Archive for December, 2004

Free for ten dollars; priceless at fifteen

Buying ten dollars’ worth of anything at the Hong Kong Supermarket up on Research will get the patron an extremely handsome 2005 calendar for the year of the rooster. It’s super-large, too large to fit a home scanner. The cover and each of the six pages display handsome images of poultry. At the Hong King Market, there’s also quite a good selection of greeting cards for the lunar new year.

Fifteen dollars is all it takes to hear the Cornell Hurd Band tonight at Jovita’s, playing from 9 pm to 1 am. This is where I’d be tonight if it were going to be that kind of evening. This is the band with a huge and eclectic repertory and all the good humor in the world, playing at a true South Austin location.

The other tempting and competing deal would be Alvin Crow at the Broken Spoke, but that’s probably already sold out.

My personal best past new year’s eves in Austin? All the Joe Ely shows at the Opry House, plus the giant super-freebie multi-band event downtown to bring in Y2K.

Government compare and contrast

The campaign season for the Austin city council is rolling. Events are popping up all over the place. I’d vote for a candidate promising truly open government. Just look at something as simple as a telephone directory. For over a decade, the State of Texas has offered a complete and regularly updated on-line telephone directory. It shows the names and titles of the “top” people at each agency, offers some sense of the structure of the agency, and lists the names and telephone numbers of all employees of the agency. In most agencies, the telephone numbers given are direct, other than those for a select group with screened calls. The City of Austin, no matter what the agency, for the most part offers little more than a general number for most departments. The person answering the phone doesn’t like to reveal to what direct line a call is transferred, and some City employees do not rush to give their names unless directly asked for them. Here’s a comparison: the City law department and the State attorney general’s office. The State directory is highly searchable, including by employee name. There was a time when any given City department showed more information than it now does. Why the change?

A Boobah Enters My Life

Jingbah

On the The Ellen DeGeneres Show last week she showed a Dancing Boobah. When she squeezed its hand to make it dance, instead of dancing and playing music—it farted. Caught off-guard Ellen nearly fell out of her chair laughing and said “It did not do that in rehearsal.” TiVo was rewound about 20 time to watch the Boobah fart and see Ellen’s reaction.

So… guess what I got for the holidays—that’s correct—my own pink Dancing Boobah named Jingbah that does indeed–fart. The toy is for 2 years and up–the up would be me. It also plays 11 different songs and dances. I have come to love the reggae dance with a fart in the middle of the song. Intrigued I watched the actual Boobah show on PBS to find out what our 2-year-olds are learning. I was a little freaked out but at the same time I could not stop watching the bright colors and feeling very hypnotized. The Boobah’s did not fart on the TV show nor on the Boobah Zone website but they do fart on the PBS site…enjoy.

My Austin Reference List

Local Info

Google Austin

Craig’s List Austin

Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau

News & Blogs

Austin Independent Media Center

Weblogsky–Jon Lebkowsky’s blog

Austin Bloggers

Buddha_is

David Nunez’s Blog

Danger Chicks–a blog of questions & answers

Cicada: something wicked this way hums

Rantomat League of Luddites

On UT Campus Today

Texas Triangle–Gay & lesbian news

Austin Film Casting News

Austin American-Statesman–General city news

Austin Business Journal–Business news

The Austin Chronicle–Music, film, art, local and political news

The Daily Texan– UT news

Education

Austin Public Library

The University of Texas at Austin

Informal Classes

ACC Continuing Education

Activities

Austin Wireless Hotspots

Austin Explorer–Get Outside

RunTex Running Events

Central Market Cooking Classes

Alamo Draft House–the best movie theater in Austin

Austin Film Society

Austin Film Festival–with a focus on screenwriting

Performing Arts Center

Zach Scott Theater

AusTix–cheap theater, music & dance tickets

Capitol Macintosh Group

World Dance & Music with Zein

Austin Hash House Harriers–Old English game involving beer and running

Motorblade Postering–Fritz teaches inline skating & is the one who delivers posters around town.

Austin Club Skirt--Yahoo list for Lesbian women in Austin

Austin Freecycle–Yahoo list for giving and receiving free stuff

Shambhala Meditation Center

Jobs & Networking

Employers in Austin

Freelance Austin

Job List

Jobs at UT

Craig’s List Job Listings

Her Domain Austin–This is THE list to join for women in tech

Women in Communications

Austin Advertising Federation–just ad people

Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation

Capitol Crowd–Political registry for participants of Texas government

FYI Austin–Austin’s International newsletter

Austin XL–Tech newsletter & high tech happy hours

Shopping & Eating

Waterloo Records Top 50 Austin CD’s of the week

Soup Peddler–Warm goodness delivered to your door via his bike

Dining Out with Rob Balon

The soap with its own ZIP code

Or should it be the ZIP code with its own soap? At any rate, the Austin Natural Soap company makes 78704 (78704-scented? -flavored?) soap. On line it’s listed as a component of the Austin Power soap selection, along with bars called Night on 6th, Barton Springs Eternal, Hippie Hollow, Silicon Cowboy, and Tie-Dye. As described where sold separately, 78704 soap may be made from the combined scrag-ends of other soaps. This soap was seen at the south Central Market today and was new to me.

Chow lines

Lines of people waiting to dine were seen outdoors at Katz’s, IHOP, Furr’s, Luby’s, Marco Polo, and Threadgill’s. Marco Polo was doing its usual Saturday dim sum, according to a neighbor who goes along with a group on this day. Although there was no line, many were the vehicles parked in an otherwise deserted little strip mall, obviously dining at La Playa Mariscos. This looks like a place to try. H-E-B and City Markets were closed, along with HoFu, but Albertson’s and Randall’s stores were jumping. CVS (formerly Eckerd drugstores) and Walgreen’s were jammed. BookPeople seemed to have a lot of tourists seeking Austin souvenirs. Right now, BookPeople has very fresh Black Jack and Beeman’s Pepsin gum in stock, plus Teaberry, but no Clove. After picking up the few items sought, we rushed back to be home for the game. We spotted but didn’t take time to stop at the Santa Rosa carnitas truck at the Aquarius pulga on Pleasant Valley, but someday we will. When we have time, the truck’s not there; when we don’t, it is. This is the one that always has customers, the one with the dancing pigs painted on the side.

Mercury falls, pressure drops

This is the best time for the temperatures to be low for those of us without central heating. This household relies on one old floor furnace (just a burner under the floor, really, with a hot-air register on top of it) for most of our household heat. Christmas has taken many out of town, so there aren’t so many around to use natural gas, and the pressure, although it has dropped some, with resultant lower flames, isn’t so low as it would be were schools in session and more people here in Austin. We haven’t even turned on the gas fireplace, and the gas pilots and burners on the stove, while lower than they were a day or two ago, don’t take forever to get water hot for coffee or hot tea. Wind-gusts blew open a transom or two, but they’re now shimmed with some cardboard to keep them shut. Upstairs isn’t heated at all, but the retained heat from the bright sun yesterday has kept it rather toasty. The house is full of geraniums and nasturtiums in pots, brought in to protect them from the frigid air. Cold as it has been so far, even now there are tender plants in sheltered spots that haven’t succumbed. Yeast dinner rolls are in the electric oven right now. They smell great and so does all the greenery. We probably won’t even have to fire up the wood stove. We’ll know it’s cold when we have to dig out the gloves that leave fingertips bare for wearing indoors. The Shiner beer thermometer at the cold end of downstairs reads 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Tonight will be the real test, because the ground has been cooling. The plumbers haven’t been sighted, so neighborhood pipes must be holding up well. After tonight’s preducted lows, the story may be different in the morning.

Oh joy…The Real World comes to Austin.

First off, my apoligies for being absent on the boards recently. I had a bout with some nasty virus that had me laid out for a while. That and trying to get caught up at work has left me little to blog away.

At any rate, according to the Statesman, MTV’s The Real World is set to come to Austin. I guess for some this is a good thing. I suppose the cast and crew will spend some money here, and Austin will be showcased as a good place to live. But in reality, I’m not all that thrilled with this announcement. I suppose it might be better to say I’m ambivalent, but I can’t work up any excitement.

What say the rest of you? Good? Bad? Eh?

Sk8red

I just noticed that the City Council has amended the ordinance banning skateboarding to include the new city hall. They’ve posted photos of the damage that prompted the amendment. Some of it does look pretty bad, particularly the bottom center photo where people have clearly been doing grinds and leaving behind a fair amount of paint.

As the press release mentions, this highlights the need for a skatepark in Austin and skaters will soon get their wish. Our local park, Mabel Davis, is finally undergoing remediation for the contaminated landfill on which it sits. If memory serves, the park has been closed for four years since the discovery of pesticide and broken car battery cases in different parts of the park. The history and details of the situation are too long for me to go into here, but the cleanup will result in the loss of much of the tree cover in the park, making it an ideal candidate for a long-planned city-sponsored skate park. I think it’s a really cool addition to the neighborhood and expect that my six-year-old is going to have a great time with it once it opens next fall.

Art in commerce

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Art in Austin includes some handsome commercial displays. One sign of the season is the array in front of GSD&M on the way to Sweetish Hill, particularly the stack of armadillos placing the star atop the lighted tree (the work of Blue Genie art). While walking from a few streets away to the fabulous Gardens, I caught the new sign for the orthodontist next door, a frog agleam with braces. At Gardens, the temptations were many, but were resisted, apart from the nonpareil stock of nasturtium seeds, particularly climbing (or trailing, if preferred) varieties. I never fail to visit the display of terra cotta pots. They’re always modeled by the light just as though they were an art lesson. And I love the Whip-In sign for Ruta Maya. If there’s an artist’s credit for it, I didn’t see it.
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