Austin City Limits

I’m on the trip that has taken me nearly twenty years to make and at points during the twelve hours of driving that I did yesterday I felt as if I started the trip twenty years ago.

To bore you again, when I was considering leaving Huntsville, Alabama in 1994 my two target cities, each sight-unseen mind you, were Atlanta and Austin. The city which won (can you guess?) was the one in which I landed a job first.

I was quite productive on my journey, listening to a bunch of podcasts as well as the entirety of James Gleick’s “Chaos” and finishing David Sedaris’ “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls”.

I’ve seen very little of the city thus far, exploring starts after coffee/blogging. I find the part of town in which my hotel is located to be very confusing, seriously I have gotten lost six times already, even with all of my technology at hand. Today’s destination will be a part of town the locals call “downtown”.

Today’s Daily Challenge
Share one way you save money on entertainment.

Saving money doesn’t have to mean staying in. If you know where to look, you can still have fun times that leave you fulfilled รขโ‚ฌโ€œ and your wallet still filled! By sharing your idea, you may inspire someone to explore a new money-saving way to have fun. And you may pick up a new idea yourself.

I could save money buy not buying concert/play tickets that I do not use.

Bad Jill. Bad Jill.
I may have to retire my Garmin (aka “Jill”) because her sense of direction is little better than my own. Google Maps told me how to get to Austin via interstate, Apple maps similarly, but Jill took me off the big roads and guided my through a more direct route which consisted of many speed traps and nearly a toll road.

I generally have no problem seeing the countryside on roads but when I am on a day-long journey I want as little stopping and going as possible. Oh, by the way, when I left that comment yesterday I was not driving per se I was sitting waiting for a train to pass.

Rough calculations show that the Jeep Liberty gets about 23 mpg on the highway. I never got the opportunity to contact Hertz yesterday, I will send them information today, but don’t see myself making the time to so an auto swap, if that’s even possible.

So far I have filled up in Tuscaloosa, AL, Rustin, LA, and somewhere in parts-unknown Texas. Rustin, a one time home of bands Neutral Milk Hotel and GASHCAT (I missed an opportunity to be wearing my GASHCAT t-shirt in Rustin) and home of Louisiana Tech, was also a lunch stop for me. The Po-Boy place that was recommended via Siri inquiries and Yelp followups, was no longer named what I was told. With no trunk and all of my belongings visible (no Barb, this rental does not have the shade installed) I wanted to eat somewhere fast. I wound up eating a burrito from a food truck, which was unfortunately bland and very messy.

One benefit of the Jeep Liberty in which I can be seen this week is that it has Texas license plates so I look like a local ๐Ÿ˜‰ except for all of the confused driving I have been doing while lost.

ITP Flickr Pic
“Everything Is Bigger In Texas” (alternate title — “Keep Austin Wired”)
Everything Is Bigger In Texas
This is the (out of focus) coffee mug from which I am drinking this morning thanks to the good folks at Epoch Coffee.

I’m on my second mug (YEEEEEEHAAAAAAW!), now eating a rather disappointing bran muffin, while eavesdropping on the conversation of four young co-eds at the table next to me. It’s like a Benetton ad (yes I know, I’m old) with four females — two caucasian, one Asian, and one African-American — all very young and pretty.

Keeping Austin Weird
I walked to one of three walkable restaurants last night, a steak joint near the hotel, but was turned off my the fifteen minute wait (at 8pm CDT) and their meager beer selection. So I used the power of the iPhone and located a nearby (driving) barbecue / craft beer place called Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew at which I had the three meat plate (don’t judge, I’m on vacation) and a single (poorly poured) smoked porter. Not wanting to get a DUI in Texas (I believe that’s cause for capital punishment here) I inquired about buying beer locally to take back to the hotel.

“You have thirty minutes” I was told, “the package stores close at 9pm.” WTF? I was then assured that I could buy beer at gas stations and supermarkets.

Let’s be honest, how many gas stations do you know that sell quality beer (as an aside: QT does). To my astonishment, I could not find a fucking big-chain supermarket anywhere in the area in which I was driving aimlessly. My technology was of no help either as it constantly thwarted my inquiries for Whole Foods and the like. Do people in Austin just hunt and gather? Are they all Freegans?

Today’s Personal Project
See Austin, conference starts tomorrow and due to the length of travel scheduled for Sunday I won’t have much time to see the sights then.

Stats & Goals
Current Mood – okay, though I wish I had budgeted more “Paulie time” for this trip. It doesn’t help that I will have to hole myself up sometime today to write code as well.
Current Music – listening to the conversation and alt-rock here at the coffee shop.
Website Of The Day – As I do on any road trip, at one of my gas stops I looked for sodas I’ve never had before. Yesterday I found Big Red, which tasted like the cinnamon gum of my youth.
Mode Of Transportation To Work – n/a
Exercise (b)Log – nothing
Morning Weigh-In – on vacation

Foot Mileage – ~10.0 miles
Wheel Mileage – 0.0 miles
Gym Visits – 10 (10 cardio)

Marta Rides To Work – 0
Bike Rides To Work – 0

March Goals
– have Austin CocoaConf trip plans in place (new)
– exercise no fewer than twenty days (new)
– ride my bike no fewer than five times (new)
– have European trip plans in place, if not carved in stone
– clean my basement to the point where I could have people over
– hire a plumber to fix all of the sinks at the ITP Estate
– walk no fewer than 75 miles
– publish an app to the iOS AppStore

2014 Goals: Measurable
– Get my weight down to 190 pounds so that I can wear a 36″ waist pants comfortably
– Completely read ten books, audio books permissible
– Save $500 for the sole purpose of donating to charitable organizations of my choice
– Completely run at least one 10k
– Fix all (or at least most) of the things which are wrong with the ITP Estate
– Sell the ITP Estate (tentative)

2014 Goals: Unmeasurable
– Continue to Simplify, simplify, simplify
– Continue backing up all data, including the off-site storage
– Do not create a solution for something which is not a problem
– Eat smaller portions
– Start, and continue, to make my own bread using my bread machine as well as using the technique outlined in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
– Read and discard magazines during the month in which they arrive (even digitally)

Books I’ve Read/Heard In 2014

  1. “Johnny Carson” by Henry Bushkin
  2. “Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon

Paulie [eatl/ga]

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14 Responses to Austin City Limits

  1. Currently exchanging tweets with Hertz. They are telling me that they can swap out the car for me here. Hmmmm, better the devil I know or the devil I don’t know at this point?

  2. Barb says:

    See what the selection is there in Austin, that might help you decide.

  3. I just sent them info on where I am, we’ll see.

    Cool! I just found out about a developer beer meet up tonight here, so I’ve got that going for me…

    Okay, time for me to explore. I’ll check in later.

  4. bob says:

    different city different rules, by the time you get it all figured out you will be headed out of town :-).
    My GPS has done something similar, told me to get off at an exit then right back on. Crazy technology.

    So I’m taking the 30 day biking challenge. Don’t know who started it but it involves riding my bike every day in the month of April so I’m on board! Today’s ride was a jaunt to my son’s school for a play, it was only 2 miles round trip but it counts. This will be tough since April is generally the wettest month in Georgia.

  5. Found a grocery store, HEB, they sell beer. Now I need to figure out how to get back to my hotel so that I can put it into the refrigerator.

    Unrelated: downtown is swarming with UT students this morning.

  6. Steve says:

    The HEB chain is where we buy jalepenio bacon!! Must have!

    Dentist- check.
    George’s run- check.
    Debbie getting scared off the tractor by a snake – check.

    We’ve moved on to yard chores and snake hunting after Huddle House and Lowes.


  7. Martha says:

    Ugh, I woke up today with a super sore throat, honestly I’d rather suffer anything but this.

    I thought “Big Red *was* the cinnamon gum of my youth, then I clicked on the link…ugh cinnamon soda? blech!

  8. Maybe the soda company put out a gum? Maybe the gum company put out a soda? I’m not sure but I’m never buying another one of either again.

  9. Martha says:

    Well according to Wikipedia they are not related…actually, Wikipedia decribes it as a cream soda (mixing orange, lemon and vanilla)… I loved red pop as a kid, and now I want a red cow.

  10. I did not taste those flavors. Maybe the name predestined me to taste cinnamon?

  11. Sadly not getting the lunch I really wanted today because the food truck is downtown, Austin’s version of Marta has no parking, and I cant spend all day/night downtown because I have work to do this afternoon.

    Rental Update: Was told I would have to contact Emergency Road Services to pull of a swap. I don’t have time for that sort of nonsense.

  12. bob says:

    LOL, emergency road services?

    Them: Hello? What is your emergency?
    You: I hate the car you gave me, bring me a new one!

  13. Barb says:

    the lunch you wanted was from a food truck? really?

  14. Yeah the la Barbecue truck I linked to last week. The food is supposedly amazing. I’m meeting developers for beer downtown at 8, maybe I will go early and see if they are still there.

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