January 16th, 2007

on a steel horse I ride

Laustin

The weekend in Austin was, for the most part, pretty great. I didn't get out of SA until Saturday noon thanks to a pretty big freelance load, and the weather was extremely dreary, but beyond that, it was the good time had by all.

The drive up there is actually pretty pleasant -- not scenic, exactly, but an easy drive, and you start seeing signs of life as soon as you hit the Austin city limits. It really is a world of difference from San Antonio: it's a prettier town, with rolling hills, lakes and what you'd call "scenery", and there are points on the map where you can stand, look five blocks in any direction, and not see an ugly agglomeration of chain stores, something you can't do here. Austin's high hipster population is both a blessing and a curse -- I saw more pea coats and blond boys with dreadlocks than suits me -- but their existence helps support a thriving arts scene, which is sorely lacking where I'm at.

I met up with my gracious hosts, Dutcher and Julie Beth Stiles (who surely have the most awesome real names of any couple I've ever met); much of the Austin contingent was already in attendance, including scottvond and his tiny-skulled dog Maury, oilyrags, and a visiting andrewlevine, a hail-young-fellow-well-met who I did not at any point have the urge to physically assault. There was some talk of seeing Redd Vollkaert, but given the lateness of the hour, we decided instead to stick around and plan dinner. A van was stuffed with all present and guided along the 2222 to County Line BBQ, where we ate like the pigs that we ate once ate. From there it was back to Casa de Stiles, where very, very much liquor was consumed (it seems almost certain these days that sotol will be the death of me) and games were played. Game #1 was Settlers of Catan, which I haven't played in a long while (having forsaken it for the superior Cities & Knights), but it's good to see that I haven't entirely lost my touch. The next game was many, many, many games of poker, for which I have no touch, but I still came out slightly ahead (to the tune of about 90 cents), due largely to the intoxicated state of my fellow players. God bless you, alcohol!

The festivities wrapped at the ungodly hour of four-something, and after waking up hung over and hapless, I was treated to a "breakfast" (if you can call something served at 1PM "breakfast") of powerful hangover-fightin' potency by Dutcher & JB. Then it was solo to some Austin hot spots (Waterloo Records & Video, the big Whole Foods flagship store, and Book People, a multistory bookshop) before hooking up with thehighhat and his lovely wife and robust boy. Here is what li'l' Sphere had to say:

"EAT!"

And so said we all, until it was off to meet oilyrags and andrewlevine at the Alamo Drafthouse to take in the new Guillermo Del Toro flick, Pan's Labyrinth. It was pretty good, but mostly on account of the stunning visuals rather than the pedestrian story and the spotty acting (the female leads were great, but the main male character took a one-dimensional villain and made him half-dimensional). The pre-show footage of triplet contortionists was more enjoyable in a certain sense. The Alamo Drafthouse is pretty great, though, featuring not only beer aplenty, but a full-service menu gathered in a clever fashion. There's one here in SA, which I might throw some custom one of these days.

That was about it for the big weekend; I headed back Sunday night to beat the icy rain I was assured was coming Monday and spent all of yesterday polishing off the freelance work and watching DVDs. Oh, the life of a loser. Thanks to all my friends in Austin for their graciousness in putting up with my doddered carcass.
stella stella can't you hear me yella

Whorin'

Catching up on the last few days of the Ludic Log:

Saturday featured the first lists and sausage we've had in a while over at the old homestead, so dig right in.

Sunday featured the site's very first mp3 blog, a honkin' little number called HORNS OF SPASMOS for your downloading pleasure.

Monday was another of my putatively humorous pieces in which I make fun of the grief industry.

Today is part of my ongoing 'failed fiction' series, where I post attempts at fine literature that have shitcanned in other venues. This is likely to continue until I die or realize that my fiction is lousy, whichever comes first (the former is much more likely).

New comics blather will be up on the LL tomorrow, since I know that's the only stuff you read. Also, later today, your Monday poll, Tuesday! God curse you, Martin Luther King Jr.: you were brutally murdered after selflessly attempting to gain true freedom for your oppressed brethren in America, sure, but the end result has been to delay for a full 24 hours a whimsical internet poll. I hope you can live with yourself.
banana

Monday, Tuesday, Polly Days

The last question is inspired by the fact that this ridiculous city is completely shut down right now.

Poll #907875 You mean FUN control!

What views do you hold on gun control?

I think no one should be allowed to have a gun, with the exception of the police and the military.
2(3.1%)
I think guns should be almost universally restricted, with a few exceptions.
4(6.2%)
I think guns should be legal, but it should be extremely difficult to get a license.
7(10.8%)
I favor minimal restrictions on most guns.
1(1.5%)
I think anyone should be able to get any gun they want any time they want.
1(1.5%)
It doesn't really matter what kind of controls you put on them because people will get them anyway.
2(3.1%)
Gun control is a good idea, but unenforceable in this country.
0(0.0%)
Gun control is the product of Nazi fascist commies.
0(0.0%)
I am a member of the NRA.
0(0.0%)
The NRA can suck it.
1(1.5%)

How old does a business have to be for the "Since (insert date)" claim to be impressive?

More than 10 years old
3(4.7%)
More than 25 years old
19(29.7%)
More than 50 years old
26(40.6%)
More than 100 years old
8(12.5%)
This question is unimpressive, I'll tell you that much
8(12.5%)

How old does a song have to be to qualify as an "oldie"?

10 years old
2(3.1%)
20 years old
6(9.4%)
30 years old
18(28.1%)
"Oldies" refers not to songs of a particular age, but to a specific genre of music
33(51.6%)
Are you serious, with these questions?
5(7.8%)

What type of "entertainer" is the most shrill and unpleasant?

the morning drive-time DJ
30(46.9%)
the radio advertising announcer
9(14.1%)
the sports talk show host
7(10.9%)
the clown
1(1.6%)
the stand-up comedian
0(0.0%)
the politically oriented performance artist
6(9.4%)
the nightclub singer
0(0.0%)
the magician
0(0.0%)
the conspiracy theorist
0(0.0%)
the one-man band
0(0.0%)
the slam poet
6(9.4%)
the actor
0(0.0%)
the self-absorbed, judgmental, poll-happy blogger
0(0.0%)
wait, conspiracy theorists aren't entertainers
2(3.1%)
other (see Comments)
3(4.7%)

What weather conditions must exist in the city where you live for work/school to be cancelled?

banana

Supplemental

- Hey, Seattle and evirons! I will be in your area sometime in April, delivering a talk as part of a panel on the Wu-Tang Clan (along with hipsterdetritus) for the EMP Pop Conference. Holla!

- I forgot to mention this before, but thanks to the ministrations of torgo_x, the Ludic Log is now available via RSS feed! Simply click on the orange button at the bottom of the index page, or point your feed reader here. I still don't know exactly what an RSS feed is, but now I have one, so those of you who have been clattering for one can seckle.

- Yesterday, I watched Road to Guantanamo, which was really, really depressing. Then I watched the pilot of the new Battlestar Galactica you nerds have been foaming about, and I have to say, it was pretty goddamn good. What I didn't know is that it's about genocide, and thus was even more depressing. Tonight, it's nothin' but NewsRadio reruns; I can't go on like this!

- Speaking of depression, I been seein' my new shrink, and he's a big improvement on my last one. He doesn't push the pills on me, he doesn't talk about my political/philosophical beliefs as if they're personality disorders, and he seems to understand that I want to get to the point where I can not constantly hate myself for the shitty things I have done while not letting myself off the hook for bad behavior. It still feels like I'm throwing my money away, but at least I'm paying it to someone who isn't a jackass.

- Special extra poll question inspired by my weekend visit to the Alamo Draft House:

Poll #907901 BONUS ROUND!

What do you think of the opportunity to pay ten dollars to sing along with power ballads like "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as the videos are projected on a big screen?

Awes.
10(22.2%)
Bogue.
9(20.0%)
Raw.
4(8.9%)
Sucks.
15(33.3%)
Wha?
7(15.6%)
good grief

Death from above

Well, I'm home now. Not getting paid. Because they sent us all home at 2PM, due to the horrific 31-degrees-and-slightly-wet weather conditions. And we may not work tomorrow! Because of this, as the paper put it, "ARCTIC BLAST" of deadly climatological conditions that has apparently thrown all of south Texas into a tizzy. All of downtown is still as silent as a tomb and we may be entering a second day of (non-paid) shutdown, thanks to weather so mild that I can barely describe it. Seriously, I have walked to work in worse weather than this, dozens of times. Even if it doesn't get this bad in SA often enough to justify the cost of salt trucks, how much does it cost to shut the whole goddamn city down for two days because of a quarter-inch of ice? Sheesh.

Next time I hear some rap about the rugged individualist frontier tough-guy mentality of Texas, I am going to laugh a curt, dry, cruel little bark of a laugh.