The theme of this year's BNAT was THX 1138.
We completed a questionnaire and, as an added twist, applicants were also required to send in an original picture that connected to the George Lucas classic. We figured Photoshop was not an option (although it turned out some people used it) so we had to get creative. This is what we sent in:
Brian as Blue Man One.
Yours truly as Blue Man Two.
It worked, so Friday, December 11th, 5:30 a.m. found us on a shuttle to LAX.
We had a connecting flight in Phoenix. That airport was built for lazy people (i.e. us) with the conveyor sidewalks.
As we were getting on the plane to Austin I offered Brian the window seat because I had enjoyed it from Los Angeles. Unfortunately for him, fate chose to mock Brian.
Brian climbed on the luggage conveyer to get a picture with the sweet guitars.
Oh yeah, Austin was cold.
I tried to scare the crap out of Brian. I failed.
The $0.75 Airport Flyer took us into town.
We rolled into the Hilton Garden Inn.
This place was pretty cool.
It was a mystery why the price was so low.
The freeway outside our window might have been a clue, while the complimentary earplugs on the nightstand may have been another.
Brian spied another possible reason:
We headed to 6th street for lunch. We tried out The Jackalope because, hey, nothing says good food like a giant Ouija board on the wall.
Any place with a Bruce Lee sculpture framed by a disco ball on the ceiling and a marlin on the wall has got some promise.
We found a booth right next to a Big Buck Safari video game, complete with shotguns to bring down the big game.
No establishment of class is complete without black velvet boobies.
That's right, a big screen TV playing some old movie next to a suit of armor.
The Jackalope even had an outside patio in the back.
We played a game of pool while waiting for our food.
Per usual California Fats put on a clinic.
Can you say hustled?
Brian made his waffle fries bleed. BTW, this place had some seriously delicious food.
On the way out I bid adieu to my new lady.
Brian bid adieu to his healthy colon.
Later that night we headed for the BNAT pre-party.
We rolled into The Highball around 7:30.
We were met by Harry, who took his picture in a fierce Captain America mask.
Two of the eight bowling lanes were reserved for BNATters. The awesome Highball staff set us up.
Brian showed his Lebowskish form.
I think of myself as more Dudesque.
Yes, that's how Brian rolls.
Let the record show that Lefty was using his right hand.
The Highball's bowling pin-shaped beers impressed Brian.
We met Sir Joseph Burke from Australia and Kim Jorgensen from Denmark.
Filip Tegstedt (right) came in from Sweden again for another BNAT. He posted some of his own pix on Live Journal.
It quickly became apparent they don't bowl much in Sweden when Filip nearly shattered his foot when he dropped the ball.
The Danish, however, brought it.
Holly Blain (right) again made the trek from Atlanta without a ticket. She even talked her friend Jennah into leaving the ATL for a 24-hour cinematic experience, again, sans ticket. That's faith in the power of the standby line. (And, yes, they both made it in.)
Britany Walker was part of the awesome Highball wait staff.
We ran into Harry's wife, Patricia, and Dominique, the official BNAT videographer.
Harry's father, Jay, chilled at the main table.
We bowled a lot.
Harry left soon after to post his fake BNAT list on AICN.
I stuck just my camera into one of the karaoke rooms as this guy was throwing down Bon Jovi something fierce.
This dude was legit even through the window.
We met Peter, Alyssa and Antonio.
We ran into Tim League, founder of the Alamo Drafthouse, and his wife Karrie. More on Tim later.
We met up with our seatmates from BNAT X, Karrie Stotts and Karen Ow.
I met baby Quincy who shared the same taste in head wear and myself.
I don't know what he's crying about; I'm the one dressed like a baby.
Welcome to BNAT.
Meet Brian and Tony. I thought Tony looked like a cross between Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Ron Weasley.
Brian, Karen, Mindy and Marcus.
I don't even remember this picture being taken.
We hobnobbed with Elijah Woods. Get it?
As did Katie and Karen.
The Highball was jumping.
I love the decor.
People enjoyed themselves.
Around 9:30 we decided to call it a night.
We headed back to 6th Street where Brian found some Austin memorabilia for his kids.
How did they know?
Brian enjoyed a snack.
So we were on the other side of Austin and who do we see? Tim League in an animated conversation with a couple of police officers. We thought maybe he was being rousted by the fuzz. I, of course, had to snap a picture.
What's funnier, the wide-eyed look of surprise of the cop's face, or Tim's "What, me worry?" grin and wave?
After a good night's sleep (the earplugs saved me from both the freeway traffic and Brian's freeway snoring) and a refreshing shower I was ready for many hours of awesome movies.
Wait a minute, something's amiss....
Never, ever turn your back on this guy.
A little rain could not put a damper on my excitement.
Brian was ready unleash his movie-watching ninja skills.
8 a.m. in Austin is a lonely place.
It was too early for death metal pizza.
We kept hearing that the Iron Cactus had great breakfast. Too bad they didn't actually open until 10 a.m.
Although Brian mocked me for my requisite Capitol building shot, I still think it's cool.
Corey Miller stayed here the weekend before. He must have used some of that CSI: Miami coin to afford the fancy digs.
After asking around one of the locals suggested the Taco Shack for breakfast.
Poor Brian's breakfast burrito couldn't measure up to mine.
Taco Shack ladies.
We caught a Rasta cab to The Highball (not to mention a contact high).
Back at The Highball for BNAT check-in.
We picked up our badges...
...and swag bags.
Chris Moore and his lady showed off their BNAT 1138 badges.
Joe and Kim arrived soon after.
Everyone intently perused their BNAT yearbooks.
The Alamo Drafthouse beckoned.
The ladies showed off some swag.
People continued to arrive.
Tony/Dave/Ron was stoked.
The lobby was filled with anxious BNATters.
This included Brian.
We met Jessica Griffis, Allison Bohlman, and Lisa Rucker. Jessica and Lisa had driven many hours from Mississippi right after work, while Allison came in last night from Huntsville, Alabama.
Allison proudly showed off her ingenuity by bringing her hotel pillow with her to Buttnumbathon.
They were interviewing people for a BNAT documentary of sorts.
Harry and his dad were at the head of the line preparing for BNAT 1138.
We saw Tim League getting ready to open the Mondo Tees shop. Either he wasn't arrested the night before or he was quick to post bail. In any event he made it for BNAT.
Brian poses with pride.
Brian took a picture with Brady because he thought he looked like John Saxon.
I was impressed by Cheryl's poncho.
How was I supposed to play Donkey Kong in the crowded lobby?
Let's do this.
Harry sat us next to Matt, another Blue Man. Bonus points to Matt for his Tobias version: yes, he blue himself.
On our other side sat two brothers, Tim and Chris Smith from Dallas. Tim is a senior at USC (Fight On!) studying film while Chris is a junior at the University of Texas (Go Horns!) also studying film. Very cool guys.
Perrin told me a couple of funny repelling accident stories.
I was digging Daniel's style.
Later that night we stretched our legs between movies.
I took a picture of Bryce and Ryan.
This sign holds many awesome memories for me.
The early morning hours brought another discussion/smoke break.
This was one way to un-numb the butt.
After the debut of the awesome new superhero movie Kick Ass we talked for a minute with one of the stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka McLovin, Augie, and now Red Mist. (BTW, in another sign of how old I'm getting, this kid was born on the day of my high school graduation. Jesus.)
Brian sported his new Kick Ass hat.
Brian got a picture (and a licking) with Cargill.
We had to get a photo with one of the managers at the Alamo, sporting the sweetest 'stache in the joint.
The post-BNAT carnage.
Harry went Phantom of the Opera on the same organ Graham Reynolds used during the showing of the classic 1926 silent Faust. All I heard after BNAT was how incredible The Lovely Bones, Shutter Island, Kick Ass and Avatar each were in their own respects, but my favorite individual experience was easily Faust.
I made a collage of the films we were most fortunate to see. I like the way John Gholson wrote up the experience so I'll just link his review.
The theater was cleared out and Harry opened his presents outside.
Nearly 27 hours of movies made Brian giddy.
No one wanted to leave.
Unfortunately, we had a flight back to reality to catch.
Pimpin' ain't easy and it sure is tiring.
I picked up a little something for the wifey. (This was especially necessary because not only did she make us one of her magic chocolate chip cookie batches for the trip, but she included a healthy container full for Harry.)
Besides the cool BNAT poster we each got sweet The Good, The Bad and The Ugly posters signed by the artist Justin Reed. I think we definitely got the best one, although the Pulp Fiction one is pretty sweet, too.
We enjoyed some nachos and carne asada tacos before the last leg of our journey home.
Brian threw down his best pre-Tiberius Shatner...
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet!"