USA trip Nov. 2010, part 5

2010-10-16

Good morning, Round Rock! It’s Tuesday and I haven’t updated in a while.

Meeting up Lon with Monica, his girlfriend, was awesome. Up till the point when I kind of went too drunk. Before that, a bunch of us went to a record store where bands were playing live. Garage-y stuff, really fun and hamfisted, back to the three-chord era. It was a hoot. I went across the road to a convenience store where the owner had 4-6 quite small kids behind the counter, and he sort of guilt-tripped me into tipping him more than I probably should have, but then again, what the fuck does “should” mean in a world where Wal-Mart employees are often on welfare because of the minimum pay?

So I went back to the record store with big-ass – and by that I mean way bigger-asser than in Sweden – bottles of beer and passed those around, got pizza, talked with some awesome people, went to a place called Liberty where more drinks were consumed. Lon seems passionate about Stockholm, can you imagine it?

Then we all went to Lon’s apartment. About this time is when my memory starts malfunctioning because of the economy too much alcohol. Lon drove us “home”.

Cabeza de Gorilla

Woke up on the thirteenth and just took it fairly easy. There’s something really cool called the Austin Studio Tour, which is set over four days (two weekends) where a whole lot of artists, and I’m talking painters, sculptors, metal-wielders, silk-screen printers, et.c. showcase and sell their stuff. A map of the entire thing showed downtown Austin all filled with studios where you’d go. So we went to a studio of two friends of Patrick and Renate’s; one made silk-screen prints for t-shirts and what have you not, and the other does prints and art for posters, t-shirts, et.c. He’d printed a really cool Sonic Youth poster that showed the band as demons/vampires, but I didn’t get the blue print when he told me they had a flourescent pink one at a time (which was sold out). I did, however, get a print that said “CABEZA DE GORILLA” which is is trademark of sorts. A big, hand-drawn gorilla’s head with the text beneath, sort of like all the stuff that the “Andre the Giant has a posse” guy’s done. And I’m really happy about a $10 t-shirt I got printed. The front is a switchblade comb with the back showing a nuclear family with the text “ART DOESN’T PAY” around the top. Sweet.

We got Mexican food at Chapala’s, which turned out really, really good. It’s a place on Cesar Chavez Street; we were supposed to go to a macrobiotic joint called Mr. Natural (sans Robert Crumb connotations, I think) but they were closed on Sundays. Chapala’s served us a plate of nachos with salsa verde to begin with and then I ordered cheese-drenched enchiladas with rice. Oooh, it was so good I can’t even begin to explain it. Just the feeling of sitting in what seems like a great Mexican place with food that’s made by some good chef was enough to make me happy. I wish I could just copy/paste everything about that experience. Also, getting more than a half tank of gas after that cost us about $15. Madness. Everything’s this cheap? Brian told us that the price of gas has doubled in ten years. Woo.

Seeing Brian again was great and he’s such a great guy, really funny, smart and friendly. With great taste in music to boot. His house is in Round Rock, which is a bit outside of central Austin, and that area seems perfect to raise kids in. It’s suburbia in a good way. One of his neighbours has a Dala horse hanging from their roof outdoors. Ha!

Our Sunday was drunken. We all went to Kung Fu Saloon, which is really a big room with games along the edges, everything from 8-bit machines (Ms. Pac Man and Asteroids) to Skee-ball. Big-screen TVs showed American football to which big people brawled. It was loud and friendly. Three of Brian’s friends partied with us and let me just state that the first round of drinks cost less than three small beers at the cheapest place in Stockholm. Aah!

While some of our crowd went to see The Dandy Warhols live, Mia, myself and one of Brian’s friends, Kylie, went to some place and had food. We sat on a patio facing a busy street which was nice. Just sitting kinda outdoors in the middle of November felt great.

We went back to Kung Fu, played games, talked a lot. Sharon and Colin were really nice and friendly people. There was a lot of talk and reference to “the human centipede” phenomena, which is something you’ll google and I won’t write more about, not because I’m shocked by it – it’s 2010 – and we laaaughed. More drinks. More laugh. More words on The Human Centipede. Playing Jenga was great; I’ve not done it before. Have to get a Jenga set. And “combination” was fun, I’m usually shit at games like that – this not being an exception in the least – but now it kinda ruled. I played some Asteroids-like game with Sharon and Brian, which was really fun. 8-bit rules!11 And it was just at my level, besides the fact that the number of buttons required to command your space station seemed to grow exponentially with the number of drinks I had. And the drinks were STRONG. Those bartenders didn’t exactly skimp on the hooch. We then went to Brian’s place and literally crashed.

Yesterday kicked off by eating at Kerbey Lane at its original location, which seems to be set in a street of seemingly residential houses. Ate such good food. I liked the “first” place more, but this was nice. Sharon turned up and I felt kind of switched-off before eating the first half of my meal, but then energy kicked in and I got rolling.

We went to the movies with Brian and Kylie. We saw “Let Me In“, the American remake of the Swedish “Låt Den Rätte Komma In“, which I actually – bar the winter scenes – thought was better than the original. I liked the girl in the American version a lot more, but the boys were on par with each-other. God damn it, George Lucas, see this and realise that casting can produce some really ace actors! Oh by the way, we wanted to treat Brian and Kylie to the cinema, which ended up with me paying…$3. That’s right, $0.75/ticket. My gawd. The cinema where we went was showing films that were “old”, so you don’t have to pay that much to see them. Whoo.

We went to Trudy’s after that. Oh boy. Last time we went there was the first time we met Brian. This time, we didn’t go all in, so it was all about their $5 Monday special Mexican Margueritas that can kill big animals. That drink is great and the food was excellent! I got char-grilled vegetables with refried black beans, broccoli con queso and “Mexican rice”. Mmm-good. Even the queso with nachos was good. Brian got quesadillas that made my mouth water, and Mia’s cheese and refried beans on nachos was very good.

Then we were quite taken aback by the food and being a little hung-over, we all retired to Brian’s place where we watched “DiG!“, a documentary about Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, two American bands seemingly into the whole British invasion of the 60s mashed with psych-rock outfits like Spiritualized. That was an experience! The frontman of BJM seems seriously mentally challenged, a bit genius, a bit mad; I’ve not heard them though, so I really can’t say. But even if you’re not interested in the music at least, the documentary’s definitely worth watching.

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