my neighbor’s girlfriend’s disappearance

Remember my post a few days ago about my next-door neighbor, the one who just moved out? “Dumb as a box of rocks, annoying, deeply uninteresting at every level. (Mystery Of Life #3,267: He’s unattractive, stupid, unemployed, completely without charm — but has the hottest damned girlfriend in the building.)”
I just realized I forgot to post that I was awakened Sunday morning at 4:30 by a bang on the door. Three Dallas policemen told me they were investigating the disappearance of the aforementioned girlfriend. (Who, by the way, is apparently 19. He’s in his early 30s.) I told them about all the times I heard him screaming at her. I told them I had no idea if he was ever violent. After about 10 minutes of questions, they thanked me and went on their way. On my way back to bed, I cursed myself for not remembering his name, preventing me from checking up on him.

lunch with mark crotty, slapping john cramer

Had lunch today with a teacher from my old high school. (He’s been teaching in Dallas for about 10 years now.) It was odd to talk to someone who last remembers me at age 14.
Although he was a legendary teacher, scheduling quirks meant I never had him in a class. So his only real dealing with me came as the school’s discipline czar.
I had a 45-minute bus ride every morning, along with six or eight other kids who went to my school or its feeder. I was in seventh grade.
It was exam week, so I and the other older kids were using the long bus ride to study for the tests we had that day. Unfortunately, this little twerp 2nd grader named John decided to use the bus ride to prove, incontrovertibly, that he knew the names of all 41 presidents of these United States.
And could recite them in order. In song. Loudly. Over and over again.
Needless to say, we older kids wanted to throttle him. We kept telling him to shut up — first gently, then with increasing vigor. We appealed to our bus driver, the cool but ineffectual Tim, but he did nothing. Finally, when he progressed from singing the president’s names to screaming them — I believe it was Chester A. Arthur who set me off — I reached over and punched John in the jaw.
He looked at me, stunned. And he shut up for the rest of the bus ride.
Being the little twerp he was — his twerpdom would be more conclusively proven in five more years of bus rides — he tattled to mommy. Mommy called my school, and I got called to the discipline czar’s office.
I was a good kid, too geeky to ever get in trouble. The czar was a little unsure what to do.
“I hear you punched this second grader on the bus.”
“Yes, sir.”
“I hear he’s really, really annoying.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Well, the next time he’s really, really annoying, try really, really hard not to punch him.”
“Yes, sir.”
That was that.

blogging during an interview

Q: How do you know the guy you’re interviewing on the phone is going on waaay too long about issues of absolutely no interest to you?
A: When you start blogging in the middle of your conversation.

tom christian in dallas

If you’re interested in Pitcairn Island (the remote rock in the South Pacific where the descendants of the mutiny on the Bounty reside), be at the Arlington Convention Center at 2 p.m. Friday. Tom Christian (3rd from left), the island’s elder statesman, is in Dallas and will be talking about Pitcairn life to a group of ham radio buffs.
Regular readers may remember me blogging about Pitcairn before; I spent a week there in 1999. I wrote a few articles about it for my old employer.
I’ll be out of town for Tom’s talk, but I’m going to interview him sometime this week. Should be interesting, given all the stunning controversy going on there.

confederacy of dunces movie

My very favorite book of all time appears to finally be coming to the screen. I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to it or not — in the right hands, it could be great, but the stakes are awfully high. The risk of my pyloric valve slamming shut at the sight of it is significant.
(To give you an idea how deep my devotion runs to A Confederacy of Dunces: the two partitions of my hard drive are named Ignatius and Gonzalez, my external hard drive is named Mancuso, and my laptop is named Miss Trixie, all characters in the novel. For a geek like me, that’s love.)

date with laura, texclectic, 2900, dim sum, mazie update

Here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the much-anticipated weekend update:
Friday: After a dull workday, spent the evening out with Laura, starting out at the MAC to watch the Texclectic Radio Hour, a wannabe improv/music/variety radio show under development by KERA. It was a very entertaining time, although I’m not sure how it’d convert into a weekly hour of radio. Improv is by its nature hit-or-miss, and an audience is pretty forgiving of that in person. You’ve paid good money to attend this performance, after all — you’ve invested in it, you’re not going anywhere, so you might as well laugh, even if the joke’s a bit too obvious. I’m not sure that’d work as well over the airwaves, where the trigger finger’s always on the dial.
The guest on the Texclectic when we saw it was Little Jack Melody, Denton’s own Kurt Weill disciple, who put on a fine performance. But I couldn’t focus on it, because I kept wondering if Mr. Melody was really just Tom Daschle moonlighting. (I’m serious: check out Jack and Tom yourself.)
Also present and of interest to KERA listeners, familiar voices Abby Goldstein and Kim Corbett. They look roughly like what I’d expected. Kim Corbett didn’t seem to understand that radio is not a good visual medium and kept doing his Foster Brooks-as-mime imitation in the background of the show.
(By the way, KERA is, as of this date, still promoing the Yiddish Radio Project prominently on its web page, weeks after it concluded.)
After the show, we went to the newly-opened 2900, which was terrific. Best food I’ve had in a while. (My dish was written up thusly in the linked review: “Red bell pepper ravioli ($14) featured flat pasta packages stuffed with meaty portobello mushroom and smoked Gouda cheese in a thick pistachio cream sauce. Though the ravioli was just a touch undercooked for our tastes, we loved the juxtaposition of the dense, nutty sauce and smooth, creamy pasta.” I had no undercooked complaints — it was deeeelishus.)
Plus as you can tell from that review — and the fact I live one block away from 2900 — I live in what is “fast becoming the city’s most cosmopolitan community.” Take that, Plano.
Saturday: Slept until 2:30 p.m., thus throwing off my sleep schedule for weeks, I’m sure. This is my last restful weekend for a month (I’m in New Haven, Boston, and Las Vegas for the next three), so I didn’t do a damned thing all day. (Well, except watch Chicken Run on DVD.)
Sunday: Had dim sum at Maxim’s with Dena, Natacha, and some of Dena’s friends. Mmm, dim sum. I’d been jonesin’ for sesame balls for months. I loved them so much that I didn’t even feel bad about the castrati sesame wandering the veldt, contemplating their fate.
For those of you with an interest, Mazie was admitted to the hospital on Thursday down in Louisiana. She was having trouble breathing, not to mention her usual ornery trouble taking the medication she’s been ordered to by medical doctors trained in the prescription of medication. She’s gotten a lot of rest and is doing better; she should be back home sometime in the next couple of days.