Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Yesterday my brother e-mailed me to snap me back from my reverie and remind me that, even now, Austin is hitting the high-90's and 80% humidity. Even this did not dissuade me from my illusions. After all, it is supposed to be 111 degrees here in Chandler by Friday. When we cross the 110 threshold for two days in a row, I am often heard to declare loudly that I wish I were dead.

Before I ever blog in the morning, I try to make it a practice to see what my little blogging loop of Dedman, Randy and Molly are up to. I was surprised my posting pinged off anyone at all, let alone would it cause others to blog in response.

Dedman blogged on it here (drawing Garrison Keillor comparisons that I can only take as a compliment, I guess). And also twice here, where he brings up a hilarious quote concerning nostalgia, and points over to where Molly shares my sentiment regarding Austin summers.

1) I'm not sure about the actual chronology of O'Henry's stay in Austin vis a vis the introduction of the Moon Towers, but at one point Austin was illuminated by a series of "Moon Towers", meant to keep the streets lit in an era after the gas lamp. These towers (seen most famously in Dazed and Confused) gave off a blue/ purple glow. Which might account for the Violet Crown. Or he might have just been drunk. At any rate, several of the towers remain standing and unused. You can still spot them around town.

2) I did not just spend 4 years of college in Austin. I moved to Austin when I was in 4th grade, and moved the summer after 9th. I returned in 1993 for college, spent 5 glorious years getting kicked around UT. I then lived and worked there until May 31st, 2002. In the end, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-15 years I lived in Austin, which is far longer than I've lived anywhere else. I graduated, got educated and got my first real job in Austin. I even got married down on Live Oak (just South of Mary). My brother and many of my friends still live and work there. So, kids, to me, Austin is homebase.

Was it a time of limited responsibility and all that while I was waiting for life to begin? Tough to say. I never really had any plans for moving on past that stage. After all, it was pretty pleasant.

3) How can you not miss those disgusting rats of the sky, the grackles? They're unbearably loud, they poo everywhere and, for some reason, they're considered endangered. Which means UT employs someone to go around with a shotgun filled with blanks so they can scare off the birds in the evening hours (which, as we all know from the condition of the pavement around UT, must have made the groundskeeper responsible feel a bit like Sisyphus). Grackels are as omnipresent as musicians and sound engineers in Austin, and baffle the mind with their shameless aggressiveness... I had a grackle try to share my fries once at Mad Dogs and Beans.

But here's the deal: As I no longer live in Austin and have moved to the desert, I have noticed that NOTHING GOOD LIVES IN THE DESERT. All of those squirrels and birds you see everyday when you look out your window? I've got none of that. Occasionally birds perch on the fence or in a tree, but you're never going to see an opossum hanging from your tree here. You're never going to see a squirrel jumping from your fence to your garage. You will see a lizard or spider occasionally skitter by, but that's about it. Disney didn't fib in their old nature films when they discussed how the desert is abundant with life, you just need to look for it... but a lot of the life is poisonous or creepy. So I try not to turn over rocks out here unless I have to.

I'll be curious to follow the talkback threads over on and on Osakatomebaby. The former Austinites are coming out of the woodwork.

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