Archive | March, 2011

The Arts

30 Mar

Not only does the natural landscape of rolling hills and pristine lakes make Austin BEAUTIFUL, but the quirky art makes it strangely wonderful. Austin is filled to the brim with different mediums of art; paintings, murals, statues, etc. Just about everything in Austin is done with a certain odd artistic style. I am a really detailed oriented person, I notice things that a

Mural in West Campus

lot of people probably wouldn’t and Austin is the perfect place to find things that are there for you to be observant of little details. Some of the most common murals Austin is known for are the “Greetings from Austin” postcard murals places in various locations around the city. Another is the “Hi, How are you?” frog/ alien looking creature, if you aren’t from Austin you probably think this mural is very odd. Which I do admit it is really weird but it has become one of Austin’s trademarks. Austinites love this strange mural

Hi, How are you?

just like they love their strange (yet awesome) city. As I mentioned in one of my past blogs music is more than a huge thing in Austin, it keeps the city going round(economically and spiritually). To embody the cities dedication to music into a visual art, Gibson Guitars has contributed to a project called Guitar Town. This project is the explanation for giant guitars placed all over Austin. Each of these 10 foot tall Gibson Guitars is beautifully and creatively decorated and painted by local artists. Every guitar is decorated differently and each depict favorite Austin spots and themes. Eventually these guitars were auctioned off to benefit local charities such as every person’s favorite place to go when they were a child in Austin, the awesome Children’s Museum, but their existence will forever be remembered.If you explore downtown Austin or west campus I will urge you to look at EVERYTHING, from the buildings to guiding rails, a lot these things have minute or large things that were added to them just to make them more appealing. For example the Frost Tower, you have to admit the top of that building is pretty freaking cool. The capitol building might look very similar to our nations capitol in Washington, D.C. but every Austinite knows ours is better because it’s taller(everything’s bigger in Texas) and recently I noticed it’s pinkish, which is kind of cool. Our new City Hall

City Hall

building is pretty crazy looking, and I’m told that it is supposed to look like an armadillo from a certain angle but I have yet to see it, but it is a nice building to look at. Something else to notice is while driving down Cesar Chavez are the guiding rails, strangely enough they are the coolest looking railings that I have ever seen, with colored glass and metal flowers and leaves incorporated into them. I have never seen this anywhere else. Austin is amazing in the way that it turn the most conventional things into works of art, forcing everyone to see the beauty in everything.

Advertisements

Selfish News Tactics

27 Mar

On March 11, 2011, North East Japan was shook by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake and then hit by a massive tsunami wave. In the midst of this catastrophe the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant was hit hard, causing it’s reactors to become unstable and release dangerous levels of radiation. Quickly after the tsunami hit the media changed it’s focus from the damage and devastation in Japan, to whether or not the reactors in U.S. nuclear plants are safe.I believe that the news has changed the focus from the damage of the tsunami in Japan to a nuclear crisis to keep the attention of the public by scaring them into staying tuned to their new station. By doing so the news stations are getting more viewers then they would by constantly mentioning the damage done to Japan, which I think is unethical. Although concerns about a nuclear melt down are valid ones, for a natural disaster such as the recent earth quake in Japan to happen in the U.S. is pretty unlikely. Also, according to the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission our nuclear reactors are super protected due to the 9-11 terrorist attacks and they are constantly being upgraded to be even more protective.  In Japan’s time of need, we are worried about an very unlikely nuclear melt down in the States because the media told us so. While a nuclear melt down is very concerning, I don’t think this is an appropriate time to be thinking of ourselves when there is nuclear radiation effecting those in Japan NOW. And by helping those in Japan we could potentially use the same techniques if by some way a nuclear melt down were to happen on our own home front. The death toll in Japan is rising by the day and is said to reach nearly 20,000, people are still missing and in addition iodine ad cesium levels in food products, such as milk, spinach and other vegetables, as far as 45 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station are way above normal, safe, levels. It’s sad how people have quickly let their concerns be derailed to something that isn’t very probable while others are suffering from it now. Think that we need to focus on giving Japan the aid and resources it is in need of now and once it is stable again and close to getting back on it’s feet we can then evaluate the nuclear plants in the United States.

 

The heart beat of the city

20 Mar

The number one thing that makes Austin bump is its live music. Every night and every day you can find live music in this city no matter what time of year it is.After all Austin is THE live music capital of the WORLD. It’s all about the music, music and music. If you don’t enjoy the faint sound of a band playing from a far on a quite afternoon, then this isn’t the place for you. In 1991, Austin adopted the official slogan of the “Live Music Capital of the World.” This name is fitting due to the city’s vast number of live music venus that triumphs the amount in large cities such as New York, LA, Nashville and Memphis. Not only is this a name but it is an industry that makes millions of dollars for Austin each year with festivals such as Austin City Limits and SXSW. Many people don’t know that there’s a difference between Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Festival. Austin City Limits is a show on PBS that is filmed in Austin in front of a live audience that showcases various types of music. ACL was first aired in 1976 on the UT campus and is now the longest running concert music program.Thirty five years later, Austin City Limits has recently moved to a new venue in the W hotel called the Moody Theatre. In 1991 C3 presented the first ever Austin City Limits Festival (named after the ACL TV show). ACL Festival consists of 130 bands playing over 3 days. The festival transforms the fields of Zilker Park into the ultimate music venue with 8 stages, food vendors galore, and everything local. The festival is something that Austinites look forward to at the end of every summer. If you have yet to attend this glorious weekend, I highly recommend that you do. Austin City Limits Festival is the epitome of Austin; live music, sun, and delicious food. This year is the festival’s 10 year anniversary and everyone is suspecting it to be one of the best years yet and the anticipation leading up to the release of the line up this year is killing me. Another festival that attracts thousands to Austin every year is South by South West. Although I’m not very familiar with SXSW and I’ve never attended myself, I hear it’s HUGE. Even though I’ve never been, it is very evident when it’s that time of year; crowds, lines and traffic balloon for a full week. SXSW is a showcase for music, film and interactive technology; and people from all around the world come take a peek at what is new. Austin is not only a great place to see live music, it’s also good for new artists to come. With it’s hundreds of venues and several programs dedicated to helping musicians, your voice is sure to be heard in this city full of character.

To intervene or not to intervene?

9 Mar

The trend of civil uprising in the Middle East has been going on for a while now. The most recent unrest in Libya has been the talk to our nation for the past month ever since the riots broke out on February 16 of this year. Throughout history, the United States has been the one to turn to when it comes to the intervention of civil unrest in foreign countries. Other countries hope for the best of a troubled country but often looks to us to do something about it, allowing us to get our hands dirty and get pulled into it while others just stand back, watching, and give us “support”. From looking at our past history on intervening in other countries before, it is hard to say what President Obama should do this time. If only the intervention on a country could be a mistake that you learn from and never do again or something that was good and you should keep on doing.  But this decision is a lot more complicated than classical conditioning, the decisions have to be selective, each situation differs from another. Muammar el-Qaddafi has reined in Libya since 1969. His ruling on his country and foreign relations have been very unpredictable over the years. Rebels are enthusiastic about the ouster of Qaddafi but they face the problem of being out gunned and outnumbered. Although it would be ideal to be able to help support the anti- Qaddafi activist, I don’t think that we have nearly enough resources to do so ourselves. We still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we’ve made so much effort to get them out of there. I fear that if we do take on Libya as well, our country will we worn down to the bones. I think that if we do try to help with the unrest in Libya we should take the back seat where we can still help support them and come up solutions while allowing others to go in and physically help. According to the New York Times, our Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has been the biggest voice of caution. The article “Discord Grows in Washington on Possible Libya Intervention,” it states that “Mr. Gates forcefully warned Congress during budget testimony that the first act in imposing a no-fly zone would be an attack on Colonel Qaddafi’s air defenses, and that the step should only be taken if the United States was ready for a prolonged military operation that could cover all of Libya. He cautioned it might drain resources that are already overstretched in Afghanistan and Iraq, because Libya is such a large territory.” This fact alone makes me very hesitant for our government to intervene. If helping Afghanistan and Iraq has already taken 9 years and yet is still on going, how long would it take for Libya to get back on it’s own?

We the People…

6 Mar

The citizens of Austin, Texas, also known as Austinites, are a eclectic bunch. For this modestly sized city, the population has lots of variety. This is a city where hippie liberals, conservative republicans, business men and college students all mix together. Anywhere you go you can run into a different crowd. The University campus is its own college town embedded into a city and downtown is where business men go to work day in and day out. The weirdest and probably the most surprising thing about Austin is how liberal it is compared to every other city in Texas. In my opinion, the difference in the number of conservatives vs. liberals shows the changing ways of the city. Conservatives represent the old Austin ways and the increase of liberals shows how its changing. Although this wonderful city is filled with many conflicting views it’s citizens couldn’t be anymore at peace. Everyone that lives here loves it all the same. If you didn’t already know, Austin has adopted the slogan “Keep Austin Weird,”  originally this slogan was meant to promote the uniqueness or “weirdness” of Austin against the increase of commercialism and skyrocketing development. Now the slogan has actually done the opposite of what it was intended for, but I won’t get into that. All Austinites say to “keep Austin weird” but some like to take it to another level. Not only do we have a wide variety of views, etc. we have our generous share of loony toons as well. Austin’s most popular and famous character is

Leslie Cochran

Leslie Cochran the hobo. When you think of hobo you probably think of dirty, ripped clothes, hasn’t showered for weeks, etc. Even though Leslie dis dirty, as for clothes, it’s more like lack there of. And with three runs at attempting to be Austin’s Mayor, Mr. Cochran is unlike any other hobo. Leslie usually enjoys strutting around Austin in his favorite high heels and leopard thong. Leslie has become so popular with the citizens he has become one of Austin’s tourist attractions and an important city icon as well. Another character that originates in Austin is the lizard man.He is someone who has gone above and beyond to be weird. Lizard man has gone through the trouble to

Lizard man

physically alter his body to resemble a lizard, which includes tattooing his whole body and splitting his tongue. He isn’t the only one doing this there is a couple that did the same to resemble other creatures. Austin is the place where republicans and liberals are at peace and that Leslie, Lizard man and every Austinite calls home. To some, Austinites might just be those who reside in Austin, but they are much more. Austinites makes Austin what it is and are the root to all it’s weirdness.