Author Archive

Conclusions

This is the last blog post of my first blog. Hopefully, to quote Winston Churchill “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

 

Here are some updates on some of my postings:

 

  • One of my first posts was about not keeping meat in my apartment for lent and health reasons…yeah, that lasted about a week.
  • Diddo for that whole “morning run” thing. (do people say diddo anymore?)
  • Texas Relay weekend went off without any  semblance last year’s controversy.
  • You can still sign up for the Longhorn Run, and you really should.

Overall, I learned even a short, seemingly simple blog post can take a tremendous amount of effort and energy, which is appropriate given the subject of this blog I suppose. My fellow bloggers were excellent at going outside their comfort zones and interviewing people. If I could do the blog again, I would budget my time better so I could do more journalistic interview work like they did.

 

As far as fitness goes, I honestly think we are on the right track. Obviously obesity is a major epidemic and must be addressed, but I think society has bottomed out and finally realized how easy and important it is to stay active.

 

I hope everybody enjoyed my postings, and hopefully the blogging bug will stick with me once this is done.

Austin Sports

Face it, unless an Austin athlete’s uniform sports a burnt orange bovine looking sort of like an expanded flux capacitor, you probably don’t pay attention.

However, there are several other non-Longhorn Austin teams with entertaining games and cheaper tickets.

The Austin Toros

The Austin Toros are the D-League affiliate for the San Antonio Spurs. Aside from being the name of a league I will one day own and name after myself, the D-League is the development league, where NBA prospects learn a team’s system and hone their skills before joining the franchise in the NBA. The 5 year old Austin Toros play at the Austin Convention Center . They have a dance team, the Capital City Dancers and a mascot, Da Bull

The Toros aren’t bad either. At 32-18 they are second in the Western Conference, next to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets’ D-League team. The Toros face the Dakota Wizards this weekend in the first round of the playoffs. Apparently not only do people live in the Dakotas, but they play basketball too.

Fun Fact: The Dakota Wizards feature former Texas star Connor Atchley.

If basketball isn’t your thing, you can get your hockey fix with the

Texas Stars

The Texas Stars are an American League hockey team affiliated with the Dallas Stars. The team, which is completing its first  season, plays at the new Cedar Park Center in Cedar Park. The team doesn’t have a dance team or SNL-based, lawsuit waiting to happen, mascot like the Toros, but they do commandeer Austin’s English and Spanish ESPN radio stations for live game coverage for reasons beyond comprehension. They are currently engulfed in the Lone Star Faceoff against Houston and San Antonio’s minor league teams.

Last, my very favorite non-Longhorn Austin team

The Austin Turfcats

The Austin Turfcats are a brand-new member of the Indoor Football League. They are pretty new so there is not a whole lot to say, except there are few sports more entertaining than arena, erg, I mean, indoor football. Like the Toros, and unlike the Stars, The Turfcats have a dance team, The Lady Cats, (though I prefer the Cat Ladies) and mascot that is a combination of a feline and a type of flooring.

The Turfcats are Austin’s fourth try at an indoor football team. Seeing as they play at the Luedecke Arena nice are far away from downtown, and lost their home opener by 49 points, you may want to catch them before their gone


For those of you who enjoy semi-professional sports, here are three teams you can check out in Austin. Who knows, maybe someday one of these players will be a star.

Smoothies: The Working Man’s Best Friend

Tragically my Blackberry and technical ineptness prevent me from posting the climactic video in which I make tomorrow morning’s smoothie. I will do my best to describe my process.

Ingredients for my morning smoothie:

Protein Infused milk, green tea, organic fruit juice, pasteurized egg whites. I am not technical at all in the quantities of each, I just splash them in.

Then I add some combination of the following frozen fruit: Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, coconut, and kiwi.

Then half a banana and a few baby carrots. Sometimes I add honey and peanut butter.

It is much more enthralling on the video. You would have seen the inside of my refrigerator, a bird’s eye view of a smoothie while it is being blended, and a HILARIOUS bit where I pretend like I’m going to put whiskey in the smoothie, but then I don’t. Boy did y’all miss out.

Seriously though, smoothies are really good to have in the morning and even better in the evening when you get home from school/work and are tired but still have tasks. They are easy to make, tasty, and ridiculously vitamin and nutrient rich.

Hope you enjoyed the cell phone edition of Active Austin, and I certainly hope no youtube viewers stumble upon my video and I end up a clip on a video like the one we watched in class today.

Paralympic Experience

As I said in my last post, I’m going to talk about the Paralympic Experience.

The Paralympic Experience is a one day event on April 17th for “citizens with disabilities to learn and participate in several water-based sports, adaptive tennis and other activities.”  Sponsored by the Paralympics Sport Club and the US Olympic‐Paralympic Committee, this free event teaches disabled Austinites to basics of water-sports such as paddling a kayak or canoe, kayak polo, and adaptive and wheelchair tennis.

In addition to learning and practicing the sports, a member of the Paralympic National Rowing Team will speak during lunch, and there will be a rowing competition in the afternoon.

The day ends with another great event, Wounded Warriors family paddle. Wounded Warriors Rowing is a program where coaches of the Texas Rowing Center give free lessons to wounded veterans and their families every other Friday afternoon.

The Texas Rowing Center offers a myriad of other Adaptive Programs for the disabled. In addition to Wounded Warrior, they also have after school programs for people with sensory and cognitive disabilities. Because they are free for participants, the program is sustained with city subsides and donations. You can donate to the program on the website (scroll to the bottom) or by mailing a check made out to Texas Rowing Foundation to 1541 Caesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78703

I am going to try and speak with some people involved with the Texas Rowing Center sometime before the event in mid-April, and I will report on it once I do.

Texas Relays and the Black Cultural and Health Festival

With the bipolar weather of this past March (it snowed during Spring Break), and the assuredly unbipolar weather we can expect from a Texas summer, April will possibly be the only month until October with pleasant weather from beginning to end. With this in mind, here are some things to mark on your calendar for the month of April in Austin.

April Third and Fourth: Texas Relays and the Black Cultural and Health Festival
Texas Relays is an 83 year old invitational track meet for high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. An estimated 50,000+ spectators and athletes are expected descend upon Austin next week to take part in the event. While I realize our readers will probably not participate in the competition, it will be a great way for recreational runners to see the pros.


The Black Cultural and Health Festival is intended to “promote educational, social events and workshops/seminars that highlight the significant contributions of African American’s in the areas of  culture, fine arts, education and health related issues.” The relays are very popular in the Black community, earning the nickname Black Mardi Gras.

With this in mind, community leaders organized a festival to highlight and educate visitors about Austin’s African-American community. “People come here from out of town to do the same things. Sixth Street, the mall, Sixth Street, the mall. We’ve got something different now,” Huston-Tillotson track and field coach Harvey Ware said to News 8 Austin.  Whether you are watching the pros or checking out the activities, these two events are great outdoor fun.

On Tuesday I will talk about a great event later in April, the Paralympic Experience, so be sure to check back for that.

Longhorn Cavern: My journey to the center of the Earth.

Last week I discovered Longhorn Caverns. Rather, I learned about it, somebody else discovered the cave and hiking trail centuries ago. I also discovered it is an excellent, and cheap, day trip for the active-minded.

I was surprised I hadn’t heard of LC before, because I thought I was familiar with most of the natural attractions around Austin; Hamilton Pool, Enchanted Rock, the Walmart at 35 and Ben White, etc. When I got there I saw not very many college students seemed to have heard of it, because my girlfriend and I were just about the only people there under 30.

Not only were there old people, but there were kids, lots and lots and lots of kids. While waiting in line, I spoke with some parents and asked why they brought their children on a 90 minute tour, which I thought was a bit strenuous for young children. Most parents were weirded out a stranger asked about their kids, I think they have been drinking some of the same stranger danger Kool-Aid they feed their kids.

The parents who didn’t treat me like a serial killer said their kids were on spring break too and they thought it would be a fun family adventure, since there’s nothing kids love more than walking around for 90 minutes learning about the geology and history of a cave.

If you ask me, their being there had less to do with kids having fun and more to do with getting the them good and tired so they don’t bug the parents at night.

I digress, because the tour really was fun. They tours sold-out quickly, so before you make the drive call the office and ask about the wait. We got tickets to the last tour, and easily could have missed that one. After getting tickets we had 2 hours to kill before the tour, so we checked out the hiking trail. At about a mile, the trail is a perfect length. It is also definitely a hike, with different terrains and beautiful scenery, but at a little over a mile it didn’t make us too tired for the cave tour.

After the hike we descended down 55 stairs into the cave for our tour. Most of the tour was about the cave’s history, which is very interesting.

Confederate soldiers made gunpowder in the cave during the Civil War, however the cave’s humidity caused the powder to explode, so they just used it for storage.

Legendary (so I’m told) bank robber Sam Bass hid his loot in the cave, and it was never accounted for after he died. Its not in the cave, I looked everywhere.

Most interestingly, a local man turned the cave into a speak-easy to serve contraband booze during prohibition. This wasn’t just a small, under the radar joint either it was a legit night club* complete with a dance floor, multiple bars, a house band, and even some bleachers for people to pass out on. Men paid about twenty cents for admission, and women got in free. Times sure have changed huh?

During the depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps cleared the area into a tourist-friendly park it is today.

Decades later, President Lyndon Johnson made the cave his designated Texas fallout shelter, in case there was a nuclear attack while he was at his ranch, which is near by.

We learned about this history all while seeing beautiful landscapes within the cave. I apologize for the lack of visual graphics, they do not allow photography inside the cave, and there are not pictures of the park because apparently cameras need batteries these days?

Today the cave is operated by the Texas Parks and Wild Life Department. In addition to tours, people also rent out the cave for weddings and private parties.

So if you’re interested in history or just enjoy walking around, take a day trip to Longhorn Caverns.

*On your way back stop by the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls and order a slice of the coconut cream pie, it is amazing.

Happy Birthday Donnie!

I would like to take a break from our spring break sabbatical to wish Actively Austin blogger and golf-aficionado Donnie Hogan a very happy 26th birthday. Feel free to bombard his facebook wall with well-wishes.