Saturday, December 31, 2016
Looking back on 2016, it’s easy to say what was the best about it. It was the time I spent playing with my awesome band Mountain Shoutin’...and the time I spent in New Orleans.
I liked my job at the advertising agency all right until it became obvious that if I kept it, I would never be a web developer again. It was a nice job and I loved the people. I owe them a lot for giving me a chance.
I loved my band. When Nathan answered my ad, his drums were all dusty. He said something along the lines of, “I just got divorced and my wife hated me playing drums, so now that’s all I want to do.” I said, “Oh, you’ll fit in great.” Then thanks to a Facebook introduction from a friend in Maine, I met Jon Horne, who invited me to a barbecue that very minute and introduced me to a “bass player” he knew. Hunt is of course way more than a bass player, but he’s also a hell of a bass player. And then came Andrew, Mr. Enthusiasm, who made me have to be more enthusiastic so I wouldn’t seem lazy. Playing with these guys was a ball. It came together really fast, as I predicted. The problem was gigs. I talked to Beerland and they said they liked the tape, and if we could get four other bands to play they’d give us a Tuesday. I had an easier time getting gigs in Austin before I lived here.
I enjoyed meeting Austin’s artists, especially when Claudia Aparicio-Gamundi would take me around and introduce me. I saw tons of terrific art while living here. I even went to some talks, if you can imagine that; me, sitting in a seat, listening.
I never cottoned to Austin, though. It just feels like a bunch of strip malls with a screaming dragstrip called I-35 right through the middle of it. It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t love to drive. In New Orleans, you can go to four bars on your bike in one night and spend $20; parking or Uber* costs more than that here. (*Uber actually left town, leaving us with local knockoff ride shares I won’t bother reviewing or naming.) I felt trapped a lot. I think I made a mistake when I chose my house to live in; it was like the suburbs, very family, very….square. I did have a yard possum who liked to come in and sample the cat food but that was as interesting as my dwelling got. (I pushed her out the back door with a gentle broom.)
Austin’s chief attractions seem to be SxSW and heavy food. (I did enjoy Stiles Switch BBQ once every six months.) What I liked best about it though:
I loved the North Village Public Library branch.
I enjoyed going for long walks with an iPod shuffle on the Burnet Middle School cinder track.
I got to see OBN IIIs at Hotel Vegas (and the Mummies too, but that’s too backward-looking).
I bought Portal 2 for XBox360 at a weird game store in a strip mall and the woman who sold it was so excited for me. She said “You are about to have the time of your life. This is a fantastic game.” I finally finished it, the first time I ever made it to the end of a game and completed the final boss battle.
I didn’t sell much art. (The exception was when my office bought a big pink piece I was proud of and mounted it on a brown wall and I thought it looked great, and they paid me very fairly for it.)
I only played three gigs. (I was actually in four different bands in Austin, though, other than MS, they all fell apart.) The one Mountain Shoutin’ show (a house party) was a blast, I have to say.
Anyway, today seems like a good day to say my life is about to change. I’m moving back to New Orleans. I just have more people there. I have job offers. I do need help finding a place to live—just like when I moved to Texas, I’ll probably be living at the most pet-friendly road lodging, Motel 6, for a while. If anybody wants to sublet to a neat guy with a neat cat, holler at us.