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.
(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!
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!
My friend Jessica is in the know on EVERYTHING. She has introduced me to so many cool things, I can barely keep up. But I did show her Back to the Future and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, so maybe we’re even. The other day she invited me to a poetry slam. I had never been to one, so I thought I’d try it out.
Turns out, this was the semi-finals of the Austin Poetry Slam. These poets are competing to get on a team, and go to nationals somewhere, representing Austin. Generally, they have a poetry slam every Tuesday at Spiderhouse, and it’s a $5 cover. It’s in the 29th street ballroom, which is either a new addition to the building, or I just never noticed it before. You enter from the 29th street side, and they have a separate bar inside. A Lone Star (my beer of choice) was only $2, just like all over town (you can see why it’s my beer of choice), and a diet coke was $3 with free refills.
The. Slam. Was. Amazing.
I never thought this is something I would really get into. A couple of the people were kind of pretentious, but some of them were funny, and most of them were awsome. There were a couple I was kind of “meh” on, but for the most part, I cheered so much I was still hoarse the next day. It was a lot of fun, and you could tell the audience enjoyed the whole thing.
Next week on Tuesday, the 19th is the Finals. It’s at the same place at Spiderhouse, but it’s $12 cover. These are guaranteed to be all new poems also, because they are not allowed to repeat, so even if you’ve been before it will be worth it to go again.
Also, I got hit on because I was wearing my Batman t-shirt, which made me laugh. Nerd girls are a hot commodity! Jessica also recognized the shirt from the blog, because she’s my number one
Antiqueing is one of those things I think everyone should try at least once. I think some people have the mistaken idea that there are just a bunch of overprices doilies you have to fight old ladies for. That is definitely not the case. I have found some awesome treasures and deals at antique stores over the years, and I have fun hunting through all the random stuff they have. I took all of these pictures at Out of the Past, on Burnet here in Austin.
I just randomly found this guy sitting there like that:
I totally wanted this, but it was a bit out of my price range. Gorgeous though, right?
I love Dia de los Muertos stuff!
You can see why Hubby and I like this place:
At this particular store, you are possibly taking your life in your hands. There is crap piled everywhere, and nothing has a price on it. I hate asking for prices on every little thing I’m interested in. Overall, the place is worth at least one trip. Most antique shops are WAY more organized than this, and most even have everything priced.
The advice I would give is don’t buy something just because you think it might be valuable. If you aren’t an antique dealer, the odds of you selling it for what it’s “worth” is kind of low. I only ever buy stuff I really love and can easily afford.
Austin is definitely known for being weird. This museum is one of the places that cements that reputation.
This tiny place is down on 6th street, in the back of a T-shirt shop. I’m not posting too many pictures, because that would just spoil it for you. It’s only $5 to get it. The place is pretty small, so it’s a good stop on an evening out.
This is just one of the cute little souvenirs they have. They have plenty of bad ass stuff I was tempted to buy. I managed to get out with only some monster post cards.
I love all the classic movie monsters, so now I want to set up a big vignette like this in my living room. Those are life-sized wax models, and they look better than my sad little camera is capable of showing.
Overall, the place is cool, and worth stopping by. The website says you get free admission if you buy a t-shirt or poster. They have cool toys, shirts, and randomness. Keep it weird, minions!
Last fall, Hubby and I went on a mini-adventure to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center here in Austin. This place is filled with native Texas species, and chock-full of educational goodness.
The whole place is littered with sculptures. It’s a very relaxing, calm place, and it was much bigger than I initially thought.
There’s also an art gallery on the property when you wander back far enough. They have a delightful little cafe also, that we really enjoyed.
I’m just going to post lots of photos now, since I haven’t been able to in AGES.
I wish this meant my computer was working, but unfortunately these are just old pictures I found on my facebook. That’s also why I wasn’t able to give a more detailed account of our trip.
If you want to visit them now, but don’t want to spend the $8 to do so, they have a free event coming up January 22 called the Tree Talk Winter Walk. They will teach you (and maybe ME!) about native plants, and how to use them in your own landscaping. They will have plants for sale, as well. The hours and details are in the above link. I’m very intrigued!