Ex Austin Dispatches
No. 11
Jan. 11, 2000

Greetings and Salutations from the Lone Star State, y’all.

 Yes, I've returned to Texas after a pleasant interlude in Phoenix.

I'm working as a technical writer at MCI WorldCom Developers Lab1 in Richardson. The lab tests telephone systems for actual or potential customers. I write test plans and evaluation reports, and maintain the Intranet site.

The lab is nestled in "Telecom Corridor," a.k.a. U.S. Highway 75,2  between Dallas and Plano. (The latter is America’s former teen suicide capital and its present teen heroin-use capital, according to D Magazine.)3

I'll miss my former co-workers at Avnet, the ethnic eateries of Phoenix ... and even the barnburner (but that's another story for another time). Still, it's nice to be home. Plus, the money's better.4

The new job offer was a timely, desirable gift for my 30th birthday. Maybe I can experience middle age5 with some measure of financial comfort. Meanwhile, I’ll continue my campaign to relocate to Austin.6 I’m very close to achieving that goal; I’ll crush the remaining obstacles like a Chechen village.7

In another coincidence, my relocation allowed me to attend the Rossi-Martinez wedding in Houston last month.8 Next to New Year’s Eve, it was the social event of 1999. But what is one to make of a ceremony where the minister cracks wise?

Far clearer is my Christmas Day visit to the Kennedy assassination site.  Dealey Plaza’s a lot smaller than I thought. The Grassy Knoll is about as large as most contemporary subdivision front lawns. The plaza itself is a boring piece of good-enough-for-government-work concrete built during the New Deal and now slathered in pigeon shit.9

Nearby is the Kennedy Memorial Plaza, intended to evoke the accomplishments of the Kennedy administration, according to the explanatory plaque. The whole thing is an expensive, big, featureless, open concrete box with shallow steps that people kept tripping on – and it also is slathered in pigeon shit. And thus probably more apt a symbol of the Kennedy years than its boosters intended.10

But life – not even my life – is an endless succession of mad scrambles for money and snide commentary. The 1990s ended on a high note for me as I celebrated New Year’s Eve in style at Club Babalu, an upscale Latin nightclub in Dallas. I salsa’d with a succession of senoritas in slinky cocktail dresses (and sold seashells by the seashore). It was my best New Year's in years.11


1 Higgins, Kelly Jackson. “MCI Developers Lab Goes Live with Frame Relay.” Network Computer 1 Jul. 1998: 72+; Kline, Laurie. “Deep in the Technology of Texas.” TT July 2000: 34-36.
2 Gosdin, Melissa. “Another Verse.” TT July 2000: 8; Kline, op. cit.; Teuke, Molly Rose. “Job Outlook: Dallas/Fort Worth.” CP Sep. 2000: 54-56+.
3 Keasler, Misty, and Kimberly Goad. “The Shooter.” D Dec. 1999: 82-89; Precker, Michael. “Area Cities Judged Tops for Women.” DMN 28 Jan. 2000: 1C.
4 EAD No. 5 (June 1999); EAD No. 6 (July 1999); Taraborrelli, J. Randy. Sinatra: Behind the Legend. Secaucus, N.J.: Birch Lane Press, 1997: 229.
5 Nina Munk. “Finished at Forty.” Fortune 1 Feb. 1999: 50; Webster’s, 858.
6 EAD No. 4 (24 March 1999)
7 Williams, Daniel. “Russian Units Blast Way Into Grozny.” WP 19 Jan. 2000: A17.
8 Rossi, Frank. “DIE AOL POND SCUM.” E-mail to Dan Eisler. 5 Jan. 1999.
9 McCarty, Kathy. “The JFKonspiracy.” AC 10 Nov. 2000: 42-43; “Spotlight: Remembering JFK.” Greater Dallas Travelhost Nov./Dec. 1999: L17.
10 AAA Texas TourBook. Heathrow, Fla.: AAA Publishing, 1998: 72.
11 “2000: Too Grand!!” DMN 1 Jan. 2000: 1A+.