Austin, TX


Went to Austin, Texas this weekend for a work event1; it was my first time in Austin so I figured I'd write up some notes:

  • Cities are so indistinguishable now. Downtown Austin has the same restaurant and store chains as San Francisco, Boston, Miami, or any other American city.
  • Its is weird how much Confederate stuff there still is for the supposedly-liberal Texas city. Until '96, the Capitol Visitors Center was administered by the Daughters of the Confederacy; lots of Confederate flags.
  • Live music everywhere, even at the broiest bars near the hotels — even at the hotel bars! This was great! I wish more Bay Area bars had live jazz or blues or funk just as a regular thing.
  • Everything was incredibly cheap compared to the Bay Area. For what I paid for my 1400sqft house in Berkeley I could get a mansion sitting on several acres in Austin. Despite how cheap everything is and how plentiful housing is, homelessness still seems to be a big problem. Tent cities under the overpasses and folks sleeping on all the benches. Kind of a downer for me as a YIMBY; more housing alone won't do it, we also need supportive socialized housing programs!
  • Gun culture is insane. There were a number of gun stores near our hotel and businesses apparently have to have a giant sign if they don't want people to open carry into their restaurant or office. I don't care how many feral hogs are coming into your rural backyard; you don't need a gun in a WeWork. I could never be comfortable in a place where so many people live in such fear that they need to carry weapons to breakfast.
  • Good barbecue2. Duh.

I'm drinking some coffee at the airport now3. Only another seven or so hours of air travel and I'll be home.

  1. technically, an "engineering leadership retreat" 

  2. We got some Franklin Barbecue 

  3. AUS is a nice airport. Reminds me a bit of ONT; super fast security process, ample seating, not too many gates. I'm at the one place with pour over coffee — one is better than none! There's also decent free WiFi which doesn't block WireGuard traffic… always nice to have…