Exit, stage left.

I know I should write something here, but to be honest I don't know what.  Looking back over a large chunk of time and trying to give it a plus or minus sign is unfair to the experiences you've amassed, as though we're eulogizing.  To make a list, or assign a label, only seems to be a use to us to mark time.  It's comfort food for the brain to have things sorted and named.

Usually I have the journal to look back on and see what happened in a year and get a feel for how things fell into place.  Given how there's usually no great emotional involvement (it's mostly recaps of weeks or months at a time and about singular accomplishments) it's difficult to glean any positive or negative state.  There's also the problem of how little was written in the first part of the year.  In six months there were just a handful of entries.  It would appear as though things were going well all around or that life was just too crazy to put much down for posterity.

All that said, I'd like to erase most of 2013.  I'd almost like to erase everything from 2008 until last Friday.  I know that's not possible, and it's unfair to the rest of the universe to think that way.  I know empirically that there were times in the past year that were fun, joyous, climactic, challenging, and remarkable.  I don't regret the things that I did.  I don't fault any actions taken against me.  I have sympathy for those people who have suffered greatly, love and admiration for those that had joy brought into their lives, and gratitude for the breadth of kindness that was supremely evident not just to me, but anyone who needed it.  Loss, pain, sickness, and unwanted change seemed to be a prevalent theme in the past year.

As always, there was balance.  The good with the bad, the yin with the yang.  For all the actions, there wasn't always and equal and opposite reaction.  But in the end, the net result was one of equilibrium.  Such is the way of the universe.

I am not going to make any resolutions in 2014 save one; that I will not set any expectations.  If there has been anything I've taken away from the past year, it's that you are only in control of your own actions and your own mind.  Expecting something from anyone or anything else only creates disappointment and life is entirely too short to be wishing something would happen.  Life is too wonderful and precious to have your vision clouded by false hope or crippling regret.

A friend recently told me that, among other things, taking chances, making your feelings known, expressing yourself, and finding ways to make yourself happy are things you should own.  One should feel no shame or regret in letting the world know how you're feeling or what you want.  Above all else, you have to love yourself, otherwise there would be very little in the world that you could truly appreciate.  This sentiment reminds me of inmates finding religion.  When all else is removed from a life, all that's left is faith, self, and love.

As someone who prides themselves on being a Pleaser, this is going to be drastic change.  I've always been more concerned about the happiness of others above my own.  It's only recently that I've begun speaking out when something doesn't feel right or DOES feel right.  It's going to take some fine tuning because I don't know how to do it.  I'm still too tied into how it might affect other people.  I have a feeling I might lose friends, but if I understand this right, that loss won't bother me.

I realize this has been a very introspective entry.  There is no doubt that the past year was full of events that shaped a great many of my friends and family.  I'm not so solipsistic to completely ignore the accomplishments and defeats of others.  Even in my close circle of friends and family, life changed drastically this past year.  It was indeed a challenge for most and I hope they received the recognition or support they were due or was needed.  I'm also very grateful to the new friends I've made and I hope they are lasting friendships and ones that grow deeper and stronger over time.

And to you, dear reader, I wish the best for you in the new year.  We're in an age that is seeing sweeping social change.  There's a great sense of a more intertwined social consciousness and I hope we're all able to take advantage of that.  There's a lot of good in this world.  For myself and all of you, I hope we can find it.


On the Subject of Thanks

A friend gave us a challenge:  Write about something for which you are thankful that is not your friends, family, significant other, or how good the turkey is.  Challenge accepted.

For the past few months I've come to rely on a few things.  These things have been there for me without question or reservation and have ensured that I get through each day if not with a smile than a least not with a crippling desire to curl up into a ball and disappear.

Netflix - I'm so thankful you exist.  Not only are you a great service that's readily available to people with good download speed, but you have shows that are comfort food to me in dark and sad times.  I'm also thankful I can binge watch newer shows and remain at least somewhat caught up with the rest of the world.

CapMetro - Thank you for being reliable, clean, and available in most places I need to go.  I've rarely had problems with you.  You get me to work and back home again.  You have AC when it's hot and a heater when it's cold.  My life would be a mess if it wasn't for you so thank you.

The Printed Word - In as much as I love a good TV show or movie or time spent playing games, I know I'll always end my day with a book.  Thank you for being there to distract me, teach me, entertain me, and keep me company.  Thank you for firing my synapses in a way no other media can.  I consider myself very lucky to have read as much in this life as I have and am anxiously anticipating all the reading left to do.

Karaoke - To all the KJs out there, bless you.  How else can aspiration-less musical theater majors get their fix?  I will blow out my vocal chords singing in the car and I'm thankful to you for giving me an audience in front of which I can embarrass myself.

Reddit - Thank you for being an outlet for me for the past few months.  I caught a lot of negativity for my specific situation, but through you I was able to offer advice to others and in doing so found the strength and course of action I needed to help myself as well.  You're a fickle beast of a community but I'm glad I was able to find a new way to vent and be sad or depressed without worrying about who was seeing it.

The gym at my office - Thank you for having a stationary bike and a shower.  I've lost weight this year and I feel better about myself all without having to pay an expensive monthly contract.

Now, I reserve the right to say a little about my friends and family.  There are those of you who were incredibly kind to me this year.  There are those that defended me, propped me up, bought me drinks and food, kept me entertained, and generally were just there when needed.  Of all the years I've celebrated Thanksgiving, this is the one in which I'm most thankful for all of you.  In fact, I just can't thank you enough.  I'd name you individually but I don't want people to feel left out if I forget someone.  Let's just leave it at, "You know who you are."  You know what you've done and how much you mean to me.  If you don't, I'll work harder telling you.

I'm also grateful for all the new friends I've made this year.  I'm really looking forward to having fun with you and being in your support group if the need arises.

Thank you all, and happy Thanksgiving.


Full Beard Gone

2013 is starting to wrap up and the next few weeks promise to be busy.  There are holidays, concerts, weddings, parties, movie and TV events, school functions.  There comes a point where you have to just decline invitations and not feel bad about it.  Better to be polite early than double book and have to back out later like a chump.

That said, I'm excited for all that's left of this year.  I'll be going up to Colorado to visit my family for Thanksgiving and although it'll be another whirlwind trip it should prove to be enjoyable.  I miss the cold and the mountains and the snow.  As much as I love Austin I do wish sometimes we'd get a little chillier.  There's supposed to be a freeze tonight so it's not like we don't get that bitter weather at all.  There just aren't any days where you can stay inside and drink hot chocolate and watch TV because you're either snowed in or it's just to cold to even think.  I know my dad and brother hates the cold and will think me crazy.  I'm surprised either hasn't moved.

The kids are both doing well.  Behavior issues are always a problem but for the most part they are good kids.  They are active, they get good grades, and they don't get in trouble at school.  Rowan's oboe playing is fantastic; she is really skilled musically.  Her progress in Kickstart is also amazing.  She won a first place in her forms competition and third in sparring at their city competition.  She can then move to regional and then state.  She had a disappointing performance for her state band audition, but she's bounced back and is looking forward to the band trips and competing again next year.

Gregory is still in scouts and is turning out to be a pretty awesome one at that.  Each meeting he tends to be the one who is the most focused and tries to take charge of the other kids.  He mastered his knots really quickly and at times has a rapacious desire for knowledge.  He has a science fair project coming up and he wants to recreate lightening.  He's also in Destination Imagination again where he has emerged as the dominate personality and likely team leader.  Considering what he's gone through with his ADD over the summer, I couldn't be more proud of him.  By the way, he apparently inherited my gorgeous but defective eyes.

The ladies are doing well, though Cheryl is a bit stressed as we approach the end of her first semester as a grad student.  She has a lot of papers to write and is constantly challenged by the level of work her students submit.  Still, the two of them do take the opportunities to travel and visit family and work on the house.  In fact, this week will see the end of the carpet in the main rooms.  Hardwood flooring is being put in mainly to combat the constant need to clean pet stains.  We're all concerned that the noise level will jump exponentially but with some well placed rugs that may not be much of an issue.  My room may need an actual wall put in, but that's for later.  I haven't had any reason to complain about my conditions lately and would be happy to let the status be quo for a bit.

Charlie is not doing much better with his seizures.  He has them on average every twelve days.  Several vet visits and medicine adjustments really haven't changed the frequency.  They seem less severe and his recovery time is lessened.  I just don't know if a brain can function for very long if it shorts out that often.  He and I still don't get along very well, despite how often I try to get down on his level and really just not let him run away.  He's also twitchy and doesn't really behave well with anyone.  I know he's not being a jerk to me personally, but of everyone in the house, I seem to be handling it the poorest.  Still, he's an adorable dog and when he's fully within himself he's very sweet and playful.  I hope he doesn't suffer like this for much longer.

That's about it.  I'm sadly not drawing as much as I'd like.  In fact, I've been watching a lot of TV and going out as much as I can, but the artistic and Lego stuff has kind of ground to a halt.  I haven't had a robot drawing in months.  There are a couple projects with which I'm involved but I can't seem to drum up the needed drive to sit at the table and get things done.  It's a mix of not believing I have the time to do it, feeling I'm skipping out on being a part of the family, and just not feeling any joy while doing it.  I hope that changes soon.

The cold weather is upon us and there will be many weekends with wassail and chili.  It's my favorite time of year.  I'm really glad this year is about over.  The holidays might be a little hard for me personally, but I have a lot of friends and family which should make it alright.  As if to signify it all, the full beard has been retired.  It was grown upon request and I'll likely not grow it again.


Getting It

I went on a march this weekend.  It was the annual AIDS Walk Austin; perhaps you saw an earlier post.  For those that donated, thank you very much.  The event raised some $212,000 for prevention and care of AIDS and HIV patients in central Texas.  It was a big turn out and apparently this year was the first year they were able to hold the event in a park instead of a parking lot or sidewalk.  I was glad I was able to take part.

I was by myself and listening to music so I was just able to watch people walk around me.  For the most part there were a lot of groups or at least couples participating.  It was a big mix of age and race and orientation.  I saw some of the most fantastic tattoos and outfits.  It was a pleasant day, the walk wasn't that long and the party before hand was very warm and inviting.  Even being by myself I didn't feel out of place.  Well, that much anyway.  The mac-n-cheese BLT went a long way toward making me feel better.

Despite the reason for the event, despite the need to raise money and consciousness about a disease that destroys lives, the folks at the park were full of life and happy to see each other.  It felt like a family reunion.  So many people knew each other from past walks.  You could tell that they knew each other outside of this event as well.  They would meet later.  I can't believe it's only been a week.  Call me when you're back home.  People had come in from all over the country.  I overheard a couple from New York talking about how nice the weather was here.  The main speaker was from San Francisco.  Dozens of people up from Houston.  It was friendly and it felt safe.

It felt right being there.

Last week while at a local bar participating in trivia and karaoke, I met a couple new people.  One guy sat and talked with me for a while after the trivia ended.  He was with a group but they left; he was waiting to meet up with his boyfriend later.  During trivia they were giving me a hard time because I was beating them.  They kept saying I should join their team so we'd all win bar money.  It was good playful banter.

So after a while of making small talk with this guy, I realized that I can't make small talk without telling someone the last 15 years of my life.  It's really awkward for people I'm sure, but I just seem to figure out how to talk about my family without giving an intricate blow-by-blow of at least the last decade.  And, I mean, it comes up.  You meet a new person, they aren't a pyscho, you seem to hit it off and you want to get to know them.  You ask questions like, "How old are you?"  "Do you have any kids?"  "Are you married?"  "What do you do for a living?"  Basic questions.  Most of those lead to me explaining what I was doing in 1996 and how it led to me being in this bar on a Thursday.

This guy was pretty stunned.  Most people are.  But he asked something no one has yet.  When I told him about how I knew Cheryl was gay before we got married he asked, "Why did you do that?  Why did you set yourself up to fail?"  It was my turned to be stunned.  I really didn't have a good answer.  I fumbled about a bit saying things about the timing being right, her having previous relationships with guys, us having a connection neither could explain, etc. etc.  But I couldn't shake the fact that despite how seemingly good our weird little family dynamic seems to work, someone went all the way back to the beginning to ask why I would even go down that path.

Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets.  (Well, maybe a couple, but not in regards to this.)  Even in light of the events of the past couple months, I wouldn't consider the last 15 years a failure.  There have been hardships and heartaches, but there have been moments of real happiness.  The kind of happiness that makes you focus on the moment and become hyper aware of your surroundings so you can use that memory later.  What happened recently was devastating to me, but that doesn't change what happened the four previous years.  There were times when I was so happy, so in love with life in general that I didn't think it was possible.  I thought it was a joke.  That kind of joy can be found again.  That kind of warmth and happiness is always just around the corner.  All you have to do is be open and willing to see it, even if it's small amounts.

Those people at the march had it despite the losses they may have had.  My family has it despite dealing with the day to day tragedies.  To me there's no setting yourself up for failure, there's taking a chance.  Sometimes those chances pay off.

Carry on.


Snail's Pace

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Just a quick update for things going on at the S.S. Minnow. (That's what we've named the house on Facebook so we can invite people to things. It's technically listed as a karaoke bar.)

Scooter #1 is running okay. The colder it gets the worse it runs so I'm getting a little stressed about when it gets really cold. Scooter #2 still isn't starting. I have a few more things left to try but I might just call a mobile mechanic for help. It's not that I don't like working on it, it's just that I'm not a mechanic, I don't have ALL the right tools and I'm always worried I'd do more harm than good. We'll see how it goes.

The kids are progressive along standard parameters. Rowan is exerting her pre-teen sensibilities, which means she's getting into trouble a lot lately for having no empathy for her fellow human beings in general and specifically when in regards to her little brother. Still, she's getting straight A's and is one of the top students in her Kickstart class and is still doing very well with her oboe.

Gregory is still a Webelo and just earned his Bobcat badge. He and I went to Webelo Woods last weekend to learn about all the Boy Scout troops. It's a little like a Job Expo where there might be activities or swag to give away but you're basically just getting info and being pitched to by all the local troops. Still, we had fun.

What I like about G's level of commitment to scouts is that it fits my level of wanting to be there. After a little while he just goes, "Hey, I'm done. Let's go home." And I ask if he's sure, and remind him there are activities later. But he declines, saying he's had enough. I don't push, mainly because I'm right there with him. Plus, I don't want to be that parent that keeps their kid in an activity (baseball, football, band, theater, etc) that they may not like. He's still just 9 and has a lot of life to check out.

The ladies are doing well. No major illnesses or injuries. School is going well, though a lot of work and stress involved. Everyone's jobs are okay, so nothing really to report.

We've got some activities coming up over the next few months and I'm excited for them. The first is Halloween. I'll be dressing up and going out, maybe to a couple parties. The kids will be trick-or-treating. I believe soon we may even have a pumpkin carving party again. We've already broken the seal on the chili and the wassail for this year, but I'm looking forward to sharing that with friends.

I'm planning on taking a trip to CO to see the family for Thanksgiving. That should be pretty cool. It's been a year since I've taken the kids up there. (Sadly, the reason for the last trip is no longer relevant and that didn't hit me till just a few days ago.) It might be snowing, but likely not. It'd be neat if the kids could see snow.

After that we have some choices to make about big trips next year. Rowan has band trips, but also a school trip to NY and DC. We've been weighing the costs of just sending her vs. the whole family going and it might actually be a better deal if we all went but not with the school. If we saved enough than we'll be going to DC next summer.

Finally, I'll be walking in an AIDS/HIV walk this Sunday. If you haven't, please consider donating. The money goes toward supporting the care of AIDS/HIV patients in Central Texas.


I'm still trying to write more (that book about my "interesting" life) and do more Lego projects. I haven't had a robot drawing in a while but I'm trying to find some muse to get me behind the desk again. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks.

Carry on.



I can add "cleaned a carburetor" to lists of things I've done.

The scooter repair is coming along slowly.  For those that don't know, the ladies bought two scooters a few years ago.  They rode them a little but haven't since we moved last year.  We agreed that I could assume ownership of one of them if I got it titled and licensed and running.

So I started by trying to get it to run first.  I'm trying to schedule motorcycle safety classes as well so I can get a class M license, but the next few weeks are really full.  I've been driving the other scooter for now because it works.  The kids are able to take the bus to and from school which means no one has to drive them.  That coupled with the scooter also means I don't need to borrow a car or bum a ride to the bus stop.

Both scooters need work, but each new problem is another crash course in maintenance and restoration.  I'm just glad one is running for now so I don't feel stressed trying to get the other running.  However, the other one is a little more stable at higher speeds, which means if I really wanted to, I could take it to work.  I probably wouldn't push it on the highway, but I could take some bigger streets into town and then if I wanted to go out after I could without needing a lift or going back up north to get a car.

So it's offering a lot of freedom.  It's a little hard sometimes to realize I'm 40 and don't own my own car, but that's the way life has taken me.  I don't want for much and I'm pretty happy.  I realized yesterday as I was listening to some techno, drinking coffee and pulling apart the guts of a scooter that life could be worse.


First Pep Rally

Rowan played in her first pep rally this week.  Here's a playlist of the songs they played.  I'm actually a little shocked at the level of talent from 6th to 7th grade.  They sound half time bowl game ready...almost.

Link goodness.

Don't go crazy.


Bigger Nerd Than Me?

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I flew up to Colorado this last weekend for my cousin's wedding. I basically flew into the worst week of rain and flooding the state has seen in at least 50 years, maybe longer.

Their wedding was supposed to take place in Lyons, CO, which is north of Boulder. However, the town was basically washed away after a large part of the Front Range got 15 inches of water in about 3 days. The town (along with a large part of Boulder) had to be evacuated.

Some of my family were the last ones to leave after the rehearsal dinner.

Luckily they were able to move the entire event to a fancy hotel in Broomfield. From a non-particpant's eyes, the entire thing seemed to go off without a hitch. The ceremony was short, there was beer and wine to drink, the food was good and everyone seemed to be in pretty good spirits.

Well, everyone but myself and my mom. I didn't think going to a wedding would be a good idea, all things considered, but I thought enough time had past and I'd be okay. It hadn't, I wasn't. I didn't make a scene or anything, but it was just a bummer and I couldn't even force myself to be happy for them. (Which is just selfish and mean of me. I really like them both.)

My mom was also not doing well. Her husband recently went through surgery to remove cancer and his recovery has been slow. Not to mention they didn't get it all and now they're weighing options on what to do next. She was also not very upbeat.

We left after cake.

Luckily I got to stay with my brother and he and his wife were happy just to hang out. My flight got in late, but we went to a karaoke bar anyway and had a lot of fun. We talked comics and sci-fi and Lego and art. It was very nice. I flew out the next morning.

My brother is likely a bigger geek than I am. He stayed in comics longer and as you can see from these photos, he still collects all manner of toy. I'm frankly a little envious of it and have vowed to begin a collection of my own. I don't know I never have. And as he said, "These are the things I wanted as a kid but never got." Now we're grown ups, we can get whatever toy we can find.

I don't know what I'd do with it all, but just looking at all these shelves makes me happy. There are worse things you can do with money. (Better too I'm sure, but at this point who am I kidding?)

So it was a good trip overall. I didn't get to spend much time doing anything, but that wasn't the point. I'll go back up eventually and I'm sure they'll all visit Texas at some point.

I hope Lyons recovers.

Carry on.



I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day when an image about sent me into a panic attack.  (I won't post it here, I'm even hesitant to use this one.)  NPR posted a story in which researchers at the Centre for Brain Science at the university of Essex decided to tackle why clusters of holes gave some people such an averse reaction.

Trypophobia isn't an actual phobia as designated by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  However, the definition leads one to believe that it could be.  A phobia is an irrational fear of something and the sufferer will go to great lengths to avoid it.  Trypophobia then could be catagorized as a repulsion.  It's not something you would go out of your way to avoid like a tall building or speaking in public.  Then again, you don't go looking for spiders, they tend to find you.

What the illustrated to me, however, is that there are more people than I'd thought who "suffer" from this interesting repulsion.  (Do yourself a favor, don't Google images for "trypophobia."  And if you do, I'll wait until you get back from ruining your day.)  Sharing the NPR article, a friend immediately replied saying she wanted to tell me she had the same reaction, but she had to scroll the offending image out of site before she could type the response.

Turns out, there are a lot of people who have this reaction, but the thinking is also that if you don't immediately have it (by viewing just one image or seeing one thing in nature) then repeated viewing will give it to you.  I've always had it.  I have nightmares in which the pores on my face and arms becomes enlarged.  This happened long before I knew about this categorized reaction.  In fact, the first time I was really aware of it consciously was while watching Plymptoons on MTV way back in the day.  I don't remember if it was Liquid Television that ran it, but whatever it was shocked me.

The weird thing is, it's not clusters of spots.  I'm okay with polka-dotes.  And oddly I have no problem with honeycombs or even wasps nests or aerated ground.  It just seems like clustered holes, maybe with the probability of things coming out of them that tends to send my skin crawling.  The article posted made it seem that it's a latent fear of things that are poisonous.  We may have run into animals marked this way or plants that looked like this.  All I know is seeing lotus seeds make me want to reach back to between my shoulder blades and scratch really hard.

There is a positive angle to this, however.  I think now I want to make a group of "phobia" designs for shirts or stickers.  I think having cute cartoons with your given fear on a shirt would be a great conversation starter.  It might help you get over your fears as well by confronting them.  I don't know how I'm going to ever get past this.  *shiver*

I hope you all have a good day now.  Carry on.


Two Years Ago

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Clair reminded us that yesterday was the two year anniversary of Cheryl and my divorce. We'd already been out of the relationship for a few years and were still happily with the kids and our significant others. And why one relationship went forward successfully, the other did not.

I still think this is a great family. It's unusual and people might have to get used to it when they first find out, but none of us are degenerates. We aren't super commune hippies or anything way off grid. We're just people with jobs and kids. We're in school, we pay bills, go to dinner, spend too much on groceries that don't last, have fears about the future. We go on diets, exercise, fix things around the house, go out with friends, own pets, watch TV, just like everyone else.

I've seen other families and I think with a couple exceptions, I'd pick this one over all of them. I'm glad they are who they are. They've been my safe place and my support team. Even if I were to leave, I know they'd have my back and welcome me into their homes where ever that may be.

It's been a long couple of years and I've cherished each day. I'm excited to see what this family turns into.


On The Move

On The Move
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I'm very excited to be riding a scooter. We're kind of in the boonies of the suburbs (Burboonies?) so it's not like this is totally useful for meeting up with people or running to the corner grocer to get your single person's week's worth of food. It is however a lot of fun to ride.

This isn't the scooter I'm going to be riding either. The one I'm currently trying to get working and legal is a generic Chinese 150cc scooter. I have to get a class M license, we have to get the title (bought it from someone who bought it at an auction) and then get it licensed. It also needs to be fixed, it won't start. We think it's either the starter or possible the valves. Look at who doesn't know what either of those things mean. (I kid, I can replace the starter.)

These were the scooters the ladies bought a couple years ago but used only rarely. I'm basically riding it to the bus stop and back. The kids don't need rides to school; they take the bus now. This leaves me freed up to get them ready and then take off. It's very liberating. I've been bumming rides off people or borrowing cars for a couple years now and it's wearing me down. Having this is a boost.

The other scooter is also a bit more stable and can technically go up to 70mph. Now, I don't see myself doing that on I-35, but it just means I can get downtown if I want to and go to places that aren't just close by. Again, exciting times.

Big news for Rowan: She is part of a group of musicians that will be playing at the Capitol in December. We don't know the details yet, but I have a feeling it's for the big tree lighting ceremony they do every year. It involves caroling and other musical events. We're all very proud.

Our little buddy Charlie had another cluster of seizures last night. So that's a month apart. We're supposed to go back to get his blood work done anyway, but it looks like we might need to up his meds a little so these get farther apart. If you've never seen a grand mal in a dog, I wouldn't recommend just looking it up online. It's a little traumatic. I'm sure it is for all animals. Just nothing we can do but make sure he's loved afterward.

Everything else seems to be going well. Everyone here is either at work or in school. I'm still losing weight and feeling pretty good about it. Just moving ahead. Now I'm moving ahead with 150 cubic centimeters of fun.


Mass Transit

my daily view
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
This is the view I've seen twice a day for the past year.

The car I had failed catastrophically in late 2011. I didn't have decent enough credit or much in the way of savings to get a new one. At the time, Grace and I were living together and so we'd share her car. Most of the time we would ride bikes to school/work but for dates or events at night we'd drive. We also drove to visit her parents.

When she moved away to grad school, I had a choice: Try to get a new car and likely have to pay through the nose and go further into debt with car payments, or take the bus. I chose the later, really wasn't much of a choice.

I will say I enjoy taking the bus. I think Austin's mass transit over all is really underutilized, isn't well developed, and is very under appreciated by the general public. (Just my opinion. I'm sure someone will show studies of how some cities have great mass transit.)

In Austin it's just the bus and light rail. The light rail is a single line going from way north to downtown. It runs every half hour from before rush hour till just after rush hour in the evening. It runs till midnight on the weekends. The buses have locals and expresses and some flyers or shuttles with limited stops for the airport or UT campus.

I ride the express. I get a lift to the park and ride and get downtown about 30 mins later. Then I walk a few blocks to work. Same going home. Sometimes I'll take the train, depending on if my ride needs to go that way or not. But the train fills up at that time and there's never a place to sit. Still, it's better than driving.

I thought at first not having a car would be really awkward. But it's not as bad as I thought. I think even if I had a car, I'd still take the bus. There are two cars at the house and I've been told I'm free to use either. I'm on the insurance. And while I've always threatened to ride my bike more, being that far away from things makes me glad I have options.

Soon I'll have a scooter to ride. I just bought a battery for one of the two scooters we have in the garage. The ladies got these years ago but haven't used them a whole lot. There's been mechanical issues and one needs to be licensed. Also, they're both 150cc scooters so I need to get a class M license.

Then, I'll be able to drive that to the bus stop. And they're big scooters, so technically I could drive one to work if need be.

The only problem I have with the bus right now is it gives me a lot of time to think. I used to read or nap, but the last few weeks it's been hard to do those things and I just sit and stare. I know I'll get past that, but right now it's kind of a long sad ride to work, where I sit for long sad stretches doing nothing but thinking. It's not the bus's fault and I'm really glad it's still there to take me where I need to go.


Knock It Off

Butter Beer
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I have a confession to make. I haven't been handling myself well post breakup. Instead of cutting off all contact, I've been actively looking for ways to sabotage it. It's been the act of a weak and desperate fool. I know those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter have probably noticed the remarks. For that I'm sorry.

Truth be told, I have no contact with her. All I'm doing is spinning in place and hoping I find something that sticks and lets my brain move in a new direction. Some days are better than others but I still find a lot of my time is spent just thinking and missing her. I know it's harmful and I've tried not to, but I've never been a mentally strong person.

But what I can do is stop talking to the internet about it. I have my own journal I keep in which I can write all these thoughts down without sounding like a doofus to the rest of my friends and family. So this is in essence and apology for not acting like a grown up. Thanks for you patience.


AIDS Walk Fundraising

Dear friends, strangers, robots,

Please join me as I raise funds and awareness for AIDS Walk Austin 2013! An estimated 7,000 Central Texans are living with HIV and AIDS, and about 20% of them are not aware of their status due to not getting tested.

Help me raise funds for HIV prevention efforts and care services for our friends and neighbors.
The AIDS Walk benefits AIDS Services of Austin. Founded in 1987, ASA is the region’s oldest and largest community organization addressing the local AIDS crisis. Annually, they provide direct care services to over 1,500 people and HIV prevention education to over 10,000 people.

Please take a moment to give. Even $20 or $50 goes a long way. For example, $50 will supplement food for one person for one month in ASA's Helping Hands Food Bank.

Thank you for making the difference in someone's life!  All I'm doing is walking, you are the real heros by supporting it.

If you'd like to donate, please go here to visit my page.  Thanks again!


My Buddy

This will be long, go get a cup of coffee.

My parents went through a divorce when I was about 11.  They split up and my dad moved out.  The actual divorce wasn't legalized until about 10 years later.  Today my parents are civil and will communicate with each other if needed.  However the break itself wasn't amicable and my brother and I went through a lot.  To this day there are things from which we haven't recovered.

However, we both survived.  My parents both remarried and my mom lost her husband to cancer, then married again.  My dad's been with his wife for some time now, I forget honestly how much.  I think 15 years or more.  My family isn't close.  Something happened with my brother and my parents some 20 years ago and it's never been the same.  Everyone's tried to the limits of their abilities and compassion to recover, but I think the rift is too wide.  I wish it weren't the case, and I've tried to mediate, but so much has been lost in time and emotion that I think we'll all just keep on the way we are.  As long as it's not brought up often, it's probably for the best.

I've been working on keeping in touch with my brother, and I know I could do more, but it's better lately and I think we're still good friends.  I'm sure there's things about each other that we don't like, but we're family and that's important to have.  He's been there for me and I hope he knows I'm there for him.  The physical distance isn't easy, but I think we've been actually getting a little closer.

My parents are their own people.  They still love and care for both me and my brother, but like I said, something happened and the wrong choices were made or the wrong words were said.  Now they live their own lives as best they can.  Their children have been grown adults for years and they have their own problems to worry about.  I love them too.  They've been there for me when I've needed it and although things have been bad between my brother and them, I know they still care.  I hear it all the time, but I don't think we'll ever be a very close family.

But I have my own family now too.  I have two great kids, good friends in my ex-wife and her new wife, and a group of friends that is quick with a helping hand, generous with a bar tab, and always looking out for each other.  I wouldn't say I'm super close with any one of them, and to quote Bilbo, “I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”  Having this kind of support system has always been valuable.  When times were tough, there has always been people upon whom I could rely.

All of this leads up to recent events of the past month and the bond I see developing between me and my son.  Gregory and I are a lot alike, but he tends to wear his heart on his sleeve more than I do.  I don't know if I was like that as a child, but I know now that I don't express my feelings nearly as brilliantly as he does.  He has been diagnosed with ADD, and while I'm pretty sure I have it too, I've never seen a doctor for it.  I never thought it was a problem.

When we put Chimera down, Cheryl took it hard.  It was her dog.  But Gregory was the one who played with her the most, took her on the most walks, feed her the most and I think felt the most attached.  He was crushed when we had to put her down.  He's lost fish before and never took it well, but this was his first big loss.  Chim was always in his life.

We put Chim down a week after Grace left me.  I too was crushed and went through a lot of pain for the loss.  I'd lost a friend, a future, and more than a little of myself.  I was very much attached to her and the life we had.  It's been a month and I'm still a mess.  I've just recently decided I can't be friends with her for the time being and I've severed what little contact we had.  It was as painful as the first break and the notion of accepting the fact that she is forever out of my life brought up all kinds of new emotions.  But it's for the best and time will heal it all.  Whatever hope I have for reuniting with her will fade and in time I won't think of her at all.  That time is not now, but it will happen.

In the meantime, my need to feel pain and be sad and recover is paralleling Gregory's loss of Chim.  He wakes up crying because he misses her.  He thinks of her all the time.  He gets sad when he thinks of things that our new dog doesn't do that she did.  When he finds an old toy of hers, it hits him in all the feels.  It's a loss he has to deal with.

So we talk about our feelings together.  I know he's only 9 and he lacks some of the vocabulary needed, but his pain is just as real and his need to heal is just as real.  What he lacks in experience in helping him cope, or the awareness and tools to help him see what he needs to do, he makes up for in youthful optimism.  He may not need to talk as much but he's also not weighed down by what I can only call "age."  His world is smaller, and when it crashes down around him, it still hurts, but he'll recover quickly.

For my part, I've been trying to give him the tools he needs.  He's almost past the point of being sad all the time, so I don't have to do much.  I've told him he can come to me any time he feels like something is wrong and that I'll always listen to any time he just wants to vent or be sad.  I'm also doing it to talk myself down from all the hurt I have.  I've been offering advice to breakups on reddit, knowing that shared pain is pain halved.  I think in talking to Gregory too, he'll see that pain impacts everyone but that it's okay to share and talk and have feelings.  I will admit that I cry a lot when I talk to him about it.  Part of me feels bad for dragging him down with me, so I try to make sure he knows that it's okay to have these feelings and that in time we'll be able to look back with fondness rather than loss.

I experienced this with my parents as well.  When they split it was traumatic for everyone.  I saw my parents cry and rage and feel hopeless.  They had relationships after that didn't last that caused more grief and more pain.  I felt odd at the time, finally seeing that they weren't giant indestructible creatures.  Seeing your parents cry is hard to deal with.  You don't think that kind of pain is possible, but seeing it repeatedly over a lifetime you realize it's just a part of life.  It'll heal.  It leaves scars and never leaves you, but over time it gets better.  We all get up, we all dust ourselves off, and get back to what we know as life.  We get new pets, new loves and new paths.  Experiencing it with my son, having my parents talk to me, and having my friends around has been invaluable.  I wouldn't wish this kind of pain on anyone, but I would wish that if they did they were able to share it openly and have the same help as Greogry and I do.

I'll never forget Grace and Gregory will never forget Chim, but I think because of this, we'll be better friends and better to each other.  If that's the only positive that comes from all the pain, it's very much worth it.


Meet Charlie

As you know, we had to put our beloved Chimera down on the 20th.  It was a rough time and we all missed her.  Everyone grieved in their own way.  Cheryl and Gregory are still the hardest hit.

But, last Saturday, Cheryl and Clair went to Town Lake Animal Center and found Charlie.

Charlie is a Tibetan Spaniel/Chow mix.  He's about 30 lbs and as far as anyone knows will be 3 this Halloween.  He's very sweet, gentle and friendly.  So far he likes sleeping most of all.  He doesn't bark and the only sounds we've ever heard him make are when we started crate training him (which took all of a day.)  He has an under-bite and a snaggle-tooth.  He loves being pet and will roll over and let you pet his belly at the drop of a hat.  He pounces like a puppy and knows how to sit and lay down when commanded.

He was at TLAC because the previous owner had a dog already.  The two got into a fight and the other dog tore up Charlie's legs pretty bad.  The medical care was more than the owners could shoulder, so they turned him over for adoption.  He'd been there 90 days and was on the at-risk list.  He had another week before being put down.  We were shocked, he's such a nice dog.

Yesterday he was alone with Cheryl and he had a seizure.

It lasted about 5 minutes and was very severe.  For the rest of the evening he was scared and unsure of where he was.  He shied away from everyone and then slept all night.  Except for at 1 am when he had another one.  This one wasn't as bad, but he paced afterwards, didn't anyone petting him and just generally seemed like he didn't know where he was.  It was heartbreaking.

As of this writing he hasn't come out of his crate, nor has he eaten.  He drank some water after his last fit.

We're all understandably concerned.  The shelter didn't tell us he had seizures, but after contacting the previous owner, they told us they had seen them frequently.  They also said this was something they told the shelter, which makes me think Town Lake conveniently lost that piece of information to make him more adoption worthy.

But just like in humans, seizures (unless caused by outside stimuli) aren't really anything you can cure.  I believe there are meds you can give people (and dogs) to limit them, but they don't really ever 100% go away.  Hopefully his seizures aren't common.

In the end, it's good he got this home.  It's full of people that love him (I mean look at that face) and he'll get all the care possible.  Whatever life he lives now will definitely be a happy one.


Pacific Rim vs. Neon Genesis Evangelion

I think it's okay to talk about this now.  I mean, it's been out a while, yes?  And, as far as I know it hasn't been talked about at all.

If I were an average American, which by all rights I am, I'd probably not know about Neon Genesis Evangelion.  Even if I'd heard of it, I may not know its origins as a serialized animated television show.  The movies are just recaps, and in fact some of the plot lines were abandoned for the movie.  As far as I know, there's no US equivalent of what happened.  We've had TV shows turned into movies, and we've even had kids cartoons turned into major summer blockbuster movies.  But I don't think we've had a long running main stream cartoon turned into a major motion picture, but containing its own story.  Closest I can think would be the Simpsons.

But I've become completely sidetracked.  The point is, Evangelion is a pretty big deal.  It had a huge following in Japan and a rabid one in the US.  The last few episodes were among the most watched and most talked about of any TV series.  And its ending has left a lot of fans unhappy.  (So now think M*A*S*H or Dallas or Lost.)  It's a well known idea, it's a well known story.  It's not like this is some weird little DVD only anime that Hollywood has never heard of.

Personally, Evangelion was a bit of an eye opener for me.  I wasn't ignorant of anime by any stretch.  I'd been watching various serials and movies since Robotech first hit the US in 1985.  But there was something about Evangelion that frightened me and yet also made me more invested.  It could have been the time I was watching or the people I saw it with or the fact that I hadn't seen much like it in a while, but regardless, it made an impact.  Probably the same impact it had in its televised form in Japan years before.  There was something primal about it the ideas; the link between man and machine, the fact that we've been targeted by supreme beings for annihilation, the fact that the angst and confusion of youth seems universal.

For those that don't know, Evangelion is set in the future in the city of Tokyo-3.  Earth's population has been cut in half by a great cataclysm.  Most think it's the result of a meteorite, but the result is the world is physically and politically changed.  The remaining populace band together and the resultant scientific breakthroughs allow them to create towering mechanized warriors called Evangelions.  These giant machines were useless unless a pilot was included and were controlled primarily by neural interface.  This was in preparation for the coming of the Angels, creatures of vague origin setting about to destroy humanity.

For those that have seen Pacific Rim, does that sound familiar?

It should, but in defense of the new movie, that's about where the similarities end.  In Pacific Rim, humans know where the Kaiju have come from and we've been able to beat them back for years, handily.  The pilots in Evangelion are children because of their youthful brains and ability to meld with the EVA.  Pacific Rim has two pilots to offset the neural load, but for the most part they are trained and hardened warriors.  The Angels in Evangelion are complex and completely unearthly figures (save for the first couple.)  The Kaiju are just giant beasts.

To be fair, Neon Genesis Evangelion is actually an adaptation of many properties before it.  Pacific Rim is just a different version of that adaptation.  To say the later is copying the former is disingenuous.  It's easy to point and say, "It's just Western Evanglion!"  What we should be saying is, "This is great, can we make a decent live action Robotech now?"

I like both for what they are.  Yes they are similar, but so many stories are.  To me, Pacific Rim at a story level was more in line with Independence Day than Evangelion.  If you haven't seen it, it's not the greatest movie ever and I rolled my eyes a few times, but it's just damn fun.



Lil G is at camp.  Based on the photo, he's not that little any more.

G is in Webelos and joined just in time to go with his pack to go camping.  On this last day, his mom is there so the kids can get a ride home.  The pack leader had an emergency and had to leave, so Cheryl filled in.  I know what you're going to say, yes the BSA does have a fairly strict anit-gay policy.  The pack G is in, however, knows about C & C and is actually trying to work to change this stance from inside the organization.  They feel it's more about the kids and should be less about politics.  We like them.  And G seems to like being a scout so far.  This is his first event, so we'll have to see how it goes.

Some more somber news, we had to put Chimera down last Saturday.  Initially the vet thought we could do it in a couple weeks and at home where we'd all feel a little more secure.  But the following day it was apparently she wasn't doing well at all so we made the decision to do it then.  It's been really hard on Cheryl.  It was her dog.  After our cat died so many years ago, and after we found out she was pregnant, we decided to get a dog.  That way the kids and the dog could grow up together.  I wasn't really a dog person at the time (still not really, but I like them okay) so it was mostly for her.

She was a great dog.  Well trained and sweet.  Like all other dogs she had her issues, like getting into the trash or eating a low hanging sandwich.  But all dogs do stuff like that.  Yes, she destroyed a lot of my books and my grandpa's old watercolor paintings, but that's equally my fault for not making sure my room was closed off or those items put higher up.

So the house has been quiet.  We moved her stuff out of sight.  G took it really hard initially, but seems to have moved past it.  He mourned his first fish for days, and still gets sad about that.  I think I've given him my proclivity to hold on to sadness.  Horrible trait to have.

Speaking of, things are still touch and go for me.  You always hear that eventually the good days will outnumber the bad days.  I'm hopeful for as much.  So far they've all been varying degrees of bad.  I want to thank everyone for their kind words.  I know it's hard to talk about or say anything, but I appreciate all the advice and sympathy.  Just doing my best to get past it.

That's all for now.  Carry on.


Update of all things

This probably isn't a smart idea, but writing seems to help.  I shouldn't have been so drastic earlier.

First, our dog is sick.  Chim is old and has been losing her hearing and eyesight.  She's had joint pain for a while now and takes pain meds.  The other day she got into the trash and ate a whole chicken carcass.  I mean all of it, bones and all.  Now she's listless and doesn't like moving or eating and is just all around not good.  Vet said nothing was wrong with her, just that she's old.  So she's on softer food now till she's feeling better, but we're all worried this is it.

When it rains...

There are a few things I should catch you up on.  The summer has been *ahem* otherwise pretty good.  LMA and G-man are both doing things and keeping active.  They're changing schools so this August looks to be quite exciting.  There have been a lot of local events that they've gone to and their moms have done a good job making sure they don't get summer-lazy.

G is in a coach-pitch baseball league through the Y.  It's pretty cute, if a little disorganized.  They've had one practice so far and got their uniforms.  I should have some pictures up on Flickr soon.  He's also a Webelo now.  The Boy Scouts of America has a very staunch anti-gay policy, but they've recently relented a little and said they would be okay if the child was gay or was the child of gay parents.  However, they still didn't want any gay folks in adult roles.  The troop that G is in is very friendly and open, more so that the parent organization.  G seems to like it and he's really cute in his kerchief and hat.

G is also on some ADD meds that have been really effective.  He ended school with great grades and he's just a wonderful little ingenious person around the house.

LMA went to a band camp and made a few friends.  She did fairly well and when she got back was able to meet with her new instructor for her new school.  She just loves playing music and it's nice to have around the house.

So, elephant in the room.  It's been 10 days since the break up.  I'm not going to lie to you and say it's been anything but hellish.  I'm writing about it elsewhere so I won't go into it much here.  Just the nuts and bolts are that I'm still in a lot of pain.  I miss her all the time, with a furious passion.  I don't know how to describe it without sounding desperate and weak.  I don't know when it'll get better.  It's not even day to day, but minute to minute.  My friends have been kind but I know people have different ways of coping and I don't think they know what to say, really.  I've just gotta keep busy and hopefully it'll fade.

That's all for now.  I'll try to keep the break up talk to a minimum and focus more on what the rest of the crew are doing.  Carry on.


"...here at the end of all things."

Sunday the 7th of July, 2013.

Grace and I are no longer seeing each other.  The wedding has been called off.  She has decided that she needs to learn to be by herself.  She told me she's confused and conflicted.  She believes we're both at a crossroads and it's a perfect time to find out what we really want and how we want to live our lives.

Last night we were talking and she said she had to admit a few things.  After we talked everything seemed okay.  I (literally) put out some fires at the house and went to bed.  I had had a horrible day with my job and was not looking forward to Monday.  Just after 11 she called back with more stress and anguish about everything.  Eventually I asked if she wanted to break up and she said she did.

What followed was categorical grief.  There was no sleep.  I cried a lot, but I mostly just sat in bed stunned. I stared at nothing for hours trying to think of what to do or say.  In the end there was nothing I could do.  As sudden and unexpected as it was, there was no changing it.

I'm still angry and I'm hurt beyond recognition.  She still wants to be friends, because there's a chance she'll have her few years of growth and realize she's ready to make a commitment.  Until then, I've got no plans to grow or seek happiness elsewhere.  I'd found something inordinately special and I'll likely never find her like again.  She's convinced time will make it all right.  I'm not at the point I believe her yet.  I'm 40 now and I know what it's like to be happy and what it's like to hurt.  I know that it's not going to get better.  I know I don't want anything else.

I'm sure I'll be able to cope.  I'm sure that in time the sting won't. be as wicked.  My concern is that this will turn to resentment.  I also know myself and I don't recover well from these.  It's going to take all I have not to be petty and hurtful just because I'm wounded.

I don't understand it.  I can't comprehend the reasoning behind being happy (as I was told) and in one turn being conflicted and confused and wanting it it all to end.

So, I'm going to be quiet for a while.  I don't know how else to do it.  I'm also fairly sure this will mark the end of this blog.  I haven't been writing and I don't see much of a reason to keep up with it.  I wish you all well.

Carry on.



Just a quick post to catch people up on what's going on.

TL is about done with her first year of graduate school.  She'll be coming down to visit in about a month.  We have a trip to Louisiana in May and then I'll be going up to Illinois for a couple weeks.  I've been given the opportunity to work remotely for a week, then take a week of vacation.  If that scenario works out, I might be able to do it again in the future.  I will also be returning via MegaBus.  I'm excited yet wary.  22 hours on a bus might be too much for me, but I will hopefully be able to sleep/read/draw the time away.

Ms. A is also graduating in a couple weeks.  She'll officially, after 20 years we figured, be done with her undergraduate studies.  She already has several plans for graduate studies.  Very exciting.

The biggest news lately is that Lil G officially has been diagnosed with ADD and as of today is now on medication for it.  I know a lot of kids are medicated for it and I know it's not a failure on our part that he needs it.  I still can't quite shake the feeling that he's going to change and it won't be the same little boy.  When I got the news I literally teared up and needed a moment.  After giving it some thought, it's going to be good for him.  Lil G is one of the sweetest kids I know.  He would give you the shirt off his back, provided it isn't a Beyblade or Star Wars shirt.  His downfall is just his lack of attentiveness.  He doesn't have bad grades (all As and Bs) and he's not mean or prone to outbursts.  He's just twitchy and it keeps him from being able to read and focus and learn.

So we're hopeful.  Today is STAAR testing and there's a good chance he will do well enough on it that he won't be held back.

On the other end of the spectrum, Lil Miss Austin has been having some behavior issues.  Recently it's resulted in some major disciplinary action.  She too is not a bad kid, but over time we've all discovered she's not the nicest.  If given the proper attention, (which let's face it parents, it's exhausting, right?) she's equally as sweet and fun.  If that slips for just a moment, she becomes manipulative and deceitful.  Punishing her, and Lil G if it's warranted, is the hardest thing to do as a parent.  I'd rather change diapers for an extra 5 years if it meant I never had to cancel a party or take away an object of affection or forbid an activity.

Hopefully, it's still early enough in her life that she won't follow this pattern and we're able to keep pushing her in the right direction.  Her grades are also good (all As at last check) but she has a problem of waiting till the last minute and panicking at the slightly hint of difficulty.  Some of her behavior is entirely too grown up for her, and some of it is obviously too young.  That's always been her MO.  Just when you think she's mature enough to handle something, she acts like someone years younger and the illusion is shattered.

Still, that's not all that's going on.

There's wedding planning.  We've put a deposit down on a place in Chicago where you spend the day learning metallurgy and at the end you forge your own rings.  TL's parents are helping with the planning in Louisiana and we've already got a place booked and a menu picked out.  TL and I are still debating about favors and decorations, but rest assured it's going to be 100% nerd.  We've also decided on a place in Austin to host a party and there will likely be karaoke.  It will be lots of fun.

If you haven't heard, I'm still drawing robots.  In fact, I finally got a commission to draw something and get paid in LEGO.  There was a guy who was the manager of the LEGO store in Austin who then moved on up in the world and became a community relations rep for LEGO.  So I'm drawing a nice big 14x17 of him as a cowboy space robot fighting an alien slug creature.  Just a reminder that you too can order a drawing.  I'm actually also trying to figure out ways to be paid in Starbucks cards.

I've also been exercising and eating better.   Since the end of February I've lost 14 lbs.  I haven't noticed any health improvements, ie I don't feel any different, but people have noticed and that's pretty cool.

That's all for now.  Carry on.

PS, the little guy in this photo was seen on the Capital building here in Austin.  I've been playing a game called Ingress, which is an Android based GPS turf war ARG.  (If you have an Android and are interesting, I can get you an invite code.)  So it involves a lot of walking and I'm really close to the Capital.  I just saw him sitting on the building as I was walking in from the bus.  TL says people would see them at UT and it meant you'd do well on your next test.


Create 2013 (Test Post)

So this is the artwork for the Create 2013 sponsored by SXSW and some local hacker groups.  This is mainly a test for Networkedblogs on Facebook, so don't read too much into it.

Carry on!

TL vs. Fedex

Fedex will not leave packages in front of my door. Based on my last conversation with Fedex, in which I told them that I never asked for signature on delivery, the customer service said that leaving a package "was up to the delivery person's discretion." So, basically, the Fedex people don't like my neighborhood; to those of you who've never been to my neighborhood, they really have no reason not to. It's has brick streets and old houses. It's very quaint and picturesque in the fall when the foliage is shades of orange and red and when covered with snow. I'm not sure why the Fedex people don't want to leave the packages on my porch, but I've had no real reason to care up an until this point. I did have to drive to the delivery office to pick up some boots and books that I ordered, but it's not very far.

HOWEVER, my generous and amazing parents decided to send me a King Cake. If you've never celebrated Mardi Gras season in Louisiana, you may not be familiar with them. They are delicious giant sweet rolls basically. Usually, they come with a filling (my favorite and the one that most people get - I think- is Bavarian cream). They have green, purple, and yellow icing for the season and have a small plastic baby Jesus inside. Whoever gets the baby Jesus has to buy the next King Cake. It's fun and fattening, but don't worry Catholicism comes with a built in diet - Lent. :) That being said, I am super excited for my fresh from Louisiana King Cake to be delivered to my apartment! (If you'd like one of your own this is where my parents ordered from this year: http://shop.rouses.com/c-8-king-cakes.aspx. These are also very good http://www.gambinos.com/shop/mg_packages.php).

One possible hiccup: Fedex is delivering it, and I will be on campus all day Wednesday, so I won't be home when it is delivered. In hopes that Fedex will leave my delicious present in front of my door, I left them a note. If Fedex does not, there will be swift online retribution and besmirching of their reputation. I posted the note below for your enjoyment. I shall update you on the delivery status later.

Carry on.


UPDATE: Fedex responded very nicely (see photo below). I also added a photo of the King Cake in case you've never seen one. Here is a page telling about the history of King Cakes in Louisiana

The writing says, "You made my day.  Thanks. FedEx."


TL Post- Comic

Hello all! I'm having a fairly relaxed week so far because I got lots of work done during the extra day this weekend. With extra time on my hands, I drew a comic about what happens when Mr. Austin and I watch a TV show together. I will admit that this happens less via Skype, although I have fallen asleep at least once.

I apologize for the poor quality. It's just pen. :)

Carry on.



Guest Blogger

Hi Everyone! TL here. I will be a guest blogger on Mr. Austin's blog. I don't know how much I will contribute, but a lot of it will probably be fun media stuff or news, maybe life stuff if you're lucky ;)

Wedding planning is going well. We'll update everyone when we have more news. School officially started today. I taught my two classes; they went as well as expected. Tomorrow I have a couple of seminars, then the real work will begin. I'm looking forward to my first conference in February and, of course, seeing Mr. Austin there.

NOW onto pop culture stuff. I watched the Golden Globes last night with a couple of my cohorts. If you watched or have been on the Internet today, Tommy Lee Jones was seriously grumpy. It was like he was still Thaddeus Stevens. I mentioned on Facebook that he needed to be compared to grumpy cat. I decided to make one because I had time. Below you'll find the original and my remake. Feel free to Facebook, Tweet, Tumble, Reddit, etc., but at least link back to the blog. Creative Commons!

Carry on.