|Smith Family Robinson
|| What's a poor Southern boy to do when he gets the call to go to McKinney and encamp among the yankees? Facing up to his fears of children and ghosts of Christmas past, he makes the trip, of course.
(January 5, 2001)
|| We lost young Spinks to the wilds of New York city. We, of
course, had to throw a going away party for the young buck. (March 29, 2000)
|| Early in the year 2000, I was a single man once again. We
were playing a lot of Unreal Tournament (yeah, I know) at the time,
but the opportunities to meet the opposite sex were pretty lean. "If you
want to go surfing, " I told one of my friends, "You've got to go to the
beach." Learning how to salsa down at Miguel's seemed like the closest and
friendliest beach in town. (February 29, 2000)
|| The company has a semi-regular meeting of the entire staff,
or "all the hands," hence the name "All Hands Meeting." This particular
one was held downtown and there was quite a bit going on that night. (February 13, 2000)
|Final Monster Down
|| Some people wish they were back in high school. You will never,
never hear me say this. So I approached my ten year high school reunion
with my friend Jennifer and more than a little trepidation.
A lot had changed in ten years. This story
is about putting down the bad memories, the old ghosts from your past, the
monsters. And coming out, triumphant, on the other side.
They cannot hurt you unless you let them.
(October 27, 1999)
|| Doug is an old high school friend of mine who got married
in the spring of 1999. He married a Czech girl, and I flew all the way out
to Prague to see him get married. I had never been anywhere I didn't speak
the language at all (other than "Hello" and "Beer Please") and was unsure
how I'd fare. I managed to make it back and have a great time in the process.
(April 24, 1999)
|| DJ Spooky is a semi-famous DJ from New York City. I remember
reading about him in Wired or Mondo 2000 years ago. I saw
him accidentally, on a night I was trying to see the Poetry Slam.
The point of the story, however, is that
this was the night Jong and I first got together. A bit of a love story,
I suppose :) (November 10, 1998)
|| A night that changed my life: sitting with someone in labor
and holding a three hour old baby in my bare hands. What a thing is man.
The title comes from that Southern staple,
Gone with the Wind. Butterfly McQueen had the great line, "I don't
know nothing about birthing no babies." (September 17, 1998)
|Swimmin' Swimmin' Swimmin'
|| This is the story of the second triathlon I did in the summer
of 1998. I was training fiercely at the time, mostly because I had managed
to screw up my personal life pretty good and training was a good way to
keep busy. Scott Tinley, the great triathlon writer, gave me a great metaphor
for your whole life: don't be afraid to start the race because it'll hurt,
because "the pain does come, but it's never as bad as the fear was." (August 30, 1998)
|| San Francisco is my favorite city in the world. This was one
of those crazy trips where I managed to squeeze a bit of work related conference
time in between jaunts up to Santa Rosa and San Francisco. (August 20, 1998)
|| My God, man, I've done a triathlon now. I had never expected
to be involved in any endurance sports, but at this point in my life I had
been running steadily for about two years and entered a mess of foot races.
I was always a good biker, so how hard could swimming be?
I'm still doing triathlons. What a blast.
(June 16, 1998)
|R is for Redneck
|| Up against the walls, you redneck mothers. Blast down to the
coast in the Leper, see the Gourds two nights in a row, torture yourself
through a long ass bike ride: how could a weekend get any better than this?
(May 31, 1998)
|Biking and Dying
|| Lance Armstrong, man among men, a hero of our time, I don't
care what Anna says about him. I want to be like Lance when I grow up.
This is the first Ride for the Roses. This
was a format I experimented with, since I had two stories to tell ("Biking"
and "Dying", of course). I thought it worked well, though my old man couldn't
print it out and was irritated with me.
Live well or rest in peace, Phlebas, whichever
it may be. (May 25, 1998)
|South by So What
|| Cantone and I raging destruction on a spring night, preaching
the gospel of what a pain in the ass SXSW is and how it's invaded my town.
Yes, I understand that SXSW is good for bands and good for business, but
it's still a pain in the damn back side. (March 22, 1998)
|| When I first moved to Austin in 1989 I never went to Barton
Springs. It probably was not until 1995 or so that I first made it down
there. Now, you can't keep me away. It's a great place to swim, and in this
story, it was a good place to think and remember. (March 1, 1998)
|| Old Rolf has moved off to California now, and I don't know
when I'll see him again. I doubt that his wife would let something like
this happen again.
I'm particularly proud of my nascent photoshop
skills in this story. (February 4, 1998)
|| I had been running for nearly a year straight at this point
in my life. I had run in my first rate, the Turkey Trot, in November of
1997 at the insistence of Aj. A few months later, I did something crazy
and entered a half marathon (13.1 miles, the Trot was five miles). I hurt
like hell but this was one of the most self affirming things I have ever
done. As they said in Fight Club, "You are not your fucking khakis," and
you are capable of more than you ever dreamed of. (February 1, 1998)
|The Ruins of Pompeii
|| The annual ski trip with the Mowers took us to Park City in
the midst of the Sun Dance film festival. The run from the title, The Ruins
of Pompeii, lives to this day in the Mower/Arvesen Timeshare lore as a freaking
crazy stunt. It's right up there with the famous Kong Jump... (January 18, 1998)
|Things work out
|| A nice Christmas party, a nice evening of hanging out and
listening to Sublime. This was the first weekend update written to be explicitly
in HTML as I started to move from emails to the web (not too important,
but cool nonetheless). (December 14, 1997)
|| I remember this trip clearly to this day. In retrospect, I
can clearly see the roots of the big road trip planted in this long, lonesome
trip down the coast. (December 7, 1997)
|| The summer before I went to high school, I went on a 17 day
Europe trip with my brother and a school group. It went by in a flash and
I had no idea of what we were doing, so most of the cities did not make
an impression on me.
I had been reading some skateboard magazine
a few months prior to this trip and they had talked about skate boarding
in Paris. "Paris, " I though, "now there's a place I'd like to revisit."
Even though I caught that terrible disease
while there, I loved this trip. (November 16, 1997)
|| These updates around this time, especially, feature a lot
of drinking. "Drinking, a Fun Story" as someone once called it. The Halloween
of 1997 I had taken a three week hiatus from drinking. Carl and I went out
on Halloween and broke the fast in fine style.
This night was incredibly fun, but I am glad
that we had the foresight to ride our bikes instead of driving. (November 2, 1997)
|| This was the night where I decided to give up drinking for
three weeks (which seems like a really paltry number when you write it out,
but it seemed freaking heroic at the time). I remember the World Gym workout
I talk about here quite well. (October 12, 1997)
|The Slave Ranch
|| A typical week in the life of Big Al at the time: a few drinks
with Yows down at the Cedar Door, off to see a band I had never heard of
Aj (Spearhead, who are freaking great), and then a random party the next
day with Rolf and Cantone. I don't know if the place we went to was really
called "The Slave Ranch" or not. It's a weird freaking name for a weird
freaking place. (September 28, 1997)
|| This was back when the updates were email only. I've called
this one "Little P" after Priscilla's nick name. About six months after
this we would split the Motorola marathon in half, each running thirteen
miles. That was my third race, and it was just two weeks after the 3M. Crazy
Sometime after that, Priscilla moved herself
back off to the North East. The last I heard from her she wanted me to run
the Chicago Marathon with her. The last I had heard of her she was crazy
over some guy.
Good luck to you, Little P. (September 7, 1997)
|| This was the first really long weekend update. It started
to stretch the limits of most people's ability and desire to read email,
I haven't been back to Buckhead in a few
years, but we had a great time this night. I don't think Christina keeps
in touch with either Andrea or Eva any more. (August 26, 1997)
|The School of Bad Ideas
|| The Hoo Koo E Koo was a brand new machine and I was feeling
my Wheaties. Jim and I had quite a bonding experience that night, what with
the flat tires and the social engineering and the minor amounts of property
damage we ended up causing. This was the first, IMHO, great weekend update.
(August 4, 1997)
|| Every Friday at 5:00 pm KLBJ used to play a song called "Bonecrusher."
Jim and I would close the door to our office and pump up the volume, causing
misery to everyone else in that tiny office since the door didn't go all
the way to the ceiling.
The lyrics to this song remind me of Bo Diddley's
"Who do you love?":
I'm the mighty Bonecrusher
And I live way out West
I'm a gentle man by nature
But bone crushin's what I do best
Ah yes, even the small flowers. (June 25, 1997)
|| There were a few other updates in there, which I didn't bother
to preserve, many of them just being three or four lines in an email. I
kept this one around because it shows, I think, the humble origins of this
thing. This was also the last weekend update that went out to the entire
company and spawned "theloop" email alias. I think it was the "striking
out with 18 year olds" comment that did it. (June 22, 1997)