April 2009 Archives

Update: Still busy

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Whew - between my busy work schedule, training, trying to find places to eat, and all of the hounding I've been taking about "not updating my blog" it's a wonder that I'm able to find any time to sleep! ;-)

Apologies for not posting much over the past few days - I simply can't express how incredibly crazy busy work is. I could easily work 20 hour days and still not get caught up on everything that needs to be done... but, I'll take that over sitting around with nothing to do (ahem-FDIC-ahem) any day of the week! Speaking of the FDIC... sheesh - the bank finally closed and man... the waste... but that's a story by itself.

So, what have I been up to? Well, let's see... aside from work, there's food - went to Maria's Taco Express again and had some fish tacos. I was able to sneak a few better pictures this time, so here you go - this is what Maria's looks like from the outside:

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Yes, I believe that may be Maria herself, and despite the fact that she resembles a motorcycle mama, rest assured that she can make a mean taco. I'm in love with the fish tacos... I tried a taco with beef and potatoes, and it was ok, but I much preferred the fish tacos. Yummy.

I really like the outdoor seating; it's just about everywhere in Austin, and for some reason, eating outdoors makes all food taste better to me. As you can see from this photo it wasn't real busy, but I guess it gets absolutely crazy there on some nights - complete with lines that run out to the parking lot.

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So after sitting and waiting for the tacos to cook, they arrived, and man - they were just as fantastic as the time I enjoyed them. I was able to get a decent picture this time:

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Does it get any better than chips, queso, tacos, and an ice cold cerveza? I think not.

On the way out of Maria's, I stumbled across "Taste No Evil Muffins" - they have a bus/trailer in Maria's parking lot. And while they weren't open, I got a kick out of their signage:

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They are apparently quite "friendly" - just check out their list...

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I also swung by Uncle Billy's Brewery - it's an Austin staple, and sampled one of their fine brews while sitting on the patio. I love how dog friendly Austin is - here's a Rhodesian Ridgeback relaxing while her owner enjoyed a brew and some chow:

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Apologies for the grainy photo; iPhone pictures taken at night in a dimly-lit patio environment don't seem to turn out quite as well as you'd hope.

I also had a chance to see Lisa Lampanelli in concert at the Paramount Theater in Austin. Lisa is known as "the queen of mean" and is quite, well, coarse. Definitely not the kind of comedian that you'd want at Grandma's 100th birthday party... or Junior's 12th birthday party, or anyone's party who may be sensitive to foul language and politically incorrect humor... disclaimers aside, she was hilarious, and the seats were fantastic - 5th row, center stage.

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Near the beginning of the show, she proclaimed her genuine love for Austin - the crowd was laughing at everything, and wasn't groaning at the particularly harsh jokes, so she made her way into the audience and ended-up about 3 feet from me (she was picking on an Asian couple that was sitting to my left).

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She played for just over an hour, before heading out to the lobby to meet and greet everyone, sign autographs, and sell merchandise. Not wanting to battle the crowds, I rushed off and called it an early night.

In other news, I joined a gym so that I could swim during my lunch hour (that is when I get time to take a lunch). The gym is called "Lifetime Fitness" and it's absolutely mammoth - see for yourself:

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It has indoor and outdoor lap pools, an indoor water park, separate kids pools (for under 12), about 300,000 treadmills, and more workout equipment than you could ever possible imagine. Other benefits: no contract/commitment - it's all month-to-month - and they have spin classes, pilates, and so on. I may try my hand at some pilates... we'll see how that goes. :-)

I guess that's it for now. I'm back to work, wrapping up the final details on some marketing materials for our new product, The Grid.

Score!

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Every job has perks; every job has a downside. Finding the ideal balance between the ups and downs can be tricky, but when you do, it's probably one of the biggest defining factors of a dream job. I honestly think I've found that balance here at Trigger Point.

Case in point: we offer discounts on our products to pro athletes and fellow industry insiders, and they return the favor to us. As such, I've been able to score some great gear at a significant discount, including a new pair of shoes, wet suits, and some bicycling shorts/bibs. I received my shoes today and am already in love with them...

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They match our company colors perfectly, and they're extremely comfy. Technically they're trail running shoes, but I think I'll be ok with wearing them for casual use. :-)

Nothing else to report - just working my butt off. Oh, I was featured on our company blog today - you can check that out by clicking here. Enjoy!!

I'll post more over the weekend, so stay tuned.

A day in the life

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The Trigger Point offices were closed on Friday, in observance of Good Friday, so Thursday was my last official "work day" for the week. We hired a new sales person to handle the Texas region, and Cassidy wanted to take him around and introduce him to some of our Austin account holders. So, we hopped into the Trigger Point Truck and hit the road - I made a blog entry about it over at the Trigger Point Wordpress Blog site; you can read all of the details about it over there.

As a teaser, here we are, about to go into Crossfit Central, which is one of the nicest Crossfit facilities I've ever seen.

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After calling on various accounts, we stopped by Whole Foods to grab some lunch. They had a great deal on lunch tacos - two for $5, so I grabbed a couple of tacos (chicken), some fruit, and a bottle of water. I was out the door for just under $8 - not bad for Whole Foods, and excellent for as great as it tasted.

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Whole Foods is such a cool grocery store - you can literally find anything imaginable there, and everything is fresh, wholesome, and amazing. They also have a massive salad bar, a baked potato center, soup line, pastry shop, and more... here's a shot of the pizza and pot pie area:

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So much nicer than the deep-fried crap that Walmart considers to be "deli food." :-) Although, the Whole Foods prices are quite a bit higher than 'ole Wal-Mart... check out the price on this ham:

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And finally, here's a cold splash or reality for everyone who complains about my constant raving about Austin. :-) Contrary to what my blog might lead you to believe, I don't get to go running around to all of these wonderful restaurants all day and night. Nope, I make it sound "glamorous," but the sad reality is that more often than not, my meals go more like this:

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That's an EAS Myoplex Chocolate nutrition shake (180 calories) with a bottle of Ozarka water, and the lovely laundry room. So, fear not - life's not always so grand in Austin. ;-)

More Austin Goodness

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You're going to get tired of me and my positive, upbeat, happy posts... but don't fret - I'm sure I'll have some snarky and cynical observations to share in the near future. I could already craft a piece about how horrible Texas drivers are - they may give Oklahoma drivers a run for their money - but I'll save that for later.

For now, Austin definitely has that "new car smell." I really can't say enough great things about the city, and I think a lot of it has to do with my location. I'm so close to everything - it's almost ridiculous.

I was bored on Sunday. I had wanted to go for a long bike ride, but the winds were gusting at speeds of up to 40mph, and I didn't feel like getting tossed around on the bike, so I settled for a 7 mile run around the Barton loop, took a shower, and then wondered how I could best spend the rest of my day.

I looked at the car and realized it was filthy, so first item on my list was to go and wash it. I had noticed a local car wash place that looked interesting - they always had Jaguars, Porches, BMWs, Mercedes, and Land Rovers running through their facility, so I figured they had to be decent. I drove 2.1 miles from my apartment to the car wash place, and man, was it busy.

I got into line with my car and waited for the attendant to "take my order." Since I had never been there before, I chose the basic package - hand wash, hand dry, complete wheel and tire cleaning, tire dressing, and a complete interior cleaning. Cost? $16. Wait time? About 1.5 hours. But, it was a Sunday afternoon, the weather was nice (but windy), and I had nothing but time, so it was all good.

Here's my car in the wash bay:

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The car wash had a great outdoor patio that was shaded, and they offered free wireless internet and cheap soft drinks ($1 for a bottle). I opted to walk to a local marketplace, where I found a great locally grown and roasted coffee. I also browsed the selection of locally made cheeses, beers, and snacks. I can't tell you how awesome it is to find places like this - it's so refreshing to not be forced to shop at WalMart. I'll gladly pay an extra $0.39 for something if it means that it's: (a) supporting a local business, (b) fresh and exciting, (c) something that doesn't say "Kraft" or "Tyson" or "Nabisco" on it.

After grabbing the coffee, I headed back to the car wash place just in time to see them finishing up my car. It looked pretty good to me:

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I realize how ironic it is that "geekysteve" from "Guru Reports" is now paying people to wash and detail his car... yes, a few years ago I would've gone bonkers with the idea of running my car through a service like this, but today I couldn't care less. In the event that the car gets too swirled or too messed up, I'll fire up the buffer, spend an afternoon perfecting it, and call it good. Life's too short to obsess over a swirl mark. :-)

I also noticed a doggy day care across the street from the car wash - that's good to know about, so I took a photo to keep as a "reminder" in case I need to use it:

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Given Austin's liberal stance on allowing dogs just about everywhere, I highly doubt I'd ever need to use them, but it's good know they're available.

With my car nice and clean, it was off to explore the city. I needed to swing by a Sears so that I could pick up a cheap pair of pliers, so my next mission was to find a mall. Turns out there's an amazing mall about 2 miles from my apartment (4 miles from the car wash). So, I took Lamar Blvd to 360, and within a few minutes, I was at the Barton Springs mall.

What a place. They had Nordstroms, Macy's, Coach, Prada, Ann Taylor, Lucky Brand, Mens Warehouse, and about 30 other awesome stores, including a Sears. I took an hour or so to stroll through the mall, making note of the various stores. Oh, they also had an Apple Store!! Jackpot #2!

Thoroughly impressed with the selection of stores, it was back to the apartment. The sun was setting, and I had grabbed a few free magazines while out and about. I pulled a chair onto my deck, turned on my iPod, kicked back and enjoyed the Sunday afternoon.

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I had a view of the pool, my clean car, the setting sun, and a few good magazines to read. I sat on the porch until around 7:30 or so, which by then it was getting chilly (into the high 60s). The entire time I was sitting there, I smiled with appreciation for the simpler things.

I've spent so much of my life being wrapped-up in, concerned with, and obsessing over money and status. I've wanted nothing more than to be wealthy and successful. And for so long, it meant so much. But now, with my life completely rearranged, I've come to realize that none of that stuff really matters. I'm not going to try to kid myself into thinking that it's not nice to have a bucket of money, nice watches, nice cars, a big house, and so on... but I am perfectly happy with this one-bedroom apartment, my bike, my running shoes, and my iPod. I've got a job that I'm super excited about, I'm in a city that is inviting, fun, friendly, and full of opportunity, I've got a great network of friends, and as such, I'm free of worry and stress.

It's liberating. I'd love to sell my house, but it'll happen when it's meant to happen. Until then, I'll keep chugging along. I thought about this a lot today while I was riding my bike (on my lunch hour - another bonus - I rode 27 miles at lunch today, and it was glorious)... How lucky am I to be in this situation? To find a job and a place when the world is what it is? Wow.

So, with that, I'll leave you all for a bit. Sorry to get so philosophical. It's not really my style, but it's more or less what I was feeling last night and today. I'll also leave you a photo of a burger from Shuggies (which is in the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery). I'm telling you all - you need to come visit Austin. You'll leave 13 pounds heavier, your cholesterol will be 10% higher, but you'll be happy. :-)

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I may want to rethink living in Austin. The food is so spectacular here - it will forever spoil me and is certain to make future eating adventures pale in comparison. There's no shortage of amazing restaurants, food shacks, bakeries, and other eateries. Heck, even the discount grocery stores are unreal.

Case(s) in point, in chronological order:

April 1 - yes, my birthday. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes, cards, texts, e-mails, calls, and so on - I really, really appreciate it. You're all great people to remember 'lil 'ole me and my birthday. Best birthday message award goes to Dan Topel who sent this sentimental wish: "Happy birthday you old bastard."

So, on my birthday, I enjoyed a few wonderful meals. For lunch, it was over to Madam Mam's, a local Thai food place, for some Chicken Pad Thai. Yum - see below:

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And for dinner, it was a quick trip to Ikea for another chair and a few odds-n-ends, and then on the way back decided to stop at "North by Northwest" for dinner. It was extremely dark inside the restaurant so my photos didn't turn out as planned... but, I sampled their microbrews (all made on site), and enjoyed a pork tenderloin with bacon risotto. It was yummy as well - perhaps too yummy, as I left feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.

Thursday's lunch was lighter fare; stopped at the Kerbey Lane cafe and enjoyed a small garden salad with a cup of chicken tortilla soup. It was fantastic, but I forgot my camera, so sorry folks - no photos. With not much to do on Thursday night, the evening called for some adventure, so it was down to Congress Avenue for "First Thursday."

Apparently, Congress hosts an outdoor shopping/music/food event on the first Thursday of each month. Local vendors come out, set-up shop on the sidewalks, and sell their hand/locally made wares. People bring their dogs, restaurants sponsor music events, and everyone and their brother seems to have a great time.

Put my name in at Home Slice Pizza (YUM!) and found out there was a 2 hour wait for a table, so it was over to Guerro's for some outdoor music, a beverage (or two), and lots of people watching. Guerro's has an indoor restaurant, along with this outdoor beer garden, complete with amazingly huge and sprawling trees:

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There was also this cute little Doberman - he was nice!

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After spending a lot of time listening to the band, watching people, and enjoying the wonderful weather (it was in the low 70's, even at 8pm), it was time to head over to Home Slice for some pizza. Went with the Margherita pizza, which was delicious!!!

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The pizza took forever to arrive; but when it was time to leave, there was still a massive wait to get in to the place - this picture was taken at about 10:30pm or so...

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Woke up today, feeling rather full, but that didn't stop this eating machine... no sir. For lunch, it was over to the South Austin Trailer Park (I mentioned it in an earlier post) for some Torchy's Tacos. They were tasty - so good, in fact, that I started eating them right away, hence this half-eaten breakfast taco shot:

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The trailer park is really a cool place. There are a bunch of covered picnic benches that surround 4-5 food trailers. You can get everything from cupcakes to Philly Cheesesteaks. Here's a shot of the park, from the bench area:

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And, a detail shot of the Torchy's Trailer:

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How can any old restaurant in Austin throw a cook top in a beat-up trailer and produce food that is non-greasy, delicious, inexpensive, and unique, while in Arkansas, investors spend millions on over-priced, gaudy chain restaurants that serve tired, greasy, disgusting slop that they try to pass off as food? It baffles me...

Speaking of baffling, the local Central Market grocery store is another example of things done right. Unlike buying groceries from Wal-Mart, Central Market (and HEB, Randalls, and Whole Foods) actually offer a tremendous variety of good, fresh, and appealing food. The asparagus isn't all skinny, wilted, mushy, and gross - nope. Look at this stuff, and there's both white and green asparagus:

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And finally, I was going through photos on my phone, and I stumbled across this last food photo... it's from the local chinese buffet place. For $6, you can get anything from corn cakes to sushi, and again, it was all - surprise - delicious. Yes, you're getting tired of hearing me talk/brag/post about food here in Austin, but it really is amazing...

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So, that's about it. Food, food, and more food. I love it, indeed. I'm going to run tomorrow morning, ride tomorrow afternoon, and repeat again on Sunday. I'm going to have to really ramp up the mileage if I'm going to keep eating like I have been!

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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