Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tag: austin

Austin Rain

Lake Travis, 46 feet below normal It’s intensely green in Texas right now. The rhythm is familiar to me from California: long months of brown, followed by intense green while it’s raining. In February, we had 3.04 inches of rain, up from an average of 2.34 inches. January averages 2.1 inches, but we had 4.7 inches this year. November and December were above average as well. We need it after the summer; when Susan and I got here, the ground was hardtack dry.

These days it’s lush. Our neighborhood is leafy, tree-lined, and half the mornings we find water dripping off the leaves onto the streets. I take Ranch to Market 2222 to work. It curves between the hills and the Colorado River, cut into the side of the hills, leaving cliffs on my right as I drive up into the Hill Country. You go right past West Bull Creek Preserve; it’s beautiful green open space out here, for the most part. Lake Travis, shown from last summer above, isn’t far.

FM 2222 My office window looks out over more greenery. It’s due to be developed sometime; there’s an apartment complex right to the left, in fact. They had three buildings planned in this office complex back in 2006, but only two have been built so far and one of ’em is empty. Recession. I think it’ll pick up again; this is a pretty busy area and it’s a natural for expansion, with a lot of residential real estate and decent services nearby. Right now, though, mostly green.


Dinner tonight: Stiles Switch BBQ, which is conveniently half a mile from our house. The place just opened; the pit master used to be the pit boss at Louie Mueller’s up in Taylor. I am no barbecue expert but I hear Louie Mueller’s is very good, and Stiles Switch made me very happy. And it’s just a few minutes away.

Food on the Run

After getting my tire fixed this morning, I swung by Snarky’s Moo Bawk Oink for a sandwich. They’re trying to get a food trailer park off the ground in North Austin, around a mile from our place, so that’s a thing to support. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. I had the Jamaican chicken jerk sandwich on a pita, which is supposed to be traditional Jamaican flavors with some pineapple slaw and jerk sauce. The jerk sauce was more harsh fire than flavorful, though, and I didn’t get anything terribly Caribbean from it. Also there was not much pineapple slaw at all.

I’ll try it again because hey, they’re close, and maybe the cubano is good. Also the guy manning the truck was nice. I think maybe he should be taking applications and getting more trailers there right now, rather than trying to form the perfect mix and asking people to hold off. It’s gonna be tricky getting traffic there with five trailers, and one solitary one will have a hard row to hoe. Fingers crossed.

Austin: Week Four or So

Our new neighborhood, Brentwood, has a neighborhood mailing list. It’s awesome. Very friendly, lots of informal freecycling, requests for notaries, that kind of thing. Discussions of suspicious activity. It’s the back of the fence stuff you used to see all over the U.S., just on Yahoo groups.

For the last week or so, there’d been this ongoing duck saga. “Duck sighted in our front yard.” “Duck seen waddling down Woodrow.” “Oh, thank you so much! That’s our daughter’s duck!” “Duck crossing Justin.” So on.

On Thanksgiving, Susan and I went out for a walk down Woodrow up to Anderson, which is a pleasant mile or so there and the same back. When we were almost there, we passed… a teenager looking somewhat glumly at a duck. The duck looked like it was ready to run. “Hey,” I said, “It’s the duck!”

She looked at us with the sad eyes of a teenager who’s going to be That Kid With The Duck for a good while. “Yeah. It’s our duck, we finally found it. Mom got another duck to try and lure it back, but that didn’t work, but she’s on her way over.” So we moseyed onward, and when we passed her on the way home her mom was there with a duck cage. The end of the duck story. There wasn’t a post about it, perhaps because she convinced her mom to pass on further duck-related anecdotes.

Susan pointed out that while Somerville’s got a nice neighborhood feel to it, it’s unlikely that the duck would have lasted a week. I mean, it’s Thanksgiving. Someone would have eaten it. “Whattya want? It’s a duck in the street, it’s nobody’s duck… c’mon, it’s Thanksgivin’, we’re hungry. Duck’s tasty.” Probably true.

Austin’s still cool. It’s a good area for walking, so we’re walking more. The food is still insanely tasty. (Noble Pig: yum. Elevation Burger: quite good.) We should get our bookshelves next week. All is well.

Austin: Week One

We have been in Austin a week and a half. In that time I have started my new job, we’ve found a house to rent, we opened a bank account, saw two movies, caught De Danann (or at least Frankie Gavin and a band, there’s some dispute there), and I’ve eaten more Mexican food than I have in the last five years. So that’s all good.

This is a neat city. The brown is not bothering me; I had years to get used to brown nature in the Bay Area. It’s a bit browner here, drought and all, but that’s life. I had forgotten a lot of little differences that come with living in the middle of the country. There’s more elbow room for the houses, and the spaces between neighborhoods. The city has room to breathe, which I like a lot.

On Saturday, I was reminded of some important tricks that come with living in a serious college football town. Namely, why are you going near downtown and trying to eat on a Saturday during football season, you idiot? Right.

The local indie bookstore is pretty good. On the grand scheme of things, it’s not quite Kepler’s or Tattered Cover, but it’s good. Little less literary than the Harvard Book Store, but better as a generalist store. I liked it. Dragon’s Lair is a superb gaming store. Plenty of places to still check out, too.

The food is great and we’ve barely dipped into it. We picked up a couple of local food guides at BookPeople. Nom nom nom. We’ve also barely touched the music; got to get more serious about that. I suppose we’ve been pretty busy, you know, finding banks and houses and all that fun stuff. The real estate market is as frenetic as we’d heard; the place we wound up in went on the market the day before we saw it, we put in an offer immediately, we were the second people to look at it, and it had two backup offers if ours hadn’t gone through.

My job rocks. Good people, tough challenges, but that’s what satisfies me. I’m quite happy there.

Happy times.