Taco Tour 2006, week 1

For my first stop, I went to a little taqueria near the in-laws’ house.  I think it was called Taqueria Nocolataz, but I can’t be sure, as their sign was practically scribbled.  Hell, I don’t know if nocolataz is even a word.

Good food, though.

I stepped inside and ordered a chicken fajita taco, and beef fajita taco, and a coke (I quickly noticed I’d have to drop my ground beef gold standard, as a lot of local places can’t be bothered with something so basic).  The fine folks brought me chips and salsa (two flavors), and both flavors were just about the best salsa I’ve ever had.

And the tacos.  They were of good size, and a great value.  The chicken was delicious, if a little too subtle.  The beef was strangely tangy, with a little bit of orange flavor.  Interesting, but I probably won’t have the beef again.


Salsa: 9.5

Chicken: 7

Beef: 5

Total Rating: 7.16


Twilight Singers tonight!

Tonight I’ll be heading downtown with Shawna to see The Twilight Singers.  It’s the second time I’ve seen them since making it to Austin, and they’ve always pulled out one helluva show.  They’re all like the secret Whigs show at Sudsy Malone’s I went to with Benny, Kevin, and Megan. 

I will attempt, for one night only, to not participate in my favorite concert hobby, “Worrying if Shawna is having a good time.”  She swears she will, and I’ll probably be too excited to notice.  That’s one of those sad truths about relationships nobody likes to talk about.

I’m so getting scowled at for that one!

Work Update

About two weeks left on the current A Family Matter rewrite.  After that, I’ll be taking a week to finish lettering and paste-up on Brian Keene’s FEAR.  By that point, we should hopefully have a color cover ready, and we can put that sucker up for pre-order on Shocklines and a few others.

After that, I need to spend a few weeks to a month working on Tower Four.  A pulbisher wants to take a look at it.  I also need to continue working on a collaboration with one of my favorite writers, followed by starting a new collaboration with another great writer.

By this point, I’ll also have the final polish done on A Family Matter.  We’ll see where it all goes.

Summer 2006: Searching for the Perfect Taco

For those of you who might be new around here, I should tell you that food is a very big deal to me.  I spent almost three years working the kitchen at the Argosy Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Once I left to move to Texas, I started teaching myself how to cook.  Now, not a week goes by that I’m not trying some new recipe or attempting to improve my chicken stir-fry.

So, yeah.  Food’s a big deal.

Last year, we tried Fear of a Tasteless Planet.  This experiment with restaurants in Austin that I haven’t tried had some high points (Tino’s) and some low points (Hole in the Wall).  It was a great time, and I wanted to try something similar this year.

Thus, The Search for the Perfect Taco.

Austin is home to just under 42000 taquerias.  These inexpensive little eateries are an excellent food source, and I plan to storm them like Normandy.  Every weekend, I will eat at a local taqueria on my hunt for the Perfect Taco.  The only rule is that I must have one baseline taco (ground beef, cheese, lettuce).  This will be our gold standard.  I’ll try to remember to take pictures.

Everything will be given a score between 1 and 10, and on September 1st, we’ll award one lucky taqueria to title of the Perfect Taco.

This will be fun.

Five Hours I Want Back

Saturday night, Shawna and I went to go see a band. What band? Circus of Power. Oh, you don’t have a clue who that is? Well, judging by the size of the crowd, nobody else did, either.

Research tells me Circus of Power was a major label, dirty metal band during the late 80’s/early 90’s. Normally, I wouldn’t give a shit (come to think of it…), but my friend E (name abbreviated to protect those who don’t know any better) has tried to pseudo-date their 40 year-old-plus singer named Al. His stagename?

Showbiz Al!

Good-fucking-lord, I’m going to a $12 dollar show to see a band that hasn’t played together in ten years whose singer calls himself Showbiz Al.

At this point, E will write me to make fun of my biography page (go check it out, it’s ridiculous), but I have a simple reply.

Showbiz Al!

(Writer’s Note: E’s dog, a one-eyed shih tzu, once nearly bit Showbiz’s goddamn nose off. That’s right. Showbiz Al was made the bitch of a one-eyed shih tzu. Carry on.)
Oh, and I should mention that this show, held at Elysium down on Red River is the beginning, end, and middle of Circus of Power 20th Anniversary Tour. Now, why is a band from LA having their one-show tour in Austin?

We’ll get to that. Don’t fret, my pet.

So, Shawna and I go to this show. E told Shownuff Al we were coming and told us he was excited to meet us. Not excited enough to put us on the guest list or anything, but pretty excited. Shawna pays the total $24 cover (I’m picking up the Twilight Singers tab on Friday), and we’re in…

In an episode of Beavis and Butthead.

There are maybe fifteen people in the club, and they all look like Adam Copeland with a leather jacket on. Pantera plays over the sound system, and everybody bangs their heads at all times. Seriously. They carry on normal conversations, mill around, piss, and drink; all while banging their heads. If it weren’t so fucking funny, it would be amazing.
A man with dredlocks that go down past his ass walks around. I’ll later find out this is Circus of Power’s bass player. I also see a swarthy Taylor Hicks. This, I’ll later find out, is Circus of Power’s guitar player.

Shownuff is nowhere to be seen.

The first band plays, and more fans show up. Shawna and I realize we’re the youngest people in the club by a good ten years. While I relish this feeling, I can’t help but feel sad for poor E. Half the slimy, bloated women wearing leopard-skin pants probably want to pseudo-date Shownuff. Is E really of that ilk? I like to think not.
The first band sucked, but their singer looks like Pete Townsend and Trent Reznor fucked and had a kid, so Shawna and I have a good laugh.

During the set change, Shawna wanders off to smoke. She smokes more than any reformed, now non-smoker I know. I don’t get it either. She comes back all giddy, because she met the lead singer of band number 2: Broken Teeth.

“He was the lead singer of Dangerous Toys!”


“I think he fucked somebody I know once!”

“Oh, yeah. I think I read the Rolling Stone article on that.”

I wonder why I can’t be home, stabbing myself in the face.

Broken Teeth take the stage, and my depression sinks lower. Shawna notices I’m not having a good time (only took her two hours!) and says “If you’re so fucking bored, why don’t you just leave?”

So that’s what I do. Fuck this. Flametrick Subs are playing next door.

Only the Subs, who have never had a record deal that I know of, have more than thirty people in their one-in-one-out line. I decide to get some more cash. Maybe if I drink too much, I’ll forget where I am.

I walk back into the pseudo-empty Elysium, and Shawna demands to know why I took off. To say she is pissed would be an understatement. We argue for a good fifteen minutes. Well, I acted like I was arguing. Really, I was wishing I was doing that face-stabby thing. Eventually, we figure out that Shawna did not at anytime tell me to leave. Her voice was simply distorted by the aquanet and suck in the room.

And then Circus of Power takes the stage.

And I start looking for something to stab myself in the face with.

They have a camera man. It kinda reminds me of when My mom used to videotape my marching band appearances.

“Aw, look! The widdle hard-rockers are having a weunion show!”

Shownuff takes the stage (it now occurs to me that calling Showbiz Shownuff is like calling a one-armed man Stumpy, it’s just too easy), see the band had to play him on. He wears glasses, a backwards baseball cap, and a black mesh T-shirt that looks much like the camera guy’s black mesh T-shirt. Come to think of it, the camera guy has the hat and glasses, too.

Showbiz looks like a bald Patrick Swayze with lots of tattoos. Y’know what I mean? He should look tough, but instead he kinda looks like a pussy. He’s got a good voice, but the only words I can make out from the first song are something about a Backseat Mama. Must be talking about the seniors tour of groupies that’s hanging about.

The second song starts, and I swear he’s singing about a Backseat Betty. Shawna stands in front of me, and that makes me happy. I can now duck behind her head to yawn and/or laugh. I do this a lot over the next hour or so.

After a few songs… THE MESH T-SHRT COMES OFF, BAYBAY! We now have a better view of Showbiz’s tats.

“What does that one on his stomach say?” Shawna asks.

I squint, trying to see through the hairspray fumes.

“Jesus fuck,” I mutter.


“It says ‘Freebird.'”

I almost cry, wondering why I can’t do that stabby thing.

Showbiz turns around, and we notice that, according to his tattoos, he’s a Warrior of Love. Maybe that’s why E wants him. Any man can be a lover, but a Warrior of Love? Come-fuckin’-on! You gotta take a two-week course for that!
Near the end of the show, Showbiz takes a second to introduce the band members. Well, he introduces the bass player. He forgets about the rest of the band. When he introduces the bassist, though, I hear these words fall out of his hard rock mouth…

“He’s usually your bartender in here.”

Holy shit. Whole. Lee. Shit. Circus of Power’s one show 20th anniversary tour is at Elysium in Austin becuase the fucking bass player works there?


The set finally ends, and the soundman gets on the PA and instructs the audience.

“If you cheer real loud, maybe they’ll play another song!”

If we protest real loud, will Bush pull out of Iraq?

Apparently not, because Circus of Power never shows up again. It appears they only rehearsed so many songs for their reunion tour/show.

So Shawna and I go off to find Showbiz. E wanted us to introduce ourselves. Remember, he’s pretty excited. The guitarist/Taylor Hicks introduces us (guitarist is Ricky, and a nice guy). Shawna shakes Showbiz’s hand.

“Hi! E wanted us to introduce ourselves. We’re her friends.”


“We’re E’s friends!”




“We’re E’s friends.”


Then two poorly-aged groupies walk up. Showbiz moves torward them.

“Are they your friends?”


So Showbiz decides to ignore us, as we have neither herpes, nor the will to fuck him.

We leave.

So we tried. We tried to enjoy ourselves at this shitty show from this ridiculous band. We tried to make nice and introduce ourselves, and Showbiz instead decided to put the moves on two saggy groupies when we’re right there.

E owes me five hours of my life back. I will accept five hours of house work or a pro-rate of eight dollars an hour.

And Showbiz? Go fuck youself, has-been.

Am I a violent person?

Heard back from an agent who’s asked to see A Family Matter yesterday.  They decided to pass on it after reading the first three chapters and an outline.  No problem there.  Rejection is the name of the game and just another facet of this business. 

But the reason it was rejected puzzles me a bit.  They turned it down because it was too violent and gory.  Now, in the chapters they read, an old man died of a heart attack.  There are no other deaths in the book until the end of the 2nd act, and that’s accidental.  I pride myself on telling a scary story with almost no gore.  Maybe I should take it as a compliment, like my writing was strong enough to imply gore that wasn’t there.

Whatcha gonna do, eh?