The clock on my wall says “4:25”. It is actually 2:38 right now. I hung this clock on my wall a few weeks ago, after growing tired of seeing it lifeless on the floor, waiting for a battery and a promotion up to the wall. Soon after its resurrection and appointment to my bedroom wall, I discovered that it does not keep time accurately. As a matter of fact, it intermittently stops ticking and stops making its way around the numbers. It’s like my clock takes long naps during the day and then wakes up to resume keeping time, picking up wherever it left off. Useless.
But I have chosen to leave the clock on the wall and let it keep time its own way. You know, my life is so ruled by time! I wake up to an alarm that is set for the same time every weekday morning. I stay tethered to my calendar throughout the workday so as not to miss a meeting. Zumba class. Happy Hour. Rush hour. Skype dates with My Love. Bedtime. Literally everything in my life is run by that tyrant called Time. Time is good…it helps establish order. But it’s also arbitrary and controlling. So, I keep my useless clock on the wall and let it do its thing because it reminds me that this is all just a game. And sometimes it’s perfectly okay to “clock out” of the daily grind to do with my time whatever I please.
I have now officially been in Austin for 1 year and about 2 weeks. Over the past year I have had some major things happen in my life: I adopted a dog (who I had for 7 months and then re-homed, womp womp). I celebrated 2 years of love and togetherness with my partner. I hit the 1-year mark at my job (complete with a raise, woop!). And I’ve made some really interesting, lovely friends.
But one of the best parts about being in Austin is the nonstop adventure of discovering cool places to drink, dine, play, or chill. I am certain that I am not the hippest Austinite, and I don’t have a long list of super-secret-cooler-than-cool places in this city. But I will, nonetheless, offer a list of some of my favorite spots in this (mostly overrated) neat, little city. Without further ado…
1. Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery
Wonderful place to get a nice variety of local craft beers, including house-brewed selections. The atmosphere strikes a nice balance between trendy and laid-back. Tucked inside of a multi-use (live, work, play) complex, there is plenty of parking and plenty of cool, unpretentious patrons in this bustling north central location. The best thing about this place is its cooperative business model: collective ownership, democratic decision-making, and ethical business practices. I am glad to support a business that pays its workers living wages, provides health insurance, and brings bombass beer to the community!
(image from: learn.kegerator.com)
2. The Herb Bar
This little gem is tucked away in a cute neighborhood just off of the famously eccentric S. Congress St. It is an interesting oasis of alternative healing modalities, natural body products, spiritual this-and-that, and an impressive array of loose herbs and teas. Whether you’re into this sort of thing or not (I am), you are bound to find something really cool and enjoy the good vibes from the staff.
(image from: yelp.com)
3. The Goodnight
Grown and sexy bowling and games. A casual, swanky spin on a classic outing. Great for a double/group date! Really a neat place.
(image from: thegoodnightaustin.com)
Feminist bookstore. Small but full of great gems (books and otherwise) that celebrate women of all sorts. Also features a good selection of books about “green” living, writing, spirituality, and queerness. They even host special events with authors and musicians.
(image from: ebookwoman.com)
5. Whole Foods at The Domain
My newest favorite spot. It’s even better than the glorious Whole Foods downtown (5th and Lamar)!! This beautifully-designed store makes for a surprisingly fun shopping experience. Juice bar, coffee bar, sushi bar, salad bar, hot bar, olive bar, oyster bar, fresh pizza, deli sandwich bar, and more! Tons of indoor and outdoor seating. There’s even an outdoor stage, a foodtruck, and cozy seats with little fire pits. An awesome addition to North Austin!
(image from: impactnews.com)
6. Roll-On Sushi Diner
Great spot in the North Burnet area. Colorful and lively atmosphere. Traditional sushi options and creative departures that barely qualify as sushi but delicious nonetheless. Great place for a relaxed and filling dinner.
(image from: youaremycelebrity.com)
Stay tuned for Vol. 2 of Cool Places in Austin!
I used to go to church every Sunday. Over the past 15 years of my life, I have cycled through (or at least made cameos in) a wide array of Christan denominations until officially joining a United Church of Christ (Jeremiah Wright -woop woop!) congregation in Atlanta 2 years ago. Since moving to Austin 1 year ago, I have pretty much stopped going to church altogether (except when my partner is in town because there is a church she likes here).
So, why have I stopped going?
I think, in part, because weekends have become such precious time to me. With my corporate, daily, 8 to 5 grind, I have very few opportunities to sleep in and enjoy leisure. And since God is everywhere, surely She won’t mind meeting up with me in my cozy bed or on my patio, in my pajamas, with a hookah. Frankly, I don’t want more “stuff to do”. I don’t want to get up and get dressed.
Also, I mostly find church boring now. I did find a place in Austin that did not bore me but the people were unfriendly (typical Austin—don’t believe what you hear about the “friendly people” here). And since I can find plenty of ways to be un-bored without being surrounded by unfriendly people, I opted out. But let’s face it, when you’ve gone to church your whole life, there’s very little that you will find surprising, novel, or captivating. I need some challenging shit…and well…
Along those same lines, I am not sure if church has the answers to the most important questions in my life at the moment. Not that church should be a place of answers, but even if it’s a place of questions…I’m not sure me and churches are asking the same questions.
And another thing! I don’t even know what I believe about God anymore. I mean, I believe that God exists and that God is the Source of Good. Aaaaannnnd that’s all I’ve got. So, I am increasingly uncomfortable in places that would make assertions too far beyond that.
And THEN I turned out to be queer. Soooooo…that drastically reduces the number of church options for me (unless I’m open to sermons about “biblical marriage” and “homosexual lifestyles” and “love the sinner, hate the sin” haha). Most churches that are affirming of LGBTQ folk are like these old, mainline, wilting churches that have less to offer me than I have to offer them. And when I am in these spaces, I can feel the desperation to grab hold of me as the young/black/queer/whatever one that enriches their congregation but probably won’t find a sense of belonging/community in return.
I wish there was a place I could go to learn about Taosim. (And I can imagine a Taoist sage saying to me, “There is. That place is the stillness inside of you.”) And what of my interest in an African spirituality, which was abruptly thwarted by my relocation to Austin?
It is Sunday, and I am searching for new ways to make this day meaningful to me again. Though no day is more sacred than another, my inner Pentecostal will always long for a specialness about Sundays. Today, I went to church in my 1-bedroom apartment. I slept in. I lit incense. I spent 5 minutes being quiet and still (and trying to locate my third eye, ha). I lit a candle. I drank coffee. I read from books that feed my spirit. I journaled. Later, I will walk my dog in the fresh air, prepare a meal, and finish coloring that mandala I started.
And maybe all of that is sacred enough.
Lately, I’ve been on a Perrier kick. My new-found (since Summer 2013) love for carbonated water led me to ask: What is the difference between seltzer water, club soda, tonic water, and sparkling mineral water? If you don’t know the answer to this question, get the scoop here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/seltzer-vs-club-soda_n_1434891.html
Turns out, I have a distinct preference for sparkling mineral water. (And that’s some “bougie” ass shit.) But nuances count.
One thing I’m learning about myself is that I have a penchant for that little, teeny space between. Like that space between grey and taupe. (My partner teases me for the specificity with which I name colors.) Nuance. And I take special delight in cramming myself into that in-between space and then finding the words to articulate the distinctions. Yesterday, I said to my coworker/friend, “There’s a difference between ‘not taking’ and ‘giving’.” It would have been indulgent to explain the difference, but there was no need. She got it.
And this got me thinking about the little spaces that make a big difference in my life. You know, the other day on the radio, Steve Harvey (whose advice I normally find all kinds of problematic) said something that really resonated with me. He was talking to an admirer and fellow comedian about how he’s been successful, and he said (not verbatim), “It’s about the minutes. Most people divide their day into morning and evening or work hours and non-work hours, but that’s not a meaningful way to divide your time.These big chunks of time are too general. It’s about what you do with the minutes that will make a difference in your life.”
So, I am inspired to pay more attention to what I am doing with minutes. I think that using my time and energy strategically, constructively, and efficiently will make a huge difference in my life.
Which brings me to fire.
Several weeks ago, I purchased a book called The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful & Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte. I am one chapter in, and already it is proving to be a total departure from the typical self-help-be-successful-change-your-life book. There are no 10 steps, 21 days, secret formulas, rules, or whatever the hell else. Just some radical, paradigm-shifting suggestions and some difficult questions. But it is insanely fun to read!
You know, there is a difference between what you’re competent at and your natural greatness. There’s often a difference between who you are, authentically, and who you’ve convinced yourself you should be. If you’re lucky, the differences are only slight.
But Perrier and club soda are not the same thing.
So, here’s to sparkling water, a life on fire, and the 525, 600 minutes in this year!
Looks like some cool places to work!
The Groundbreaking Thinker
Groundbreaking Thinkers are charming, enthusiastic persons. They really bubble over with energy and like to take centre stage. They love variety both professionally and privately. Groundbreaking Thinkers tackle changes consistently with their optimism and firm belief in their own abilities; they are always on the look-out for improvement possibilities.Their excellent communication skills are of great advantage to them here. They approach the world with curiosity and openness and master new situations with a great deal of talent for improvising and with resourcefulness. Their spare time is taken up with a large number of hobbies; most Groundbreaking Thinkers like to travel in order to gather as many different impressions as possible. This personality type is unbeatable at discovering new possibilities.
In their work, Groundbreaking Thinkers highly rate challenges and diversified tasks. They cannot stand routine and too detailed work. They love to astound others with bold ideas for an original, new project and then leave it up to the others to implement them. Hierarchies, rules and regulations arouse their opposition and they love outsmarting the system. It is vital to them that they enjoy their work; if this is the case, they quickly become pure workaholics. Their creativity best takes effect when they work independently; but they are very good at motivating others and infecting them with their optimistic nature. Conceptual or advisory activities appeal especially to Groundbreaking Thinkers. It can happen that some people feel somewhat duped by their flexible, spontaneous nature.
» Get career advice for your type
Their sociability and enterprise ensure that Groundbreaking Thinkers always have a large circle of friends and acquaintances in which activity plays an important role. As they are mostly in a good mood, they are popular and very welcome guests. Grumbling and peevishness are unknown to them. However, they do tend to be a little erratic and unstable when it comes to obligations and this makes them appear to be unreliable to some. Groundbreaking Thinkers are very critical and demanding when it comes to picking a partner because they look for the ideal relationship and have a very concrete picture of this ideal relationship. Mutual aims in life are very important to them. They do not like compromising and would rather remain alone. For the partner, it is often a challenge to have a long-term relationship with a Groundbreaking Thinker. Groundbreaking Thinkers need a lot of space and diversity or otherwise they become bored and feel cramped. Types who are rather more traditionalistic often have problems with the willingness of Groundbreaking Thinkers to take risks and their often crazy, spontaneous actions. However, if one can summon up sufficient flexibility and tolerance for them, one will never be bored in their presence and will always have a loyal and faithful partner.
Adjectives that describe your type
extroverted, theoretical, logical, spontaneous, rational, innovative, intellectual, open, independent, curious, enterprising, analytical, clever, enthusiastic, venturesome, inventive, energetic, sociable, optimistic, non-conformist, creative, freedom-loving, charming, able to get enthusiastic, self-confident, communicative, capricious, inconsistent, outgoing
Last night, I dreamt that my parents had a third child named Chloe. And my brother emailed me a picture of her (she looked Indian, by the way) with a message that said, “Love is painting her room in green and white stripes. Love is dressing her in green…” etc.
His point was that adorning this new child in my favorite color was somehow supposed to be proof that my parents did indeed love me (some kind of tribute?)
Very bizarre. Not sure what to make of it.
The royal India, speaking the truth.
Fresh new talent. Jennah Bell.
Fresh new talent. Don’t sleep on Ms. Jennah Bell!
Perhaps you’ve seen this video going around on Facebook:
Everyone seems to be impressed and moved and singing its praises.
Let me tell you why…
There is absolutely zero conversation about why a black woman might have these feelings toward a white woman, particularly in a black barbershop. The complex (and often troubling) social relations between black and white women (as social positions) go completely uninterrogated and, instead, that complex reality is flattened into a fake, one-dimensional portrayal of “reverse racism” between two individuals. The starting point is all wrong.
Additionally, I think this video functions to perpetuate a colorblind-bootstrap-politic of respectability. In other words: This white girl has nothing to do with the everyday racism black folks encounter, and these black people should let it go, get over it, and figure out how to move on with life without saying anything to white people.
Can I just got ahead and call bullshit?
Let me be clear. No one should be subjected to ridicule or mistreatment in any space…black, white, green, whoever….barbershop, grocery store, welfare line, corporate office…wherever. Indeed, the actor’s behavior toward the white woman was inappropriate….and it was also unlikely! Just keep that in mind.
In conclusion, I think this video was silly, unhelpful in race relations, and totally lacking in sophistication when it comes to making sense out of interracial interaction.