July 4th Eve!

We took a boatload out to watch fireworks on Lake Travis tonight. A good time was had by all.

A pretty sunset:

And one shot of the fireworks:

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What a fun night to enjoy with friends.

Story of an Artist.

Recently, Apple has been running a commercial with someone singing in the background as the camera flashes clips of people using a Mac.  I immediately recognized it as a song I first heard over 10 years ago when it was featured as KUT Song of the Day. The Austin radio station has since changed to KUTX but their Song of the Day feature is still a terrific place to hear new music.

The song is Story of an Artist, by Daniel Johnston.  Daniel is a visual artist, songwriter, and musician who moved to Austin in the 1980s.  He’s had a lifelong struggle with mental illness, but has found success and is fondly regarded here.  He is the artist who, in 1992, painted the frog, Jeremiah the Innocent, in the iconic Hi, How are You mural in Austin on 21st street at Guadalupe.

The version of the song I heard on KUT was a recorded-live-in-studio-1A cover of Daniel’s song, performed by M Ward in September 2006.  I liked it the first time I heard it.  But it is a sad song, in my opinion, of an artist shunned by society for being different.  And after having learned more about Daniel Johnston, I think it is autobiographical.  A 2005 documentary about him called The Devil and Daniel Johnston reveals more about the man and his struggles.

The version of the song in the Apple commercial is performed by Johnston himself, originally recorded in 1982; just him, a cassette recorder, and a piano.  In the commercial, the lyrics are chopped up and rearranged, so it comes off as a funky upbeat tune; you don’t get the whole vibe of the original song.  Here’s a link to his entire original recording, if you want to give it a listen.

I think the M Ward version I first heard on KUT Song of the Day is beautiful….but when I heard it, I didn’t know the background story of the artist.  Now I do.

Get out there and listen to some music!

Laid back Sunday morning.

I joined Lori & Doray downtown yesterday for a morning pedicure, brunch, and a walk about downtown.   This is the new library downtown, we were going to go in, but it wasn’t open yet.  I guess we should have had one more round of mimosas to kill time.  🙂

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Easter day trip.

With no commitments until Easter dinner with Julie later in the day, we headed out to visit Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.   It is a beautiful place to see in the spring, full of gardens teeming with wildflowers, and several miles of lovely trails to explore.

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I don’t think the wildflowers have peaked yet in south Austin, based on what we saw here, so there’s still time to get out there and see them!

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The view from the top of the cistern tower, overlooking the surrounding meadow trails.

There is a great-horned owl family roosting in a wall ledge just inside the entrance.  There are two owlets, but they are not sticking their heads up in this shot.

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Hot air.

I’m still going through photos from our recent road trip.   In the mean time, I’ll share a moment from today…..

A month or two ago, I bought tickets in advance for the 2018 Best of Texas Hot Air Balloon Festival (and wine & food festival, AND polo match).   I really just wanted to get some pictures of the hot air balloons.   The festival is today, so this morning, before the sun came up, I headed to the polo grounds for the photo opp.   It was a tad underwhelming, as the balloons didn’t actually launch.  They simply inflated six of them, left them up for about an hour, and then deflated them again.  Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sight, even if a fleeting one.

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Oysters!

We attended the annual Austin Oyster Festival today. This was our third time to enjoy it. It was held on the grounds of the old Seaholm power plant on the north shore of Austin’s Ladybird Lake. And we had a great time.

The venue:

Gulf oysters:

Colorful.

We popped over to free Thursday at the Blanton museum today. Ellsworth Kelly is an American artist who designed “Austin,” a stand alone art gallery, and artwork in its own right, for the Blanton art museum. He died a few years ago, but his building was recently finished. We visited the museum today to see this exhibit, and the other rotating collections on display.

Afterwards we celebrated National Margarita Day at Chuy’s. Cheers!

Some Christmas Eve eve lights.

After dinner last night we cruised by some Austin neighborhoods that light it up during the holidays…37th street, Clarksville, and a few in between.

Enjoy a bit of Austin weirdness:

An homage to a scene from the movie Stranger Things:

Now, THIS is weird:

R2D2 lights:

Sock-monkey nativity scene:

Just a mess-o-lights:

Not weird:

Merry Christmas!

#7.

We headed downtown today to watch the Seahawks game at a bar. We grabbed a burger at Hut’s before the game; the number 7 “Hut’s Favorite.” Yum-my!

Sadly, my Hawks were decimated by halftime. Sniffle.

Blues on the green.  

Tonight we made it to the last concert in this year’s Blues on the Green free concert series at Austin’s lovely Zilker Park.   Bright Light Social Hour was the headliner.   We joined Lori and Doray, who have made it to every show this year. They’re professionals; they have the parking/tailgating/setup thing down.  We got downtown early, went for a swim in Barton Springs Pool and then headed over to the Great Lawn to set up our chairs and share some nibblies before the show.  


    I enjoyed the night very much.  Temps were in the 80s!! How lucky was that?!

    Yes, we CAN!

    I helped my friend, Lori, unpack boxes from her recent move to a new home in South Austin yesterday.  The first thing we unpacked were the wine glasses, because she greeted me with a can of wine, one of her latest finds, a lovely rosé made by The Infinite Monkey Theorem, an urban winery that’s located just down the street from her new place.  Kinda fun and not bad!  I can see this on the boat in my future.  🙂

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    Barton Springs, Lake Travis, and a shanghai’ed uncle.

    Days 3, 4 and 5 of our visit with family brought a trip to Barton Springs, Sno-beach snocones, a brewery crawl, an overnight at anchor on the boat on Lake Travis, and pizza night.  The weekend was filled with swimming, diving and floating.   A brother-in-law from Houston drove to Austin and he spent the night with us on the boat – whether he knew he was going to or not 🙂

    I love the chance to spend this time with family.  Keeto will be devastated when everyone leaves tonight.

    This is a shot from the southern end of Barton Springs pool, looking north to the Austin skyline.  The background has changed much since Mary Doerr captured the same vantage point years ago – the Capitol building is now obscured by skyscrapers.  But the pool in the foreground is exactly the same.

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    Meat-o-rama. 

    My sister and her family are visiting us for a week.   We are having more fun than six people should.  We tubed the San Marcos River today, and hit the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood for dinner on the way home. Delicious.  


    Photo credit to Fran.  🙂