Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fake Indie

Look around you, the world is full of posers. People who wish they were someone else. Someone cooler. Sometimes they talk the talk, or even walk the walk, but somewhere in between or before, they frequently wear the uniform.

One of the most common hats people try on is the one of fake indie. I don't know that there is one true uniform, but real and fake indies are tough to differentiate on dress alone. One of the many choices they may opt for include "checkerboard" Vans shoes, ripped jeans, and more or less obscure bands' t-shirts.

I actually like this look and have chosen to rock interesting shoes of my own from time to time when I bother to wear something other than flip-flops. I personally don't understand why so many chose to wear this particular eyesore (sorry friends who own this model) when there are so many other pretty Vans variations, including some pretty cute argyle ones. Anyway, I digress.

What I'm wondering is, why does everyone chose this particular Ramones t-shirt as their way to assert their deviation from the mainstream?

It can't be that indie if I've seen it shown so much on mainstream media. I've seen this shirt worn by quasi-hipster, in the music "know" characters Peyton Sawyer (on One Tree Hill) and Brendan Dorff (from My Boys). (Yes, I admitted some pretty embarrassing TV-watching in the previous statement.) I also see people wear this shirt around quite a bit. Maybe it's because I live in Austin... who knows. It's a cool shirt, but it surprises me how many people own it. Is it comparable to the Hard Rock Cafe shirts of the '90s? Well, not quite, but it's still interesting to observe its ubiquitousness. I can't help but wonder if the people I see wearing this shirt are the people I saw milling around ACL and raving about the amazingness of The Killers.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anyway I guess my point is wear what you want because it's you. If indie is what you are, be just that... be independent. Aren't there some unsaid tenets about being indie regarding not selling out and embracing differences? Be yourself. Of course you can and should adopt influences you see and incorporate them into your own wardrobe. But make it you. Oh wait, I'm the last person anyone should be taking fashion advice from.

So this isn't a complete loss I'll impart some actual fashion sense: dress to accentuate whatever attributes you like about yourself.

The writer of this post admits to enjoying so-called indie music but rarely remembers the names of the artists and even less often, the words to the songs. Her favorite music groups are "ones that peaked in 1994" and "once-indie bands that sold out." She even pays for her music on iTunes. How patently uncool.

(Relative) Illustrator Competence

Another license in blogging is shameless self-promotion. I haven't exploited this ritual yet, that I know of, but I'm going to toot my own horn a little: I'm not completely inept at Illustrator anymore! I am very, very slow and inexperienced still, but I can now at least "make stuff" and by "make stuff" I mean objects that are recognizable to others. Woohoo! Here is my first endeavor:
Too bad you can't see the crisp, "vectorness" of this since I don't know what file format to save it in so that it could also be uploaded to this website. (Any feedback on this will be gladly accepted.) Oh well, I made my first baby step in the graphic design world!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Musings from a Cold Shower-Taker

Part of writing a blog is the seemingly inherent title to whine and complain. Often it's what I've done best, but with my recent and blooming love affair with the city of Austin, I've sorta been oblivious to one of my daily nuisances.

I absolutely love the neighborhood I live in. I live in North Campus, just south of even better Hyde Park. I love being walking distance from so many places... the Drag, UT, Hyde Park of course, and several bars and restaurants I like. I don't like that there is a lot of graffiti around, everywhere, including my apartment's washer & dryer room (!), but the free parking and amazing location more than quell that annoyance.

I do, however, pay sooooo little compared to the rest of my neighborhood, and often even less than my friends who commute great distances to get to the city's downtown or UT. The thing that has annoyed me most has not been the graffiti however, but the lack of hot water in my apartment.

I had always been able to get at least 3 minutes of hot water for my shower on a bad day, 5-8 minutes on an average day, and 8+ minutes if I showered sometime during the magic 4:00 pm hour. Don't ask me why this is the case; I have no idea.

However, as of Friday, they started working on our natural gas. I stressed started as it is now Sunday, and the work hasn't been finished yet. They kept interrupting when a friend was over and we were trying to watch TV, and later, when I tried to take a nap (however I ignored their knocking and slept anyway, and my roommate dealt with it). They took apart our oven, so now I can't cook, and the shower now produces no heat whatsoever. It has been a total nightmare.

I am assuming that the 100% lack of heat in the shower is somehow related to the "fixing the gas." This being the case, I now have to work up my guts for a full 15 minutes in order to brave my very shortened, 5-8 minute, polar bear plunge shower. Yes, we are now down to 0 minutes of warmth in the shower. The worst has been the hairwashing. At least when you wash everything else you can mostly get out of the way of the frosty downpour, but washing your hair commits you fully to the freezing shower concept, and your whole body will face borderline hypothermia once you've made this decision.

I have had to face this struggle for 3 straight days and my bitterness shows no sign of subsiding. My roommate says that they're coming in either Monday or Tuesday to fix the gas and I pray, pray, pray that that alleviates our shower dilemmas once and for all.

In the meantime, it's time to head out and remember what it's like to be warm again... and then immediately regret that desire 5 minutes later in the 95-105 degree Texas heat.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Austin Outburst Addendum

Sporadic Austin thoughts/updates:
  • Finally got a chance to check out Barton Springs this past weekend. Very cool, will definitely be going back. (Note to Gregory Gym Pool: don't worry, I still love you too!)

  • The aforementioned snowcone shack I love on South Lamar is called Molly's Original Sno-Cups. You can't miss the gleaming silver trailer in the P. Terry's parking lot. While there this weekend for a post-Barton treat we stumbled upon P. Terry's 3rd anniversary party and got free t's and yummy burgers to accompany our 'cones.

  • Tried breakfast tacos at Torchy's... indeed they're better than Taco Shack.

  • I need to save up more of my pennies so that I can actually buy stuff at the stores on South Congress and Hey Cupcake!, speaking of silver trailers full of sweet treats.
I leave you with a picture of the taste oasis I'll be partaking in the rest of the summer. More reason for more Barton Springs and Peter Pan trips! I recommend the somewhat juvenile combination of cotton candy, bubble gum & blue raspberry.

Picture source: 100 Percent Cottam blog

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Did you get a chance to see Wimbledon?

Because if you didn't, you surely missed out!

The men's final pitted #1 Roger Federer and #2 Rafael Nadal in an epic match that won't be forgotten in ages. A match lasting over four and a half hours and three rain delays finally concluded with a victor -- but not without five sets and three of them needing tie-breaks. After losing the first two sets, Federer pulled himself back to take sets 3 and 4 in tie-breaks. With a wild 2-2 fifth set under way, another rain delay postponed the excitement, but only made the intensity more nerve-wracking. Would Federer win his sixth straight Wimbledon? Or would Nadal finally win a Grand Slam not on clay (anything other than the French)?

Long story short, Nadal won the match, but not without a fifth set going to yet another tie-break.

Did the victory denote a changing of the guard? Have we seen the end of Federer's reign over the tennis world? Is Nadal the new king, or will the two continue to endure legendary contests? As long as there is the promise of mesmerizing competitions like this one, the tennis world has a lot to look forward to.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Silly Quiz

When I met my boyfriend a little over a year ago one of the first things he ever told me was that I was "totally perfect for Austin." It could have been my weird personality, or my interest in music, and love of Tex-Mex or the outdoors, but I'm not sure exactly what sparked him to say that. Though I had only been to Austin briefly once, my limited experience led me to believe that he was precisely right.

Anyway, I took a "What US city are you?" quiz yesterday, and wouldn't you know, these were my results:

You are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.

You're totally weird and very proud of it.

Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

Shoulda taken the darn thing ages ago, yes?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Austin Lovin'

I'm head over heels... for Austin freakin', Texas!

I have lived here almost a year and I can't get over how much I LOVE this place! The weather, the food, the sports, the music, my school, my job, and again, my God, the foooooood. I have eaten Tex-Mex approximately 289 times since I moved here, and this is very likely not an exaggeration.

A short list of what I love about this town:
  • Red River -- my favorite street in Austin. Home to lots of fun music venues like Stubb's and Emo's. And delicious food like Moonshine, Austin's best brunch, and Ironworks, probably the best BBQ in town.
  • UT football games -- the roaring crowds, the occasional Matthew McConaughey sighting, a real band, sweating to death and screaming at the 'Horns... What could be a better way to spend a Saturday?
  • Austin City Limits -- you already know this
  • Zilker Park Botanical Garden
  • Peter Pan -- BYOB mini golf
  • road trips to close-by towns to sample Texas-style BBQ (beef brisket, etc.)
  • that awesome snowcone place beside P. Terry's on Lamar, just north of intersection with Barton Springs
  • UT's on-campus oasis, the Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex, for outdoor lap swimming when motivated, and lazy poolside relaxation
  • kayaking on Town Lake
  • movies at Alamo Drafthouse
  • funky and fun coffeehouses like Spiderhouse, JP's Java, and Mozart's
And well I wouldn't even scratch the surface without a full list of my favorite Tex-Mex places thus far, I must stress. I'm always looking to add more to the repertoire:
  • Chuy's -- great queso, delicious food
  • Hula Hut... sister restaurant of Chuy's but with a patio overlooking Lake Austin. They mix Polynesian and Tex-Mex flavors. I'm partial to their BBQ chicken tacos.
  • Guero's Taco Bar -- yummy South Congress place where you can eat chips and salsa and watch bands play while you wait for your table
  • Torchy's Tacos -- might be my new favorite. Fresh and exciting ingredient combinations... I recommend the Brushfire taco, filled to the brim with Jamaican Jerk chicken, mango, sour cream and a spicy "Diablo" sauce.
  • Freebirds -- the Texas chain beats Chipotle at its own burrito game. And the chicken is always wholly cooked! (Though kudos to Chipotle for having intoxicatingly delicious guacamole over and over again.)
  • Taco Shack -- my weekend go-to breakfast taco staple... simple, no fuss
  • Trudy's -- this college town favorite has legendarily strong Mexican Martinis and limits you to two per outing
  • The Oasis -- panoramic views of Lake Travis and the self-claimed "Sunset Capital of Texas"
  • Iguana Grill -- the lesser known Lake Travis treasure that I'd have to say beats The Oasis on the Tex-Mex food and live music, and certainly rivals its sunset allure
I know there are quite a few obvious "can't miss" places I didn't mention in Austin, but there are lots more places I need to see! Still haven't gone to Barton Springs or Greenbelt, but I'll be working on making it to both places in the coming weeks.

Happy 4th of July! Go out and enjoy the best of wherever you live has to offer!