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Adios Texas

Adios Texas, the time has come for me to exit stage right. Austin I‘m going to miss you.
Well to be perfectly honest Austin I miss the city you were when I was growing up in South Austin. Way back then South Congress & IH 35 was the edge of civilization to the south. Oak Hill was just a truck stop cafe and Hwy 183 was the far northern border of Austin.
So much has changed; you’re all grown up now. You’re a big city now growing in leaps and bounds, with tall buildings and a huge neighborhood spread. To me you’ve become a huge crowded, uncomfortable, unaffordable, out of controllable city with little concern for whom you run over or what you may destroy in the process. Austin sad to say you are losing many of those things that made you special aka “weird”.

I, on the other hand, well, I’m a little worse for wear, I’m still weird as ever, but I’m still standing.

I consider myself lucky. I was probably the last generation to grow-up living a “Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn”- like childhood. I can remember when Barton Creek, Onion Creek and Bull Creek always had clear flowing water and fish – even in the summer and not due to flash flooding! If one was so inclined you could float almost all the way down said creeks or you could camp & fishing in them.
I’m leaving Texas with a head – full of riches & wealth, golden memories of times gone by; those shiny, sparkly things that make me smile.
I can remember as a kid walking by and hearing the honky-tonk music coming out of Flossie’s Bar. I remember milk in glass bottles from the Old Bossy Dairy Store on South Congress, the soda fountain at Sanders Drug Store with Cherry Coke made to order. I remember earning 50ç an hour sweeping the floors of the feed store where Guero’s sits now and using 25ç of that to see a movie at The Austin Theater. I have a treasure chest of youthful memories spent drinking Shiner & Lone Star beer while listening to live music at The Armadillo World Headquarters, Soap Creek Saloon, Liberty Lunch, The Continental Club, Antone’s, Rome Inn and the Austin Aqua-Fest.
I’ll remember and miss my friends & family. I’ll miss my cycling peeps and our sprints for the city limit signs. I’ll remember my running buddies – doing sprint work never hurt so good. Of course, my fellow soccer addicts – who never met a margarita they didn’t like. Who could forget my sometimes nutty motorcycle buds (you guys stay out of Waco) and last but not least my Music/Comedy/ Artist friends – you keep Austin real and are truly the soul of the city.

That’s the Austin I will always remember.

A strong desire to wander tells me the time has come for me to find more new shiny things to collect. I’m ready to explore new places, ride my bike down new roads & trails, run races in new places, listen to new bands & music, shoot new photos and see sunsets in new places, wherever they are, while I still have some time… like the rest of my life.

Adios Texas, I promise not to let the door hit me on the ass on my way out.

Boston Marathon, Let’s Stop The Madness

Those who know me know I am a life-long runner. Although I don’t really compete any longer I still do a little jogging, even joining an occasional race.  Like so many the cowardly attack at the Boston Marathon has left me with a heavy heart. Many folks way more eloquent than me have made some great statements in support of all those touched by the tragedy of the bombing. All those who rushed into the face of danger to aid those injured in the explosion are true heroes and the very essence of what makes humanity great.

But there is an ugly under-belly coming out in response to bombing, the vilifying of immigrants and those of middle-eastern decent and in some cases those who just look like they might be “Non-American”. The extreme right–wing, conservative media types are fanning the flames.  We have all seen or heard about the bloggers and television media that supports them demanding deportation and some suggesting “just kill them all”. That sort of irresponsible journalism – if you can call it that is lighting the fuse for many to go on the hunt for foreigners.

I got a taste of such a group whom confronted me in the parking lot as I left Jason’s Deli. Claiming to be patriots they want to let me know “ you damn camel jockeys will get yours soon enough. We will kill as many of you as we can and send the survivors back to Iraq or Saudi Arabia”. I had to laugh when I told them I’m not middle-eastern you dumb-fucks and I left.

What really worries me is what will happen when the responsible party for the bombing is finally caught. If they are not Caucasian will it be open season on those of color?

Amanda Pearcy, Royal Street Review

Austin, Texas “The Live Music Capital of the World” is full of talented musicians/singers/songwriters. It is a tough place to stand out.  Many will never make it, but it is also the place where the best will rise to the top.

I don’t often get to review a new CD prior to its official release, but Royal Street by my friend Amanda Pearcy was one I had been anxiously waiting to hear.  I knew Amanda had been working diligently on this CD and I was not disappointed.  Amanda’s vocals and songwriting skills are nothing short of spectacular.  Produced by Tim Lorsch with some recording handiwork by Bradley Hartman and George Bradfute, the band and background vocals all come together in a masterful blend. Songs like Barking Dogs and Bring You Home reach into your heart and soul. They lift you along as the story unfolds through the songs. Amanda sings of moments in life: heartfelt lyrics that flow smoothly and invite you to come along…down Royal Street.

The official release will be February 19 with a performance at Strange Brew. To hear some of Royal Street visit www.amandapearcy.com

Soldiers On The Water

You know the old saying “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work”?  Saturday I had a great day of fishing, which made for an even greater day of work (well not really work in my eyes).

Normally getting up at 5:30 AM is not high on my list of things to do, but this time I was looking forward to it because I was meeting up with Soldiers on the Water to shoot photos. Soldiers on the Water is a program started in 2010 by Bob Jett and Kandie Candelaria of the Canyon Bass Club of San Marcos as of way of saying thank you to those who have done and sacrificed so much for our country.

As we cruised around the lake the smiles on the faces of the soldiers was a wonderful sight.  Fishing was so good in part because of the volunteer Captains/Guides from the Bass Club who took the soldiers out and help them find the best fishing spots.  For some of the soldiers it was the first time they had ever been fishing and the smiles on their faces as they landed their first fish was as big as the Texas sky, very cool indeed!

The day included lunch from Johnny Carino’s, served up by a San Marcos Boy Scout troop. This was followed with awards for the various fish caught along with a drawing for prizes.  I manage to score a prize or two myself. There is one I consider an honor; I will cherish and wear with great pride, a Soldier’s Angel pin. Thank you guys and gals you made my day.

My Life with UT Football

I have worked for UT for many years. I started working UT EMS back when I was a firefighter; those were often interesting times. Most of the time I was caring for drunk fans who fell. Once I did have a woman go into labor during the game…no the baby wasn’t born in the stadium. Back then UT was very nice to the folks working the game paying them well, giving them rest breaks when they needed it. We work long days 8-12 hours; most days we are there 3-4 hours before game time and leave 2-4 hours after the game ends. Still most of us enjoy being part of the whole thing of helping 100,000+ folks support their team; it is an electric atmosphere.

These days I work with the VIP folks up in the Touchdown Club and private suites….very nice digs. Over the years the attitude at UT has started to evolve to a harder stance against the very employees who work so hard for them. Pay has gone down or not moved in 20 years, benefits have diminished and the attitude towards the little guys is meaner. Sort of like you are so lucky we let you work for us.

In the “old days”  folks would get breaks, they were allowed to sit when the situation allowed, go the restroom when needed, grab some food or drinks/water during your break. We were one big happy family, not so much anymore.

The first thing to go for many folks working during games was no sitting – ever…I am allowed to sit but folks in other sections. no way Jose. Then it was no food – they backtracked a little this season and give out $10 tickets to spend with the outside food vendors, but no eating any of the food in the VIP or hospitality areas…unless you are a UT staff, EMS or Law Enforcement; the rest of us get to watch them eat. Then it was no drinking from the drink containers in the VIP/hospitality area.  We had an Igloo cooler to drink from if they remember to bring one out and refill it when it goes dry, but just one for about 150 of us on my floor. Next it was only one 15-minute break during your entire shift.  You have to eat, go to the restroom and get back to your station in 15 minutes or you will be fired. Just to make it more challenging as of last game we are not allowed to use the elevators . . . I work on the 8th floor. Have you ever tried to run down & back up 8 flights, stand in line at the concession stand, eat, use the restroom all in 15 minutes? Good luck!

UT has taken the new corporate model of employee relations, that is to treat it’s employees as slaves.

I know they say they are just trying to control costs. I mean they have to come up with those $5 million bonuses for coaches somehow 🙂

But here is the catch, I see them throw away tons of food every game and I do mean tons, just dumped. And what really got me yesterday…. I was asked to work extra late to supervise the closing. You know those recycle conatiners you see all over the stadium, because UT is all about being green, it’s a lie. I watched them dump all of the recycle conatiners into the trash..WTF. When I approached a UT supervisor about that I was told “yeah I know, they are supposed to sort it but . . . .”

*A note to Mr. Powers & Mr Dodds, you guys should be ashamed of the scam you run on the folks who work so hard to make you look good on national TV. Instead of throwing all that food away maybe allow your employees to grab a bite to eat of decent food or donate it to a homeless shelter, give your employees breaks long enough to be a true break. Finally if you are going to collect recycleables…recycle them, damn it!

 

I think this is my last season with UT.