Thursday, September 27, 2007

I am an excellent steel horse

Adam is out of town until Sunday, so I have the place to myself for a few days. He's barely been gone for a day, and I already feel like I've trashed the place. I have a shirt laying on the floor, I moved some of my computer stuff around, and have books everywhere. Hold on, I just picked up the shirt, this place looks better. Never mind.

Last night, Rock Plaza Central played with o'death at Mohawk here in Austin. I think that Mohawk may have become one of my favorite bars in town. The inside part kind of looks like a dive, but the outside is amazing. It has 3 different levels of patios, along with a good-sized area for shows, which you can see from all of the levels.

The show was most excellent, I wasn't familiar with o'death, but was blown away with their performance. They're kind of a country/punk band, complete with a banjo and fiddle, with lots and lots of energy. Definitely a band I'd see again.

I had seen RPC before, but it was a set cut short due to time constraints, so I was anxious to see them play a full set. Even without the full band (a couple members weren't there last night, the violinist and the accordion/flugelhorn player), these guys remain one of the better live bands I've seen. And nice guys, too. I talked with the lead singer Chris Eaton for a while afterwards, about the Iowa City show and other stuff. So go see these guys (Jad, they'll be a Zaphod's in 3 weeks!), and tell them I say hello!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Austin Ink

Here are a few pictures from my excitement from yesterday. This is something that I've been wanting to get for a while now, from one of the Vital Flenker Tracks, "Concierto de Aranjuez." It's the first few bars (I originally wanted more of it, but it would've ended up bigger than I was wanting, and a lot more expensive. A lot more expensive.), along with a couple of figures from the cover art of Sketches of Spain, the album the song appears on.

If you can't tell, this is on my upper right arm, wrapping around. It's neato, at least I think so. And just to show it, here's the tattoo that I had gotten many many years ago.

It's on my back, right between my shoulder blades. Yes, it's from a video game, I know. It means a little more than just that, it's also representative of a band I was in at the time, and just a big part of my life. But that's something for a different post. For now, I need to get off of the computer and go to bed. Let me know what you think, though!

Monday, September 24, 2007

If only it would not get into the 90's for just one day

Another weekend has passed in Austin, and this time I actually did stuff! Well, not on Friday. I didn't do a damn thing that day. Or really Sunday, either. I don't know if I left the apartment on either of those days. But Saturday, phew, that was a packed day!

Adam's taking a couple of classes in addition to his full-time job, so Saturday was his day to study. And since I was feeling rather restless, as well as just feeling like a turd after sitting around all day Friday, I thought I'd get a ride with him to the University of Texas campus and check things out. The plan was that he'd meet with his study group, then work on a paper, then we'd find somewhere to watch the Iowa game before we went to the Animal Collective show. Of course, I had to wear my Iowa shirt, so I thought I'd be hearing about it all day long. Much to my surprise, I didn't hear a single comment about the Hawkeyes. And I had never seen so much burnt orange in one place in my life. I would estimate that about 85-90% of the people I saw were wearing the color, and I'm being totally serious, not exaggerating at all. It was honestly kind of scary. I thought all of the Longhorn fans would turn to me with glazed eyes and try to eat my brain and then drape me in a shirt proclaiming my love for all things Texas. I think the Iowa shirt actually helped me out, though, they were probably too busy trying to figure out if "Iowa" was a foreign country or a band. Like "Iowa and the Hawkeyes" or something like that.

Anyways, the campus is pretty nice, definitely a different style than any I've been on. There are very few green areas, mostly buildings one right after the other. The architecture is a nice change from the usual university-type that I'm used to. Plus, they have a couple of fountains and a turtle pond, which I thought were nice touches. (again, I've taken pictures, but they're with Adam's camera, so I need to get them off of their. I'm pretty terrible about that lately. . . sorry)

We ended up going to the bar where the Iowa Alumni meet to watch games, which I think will be a regular weekend spot for me. The parts of the game that we saw were great, the Hawks leading 10-7 when we had to leave for the show. Unfortunately, things didn't end as well, as they lost 17-13. And it killed me to not be able to watch the end. We didn't have to leave, but I paid $15 for the ticket and I really wanted to see Animal Collective again. Although, we probably could have stayed for the rest of the game (which ended around 11 pm central time) and still made it in time for Animal Collective (doors were at 9, show was supposed to start at 10, the opening band didn't start until shortly after 11). So that put me into an even worse mood, especially when I decided I wasn't in the mood for the openers. So what do I do to make everything better? Order a Jack and Coke!

The show that Animal Collective put on was enough to pull me out of my pissy mood (for the most part). They put on one of the best live performances I've seen both times I've gone, so I would really recommend seeing them if they head to your area. They can attack you with a huge sound, and then a minute later be playing a delicate melody with some light, airy vocals floating over top. They played a great mix of songs off of their new album Strawberry Jam, as well as some older ones and yet-to-be-released songs (one such song is one of my favorites of theirs, so I'm hoping it'll be on some upcoming release). While they didn't play their song about kitties, or the one about puppies, they had enough great material to make the show enjoyable throughout. I'm glad that this was my first show in Austin.

Here's a video I'm "borrowing" from youtube that someone took from this show. It's of an okay quality, of a great song, so enjoy! (I'm pretty sure this is the same song that I posted a video of from when they played in Iowa City. Weird!)

Now tomorrow is a big day for media releases, the new Iron and Wine comes out, as well as the new Weakerthans album. Also, on DVD, Knocked Up will be available. But the biggest, most hyped item hitting the shelves will be Halo 3. Now if I had an xbox 360, or $700 to spend on one and the game, I'd definitely be buying it. Seeing as how that's a substantial chunk of the money I have (without any more coming in at the time), I think I'll pass. I'll just try to make friends with people lined up for it, maybe they'd invite me over.

Alright, time for me to go out and buy some new sheets. Exciting, right? Well, there may be some more excitement, and if there is, I'll definitely post pictures. Promise.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Also, some links!

I forgot to mention it before, but there are a coule of new links off to the side over there! Jack has his excellent photo blog, while Cap'n Crab has excellent tales of piratin'! So check 'em out, along with all of the others that are listed. You think I would lead you astray?

Still wandering around

Things in Texas have been going well. I'm starting to learn my way around a little, today I was able to drive from the grocery store to the apartment without the use of any navigational items, a small victory for myself. That was after I was trying to find an eatery called "Fast Dogs", something that came up on Adam's Garmin (a neato GPS thing). I assumed that a place called "Fast Dogs" would be a hot dog-type vendor, seeing as how it came up under the Food header. So I set off, anxious to see what sort of hot dogs I'd be eating, what sort of tasty toppings were available, and just really, cause I wanted to see what "Fast Dogs" was all about. Unfortunately, no such place existed. The GPS had me driving around a residential neighborhood, where the closest thing to what I was looking for was a "Beware of dogs" sign. I thought about knocking on the door to see if they happened to have any franks on the grill, but decided against it. In search of food I went, this time without consulting any sort of gizmo, just driving in the general direction of home. And much to my delight, I found a Mexican place (that I cannot recall the name of right now, I know it started with a T and had a Q in it, but that's about it. I could find it again, that's all that matters) along the way. I was a little surprised to find the menu mostly in Spanish, but I figured that it was a good sign, and ordered a burrito and quesadilla without too much trouble. And holy, cow, this was some good food, the burrito was about the size of my face, and the quesadilla was dripping with cheese, just how I like them! All in all, I'm glad that I was eating that instead of a hot dog.

My other exciting news is that I've gotten a job! I'm going to be giving private lessons on saxophone and guitar in the Austin area. I'm pretty pumped about it, but I'm going to start off taking it a little easy with just a few students, and see how it goes. It's probably not anything that will turn into a career, but it's an income, and doing something that I've been doing for years now. There are a couple of leads on other jobs that may become available to me, but for now, this will be something that I think I'll enjoy.

Well, I'm off to play some more online Scrabble. H, I'm sorry that I keep getting the 7-letter words against you, but don't worry, it's not just you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Thanks be to Cap'n Crab for remindin me that today be Talk Like a Pirate Day, yar!! So Avast ye who don't know, to the plank with ye!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's all happening so fast!

Things are going alright here in Austin, still trying to figure out the city and the strange on/off "ramps" that are only about 50 feet long, and the turnarounds and other stuff like that. And the 90+ degree heat, when it's in the 40's and 50's back in Iowa.

I'll have some pictures soon, but right now I apologize for not getting on here more often. I'm a little overwhelmed by all of the concerts that are coming up: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone on Monday, Animal Collective on Saturday, Rock Plaza Central next week, Regina Spektor soon, as well as Of Montreal, Maria Taylor, Rilo Kiley, just in the next month or so. And that's not even including the Austin City Limits Fest that's occurring as I type. Adam and I walked around downtown a little bit Friday night, and it was kind of impressive to hear live music emanating from just about every other bar we walked past. I don't think I'll be bored here. I just need to get used to the traffic and stuff. Oh, and find a job. But I've gotten started on that, we'll see what happens.

For now, I've gotta get back to watching football to check up on the 49ers and my fantasy players. Like I said, I'll have some photos up soon, I promise!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Keeping Austin Weird

Well, I'm much further south than the last time I posted on here, and much hotter, and much, much more tired. After about 14 hours in a car today, including a little less than 2 that were spent attempting to sleep in the car at a gas station parking lot, Adam and I made it. It's hot. And humid. Couple that with the fact that I've gotten about 45 minutes of sleep in the past 32 hours, and I'm a happy camper. Actually, I'm not too grumpy, just kind of gross.

Pictures will follow soon. For now, everyone can relax, I'm off the road.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

one last time

I've only got time for one quick post here, I've got kind of a busy day ahead of me. . . I still have to pack up the car (I'm about halfway done) and get on the road, with a stop in Iowa City to see a couple people on my way outta town.

It's been a stressful past few days, but definitely fun, and I'm fully expecting the next few days to continue the fun. I'll have my camera with me, so you know if anything awesome or ridiculous happens, I'll do my best to document it.

Friday may be the day I set up my computer and all that fun stuff, so I'll try to check in then at the latest.

See you later Iowa. It's been a lot of fun (most of the time), but sometimes, people have to go out and explore. That's what I'm doing. I'll be back, you can't keep me away that easily.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A weekend of long goodbyes

My last weekend as a resident of Iowa was an excellent one. Between great food, great fun, and great friends, I couldn't have had a much better time. Marin made it into town on Thursday, Jim and Haley on Friday, and Bill eventually made it (after some car issues) on Saturday, as well as Jeff, who made the trip all the way from northwest Cedar Rapids. After some drinking and Wii playing at my brother's place Friday night, Saturday was spent in Iowa City, taking in some of my favorite restaurants and sites one last time before I left. And oh yeah, there was a football game. For those of you who may not have noticed, the Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Syracuse Orange 35-0 in front of 70,585 (mostly gold-clad) fans in Kinnick Stadium, in only the 3rd-ever night game hosted in the historic stadium. The first couple of pictures were taken from where Marin and I sat for part of the game, the last one was where everyone else was seated. We weren't able to get 6 tickets together, but it went alright with 4 together and 2 others. (I'm pretty proud of the pics, since my camera is broken and all)

The weather was beautiful, the Hawkeyes looked great (it could be that Syracuse looked terrible, but either way, I'm happy with the result), and I think a good time was had by all.

Of course, I had to forget my phone charger at my brother's place this weekend, so my phone died midway through the day on Saturday, and I wasn't able to get in contact with a lot of the people I wanted to, and made things more difficult overall, but we pulled it off pretty well. And it may have been for the best that I wasn't able to get a hold of a lot of people, because then I would've probably been stressed with trying to get everywhere to see everyone. As it was, it was a rather relaxing time with some good friends. We ate at all of the places I needed to hit one last time: Oyama for sushi with Marin, Oasis for one last falafel, Hamburg Inn for breakfast Sunday morning with everyone, The Pit to have some excellent Iowa BBQ (before I get some Texas BBQ, which may be even more excellent), and Whitey's for some wonderful ice cream. (For those of you not from Eastern Iowa/Western Illinois, yes, there is an ice cream chain around here known as "Whitey's". It's delicious ice cream.) Then yesterday I hung out with Travis for a little while before I had to go, then dinner with my dad and step-mom.

There were a few times where I think the air was rather dusty, it made my eyes water up a little. I don't know what the deal with that was. . . But I was so glad for how things went, and for my friends that were here that read this, I hope you all know how grateful I was for you guys to come down and hang out with me on my last weekend in town. For my friends that read this that weren't able to make it, no worries, we'll have more opportunities to get together. Everyone is welcome down in Austin, any time! Just give me a little warning.

Now today is going to be spent washing clothes, packing, getting my oil changed, buying some new sandals (Kenna ate mine last night), and watching a little bit of the 49ers game tonight with KP. I promise I will post one last time before I go, and will post more pictures from this past weekend as I get them from the various people that took them.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Starting my final tour

The past couple of days in Ames were pretty fun! Bill and I basically hung out, we didn't do anything too wild. We watched Superbad, which was pretty hilarious, went to the batting cages, where I was straight-up destroying the pitches (most of the time), and having a good old time. Some delicious foods were eaten, including a tres leches cake that I made Wednesday night. I was a little nervous about how it'd turn out, as it was a little more labor-intensive than the usual boxed cake mixes, but it actually came out wonderfully! Then on my way home last night, I was able to hang out with Captain Crab for a drink or two, which is always fun! Sorry, though, no pictures were taken.

You see, I had a little mishap with my camera while I was at Wrigley Field. It was in my pocket, got jostled around, and ended up with a broken LCD screen. So while it still takes pictures, I can't preview them or actually see what it is that's in the picture while I'm taking it. It was kind of disappointing, especially since I've only had it for a couple of months, but I only spent $100 on it so it's not like it was a top-of-the-line camera. But still. I'll make do for now, like I said it still takes pictures (almost all of the pictures that I posted from the Chicago trip were taken in its current state). Eventually, however, I'll have to break down and buy a new one. Probably after I actually have a job and some sort of income.

Well this will probably be my last post for the weekend, I'll be running around trying to fit everything in and see everyone that I want to see while I'm in Iowa City this weekend. But I'll be back on Sunday and Monday, and will try to have some epic, worth-while posts. This will probably be a little bit of an emotional weekend for me, so there may be lots to report. Until then, go Hawks!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Frantic times, I swear

Now most of the time that I come on here and say that I've had a busy week, it's not really true. I'm just saying it to excuse me from not posting for a few days. This week, however, has been kind of busy. Sunday I was hanging out with some family, eating lots of food, and doing things that a person moving 1000 miles away should be doing (save for packing, of course). Monday I was on puppy patrol all day, and couldn't really get away for long to go all the way upstairs to the computer. Plus, there was an all-day marathon of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel, so do you expect me not to plant my ass on the couch and watch it? That goes against the very fiber of my being. Really, I could watch the Discovery Channel all day long, between Dirty Jobs, Survivor Man, and of course, MythBusters. I did make some time to grill a chicken breast and bacon-wrapped shrimp, and made a pretty gnarly couple of wraps. (Yes, I used the word "gnarly" and am not ashamed) And had a little time to hang out with KP, so it was a good Labor Day. Even if I didn't realize Labor Day was arriving until Sunday afternoon. Such are the troubles of not being in school and not having a job.

And now I'm heading off to Ames, for it is Bill's birthday, and I thought that it would be sad for him to spend yet another birthday alone. I have also been telling him I was going to make it out there one last time before I left, and I guess I decided to make it about as close as I could. But there should be some good times, I'll bring my camera and report back when I can.

These next few days are going to go by quickly, I will be super busy. That's more than just regular busy by like 13. I do have some posts in mind that I'm going to try to squeeze in here, so just bear with me, I'll do my best! Until then, happy times, all around!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

My kind of town

This past weekend was a blast! A huge weekend in sports, and a fun trip for the Flenker(s)!

My dad and I started for the Second City early Friday morning, so we could make it in time to take a shuttle to the Cubs game. All along the way, we saw cars full of Hawkeye fans making the trip east for the weekend, a sign of things to come. If you were in Chicago this past weekend, there was a very good chance that you saw black and gold all over the place. Like in this photo I took at Wrigley Field on Friday:

(click to get a better view!)

The game was fun, Hunter Pence was a one-man scoring machine on this day. He hit 2 homers, drove in 5 of the Astros' 6 runs, and the other run he scored. The highlight for me may have been BJ Armstrong singing the 7th-inning stretch, and the fans saying "Root, root, root for the Hawkeyes" instead of Cubbies. It was great. Another great thing? The Royals winning 9-4 over the Twins in the first game of the doubleheader! (I'll get to the second game in a bit.) I had to put this picture up there for H. I'm sure she will appreciate it. . .

After the game, my dad and I headed to our hotel, just in time for the nightly serving of freshly baked cookies. These may have been the best chocolate chip cookies I've had in a long, long while. I wish I had had my camera with me to take photos of my dad and me stuffing our faces. If the cookies weren't enough, we hit up a Lou Malnati's for some Chicago-style pizza. Delicious stuff!

We made it back to the hotel in time to see the end of the Syracuse game get interrupted since a pitcher was throwing a perfect game through 8 innings. A Twins pitcher. Against the Royals. Now I'm a fan of baseball, I would always root for a no-hitter to be thrown, let alone a perfect game. But not when it comes to the expense of the Royals. So when the lead-off man in the 9th was walked, I was cheering. When Mike Sweeney came up to bat for the first time in nearly 2 months and promptly hit a laser into left-center field, I almost jumped off of the bed for joy. Sorry Twin fans, I just couldn't see my team be a part of history.

Saturday morning we got up and headed downtown, towards Soldier Field, and the first game of the Hawkeye's football season. And again, the sea of gold was prevalent. This was the view of the south parking lot, full of gold flags and thousands of drinking Iowans.

And this was the scene inside the stadium, for what was supposed to be a "home game" for Northern Illinois. Unfortunately for them, they were outnumbered by at least 2-to-1 by Iowa fans.

(Their fans are in red. Everyone else was cheering for Iowa!)

Also, this was the view from our seats, not too shabby, even if they were in the second-to-last row. This is one of my favorite moments of any Iowa game, when the team comes out as a group, with the "IOWA" flags out in front of them!

And, one last picture, this time of the mass of people trying to get out after the game had ended.

This was an awesome weekend, I'm extremely glad I was able to go, especially since it was my dad's first time at both Wrigley and Soldier Fields.

This coming weekend should be even more exciting, as Iowa plays their first home game of the season, the reason why I'm still here, why I waited to move. I needed to say one last goodbye to Kinnick as a resident of Iowa. And, I needed a good time to have some people in town and have a good old time. So if you're in the area, you're more than welcome to stop by Iowa City and join in any fun, there should be plenty to go around! But for now, I'm exhausted, enjoy the pictures!