Category Archives: Uncategorized

Easter Weekend

Although many students are going home for Easter Weekend, many will be staying in town due to scheduling difficulties, intense workloads, an aversion to traffic, etc.

If you fall into this category but  would still like to attend some kind of Easter service then you’re in luck because there are several churches located on campus and in west campus!

To keep it simple I’ll just narrow it down to a few categories of churches!

Peeps!

Baptist

If you would like to attend a Baptist service then check out University Baptist Church, located at  22nd and Guadalupe. They have an Easter breakfast at 9 a.m. and services begin at 10:30 a.m, and they described their attire over the phone as “relatively informal”

Catholic

For Catholic services your best bet is the University Catholic Center, located at  21st and University Ave (near the PCL). They will host services at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. According to my roommate, a regular attendee of the University Catholic Center, “Any kind of attire is fine, but you might want to dress it up a little more than usual since it is Easter.”

Non-Denominational

For non-denominational services check out Hill Country Bible Church, located at 22nd and San Antonio St. Their Easter service will begin at 10 a.m. As far as attire goes, their website states, “Wear whatever you are comfortable in. We are an informal church and accept people as they are.”

For Whom Tolls the Bells

A lot has changed in the world since 1967. The Beatles are done, Vietnam is over, we reached the moon (we think), Bobby Kennedy and the great Martin Luther King Jr. are unfortunately no longer with us.

But a lot of things haven’t. We still don’t know who shot JFK, England still hasn’t won another World Cup, no one cares who Justin Beiber is, and Tom Anderson still plays his 56 bells.

If that last one sounds odd to you, then you need to brush up on your University of Texas personalities. Anderson has played the Carillon for Longhorn passer-byes for 57 years (also from 52-56 as a music graduate student). And while a quick search in the UT directory won’t net you any results for Anderson, asking anyone in the know will certainly offer some insight.

A younger Anderson stands next to one of the 56 bells

“Tom is the offical University carilloneur,” said Arnell Davis, a Tower Tour Guide at UT. “He’s the best there is…And the carillon is so massive, it’s actually located on two separate floors at the top of the Tower, four flights up from the observation deck – but he plays it as though it were simple instrument.”

So maybe that sounds impressive, but consider the routine of playing the carillon. The instrument is similar to an organ, but instead of keys, it has two rows of wooden levers. Each time he touches a lever, it sends a signal through a wire to a slapper inside the bells (which weigh between 20 pounds and 20 tons). To actually play the instrument, you have to frantically multitask, stretching for levers, hopping between pedals, and all the while reading sheet music – and keeping the beat. That sounds like a task for a spry undergrad, much less an 87-year-old man. Anderson, who has finally surpassed the number of steps he climbs each day (two at a time for good measure), says he’ll keep playing until he can’t get up the 85 steps anymore.

And over his lengthy tenure atop the tower, Anderson still hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Although he said he doesn’t have a favorite song, he loves ‘Danny Boy’ and takes some pleasure in playing certain songs at odd times. Examples include ‘Let it Snow’ in the middle of August or Chopin’s funeral march on the first day of finals.

Some things never change, and we like it that way. One day Tom will retire and the University will lose an icon. But until that day, we should cherish the music and remember the man. The next time you hear the bells think of him, and maybe even tell a friend. He deserves a little bit of celebrity after all. I think he’s earned it.

Staying in Austin for Spring Break?

Maybe you have to work or maybe you just don’t want to spend the week in your hometown, and so you’ll be spending your week off here in Austin, Tx. Perhaps you’re wondering what you’re going to do during the week while all of your friends are back at home or at the beach.

Well fortunately for you, I’ve made a list of three easy, cheap, fun things for you to do! Of course you could always spend the week going to SXSW events, but that would make you just too cliche! 😉

Alice in Wonderland in 3D at the IMAX

Another perk of being a UT student is that there is an IMAX theater, at the Bob Bullock Museum,  within walking distance of campus. They play all sorts of movies, from historical films to nature films (think Planet Earth style) to normal contemporary movies. They also frequently showcase 3D films. The current 3D and contemporary film they’re showing is Alice in Wonderland, starring Johny Depp, and directed by Tim Burton.

Now IMAX movies tend to be a little more expensive than normal movies and 3D movies are usually a bit more expensive as well, but fortunately there is a student discount so tickets for students are $10. As a point of reference, I watched this movie  last weekend at Galaxy Highland Theater and adult tickets were $13 due to an extra charge for 3D and that wasn’t even an IMAX theater!

I would definitely recommend arriving at least half an hour early because last time I visited that theater the person I was meeting arrived just before the movie and we ended up sitting in the first row and having to turn our heads to try to see the whole screen during the movie!

Making Movies Exhibit at The Harry Ransom Center

For the next several months the Harry Ransom Center will feature an exhibition that explores and chronicles the movie-making process.

The exhibition will be split into two sections. The first will explain the roles of several different players in the movie process including directors, producers, screenwriters, art directors, costume designers, and actors. The second section will feature “original scripts of iconic scenes from about 10 motion pictures…alongside production materials for that scene.”

This event is available Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m

Kayaking at Zilker Park

Now that the weather is finally warming up it’s become perfect conditions for kayaking!

Jordyn demonstrating the fun of kayaing...although, admittedly not at Zilker Park

One of the best places to kayak in Austin is Zilker Park, since it’s centrally located and they have kayaks available for rent.

At $10 an hour it’s a fairly affordable activity and it doesn’t require a lot of effort or planning since they have the kayaks, paddles, and life jackets. One important reminder though, bring cash because they do NOT accept debit or credit cards!

Stay Safe during Spring Break!

I know everyone’s excited about Spring Break, but I just wanted to make sure everyone has fun but stays safe.  So here are a few Spring Break tips that everyone should follow!  (Bits taken from Campus Watch)
Prepare your residence for your Spring Break absence.
– Make sure you have your mail held at the post office and your newspaper delivery suspended.
– Check out an electric timer from the police department.  A timer can be used to turn your interior lights on and off.  This gives the impression your home is occupied.
–  Make sure your lawn, if you have one, is mowed and edged before you leave.  An unkempt lawn is an indication no one is at home.

Prepare your vehicle for Spring Break
–      This would be a good time to have a mechanic go over your vehicle.
–      Change the oil
–      Have the belts and engine hoses checked
–      Check all of your vehicle’s fluid levels checked and check the tire pressure
–      Put together an emergency kit.  This kit will contain some of the following items:
Water
Emergency Blanket
Flashlight / Extra Batteries
First Aid Kit
Car Cell Phone Charger
Traffic Safety Vest ($9.00 in the sporting goods section of many stores)
Granola bars

Preparing your personal items for the trip and packing
– When packing your clothes for the trip, consider the attire of local people in the area you are visiting.  Do not dress to “flashy” or “laid-back” as that may cause you to stand out as a tourist and an easy target.  Plan to dress conservatively.
– Before you leave, take time to plan out your trip.  Having an itinerary and sharing it with friends you are travelling with helps to identify possible problems and areas where security may be of more concern.  Include your travel plans in the itinerary (how you will be travelling – plane, train, auto, bus, bicycle etc. and the identifiers for that method of travel; i.e. flight number 7645 leaving Austin – Bergstrom at 10 a.m. arriving at JFK International at 3:00p.m.) Make sure you provide a copy of this itinerary with friends or family that are staying here.  That way, they know more about where you are, where you plan to be and when you will be back.
– If travelling abroad, make sure you look up the local police department telephone numbers and the nearest US Embassy telephone numbers. Program those numbers into your cell phone.  You never know when you will need them.
– Check the State Department webpage for any travel advisories. The web address is http://www.state.gov/travel/
– Check the contents of your wallet.  Only bring that which is necessary.  Limit the amount of cash you take with you.  Use traveler’s checks or a credit card instead.  Write down the 1-800 number to your credit card in the event your card is lost or stolen.  Keep that number in your hotel.
– If you take prescription medications, make sure you have enough of the prescription to last you through the trip.  KEEP YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PRESCRIPTION BOTTLE.
– Keep your name and address on the inside of your luggage and write your contact information on the luggage tag.  Use a luggage tag that has a cover so your information can not be seen by someone walking by your luggage.
– Stay with your luggage from your house, to the airport and up to the bag check.  Watch the bag security check and ask Transportation Security Agency Officers to lock your bag after it is checked.

The Wooten Barbershop

Guys, you might find this beneficial, but ladies, not so much. Sorry.

Ever since I have been here at UT, I have been faced with the fear of getting a bad haircut while trying to find a new barbershop to call home. For this reason, I would normally just wait until I headed home for a weekend and then go get a trim from the same barber that has been cutting my hair for nearly all my life.

However, I didn’t see a trip home happening anytime soon and I was beginning to look a bit shaggy, so after two and a half years here in Austin, I finally decided to face my fear.

A while back, I posted a question related to this as my Facebook status and got some very good feedback. Most of the suggestions pointed me in the direction of The Wooten Barbershop on The Drag, so that is where I decided to go after class today.

I should mention before anything else, during my time in Austin I have gotten my hair cut at exactly one place and exactly one time–at Super Cuts. You see, a big part of going to a barbershop is the experience, and well, my experience at Super Cuts consisted of listening to two women barbers talk about their boyfriends. Nothing against women or women barbers, but this is not exactly the atmosphere that I was looking for. Not to mention that I wore a baseball cap every day for the next couple of weeks because of my awesome new haircut.

Okay now, back to the Wooten.

From the outside, this tiny barbershop does not seem to be anything special. But after opening the door for the first time I could tell that this place had potential–it smelled like a barbershop. There were a few people ahead of me to get haircuts, but waiting was pleasant to say the least. The chairs were comfortable, the big flat screen was awesome and the location right next to the sidewalk provided for prime people watching through the shop windows.

After about thirty minutes, the wait was over. It was my turn.

My barber was Don, a pretty imposing guy with tattoos up his arms and a goatee that any man would be proud of. He was a really nice guy, and before you knew it we were having a pretty good conversation. But I did not just go there to talk to some stranger.

Now I didn’t mean to mislead you with what I said before–the main reason I go to a barber is still to get my hair cut. The real test was coming up, and there was a mirror directly in front of me so I could keep a close eye on Don.

No suspense here, the guy did a good job and he obviously has skills. He pulled out the biggest scissors that I have ever seen and started to chop away it seemed. I mean, hair was flying everywhere! Before I knew it, I was done, out of the chair and handing Don my credit card.  

While the one knock against The Wooten is that it is a little pricier than most places at $15 a cut, I still think that it is worth it.

It’s taken some time, but I think I have found my new barbershop away from home.

So if you’re in need of a good quality haircut, and appreciate the barbershop feel, I recommend that you give The Wooten a try yourself!