Thursday, March 19, 2009

Keeping Austin weird, one visit at a time.

There are many reasons I love Austin. First and foremost being, it is in Texas. I was born in Virginia, but as the saying goes, "I got to Texas as fast as I could." This attitude may seem obnoxious to many - especially people from Oklahoma - but speaking for me personally, it is not meant to be. It's one thing to visit here. You can come and go, then move on with your life. But there's something about living in Texas that grabs onto your heart and never lets go. Can I get a witness? But back to Austin. How could I not love a place whose slogan is "Keep Austin Weird"? Here's a brief explanation from the crack research team at Wikipedia:

Keep Austin Weird is the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin, Texas. The phrase arose from an offhand remark by Red Wassenich (a librarian at Austin Community College) in a phone call to a local radio station. He and his wife, Karen Pavelka, placed the slogan on bumper stickers, distributing them free to businesses in Austin.

One interpretation of the slogan is as a reference to the many small businesses in Austin, which give the city its unique cultural identity.

The “Keep Austin Weird” slogan reaches far beyond a marketing campaign, however. Austin reflects a culture of artistic and individual expression that maintains the city as a vibrant and eclectic creative center. In a mostly conservative Texas, Austin is “Weird” because it continues to be progressive in the arts and music. “Keep Austin Weird”, moves beyond a mere slogan, to reflect the dynamics that encompass Austin.

For example, in January 2009 alone over 1700 live music venues were supported. Few cities in the world could boast such a broad spectrum of tastes. In addition, multiple festivals such SXSW, Austin City Limits, Armadillo Bazaar and the Batfest, among many others are highly attended with far reaching audiences.

Austin is just cool. Having said that, I'm glad to be home: Land of superior Internet connections. It seems everywhere I went in Austin, I saw reminders of home. For instance, I saw a sign that reflected my sister's Native American name:

I even saw signs that reminded me of my Internet peeps. The kids and I ate lunch right next to this place:

which obviously reminded me of Tony C at Tony C Today. Incidentally, if you've never checked out his blog, he's got what I consider to be the most awesome header bar in the blogosphere. That alone is worth the visit, but I digress...Right across the street, I saw a store the reminded me of my friend Sherri at Matter of Fact:

(Y'all, she don't spell so good...)

And since my friend Helen over at Random Musings just got a new bed, this sign made me think of her:
Here's a store that reminded me of Steph at the Red Clay Diaries, Beth at That's Not Me Anymore, Annie at Buzz by Annie's, Nick the Geek at My Experiences as a Youth Pastor, and Jake at Very Much Later:

(Okay, Jake - I realize that Boise isn't exactly backwoods, but I didn't see a baked potato place.)

Right next to "Backwoods" was a store that reminded me of Mare at It Might Be Hope and Koffijah at Koffihouse:

Hey, fellow smartypants contributors, check this out:

(How cool is THAT?)

Yes, reminders were all around me. Even on the drive home, the signs were everywhere. Here's one that made me think of my new bloggy buddy Mandy Thompson:

As I entered the final stretch, literally minutes from home, I saw a sign that reminded me of Kathy at This Crazy Adventure I call Life:

Did I spend entirely too much time snapping pictures and generally annoying my children on this trip?
But that's just one more thing that makes me so very annoying/endearing!


sherri said...

I love pictures- and it looks like your ride home was an enjoyable one!

The Smarty Pants pic should go on our ever growing sidebar at FOTTSP.

My son will be performing at Austin's SXSW. (Say a prayer- his band is traveling out West as we speak).

And for the record, I type worse than I spell. But just to know I was on your mind while traveling, makes me giggle!

Tony C said...

I'm so honored...and touched (tear).

BTW, I so stole that picture from your blog. It was just meant for me to have.

I'm a big fan of Austin City Limits and it was really weird when Ponty Bone & the Squeezetones was featured...are they from Austin? If not, they should be.

Christy said...

Cute. Makes me want to keep my camera with me at all times - just in case.

Nick the Geek said...

Did anyone notice the complete lack of my presence in Texas. Oh yeah that is reminder enough.

I was born in Biloxi, MS moved to Japan then California, Oklahoma, Guam, Oklahoma, Missouri, and now Virginia. Just so you know.

jasonS said...

Way to go! I always have a camera on trips, but come back with 1 or 2 boring pictures... That's a whole mess of fancy pictures (trying to sound like an Oklahoman's version of a Texan). :)

Helen said...

I am glad you had fun at your dad's. I am also glad you are back.
Nice pictures.

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Nick the Geek- you're there! You're in the Backwoods with the rest of us yokels.

I need to get out more so I can make a picture collection like that.

Nick the Geek said...

I'm only next to the backwoods. I can be in the backwoods in about 30 minutes though. WV is definitely backwoods.

Ryan B said...

My former youth pastor and a couple of my older friends moved to Texas at the end of last year to plant a church in Austin (specifically the Round Rock area). A bunch of friends have been at SXSW the last couple of days and they have loved all of the bands. I'm planning on being there in September so I'm gonna keep an eye out for all of those crazy picture spots.

katdish said...

Sherri - Praying for safe travels for your son. That's really great that's his band is playing SXSW. That's a big deal.

Tony C - I completely expected you to steal that pic.

Ryan - Be careful. You might want to move to Austin. It is just that awesome. Lots of ex pats from California live there!

Anonymous said...

You were in Austin? That's so close to me! (sort of.) Why didn't you say hello? (ugh.)

Annie K said...

Reminds me of a backwoods bidness we stumbled upon. It was a garage...with the words 'Cabnit Shop' spray painted on the garage door. There was a funny flourescent light eminating from the building....

Beth said...

The "Backwoods" sign looks oh so urban...ironic??

And I have to walk a whole mile or something to be in the woods. Who has COWS in her backyard? HUH? :)

Someday I should give you a picture tour of Sullivan. That might be funny...

JML said...

OUCH!!! Oh man, that was hitting below the belt! Not really, Boise is growing, and we'll be the next Portland or Seattle; developed by rich people, abandoned to the weird, and bless God for it, too. I'm going to look for pictures that remind me of you. . . even though I'm not sure if I'm good at this game.

Carol @SheLives said...

I'm your witness, I'm your witness!

Got here as fast as I could, too. Still trying to catch my breath. And I bought hubby a Keep Austin Weird t-shirt just last weekend.

Okay. That's all I wanted to say.

(Don't mess with Texas, y'all!)

Koffijah said...

Instead of "Banana Republic" The Location might better be named:

"Rice Dictatorship"

Seriously?? You thought of me from Banana Republic?? I have some more work to do at the Koffi House...

Maybe it's because as a missionary I always wear a Panama hat when I'm not wearing my pith helmet, and I do have one of those round single eyeglass dealies that I keep propped over my right eye. So, I can see where you're coming from. I also like to have grass-skirted natives come and serve me platters of freshly cut tropical fruits and fan me with giant banana leaves.

wv: suckestr--Hmmm... Me thinks someone is a suckestr for punishment.

Mare said...

I LOVE Austin! I only went once and spent a weekend there but never fell in love with a city so quickly. I love its quirkyness...

You are lucky to live so close!

Hooray Banana Republic!

katdish said...

Angela - My son is playing in a golf tournament at Pecan Valley this weekend. My sisters are taking him. If you roll down your window, you can hear them. (They are THAT loud.)

Annie - cabnit shop. Oh, that is rich!

Beth - I may have cows in my backyard, but I'm also minutes away from a mall and a major interstate.

Jake - I think at this point, a bratz doll head doubling as an antenna ball will forever remind me of you, or maybe just a very violent scene from Monty Python.

Carol - yeah, it's awesome.

Koffijah - I did not see any "Rice Dictatorship" stores. I did, however, see several nail salons... (you may have been away from the states too long to understand that joke)

Mare - There are some really good schools in Austin...just saying.

Helen said...

Katdish, Beth is near Southbend, which is also minutes away from malls and an interstate. And I think Mare needs to give Chicago a chance.

BeckeyZ said... were in Austin, and I know where Pecan Valley is. If I remember correctly, I think one of my proms was held there.

Small, small world.

Koffijah said...

You're right... I have no idea what the nail salon comment means.

Been gone too long.

wv: Pander: What Texans call the black and white bear from China.