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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Austin, by Apple

I just visited Austin, Texas. Before making the trip, I had been told that Austin was "amazing", "the coolest place ever", "better than chocolate ice cream rainbows" (I have strange, overly descriptive friends).

Well, you know what? Austin is better than chocolate ice cream rainbows ... that can breath fire ... and can fly ... and beat Chuck Norris in a fight.

First off, Austin looks like it was designed by Apple.

Every restaurant is cool as all hell, as are the cafes, the book stores, and the grocery stores ... every building has something unique, beautiful, and funky about it ... even the electric power plant is sweet. When a town makes its public utilities buildings gorgeous, you know you are dealing with some sort of unstoppable design force.

Not to be out done by their day-time counter parts, each Austin bar promises an interesting and exciting experience. There is everything from ol' Southern Saloons, Irish Pubs / Boston-ish Sports Bars (pronounced Bahs), New York City-ish lounges, and good old live-music venues. You can dance on roofs to DJs, you can hippie-groove to local vocalists, you can play pool and mini-shuffle board, square dance, or frat it up if all else fails. The extreme attention to detail and "weirdness" that you find in every single establishment is unparalleled.

The lucky inhabitants of Austin are really what makes the city what it is. All are friendly and a bit "weird" themselves, in a very, very good way. The uniqueness of each individual is projected into all the brick, mortar, cardboard, and clay that make up the infrastructure of Austin. No wall goes unpainted, no blank space goes without a sculpture.

The city also seems to be fueled by no more than sun, music, and bikes ... and possibly bats. It's Texas, so it's dry, hot, and sunny. Austin is known as the music capital of the United States and the sheer quantity of music present in Austin is awe-inspiring. There is always some sort of festival or concert taking place. Everyone you come across seems capable, upon request, of banging out a drum beat, belting out a few home made lyrics, or producing a concealed guitar that can be dangerously rocked out on.

And the bikes. Everyone loves their bikes, and for good reason! They are good for the environment, get you from point A to point B, plus provide a workout in the process. And when you have no reason to ever leave the Austin City limits, who cares about the restricted travel radius!

Austin is truly a unique place. The city has gone local and emphasized culture, music, art, and eco-friendliness, yielding a marvelous gem. I will be visiting again soon, and I urge you to as well, especially if you never gotten weird in Austin before!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Calling It: Halloween 2009

I'm calling it. I feel that it is necessary. Let me explain. Over the past weekend I went to see a movie and one of the previews was for an up coming movie that I'm quite excited about. I'm talking about Where the Wild Things Are, the beloved children's book that is being adapted to the big screen. While there are several examples of similar efforts completely and spectacularly failing in the past, I believe this will be a great movie and I could not envision a better director than Spike Jonze to bring this book to life. The movie is set to premier on the 16th of October, 2009.

So what is the problem here? Well, I have a long tradition of picking Halloween costumes well ahead of time. I attempt to identify a creative, below-the-radar option that people will take one look at, slap their forehead, and exclaim, "Oh my god, that is great!" For example, I went as Hansel from Zoolander most recently.

I believe the re-popularization this movie will bring and its release date's close proximity to Halloween itself are set to produce the perfect storm that will topple my well laid plans. Back in March, I decided this Halloween I would go as Max. I now fear that I will be but one in a sea of impostors on All Hallows Eve!

So, I'm calling it, via the interweb, that I had this idea well before and am not simply jumping on the Wild Bandwagon. Anyone else have good costume idea that he/she would like to call now (post in comment below)?