Archive for February, 2006

Casino El Camino SXSW Festivities

Casino El Camino has finalized their schedule for their own SXSW festivities. They open at noon throughout the festival as opposed to the usual 4pm.

Friday, March 17th

12:30pm Busy Signals (Chicago)
1:30pm Live Fast Die (Chicago)
2:30pm The Sons of Hercules (S.A.)
3:30pm Muck & The Mires (Boston)

Saturday, March 18th
12:30pm Headache City (Chicago)
1:30pm Wide Right (NYC)
2:30pm The Bloody Tears (Austin)
3:30pm The Clutters (Nashville)

For the uninitiated, you want to stop there and get an Amarillo Burger, just make sure you give 30-45 minutes lead time from when you order, more if they’re really crowded.

(Full disclosure: I host the bar’s website, but the burgers really are good. Honest.)

Frolic in the surf of oceanic discussion

Photo from

Does the laughable TV show “Surface” have you feeling dirty and in need of some actual oceanic ecological discussion to cleanse your palate? Are ye a Pirate looking to find out more about the great oceans upon which ye plunder, arrr? Are you a water based lifeform who wants to make sure the oceans can support your kind long enough to carry out your long term plans of conquering these filthy yu-mons? If you answered yes to any of these questions, or are just someone interested in discussions of the state of our oceans, then you might be interested in this.

Dr. Jeremy Jackson, one of the most prominent marine ecologists In the world, will discuss the state of the world’s oceans based on his Research on coral reefs, marine fisheries, and coastal and marine ecosystems. More than just an academic researcher, Dr. Jackson applies his skills as a communicator with his scientific knowledge to inspire action. For more information about Dr. Jackson’s innovative conservation efforts, including educational videos, see and

Ghosts of precincts past

The padlocking of traditional precinct voting locations in November without sufficient notice has not been forgotten. In the wake of redistricting, some longstanding precinct numbers were abolished and the precincts were consolidated with neighboring ones. Early voting has begun and will run until March 3 for members of the electorate voting in the primary elections and not abstaining in order to sign a ballot petition for Kinky Friedman or Carole Strayhorn. Check your voter card carefully before heading for your precinct on March 7. Sample primary ballots are available and so is the League of Women Voters issue guide.

Some of the abolished precincts have been among those with the heaviest voter turnout and the greatest political activism. Tomorrow night, on the eastside there will be forum for city council candidates at Emmanuel United Methodist Church (East Second and IH-35 frontage), following which people will adjourn to Red’s Scoot Inn (1308 East Fourth) at about 9 pm to hold a wake and mourn the disappearance of historic precinct 438, now no more.

Again: primary elections are March 7; May 13 will be election day for mayor, some city council seats, and the AISD school board.

Spammer for Governor!

Chip Rosenthal takes gubernatorial candidate Bob Gammage to task for political spam, noting that politicians exempt themselves from spam laws, probably with good reason (Says Chip, “Political speech deserves a much higher level of first amendment protection than commercial speech. Spam laws tend to focus on just the latter.”) He goes on to say that

The Gammage campaign spam is some of the worst I’ve seen. First, the periodic mailings are annoying, ankle-biting screeds that just attack his primary opponent. Worst of all, there is no way to stop them. The campaign does not put an “opt out” link in the emails. If you try to respond to the email to ask them to stop, your message just bounces. This goes beyond annoying into the realm of incompetent, which is not a quality I want in my Governor. (By the way, I hadn’t a position of any kind in this race until Gammage started spamming me.)

I’ve seen this happen before: eager political consultants get their hands on whatever lists they can and treat them like gold. What they don’t realize is that gold turns to ash if you don’t handle it properly. This may be less a reflection on Gammage than on whoever he’s hired to handle his campaign, and it’s not always easy to find out who those guys are, because they’re working behind the scenes. I note that Gammage’s site has the obligatory blog front and center, but without comments or any other interactive options. When will politicos learn that it’s time to stop talking, and start listening?

Ricin at UT? …. No just white powder

Is it me or are people just a little too jumpy?

400 students were evacuated from a dorm at UT when someone found a roll of quarters with white powder on it.
The national news started declaring that the white powder was likely ricin.

Well it turns out that ricin was just white powder. How did this become national news?

read more here

At the sign of the dancing pigs

Almost every weekend I go by the pulga in the parking lot of the old Aquarius movie theater across the street from where Casita Jorge’s used to be. Almost every week I hope to get a picture of the truck selling Santa Rosa Queretaro carnitas, but it’s usually blocked by other stands. This week it was good and visible from a distance but it wasn’t possible to stop anywhere near there.

Although the latest hasn’t been covered in print anywhere I can find, it appears that the owner has at least for the time being resolved his difficulties with the city by devoting a large part of the lot to off-street parking instead of renting the space to people to set up booths and stalls. So now there’s much more vehicle parking there, but at least half of the commerce formerly conducted off the street has moved back out into the street and along the sidewalks all the way to the Walgreens on Riverside.

The streets around there are busier than ever. Now the parking lot’s just a bit less so. So the streets are more impassible than they were and probably some people have lost an important supplement to their income. The traffic-calming effect is miraculous, though; I bet the speed never tops 10 mph.

“There’s a lot of great restaurants here.”

And in an interview in the March Austin Monthly, Jimmie Vaughan names some favorites: Dirty’s, El Patio, Cisco’s, Sam’s BBQ, and (surprise!) Chez Nous. Without naming where he finds them other than Dirty’s, he says that great hamburgers abound in Austin.

Austin podcast primer

The Austin Connection in conjunction with its weekly podcasts furnishes quite a good in-a-nutshell introduction for those new to listening via this means. The archived podcasts are also available. Coming from the Cheshire Moon Studios of Jeffrye Glenn Tveraas, these feature independent acoustic performers. I’m particularly looking forward to Albert and Gage, promised for a date not yet set. There are many Austinites podcasting and doing so regularly. Austin Connection’s mentioned in particular because of the handy-dandy introduction for those new to the technology. If the results brought up in Google for “Austin podcasting” are to be believed, Austin is already the podcasting capital of the world. Plenty of people experiment a time or two. Those who set out to produce at scheduled intervals and who manage to do so are admirable in their tenacity. The Armadillo Podcast does so and can’t be beat for lively talks with Austin local celebritude.

Austin favorite dessert found in dentist’s waiting room

Among the most-requested recipes for restaurant desserts nationally is Threadgill’s pecan pie. This is according to the March issue of Family Circle magazine, now available. Reader requests were answered by pastry chefs across the country. The recipe’s on page 139 and among the ingredients are all the usual suspects, including light-brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, molasses, and of course good Texas pecans and plenty of eggs. This recipe is not yet on line, but what are waits in the H-E-B checkout line for? The answer: to fish for change to buy the magazine or for paper and writing implement in order to copy out the recipe.

South by Sold-out Wristbands

So the current allotment of SxSW music wristbands came and went by 5:30pm yesterday. That’s 4,000 wristbands gone in less than 24 hours, purely through walk-up traffic at Waterloo. It’s no surprise that SxSW gets a little bigger and a little more popular (and a little more expensive) every year, but this seems like a quite a jump in interest from recent years.

If you’re like me and didn’t get creative enough to skip work on Thursday, there’s still hope for shelling out hundreds of dollars. It seems likely that there’ll be another 1,000 or so wristbands released, at the discretion of SxSW organizers; pay attention and be prepared to pay a little more than the current $150 price. For those more attuned to the instant gratification of the gray market, check out eBay listings for resold wristbands. A couple dozen wristbands have already sold for an average of $275 each, so convenience has its price. At that rate, you’re not too far off from the $575 uber-badge that gets you preferred access and the joy of SWAG.

A good option that I’ve used a couple times is do nothing and just cruise SxSW gratis. There are lots of free (which means “packed”) showcases to enjoy, and several clubs like B.D. Riley’s have the doors and windows open so that passers-by can enjoy the bands. This is especially appealing since the wristbands don’t guarantee entrance to the most popular shows. In a way, you could consider this a low-cost method for disappointment management.

In any case, it’s shaping up to be quite an event.

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