Happy Holidays
Austin Dispatches
No. 59 (Seasonal Issue)
Dec. 2, 2003
Looking back over the year’s activities, I’m trying to figure out how I managed to do about half what I did without the wherewithal to do it. I can’t even decide whether that’s success or failure. That itself might be a success in what’s been a pretty rough year. Even discounting for the excessive style and hyperbole, previous Austin Dispatches read like those of some rich socialite, not a guy in a shabby bathrobe in a stark apartment.

Regardless, where you’re reading this is a big improvement. After years of procrastination, I sprung for a couple of domain names.  So now I’m a dot com.1

And just like them, I spent a lot of time chasing after capital. This spring, I edited a troubleshooting guide for Frito-Lay. That was repetitive work, but I chipped away at it. Then I worked at a company that provides software applications for the automotive aftermarket industry, to make the world safer for the distribution and sale of fuzzy dice.2  Meanwhile, I expanded the recruit-o-rama from coast to coast.  I also considered new careers.3

Oh yeah, in February, Michael Badnarik announced his presidential candidacy at the Texas Capitol.  I attended. After all, it’s not everyday someone you know runs for president.

All this schmoozing formed the basis for my social life, which has seldom been better. I even managed to date, although I’ve been out of work for about half the year. That put me a sitcom premise, where I have a love life but not an income.4  Granted, the dates usually lasted for the life of a typical sitcom, and sometimes the length of a typical episode, but the important thing is that I’m getting out and meeting new people and having a good time.5

These dates resulted from public events and lucky encounters, exactly what’s not supposed to happen these days.   Meanwhile, I took a relative’s advice and registered with several dating Web sites of dubious utility. I got only one reply, but it wasn’t from a dame. It was some guy from Zimbabwe who wanted me to help move $25 million out of accounts in Dubai for a piece of the action. So it is easier to find money than love. I just made the mistake of playing by someone else’s rules.6

Instead, dancing has been the best way for me to meet attractive women.  It even cheered me up on the darkest day of the year.

My Aunt Rosemary died Oct. 3 in Santa Monica, Calif. It shocked everyone in the family. Ironically, she was a health and fitness enthusiast.

That night, I attended a salsa dance at UT. I’d planned to go well advance of the bad news. Also, I couldn’t do anything to help two time zones away. Mostly, I thought the dance would distract me from the sadness. My plan almost worked. I actually managed to have a good time, although Rosemary’s death stayed on my mind throughout.

The family gathered at my folks’ place this Thanksgiving for the farewell service. It was the first time I’d seen anybody besides my sister in four-and-a-half years.

Otherwise, the holiday was a happy affair, with much of the merriment provided by my niece, Natalie, 20 months, whom I met for the first time.7  She’s a smart kid. Instead of responding with awed gaze, her eyes showed a skeptical sizing up. My sister said she’s advanced for her age. It’s not just a mother’s pride. Natalie already has an extensive vocabulary, as well as a favorable reaction to the family introducing her to dessert and slapstick.

It’s a cliché, but times like those highlight the important things in life, and even provide a sense of hope. Here’s hoping for a better next year.

Season’s greetings,


1Gottlieb, Lori, and Jesse Jacobs, Inside the Cult of Kibu and Other Tales of the Millennial Gold Rush. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Publishing, 2002; Startup.com. Noujaim Films/Pennebaker Hegedus Films, 2001.
2 AD No. 51 (Jun. 24, 2003).
3 AD No. 53 (Jul. 30, 2003).
4 AD No. 53n18.
5 AD No. 53; AD No. 56 (Oct. 1, 2003).
6 AD No. 46 (Feb. 10, 2003); AD No. 48; AD No. 52 (Jul. 13, 2003); AD No. 53; AD No. 56.
7 AD No. 37 (Apr. 25, 2002).