Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Texas Weather Is Confusing

I present to you this data on the running temperatures here in Austin over the last 5 days or so... It was nearly 80 degrees yesterday and then it snowed last night. Go figure.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mexico City Skyline




250-degree (or so) panoramic using 18 shots and stitched together using autostitch.

Click the image above for a larger view, click here for a huge (1.5 MB) view.


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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mexico City Photos

Finally, some photos. I hope to get a post up about our experiences on Sunday, but I'm not sure if that'll happen. In short: We love cities, and unlike big Asian cities, Mexico City is laid-back and slow-paced. It's easy to navigate -- it has an excellent subway system and wide pedestrian walks -- and everyone we met (few of whom spoke much English) were really cool. We got free shots of Mezcal at Los Danzantes in Coyoacan, hung out at a hip hole-in-the-wall bar where we me some cool folks, and saw a bunch of other really cool sights and places. We had a great time and I wish we could have stayed longer. Enjoy the photos!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mario Party

Princess Peach has been cheating on Mario with one of these two Luigis. Can you guess which one?

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Halloween 2008

Some costumes from our Halloween Party


Shake Zula, the mic rula
Master Shake (from Aqua Teen Hunger Force) in a costume that was 100% home made!

Luigi, Mario, Shake, and Fairy


Mario, Sexy Col. Sanders, Pirate Hooker


Two Luigis named Mike... how weird is that?
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Yosemite National Park (Part II)

See Part I below

See Just the Pics.

Album Map




Day 2, 5pm - Lake Merced, West End

Found a hidden campsite on the lake with a well-maintained fire ring. Set up camp, bathed, and ate Indian food. First part of the hike today was crossing the amazing and windy Vogelsang Pass at 11,600 ft. Gorgeous views and crazy granite formations with trees growing right on top of them. Descended pretty quickly into redwood/pine forest and had some good views of Lewis Creek and the surrounding granite Mtns. This was the best part of the hike today... J would have loved it: Soft ground, pretty trees, lots of birds and tiny chipmunks and a few deer really close. But still no bears.
Lake Merced and Half-Dome From Yosemite
Then a grueling 1.5 hr. downhill climb (heavy sun exposure the whole time!) over chipped rock and solid granite surfaces (did I mention that Yosemite is really hard ground? It's not like walking in N. Calif, where the redwood forests keep a lush, soft forest floor. Nope... It's more like walking on concrete in some places and walking on terriblly hard/sharp rocks the rest of the time. Reminds me of certain places in Nepal.) We got a good view of Lake Merced and Hlf-Dome in the distance (see above) but we dropped 4K ft in just 6 miles! It was really tough, especially b/c noone told us we wouldn't see water until the bottom. Oh well. We made it to the lake and I'm pretty sore and tired. Dan's knees are bothering him, my hips are bruised from the backpack, and my feet are killing me from the pounding on the stone. I realize that last night I had pretty bad bad.... nausea, loss of appetite, headache.... glad all that's gone, now.

Today's views were great but the walk was brutal. I can't imagine going the opposite way, but sure 'nuff, we crossed paths with a few. The campsite we're at now has lots of cute birds and a few mosquitos are bugging us, but hopefully smoke from the fire will get rid of them. Also, we saw a small black snake and a big black lizard with a blue chin. Crazy.

Day 3 - Lima Bean Lake, ~1 mile north of Long Meadow

I was really slow and tired on the trail today. The beautiful Echo Valley (just past Lake Merced) quickly gave way to a short climb up a sheer granite face (via many switchbacks) and then we were in this amazing meadow that had recently burned. Huge granite peaks towered over us all around. We made good time through the meadow, surrounded by short pines and huge old burned ones, which shared the space with tall grasses and shurbs. Amazing scenery. Hopefully the photos do justice. When we came out of the meadow, we hit a small climb that brought us to a water-smoothed granite surface with a trickle of Echo Creek running through it and a bunch of flat rocks that made for the perfect lunch spot. The sun was out, a gentle breeze was blowing, there was shade, fresh cool water, and a huge sharp peak to one side and a deep glacial valley on the other side (where we had come from)... these are the moments and places that will really stick out in my memory! Then we had another (slow) climb to finish off the day's 2000 ft. elevation gain (over 6 miles) to put us back around 10 K feet in beautiful Long Meadow.

From Yosemite - Showing the Perfect Lunch Spot

Then a funny thing happened. See, we had been planning on staying around Long Meadow b/c the topo map shows lots of water and creeks around that area. In fact, one of the backpacker's campsites is there, as is a summer-only High Sierra Camp. So we told one of the wilderness rangers: "hey... we're gonna stay up in Long Meadow near Sunrise Lakes." They told us we'd be fine and that's a good place to stay because there's water up there. Great. The only problem was that although the whole meadow (all 2 miles long by half-a-mile wide of it) was bone dry!

From Yosemite - Showing the dried-up Echo Creek in Long Meadow


No water had touched the bottoms of those watering holes in weeks! Dry, cracked clay and yellowing grasses were plentiful, but water was nowhere to be seen. Even a huge section of Echo Creek was bone dry! Things were getting serious, too, since it was already 4 pm and Cathedral Lakes -- the nearest source of permanent water in the direction we were supposed to be going tomorrow -- were about 4 miles away. There's a small chance we would have rolled in to Cathedral Lakes just before sunset, but it would have been tough since my knee was really causing me problems on hills today. Well, we saw a small lake about a mile away to the North (the direction of travel for tomorrow, anyway) and about a quarter-mile off the trail. It was un-named and didn't have a real trail going towards it, but it looked pretty flat around there and it was at least on the way to Cathedral Lakes... So we chanced it, and even though the creeks that drain this little mud hole (which Dan kept calling "Lima Bean Lake") were bone dry, too, there was still some water. Yay!

From Yosemite - Showing the best campsite ever!


We had a great snack while watching the sunset (black bean hummus and tortillas) and made a fire and ate dinner. A great evening in the best campsite (see link and see above) we've had all trip!

From Yosemite - The mud hole that offered us water at sunrise on Saturday


I'm so glad I could get out here. Calif. can be dry and dusty but it's so pretty.... Being in Texas, now, I really miss the mountains and it's so great to get fresh air and water.




Okay... sorry this second posting took so long to get up. It appears there will have to be a Yosemite (Part III) posted later this week, whenever I get time. We've had visitors last week and again this week, so keep your browsers pointed here for updates (or better yet, simply get the feed so that you know whenever there's updates!)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Yosemite National Park


Just the Photos for the Lazy People (you know who I'm talking about... I'm talking about everyone who just clicks the link and doesn't read the whole post!)


Yosemite







Wow... last post July 12th... that's embarrassing! Well, Justine and I haven't done too much travel since then, but I did go to Chicago for a conference (loved it, wanna move there) and I went to Norff Dakota (see also the 100-ft Whoppy the Whopper statue at right!) for a family reunion (loved it b/c of the family, would never move there!), and we went back to LA to go to a wedding between two good friends of ours (we [heart] LA, stayed with our travelin' soul mates, had an awesome time at the wedding, and would love to move back).

Actually, that's quite a bit of traveling. I should have been doing a better job with this here blog! But also, for those in the know, things have been quite crazy around here lately for personal/family matters. Hopefully that stuff's falling by the wayside and we can get back to being international travelers. Okay, on with the show.

Last week, J went to visit her friend in Seattle for 10 days (she can blog about that if she wants) and I went backpacking with a buddy of mine (Dan) in the high Sierras in Yosemite National Park. I had not been there since I was about 7 or 8, so I really didn't know what to expect, and to be honest, this was going to be my first "real" backpacking trip of more than one night (meaning wilderness camping with no facilities except what's on our backs). My friend Danielle (no relation to Dan, but he did leave the door open for her one time just in case she wanted to stop by), who frequents the back country of Yosemite, offered me some suggestions of where to go, and so I prepared this map (clickable with details and also below... note that they don't have "mountain" icons for some reason, so Half Dome and El Capitan are labeled as Volcanoes...) of our possible 4-day journey (each potential day's hike in a different color, with various optional side trips and different paths to take). So we packed up -- meaning, I packed up a bunch of gear for two people and Dan just showed up with a backpack and some food in an on-loan-from-my-father-in-law beater car -- and headed out. Did you know that Yosemite is really far away from San Jose Airport? It is. And then once you're inside, it takes 90 minutes just to get to Tuolome Meadows, where we wanted to start out hike. Crazy.


View Larger Map

Okay, so the actual hike we took was very close to the map given above. It included on night of car camping at T.M. (8600 ft), hiking up via Rafferty Creek to Vogelsang Lake (11000 ft) and camping there (inside blue path on the map), climbing over Vogelsang Pass (11600 ft) and descending to Lake Merced (7600 ft) to camp there (outside purple path on the map) the third night, walking up to Long Meadow / Echo Creek / Sunrise Lakes area (9500 ft) for the fourth night (inside red path on the map), then walking out past Cathedral lakes (yellow path). Notes are from my journal...

Day 1 - Tuolome Meadows to Vogelsang Lake

After a grueling hike (for me, anyway) up Rafferty creek, we found a spot on the So. side of the lake close to Vogelsang pass at 11,600 ft. (note that the contour lines on google maps are about 1000 ft lower than the lines on my official Yosemite topo map... I trust Nat. Geo. more than I trust Google on that detail, so I'll stick with the elevations as given in my Topo). Our campsite was ~11,200 ft., so a small climb tomorrow will put us on the pass for a 4K-ft descent into Echo Valley. There were essentially 3 legs to today's hike: the first was a long, steep climb from T.M. to an alpine-like meadow that J would have loved! Yellow grasses, small bushes (with all kinds of reds and golds) clung to rocks, and miniature pines. The weather was perfect for hiking: sunny, breezy, ~65 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. The second leg was much shorter and was another uphill from that meadow thru. a pine forest and up thru. the Cathedral Mtns. There's a fork on the road to Boothe Lake or Vogelsang and we took the latter, which led to the 3rd stage: climbing over granite surfaces and exposed rock faces to the lake (about 1 mile beyond the luxurious, but closed, Vogelsang High Sierra Camp). I was fully exhausted at the end!

From Yosemite


Dan and I ate right when we got here and enjoyed drinking fresh mountain water (filtered and chlorinated, of course, to prevent Giardia infection!). Then we climbed some rocks to the other side of the lake to watch the sunset behind Half Dome and the amazing pink light hitting Fletcher Peak and Vogelsang Lake. Pretty cool, but we both had bad headaches (altitude sickness) and it's getting quite cold in the evening now that the sun has gone down. I'm feeling really ill, right now, and am going to crash any second. Nausea, terrible headache, the shakes... I'm done. Dan can clean up. Watch out for bears, Dan... I need to sleep and get warm.

Day 2 (morning) Still at Vogelsang Lake
Feel much better now and slept much better than the first night (car camping in T.M.) and I don't think it got as cold up here as it did then (it dropped below freezing in T.M.). Being here reminds me how dry Calif. is... even here where there's lakes and streams all over, the grasses and trees are all brown and dried out. It's still very pretty and the alpine areas are so amazing (we saw a single tiny yellow flower frowing out of the crack in ta rock, sheltered from the winds... "life goes on" said Dan). i wish I had warmer clothes for the mornings or we could build a fire right now! Actually, besides today, we should be able to build a fire in the AM, which will help a lot. I'm really glad dan was able to come along. I forgot how much I needed to get out and do this kind of stuff... Funny thing about last night: when we went up to watch the sunset before I totally bailed and stumbled my way back to the campsite, I thought the sun was about to go down so we hurried to climb this crest and watch, but it took over an hour for the sun to actually go down!


More Coming To Come Later This Weekend, So Keep Your Eyes Peeled...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

If you go to Tokyo

... There are Denny's and convenience stores (like 7-and-i-Holdings and AM/PMs) everywere!



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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Texas Hill Country

Sorry it's been so long between updates, here, but I got very busy and I hadn't been traveling much. Then a bunch of stuff happened in a row: Justine and I got a VIP tour of the Hill Country (the rolling hills to the west and south of Austin) lead by a co-worker of hers, and then I went to rural ND for a family reunion and Los Angeles for a wedding and the equivalent of a graduate school reunion. Norff Dakota was boring except for visiting with my family (and I did have one really outstanding meal there). Los Angeles was amazing, as usual, and our friends took care of us and we ate well and they even took us surfing on a Sunday evening. The water was warm, the air cool and clear, and huge dolphins were doing full flips out of the water no more than 25 feet away. I think one of them winked at me! After that, we ate at a delicious pasta palce in Santa Monica, but I can't remember the name... it was on 4th and Broadway I think.

I was really sad to leave LA and come back to my smelly-ass apartment (it's smelly because they're re-modeling the unit next door, so it smells like paint and concrete stain and wood floor stain... blech!). Then we went to suburban Houston for the 4th of July to visit my very pregnant cousin and some aunts and uncles. That was fun, but it made me miss Austin! I guess I'm just a city kind of guy...

So on that note, enjoy these photos of old ranch lands in central Texas that are be restored to their original grassland savannahs / praries, which are from the Hill Country tour we took with Justine's co-worker.

-Mike.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What's still there?

I wonder how these structures (see link to photo album below) in Chengdu, China have fared... Chengdu was one of our favorite cities and the earthquake that hit Sichuan province two weeks ago made us both really miss it.

Chengdu, China

Random Photo from Takayama, Japan

 
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Some B/W Photos I Took in NZ

I came across a few black and white photos I took in NZ while cleaning up my computer's hard drive. They're not very good because I don't really know how to take artsy photos, but I like them anyway. Enjoy...

-mike.


 

 

 

 
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Buescher State Park



Two weekends ago, we went to Buescher State Park (about an hour east of Austin) which is part of the Lost Pines Woods. The cool thing about it was that there was hardly anybody out on the 8-mile hike, the weather was great, and there were actual hills involved (which is so rare here in Texas, my legs needed reminding of how to walk on a slope!). Enjoy the photos!


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Monday, March 31, 2008

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Just the pics.

Two weekends ago, we went out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to experience our first Texas spring. The center was a lot smaller than we had expected (and for its size, I'm surprised it was seven bucks), but the gardens were pretty cool, even though most of the field weren't in full bloom. I suppose we should go back again in a two or three more weeks to really see rolling fields of blue bonnets and Indian paintbrushes.

Or we could just roll down the freeway, as we did this weekend, and enjoy the many colorful Texas wildflowers.

I suppose the most important part of the wildflower center trip was that we saw a huge ass rattle snake! No, it wasn't a 2-meter long king cobra, but it was pretty cool. Enjoy the pics and especially the video!

-mike

ps - full disclosure: that photo above was not taken by either of us.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A bit late, but here's my SXSW 2008 Post

Mostly just pictures... enjoy.

A few weeks ago, a huge industry showcase came to town... it was the annual South by Southwest festival. Thousands of bands and tens of thousands of fans & industry folk were in town, clogging up the streets and camping on our lawns for a chance to see REM or Yo La Tengo perform. But the real fun is that everywhere is a free party. Most clubs and stores have good bands and free food/drinks all day and night. Unfortunately, we both work during the day, even though SXSW takes place during spring break.

What we did manage to get to was the Austin Good festival at Hotel San Jose, where we saw Kimya Dawson (from the Moldy Peaches and now famous for doing parts of the Juno soundtrack) and the Noisettes. The Noisettes were an official "SXSW Showcase band." This means that they played a half-dozen shows or so over a 4 day period at the Austin convention center and elsewhere. To get in to those shows, you either need to spring for a $130+ all-access wristband, or get an industry badge. We were lucky that they also played this free show right around the corner from our house, and let me tell you, they were amazing. Completely blew me away and way better than I had anticipated.

The only other show we went to see was the all-day Saturday Mess with Texas party in Waterloo park, which featured a stand-up comedy stage (with the Upright Citizen's Brigade crew, Eugene Mirman, and Tig & Brian Posehn from the Sarah Silverman program), a new-wave/indie rock stage (headlined by the Breeders), and a punk/hard-core stage (with Municipal Waste, F*d-up, Dead to Me, and NOFX). Best of all, they don't care what you bring in to the park, so we were able to bring in our own food, beer (in their requisite koozies), water, and a towel for settin' on! It was awesome.

The most amazing acts were actually on the stand-up stage, where Eugene Mirman was forced to tell Brian Posehn's jokes because Brian had lost his voice doing three gigs the day before. Also, if he's ever in your town, don't miss Reggie Watts, the human beat box.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Barton Creek Greenbelt



A few weeks ago, we went out to the Barton Creek Green Belt (link goes to annotated map) for some light hiking. Enjoy the pics!

As far as a review goes, I'd have to say that I'm pretty pleased with the size and proximity of the green belt (I think seven nearly-uninterrupted miles within minutes of downtown Austin), but disappointed in how filthy the place can be. Citizens leave all kinds of litter everywhere and too many people fail to carry doggy bags (provided by the city at the trail heads, even!) so you have to be careful where you step. Also, mountain bikers blaze down the narrow trail, so keep your eyes & ears peeled. I could see spending a few more days exploring other sections of the trail, but only really because it's so close, not because it provides anything novel or isolating. I give the BCGB a 4 out of 10 on my random scale of park reviews, mostly because it's too crowded. Let me put it bluntly: if my little brother and his wife (both big outdoors/hiking folk) came to visit us, I probably wouldn't take them here. On the plus side, we did get to see a pair of black vultures up close, as they were shoulder-to-shoulder in a tree right beside the trail.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Two Great Days

This time last year, we were in Southern Laos, spending time in Vientiane and at a somewhat-disappointing eco-lodge / rural village called Ban Pako. Lately, we spend a lot of time wishing we were traveling and re-living those amazing 240 days we spent in Asia, as well as all the fun we had planning and the great effort it took to actually make the trip. Last Friday, I re-read an old post of our friends J&M, who returned from Asia several months before us. The post is called "A Year Ago Today" and Jennifer pines for adventure of traveling, and more so about the hopefulness she experienced in planning the trip. We IM-ed about it a bit, and lamented that while both of us can regularly recall with vivid detail things we'd done one year ago or more, these days in the "real world" go by without fanfare or memorable experiences. The immediate and huge rewards reaped by traveling and living day-to-day from a backpack, on the other hand, are easy to recognize and I think in general, people take unfortunately little time to reflect on the purpose of most days. As Jennifer says,

I know there is more to life. And believe it or not, even though it may sound totally cheesy… we’re always standing on the brink of an adventure of a lifetime. Sometimes it’s just a lot more obvious. But doesn’t the challenge (and a lot of the fun) lie in finding what is not obvious?

I totally agree. And on that note, I'll explain why I've been talking about all this: This weekend, Justine and I had two of the best days we've had since returning to the States. We were productive, impulsive, got to visit some new places, and we were proud of ourselves for what we accomplished in two short days. These are exactly the kinds of feelings we had while traveling, and as a result, I'm happy to bring you a post about two great days we had in America!



On Friday night, we went out to dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant (which I reviewed in a post here) with some friends. Then, early Saturday morning, Justine, Emily and I went to the Center for Environmental Research (an Austin Water facility) at the famous birding location known as Hornsby Bend (at least one famous Hornsby is buried in the family cemetery here). We helped clear brush from a historic farmhouse that the city is trying to rehabilitate, then took a guided walk to the Lower Colorado River. We were lucky enough to see loads of birds, including osprey, American white pelicans, cardinals, crested caracaras, turkey vultures, black vultures, red-tailed hawks, and more. Also, the weather that morning was gorgeous.

After we returned, we were starving, so we headed out to our favorite taco truck around the corner, Torchy's. As soon as we got out the door, our friend Joel walked by on his way to Torchy's, so we ate with him and decided that it was such a nice day, we should have a BBQ at our house that evening. [Just last week, we had picked up a tailgate-sized Weber and were itching to get it fired up!] So a few hours later, Brandon, Joel, Emily & Alaina showed up for veggie skewers of eggplant, mushroom, potato, onion, garlic, and green peppers, coated in Justine's home-made olive oil with freshly-crushed rosemary. MMMMMMM!

So that evening went on pretty late, but we had already made plans to meet up with Alaina for brunch on Sunday morning. So, early the next morning (10 is early when you've been up drinking all night!), Alaina, Joel & Brandon showed up and we headed over to the Woodland on So. Congress for an early brunch (I had already had cereal, fruit, coffee and milk and had been up for nearly 2 hours, but anybody who has lived with me could have probably guessed that!). We had eaten there before with some other friends for dinner once, and they recommended the place as a good breakfast joint. Indeed it was! Eggs Florentine, grits with cheddar cheese, quiche, and a green tea vodka are a nice way to wake up in Texas!

Having returned to our place by noon, we decided to spend the rest of the day turning an old and unused garden patch in our communal backyard (our duplex and two others share a single large space... we're on the furthest west end and the garden patch is in the middle). This entailed ripping up weeds for several hours, tilling the dirt, composting and mulching, and then planting. But first we needed supplies, so Plant Escape and Home Depot were the next two stops. We got a few different types of tomato, some eggplant plants, and some peppers. The garden had some herbs and veggies that have survived from before (cilantro, parsley, sage, leeks, potatoes, celery, and possibly carrots) and we have some garlic and spinach growing in a planter box on our porch already, so we didn't need too much. The rest of the afternoon, we raked and pulled, pulled and raked, dumped rocks and old dried up tomato plants, moved bricks and garbage out of the plot of land and got very dirty and sweaty. We didn't have time to finish it, plus we don't yet have mulch or enough new dirt/compost, but next weekend we'll finish turning the soil and make a small raised area in the middle of the patch to plant our food. It was very fun.



Then we had another BBQ that night, just the two of us, and had a perfect ending to an amazing, productive weekend. On top of all that, we also managed to clean our place, go grocery shopping, spend some time reading, do the laundry, and all the other stuff we try to get done each weekend. It reminds me just how much you can experience and accomplish in just a few hours, and how by putting a few things together, and being impulsive, you can really get a lot out of an otherwise "normal" day... Thanks for reading!

[Enjoy more pics of the BBQ and gardening here.]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Freeways

The road and freeway system here in Austin is atrocious. I've complained about it in person to some of you, but basically it makes me wish I still had to drive in LA! I know what you're saying... it can't be that bad. True: the traffic here is not as heavy as in Los Angeles, but the layout of the freeways is truly maddening. Three things in particular bother me about driving here and make me yearn for an hour sitting on the 405 at 1am on a Tuesday.

(1) The signage, what little there is of it, is completely cryptic.
(2) All freeways are bounded by a "frontage" road, that goes parallel to the freeway. These, I suppose, are to give access to the businesses and to "aid" entering and exiting the freeways. The result is that you are forced to make multiple U-turns, are punnised by miles of driving if you miss your exit, and getting around the freeways here is even MORE impossible than in California.
(3) All roads seem to have multiple names. And not in the way that's easy to remember, like how in San Jose, Capital Expressway becomes Hillsdale and then becomes Camden... but in the most obnoxious way that Ben White Blvd. is also called the SW Expressway, Highway 71, AND 290.

I mean, I'm not retarded... I can get around in my car alright. But I feel like somehow the oil or car lobbies (or both) conspired to design the dumbest freeways and roads just so we spend as much time as possible in the car. But also, people driving in Texas don't know what they're doing... it's like everybody thinks they're the only vehicle on the road. In CA, people drive badly, but at least they're not surprised when they see another car! I'll never complain about driving in California again....



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Madras Pavillion, Austin, TX

My co-worker, who is from Mumbai, India, told me that the best Indian food he's ever had anywhere (that includes his mom's home-cooked meals) was here in Austin, at a place north of the city center called Madras Pavillion. My parents got us a gift certificate to eat there for Christmas, which we used last week. Justine got the south Indian thali (basically a sampler plate of many kinds of curries and soups) and I had the mulligatawny soup and a curry with ocre and green peppers. DELICIOUS! I would have to agree that this is indeed some of the best -- if not the best -- Indian food I've ever had. So if you're ever in Austin, be sure to check out Madras Pavillion! Service is without charm and the decor is lacking a bit (and they chould use with some Indian music playing in the background), but hey, the food comes out quickly, it's hot and best of all, it's super tasty! Also, they give a 5% discount if you use cash (be sure to ask for it!)

Thanks, Mom and Dad!




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Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year's Eve in Austin

Here's what we did last year.

Now, here's what we did this year:

We went to the Continental Club's Gallery Room for New Year's Eve, instead of downtown Singapore....



We played Ping Pong while we waited for the band to play, instead of eating Thai food with my sister and waiting for the fireworks to go off on the Singapore waterfront....

The band consisted of Denny Freeman (guitar), Frosty Smith (drums), and Mike Flanigin on an organ. They were good... probably better than last year's fireworks!

I'd still take traveling over hanging out in a local club, but our new year's eve was fun and we met some cool people. Hope you had a good new year, too!

-mike.