Archive for March, 2006

Madras Pavillion: great vegetarian Indian food

completedinner.jpgMy wife (being a vegetarian) and I (not being a vegetarian) went to Madras Pavillion for dinner the other night for dinner. For the impatient among you who want to get right to the point, we loved it. Naturally my wife loves any place that gives her more than the very few vegetarian choices available at most restaurants (although it’s not nearly as bad in Austin as most other places around Texas). I do find it amusing and frustrating for her that at most places you do need to actually inquire as to whether or not vegetables are vegetarian. It’s not unusual to have an exchange such as:

Sparks of wit denied

Because Judge Sam Sparks was set to hear Carole K.McC.R.S.’s suit in Federal court against the Secretary of State and because he signed her ballot petition and because he therefore recused himself from hearing the case, we’ll never know what comic doggerel the case might have occasioned. Whoever wins, those who savor judicial wit have been short-changed. Certainly, the campaign of her G.O.P. opponent sees no humor in the situation.


storycorps.gifStoryCorps is coming to Austin for a stay from 4/6 – 4/30. It’s a partnership between NPR and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The idea is to preserve oral histories of Americans through interviews recorded in the booths. There’s a suggested donation of $10. You take an hour to record an interview with someone whose story you’d like to preserve. At the end, you get a CD for yourself and the interview will be added to all of the other StoryCorps interviews and archived at the Library of Congress.

This is the perfect opportunity to get stories out of your grandparents and get them on record. Very cool. I really regret not having done this with my grandparents. I wish the few remaining relatives that I do have from the WW II generation lived locally because I’d have them over there in a heartbeat. As it is, I’m signing up for something anyway.

You can reserve a spot to record your own interview starting tomorrow morning at 10am.

Snarky local politics post of the day

Marc Katz 2003:

You can’t just want to sit on the dais to satisfy your ego. It takes a lot of strength, and it will take a lot out of you. You need to mean business. But now is the perfect time for me to do this and be of service, as a leader, to the city I love. My methodology, my way of doing business, is exactly what Austin needs right now.

Or not.

Marc Katz 2006:

As any colleagues in the business can tell you, keeping a restaurant as successful as ours for 27 years is hard, but we have done it. The problem was with my poor financial dealings.

It’s not dead yet

The Austin School Board met last night to determine the fate of Becker Elementary. The result? A tie. The board voted on one of several plans last night. The tie vote was on the plan to close Becker and keep Oak Springs open. I’m not sure how they decided on which plan to vote for in the end. I’d check the meeting minutes, but they appear to be about three months behind on posting them.

The tie vote gives the Becker parents and the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association more time to plead their case to keep Becker open. According to the Statesman, there’ll be another vote, but it’s not clear when that will occur. Apparently, turning Becker into an in-district charter school has also been suggested.

We currently live in the neighborhood of an underperforming, overcrowded AISD elementary school and have spent the last few years trying out charter schools as an alternative with mixed results. We were in the process of examining several schools in AISD as transfer options, including Becker, when the announcement of the possible closings removed it from our short list of candidates for next year. My wife was very impressed with the principal. We think we’ve settled on a viable alternative, but it shouldn’t be this hard. We should be able to just send our kid to the local school and not have to worry about whether or not that school is substandard. How can we expect people to move into the center of the city if we’re not going to offer them an attractive option for educating their kids?

My parents sent me to private schools for elementary, middle and high school in Dallas and my wife is used to a much higher standard coming from Virginia public schools around the Washington DC area. Not paying any attention to all the school finance reform talk in the legislature? Well, maybe you should. This isn’t just an issue for those who currently have kids either. All you UT students who think Austin is a great place to live and might consider settling here? I’m you in 10 years. If you get started now, maybe it won’t suck so bad when your kid is ready to attend school.

Here’s a roundup of articles from the Chronicle, including the cover story from February:

Here’s an earlier posting from M.J.L Kellogg on the school shuffle.

So much for convenience

I noted my annoyance at the old online catalog for APL earlier this year. The catalog no longer keeps banker’s hours, which is nice, but the new catalog breaks my LibraryLookup bookmarklet and the extensive research (10 minutes) that I spent trying to see if I could get it to work were for naught. Anybody else tried getting Jon Udell’s glorious hack to work with this particular brand of online catalog? Am I going to have to go back to doing searches by hand? The horror. I wish I’d realized that this was broken last week as I had a meeting that included the librarian for my local branch of APL. I need to send her an e-mail anyway, now I have two reasons.

P.S. My research led me to the interesting little tidbit that Jon Udell was a panellist at SXSW 2004 on the merits of his cool little hack. I’m sorry I missed out on that one.

At eye-level for a reason

dwidude.jpgWhen you’re holding up the lamp-post or when the lamp-post is keeping you vertical, DWI Dude has his ad where you’ll be sure to see it.

On the events page of this guy’s site are pictures of people wearing promotional T-shirts with this logo on the front and the telephone number on the back; some of those photographed are holding rolls of the same kind of sticker as that pictured here, which was found today on a post right by the main library. The events featured are Mardi Gras and St. Paddy’s Day, naturals for the attorney in this line of work.

There are pages and pages of rules governing how an attorney communicates to the lay public. This particular method is just a bit more ingenious than most.

Somebody else already has the duidude domain and is squatting right there.

Not just fire; cholesterol and fat as well

These are the enemies of team C at Austin’s fire station number 2. Engine company 2 is the fire station at MLK close to the Drag. Today’s NYT puts this feature at the head of its national section: Firefighters Gone Vegan? Even Austin is Impressed (byline Deborah Blumenthal). Some members of the team are reported to be “flexitarians.” In other words, occasionally they’re known to consume what one of my relatives is pleased to call “fast vegetables.” The neighboring branch of Jimmy John’s is reported to feature a menu item called the “Engine 2 Veggie Sandwich.” According to the bios, one of the members of Team C is a native Austinite; the others are originally from out-of-state Other Places. The recipe page put up by this team does include so-called “tasty tofu burgers.” Could there be any such thing?


Today turns out to be the day for doing what was planned for yesterday: enjoying springtime out in the yard now that SxSW is over.

Yesterday afternoon at home was impossible. Here’s why: vanloads of possible speculative buyers touring the house across the street (and peeking into and commenting about neighboring yards); giant heavy-duty utility-pole replacement equipment on one side and crews using chainsaws to take down the old poles; open windows with screaming, whining floor-polishing equipment on another side; and nail-guns, compressors, and every kind of noisy construction equipment on a new addition on another side.

So we went out and ran errands. And today will be the cooking, baking, and yard day. We have a stack of gardening books to encourage thinking about next spring in the yard. Thank you, Sledd’s Nursery; to you we owe the flowers that return year after year. The photo, taken this morning with a toy camera, is labeled ranunculus and allium, but the neighbor who lived next door until she was close to her hundredth birthday would have called these Persian buttercups and flowering garlic.

Under the Influence

I saw this yesterday, had a post all ready to go on it and then dropped it. Well, it’s shown up all over the place today, so I guess I should’ve posted it after all.

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