“I was just a kid they called his sidekick…”

When I asked my wife to marry me, one of this first things she said to me (after “yes,” thankfully) was to ask if the Gourds could play our wedding. It wasn’t really a question—she was telling me that we would hire the Gourds to play, and that our wedding budget would have to work around whatever it cost. As I happen to love the Gourds, too, I had no objection.

I mention the Gourds because they are part of a long, proud, twangy tradition of Texas country/folk/bluegrass/etc. musicians. The Gourds certainly had their own unique sound, distinct from just about any other band I know, but they also belong to a tradition pioneered by people like Guy Clark, who died a few days ago at the age of 74.

This has been a bad year for music. Guy Clark’s death has hit me much closer to home than others, and it’s not just because he’s from Texas, or because he is a legend of Texas music. I don’t even know all that many of his songs. He wasn’t a singularly unique artist like David Bowie or Prince. It’s doubtful that anyone could call him a “visionary” on the same scale as Bowie or Prince. Guy Clark was an old guy with a guitar, writing and singing what he knew. He did it very, very well. And a whole lot of people loved him for it. Continue reading


Monday Morning Cute: Adoptable Cuteness in Austin

A little over a week ago, I spent my Saturday morning at Austin Animal Center, and got to know a few dogs that are almost too cute to describe. So here are some pictures instead.

This is Apple (A698628), a ridiculously adorable pittie/Shar-Pei mix. Her fur feels like velvet. It was an incredible struggle not to take her home with me right then. We already have two dogs, though, and I don’t know if they want another sister.

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She has been moved over to the Town Lake Animal Center facility, I hear. She was named Peaches when I met her, but they renamed her Apple because there’s already a Peaches at that facility.

Juno (A696564) and Ford (A698086) are quite the pair. I forget Juno’s breed, but Ford is a black Lab/Great Pyrenees mix. He combines the rambunctiousness of a Lab with the size of a Great Pyrenees. He’s a bit young and excitable, but he’s awesome. Juno is a master of composure and patience in his presence.

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As a bonus, before we move on, here’s a brief bit of my encounter with Ford. He’s very lively: Continue reading


The Killer Jargon of #SXSWi, Part 2: Bring the Gibberish

See Part 1 here.

If South by Southwest Interactive (or SXSWi, for those in the know) is good for anything, it’s breaking news that makes no freaking sense whatsoever if you don’t already know the names of the companies and apps at issue.

I was thinking about sending gibberish tweets involving SXSW-style jargon using the #SXSWi hashtag, just for fun and because I’m kind of a snarky ass. My Twitter handle is @wellslawoffice, though, so it doesn’t look all that credible coming from me.

I heard Facebook crimped the OS for Orange Gazelle right as the Zebra Sponge purchase was undergoing Slideshow review. Muskox is gonna be *pissed*.

Via lemmetweetthatforyou.com

I could start a @BreakingInteractiveNews account, I suppose….

Most of my ideas are pretty mean, could possibly lead to at least some civil suits, and really just need to remain ideas in my twisted brain…… Not that I’ve ever let that stop me before.

Location-based apps seem to be all the rage right now. Hmmmmmm……. Continue reading


The Killer Jargon of #SXSWi, Part 1: WTH Are You Talking About?

South by Southwest, or SXSW, as it is more commonly known these days (or #SXSW, as it more commonly appears in online references these days) is now underway, with the Interactive portion of the festival, or #SXSWi, having begun this past Thursday. I attended this part of the event as a full-fledged badge holder in 2012 and 2013, and I may do so again some day, but there is also some value in observing the festivities from afar.

One aspect of SXSWi that particularly jumps out at me is the near-total inscrutability of much of its news and gossip, especially with regard to the quest to be this year’s “it” app. Take this headline, posted to Facebook by my friend Jen: “Twitter cuts Meerkat off from its social graph just as SXSW gets started.”

Literally nothing in that headline, or the comments to Jen’s post, makes any sense at all without heaping amounts of context. I initially just assumed that Meerkat and Periscope are companies, or apps, or websites, or programming languages, or something else tech-y. It’s just funny how the tech world has normalized jargon so much. Continue reading


Is It Cold Out?

Today is a ridiculously cold day in Austin, Texas. The last time I checked, it was about 28 degrees F outside. It might be warmer now, but I ain’t moving to find out. Is this actually cold, though? (h/t to Mike for inspiring this pontification.)

I remember two people that I met during my freshman year of college, when I moved from San Antonio to Houston and, pretty much for the first time in my life, met people who didn’t think of air conditioning as something that every building obviously has.

First, there was the girl from Minnesota who, whenever the temperature dipped below 40 (which it seemed to do more than a few times), proceeded to get in the face of everyone she saw demanding to know why they thought this was cold when it was -10 degrees where she was from, and who then proceeded to run around in the quad in shorts and a t-shirt yelling “THIS ISN’T COLD!!!!” (I may be amalgamating multiple distant memories into one Nordic ice queen, but my point stands.) She ended up catching a really bad cold, but I’m sure that was entirely coincidental.

Then, there was the guy from the Fort Lauderdale, FL area. When spring arrived, and the temperature was a brisk and delightful 72 degrees and the wind wasn’t out of the east (people who have lived in Houston know what I mean), I decided to go outside to enjoy nature’s bounty to its fullest. He immediately went inside to put on a sweater, cursing the cold.

My final observation is that -40 degrees is the point at which human skin will almost instantly freeze if exposed. Due to a quirk of the conversion tables, -40 degrees F and -40 degrees Celsius are the same temperature.

My point is that unless it’s -40 degrees out, “cold” is mostly relative. It’s freaking cold in Austin right now, so shut up.


That’s My Police Chief (UPDATED)

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo apparently enjoyed some ChiPs reruns on Thanksgiving:

Then this happened:

I’m glad to see Austin remains entertaining, if not always as weird as it used to be. I hope everyone had a good holiday, in whatever way they opted to spend it.

UPDATE (11/28/2014): This is somewhat related, and came up in conversation:


Pit Bull Awareness Day 2014

This weekend, Love-A-Bull is celebrating Pit Bull Awareness Day with several events. You can learn more about them at their website.*

The main event is Sunday, October 26 at Republic Square Park in downtown Austin.

Here are some scenes from last year, including the always-effervescent Coco Puffin:

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2013-10-27 11.54.43 Continue reading


7 out of 8

Of the eight largest cities in Texas, seven of them lean to the left, politically, based on residents’ stated views:

Arlington, Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, and Austin were all featured in the study—and the researchers discovered that Arlington was the only metropolitan area that leaned right.

The researchers, Chris Warshaw (MIT) and Chris Tausanovitch (UCLA), found that Austin was the most liberal city in Texas, followed by Dallas, then Houston, El Paso, and San Antonio. Each of these cities also has Democratic mayors. [Emphasis in original.]

Austin is hardly a surprise, but I wasn’t expecting Dallas to be second. I’m also not sure how they assess “left” and “right,” but those words are sure to bring on all sorts of varying assumptions.

Oh, and Texas Republicans might want to take note of this:

Coincidentally, these liberal-leaning cities led by Democrats happen to be the same cities driving the economic growth behind Perry’s “Texas Miracle.”


Wednesday Afternoon Cute: All in the Game

Sorry I’m a bit late with my cute entries. Hopefully this makes up for missing this past Monday. This is an adoptable dog from Austin Pets Alive! whose name and description ought to make TV geeks chuckle a bit (h/t Lindsay).

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Are you looking for a dog to keep you in the game? Check out Avon Barkstail. He ain’t no suit-wearin’ businessman. He’s just a sweet dog looking for a home where he can learn to become a great family pet.

Mr. Barkstail is a major player in the Austin dog scene. Major. We’ve put him under heavy surveillance to monitor his daily movements. Here is the 411: He leaves his kennel several times each day for walks. His leash manners are fairly good, and we are working to improve them. Once a day he likes to meet up with other dogs (no sign of Stringer Tail or Wee-Bark). He hasn’t shown any reactivity to other dogs, but also not a whole lot of interest in playing with them. Additional socialization is recommended.

It is important for Mr. Barkstail’s new family to know that he is good at jumping fences – even tall ones. It makes for a handy escape route when Omar is on his tail, but his new family won’t want Mr. Barkstail to be escaping their yard. So a primarily indoor environment, with continued surveillance on all outdoor activities, is heavily recommended for Mr. Barkstail’s new home.

Okay, it’s cheesy. But it’s cute, right?