Archive for October, 2004

Da Wurst

The 44th annual Wurstfest begins in New Braunfels this Friday, October 29th and runs until Sunday, November 7th. I first started going to this festival when I was at UT in the early 90’s. Now that I’ve got a family, it’s become our fall tradition. It gets pretty crazy on weekend nights, so we’ve taken to going on the last Sunday when it’s a little less crowded and the kids can have fun. We also go that day because we can see Jimmy Sturr. I’d link to his site, but his home page blasts one of his songs at you as soon as it loads with no clear way of silencing it and I don’t want to encourage such behavior. What Jimmy lacks in web savvy, he more than makes up for in polka. You can catch him Saturday night at 9:30 or Sunday morning at 11:30 in the Wursthalle.

Free is good, especially when you have kids

We had family in town this weekend and were deciding on lunch options. In the end, we picked Zen because their food is healthier than the average fast food, they’re conveniently located and, more importantly, kids eat free there on Wednesday evenings and all day Sunday. Since I can’t find a decent listing elsewhere, I thought I’d do a quick list of kids eat free offers around town that I’m aware of and let people comment on ones that I miss.


  • Hangtown (360 just south of Bee Caves)


  • Zuzu (Mopac & 2222)


  • Zen (All locations)
  • EZ’s (40th & Lamar and Bee Caves just west of Mopac)
  • Texadelphia (15th and San Antonio location only)


  • Zen (All locations)

North Austin lunch institution destroyed by fire

When I started working in North Austin 4 years ago, one of the first places my co-workers took me to was Dot’s. As many of you may have heard, Dot’s was destroyed in a fire early Wednesday morning. I’ll have to admit that the building itself always looked a little suspect, but it had character and the food was amazing. It was home cooking served cafeteria-style. The only other local home cooking place that I think compares is Hoover’s over on the east side.

Dot had let her fire insurance lapse because of the cost, so rebuilding will probably require community support. I’m no fan of insurance companies, but this is an example where it’s a necessary evil, a point driven home for me earlier this week when my mother-in-law got into a minor accident in one of our cars.

Beerland & KVRX Election Evening Party


After you spend a long day at work or school and take the time to vote, Beerland and KVRX have a special evening for you. The night of Tuesday, November 2, they are having their party to express their appreciation of those who took the time to participate in America’s democratic system. Cue, Attack Formation, Tia Carrera and My Education are all playing, the show is free if you bring your “I Voted!” sticker, and Beerland always has cheap beer. That and the music should be perfect for anxiously watching the results as they spill across the TV screen. It’s definitely better than pacing around your living room! If you’ve never been to or heard of Beerland, it’s located at 711 1/2 Red River, in between Red-Eyed Fly and Elysium.

In the footsteps of the Incas


In 20 hours I leave for Peru. It’s a trip that I have been obsessing about since Shirley MacLaine came out with her book “Out On Limb.” At the time I was in my early 20’s and joined the new age fad that was big at the time. I hung out at the original Book People location and bought many crystals in their shop. Now 20 years later I’m a bit more cynical and I have traveled to many places as a photographer but I could never get the images of Machu Picchu out of my head. It is like the scene from Close Encounters where Richard Dreyfuss starts building mash potato mountains–which look very similar to Machu Picchu. I have been planning this particular trip for more than eight months–studying the history of Incas, watching Peruvian films (Pantaleon y las Visitadoras is great), listening to the soul of black Peru, and getting travel shots (Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Altitude pills, and Flu).

This last weekend was amazing. I was laid off from my job on Friday and as I was starting to get very sad for myself I was wisked away by friends who took me to Malaga. Oversized pitchers of Sangaria were consumed along with olives, bread, cheeses and other assortments of tapas delights. Then there was early dancing at Oilcan Harry’s while well-built men in tight form-fitting fancy underwear stood on ledges dancing for attention and cash. Next we were off to the Red Fez for Mojitos, an amazing mint and Rum drink, and three rounds of hookah flavors–mango, banana-strawberry, and rose. The following morning was rough due to the mixing of drinks but we headed over to the mystical Apple store in Barton Creek for a few trip accessories then to see The Motorcycle Diaries–which is based on collective novels of Che Guevara and others. It is about his travels across South America as a young lad full of ideals and wanderlust. There is a scene in the film where he ascends to Intipunku, door of the sun, and looks out across Machu Picchu. I could hardly catch my breath knowing I would be standing there in a few days trekking the same trail during the final lunar eclipse of our lifetime.

Now, in just a few hours.

Out of town on a rail or a bus or…

For those of us that have managed to decide the larger contest facing us this November 2nd, I thought I’d turn our attention to what’s shaping up to be a big local issue, Capital Metro’s All Systems Go rail plan.

The Austin Chronicle has posted some of their take on it already. I’m guessing that the next couple of Chronicles before the election will have more information. The chief opponent of the current plan is Mike Dahmus. He’s got several posts on his blog over the past couple of months about why he thinks this is not the plan that should be approved. There’s some great discussion there and I think he presents a compelling case.

Those of you who have been in town a few years will remember that, despite some vocal support, a light rail plan was narrowly defeated in November of 2000. If you’ve made up your mind already, early voting started this week. Get out there and do your thing.

In searching for a few links for this post, I also found some people who advocate a Monorail for Austin. The idea may have merit, but all I can think of is the classic Simpsons episode.

The secret to apartment hunting

After living in Austin for six years, I’ve found the secret to finding a good, cheap apartment. Don’t use just one apartment locating service, call all of them. In my current search for new digs, I’ve talked to two guys that assured me that they have the inside scoop on the best cheap studio in Austin, only to call the next guy who has the scoop on something cheaper, in a better location, with better lease terms. So my advice to anyone seeking a cheap apartment is: call every agent in the book.

Yet Another Typical Austin Weekend…

There is, let’s be honest here, just too much fun to have/see/do in Austin this weekend (poor pitiful us, right?). The Austin Film Festival has been going great guns since Thursday evening, with a couple of screenings this afternoon we’re looking forward to immensely — Katsuhiro Otomo’s mind-bogglingly gorgeous anime “Steamboy” and James Wan’s “Saw,” an powerful horror show starring no less than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself, Cary Elwes (who was going to be in attendance but has cancelled for unknown reasons). Last night held a blistering live show from PhD punk rockers Bad Religion which was followed, we kid you not, by old skool hiphoppery from De La Soul right across the street. During lunch today at the lovely and historic Driskill Hotel we eyeballed everyone from Garry Shandling to Shane “The Last Action Hero and all four Lethal Weapons” Black, and, we could only presume, a raft of soon to be outrageously successful screenwriters madly downing espresso shots and trying in vain to manage the requisite festival hangovers. And to top it off, today is Blue Dog Rescue’s “Dogtoberfest” at the Arts District pub The Ginger Man ( for all the particulars).

Dogs, beer, film, and more dogs. Is this heaven or what? (However, we really need to get working on that 36-hour-day proposal to add much-needed sleeping time to Austin’s madhouse social schedule…).

It’s all relative.

I have to laugh when, in my daily blog trawl, one of the authors makes a comment about roasting in the heat, then mentions it’s 80 degrees outside. For me, that’s just about perfect.

No offense meant to anyone who lives in a cooler climate. Folks for whom 80 degrees is hot are not usually living with the same concentration of air conditioning that we do in Texas (though not everyone who needs a fan or air conditioner has one). In the everydayness of life, I find it quite easy to forget what ‘normal’ is for other places. Just as some people aren

Eric Gibbons Art Opening Monday Oct 18th


Eric Gibbons, a local painter who was named one of the 10 local artists to watch in the Chronicle last spring, has an opening in San Marcos on Monday, October 18th from 5-7pm. The show is in the gallery of the Mitte Art Building at Texas State University. The building is located at the corner of Sessoms & Comanche- coming from IH-35, exit Aquarena Springs & turn right on Sessoms. If you are motivated to go and like art, the show will be a treat. Eric has a distinctive style, and his work is honestly wonderful to experience. He will be going places, and this is a chance to see him before he’s too famous to be approachable…

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