Occasionally, I am required to leave my house and go interact with people in the physical realm, mostly due to social obligations. It’s a travesty, I know. Why can’t I just stay home, watch Star Trek, and drink myself into a stupor, like God intended? I was bitching about having to get all fancy to my new gay BFF (there’s your shout out, bitch!), when he asked “What is ‘Austin Fancy’ exactly? From what I’ve heard and seen its like…a clean pair of shorts”. I explained I was attending an event that required me to SHAVE MY LEGS, so it was obviously a classy affair, but he got me thinking.
Many people know that Texas is like a whole other country, and some people would like it very much if that became a reality. Well, Austin is like a separate country inside that country, like Vatican City. We have Texas pride, but not a lot in common with the rest of the state, at least attitude-wise. You can go out to places that might have a dress code in Houston or Dallas wearing whatever you have on. There might be valets out front, but everyone inside is wearing t-shirts and drinking Dos Equis.
There’s also an interesting phenomenon I haven’t witnessed anywhere else: Young Hippies. They are everywhere here, at outdoor concerts, art shows, coffee houses, museums, you name it. They seem to wear body odor like a merit badge, and their dreadlocks are long and thick. But there are also trust-fund sorority princesses wearing tiny dresses, and puking on shoes that cost more than my car. This city is just diverse and accepting, no matter what you wear or who you are. I’ve seen older people I thought should be home watching Matlock at an art show in a random warehouse on the East side, so it just goes to show you never can tell.
When I tell people I’ve decided to chop off my hair, I get one of two reactions: “But it’s so pretty!” (almost exclusively from Mi Madre), or “WHYYYY???” with sadness and alarm. Everyone knows that given the opportunity, I will talk until the day runs out, so let me tell you wwwhhhyyyyyy.
My hair is about 2 feet long, reaching the middle of my back. It is heavy, and unwieldy, and tries to foil me as much as possible. Whether I’m eating, crafting, or bathing it interferes, almost as though it’s self-aware. I have to wear it in a bun at almost all times in order to contain its wrath.
If I wear it down while I’m asleep, it spreads out to become a giant target for Hubby’s elbows, or the cats to walk across, or the dog to get tangled in. This of course causes me to wake up screeching, which wakes everyone else up. I frequently lay on it myself, or get so wrapped up in it I need assistance to get free.
Bathing has its own plethora of problems. When wet, it weighs exponentially more. It sticks and wraps around me. It’s like having a lazy, angry octopus on my head. I use three to four different types of conditioner on a regular basis, just so I can get a brush through this mass of irritation attached to me. I can’t blow dry it, because a) my weak little T-Rex arms can’t take being in the air for two hours, and b) I have a full-time job.
The bangs are the sole redeeming characteristic. They generally look cute and behave, while the hair behind them is a barely contained ball of frizz and hate. I’ve actually been able to even style them a little, but they’re starting to rebel. The rest of my hair is giving them ideas. They’re starting to poke me in the eyes, and go in bizarre directions. You think I’m stuck with you, hair? Well you’ve got it all wrong. You’re stuck with ME.
I can’t let my hair start getting ideas about who’s in charge. So I did this:
I found some photos online that I liked:
Here’s the before of the back:
Before side view:
Since my hair was so long, I decided to donate it to Wigs for Kids. It only has to be 12 inches long. They have directions on the website explaining how to donate your hair, but basically put it in 4-6 pony tails, bound at both end with rubber bands. Cut ‘em off, and mail ‘em in. That’s it. Here’s the after back view:
After side view:
And the front! I freaking love it. It took me two minutes to wash it yesterday! TWO! I had no idea what to do with myself after that. It’s so light, and simple. I’m so glad I just went ahead and did it. Why should my hair be sitting around irritating me when it could be helping young children with cancer feel better about themselves?
If you live in Austin, I will totally send you to my hair stylist. She did an amazing job, but doesn’t have a website. I totally have the hook up, so just let me know. You can’t ask for the “Clever Chick” though. This one’s mine.
I ended up at Dominican Joe for several hours a couple weeks ago. A friend was driving me to Houston, but had to go to a pizza contest for work, and I had no where else to go. That’s the kind of slightly bizarre events that make up my existence.
Dominican Joe has the best coffee I’ve ever tasted, with all the obscure fixin’s you could hope for: stevia, sugar in the raw, agave nectar, soy milk, whole milk, skim milk, plus your usual splenda, sugar, half & half, at no charge.
In addition to being smooth and delicious, the coffee is all organic and cheaper than Starbucks. Cardboard to-go cups with compostable lids are the foam on the latte, so to speak. There were plenty of options on the menu, including some snacks that looked tasty, without being overwhelming. Plus, they call the coffee “DoJo”, which made me giggle.
The set up inside is comfy and work-friendly, with a variety of ambiences. You can sit in a broody, dark corner, writing gothic poetry, or at a well-lit table, writing gothic poetry. You can sit smack in the middle of the place directly in front of the door so your friend who’s coming to get you can spot you easily, not realizing the fact that being surrounded by 8 duffel bags and resembling a back-packing hoarder makes you easy to spot, and also an object of staring and confusion. I wish I was joking.
There’s also an ample supply of local free newspapers to keep you occupied in case you didn’t pack a library in your ample luggage. On the Clever Chick Scale it gets a “I wish I lived closer because I’d have a new hang out”.
(Another story starting with) my sis, Beans, and her husband signed up for the annual Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup this year. They both have their scuba licenses and gear, and they suckered us into helping on the shore cleanup. Here’s Hubby in his free t-shirt, super excited to pick up trash.
The lake is so low due to lack of rain, I was finding beer cans they haven’t even made as long as I’ve been alive. The scenery was really pretty, aside from that giant block of Styrofoam down there.
I was honestly taking these pictures because it was so beautiful out. I wasn’t just making up an excuse for catching my breath.
Here’s the rant I was mentally writing while I was bent over, in the heat, clean up after lazy bastards: DO NOT BRING GLASS CONTAINERS to a ROCK BEACH!!!! I don’t care how smart, or coordinated, or lucky you think you are, you will break glass, and it will go ev-er-y-where. And people are walking barefoot!! This is a beach!! It maybe made of rocks, but it still counts. And guess how broken shards of glass fall between rocks; sharp edge up, primed for foot-stabbing.
If you are dumb enough to bring glass to the lake, and then clumsy enough to break it, for the love of Neil Patrick Harris, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. What kind of lazy, moronic, selfish jack-wagons are spending time at Lake Travis?? This is far worse than people who leave cigarette butts everywhere (although they should still be ashamed of themselves), because the glass can severely injure someone, who then has to HIKE BACK UP A BABY MOUNTAIN to get to their car!! The very worst human beings, honestly, are the people who bring CLEAR glass, then break it, and leave it behind. Do you think that’s easy to see? It is literally almost invisible!! And some of the shards I was picking up were the size of tennis balls; deadly, deadly tennis balls. That would destroy someones foot. I hope there is an afterlife, and those people end up walking over invisible stabby things for all eternity.
So, to lighten the mood, here’s Finley! He looks like an otter, but he’s some kind of fish, who wears scuba gear. Delightful!
And me and Beans, adorable as always. Overall, it was a great day, a fantastic workout, and I helped the community. Oh, and hung out with Beans, but whatevs. I think she left an ugly dog statue in my house as revenge, but I can’t find it. If I find it, I’ll take a picture and tell the story. If not, I think she’s just messing with me. What a cow!
I have mentioned it before for different events, but I thought I’d finally write a post dedicated to the awesomeness that is Spider House. It was originally just a coffee joint, but they now have food and a full bar, and they took over an old Blockbuster Video and turned it into a ballroom. That’s where the Austin Poetry Slam was held, as well as BedPost Confessions, which I attended recently.
This place is just awesome. It’s covered in antiques, art work, and this one hot guy:
This is part of the mural on the back of the ballroom, what used to be Blockbuster. It is made up of all kinds of movie scenes, and I can identify all but one (I think). The Jaws shark is going after a swimmer, right above one of the characters from Labyrinth, and the poster from Evil Dead 2.
Ash from Army of Darkness, with the hill from Nightmare before Christmas in the background. You can tell Bruce Campbell is pretty popular around here.
I just thought this statue was cool. My Gram has an intact version of the little girl in her yard, and has always had it since we were little. I love how rather than trashing two broken statues they attached them to each other to make some kind of awesome chimera.
Spider House has great food, beverages, and prices, and there are always interesting events occurring, often for free. I just noticed that I Luv Video runs CineMondays, free movies every Monday night at 10pm at Spide House. Check out their homepage for a calendar, and maybe we’ll run into each other at some weird Austin event.
– That Clever Chick
I’m aware there has been a big stink up going on regarding Netflix recently announced price increases. I know for a lot of people it will mean a huge (percentage-wise) increase over what they are currently paying (somewhere around an additional $6 per month). I don’t think Netflix is being very bright about this whole thing, but it is still WAY BETTER and cheaper than cable. And it’s the only thing in my mail box other than junk mail, and I get excited when I see one of those little red envelopes. So that’s my take on the whole thing.
The envelope that showed up yesterday contained “Whip It”, a movie that was filmed and set here in Austin. That in and of itself makes me want to watch it. It stars and was directed by Drew Barrymore, and it also stars Ellen Page, Juliette Lewis, and Jimmy Fallon among many others. Ellen Page’s character, Bliss, lives in a small town near Austin, and secretly attends her first Texas Roller Derby match. When it’s over, she is convinced to try out, and of course makes it onto the team, the Hurl Scouts.
Roller Derby is a big deal here in Austin, and I have been to a few matches myself. I freaking love it, and apparently so does Drew Barrymore, which is another reason I was excited about this movie. Overall, it was a good movie. It had funny parts, although it could have been funnier, and there were a few parts that seemed like “Well, this is how a movie plot should go, right?”
One easy improvement to the whole plot would have been to leave out the Bliss’s boyfriend plot line. It went nowhere, and was generally a distraction from the good parts of the story. All the cheesy, chagrin-inducing moments occurred in that part of the movie. It was a constant montage of “look how cute and goofy we are together! We sit near Austin landmarks!”
Other than that, it was a good movie. On the Clever Chick scale it gets a “I won’t be buying it, but it was worth watching”. Drew Barrymore’s character is hilarious and I wish she’d been in it more. And yes, there are lots of Austin landmarks for you to point out and shriek to your friends and/or spouse about. I totally did that.
– That Clever Chick
It’s Friday, and that means it’s 80′s night at BARBARELLA!!! I have ALWAYS loved 80′s music (Mi Madre said MTV was one of the only things that would keep my quiet as an infant; that and Richard Simmons (totally not kidding)). When I was in high school, a few of us girls would go down to Westheimer in Houston to go dancing on 80′s night whenever we could. Now, I can listen to the same great music and go dancing in a MUCH safer place.
Even though Barbarella has been down on Red River for awhile, it’s a relatively recent discovery for me and my friends. It seems like a different girlfriend has wanted to to go each Friday for the past couple months. I have literally been there 4 times in 2 months. Considering I had only been to 6th street 2 or 3 times in the 5 or 6 years preceding that, it’s a big deal.
Barbarella has big screens up where they play music videos. Videos in the 1980′s were just ridiculous, and they constantly crack us up. Each night of the week has a different theme, but so far I’ve only been on 80′s night. Saturdays is “New Noise”, Thursdays are “Grits & Gravy” (no idea what that means), Tuesdays are “Tuesgays”, Sunday Bump is HipHop, and unfortunately that’s all I can make out from their terrible website.
However, drinks are cheap (Happy Hour ends at 11pm), especially compared to other places in town, and the staff are nice and funny. The place doesn’t get packed until midnight or later, but if you just want to go dance, this is absolutely the place to go. There is no cover charge when I get there, (but I heard one starts at 12:30), and Lone Star (the greatest beer in the world) is only $2!! So I can have a super cheap, fun evening out, which is how I like it.
So tonight is the night. It’s 80′s night as you are reading this, so grab a friend or two, and head down to Red River, just north of 6th street, near Emo’s (which sucks, don’t go there unless you have to). Dance it up, and have a blast!
My friend Phuongie, of Mi Bella Rosa designs and blog, has probably eaten at every Asian restaurant in Austin, and knows where all the good ones are. Last time she graced our fair city with her presence, she took me to Coco’s Cafe on Highway 183 near Burnet. It’s in the same shopping center as Mister Tramp’s, and Sunflower Vietnamese Restaurant.
Coco’s is Taiwanese food, which I had never had before, that I can recall. I got a rice bowl with pork, and Hubby got a rice bowl with bar-b-qued eel. Both were fantastic, and cheap, at about $6 each. Phuongie got several kinds of appetizers (I forget which ones), but they were all very tastey as well. Each day Coco’s has a different kind of soup, and the day we were there it was some kind of melon soup. I had never had anything like it, and it was great as well. If you go there, there’s a huge pot with bowls next to it to the left of the counter by all the silverware, and it’s self-serve.
Coco’s also has a bazillion types of drinks. We got bubble teas, which are the beverages with large, round, tapioca balls, or “bubbles” in them. The bubbles are chewy, like gummy bears, and I enjoyed mine a lot. Coco’s has an amazing website also, beautiful, but functional, and it shows you the variety of drinks available. They don’t have any prices listed on the website, but everything was cheap or reasonably priced. They only take CASH, however, and have an ATM on-site, which just screams of “scam” to me, but whatever. Just take some cash out before you head over there.
On the Clever Chick Scale this place gets a “Super delicious, and great value. I can’t wait to go again, and I will recommend it to many friends”. My only criticism is the fact that they only take cash. That just seems ridiculous these days, but it’s not enough to keep me from going back. Loved it!
Karibu is an Ethiopian restaurant in Southeast Austin that Hubby and I stumbled across on a disappointing trip to the Habitat Restore. I had never had Ethiopian food before, so we decided to try it. It was definitely different, and very flavorful.
We ordered the lamb (Yebeg Tibbs), red lentils (Kay Misir Wot), collard greens (Abesha Gomen), and green beans (Fosolia). The waitress asked if we wanted it on one plate, or separate plates, and we got everything on one giant plate together. It came with a big basket of flat bread, that tasted like sour dough and had a great chewy texture. You eat everything with your hands, and can use the bread to scoop everything up. I preferred the way the food tasted without the bread, for the most part.
The lamb was delicious, the lentils were a bit spicy for me. The collard greens were fine, and the green beans were from a can, so not great. The reviews on yelp are kind of mixed, so I think people would agree with me. Overall, I give it a “If I happen to be in the neighborhood, and someone else is buying, I’ll go back”.
I have always loved pinball. I have no idea why, it’s just so awesome. Our friends Sara and Travis recently took us to a new arcade in town called Pinballz Arcade, on 183 near I-35. This place has an INDECENT amount of pinball machines, as well as other old school video games. I fell in love with the art work on many of them.
I don’t know exactly what game this is, but it’s very old. They have a plexiglass panel on the side so you can see how all the parts work.
Hubby was way better at it than I was, but I think I’m probably just out of practice.
For only four grand you can own an original Star Wars pinball game!
This place has food and drinks as well, but we didn’t partake so I can’t give my opinion. It did smell good, though. They have your basic ticket prize counter as well, which is pretty much pointless as always. Hubby got a barrel of monkeys though, which he seemed to enjoy.
There is no cost to get in, and the tokens are 4 for a dollar, and most of the games take 2 tokens to play. Price-wise, that’s pretty comparable to other arcades we’ve been to, but the game selection is massive. You can book the whole place for parties as well. Overall we had fun, but it would be really easy for me to burn through a lot of cash very quickly. But, I get a little addicted.
Overall, a good time was had by all!
I had the opportunity last weekend to get dressed up as a gypsy and walk around in public like that. Jealous? Don’t be! Sherwood Forest Faire is still going on! It ends April 3rd though, so get on it if you want to go. If you haven’t heard of it, this is a smaller, newer version of the Texas Renaissance Festival, that is much closer to Austin. The whole thing is themed around Robin Hood, and it has many of the same shows as other Renaissance festivals around the state.
There were lots of shops, and food vendors, and the place wasn’t that crowded. If you haven’t been to one of these before, I highly recommend it. Tons of people wear normal clothes, and tons dress up in “historical” clothing. Believe me, there are no history police walking around pointing out errors in anyone’s costume, so feel free to wear what you’d like. The shows are funny, you can walk around with beer and funnel cake, and this festival is in the midst of tons of trees, so it was nice and shady. The place is also very kid friendly, with a couple rides, face painting, and photo ops.
Our friend Todd competed in the archery contest:
A couple of our men-folk tried their hand at throwing knives (only my Hubby made anything stick )
I got some great shots of the Oskar Hasselhoff fighting school, and the Ded Bob Show was there also. I had never seen it before, and it was hilarious! A little tip from my friend Todd: If you’re in costume you are less likely to be called up on stage during these types of things. For me, that was comforting, because I really like to watch other people get teased on stage, rather than me.
Hubby and I were both dressed as gypsies, until he found an AWESOME pirate hat. Apparently gypsy + hat = pirate.
Obviously, I didn’t take pictures of everything available to do there. We circled around the whole place a few times, and spent a lot of time at the pub. There was a lot of conversation along these lines:
“Oh look! A pub! We should probably stop and have a drink!”
(not long later) “Oh look! The pub! Well, we want to stay hydrated!”
(a short time after that) “Hey! The pub! Well, the beer wenches have already seen us. I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings by walking away now”.
(an even shorter time later) “Oh my! Is that a different pub?” “I don’t think…” “We should go in and check, just to be sure.”
After everything was over, and we were dusty, sunburned, and exhausted, we needed some sustenance. I sent Hubby into our favorite pizza joint, thinking hilarity would ensue. Nobody batted an eye!
We had a blast, and I would recommend it to anyone.