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October 28, 2014

does art school teach what life made you forget?

#2 son brought home some art projects from school... There are people paying art schools big $ to learn skills that humans are obviously born with. It's life that beats the natural art instinct down. Ok, so that's all too heavy for you (you probably haven't looked up the tuition cost of an "Art School" recently).

here are the pretty pictures, from a 6 y.o.

modern art austin 


I’ve been informed the artwork below is upside down, it’s supossed to be a “negativitron"

upside down art  


#1 son drew the pic below in his spare time at school. A classmate scribbled across the whole page, and I managed to mention I could probably repair the drawing in photoshop... and after over an hour of getting the scanner driver installed... I did what I said I would. He expected it to be done yesterday... Here ya go, "Seeenor Cat" 

senor cat austin 


I especially like the "Harbaal"

Fall Festival season also included #1 son performing with the beginner orchestra at HCMS, he plays viola. Not bad given the fact he'd only started the Viola less than nine weeks ago! My favorite part of this clip below, his foot. Notice about half way into it he starts tapping (stomping) out the beat. Nobody else feels the urge so strongly, that's the drummer in him.  They sounded really good. Mrs Horvitz does a great job with those kids.

October 27, 2014

Veuve Clicquot camping, Airstream style

The first time I took Kat camping, I explained that we don't really "rough it". I apply what some would call "Cadillac Camping". I bring my good cookware, fine wines and an elaborate spread of cheeses and meats... a bit indulgent. 

This past weekend camping left us without any technical trails to tackle, no mountains to climb... so I brought some lights along and put some champagne on ice... STILL not roughing it while camping. It also helps our comfort level that we've moved beyond the tent and into the Tin Can (1964 Airstream Overlander).

veuve clicquot camping canyon of the eagles resort 

We have a stack of VC sunglasses, a nice orange VC ice bucket... might as well bring a bottle of the bubbles and make an event of it.  

popping that cork veuve clicquot camping airstream canyon of the eagles resort

(BIG)  "POP!"

veuve clicquot champagne camping 


veuve clicquot sunglasses champagne ic bucket cheers! 


Kat later asked me "are we being a little douchey?". Yes, we're going for maximum douche here at the campground, but it was fun and the Veuve Clicquot was enjoyed.  


Canyon of the Eagles RV Resort

The weather is perfect for camping, so we did.

canyon of the eagles rv  

canyon of the eagles rv campground 

prickly pear texas  

Prickly Pear season.... 

guitar practice at canyon of the eagles 

mostly we just relaxed around the camp site.   

franklin barbecue tshirt bbq t shirt  

light painting at canyon of the eagles schuster 

The daughter has been bringing home brochures from various art schools (Chicago and Mica). I let her use my camera around the campsite to do some light painting. That should satisfy her artistic urges... right?   

art school light painting schuster 


Hendrick's Emporium of the Unusual

hendrick's gin odditorium emporium party 

Hendrick's Gin invited us to a fun evening in their Emporium of the Unusual. This happy guy amused us as we awaited to enter.  

hendrick's gin party austin 

and this guy removed some of our thirst in the first room, a secret door was later revealed to allow us access to the larger party area... where we found a secret bar under a ladies skirt... guarded by dwarves wearing bird skull like headgear... really, that's how it went down. 

hendrick's gin party austin greenhouse  

the passage to the main room was via this very herbaceous greenhouse.  

hendrick's emporium of the unusual

I had a tip to look under he skirt... I probably would've done that anyhow, but it was a good tip. 

dwarf with bird skull head hendrick's gin party 

The pic above was taken inside her skirt, we sat on stumps while the little guy in the bird head served us punch, sipped from tea cups and offered us to view this skull.   

hendrick's gin negroni 

There were a couple other places to sample fancy cocktails as well as a regular craft cocktail bar tended by regular sized humans serving drinks in real glassware (not plastic).  The beverage featured above is a Negroni, Kat enjoyed a Cucumber Martini.

piranha killer sushi escolar 

all the odd stuff and Gin made us hungry for more food. We stopped in for some quick bites at Piranha Killer Sushi 


More Fall Festival Fun

eanes fall festival

balls were thrown at cans...

eanes fall festival  

ropes were tugged...

lazer tag eanes festival  

lasers were tagged...

human slot machine eanes  

games of chance were chanced...

balance bar eanes 

balancing was achieved...

eanes fall festival 

disappointed is the word most often used to describe

but in the end, disappointment prevailed.  

decomposing jackolanterns

our jack-o-lanterns are trying to hold on till Halloween. Just a few more days..  they do look quite spooky in their current form of decomposition. 

October 20, 2014

Pumpkins, Red Wine Weather and Piano and some Shabu

The annual October pumpkin sacrifice has been honored.

austin modhouse pumpkin carving sacrifice of 2014 

austin west lake hills halloween shrine 2014 

shabu taiwanese hot pot austin 

Cooler Fall weather was perfect for Taiwanese style hot pot at Shabu 

shabu austin hot pot asian 

They have three different broth selections, and a menu of sides that includes meats, vegetables and starches. 

shabu broth and fixins hot pot austin 

We thought the sides were a little expensive, till we saw the portions.. we ordered way too much food.    

taiwanese hot pot austin shabu 

We had Red Snapper, Shiitake mushrooms, rice cakes, spinach noodles, Enoki mushrooms, tofu... it was all delicious.  

hot pot happiness austin shabu 

Of course we got the spicy broth. It was perfect. 

As the brutal heat of Summer in Central Texas leaves us, we welcome what I call "Red wine weather". 

quality juice napa cabernet austin fall festival  

The Red Wine Season Opening Ceremony offered some prime examples of the best California wines can offer. Yes, "Ole Joe" (far right) was nice and tall (Magnum) and they were all delicious. I'm not sure if we'll be able to top this selection. Maybe when/if I make up another pot of the cassoulet.... for the French Food portion of Red Wine Season.... 

MUSIC! We do live in a "music city" and I do have a musical offering: the kids did perform this past week. #1 son played with some of the members of Mente Clara for his piano recital. He'd been practicing his solo, but he never really had a chance to practice the whole song with the band. It appears (to my ear) there was a slight bit of confusion as to when he was going to break off into the solo. But these guys are professionals and they all sounded great as they just kept playing and he caught on and jumped back up to speed.

(two short clips and the whole song at the bottom) 


October 14, 2014

Fall fun and project catch up continues

The Fall is a busy time for school festivals.

We went to Mustang Mania at Eanes Elementary for #2 son. It's sort of like what we called "Field Day" with all sorts of games and sporting contests.

mustang mania 2014 eanes elementary isd





Project backorder: I'm trying to keep on top of general stuff that just needs doing... Kat prioritized a list of the things she would like done around the house and I'm knocking it off. Some things can't be planned for, like the heavy rain that flooded our koi pump and filtration box... that has been a time sucker. I expect to have the new pump plumbed in this week and the box now has flood prevention measures in place.  


We did set up a scarecrow. Although it seems to be scaring us more than crows. I often find myself startled by the figure standing at the edge of the driveway.  

structall sip planter box recycle 

We still have some old Structall SIP panel scraps from when the house was built. I used some to make a long planter box for Kat at the far end of the garage. Check that one off the list! 

October 07, 2014

ACL day 3, Jenny Lewis, Replacements and Pearl Jam

Once again, we arrived in the afternoon, just in time for Jenny Lewis

jenny lewis acl austin 2014 

jenny lewis austin city limits 2014 

jenny lewis austin city limits festival 2014 acl 

acl crowds day three 2014 austin ciy limits festival 

the replaceents acl 2014 

Then we claimed some real estate near the sound board and closed the night with The Replacements and Pearl Jam.

it was an enjoyable ACL, no drama..  no really exciting moments, but not too much hassle.

I think my favorite parts of ACL 2014 involved the meals we enjoyed with family and friends before/after the event. Most notably, we stumbled on a "reverse Happy Hour" at Chinatown. Toby (French trained sushi chef) entertained us with conversation and specialized (off menu) sushi. Gregg (the manager) kept coming over to ensure we were "happy" with offers of discounted food and drinks. 

chinatown westlake sushi happy hour  

We enjoyed the post-ACL Happy Hour two nights in a row.

We also enjoyed pre-ACL lunches at Takoba and Porter Ale House

ACL 2014 Day 2, Broken Bells are better with BIG BALLS

acl day two 2014

we arrived in the afternoon, to avoid the sun and heat. We spent some time in the craft beer tent, I listened to the Avett Brothers from the distance, Scott talked OU football to anybody that would listen/participate, the game was on in there.

acl crowds 2014 

people were packed tightly, making everything more complicated than it should be. Food lines were unreasonable, bathroom lines were long, but not impossible.

acl crowds austin city limits festival 2014 week one day two 

getting across the park was not easy...

Broken Bells: 

broken bells acl 2014 

The sun went down and the air got cool... Broken Bells came on and they sounded good. Not a high energy show with a lot of spontaneity, but it was nice.   

broken bells 2014 austin city limits festival 

broken bells acl  

and if your showmanship is a B game level... release the balls! 

broken bells with big balls austin city limits festival acl 2014 


The crowd reacted positively to giant inflatable, glowing balls of various sizes...  like little kids again, we delighted in whacking the orbs and sending them into flight.   

broken bells balls acl 2014 

broken bells balls 2014 acl 

October 06, 2014

ACL Festival day One

This was the first time I'd ever been at the Festival for the very first (opening) act. This year had a local choir kicking of the festival. I knew that Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian would be joining the Barton Hills Choir kids to sing a few of his songs.

stuart murdoch acl bhc 

stuart murrdoch belle ans sebastian austin barton hills choir acl 2014 

They're not our kids, but we still felt so happy for all of them to have such an awesome experience.

acl craft beer tent 2014 

acl day one friday is the best no crowds 

FRIDAY! look at all that space! This really is the golden time when the lines for food and bathroom are both short and crossing the park has fewer obstacles. 

st. vincent acl 2014 

St. Vincent was a good show. I love her quirky-jerky robot moves and all the emotional freak-outs. She took to the audience and traded her guitar for a flag (there were many people with giant flags on poles). She thrashed about, waving the Colorado flag back and forth over the crowd, I don't think the pole survived. Then she was drug back to the stage where she collapsed and cried. good fun but the bass was a bit punishing from our location. We had earplugs and that really helped when a good third of the people in front of us fled while plugging their ears with their fingers. 

st. vincent acl crowd 2014 

hipster with a hand puppet at acl belle and sebastian 

people watching is always good entertainment between performances.  

belle and sebastian austin city limits festival 2014 acl 

Belle and Sebastian 

belle & sebastian acl 2014 

stuart murdoch belle and sebastian acl crowd 2014 

Stuart picked some dancers from the audience to join them on stage.  

belle and sebastian austin city limits festival 2014 acl dancers 

not shown, Jimmy Cliff was also pretty good.  

We comfortably managed to catch four shows and it was good.  


Garage (bar) Austin

There are a few "secret bars" around Austin. We made the effort to find Garage. It's actually in a parking garage and if you weren't looking for it... You likely wouldn't ever know it was in there.

french 75 at garag bar austin tx 

garage bar austin tx  

french 75 austin tx garage bar  

The French 75 was really good 

fancy craft cocktails at garage bar austin

this drink may look harmless and delicate with its flower carefully positioned at the top... NOT the case. You might find yourself handing off the car keys to the wife after enjoying one of these, KA-POW! 

Marble Falls pumpkin patch- Sweet Berry Farm (and Texas Granite)

sweet berry farms marble falls tx

I went with #2 son and his classmates to Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls, TX 

sweet berry farm pumpkin patch and corn maze 

Pumpkin games and corn maze fun...  

sweet berry farm marble falls texas 

austin texas pumpkin patch sweet berry farms 

pumpkin patch games austin marble falls 

They were busy planting strawberries for the pick your own harvest next spring. Maybe we'll go back and pick some? or, I'll just buy a tub from the store and keep life simple and predictable. 

Marble Falls Texas Granite:

texas granite marble falls tx 

On the drive back to Austin through Marble Falls, we stopped to look at where they take giant slices out of the Texas Hill Country so you can have granite counter tops. 

texas granite marble falls 

texas pink granite marble falls tx 

You can just about see where the pink-ish examples match the local stone... where the hill has a big gap in it now... 

granite of north america 

This display indicates different granite harvested all over North America. Each slab was labeled where it came from. They also had flags representing each of the granite producing states and Canada.