Jun 182004

Ever since missing Tony Bourdain’s book signings at Bookpeople , I’ve been somewhat obsessive about checking their event calendar. I’ve made it to a few book signings lately and The Wife and I tag-teamed David Sedaris’s appearance this evening.

She went early to get a line number as it was projected that the turnout would be very big. It was. By the time I got there, several hundred people were already in the store and they had closed off the second floor so that the only option was to hear him over the speaker system. The family was next door at Whole Foods, so I went over there to get something for dinner. We ran into all kinds of people that we know. The Wife ran into Baldo and his parents before I arrived. We then ran into Jason & Angela and an old co-worker of Michele’s who also attends some of the same yoga classes as The Wife. The reading started at 7 and I didn’t get my book signed until 10:30. I read the first 5 or 6 stories. I laughed out loud once. He plugged the same book, Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, that he plugged at the signing that Scott attended earlier this week. Sedaris apparently has a colossal dislike for cell phones and cameras, so I was unable to take my traditional book signing cell phone camera shot for the moblog. He makes up for his hatred of cell phones with a love for smokers, however, as he let anyone with a pack of cigarettes cut in front of the rest of the line. He’s hoping that the favorable treatment of smokers will spread. Fat chance.

 Posted by on June 18, 2004 at 6:25 am
May 182004

I went to Bruce Sterling’s reading for The Zenith Angle last night at Bookpeople. I haven’t been to very many book signings, but it was a modest turnout, definitely smaller than the Neal Stephenson signing last October. Sterling is in the middle of his largest book tour ever and seemed relieved to be back on his home turf for a day. He even commented that he decided to wear some old sandals as opposed to socks and shoes, something he wouldn’t normally do at a signing in another city.

He started off talking about his annual SXSW party which has apparently grown to such a proportion that he’s vexed as to whether or not to continue the tradition. He’s convinced that cell phones and text messaging were a contributing factor to the size of the party this year. He used the story of the party to tie into a brief commentary on on globalization and then also related it to his new book. I managed to read the preface while waiting and he read the first chapter aloud. I found his reading style a little odd. His delivery was enthusiastic and endearingly geeky. There were certain passages where he clearly looked up and paused briefly, expecting laughter from the audience.

While I’ve read many of his articles in various magazines, the only book I’ve read is his collaboration with William Gibson, The Difference Engine, which I didn’t particularly care for. So far, the new one seems like it’ll be a fast read. It’s set in the recent past with the first chapter occurring on 9/11 and looks like it’ll be part thriller and part commentary on recent events. He mentioned during that signing that he’s currently working on a book set fifty years into the future.

 Posted by on May 18, 2004 at 6:53 pm
May 102004

I’ve seen news reports in both the Statesman and News8 in the past week about the intersection of Third and San Antonio. (I’d link to the Statesman article by Ben Wear last Monday, but they only make the last 7 days available online. If you have an Austin Public Library card and have gotten an online PIN from them, you can access the last several years through the APL site.)

My legion of loyal readers will recall that I recently ranted about this intersection. I’d like to see the statistics for the number of accidents at that intersection since converting San Antonio to two-way. Someone’s going to be seriously injured at that intersection if the city doesn’t figure something out soon.

 Posted by on May 10, 2004 at 6:22 pm
May 032004

Yet another embarassing incident in Austin has made national news. Coming on the heels of the Ozomatli arrests and the Jason Patric arrest (whose charges, I might add, were quietly dropped recently), we have a boat capsized by a group of people who were apparently a little too enthusiastic about viewing naked sunbathers at Austin’s infamous Hippie Hollow.

I heard about the barge capsizing on News8 last night and they mentioned that it occurred near Hippie Hollow, but I didn’t put two and two together until CNN spelled it out for me. When I first moved here in 1989 for college, I was dragged to Hippie Hollow by a misguided friend. He was certain that we were going to be treated to a bevy of naked bathing beauties. Reality set in before we even got halfway down the path to the shore when we passed a middle-aged man who hadn’t yet covered himself.

Let me go ahead and spell it out for any new Austinites or tourists: Hippie Hollow is mainly populated by fortyish or older white men, probably over-the-hill hippies who feel the need to maintain their ideals, but haven’t maintained their bodies. If you’re looking for a cheap thrill, I suggest the Internet (at least until Ashcroft and his cronies take that away from us).

P.S. How slow of a news day must it be for CNN.com to list this as one of their top stories?

 Posted by on May 3, 2004 at 8:43 pm
May 032004

No Pants Day is this Friday. Be sure to check out the No Pants Day song penned by my former co-worker, Stinky Del Negro. What are the odds I can get work to participate?

 Posted by on May 3, 2004 at 6:24 pm
Apr 162004

I can’t remember if I mentioned it, but I’m single dad this week. The Wife’s on vacation to San Diego. As a consequence, I’ve been downtown around 3:30 the last few days collecting the kids from school/daycare and I’ve seen some interesting things.

Yesterday, as I drove down San Jacinto, I saw local filmmaker Rick Linklater walking with three or four other dudes near Fourth Street.

Today, as I came south on I-35, I noticed two guys standing on the Twelfth Street overpass. They were holding up a large sign that said, “Say no to gay marriage”. Now, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it’s clearly illegal to do crap like that as it creates the potential for an accident. As we all know, drivers on that stretch of I-35 don’t need any help with accidents, so, being the good citizen that I am, I called 311 and reported them. With any luck, Austin’s Finest took some time out from harassing musicians and actors and made take their opinions elsewhere.

 Posted by on April 16, 2004 at 5:51 am
Mar 302004

A few weeks ago, we had the Ozomatli Incident, and last night it was the Patric Fracas.

I’ve probably spent more time in the Sixth/Fourth street areas than is healthy since moving here 15 years ago. I was down there practically every weekend from 1996 to 1999. These days, I only get down there about once every couple of months. I managed to get out for SXSW one night this year and saw Unsane in a tent at the corner of Red River and Sixth and Don Caballero at Emo’s later that same night where I ran into some old bandmates. The Wife and I happened to be out one night during Mardi Gras last month as well.

It seems to me that not only has the police presence increased over the past few years, but I think they’ve also become more aggressive. They look like they’re just waiting for an excuse to jump on somebody and throw their ass in jail. There’s got to be some sort of middle ground. I keep thinking of the cops in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. They’ve always give me the feeling that they’re there to prevent any major stuff from happening, but they’ll generally tolerate some stupid drunk nonsense. They know that the people are there to spend money and have a good time. Sure, if someone gets really out of hand, you’ve got to crack down, but I think the APD is really overreacting. I’m all for thinning out the dirty hippie jam bands and treating fancypants actors like everyone else, but aren’t they taking it a little too far?

 Posted by on March 30, 2004 at 7:05 pm