25 thoughts on “Hello Austin

  1. Make sure you find time to watch the bats fly out from under the bridge at sunset. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Unless you’ve seen the bats fly out from under the bridge in Austin. Then it’s probably pretty much the same.

  2. We’ll see you next weekend in Minneapolis! You are the reason I will attend my first convention. What have you gotten me into?

  3. Ahh, the eventual capitol city of the Republic of Texas (after having gone through a couple of other towns) before Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar decided that the capitol city ought to be in the very center of the claimed territory of Texas – even though it verged on the hunting grounds of the Comanche. It was once a little village/stockade/cluster of houses called Waterloo… which the next President of Texas, Sam Houston, didn’t like at all, and so he tried to move the capitol back to Houston – or practically anywhere else… but the state archives were still there, and when Houston sent a party of men to take them away, the innkeeper Angelina Eberly fired a cannon to alert the rest of town… and then there was the Pig War, between the French legate who objected to the way that another innkeeper’s pigs roamed the streets. If you have a chance, go visit the French Legation Museum – it’s about the only building remaining from the Republic of Texas era.
    Yeah, my latest book is set in Austin of that time – why do you ask?

  4. Have a good time in my hometown! and if you have time, go eat some Tex-Mex at the original Chuy’s over on Barton Springs Rd., or grab some tacos at Torchy’s Tacos on South 1st St.

  5. Just want to say, I’ve read ‘Agent to the Stars’ for the first time, it’s a damn good book! Very fast-paced and engaging, with the humour used well and kept under control. I gather it was your first novel? – a really excellent start if so.

  6. Building on #6′s excellent recommendations, some other great places to eat (assuming you don’t want to venture too far from the convention center):

    Stubb’s BBQ 811 Barton Springs – Everyone has different opinions about which BBQ is best,so you really can’t go wrong. Stubb’s is close to you and has been around for a long time.

    I 2nd the Chuy’s recommendation for TexMex. Ask for the “jalepeno ranch” salso. It is off the menu, but free and you see it at half the tables.

    Uchi at 801 South Lamar. You wouldn’t think Austin and Sushi would match up, but this place is really unreal. I would live there but it is expensive.

    For a fun late night walk (after 11 or so), check out 6th street tomorrow night (if you are still in town). A Friday night on 6th street while college is in town is just one step down from Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

  7. PJ@9:

    John’s room is obviously facing North and that building is merely being pulled towards the black hole that is San Antonio.

  8. So Celia, why do we have a French Legation in Texas, but Texas had no embassy in Paris? From what I understand, the London location was the only one ever established.

  9. @10 – mm… no that looks like he’s on the north side of the river, facing south. There’s not that many tall buildings on the south side yet.

  10. Oh, SpiritZeroThree reminded me of something – John, good luck not getting involved in the intercity rivalries in Texas.

  11. I just noticed the new masthead quote – EVERYTHING LOOKS PERFECT FROM FAR AWAY. Assume it is a reference to Postal Service. Wondering if you had an opinion on the never-ending youtube comment feud between Ben Gibbard and Adam Young (Owl City) fans regarding Fireflies being a Such Great Heights ripoff.

  12. Silhaya – there was a French Legation in Austin in the early days because as an independent country, Texas was angling for recognition by the big players of the day. The Texans had expected to be annexed by the US, as soon as independence was won from Mexico … but the anti-slavery, anti-Jacksonian Yankee faction had put a stop to that … and Mexico still hoped to reclaim their stray state – countervening the Treaty of Velasco. So the Republic of Texas needed powerful friends, fast – and France and Britian were both agreeable. I don’t know why there wasn’t a Texas Legation in Paris – probably because the Republic couldn’t afford it – Or maybe they just rented a broom closet at the American Embassy for the duration.
    At one point, there was a plan in the works for the French to launch an entrepeneur scheme in Texas to settle vast numbers of French immigrants upon. Never came off, because of the aforementioned Pig War. The Germans also had an entrepeneur scheme as well, which did go through … sort of.
    (And SpiritZeroThree? I’m in San Antonio, so belt up with the black hole business.)

  13. Lunamoth@12:

    You got me there. That’s the roof of the Austin Convention Center at the bottom. John looks to be staying at the Hilton Austin and his room would be on a south face.

    The real cause of the lean is due to Japan being 8 feet closer to the US after the earthquake/tsunami; Tokyo’s gravitational pull is greater than the black hole that is San Antonio (the pull of which is primarily oriented in a more North/South direction).

  14. I was in Austin last week. If you’re not in the mood for Tex-Mex there is excellent pizza and burgers on South Congress. HopDoddy’s for the burger–and in Texas, when you say ‘rare’, it will be. The pizza is across the street.

  15. I just love the sprawl of American cities. I’m an expat living in South Korea. I’m constantly amazed at how the country functions like a large metropolis. There’s simply no arable land left here. I wouldn’t be surprised if the South Koreas and Japanese were the first people to build underwater cities. The colonizing of space may very well begin . . . here. That said, I’d do anything to be in Austin today.

  16. Celia, I did not know about the French land grant plan. How interesting. I did know about the Germans, Fredericksburg, and the castle that never happened. The Duke missed out on a good thing.

  17. Adding to the places to eat, I heartily recommend Iron Works Barbecue on 1st and Red River. Welcome to Austin!

  18. SpiritZeroThree is mistaken. The black hole is Houston. San Antonio is a lovely, quiet city I was happy to call home during my formative years.

  19. Andrew@23 – you have a point about Houston – I lived there for the better part of 20 yrs

    Dana@22 – “The Earth is flat…” – I’m thinking maybe not under that building

  20. Since you’re in Austin, you’ve got an open invite for dinner at my house. Just thought I’d throw that out there…lol

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