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Austin, TX 2014 - Keepin' it Weird

Before getting started this week, a note:

I've added tags "CLOWNS", "ELEPHANTS" and "TIGERS" to the tags list.
These tags are for any posts that contain photos of one or more of those three things :)

Also, please note that for many of my posts I "borrow" photos from friends, colleagues, and the company.
If those folks decide to delete or move those photos, I may not be able to re-include them in this blog.
So Enjoy them while they last :)

*end of note*

The train run was so short it's hardly worth mentioning, other than to say that for once we arrived on time!!!

On Tuesday I took a stroll downtown to run some errands. Not downtown proper, but closer to the University. There are lots of cool little shops nearby. Austin has a rep for great food and interesting street art.

The train yard is near a strange little side street. It took me a bit to remember what was around, but soon I recalled a really great Goodwill a few blocks away and took a walk over.
On the way there was this truck with a pig...randomly sitting on top....okkkkk.....?

I found two nice shirts at the Goodwill. This was not one of them. Keep Austin Weird, indeed.

The opening show went as usual. This arena has almost no backstage area at all; the back hallways are so narrow, we even have to turn our boxes sideways to make them fit.

Thursday and Friday were both one show days. On Thursday I took the bike out to a HEB about two miles from the train. We've got a four-day train run to Moline, IL, and I want to be well-stocked for that.
Being a Texas chain, HEB stocks lots of Mexican foods. I was happy to see (and eat) one of my favorite treats, a marranitos cookie!

The bike ride to and from was also very nice. Although it was hot, there was a pleasant breeze and there were bike lanes almost the entire way through the residential paths that I took.
I don't take my bike out often enough.
A vine teepee on someone's backyard farm:

I got home, put the groceries away and took a break for lunch. After that I cooked some chicken and fish for meals this week, then cleaned up and did the show. We had a tiny audience.

Friday was a day of waking up a little later, doing some laundry, and relaxing. I wanted to go to the arena a bit early so I could visit Downtown Austin and pick up a loaf of bread from a bakery I'd visited last time. Turns out it was a bit of a walk to reach it, and as it was already 100 degrees out I procrastinated until it was too late to do anything but grab a loaf of bread from a nearby CVS. Oh well!

Saturday was a three show day. We found out that the train will be sitting still pretty much all day Monday while waiting for a window. This means that unless we somehow manage to make an 8am window on Monday morning, we're stuck on an unmoving train until 8pm. Good thing I've got a lot of movies...
Between shows I made a doodle of the band.

On Sunday we had a later-than-usual two show day with the shows being at 2 and 6 instead of 1 and 5. Afterward I said goodbye to Jameson as he caught a cab to a hotel; he's going to Chicago for a short visit, and possibly to get a new tattoo! Then I went to do some evening Ingress-ing, but when I turned on the app to my surprise there was a giant blue field covering all of Austin! And much of the rest of Texas.

As impressive as this is, it also means that I'd be unable to make any links between portals (linking portals gets you the most points). Feeling kinda bummed, I went over to the Capitol Building which, in addition to being well-lighted and patrolled by at least four unique police cars, was sporting a large number of low-level green portals for me to beat up. Partway through my mini-rampage I noticed that someone else was knocking out portals too, and at a much faster rate. I waited at a corner until I saw a guy walking slowly and staring intently at his phone and wearing an Ingress shirt (bingo). His username is "mathematician".

We both stopped playing to shake hands and introduce ourselves. Turns out he's from Gettysburg! Small world! He's a Level 14 (highest known level in the game is a 16) and has been to Ingress meets, and has connections with several Ingress-based social groups. After finding out that I was low on resonators, he kindly gave me some and also bestowed some general game knowledge upon me, mostly having to do with large-scale operations that are currently out of my league. Still, I learned a lot and was happy to have met another Ingress gamer in person!

After that, I felt ready to get back to the train. I took a moment to admire the Capitol at night and enjoy the sight of bats diving for bugs under the lamps, then said goodbye and goodnight to Austin. This was our last week in Texas, and it was really nice. Next stop, Moline IL!

Other stuff:

This week we found an article stating that our train will be wintering near Port Manatee this year (CLICK HERE to read). Although I'm excited to visit a new place, it looks like there's no grocery/shops within walking distance :/ Also I think the title of our new show really is "Circus XTreme". Let the jokes begin...

Some folks went to see the Statesman Bridge bats on Tuesday night. The bats start coming out at dusk in the summer. Very cool!

(photo courtesy Cindy)

Siam and Ryan apparently counting out change for Pie Car during an early morning PR event.
"Your change is 15 cents, ma'am. Next time don't eat all our fruit."

(photo courtesy Ryan)

Meanwhile Luna, who doesn't have any PR duties, is torn between taking a nap or playing with her tire!

(photo courtesy Bernadette)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 26th, 2014 06:33 am (UTC)
The elephants pics are always so precious.

Thanks for the link on the cookie, never heard of that or Ingress.

Your art of the band is wonderful.

THAT TeePee is AMAZING, I have to show it to some gardening buds.
Aug. 26th, 2014 03:50 pm (UTC)
Glad you like :)

I was disappointed to not get my hands on those cookies. But Texas is so dang HOT.

I am starting to talk about Ingress too much haha. It's a really good game for someone like me who likes to go for walks just to find weird stuff.

Glad you like my "art" :P The boys had me hang it in our storage box!

If your gardening buds know what kind of plant that is, I'd love to know. The flowers are kinda purpleish...I was thinking maybe a sweet pea but not sure if they vine like that...
Aug. 27th, 2014 04:19 pm (UTC)
It's a really good game for someone like me who likes to go for walks just to find weird stuff. -- that's a very appealing aspect of the game as well as human interaction.
Aug. 28th, 2014 02:39 pm (UTC)
That elephant with the tire! Seriously adorable.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )