All Ablog Austin

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Portland beats out Austin in hipster comparison
In the battle for hipster supremacy, Portland has scored the latest point over Austin.
Real estate blog movoto.com recently compared the cities’ hipster amenities head to head, and found that the Oregon city is more hipster friendly than the Texas capital.

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The blog considered a variety of criteria, including number of hipster-age people (20-34), the cities’ walkability, bikeability, number of coffee shops, vegan restaurants, Whole Foods, farmers markets and vinyl record stores.
“To rank our two cities, we first determined how each one placed in our individual criteria, then averaged all the categories together to produce an overall score. We should note that we only looked at data on the cities themselves, not the surrounding metro areas, and our retail data (from Yelp) has been used to generate per capita results against the cities’ number of hipster-aged residents, not total residents,” the blog said.
Austin, with a population of about 820,000 in 2011, edged Portland in hipster-age people: 32 percent compared with 27 percent for Portland (population 593,000), the blog said.
Austin also won out on number of people working in artsy jobs. But that’s all.
Portland beat out Austin in per-capita number of dive bars, coffee shops, vintage clothing stores, record shops, walkability and bikeability.
Perhaps surprisingly, Portland beat Austin in number of Whole Foods per capita, despite Austin being home of the natural-food supermarket chain.
“Portland has one (Whole Foods) for every 39,786 residents while Austin has one for every 86,985. For (farmers markets), Austin has one for every 3,782 folks there while Portland has one for every 2,947 people,” according to the blog.
So there you go Austin. This is either a win or a loss. I’m not really sure.  
 
Statesman team rappels 32 stories for charity

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Don’t look down!
In the photo above, John Bridges, managing editor at the Austin American-Statesman, readies for his first step off the tallest building at One American Center, 600 Congress Ave., on Saturday.
As part of the Over the Edge fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas, and multimedia advertising consultant Emma Rice-Tanner joined Bridges in the plunge.
The Statesman team was one of the top fundraisers, according to the event website. With the help of Statesman employees, other donors and a matched donation of $2,500 from Ellwood, the team raised more than $6,500.
Ellwood said the goal of team Statesman was to reach $5,000 — the average cost of granting one wish for a child with a life-threatening medical condition.
“It’s so great that we beat that goal,” she said.
On Saturday, friends and family members could watch the start of their loved ones’ trip down the 372-foot building by video in the lobby of One American Center.

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In the photo to the right, Rice-Tanner prepares to zip down the front of the building. She told viewers that rappelling down a 32-story building is a bucket list experience for her.
Afterward, Rice-Tanner said the highlight was the birds-eye view of the State Capitol.
Lauren Bremer, with Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas said more than $300,000 was donated to the organization during the Over the Edge fundraiser.

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More 200 people were scheduled to rappel down the building this weekend, she said.
Rappellers had to raise a minimum of $1,500, but there were several fundraising teams and individuals who collected more than $10,000, Bremer said.
If you look up, people will be rappelling off the One American Center building until 5:30 p.m. Saturday and from 10:30 a.m. to about 3 p.m. Sunday.
In the video below, Bridges gives a shout-out to the Statesman and gets cheers from viewers before he climbs over the edge.  
 
Is the sinkhole fixed yet?   
 
South Carolina considering switch to electronic license plates; what about Texas?
WSPA-TV
Do you have any problem with the metal license plate on your car?
Of course you don’t. Why would you?
But that hasn’t stopped a South Carolina company from trying to improve on the design. And the Palmetto State appears to be interested in putting them on its cars.
South Carolina is considering a proposal to switch to electronic tags, which officials say could improve highway safety, according to WSPA in Columbia, S.C.
The tags are made from electronic paper, which uses no power to hold an image for more than 10 years, David Findlay, the co-founder of South Carolina company Compliance Innovations, told the news station.
“The only time it needs power is when you’re changing the status or the image on the plate,” Findlay said. That power comes from road vibrations and a transparent film over the tag that collects solar power, he said.
So now you might be thinking, “OK, that might be cool, but what’s the point?”
Safety, said company co-founder Brian Bannister.

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The tags can be electronically linked to the DMV, Bannister said, so if your car or plates get stolen, are suspended or you “forgot” to reup your insurance, the DMV can signal the plate to post the word “STOLEN” or SUSPENDED” on it.
“We actually put that wording on the license plate across the top and, depending on how the state wants it, it could be in bright red, and we can actually flash the plate, have it flashing as it goes down the road,” Bannister said.
Now you might be thinking. “Wait, I don’t want the guv’ment tacking my movements.”
Rest assured, loyal patriot, Bannister said.
“No one entity could actually track an individual vehicle,” Bannister told the station. “It would require three court orders: to the DMV; to us; and the (cellular) carrier themselves to actually be able to locate a vehicle.”
There’s been no word whether Texans will be taping these e-plates to their vehicles any time soon, but one hangup could be the price.
The plates currently cost more than $100.
Photo: WSPA   
 
Fetching free friends from Austin Animal Center
Austinites responded to the city’s plea for help and offer of free adoptions in an effort to ease overcrowded conditions at the Austin Animal Center on Saturday.
The parking lot at the shelter, at 7201 Levander Loop, was packed with cars, and potential pet adopters endured a sometimes lengthy wait to meet with an adoption counselor.
Shelter volunteers said they were grateful for the busy day: More adoptions means more space for new animals in need.
Officials announced on Friday , that for the first time in its history the Austin Animal Center would have to turn away animals surrendered by their owners.

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Pictured above with their parents behind them, Joriah Guerra, 3, left, and his brother Raymond Guerra, 5, got to know a 2-year-old Chihuahua mix dog up for adoption.
“I need one,” Raymond said.

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The family was taking advantage of the waived fees to possibly add a new, furry addition.
Diaz, a 7-year-old pointer mix, (pictured to the right) was surrendered by her owner last week. While obviously underweight, the gentle dog turned on the charm for visitors.
The Austin Animal Center and the Town Lake Animal Center, at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., offered free cat and dog adoptions Friday through Sunday to encourage visitors.
Austin Animal Center officials said there were about 1,000 felines and pups ready for adoption at the two shelters.

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This pit bull mix (pictured to the right) was delighted to show off his talents on Saturday. The friendly, blue-and-white male did not have a name listed on his kennel, but he did sit on command.
The animal centers will be open until 7 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. People interested in adopting who cannot make it during business hours can call (512) 978-0500 and request an appointment.
In the video below, 10-year-old Ryan Crozier talks with Ryu the cat, who was very chatty. Ryan, his two younger brothers and his parents were searching for one (or maybe two) cats to join their family.   
 
Time-lapse video a new way to look at Austin nightlife
Austin is known for its nightlife, so you’re probably familiar with how many of the city’s landmarks look lit up.
But UT aerospace engineering grad student Andrew Takano has produced a new way of looking at Austin under the stars.
Takano’s video, entitled “Sleepwalking Austin,” features time-lapse shots of places like the Capitol, the Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360, the UT Tower, Congress Avenue, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and more.
Takano said he did not use any motion control rigs to produce the three-minute video, instead relying on a tripod, his hands “and a ton of work in post” to create the sweeping shots, he told KUT News .
“I’m a broke grad student, so all that specialty gear is beyond my means,” Takano told KUT News. “People have told me that’s crazy, and maybe they’re right. It took a bunch of planning, a lot of patience and care, and a ton of work.”   
 
Dual hackathons lure creative thinkers
Web developers, entrepreneurs and other technologically creative folks worked on new programs and products at AngelHack, which took place this weekend at the downtown headquarters of software startup Mass Relevance.
The caffeine was flowing and intense conversations were punctuated by staccato bursts of keystrokes at two hackathons held in Austin this weekend.
AngelHack is a two-day competition where teams work together to create new products and possibly win startup money and mentorship for their ideas. The hackathon was held at the downtown headquarters of software startup Mass Relevance.
Further south, St. Edward’s University hosted the first ATX Hackathon for Change , part of a national campaign to encourage civic hacking.
Organizers said about 70 people participated in AngelHack and another 60 people were on-hand at ATX Hackathon for Change to pitch project ideas and develop programs.
At both events, developers got the weekend to learn, share and tackle their products and programs.
ATX Hackathon for Change organizers predicted that some of their programs and applications could be available to the public on Monday.

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Pictured to the right: Jonathan Rosenberg (left) and Scott Beaudreu (right) worked with Michael Witbrock at AngelHack to create a big data program for children.
Beaudreu said he was inspired by his 9-year-old daughter, who often has homework assignments that involve online programs. The trio hoped that by making massive data sets available and accessible to children, they could inspire new teaching techniques and a new generation of creative thinkers.

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Another trio of developers at AngelHack were Leander High School students. Pictured to the right: (from the left) Stephen Hall, 19, Abhishek Pratapa, 17, and Michael Hall, 17, were fueled by soda and pistachios as they collaborated on a central pay station — one site where a person could manage all of their online subscriptions and accounts.
AngelHack teams will pitch their ideas Sunday to a group of tech veterans who will pick the winner.
Over at ATX Hackathon for Change, participants chose one of seven teams that would tackle project challenges proposed by Austin nonprofits and government agencies, said Claire Dunn, communications coordinator for St. Edward’s University information technology.

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As part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, the Austin projects focused on community solutions to local challenges. For example, there was an update to an art finder application that would include the ability to create an art tour and comment on certain pieces or installations. Another project aimed to personalize City Council agendas by adding alerts for specific topics that are of interest to the user.
The public is invited to the final ATX Hackathon product presentations, which is set for 6 p.m. Sunday at the St. Edward’s University’s Ragdale Center, 3001 S. Congress Ave.   
 
Twin giraffes born in Central Texas animal preserve
Twin reticulated giraffes were born this month at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, which is located between New Braunfels and San Antonio, officials said.
The pair — a female named Wasswa who was born first weighing 95 pounds and standing 4.5 feet tall and a 125-pound, 5.5-foot-tall male named Nakato - were born at the animal preserve May 10, officials said.
They are the only living set of giraffe twins and second reported set of living twins born in the U.S., officials said. They are the ninth living set of giraffe twins born in zoos around the world, according to the preserve.
“Both Wasswa and Nakato are thriving,” Tiffany Soechting, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch marketing director and animal specialist caring for the newborn giraffes, said in a statement.
Caretakers have been monitoring the twins around the clock to assure their health and vitality, officials said.
The giraffes were the 19th and 20th born at the 400-acre preserve, which has been operating since 1984, officials said.
Want to see more baby zoo animals? We have a photo gallery here .  
 
Report: Houston Astros vendor fired after bringing snow cones into bathroom
Anyone with a weak stomach, don’t click on the link below.
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A sno-cone vendor at Houston’s Minute Maid Park was fired Monday night after cell phone video shows him using on the stadium’s restrooms with a tray of the icy treats in the stall with him, according to Houston news station KPRC .
“What sane person could possibly think, yeah this is a good idea. I’ll just put the food that I’m about to sell on the floor,” the person who shot the video told KPRC.
The vendor was fired after management saw the video, the news station reported.
“Well, right away, I just thought, ‘We gotta let this guy go. There is no doubt about it.’ That was my decision,” new Astros President Reid Ryan told the station. Ryan was attending his first game as president. “I don’t think there is anything you can do to make sure human beings don’t make mistakes. What you can do is make sure all employees are trained and that our policies are followed.”  
 
Fun in the street at Viva festival
The Viva Streets! festival closed down Sixth Street downtown and in East Austin Sunday afternoon to bring in fun and entertainment.
People were invited to ride a bike or walk down the middle of the street, join in a free class or demonstration, and bring their own activity or family-friendly entertainment. Organizers said Austin’s street festival was modeled after events that started in Columbia in the 1970s. According to the event website, the goal is to “build community, transform a street into public space and encourage active living through recreation, fitness activities, and healthful food options.”

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On the east end of the festival, Jeremy Frank (left) and Steve Wiswell (right), pictured above, tossed light-weight bowling pins in the shade.
Wiswell, 54, and Frank, 36, who are members of the Texas Juggling Society , said they came to the festival to practice their skills and share their passion for juggling.

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Eight-year-old Dena Miller (pictured right) paid no mind to the heat of the day — temperatures reached the 90s — and tried just about everything.
“I got my face painted. I got this water bottle. I won prizes. I listened to music,” the second grader said.
Dena modeled her bunny/cat face paint near one of the cold water stations at the event.

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A popular east end vendor collaborated in the city’s Bring It Austin campaign, which provided free reusable bags, and Sanctuary Printshop , which printed designs on the bags on demand.
Vendors for Bring It Austin’s booth said there had been a wait for the custom bags for most of the event.

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Dressed in yellow and flanked by bicyclists masquerading as a giant bat and butterfly, the Minor Mishap Marching Band got people dancing in the streets.
Austin Chinese Arts Association dancers and models turned heads with their brightly colored costumes and traditional movements as seen in the short video clip below.   
 
Burger King adds Houston delivery, skips Austin for now
I don’t know whether to be happy or disappointed that Burger King has expanded its delivery service to Houston but has not yet considered Austin.

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You read that right: , though not yet in Austin.
The fast food chain expanded its delivery service last week to include parts of Houston as well as Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the Associated Press . Apparently people in D.C. have been able to get a Whopper sent to their front door since early last year.
The restaurant says the service boosts sales and that it’s looking to expand delivery to more locations based on demand, the AP reported.
Burger King’s delivery menu includes regular menu items as well as several combos, such as a 10-cheeseburger, 20-piece nuggets deal, in case you’re feeding a small army.
I’m sure I’m missing something, but in Austin you can have pizzas, soups , Asian food, even beer and wine delivered to your front door, but burgers would be new. (Of course, has also been in Austin for years now.)
Once upon a time in Austin, delivered tacos and burritos until late into the night, but they’ve been gone a few years now.
So for now you’ll have to drive to Houston for the convenience of a hand-delivered Whopper.
Would you welcome a Burger King delivery service in Austin? What other restaurants or businesses should consider delivering?
Photo: Nick Ut/Associated Press   
 
Students get off with warnings over Aggies graffiti at UT
People called Longhorns they go the house! A group of students got off mostly with warnings over the weekend after University of Texas police say at least one one of them drew a logo of Texas A&M University - an ATM - in chalk on the Austin campus’ Main Building, according to UT police .
According to the narrative, UT officers responded to a report of students in maroon shirts using chalk to write on the building.
The 10 students told officers that they were Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity pledges on a scavenger hunt and needed to draw the logo on several buildings, police said. Extra points were awarded if they got their photos with officers, officers said the students told them.
“All members of the group were issued written Criminal Trespass Warnings,” according to the police report. “The one A&M student who had allowed his picture to be taken, while he drew a large ATM on the south side of the Main Building, was issued a court appearance citation for Criminal Mischief. It was the officers who were taking their pictures.”  
 
Austin takes top spot on 'overrated destination' list
It seems every time I log on to my computer, Austin has made it on some top 10 list: Best place to start a family, best place to start a business, best place to start a list.

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Well, Austin has notched another place on a top-10 list, this time taking the top spot on a Huffington Post contributor’s 10 Terribly Overrated Destinations (and Where to Travel Instead) .
On the list, which was compiled by airefarwatchdog.com contributing editor David Landsel, Austin beats out other popular destinations, such as Buenos Aires, the Caribbean, San Francisco and Chicaco.
Landsel calls Austin “a mildly entertaining university town and state capital with fever dreams of greatness, a city whose entire purpose for breathing is to not be like everything else around it.”
He then suggests traveling instead to (wait for it) Houston, which he calls “impressively creative and very fun town” despite being, in his words, “so ugly that sometimes you may be tempted to put a bag over its head.”
So there you have it. What do you think: Does Landsel have a point or should somebody introduce him to Dallas?
Photo: Jay Janner/American-Statesman   
 
Barton Springs Pool to reopen Sunday
From the City of Austin:
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department Aquatic Division will re-open Barton Springs Pool on Sunday, April 7, 2012 at 5:00 am. The pool was temporarily closed on Tuesday, April 2nd due to flooding.
Below is the schedule for Barton Springs Pool:
April 7, 2013 - April 21, 2013
Daily 5:00 am - 8:00 am swim at own risk- free admission 8:00 am - 8:00 pm guarded swim - admission charge 8:00 pm -10:00 pm swim at own risk - free admission (Admission charged from 9am - 8pm)
Sat. & Sun. 8:00 am - 8:00 pm guarded swim - Main gate open - admission charge 8:00 am - 6:00 pm south gate open - admission charge
(The pool closes for cleaning from 9:00 am to 7 pm every Thursday) Visit: http://austintexas.gov/department/barton-springs-pool for more information.  
 
Comedy Central gets in on North Korea-Austin jokes
Last week, Austinites responded to the threat of North Korea targeting it for nuclear strikes as only Austinites could: With a hashtag .
On Tuesday, Comedy Central’s Daily Show and Colbert Report got into the act, adding jokes about the Austin threat to their reports on the overall escalating tensions between North Korea and the U.S.
Jon Stewart asked Kim Jong-un if he was “just trying to get the rest of Texas on your side?”
Stephen Colbert: “No surprise there. Kim Jong-un is a sworn enemy of the South by Southwest Festival.”
The clips are pretty funny. Take a look below.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes , Political Humor & Satire Blog , The Daily Show on Facebook
The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes , Political Humor & Satire Blog , Video Archive
Gov. Rick Perry also weighed in on CBS News, but it’s not as funny.  
 
Oh right, it's April Fools' Day
Ah, April Fools’ Day. The holiday that moved from mildly annoying to unbearable with the invention of the Internet.
Each year, corporations, politicians, news organizations and others try to “trick you” with some made-up story, and this year is no exception.
Here’s a hint, if you see a story on April 1, think before you post it on Facebook. Actually, that should be the rule every day.
This year, the shenanigans started early, with the office of Mayor Lee Leffingwell putting out a press release yesterday saying that Esquire magazine has named Leffingwell “America’s Best Dressed Mayor” in the magazine’s latest edition, which will be published April 1.
The timing of the press release set bells off, and the quote it contained was full-on Big Ben: “I mostly wear what’s comfortable,” said Leffingwell. “I like a shirt with a pocket - it’s good for a pen or if you want to hold on to a note, or maybe keep certain kinds of food for later, like a biscuit. In the summertime, I like to wear short sleeves. It’s cooler that way. Oh, and I also wear sensible shoes.”
Leff, we’ve seen what you’ve worn to work. You’re not fooling us.

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Photo: Ricardo Brazziell/American-Statesman
Texas Monthly posted an “exclusive” story that the Texas-Texas A&M football rivalry will resume starting in 2015 .
According to the story:
“The ground was laid for the renewal of the rivalry by the unlikely pair of (Texas A&M chancellor John) Sharp and UT Board of Regents member Wallace Hall.
“‘From what I understand, they ran into each other at [Texas legislative watering hole] the Cloak Room,’ said an Austin lobbyist who wished to stay anonymous. ‘After a few drinks, they realized that they both care deeply about the same thing: embarrassing the University of Texas as much as possible.’”
also got in on the “fun,” posting a photo on Facebook of the Houston skyline under the caption “Good Morning Austin, never looked better.”
Burnt Orange Report chimed in with a report that state Rep. Debbie Riddle introduced a bill today that would ban “the production, consumption, or transport of breakfast tacos in Texas.”
“Riddle has nicknamed her bill the ‘Terror Taco Prevention Act,” according to the — ahem — news story. “It is currently awaiting a hearing in the Homeland Security and Public Safety committee.”
Burnt Orange Report followed that up with a story that Gov. Rick Perry announced that he supports expanding Medicaid in Texas under the Affordable Care Act following a “period of intense prayer over the weekend.”
Elsewhere online:

  • SXSWuni was announced: “From unibrows to unicycles, unitards to unicorns, the inaugural year of SXSWuni is certain to dive deep into an unexplored universe of unique and unrelated topics.”
  • The ATX Music Office that it “has recommended new cut off hours for amplified sound for 8pm citywide. This includes both Entertainment Districts. The new cut-off times are effective immediately starting April 1, 2013.”
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  • The McCombs School of Business debuted Business Cat, which was inspired by the Internet meme Grumpy Cat and described as “the country’s first ever feline-in-residence.”
  • Game Over Videogames, a locally owned chain of video game stores in Austin, Round Rock and San Antonio, announced that it will purchase Atari for $13 million and begin work on an “‘Atari Legacy’ game console that “will play every classic Atari game ever made!”
  • Owners of Mohawk announced that the club would follow in the footsteps of Emo’s and Antone’s and move from Red River to East Riverside Drive.
  • The Tech Map blog announced it will be acquired by LinkedIn “after just 3 months of intensive hard work, meetings, discussions about features, and not so much marketing our little startup.”
  • Atxclassical.org announced that the symphony has created a life-like hologram of composer Leonard Bernstein. “The hologram will be projected onto the stage of The Long Center and lead the symphony in Mahler’s unfinished, final symphony.”
  • The White House also tried its hand at April Fool’s, that it will “release a special video message from the President” at 10 a.m. eastern. That message turned out to be from Robbie Novak, who plays in a series of YouTube videos.


I’m sure I missed some other attempts at April Fools’ “humor.” If so, let me know in the comments.  
 
Top 10 reasons Kim Jong-un would want to bomb Austin
With the reports that Korean leader Kim Jong-un might be training his missiles on Austin - and the assurance that there’s no way those missiles could reach this far - Austinites are collectively scratching their heads about being on a target list. So we thought we’d have a little fun with it and brainstorm about why he would want to bomb our fairest of cities. If we’ve missed something or gone way off target, you can chime in in the comments below.
10. Just trying to put Longhorn basketball team out of its misery.

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9. Still angry about not getting in to see Prince at SXSW.

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8. Finally got fed up with leaving his reusable bags at home.

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7. Stood in line at Franklin’s for two hours. No more brisket.

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6. Angry at Rick Perry for also trying to serve lifetime term as Beloved Leader.

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5. Hipster Apocalypse!

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4. Heard that Sixth Street was always a good place to get bombed.

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3. Too chicken to bomb Williamson County. Will aim for Travis instead.

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2. Thinks Austin was better back in stone ages.

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1. One word: Traffic.

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American-Statesman/Associated Press photos  
 
Barton Springs Pool to reopen March 30
From the City of Austin:
Repairs to the Barton Springs bypass culvert and downstream dam will be completed this week. The pool is scheduled to reopen at 5:00 a.m., on Saturday, March 30. The pool has been closed since December 12, 2012.
The bypass culvert helps protect the water quality in Barton Springs and allows the pool to remain open after most small storms. This is because the culvert diverts floodwaters as well as the normal flow of Barton Creek around the pool. Floodwaters tend to contain high levels of sediment, lawn chemicals, bacteria and other pollutants.
The culvert was originally built in 1974 and was nearing the end of its lifespan . On October 3, 2008, the water level in Barton Springs Pool dropped dramatically, forcing an emergency closure of the pool. It was discovered that holes in the bypass culvert were draining water from the pool. The holes were temporarily plugged, and the water level restored. Further investigation revealed other signs of deterioration within the culvert. This project provided a long-term solution to protect continued use of the pool, extending the life of the culvert for approximately 25 years. A crack in the downstream dam was also repaired.
Barton Springs Pool is home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander as well as the Austin Blind Salamander, a candidate species for endangered listing. The extensive work to protect the salamanders undertaken during this project appears to have been successful. Biologists report that the immediate effects on salamanders in Eliza Spring and in the pool were as expected or less. They found a few salamanders in the construction areas. These salamanders were in good health and were taken back to undisturbed habitat. Biologists do not expect any long-term effects on the salamander populations but will continue closely monitoring them for the next few months.
Barton Springs Pool Schedule
March 30 - April 21, 2013 - Daily
• 5:00 a.m - 8:00 a.m.: Swim at your own risk
• 8:00 a.m - 8:00 p.m.: Guarded Swim - Main Gate Charging Daily
• 8:00 a.m - 6:00 p.m.: Saturday & Sunday South Gate Charging
• 8:00pm - 10:00 p.m.: Swim at your own risk
• *Closed Thursdays from 9:00am - 7:00pm for cleaning
A pril 22 - September 29, 2013 - Daily
• 5:00 a.m - 8:00 a.m.: Swim at your own risk
• 8:00 a.m - 9:00 p.m.: Guarded swim - Main Gate Charging Daily
• Beginning 4/25/13 South Gate Charging Daily
• 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.: Guarded Swim - Free admission
• *Closed Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. for cleaning  
 
Imitation is (usually) the best form of flattery
Santa Cruz, Calif., might not be the first town to borrow our “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, but it might be having the worst results.
An article from last weekend’s Santa Cruz Sentinel discusses whether the swiped slogan is actually creating an identity crisis in the city .
It seems as though Santa Cruz tried to use Austin’s slogan without putting it into context.
Despite what Austin’s wackiest characters might tell you, the origin of “Keep Austin Weird” wasn’t to write a blank check to the strangest of strange, but simply from a man who wanted Austin to return back to its roots . Soon enough, the phrase stuck, and even saved two Austin institutions.
According a blog by the software company Intuit, back in 2002, the potential for a downtown Austin Borders worried the owners of Book People and Waterloo Records. To fight back, they started the Austin Independent Business Alliance and used the slogan as their rallying cry to spur support for local businesses .
Borders eventually relented, a win for the two businesses but an even bigger one for the slogan, which became an integral part of the city’s culture, according to the blog.
Santa Cruz is not alone; many cities have also co-opted the motto. Portland, Ore. , Boulder, Co. , Athens, Ga. , Indianapolis , Louisville, Ky. , and a host of other cities have tried to retain their strangeness. But no word on whether they’ve been more successful than Santa Cruz.   
 
Buzzfeed lists 55 things that are bigger in Texas

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Yes, everything’s bigger in Texas. We’ve heard that for years and seen it in our daily lives (Hello, Texas Capitol!)
Benny Johnson over at Buzzfeed has compiled a list of 55 things that are definitely bigger in Texas. The list includes hair, barbecue, guns, snakes and football, is pretty funny.
Take a look, and let us know in the comments if he missed anything.
55 Things That Are Definitely Bigger In Texas
Photo: Buzzfeed.com   
 
Austinites all a-Twitter about Burger King hack   
 
Love and cheese steaks: Austin food trailer offering free weddings today
Is that love in the air or just the aroma of a Philly cheese steak?
It might be both.
If you’re looking for a way to combine love and food today, (Valentine’s Day if you’d forgotten), both Way South Philly food trailers are offering free wedding or vow renewal ceremonies for people wishing to tie the knot or to tighten up that knot.
“We started the weddings last year for the month of February as a goof, but it took off,” owner Willy Pearce said. “It’s one of those things you can only get away with in Austin. It’s a unique little quirk, and the community just embraced it.”
Turns out, all nine employees have been ordained online by the non-denominational Universal Life Church, Pearce said.
You can get married any time of the year at either location for $59.99, which gets you two cheese steaks, two orders of tater tots, two drinks and a spouse.
For February, though, Way South Philly is dropping the price to just $29.99. Juicy!
Today only, the ceremony = free.
The ceremony itself - yes, walkups are welcome - takes about 10 minutes, Pearce said. Cooking up that food will tack on another 10 minutes, he said.
I asked if employees just stick their heads out the trailer and perform the service over the counter, but Pearce assured me they come outside with a book of vows.
Pearce said they’ve probably done about 10 vow renewals and three weddings over the past year.
He’s had people show up in full dress and tuxedo, “but it’s usually pretty casual, laid-back. At the very end you get to cut a cheese steak and feed it to each other.”
Is that your heart melting? Nope, that’s probably cheese.
Way South Philly has been in business for about two years, Pearce said. The trailers have a “Rocky” theme, and all sandwiches are named after characters from the film.
Pearce, who is from Philly, has been in Austin about five years, starting the business after getting laid off about three years ago.
“I figured Austin needed an authentic cheese steak offering,” Pearce said. “I make ‘em the way they were made for me.”
The trailers are located at East Sixth and Waller streets and at Jesse Street and Barton Springs Road.
Both locations are open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and from 5 to 10 p.m. weeknights. They’re open til 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The Waller Street location will “dress the part” after 5 p.m. tonight, Pearce said, with tablecloths, roses and Hershey’s kisses at the tables.
“It’s all about the love,” he said.
Video below is from Way South Philly’s website   
 
Austin high on list of top cities for cheaters
Well now.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Austin has climbed on top of AshleyMadison.com’s list of Top 10 Cities for Cheaters .
The live music capital is actually No. 2 on the list, dutifully coming after our nation’s capital for the top spot.
And in a Lone Star two-time, Houston finished third.
AshleyMadison, which bills itself as “the most successful website for finding cheating partners,” had this to say about the whole affair :
“The Live Music Capital of the World is also the nation’s capital for affairs according to new data from extra-marital dating site AshleyMadison.com. The dating site designed for those already in relationships says Austin experienced a surge of sign-ups in 2012 (over 20,000), following in the philanderous footsteps of only Washington D.C. In addition to taking the number two spot in the country, Austin also boasts another dubious distinction; the highest percentage of active members on the site after 11:00pm.”
Miami was No. 4, but it has a reputation for being pretty hot (I’m not just talking about the weather), so that’s not too much of a surprise.
The rest of the top 10 gave me pause, though, starting with Oklahoma City at No. 5. I guess they need something (or someone else) to do. Among the other cities on the list are Richmond, Va., Boston and Lincoln (not so honest, Abe), Neb.
Here’s what AshleyMadison’s editor had to say about Texas infidelity:
“Though Austin and Houston are two very different cities culturally, infidelity is the thread that ties them together; transcending socio-economic, ethnic, age and obviously gender bias.”
Sleep tight!  
 
10 more things to love about Texas
We won’t go so far as to say Texas is Utopia, but it may just be a thin slice of heaven.
BuzzFeed’s Summer Anne Burton published a list of 50 Sure Signs that Texas is Actually Utopia , which included three photos from the Statesman’s Collective Vision blog.
Since Burton was kind enough to share our photos, we’re chiming in with one or two (or 10) things she missed.
Texas BBQ

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Yes, in Texas it’s actually spelled B-B-Q. We take smoked meats very seriously in the Lone Star State, and our passion for the pit pays off in the form of some of the most mouth-watering brisket you’ll ever taste.
Texas Beer

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Wheat or barley, light or stout, Texas breweries produce a seemingly infinite variety of beers. Austinites in particular are fond of local breweries like Austin Beerworks and (512) Brewing Co .
Fredericksburg Peaches

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Texas law requires all real estate licensees to give the following information about brokerage services to prospective buyers, tenants, sellers and landlords.

Information About Brokerage Services
Consumer Protection Notice

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Terry Williams
Phone: 512-699-4868
Email: Terry@LuxPortGroup.com

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