditiy and aloofness that I'm almost upset
at them for being noncommittal snobs. I don't know what they expected, but
it wasn't us apparently.

We did learn a lot. The positive side of all this is that for next time we
know what needs to be added, removed, changed or rethought. We did make
some money and that was ok. We didn't get run out of the building. We had
a decent dinner. We got to dress up. We met some nice people. It wasn't a
complete loss. And as of now I'm done talking about it. I'm done talking
to her about it. If you care about her, you won't talk to her about it
either. It's over and we need to move on. It'll either get better or it'll
be forgotten.

Carry on.



For those needing a dose of the past, check out our Flickr pages (see links to the right.)

First off, I was a cute kid, sparkley eyes, dashing chin. But Mrs. A was such a level above cuteness that I'm warning you now, you may go into insolin shock just by looking.

Also, compare some of the youth pics to some of the Lil Miss Austin and Yogi pics. Apparently both our kids look like their mom and I look like the lead singer of Queensryche. (Mrs. A bought a hair straightener. Oh. My. God.)

Carry on.


The crazies are running the nut house!

I love Halloween. I think I actually like it more than Christmas and Thanksgiving and the 4th of July.

The problem is that I'm getting older, so the things I like about the day aren't the same things I liked as a kid. Now I like the smell of cinnamon, the taste of hard apple cider, the sound of football games and marching bands, the crispness of the air, the darkness of the evenings. I like the feeling our house gets when we have prime time television shows on and the furnace kicks off and it's dark outside. I like seeing leaves on the ground and overcast days.

As a kid, I liked candy and The Great Pumpkin and dressing up. I still like the idea of dressing up, but each year I make a pact to start early on the costumes and each year I forget that I made that pact. Not since college (and the much referenced Mystic costume) have a made any real attempt at dressing up.

This year, with the long hair, there were several options. Mrs. A thought I should go as the cowardly lion. I'd get an orange suit and grow my beard out. There was also talk of stuffing a dirty tee-shirt, growing out the chops and go as Hurly from Lost. I was quite in favor of renting a nice Lord of the Rings outfit and going as Eomer, though that would have required a really obscure costume and possibly a level of Eastern European sex appeal you can't find at Party Pig.

So this year I went as the long haired father of two. Mrs. A manned the orange and black bedecked homestead, armed with a bowl full of brightly packaged sugar, whilst the offspring and I set out to conquer our block. LMA was Wonder Woman with a pink jacket and Yogi was a mini Frankenstein. He stayed in the stroller the whole time, perfectly content in being chauffeured everywhere in the warmth of felt. She, by contrast, turned each open door into a chance to chat with the neighbors. The first few houses she actually sang the full song, "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. If you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear." It made for a good first house, but I had to put the kibosh on it real quick.

So we made a lap of the street and headed home after LMA decided the two goodie-bags (one for her, one for her brother) were too heavy. Plus it was getting chilly. It had rained hours earlier and a cold front had moved in, so the evening was perfect for an early romp around the block.

Arriving safely back home, we dumped the candy into a big bowl, fed the children, sent them to bed, then Mrs. A and I divvied up the loot and watched a movie. We were visited by a large amount of trick-or-treaters, mostly little kids in really adorable costumes.

Then there were the punk asses.

Now I know I'm going to lose a few of you, and most of you don't care about kids anyway, but I have a problem with older kids and trick or treating.


They don't wear costumes.

They're not polite.

They take handfuls of candy.

They don't even say trick or treat.

Mrs. A didn't want to talk about it because I was ruining the day for her, and she was right. I was being a bit grumpasaurus about it, but come on. I had one guy at the door, maybe 12 or 13, just stand there for about 15 seconds without saying anything. Finally I said, "Whataya got?" He kind of looks confused like he woke up on my porch wearing a costume (a cape, oOOooOoOOo) and had no idea what day it was. After a second he snaps-to and says, "Oh, right. Happy Halloween?"

Yeah, yeah. Take your handful of candy and be off with ye, scallywag.

Am I wrong on this? I don't think it's the kids fault, I think it's the parents. They just say, "Yeah, go out and get some candy." Well don't they? Prove me wrong. The little kids, the toddlers and babies in strollers and 6 year olds I don't have problems with. They are adorable and sweet and polite and more often then not, a little scared. Because it's dark and spooky and they're outside at night with weird noises and they are excited and want to do this right.

The older kids have lost the magic.

So do me a favor, next year, if you see your kid heading out the door with a crappy $1 mask on the back of his head, tee-shirt and shorts and an old pillow case, keep him home and go buy a few bags of candy for him. Or plan on having a little party for his friends. I don't want to come off sounding like a curmudgeon, but there's got to be some civility, even at that age.