Monday, March 19, 2012


I got hired as a cook at this place...
Black Sheep Lodge
I've come to this bar/restaurant to hang out a couple times during previous visits to Austin and really liked the atmosphere. Leyna took me here with some friends shortly before I moved down and I really liked the atmosphere and style of the place. Very laid back and it's in our South Austin neighborhood. Large craft beer selection with a lot of local brews and great bar food. On most days, I ride my bike and arrive to work 10 minutes later, a little sweaty and ready to go. Can't beat that. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

South By

The Shins concert at Auditorium Shores, 3.15.12
For those of you who don't know, South by Southwest is a 10-day long music, interactive and film festival that takes place at venues around the whole city. Thousands of people flood Austin and line up outside the convention center downtown to register for their passes that will get them into panel discussions, concerts and movie screenings throughout the fest.
So for the first few days of SXSW, I pretty much avoided all the madness. As the fest has been growing each year, traffic has been getting messier downtown, so I didn't feel like riding my bike there and risking my limbs.
Until South By's final weekend.
By the time I made it to Zilker Park (pictured above) Thursday night, I knew what March madness means in Austin. People are everywhere, music is blaring down every street, and I loved it. I met Dave, his girlfriend Natalie and other Cleveland friends at Auditorium Shores, an outdoor stage the city sets up at the park, for a free Shins concert that began as the sun went down. The atmosphere was awesome with the city skyline as the backdrop, and I was pretty blown away by how the park I like to go to every Sunday was transformed into a big concert. Events (Austin City Limits, FunFunFun Fest) take place here throughout the year. During the show, we mostly just hung around the back of the crowd making plans for what show to hit up next...
The bike lot was PACKED. It was a little tough finding a spot to lock Shamu up.

The band FEAR at the Scoot Inn. One of the original punk bands, from California. Rode my bike downtown to see these crazy guys same night as the Shins show.
The next day, I saw The Sheepdogs acoustic set at Esther's Follies during the live Sklarboro Country podcast. Classic rock-sounding band from Canada. The long-haired guys were on the cover of Rolling Stone last summer. Good to listen to while sitting on a porch drinkin beer.

I've been watching/listening to these guys for a LONG time. The @SklarBrothers  have a hilarious podcast where they talk about ridiculous stories that usually come from the sports world. Right up my alley.
This is a gigantic Doritos vending machine/stage, of course, right in the middle of 6th street downtown.

@TheKnocks at Karma Lounge 3.16.12. This duo came from Brooklyn to play a rare live set of their electronic pop songs. I danced, a lot.

And for those wondering, I NOT did go out/drink at all the next day for St. Patty's Day. A few of us went to Zilker and played volleyball then went out to eat. Too tired to get into trouble like my high school days.
So overall I had a blast for my first South By. Crazy how trashed downtown gets with all the people, but the city cleaned up good. Can't wait for next year.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


A lot of people claim to be acrophobiacs, including myself, but I'm beginning to question that title. After a short Google search, I was unsuccessful in finding an actual phobia for a fear of ladders and/or attic stairs.  But Ladderphobia might be more accurate for my needs.
I learned that a Ziplinaphobia is not something I suffer from.
Nor do a lot of other Austinites. Cypress Valley Canopy Tours is a busy place for adventure-seekers like myself, and I recently got to experience what this place has to offer.
As a surprise for our fifth anniversary, Leyna took me to go ziplining at Cypress Valley. She must know me pretty well, and knew that doing something crazy like flying from forest tree branch to forest tree branch was something that I would love to risk my short limbs doing.
This place was a blast. Only a 25-minute drive away, CV is located in an area of Austin that was affected by rampant wildfires last year during the drought. Upon driving in, we saw black and twisted dead trees that had burned. Sad, but interesting-looking. CV has a lot of activities to do for families like swimming in its lake, playing basketball, volleyball, picnicking...or playing tetherball...
Leyna is a self-proclaimed (and now proven) tetherball beast. Despite not dominating a tetherball court since her grade school days, she beat me pretty good, and there may or may not be video evidence to prove it. That's a post for another time.
Ziplining required a little training and even more cajones to actually push off and trust a harness, wire and branch strength to hold your weight. If you check out the web site, you can read up on details about how many lines we flew across and other cool aspects of the park. After ziplinin' and tetherin', we ate some PB&J's and snacks by the water and enjoyed the scenery. We had a great time and, if you ask me, we look great in helmets and tight-fitting harnesses.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Green Mesquite has some of the best wings I've ever had. Sure, they're not the sauciest, or the hottest, but they have an awesome smoky flavor and the meat falls all off the bone so it's easy to scarf them down as quickly as you want. Or you can savor the flavor.
For those of you who don't know, Leyna and I love our wings. She actually wasn't here when this pic was taken. I went with Amanda (Leyna's roommate) and her boyfriend Sean (recently moved to Austin from Ohio, Bowling Green area). So McCord missed out. Sucks for her. I've been telling her i'm always open to going back to Green Mesquite whenever she wants, but for some crazy reason, she hasn't picked up the offer. (Women don't know what's good for them).
When anyone comes to visit, expect that I will suggest going here to drink beer on their patio, which usually has live music, and eat wings or BBQ.

Monday, March 5, 2012

"The stars at night, are big and bright..."

"...Deep in the heart of Texas!"
I went to a unique event put on by the Alamo Theaters on Saturday. Tim League, the founder of Alamo theaters, is a big cycling and Pee Wee Herman fan so he organized a "Rolling Roadshow" event that features a mobile theater that can be set up at various locations around Austin. This time, in honor and celebration of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," a bunch of bicyclists gathered at the brand-new Slaughter Lane location and League then lead us on a ride to the Veloway, where the screen would be set up.
Here's the fancy new Slaughter Road Alamo theater. It's a few miles south of Austin and is very cool; you can see a patio on the right side which is restaurant seating for the 400 Rabbits tequila bar that is part of the theater. 

Friendly cyclists unite to save Sweet Pea
So the trip got off to a pretty slow start. I drove to theater by myself and got there pretty early, and my friend Dave (the one from Cleveland) met me there with a few of his friends. Bret, another native Clevelander, made the trip from Killeen, Texas with a couple other folks and they all brought their own bikes. Bret found a lovely pink bike (nicknamed Sweet Pea) the day before the show. Sweet Pea had a few mechanical issues, and thankfully, between the 50-60 riders that were there, the bike got fixed up enough to make (almost the entire) trip.

En Route
To keep Sweet Pea's chain from breaking, Bret had to use minimal pedal pressure for most of the 2-mile ride. Funny scene with a grown man riding a pink bike, even funnier when he has to use footpower to propel him along a Texas highway.

View from the front of our pack
Due to Sweet Pea's problems, our group of five lagged behind most of the journey to the Veloway. Unsafe, I know, but I snapped this shot while riding along Texas State Highway Loop 1.

 Just as the sun was setting, all us cyclists made it safe and sound to the field where the screen was set up. It was a fun setting for adults and kids alike. Some smart planners brought blankets and snacks for the movie, and we should have done the same. It got colder and colder after the sun went down.
The projector runs out of the truck on the right and, as always, the Alamo had some cool old school cartoons and previews to show before "Pee Wee" began.
Preview for "Beetlejuice!"
This was a really fun night, especially for a movie-lover and bike rider like myself. Afterward, Dave and I rode back to the theater while Bret and the others waited at the entrance of the park because Sweet Pea just couldn't make it back. We picked them up, threw their bikes in the back of their truck, then went and ate Tex-Mex and drank margs at Chuy's.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The best movie theaters in the country.

Leyn and I are going to the "Princess Bride" Quote-Along tonight at the Alamo Drafthouse. The Drafthouse has a bunch of theaters around Austin and they are unique in that you can order food and beer while watching a movie (great, right?!) We usually go to the South Lamar location which is very close to her apartment. Tonight's show is downtown at the smaller, but still very cool Ritz location on E. 6th.
The Drafthouse shows old films like this all the time. "The Princess Bride" is one of Leyna's faves (she's pumped) and Marissa and I used to watch it all the time growing up (see video above).
Last night my friend Dave (also a native Clevelander) and I went to the Drafthouse's Weird Wednesday showcase that features obscure and often cheesy movies that are great to laugh at (and only costs a buck). Yesterday they showed "American Ninja 2," which was hilarious. Reminded me of the Police Academy movies, except I think they meant for this series to be serious.
Dave goes to the Drafthouse probably 3 or 4 times a week to check out Weird Wednesdays, Terror Tuesdays and other random flicks. This coming Saturday, he and I are gonna attend this amazingly fun event which should warrant a blog post all its own. You all should be jealous. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shamu and Stevie

This Stevie Ray Vaughan statue is on the Hike-and-Bike Trail, and this spot runs along Lady Bird Lake, with an awesome view of downtown. On Feb. 22 I hit the trail solo and put my bike (Shamu) in the shot instead of having a random Austinite take a cheesy tourist photo of me.