Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This Must Be the Place

Jo's Coffee has the reputation of serving the finest coffee in Austin. Now, I'm no connoisseur of good java, but I was intrigued by the claims. The last two mornings I've spent having a cup of said coffee at this glorified stand on South Congress, and I'll admit, it's good stuff. The case below the walkup window containing baked goods ranging from kolaches to muffins looks like good stuff too, but I'm trying to change my eating habits after weeks of neglect. This is no small order in this land of queso.

For me, the real allure of Jo's is the clientele. From hippie slackers to corporate types, many people seem to make this place a daily morning stop. Several patrons seem to be on a first-name basis with each other and Moms with babies in strollers and songwriter types with bandana-sporting mutts have filtered in and out with equal regularity during the short time I've been there. Whatever the stereotype, the most popular sighting is the laptop user, and I'm happy to announce that Mac users outnumbered PC users 5 to 2 at one point this morning. This is also no small order in this land of Dell.

In other news, I'm home, and it has started to rain as I type this. It'll be the second time since we've been here, and it's almost startling.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Remembering the Alamo... and Shoal Creek

Jamye had already been with her parents the week before to see the Da Vinci Code at the South Lamar location, but I finally got to experience the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema late Saturday night.

Our visit was a packed showing of the third installment in the X-Men series, and we had to attend the 10:10 screening because when we arrived ten minutes early for the 7:35 show, we discovered there were only two seats available on opposite sides of the auditorium. They graciously let us exchange the tickets we purchased online for tickets to the later show for which we vowed to return early.

Suddenly, we had some free time on our hands. En route to The Tavern a little further north on Lamar, I made a last second decision to whip into the Shoal Creek Saloon a couple blocks south of our intended destination. In past visits to Austin I had noted the place mainly because of the gigantic New Orleans Saints helmet which graced its front awning. This time, I was intrigued by the sign touting catfish AND color T.V.

The catfish and hushpuppy snack we ordered hit the spot. I was also happy to discover that the televisions were, in fact, in color, but my favorite feature of this place besides the back deck which overlooked what I can only assume was the... um... Shoal Creek was that our beers were brought to the table in koozies. Next time we're looking for a place to land on a hot summer night in Austin, you can bet I'll remember that.

I wish I could say that the movie later that night was just as memorable, but it was lackluster. It had more action set pieces than you could shake a stick at, but it didn't have the heart of the previous movies. It was style over substance, which was a shame, because in more able hands, there was substance to spare. In fact, it made our order of cheese sticks at the beginning of the movie seem prescient.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Migas and Me

After I dropped Jamye off for her first day of work...

... I had to go see a man about a horse in San Marcos, TX.

Except substitute cordless phone for horse and Best Buy employee for man. The San Marcos part is true though.

San Marcos is the home of the Bobcats of Texas State University, so it wasn't quite the sleepy little town I had envisioned. I know, the Best Buy should have been my first clue.

Having arrived in town a good thirty minutes before said Best Buy was to open, I decided to go rustle me up some breakfast. I landed at the Allniter Diner on the main drag leading through downtown.

I scanned the menu and quickly settled on the Migas, but there was some verbose history of the building in the menu which I assumed I would be able to find online when I got home so I just scanned it and went about reading my newspaper. Alas, I haven't found much online, and all I remember was the name A.B. Rogers (it was his building) and the year 1906. Apparently he was an undertaker, and he sold coffins and furniture out of the building where I was drinking my coffee. I did find this, but that seemed to open up a whole new can of worms (the San Marcos Springs/Aquarena Center). Neat history there. I'll have to remember to look into it more thoroughly later.

That's Right, We're Now in Texas

I left Nashville on Saturday afternoon, May 13th to drive to Corsicana, Texas and stay with our friends, Fred and Rebecca. On Monday, Fred and I drove into Austin to pick up the keys to our new place and unload a carload full of stuff. On Tuesday, we left for the 2006 TRGA Classic golf tournament at the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, Mississippi. Fifteen guys (4 Texans and 11 Tennesseans) took part in this year's tournament. I pulled out a second place finish, which would have been sweeter if I hadn't been leading going into the final round on Saturday.

Jamye left Nashville on Tuesday, trailed by her parents, to drive to Austin and greet the movers who were set to arrive on Thursday morning. Jamye and I were finally reunited in Austin at The Shady Grove on Sunday night. Her parents left Monday morning to drive home to Kentucky.

So, here we are in Austin, and that's us in front of the terra cotta(-ish) garage doors of our rental house and Jamye's purple Sunfire. My maroon Pathfinder doesn't clash with the doors as much, so it'll stay in the driveway for awhile, but I guess the more compelling reason why I'm in the driveway is the nine million boxes that remain unpacked in garage.

And just for nostalgia's sake, here's one last look at our old living room in Nashville...
and the view from our old deck.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


What WOULD Dan Tanna Do? I guess he'd have to go buy an earbud or a bluetooth compatible phone to use in his Ford Thunderbird if there were laws like this being pushed through his city of Las Vegas. Go read the Tennessean article in the preceding link and then come back, 'k? I'll wait.

Here's why this chaps my hide: If they're gonna try to pass a law regarding cell phone usage in your car, then why stop there? The tow truck operator in the Tennessean story has it right. Here's a list of other car distractions for Nashville's Metro Council to consider along with proposed fines.
- Combing hair while driving: $25
- Eating while driving: $25
- Operating iPod while driving: $25
- Smoking while driving: $25 (fine doubles if witnessed lighting cigarette while car is in motion)
- Shaving while driving: $50
- Reading while driving: $100
- Watching television or a video on DVD while driving: $250
- Applying makeup while driving: $500

In general, people don't pay attention, and all the legislation in the world won't make them. No one can convince me that using a cell phone in traffic is any more distracting than having a conversation with someone riding in the car with you (especially if it's a heated one). Like Bill Murray said to the kidnapped groundhog that sat in his lap as he sped toward a gaping ravine in the film Groundhog Day, "Don't drive angry!" While we're at it, let's get rid of billboards and other signage that takes citizens eyes off the road, and here's another opportunity to levy fines on verbose bumper stickers.

Nashville's Metro Council needs to get its priorities straight and not worry about stuff like this, but apparently they're just going with the flow. I mean, if it's banned everywhere else in the world, then it must be dangerous, right? I would have thought that Israel had bigger worries than legislating cell phone use, but what do I know?

As for the U.S. of A., it looks like Dan Tanna's carphone is safe in Nevada for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


These pictures are from the Congress Street Bridge in Austin on Sunday, April 23rd. Jamye and I stood in the bat observation area adjacent to the Austin Statesman newspaper's parking lot with several other onlookers. The bridge was jam packed on the east side to watch the exodus of over 1 million Mexican free-tailed bats. I manipulated some of the pictures in Photoshop because the lighting at dusk was obviously not ideal. Click on the pics to see them a little bigger.

The banner hanging on the southside of the bridge touting the World's Largest Urban Bat Colony

Those black streaks? Bats.

Used the flash here to bounce off the underside of the bridge and some bat bellies (white shapes on the right). Remember those black streaks? Fast bats.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I'll be watching both of those at one of these.