Friday, November 21, 2008

The Lone Star


Some old business to take care of: Here's one of a ba-zillion examples of homage being paid to the newest Chicago-kid taking the world by storm. This is on the side of a gyro hut on Halsted, north of Fullerton.

On to Austin, Texas: featuring presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and George W. Bush


WELCOME TO AUSTIN, TEXAS! The best feature of the airport was the rental car lot was directly across from the terminal. In a state with very limited mass transit, it's a very necessary feature. I was in town for the Convio Summit Conference. For those who don't know, Convio is a database company that specializes in software for nonprofits.


Here's my hotel and the place of the conference. It's the Renaissance Hotel in the far northwest section of Austin at highways 1, 360, and 183. Just as a side note, I've never seen so many stoplights on multiple lane limited access highways before...


When did I start traveling in style?


Look at this bathroom. It's four times larger than my current apartment's bathroom. Then again, the room costs $140 more per day than my place. And that's with the discount...


Here's the atrium where many of the activities took place. They also had some stuff down the stairs. The most important thing downstairs though was the pool. Still only 4' deep, but...


"Oh, so how is it back in Chicago? 40 degrees you say... Well, it's alright down here in Austin. I mean, it's mid-November and it's 80 degrees."


Texas State Capitol. It's a massive state capitol. They really do everything bigger in Tah-has.




The odd thing is, everything says "Texas," "The Lone Star State," "Don't Mess With Texas," or "Texas Pride" in Texas. Everything except the capitol building. It might have said it on the sidewalk, but that was covered with cheap plastic mats...


Cool post-modern building downtown. They had lots of great old buildings too, but very difficult to take pictures of in the dark. Two oddities about downtown Austin: 1) they have a lot of loud nocturnal birds; 2) between the capitol building and the University of Texas are several blocks in every direction of 2-to-3 story parking garages. It's a vast wasteland from a future only Robocop could imagine...


Construction site downtown


Some kind of student gathering at U of T that appeared to rate six year olds wearing costumes. I didn't get it. I must be getting too old...




University of Texas-Austin's Main Building


One of main old Victorian homes downtown converted into a business and surrounded by skyscrapers.


That cool post-modern building again as seen through the alley of bars and live music joints.


ELLA! As many of you may know, my cousin Nick lives in Austin as well. So, while I had some time away from the conference, I visited him, his wife Kate, and his daughter Ella. She likes Care Bears and Little Mermaid.




Here's Ella giving her "pretty pose" in her Little Mermaid dress for the camera with Nick in the background.


Ella also made a very demanding and honorable request that I visit her house.


Back at the airport looking at strange artwork. "Keep Austin Weird..." I learned a lot and had a good time.

PS-Anyone have any idea why 7600 people have visited my blog since Sunday? Is it because the Kansas City Wizards player stole my name or the handball player from Germany? Are one of you a stalker that just can't get enough pics and banter? Just curious on my recent popularity...

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