Thursday. The best thing about Thursday is that it's almost Friday. Tomorrow night I will go see Buttercup, get down with my bad self, and then go to K.B.'s birthday throwdown. Saturday I hope to go tubing (also a Bloom event). This may be my last chance for the summer.
Last night with Crackbass and Jackbart I watched a Korean movie called Oldboy which was directed by Chan-wook Park. It was kind of a twisted spin on the old Count of Monte Cristo story with really cool cinematography and some crazy plot twists. It was a pretty good movie, I guess, but the ending was pretty unsatisfying. I guess the movie fell more in the realm of a classic Greek tradgedy than an action or revenge flick. The movie also contained one of the best fight scenes that I've seen in a movie in the last few years (it was done all in one shot, and was the most realistic depiction I've ever seen of one guy taking on like 15 guys in a fight- the scene actually makes it look believable that the protagonist could manage to suffer through such an event and come out victorious). My enjoyment of the movie was also vastly enhanced by the fact that The Pea served us yummy brownies with vanilla ice cream. Jackbart was treated to a short and terrible version of "Happy Birthday".
And how about Austin, kids? This may be just the way that I view our fair city through the lens of my own experience, but it seems that we sure do manage to produce some crazies.
Although Austin doesn't have a particularly high crime or homocide rate, Colton Pitonyak falls in with a long line of Austin nutcases who were not simply content to kill their victims, but felt the need to destroy them in especially macabre and violent ways. Having worked here as a defense attorney for almost seven years, maybe my view of the city has become a bit warped, but it almost seems that there's a bit of a dark side to the "Keep Austin Weird" mantra. Austinites pride themselves on their ability to "think outside the box", and maybe it shouldn't be that surprising that this carries over into the criminal arena as well.
My own, personal experience with some of Austin's stranger crimes came during my time working for Patrick Ganne, a fairly well-known local attorney who had a reputation for handling some particularly notorious and violent clients. During my tenure with Pat, I worked on a case for David Waters, the man accused of dismembering and burying Madelyn Murray O'Hair and her family before turning on his own accomplice and dismembering him in order to make the body less identifiable. Justin Thomas, another one of our clients, was convicted of similarly mutilating the body of his victim, Regina Hartwell, before coercing his girlfriend into helping him take Regina's body to Bastrop and then burning it in a jeep. Another one of our clients, Ahmad McAdoo, along with an accomplice, Derrick Williams, killed Juan Cotera and Brandon Shaw by locking them into a car trunk and sinking the car into Town Lake with the two victims inside it (and that one especially sucked because I had known the victim's brother as an acquaintance from our time at Trinity together). And then there were the Yogurt Shop Murders, which I worked on only in an indirect capacity, helping Jim Sawyer and Berkley Bettis's defense team try to pour through nine years worth of offense reports and investigative notes as they tried to prove that Robert Springsteen didn't help kill four girls and burn down the entire store around them.
The stories go on (I can think of a stripper who went nuts and killed one of her co-workers at a massage parlor with a baseball bat, but believe it or not, I can't even remember her name, and a twenty-something kid who bludgeoned to death a deaf woman who he had picked up in a bar with a tire iron, although I can't remember his name, either), but my point is that lots of weird stuff happens in Austin that isn't just your typical robbery or carjacking stuff or gang members shooting it out. It's not even your depressingly typical out-of-control family violence scenario (although we have some of all of these, as well). Some of the stuff that happens in Austin is just weird. We had Whitman up in the UT Tower in the late '60s and Bob Kleason chopping up Mormon missionaries with a band saw back in the early '70s (which was, incidentally, another Pat Ganne case, but long before my time). I guess this stuff has always gone on.
I'm not sure what the point of that whole little speech was, except to say that as I've been walking around this week listening to people talk about this whole Pitonyak/Cave case and asking, "Can you believe this?", in the back of my mind I keep thinking, "Yeah, I can, man. This is Austin..."