Monday, June 29, 2009

By This Logic, I'm Desirable

I've blogged about other blogs, and one of my favorites is Stuff White People Like (although posts are becoming more and more infrequent due to the blogger's incessant book touring...)

But read this paragraph from the latest post on Vespa Scooters:
As it stands, every single white person on earth either owns, has owned, or is dreaming about owning a Vespa Scooter. And why not? They are Italian, feature vintage design, low emissions, make the rider look more sophisticated, and they carry a little bit of risk. In fact, were it to have a liberal arts degree and a steady income, a Vespa scooter would possesses every important quality that a white person looks for in a spouse.

Look at that list of important qualities:
  • Italian
  • vintage design
  • low emissions
  • sophisticated
  • little bit of risk
  • liberal arts degree
  • steady income

Sound familiar? Reminiscent of any vintage-clothes-wearing-hipster-in-denial-self-proclaimed-lazy-editor you know?

Yep, I posses a chunk of those "important qualities a white person looks for in a spouse." I'm working on the low emissions and steady income. Sophisticated is probably not applicable (you should've seen me this weekend at kareoke...) I'm also not sure how risky I am. I'm pretty stable and don't like to drive at high speeds. But I've got the rest covered. Why then am I still single???

Oh wait. These are qualities attributed to a scooter.

[As for other entertaining blogs, Anslee sent me a link to this one: Look at this fucking hipster.]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Harold Sightings

I always say Austin is a big city that feels like small town, as long as you stay centrally in the city and run in certain circles. For indie-concert-going hipsters, that circle is rather small (in comparison to the general population of the city).

Seeing as I go to a lot of shows, I see the same people--complete strangers or vague acquaintances--over and over again. Such is the case with Harold.

But Harold is not your average hipster. Oh no. First of all, his name probably isn't Harold. I've never actually met him, so I have no idea what his name is. My friends Gloria and Charlene named him that after spotting him at several shows. They decided the name Harold suited him best.

He's unusual in that he's probably in his late 30s, possibly early 40s. He's Asian, wears chunky glasses and has a little goatee. I often see him wearing a vintage Carpenters t-shirt, although in the less-hot months, he wears a white denim jacket. He also tends to drink Lone Star but is never visibly drunk.

He's almost always alone, but I have noticed him talking to people. In fact, when I saw Neko Case back in March, I spotted him in a group. He stood in the same spot and talked to a couple of white guys before Neko took the stage. He has rather girly taste in music. I saw him at Lykke Li's free show at Waterloo Records and most recently at a Jenny Lewis show. That said, I also saw him during SXSW at a free show in Waterloo Park that featured a lot of punk bands. It was even more strange to spot him at the recent Black Moth Super Rainbow concert. BMSR is not quite in the same category as Jenny Lewis...

In writing this, I've also realized I've observed way too much about this guy, but at least I admit it. Plus, Gloria did most of the groundwork of observation. We've discussed introducing ourselves and finding out his story (and real name). But I like the mystery. It's better knowing him simply as Harold. Half the fun of going to shows is looking for him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Some Things Annoying Me Lately

1) Governor Rick Perry is at it again. This time, he vetoed a bill that would require drivers to actually to be safer when driving near cyclists and pedestrians. How are people to be encouraged to get out of their cars if they don't even feel safe on the roads? I say this as a novice road cyclist who is deathly afraid of motor traffic. I would like to become less reliant on my car, but I don't feel comfortable. This bill would encourage people like me to get out of our cars and our on bikes. That would better for Texas, Perry, but you're probably too much in bed with oil and car companies to care about your citizens' safety. I can't wait for the next gubernatorial election...

2) A local food blogger has decided to change her name because a major corporation has gone after her for copyright infringement. She hasn't outed the company, although I wish I knew who it was so I could write them a nasty letter for going after such a little guy. I'm sure she's trying to minimize the damage and not cause any unnecessary trouble, but this is ridiculous. I'm all in favor of people protecting their intellectual property. However, this isn't so much a case of First Amendment rights as one about a corporation creating a witch hunt to "protect its brand." I don't think this is what the writers of the Constitution had in mind when they instituted freedom of speech. The plus side is that a lot more people are reading her blog now.

[A similar case has come up against local rollergirl Crackerjack. Frito-Lay (owner of Cracker Jack snacks) is suing her for stealing their name. Also ridiculous and unnecessary.]

3) This is far less political. I'm in general annoyed with people's lack of cell phone ettiquette. Can't you shut up long enough to place an order? I'll probably return to this in a few days. For now, I just feel better ranting all these things to my gracious audience.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Seeing as I grew up in Georgia--a state that only removed a racist symbol from its flag in the last ten years--I understand what it's like to be from a place with a blotted history. Texas has more than it's fair share of embarrassments (past and present).

But I was fascinated to learn about the history behind the annual Juneteenth celebration. I mean, I had not idea this happened. I always thought that when Abraham Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, it freed all slaves in the United States and the Confederacy.

Not Texas. Slaves in Texas were not freed until June 19, 1865 three years later. Union general George Granger and a few thousand troops came to Galveston to enforce the proclamation, thus freeing thousands of slaves in East Texas. The following year, freed slaves starting celebrating June 19, calling in Juneteenth, and it's recognized around the world as a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. .

Interesting sub-note: According to Wikipedia, slavery was not as common in Hill Country (which includes the Austin area) because German settlers were against the practice. So this area was progressive even back in then...

But Texas still can't make good on this interesting holiday. Several states have adopted Juneteenth as a state holiday, including places as far away as California and New York. But it's not an official state holiday here. State employees can use it as a floating holiday, but it's essentially the same as PTO. That said, people around here continue to have Juneteenth celebrations, so at least the people of Texas recognize the importance of this bit of history, even if the state government doesn't.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Do You Know the Historical Significance Of Tonight?

Today is June 1st. I'm sure some important historical events happened on this day in the past. But as for today -- June 1, 2009 -- I have to remind everyone that Conan O'Brien will be hosting his first episode of The Tonight Show.

I will be attending a viewing party with other people who take this as seriously as I do.