I don't think humans were meant to do this.

The Statesman Capitol 10K was last weekend and yes Mr. A strapped on his Sauconies and made a go at it. Mrs. Austin's brother went as well. It was the first race for both of us, the 5k from the previous month having been canceled. There was no cancelling this. The Cap City 10k is the 5th largest 10K in the US, largest in Texas. There were 14,000 people registered.

So the highlights, because frankly it's late and my feet still hurt. We did it in about 100 minutes, it was hard to tell because neither of us had a watch and we started in the very VERY back of the huge throng of run/walkers and older runners and strollers (most of which passed us later) so we didn't cross the start line for about 10 mins.

We ran the frist mile and a half solid, made good time to the half way mark, made up time on the last stretch, died at the end. We didn't run the whole thing, because, well, neither of us were being chased by law enforcement or wild animals. Nor were we, as one support sign read along the way, running "Like we stole something."

To answer some questions: Yes I will run another race, there's a 5k coming up in a few weeks. Yes I hurt something, my right foot has a bruised heel which is funny because I was worried about the other foot prior to this. Mrs. A and LMA showed up at the finished line to snap some shots and get a big sweaty hug. No I didn't pass out afterward, I wasn't that tired. I did have enough energy to have some burgers at a friends house (who also raced) and then go home and paint the bathroom.

You all heard me.

And the color is Lucious Moss.

So some news on the job front for Mr. A. My employment is shifting yet again. I can't give details yet as the final contracts aren't, well, final yet. The short of it is I will be transfered with two other coworkers to a knew company. This company bought the software we build and test so we work for them now. No more working downtown, no more big company in New York calling the shots. No more 5 weeks vacation. It's good to finally have this done because it's been 3 years of not knowing what's going on but being promised some kind of resolution or action or news or something.

Some people didn't make it, some got let go immediately, some got a 3 month stay of execution followed by a severence. No one was surprised, everyone is pretty ok with it. I'm fine, don't ask me. I'm serious, we're fine. Plus I don't have many specifics yet as the ink hasn't even left the pen much less dry on the dotted line. I'll update when it's done.

In the meantime here's a picture of someone who loves to read.


Gratuitous Picture Post #1

I'm sure not the last. I realize I haven't given the familial viewers enough LMA lately.

And if you don't read news papers, or CNN.com or watch TV or have news passed to you by passing oil tankers as you live on your deserted island with a volleyball and some FedEx boxes, here's something to get fired up about. I won't tell you witch way to strike the match, but strike you must. As long as the fire's lit.

I personally would have been in the gallery applauding.

And a follow up to the hot button issue lately.

Giant thumbs up from Casa Austin.

Carry on.


Move along. Nothing to see here.


For the gelatenous few who read our little page, I have very little new to add this week. Really. TV still works, back feels better, Mrs. A's still pregnant (some would say even more so) Little Miss Austin is still little, and at last check, still a Miss. I think the hottest news is I got new running shoes and Mrs. A went to see Willie Nelson with her dad.

I suppose I could pontificate about that lovely experience.

If you are in a relationship with someone you adore more than your own life you tend to do things that to them seem extraordinarily endearing and well intended. You get out of a warm bed to fetch some water, you take off early from work to pick up the kid so they can go out to happy hour, you offer to babysit so they can see a movie or hang out with an old friend or pick up some comics. You do these things because that's your job and you do it gladly. If you didn't, you shouldn't be on the HMS Relation. It's that easy.

So when your wife or husband or partner says something like, "Honey there's been a problem with my concert tickets." You immediately jump into the fold, sword drawn, ready to slay the ticket conglomerate beast even if it takes your own life in the process. You offer to help, you ask, "Ok, what's the problem?"

"Well, I haven't got them yet."

"Yeah, that's a problem. Did you call them?"

"Yes, they're going to hold them at Will Call."

There it is, problem solved. You've shown genuine interest toward an issue that was resolved before you mounted your noble steed.

"Oh, good."

"Well, but there's a problem with that."

And yet the shadow of the threat looms near, always lurking. It's a darkness that never leaves you.

"What's the problem?"

"I used your card to get the tickets, so I have to use your card to pick them up."

Whirling, the knight is incapable of tracking the monster.

"So, take my card. I'll be home with the kid."

"Well they need your ID too, and basically you need to pick up the tickets."

As if the Gabriel himself blew his horn and opened the sky above our hero, the beast falls and crushes the knight with his mighty talloned foot.

"You're kidding. So I have to go all the way out there, with LMA (I don't actually say LMA), pick up the tickets and drive back? That's the best they could do for you after the post office lost the tickets?"

"I'm sorry?"

*sigh* "No, that's ok. We'll hit the comic store on the way back. No big deal."



No big deal. I should avoid using words like "No big deal" and "Sure you can borrow that" and "No I don't have plans this weekend" because I always get the short, dirty end of the stick. What neither of us knew was that it wasn't just a trip down and back, I had to park a half o' mile away just like all the other concert goers, hike myself and an nigh 3 year old to general admission, get the tickets, then walk back, then drive home.

Had I known they were going to not give me back my credit card, I wouldn't have stopped for gas.

And the beasts foot twists and turns, grinding our hero's back into the hot, acrid brimestone.

So I had to call Mrs. A at the concert from a payphone, then again at home, to get her to get my card. All in all it wasn't a bad experience, I mean, there have been worse. I think the point is I handle situations poorly. I'm like a little kid whose routine has been disrupted. I get grumpy and pissy and just generally abrasive to be around. I make people promise me favors and gifts and retrun investments for the hardship I'm currently enduring. I make people fear the retribution that will follow. I'm like this if I can't sleep or someone stands me up. I really wish I could deal with it better because I'm sure as a role model, it's not the best trait to have.

So, in the end the concert was great and I got home in time to hear the Avs get their butts kicked. Mrs. Austin promised me a 19" flatpanel monitor for our PC for my troubles, I settled for a few new packs of comic art paper.

...slowly the knight grasps his fallen sword and swings up at the beast, piercing its soft underbelly. The beast recoils in pain. The wounded knight rises and lunges one last time, arm high, sword raised for the killing blow...

Told you I didn't have anything to talk about.

I'm playing with new templates on Blogger, so if you don't see anything over here -->
try stretching your browser a bit, it's just down below but the frames don't like it.
I know, I know, giant pain in the ass, but if you're a current reader,
you won't need the archives anyway, right? Maybe someday I'll host the whole thing myself
and there will be no more ads, and I can post pictures of naked hedgehogs with swastika tattoos.

Ah the dream.


Hellboy Screening Review

Good morning true believers. It's 8am, Monday the 15th. I'm working on 4 hours sleep. Last night was an exclusive screening of the new Hellboy movie directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Ron Perlman. Hellboy was created by Mike Mignola.

To start, if you can help it, try not to see a movie at The Paramount. On second thought, in light of the fact that my leg is still twitching from cramping all night, don't do anything there. I'm only 5'8" and I had a hard time being anything within the same zip code of comfortable.

But this is not why you're here. You're here to hear about the movie. I will warn you there are spoilers ahead so read at your own risk. I choose not to hide in special highlightable text the spoilers so just click to another page if you'd rather wait until the release of the film.

This film got it right.

Not only was it a good adaptation, but as a film it was far better than most, if not all comic book movies that have been made. It's simpler, more solid and more charismatic. Perlman is fantastic as Hellboy, and confirming what some other sites have said, he wasn't the studio's first choice, but he was Del Toro's first choice. And after seeing the movie, it was the right choice and the best choice. There's no one else that could have played Hellboy, no one, and been as convincing, as quirky, as uncomplicated.

Where other films of the genre tried to force back story down your neck, or gum the story up with fancy camera shots, Hellboy keeps it as focused as possible. There's mercifully few Bond/Arnold one liners that have plagued action movies. The reason more than likely is because of Mike Mignola's fantastic story telling in the original books. Again, it's simple. It proves its point, shows its hand and moves on. It doesn't dwell on why so much and that was a relief. Non-readers will appreciate that this is a story that could stand alone without the book. Fans will appreciate that it took as few liberties as possible.

John Hurt as Professor Bruttenholm was very solid and stoic in his role. David Hyde Pierce and Doug Jones as Abe Sapien were perfect and stole the show. Most of the cast did their jobs so well, and fit so well into the roles, there's nothing to say about them. Again, it worked well enough that your brain just couldn't pick up on things that were wrong or right or even out of place.

My first of two complaints comes from Selma Blair. While she wasn't horrible, there was flatness in her introduction as Liz Sherman that made one believe her role was unimportant and left a bad taste in your mouth the rest of the film. It felt like she was a beacon for Hellboy or a muse rather than the integral part in the story that was seen later. Now, granted we first see her in a mental hospital, but the glaze in her eyes was more than just thorazine. She picked it up a notch as things moved along, but her dreariness didn’t seem like a characterization, she almost seemed bored at times.

The second gripe had nothing to do with the movie, but skewed my perception of the entire evening. The sound at the Paramount is awful for movies. It's built for amplifying sound for stage actors and blasting 110 decibels of movie explosions into that atmosphere and you've lost a lot of dialogue. This aside, there were times when Perlman or Hurt were talking and I had no idea what was said. Karel Roden as Rasputin was only slightly less difficult to understand. I know I missed some important dialogue and some funny lines. My hope is in the theater it isn't so overpowering.

Something else that was refreshing was the fact that even though the sound was a problem, the visuals were not. I could follow the action in its entirety and the CG was as seamless as it gets. When the rest of the world is based on a comic book, CGI tends to work better, but even with that given, the badies and effects were tight. Rick Baker's makeup also deserves mention. Abe and Hellboy were amazing. But to go back a few lines, the action was easy to see this time. I'm glad we've strayed away from the Aliens era camera and editing work that "suggested" action and fast motion and are now actually showing it. I never had to think to myself, "What the heck is going on. Who is that guy? Where are they? Oh wait, didn't he get killed already?"

For you parents out there, I'd suggest Clifford's Big Adventure. Yes this is a comic book, but it's pretty violent. There's no gore and honestly not a lot of blood, but we're talking about a demon with a gun. Don't take your kid to this and then get all bent out of shape because your vision of comic books is Archie. This is a good movie and a good story. It's rated PG - 13 and that's honestly a pretty good call. The violence is mainly between fantasy characters, but it still hits hard and moves fast with a lot of growling and shouting. The most blood we see is on the face of Jonh Myers (Rupert Evans) and even that's superficial.

The ending I'll say is predictable because there isn't really any other way to tell it. I'm sure if there was they would have. I knew that when you had a giant monster and a hand full of grenades, and you've directed MIB II, there's going to be some blue blood. Also, before you come away thinking it was Del Toro's vision that brought in so many Lovecraft references, I would suggest reading a few Hellboy trades. Mignola is steeped in symbolism. So all those giant tentacles are not there for the sake of the film, they are there for the sake of the story.

For those who stuck around through that to hear about the rest of the experience, let me say this. I'm not a movie critic, or an active screener or reviewer. I don't see too many movies and I haven't read all that much Hellboy to even know if this was close to the story or not. The facts I knew were not toyed with so that made me happy. After standing in line for 2 hours we were packed into a venue that seats 1200 people. The movie itself was a digital projection (that's how early the screening was, it apparently isn't on film yet) and held up well.

There was a short Q&A afterward where we found out that not only was this the first time Mignola and Perlman had seen the film in its entirety, but the studio hadn't even seen it yet. I felt a little honored to hear that Austin, the fans, the film society and all us schleps that waited in the rain for passes, were the first (by weeks) to see the final version.

Yes there was a bat flying around in the theater. Its poor ears probably bleeding from 1200 voices in an acoustically perfect environment. For those looking for pictures, the best I have are some sketches from my comic book friends (up soon.) The threat of not allowing any cameras or camera phones into the theater, or rather if you had one you wouldn't be let in, had most of us making mad dashes for our cars to put backpacks and accessories away. Well that included my Hellboy trade paperback. Had I hung on to that, it would have had a Del Toro, Perlman, Mignola autograph trifecta. Someone said, "You have paper, go have them sign that." It was my sketch pad. "S'cuse me, Mr. Mignola? Could you sign my sketch of Hellboy?"

So no signatures, no photos of the festivities, a cramped, twitchy leg and it was 3 in the morning. Thank god the movie was good.


A bird in hand is better than two next to Bush, unless you're a gay bird.

(Note, this is the 2nd attempt at this update so some of the wind was removed from my sales by a 2 hour wait in line to get free passes to a free screening of the Hellboy movie. More on that later)

It's now official. The judges and local politicians have been scared "straight" by the GOP. In a couple years it will be unconstitutional to love who you want, live with who you want and will your worldly possessions to who you want.

I tire of this fight. I'm tired of it because I'm sick of hearing how religion is playing such a big part of law making. I'm tired because I just can't see the other side on this one, I just can't. I tried. I tried reaching back into my catholic alter-boy days, searching for a bit of compassion for those of the faith and how they view life. What I came up with was anger. Anger and pity.

You cannot govern with religion. You cannot. There is a separation of Church (aka the Bible) and State (aka the government) and you shall not use your faith to make laws to control the masses. I'll give you the use of religion as a guideline to morally correct laws, but you must look at the reality as well. The reality of this is there are thousands of law abiding citizens who pay taxes and have jobs and contribute to society who are considered less of a human being in the eyes of the government because of the religious undertones that are swallowing the White House.

How can you look at a fellow human being, look them dead in the eye, reading all the 40 hour weeks, lost wages, childhood traumas, car repairs, Christmas parties and sleepless nights and say that they aren't just as human as you are. By passing laws like this, laws and city ordinances and amendments, you are classifying another human as a lesser entity.

You in the 1920's attacked women who wanted to vote.

You in the 1860's enslaved a race and hung them if they tried to escape.

You in the 1600's beheaded, tortured and persecuted people for believing in a different way of life.

You 2000 years ago crucified a messiah.

Brings it home, doesn't it.

The faithful and strong are bad guys. They've always been bad guys. They get power and they use it for their agenda instead of trying to see what's good for the people. There is no democracy. There isn't in this country or any other country. But making a stand like this, that classifies another human by a 2000 year old tome, turns us from a free republic into Canada's red necked stepsister. Hey, I'm all for hockey, but this shit's gotta stop.

And it's over such a small piece of this book, this Bible. (In case you're wondering, it's Genesis 19:4-11, Leviticus 18:22/20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9, & I Timothy 1:10.) And it doesn't even say "homosexual." That was a term introduced in 1946 in the umpteenth revision known as the King James bible. There is no Hebrew word for what the US is threatening to ban. And there is no word for my level of confusion towards those who would seek it.

At this point I want to site what else the Good Book has to say about things that we're doing now with no repercussions, but I'll let a fictional president to it instead.

Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing, while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.

I have friends who are gay, and I have friends who believe in and live by the Bible. But I also have pagan friends, black friends, jewish friends, guy friends, girl friends, artist friends and friends who I've never met face to face. In all these cases I chose to ignore everything but the simple fact that they are human beings, no more, no less. There are so many reasons to dislike a person based on how they act and what they say. If you chose to dispise and degrate a group based on the preachings of a book written 58 years ago based on stories told 1800 years ago about a group of people who lived 2004 years ago in a country 13,000 miles away that doesn't even resemble anything of what it was today, well then frankly Jed, I don't even know who you are.

Yeah, cuz these people are more threatening than bombs on commuter trains.


Yes, I saw the check.

For those who know I'm an Avs fan, I'll answer your questions as best I can.

  • Yes I saw the hit. The game wasn't televised, but there were cameras on hand to capture the event. Within hours, minutes probably, the entire slow motion sequence was put on the Net. I spent the better part of the afternoon watching and reading about it.

  • No I don't think this is as big a deal as it could be. There have been worse hits that have received less attention. What I think is the major sticking point is the fact that Bertuzzi mentioned something about "...that punk won't be in their roster in march." Hence, the criminal investigation.

  • The other thing is, this is hockey. This kind of meltdown happens once a year and each time the media starts asking questions. Is the sport too barbaric? Why are they still allowing fighting in hockey? A writer for the Denver Post said that until fighting was removed, the intellectuals would still think of hockey as that 4th major sport in N. America, played by toothless canadians beating each other up.

  • No I don't think ill of the guy. He let his emotions get the best of him and he'll pay the price. There was an offhand comment on Fark about not letting Bertuzzi play until Moore can play again. Last word, the young defenseman was still in a Canadian hospital awaiting a move to Denver. I think that's fair, and if Moore never plays, Bertuzzi never plays.

  • If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out.

  • You know, I think I've been here before.

    Yes it's that time of year again, when the family from Austin buys their season pass to Sea World. We were pretty lucky this time as it was the first weekend and it was neither hot nor crowded. For a family with a pregnant mom and a dad with a thrown back, it was a blessing. (Wha? Back?) Yeah, I'll get to that. And it's the same Sea World I remember from, oh, last year. It's great that LMA and Mrs. A love it so much. They can't get enough of it. And frankly, to them, to feed a dolphin is worth the price of admission. I could use a few more roller coasters and some free time to play video games, cuz a man can only look at fish for so long. I guess that's why they have the Beer School. (mmm, beerilicious)

    So how did you throw your back out Mr. A? Well I'm glad you asked. Mrs. A had a bad BAD headache the other day and was out for the count for half the weekend. The other half she spent in a worn out, post medicated haze, which is normal usually after these bouts with one exception; we were at Best Buy.

    Yeah, that's what I said. True it matters little, our acquisition of things and stuff. Yes I believe he who dies with the most things is just dead. I also believe that High Definition is better than regular TV. So all you minimalists and academics can get bent, right?

    Anyway, the point of the story, and a word to the wise, is that the first purchase involved a non-widescreen HDTV. What this means is let's say you have a 27" tube TV. You guy buy a 32" HDTV thinking "Heck yeah, buddy. Got me some MAD screen size, yo!" Well yo would be incorrect. Had I done some due diligence, I would have realized that an HDTV will not show a screen like a normal TV, so if you get a HD cable box or converter to go with it, what happens is you end up with a viewing area of 22 inches. So while the silver casing and flat screen were nice, they weren't the bliss I had anticipated. Back to the store it went. But not before stupid Mr. A decides to be macho and throw his back out lifting the thing by himself to get it back into the box.


    Got a new one, a widescreen this time, and got it home and set up without incident. We had to get a new thing to put it on, and in the process we can't get the VCR to work and there's no closed captioning for TV, but there is for DVDs, but the picture is amazing dammit! *sigh* With all that doesn't work and a wounded lumbar to boot, it brings up the saying, "This is why we can't have nice things."

    The 76th Annual Zilker Park Kite Festival was this last weekend and Lil Miss Austin and daddy made the trek together on this one. This would be our first forray into the wild without mommy on an adventure that was more than getting coffee and donuts to bring back home. To be honest, I was a little worried. I mean, I think I'm a good dad, but I also think The Force is real. I can be considered absent minded and forgetful, so the notion of spending more than 2 hours in a crowd of several thousand people had me a little anxious. Would I lose her in the mob? Would she get trampled in a mad dash for a free t-shirt that was flung from a mascot driven 4x4? Would she take a bad hop on the moon bounce and snap a little femur? Not to mention the fact that we had to walk 10 minutes down a street with no sidewalk to get there. I was a wreck.

    That was, until we got there. There's something about LMA when you're one on one with her, a sort of serenity, that she doesn't exhibit when around groups or even just the three of us. While we were out there she was calm, non-combative and kind of cool to have around. We waited in a long line for roasted corn and she passed the time drawing in the dirt. We sat in our portable chairs and drank juice and soda and water and just chilled out. Got a face painting, saw a puppet show, then went home. I mean, it was cool, but in a way that I can't really describe. It's like finding out your parents are cool or a coworker you thought was a jerk is cool. LMA isn't a jerk or anything, but it's a realization that opens the door between the Day to Day Care Room and the Fun Deck. I had a great time, and I think she did too.

    Some Random Pictures