"Allow myself to introduce, um, myself." - Austin Powers, Austin Powers
The flag the folks at Gonzalez put together after they heard Mexican authorities were getting ready to come take their cannon. Unfortunately for them, the Mexican Army thought they were dealing with the French, in which case this would have meant, um, yeah, come and take it, rather than PRY THIS CANNON FROM THE COLD DEAD HANDS OF A TEXAN. (historical note: Santa Ana lost.)
I’ve got the aftermath of a hurricane to deal with: shingles to replace, siding to fix, Pez® to bake, fence to rebuild, pantyhose to clean, dangerously dangling limbs to lop off trees. Logical response?
Road trip. Otter and Boone would understand.
In actuality, this road trip was planned, cancelled (work), planned again, cancelled (hurricane), and then at the last minute, we had a “what the heck” moment and said we’d do it.
The causes for the road trip at this time and place were twofold: 1) A favored author was visiting Austin to sign books, and 2) The Mrs. indicated that she would begin slowly poisoning me with arsenic if I didn’t take her on a real, honest to goodness, vacation. In her defense, I’m not particularly sensitive to arsenic (unless the hair loss and tooth loss isn’t normal) and I haven’t taken her on a vacation – not where you go visit family, but a true vacation, in something like four years.
So, we packed up the Wildermobile and headed to Austin. As usual, I managed to test The Boy’s ability to hold his bladder. I think this is a good thing for all fathers to do, since there hasn’t been a fatality associated with a bladder rupture since 1932. Although I don’t think this is a true fact (I read it when I was 10 or so in a Mad™ Magazine), it certainly doesn’t keep me from quoting it on long family trips as if it was transported to my mind directly from Heaven above via angelic text-message.
We made it to Austin and found the bookstore where there was a book-signing that I was going to. The author (Neal Stephenson) is notoriously introverted and takes about four years to put out a novel. The introversion thing isn’t good, because that means he didn’t hang out with me after the signing while I convinced him that The Mrs. should co-author a book with him, she could write it all, and he could take 90% of the profits. Instead? He signed my books.
My mistake was taking The Boy with me. The Boy was not only bored by Mr. Stephenson’s readings and Q&A, he was bored out of his skull bored. Threatening him with physical violence at some unspecified future point seemed to work a bit. I wasn’t about to bribe him, since I don’t make deals with young blonde terrorists – that always comes back to haunt me.
Neal Stephenson, in all his boring (to eight year olds, that is) glory. Frankly, he was interesting, and I think the rest of the fans would have been disappointed if he had broken into a clown act to appease The Boy.
We got back to our tiny, tiny hotel room, and went to sleep. Sure, that sounds simple, but “and went to sleep” is never simple with a three-year-old in the room. There were threats of immediate physical violence that seemed to work a whole bunch better than the threats of violence at some unspecified future time and place.
The next morning, we went to The Alamo. No, wait, that’s in San Antonio, not Austin. Okay, we went to Sea World®. No, wait, that’s in San Antonio, too. Instead, we visited the state capital, where they have a very nice, shiny floor.
Oh, and we also saw the typical resident of Austin. Apparently, to be a resident of Austin you must walk around on the streets carrying a backpack and talking on a cell phone. Who you talk to and what you say is unimportant. What you carry in the backpack is likewise unimportant. You must have them. Why? Because it’s Austin.
The floor under the rotunda, wherein Texas maintains its status as an independent nation. Actually? That doesn’t sound so bad. I bet we could whip California any old time.
Looking up at the rotunda. Dang, it’s sure round.
Next: San Antonio