Sunday, October 30, 2011

Arrests at OccupyAustin

The police have arrested 38 people at OccupyAustin on Saturday night. Apparently there is some new rule about not allowing table with food on them to be set up at City Hall between 10pm and 6am. Some of the arrests were over those, and the rest of them... "trespassing" is the charge I've heard, which makes no sense. City Hall is public property. There are things you can and cannot so there, as there are in most public places, but this is all clear as mud right now. Thankfully, there was no violence on the part of either side, and no known injuries.

There is a video stream of the event archived here, along with current live chat and video here, where I am now watching a live stream of at least some of the people being released from jail. This is all going to be hashed out in a public forum. At least that's what I'm hoping. Transparency.

News coverage from the Statesman (our newspaper).

One of the weird things about these arrests is that they happened just a couple of blocks from Sixth Street, which is always closed off on Saturday night so the partiers can stumble freely across the streets, and on a Halloween Saturday night on top of that!! It would have been difficult to find a drunker, rowdier place than that... but get that food table outta here with yer bags of hot dog buns and bottled water - it's a threat to health and safety.

Friday, October 28, 2011

An observation...

A set of fuzzy ears on the head can make nearly anything look cuter.

(No, not my cat. I totally snagged this.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Silly Hats, Trashcan Music and Giddy Thrall

Saturday was an epic day for us, at least by our current standards. Usually it's me who wimps out, too hot, too late, too this, too that, {whiiiine} but sometimes things click.

Saturday morning at 10, MrB participated in the annual costumed bike parade which is part of New Belgium's traveling beer/bicycle/acrobatic festival called "Tour de Fat" (a reference to Fat Tire beer). Most people wear some kind of a costume or at least something fun. MrB rides in a Santa coat & and hat with red shorts. This year I wore a hat and shirt that looked like a zebra. It was a very, very silly hat. I will wear it again. New Belgium produces a lot of good beer, and 16 oz. of it could be had for $5. One of the acts was a couple who were yo-yo professionals (yes... that's correct). They were great. In the days of Ed Sullivan they would have been world-famous.

We allowed ourselves a pit stop at home to medicate the kitty (literally) and soon headed out to the Gypsy Picnic to see one of our new favorite bands, Delta Spirit, at 6:30pm. I'm pretty sure we were the oldest people in the crowd. I don't even care. I love this band's energy. The trashcan in the title refers to one of their songs where they use a trashcan lid as an instrument. This video did a great job of capturing their finale, which was a song I can't identify yet, morphing into that old standard "SHOUT" (Isley Bros.). It still works and still gets the crowd involved, same as always. Hell yeah! (if you don't have a chance to see it all, slide over to the 2:20 mark.) Not typical of the rest of their music, but they are worth checking out (their website has pro video, also try Spotify, iTunes...)

Now for the whipped cream AND the cherry on top. First of all, this town doesn't usually get star-struck. It's a film town, and reports of big movie stars making candid or *secret* public appearances are commonplace. But the recent 2-day visit by Johnny Depp to promote his new film, Rum Diary, and to receive a special award at the Austin Film Festival left the town in what the Austin Chronicle appropriately called a "giddy thrall." For me it was the (rather poorly-kept secret) appearance at the Continental Club, playing guitar onstage for an hour and a half with his old friend Bill Carter (whose songs are more famous than he is, such as "Crossfire" that was covered by SRV). Oh yeah, and Billy Gibbons was there for awhile too. And we were in the front row, pressed up against the stage just a few feet from Depp. If you want to see some much better shots than mine there, click here.

Here's a little local video and news coverage of his awards, etc.

This is my video, a Bill Carter song called "Willy the Wimp" that was also covered by SRV. We waited in line for 3 hours (for a 12:30 AM show). No wimps here. Not this time.

UPDATE Oct 26: Yahoo is featuring one of my videos in a story.
UPDATE 2 Oct 26: also linked to one.
UPDATE 3 Oct 26: Another Youtuber named AbbyandJohnny stole my videos and uploaded them to her channel. Now some of the media outlets are linking to those. Now that's just low-down and dirty on her part.
UPDATE 4 Oct 27: NME has a few of mine posted.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Classic Rockers

Here's your soundtrack for this post. It's a driving, beautiful, electric instrumental from Peter Frampton, who we saw at ACL-Live on Tuesday. Amazingly, and despite his cuteness as a youngster, I only became a fan of PF within the last 2 decades. The other time we saw him was in the late 1990's in Carly Simon's club up at Martha's Vineyard, a pretty small place where I saw the show from my favorite spot - with my arms resting on the stage. Close. Not only can he sing and play the guitar, he loves the audience, engages them one-on-one all the time, and he's funny. Good show. No doubt.

The other event happening in the ACL-Live venue (which is called The Moody Theater) is an exhibit of some of photographer Jim Marshall's most famous shots. Click here for his website and then click on the 'iconic' link at the bottom. There you will see a lot of the ones hanging in the gallery. They also have a few giant ones that are used as wallpaper, or in the case shown with Mick here, wrapped around a column. A delight!

I am still trying to recover from staying up until midnight on a Tuesday, then getting up at 4:30AM for work. Like Frampton, most of the people in the audience, and the subjects of the photo exhibit who are still living, I am getting up there. This week I experienced my first Senior Discount. The 20-something at the cash register (poor thing) asked me if I might qualify for the discount. I said no, but then he said it was 55. Oh well. I do look 55. That's because I'm older than that and don't mind admitting it. (I'm no lady, that's why.)

And it's past my bedtime.

Do You Feel Like I Do?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Austin 10/15 March

The 99% are too big to fail.

I've been in quite a few marches in this town, and this was one of the largest. I really think it had to be at least 1500-2000 people. It was as wide as a lane of traffic and went on for several city blocks, from the middle I could not see the end or the beginning of it. City Hall has been "Occupied" for over going on 2 weeks now in support of Occupy Wall Street. The permanent occupation is rather small, probably a few dozen, but this march was BIG. There was a rally at City Hall, then a march, first to a nearby Chase Bank so that people could close their accounts there as part of the protest, then it continued nearly to the Capital and back to City Hall. The police were great, and there were no arrests (at the march) that I'm aware of.

The Media
Booos and hisses to most of the local media outlets for their coverage or lack of it. I mean, Seems like if 10 Tea Partiers get together on a sidewalk they'd be on everybody's top news and lead story. As for local TV network affiliates, they were piss-poor. The Fox affiliate's top local story was that someone had been caught on hidden cam shoplifting. Astonishing. NBC affiliate KXAN led with the story of the pro-gay marriage event and march held the same day. A cool event (that deserves coverage) where they held about a dozen mock same-sex weddings and about 100 people or so marched to the Capitol. ABC affiliate KVUE had what was worse than no coverage. They claimed that Chase Bank was targeted because earlier this month Chase began charging a $5 fee on debit transactions. WRONG twice. First, that is not why Chase was targeted. Second, it is Bank of America that just added that fee, not Chase. Chase was chosen merely because of proximity. The other unfortunate part of the KVUE thing is that linked to their 'coverage.' Laaaaaame.

YNN (which is a cable-only local news channel) had the best coverage. They have an article AND decent video at the link.

Our one newspaper had a small photo gallery linked on their web-version sidebar (not sure what will be in print as I don't read printed newpapers).

Some notes on a few of the signs.

"$ Millions from schools paid to Valero Oil Company." Here is what that one is about. Valero and other refineries say they are owed around $135 million from Texas in tax refunds, with Valero's share around $92 million, even though all parties are aware that $62.8 million will have to come out of the already-bleeding public school fund. More here. Yes, I know... this one is backwards. The other side says "We Are The People."
"The government of America Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people, including the right to free expression and assembly. -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. SHAME!!!"
"Hey Top 1%, Yer Killin' Us!!" Nice cleaver.

Coffee Party!
So true.

Here's a video that I shot. It captures just 1:45 minutes of people going by. Chant is "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

This movement is not partisan. It encompasses plenty of stuff that has been traditionally lumped in with left or right wing, but there is some commonality. There is a minority of folks (a bit more righty) who could also fit in with Tea Party philosophy. They want to end taxation, and maybe even the government itself. Many worship Ron Paul. They seem to part ways with other TP platforms in that they understand that war must be funded by taxes, and they are not in favor of establishing a theocracy. As we were leaving, there was a guy singing a song about his hero, Joe Stack (the sociopath and terrorist who flew his small plane into a building as an attack on the IRS, killing himself plus one other person inside it (an IRS agent), creating widespread trauma and destroying an office building). I'm sorry, but I am not supporting that. at. all.

The lefties are not against taxation, and want the rich and the corporations to start paying their fair share. They want fair consumer dealings and protection from fraud. They want more regulations on Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big [whatever]. I fall into that category.

Most of the people in this movement, left and right and middle, I believe are in favor of abolishing Corporate Personhood of Citizens United, and unlimited and anonymous political donations that, in effect, buy elections and gut democracy. The Occupy movement is about democracy, no matter how you slice it up.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Skiing uvula

Art at City Hall. 'Uvula on skis' is what it looks like to me. Not sure what it is.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sooo Twentieth Century

My old cell phone is beginning to be a source of embarrassment. It works alright as a device used for communicating audibly (the classic definition of a phone) but is handicapped when it comes to typical modern expectations. Technically, it has texting capabilities, but really, that feature was always questionable, and here lately it not only truncates messages, it also truncates the sender's phone number... so not only can I not read the message, I can't even tell who even sent it!

I got a text stating "[my name]: appointment w" and the phone number was chopped off at 5 numbers as shown in the pic. I have a dentist appt. next week, so I called them to ask if they texted me (which I do not remember OK-ing - I was set up for email notifications, not texting, or so I thought), and unaware that I also had an email from them (as this is not a smartphone), I told them not to text me anymore, as it only confuses me and also gets charged to my phone bill. grrrr. If I were to compose a text, it would require using the old-style alpha-numeric keypad (so to type an "S" I have press the "7" four times), and this is a real disincentive to use it.

Recently I had to explain to friends that I was sending them links via email (suggestions for places to meet), but when I left the house to meet them later I would not be able to communicate via email as I do not have a smartphone... oh yeah... and I would prefer that they don't text me either. {sigh}

Pain in the ass.

This is that same old story where technology comes along, something that's a total luxury, and then becomes so commonly used as to be a standard. When it becomes standard, then you "need" it because that's the way people communicate. I guess the time has come for a dataplan... and an iPhone.

Next year. Must have.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pandora... really?

I'm supposed to evaluate each of Jim Morrison's nipples with a simple thumb-up or thumbs-down?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Blind Pilot

Give a listen, this is beautiful stuff.
We first saw this band in 2009 at one of the SXSW day parties. Really enjoyed them then, and it seems that they've been picking up lots of buzz since then. These pics are from a live in-store at Waterloo Records that preceded a sold-out evening show here in town.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Big dirtball

How dry it is...
This big planter sits on a patio of a local restaurant. With half the pot broken off, the dirt remains solid.

(That post title probably made you think this was another Rick Perry post, huh?)