Archive for December, 2008

Shuggies out in the cold

Baby it's cold outside, not!

Baby it's cold outside, not!

As competition and the weather heats up, Shuggies at the South Austin Trailer park has closed down for the winter. Duh?

Whats become a popular Sunday evening for me is to jump on my cruiser bike and head down to the trailer park on S 1st st. Free wireless, choice of eateries, or so I thought. First up, Shuggies was closed, and then I found there was a key required to use the wireless, which the Torchies staff knew nothing about. There goes another South Austin tradition. Rather than head north to the original Torchies location and see what was going on at the new food stand, I grabbed a taco and headed south.

With Fair Bean Coffee on S 1st also closed, I ended up at Green Muze on Oltorf, and it was packed and thats where I’m posting from now. I’m in the back room if anyone’s reading!

Maudie’s quick-lunch

That’s Maudie’s Too, on South Lamar. If you’re facing in the right direction, you may enjoy one of the great unheralded views of the Austin downtown skyline, changing from day to day. Maudie’s stays busy, and for good reasons. People at the table ordered their never-changing favorites. The red salsa that came with the chips was fiery. The pico de gallo was just seconds old, and perfectly balanced. At each table was an order-form for the holidays, offering many of the standards to be picked up for in-home dining. I don’t know whether the tamales are newly available or have been offered in past years, but both pork and cheese versions are listed, by the dozen, either pre-warmed or left cold to be heated at home. My sources of homemade tamales dwindle and dwindle, so I’m thinking of trying these. Maudie’s windows are hand-painted for the season: holly and berries, “Feliz Navidad,” and more. It was as I was trying to capture some of this art in photographs that I discovered that my dearly beloved Concord Eye-Q Mini may have crossed over to camera heaven. There were some new entrees listed on a table card, but I didn’t take notes and now I don’t remember what they were. They were tempting, but old favorites took precedence. And, hewing to tradition, Maudie’s brings those extra tortillas without your asking. This custom is fading. Maudie’s, like Matt’s and Luby’s, is one of those Austin dining crossroads, where there’s quite a bit of meeting and greeting and where the budget won’t be busted.

(ab)Using the blue giant

90-gallon recycling bins, only every two weeks folks!

90-gallon recycling bins, only every two weeks folks!

Prompted by fellow Austin Metblogger odoublegood tweeting about neighbours who’d put out their new giant(90-gallon) blue single stream recycling bin, as normal, instead of the new bi-weekly cycle. I checked down my street and sure enough, probably about a 1/5 of Residents had done the same, but our week was last week, and will be next week, but isn’t this week.

Then I stared vacantly into my blue meanie bin. As I live alone, the chances of me filling this by next Tuesday are remote. I was just thinking about it when the regular garbage truck came by to pick up my small size garbage bin. It’s a quick and relatively efficient process, an automated arm grabs the bin, lifts it, shake it into the truck. Since we’ve only had one single stream pick-up since I got my bin, and I wasn’t here, I can only assume it’s a similar process.

That being the case, it struck me that theres no real reason why you should put out a half empty Single stream recycling blue meanie bin. If yours will survive for a full month before putting it out, why not do that?

After all, it should have no perishables in it to attract vermin, flys etc. Nothing to create a bad odour or a health hazard. At the same time it will speed the collection up, reduce noise, and reduce the amount of gas the city uses to collect the contents. That must be a good thing. If only 1/6 of the homes with these bins could put them out monthly when full instead of biweekly, the difference would surely be noticeable and a useful saving in time and money.

Oh yeah, and if you do put both bins out, the machines still need enough space between the green and blue bins to pick them up separately.
Austin Single Stream recycling
[Update: So, I’ve been getting emails from neighbors about this, one has already offered to fill my bin with her recycling, since she lives in an apartment complex that doesn’t recycle and won’t. Secondly, another just didn’t get the point, so here’s some simple maths. Say 30-seconds per half empty bin, say maybe 20,000 half empty bins across the city, that means a wasted 166-hours, and running the pickups large gas fueled engine for the same length of time… ]

Boulevard of broken dreams

Or maybe this entry should go into the Humpty-Dumpty Department. Having created great upheavals and disruptions and caused Tesoros, Las Manitas, and Escuelita del Alma to uproot themselves, greatly to the detriment of the quality of life downtown, the Marriott Hotel people, it’s reported, have put their project on hold (byline Shonda Novak, The Real Deal blog, local daily). So I suppose that this block, since ownership changes have already occurred, will sit there for who can guess how long with the greatest part of the frontage on the east side of Congress just plain vacant and deserted. If only we could have been spared all this from the beginning. The destruction of a once-thriving block of activity has now been decisively accomplished and will remain unremedied for the foreseeable future.

u p d a t e : Here’s more, much more, from the local daily. Mike Martinez is quoted as saying that the block “lost a lot of its foot traffic and vibrancy,” although he then goes on to express some optimism about the future. The article includes the latest on other stalled projects, complete with maps.

Bouldin Creek Studio Tour

Bouldin Creek Studio tour

Bouldin Creek Studio tour

It’s not EAST and it’s not as spread out or as big, but this weekend see’s the 3rd Annual Bouldin Creek Studio Tour, where just some of the artists from Bouldin Creek and the surrounding area open their doors once again. The featured artists include:

  • Stella Alesi and Brian Alesi – Alesi Art
  • Stephanie Lindsey – Baby Jane
  • Kathie Sever and Bernadette Noll – Future Craft Collective
  • Leslie Bonnell – Glitzkrieg Stitch Lab Sewing Studio
  • Jody Haller – One-Eared Cat(will be showing at the Stitch Lab Studio)
  • Natalie Tischler – Ornamental Things
  • Rachel Lavin – Pio
  • Shannon Lowry – Round Robin Press
  • Mary Sledd – Sledd Photography (This studio will only be open on Sunday, December 7th)

You can catch a glimpse inside the creative workspaces of these fine artists, craftspeople and creative mavens. There are eight different, diverse and vibrant studios to choose from, the Bouldin Creek Studio Tour offers the community a chance to discover unique treasures for holiday gift giving while supporting local businesses. For details, locations, times and samples of the artists work and link to their website(s) via the website.

Schedules, calendars and Austin gifts

Austin Events 2009

Austin Events 2009 Calendar

One of the best things I bought when I moved to Austin a couple of years ago was the Austin Fun Stuff Events calendar. It got me to out to some great events, had space to write my own stuff in, and at the end of the year, with some careful trimming, provided 12-great full color pictures of Austin to put in frames for the guest bedroom. This years calendar pictures images of popular and fun Austin icons done by Austin professional photographer Merrick Ales.

The 2009 edition is now available from Whole Foods, HEB, Waterloo Records, BookPeople and many other local stores. It contains over 250 events. Mike Stefanik at Austin Fun Stuff says that this years calendar is printed Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper, an international certification that assures consumers that products come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic, and ecological needs of present and future generations.

Would make a great addition to your kitchen wall, or a great gift for anyone that loves Austin.
[ok thats enough puffing up the calendar, can I have me free one please Mike ;-)]

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