went to austin for baseball, but...

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let's finish catching up...

thursday around lunch i visited julia in the hospital. she's a co-worker who had gotten surgery done to her lower spine wednesday morning. she was on a lot of morphine, but i was surprised she was as coherent and as mobile as she was. it's pretty amazing the major things doctors can do these days and even consider letting you go home in a day or two. (although i'm sure the morphine helps.) i also went by to visit her again after work. she was in some pain and not too excited about them trying to get her out of the hospital. (they ended up sending her home friday by noon or so.) hopefully her recovery process is going okay. (although it'll be some weeks of recovery.) after visiting her, i drove over to the original berry hill (near westheimer and kirby) and ate with chris and mary.

friday i left work early (though not as early as i'd planned, so i hit rush hour traffic...geh) and headed to college station to meet my brother and watch the a&m/u.t. baseball game. it was a good game, although a&m melted at the end and commited some errors and gave the game to u.t. up until then, it was a pretty close game and could have gone either way. while i was at the game, jack called me to see what i was up to, and then kelli called to see if i was at the west alabama ice house. hopefully next time they'll call me while i'm still in town. kelli told me brad was actually in college station, but the game went until 9:45pm or so and we immediately left to drive back to austin so i didn't give him a call.

yup, i spent the weekend in austin. the plan was to meet at a&m and watch the game there, then drive to austin and watch the second two games of the series (saturday and sunday). saturday we got up and ate a late breakfast at the waterloo icehouse. afterward, we walked over to the (conveniently next door) waterloo records and i bought some cds:

  • * Texas thunderbolt - lightnin' hopkins (proper box set)
  • * oh, no! it's devo - devo (collectables re-release)
  • * queen of rockabilly - wanda jackson (ace)

i've been planning to buy some hopkins stuff for awhile, i'm just never sure what to get. the proper boxes are usually pretty good, so i figured a 4 cd box set from them would be a good choice. the devo album was one of the only ones (i want) that i didn't have on cd. some of their other albums that aren't on cd domestically through warner brothers have been re-issued by the same company, but i picked up most of them when they were expensive import-only cds. (i've got japanese import cds of duty now for the future and new traditionalists.) and i've eyed the wanda jackson album a couple of times in various stores, so i finally gave in and picked it up.

we went back to linc's place and hung out for awhile. chris called to see if i wanted to meet them at west alabama ice house, then evelyn (her name in second life) called and we talked for awhile. heather came over and we all walked to the ballpark to watch the second a&m/t.u. game...but it was sold out. we talked to a scalper or two, but they were pretty proud of their tickets. we went back to linc's and jumped online to see if we could buy tickets for sunday's game. no luck. so instead of the game, we went to dinner. we ate at phil's (a burger place), which is connected to an amy's ice cream (and i guess is probably affiliated with it somehow). the burger was pretty good. from there we went back to my brother's. we decided to walk back down to the stadium and see if they were letting people in for free. it was the 7th inning, they were letting people in, and it was a tied game. once again, it was a good game. and once again, a&m committed an error near the end of the game that gave u.t. the lead. this win gave u.t. the series, and also made them the big 12 champions. we walked back to linc's place, where he and i decided to smoke our pipes and listen to music. (heather parted ways for some kind of social event.)

saturday was also the day we came to know the a/c guys. they get a paragraph of their own. linc had gotten a letter from his new apartment complex owner (who is a person who flips properties, and appears to be planning to flip the small complex my brother lives in) that they were going to be removing and cleaning the a/c coils in the apartments over the weekend. the first guy we met was more of a stereotype of a functional poor white drunk than a real person. in every way, in every comment, he solidified this. the guy helping him, who we met later, was a really interesting old black man who mentioned he plays harmonica. (we were listening to a lot of old blues, country, and jazz.) he said he'd been in a military band, and had played all over the world -- and even on the ed sullivan show. in sharp contrast to his co-worker, he didn't drink at all. together they formed a very slow moving, yet fascinating and humorous, train wreck. they spent a couple of hours in and out of linc's apartment. at least they seemed to be getting the work done, even if in very slow and widely spaced fits and starts. i believe the old black guy was slow and meticulous, in comparison to the white guy who was just slow. like characters from an old coen brothers film, they were.

sunday we got up and met heather at waterloo icehouse for breakfast. (yep, we went back to the same place.) our waitress seemed pretty cool, and we discussed cream of wheat vs. malt-o-meal, chocolate malt-o-meal, the unknown-by-us origins of malt-o-meal, then we transitioned into malt. i'm not sure we figured anything out, but it was an entertaining set of conversations. we went back into waterloo records after breakfast, but i didn't buy anything.

we didn't even try to figure out a way to watch the baseball game. in the afternoon, we decided to watch the wendell baker story. it was done by luke and andrew wilson, and had a whole bunch of people in it. it also had a really good soundtrack, and was filmed in and around austin. unfortunately, overall the movie really wasn't that good. but it was entertaining in parts, and had some really funny lines. perhaps if i watch it again, i'll find a deeper appreciation for it as a whole. the first time i watched bottle rocket i didn't fall in love with it either.

after the movie, linc and i headed to a half price books and i bought some cds and books:

  • * a proper introduction to john lee hooker - john lee hooker (proper)
  • * ghost train - the hot club of cowtown (hightone)
  • * a proper introduction to hank thompson - hank thompson (proper)

john lee hooker is probably the second blues guy i think of when i think of blues. (or blues i like, i should say.) the first being lightnin' hopkins, of course. so i decided this would probably be a good thing to pick up. i've got one or two hot club of cowtown cds, but didn't have this one. and i've been meaning to pick up som hank thompson, so it seemed like a good start.

  • * storm over Texas: the annexation controversy and the road to civil war - joel h. silbey (oxford)
  • * stephen f. austin: empresario of Texas - cantrell (yale)

i also saw a couple of old books about the history of german settlers in Texas, but at $50 and $100 i decided to pass since i didn't know what their value might be or what direct interest i might have.

after heading back to linc's -- and seeing the a/c guys hard(ly) at it yet again -- i packed up my stuff and headed back to houston.

i really like austin. for numerous reasons. it's eclectic, it's unique, it's got trees and hills and nature pretty readily available. it gives it an interesting vibe, with quirky and unique stores and places to go. and i must admit, the number of cool-looking girls (alt, punk, granola, emo, nerd culture, goth, etc.) around town is nice. not that such things matter much, but it's yet another reason for me to prefer austin to houston. i know the quirky nature lends itself to negatives as well, and i'm sure the ongoing oddness could begin to get tedious at times -- but if handled properly it adds nice spice. and being only two hours from my family's land would be a pretty nifty bonus. maybe one of these days i'll make it there.

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yes.... Austin. Sorry Houston, no match. Of the 20 some odd years I lived in Houston, from high school and on should've been in Austin. I love living overseas, but I do miss Austin. I wish I could fit "he loves Austin like Homer loves beer" into some cool rhyme, but it's just not happening.

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