Budgeting Past Midnight
The Capitol Press Corps banded together for a marathon day/night on the House floor Thursday. Representatives began debating HB 1, the general appropriations bill at 9am Thursday... but didn't approve it until 3am Friday morning --- SEVENTEEN HOURS later.

Our friend Harvey treated everyone to pizza around the time members got to page 74 of the 304 pages of amendments. These are some of the state's top political journalists doing what they do best... chowing down really fast before something important happens on the House floor.

(Note the Wheat Thins in my purse. I snuck them past the Sergeant-at-Arms so I could snack and work at the same time.)
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What the Fudge?

Craven and I were eating at Austin's best place for french fries when he noticed something odd on the dessert menu. "1886 Chocolate Brownie"? Were the brownies especially good in 1886? Or were these brownies preserved since 1886? WTF?
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Sex Offender Car Burglar Update
Who's dumb now? After the cops got their hands on the sex offender registry card the car burglar accidentally left behind, the cops somehow LOST THE CARD. Dumb... and dumber.
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Dumb Doesn't Even Describe It
Some cars have been broken into at our capitol office parking garage this week. I think the police are about to nab the burglar though. Last night, he accidentally left his SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY CARD in the car he broke into.

Again, I didn't make this up.
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Manic Monday
1.) Grrrr. Not only do I still get The Statesman, which I quit subscribing to, I got two new phone books on my doorstep. Somebody make it stop!

2.) I'm walking up the south steps to the Capitol. A Hispanic looking dude comes out of a town car. He looks somewhat familiar. Then he comes closer and I realize it's New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, only about 25 pounds thinner than he looks on TV.

Me: Hey Governor.
Him: How are you? I remember you from an event!
Me: No, you must just think all Asians look alike.
Him: Are you sure we haven't met?
Me: Yep.

3.) After work I go to Whole Foods HQ to buy myself some pizza. (This seems sort of paradoxical but let's just ignore that.) In line, I run into an ambiguously gay state lawmaker, accompanied by a dude wearing a muscle shirt. I don't think it's ambiguous anymore.

OH, ALSO!!! Dan and I learned while eavesdropping on a conversation yesterday that Kirsten Dunst was hit by a car (but not injured) while in town for SXSW.
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It's Monday, Time for Men of the Week One Day Late
Chris Vogn@r, my movie critic houseguest
D@n, award winning copy-editor
Alberto Gone-zales?

And the Snippet from Stiles
(Picks up a bag of balloons you make balloon animals with that's laying around my living room.)

Stiles: Can I keep this? I'll make balloon dogs and throw them at the cats, they'll love it.
Me: You know how to make a balloon dog?
Stiles: Yep.
Me: You know how. How do you know how?
Stiles: I learned at camp. I can make a mean bead bracelet, too.
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Our Night with Don and Adam
Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler have a new film coming out, Reign Over Me. Craven and I went to the film's SXSW screening last night, and so did Don and Adam. Don looked a lot like SNL's Tim Meadows. He admitted he gets confused for him a lot.

Sandler, on Austin landmark Stubbs: "I like Stubbs. Good ribs. Good people. Good chicken. Good men's room."
Me, on their movie: "I liked Reign Over Me. Good acting. Good soundtrack. Good story."
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Scenes from My Monday

As if the Filet o' Fish wasn't bad enough, now there's the DOUBLE FILET O' FISH???

(Okay, so, the fact I took this picture this morning places me at the scene of a McDonald's drive-thru, which is both embarrassing and morally questionable. But as Britney Spears said, "I would like to be called an inspiration to people, not a role model -- because I make mistakes like everybody else.")

Later in the day I found Jesus. On a girl's belt buckle. At yet another free booze/free food bash. In that moment, my moral confusion about eating at McDonald's and the mental frenzy caused by the Double Filet O' Fish just vanished.
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What Would Jesus Buy? Nothing at Walmart.
The festival's kickin'. The films are bitchin'. I feel like ditchin'... work to go to more parties.

Tonight some friends of mine - along with twelve hundred others - went to the world premiere of a new film produced by Morgan Spurlock, the Super Size Me dude. It's called What Would Jesus Buy?, and it's about how the commercialization of Christmas is robbing our souls... and a group of people crusading to stop it.

The filmmakers follow "Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping" as they take on the evils of overconsumption by going on a Stop Shopping mission across the country. They get thrown out of more Walmarts, Starbucks and malls in America than I could count. And it had us thinking -- and laughing -- all the way.
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Men of the Week: Survivors
Morgan Spurlock, survives a month of McDonald's, premieres new film at SXSW
Bob Woodruff, survives roadside bomb
Patrick Fitzgerald, survives Scooter Libbyliciousness

Snippet from Stiles: Hauling Ass to Austin
"I haven't seen them since Daytona Beach in 1992! I'll take a half-day off work so I can make it. I'm gonna know every word to every song." -on the upcoming free Public Enemy concert on Friday
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March Madness
Austin's been invaded by artists, hipsters and an array of geeky interactive types, as the annual South by Southwest Film/Music/Interactive festival gets going. Free live music and free beer everywhere. A good 14,348 different parties going on at once. The Austin Chron explains:
Ah, drinking for free. My favorite kind of drinking. How can this be accomplished? Well, one thing that happens during SXSW is that various music-related businesses – such as record labels and publishers and agencies – have parties where bands play and there is a keg.Throwing advertising dollars to the wind is the order of the day.
So after work, the free food/booze extravaganza I selected was at Lance Armstrong's bar, Six.

Me: Karen, do you want to come to this party with me after work?
KB: Yeah, but I won't get done with work until six thirty.
Me: That's fine.
KB: Where is it?
Me: Six.
KB: No, I can't go until six thirty.

Film week comes before music. So for opening night, I attended a showing of American Zombie, a mockumentary about the "living dead" among us -- zombies have feelings too. The cast and director took questions afterward, and handed out "Deadstrong" bracelets.

More SXSW blogging to come, when I'm not day-drinking.
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Sexual Dealings
Every single capitol reporter is now on the "rampant-sex-abuse-at-state-juvenile-jails" beat. It's just like the Astronaut Love Triangle story, only, not at all. Except that it's a story that keeps on giving. Today a guard got fired from one of the state facilites, because the juvenile prison guard WAS A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER.
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Oh Hey!
It's March Fourth. The only date that's also a sentence.
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Cruel Timing
The same week the Texas legislature started debating Jessica's Law --which toughens penalties for child sex offenders-- a sex abuse scandal within the state's juvenile prison facilities blew up. It turns out state officials were molesting teen inmates, then covering up their crimes for years. You can't even make this stuff up.
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Men of the Week Time!
Martin Scorsese
Senator J0hn Whitmire
Statesman reporter J@son Embry*
The heads of TXU energy

*Mr. Embry has long been waiting for the honor of MOTW to be bestowed upon him. We may just have to have a celebration honoring J@son's selection.
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Newspapers: You Can't Even Give Them Away
Last year, my New York Times subscription wouldnt come, no matter how many times I complained. Eventually I just canceled my subscription. Now, I have the opposite problem.

I recently canceled my subscription to the Austin American Statesman, because I realized I read everything I want to know online before I even opened the paper. For a month, they stopped delivering it to me.

Then, yesterday morning, IT CAME BACK. I scooted it over to my neighbor's door in the morning.

When I came home last night, she had scooted it back to my doorstep. It came back again this morning, and I'm not sure what to do next...
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