Monday, August 29, 2016


So hi! Feels like it's been a pretty busy week since my last post.

On Tuesday Donald Trump came to Austin.
I'm still not sure why he came to Austin.  Austin is a decidedly red state, so he's almost sure to win the support of the state, overall, no matter what.  So it seems like he should have been spending his time in a swing state, instead.  On top of that, despite the fact that Texas is a red state, Austin is a left-leaning, blue city, so it's not clear that this visit would even be especially fertile ground for fundraising efforts.
But, anyway, Trump was here.
It's no secret that I'm a progressive and a Democrat.  I haven't really ever voted Republican, from what I can remember.  (I have, however, abstained from voting on occasions when I didn't really support the Democrat who was running for a particular office)
This election has definitely made me question what I would do if someone like Trump managed to become the nominee of the Democratic ticket (which is not as far fetched as it sounds- Trump was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2008, and, even now, his defense of things like domestic manufacturing still sounds like something that could come out of an old school, pro-union Democrat playbook).  Anyway, as I've watched some longtime Republicans come forward to support Hillary (or at least publicly condone Trump), it's been a good reminder for me of the limits of political parties and the fact that the country always needs to come before party  affiliation.  I would hope that it won't come to that with the Democrats, but I'm sure that there are a lot of sensible Republicans who never would have imagined someone like Trump seizing the nomination.
But, anyway...
I have some conservative friends and family members, and I generally see these people as just folks with a different point of view- people with different ideas than mine on how to run a government so that people can be happy, healthy, and safe.
And by this age I'm used to people getting into office who have different ideas than mine.  If they mess up, I think that the system usually has a way of evening things out and allowing damage to eventually be corrected.
Trump scares me, though.
I really feel like he appeals to people's fears and prejudices in a way that isn't healthy.
The news and the media have covered Trump and his faults and flaws ad nauseum, so there's no need to rehash all of the nasty things about Trump here, but I really do dislike him as a candidate on just about every potential level.  I question his judgment, his intellect, his ethics, his temperament, and his overall character.
I truly feel that if Trump were elected, his presidency would lead to a period of time in which our country would become divided against itself along racial and ethnic lines and where the rest of the world would come to look at us as a dangerous, unstable, xenophobic state.
So.... when Trump came through town last Tuesday, I went to the protest.  I wasn't sure I was going to join the protest, but I figured that simply by being there I could be one more person showing up to add numbers to demonstrate dissatisfaction.
But in the end there wasn't much of a protest at all.  There were some people out, but far fewer than I had anticipated, and, judging by the size of the police presence, far fewer than law enforcement had anticipated as well.
I think Trump had been stumbling so badly since winning the GOP convention and doing so badly in the polls that there wasn't a real sense of urgency that was going to bring people out.  Or maybe Austin has just grown really complacent.  I'm not sure.
At any rate, I showed up.
I really feel like this guy is bad news.  He's either going to be seen as a historical anomaly or he's going to herald in a new age of intolerance and political fearmongering.  A triumph by Trump after would be a victory the spectacle of reality television in lieu of any attempt at genuine leadership.  I just wanted to do something to express my reality and frustration with the Trump candidacy other than just posting Facebook comments or engaging in internet activism.  So right or wrong, I went.
Protesters yelling at each other.  One guy was anti-Trump, but I think the
other guy was just some conspiracy theorist who was just mad that we didn't
understand that the world was being controlled by the Illuminati.
Gotta love this town.

We all have an interest in the outcome of this election.
Some people are feeling it more immediately than others.

Anyway, I hung out for a little while near the Moody Theater, but there were probably only about 40 or 50 total protesters hanging out (with 40 or 50 cops).  I heard later that the Moody Theater (where Trump was filming a Fox show with Sean Hannity) wasn't filled anywhere near capacity.  Apparently you could walk right in if you wanted to see Trump.
But I didn't. 
I hopped on a bus so I could get back to Amy and Raylan.

Friday was National Dog Day.

Cassidy loves her some sunshine

Friday night Raylan stayed with Mom and Dad.  I went to see Kubo and the Two Strings with Amy.  It was okay.  Pretty art.  It was pretty good, but not as good as Zootopia.  Fun to go to the movies with Amy, though.
Later Friday night I went downtown to see an old college friend and former bandmate, Henry Benjamin, playing at Lambert's.  It was good to see Henry, and his music was great.  He's a first-rate guitar player, he writes some thoughtful and funny lyrics, and I wish I got to see him perform more often.  He was opening for San Saba County, a band fronted by another friend of ours and fellow Trinitonian, John Saba.  They were having a record release, and they were solid as well.
It was a fun show, and it was good to get a chance to visit with Henry a bit.  He lives out in San Francisco these days, but hopefully he'll swing back through town again soon.

Henry, doing his thang

On Saturday Amy and I went to Maria's for some breakfast tacos.  It was nice.  We sat out on the patio.
Afterward I went to the grocery store while Amy did some chores.
Then Mom and Dad brought Raylan home.  We took him for a walk and played with him.  We got some exercise.

"Keep talking, Mom.  I can't really see under this hat, but
I can follow the sound of your voice...")

"So you wouldn't believe what this one weird kid has been doing at
daycare, Pooh-"

Trying out the new soup!

On Sunday we got up and went to Russell's Bistro.  It's owned by our friends Joe and Emily.  Joe actually manages the place, and Emily works with Amy.  I had never actually eaten there (although I had some appetizers when Amy's Christmas party was held there this year).  The food was really tasty.  I had migas and Amy had French toast.  Raylan, enjoying his traditional, weekend second breakfast, had some eggs and more than his fair share of Amy's French toast (which he loved).
"Dad, are we gonna take pictures or are we gonna eat?!?!")
We sat on the patio.  The weather was unseasonably pleasant for Austin.  It was a really nice experience.

"Mom, I can't help noticing that there's still some French toast on your
plate that you haven't given to me."

After breakfast we drove down Lamar and stopped off at Auditorium Shores and Butler Park.  We let Raylan run around a bit and look at the turtles.  He also got to visit the dog park.  We watched him pretty carefully to make sure that he didn't pick any fights with any dogs, but most of the dogs ran away from him.  A few dog owners with especially kid-friendly dogs brought them by so he could gently touch them.  He loved it.  He was literally panting with excitement.

"Here we are in my favorite place.
It's called Outside."

We also briefly took Raylan over to Zilker Park.  He got to play on the playground there a little bit and see the Zilker Zephyr.  Tickets for the little train were sold out, but it was pretty warm by then, anyway.  We'll be back when it's cooler.  Raylan still enjoyed seeing the train and waving to the kids.

In the afternoon, Katerina came over with Logan, and Chad came over with Truett.  They got to play in the kiddie pool and mess around in the backyard.
Later they played in the house.
It was nice to have them come by.  We enjoyed chatting with Katerina and Chad and watching the kiddos play.

"Hang on there, Logan, cause I am really about
to pick up some speed!!"

Toddler party!

And that was mostly the weekend!  We picked up some pizza from Pinthouse Sunday night and relaxed.
It was nice.
Thanks to Katerina, Logan, Chad, and Truett for stopping by!

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