Archive for September, 2009

One of my co-workers tipped me off about the Bloodshot Records 15th anniversary party they held at Yard Dog in south Austin a couple weeks ago. We stopped by, listened to Ha Ha Tonka and took a few photos. It was like SXSW without the crowds.

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It was a very friendly, decidedly un-college crowd since it was during the UT game.

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We’re not usually ones to shill for the man, but I did appreciated the duct-tape aesthetic of this Rolling Rock ad. They sponsored the event and gave away free beer.

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We’ve always liked the fact that Austin is kid-friendly. It makes the town feel more like a community. Atlanta is a much more segregated city, in more ways than one. To me, it sometimes felt like a little bubble of twentysomethings. Of course, you could argue that Austin is also segregated in its own way, but at least people here are okay bringing toddlers to rock shows.

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Art Class: Day 1

On Tuesday, I had my first day of Drawing I, an informal evening class at UT. Our first task was an upside down drawing, working from a Picasso drawing of Igor Stravinsky.

I thought mine was looking okay. But then I turned it right side up. Poor Igor got a broad sloping shoulder and an itty bitty neck.

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Then we did contour drawings of our hands. Not being able to look at the paper makes for an interesting drawing. Spooky.

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Our last activity of the night was drawing our feet. Our teacher giggled out loud at the giant scale I chose for mine. “I guess that’s how you see them,” she said.

They’re not dainty, but they get me where I need to go.

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A Mighty Fine Burger By Any Other Name…

A few months ago, the folks who run the Austin franchises of Rudy’s BBQ stopped by our office to give a presentation about their business practices and culture. I have to admit, my jaded ass was and is pretty skeptical of any such presentation. But I came away a convert. The key moment for me was when someone from frog asked them a question related to cost. The main man’s reply: “All that matters to us is excellence. Making money is not important to us if we’re not achieving excellence.”

Talking about “excellence” may sound like typical corporate boilerplate, but there aren’t many corporations that would be willing to truly trade excellence for profit. They instantly earned my respect. I was willing not only to give Rudy’s a second look, but also their other creation: Mighty Fine.

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If you’ve ever read this blog before, you may think I eat nothing but cheeseburgers. Lately, that’s not far from the truth.

One of their big things is cleanliness. Check out the burger supply room: it’s like an OR.

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For some reason, all of their marketing refers to “quality,” but when they were talking to us, it was “excellence.” For some reason, I like excellence better. And in other news, I’m going bald.

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This is the hand washing machine they have at both Mighty Fine and Rudy’s locations. It’s like a hot tub for your hands.

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Milkshakes might be the perfect food. There’s nothing that tastes better going down, or that makes you feel worse after. But every bloated second is worth it.

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The goods. It’s actually much bigger than it appears here. These burgers just scream fresh. Or maybe it’s that view of the back room that screams fresh. Either way, this stuff is good.

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I want to love the crinkle cut fries. They make a big deal out of the fact that they’re fresh cut. Apparently, that’s rare for crinkle cut fries. And don’t get me wrong, they’re good. I just wish they were a little thicker.

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It’s impossible to argue that this place has the Austin charm that I fell in love when I moved here. It really does feel like a chain, even though these guys are adamant about not franchising (because it would compromise their excellence, naturally!) But I absolutely love this place. True, I may have never even visited had I not met the people who run it, but after meeting them and actually venturing in to the place, I’m willing to get past the chain vibe and just enjoy the excellence.

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Umm… Nevermind

Plenty of writers retract errors after publishing them. But me, I’m issuing a preemptive retraction. I’m advanced like that.

I wrote a snarky post last night about an online ad I saw with what appeared to be a significantly Photoshopped Alton Brown. Just before I posted, though, I thought twice. How can I be sure? Maybe the dude just lost a bunch of weight? Turns out that was a good instinct. Here’s my original, completely wrong post. Sorry, Alton. I never should have doubted you.

You’re an art director at an ad agency. You’ve been watching Mad Men and you’ve noticed that Don Draper looks pretty svelte in those suits and skinny ties. Meanwhile, your client, Food Network, wants to do an online banner ad with Alton Brown. Problem is, Alton’s no Don Draper and you’ve only got 160 pixels across. Solution = cut + paste.



Come on. I’m a fan of this guy. But he hosts a show that had an episode about how to make homemade corn dogs.

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Sometimes a song just pours right out of you and other times it’s more like giving birth. And then there are times when it’s a blend of the two. This song was a blend.

I’d had the idea for the melody and chorus for a long time, but never knew what the story should be. The tune first popped into my head one day after driving down South Congress to visit The Mighty Cone for lunch (probably making it my first food-inspired melody). In fact, the original the reason I was “going downtown,” as the lyrics say, was to get a chicken cone. It was a sunny spring day in Austin, I had a full belly and a spring in my step. I was feeling good. But as it turns out, I didn’t have much more to say about fried chicken. So I just filed it away.

Eventually, I got the first verse down. After that, I just needed to spend some time with the song and let the rest happen. So for the last three days, I’ve basically walked around with a constant tape loop in my head, trying to make it all work. It’s like solving a crossword puzzle. Any syllable out of place can throw the whole thing off.

Looking back, this song started out in a pretty strange place and ended up somewhere completely absurd. Namely, it ended up in a place where you can catch gout from your wife. It was fun to just follow the strange logic of this thing to its conclusion.

A couple of the lyrics were inspired by one of Eliza’s recent posts, some were in there to make it rhyme, and others were in there just to test the boundaries of my marriage. I wanted to see what I could get away with. Besides, doesn’t every girl dream that one day someone will write a song about them? Shaliza Price, this one’s for you.

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