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    BASHH is back! This month, they’ve added an hour and a half of pure card swapping, venture brainstorming business networking before the usual laid back night of drinking and hashtags. In addition, there are several good events for entrepreneurs and startups as well as some great user groups, especially for Agile coders.

    Venture Start
    Nov 26, 6:00 p.m.
    Tech Ranch Austin
    9111 Jollyville Rd, #100
    Get ready to launch your startup!
    Venture Start is a unique program that guides you step-by-step as you refine your idea, compare different ways to do business,  analyze the market and competition, and formulate your next steps. We have small classes to give you ample attention.

    Texas Open Angel Network
    Nov 27, 11:00 a.m.
    Weaver Tidwell Office
    1601 S Mopac Expy, #250
    The Texas Open Angel Network seeks to educate investors on screening, analyzing and investing in startups -- called angel investing.  If you are interested in learning more about how to invest in startups, come learn from experienced angel investors in an informal setting on what to look for and how to engage startups in the dealflow process.

    Agile Austin Architect SIG
    Nov 27, Noon
    Pervasive
    12365 Riata Trace Pkwy
    Agile Austin’s mission is to promote agile software development concepts such as those set forth in the Agile Manifesto (agilemanifesto.org), to create a public forum for the exchange of practice information, and to create opportunities for the professional development of members.

    DevOps SIG - Agile Basics for Operations
    Nov 28, Noon
    Bazaarvoice
    3900 N. Capital of TX Hwy.
    This month's meeting will take a look at agile practices in general and how they apply in an operations environment. The notion is to do a little basic level-setting on what agile really means - something that operations folks are too often not involved with. Then apply some of those concepts to what operations does and take a look at how ops can use the concepts to improve how it executes.

    Girl Hacker Drink Up
    Nov 28, 7:00 p.m.
    The Ginger Man
    301 Lavaca St
    We'll find some couches where we can hang out and talk about technology in a setting more casual than the conference rooms our many gracious hosts have donated in the past. If you're not sure what the group's about, are curious whether there are any other women programming in your language of choice, or if you just want to drop by to meet people without hauling your laptop along, this is your opportunity to do just that!

    Austin Drupal Users Group
    Nov 28, 7:00 p.m.
    Capital Factory
    701 Brazos St, 16th floor
    For November, we’re hosting lightning talks! Come and share the latest tools and modules that make Drupal even more awesome. Working on something cool? Show it off!

    1 Semester Startup Demo Day
    Nov 29, 5:00 p.m.
    Texas Exes Auditorium
    2110 San Jacinto Boulevard
    1 Semester Startup invites you to Demo Day on November 29, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. where we will showcase the 10 undergraduate startups from our Fall 2012 class. Undergraduate students experienced entrepreneurship firsthand, learning from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Austin. Each startup will get 6 minutes on stage and then you can go and talk to them afterwards. There will be numerous other leaders from the Austin entrepreneurial community in attendance as well.

    BizBASHH
    Nov 29, 5:30 p.m.
    The Ranch Austin
    710 W 6th St
    Thousands of people have crossed the threshold into the BASHH, a big ass social happy hour for social media enthusiasts to meet and connect, consumer to consumer. It's been a tremendous success over the past five years, and hundreds show up every month to do it all over again. At BizBASHH, business card exchanges are encouraged, as are napkin ideas and mingling with your peers.

    BASHH annual Reunion
    Nov 29, 7:00 p.m.
    The Ranch Austin
    710 W 6th St
    Join us for the first annual BASHH reunion! First timers are welcome, and we're bringing back the old crew - people who haven't come in a long while, and even friends you've met in years past that moved away! BASHH is Austin's relaxed mixer filled with professionals of all backgrounds that feel awkward knowing each other online but not offline. There are no speakers or panels, no lame pitches, no egos; all are welcomed to relax and have happy hours! Complimentary drink tickets will be given to the first 100 people through the door, so arrive on time. Look hawt, because a free photo booth will be provided by the talented Annie Ray who has long been a beloved fixture of the BASHH!

    Austin Tech Happy Hour
    Nov 29, 6:00 p.m.
    Molotov Lounge
    719 W 6th St
    Kick off the season with Austin Tech Happy Hour's holiday party and SubtleData launch event! We've scheduled our event to be just a few days before December starts so that we won't infringe on your busy holiday event schedule. So come on over and start the holiday season right with your friends in the Austin technology scene. This event is at a bar, so you must be 21+ to get in. Every person that attends will receive two drink tickets.

    Drupal Dojo
    Nov 29, 7:00 p.m.
    Mangia Pizza
    8012 Mesa Drive
    Theme: The Drupal Dojo is for anyone interested in hanging out with other Drupalistas in a "hive mind" environment. There is no set topic or presenter so bring your laptop, a pet project and an appetite.

    Related Articles: 
    GloFish

    CEOs and Tech Pros Confide Their Favorite Austin-Born Technologies

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Oct 10, 2012

    Austin’s tech scene is known for being friendly, outgoing and collaborative. We gave eight technology professionals ranging from CEOs to Community Educators the opportunity to brag about their favorite technology to come out of Austin. 

    Dan Graham

    Eye in the Sky

    Austin Mavens Dish on What Makes Our Tech Scene Work

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Oct 4, 2012

    Technology is a notoriously cutthroat industry. The nonstop battles for venture capital and industry attention are known to split marriages, end friendships and start bitter rivalries. 

    Except here. 


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    We’ve trolled Facebook, LinkedIn and odd corners of the Internet looking for the tech jobs you won’t find on Craigslist. Most of these come from people at the company in question hoping a friend of a friend can help them find a good person to hire. Luckily for you, the Austin Post is your friend.

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    Springbox is looking for a Senior Web Developer.
    ___
    PublikDemand (@PublikDemand) needs a Front End Web Designer.
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    Actively seeking Security Engineer for SecureNet Payment Systems.
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    Have experience with hands-on management of PPC, affiliate marketing or display advertising campaigns? I'm hiring experienced full time folks. Email your resume to jobs [at] marketingclique [dot] com.
    ___
    Spiceworks is hiring a UI application developer, test automation engineer and software developer.
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    Obsessed with weddings? Check out this part-time social media job.
    ___
    Looking for a QA engineer with white box testing for a permanent opportunity in Austin. Email resumes to elena [at] lunadatasolutions [dot] com.
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    Looking for iOS and/or Android mobile developers for a permanent position in Austin! Email resumes to elena [at] lunadatasolutions [dot] com for more details.
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    Yo designers: want to work for PriceWaterHouseCoopers and have 5 years or so of experience doing UI/UX and data-set design? We're looking for a senior to come in here and help! Please email your resume/portfolio to me at April [dot] Riggs [at] us [dot] pwc [dot] com.
    ___
    Lodestone Social Media is looking for a social media account director.
    ___
    Aunt Bertha is hiring a developer! Read a little about the company here or check out the job posting.
    __
    Rapid7 is seeking a senior UI developer who is passionate about UI/UX, proudly have a portfolio of work done, a track record of clean and simple UI designs.
    __
    Reddwerks Corporation needs a QA engineer with experience in MySQL, MS SQL Server, Informix, Oracle, Linux, Perl, PHP, Ruby, Python or relevant, Java, J2EE, C, C# Javascript, SQL, XML, HTML.
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    Homeaway is looking for a data warehouse engineer with 5+ years experience implementing and developing BI/DW applications.
    ___
    iSymmetry seeks a senior .NET developer for a senior ASAP.NET developer role for a 9-month contract position.
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    Silicon Laboratories needs a systems engineering manager to manage a group of hardware and software applications engineers providing support to customers, product marketing engineers and chip designers. The group managed by this individual is responsible for system level solutions to customer problems including hardware functionality, PCB layout requirements and trade-offs, firmware and software development and compliance to all relevant regulatory specifications.
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    Crossroads Systems is looking for a product engineer - C++/Ruby with 5+ years developing applications in a Linux environment.
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    If you didn’t see anything that looked like a good fit, other good tech job resources in Austin include:

    Startup Hire
    Aquent
    Craigslist
    Dell
    Launch Pad Job Club

    Related Articles: 

    What Recruiters Recommend: Modern UX/UI Skills

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Oct 5, 2012

    Door64 recently hosted the Painpoint Job Fair for companies at the “pain point” where they couldn’t move forward with vital projects until they hired new coders.

    What Recruiters Recommend: Why Austin is Flooded with $10 Social Media Jobs

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Aug 16, 2012

    A shocking number of social media job listings ask for five years of experience, two pages of skills, and a 24/7 dedication to the job. In exchange, they offer $10 an hour and no benefits.


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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rutlo/

    It doesn’t take a lifelong North Austin resident to see the changes happening in the North Loop neighborhood. Just a little over a year ago, getting a cheap beer and a slice at The Parlor has become getting a craft beer and a burger at Workhorse. A little east, combing through racks of vintage women’s wear at Montage is now sipping a cocktail at gastropub Drink.Well.

    For better or worse, over the past few years North Loop has become one of Austin’s hottest neighborhoods, making those who live and work there both excited and cautious.

    In city planning definitions, North Loop is the neighborhood between North Lamar and Airport, Koenig and 51st Street. It was originally populated by two-bedroom, one-bathroom bungalows built for GIs returning from World War II. Over the past few years, many of those houses have been renovated or torn down and built again, only much bigger, and more multi-family residences are being built as increasing numbers of renters come to the neighborhood.

    For example, a new construction permit was issued in mid-October for a four-story, 28-unit apartment complex along Waller Creek on 51st Street. A vertical mixed use building featuring 186 apartment units is already under construction at the site of a razed strip mall at North Loop and North Lamar. And along North Loop just east of Lamar, several multi-unit houses have recently been constructed where there were previously small single-family houses. Why the booming interest in North Loop now?

    “In simple terms, it’s the central location, plus this opportunity created by the fact that five years ago, it was undervalued,” said Ryan Robinson, demographer for the City of Austin. “There is a whole lot of vibrancy in the neighborhood that I don’t think you saw even two or three years ago.”

    The rising cost of houses in the North Loop area would support Robinson’s idea. Between 2009 and data available so far for 2012, the average price for a two-bedroom home in North Loop has jumped up by more than $60,000, to $311,000.

    Although there are still plenty of people who have been living in the neighborhood for decades, the demographic of the homebuyer is changing, said JoAnne McKinney of Violet Crown Realty. More professionals in their early 30s are buying in the neighborhood, staying until they start expanding their families and then moving to the suburbs.

    “This area is really trendy and there are a lot of first time buyers and career people,” she said, adding that North Loop “is a nice jumping off spot that allows you to be in Central Austin.”

    That desire to live in Central Austin is exactly what’s driving people to North Loop, which Robinson calls one of the last affordable central neighborhoods in a city with a quickly expanding population and a lack of affordable central housing to meet it. North Loop is starting to experience some of what East Austin has been seeing for the last decade, he says.

    “East Austin as a whole is growing like crazy because it’s close to downtown and has historically been undervalued,” he said. “North Loop doesn’t have that extreme undervaluation, but you could say it’s one of the last few remaining affordable central city neighborhoods. That’s changing because it’s changing as a whole in Austin.”

    That affordability is one of the reasons Maitland Lederer, a software engineer at hometown video game developer BioWare, chose to move from South Austin to North Loop this year.

    “We chose this neighborhood for a few reasons. A big one was that it seemed like we could get a lot more space for our money here than on the south side, where we were, and we both work on the north side of the city, so that was a factor,” she said. “It was a good balance of convenience and price.”

    Close proximity to local shops and bars was another big factor in her decision to move, Lederer said. In just a few years, the North Loop strip has gone from few refreshment locations, like the 24-hour Epoch Coffeehouse, which also sells beer, and the now-closed location of The Parlor, to upscale dining at Foreign & Domestic, craft beer and cocktails at Drink.Well., mixology creations at The Tigress and beer and pub fare at Workhorse.

    Pam Pritchard, a California transplant, opened The Tigress in 2010. Just a couple weeks later, Foreign & Domestic opened down the street. Pritchard looked all over town for the right neighborhood that had a specific mix before opening The Tigress.

    “I was looking for a neighborhood, as opposed to a downtown area. I was looking for the demographic of people in the 30- to 60-year-old range who might enjoy cocktails. I was looking at the proximity to the University and to Hyde Park,” she said. “I just thought North Loop was a great spot and that it was so underutilized and had so much potential.”

    Of course, North Loop's underutilized potential is now getting to a saturation point. Although Pritchard said the neighborhood is changing and becoming more of a destination, she doesn’t see it going the route of East Sixth, for example.

    “The way the neighborhood is set up, I don’t think many more businesses could move in here. The uniqueness of North Loop has to do with its limited capacity as well,” she said. “Perhaps some of the vintage clothing shops might become other kinds of shops, but as far as restaurants and bars are concerned, I think we’re at the top. There’s just limited space.”

    Still, there are concerns from residents that the popularity of the neighborhood could change its identity. For example, an application to change the zoning of a property at the corner of Sunshine and Houston (on the outskirts of North Loop but technically in Brentwood) was recently shot down after the neighborhood association rallied against the idea. Developers wanted to put in several hundred apartments where there is currently a couple of houses, a vacant lot and a car lot owned by the Texas State Troopers Association. Neighbors felt like the leap from a couple of houses to a large complex was too sudden.

    After only one year in her current residence, Lederer said she has some concerns about rent increasing. “I do think the neighborhood is changing a bit. It's becoming a bit more upscale,” she said. “Some houses definitely look nicer than others.”

    This is all to be expected as more people want to live in the center of a vibrant city, Robinson said. North Loop is just experiencing this trend a little later than other neighborhoods around town.

    “The kind of people who are attracted to Austin are interested in alternative lifestyles, alternative ways to get to work, they’re involved in the creative industries and they want to be in the action,” he said. “North Loop isn’t just hip and young; it also represents the incoming streams of people coming to Austin – they want to ride their bike to a club, they want to walk to a coffee shop. People are embracing that whole idea of the urban lifestyle right now.”

    More bars and living options, but higher rents and housing prices, confront a new North Loop population
    Related Articles: 

    Area Growth Makes Downtown Living More Enticing But Also Pricier

    By Stephanie Myers / Aug 14, 2012

    When University of Texas Associate Professor Aaron Rochlen moved from Northwest Austin into downtown’s Austin City Lofts on W. Fifth Street, his son Dylan, who was born shortly after, became the first child in the building.

    Are Families with Children Being Forced Out of the City?

    By Stephanie Myers / Oct 3, 2012

    Austin is the ninth fastest growing city in the United States, averaging a whopping 151 new residents each day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It certainly means a changing landscape for what was once a small town, and one of those changes may mean fewer families with children.

    What's in Store for the North End of South Lamar?

    By Stephanie Myers / Jul 18, 2012

    South Lamar between Barton Springs Road and Oltorf is a jumble of strip malls, independent businesses, bars and a few apartment complexes. Parts of the stretch are an eyesore, parts are iconic Austin locations, and parts, like Lamar Plaza, which houses the Alamo Drafthouse, The Highball and Heart of Texas Music, are both. The next few years should change the area quite a bit.


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    Courtesy of the Austin History Center

    One beautiful autumn day in 1887 found a procession of carriages rolling along Austin’s major streets.  Onlookers cheered and waved to the uniformed men in the vehicles.  Some of the men had endured dozens of such rides.  Visitors from up north, these men politely acknowledged the cheers and exchanged playful gibes with their southern hosts lining the streets.  Others displayed the enthusiasm of those unaccustomed to public adulation. They laughed and smiled, whooped and hollered, and eagerly returned the adoring glances of the young ladies in the crowd.  The Manning Rifle Band led the procession while entertaining the throng with lively music.  To the rear trailed carriages carrying a large portion of Austin’s citizenry, men, women, boys and girls; anyone and everyone interested in witnessing the biggest sporting event ever to hit town.  Reporting on the festivities, a writer for the Fort Worth Daily Gazette observed, “The base ball craze has struck Austin.”

    The baseball craze of the late 19th century gripped not only Austin but dozens of cities and towns across the country.  A Joplin, Missouri, team led by player-manager John McCloskey was eager to extend the baseball season beyond what Joplin’s fall weather allowed. In 1887, McCloskey convinced area businessmen to fund a barnstorming tour of Texas. 


    John McCloskey (1862-1940), who hailed from Kentucky by way of Joplin, Missouri, is known as "the Father of the Texas League."\

    Needing a place to base his team, McCloskey landed in the Texas capital.  The Joplin boys became Austin boys and quickly began beating up on teams from around the state.  Victories became so routine that an article about a game against the Island City team from Galveston in the November 11, 1887 Austin Daily Statesman bearing the headline “Austin Wins Again” blandly informed readers that “the Austin club had no incentive to work hard, as the game was won very early in the action.”  Commenting on the sparse crowd attending that game, the reporter chastised Austin’s fans by writing, “the public who love base ball are given notice that if they expect to have a good club kept in Austin they must turn out to the game in greater numbers.”

    The Austin team playing in the inaugural 1888 Texas League season included several players who appeared in the 1887 series against the New York Giants.  John McCloskey, Harry Raymond, James Flynn, Charles Bradley, and outfielders Weaver and Tobias all participated.  (Courtesy of the Austin History Center.)

    But a more exciting opponent loomed on the horizon.  The New York Giants hadn’t won the 1887 National League championship, that honor claimed by the Detroit Wolverines, but the Austin Daily Statesman nevertheless unabashedly labeled the team “the greatest club in the United States.”  Indeed, the Giants roster included Mike “King” Kelly, on loan from the Boston Beaneaters, a strikingly handsome superstar being paid the unheard-of sum of $10,000 annually “simply to play ball.”  Kelly’s popularity inspired the 1889 pop hit “Slide, Kelly, Slide.”  He later co-authored what is thought to be the first baseball memoir, "Play Ball: Stories of the Diamond Field."  Kelly’s teammates included catcher Buck Ewing, first baseman Roger Connor and pitcher Tim Keefe.  All four of these players are now members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Mike "King" Kelly, pictured at left in his Boston Beaneaters uniform, was widely acknowledged by contemporaries as the best baseball player in the country.  At right is the song sheet for the musical hit inspired by the popular baseball star.

    The November 13, 1887 edition of the Austin Daily Statesman informed readers that the famed New York Giants would play a two-game series against John McCloskey and the hometown crew.  “The Austin Base Ball association has done nothing by halves,” the reporter gushed, “and is entitled to great credit for what they have already accomplished.”  As one of the best in the south, Austin’s team was one “of which every citizen of Austin can well feel proud.”  At a time when many still thought of baseball as a child’s game the Daily Statesman announced, “The days of amateur base ball have passed.  From boy’s play it has been elevated to a profession – a science.”  Because of the large fee demanded by the Giants for their appearance in Austin, organizers charged an entrance fee of fifty cents, double the usual twenty-five.  Men paid an extra quarter to sit in the grandstand.  Ladies got in free.

    This photograph of the New York Giants was taken in the spring of 1888, several  months after the Giants split a two-game series with John McCloskey's Austin team.

    On November 13th the Manning Rifle Band led the players and spectators to the ball field with few expecting anything but a Giants victory.  Indeed, the Giants arrived in Austin fresh from beating two different Galveston teams 16-4 and 8-0.  The day before that New York had trounced the Houston club 18-6.  Anticipating an Austin defeat, the Austin Daily Statesman reporter commented, “While our home nine is perhaps no match for this combination of professionals, at the same time the New Yorkers will have to play hard ball to defeat them.”

           

    Left to right: John McCloskey's Austin team faced a New York Giants club loaded with talent. Along with King Kelly, New York players Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and Roger Connor are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Fifteen hundred people followed the marching band into what the Austin Daily Statesman referred to both as Sportsman’s Park and the Athletic Club.  Most likely this was the new Varsity Athletic Field of the University of Texas.  Located on the southeast corner of Speedway and 24th Street and later renamed Clark Field, the park lasted until 1928 when the university constructed a new baseball stadium to the east and used the old site for an engineering building.

    Constructed in 1887, the Varsity Athletic Field at 24th and Speedway, shown here during a 1915 or 1916 football game between Rice and the University of Texas, likely hosted the historic baseball games between Austin and the New York Giants.

    Austin’s ace pitcher Harry Dooms took the mound for McCloskey’s club.  (Five years later Dooms enjoyed a cup of coffee in the major leagues when he played outfield in a game for the Louisville Colonels, going hitless in five plate appearances.)  His opponent that day was a player named Eddington.  After a scoreless first inning Austin broke through in the top of the second to take a 2-0 lead.  Shortstop James Flynn tripled and scored on a single by the second baseman Sherry.  A ground ball out by Dooms moved Sherry to second.  He scored after successive hits by right fielder Weaver and catcher Charles Bradley.

    New York evened the score in the bottom of the fourth.  Austin third baseman Harry Raymond, who later played for five years in the National League, fielded Jerry Denny’s ground ball and threw wildly to the plate as Buck Ewing ran home from third.  After stealing second, Denny scored on a single by Danny Richardson.


    Giants second baseman Danny Richardson scored two of New York's runs and knocked in a third in a losing effort.

    The Giants grabbed the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Denny singled and Richardson knocked an RBI double.  Austin tied the score in the seventh after a one-out double by Raymond and base hit by Ukotter.  James Flynn then lifted a fly ball to left field, which Mike Tiernan dropped, allowing Ukotter to score the go-ahead run.

     
    Jerry Denny (left) scored the go-ahead run for New York in the bottom of the 6th inning but Mike Tiernan (right) muffed a fly ball in the 7th to hand the lead back to Austin.

    Both teams scored a single run in the eighth, Austin on triples by Dooms and Bradley; New York on a sacrifice fly from Denny.  Dooms thus took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with Austin clinging to a one-run lead.  Austin fans groaned as William Brown and Tim Keefe singled, putting runners at first and third with nobody out.  Eddington then hit a screaming line drive but straight at Sherry, who caught the ball and tagged Keefe approaching second base for a double play.


    Giants catcher William Brown reached third base in the 9th inning with nobody out but his teammates were unable to bring him home with the tying run.

    Harry Dooms and his Austin teammates needed only one more out to pull off the improbable upset.  Standing in their way, though, was the 19th century equivalent of Babe Ruth, Mike “King” Kelly.  Kelly had batted .322 against National League pitching that season.  His eight home runs seem paltry by modern standards but represented 25 percent of his team’s total.  In 540 plate appearances he had struck out only 40 times.

    Harry Dooms delivered the pitch as the Austin faithful held their breaths.  Kelly swung and shot a bullet straight back at the pitcher.  Dooms desperately stabbed at the ball and miraculously speared it one with hand.  His throw to first base easily beat Kelly.  John McCloskey and the Austin boys had whipped the mighty Giants!


    Harry Dooms' grab of King Kelly's hit is even more remarkable given the small, fingerless baseball gloves in use in 1887.

    New York won the following day’s game 19-13 but it hardly mattered.  The Austin Daily Statesman consoled its readers by pointing out that [the loss] “was a game by which [Austin] would have won with any club in the south or southwest, but they were playing the New York Giants.”  Furthermore, “Those who know the reputation of the players against whom our boys were pitted expected defeat both days, and now, so far from regret at one defeat, there should be rejoicing for one victory.”  The reporter spoke the truth.  New York’s 5-4 loss to Austin was the first defeat of its tour through the south.


    Box score of Austin's victory over the New York Giants as it appeared in the Austin Daily Statesman.

    Austin’s victory over the Giants further fueled the baseball craze sweeping Austin and the rest of Texas.  That winter John McCloskey collaborated with several other Texas baseball men to organize the state’s first professional league.  Austin’s team folded long ago but the Texas League recently completed its 125th season with the Springfield Cardinals as champions.

    In response to Austin’s win over New York, the Fort Worth Daily Gazette reported, “Some fears are felt that the Austin club, formerly Joplins, will sweep everything in the state next year . . . the way they walked away from the Fort Worths three weeks ago has brought terror to the ordinary Texas player.”  Such fears proved unfounded.  Dallas won the 1888 Texas League championship.  Austin didn't top the league standings until nearly 20 years later in 1907.


    John McCloskey as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.

    John McCloskey, now known as “the father of the Texas League,” never made it to the major leagues as a player.  He did, however, manage the Louisville Colonels for two years in the 1890s and the St. Louis Cardinals for three seasons beginning in 1906.  Unable to replicate his minor league success, McCloskey compiled a major league managerial record of 190 wins and 417 losses.  But he never lost his love of baseball.  The 1930 U. S. census, taken during McCloskey’s 68th year, lists his occupation as “baseball manager.”  And on a glorious autumn day in Austin more than a century ago, John McCloskey put Austin on the baseball map by leading his team to victory over “the greatest club in the United States.”


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    Enjoy the lull before the Hobbit-tastic storm. This week is relatively quiet for Austin geeks, though we still get to enjoy the rare and wonderful chance to see Jonathan Coulton in concert, shoot each other in the back as New to Austin takes over Blazer Tag and kick back with the usual excuses for laid back boardgames.

    Geek Rocker Jonathan Coulton at The Parish
    Nov 30, 9:00 p.m.
    The Parish
    214 E. Sixth St.
    Hey, Code Monkeys! Finish up your day at Skullcrusher Mountain and leave your boss a memo Re: Your Brains so I can go out Drinking With You. Jonathan Coulton is Still Alive and he’s coming to Austin! Tickets are a bargain at only $20.

    St. Andrew’s Day Feast with the Austin Celtic Meetup
    Nov 30, 7:00 p.m.
    Join to learn the location
    How else would you celebrate the Scottish feast day of St. Andrew but with haggis, whiskey and live music? Join the Austin Celtic Meetup for generous portions of all three.

    Austin Fan Force December Meeting
    Dec 1, 1:00 p.m.
    The Dog and Duck Pub
    406 West 17th St
    Join Austin’s Star Wars fan club for their regular monthly meeting where they’ll be discussing details for their upcoming holiday party.

    Nocturnis-Amtgard Park Day
    Dec 1, 2:30 p.m.
    Brushy Creek Park
    3300 Brushy Creek Rd
    Cedar Park, TX
    If the SCA has too much authenticity and LARP’s don’t let you get violent enough, check out this boffer sword fighting group. If you’re not familiar, boffer swords are usually made from PVC coated with foam and duct tape with a nice cloth cover.  People get together to beat on one another, drink and go camping. If you’re an outdoorsy geek looking for some good exercise, check them out.

    Austin Geeks and Gamers – Share Your Favorite Movie Night
    Dec 1, 7:00 p.m.
    Join to learn the location.
    Alright fellow geeks - Bring out your favorite geeky movie on DVD. We'll put them all up for a vote and watch the two that everybody most wants to see. Leave the obvious choices at home, the ones that everybody has already seen 10,000 times (Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Matrix, etc.). Instead, please bring your favorite hidden treasure - a great sci-fi or fantasy film that many of us have not seen yet. For example, when we did this in September, we voted to watch "Buckaroo Banzai" and "Dorkness Rising".

    Geeks Who Drink Meetup
    Dec 1, 9:00 p.m.
    Opal Divine’s Marina
    12709 Mopac
    Trivia lovers can join a team for the chance to show off their smarts and win free drinks.

    Austin Dungeons and Dragons Meetup
    Dec 2, 12:30 p.m.
    King's Hobby Shop
    8810 North Lamar Blvd
    Almost anything goes in this post-apocalyptic, fantasy, cthulhu romp 'round the sandbox of our imaginations. Swords & Wizardry and this campaign make it easy for players to come and go, join in the middle, etc. Rules are simple and characters are quick to roll up.  New players always welcome. The rules are free to download. All you need are dice (and you can borrow some of those until you get your own).

    Central Texas Boardgames Meetup
    Dec 2, 2:00 p.m.
    Silver Grill Cafe
    4005 W. Parmer
    We will play a wide variety of board games. Usual favorites include Dominion, Kingsburg, Small World, Race for the Galaxy, Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, Tichu (a card game) and many others. Bring your favorite game! Someone will most likely want to try it. Come out and have some good fun and good eats! The restaurant loves us. Sometimes we are the only ones there and most of us eat at least once there.

    Blazer Tag with New to Austin
    Dec 2, 6:00 p.m.
    Blazer Tag
    1701 W. Ben White,
    We have heard your requests and we have listened. Blazer Tag, the largest laser tag arena in Texas. Meet other people new to Austin then promptly shoot them in the back. It’ll be a good time.

    The Walking Dead Watch Party
    Dec 2, 8:00 p.m.
    Stomping Grounds Cocktail Lounge
    3801 S. Congress Ave
    Join the Austin Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Club for another trip to post-apocalyptic Atlanta.

    Girl Geeks of Austin Board Games and Brews
    Dec 3, 7:00 p.m.
    Black Star Co-Op
    7020 Easy Wind Dr
    Enjoy some microbrewery beers along with Euro style boardgames in the company of your fellow geek girls.

    Girl Geeks of Austin Nerdy Knitting and Fiber Arts
    Dec 3, 7:00 p.m.
    Genuine Joe’s Coffee House
    2001 W. Anderson Lane
    Enjoy a laid back night of knitting, crochet, embroidery, or whatever fibercraft you love in the company of your fellow nerd girls.

    Pathfinder Society Meetup
    Dec 3, 7:00 p.m.
    Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy
    6111 Burnet Rd
    Looking for some new faces around the gaming table?  Delve into ancient dungeons, uncover lost knowledge, and advance the secret goals of your faction--whether it be the freedom-fighting Andorans, the good-hearted Silver Crusade, the shady dealings of the Sczarni, or the strict laws of Cheliax--and gain experience and loot for your character no matter where you game!

    Austin Shakespeare Holiday Party
    Dec 4, 5:00 p.m.
    Takoba Restaurant
    1411 E. 7th St.
    Austin Shakespeare has been providing Austin with expert productions of Shakespeare's works for 25 years, and performs regularly at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, the Zilker Hillside Theater in Zilker Park, and Richard Garriot's Curtain Theater. Have a drink (or more), see old friends and meet new ones at our Annual Holiday Party to kick off the season.

    South Austin Game Night and Boards and Brews Meetup
    Dec 4, 6:00 p.m.
    Rockin Tomato
    3003 S. Lamar
    This weekly gathering of gamers regularly hosts over 40 people playing a dozen different games. New people are always welcome.

    Central Texas Boardgames Meetup
    Dec 5, 7:00 p.m.
    Wonko's Toys & Games
    13776 N. Highway 183 #116
    Boardgaming isn’t limited to south Austin. If you live up north, join the Central Texas Boardgames Meetup at Wonko’s Games. They have a library of a couple hundred games and plenty of people happy to play them with you

    Iron Kingdoms RPG Open Play Starting
    Dec 6, 7:00 p.m.
    Dragon's Lair Austin
    6111 Burnet Rd
    If you've been excited about the new Iron Kingdoms RPG from Privateer Press but can't find a group to play with, come game at Dragon's Lair! We're starting up a regular open play group on December 6th for anyone who wants to come in, check it out, and build some lightning and steam powered mechanical war golems! Bring in your own character or a character will be provided. All you need is dice!

    Want to see your event listed? Post the date, a current link, and a good reason why your event belongs in This Week in Geek on the Facebook group, This Week in Geek.
     

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    By Chris-Rachael O... / Oct 16, 2012

    There are nearly 1,600 Meetups in Austin, with more being added every day. If you’re new to the city - and statistically, you probably are - then that’s both overwhelming and awesome.

    Dining In at the Cinema: A Guide to Austin's More-Than-Moviehouses

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Oct 5, 2012

    Forgive me if I get a little over-excited here, but man, I love going to the movies in Austin. This is my tenth city, and honestly, in the last nine I’d reached a point where renting DVDs from Redbox was an excuse for a girl’s night in.


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    Our locally-grown alternative rock festival grew up mightily in its sixth year and second outing at Auditorium Shores, joining SXSW and ACL Fest in contributing to Austin's economy. The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the haul at $27 million from its 55,000 attendees over three days, reports KUT News. Other significant numbers include:

    • The festival is estimated to have created close to 1,100 total jobs this year, up from an estimated 700 last year.

    • 55,000-plus total attendees (and a daily average of 18,000 attendees) represented a 17 percent boost in turnout over last year.

    • On-site vendor sales grew by 24 percent and bar sales rose by 19 percent over last year.

    • More than 2,500 bicycles were parked on-site at the festival grounds.

    Yep, the kid is now rocking this town with some big bucks.


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    It’s easy to feel like the holidays are just about cramming enough stuff under the tree to make your kids feel loved. To help you fill some of those non-shopping hours with happy holiday memories, the folks at Girlstart created DeSTEMber. It’s like a month long advent calendar of science and engineering shenanigans kids can whip up using things you probably already own at home.

    STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; four subjects that hemorrhage girls once they hit the 4th grade. Girlstart is Austin’s answer to that. They offer after school programs in over 30 area schools, multiple week long summer camps, a yearly science conference for girls, and plenty of free community programming throughout the year.

    “In December, it’s easy to either get caught up in holiday type activities or in the doldrums of not being in school,” said Tamara Hudgins, Executive Director of Girlstart. “It’s also a month when families have a lot of possible time together. DeSTEMber is a series of activities on our website that parents and kids can do to not only learn something about science but also have a good time during the school holidays.”

    Each day of December, Girlstart will unveil a new science activity such as making green slime in your kitchen, using baking soda for propulsion, creating your own disappearing ink, or even making a homemade lava lamp.

    “These are real science activities. At Girlstart, we don’t think there’s anything incompatible with pink and serious science,” said Hudgins.



    In fact, they embrace the pink with a bright, pepto-bismol colored background and lots of typically girly things like step by step instructions on how to braid your hair like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games or create your own decorated cupcake photo booth. In between the fun bits, they also slip in profiles of female science and engineering role models, ranging from Hala N. Ballouz, President of Electric Power Engineers, Inc. to Shree Bose, a teenage girl from Texas who won grand prize in the Google Global Science Fair for her cancer research.

    “Our real message is that everyday girls can engage in serious stuff that’s also fun,” said Hudgins, “Shree is a normal, everyday girl who happens to be really interested in curing cancer. Those kind of dreams are normal for every girl. They want to change the world. We want girls to realize they have the possibility to use science to do magical things. I think all of us can remember a time when we were younger and we wanted to do magic, but really, science lets us achieve those same dreams in a different way.”

    Girls in the free Girlstart after school programs and the low cost summer camps have done everything from building fully playable video games to designing 3D printable objects and learning about forensics with a CSI camp. When adults strip away the boy’s only atmosphere of science education and make girl friendly activities, Hudgins said people are shocked at how much the girls excel.

    “At our CSI camp, we had fourth and fifth graders working on a high school lab,” said Hudgins. “We were told wait, that lab is for older kids and we said yes, we know - so what? The girls love forensics.”

    Girlstart hopes to keep that love going the entire month of December with stealthily fun science related activities. DeSTEMber kicks off on December 1st with an in-person holiday event. Kids can get their hands dirty learning about snowflake chemistry, igloo engineering, and gingerbread architecture. After that, they can come back to the Girlstart website daily for a new hands-on science activity to try at home.

    “We want girls to have fun and experience new things that they wouldn't otherwise,” said Hudgins. “We also want them to realize they can use STEM as a way to change the world.” Today a baking soda can launcher, tomorrow a new X-Prize competitor. 
     

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    Girl Develop It - Teaching Women How to Code

    By Anna / Nov 5, 2012

     

    Websites are no longer seen only on computers. These days, people access content on their phones, their e-readers, their TVs, and even their portable gaming consoles. Designing responsively allows for the website content be seen at its best on any device. In this class, you'll learn how to make a website responsive. We'll cover best practices, common design patterns, and code.

     

     

    This two-class course runs the weekend. Dates:

    Hey Bro: Pushing Women Out of Tech is Bad for Business

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Jul 17, 2012

    Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and Square CEO, accidentally made news by posting what he certainly saw as a wholesome, upbeat photo of Square’s new interns enjoying crustless sandwiches on a sunny afternoon.

    Austin Free-Net Helps Adults Bridge the Digital Divide

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Aug 16, 2012

    Most programs aimed at bridging the digital divide focus on children. Austin is home to one of the few programs with a mission to teach tech skills to adults.


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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/visualistimages/

    Living in Texas, it never ceases to amaze me how the terrain can change so dramatically. If you drive from the Gulf northwest, through Austin and across the Hill Country, you experience beach to marsh to flat farmland to rocky prairie to hilly land dotted with scrubs to hills bordering on small mountains.

    For more photographs of Lost Maples, see our Lost Maples slideshow by clicking here.

    The western edge of the Central Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful areas in the country, and Lost Maples State Natural Area might just be its crown jewel.

    Lost Maples is located about 5 miles north of Vanderpool, a small town on the Sabinal River, about three hours southwest of Austin. The area spans about 2,000 acres across Bandera and Real counties and has been open to the public since the late 70s, a few years after it was acquired from private land owners.

    About 200,000 people visit the park each year, according to the park’s website. I would venture to guess that the majority of these visitors come in the fall months, between October and November, when the Uvalde Bigtooth Maples, Red Oaks, Lacy Oaks, Sycamores and Cypress trees that grow in abundance in the park and surrounding areas change colors. In New England, these visitors would be called “leaf peepers” (make sure to drop that “r”).

    The Bearded One and I made our autumnal pilgrimage, along with thousands of others, the third weekend in November, when there was still quite a bit of color left to be seen. We hiked seven miles through these beautiful trees, their leaves strewn through the dry creek beds like golden water. It was one of my favorite hikes in recent memory.

    The park has about 13 miles of great hiking trails that range from wheelchair accessible to extremely difficult, but the most commonly used trail seems to be the .8-mile Lost Maples trail, which takes walkers along the Sabinal River. When we visited, we did most of the West Trail, most of the East Trail and the Lost Maples trail.

    Although we overheard park rangers telling visitors that the tree spotting was best on the Lost Maples trail, that’s certainly not what we found. However, because of the long distance and high degree of difficulty of some of the other trails, perhaps rangers try to steer people toward the flat, short ones to avoid injuries and damage to the environment. Who knows … it didn’t stop one guy we saw trying to push a baby stroller up an 80-degree angled trail. The baby was crying.

    In addition to the hiking, Lost Maples offers car and RV camp sites, although they’re so on top of each other that unless you’re with a family or really like being blinded by flashlights (what's with all that gear, anyway?) and listening to other people all night, I wouldn’t recommend them. Instead, the park offers dozens of hike-in sites ranging from easy-to-get-to to extremely difficult. Next time we go, we’ll be sure to go in the middle of the week and probably shoot for a night or two of camping.

    My absolute favorite part of the hike was the West Trail. Although it is extremely difficult, with steep elevation changes and rocky, sliding ground, the trail is so worth the effort. For the most part, we had the trail completely to ourselves, giving us the opportunity to linger in the most beautiful places, where the dry leaves rustled in the wind and the winding creek bed kept reaching up toward the sky.

    The most beautiful area of all is a part of the trail that goes through Mystic Canyon. We visited during the tail end of the Monarch butterfly migration through Central Texas and were able to see these beautiful little creatures everywhere. I felt like I was on a movie set and that surely, at any moment, we would stumble onto a meeting of fairies or elves.

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    Slideshow: Lost Maples State Natural Area

    By Stephanie Myers / Nov 29, 2012

    About 200,000 people visit Lost Maples each year, according to the park’s website. I would venture to guess that the majority of these visitors come in the fall months, between October and November, when the Uvalde Bigtooth Maples, Red Oaks, Lacy Oaks, Sycamores and Cypress trees that grow in abundance in the park and surrounding areas change colors. Read the full story here.

    Day Trip: Pedernales Falls State Park. Come for the Falls Stay for the Trees

    By Stephanie Myers / Jul 4, 2012

     

    Pedernales Falls State Park is one of my favorite places for a hike, swim or overnight trip in the Austin area. The waterfall is beautiful, the river is lined with centuries-old bald cypress trees, and plenty of wildlife can be seen.

    Day Trip: McKinney Roughs Nature Park

    By Stephanie Myers / Nov 2, 2012

    McKinney Roughs (not to be confused with McKinney Falls) is located about 13 miles east of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

    Day Trip: Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge

    By Stephanie Myers / Jul 12, 2012

    After visiting mountains and hills in California, Colorado, New England and Europe, I sometimes scoff at the views, hills and “mounts” of the Texas Hill Country. It’s not that they’re not beautiful, they’re just not really that impressive.


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    Alcohol sales in bars, restaurants and hotels during October were up 14 percent both in Austin and across the state over the same month last year, reports the Austin American-Statesman. $46.9 million was dropped in public for wine, beer and liquor, with the most spent (nearly half a million smackers) at the Barton Creek Resort and Spa for the second month running. Second on the list was the W Austin Hotel, with center city hotels and bars making up the rest of the top 10 other than "gentleman's club" Palazio on Ben White at #10.


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    Rumor has it no one is born in Austin. If a woman here gets pregnant, she’s shipped out to west Texas to give birth and the baby isn’t allowed to return until it’s old enough to enroll at UT. It makes Austin an amazing and unusual melting pot. We have people from all across the United States as well as plenty of expatriates from around the globe. While it’s fun to meet “locals” (often defined here as anyone who has resided in Austin for more than 2 years), sometimes you just miss a touch of home.

    Thank goodness for Meetup. Twenty years ago, you would’ve been stuck with your cousin’s friend of a friend and whoever you found at UT’s international student union. That’s just embarrassing when you’re over 30.

    You’re not the only one who misses things like snow, tea, or movies in your native language, and there’s no reason for you to live without the little comforts in life. Wherever you’re from, there’s probably a club full of expats for you to hang around with.

    DOMESTIC

    In Austin but From the Midwest
    238 Members
    13 Meetups so far

    “Midwest” is a pretty vague term. For this group, if you’re from one of the winter-loving parts of the country where the snowblower has more miles on it than your car and seasons are defined as Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction, then these are your people. Their meetups are pretty broad, including everything from happy hours, attending festivals together, picnics and potlucks. Most of their meetings draw around 10 people.

    The Manhattan Mafia
    207 Members
    22 Meetups so far

    This surprisingly upbeat group is made up of people who are from New York or or have lived in New York and decided to trade the 24-hour hustle and bustle of the city for a totally different lifestyle here. The vast majority of their meetings are just an excuse to grab a cocktail or two with other recovering Type A personalities who are enjoying a calmer lifestyle. On average, their meetups draw between 10-30 people.

    Seattle and Portland People in Austin
    145 Members
    14 Meetups so far

    Much like the Midwestern group, this collection of people from the Pacific Northwest miss bundling up in coats and boots when the days grow short. They’re big fans of the things the Pacific Northwest has in common with Austin - craft beers, live music and hiking. It shows in their meetups, which revolve around drinking at local breweries, enjoying live patio music, and going on hikes. Meetings average around 10 people.

    San Francisco Bay Area Refugees
    89 Members
    4 Meetups so far

    This new meetup group is aimed at Silicon Valley refugees who moved to Texas for the low cost of living but now find themselves suffering from culture shock. Honestly, they come across as being pretty unhappy about living in Texas. If you’re only here for a short-term tech job, don’t want to meet locals, and can’t wait to get back to the West Coast, these are your people. Meetings draw 10-20 people.

    INTERNATIONAL

    British Expats Group of Austin
    277 Members
    129 Meetups so far

    This group describes itself as a place for UK Expats to eat English food, drink English drinks, watch English films, listen to English music and talk about English things. That translates to a whole lot of Doctor Who, a dash of James Bond, and the occasional meeting for Tea. It’s amazing they’re not overrun by American science fiction fans. They also sprinkle in the occasional cricket game and excuse to have a proper English dinner. Meetings average 10-20 people.

    Austin Italians
    264 Members
    48 Meetups so far

    This group is open to Americans born in Italy, hyphenated Italian-Americans, and anyone who has a strong love of Italian culture. They offer weekly Italian language classes and conversation hours as well as screening Italian movies, watching international soccer tournaments, and dining out at Italian restaurants. Meetings average 6-16 people.

    Austin Expat Germans
    185 Members
    84 Meetups so far

    Once a month, this group meets at the Dog and Duck. Weather permitted, they meet in the outdoor garden area where they enjoy a few beers and a chance to speak their native language. Meetings average 6-10 people.

    Austin Scandinavian Group
    168 Members
    52 Meetups so far

    This multi-country group is open to either expats or local teachers, students and speakers of Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Icelandic. Their meetings include watching Eurovision competitions, Scandinavian-themed film festivals, and unironic trips to Ikea. Meetings average 4-10 people.

    Indians in Austin
    140 Members
    17 Meetups so far

    This new, active Meetup is open to anyone from the Indian Subcontinent. Since, by their own admission, a lot of the members work in tech, the meetings focus on getting out  of that bubble and being social. They have regular happy hours around town, Bollywood movie nights, Alamo movie nights, and outings to assorted Austin festivals. Meetings draw 5-15 members. 

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    Top 6 Austin Meetups for People Who Don’t Eat Meat (Vegans, Vegetarians, Raw Foodies)

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Sep 19, 2012

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    Top 9 Austin Meetups for Book Lovers (Boys Allowed)

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    About two and a half years ago my friend Amanda and I were making plans to meet at Curra's Grill for Sunday brunch. I mentioned how it had been a while since I'd eaten there, a favorite spot for both of us when we each had lived in Travis Heights. Plus, "I really love their coffee."

    "Did you know you can buy their beans?" For all my visits to Curra's over the years, I never knew. But since then I have purchased a pound of the restaurant's Oaxacan beans at $12 a pop at least once a month.

    I consider myself more a coffee lover than any other kind of connoisseur. I adore the flavorful gifts of the magic bean in all its kaleidoscopic colors and shades as well as the boost caffeine provides not just the body but the spirit. I keep at least two kinds of beans in vacuum sealed containers on hand in my kitchen, plus an ever-changing "home blend" of the last beans from whatever I've recently bought in a third one. The grinder is an essential kitchen appliance for me. While shopping for paper filters at the H-E-B recently I succumbed to the economic wisdom of a three-year reusable filter.

    I imagine coffee snobs would tell me I am doing it all wrong, I need to get a French press or some fancy-schmancy Italian machine for a few hundred bucks (someday...). But my java jones started at diners in my teen years, and if Mr. Coffee was good enough for Joe DiMaggio, then it's OK by me. After all, I'm practical and proletariat at heart.

    And in the end it's the beans that matter most. I enjoy sampling new blends, and if I stop in at a coffee house and they have beans on sale, I'll usually fork over for a bag. (Little City's and Ruta Maya's shops are both missed, but their beans can still be bought online and at local stores.)

    From the time that Curra's replaced the original Guero's at 614 E. Oltorf St. in 1997, it was a perfect tenant for the spot where the now iconic S. Congress eatery got started (and where I ate some two to three days a week at one stretch in the '90s). And from the first its coffee – a vanilla roasted blend done by Texas Coffee Traders, hence organic and fair trade – offered a piquant counterpoint to the restaurant's interior Mexican cuisine.

    "We wanted a really authentic Mexican coffee to go with our food," explains manager Juan Carlos Avila. "We weren't sure if we were going to have Oaxacan or Veracruz beans, but we decided the Oaxcan because it has a better flavor." Oaxaca boasts the height (around 4,000 ft. in the Sierra Madre Mountains), cloud forest shade cover, volcanic soil and climate where coffee plants thrive. (True java fanatics can even enjoy a vacation there at the Finca Las Nieves coffee plantation.)

    What distinguishes it is the richness and complexity of its taste even though it's milder in body than the blends I usually drink. The vanilla gives it a mildly sweet introduction as it touches the tongue, and what follows is a weave of subtle nuttiness and a flavor that falls somewhere between between molé and milk chocolate (half and half helps bring out the latter). It's one of the more memorable cups of joe I've had.

    Turns out I'm hardly alone in my Curra's coffee love. Even though they don't actively promote the beans for sale (whole or ground), the restaurant ships some 20 to 30 pounds a month to fellow fans across the nation and sells around another 60 pounds a week locally. 


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    It’s 2 a.m. Husband-and-wife team Ben and Rachel Moody are surrounded by angry, sword wielding Christmas elves. Before things get really ugly, it’s time to shoot them. Then it’s time to break down the sound equipment and cameras before they clean up the filming site. Welcome to an average night at Austin’s Blue Goggles Films.

    Blue Goggles is best known for their highly cinematic gaming themed video series De-Pixelated, which runs on GameTrailers.com. They just launched an original webseries called Bit Parts, which they’re financing via Kickstarter.


    After Ben graduated from film school in New York and worked in Los Angeles for five years, the couple decided Austin was where they wanted to make movies.

    “I thought Austin was a more relaxed place, a place we could be more creative freely,” said Ben Moody. “In five years in L.A., I made one short film on my own. In five years in Austin, I’ve made 32.”

    Most of their content is aimed squarely at the gaming market. In addition to De-Pixelated and Bit Parts, they’re behind the Skyrim Intervention video that was popular when every meme involved taking an arrow to the knee, a Mass Effect video suggesting what shenanigans the crew gets up to when they’re not being watched, and for the holidays, A Very Arkham City Christmas.


    While Texas lacks the tax incentives that brings big-budget filmmaking to other states (much to the consternation of local filmmakers), the Moodys said Austin’s creative culture made it much easier for them to make high-quality shorts.

    “In L.A., you ask to use a location and they want to charge you ten grand for it. Here, we seldom get turned down when we ask to use a site [for free],” said Ben Moody.

    Finding eager, talented actors was also easier in Austin. They haven’t needed a casting call since 2011, when word of mouth spread through the local acting and filmmaking community that the Moodys were worth working with.

    “Any time either of the Moodys call or email about a project, I don't even care what it is, or in what capacity they want me,” said Brian Villalobos, an actor who stars in Bit Parts. “I'm always in, because it's always excellent, and it's always fun. My wife is an actress in town, too, and she feels the same way. Actually, everyone I've ever talked to about it feels the same way about Blue Goggles. ”


    Blue Goggles webvideos don’t have the typical YouTube feel of two cameras aimed at a green screen. The production values make their videos feel like short movies, complete with stunts, special effects and multiple settings. In addition to the locations, lighting and their fight choreographer, the use of sound in their videos adds an extra layer of professionalism.

    “Our sound team is amazing,” said Rachel Moody. “They’re on site making things happen, then they’ll recreate all the sounds for the entire fight scene in post. That and the dialogue editing makes such a difference.”

    "It's a rare relationship I have with Blue Goggles,” said Clayton De Wet, the location mixer, sound effects and sound mixer for Blue Goggles. “Often a sound crew isn't brought into a project until the end of pre-production, or until the end of a shoot as far as post-production goes, but it's unheard of to find a crew that brings a sound team in during the concept phase and even before the initial pitch.”

    Ben says their videos are a lot more work than most things filmed for an online audience, but taking the time to make quality videos now increases the odds of getting funding to make a feature film or extended series later. Plus, he just likes the look.

    “I’ve read a lot of interviews with people talking about how they’re going to film school because of YouTube,” said Ben Moody. “I’m a child of the 80’s. I grew up watching movies, so that’s the caliber of films I want to be making. I may be the last generation in it to make feature quality films instead of YouTube videos.”

    After the script is written, storyboards are made, and rehearsals are over, it takes about twelve hours of filming to shoot a five-minute video. After that, they go through a few days of post production to get it feature ready, upload the video and start on the next one.

    Rachel said people are constantly surprised by their ability to make a polished, finished product on a small budget. “When Ben comes to me with a script, I always ask how are we possibly going to do this? Then we find a way,” said Rachel Moody. “It sets us apart from a couple people in an office or sitting in front of a green screen, or something less visually inspiring.”


    A slick, polished look is increasingly important in the gaming video genre. Video games now make more money than Hollywood movies, and gamers have come to expect a visually stunning experience.

    “Gamers have been online the longest,” said Ben Moody. When Blue Goggles started making videos, he and Rachel knew there was an existing audience waiting for high quality, cinematic gaming-related videos. “They like watching Web videos, and they’re hungry for good content.”

    In addition to an existing, underserved audience, the Moodys hoped gaming-related videos would be more socially sharable. While their 2008 zombie series netted a few thousand views, this year their gaming-related content earned Blue Goggles over 1 million views.

    “The good thing about making videos for gamers is we’re rabid and passionate about stuff,” said Ben Moody. “We’re very vocal and we like to love stuff and if we love it, we want to share it with our friends. I think that’s why a lot of gaming videos go viral. There are a lot of forums and communities where people just want to share stuff.”

    The Moodys hope that passion for sharing will finance a full season of their indie webseries Bit Parts. They financed six episodes themselves, and hope to extend that to a full 24 episode season via their Kickstarter.

    “Kickstarter is exciting, in any art form,” said Ben Moody. “If it takes off, you know you’re developing something people want. There’s nothing worse than spending a couple years working on something and finding out people don’t like it. I love the show and really hope we get to do more.”

    The Moodys expect Blue Goggles and other direct-to-Web production companies to gradually blur the line between television and online content. Chris Hardwick has his Nerdist Channel, Felicia Day has Geek and Sundry. While geek and gaming content is leading the way, in another five years, the Moodys said they expect mainstream programing from cooking shows to scripted dramas to get their start online.

    “I love watching YouTube on my X-Box on my 50 inch TV,” said Ben Moody. “It’s definitely blurring the lines between TV and Web video. I don’t know if TV needs to go to short formats or if the Web will go to longer 30 and 60 minute shows. It’s exciting to me to think about people watching our videos not on their iPhones but on their TV, with a real sound system.”

    Meanwhile, you can see original Blue Goggles videos at GameTrailers.com, on YouTube, or on the Blue Goggles website

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    Gaming Takes a Backseat to New Media and Geek Pride at RTX

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Jul 7, 2012

    It’s easy to show up at the Rooster Teeth Expo (RTX) expecting a gaming convention, but it turns out RTX is something far rarer than that. This is a new media convention.

    Turning Girls Into Gamers: A Game Reviewer's Expert Advice

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Jul 20, 2012

    At Austin's recent RTX conference, Jorge Guerra, video game reviewer and writer for the gaming site Ganimanga, sat down with the Austin Post to discuss how guys can turn their girlfriends into gamers.


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    The newly redesigned core exhibit of the LBJ Presidential Library will open to the public on December 22, 2012, which would have been Mrs. Johnson’s 100th birthday.

    Please join us for the 10:00 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony and enjoy live music, birthday cake in honor of Mrs. Johnson, giveaways, book signings, and our decorated trees in the Great Hall. Then be one of the first to tour our extraordinary new exhibits!

    Ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. on December 22, 2012

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    Last Friday (11/30) the $6 million purchase of the 98.9 FM signal by the University of Texas became final. And just after New Year's the UT-owned public radio station KUT will divide in two separate on-air entities, the Austin-American Statesman reports. KUT at 90.5 will become news/talk, featuring all its current programs in that format and adding shows like "Talk of the Nation,""Science Friday,""BBC World Have Your Say,""The Moth Radio Hour,""Travels with Rick Steves,""The Dinner Party" and others. At 98.9 KUTX will program all-music, adding a number of new shows by longtime KUT and former KGSR air personalities, such as:

    [S]everal new programs helmed by well-known Austin radio hosts. Jody Denberg will have a three-hour Sunday show featuring “music from off the beaten path,” Jay Trachtenberg will spotlight classic jazz tunes, Jeff McCord’s “New Music Sunday” will introduce listeners to releases from new and established artists and “Cactus Cafe Live” will broadcast performances taking place in the UT student union.

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  • 12/03/12--07:57: Tech Events Roundup Dec 3-9
  • This week, you can fill your networking needs at either of Door64’s Happy Hours or mingle in a more intimate setting with a wide assortment of user groups. The week ends with another of our growing number of Hackathons, this one hosted by the good folks at Capital Factory.

    Austin Linux Group December Meetup
    Dec 3, 7:00 p.m.
    Pizza Bistro (formerly Mangia's Pizza)
    12001 Burnet Rd
    We are a synergistic group of Linux Enthusiasts who meet to share ideas, knowledge and technique. The meetings are centered around an agenda which covers a specific topic each session.

    Computer Club of Austin General Meeting
    Dec 4, 6:30 p.m.
    North Village Library
    2505 Steck Ave.
    This month’s meeting centers around Windows 8.

    Intro to Sencha Architect
    Dec 4, 7:00 p.m.
    Capital Factory
    701 Brazos St, 16th floor
    We’ll show off the basics of creating both mobile and desktop app layouts, along with how to hook up your MVC classes and event handlers as well right inside the IDE.  If you haven't given Architect a look yet, or if you tried Sencha Designer last year and weren't too impressed, you should definitely come check out the latest version.

    Austin iPhone Developer Group
    Dec 4, 8:00 p.m.
    Join to learn the location
    We introduce ourselves, have a few beers and share iPhone developer tips and tricks. It's also a good time to talk about what apps we've noticed. New SDK easter eggs, etc. If you are an iPhone developer, then feel free to join us. Please no sales offers, recruiters, etc.

    Door64 North Happy Hour
    Dec 5, 5:30 p.m.
    The Park
    11601 Domain Drive #200
    Expand your local network, maybe see some familiar faces, have a good time. If you don’t want to drive downtown, this northern networking alternative is for you.

    Austin Professional Android Developers
    Dec 5, 6:00 p.m.
    Capital Factory
    701 Brazos St, 16th floor
    Touch is fundamental to the mobile computing experience and has made user interfaces more intuitive and approachable than ever before. Naqi will be guiding us through the proper use of Touch Events in Android to create a user experience that will inspire awe. Join us as Naqi Syed shares how you can execute touch events in your app effectively and gives warning signs that you are doing it wrong. Attend this meetup and leave owning Touch Events!

    Door 64 Downtown Happy Hour
    Dec 5, 5:30 p.m.
    Six Lounge
    319 Colorado St
    Expand your local network, maybe see some familiar faces, have a good time.

    Drupal Dojo
    Dec 6, 7:00 p.m.
    Mangia Pizza
    8012 Mesa Drive
    Theme: The Drupal Dojo is for anyone interested in hanging out with other Drupalistas in a "hive mind" environment. There is no set topic or presenter so bring your laptop, a pet project and an appetite.

    Agile and Kanban Tool Comparison
    Dec 7, 11:30 a.m.
    Microsoft Technology Center: Austin
    Quarry Oaks Atrium, Bldg. 2 - 2nd Fl.
    10900 S. Stonelake Blvd.
    As many organizations transition to an environment where they want to be Kanban, the first step in that transition is to consider if the current tools in place can provide what is needed.  At this meeting we are going to review the new Agile and Kanban functionalities in TFS 2012, some additional add-ons that can help you bridge any gaps, and how JIRA's Grasshopper compares.

    Agile Leaders SIG - Scaling Agile to Large Projects
    Dec 7, Noon
    CA Technologies
    5001 Plaza on the Lake
    Suite 102 (first floor)
    The discussion will briefly touch on the culture aspect and delve deeper into several practices that Dell ESG has deployed to better manage large-scale Agile projects. Attendees will be encouraged to share experiences they encounter at the enterprise level.

    ATX 2600
    Dec 7, 8:00 p.m.
    Spider House Cafe
    2908 Fruth St
    If you’re familiar with 2600 magazine you already have a good idea what these white hat hackers are all about. They set a very high and specific bar for knowledge, so check out their page for more details.

    AT&T Mobile App Hackathon
    Dec 8, 10:00 a.m.
    Capital Factory
    701 Brazos St, 16th floor
    Mobile App Hackathon is an event produced by the AT&T Developer Program  that is designed for attendees (technical & non-technical) to build apps/mobile apps, get fed, compete for prizes across different categories and most importantly: meet new people and scout for teammates to work on new or current projects. Our hackathon will introduce you to the latest cutting edge tools to help deploy your own app with a website backend, fully hosted in the cloud.

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    GloFish

    CEOs and Tech Pros Confide Their Favorite Austin-Born Technologies

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Oct 10, 2012

    Austin’s tech scene is known for being friendly, outgoing and collaborative. We gave eight technology professionals ranging from CEOs to Community Educators the opportunity to brag about their favorite technology to come out of Austin. 

    Dan Graham

    What Recruiters Recommend: Modern UX/UI Skills

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Oct 5, 2012

    Door64 recently hosted the Painpoint Job Fair for companies at the “pain point” where they couldn’t move forward with vital projects until they hired new coders.

    What Recruiters Recommend: Why Austin is Flooded with $10 Social Media Jobs

    By Chris-Rachael O... / Aug 16, 2012

    A shocking number of social media job listings ask for five years of experience, two pages of skills, and a 24/7 dedication to the job. In exchange, they offer $10 an hour and no benefits.


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    Images courtesy of Limbacher & Godfrey Architects

    To complete the full 10-mile loop of the Butler Trail, Austin’s hike and bike trail along the Colorado, runners, joggers and cyclists must currently leave the trail and navigate city streets south of the river from just east of the Austin American-Statesman complex out past I-35, including some roads with lots of traffic on a confusing-to-the-newcomer route.

    The City of Austin began construction in August on an alternative that would create an unbroken hike and bike path with the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk Trail, calling it an extension of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson’s plans for the beautification of what was then called Town Lake.


    This city rendering shows the boardwalk sections on Lady Bird Lake on either side of I-35.

    “Mrs. Johnson and other City leaders envisioned a pleasant shoreline path around the lake,” said David Kim Taylor, City of Austin project manager for the boardwalk. “Through the years, many citizens and staff have helped to develop the details of what is now the Butler Trail from MoPac to the Longhorn Dam.”

    Limbacher & Godfrey Architects designed the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk as a 10-foot wide, 7,150-foot long trail that will extend the trail about a mile, from The Statesman building to Lakeshore Park. Jacobs Engineering Group is the lead consultant on the design and construction. The boardwalk will be constructed of primarily locally sourced concrete and galvanized steel, and more than half of it will hover 6 feet over the water. Several shade structures will dot the boardwalk, and construction will also include a 425-square-foot restroom.

    City officials say the project is a sustainable one – concrete has a pre-improvement lifespan of about 50 years, and the boardwalk won’t need to be painted. Additionally, although construction may disturb some wildlife and trees (although not Heritage trees), the City plans to replant damaged areas and avoid disturbing nesting areas.

    Although there has been some opposition to the project, Taylor said it has been minimal and mostly concerning the obstruction of views and the inconvenience of construction to nearby residences. However, “there has generally been broad support” for the project, he added.

    City officials expect construction to be finished in April 2014, in time for summer that year. However, the project has been years in the making. The Trail Foundation completed a Riverside Boardwalk Investment Study in 2007 that suggested closing the current 1.2-mile gap in the hike and bike trail. Austin City Council approved funds in 2008 to look at preliminary design, engineering and public involvement for the trail, and in 2010, citizens approved a $17 million bond for the project. The rest of the funds for the $22 million boardwalk will come from private sources, like a $1 million donation from Roy and Ann Butler, the namesake for the trail.

    The boardwalk will ensure a “safe, attractive and convenient connection for an important trail segment that has been a detour since the Butler Trail opened,” Taylor said. “This project will provide a safer transportation alternative as well as a critical link in the Butler Trail which is the core of Austin’s nationally recognized trail system.”

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    Day Trip: Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake)

    By Stephanie Myers / Nov 16, 2012

    Around this time of year, it starts to feel like Town Lake has been deserted, but it’s actually a great time to take advantage of our city’s aquatic rec room for canoeing, kayaking and even stand-up paddling.

    Will You Walk the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk?

    By m_bey / Oct 20, 2010

    Glamour photos and commentary about the controversial public project..........


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    In further Austin rankings today, new results from Travel & Leisure magazine's America's Favorite Cities 2012 survey are in, and Huffington Post just highlighted the attractiveness of locals factor on which we rate well in 7th place.

    Folks in the Texas capital seem to be simultaneously quirky, smart, and buff: the only personal quality that voters were less-than-smitten with was perhaps residents’ tendency toward hipster fashion.

    Even better than looks, we're #3 among 35 U.S. cities for the local singles scene, and rate high on being athletic/active (#2), our street food/food trucks (#2), music scene (#3) and barbecue (#3). Our worst aspects are when it comes to fine dining restaurants (#31), luxury stores (#29) and (duh!) summer (#28). See how we stack up on all counts here.

     


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    Kari Anne Roy and her son Sam, 10, on the Zilker Elementary playground.

    Sam Roy thought he saw the edge of a quarter just barely sticking up above the dirt, glinting in the sun. His recess soccer game halted while Sam got a stick to dig it up.

    "He's always been a magpie," says Sam's mom, Kari Anne Roy. When he finally got it out of the ground, however, it wasn't a quarter, it was a gold ring stuck in a clump of hard dirt. 

    Sam, 10, took it to his teacher at Zilker Elementary and she washed it in the sink, revealing that it was not just a gold ring, but also had an inscription: Tom, Mollie, and a date. "It's a wedding ring!" she told Sam, returning it to him to bring home. 

    "So he comes in the door with this ring on his thumb," Kari Anne says, "and told me how cool it was. He wanted to keep it, but I convinced him that it would be more fun and a big adventure to look for the owners." Sam agreed and they were on the hunt. 

    First, they posted the ring to Facebook, assuming that it would belong to someone whose kids went to the school. Everyone thought the mystery was cool, but no one knew Tom and Mollie. A Facebook friend suggested that Kari Anne look up county marriage statistics online and see if she could find anyone married on the date named Tom and Mollie. It took some digging, but she found A Tom and Mollie married on that date... but was it THE Tom and Mollie? And where were they now?

    Kari Anne felt stuck until she remembered that now that she had their last name she might be able to find them on Facebook. She found Mollie's page and sent her a message. And then.... nothing.

    "Every day, Sam would come home from school and first thing he'd say is, 'Did she write back?'" 

    But she never had. While they waited, Kari Anne and Sam had a long time to think about what it might be like when they found Tom and Mollie. Would they be happy to see the ring? Had it been thrown out deliberately? Had hearts been broken? Would it just be awkward and bring up bad memories? 

    In a last-ditch effort, Kari Anne decided to do some random Googling for an actual email address. She struck gold, if you will. The address seemed to be for both Tom and Mollie ("tomollie"), so she wrote saying, "We found a ring with this inscription. Do you think it might be yours?"

    She didn't have long to wait for an answer. "Praise the Lord!" came Tom's reply. 

    Not only did the ring belong to him, but it had been missing for 29 years. And not only had it been missing for 29 years, but Tom and Mollie's thirty-first anniversary was five days away. 

    Tom remembered that the ring had fallen off during a weekend game of catch with Mollie on the school playground. They looked for it several times, but eventually gave up. So Tom's wedding ring with the little inscription burrowed down and waited 29 years to reappear and be reunited with Tom and Mollie, whose thirty-first anniversary is today, December 4. 

    Happy Anniversary, Tom and Mollie Biddison!


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    Psst. According to reliable sources ranging from Nostradamus to Peruvian Shamans, when the world ends in a Mayan Apocalypse this month, Bugarach, France will be the only place left standing. I know the guy panhandling on MoPac and Parmer wants cash to buy rocket fuel so he can escape before the Mayan apocalypse, but I was curious how the rest of Austin was preparing for the end of the world.

    Chris Cagle-Brown:
    My birthday falls on 12/21 and so I plan to throw a party on the 20th with a pre-apocalyptic theme and allow everyone to come as their own version of an apocalypse.

    Thaddeus Vale:
    Last year, I was asked.. "Hey Dr. Vale, what do you make of all this Mayan Calendar hubbub?" My reply was simple... "If ANY of the things that happened in the film 2012 happen in reality on 12/21/12 I will consume every hat that I own, no sauce." I have spent time since then purchasing better tasting hats.

    John Kennedy:
    Stupid trivia - the Mayan calendar doesn't have leap years so the end of the world already happened. We are all figments of your imagination.

    Thax Theman:
    I really don't know how you prepare for a vague inexplicable "end to all things." I'm just keeping on and making plans for the possibility that the world keeps turning.

    Erin Parr:
    I'll probably sneak as many of bottles of good wine in before the end of the world as I can. I might try and un-see "Twilight," too.

    Samantha Reisz:
    I am going to submit an article for publication if it is the last thing I do! I'll never know it it was accepted or not, but at least I'll have checked that off my life-to-do list.

    Ruth Kaplan:
    I've been through the end of the world with Katrina. It's highly overrated.

    Tux Edo:
    I'm not buying into the hype. There's no way that anyone could predict the end of the world. I'm just going to keep carrying on and not giving any f&*#s as per usual.

    Jen Griffith-Cronin:
    The Mayans who live on the Yucatan Peninsula said the calendar was made in China.

    Hope Clark:
    Booze? In all seriousness, I do not have a plan, for it will be just another day. Judging the end of the world based on a calendar that ended probably because oh I don't know... the Spanish killing them off is just silly - not to mention the leap year account. Personally I like to think it's the world's most creative troll and wish I could pull off something to mess with people thousands of years later. Now, is the hopeful optimist inside of me secretly hoping it will be Z-day? Of course! However that's any given day for me.

     

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    Renderings courtesy of BGK Architects
    Math Emporium plan renderings

    When the Highland Mall opened in 1971, it was Austin’s first shopping mall, a shiny beacon of consumerism. Some 40 years later, the mall’s anchor stores are closed and its large parking lot is often empty. Austin Community College is aiming to change all of that, starting with a farmers market.

    Planning is underway to reinvent the mall space, said Alexis Patterson Hanes, senior public information coordinator for ACC. “It is expected to meet the following goals: Grow innovative instructional programs and program clustering; Reduce crowding at existing campuses; and Expand collaborations with public and private partners.”

    ACC completed its acquisition of the Highland Mall, located on Airport Boulevard just west of IH-35 and just north of US-290, in August 2011, purchasing the mall’s ground lease, which extends to 2070, from Miami-based LNR Property LLC for about $1.5 million. Plans for the mall include educational space, retail and housing.

    In the spring, Flintco, LLC will begin work on the Math Emporium, designed by Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects. The project will turn the former J.C. Penney store (closed since 2011) at the mall’s northeast corner into a 20,000-foot educational space that will include an open math lab, as well as classrooms, science labs, a bookstore, library, student lounge and support services, Patterson Hanes said. The space will allow for the relocation of more than 6,000 students from other ACC locations.

    Neighbors won’t have to wait until fall 2014, when the lab is expected to open, to see changes at the mall though. In November, Barton Creek Farmers Market began holding a farmers market on Sundays, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., in the mall parking lot.

    “Although our first love is sustainable and organic agriculture, we also support small environmentally ethical businesses and good nutrition, and our markets are testimony to our beliefs,” said Salila Travers, director of the Barton Creek Farmers Markets. “The fact that ACC purchased Highland Mall creates a bright future for the area and the management was eager to have us at Highland Mall.”

    For the time being, ACC plans to keep the Highland Mall open, “providing an additional revenue stream for the college and benefiting the community and retailers,” Patterson Hanes said, adding that ACC has no timeline past the first renovation project on the former J.C. Penney. There are still 65 retailers open in the Highland Mall, and its management company, Jones Lang LaSalle, continues to reach out to potential tenants for short-term leases with an emphasis on local retailers. Most tenants are on month-to-month leases, although a few have multi-year leases. 

    Beginning between spring 2014 and fall 2015 though, ACC-appointed RedLeaf Properties will oversee non-college, mixed-use developments of walkable shops, restaurants, structured parking and apartments in areas currently used as mall surface parking lots. Most plans involve renovating the existing structure and additional construction, but some of the J.C. Penney renovation will involve a small amount of demolition, Patterson Hanes said. 

    ACC, Highland Mall management, and RedLeaf Properties are working together to keep the community informed about developments at the mall, Patterson Hanes said, encouraging community members to stay up to date by visiting austincc.edu/highland.

     

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    Living Local: Farmers Market Shopping 101

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    Maybe it's everyone's New Year's resolutions to eat healthier or buy local, but lately I have been invited by a number of friends to join them on their first trip t

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