Keeping Austin weird, one visit at a time.

There are many reasons I love Austin. First and foremost being, it is in Texas. I was born in Virginia, but as the saying goes, “I got to Texas as fast as I could.” This attitude may seem obnoxious to many – especially people from Oklahoma – but speaking for me personally, it is not meant to be. It’s one thing to visit here. You can come and go, then move on with your life. But there’s something about living in Texas that grabs onto your heart and never lets go. Can I get a witness? But back to Austin. How could I not love a place whose slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”? Here’s a brief explanation from the crack research team at Wikipedia:

Keep Austin Weird is the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin, Texas. The phrase arose from an offhand remark by Red Wassenich (a librarian at Austin Community College) in a phone call to a local radio station. He and his wife, Karen Pavelka, placed the slogan on bumper stickers, distributing them free to businesses in Austin.

One interpretation of the slogan is as a reference to the many small businesses in Austin, which give the city its unique cultural identity.

The “Keep Austin Weird” slogan reaches far beyond a marketing campaign, however. Austin reflects a culture of artistic and individual expression that maintains the city as a vibrant and eclectic creative center. In a mostly conservative Texas, Austin is “Weird” because it continues to be progressive in the arts and music. “Keep Austin Weird”, moves beyond a mere slogan, to reflect the dynamics that encompass Austin.

For example, in January 2009 alone over 1700 live music venues were supported. Few cities in the world could boast such a broad spectrum of tastes. In addition, multiple festivals such SXSW, Austin City Limits, Armadillo Bazaar and the Batfest, among many others are highly attended with far reaching audiences.

Austin is just cool. Having said that, I’m glad to be home: Land of superior Internet connections. It seems everywhere I went in Austin, I saw reminders of home. For instance, I saw a sign that reflected my sister’s Native American name:

I even saw signs that reminded me of my Internet peeps. The kids and I ate lunch right next to this place:

which obviously reminded me of Tony C at Tony C Today. Incidentally, if you’ve never checked out his blog, he’s got what I consider to be the most awesome header bar in the blogosphere. That alone is worth the visit, but I digress…Right across the street, I saw a store the reminded me of my friend Sherri at Matter of Fact:

(Y’all, she don’t spell so good…)

And since my friend Helen over at Random Musings just got a new bed, this sign made me think of her:

Here’s a store that reminded me of Steph at the Red Clay Diaries, Beth at That’s Not Me Anymore, Annie at Buzz by Annie’s, Nick the Geek at My Experiences as a Youth Pastor, and Jake at Very Much Later:

(Okay, Jake – I realize that Boise isn’t exactly backwoods, but I didn’t see a baked potato place.)

Right next to “Backwoods” was a store that reminded me of Mare at It Might Be Hope and Koffijah at Koffihouse:

Hey, fellow smartypants contributors, check this out:

(How cool is THAT?)

Yes, reminders were all around me. Even on the drive home, the signs were everywhere. Here’s one that made me think of my new bloggy buddy Mandy Thompson:

As I entered the final stretch, literally minutes from home, I saw a sign that reminded me of Kathy at This Crazy Adventure I call Life:

Did I spend entirely too much time snapping pictures and generally annoying my children on this trip?

But that’s just one more thing that makes me so very annoying/endearing!

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