Posts Tagged ‘Austin’

Library Addition: Signed PBO of Aaron Allston’s Sidhe Devil

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Since I already had a signed first of Doc Sidhe, I picked up this signed copy of the sequel from the Fred Duarte Estate.

Allston, Aaron. Sidhe Devil. Baen, 2001. First edition paperback original, a Fine copy with some foxingto inside covers. Signed and dated by Allston.

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Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “She’s Gone”

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

I consider Brain Jonestown Massacre more of a psych than Shoegaze band, but this is the final song they played at their set with Slowdive in Austin, and that’s good enough for me.

Important Safety Tip

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Try not to kill anyone over cutting in line for a taco trick.

Just after bar-close at 2:38 a.m. on Sunday, May 8th, the Austin Police Department responded to a report of gunfire at what appears to be the Tortillas Hecha a Manos taco truck in Lanier Village, just south of Peyton Gin and North Lamar. When police arrived, they found 39-year-old Rigoberto Jose Castillo dead and three others injured, one critically.

You may be asking, what could have caused all this mayhem? As the story goes, it all began when someone allegedly cut in line for tacos.

According to witnesses, a fight started over who was in line for tacos first. Nobody appreciates the wait for a taco, but police say that Mr. Castillo took special exception to the alleged line-cutting when two men, Osiel Benitez Benitez, 44, and Juventino Benitez Carbajal, 38, allegedly attempted to order out of line.

Things escalated to fisticuffs between Rigoberto and Osiel Benitez, the police report says, leaving Benitez unconscious on the ground, before all hell broke loose. Police go on to claim that a moment later Carbajal went to his truck, pulled out a gun, and began firing into the group of patrons. In addition to Castillo’s death, three women were also injured.

It’s also a bad idea to try and cut in line for a taco trailer. Upside: You get your taco faster. Downside: Getting shot to death over tacos. Plus it’s just not polite…

(Hat tip: Bill Crider.)

Levitation Austin Music Festival Cancelled

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Well, this sucks:

Due to safety concerns regarding dangerous weather, Levitation 2016 has been cancelled. This decision is heartbreaking, but it’s a decision officials have made for the safety of festival attendees, and safety is our first priority.

We’ve been working with county officials trying to find a way to carry on, but at this point the decision has been made, and it is beyond our control. The cancellation is due to dangerous weather conditions in the forecast combined with weather complications to the grounds and the Colorado River.

We are completely devastated. We have been working for a year, looking forward to this weekend and seeing you all at the ranch. We know that many of you traveled from far away, and that this news is extremely disappointing for everyone.

At this point, the projected impact of the storms has intensified, and we are now left with no choice but to cancel. You may remember that in 2015 we had severe weather warnings as well, but were able to get through the weekend. The difference between 2015 and 2016 is the severity of the storms being predicted, including high wind, large hail and tornado warnings, combined with high water levels from last week’s flooding.

We have tried every avenue to continue with the festival, and the county has been working with us to find a way, but today at 5:00pm the final decision was made to cancel the festival due to public safety concerns related to severe weather. Following this announcement, the festival has to evacuate the site, meaning that staff and equipment must be loaded out. This leaves us with no opportunity to continue the festival later in the weekend. Even if the weather has improved drastically on Sunday, we would be unable to produce an event at the ranch.

We will be working to keep everyone updated. Please see information on refunds, potential venue shows and other important info below.

Refunds will be issued, but those may take up to 30 days to issue.

Obviously the universe just doesn’t want me to see Slowdive…

Sunday Shoegazer: Blackstone Rngrs’ “Frozen Echo”

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

For your Sunday dose of Shoegaze, here’s Austin’s own Blackstone Rngrs (yes, they spell it that way), another Saint Marie Records band, with “Frozen Echo,” another entry in the “Hey, we have no video budget, so how many digital effects can we cram in” sweepstakes.

Shoegazer Sunday: Ultraviolet’s “Strawberry Echoes”

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Ultraviolet is an Austin duo. Here’s “Strawberry Echoes” off their first EP.

The Salt Lick Sues The Salt Lick

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Dispatch from the BBQ Wars:

Salt Lick BBQ is picking a legal fight with a Georgia company it claims is infringing on its name and reputation.

In a lawsuit filed in Texas’ Western District U.S. Court, the Driftwood restaurant chain claims that the Salt Lick Sausage Co. of Cordele, Georgia, is violating the Central Texas company’s trademark by offering barbecue products for sale via its website www.saltlicksausage.com, which is similar in nature to www.saltlickbbq.com.

Salt Lick claims the Georgia company is using marks and iconography that are similar to its own, and that Salt Lick Sausage stands to benefit from the international reputation and publicity enjoyed by Salt Lick.

The ironic thing, of course, is that the sausage is far and away the least impressive of the Driftwood Salt Lick’s signature meats.

But here’s a revealing tidbit:

“The Austin-area company generated more than $25 million in revenue and served more than 650,000 customers at its main restaurant in Driftwood.”

Having been there fairly recently, I can believe it…

Restaurant Review: Hill’s Cafe

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Hill’s Cafe
700 S Congress Ave (Austin, 78745)
(512) 851-9300

Eaten at: July 25, 2015

Restroom Rating: 1.5 (Guys, when one soap dispenser is broken, and the other is off the wall and lying on the sinktop, your men’s room needs attention….)

Hill’s is one of those “Austin institutions” that has been around forever. We’ve eaten there before, and always thought they had good hamburgers and chicken fried steak.

Since Armadillocon was over in the Omni Southpark this year, and since Hill’s Cafe is evidently under new management, we decided to give them a revisit. This time around we had…hamburgers and chicken-fried steak. And I thought my chicken-fried steak was very tasty indeed, probably top 5 in Austin tasty, and I heard no complaints from the hamburger contingent. I also thought the onion rings were pretty good. (You’ll have to check with Dwight on the BBQ.)

They were out of banana pudding, and offered us some complimentary banana bread pudding instead. While I appreciate the gesture, the bread pudding just wasn’t very good, so you should probably avoid that.

Our waiter was pretty attentive, and pretty much kept up with our refills and other requests.

Overall the meal was more than satisfactory, offering up well-executed renditions of classic hearty Texas fare in filing portions at a fair price. Which makes me wonder why the place was half-deserted when we ate there.

Hill’s is never going to be a favorite with the “3 small pieces of seared fish artfully arranged with sculpted garnishes on a drizzle glazed plate for $30” crowd. But if you’re looking for good down home Texas food, Hill’s Cafe amply fits the bill.

Amazing Book Find: Ballantine Hardback of Chad Oliver’s Shadows in the Sun

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

I’d been having a dry spell searching the local Half Price Books locations. I wasn’t find much terribly interesting in their stacks (a few signed paperbacks here and there), and I either had everything I wanted in their collectable shelves, or they were asking too much money for marginal works.

Saturday’s find made up for many, many years of dry spells, and is hands-down the best find I’ve ever made at Half Price Books:

Oliver, Chad. Shadows in the Sun. Ballantine Books, 1954. First edition hardback (Currey state A, tan cloth lettered in black, no priority), a Near Fine+ copy with slight bumping at head and heel and usual age-darkening to pages), in a Near Fine- dust jacket with a 1 1/2″ closed tear to rear dust jacket flap, slight spotting to top of white rear cover, and a few small rubs. Hall, Hal W., The Work of Chad Oliver: An Annotated Bibliography & Guide, A2. Currey (1979), page 397. Locke, Spectrum of Fantasy, page 169 (an ex-library copy; his description of the dust jacket matches (down to the H-91 code on the front flap), but his description of the book itself as “gray cloth in dark blue lettering” doesn’t match either this copy or the Currey B state (blue cloth lettered in black); Locke’s copy was possibly a library rebind or another binding variant). Barron, Anatomy of Wonder 4, 3-138. Bought for $3 from the Half Price Books in Cedar Park.

Since Google image search brings up no copies of the hardback dust jacket (only the paperback edition, which has a different cover, as they frequently did), I’ve done several scans of it.

Shadows in the Sun BBHB

Shadows Sun Back

Shadows Sun whole dj

Shadows Sun dj flaps

Shadows Sun Book

Chad Oliver was the Grand Old Man of Austin science fiction writers. In addition to writing important works of anthropological SF in the 1950s, he was Dean of the University of Texas’ anthropology school for a while, and was an all-around swell guy. I knew him, but he was really more of a mentor to my mentors (Howard Waldrop, Bruce Sterling, Lewis Shiner, etc.), and had stopped going to the Turkey City Writer’s workshop by the time I started attending. He died in 1993.

Ballantine Books was one of the first mainstream publishers to move into science fiction in the 1950s. They published a prestigious SF line that came out in two formats: A paperback edition for readers, and a hardback edition, scarcely larger than the paperbacks, primarily for the library market. The paperbacks had print runs in the hundreds of thousands, while I’ve heard 600 as a typical print run for the hardbacks. Among the most desirable titles are Fahrenheit 451 (including the asbestos-bound state, which is insanely expensive), Childhood’s End (which I have an Ex-Library of), Hal Clement’s Cycle of Fire, and Green Odyssey, Philip Jose Farmer’s first published book. I’ve seen multiple copies of all those (even the asbestos Fahrenheit 451) offered up for sale or auction, but never Shadows in the Sun (Heritage offered up a jacketless copy a few years back). I don’t think seen a jacketed copy for sale or auction anywhere in the last 20 years.

Hell, as far as I can tell, Texas A&M’s Cushing library, to which Chad donated his books and papers, doesn’t even have a copy of the hardback listed among the donated material.

A conservative estimate of value is probably $2,000…

Don’t Order the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

For twenty years worth of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy, I’ve had good dishes and bad, but never before until this past Saturday had I just sent a dish back as completely inedible.

The Chong Chin Chicken was described as seasoned with lots of hot peppers and peppercorns. I didn’t really see the peppercorns, but I definitely saw the hot peppers; it looked like they dumped a giant fistful into the dish. Though a chilehead, I’ve never had that many dry hot peppers in any dish before.

That’s not why I sent the dish back.

The first few bites of the dish seemed incredibly dry to me, and it tasted like they hadn’t used any sauce whatsoever, which was an odd choice.

That’s not why I sent the dish back.

After a few bites, my tongue’s taste receptors just seemed to shut off, ruining the taste of the dumplings Dwight and Andrew had ordered. Shortly thereafter I realized what the big problem was: it was the most salty dish I’d ever tasted in my life.


An image of the chef preparing the dish.

Normally my tolerance for salt in my meal is higher than most, but this was beyond the pale. I had my co-conspirators try it, and they all agreed it was inedible salty, even Andrew, who loves salt more than I do.

A dish too salty for Andrew and too hot for me; it was like some sort of anti-miracle.

So I sent it back and got some orange peel chicken instead, which was far more edible.

I wouldn’t discourage you from going to Asia Cafe, but unless you look like this:


The only diner who might enjoy the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe.

I would strongly urge you not to order the Chong Chin Chicken…

(Cross-posted to The Logbook of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy.)