You know WordCamp has begun…

I’ve just had a fantastic day at WordCamp Austin Contributor Day, happy hour and the WordCamp Speaker/Sponsor Dinner. However, it’s 11pm and I still have NaNoWriMo to tackle and a presentation to practice. And a kitten to play with. Since I have to pick up the coffee for our volunteers at 6:15 am, my daily post consists of another cute cat photo. Here, Grendel and his big brother Merlin are becoming best friends. Enjoy.  

It’s always time for BBQ

If you live in Austin, you either worship good BBQ… or you’re a vegan and don’t know what you’re missing. Tonight the Automatticians in town for WordCamp Austin and the Audrey Capital team met for dinner at Freedman’s. We enjoyed melt in your mouth brisket, pork spare ribs with meat that literally fell clean off the bone, and amazing sides and desserts. Everyone loved the roasted beets with chevre (they were almost like candy) and jalapeno bacon mac & cheese. The smoked banana pudding and smoked and salted chocolate mousse were pretty fantastic as well. I don’t usually do product or venue reviews because I’m the kind of person whose favorite meal/book/movie is the one I’m currently enjoying, so don’t take this as a restaurant review, though in all honesty, I don’t see why people wait 4 hours for lunch at certain local establishments starting with the same letter as Freedman’s, when there’s a place not that far away with a great ambiance … Read more…

Procrastination

I have a confession. On Saturday morning I’ll be giving a presentation at WordCamp Austin. WordCamps, for those who don’t know, are community-driven WordPress conferences that are held all around the world to talk about and learn new things about WordPress. In this case, I’m on the organizing team, and just happen to be the Speaker Wrangler. And despite what I’ve told all my fellow speakers, and despite knowing better, I still haven’t finished my slides for my presentation. Now to be fair, I know exactly what I’m going to talk about, and it’s very similar to other talks I’ve given. My presentation is the kickoff for our Beginners’ Track, and is simply, “Getting Started with WordPress.” However, I hate making slides, and I just can’t seem to get motivated to finish them. I do much better with live demos than canned talks. So, even though writing blog posts has been hard, I’d rather do a new post than finish my presentation. I’ve even done the … Read more…

maroon bluebonnets

Attack of the Rebel Bluebonnets

There’s a big brouhaha over at the University of Texas at Austin. Apparently there’s some maroon bluebonnets popping up in raised beds near the UT Tower. The outrage! See, these flowers were developed by dastardly scientists over at Texas A&M through selective breeding and hybridization, creating a pink version of the ubiquitous bluebonnets that blanket the city of Austin in the spring. Some have demanded nothing short of utter anihilation of the traitorous maroon bluebonnets, and are suspecting that it was a prank by Aggies to undermine the bluebonnet patches on the campus. According to a post on the UT Austin Tumblr site, no one is planning to destroy the wicked pink blossoms: “UT Austin has no immediate or official plans to pull up the Aggie-colored wildflowers.” That’s good news. As it turns out, the location for at least some of these despicable rival colors is the Tower gardens. And those gardens owe their very existence to… ME. Back in 2009 the … Read more…

Acupuncture gets right to the point

Alternative health care fascinates me. Not only are the tools for providing care different from “traditional”, allopathic care, but the methods can also vary. Often, alternative care finds ways to reach people who don’t have access to doctors and hospitals due to expense, scheduling and other concerns. As I learned through my herbalism training, it often works just as well, or better, than mainstream treatments. After my unexpected trip to the Emergency Room on Friday, I discovered that the pile of medicines prescribed to relieve my pain helped… to a point. Even with a full dose, I was still in considerable discomfort, particularly as I tried to sleep. Looking for a solution that would work in tandem with the medications (not wanting to chance herbal remedies this time around), I considered acupuncture, something I had tried once in the distant past for a similar issue. I discovered a small clinic in Austin called Acupuncture Together that advertises low cost treatments ($30 for the first one, and $20 … Read more…

Learning life lessons… the hard way

When I get hurt, I’m like a cat. I don’t let on unless it’s impossible to hide. Pity parties aren’t my thing, so I suck it up and just cope with it. Usually that works, but sometimes it can backfire on me. This week was typical. A week ago, I thought I had pulled a muscle in my back. I had done something similar a couple months ago and figured I had moved wrong and aggravated the injury. I spent the week laying low and taking care of it the best I knew how: some herbal remedies and, when it got bad, some ibuprophen. To my credit, I had sorted it out pretty quickly and was almost back to normal. Or so I thought. Yesterday, just as I was returning to normal, something went terribly wrong, and there was a ridiculous amount of pain in my hip and thigh. The two ways I described it were that it felt like someone was stabbing … Read more…

snow on fire hydrant

Winter is almost upon us in Austin

As Austin braces for a winter emergency tomorrow (there’s a small chance for freezing drizzle or light snow), I’d like to reflect back on the Snowpocalypse of 2011, when an inch or so of snow completely shut down the city for the day (but the roads only for half a day). Below are a few of the photos from that day, February 3, 2011, a day that shall live in infamy: To better prepare for the unfolding weather crisis, my friend Ilene has posted a list: 10 Things You Need to Know About Winter in Austin.

headstone for martin

Christmas Remembrances at the Masonic Cemetery

Christmas is a difficult holiday for me. It has long evoked strong emotions and has become a time to recall lost friends, refresh old memories, and celebrate the turn of a year. To commemorate the day and a friend we lost on Christmas Eve ten years ago, my friend Marie and I visited the Boggy Creek Masonic Cemetery in Austin, Texas. This is a cemetery in far South Austin that has late-19th-century graves of Masons and their families. It’s an interesting step back in time, and a quiet, out of the way place to wander and contemplate on’s own history. The cemetery’s own story is also as good as it gets. As the official historical marker details: According to local tradition, in the winter of 1859, 23-year-old John Davis joined a community wagon train headed for work in the pine forests of Bastrop County. Davis, sprayed by a skunk during the night, began running wildly through the camp. He was … Read more…