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February 27, 2018

Mente Clara and The Parks Project at the Sahara Lounge Austin (jazz)

There IS a jazz scene in Austin. We had to drive east, far east Austin. We found a small slice of what some would call "the old Austin" in a funky but fun dive bar with an African theme, The Sahara Lounge.

owen summers mente clara jazz piano

Mente Clara, and The Parks Project played. Both groups are composed of some of the same people.  

aaron parks project space jazz drums 

Daniel "Lit Du" Durham bass parks project 

It's not easy to look at, or write about, music. So I offer audio-visuals below... 

February 26, 2018

Pool Progress and Forever Bicycles (Ai Weiwei)

west lake hills pool removal

It rained nearly every day last week. I tried to make the most of any break in the weather. I have my utility trailer loaded with scrap metal.

austin kung fu grip bridge

The kids had school on President's Day, to make up for a snow day. Kat and I took the opportunity to ride bikes. Kat rode #1 son's bike and realized her regular bike is bulky, heavy, and slow. We covered a good bit of distance in a relatively short time. That was fun.

forever bicycles austin ai weiwei 

We rode to the Ai Weiwei Forever Bicycles.

austin ai weiwei forever bicycles hike and bike path 

February 19, 2018

Dime On Ring

#2 son asked Kat to glue a dime, to a ring.


"There, I've always wanted a Dime-On-Ring". We laughed as he beamed with pride. Then the most precious statement came from him, "I didn't make that pun up myself. I got it from somebody else". That was the part that made us proud.  

dime on ring pun 


Deconstruction and Preconstruction

The swim spa has been cut into pieces. This week will feature my effort to clean up the area, and haul it all to the dump.

swim spa removal swimspa don't do it.  

We have had more discussion about what to do with our property in Wimberley. The last round of design ideas started with house, and then we tried to make a floorplan fit. That led to so many issues. This time we looked at simple floorplans found on the internet, and I played with house design based on those. This solved the location issues of closets, utility areas, etc. 

One was based on a L-shaped plan, with three bedrooms on one wing, and public areas on the other.   

wimberley modern L floorplan 3 bedroom 

wimberley blanco river modern home 

blanco river rapids estates wimberley tx 

The second was based off of a barn style residence, that also has three bedrooms down the right side, but a larger open area in the middle, and kitchen and dining on the left. This is almost like an H-shaped floorplan.  

wimberley modern home 3 bedroom butterfly roof 

wimberley blacno river modern home  

blanco river rapids wimberley  

Both feature a roof that would drain to one point for rain water collection, and allow installation of solar panels to face southwest. We also agreed to screen the front entry and have minimal windows facing the street.  



Hi Sign Brewing

More and more breweries are opening in Austin. We attended the one year anniversary event at Hi Sign.

Hi Sign Brewery Austin TX 

Quite a few people ventured out on a chilly and drizzly day. The line for a beer was about ten to fifteen minutes long when we arrived.

Hi Sign Brewing Austin TX 

The beer was good. It's great to see they are pursuing the trend of Hazy and Juicy IPA. There was still a bit more bitterness than we have become used to.

February 12, 2018

Pool Hole and Spinach Gnocchi

river pool deconstruction

The old swim spa removal is still happening. I have most of the large sections free. Three of the remaining corner pieces seem to have cement holding them in place. The pool was assembled before the concrete decking was poured. From here, I will be spending even more time with my grinder, cutting it out, bit by bit. I've burned up two gridners and one circular saw so far. The metal WILL yield to my demands, eventually.

home made spinach gnocchi 

We made spinach gnocchi at home this weekend. It was pan seared with Life Improvement Sauce ™. It was good, although there was a point where we thought it was going to be a fail. There was well over a pound of spinach (24 oz) in that dinner. It was a real health boost.  

CSA Year of the Dog, Chinese New Year

We are now members of the Chinese Society of Austin. We attended their New Year party at New Fortune Restaurant.

summit lion dancers austin csa chinese new year 

Lions and Dragon did their dance.

chinese socity of austin summit lion dance 

The lions enjoyed a meal of red envelopes ($).

chinese new year austin csa summit lion dancers 


The children also enjoyed distribution of red envelopes ($). It's now obvious that we are down to only one "child".

new forune chinese seafood restaurant austin  

There was an abundance of Chinese food for each table, mostly seafood. The fish looked good, it was gone before the lazy Susan circled back to me. New Fortune has opened a second restaurant near us in Westlake, Jade.

I think it's funny that their Westlake restaurant features a bottle and glass of wine on their website. While their location in Chinatown shopping center, likely doesn't serve much wine. The Chinese New Year event was pretty much dry. I saw one guy have a glass of wine, he was a non-Chinese. I've also come to understand that Chinese weddings are also often dry events.


Prizes, many door prizes. Our numbers came up twice.  

westlake high school austin jazz 

A wonderful musical performance from members of the Westlake Jazz Band. 


February 05, 2018

Real live Blues-man Paul Oscher

Local musician Paul Oscher is still living the blues. Paul spent many years playing in Muddy Waters Band. He plays a couple weekly residences around town. A gray dreary day in February seemed a good opportunity to catch the blues.

paul oscher blues musician austin tx 

still austin whiskey co 

He played Saturday afternoon at Still Austin. Colorful cocktails helped to defeat the grey skies outside.

Member's Party Jones Contemporary Art:

jones center rooftop contemporary 

We also enjoyed a member's rooftop party at the Contemporary. Fresa's Chicken al Carbon provided another diversion from our pescetarian diet (we're note religious about it, that was some good chicken!).

bathroom mirror self portraiture  

Caroline at Aloft (across the street) had a great offer for museum members. We could not resist.

caroline tuna tartare tacos on jicama 

Back on track to pescetarianism! They even packed us up some pastries to take home for the kids.





#1 son reaches 15th year level on Earth

We let #1 son sleep in till 10 AM (common occurrence on the weekend). I made him a hot breakfast of chilaquiles when he came down. It was a wonderful February day in Austin, sunny and 72F degrees. We loaded up the bikes and hit the hike and bike boardwalk on the east side.

specialized project bike carbon fiber 

My project bike is down to 23 lbs, from 30 lbs. Uphill is SO much easier and it has such a low rolling resistance.

#2 son was not in the biking (cooperating) mood. We went all of 1.2 miles before turning back. I think I burned a total of 8 calories, counting the  5 calories burned from loading/unloading five bikes and bike rack.

His birthday coincided with the Super Bowl this year. Once again, we took the opportunity to head to Eddie V,'s as it was mostly empty.


That steak tartare with shaved black truffle is so delicious. We took a break from our pescetarian diet for today.

shaved black truffle steak tartare eddie v's austin 

happy hour oysters at eddie v's austin 

We also enjoyed east coast (cold water) oysters on the half shell.