Tuesday, April 16, 2013


The weekend was bueno!  I hope everyone else had a good weekend, too!
Friday night we went out for dinner at Cypress Grill.  The food was good, we sat outside, and it was a very nice evening.  I like that place.  I like Cajun food, and it's a nice little neighborhood restaurant.
We also started Season 2 of Game of Thrones Friday night. 
On Saturday we got up and went grocery shopping and ran a few errands.  We did laundry, and Amy sold some stuff on eBay.  I went to the UPS store with Amy, and learned that one of the employees is a huge fan of the band RUSH and possibly the president of its Austin fan club.  I left her my email address so I could join the fan club, but she never wrote me back... 
The weather was nice, and I went for a long bike ride.  I took my bike downtown on the bus, and then rode through downtown and into East Austin.
It was pretty cool.  I don't know East Austin super well, and when I've been over there, I've always been in a car.  I rode through the neighborhoods and down East 6th and by the ACC Eastview Campus and by Booker T. Washington Terrace and past 12th and Chicon.  I rode by Christo Rey Catholic Church and up Webberville Road, past Gourmand's, where there were a couple of dozen bikes out front.
East Austin is in an interesting state of transition.
Historically it's had a larger minority population than the rest of the city with probably somewhat lower incomes than a lot of other areas.  Some of the houses and streets have been well maintained and cared for, while others have been a little more neglected.
More recently, the area has been undergoing a lot of gentrification as younger, urban, white folks have been moving in.  The East Austin area close to downtown has been seen by many as a good opportunity to buy a home in an area that's easily accessible to downtown, but where the housing costs have been rising a little more gradually (at least relatively) than in other parts of the city.
Consequently, new houses and home renovations have been sort of sprinkling the east side, with lofts springing up alongside new restaurants, bars, cafes, etc.
Riding around, I couldn't help wonder about whether the more traditional minority communities would end up relocating out of these neighborhoods, especially as home values rise along with accompanying property taxes.
Also, for the new, younger, hipper population who've moved in over on the east side, I couldn't help but wonder if they'll eventually become a victim of their own in success in changing the place.  Now that the neighborhoods are looking more and more inviting, rent costs, taxes, and property values are bound to sharply increase.  Right now the central East Side has a bit of bohemian flair to it.  It's probably attracting a fair number of artists and creative types who are trying to do make a blue collar living (service industry and the like) while pursuing other careers and interests. 
I hope that some of that feeling can be maintained.
Right now there's an interesting balance between the more traditional population and the new one. 
(once it's all mcmansions, you will
see fewer zombie outbreak response vehicles
in East Austin)
Tattooed hipsters (gotta love 'em) rode their fixed gear bikes past Christo Rey as the largely Hispanic congregation gathered on the front steps with their dogs for some kind of afternoon event.
The neighborhood just has an interesting character at this moment in Austin history.  I have a feeling it might not be long, though, before software execs are throwing up mcmansions and parking their Porsches in the driveways.
Which will drive up taxes and expenses.  Which might make the neighborhood less interesting.

I rode my bike around the east side and then back through downtown and up through the UT campus to about 30th Street.  Then I rode home.
Saturday night Amy made pesto chicken pasta salad, which was very good and tasted sort of summerish.
That evening we went to a birthday party for my brother over at his house.  It was nice!  I saw a number of people that I hadn't seen in a while, and it was good to catch up.  Also, of course, it was good to get a chance to hang out a bit with Ryan and celebrate the ol' three eight with him while drinking a couple of beers.
On Sunday we got up and went out for breakfast tacos.  We did a little shopping.  In the afternoon I went for another bike ride.  Amy went for a run.  When I got back from my ride I pedaled my bike around the neighborhood with her while she ran.
I did a little food prep for some crockpot jambalaya that I was making on Monday, and Amy made a few cookies with some dough that we had in the freezer. 
Afterward I played some mandolin in the back yard while Amy did some reading.That evening Amy made some chicken enchiladas.
We relaxed that night and watched some more Game of Thrones.  A couple of people at work told me that they didn't care for Season 2 as much, but I'm still enjoying it quite a bit.
Amy have been talking a bit about Game of Thrones as metaphor, and the meaning behind some of it.  The show keeps hinting around about some sort of possible invasion from the uncharted regions to the north ("Winter is coming") which sound like they might make all of the more traditional wars and political maneuvering moot.  Is it a metaphor for climate change?  Maybe.  Not sure.
Anyway, it's a good show.  We've been enjoying it.  Amy has been reading the second book almost in sequence with our viewing of the show.
So that was our weekend!  Hope everyone else had a good one.   


Anonymous said...

That's my Zombie Outbreak Response Vehicle. And you are right... the McMansion crowd just complained enough to Austin PD that it was towed yesterday. I wish the people who don't like Austin Weird would get out. Or let us have open season on them like the zombies they are.

J.S. said...

Well said. I, for one, would much rather live next to people who are preparing for zombie outbreaks than people who are getting their neighbor's car towed.