I managed to jam-pack a ton of activity into this past weekend. Much of it revolved around landlord Mark’s charity garage sale to aid his faithful pooch Matilda. Many neighbors donated items for Mark to sell, including me… I gave him my new 60-cent golf clubs and $2 bicycle, amongst other unwanted items. Mark also had a massive record collection which he bought for $30 a few years back, averaging out to about 1.5 cents per record.
I had been told that Mark’s rummage sales are a big production, highlighted by his friend Jimmy from Sioux Falls who wore a referee shirt and acted as the Price Ref, ending all haggling on prices with a blow of his whistle. Mark stood on his doorstep playing his trombone, doing the fight songs for anyone who stopped by wearing particular collegiate apparel. There was the “circle of freedom,” a garden hose laid out in a circle in the lawn, and as the day progressed new items made their way into the circle. The sale itself wasn’t even advertised, it was only the “circle of freedom” that went up onto the Free section of Craigslist, and when people came by to look at the freebies they also were sucked into buying something from the sale. I stood outside and attempted to assist for several hours, my first true lengthy exposure to the blistering Austin sun so far.
The highlight of the day took place when Jimmy noticed some cups had been stolen. Mark went sprinting full-speed down the road after a Hispanic woman in an SUV, ready to fight for his cups back. It was just as Mark reached the woman that Jimmy noticed, “oh wait, there’s the cups.” I was laughing imagining what Mark might have done to the innocent woman who no doubt was terrified. Earlier in the day, someone actually did steal a serving plate, so his response was justified.
I crashed pretty hard after that, sleeping from about 1 to 3. After waking up, I worked on some Microboards contract work and went to the gym. Around 7:00 I decided to take advantage of my empty schedule and went out to eat at Pluckers, Austin’s answer to Buffalo Wild Wings. There are several BWW here too, but the locals are adamant that Pluckers is far superior. I agreed that the quality of the chicken being served was superior, but I am yet to be sold on the sauces. And wouldn’t you know it, the manager at Pluckers is from… you guessed it… South Dakota! So now I’ve got an “in” there.
Next I drove down the street looking for a bar with good live country music and wound up at a hole-in-the-wall type of establishment called Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon. They were featuring the music of Billy Dee, a man who looked a lot like Charlie Daniels. They encouraged people to dance, but the dance floor was literally only big enough for one couple at a time, and the people here sure did know how to dance! The big draw at Ginny’s is Sunday’s Chicken Shit Bingo, a gambling game where a chicken walks across a big piece of plywood with various squares with numbers in them. If the chicken shits in your number, you win the jackpot. I hung around there for a couple hours before departing around 11.
To close out the night, I did something I always wanted to do in Minneapolis but for some reason never went through with it, and took in the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Alamo Drafthouse. For those unfamiliar with Rocky Horror, it is a terrible cult musical from 1975 starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Meat Loaf and involves transvestites and is just plain bizarre. The midnight movie is absolutely not just about sitting in your seat and watching the movie. They had a live cast acting out the movie in front of the screen, and sometimes interacting with things on screen. They constantly shouted out things the whole movie. There were times they made everyone get up and dance or chant something. I was expecting more of a quote-along, sing-along event but it was much different than that. A good experience, but I probably wouldn’t go back again anytime soon. I guarantee over half of the crowd there had some sort of drug in their systems which obviously enhanced their experiences.
Sunday I tagged along with Mark to Half-Price Books, where he earned the handsome sum of $15.25 for over 100 books. After that we went over to his friend Barnes’ house for a BBQ. Barnes is a renowned local chef who is about to open his own food trailer (these are quite the rage in Austin). He makes his own sausages and was grilling them up and preparing lots of different recipes. One of them I tried was a spicy chicken sausage on a bun with fried okra and spicy habanero mayo… very tasty indeed! There was also a keg of some good local beer. I wasn’t driving, so I had myself a merry time. Aside from a 3-year-old girl, I was clearly the youngest one there by at least ten years. The group spent much of the evening talking about birds and trees… quite the nature buffs!
One last note about the weekend… it RAINED for the first time since I got here… for all of one minute during the BBQ. Poor Austin, it is as dry and crisp and brown as can be. More 100-degree days on tap for this week. The record heat wave continues!