Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Houston: We have a problem…

Γ‘…actually we don’t. Darce & I had a fantastic day at the NASA Space Centre Houston scrambling all over NASA rockets and multitude of space artefacts in the exhibition centre. We even got to touch a bit of the moon! πŸŒ” Which seemed apt for a trip that started with an eclipse. 

Lots to see and do in the beautiful sun and moonshine - we had a great day. πŸ”­πŸ§‘‍πŸš€πŸš€πŸ›ΈπŸ›°️

Houston: Those first impressions…

It’s big. Huge. Houston is 40 miles across the city limits in some places.

The bus drive down from Austin was fairly quick. But we started entering Houston almost an hour before we actually reached our destination! 

Darce and I staying at the InterContinental which is a nice place. The bar and the food in the restaurant was good too. 

But as with most big American cities, you have to have a car to get around. Or in our case, a taxi. It’s just too far to walk anywhere. Especially in this heat.

Popping to a convenience store? Get a taxi. 
Go out for something to eat? Get a taxi. 
Go to a bar? Get a taxi. 

Today Saturday, we are planned to do a bit exploring. So you can probably guess how we’re going to get around… πŸš•

Friday, April 12, 2024

Austin: Shopping, more BBQ, bats, more comedy, and Rainbow Road…

Yesterday Darce & I hit the shopping trail. A massive mall; American Eagle, Aeropostale, Apple Store for a Vision Pro demo, and then the KiwiMart (sorry Walmart).  

Later we went into town to complete the consumerism experience for another fabulous barbecue at Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. We love that place. 

After that, we wall out onto the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch the one and a half million bats come streaming out at sundown. The way you do. 

A 1980 renovation transformed the bridge into an ideal bat cave, soon attracting migrating Mexican free-tailed bats. Decades later, Austin's bat numbers have swelled and locals have adopted the beloved creatures as neighbours who happily handle the city's bug mitigation and provide an amazing nightly show.

To top of the night off we went to go and see stand-up comic Margaret Cho at the Paramount. Her stand-up is absolute filth. Some walked out. We loved it. 

Oh and we popped into Iron Bear gay bar on the way home to watch a Mario kart tournament. Go figure. 

Next stop Houston. (Now my passport was arrived!)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Let’s Call It An Adventure….

I have issues. No, not those sorts of issues. 
Although I have those too. 
Travel issues. 
Guess who left his passport in Dallas? Me. 
And I’m in Austin. Four hours away. 
So my passport is currently at the mercy of the rather slow US Postal Service.
Which means my ongoing travel plans are what you might call ‘fluid’.
I’m choosing to look at it as an adventure though - and not what it might actually be which is a massive fuck-up on my part. πŸ˜‚ 

Austin: City Tour & Comedy Night & BBQ…

So yesterday Darce and I hit the streets to take a look-see around  the city that is glitzy Austin, Texas. Yea-hah! 🀠

To be honest, the city is a little predictable architecturally. Sure the skyscrapers are nice. The Texas State Capitol is impressive. The greenery and river are beautiful. And the Paramount Theatre has an old worldly charm. 

But the rest is by the numbers:

  1. An oldish church, sorry cathedral. Cathedral of Saint Mary in Austin. 
  1. An oldish bakery. Lundberg Bakery. 
  1. An oldish hotel. Driskill Hotel.   
Etc etc. 

No, what sets Austin apart from other US cities is the vibe. The people. There’s a real buzz to the place. 

And that buzz was no more apparent than when Darce treated me to a night of stand-up comedy at the previously mentioned Paramount Theatre. Frankie QuiΓ±ones was on. We laughed our socks off. 

And afterwards we continued that vibe and dropped into another one of Austin’s cool places to go. A BBQ. BBQs are legendary in this neck of the woods, and Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que is up there right with them. The food was fab. We stuffed ourselves. 

Our ribs were both tickled and grilled in the same night. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Arsenal 2 - 2 Bayern Munich…

Great to watch the first leg of the Champions League Quarter Final yesterday afternoon with our new friends from the Austin Gooners at The Tavern in Austin, Texas. Matt and the gang were very welcoming. The place was pretty busy and we got chatting to loads of fans all with stories to tell about why they support a team 9 hours flight away. 
πŸ€ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ”΄⚪️

The game itself was a little frustrating though. 

The Gunners were playing in our first quarter-final for 14 years so it was perhaps understandable that nerves were on show, even though we got the perfect start with Bukayo Saka's early goal.

Bayern Munich, with former Spurs striker Harry Kane inevitably a figure of prominence, were roused from their Bundesliga struggles by a tournament that means so much to them.

They were well-organised and a serious threat on the counter-attack, with Serge Gnabry and Kane turning the game around, the latter's penalty his 15th goal in 20 games against us.

Substitute Leandro Trossard secured Arsenal a draw after their second-half pressure and manager Mikel Arteta's positive substitutions deserved to leave a place in the semi-final very much up for grabs in next Wednesday's second leg at the Allianz Arena.

The good news is that manager Arteta and his players will know they can play much better, and not as tentatively, as this in Germany.

Arsenal can still harbour serious hopes of reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

Onward and upward my friends.   


Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Austin: Here we come…

Currently hightailing it through a thundering and lightning storm destination Austin, Tx to a bar to meet the local Austin Gooners to watch the match. 
πŸ˜‚πŸ€ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ”΄⚪️ @austingooners @TavernAustin #ARSBAY #COYG