Austin — and STAPLE!, 2009 Edition

As we did last year, spent a long weekend in Austin to represent 7000 BC at STAPLE! and visit with Carol and Doug.

This we we started off with the comic show, arriving into Austin Friday afternoon. ExpressJet is no more, so we didn't have the quick direct flight; it was still uneventful, but late afternoon by the time we got in.

Dinner out that evening with Rob, an Austin-area writer we know from Bubonicon, and his partner Janel. When we were making plans, I suggested we sample the local barbecue, so they met us at the hotel and off we went to County Line. Forgot the camera that evening, unfortunately, so nothing to capture the hugeness that was the restaurant, and no record of the fun time we had with them. After the meal, they took us up to Mount Bonnell, at 785 big feet, the highest point in Austin. A clear, warm night, almost a full moon making the path up glow to a terrific view of the city (including the Tower lit up in orange, indicating a recent win). A nice way to ease into the weekend.

Slept in a bit late, seating at the restaurant for breakfast took a while. But, with the perfectly sensible start time of 11:00, a location right across from the hotel, such tight quarters that it's not worth setting up a display, and an attendee base that doesn't really roll in until after noon, we were just fine.

Show picked up right around noon and we had a steady stream of folks stopping by; at our first break, sometime after 3:00, discovered that, about halfway through, we'd already far exceeded last year's sales. Our success continued, selling out of some of our stuff, and I'd say selling at least one of everything on the table.


Again, took pitifully few photos — hey, we were busy. Our friend Rob and our neighbor Jennifer on the end there. (Click for larger.)

The video below from Texas Geek TV give a good overview of the show, though it felt like it was more crowded that it appears there. Our table pops up a few times; look for my microsecond of fame, scratching my nose.

STAPLE!'s got a really great vibe, it's an interesting — and, by and large, interested — crowd. We met all sorts of great people, had some fun discussions. Rob had less success at the show, but he's the one that really pointed out that the nature of the crowd changes over the day. Makes sense, with the small size, most attendees are going to spend probably two hours at most there, and the steady stream we were seeing meant that new people were showing up all the time, even into the last hour. We left that evening worn out and tired, but on a real high from our performance.

In early 2006, we made a trip to SPACE, a small press show in Columbus. Got to talking with a writer there, picked up some of his books. One, I got a particular kick out of, and sent an email to the artist. Well, Marc have been corresponding ever since, swapping comics, collaborating, and occasionally talking on the phone — but had never met. He made the four-hour trip to STAPLE! with his daughter to check it out, spend some time in Austin, and hang out with us. Which we did over a long dinner.

Great fun, talking comics, showing artwork, sharing stories, comparing experiences. They're both a ton of fun, real bundles of energy; Dani spent most of the time chatting with Monica, but was sketching and passed along one of her drawings.

A leisurely start to Sunday, quick breakfast and laughs at Kick Butt Coffee (motto: "Coffee Brewing 6:30am-11pm …Trouble Brewing 24/7"). It was founded by a Tai Chi and Kung Fu master, so the shop has a real tongue-in-cheek martial arts/Chuck Norris thing going.

And then on the road, an hour out of town, to Carol and Doug's. Arrived a bit after noon and greeted up at the main house by Carol; we went down to the creek to check on Doug, who was, as Carol joked "playing:"

He was working on clearing brush (which seems to be the Texas equivalent of Santa Feans' endless fiddling with drip irrigation) and cleaning up the creek's flow. We took a quick tour of the land to check out all the improvements they've been making over the year, including the (about?) 39,000 gallon cistern and new deck on top, and even stopped by the neighbors' (where, Raph, we also got a picture of their Kubota; no, I'm not posting the photo on the main page, I've already put enough tractor here).

A little lunch, then a quick tour of the 5-acre vineyard (click for larger):


The grapes were just starting to bud, it was early enough that it all didn't need to be netted yet. They've got … 5 (?) varieties out there, San Geovese, Syrah, others.


Spent the rest of the afternoon — and the evening, too — out on the balcony, sitting and visiting, talking about our respective interests in the history of espionage. Around sunset, back down to the barn for feeding; got to meet Shine, their new horse (a 14-year old former rodeo performer) and see the Gray Daryl and Brown Daryl again. Hawk is also still around and doing well.


Temperature that night was perfect for an al fresco dinner of barbecued chicken and more catching up and swapping animal stories.

Another late start to the morning the next day (this has gotta be the most rested we've ever been on a convention trip, even with the loss of an hour). A delicious, hearty breakfast, where in the 70° morning, we checked in on the Plaza webcam and watched the snow coming down. A little more visiting with Carol and then on the road to the airport.

Home, where our dog spent a good weekend with a couple other Greys.


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Raphael Della Ratta said...

I'm on to you---burying the shot of the 5105 way down so I'd only be surprised by it if I read all the way through. Sneaky.

Thaks for Kubota link as well, ands the vine pix. You know I can pour over each one and analyze it for hours of fun.

Bram said...

Wait -- so you don't normally read all the way through?

Those pix were just for you, y'know. You can ask Carol and Doug, we said we needed vineyard and tractor photos for Raph.