Nathan's Book Premiere

Our friend Nathan — a cartoonist who's been living in New Mexico for the past few months (with his sister, a former co-worker of Monica's, actually) — had a little event at True Believers tonight. In advance of its release at MoCCA, the latest installment of Power Out was available.

Good time hanging out with Kevin and some other comics folks at the shop, and then an entertaining crowd out afterward at dinner.


Returned Sunday night from a few days back in Connecticut. Lotta packing up of comics, among other things.


First Day of Spring …
Last Sunday Houndie Walk of the Season?

Though it's clouding up now, it was sunny and well above 60° when we headed out. Somebody's got to get re-acclimated to the heat and lose some winter fur, she was dragging even on our walk this morning.

I'll be away next Sunday in Connecticut; when time comes to resume that first weekend in April, may be too hot. But Sunday Houndie Walk's done its job for another season, getting us through to the longer days.


Day's End

There was sleeping in, but it was a busy day of GCNM meet'n'greet, a crazy busy 7000 BC meeting, and a trip to the dog park at sunset.


This Year's Austin Trip

Two major discoveries — well, not discoveries to a lot of people, and not really that new to me — made some differences this year: rolling and breakfast tacos:

When Liz was packing to depart, everything was rolled to go into the suitcase. I'd also read the NYT article that prompted it, but hadn't yet put into practice yet. I do love my packing cubes, all organize-y and stuff, but the rolling does make a huge difference.

And breakfast tacos. They were mentioned in response to a question our first year; I thought, "we've got breakfast burritos here, what's the big deal?" Last year, we tried some out, and then that article appeared with the guide and history. So this year, jumped full-on into the whole breakfast taco thing, and am a convert. Cheap, tasty, varied. We need that stuff here.

Easy departure out of SAF, arrival into AUS Friday night. The trip on I-35 during rush hour was enough of a novelty that the traffic wasn't a big ordeal. To the con hotel, a little time to rest, then out to dinner with Rob and his assistant Amanda. Since we were early for reservations and they needed to be caffeinated, the inevitable annual stop at Kick Butt, where there looked to be a school of rock kind of performance going on. Then a terrific dinner and visiting at Chez Zee.

Returned to Elsi's for Saturday's breakfast tacos in the gray windy morning, then to the newly renamed Marchesa for this year's STAPLE!. A slow start that never really picked up … was it the beautiful sunny day that turned out? The reduced urgency of a two-day event? Didn't matter, we had some great neighbors, so had plenty of fun.

On one side, Samax, who warned us he could talk. David, who we met last year in Phoenix, came with Charles and Karen, who brought their sense of humor. Behind us, Chet and Julie, new to the con scene, had beautiful products and plenty of stories. Rob and Amanda, a few tables down. Shopping for sequels of Guinea, P.I. and Buffalo Speedway.

Again, the con organized a dinner at Franklin Barbecue (apparently in that location for their last night). The espresso barbecue sauce was on the tables, the portions were generous, but it was awfully cold. Dinner with David, Charles, and Karen was rushed. I was smug because I was the only one who finished; next morning, I was seeing their wisdom.

Sunday began with … you should see where this is going … breakfast tacos. At one of Torchy's locations, at the trailer park near Rob's. Leisurely start to what turned out to be a leisurely kind of day at the show again. No matter, much fun still. Kabobs for dinner with Rob, graciously acting as tour guide one last time.

We took some time getting out Monday after going out for … wait for it … breakfast tacos at Rosie's Tamale House (I think my favorite of the trip). We were moving hotels so we could stay more downtown Austin. A planned culture outing, the only museum open in the cluster on/near the UT campus was The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Yes, it was Texas-sized — a lot of reading, but educational.

We'd splurged on a room at the Kimber Modern, one of the boutique hotels near South Congress. Figured it suited our sensibilities, and we'd try a night at this sort of thing (which, like most memes, is hitting the real cities and only barely filtering its way here).

Amazing. Noted subsequently by Carol, seems kind of sterile — but actually nicely integrated with nature, with some very human touches. Big, beautiful courtyard; by the time we returned from a stroll of SoCo, hung out there for their little reception. Out to Perla's for seafood dinner at the bar, just around the corner. Next morning, though there was a (dangerously healthy) breakfast provided, walked over to Jo's for … breakfast tacos. With a noon checkout, we just sat around the courtyard, reading and hanging out, 'til about 11:53.

Then to the Blanton, by way of lunch at Chi'Lantro. At the museum, their, we're assuming, art project of knitted tree cozies; certainly not needed on the warm morning.

Couple hours in the exhibits. We both loved the entryway, an installation that references Judd.

And over to the Henry Ransom Center to see their Gutenberg and collection of their writers' papers.

Time for cupcakes, then on the road out to Carol and Doug's. Doug's sister-in-law's there for a while in the process of moving; Saralee joined us for a wonderful dinner.

Next morning, we lingered, toured the winery that's coming together — by our visit next year, we should be barrel tasting their own wine — and meeting Juliet(te?), Carol's new horse (not the one that threw her) and visiting with Shine.

Quick trip out to Pedernales Falls, where there was really no water.

It's forbidden, but we figured pretty safe, to venture out into the middle of the river. Beautiful in its own way, only the riverbed exposed; an hour or so scrambling around the rocks. Errands and to Saralee's house.

Visiting there for a while, touring her new lovely home, then dinner with the family again. Time for some sitting and reading before bed. Next morning, we had a leisurely start with time for more visiting and walking around before the — again, thankfully uneventful — trip home. Where the dogsitter and the housesitter had things well under control.



Fortunately, the dog seems not to object.


Pedernales Falls

Early afternoon, Wednesday. We're in the middle of the river. The falls were not falling.

We're also trying to reconstruct the proper pronunciation; per the locals, there's fewer syllables than you'd think.



Back from our annual Austin trip — thought it was probably the least financially successful STAPLE outing yet, I think it was the most fun in our four years.

Amazingly, the dog was happy to see us and return home.

More later.