Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Oh Sally, now you've done it! Man, if you don't read "Sally Forth," get in your Wayback Machine and check out the last couple of weeks. Sally's about to get bit in the ass, and not in the good way.

It's a guilty pleasure. Shut up.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sisyphean tasks

I don't know if I can take Sally Forth today. It's just too real for me, man. Too real! I'll just read Cat and Girl today. That's all I can handle. =

•Update: Not a 100 dreads yet. But don't worry. The masterpiece will be completed Friday.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Million Little things to talk about

For some reason I haven't been able to access The Internet as I would like (at work: too slow; at home: too nonexistent). So, anyway, the ideas have been piling up and I need to dump them somewhere.

Here it goes:

As I was reading the article in Time Magazine about the photos of notorious (oh, and indicted) lobbyist Jack Abramoff having a chummy ol' time with his best buddy President Bush, I was wondering, "Why would the owner of such evidence want to, first, remain anonymous, and second, not want the photos published."

Think Lopez! THINK!! X|

Well, it turns out the owner of such deliciousness is no other than our very own Mad Hatter friend. Oh, Jack, our greatest "Pioneer." You crack me up.

And since I don't have anything to contribute to the "Million Little Pieces" debate (since I didn't read the book and don't really plan to read it) I give you this chart fresh out of the Onion. My favorite has to be the copy editor one (because that one is probably true).

And, yes, it's official: The Newspaper Tree is boring. And it's not like I haven't been patient. Every week little Lopez! goes and wastes the time she can use working, looking for knowledge on this site. Satisfaction?! DENIED!! C'mon people! Throw me a bone here! How about a chewy, delicious story that can carry me through the day. Something! The only thing midly interesting was a story about some tiny houses being built in El Paso and blah, blah, blah. I know they are trying to tell me something, I know they are. I just don't know what it is. Sounds like it could be interesting, but they failed to show me how. They get a big fat F for effort.

And since I couldn't get no satisfaction with El Paso publications, I had to jump to Juarez publications where I read a headline saying "Some famous dude received an Escopetarra in Colombia." Or to be more specific: "Juanes received an Escopetarra." "Shakira received an Escopetarra," and so and so, and so and so. My laziness prevented me from clicking the fcking link to actually read the story, which led me to believe for an entire week that an Escopetarra was something like a Raspberry, or two thumbs way down in some statue form. Well it turns out I'm not only a moron, but I'm just not hip enough to know it's a symbol of peace. An object transformed from its bellicose past as a rifle* into a beatiful butterfly. OK, not a butterfly, but a guitar.** And it looks something like this:

The dude that makes them hopes they carry a message of peace and love and blah, blah, blah.

* or whatever you call it, shotgun, ak-47, or cuerno de chivo or a kaleidosomething. Can you tell I'm an ignorant pacifist? %) It works with bullets. Oh, and malice.
** I don't really know if it really works as an instrument. I was too lazy to read the story.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Try Googling 'Constitution'

Once again, our civil liberties are being threatened, quietly and dubiously, by President Bush. According to the Associated Press, the administration has issued Google a subpoena in order to force the company to fork over details on what its users have used the search enging to look for online.

Obstensibly, the reason is to protect children from adult materials. I might be crazy, but I think that's what parents - and search filters - are for. As a professional journalist (lapsed), civil liberties, especially First Amendment issues, are practically my religion. The fact that Bush and his people are trying to revive a law the Supreme Court already struck down is reprehensible, though unsurprising. This administration has shown again and again and again how little they care about the Constitution.

Let's look at what the White House wants:

Google has refused to comply with the subpoena, issued last year, for a broad range of material from its databases, including a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period, lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department said in papers filed Wednesday in federal court in San Jose.

That's a hell of a broad blanket. I'm still confused as to what exactly this is supposed to accomplish. Plus - and I think I've been pretty clear about this - I don't trust Bush or his people. Who's to say the one-week period they decide to look at won't be from the week leading up to the last presidential election?

Believe me, I know I sound paranoid. I just wish I didn't have so many reasons to think this way.

But of course, I think we already know what Bush thinks about all this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I'm bored.

Not just at the moment, I mean chronically bored. Bored, bored, bored. Or maybe it's just laziness, because mostly I'm bored with work.

And I don't mean bored with the job or work I have now. I've got plenty to do, and there are new things to learn on a regular basis. I'm basically bored with the concept of working for a living. I'm an Xer, not a member of the Greatest Generation Ever in the Whole History of Ever; I don't want to work in one place until retirement and then do woodworking and crack in the garage. No sir. I want to pack everything and everyone into a Winnebago named Gertrude and go places and eat roadhouse pancakes. The crack is optional.

Is that really so much to ask?

I know Lopez is feeling the itch, too. We're just now getting to a place where we're not paying off the income tax for our freelancing work, which is a relief, so of course we're talking about starting another business of our own again. Thank Jabba we're too lazy to come up with a business plan, or we'd be in trouble.

Hell, now I'm talking myself into it. Why shouldn't we be able to just take off and do something different? Isn't that what it's all about?

Maybe I just need some pancakes.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Design on a dime

OK, peoples. It seems I had promised to post photos of the HQ's makeover and I never did. So here you have it. The pink in the bedroom is still stating its case. I'm not 100% in love with it (75%, maybe) so it might be changed for something in the camel family (if I can trick Nel into painting yet another room). We'll see. Any suggestions?

Pancho thought I was taking photos of him so he kept posing. Crazy kitty!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sinking feelings in New Orleans

Believe it or not, I really try not to let President Bush piss me off too much. I'm angry enough as it is, and if I let it get to me I'd just be in a constant rage and forced to wander the highways and backroads of America.

But a lot of times, I can't help it.

Bush, no doubt trying to take attention away from the various scandals buzzing around the dung-heap that used to be the White House, visited New Orleans yesterday. The city - which is barely beginning to deal with completely devastated neighborhoods, which is still dealing with a foot of water in some places, and which is forced to practically beg the federal government for money to rebuild and for a sufficient levee system - is, in the president's critical opinion, "a heckuva place."

According to the New York Times, "President Bush made his first trip here in three months on Thursday and declared that New Orleans was 'a heck of a place to bring your family' and that it had 'some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun.'

President Bush and Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans attended a meeting Thursday with the city's political and business leaders.

Mr. Bush spent his brief visit in a meeting with political and business leaders on the edge of the Garden District, the grand neighborhood largely untouched by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina, and saw little devastation. He did not go into the city's hardest-hit areas or to Jackson Square, where several hundred girls from the Academy of the Sacred Heart staged a protest demanding stronger levees.

Mr. Bush's motorcade did pass some abandoned neighborhoods as it traveled on Interstate 10 into the city.

'It may be hard for you to see, but from when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to come to visit,' the president told the local leaders at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, an independent group set up to attract business and tourism to the city."

It amazes me that anyone, much less the so-called "Leader of the Free World," can be so doggedly out of touch, so completely lacking in empathy or just simple humanity. New Orleans was a disaster, and he's still hinting at the happy days he spent drunkenly cruising Bourbon Street. How much death, how much suffering, would it take for this man to pop out of that warm little bubble he must, fetus-like, float around in?

Here's how it breaks down, minus the all the sunshine Bush is blowing that's making everyone walk funny:

New Orleans wants to build levees that can withstand Category 5 storms; Bush says he'll give them enough money to build levees that are designed for Category 2, maaaybe Category 3, storms.

The city needs some leadership regarding its rebuilding plan, which depends on $17 billion from the federal government; Bush failed to acknowledge the plan in any way.

And this is kind of petty, but Bush's visit happened to be during a time when Gov. Kathleen Blanco was out of the country. Bush's people say it wasn't on purpose, but there's friction between the two and Bush is well-known for holding grudges. Hm. Interesting. By the way, Blanco was in The Netherlands checking out the country's state-of-the art flood control system.

But this is my favorite part:

From New Orleans, Mr. Bush traveled to Waveland and Bay St. Louis in Mississippi, where he viewed destruction along the Gulf Coast. He then headed for Palm Beach, Fla., for a closed-door $4 million fund-raiser for the Republican National Committee and Republican candidates at the home of Dwight Schar, a homebuilder and a co-owner of the Washington Redskins.

OK, who wants to start the pool on how long it takes Schar to win a no-bid contract to rebuild New Orleans neighborhoods? Instead of raising money for his party (and this goes for the Democrats, too), I'd like to see Bush telling his buddies to put that cash into a fund dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans. All those millions of dollars could go a long way.

I wonder if any of those guys would consider it a heckuva deal.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Polly want a AARGH!!

Like a lot of comics and movies geek, I'm also a science geek. I've probably been a science geek almost as long as I've been into comics, and that's a loooong time. And like a lot of kids, I was all about the dinosaurs (ankylosaurs kick ass!) and prehistory. So you can imagine what a kick I get out of the idea that prehistoric man was hunted by GIANT FRIGGIN' BIRDS!

The Ohio State study determined that eagles would swoop down, pierce monkey skulls with their thumb-like back talons, then hover while their prey died before returning to tear at the skull. Examination of thousands of monkey remains produced a pattern of damage done by birds, including holes and ragged cuts in the shallow bones behind the eye sockets ... Berger went back to the Taung skull, and found traces of the ragged cuts behind the eye sockets.

Oh, holy crap. That's so metal.

photo: AP

Friday, January 06, 2006

"Son, you're looking at a legend"

When my sister and I were little (OK, Lopez, "younger"), we used to pump our arms up and down like spastic drum majors every time we saw a semi passing by our car. And almost everytime, the driver would lean on the air horn, making us jump and shout until Mom told us, "OK, OK, settle down."

It was the 70s, and truckers were American heroes. I mean, c'mon, "Convoy" was my introduction to Kris Kristofferson and the role he'd be playing right up to the time he'd be killing vampires. Do you get Alan Alda to kill vampires? Hell no! You get a goddamn trucker.

I even had a little trucker dictionary, with funky illustrations and every bit of jargon you could hope for - it taught me the difference between the rubber duck, the back door and the rocking chair. Truckers - and motorcycle guys, stuntmen and just guys with a muscle car - were the new cowboys, bad-asses who stuck it to The Man and got it on with the ladies.

And Burt Reynolds was king.

That's why I'm as excited as the eight-year-old version of the Pastel right now. The kick-ass Alamo Drafthouse is showing a new print of "Smokey and the Bandit" tonight, and guess who's going? 10-4, good buddy, me and Lopez are eastbound and down!

I've loved "Smokey and the Bandit" since I first saw it as a kid. I think it's hilarious that the first time you see two of the three heroes, they're asleep. And I didn't realize it until I was talking about it with Lopez, but Burt Reynolds is probably the archetype of manhood for a bunch of Gen Xers like me. I mean, Reynolds was a freakin' god, man!

You want proof? Here's your proof, you sumbitch:

"Deliverance!" If it wasn't for Burt, they'd all have been squealing like pigs.

"White Lightning!" This is when people started to realize Reynolds kicked even more ass behind the wheel of a fast car. He played a bootlegger named Gator. Gator!!

"The Longest Yard!" Prison football! By this time, it was pretty clear Reynolds could do anything he wanted.

"Semi-Tough!" Another football movie, with the added manliness of Kris Kristofferson. If they had somehow managed to wedge John Travolta in there, women the world over would have spontaneously combusted.

"Hooper!" Best stuntman movie. Ever.

"Cannonball Run!" Non-stop driving and fighting, occasionally punctuated by drinking and sex. Also, my introduction to Jackie Chan, though I didn't know it at the time. Oh, and Dean Martin was the coolest dude in the Rat Pack and I don't care what anyone says.

"Sharkey's Machine!" Great, gritty cop flick.

He married Loni Anderson when she was still the hot chick from "WKRP!" Had a love affair with Sally Field! Named his son Quinton, and didn't give a shit what you thought!

And then, it was the mid-80s and Burt Reynolds disappeared, popping up every now and then to fling a "Rent-a-Cop" or "Cop and a 1/2" at us like some crochety old monkey. It was a dark time.

Then "Evening Shade" reminded everyone what a charmer that good ol' boy could be. Suddenly he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in "Boogie Nights." Personally, I thought "Nights" was too long (heh) and too overblown (Ha ha!), but Reynolds' poignant performance (Hee ... oh, wait) carries the whole thing for me. Since then, he's slowly but steadily put in time in decent movies and reinforced his star status.

And how did he do it? Why did this happen?

Because he's the goddamn Bandit.

And for days now I've been singing the theme song in my head, and it goes a little something like this:

Eastbound and doooown!
Something something truckin'
We're gonna do what they say can't be done!
We gotta long way to go,
And a short time to get there,
C'mon baby, watch ol' Bandit run!

Something something something!
Something Texarkana!
Something something something eeelllse!


Gimme a break - I told you this was in my head. And besides, they'll be handing out lyric sheets at the movie, there'll be a semi full of Coors out front, I'll be going with my own Frog, and this is Austin. It should be a good time.

10-10 'til we do it again, good buddies!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The soundtrack of my life

So, how is it that a group of Argentinians can capture a place and time that has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with me and life on the border. Just check out the lyrics to "Yoli" by Babasonicos. These dudes do not only talk about a reality very much alive where I grew up, but they have managed to put music to it. And the sound. Oh, the sound! It's the sound of Sunday afternoon in Juarez-El Paso. It's just haunting. Seriously.


lleva en su bolsillo una pistola
y una pestaña calva
furia escurre su puño apretado
carga balas con mala saña
la llamaran: narcocorrido, la llamaran yoli

en su bolso esconde una peluca
unos calmante y una navaja
pinta un maquillaje deslucido
no durmio bien, no durmio nada
la llamaran: narcocorrido, la llamraan yoli

casi nada en ella es natural
todo artificio engaña
casi nada en ella es natural
todo artificio engaña

short, texanas, gel y un gran escote
en tetas falsas lleva las sustancias
piedra y horizonte anaranjado
medias corridas, sed de venganza
la llamaran: narcocorrido, la llamran yoli

ir de pueblo en pueblo a pleno sol
agotador, quebranta
si la muerte embosca su destino
quiere morir en Tijuana
la llamaran: narcocorrido, la llamran yoli

casi nada en ella es natural
todo artificio engaña
casi nada en ella es natural
todo artificio engaña
casi nada en ella es natural
todo artificio engaña
casi nada en ella es natural
todo artificio engaña

Monday, January 02, 2006

Lopez! Version 0.6

After a very emotional trip to El Paso it is time to unpack. To take everything out. Including the Christmas goodies I managed to score,* all my dirty clothes and even the clean ones that managed to escape.** And, of course, my feelings. Although these holidays left me emotionally drained, they also gave me perspective (and hope) about the future. To me, family has always been important, and although I am a big advocate of independence, it wasn't until recently that I realized I need to be my own person, and I should make decisions based on what works for me (with Pastelito by my side).

So, in order to optimize the project that is my life, I am launching the new version of Lopez!: Lopez! 0.6. (add tag: Now with extra Focus!). This new version guarantees:

-To not be afraid.
-To be grateful.
-To be generous.
-To be organized.
-To update the Supa-Dupa Calendar of Fun (and actually do the stuff written on it***)
-To work on her art.
-To work on her writing (at least a rought draft of Lopez!).
-To update the blog.
-And to take more trips (to visit my parents, weekend road trips and fun ones, also).

And last but not least:

-To enjoy life.

These are not resolutions, as I believe resolutions are a way to help you achieve something. The point of my guarantees is that each and every one is a goal (this actually makes sense in my head, so just humor me).

And in order to fulfill the grateful clause, I thank everybody who made 2005 an exciting year. The year that gave us new friends and Tuesday meals, the gift of travel for us and others, new jobs and the Spider series. A surgery, a diagnosis and a treatment. Racquetball, abs lab and World Cup qualifications. Harry Potter book and movie, Serenity and King Kong. A new car, an old car and the ability to teach a used-car dealer who's boss. Goodbyes, a divorce, the promise of babies, and even an engagement. Thank you all, you fun buggers!

And now, time for lunch.

*(coffee, Rabanes, Serenity and a whole pad of TPS reports. God bless Christmas!)
**(11 days require 11 pairs of socks. 2 made it back Downy-fresh. Go figure).
***This weekend: 1st Thursday, rest, and "Smokey and the Bandit" @ the Alamo.