Just returned from Austin, Texas. Spent most of the weekend in room 147 in the Austin Motel. What an amazing place. Forget the rest of the city. Sure, there are some could-be-nice college bars in these beautiful 19th century brick buildings downtown, but every single one of ’em is ruined by the top 40 music they turn up to 11. “SO WHERE ARE YOU FROM? YEAH?? EXCUSE ME, WHAT??” And those Texas girls are healthy, but they’re the most earnest things you ever a’gonna see.

But the Austin Motel, right across the street from the Continental Club, and down the street from the best margaritas in the world at Guero’s, is absolutely the only place I’d ever want to hang out in Texas. They say Austin is “The Island,” a sandbar of progressives and weirdos right in the middle of the angriest, most fear-fueled, mah-mamma-dint-much-care-’bout-me population on earth. Well, The Austin Motel is an island on the island. It’s got this 1950 southwestern motorlodge vibe and it’s right on South Congress, so your dealer will know where to find you–hell, he can drive right up to your door.

It didn’t hurt that we were driving around in a ’68 Camaro the entire weekend. Or that Emo’s paid Ross and ACW their guarantee for the show (Night of 100 Laughs) even though only 47 people paid to get in. Or that the hipsters atJo’s Coffee next door were throwing their X-mas chilli cook off on Saturday afternoon. Or that we met Bevo, the Texas Longhorn, when we were driving around campus (I’m a Big 10 guy, but Ross and Barb bow to The Corn–they’re Big 12 for life–so Bevo’s kind of a big deal in Lincoln).

And I made myself laugh every time I got to DJ in our motel room. It never took more than a couple minutes for those Texans to figure out that The Clipse ain’t Merle or Willie. I would sneak over to the stereo, slide in “Hell Hath No Fury” and eventually the conversation would slow to a murmur, and then complete silence. Then one of ’em would wonder, “I caint believe that you ainctually lahk thaht.”


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