Monday, August 28


1.5 Million Mexicans Living Under a Bridge in Austin

I’m just now coming out of the food coma induced by Friday night’s BBQ dinner at The Salt Lick. A socially go-getting classmate organized a party bus that transported us to and from The Salt Lick 45 minutes away from central Austin. Since the bus originated 10 blocks from my house and allowed us to consume beverages to and fro, Tania and I gladly signed up for $10 a piece. The BBQ was all you can eat and, of course, the school provided plenty of beer and wine. (I like these guys. They’re alright.) The BBQ sauce was amazing, inducing me to consume ribs, sausage, and brisket to the point of physical discomfort. (Oh, man. Eating to the point of discomfort. Does that ever take me back to childhood!) Anyway, I poo’d for two days.

But Rob, what’s up with the politically questionable title of this post? Do these Mexicans not have a home? (And, damn! Why so many?) Actually, their permanent residence is in Mexico. They come up to Austin each summer and spend their days sleeping under the Congress Avenue Bridge. They usually wake up a little before dusk and spend the night eating mosquitoes.

Oh, shit. Have I mentioned they’re bats? I should do that. Yeah, they’re Mexican Free-Tailed Bats. At 1.5 million strong, they form the largest urban bat population in North America. Because of their fondness for eating mosquitoes, Tania, a.k.a. “Mosquito Bait”, thinks they’re awesome. Even if they cause the bridge to smell like rat excrement.

Here are some pics of the bats flying from their bat cave, err... bridge, at dusk.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, August 25


The Salt Lick, Keith Ferrazzi, and Papa Red

Orientation week is about to wrap. I've got a little break here in the afternoon before the whole class heads to The Salt Lick, which is supposed to be the quintessential Austin BBQ joint. Whoa. I just checked out their website and learned that The Salt Lick is so named because "a Salt Lick is something where all the animals congregate. There is something good, something essential about it." Deep.

So, in addition to the drinking that took place all week, we also had a number of non-drinking events that kept us busy. Two of the more intellectually stimulating events were speeches and their follow-up Q&A's. The first speaker, Keith Ferrazzi, spoke to us on Wednesday. If you haven't heard of Keith (and I hadn't previously), he became Chief Marketing Officer and the youngest partner in the history of Deloitte & Touche at age 28, later wrote the New York Times best-seller Never Eat Alone, and is now considered at age 40 to be one of the most “connected” people in the world. His personal story and insights on relationship-building, expanding your network, and taking advantage of opportunity were fascinating. He also dropped his email address, so if you wanna get in touch with Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson, or Bill Gates, let me know and I’ll start greasing the wheels.

The other rather interesting speaker we heard this week was Red McCombs, the namesake of the McCombs School of Business. [Several years back, “Papa Red” (a name I coined today), gave the business school at the University of Texas $50 million with no strings attached. In appreciation, the regents voted to rename the b-school after him. Seems like the least they could do.] Red gave a rundown of his personal story, his longstanding affinity for UT, some anecdotes from his business experiences, and spoke of the importance of expecting to win, preparing to win, and then, finally, well... winning.

Papa Red has had a wide-ranging business career. Among other things, he:
His Q&A was cut short, but I was able to learn a whole lot about why he traded away Randy Moss, so that was cool. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ask about his thoughts on Al Davis or whether the sex boat scandal would have taken place under his watch. Next time.

Crap. I’m running low on time and I haven’t talked about bats at all, have I? Hmm... I better change the title of this post. Hold on.

Ah. That’s better. We’ll talk bats next time. Promise. Try not to soil yourself in anticipation.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 23


I'm So Tired of Drinking

I've got orientation all this week and next Monday and I am absolutely drained. We have events from 8am to 8pm or later everyday this week. Each morning and afternoon is filled with presentations on academic disciplines, career services, recruiting, team-building, and meeting my new best friends forever. And, of course, it's college so the evening event has to involve drinking. And after the official orientation eating/drinking event is over, we have to go downtown and have a few more beverages. The only problem here is that the drinks and food every evening are free so I end up getting drunk and partying even when I don't want to.

Oh, wait. That's not a problem is it? Nevermind. College rules.

Tonight's my evening off. While a bunch of people go see the Spazmatics at Cedar Street, I'm gonna catch up on some sleep. I know, I know. "Rob! How are you gonna pass on the Spazmatics??!"

I don't know. I just... am.

Tuesday, August 22


Football? Partying? We Kick Ass in Non-Academia

Oh, hey, yo. So, as of yesterday, I am now receiving my MBA from the top party school in the nation. (Take that, Berkeley! Frickin’ nerds. With your "high standards" and your "reputation" and your "book learning". But I digress...)

We top the overall list while ranking second in the use of hard liquor, third in beer drinking, and 13th in marijuana smoking. Considering it’s been 100 degrees every day for the last 18 years here, I think the high beer ranking makes sense. (And, yes, I mentioned the weather again, Shannon. My apologies.) But I’m a little surprised we rank so high in hard liquor use. In Tejas, hard liquor is available only in liquor stores, not grocery stores, Costco, etc. Weak.

On a side note, I didn’t realize the party school survey broke it down by category like that. Kudos, Princeton Review!

Monday, August 21


Cold Front Moving in on Wednesday

  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20


Chicken Shit Sunday

Last Sunday (8/13), Tania and I took Toby on a run around Town Lake in the morning. Town Lake is the running spot in Austin. There is a loop trail around Town Lake and a number of connecting trails radiating from the lake along various tributaries. RunTex, a local shoe store chain, provides coolers of water at two ends of the trail, which makes running in 90+ weather bearable. There are also a few spots along the trail where dogs can cool off in the lake.

Prior to the run, Tobes swam around and Tania chatted up a fellow pooch owner who just moved here a couple weeks ago from LA. She seemed personable (in a suspicious movie industry kind of way) and mentioned that someone else had told her of an event later that day at a local bar. She didn't know which bar, but the event was "chicken shit bingo".

Obviously, I didn't care where it was taking place, I had to check out how the locals release a little steam. (And how local poultry releases a previous meal.) We googled it and learned the festivites took place at Ginny's Little Longhorn, just 2 miles from our casa. Awesome!

We walk in the door of Ginny's and learn they are celebrating Ginny's 25th year at the Longhorn. What does that mean? A kick-ass spread, on the house: hot dogs, chili cheese nachos, cookies, crappy little sandwiches, veggies and dip (hippies!), and cake. Frickin' awesome! And $1.50 Lone Stars. YES!!

We caught two rounds of chicken shit bingo and it works like this. There are 50 or so numbered squares on a piece of plywood covering the pool table, with a chicken wire cage covering the squares. Chicken feed is spread liberally around the squares and a chicken is brought inside the bar and placed under the cage. Whichever square the bird poops on is the winning square. Bar patrons can purchase a maximum of one square for $2. The "winner" takes the whole pot.

The first bird must have been fed mass quantities of caffeine just before it entered the cage because it pooped within 15 seconds. Gary, an easygoing local (and aren't they all?), assured me he had never seen such a quick drop of the deuce. He claimed the contests can last up to an hour. Thank God we didn't have to wait that long. I don't know if my ticker could have handled the tension. In the second contest, the bird took a more common 10 minutes to poo. For the record, both poos were much larger than I expected. But then again, everything is bigger in Texas.

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 18


The first few days

Disclaimer: this posting was taken word for word from an email I sent to a few people early last week. If you already read that, don't waste your time here.

Thought I'd give a "hey, what's up" to ya and let you know that Tania and I made it to Austin just fine. The drive took 2.586 days and was cooler than expected. First night on the road was spent in Blythe, California, and the second in Van Horn, Texas. Both are highly recommended!!

We rolled into Austin around 3:30pm Tuesday. Our containers from Door to Door arrived not so quickly behind us at 10:30pm. So, we saved the furniture unpacking for Wednesday, which coincided with Tania's parents and two youngest sisters arriving from Minnesota. So they helped unload/unpack/put together the surprisingly large amount of stuff that we (i.e., Tania) brought to Tejas. And that was very cool.

Thursday, we spent most of the day visiting Tania's grandparents that live an hour south in sleepy New Braunfels. There, I had the occasion to honk at a crappy driver. I can happily report that my honk was returned with a fearful avoidance of eye contact, not the blazing gunfire that I had been warned about. That's the kind of intimidation the Cali-plated Toro Verde creates here in the Lone Star state. The next day, the family gave us a day off, going to San Antonio without us. And we had a pretty nice little Friday. We went to Target, Ross, Home Depot. We even hit Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Yes, we had enough time.

The high in Austin has been upper 90's to 100 every day, and the humidity has fluctuated from "somewhat painful" to "not too bad." I think I'm getting used to it mentally, if not physically. Toby is having a harder time adjusting. He pants like never before after exercise. Tania took him for little run at a huge field nearby and he was panting for 15 minutes. If you're wondering about Tania, she's too preoccupied with avoiding mosquitoes to worry about the heat.

So, that's been pretty much our life these first few days: unpacking, setting up the house, entertaining the family, and eating fish tacos whenever possible. But the house is coming together and there is a guest bedroom waiting for ya. And Texas is #2 in the coach's poll, so all is well in Austin.



Is this necessary?

Howdy, beloved and not-yet-forgotten friend. While Tania and I are on our extended leave, I don’t wanna lose touch with my family and friends. (I don’t think Tania wants to lose touch with people either, but I don’t want to put words in her mouth.) If you’re my family or friend, you know that keeping in touch with people is not one of my strengths. I don’t email peeps that much. I don’t send postcards. And unless I’m 6 beers in, I rarely remember to call people. So, I thought maybe I’d throw up a little blog, update you on what’s going on down here, and share a pic or two when words simply aren’t enough.

“Dude. Is this your idea of staying in touch? You’ll simply update your blog and call it a day? How about a phone call once in a while? Will you even have time to write an update when you’re going to school? You’re kinda wordy. You’re also lazy and balding. You really think your life is worth writing about? Who the hell wants to read this crap? Not me.”

Let me address your concerns, all of which are valid. I do expect to be pretty busy once school starts. Between the classes, clubs, meeting people, and everything else, I won't have much time to call and email people. And I wasn't very good about that to begin with. So if you wanna a quick update on what's going on with me and Tania in Texas, looky here and quench your thirst. If you don't give a crap, no worries. I'll still try to give you a holler when I get the chance. (Unless you haven't received a call from me in the last two years. In that case, the status quo will likely remain.)


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?