Archive for November 30th, 2008

No Socks for Me.

SocksI hate socks.

Ever since I was little, if someone told me to make a list of things I hated, ‘socks’ would always be one of the top items on the list.
Worser socks are socks with toes. Even grosser are wet socks with toes.

Socks with toesSo, for me, it’s awesome that Austin has such warm, dry weather that we only need socks for maybe a month or two. I always hang on to my flip-flops as long as I can, and even in the coldest weather I still try to figure out ways to avoid wearing socks.

Most people in Texas will be thinking, ‘What’s the big deal about not wearing socks?’
Well, that’s because you’re in Texas. In other places, it is a huge deal. Places like Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania lies entirely within the humid continental zone, and has cold long winters and cool summers. Perfect weather for socks.
Apparently, they get so sick of socks that they have even declared May 8th as “No Socks Day.” says,

No Socks Day is a day to free your toes of the confines of socks and stocking. Give those toes of yours a breath of fresh air. The creators of this day also profess that No Socks Day will reduce your laundry load, and therefore, is healthy for the environment.
It’s easy to participate in No Socks Day. Just leave your socks and stocking off, and let your toes enjoy a moment in the sun!

It must be terrible up there, having to actually declare a day to not wear socks! I would be very unhappy living there.

Austin is the place for happy toes. So I love Austin!


Happy Toes

Interesting sidebar.. the guy who created No Socks Day is Tom Roy, who played the crazy street evangelist in the movie 12 Monkeys (an awesome movie, if I may say.).


Austin-Bergstrom International

When someone has writer’s block or isn’t able to think creatively about their writing, he or she is often told to “write about what you know.” (As an aside–that link to the Purdue OWL Web site is invaluable for writers. They have tremendous resources. Aside ended.) I’m not insinuating that I currently suffer from “the block,” but I am saying we’re going to be talking about a place I know very well: the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

While it’s probably true that I’ve spent more total hours at my layover destinations (Dallas/Ft. Worth or, God help me, Chicago O’Hare), I’m always one to arrive with plenty of time before my flight, so I’ve logged some hours at ABIA. For starters, it’s a smaller airport with only 25 gates. As soon as you walk in the sliding glass doors, the “vibe” of the place grabs you. It doesn’t have the half-sterilized, over-trafficked feel that most airports do.

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport served nearly 8.9 million passengers in 2007.  It was also the first facility in the nation to be converted from an Air Force base to a commercial airport.

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport served nearly 8.9 million passengers in 2007. It was also the first facility in the nation to be converted from an Air Force base to a commercial airport.

This so-called “vibe” isn’t an accidental by-product of engineering, either. Rather, the City of Austin, who owns the airport since its conversion from a U.S. Air Force base, made a concerted effort to capture the “character of Austin.” The airport’s Web site reads:

The airport immediately reminds visitors that they have arrived at a place that is mindful of its heritage — political, cultural, and natural. A Live Music Stage features local performers. Well-known Austin-based companies operate many restaurant and gift concessions. Landscaping consists of native and xeriscape plantings.

On Wednesday, I enjoyed a bit of this “well-known, Austin-based” restaurant food at 5:30 a.m. as I was flying home to Pittsburgh. Two breakfast tacos with egg and sausage and a cup of coffee from The Salt Lick’s airport stand: $9.90. Breathe it in–that’s the smell of getting ripped off, my friends. I’m not saying they weren’t delicious, but for $9.90 I’m fairly confident in my ability to find a hen myself and demand it produce an egg for me.

Structurally and aesthetically, it’s a beautiful public building. Airport terminals can often feel oppressive with low ceilings and thousands of people (I’m lookin’ at you, O’Hare), but the lofty feel of the (somewhat ridiculously) high ceilings at ABIA give you room to breathe. Security can sometimes have lines that wrap around for days, but I’m always astonished at how quickly they move. On Wednesday, TSA was so well prepared that I had no wait at all. Even though I appreciate the peace of mind that added security brings to the flying experience, I never thought I’d actually be tipping my hat to the people who feel you up before your flight. And speaking of TSA, they’ve produced a “Holiday Travel Guide” for what you can and can’t bring on the plane. If you’re traveling soon, this will save you time (and potentially embarrassment).

And a tip from my own personal experience with ABIA–arriving an hour before your flight (if you know what you’re doing) is all the time you’ll ever need. Don’t believe the hype.



The Village is to Brooklyn, what Central/ Downtown Austin is to the East side.

Out with the old and in with the new. Brooklyn is where everything is happening. Many of the featured bands at this year’s ACL came from Brooklyn. There are five-star restaurants there, the real estate prices are growing and condos are going up along the East River. Longtime Brooklyn residents are protesting the demolition of historical buildings and zoning regulations…

Listing for an East Side Condo by Austin Living Properties

Listing for an East Side Condo by Austin Living Properties

A similar situation is happening here in our fair city of Austin. The East Side just hosted it’s 7th annual “East Austin Studio Tour.” Condominiums are being erected throughout the area, and with them more bars are opening and high-end clothing stores are selling their wares.

Knowing a of a new place to go to eat or drink in East Austin is something many Austinites regard as “cool.” To know where to go on the East Side is a mark of someone “in the know,” someone who has the inside scoop.

Many of the places to go to on the East Side are really awesome, they’re a lot more relaxed than bars downtown and are perfectly kitschy.  I like them a lot- but, there are times when I do think about the people getting kicked out of homes they have lived in for their entire lives, and it makes the evening a little bittersweet.

In the video below, Professor Gene Burd from UT talks about gentrification in Austin and his experiences…

However…It is, what it is… so, I say enjoy it!

There are excellent restaurants and hangouts. Take advantage of it. Or don’t.

Here is a list of places to check out.


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