Friday, October 29, 2004

yippee for democracy!

I voted yesterday at the large, multi-cultural Fiesta mart near my parents house. The line snaked through the international section, about 200 feet long, but went pretty quickly. Those Jamaicans sure do make some interesting sodas. I almost bought a Mauby, and some Indian rice crispies.

It felt good to vote and be done with it. Even though I'm really voting against someone, it was satisfying to have my voice heard (hopefully) in its own small little way. I do hope that with all this electronic-voting technology, the election does go without significant fraud. Oh, who am I kidding, whether there is fraud or not, there's still going to be wild accusations of fraud thrown about the country. No matter who wins, the other side will shout "unfair!" We'll have to wait days, months, maybe even years before the matter is settled. And even then, half of the country won't even recognize the president as legitimate.

I found a newsgroup somewhere regarding people who were already planning to hit the street if Bush wins again and there's a whiff of theft in the air. The democrats won't sit back and take it if it goes to the supreme court; lawyers are waiting with briefs already written. And of course, should Kerry win, no doubt thousands of conservatives have their protest plans ready. This will get ugly. I am not looking forward to it.

Best case scenario is a landslide victory. But I've lived in Texas long enough to know that one never counts a Bushie out.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Theocracy watch

There's some really interesting reading at, page after page of information on how the religious right has taken over the republican party. It's stuff that's definitely going to play a big role in next week's election.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

astros (oh stros) and puppet play review

Today’s feelings: a little sick and oogie

I won’t go into the Astros, because by now everyone knows who’s going to the World Series. I would like to describe a little of my game 7 night, as I actually went out to a sports bar with my sister, thinking it would be fun to celebrate in a crowd. (And it would have been.)

We went to Little Woodrows on West Alabama. Frat boy city, complete with girl dolls dressed up in low-cut jeans, tight little shirts, and, as Sarah said, “a lot of bleach and silicone.” In a word, the crowd was kinda “gross.” To me, at least. The highlight of the night was when this blond, ice blond, skinny princess was standing too close to the big screen TV and a couple of the ex-frat boys yelled at her to sit down. She heard the request, and watched her two male companions start squatting. A look came over her face that said, “Why should I have to move?” and she didn’t. A few minutes later, the deep-voiced requests came again, louder and more demanding. She tried to ignore them, but after a while threw up her hands and walked toward the back of the patio exclaiming “Fine then! I’ll just leave!” in an exasperated voice.

“Good,” was the general response. As pretty as she thought she was—and she was pretty, in a plastic Barbie kind of way—she couldn’t compete with an Astros game 7. Well, there are limits to everything.

Another interesting note for the evening: During the network-sponsored political commercials, which presented a question and then in two separate commercials showed close-ups of the two candidates answering that question, the crowd had a very vocal response. The interesting part of it was that it really seemed equally divided between the two candidates, if not slightly more tilted toward Kerry. And this was a crowd that I would have pegged for Bush in a second’s glance and not looked back. It gives one hope, if only a little.

I really don’t know what to expect from this election. Total chaos, perhaps. I get the sense that whoever loses is going to contest election and charge fraud upon the other side. Maybe our electoral process will be forever marred—what good will it be if we will always doubt the results? And then, all of our future presidents will always be ruling under a cloud of uncertainty. That’s good for a country….

Last night I saw Bobbindoctrin’s new play “The Puppet Liberation Front,” which was way funnier than the Astros game. It was a dark and bloody, Tarantino-esque portrait of a demented puppet theatre troupe drawn into chaos by the lack of funding. Set during the Republican convention in 2000 (or whatever), the puppet theatre is spinning their wheels performing for kids in schools. The first scene, perhaps the funniest, has two of the troupe’s members performing an “old Iraqi tale” called “Don’t Beat Your Kids Before They Are Born.” It’s not really suitable for children, and descends into further inappropriateness as the troupe members get more and more irritated by the overly PC schoolmarm. It ends violently, as the main performer, a particularly hot-headed ball of frustration (Mike Switzer), physically explodes at the school marm (who is very Emily Latilla-like). She is beaten to a pulp to the plaintive sound of children crying.

And it basically degenerates from there. The puppet troupe allows a group of ELF activists (Earth Liberation Front) to buy the use of their loading dock to paint banners, which draws the suspicion of the authorities who send a mole in to pose as a volunteer and find damaging stuff about them. They, of course, can no longer get work in schools so they decide to shift directions and become an adult puppet theater troupe, a decision much maligned by the Board of Directors, who end up all kicking the head puppeteer in the balls (Joel swears in the program that this has never happened to him). The hot-headed puppeteer gets arrested, kills a few (14) cops with a pen and a box-cutter, and next thing you know the whole troupe descends into murder and mayhem, planning to really disrupt the convention with deadly puppets. Suffice to say, at the end, everybody dies and everything blows up. Okay, nothing really blows up, except metaphorically. But everyone dies.

The most interesting element of this play is the scene where Rich, the slow, oafish dope with a head injury, is alone in the puppet troupe’s warehouse. Several of the various puppets come alive in his presence and talk to him, giving him deep philosophical ideas about “the one big brain,” and telling Rich that he needs to be a “crisis.” This is where Joel is really in his element, exploring the world of psychosis, and how it can be truly enlightening and crazy at the same time.
Most of all, though, the play is just absurdly funny. The performances are really pretty good. I should note that it was a “mask play,” using live actors wearing masks (except for when the puppets came to “life”). Bill Savoie played a number of roles and I thought he did a great job.

Friday, October 22, 2004


I'm thinking of making a few changes to the blog. For one thing, the name. I like the pool room; it has the obvious connection to my family. In my mind, it recollects the old Rudyard's pool room, that small, smoky room that's now a kitchen. But I'm also quite taken with the new name "disorderland," because I feel it reflects my personally unorganized state. I'm leaning toward changing it soon.

Also, I'm wondering if I should go back to the fake name, like everyone else who blogs. I do like the anonymity of it all. The only reason I changed it to my real name is so that people who know me don't get confused. But no one will get confused, will they? Does it even matter?

Does anyone want to weigh in on this?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Jealous in blogworld

I was going to write some cheap descriptions of the Astros game and the Pixies concert (to entertain and inform my friends in other lands), but I got completely sidetracked reading Mimi Smartypants blog and spent the morning cracking up in my coffee. And soon, Zoey will wake up and render me unable to write. Oh well.

Of course, I do seem to have a little time. It's currently 8:30 am and really, I should wake her up as her bio clock is completely untenable right now. For some reason (I think it's because I let my parents babysit during the Pixies concert and they just let her play all night), she's not going to sleep until midnight, which takes all the fun out of my nocturnal life. Yes, I know, my nocturnal life only consists of surfing the internet (no porn, only news...which can be as addicting as porn and nowhere near as satisfying) or watching TV, but it's my alone time. (The moms understand.) If Zoey's up till midnight, then I have to stay up till 2 to get some alone time, but when I stay up until 2, I want to sleep in until 9, which means Zoey sleeps in late, which ends up keeping her up late at night. And thus the cycle keeps going in a circle. So I really should wake her up soon.


God damn Dan Micelli. Who put him in to pitch?

My life is all baseball right now. Thank god, as there's nothing else for me to do (though I think I'll try and go see the latest Bobbindoctrin puppet show this weekend. Joel wrote it, and I always enjoy his quirky, dark, decrepit and insane tales). I suppose I can't see the puppet show if the Astros make the world series. Hmmm. Hmmmm.

One of the challenges of having a child is learning to schedule your life. You just can't be as spontaneous as you once were, because certain things require advance notice, like babysitters. Or long car trips, or any trips that take place during lunch or dinner. I am not a natural scheduler; I keep itineraries loosely in my head like chump change ("I'd like to go do this, and this, and...there was something else I needed to do today...what was it???"), so this baby thing is very educational in this way (among many others, of course). Basically, I want to see the puppet show, so I better get on the ball and figure out if I can make it happen.

Seeing the Pixies live in concert (isn't that an oxymoron?) was fun, if deafaning. Trey and I had general admission tickets and got there early enough to make our way to about 50 feet in front of the stage. Which meant we started standing there during the Killers set, which totally SUCKED! They have an indie-rock anthem, the chorus of which goes something like "It's indie rock and roll to me" over and over. And their "hit" song, which sounds a lot like Real Life's "Send me an Angel." I looked around and there were plenty of people with that sort of unconscious head bop going on, but no real dancers. Good, I thought, don't let them think they're cool. But of course, they were cool. They had the cool look, the cool hair, and the cool faux new-waveish 80s pop sound. Like I said, they SUCKED!

The Pixies were workman-like, fast and furiously loud. They spoke very little, which was fine with me, and plowed through about 15-17 songs (I didn't count). I had forgotten how good their punk songs were, how noisy and on-the-brink-of-falling-apart insane. Joey Santiago's guitar made me with I used more feedback when I was playing, because it was such beautiful abstract noise. Trey and I both enjoyed the concert, but it wasn't earth-shatteringly good, perhaps because we'd both seen them before in the early 90s, when we were good and drunk and young, him in Orlando, me at the Abyss in Houston. Sunday night, we were sober, as we were only willing to spend the money on one $6.50 beer apiece. Also, we rarely drink. These days, anyway.

The crowd was pretty wooden. There were a few attempts at moshing and crowd-surfing, but these were few and far between. Thank god, that's so early 90s. Like the Pixies. A group of Spaniards started the show next to us, and proceeded to pogo. Why do Europeans always pogo? (Maybe it's the lack of space?) Fortunately, they pogoed further toward the stage so Trey didn't have to shoot them any more dirty looks. Lots of people brought their digital cameras and camera phones, holding them up over their heads so everyone behind them can see what kind of dark, multi-colored pictures they got. I wanted to bring mine, so I could post a pic on this blog, but Trey wouldn't let me.

After the show, I was deaf. Seriously. I spotted my friend Joe and spoke with him and Jason for awhile, but could barely hear him. Apparently, he's still working at the same place and still with the same girl. But I'm not 100 percent sure. I'm really surprised we didn't run into more people that we knew--the crowd wasn't that big, and I'm sure plenty of people were there. Oh well. So much for socializing. That night, I fell asleep with the sounds of electronic crickets singing in my head.

Today's good Web site is

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

"I'm not going to be your monkey!"

Carlson vs. Stewart. If you haven't seen the clip yet, go!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A few minor thoughts...and, oh yeah, GO ASTROS!

I spent most of my morning (pre-baby wake-up) reading a long, thought-provoking article about the president in the NYT by Ron Suskind. It tries to describe the president's transition from "self-help Methodist, very open, seeking," to the overly certain Caeser we have now. The most interesting quote I've come across is this:

"The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

It's really stunning, and perfectly explanatory considering the circumstances of our government today. The powers that be are cutting new paths through the wilderness and seem to feel that any consequences are nature's (sorry, God's) intended course. Personally, as a person of much self-doubt prone to self-reflection, this type of action seems foolish and intemperate. Stupid, even. And it's one of the reasons I'm voting against him. Another reason is so that I can look my daughter in the eyes and say it wasn't me when she starts asking where all the clean air went.

On a happier note...Oh my God those Astros! What a joy to see them NOT collapse in the first round, and to actually play some good ball when it really counts. There are things I miss about being in Colorado, like (mostly) the weather, the mountains, and Trey, but I'm very glad to be in Houston to watch the city go nuts over the playoffs. We just need one more win, and it'll be a battle to get it. Regardless, it's a good time for a lifelong Astros fan.

Here's today's photo. I picked this lovely little fall scene as a reaction to today's blistering hot and humid 96 degrees (heat index 104). Really, it's gross outside.

It was taken on Aspen Mountain a few minutes outside of Santa Fe. On that day the weather was 50 degrees and dry as a bone. Lovely.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Astro's and Pixies

These are my two excitements for the day. In about 15 minutes, game four of the NLCS will start, and with Roy Oswalt on the mound, I think our chances are pretty good at pulling even with the Cards for the series. Of course, after today, we're screwed, but oh well. I'd be absolutely pumped to go to the world series, but the Cards are a pretty good team. And with our pathetic little bullpen, I just don't know. And if we win? Uh oh, those Yankees are pretty good, too.

Tonight, Trey and I are going to see the Pixies. I'm psyched; I haven't gone to a show--a big one--in ages, and I love the Pixies. Just the thought of four old, fat farts rocking out with their amazing songs makes me giddy. Rock and roll is not just for the young; it can grow old as gracefully (or pathetically) as its practitioners.

Here's the photo for the day:

Zoey's new thing is throwing a bunch of her stuffed toys into the laundry basket and climbing in with them. They all just hang out together for awhile, like in a little clubhouse. She talks, they listen politely. It's very sweet.

Today's fun Web site: Weirdos. Be sure to check out the "Fact Check" page.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I have peers in the blog world!

Kilian and Phillippe have joined up, and we are all merrily typing away in the blog wars. We've now opened up three fronts in Chicago, Houston (or wherever I end up) and Athens, Greece. I'm very excited about this, as hopefully it will inspire all of us to continue writing. I've been back in Houston for almost a week, and have written zilch since then.

Of course, in Houston, there's not much to travelogue, though Kelly and I did take our little girls to the zoo together. It's really been fun watching Zoey and Olivia slowly start to interact with each other. They're not there yet, but now they know each other's names and watch each other intently to see if the other is doing something interesting. I didn't take many pictures of the outing, as much time was spent chasing after the two girls, but I did get one keeper:

They look a little drunk, no? Crazy 100% juice hysteria.

Trey is also in town to see if he can get some work in Friendswood. Who knows, maybe we'll get to stay in Houston through the winter.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Photo albums are now online...really, I mean it this time

In my ignorance, I did not have the circle checked to share these photo albums with the public. This problem should be fixed, now. If you get to the albums, please drop me a line and let me know.

Oh, and by the way, after 15 1/2 hours in the minivan, Zoey and I are back in Houston. What next????

Friday, October 08, 2004

Heading back to Houston

Sarah, Zoey and I will hit the road later this morning for our two-day drive back to Texas. Hopefully the weather will be lovely and dry the whole way. I'll sure miss the mountains and the beautiful weather we had here in Colorado. I might even miss the mullets!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Last night's debate

I actually watched a good part of it, and although I would have to say that both men did a decent job of presenting their words in an intelligent manner, I was especially struck by how scary Cheney looks. I mean, I've always thought he was scary-looking, but last night, I saw this:

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Theresa has the best little house ever!

Zoey and I drove the four hours down scenic I-25 to visit Theresa in Santa Fe over the weekend. The title is aggressively honest, for she truly lives in a wonderful "casita, fortuitously located in a beautiful spot on the side of the foothills of the Sangre de Christos amid deliciously-smelling pinon pines.

It's adobe, of course. Theresa said something about it being a law to build only in adobe. But it works in Santa Fe, crafting an aura of uniform individuality, on a city scale. It's like if you had a town that was only full of indie-rock kids who came from very, very wealthy families. It helps that the city is located in a gorgeous part of the country. The hilly terrain provides fabulous views at every turn, and many of the houses have picture windows reflecting the sun. I can just imagine waking up and drinking coffee on their decks, breathing in the good air.

Theresa's front porch doesn't have a view of distant mountains, being the casita on the property of a larger, more expensive main house. She still has a great front porch, made of large flagstones. It sits in front of the picture window in her bedroom. Yes, behind that large window is her bed. She can wake up and watch the birds fight over the birdseed in the feeder that hangs from the branches of one of the many pine trees. Her front "yard" has an unpaved circle-ish driveway that slopes down to the dirt road that leads to the property. In the middle is a hundred-year-old ponderosa pine that holds court over all the other flora in the area. In addition to the pines, there's a lot of yellow-tipped chimesa and cholla cactus. And rocks, lots and lots of rocks. Zoey loved all the rocks.

Off to the left of the porch was a garden-area surrounded by landscaping pebbles--Zoey's favorite spot. She spent a lot of time picking up handfuls of rocks and counting them out. If you go behind the house, there are some stairs that go up the hill behind and halfway up the house to a pathway that leads to the paved driveway of the main house. I say halfway up the house, because part of the casita is below ground. The windows in her living room and kitchen pop out at ground level. It's very cool, especially when one of her cats is hanging out in front of the window.

The path to the main house crosses over a little wooden bridge, then the driveway heads uphill to wonderfully landscaped stone stairs. At the top is the house, which really isn't a huge house, but it is very beautifully positioned in its surroundings. It has a pool that abuts the edge of a little cliff, and a glass-enclosed hot tub house that sits a little further up. But the best part about the property, in my opinion, were the large expanses of exposed rock that sit above the main house. Up there the view is breathtaking. One can see mountains all around: the Aspen vista of Santa Fe as well as the Sandias that overlook Albequerque.

We spent Saturday morning hanging around her casita, watching Zoey have a blast playing with the rocks and climbing the stairs. We had hoped to go to the farmer's market so Theresa could get some green chilis, but never got around to leaving until about 11 am. So we did lunch at a local restaurant instead, Harry's Roadhouse, which was right down the street. It was quite delicious; I had a burrito filled with grilled chicken and black beans, and topped with cheese and green chili sauce--very Santa Fe. Zoey behaved well in the restaurant, and made a mess of her face with the spaghetti marinara we got her.

In the restaurant, I saw a patron casually exiting the restaurant wearing a shirt that had a picture of the President with the words "International Terrorist" underneath. I had the thought that he would have gotten himself beaten up in Texas wearing that shirt, maybe even in Pueblo. It was another marked difference of the obviously very liberal Santa Fe. The table behind us were having a lively conversation about astrology and essential oils. Santa Fe: where the rich and flaky make their home.

The money was another marked difference from Pueblo. I've spent the past month in an obviously economically depressed, culturally deficient area, surrounded by beat up cars from the early 90s and Walmart fashions. Santa Fe is full of expensive SUVs and Volvos and Lands' End and Columbia outerwear. I can't say I'm comfortable in either surrounding; probably falling somewhere in the middle (minivan and Target?).

After lunch Theresa drove my car to the top of Aspen mountain, so we could see the trees in their golden glory. It was freaking beautiful. We stopped at a few places and took pictures, and let Zoey wander around and hike. She seems to really enjoy the outdoors. She'll play with the plants, pulling off leaves and inspecting them closely, and scrambling around the rocks. In fact, she has to be watched pretty carefully or she'll do something potentially dangerous. She also likes to run downhill, but who doesn't?

We couldn't really come up with a set plan for after the mountain, and Zoey had been extremely active all morning, so we just went back to Theresa's for the rest of the day. I wanted to take pictures of the sunset from the property. Besides, we were all pretty tired. Leisure called. So we spent the rest of the day and evening just hanging out, two old friends and an active and dirty toddler. She got really dirty, too, Theresa had to move all of her planters because Zoey kept reaching into the dirt and throwing it everywhere. As Theresa said, it was funny, at first....

It's odd to realize that now I have to drive for hours to hang out with Theresa. We used to see each other all the time, often just walking down the street. Oddly, we didn't really reminisce about the old days, though I did flip through her ninth grade St. Agnes yearbook and comment on the girls I used to hang out with. I also decided that Theresa took a much better picture freshman year than I did. It's funny to think that we had St. Agnes in common, yet we really didn't know each other at all that year.

On the ride back, I was once again stunned by the scenery. I'm starting to develop an appreciation for plains, especially when mountains dot the faraway landscape. The sky is expansive, and I'm fascinated by the clouds and the veils of rain one can see in the distance. As I drove into Colorado, I wanted to know the name of the mountains I had come to recognize: the granite-topped peak in Trinidad that looks like a medieval fort (Fishers Peak), the twin peaks near Walsenburg that were just starting to get covered in snow (the Spanish Peaks), and finally the slow curve of a mountain that rises out of the highway the closer you get to Pueblo (Greenhorn Mountain). It led me to some research on the history and the geology of the area, which I'm sure will entertain me for years to come as I settle into this region.

I've posted some of the Santa Fe pictures here: Again, just click on the Santa Fe album.