2008 Feb 17 | TOA in Austin

Sometimes other languages say things better, but in this case English wins. Not only is it shorter, but it gets to the important word, "children," sooner.

Our friend the pothole by the school was filled in again. There's still a dip in the middle of it, but most people are willing to drive over it now. Isn't there some manual people can simply follow to fix these things correctly?

A lot of people turn left at this intersection onto a highway during a red light, which is allowed because both roads are one way. Most people going straight get into this lane to let people turn or pull far ahead to let people behind them squeeze beside on the left and turn, but this guy just got in the way.

It's funny how you can never get around to doing the little things. My shoelaces on my left shoe had been uneven for months. It kind of bothered me, but I never took the time to fix it. One day I just decided to take care of it, and it took me about 30 seconds.

There was some scheduling confusion during one of our classes (the professor who was supposed to teach that class wasn't even in town), so some of us ended up playing hangman with optometry terms.

This McDonald's parking lot is pretty confusing. I'm in a line for the drive-through which extends behind me, but some people try to come in from this other road, although that means they're usually trying to cut in front of at least a few cars. Plus, the line runs right through the parking lot, which is really small, so people can have trouble leaving if they went in to get their food because the drive-through line is in the way.

I drove to Austin to the TOA (Texas Optometric Association) convention. It's about a 3-4 hour drive depending on traffic. My cruise had stopped working months ago, but it magically decided to start again on this trip. I'm glad I tried it in the off chance that it would work at the beginning of the trip rather than the end.

Most people got into the motel on Friday afternoon. That night, everyone went down to 6th street, which has a really high concentration of bars and clubs in about a 6-by-3 block area. The first place a few of us went to was Pete's Dueling Piano Bar, which was a ton of fun.

It was this woman's birthday, and the staff member behind her and she were trying to do a song together. She was supposed to keep her hands on his sides, and he was supposed to do actions to the song like his arms were hers. She was a little too tipsy, though, so she kept doing the arm motions along with the guy. They restarted the song and told her to keep her hands on him about 5 times, then just gave up. The entire audience was cracking up.

The largest urban bat colony lives under this bridge in Austin. It was only a few blocks from 6th St, so I wandered down there. I really couldn't see them, but I could definitely hear them chirping. If you come around dusk you can see tons of them flying around.

Just a really neat building.

I haven't seen The Onion in print since I left California. Actually, downtown Austin felt a lot like Berkeley, which makes sense because it's so liberal. The tons of of late-night pizza shops added to the feeling.

The cops also block off the streets at night, so everybody can walk wherever they want. None of the places on 6th St had really great techno/dance music, so I kept changing clubs and running into different groups of classmates.

One of the clubs had lots of glass tables with blue lights.

This was the motel parking lot. I wouldn't park in the spot on the right; if a long truck parks in the one just to the left of it, you could be stuck.

A lot of Austin is really pretty. There are many nice homes on green hills and a river runs through the town, with a lake on the side.

There is also a park called Hippie Hollow. As you can kind of see, it's clothing optional (which makes sense, given the name), and the only park like that in Texas. It's definitely not a beach because there's no sand in sight; it's all really hard rock. Austin seems like a chunk of California that was thrown into the middle of the US.

The traffic was really jammed leaving Austin for a few miles.

This seems like a pretty good deal...

...until you see this one a few miles farther down the road. It would be really annoying to stock up at the first one and then come across this one after you had spent all of your money.

This symbol is on the highway shoulder. I wonder what it means.