Don't Move to Texas

They asked me to write 1,500 words on why I would never move back to Texas. “Only fifteen hundred?” I replied, but that was a joke. I would move back to Texas, for a home next door to George II and permission to form a Sex Pistols tribute band and rehearse in the garage. I would also require the $2 million I am due for bearing the scarlet T burned into my forehead for all these years in civilized society.

Celebrate the Spurs (in Haiku)

Jaunty hats, cold beers
Section 20, Baseline Bums
Your new life goal, set
 
White hair and cool glare
Sometimes beard, mostly frowning
Popovich watches

Down by two for win
Ginóbili sinks a three
Argentina, thanks
 
Quiet Tim? Nonsense!
Count the rings, all five of them
They speak the loudest
 
City ’rupts! Spurs win!
Traffic, cheers, car horns blaring
Skip work tomorrow

SXSW 2015: To Live and Die in Startup Village

It’s a beautiful March evening in Austin, and South by Southwest is in full swing. Along Sixth Street and Red River, lines are forming for the night’s exclusive parties. Elsewhere downtown, movie theaters are rolling out red carpets for Hollywood celebrities. The great unwashed and uncredentialed are out too, soaking up sun like they own the place, mobbing the jogging paths and margarita-strewn patios that ring the downtown VIP zone.

The Prettiest Li'l Drive You'll Ever See

Want to see some of the roughest, most scenic terrain in the state? Head to far West Texas and start in the remote desert village of Terlingua, in theory a ghost town but in reality home to a couple hundred desert rats living in the shadow of the jagged Chisos and Sierra Del Carmen mountains. Drive west on FM 170 through an astounding wilderness of shallow canyons, ancient riverbeds, and craggy limestone hills.

How to Drive 85 Miles per Hour

The fastest road in America does not cross the Mojave Desert or the big sky country of Montana. Instead, it cuts through an unexceptional stretch of farmland southeast of Austin, where the posted speed limit on Texas Highway 130 jumps to 85 miles per hour. The so-called Texas Autobahn begins just after the town of Mustang Ridge and continues for the next 41 miles to Seguin. Traversing the entirety of it won’t take you long, though because it’s a toll road, the trip will run you about $9.

Drive a Pickup Truck (or Don't)

I drive a truck. It is a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado, Texas Edition, in Summit White, running on a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 engine. It has twenty-inch chrome wheels and chrome trim on the bumpers, grill, and side-view mirrors. It measures six feet tall, six feet wide, and nearly twenty feet long. It makes no practical sense for me to own this vehicle. My daily commute is ten miles of interstate and downtown Austin streets.

How to Survive the Summer

When I was a teenager growing up in Wichita Falls, which is regularly hailed as one of the hottest cities in the state (and sometimes the country), I spent my summers smelling like roadkill. The moment I stepped outside my house, sweat began sliding like syrup down my back. According to the old-timers, there were three Dante-like levels of heat in Wichita Falls: A normal day was “hot as fire” (pronounced “fahr”). A very hot day was “hot as hell” (pronounced “hey-yull”).

What I’ve Learned

Alot has happened since October 1, 1974, my first day of employment at Texas Monthly. I remember the unbridled joy I felt joining the magazine and leaving behind the Texas Senate after several years of working as a staffer. No more bills to draft, no more reports to write, free at last. The magazine’s original offices, at Fifteenth and Guadalupe, in downtown Austin, were located up a flight of stairs, above a finance company. A dental lab sat across a tiled vestibule from our quarters.

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