‘Travel | Texas’ Posts(4)

Quisque sed purus consequat, gravida velit eu, pharetra ex.

out: barton creek (the mall not the, er, creek)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

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if DC wasn’t in the middle of it’s third big snowstorm of the year, i’d be complaining about the weather in austin right now.

in fact, auntie nadine’s got to be feeling pretty good about her warm, sunny wedding day because the three days before and the five days after have all be 40 degrees and rainy.

of course, that beats 20 degrees with 24 inches of snow, but i digress …

sparklet and i are trying to keep up our daily outings, but between the weather and random february closures of tourist attractions (austin museum of art, elizabeth ney museum, zilker botanical garden) we’ve been having have a bit of a tough “go” lately.

so it was only inevitable that after yet another cultural attraction with redeeming value turned out to be closed, we found ourselves at the last refuge of the american consumer desperation … the mall.

the big surprise? i was by no means alone. there were quite literally a dozen (or more) adult/stoller pairs, pushing laps around the mall with no discernible interest in spending money.

the least surprising surprise? sparklet loves the mall.

it took her about 30 seconds to realize what window displays were, and from that point on she couldn’t rip her eyeballs away … well, not until about 45 minutes later when she had become so over-stimulated as to render her wholly non-functional.

the only store we actually went in was cryptically called “the longhorn’s shop” and sold a bunch of stuff in burnt orange.

i went in with every intention of buying sparklet a university of texas onesie, if for no other reason than to alienate the many baylor fans that seem to dominate (my life by way of marriage).

alas, there was no onesie to be had, so i grabbed myself a sweatshirt ($12!) and called it a day. i’m already working on my defense:

“hey, if the weather had been nicer…”


0y 4m 0d

the blanton museum hates babies

Monday, 8 February 2010

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i’m walking into central stairway of the blanton museum today — the art museum attached to the University of Texas at Austin — when a guy jumps out from behind a column and says, peering down the length of his rather long nose:

“excuse me, but diaper bags are *not* permitted in the museum. please use one of the many lockers we have provided for your convenience.”

i have a half-dozen retorts in my mind — “if she spits up, can i borrow a 17th century masterwork?” or, “my convenience would be to keep the bag,” or, leaning over to sparklet and saying, “if you have any poo, fling it now” — but i decide to play along.

as i am walking to said lockers, he calls out after me: “and there is *certainly* no food or beverages allowed in the museum.”

now, i’m even more confused. i check my palms for frosty cold beer-verage. none. i look for a taco platter from taco cabana. nope.

when i make eye contact with he-who-shall-be-annoying, he is giving the stink eye to baby sparklet’s bottle of breast milk.


well, it’s a damn good thing that the lady sparkler wasn’t there, because she would have said “fine,” stripped off her shirt, and sparklet would have started breastfeeding right then and there.

and i would have *loved* to see him try and stop her.

now, at this point, i’m irritated, but not irate. i just know exactly what is going to happen (and they did, in turn):

sparklet poo’ed when we were the farthest we could have possibly been from their lockers. instead of ducking into another bathroom, i got to track a rather uncomfortable (and expressive!) baby through twelve galleries to retrieve the diaper bag.

then, sparklet wanted to eat, and, unlike every other museum we’ve visited, we didn’t have the option of her nursing while she stared intently at the paintings, or even us stopping every once on a bench for a couple ounces.

instead, she would cry for five minutes while we went back to the locker to feed, she would lose interest (remember, i’m feeding in a locker room here), we’d go back to the exhibit where we had left off, sparklet would remember that she wasn’t eating, and she would scream for five minutes while we went back to the locker.

rinse, and repeat.

now, through most of this, i was in a pretty okay mood with the blanton. it’s their collection, if they want to do it this way, then that’s completely their call.

what irritated the bejeezus out of me, was when i realized that a dozen other people were carrying bags around the museum that were *all* bigger than the diaper bag i was forced to lock up.

there were big dallas-housewife-sized shoulder bags, there were camera bags, there were satchels and laptop bags. a student even had a backpack stuffed with what looked like four years of science textbooks.

all of this, however, misses the point.

i guess it’s possible that i just ran into the one docent with an over-developed sense of enforcement, but if that’s not the case … then i am honestly embarrassed for the blanton.

this thick-headed, anti-family crap is what i would expect from a hoity-toity gallery in some uptight, old-monied art gallery in the northeast. it’s not what i would expect from texas, much less from austin, much less from UT.

and, truth be told, the up-tight art gallery in the northeast would just post a sign by the door saying “we ask that you do not bring children younger than five into the exhibit space” which, while also being honest about the gallery’s intent, also allows you to not waste your ticket money.

(when i asked guy-with-long-nose-to-stare-down about getting a refund on my admission based on my new understanding of his rules, he turned on his heels, lifted his nose, and said “enjoy your visit.”)

so, i won’t be going to the blanton again with sparklet … and while i wish it was a high-minded boycott, it actually comes down to their collection.

their masterworks are almost exclusively morose (highlights include two severed-john-the-baptist-heads, one saint agatha with a forced masectomy) and the modern exhibits relied too heavily on items from the looks-like-it-was-painted-by-a-three-year-old school.

blanton. if you are listening … much “bigger” museums seem to find ways to be family friendly. i hope you’ll figure out something, too.


0y 3m 28d

hike: enchanted rock state park, texas

Thursday, 20 November 2008

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IMG_6080, originally uploaded by [ecpark].
after three days in austin for a non-profit technology conference, i headed for the hills today for a hike around enchanted rock state park near oxford, texas. it’s a giant monolith in the middle of the texas hill country, and completely unlike anything else around.

of course, when you are on a rock with no identifiable markings (you know, like a trail or something) one tends to get lost. but fortunately, one also tends to have a brand-spanking new iphone with gps integrated google maps to bail oneself out. again.

but i still added about two hours to my hike by unexpectedly coming down the backside of the mountain, but the sky was blue and the weather was freexzing cold (by texas standards) so no harm, no foul.

Carter’s Country Shooting Range

Friday, 24 November 2006

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[Carter's Country Shooting Range, Houston, Texas]
there is nothing better than going with three hot young texas women to a shooting range out her in a suburb of a suburb of houston, texas.

the spindler sisters were decidedly the only women there under 300 lbs — and watching the crowd as they moved through is as close as i’ll ever get to witnessing supermodels navigate the paparazzi on fifth avenue.

i didn’t shoot myself — not sure anybody was ready to a the long-haired hippie with anything approximating a loaded weapon — but watching everybody else watching the spindler sisters squeeze off a few rounds was totally worth all those awkward “who let him in here” stares i recieved.

See Slideshow of the Photos on Flickr:
Carter’s Country Shooting Range, Spring, Texas