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Ice Age comin', Ice Age comin'...


Austin is a frozen, nasty mess today.

I love cold weather because we get so little of here, but damn! I didn't think the Frozen Visigoth Gods of the North were going to come and try to beat us into submission. Yesterday morning, it was about 70 degrees early in the day. Then, like some sort of mythical shitstorm, the temperature drops about 50 degrees, everything starts icing over and suddenly, people are being told to go home early and even to stay in hotels if they have to drive very far across town.

We got caught in this huge ice storm. I went home early from work and, with rehearsal canceled, spent the night bumming around the house, writing and watching some TV. I actually did venture out during the worst of it to pick up Rebecca. My car was a slick, frozen hunk in the driveway. I cranked up the heater, and the ice on the windows and windshield slowly melted. The roads were really icy and slick. There were few people on the dark roads and people drove really slow. I passed a huge accident involving about five cars. They were all smashed and people stood talking miserably to police officers as traffic going south was blocked off.

I made a big deal to Rebecca about how I was risking my life to see her. I didn't think of it as such when I first headed out — I lived in Oklahoma for about six years and was used to driving in snow and ice. In Texas, especially anywhere south of Dallas, people freak out at the merest hint of solid water. Stuff shuts down, entire business close their doors and people act as if the ice is made of acid and it will kill them on contact.

I was all content to be snug in my warm bed all night after having stayed up way too late writing (novel update: 22 pages), but then about 2:30 in the morning, the alarm clock blinked out and came back on. Then it went out again. On. Off. After five more minutes of that, it shut off for good. I didn't know it at the time, but the electricity was out for the night.

I woke up on my own at about 8 a.m., freezing. The electricity was still gone. I stumbled awake and went to the thermostat. It was 68 degrees in the house and falling. My cat was curled up on some dirty clothes and I thought I could see her breath.

I looked outside and across the street, the lady who lives in that duplex had two trees in her front yard that had fallen over. Neither of them had hit her house, but I could see her outside, looking confused at how a simple overnight freeze could have destroyed them.

I brushed my teeth and shaved by candlelight. I dressed in the cold and bemoaned life without electricity. It was as if I were on that Real World style show that takes place in the 19th century. No hair dryer. No computer to check e-mail. No toaster to make a Bagel Creation. I wondered if the house freezing would balance out the refrigerator being off. Maybe if I just opened the fridge door, my food wouldn't go bad.

Outside, things were even worse. In the car, half of the radio stations weren't coming in. Street lights were dead. People drove cautiously, and everywhere I looked, trees were destroyed or held torn branches that sagged to the ground. I felt like I'd just stepped into some Stephen King novel, The Mist or maybe The Stand and it was a frozen post apocalypse.

I ate a breakfast taco at a Fiesta supermarket and the lady at the register said her electricity had been gone all night and at her apartments, the electric gate wasn't letting people out of the apartment complex. As we talked, the electricity flickered off and on, shutting off the in-store music and making people murmur throughout the market.

Today at work, the newsroom is half empty. Everythings eerily quiet even though there's lots of news to cover with the election and all the weather news.

The university shut down yesterday. Companies were telling employees not to come in until at least 10 a.m. The ice turned into this force of nature. Oh wait, it is a force of nature. My bad. Way to go, God! You sure showed us.



I promised photos from Oklahoma City, but I was only able to get one for now. Here it is:

That's me, Matt, Jeremy and Marcus sitting at Tapwerks and getting some poor waitress to use my digital camera. Notice the gaeity (that's humor, not sexual proclivity) of the group and how we all just mesh together. Oh, never mind. It's just a picture, I guess.

Torrid affair update: Wendi has acknowledged my affections and has shamelessly fallen under my spell by implying that I have fallen under her spell. True love is complicated like that, sometimes.

Now, the next step in my plan is to lull her into a false sense of security. She'll have a good laugh over all this while secretly mulling the idea of flying to Austin, kidnapping me, drugging me, and then forcing me into a forbidden marriage ceremony on a far off deserted island. Tom Hanks and his talking volleyball will officiate the ceremony and we will have 12 kids, one for each cycle of the moon.

That's what you're planning, right Wendi?

I guess you have to have been just the right age to really appreciate it, but Transformers: The Movie came out on DVD recently and I find myself having to justify my love of the movie to people who

  1. Never liked The Transformers
  2. Would never dream of watching a movie based on The Transformers
  3. Think I've got weird tastes to begin with.

The animation of the movie was surprisingly good for the time and it even featured the voice of Orson Welles, Judd Nelson (stop hissing, ya'll), Robert Stack and others. Penny Arcade did a really great comic strip about how emotional an experience it was watching the film. Transformers actually die in the movie. It was a very powerful thing for people who were about 11 when it came out.

I just remember almost crying when Optimus Prime died. And how much I laughed when Mark Wahlberg sang "You've Got the Touch," in Boogie Nights because I remembered it from Transformers.

Had a major geek moment yesterday. Andy came by during work and we started talking about Dungeons & Dragons and it turns out we'd both read the DragonLance Chronicles.

We went on and on about Raistlin and kenders and who so and so fell in love with and what mage killed what dragon. It was just profoundly geeky. But, damn, at least we didn't go and make whole Web pages devoted to DragonLance characters. That would be pushing it just a little bit.

But you know what? I'm comfortable with my geekiness. Yes, I played with my computer in middle school instead of playing soccer. Yes, I was reading Isaac Asimov instead of stealing and carjacking. Is that so wrong?

To this day, I still play adventure games, read Harry Potter and seriously dig on Clive Barker.

Must I be persecuted for having a full set of D&D dice? Must I feel condescension from my co-workers because I know what a +4 halberd does?

Well, fuck all 'a ya'll. I'll be in my room playing through Forgotten Realms using 3rd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. If you need me, you can send a message owl or something.


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