Brownsville for Memorial Day

Diego watching Diego.

This is the closest my camera got to the beach.

Later that night.

We went to S. Padre Island's finest establishments...


Things got a little crazy and we split.

I told Javier I would pay for any tattoo he wanted.

He agreed. Luckily for me and him the joint was closed. Yes! That would have been the worst tat.



And the livin's easy

Yeah. We're grillin. A bit of a preview to the next NYC v. Austin...

Now for picture time with the chef:


This is so right.

Round Rock Express....

$7 seats. Not bad.

Oh Yeah!!


NYC v. Austin #2: Transportation

This entry of NYC v. Austin will cover transportation, in general and pertaining to our daily commute.

Subway - An institution. The New York City Subway. A monster. A stinky, dirty ghetto snake winding through the bowls of the city. I loved it and hated it at the same time.

Good things about the subway:

- Easy to use, could get you almost anywhere
- 24 hour service
- You never had to worry about having a few too many, built in DD
- It gave you a sense of solidarity with millions of people
- Odd celebrity sightings
- You could do other things whilst riding – eating, reading, work, etc.
- Never worried about parking, gas, insurance, etc associated with owning a car
- Fairly cheap, $76 per month taken out before taxes for Metrocard
- L, A, 4, 5, F trains

Bad, nasty horrible things about the subway:

- Waiting for trains, especially when it is freezing or sweltering
- Sure it's 24 hour service but you have to wait an hour for a train at 2 a.m.
- Erratic conditions in the cars, sometimes freezing, sometimes humid, sometimes sparkling, sometimes urine soaked.
- Packed trains, I refused to ride them most of the time, which pissed Sofia right off. Sorry I have standards.
- G,F,any yellow line, train
- Average commute: Having a bad day, get on a train with annoying people no matter where you look, train stopping, starting, stopping, moving at a snails pace, fast, stop, snail, stop, arriving in Chinatown, a thousand people get on with orange plastic bags with all sorts of foodage adding to the stench, stop, snail, two people get off, five get on, finally between Manhattan and Brooklyn, sitting underneath the east river, wishing the tunnel would collapse and wondering if you could somehow make it out and swim to the surface, snail, five minutes later high st, ipod keeps laying songs you don't want to hear, skip, skip, at Broadway Lafayette switch to f train, before taking off announcement comes on that there has been an emergency and f trains will not be running for at least 10 minutes, curse, curse everything and everyone, what to do (a train/bus combo) (wait) (go upstairs and catch a bus), haul ass upstairs to see your bus pulling away and a million other buses going to Queens, fed up, just start walking home, catch a bus that runs down 5th ave., phone Sofia tell her to meet me at the Gate, arrive at Gate and order a double IPA, not a bad end to a sucky commute
As you can see I have placed the F train in both categories. Again, it is a love hate thing. The F train will always hold a special place in my heart. We spent countless hours riding and waiting for the F train. And it's not just me. I can think of these three song lyrics about the F train, and I am sure there are more:

So I wait for the F-Train
(White city on the yellow line)
And connect
through a friend of mine
(White city to a friend of mine)
- Bled White, Elliott Smith

Just like the F Train, you're not waiting
Just like the F Train, there'll always be an F Train
I'm like the F Train, but I
don't know just why
there must be a reason why
-Cone of Silence, Yo La Tengo

Bikes ride to the park and city pools.
It's summer now; empty the school.
Fly home to my cat on the F train.
I'm protected from pain
- Apartment, Ben Kweller


Buses - Very handy and was included in our 76 dollar metrocard. We used these whenever possible, especially during the steamy and chilly months.

Cabs - Never really took them. Too expensive.

Bike - Not a great city for bicycling, obviously. During the subway strike of 2005 we had to bike to work. While it was fun, it was cold as shit and was probably not the safest thing we've done.

I did miss having a car in the city sometimes, but it would have been to annoying (parking) and expensive (parking and insurance). It would have been nice to have one to get out of the city once in a while though.

Getting to the airport in NYC: Either hella expensive or hella long commute on subway


Car - The ultimate luxury item. A must have for most US cities. I really do enjoy having a car now. It's paid for so that is nice, so we only have to worry about paying for insurance, gas, and maintenance. Insurance is ok. Gas sucks, but the more it rises the more we save, sort of considering we drive a hybrid (not really, but if you compare it to a normal car the less it stings). It's climate controlled, can't beat that. No fuzzys making me fat, just me and my select passengers. Parking sucks, especially downtown. You have to worry about your car being shit on by these crazy birds that practically run Austin. You have to worry about hail apparently (We've had three hail storms since arriving in Austin, WTF). Every little nick and scratch on a new car is heartbreaking. More love than hate though concerning cars I think.

Traffic - Yes it can be bad here. Luckily we can avoid it most of the time. Sofia works two minutes from the house. My first job is about two more minutes further than that. And my second job is just north of us and I never seem to hit too much traffic.

Buses - Really our only public transportation right now. Pretty cheap. I can ride from our house to my work in about 15 minutes, but I do not b/c I work two jobs and would not have enought time between jobs. I am forced to drive.

Getting to the airport in Austin: Hella simple

The Winner:
A tie. Obviously there are good and bad to both situations. I love driving, but it is quite a responsibility and I would be fine with not having it, but here in Austin we do need a car. Having so much public transportation in NYC was awesome. Not only was it extremely handy, it was cheap and easy, worry-free man. I really can’t decide.

(I know Sofia would say Austin is the winner, but she ain’t writing this)


Internet Links

Two new links you can check out:

Brian and Anthony (and Chico) blogging their way from Cali to S. Carolina.

Eric's Tae Kwon Do school.

It's not TexMex, It's Southwestern. Ok, sure.

Last Sunday or sometime, ages ago, it was Alex's bday. We tagged along to Z-Tejas.

I don't know. Don't ask.

Thanks Alex for the invite. Thanks Gordo and Hilda for the dinner.

All My Exes

Young TexasExes pub crawl. This was like two weeks ago.

I was only reminded of it because it was bloody hot that day as it is today. Luckily one of the stops had frozen mojitos, which were insanely delicious.

So much so I was in constant brainfreeze pain.

Hot but pretty.

This place kind of sucks but they always have a good sign going.



Last night we went to Union Park for Rueben’s birthday, but this pic was from Dog and Duck sometime last week. Oh procrastination!


NYC v. Austin #1: Coffee

This is our fifth month in Austin. We both miss NYC, me more so, but we both prefer Austin. I am constantly bugging Sofia with “oh, I miss Brooklyn” because of this and because of that. Most of that is probably just reminiscing or the whole grass is always greener thing. Because of this I thought a series comparing the two cities would be apt. In this first episode we will explore one of our favorite things: Coffee.

First off let me say I love coffee, good coffee. I tolerate bad coffee. I don't really enjoy Starbucks, will drink it if it's the only thing available, but would much rather throw my money down some other hole. I don't drink lattes, cappuccinos (well sometimes, rarely though), frappucinotype drinks, etc. My coffee of choice is black American style coffee. I also drink espresso and americanos (espresso with hot water) occasionally. I don't really do the whole coffee-shoppe thing, probably because I am married (Although I used to work for Barnie’s Coffee and Tea in the West Oaks Mall, RIP). Though, upon moving here to Austin we would visit several around the neighborhood to use free WiFi.

New York:
You couldn’t drink coffee on the subway, well you could but it is really annoying when you’re carrying a bag and messing about with your ipod. During the summer coffee would just make you sweat more and during the winter it was just to cumbersome with your ten layers and aforementioned items. Plus, many times the F train was packed to the gills, making it difficult to sip some sweet java. My first few months in NYC I would try to take coffee, but soon learned it was a bad idea.

The coffee is not good in NY, but it's cheap. You can find good coffee, but near my work...forget about it. In our office we had a little newsstand that always had hot coffee for under a buck. It was disgusting, but it worked.

The coffee we brewed at the apt was the bomb from Porto Rico, a micro chain in NYC.

Commuting with coffee here is a breeze. One, you bring your own home brewed coffee in your own travel mug. Two, that travel mug fits perfectly in your car’s cup holder.

No good coffee really, of course there are exceptions. You can find fairly cheap coffee as well, but it is not usually within walking distance.
The coffee we brew at the apt is the bomb from Andersons, a local roaster here in Austin. I love going to Andersons to restock.

Austin, by a hair. Both places are not stellar for coffee, except what’s brewing at home. Austin wins on the commuting issue.

Why is coffee so good in Italy? Seriously. On our trip we had cofee in the morning in Annecy, France and later in the evening in Bergamo, Italy. France, ok coffee, slightly better than good stuff you can get here. But Italy, the stuff will blow you away. It really is amazing. I may seem to be exaggerating and playing upon the whole Italian Coffee stereotype, but it's no lie. Leaving Italy and going back into France and Spain, we were so sad because the coffee was like dirty water after our week in Italy. Oh yeah, also, even the coffee you get from the train station coffee vending machines in Italy is better than any coffee you can get here or anywhere else I've been.


Fine Dining

When in Rome...

Eggs or eggs....hmmm not sure.

Ok. A little game for ya. I had all of the following food choices except for one. First correct guess gets a free beer from the blog, or any type of drink you may want, smoothie, coffee, milkshake, juice, etc. :

- 2 Bisuits
- Chicken fried steak with white gravy
- Home Fries
- Grits
- 2 eggs over medium



San Antonio rocked. We saw like five of Justin's baseball games.

I finally found a good sandwich at Schlotskys,

We watched some TaeKwonDo,

We visited the Flying Saucer.

We hung out at Jay and Johns and watched baskeball and the fight.

We even went to the Arctic Circle and spotted two polar bears sleeping.


As you know I've been working at the Law Library at UT. I'm sad to say that my boss passed away yesterday afternoon.

I and many others will miss Roy Mersky (1925-2008).


Did I mention I met Douglas Brinkley last week. He lives in Austin now.


Between San Antonio and Austin

Long time

I know I know. We suck at blogging these days. I am going to try and get serious, but I seem to be busier here than in NYC. Quit whining, right, ok. We went to San Antonio this weekend and will have a few pics up later....and a video.