Oh shit, what can I say about Austin? I spent two weeks here and did everything and nothing.
As I mentioned before, I ran the Capitol 10K. The course was remniscent of a chunk of the earlier part of the Austin Marathon. It was hilly, but the weather was cool and overcast, so I think I ran my fastest 10K ever. The timed race and the fun run were staggered, since there were at least 25,000 runners. That made sense, but the two randomly staggered clocks at each check point and the finish line did not.
I finished my 14th and final day of the Master Cleanse early in my trip, so I slimmed down a little bit. Then I bought some new clothes, got my braces off, got my hair cut and dyed, had my teeth cleaned and bleached (no cavities!), had my make-up done by a Stila pro, visited the dermatologist… pretty much made myself over.
I was still in need of an inward makeover, but unfortunately those take longer. Unfortunate still is the fact that no amount of money and (in my opinion) no professional will properly do that for you. So, I’m still chiseling away in that department. I appreciate everyone’s patience while I undergo these necessary renovations.
I finally got around to selling my car, which was painful on a few levels:
1. Nostalgic: It was my first car. I bought it when I was 20 with my own money/credit. I’ve been through a lot of crap in the last six years, but the car has been a constant. It may have been a source of frustration sometimes, but what car isn’t?
2. Sex Appeal: It’s a fucking sexy ride! For the last eight months, I’ve returned to Austin on a semi-regular basis and no matter what the circumstances, I was usually greeted with beautiful weather and a beautiful car to enjoy it in. I will return to Austin in July for a friend’s wedding… with a rental. Not only are most rentals heinously unsexy, some are just downright annoying, like the one I rented to tide me over until the next leg of my trip. No CD player, nothing automatic, and there was a crack in the windshield.
3. Financial: The car needed a few repairs, which I stupidly volunteered to make myself instead of coming down on the price. “Stupidly” may be the wrong adverb, but it was something most people probably wouldn’t have put up with. At any rate, I sold the car to the only interested party for the price I asked. I’ll leave it at that.
After giving up my car, I played tourist for awhile. Here’s a pic of the capitol that’s only good because I took it:
And I shot the Duck Tours people before they could shoot me. Back when I had a car, I would get behind them and honk my horn, and they would blow their duck-kazoo thingies back at me. *sniffle* Good times.
On Easter Sunday, Sean and I decided to leave for Baton Rouge. Sean had driven to Austin from BR the day before. We were planning to stay in Austin through Sunday night/Monday morning to perform at an open-mic at Capitol City Comedy Club. Because Sean’s an athiest and I’m clueless, it didn’t occur to us that the night we planned to perform was Easter Sunday. So, we headed out and took a detour to see my parents. Sean discussed chemical engineering with my dad. I told my sister that we would take her to Houston. Everyone was very happy. We ate a fancy Easter Sunday brunch of salad and meatloaf sammiches.
Information about this picture: This is me and my mom. My mom is wearing a “tunic.” My necklace matches it. The sweater I’m wearing is my favorite and someone has it and needs to give it back to me!!
Before coming to a rolling stop while Claire did the ol’ tuck-n-roll out of the truck (kidding), we met Eric at Benjy’s. Of course, the food was excellent again, and the restaurant crowd was sparse enough to help me forget for a moment that I was in Houston.
I never thought I’d say this, but several days in Baton Rouge were just what I needed. It’s no secret, things are still turbulent right now. Getting most of my business in Austin finished up felt great, but I don’t feel like I’m out of the woods yet. Since I have an unmovable trip planned for the beginning of May, I’m filling the time in between visiting people that I don’t usually have a chance to visit in the average year.
Thus was the reason for my treason. I never said I wouldn’t set foot in Louisiana again, but I never thought I’d really enjoy it. What’d I do that was so great? Nothing. And unlike most of the civilized world, there, it’s okay to do nothing.
I stayed in a small house near the LSU campus with Sean and his three roommates. It was a tight squeeze, but no big deal. Most people in Baton Rouge are used to having three times the normal amount of people living in a house ever since Katrina hit.
Highlights of my visit included eating fried chicken at not one, but two Raising Cane’s locations, and enjoying some good Cajun food at Copeland’s and Ralph & Kacoo’s. And of course, while I was there, I had to have a good ol’ Louisiana Hurricane (the drink, not the catastrophe). Unlike any other drink (even a good NY cosmo), just one of these babies knocked me out of commission for the next few hours. That was fine though, because I was there to do nothing anyway.
One night, we ventured out to the boondocks to visit another school friend of mine, Mitchel, and his wife and new baby. Babies kind of scare me, but Mitchel and Shaunda were very understanding.
My trip pretty much consisted of driving, eating, and general farting around. Yeah, Louisiana.
“Judging from this map, Chicago got sick and threw up a bunch of suburbs,” commented Eric when he learned of my location. That is exactly right. Brookfield, an older suburb closer to the city, is sleepy, but pleasant. I stayed there a night to visit my friend, Laura. We went to a bar called Brixie’s where I met some people and a Mexican guy stole my scarf. I had made the decision not to humor him with the attention he was hoping to illicit, although now I kind of wish I had it. The next day, Laura and I attended an Easter egg “hunt” in the park… ing lot.
Whoa, I found one!
Finally, the three-week span of Guslessness came to an end when I met him and Jason at the Hyatt downtown. We hung out with Jason’s sister and her family in their swanky penthouse suite, met up with Claire, and had dinner at La Estrada. Our waiter did a godfather impression. Two thumbs up.
Afterward, we went to Big Bar inside the Hyatt. An annual whiskey convention was wrapping up, so the place was packed with drinkers I can respect. I was informed of this convention when I chatted up a man occupying a large table by himself. I am quite personable when I want something, and that night it was seats for my friends and I. Good job, me.
The next day, we hit the Field Museum, where the surliest woman on the planet let us in for free, on account of Gus’s employment with Bloomberg. Oy, such a fiasco! Anyway, that was cool, as it has been ever since I was yay-high and accompanied by my dad… who will not approve of the following picture.
But this one is okay.
Here’s a bigger version!
That night, we went to a steakhouse on Rush Street called Gibson’s. I somehow ended up in a conversation with an arrogant shit-talker sitting at the bar. She was probably the first person to call out my fake Chanel bag while explicitly not complimenting it. That actually made me happy; I’m sick of people gushing over that stupid bag. It’s so fake I can’t even find a picture of it on the intertubes. It’s red, (probably fake) leather, and it looks like a miniature bowling bag. Anyway, she talked some more shit and threatened to kick my ass. I laughed and said, “Go ahead and try. I’m bigger than you.” And she laughed, and I could tell that she knew that she was an arrogant shit-talker, and I could play her game just fine. That made me happy. Later we sat down and Gus was confronted with an overcooked steak. That made Gus sad.
Before and after that, we went to a club with an unmemorable name. I chatted up the bartender, who told us about Gibson’s. She was really sweet and gave us a few rounds of free shots. When we went back later that night, we had a less cool bartender, there was less cool music playing, and more less cool people there. Oh well, that’s a nightclub.
The next morning, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. Jason’s sister gave us free tickets, as well as special tickets needed to enter a new Bodies exhibit, Body Worlds. Gus and I had been meaning to check it out in New York, but the opportunity never presented itself. By that, I mean no one had given us free tickets.
Of course, when we got there, we learned that you’re supposed to make an appointment for this kind of stuff. How absurd! Don’t these people know I was up all night drinking? Anyway, I pouted for five seconds and the guy printed our tickets for the soonest start-time and we went. It was totally awesome and gross.
That’s right, when you roll with PlatKat, you get your own table at Big Bar, free shots at the club, and special admittance to the Body Worlds exhibit. High-class VIP, muthafuckas. And if you are reading this in the droll sarcastic tone in which I sometimes speak, you are laughing. I’m not a pompous douche. Really.
This trip also involved an indian named FUK-COW-EE. What?? Really.
Is he looking for cows? Gus thinks he found one.
Uneventful, as one would expect when visiting septagenarians. I viewed my grandparents’ vast collections of… collectibles, and my immediate family will be happy to know I enjoyed a ride to the airport in the comfort of a cab. Being away from the city so long, I was starting to miss cab rides. (Not really.)
Good thing this army of dolls are looking at each other instead of blankly staring forward. That would be creepy.
This is the suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul where my mother’s younger sister lives with her husband and three children. My grandfather lives up the street from them, so I saw him during my visit as well.
Not much to report on this leg of the trip. I mostly chilled at home and went running in the morning. Out of all the outdoor runs I’ve had to do lately, I enjoyed my Minnesota runs the most. The weather was perfect almost the whole time I was there, the land is relatively flat, with a few gentle inclines to keep things interesting, and the area was visually pleasant. Of course, I didn’t desire or even hope for astounding beauty in this quiet suburb. I think the simplicity of it was exactly what I needed.
I had the chance to spend a little time at the Mall of America, which was fun. I remember going when I was younger and feeling like it was so unfathomably enormous. This time, I looked at it kind of how I view shopping in NYC. You hit the stores you can, and when you get tired, you go home. Most other places I’ve gone shopping, especially those including a large mall, I’ve always felt like I had to “make it count” and look in every store where there’s any chance that I’d want to buy something. I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I don’t really like shopping, I like owning. I don’t want to look at tons of stuff to get to the right thing, I just want to have it right away so I can spend my time doing something else. Now that I’ve had some of the world’s best shopping at my fingertips for awhile, I’m starting to feel saturated with stuff to the point that it’s not even enjoyable to own anymore.
Overall, I had a nice time in each place that I visited, but of course, it’s good to be back home where I can live out of several small closets instead of a suitcase, and hopefully get started on a career path of some type. No need to continually ask me about “the job hunt” — When I find something, I’ll make sure you hear about it.