Archive for November, 2005

Skipped, and missing perfection

Everybody with plans to skip town for the holiday has pretty much done it. Austin’s so wonderful when those who leave for holidays have gone. Life is once again replete with small-town pleasures. The bells can be heard. Neighbors are out strolling and greeting. This evening I can smell cooking everywhere, and it’s about time for this household to get a meal together and enjoy it outdoors. The weather’s perfect and it will be a wonderful evening for sitting out and watching the skies darken and the heavens sparkle. All is peaceful in Austin, right here, right now.

We’re expanding

And it’s not from early holiday pigging out…

Metroblogging just added Vancouver and Islamabad to our little global family. Go check them out and say hello.

Where in Austin?

8 MileIt’s time once again when you, the studio audience, get to join in the fun of blogging without the extreme physical danger or financial risk usually associated with the sport. The game is simple: I show you a picture of an Austin location, you guess where it is. Or not. Either way, I take up space on the Austin Metblogs front page for a week or so and everyone’s happy. Or not.

We’ll start off with minimal description, and I’ll provide leads periodically until someone gets it or a tryptophan O.D. shuts down the give-a-shit receptors in my brain. This location is within the city limits, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Eminem. But in that spirit, I will say that you’ve got to lose yourself if you’re going to find this spot.

The game is afoot!

Casino El Camino 11th Anniversary Party

It happens the same night every year. The Casino El Camino 11th Anniversary Party is tomorrow night with Nic Armstrong and the Thieves at 10 and Sons of Hercules at 11. DJ Hucklebuck will be presiding over the affair the rest of the time and there’s word that there’ll be go-go dancers.

Here’s your chance to kick off the holiday in a (relatively) smoke free environment. You asked for it! You’d better enjoy it! I’ll be there with a camera to record the debauchery.

Traffic changes (Day by Day)

Riffing off of Charlie’s last post, does anyone else notice changes in traffic around here that seem to be seasonal?

My commute home always seems to get worse in the winter, specifically right after we turn the clocks back. Is this because people have a harder time driving in the dark? Tonight was frickin’ horrible. I-35 southbound is consistently backed up onto 183 eastbound now and tonight, even 183 was a parking lot at the same point. There was also an accident on Ben White, so my trick of going down the service road to Airport and then going Montopolis to Riverside to Pleasant Valley to Oltorf wasn’t as effective as usual.

Traffic is definitely lighter in the summer, mostly due to the absence of UT-related traffic, I assume. It used to be even more pronounced when I moved here in the late ’80s. I’ve also noticed that the traffic gets progressively worse as the week goes on in the summer. On Mondays, I can frequently zoom down I-35 without much of a slowdown, but by Friday, it’s stop and go most of the way. None of the days during the summer can touch what I’ve been going through for the last couple of weeks. Perhaps I can telecommute a few days a week? Please?

Seasons Change (Hour by Hour)

I love it when the weather finally stops being opressively hot here in Austin. I do have a hard time adjusting to what I call our ‘Indian Summer’ here, though. Today as I went to lunch at Mangia Pizza I realized I’m not the only one in town with difficulty adjusting.

You can gell what time people crawled out of bed by what they are wearing. If you see people in a jacket or sweater you know they left the house in the early morning, like I did. But you’ll also see people wandering around in t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. These folks didn’t stroll out of the house until about noon or so.

It’s like we’re living in two different geographic regions within the same zip code.

Austin pioneer navigator recognized yet again

Austin’s own was among the first to follow the winding tributaries of the giant Amazon to their source and locate the undiscovered super-duper top-secret toll-free customer-service number that wanted to remain undiscovered forever. Today, the Wall Street Journal, in a brief feature called Bypassing Phone Trees (bottom left, page 1, Personal Journal section; may be available only to on-line subscribers), brings national attention yet again to this wonderful boon for the perplexed. When I was getting no answers at all, using this number magically made all the problems disappear. Thanks again from a grateful beneficiary and fellow-Austinite who’s happy that from today on even more people will have reason to be thankful.


I set up a blog for my pal Ed Ward several months ago, and he’s become a blogger extraordinaire, posting some of the best writing on the web from his headquarters in Berlin. What’s the Austin connection? If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll remember Ed’s former gig as the Austin American-Statesman’s music columnist and his contributions to the Austin Chronicle, as himself and as Petaluma Pete. Before that, Ed wrote for various rock magazines (Rolling Stone, Creem), and since then he’s become a regular on Terry Gross’ NPR show, Fresh Air, where he speaks from his voluminous knowledge of rock. [Link]

Let them all drop: advice from an easy-care gardener

Wait until all the leaves have fallen and then, only then, and not before, remove them if you must. And use a rake. Put the leaves in a compost pile and save on lawn-and-leaf bags. That’s the Austin way. It’s cheap and it’s quiet. Even better is just to let the leaves disintegrate where they fall, as they naturally will do. In no event use a leaf-blower. And if you can’t resist employing power aids, or, worst of all, employing people who employ power aids, don’t pretend that an electric blower is somehow less maddening to hear than a gas-powered one. Although perhaps those who defend the electric blowers have entirely lost their high-frequency hearing as well as all consideration for their neighbors. And never get out that blower to chase a half-dozen little leaf scraps around that postage-stamp lawn for hours at a time. Nobody cares how your lawn, if you have one, looks with a leaf or two or more sullying its sterility. Over-involvement with lawn stuff reveals a high suburban-mentality quotient. Next: “If that plant wants to die, let it, and get one that wants to grow.”

Austin, Get Your Candlelight Vigil On (2.0)

Sunday night, people gathered at Woodward Park in Austin for a candlelight vigil to remember those transgendered that were killed in the past year. This annual rememberance was part of a national event held every year. Austin is a place where we take tolerance for granted. We celebrate diversity. We joke at our dysfunction.

I would dare say that Austin trades on its diversity and tolerance as a city. While the dedication some have to ‘Keeping Austin Weird’ may sometimes grow tiresome, I am proud to live in a city that values tolerance over hate and diversity over conformity.

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