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A slow start, some funny memories


This is the part of the year when things slooooow down. Iíve been working an almost-normal schedule, and the time that I would usually spend surfing Web sites has diminished because a lot of Web sites donít get updated that often during the holidays. One of the great things about the Internet is its immediacy and how quickly it changes. The holidays make the Web feel like summer reruns.

Time feels a little fuzzy right now. Iím always complaining about not having enough hours in the day, then all of a sudden thereís too much time, stretching out like it did when I was in elementary school. Iíd go to my mom and whine, "Iím boooored!" Thatís not something I ever expected to say again by the time I got to high school.

A lot of people I spend time with outside of work are out of town. A lot of people I work with are gone on vacation. A lot of people I e-mail or instant message are with family or also on vacation from work, taking them away from their work-based Internet connections.

I turned on my computer at work yesterday and a tumbleweed rolled across the screen. A .wav file opened up of a coyote howling. I opened up one of my desktop folders and there was Bob Dole, snoring as he slept, clutching a bottle of unused Viagra as his member lay limply in front of him.

Itís slow is what Iím trying to say.

These are extreme times for me. One day I have a tension headache from running around, trying to do six different things and staying up too late, not getting enough sleep. Now Iím wondering what to do to fill the hours of my last official vacation day of the year. Shopping? Clean the house? Rent all the volumes of Ken Burnsí The Civil War and dress up like Gen. Sherman?

The Hell is wrong with me?

This weekend is New Yearís Eve and my plans for that are like Bigfoot. I think those plans exist, but I havenít really seen any proof to corroborate any of it. Those plans involve hanging out downtown with friends, going to see some live music, getting caught up in the throng of Sixth Street, which is the opposite of what I usually do, which is to keep it low-key with a few close friends.

Dick Cheney just walked into my house, ate some bacon grease from on top of the stove, clutched his heart, fell over, and then was carried away by paramedics.

Most of today is being spent gearing up for our LCP show, which is going to be this kind of early New Yearís celebration of Latino Comedy. I have no idea what to expect. Weíre doing it at the future home of the Mexican American Cultural Center. Right now, itís a collection of warehouse buildings with aluminum roofs and gravel parking. Inside this big warehouse is a makeshift stage, a booth and strung up lights.

All of Thursday night was spent waiting for tech rehearsal to finish. People set up and focus lights. Bits of CD music from cues are played very loudly. Pizza is ordered. Not a lot of actual rehearsal gets done. Mostly the rehearsal is a chance to sit around, tell bad jokes and watch people do work, but finding ways to avoid it yourself. The minute somebody from up in the booth or on stage calls your name, you know you just lost your goofing off privileges.

When I was home for Christmas, we were opening presents, and the family dog, Pixie, kept coming over and getting in everybodyís face, which is fine because sheís a tiny cute dog and I think my Mom has trained every barking instinct out of her. Pixie is a really funny dog for several reasons. Sheís a Shih Tzu, which is an inherently funny name. She also has these big bulgy eyes. Thereís a funny story there, actually. Her eyes bulge out and one time my parents were giving her a bath because when you have a dog with that much hair, you have to bathe them like every six hours or theyíll stink.

So there are my Mom and Dad bent over the bathtub trying to get her clean. My dad is holding the hair on her head back so he can wash her head with soap without getting any of it in her eyes.

And then, right when things are close to being done, her eye pops out of its socket. Itís all hanging out from its little eye cord.

My mother, of course, runs away screaming, leaving my dad holding a very confused Shiz Tzu who is trying to figure out why she can all of a sudden see her own stomach. Iím not sure what happened after this, exacly, but I think they called the vet or some emergency pet worker and they said, to the best of my memory, "Well, just stick it back in."

My dad did that, and to this day her eyes are just fine, except that they still stick out as if sheís the reincarnated Marty Feldman. I think my mom still gets nervous whenever she puts her hair in a ponytail. Yank too hard and those eyes may go a-flying.

So there was Pixie, and because I do this with my cat, Cosa, all the time, I thought it would be okay to just pick her up and toss her over to the other side of the room. Not hard. Just a little toss. My cat doesnít seem to mind when I do it. I just pick her up and give her a little toss over toward the exit of the room. Except Cosaís gotten a lot fatter since she was fixed, so I donít throw her around anymore because I got tired of the floor shaking.

I pick up Pixie and toss her, just to move her, and she lands flatly, kind of wobbly on her feet. My Mom and Dad look at me in horror. "What are you doing?" they yelled.

"Uh, I was just throwing her... a little."

"You donít throw dogs! Sheís not a cat!"

"Yeah, I know... I mean..."

"Is that what you do with your cat? You just throw her around like that?"

"Well, yeah, I mean..."

"Donít do that!" my Mom yelled. Pixie just kept staring at me, wondering what all the fuss was about.

My dad predated Nirvana's "Nevermind" album by about 15 years.

My Mom asked how I would like it if somebody threw me around, and then she rememered the time when my Dad threw me into a pool of water. I must have been like three or four years old and maybe my Dad had heard about those miracle water babies that swim and go through loops and stuff, but he decided to teach me to swim and, the story goes, he just picked me up and tossed me in the deep end of a pool and yelled, "Swim! Swim!" Because three year olds respond to verbal commands issued through gallons of water.

Needless to say, I didnít learn how to swim until I was about 10. My Dad still maintains that if I had just followed directions, I would have been swimming years earlier.

Surprisingly, Iím not really afraid of water or of being thrown. But I do fear dogs with eyes that pop out of their sockets.

The LCP show is tonight. Hereís the information again: 600 River Street. Itís off the Holly exit between Riverside and Cesar Chavez. Of course, if you donít know Austin, that means nothing to you, but thatís where it is. At 8 p.m., Loco Ano Nuevo. Skits, music, stand-up comedy.

Latest obsession: NHL 2001 for PlayStation2. My brother and I started playing it on Christmas Eve. It was one of those games I had for review, but had kind of set aside because of other things, and finally, I said to my brother, "Wanna play NHL?"

He gave me a noncomittal look. "I donít know. I donít really like hockey that much."

Weíre Mexican. Weíre from South Texas. We are genetically engineered not to get too excited about hockey. In fact, that last time I got excited about hockey was with Blades of Steel for the old Nintendo system. Or maybe it was Super Nintendo.

Anyway, we pop it in and OH MY GOD, it was so much fun. We spent the next hour and a half kicking each othersí faux-Canadian asses. Actually, I was mostly New Jersey and he was mostly the Dallas Stars and we took turns trying to figure out how to score. Once we learned, it was a blast. Now I want to go see the Austin Ice Bats play. It got to where my Mom was calling us downstairs to open gifts and we were like, "Weíll be down in a minute!"

Itís a fun game. Kick-ass hockey.

I think I may spend a good part of the weekend reflecting on the last year and trying to figure out what next year might be like. Iíll let you know what I come up with on Monday.

See? I donít even take vacations up in this bee-yatch. I love you all. Happy New Year.


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