Tuesday, September 30, 2008


When does a house become an estate? In the case of a place we saw on Lake Travis Saturday night, it's when there is a separate 'pavilion' with restrooms and a catering kitchen, a covered area several times as large as my condo and a terrace overlooking Lake Travis. All of this separated from the actual home by a waterfall. I said a couple of times that I wouldn't want to pay to maintain it! We were attending a party to kick off the season of Austin Lyric Opera. I wish I could say divas stood on that terrace and belted out some arias but there was no musical entertainment, sadly.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Old South Austin

For some reason a Mexican restaurant on South First has a sign that looks like vintage neon that says "Old South Austin" with a cutout of the Capitol (which is north of the river) above it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Masses of People go to ACL

We didn't go to the Austin City Limits festival but the authorities closed part of San Antonio street one block over and buses shuttled hundreds of people back and forth to Zilker. You can see the buses and lines beyond the parking garage roof below our place. When I went to my tennis game, I saw people parking near Mopac to walk or catch rides of some kind. There was a veritable migration of people. Mostly we tried to dodge the traffic in our day's adventures. Added to this crowd was a burnt orange sea of people who watched the University of Texas beat Arkansas. In the evening, we threaded through that crowd going home to go out by Lake Travis and go to a party toasting the opera's new season. A few people looked from their 'fashion' like they had come from the game, but mostly there were just Austinites who don't go to ACL or games. Yes, we exist! Before I went to bed I saw a traffic jam on the street below of cars trying to get out of the parking garage. One thing about having a condo downtown is that you have a private parking place.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


This mural on a building on South First depicts a battle between a bird of prey and a rattlesnake I believe. Locked in mortal combat, wouldn't you say? Did anyone listen to the debates?

Friday, September 26, 2008


Bars open and close downtown at certain locations while more venerable ones keep on going. There seem to be certain locations that feed one bar owner's dream after another's brilliant idea. (Or the same owner cycles through the theme of the moment.) I noticed these metal doors the other day on one such place and decided I should snap a picture before the next remodel. It's somewhere around the warehouse district.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ancient Ink

This tattoo parlor called Ancient Ink is on South First. I guess I never thought about it, but tattoos are a pretty ancient art. Perhaps this place specializes in the motifs of natives of the Americas given those decorations which look Aztec or Incan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guitars Again

Just when I thought giant guitar art was gone from the city it seems to be cropping up again. I don't know if they are temporary and part of a new fundraiser. This one is on Congress but seems to have a photo representation of Sixth Street and is called "Sixth String" and attributed to someone named Randy Rudman. I have also spied one further down Congress in front of the One Congress building but haven't gotten a picture.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Sunrise is visible through the buildings these days and really lovely from our tenth floor vantage point as the orb appears to rise as the earth spins. The steeple and flagpole seem to gauge its rise.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hard Sell

We are not runners. Rather we are walkers and we were walking around some race (a marathon relay, I think) that had runners on 11th near the (nearly destroyed by arson) Governor's Mansion. This water station looked a bit ignored by the dozen or so runners we saw go by, but they were prepared as this phalanx of cups filled with water attests.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baked Goods at the Farmers' Market

I asked the girl in the blue shirt (with the purple hair) if I could take her picture with her baked goods. She signaled for the gal in green to get up from a chair and be in the picture. Maybe the bakery (Living Arts Bakery) is really hers. They are usually set up in the Farmers' Market on the northeast corner of booths. We didn't have their baked goods yesterday but we have and they are great.

I didn't get their names because the cell phone conversation seemed to be consuming their energy although they seemed happy to be snapped.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Can it Be Fall?

Well, there has been a little cool in the air in the mornings, but the surest sign that it might really be fall in our often hot Capital City is this pumpkin display at Whole Foods Market at Fifth and Lamar. FFP and I went in and had a vegan taco salad with faux meat and faux sour cream. Very good, actually.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thousands of Blocks

Wednesday night FFP and I bounced between two events celebrating milestones for themselves while making the case for your donation dollars. After a birthday party for The Ann Richards School for Young Women leaders at Lowell Lebermann's new home we dashed across town to the Center for Child Protection in their new location east of Austin. Both worthy endeavors benefiting kids. At the Kozmetsky Center for Child Protection someone had come up with an awareness campaign based on children's toys and games. Outside the center there were thousands of blocks representing the number of abused children in the county.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A House Can Dream

On South First on Sunday I noticed that this old house was sporting a billboard of a complex of modern structures. I suppose someone is planning to build some modern infill there. I'm a fan of modern and there are some great examples in that area of modern infill. But this house just looks forlorn, advertising the future dreams of the lot it's on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tacos on the Move

The taco trailer at Little Woodrow's was traded out and Torchy's delightful combos were hauled down to South First. We'd already eaten at Guero's (on South Congress) when we strolled by on Sunday. We'll be back to get their lovely tacos, however. There is now a complex with picnic tables, a trailer serving burgers and seafood (Shuggie's) and the Torchy's trailer. Fried avocado taco. Yum.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Patriotic Cottage

This small, neat as a pin patriotic home is on Annie Street. But lest you think they are shouting 'USA, USA' enlarge the picture and note the lone star and the word Texas on the gable.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I walked across the First Street Bridge yesterday and could have gotten a good picture of a multi-person boat (scull?) but I wasn't quick enough. I took this on Labor Day and the kayakers had 'idled'by the Congress Avenue (Ann Richards) Bridge to talk to this guy. Paul is a rower, too, as well as a triathlete and the ladies were chatting with him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An Institution For Beer and Burgers

In Austin, if someone says 'meet me at the Tavern' this is the place they are talking about, at 12th and Lamar. This building was built on North Lamar before that street existed ( in 1916). As it happens I took this picture Tuesday and The Austin Chronicle wrote about such venerable institutions this week. (See Mick Vann's rundown on the Tavern.) The sign tells you that they welcome football fans. However, the big game was canceled in Austin yesterday. They thought the weather might be vicious but the hurricane turned away. However, there were hotel rooms released that were occupied by people fleeing the Houston area and the coast instead of returning Longhorn alums and visiting Arkansas Razorbacks.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Eve of Ike

So far we have received no rain from Ike. There's a cool breeze coming from the east. Last night the Frost Bank Tower glowed with sunset. Texas is such a big state that it swallowed a giant hurricane. This guy was 'only' a fierce Cat 2 (almost Cat 3) but it was a big-shouldered monster. While 110 mph winds crashed all the way into downtown Houston apparently, Austin has yet to see rain. In fact the latest chances for rain are less than fifty percent. If you saw pictures of the size of this thing, you can appreciate this anomaly. I am glad a number of people sheltered here and, apparently, also escaped concomitant bad weather. Having said this, and this being Texas, I'm probably calling down unexpected weather events on our Capital City.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Endangered Wildlife

This mural is on a building near Austin Community College where, I think, a parking garage is going up. I wonder if the mural will survive or will still be seen when that's done.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hats Off to You

These folks were waiting on a bus at Lamar and Twelfth Streets on Tuesday. And they were doing it with style!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dancin' On The Street

As we walked home from La Traviata (not the opera, a restaurant on Congress Ave.) last night along Third Street we saw a class at Ballet Austin. When we were in capital campaign meetings dreaming about this facility there was talk of bringing the downtown community into dance with a glass-walled studio on a street that was on what would become a vibrant street in a vibrant neighborhood. I think it's happening. Not all dreams come true. But, sometimes....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cheap Dreams

A friend of mine wanted a lottery ticket last night. We were eating out in the neighborhood and the only walkable place we knew to get a lottery ticket was a convenience store on Second the other side of Congress. People buy these tickets and dream about what they would do with the winnings. (Pay off the mortgage; pay off the credit card debt; put the kids through college; buy a fancy car and house and boat.) I don't buy the tickets. I dream of finding a winning ticket on the ground. The odds are lower, but it isn't much more of a fantasy. The state spends lots of money on advertising and signage and administration. (And winnings, of course.) I guess it makes money that saves us being taxed another way.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pleasant "Back Yard"

You have your succulent garden with some Xeriscape (although that beautiful green lawn requires some water, you bet). You have your hammock where you can just view Lady Bird Lake. Nice, huh? But, no, it's not my yard nor anyone else's but in the public area behind Austin's Four Seasons Hotel. I don't think I've ever seen anyone taking a nap, though. But doesn't it look tempting? FFP and I had lunch at the Trio Cafe before he did an interview of their sommelier. ("As long as you are going over there," I said. It's fun, but expensive, to be able to walk to all these places for lunch or dinner or, for that matter, breakfast.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sweets not on the Hill

I've shown you this bakery on West Sixth Street before but not its sign. I took this recently when we walked here from the condo. In that other entry I explained that the Hill part of the name doesn't seem right (although there are some steep streets behind it) and that there's a reason for that. I like this sign. It make you want to eat something sweet.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Domain Shop Window

I took this at the Domain some time back. My Windows (VMware on the Mac) decided to get stuck in an unfortunate state over night so I'm casting around on the Mac side to post something! Wish me luck in computer out to lunch land.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Got Wings

Our home looms behind the Hooters sign on the other side of the river touting their 'wings.' I think the popularity of spicy-cooked chicken wings came from all those chicken breasts that got sold as entrees. Someone figured out you had to do something with the wings. Of course, back in the day you could buy a basket of chicken livers or gizzards, too. You don't see that anymore. Hooters is a restaurant with a reputation for scantily-clad women serving the wings or whatever. I was in South Africa in 2005 and a friend's son who had been to the States was wearing a Hooters T-Shirt. I mentioned it and he said, "It's a family restaurant!" I don't think his parents were the wiser.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Friendly Wrestle Amidst the Toes

Owners and onlookers in their flip-flops (thongs, sliders, whatever) watch these dogs have a friendly wrestle on the grass of Auditorium Shores during the triathlon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Big Dig

Poking my camera through a gap in the construction fence reveals the big dig for the W Hotel and Condos (and the new Austin City Limits Theater). Friends who live in the new AMLI and higher in our building can see it from their homes but we can't so we have to check on the progress when walking by or visiting them. When it's finished, we might be able to see it, though.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


We took a walk down to the trail and over to Riverside and saw lots of people biking and running in the Austin Triathlon. We took a lot of pictures of that and took pictures of shop windows on South Congress (where we walked to get a bite to eat) but I decided to use this picture of Paul Scripko after his triathalon. (He said he did the 'sprint' whatever that is.) He is a friend of ours and we met him on the Congress Ave. bridge walking his bike and gear back from the race when we were walking home. He said that swimming in Town Lake is dicey at best although they somehow try to clean up the area where they swim. Sounds yucky to me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Blue Rising

Today is theme day but the theme is 'sister city' and sadly I couldn't find any sister city of Austin that I'd ever visited. Expect surprises from the other sites today, however! For us we have a curving wall on the trail on the north side of Lady Bird Lake with blue mosaic tiles and a pole decorated with blue stripes seeming to join the high rise where we live. Now I'm off to see how sister cities played out for other City Daily Photo sites.