In a word....awesome!
What have I been doing to keep busy? Well, I've gone running and kayaking on Lady Bird Lake (Townlake). My place isn't far from Zilker Park, a huge park with botanical gardens, a sculpture garden, a swimming area, and boating. I rented a one-person kayak there and went out on the lake and springs for an hour last week. The picture to the left was taken from my kayak as I paddled toward downtown. It was a nice change of pace from running and it was cool how much ground -- er, water? -- I can cover in an hour compared to running. I saw lots of turtles that day! There is a picture above of a bunch of turtles sunning on a log.
I've also been to the Alamo Drafthouse twice. The Alamo Drafthouse (http://www.drafthouse.com/) is a really cool movie theater with locations all around Austin. You sit in normal theater seats, but there is a bartop in front of you and you can order food & drinks. I saw Iron Man 2 and Kick Ass. Both good movies, if a little more fight- and explosion-heavy than is my typical taste.
Last week, I went to Antone's (http://www.antones.net/), a great music venue downtown, to see a band called Cowboy Mouth. I had not heard of this band, but my friend and co-worker Nick loves them, and I trust his taste in music, so I thought I'd give them a shot. They were fantastic! A very lively group that really got the crowd involved. If you ever get a chance to see Cowboy Mouth (http://www.cowboymouth.com/), do it! Bring a red plastic spoon, too (you'll see). As a side note, I'm going to see a longtime favorite musician, Mason Jennings (http://www.masonjennings.com/) at Antone's this weekend.
Let's see...I also caddied and drove the golf cart for a friend at Lyons Municipal Golf Course one day, but we were rained out after 9 holes. Was still a fun way to spend some time outside and doing something different (I've actually never golfed in my life!).
As far as food goes, I've eaten a lot of meals in my apartment, but I have enjoyed some good grub out too. I've had Mexican fare at Maudie's (near Lyons Muni) (http://www.maudies.com/) and Guero's (http://www.guerostacobar.com/). Guero's has one of the best burritos I've ever had! I also fell in love with a sandwich shop today, Which Wich? (http://www.whichwich.com/) There, I had a 'wich called the Montecristo, which is ham, turkey, grape jelly, and other toppings of your choice (I just stuck with provolone), with the bread dusted by powdered sugar. Amazing!
Today, I went out to run errands and stopped at Waterloo Records (http://www.waterloorecords.com/), a great music/movie/gift store that has a ton of great, kind of off-the-beaten-path music, both in CD and on vinyl. I bought a bunch of CDs from The Avett Brothers (http://www.theavettbrothers.com/), a band Brian discovered about six months before he passed away. He was mildly obsessed with them, even creating a Pandora radio station (http://www.pandora.com/) based on one of their songs. The Avett Brothers will be at Bonnaroo (http://www.bonnaroo.com/) -- which I'm finally going to this year! -- and listening to the new tunes will get me even more excited for that show!
I also went to Whole Foods and fell in love....so many choices for fresh, exotic fruits; such a nicely organized and extensive wine collection; plentiful cheeses; organic and local ingredients and products. They had a roasted nut station and a make-your-own-trail-mix station, for God's sake! Nothing like any grocery store I've ever been to.
Well, I think that about wraps up this post. I'll keep y'all updated on the rest of my TX adventures!