Archive Monthly Archives: October 2010

I Was Reprimanded and Lectured by a Travis County Polling Worker

I voted sticker

Sylvia and I stopped by Randalls in Westlake yesterday for early voting. Upon presenting my voter registration card to the lady who checks ID, she reprimanded me for having trimmed it to a size that fits into my wallet.

The voter registration cards in Texas are the size of a standard postcard. This makes it inconvenient to carry in a wallet. So I trim the excess off the top and bottom with scissors, making the card the same height as a drivers license. Then, when folded in half sideways, it fits perfectly in my wallet, with the relevant info intact.

Anyway, the election worker proceeded to inform me NOT to trim the card next time because I chopped off the bar code that the scanner reads and now she has to enter the info manually into her laptop instead of just scanning it. I told her I’d never been told that. She then proceeded to tell me that if it takes an extra minute to enter my info, I’m holding up the line and causing other people to wait longer than they should have to. I said “oh, would you like to scan my drivers license instead?” She said “no, I already have you up here” (on the laptop screen).

This was all spoken in earshot of at least the first 3 or 4 people in line behind me. I considered saying “hey, Old Lady, shut up and just do your freaking job”, but I instead apologized for having trimmed my card and causing her the extra effort of typing my name into her screen.

Is it the polling worker’s job or duty to issue such reprimands and lectures to voters? No, it’s not.

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Posted by Steve
5 years ago

Which Demographic Can’t Wait to Leave Austin?

Austin on map

I’ve taken an informal poll of a certain group of long-time Austinites, and 4 out of 5 surveyed desperately want to leave Austin .. before September 2011. Who are these crazies? High school seniors who are born and raised in Austin.

My own kid is one of them. Born at Brackenridge hospital, schooled for eight years at the Austin Waldorf School, and now a soon-to-be graduate of Westlake High. She’s an Austin native through and through. But she and her Austin-native friends can’t wait to get out of here.

As she puts it, “it will be lame if I go to UT and, when I finish college, I will have only ever lived in Austin”. Doesn’t sound “lame” to me, but what the heck, I’m just the Dad paying for all this.

OK, I do get the point. The grass is greener and all that. Birds flying the nest, coming of age, exploring the world, being independent. Getting away from the “parental units”. I get it. But this is Austin. I could see aching to get away from Bismark, or Tulsa or Abilene. But Austin? Everybody else is trying to get here!

And where is the grass greener? Waco. Go figure. Yep, Baylor University is a fine institution and I have to admit I was impressed with the visitor tour. But Waco? That’s the big escape from Austin? Yes, because it’s the “perfect” distance away.

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Posted by Steve
5 years ago

Austin office market back to pre-recession levels

Real Estate Contracts

This from the Austin Business Journal today, Austin office market back to pre-recession levels. Let’s review a few snippets from the news article.

The Austin office market saw a trifecta of positive developments in the third quarter with a dramatic boost in absorption, decrease in sublease and large corporate move-ins. The shift is the best the local office market has seen since the recession began, according to Oxford Commercial’s latest quarterly report released Wednesday.

“I think you can now say that we’ve turned the darkest corner and have a stabilized market that has signs of further improving into the next two quarters,” Oxford Partner Kevin Kimbrough said.

Read the full story for more positive data points.

What does this commercial real estate news mean for the residential home sales market?

More than you might think.

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Posted by Steve
5 years ago

Does the Austin Lifestyle Keep us all Feeling Younger?

Austin lifestyle

Sylvia and I attended a friend’s birthday party last night at a local restaurant. We were among the oldest people there, but we blended in just fine. I met a college guy who just recently graduated McCallum High. Our friend is in his mid 30s and the crowd of guests ranged from young 20s to late 40s/early 50s. The music being played was 1970s “Go Go” music, of which our friend is a fan. It was a typical Austin get-together of a diverse group of friends and acquaintances having fun.

My 48th birthday was last week. I’m either in denial about aging, or Austin is just a place where we don’t really feel like we’re growing old. I still feel the same youthful exuberance I did when I first moved here in May 1985 at the age of 22, only I’m a bit wiser and more financially responsible now. The hard-partying days are behind me. And I have 14 and 17 year old kids and, thus, a different set of worries and priorities.

But Sylvia and I were with a more age-homogeneous group of friends the night before. This was a bunch of her old real estate pals from the 1980s. She was an outside sales rep at GranTree Furniture back then and did sales calls at apartments, lease-locator companies and real estate offices in Austin, trying to sell furniture. She became friends with a large group of real estate agents. They would eventually talk her into getting her real estate license, which she did in 1988 (in the middle of the worst real estate market in Austin history), and she became a Realtor instead of an interior design specialist.

Anyway, as I looked around the table at these dozen or so veteran real estate people, I thought that I certainly can’t look as old as they all do. To me Sylvia looks the same as she did when I met her at age 29. We all certainly act about the same. Why is that? Why aren’t we all members of an Elk’s club, or the Moose Lodge, as our parents were at the same age when we were growing up, playing bingo on Saturday nights and showing up for $1 cornbread and beans on Wed nights? Drinking bourbon and water and playing darts and shooting pool? Why weren’t the women at the table wearing “old lady” clothes instead of the good looking outfits they had on? And us guys were all wearing what any 20-something would be wearing in Austin on a night out.  Yep, we live in a town where a 20-something could borrow clothes from a 40-something, noone would be the wiser.

Aren’t we supposed to dissolve from the Austin lifestyle “scene” once the grey hair starts coming in. How dare us show up at ACL Fest next week, wearing sneakers and jeans. Who gave us baby boomers permission to invade and take over Facebook and to learn how to Text? Why don’t I own a recliner-rocker and drive a Buick 4-door like good Dads my age should?

Because I live in Austin TX, where growing old is not an option, and staying cool is easy.

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Posted by Steve
5 years ago