Sunday, March 25, 2012

Idle Hands...

We've been alluding to something delaying our departure in the last couple of posts.
The details are finalized and we can finally come clean, so here you go.

Since we're jobless hobo bums, we occasionally have free time on our hands.  Sometimes, when I'm bored and have nothing else to do, I troll the webernet for interesting deals to entertain myself.  This usually just means browsing Craigslist looking at old Airstreams and bicycles and nothing really comes of it because we shouldn't be needlessly spending money.

Well, back before we left for Key West in February, I was trolling and found a real estate search tool that gave me some basic MLS access.  Just for the heck of it, I typed in the address of a little condo complex I'd been sort of curious about since my appraisal days (4 years ago) and a unit just happened to be on the market.  Out of curiosity, I drove by to see where the unit was in the complex, but wasn't crazy about it and dismissed it.

So.... we left town for 3 weeks and went to the Keys and, on the way back, stopped in New Orleans for Mardis Gras at Marshall and Jenny's and misplaced our camera.  Stephen and Lauren Shallcross were at Jenny and Marshall's too and found our camera.  When they got back to Austin, Angie and I went over to their house to retrieve the camera.  We were chatting with Lauren, who also happens to be our realtor extraordinaire, and I remembered the condo.  Lauren looked it up in MLS and, low and behold, the price had been lowered... we bought it.

Of course, it's not as simple as that, there was some back and forth negotiation, but overall it was pretty painless.

Lauren and Angie closin' on the condo, Rose style!
Actually, the mimosas were Lauren's idea.  I'll never go to closing without them from now on!
Thanks for all your help and guidance, Lauren! 

Welcome to Unit 113!
Let's clean!

We couldn't afford a U-haul after buying the condo but our friends, Mike and Ayse, were kind enough to lend us their little Toyota, and Eric D provided muscle for the heavy stuff.
Thanks y'all!

We only had to move about a mile from Scott and Amy's guest house (ahhh, the Casita!!) and were able to do it in about six trips.  We moved twice in 2011 before the trip so we were already pretty streamlined which helped.

What's left of our belongings has become like a kit that we can move and set up in 2-3 days.

The condo is a 2 bed, 1 bath and even smaller than the guest house we've been living in, but we love it already!  Since we've unintentionally spent so much time in Austin (the holidays and waiting for better weather northeast), we've had time to begin thinking about what we'll do when we finish the trip.  The condo will provide a nice re-entry point when we return and need to start earning money again.  In the meantime, we're looking for a short-term tenant to live in it until we get back later this summer.

The complex is pretty basic looking from the street...

...but it's got a great courtyard with a pool and a couple of beautiful mature oak trees.

Also, in the common areas, there're these fantastic tile mosaics.

The best part about it is the location.  We're just over a mile from downtown.

You can just see the UT tower in orange on the right side of the photo.
Hook 'em!

Paul A. Rose
This is my grandfather, he passed away some years ago but his influence lives on.
A gift that he gave us before his death was instrumental in the purchase of the condo.
It would not have been possible otherwise.
Thanks Grandad, we love you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

SXSW 2012!

Funny, we didn't even intend to be in Austin but oh well, might as well make the best of it!

This time last year we were house sitting for Scott & Amy and were neck deep in preparations for our big trip.  A year later and here we are again!  Last year we were performing in the festival and had the luxury of "artist" wristbands so we could get into almost any "official" showcase.  This year we had no credentials what-so-ever but saw just as many bands and had an awesome time.  There're so many free daytime parties and nightly concerts that there's really no need for badges and wristbands.  Here's a dozen or so of the many bands we got to check out.

The San Jose Hotel on South Congress had a stage in their parking lot every day of the music portion of the festival with bands on from about noon 'til 10pm.  They're not affiliated with SXSW, it's their own little festival that they call South by San Jose.  We saw several bands on this stage as it was on our way to and from downtown..... it made a great little pit stop.

This is local gal, Amy Cook.  You might also recognize David Garza to her right on guitar.

Speaking of the San Jose, we know a guy that works there, our old buddy Thad.
Thad was nice enough to take a moment to pose for a photo and buy us a round.
Myself, Thad, and of course Ali and Stefon (what the heck is going on with Stefon's hat?)

Later, in the San Jose courtyard, we were entertained by "Shaky Graves".
Hard to tell in this awful photo but he has a suitcase that he uses like a bass drum, which he plays with the heel of his right foot.  The left foot is alternating with a tambourine!

You'll have to trust me, there's a band up there.
"Band of Skulls," an awesome (Angie's word) English 3-piece performs straight ahead hard rock.

Sorry, this photo is awful but it's the only one we have of a band from Iceland, "Of Monsters and Men",  a folky rock thing.  They recently won Músíktilraunir, a yearly battle-of-the-bands competition in Iceland, and are experiencing all the buzz that goes with that.  They still seem a little shell-shocked by all the attention! They're kind of a mix between Arcade Fire and the Givers.   Very good. Fun.

There were three nights of free concerts at Auditorium Shores.
This was the first, which featured "M. Ward" and "The Shins" with the beautiful Austin skyline as backdrop.  Look closely and you can see M. Ward on the jumbo-tron.

Ooh, hello pretty ladies...Angie and Ali setting up for the show!
We went in the gates and discovered the beers were $6 each!!  So we walked back out, made a quick beer run to the nearest convenience store ($11 for a 12-pack, thank you very much) and set up on the grassy hillside across from the concert with about 1,000 other smart people...

...and enjoyed the music from there!

This is 6th Street on a weekday during the festival!
There were a few people in town...

This girl is gonna be big.  She's Australian, wears cool outfits, and has a great voice.
Kind of a cross between Amy Winehouse (but without all problems - RIP) and Lady Gaga (but without the meat dress).  Someone we met later said she reminded them of Katy Perry, but we didn't get that comparison at all.    

Her band looks like it time warped from the early eighties!

Home Slice Pizza had their own festival in their parking lot too.
This is "The Darcys"

"Lost-Lander" was all coordinated with white outfits and black instruments.

"Yellow Ostrich," great name and interesting instrumentation.  Bass, guitar, drums, some keys, and trumpet...

Scott Ryder: man about town

Oh Canada!
"Dan Mangan," hailing from Vancouver, BC.  These guys were great.  Trumpet seems to be all the rage right now.

Everything but the kitchen sink.  I counted 18 members and another trumpet!

Back to basics.  This was a random discovery and they were really good.
The young woman on drums was rockin' and she sang too!

Back to Auditorium Shores for the last free show on Saturday night which featured local band "Bright Light Social Hour" and an ooooold favorite of mine, "The Cult" from England!
(Guess this cyclist didn't get the memo, ahhhh Austin.)

These guys are 50+ now and are still jammin'!
They played a good mix of old and new material including several songs from my favorite album, "Love," and even a song from an old "Death Cult" record!

I've never seen them with a conga player though...

Yep, no joke, they had him come on stage and play congas on two songs!
If you don't know, he's from Austin and is a living legend around here.  Supposedly the police were called to his house once on a noise complaint and discovered him playing congas...naked.  This just reinforces my theory that he's a cartoon character come to life.

"Built to Spill," out of retirement and closing Saturday night back at the San Jose.

We survived SXSW 2012 and it was a great one!

Next entry.... we'll reveal why we're still in Austin and not back out on the road...
Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Houston, oh Houston, We Can't Stay Away

Soooooo, we're still in Austin (Greg'll explain why later).  And while we'd love to be back on the road, being here has given us the chance to attend some events that we would've otherwise missed, like our nephew's birthday party (masquerading as a crawfish boil)!  So we drove to Houston again (this was my 3rd trip and Greg's 4th since January!) and chowed down.....

(Disclaimer: this post will be 100% comprised of family pictures and mud bugs, so avert your eyes if that bores you and/or if you're hungry)

My bro, Jeremy.

Greg likes him too.

The 3-year old reason for the festivities, Jax!!  He didn't quite know what to make of the crawfish, 

so his big brother, Jett, helped him out.  That's my sis-in-law, Jackie (from Louisiana!), in the background.  They like the letter "J."

 And, soon, the lil critters were put out of their misery.

 Chef Dougie

Dig in!  They ain't gonna peel themselves!!

very tiny action shot

Sis' in-law Holly and Olivia, a few more years, she'll be peeling like a pro

After all the bugs were gone, we went to a local bar for a few games of pool.  Fortunately, the bar is right next door to an ER.  That was some good planning!

We probably won't be going back through Houston for a while.  Our trip (which WILL happen!!!) will take us north and east, so I'm glad we got to see some of my Houston peeps while we had the chance.  Love y'all!

P.S.  Like a good aunt, I made sure Jax has some UT garb in his closet.  The hat's a bit big, but provides plenty of sun protection!  Happy birthday, Jax!!