i’m kind of scared, and yet strangely drawn to this…
oh, and one more thing: allergies are insane right now. i just heard on NPR yesterday that Austin ranks 12th in the nation for worst allergies (1st goes to Raleigh, NC). fall allergies are kicking in for everyone, and both cindy and i have felt for 3 days now – only realizing yesterday it was allergies.
i’ve been wondering if it’s allergies b/c of new fall plants coming into bloom, or allergies b/c all of the other plants that have been brown and dead all summer (that had bloomed in the spring) are perking back to life b/c of the recent rains? our wisteria vines and fig tree have all regenerated in the past 2 weeks, w/ new branches and leaves, due to the nice bit of rain we’ve finally received after 2.5 dry months.
i have succumbed to the multi-planetary mega-corporation that is Starbucks. i now drink their coffee w/ increasing frequency (as opposed to the once in a while drink when they were the only coffee shop nearby). i don’t know if i can blame Starbucks or the ridiculous rents that seem to be constantly on the rise on the Drag (which i fear is the real culprit), but Starbucks is now the only decent coffee shop on the Drag. here’s what’s happened:
when i started school, we had Metro, Cafe Matisse, Starbucks, Little City, Mojo’s, Einstein Bagels, and Spider House a little ways north. Peet’s Coffee opened up about 2 years ago (although Peet’s is also a chain, they’re not Starbucks). Metro is where i finally started drinking coffee, and it was a match made in heaven for us architecture students – directly across the street from the architecture building and open 24 hours. either my taste in coffee has evolved (which it definitely has) or Metro’s coffee quality has gone straight to hell (which it definitely has). i can no longer stand to waste $1.50 on their brown water, especially since they’ve stopped accepting credit cards (at all! not even a minimum purchase!) and are no longer open 24 hours. So Metro is now completely out of the question. Mojo’s closed. Peet’s closed. Little City just closed (though their downtown location remains open). Little City’s closing is the real downer, as they had by far the best coffee on the drag and the coolest place. Cafe Matisse seems to be on permanent vacation and hasn’t opened for a while. Einstein Bagel’s coffee is pretty much on par w/ Metro – dark water, although it always smells nice. Spider House is too far to walk for a coffee during school. That leaves Starbucks as the only option. Dang.
on a side note, Dhaba Joy, a side venture from Toy Joy – the coolest toy store on Planet Earth, just opened. it’s next door to Toy Joy at 29th and Guadalupe, and Austinist says that they make fantastic spicy coffee – spicy coffee?! can’t wait to try it.
i haven’t eaten at the new Mellow Mushroom on the Drag yet, but that’s not to say i’ve never eaten at Mellow Mushroom before. see, Mellow Mushroom started out in the ATL, which is where i went to college and lived for a while following college. Mellow Mushroom is a nostalgic connection to one of my favorite cities.
when i did eat there, a remember it being ok, nothing i absolutely loved, but it was certainly better pizza than domino’s. it was also a fun vibe. additionally they had Simpsons trivia. now, trivia was a big part of my ATL career. there seemed to be trivia at a different bar every night, and the best part was always the names of the teams: Sue Itchy Guys, Uh-huh!!!! (you must watch Yatta to understand that ludicrous team name). but let me give you a clue to how ridiculously impossible it was to compete in Simpson’s trivia at the Mushroom – question 11: ‘what was the 3rd word utter by Homer following Ned’s exclamation 14 minutes into episode 156?’ yeah, i don’t know how anybody could anser that. of course, some team did, and they walked out w/ the title ‘need a life’.
anyway, i’m excited to have a culinary connection to the ATL, and will give the new Mellow Mushroom a taste one of these days.
Mellow Mushroom > by 26th and Guadalupe, formerly Legs Diamond.
i’ve been waiting for Google Transit to include Austin for a year now, but the other day saw only the addition of four other cities. i’ve emailed Google Transit and CapMetro multiple times, but never saw anything happen. well, now that Google Transit has added more cities, they’re providing the ability for transit agencies to get their route info into Google Transit. that’s super exciting, b/c now the possibility exists for CapMetro to become a part of Google Transit, which means that getting route info and times could be a relatively painless issue (if you’ve ever tried to find out the route you need to take using CapMetro’s ‘Trip Planner’, and then checking out what route the recommended bus actually takes, you know what i’m talking about [*see explanation below]).
in an attempt to jumpstart the process, i immediately emailed CapMetro’s customer service, and then called them as well. i then spoke to the first operator, who hadn’t ever heard of Google Maps. i was then transferred to a different operator who had heard of Google Maps, and she then hooked me up w/ the CapMetro IT dept. now we’re getting somewhere. the IT dept doesn’t handle this type of request, though, so i was hooked up w/ the head of customer service next. this guy rocked, he knew of Google Transit, and was eager to learn more about it. i emailed him the link w/ instructions to get Austin involved, and then we chatted up the benefits of getting Austin into Google Transit. he did tip me off that we’re dealing w/ a bit of a bureaucracy, so this wouldn’t be an overnight fix, but he was encouraging and took my contact info. here’s to hoping!
*okay, here’s how i sometimes like to drive myself mad: start out at CapMetro’s home page where i can find the ‘Trip Planner’ in the righthand column. i then insert as starting point: ’50th St. and Duval’ and as ending point: ‘W. 22nd St. and Guadalupe’. CapMetro doesn’t know what 50th St. is, so i need to go back and specify Eas 50th St. it doesn’t recognize that either, so i specify 51st St., and then East 51st Street. no-go. i then finally insert my address as a last ditch attempt, which works. now it doesn’t understand the ending address, so i try West 22nd St. and West 22nd Street, both to no avail. it finally just recognized Guadalupe Street, which in reality is not what it should do (maybe i want to get off at 7th St. instead of 22nd).
ok, we’ve got the route set. now i’m given a list of 3 possible itineraries. i can either take the #7 from 51st and Duval to San Jacinto and 26th – or, get this – 50th and Duval to San Jacinto and 24th. wow, incredible recommendation. i can also take the #5 from Speedway and 45th to Guadalupe and 25th. but where do those routes go? how do i know which one would be a better choice? the only way to see the route is to open the accompanying pdf file containing the route and stop times. what a huge aggravating waste of time. plus, all the time required for me to input the info has probably made me miss the most recent bus. grrrrr.
so this is why it would be great for CapMetro to join Google Transit. 🙂
“The projects we are doing are almost all working buildings – quite pragmatic and straightforward. And I think we see the necessity of making them work, giving them the right size and the right sequence of rooms, so that everything functions well. But at the same time we are aiming to give them a presence which goes beyond the purely functional. And that is a juxtaposition which we find interesting. To put it provocatively, it is more challenging, in my view, to make a beautiful, articulate and sensual police station, than it is to make an art gallery of that description.” (Matthias Sauerbruch of sauerbruch hutton, WYSIWYG, p.14)