Filed under: Austin, entertainment, events, lifestyle, music | Tags: antone's austin, BRAHMS, built by snow, citizen cope, crystal antlers, frightened rabbit, holy fuck, levi's fader fort, live music, local natives, minus the bear, mohawk austin, music festivals, still life still, sxsw 2010, the rural alberta advantage, the white white lights, think about life, we were promised jetpacks
I was going to write about the garden again. I spent time in it yesterday, I took bunches of photos. But I just can’t bring myself to talk about broccoli or radishes or tomatoes right now. Because the most glorious SXSW 2010 was one week ago today. And right now I need nothing more than to sit, reflect, and piece together 5 days of fantastic music and memories.
Day 1 – Wednesay, March 17
BRAHMS – Levi’s Fader Fort
Okay, so I didn’t accomplish a whole lot on Day 1 of SXSW. We stood in line for an hour at lunchtime to pick up our wristbands for Fader Fort. I went back to the office for a bit and then reemerged on the scene around 5pm at Red7 where I ran into a few friends, made some new ones, and saw The Rural Alberta Advantage. They were alright. The girl was cute. Paying $5 for Lone Star sucked. My more immediate concern was meeting up with friends across the street, which I did after the band finished their set.
We went to Bull McCabe’s and made an album cover. And asses of ourselves, I’m sure. After this point, the night begins to blur a bit. We left Bull McCabe’s for Fader Fort. It was my first SXSW with a Fader Fort wristband and it won’t be my last. Once inside the compound the alcohol was freely flowing (like, $0 for as many drinks as you could carry), BRAHMS was jamming on the stage at the western most end of the complex and the photo booths were endlessly entertaining. From there it was on to Shangri-La, where we ate tamales out of a cooler offered by a sketchy looking gentleman. Somewhere between Fader Fort and Shangri-La a tall British gentleman complimented me on my houndstooth shirt & picked me up and swung me around in the air for a bit. All in all, a successful start to the weekend.
Day 2 – Thursday, March 18th
Local Natives – Levi’s Fader Fort
Bomba Estereo – Levi’s Fader Fort
First Aid Kit – Mohawk
Salem – Mohawk
That list looks awfully slim for the amount of awesomeness that we fit into our Thursday schedule. I worked a half day at the office, came home and ran a few miles (in anticipation of the havoc that was about to occupy my life for the following 4 days). My new fun friend Kyle got in from Houston around 3, and we scurried downtown for more fun line-sitting. In total we probably spent an hour and a half waiting in lines till we got into Fader Fort. We made up for the wait by double-fisting two rounds of beers while listening to the crazy woman lead singer for Bombo Estero. That girl could wail. We may have watched another set there too but I can’t remember… pounding two rounds of two drinks each will modify a person’s memory in fairly short order.
With beer in our bellies and smiles on our faces we headed towards town in the direction of Mohawk, where my friends were camped out between day parties & the night shows. My friend Hollie (see mafia picture above) had made friends with the Black Keys, the band who had played the last set at Mohawk that afternoon. Hollie’s connections are regularly getting us privileges fit for super-cool kids. It’s always fun to saunter up to the back of a mile long line for the front door, then receive a phone call from someone inside and get quickly ushered in through the back door. Which is precisely what happened for Kyle & I that afternoon. Once inside we milled about with handful of other super-cool kids (band members n groupies n what not). We patiently waited. And waited. At long last the sun fell and the music started up again. We made it through First Aid Kit, which was no small miracle. About halfway through the set friends Otis & Kim sent a full beer directly into Kyle’s face and for a minute I thought his eyes were going to dissolve right out of his sockets. The girls in First Aid Kit were Swedish, and they were okay. But then Salem took the stage. The show was awful. Barely tolerable. We all fought the irresistible urge to slit our wrists or jump off the balcony. Thankfully Hollie, in all of her awesomeness, had ordered up some pizza to be delivered to us at the bar. So we stuffed our faces and concentrated on drinking, eating & blocking the dreadful grunge/rap/drone from our ears.
Day 3 – Friday, March 19th
Still Life Still – Mohawk
We Were Promised Jetpacks – Mohawk
Citizen Cope – Antone’s
Minus the Bear – Antone’s
Frightened Rabbit – Mohawk
Friday was awesome. We started the morning with a trip to Arkie’s Grill (mmmmmm paaaaancakes…). Then off to downtown for an afternoon of amazing show after amazing show. We started towards Mohawk & walked ourselves right into the Onion party upstairs: free Brooklyn Lager & Batter Blaster pancakes. YAY. We Were Promised Jetpacks rocked our socks off. The band before them, Still Life Still, was pretty great also. It was starting out to be a pretty good day.
At Antone’s we were up close & personal for the Citizen Cope show, and then Minus the Bear. Minus the Bear was awesome. They really were. I know there are some Antone’s haters out there, but I actually really love the place. Kyle’s main objective for his SX experience was to see MtB. It was good to check this show off the list.
We hustled back to Mohawk for Frightened Rabbit. The Brooklyn Lager keg was kicked but the Batter Blasters were still flying off the griddle left & right. It’s really bizarre to be at a show and see a bunch of people standing around eating pancakes with their fingers, by the way. Frightened Rabbit sounded great. Just like the LP. I was happy.
We briefly saw the friend group at Sidebar before leaving to meet up with Kyle’s friends at Buenos Aires cafe, where I proceeded to drink too much red wine and enjoyed chatting it up with Kevin the friendly waiter again. Kevin’s always a lot of fun, but he seemed pretty stressed out because of SXSW weekend. My vegetarian crepes were the most delicious thing on the face of this earth – highly recommend them to anyone planning a trip to Buenos Aires Cafe. From the Cafe we journeyed over to Rio Rita, where the girls got Bloody Marys and I got even closer to porcelain god worship. Another truly awesome night.
Day 4 – Saturday, March 20
Crystal Antlers – Galaxy Room
Think About Life – Galaxy Room
Duchess Says – Galaxy Room
Holy Fuck – Galaxy Room
I’m having a hard time remembering Saturday. Many, many braincells had been killed by this point. I know it started with breakfast tacos at Taco Deli. And then a tour of the office for Kyle. And then…? I guess we went downtown. And we saw the awesome shows listed above. And then I think we went to Uncorked for a few glasses of wine. And then Koriente for yummy japanese. And then we met Kim & Sara at Bull McCabe’s? And then we went to some random place to watch the K State game. YES! This is what happened on Saturday, I’m sure of it.
My take-away from Saturday was that Holy Fuck is… holy fuck, awesome. I danced, danced, danced. Think About Life was a super-fun, new, unique, interesting band too. I enjoyed their show a whole ton. What I really loved about both shows was the variety of people in the audience. I swear I saw a farmer my dad’s age leaning against the stage & bobbing his head during Holy Fuck’s set. And at Think About Life, there were folks from all walks of life, all ages, etc. It seemed an appropriate mirror to the unique composition of the band itself.
Day 5 – Sunday, March 21
Built by Snow – Six Stages Over Texas
The White White Lights – Six Stages Over Texas
At this point, I was just happy to still be alive. There weren’t any set plans for music on Sunday. We started with the legendary Juan in a Million for breakfast. Then a tour of Town Lake Park. Then a tour of West Austin (to show Kyle that not all of Austin is gritty like East Austin or 6th Street). And then,“hey, I have those tickets for the show up near UT…. ahhh, what the heck. Let’s go.” Free Lone Star. And Kyle got some sweet gear from Cream Vintage, which the venue backed up to. I discovered that I have a severe girl crush on the lead singer of The White White Lights. The guitarists sunglasses went flying off of his head multiple times. They did Toadies covers? But also their own stuff, that ranged from super sweet to death metal. It was pretty awesome.
And that concludes my recap. It was a long post. There was a lot to cover, and probably lots that I missed. Like the mysterious bruises I found on Monday, and the glass of wine I shattered on Thursday and how Wii Fit continues to be a source of sheer joy after a day of drinking. But those are all small beans compared to the crazy awesome shows we saw & some of the bigger pieces of the puzzle that I summarized here. This alone has already taken me 2 hours to write. It’s too beautiful of a day to waste time collecting & sharing all of the little bean stories.
Did anyone else see some crazy fun stuff that I should’ve seen? Or go to any awesome venues/day parties that need to be added to the list for next year’s SXSW? Please share. If I can fit any more awesome to next year’s SX experience, I’ll be amazed and out-of-my-mind happy. I challenge you to help me achieve this lofty goal.
Filed under: food, go green, recipes | Tags: baking, baking your own bread, bread recipe books, bread recipes, easy bread recipe, healthy bread in five minutes a day, mother earth news, naturally nora, sweetish hill bakery, ten grain bread
As a birthday present this past year my mom subscribed me to Mother Earth News. This magazine is like sitting on a rural backporch in 1965 exchanging homemaking secrets with your best friends, who happen to be Rachel Carson, Sacagawea and Laura Ingalls Wilder. The magazine gives you all the information and inspiration you ever needed to live solely off the land. I’m now convinced that not only can I bake my own bread, but I can grow my own wheat, make my own flour, and build my own solar oven to bake the bread in.
I should probably preface the rest of this post with this statement: I don’t really “do” recipes. Save for one thing: baking. Baking requires a certain amount of chemistry knowledge that I just don’t have. Rather than create my own Bunsen burner experiments, I rely upon the tried and tested steps spelled out to me in cookbooks and occasionally on the back of Naturally Nora boxes. This time I followed directions spelled out to me in the December/January issue of Mother Earth News. The article was called “Healthy No-Knead Bread Recipes”, and it promised me that I could bake a loaf of bread by the traditional yeast method quickly, and inexpensively. In fact, they estimated that making your own bread costs just $.40 a loaf. Considering that I usually spend $5-$6 on whole wheat bread from Sweetish Hill Bakery, I thought it might make financial sense to give bread-making a shot.
The simple recipe that I followed below yielded 4 small loaves. The bread is a dense whole wheat and I opted to use a mix of sunflower, flax & sesame seeds on the crust. I am baking without a baking stone, so instead I warmed my cookie sheet for 30 minutes prior to baking, placed the loaf in the bottom 1/3 of the oven, and added a cup of water to my broiler below the racks to create steam. This recipe is from the book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Based on the success of this recipe I’m looking forward to buying a copy and trying some other recipes!
10 Grain Bread
- 2 cups 10-grain hot cereal (Bob’s Red Mill brand), uncooked
- 3 cups white whole wheat flower (made from wheat varieties with pale, mild-tasting bran layers)
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tbsp (2 packets) granulated yeast
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- 3-1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 to 2 tbsp seed mixture for sprinkling on top: sesame, flaxseed, caraway, sunflower, poppy and/or anise
1- Whisk together the cereal, flours, yeast, salt & vital wheat gluten in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.
2- Add the water and mix without kneading, using a spoon, a food processor (w/dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). You may need to get your hands wet to get the flour to incorporate if not using a machine.
3- Cover (not airtight), and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approx. 2 hours.
4- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next week.
5- On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 lb. (grapefruit size) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around tot he bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
6- Elongate the ball into an oval. Allow the loafto rest for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough), covered loosely with plastic wrap, on a pizza peel prepared with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper. Alternatively, you can let the loaf rest on a silicone mat or a greased cookie sheet.
7- Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a baking stone near the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on any other rack.
8- Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top crust with water. Sprinkle with the seed mixture and slash the loaf with 1/4″ deep parallel cuts, using a serrated knife.
9- Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone (or place the silicone mat or cookie sheet on the stone if you used one). Pour a cup of hot water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes, until richly browned and firm. If you used parchment paper, a silicone mat, or a cookie sheet under the loaf, carefully remove it and bake it directly on the stone or an oven shelf at about 2/3 of the way through the baking time. (smaller or larger loaves will require adjustment in resting and baking time).
10- Allow to cool on a rack before slicing.
Filed under: Heath + Beauty, lifestyle, personal | Tags: alcohol, benefits of sobriety, reducing alcohol consumption, sobriety, wine
Every day since my last sip on Monday night I have wanted to come home and have a glass (or 2 or 3) of red wine. And every day I have succeeded in reminding myself of my goal. My disappointment over not completing the challenge would ruin any enjoyment from having even a sip of wine.
My commitment to completing the week without alcohol began from a desire to start making some sacrifices in my life. I’ve been a bit glutinous in the last year – indulging in food & drink and skipping exercise for no reason other than laziness. After a year of my laissez-faire lifestyle, my body started telling me it wasn’t really up for that sort of behavior anymore. Cutting out alcohol for a week seemed an appropriate first step towards making a change. While I was contemplating the change, I thought back to this time last year and remembered training for the Austin Half Marathon. I remembered that I wasn’t partying as much because I had workouts to complete. I made sure to get enough rest, to eat intelligently, and to drink in moderation. I was consciously taking better care of my body so I could complete my goal. Though I haven’t set any fitness goals yet this year, it seemed natural to mimic those lifestyle choices from a year ago in order to get my body back into a good routine. I refused to have to buy new clothes because of weight gain. No stinkin’ way.
The most surprising discovery from this experiment was how I felt during the business week. I slept SOUNDLY through the night. That never happens. For years I’ve blamed Milo for my restless nights. But now that I realize that it may have been ME keeping HIM up, not the other way around. I was so surprised by this that I did a little research and found that in most cases, even though alcohol is a depressant and can help people initially fall asleep faster, alcohol can be disruptive to the second half of sleep for a variety of reasons. This in addition to the obvious fact that if I’m going to sleep with alcohol in the system, I’m probably going to sleep a lot later than normal. As a result of my restful sleep, I felt energetic and refreshed during the day. Having a clear mind, positive attitude and more energy made my work day much better.
Though I fully intend to celebrate on Tuesday with a glass of wine and a pat on the back, I expect to cork my imbibing for at least one more week. Most likely it will be longer. I see it as a long-term weight and spending reduction plan, and also a way to feel better day in and day out. I have a handful of celebrations coming up that I will make exceptions for (can’t take all the fun out of life), but I hope to find a more moderate, less excessive way to enjoy myself in 2010.
Cheers to those who’ve supported me & to those of you trying to do the same for yourselves!
Filed under: Heath + Beauty, personal | Tags: no alcohol for a week, sobriety
I’ve often threatened to spend a week away from alcohol but it hasn’t happened yet (not purposefully anyway). Because life has stabilized, because I have begun to right my exercise wrongs, because I’d love to cut some unnecessary calories from my diet, and unneccessary spending out of my budget and because I don’t have any alcohol-exclusive events planned this week, I’ve decided to start an experiment today: no alcohol for a week.
There is one small caveat to this experiment. I opened a wonderful bottle of Red Bicyclette pinot noir Saturday night and have about 1/2 a glass left to sip, which I am most certainly going to do tonight. So technically, the week will begin tomorrow. (And so the procrastination begins. No no no, I’m kidding. I’m sticking to my guns on this one!)
As I make my way through the week I’ll be updating here to log my journey, and hold myself accountable to my decision. I’m also using the opportunity to look a little harder into the long-term affects of alcohol on the body. While I am super health-conscious in other aspects of my life, the negative affects of imbibing were always pretty easy to ignorantly overlook. With any luck this experiment will lead to positive change in body & budget!
Filed under: food, friends, Garden, go green, lifestyle, personal, travel | Tags: 1015 onions, creeping jenny, gardening in central texas, herb gardening, onions, roman chamomile, square foot gardening, texas vegetable garden, winter vegetable garden
Twenty-ten didn’t waste any time throwing a few speed bumps my direction.
The troubles began the day before I left for Colorado when I woke with a sore, swollen eye – another eye infection. And so I flew to Denver last Thursday wearing my glasses. On Friday a second medical complication required me to spend most of the morning talking with my Doctors in Austin and the pharmacy in Colorado Springs. Cover your ears boys: my Nuvaring had mysteriously gone missing. I finally got everything sorted out and a new prescription filled (only to discover two days later that the original hadn’t actually gone missing – oh, the glories of being a woman), and the trip turned out to be a fantastic one in spite of a challenging start.
Promptly upon my return to Austin, my refrigerator broke down. This resulted in a frantic mid-week evening of picking up a mini-fridge found on Craigslist, ruining the interior of my S2000 with said refrigerator, and relocating all items from broken fridge & freezer to one of two locations: new evil car-destroying mini-fridge or friend Melissa’s freezer. It was an unexpectedly exhausting evening. The following morning I broke a glass in the bathroom as I was getting ready for work. Fifteen minutes later my worst nightmare came true: I set off the recently installed house alarm. In my week away from home I’d forgotten how to enter the disarm code. That afternoon I came home from work sick, sick, sick. Since then I have spent the majority of my weekend in bed, trying to dislodge the styrofoam residing between my ears with sleep, sleep and more sleep.
The worst of all of these events is that I am completely out of sync with my world right now. I can’t decide if it’s because of the aforementioned events, or if those events were a result of me being out of sync. The feeling spans back to my house break-in before Christmas, and then spending the holiday alone in Austin. While my friends were home with their families, I was here. As soon as they got back, I left town. Shortly thereafter I busted my eye, had a fridge bust, and got sick (resulting in more hermit at home time void of contact with the outside world). I’d like to think that I will be back in sync quickly, but I’m staring into another weekend of traveling that is going to keep me from getting settled anytime soon.
My brief glimpse at normalcy came this afternoon when I planted onions. Onions & lettuce & spinach, oh my! I made a quick trip to the Natural Gardener to celebrate my getting out of bed and pajamas today. While I was there I came across Roman Chamomile, which smells wonderful (like apples!). I have no idea what I’ll use it for, but it’s so lovely that I added it to the herb garden. The work was gentle and easy since the beds were already prepared. Being outdoors was absolutely refreshing after being bed-ridden for the last 48 hours. And raking through the herb garden with my hands to free dead leaves was really wonderful – the release of those scents into the air helped clear my head for a brief and wonderful moment. I planted two pockets of creeping Jenny where my herb garden meets the original raised bed in the hopes that the creeping Jenny will fill those areas and keep grass & weeds down throughout the new year.
It feels great to have started the garden, and I’m looking forward to planting carrots & broccoli in the coming weeks. It still seems bizarre to be planting at this time of year, especially after having spent a week in a snow-covered place. Since my trip to Colorado I expect to see pockets of melting snow here in Austin as I drive around town, and am still feeling shocked that there isn’t any here at all. My Yankee blood must be calling to me – I’m even anxious to get to Chicago and experience the cold again. Plans for a second skiing trip this season are sloshing around in my head as well. Which leads to the final piece of my “feeling-out-of-sync” puzzle: since when have I missed cold weather and snow?!