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Family Biking Photo From Everstockphoto

a photo from the future!

I’m not sure what the correct term is anymore… Bikers or Cyclists.  But, I do know that I’m seeing some crazy stuff in the cyclist community, and it’s getting bikers further and further from what they want, which is a more bike-friendly world.

There’s a real political tug-o-war going on with cyclists-versus-, well…. everyone else, it seems!   In fact, many (bikers/cyclists) are making them look like a suppressed minority group, the way they act and talk.  And, that sucks really, because they need to be joining forces with cars, pedestrians, city officials, cops, etc. if they want to share the road.  And by “they” I also include me, since I’m on a bike too.

You can’t “share” when you’re “dividing”, it’s just not a working model.   And, with all the hate comments and defensive positions being taken every time an indifference comes up, well… it’s just bad for the future of “sharing” the road together.

Let’s talk about SECRETS for a minute…

It’s no secret that bikes are slower than cars.  Car-drivers often have road-rage just because CARS are driving too slow.  So, no doubt, a cyclist in the middle of the road can piss a driver off.  That’s no secret!

It’s no secret that cars crashing into bikes will most-likely take your life, or hospitalize you.  So, through the mother-nature-act-of-God-science-or-whatever-you-use-to-realize-this… (as a biker) you better come to terms with the mind-set that cars just cannot see you, because once your mind-set is on “equal rights”, you’re riding at a much greater risk than bikers who live in reality.

I make a point to put efforts into bringing bikes and cars together on the road by trying to remember to NOT show my road rage when a car cuts me off, or doesn’t see me.  Trust me, it’s hard to not raise a finger or a voice at them for nearly taking my life, but that’s just it, I’m riding in a world where 99 out of 100 transporting vehicles around me have the ability to take my life much easier than I have the ability to take theirs.  Me not accepting that will most likely either get me killed from either ignoring it, or challenging it in a way of revenge.

Don’t waste your breath or blood-pressure talking about “how cars should be looking at all times”, because they won’t, the same way you don’t hold 100% to perfection on the road – simple as that!   That attitude and complaint won’t change accidents, and it won’t change the size/weight ratio in that accident.  Game over. You lose!

What will change accidents is “figuring out how-to” so we can actually share the road.

A cyclist just died here in Austin because she got a flat tire and lost control.  THIS HAPPENS TO CARS ALL THE TIME!  The difference is – in the environment in which it happens.  The same way a cyclist in a bike race that eats it along side all the other cyclists.  There’s a big difference in the outcome and chances or survival when you’re a cyclist among a cyclist accident, versus a cyclist among a car accident.  That will never change.

But, I’m seeing a bunch of cyclists posting nasty comments about this accident, and taking a one-track-defensive “victim” attitude.  And, this is a common occurrence.

Bike Lanes in AustinSo, Bikers, Cyclists, and Car-drivers, instead of arguing about who belongs where, let’s work on getting us to where we belong… in a shared-road-eco-system.  This comes from joining forces to ask each other questions about what type of road conditions each commuter (bike or car) needs in order to be happy.   This comes from surveys, and ongoing research.  But never will it come from bashing the other person’s existence.  I mean really, if you can’t handle co-existence, then take your a$$ out to the country and retire!  The city-life just ain’t for you.  You’re only making your life worse every time you refuse to seek a solution, or refuse to accept the fact that problems, accidents, and situations outside of the norm WILL ARISE!

Cycling is a way of life for many people.  It’s a way to exercise, commute to and from work, get competitive, burn off stress, look sexy, feel like Kevin Bacon in the 80′s, have an adrenaline rush, get some fresh air, reduce your carbon footprint, reduce your expenses and fuel consumption, and probably a ton of other great reasons to ride.  So, if you’re a car-driver, it’s time to start accepting biker’s need for speed… or exercise… (or any of the above), and start contributing to the plan to safely co-exist.  I mean, really, you don’t want blood on your hands from an accident either, right?  Can you imagine if a biker fell in front of you and you accidentally hit that person?  I already don’t get enough sleep as is… I can’t imagine.

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The Austin Greengo got invited to San Diego for an extended weekend and it went a little something like this.

Aerial view photo of Mission Bay in San Diego and San Diego beaches coastline

Now, as much as I love San Diego, I’m not going to pretend like it calls my name every time I go out there, but you tell me why the cafe downstairs in the loft I was staying at had named a drink after me!!?  Coincidence? maybe…

Austin Greengo Drink?And, the fact that the GreenGo was the more expensive drink option, I mean… that’s says I’m classy.  or something like that.  I’m sure, in some language somewhere it means that…

Ok, close enough, but what really captured my interest in the San Diego voices calling me is what I saw on the flight out there.  A rainbow came out of nowhere and circled the plane’s shadow in the clouds.  This was the strangest thing, and I still can’t quite figure out how rainbows work.  (you’ll have to look very closely at the photo below to see our tiny plane shadow in side the rainbow)

Circular RainbowI saw this as an opportunity to make my own youtube hit video called “Circular Rainbow”, which would have been a slight rip-off of “Double Rainbow” but still viral none the less… so, I started filming a video from my phone and yelling “Circular Rainbow, OMG What Does It MEAN!!??” real dramatically, and then all of a sudden (all at once) babies started crying, dreadful voices in foreign languages started yelling, the plane’s engines slowed and we started losing altitude, and next thing I know I was being tackled by an undercover TSA agent, who was a real sweetheart 3 minutes before!

Apparently you cannot yell on an airplane.  Which also tells me that Samuel L. Jackson either gets special treatment, or it’s ok to yell on a plane when there on snakes on it, because this video here paints a different picture than what I experienced!

Needless to say, they took my cell phone and made me erase my circular rainbow performance, so there won’t be any “Circular Rainbow” phenomenon on youtube to outshine the legacy of Double Rainbow.

This rainbow thing got even more strange when the Austin Greengo got to San Diego and woke up from a nap to find another Circular Rainbow.  This time on my foot!

Circular Rainbow on my footI did not however, take the opportunity to shoot another video because It wouldn’t have been believable since it was on ME this time vs mother nature.

The point is, it was some cool stuff going on and apparently rainbows showing up when there is no rain is like a sign from God?
Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!  I’m just blogging about it here!

You’re probably thinking what most people think when I mention San Diego… “oooh esspensive!”
Well, sure, but the most expensive thing is Fuel and Real Estate.   And, as a single person, I don’t necessarily have the common American Dream right now to own a house and do the family thing, so that’s off the menu of concerns for now…

And as far as fuel goes, well, you may have forgotten, but I made a lifestyle switch to live more actively and gave up the gas guzzler for a bike.

California gas prices

I don’t need much fuel these days, unless I buy a lawn mower for that imaginary house i don’t need, right?
And at $4.50-$5 a gallon… wheeew!  I can’t believe all of California isn’t already on electric bikes like China is!

Instagram is great at making photos look vintage and old, but it really ruins the vintage look when you capture California gas prices in the shot.

Well, lets cut the small talk, San Diego always calls my name,

and if Austin had a beach and SD’s weather, well, it probably wouldn’t call so loudly… you know… with rainbows and such.

There is one more coincidental moment that took place, but I’m out of breath right now, so I’ll finish the details and photos in my next post.  I’ll leave you with this photo as a little hint though…

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My plunge nearly a year ago has led me to understand a phenomenon called the “electric bike.”

Photo Picture of Rocket Electrics in Austin Tx

My Pedego electric bike from Rocket Electrics

I say “understand” because the electric bike isn’t rocket science by any means, and I say ”phenomenon” because at an extremely close-up look into (experiencing) the benefits of one, I gotta say… it’s truly phenomenal what they do!

Most people, including myself, are blind to what they are as actual tools in our lives.  Tools of happiness.   Tools of transportation.  Tools (a gateway) to living actively.  Tools for fun/quick-thrills.  And, I’m sure there’s some I’m leaving out, but those are the most common.

So, allow me to essplain those four comments so you can see the electric bike phenomenon for yourself!

Tools of Happiness… There’s no doubt that a bike puts a smile on your face.  The only faces that don’t return joy from riding a bike are the faces that either don’t ride bikes (like someone who is sedentary, or lives in a bubb); or the unhappy faces that are “forced” to ride a bike (like someone who can’t quite afford a car yet but is riding uphill both ways in a suit and tie during an Arizona heat wave just to get to work in order to afford the car one day!).

But, an electric bike, make no mistake, would certainly put a smile on both of those faces, prolly the latter 1st, and then once you pry the bubble boy off the couch and get him activated, he’d be in heaven too.  That’s not meant to insult anyone in a bubble!  I mean, people are paying money nowadays to get inside a bubble and roll down a hill, so… one could only be so lucky. 

Tools of Transportation…  Sure, people love their cars.  Heck, I love cars.  All I ever wanted to do as a child was drive a car or motorcycle or go-cart, golf-cart, or anything I could get ragin’ cajun with just a stomp of the gas… however, I’m not a fan of sitting in traffic, and nobody is a fan of maintenance, insurance, or gas prices.   The electric bike throws all that out the window!

And for those that enjoy the urban life and feel the desire to get a moped or motor scooter for your short trips around town so you can reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your bigger auto expenses (mpg’s, etc), the electric bike is your better option for transportation than the scooter.

With a scooter, you still have traffic because even though you’re smaller, you still have to wait in line (whereas bike lanes and bike trails are their own separate paths, and electric bikes still get to ride on the roads).  Plus you still have license and insurance costs, and unless you’re moped is electric, you still have some gas/oil expenses.

So, the next time you (Mister/Misses moped/scooter consider’er) are thinking of a better means… take a look at those benefits, and the price tag is much less.  See… for under $2,900 ($100 per month) you can save more (ongoing) money/expenses ANNNNNND you can bypass the traffic.  In fact, I very-often beat cars around town, especially during traffic hours.  During rush hour, I can typically beat a car anywhere within 10 miles.  And, within 2 miles, they never stand a chance… traffic or not (ok, so they HARDLY ever stand a chance!  I’ve been beaten a couple of times… BARELY!)

Tools (the Gateway) of Living Actively…  Believe it or not, but 80% of American adults don’t get adequate amounts of exercise, and nearly 70% are sedentary altogether.  THOSE ARE BIGGER NUMBERS, FOLKS!  Well, an electric bike is a genius way to get them actually moving their bodies again, while having fun, and without a major workout – which is clearly not going to withstand time with these people.

With an electric bike, you can still move your legs with the motion of the pedals.  And motion my friends is the potion to burning calories and getting some exercise.  With exercise and the sedentary population, it all starts somewhere… so, maybe they’re out on an electric bike joy ride and forgot to charge the battery after a few days and they run out of juice a couple of miles away?  Ahhh, now they are pedaling the bike and they get a good workout on…. suddenly they get a feeling of mental clarity and natural energy boost they haven’t felt since a coca-cola from circa 1890 when it was loaded with 5 ounces of cocaine!

That sedentary person likes that feeling and does it again, and again.  Sure enough, that e-bike just acted as a gateway to exercise and now sedentary’s all over America are putting down the type-2 diabetes triggering coca-cola classics, and picking up the “pace” in life!

Tools of Quick Thrills…  Well, this is an easy one.  Who doesn’t get a little adrenaline rush when they throttle up and take off?   We all do!  It’s a human nature vs gravity thing, auto-triggeristic and a psychogolical process that can’t be avoided.  Like Science!   And, it results in a little wooooohoooooo! every single time, which puts a lil more happiness in your daily crappiness.

Electric Throttle and Pedal with a Pedego Electric Bike

Go ahead and googlay all those big words too… you won’t find-em.  They’re trademark specific to this post, sorry!

Well, if you’re not convinced yet that this simple genius product is phenomenal, just go see and try for yourself.

Here in Austin, you can go for a free test ride and learn about all the options and benefits at Rocket Electrics on Riverside Dr. near downtown.  Tell them I sent you and you just might get a kiss.  Well, a kiss from Fleck, their shop dog!
And, If you’re in my other favorite city, San Diego, you can go to Pedego Coronado.

Fleck the shop dog at Rocket Electrics of Austin

Get a smooch from Fleck!

 

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Manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are lost by the thousands at a time due to outsourcing, and we know the auto-industry as the best example of this, but clean-energy is the new buzz!

Going Green is increasingly trending towards the norm in modern-day society, even though it still lingers as “hip” with some, and I’m now seeing it as a necessity in our energy consumption.   As most of you know, it was my daily reminder of how much energy we waste (that had me take a plunge into Green’er living) as I sat in traffic and counted 8 out of 10 cars on the road only have one person in it yet we are all going the same direction, just stifling in our own creation of traffic and excessive emissions!

I’m sure most of my friends and family from Houston say that “I’ve gone hippy” here in Austin, which may be true as I’m aware Austin can do that to people, but I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve found in the lifestyle change so far.

Anyway, back to the clean energy controversy…

It’s good to hear that China is leading efforts to curb emissions and embrace clean-energy technology worldwide because China continues to climb ranks as the go-to for affordable manufacturing.  HEY, DON’T SHOO THE MESSENGER HERE!

Talk about controversial, watch this circle of double-edged swords go ’round…

  • U.S. government projections say world coal use could increase nearly 50% by 2030, making global warming unavoidable due to the emissions from these coal plants.  That’s now just 17 years away!
  • Coal is our world’s current cheapest form of power (burned to make electricity) but results in the output of carbon emissions.
  • Solar panels and wind turbines are key players in reducing these global warming threats.
  • Solar panels and wind turbines are still new to the world and a costly product to manufacture for energy generation, unlike coal.
  • China can manufacture at a third of the cost, making it far more affordable to increase global use of solar and wind for energy generation.
  • Manufacturing plants in the U.S. are getting sent to China because of their low manufacturing costs.  U.S. jobs are lost and economies shut down around outsourcing initiatives from major manufacturers here in the U.S. as they take advantage of low costs in China. (we) Americans complain and protest about this type of outsourcing…
  • U.S. government projections say world coal use could increase nearly 50% by 2030, making global warming unavoidable due to the emissions from these coal plants.  That’s now just 17 years away!

SEE WHAT I MEAN?

So, what doooooo we do?  It’s a clean energy controversy that caught my interest.

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It’s Ozone Action Day in Austin today, and while the word leaked out to me that it was a day for reducing emissions, I just found out it’s really a day of !WARNING! for people with lung health issues!

This includes asthma, so therefore it includes me, even though I think my asthma is selective to weather conditions like high-allergy content.

Wait… unhealthy ozone IS a condition!   Maybe it COULD affect me!  It’s hard for me to believe because if you stepped outside this morning before the sun came up, it was 70 degrees and a bit chilly, and by 8pm it was extremely nice outside.

However, the Ozone Action Day report says that we will see an unhealthy ozone condition today, and folks with asthma should avoid the outdoors.  WHHHHHHHAT?

Ozone Action Day in Austin 2013

I need to read up on this issue a bit more, because it’s quite tricky.  I mean, talk about giving candy to a baby to shut’em up…. momma earth can’t just throw some ultra-primo weather our way and then sneak attack us with some unhealthy ozone issues, right?

Well, I guess that’s not how it works… I guess it’s us that causes the crummy ozone issues with our ridiculous amounts of energy consumption and willingness to drive cars all day no matter how close or far we need to go.

It’s quite interesting to me how it all comes together once you take notice.  You know… Pollution; Ozone Issues, Recycling, and all things beneath them.

Take the word Pollution, for example.  This consists of Noise Pollution, Air Pollution, Land Pollution, and Light Pollution. Noise Pollution increases stress levels by having your mind attempt to focus on many different sounds at once, without realizing it of course.   Construction, loud music, highway noise, honking, trains, doors shutting, phones ringing, lawn mowers, airplanes, garbage trucks, … the list goes on!   When you get a moment, stop and count all the noises.  You’ll overlook a few, but you’ll still count higher than imagined.

Air Pollution is a big fat no-brainer on its effects, however the ups and downs aren’t dramatic enough for us to notice.  This type of Pollution sneaks up on us and can have a high impact over time. Air Pollution is something to commit to reducing, and know that your efforts are going noticed.  High-concentrate air pollution areas such as chemical plants or refineries can have much faster and severe impacts.

As you know, I committed to reducing emissions and became Austin’s 1st Zero-Emissions Realtor for one of my biggest efforts.

Light Pollution… Ahhh, to get outside in the middle of nowhere and see the stars again!  It’s truly amazing that we don’t notice light pollution when we are among it, but how noticeable it is when away.  If you’ve ever flown at night-time and looked out the window when approaching a city, you see a huge cloud of light surrounding the city.  It’s interesting to know that inside that bubble of Light Pollution people cannot see the same beautiful sky that you can up there.

Another big impact of light pollution is the energy waste in heat.  All those lights, inside and out, put off extra heat.

Land Pollution is another no-brainster.  I am absolutely shocked that people still litter today in ways that was common in maybe the 1970′s!

Funny story…. I’m sitting outside on the patio of Whole Foods in Downtown Austin eating dinner, and a guy hurriedly leaving the store gets about 3 feet outside of the door and accidentally drops something.  Being the kind soul that I am, I yell to the fast walker “Hey sir! You dropped something!”

He stops, turns around and yells back to me in a snarling voice;  ”Are you serious, man? Huh, are you serious!?!”

I was so confused as my brain tried to process why this guy was being rude when I was expecting a Thank You for letting him know he dropped something.  And then he turned and walked off as I sat there in total confusion and then glanced back down to see what it was he dropped.  At a closer look, it was his foil paper for the pizza slice he just bought.

Seriously, my brain wouldn’t initially entertain the idea that he just littered, rather it went straight for thinking he accidentally dropped something.  That’s quite interesting to me.

On the real note though… WHAT!!!  Can you believe this?  A grown man, at Whole Foods in Downtown, plenty of trash cans nearby, and tons of people around… WOWZAS. I guess they DO exist in the 21st century!  lol

Oh well…

So, Ozone Action Day in Austin eh?

What are you doing today to help the ozone (not litter, reduce pollution, etc)?  Try something new!

If we don’t do something quick, this sleepy ol’ college town is going to be over-run and turn into the next Houston or Dallas!

Downtown Austin view from butler park on Riverside Dr.

That’s what local Austinites have said for decades while Austin continued to grow (at above average rates), and while it was once just small-town chitter-chatter complaining, and an unrealistic complaint at that, it’s finally being taken serious…

There’s a lot of controversy around that idea too.  Many people want more people coming to Austin because it drives their real estate investments and local business up in value, and many other people don’t want another soul moving into Austin because they “like Austin just the way it is”.

Well, Austin is embarking on a whole new level of growth now and it can be expected to have major impacts over the next decade while it tries to handle and adjust to the changes.  Infrastructure is a huge part of this which affects transportation, crowd-control, crime control, stress, and sustainability in all things that make a major city function properly enough to give a wonderful living experience worth sticking around for.

A Green Austin is an important factor because sustainability is key to everything in our future, and while I’m in my recent startup phases of paying more attention on how to live more resourceful and Green’er, I still have a long way to go to adjust to the lifestyle completely.

Things add up when things start adding up!

What the H – E – double hockey-sticks does that mean??  Well, let’s talk about the Texas Heat, por ejemplo!

See… it’s one thing to be outside in 100 degree weather, and if no one is around you, there’s air to move past you… but say you’re at an event where there’s a crowd (Austin has an event every weekend) then that air suddenly quits moving and people start stressing out, getting frustrated and some even fall over passed smooooooth out because they can’t breath!

That’s Austin though, and it’s getting more and more common as these crowds continue to grow.  I sees it, and I feels it.

What happened to the smile you had when you thought about attending this event?

Take the same example with water consumption, water waste, emission output, fuel consumption, energy consumption, traffic congestion, road wear and tear, vehicle wear and tear, time waste, and on and on.  See, things start adding up as things start adding up!

Like a snowball effect, right?

People are coming to Austin faster than ever right now for two main reasons.  Jobs and Culture.  Many companies are opening quarters and head-quarters here in Austin, bringing tons of Job opportunities here, and many other people who loved Austin’s Culture are deciding to move here because with all the jobs opening up, they can finally afford to make a move here.

Here’s what I’m seeing trend in the near future with the Culture seekers who come here every year as guests in our city and want to move here…

Evolution of the Austin boom, 2010-2020.

10 years, condensed into 10 Lines, for your viewing pleasure:

SXSW was awesome this year!  I love the Austin culture with the Bats, the SoCo trailer park eatery, world-famous 6th street, all with such a cool small-town feel!  I’m coming back next year for sure, and I’m going to fly back in for ACL!

ACL was awesome and SXSW was bigger and better than ever!  I discovered Barton springs pool and the kite festival.  I should totally just move here, it would save me money on air-fare!  Austin is so cool, and I the F1 race track is there, where a lot more concerts and events are coming in.  That’s it, I’m moving to Austin!

Whew, it’s hot here!  But it’s totally worth it.  I just wish it would rain and fill up the water holes more often.  Oh well, plenty of pools and lakes to enjoy, and I love riding my bike everywhere.  Blues On The Greeeeen!  Oh, you’re coming in town and want to go to 6th street?  Yeah, uhh, I don’t go there anymore, it’s a tourist trap, you go ahead, I’ll catch up later…

Wow, there’s a lot of residential developments going up right now.  Like 4500 units just on s. Lamar or something crazy like that.  I’m going to have to leave earlier to get to work if all these people have cars!  And my rent just went up again, so I’m having to move further out…

Man, ACL was packed!  I couldn’t even move quick enough to get to the next show 200 yards away!  Hopefully it will be better when they split it into two weekends.  Oh, and I’m not a big fan of the 360 Venue at the F1 race track because it’s soooo far away!…

Ahhh, that’s sad, just found out the SoCo Trailer Park Eatery closed down so they could throw a Hotel up because so many people are coming to Austin to see the bats and ACL and such…

Well, ACL this year sucked for me this year since they split the weekends!  My friends couldn’t go on the same weekend as me, so I went at it alone, and it was STILL too crowded!…

Darn, Lake Travis is too low to enjoy again this year, and Lake Austin is so crowded, it’s dangerous.  Barton Springs Pool is over-crowded, as is Lady Bird Lake with paddlers and no place to swim because of all the pollution that pours into it from Downtown.  We need rain!…

Good Lawd, $30 to park downtown at SXSW!  It’s a nightmare to get down there anyway.  I guess I’ll stay in this year.   And, my rent went up AGAIN!  I thought moving to Austin was going to save me money by being here.  I guess too many others thought the same…

Yikes, even the Bats moved out of Austin because it’s too crowded!   Now most of the cool things I moved here for are gone and what’s left is too crowded to enjoy…  The bats are right, this place is for the birds!

Haha, well, it’s certainly an evolution in effect, like a cyclical snowball.  Every snowball smashes somewhere down the hill, but a Green Austin is important no matter how many people are here, lots or little, because at least we can take Green with us no matter where we go.  Share something Green with me, I’m all ears.

Photo of inspirational sign on West Mary Austin Tx

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The world’s a changin’ to Green, more and more everyday!

Go Green Austin

Now that I’m neck-deep in taking notice of what’s what in the Green world, and eco-friendly behaviors, I’m seeing a fast increase in overall sustainable living efforts.  Not only from individuals as more people decide to skip traffic & parking and enjoy some fresh air by riding their bikes, but also from the government and businesses.

Watch For Bike Lanes!

Watch For Bike Lanes!

The city is responding to the demand of increasing population (relative to traffic-congestion, relative to more people choosing bikes) by adding more bike-lanes around Austin, among other efforts.

Regulations are being in put in place for commercial and residential (multi-unit/multi-family) complexes to mandate recycling, and furthermore, single-stream recycling has arrived as a solution.  Now people can dump all their recycling into one container, without separating it.  This will increase the amount of people who recycle, because it’s now just as easy to throw away all your trash while having minimal efforts in the process of recycling.

Single Stream Recycling Dumpster In fact, I thought it was quite interesting to see (photo) that this recycling dumpster is over-flowing while the regular dumpster was barely half full.

THAT’S A HUGE DEAL!  I can remember when people didn’t quite understand ”recycling”, and now it has become the norm in taking out trash.

The world’s a changin’ to Green, and the Austin Greengo is looking for other ways.

Construction is a major player in sustainable living.  Residential and Commercial buildings are now regulated to have energy-efficient features and materials built-in to help regulate energy consumption/waste.

This includes everything from air-conditioning units, windows, and weather-stripping to insulation, lighting,  and water-saving features like low-flow toilets and land-covering restrictions (impervious-coverage).

What most of us don’t quite see coming yet is severe-water restrictions.  Drought is a major issue, and increasing, not only locally but nationally and globally.  Let’s talk about Texas though, since we’s here’n all…

Texas is poised for major growth during the next decade because we have soooooo much darn land to develop and our economic model is so attractive that it’s bringing big businesses to the state.  See… it makes such great business/financial sense to set up headquarters in Texas, many are capitalizing on it right now.  PLUS, we’re so close to the beautiful beaches of Galveston Island….
ok, I’m kidding, Galveston beaches are NOT a driving factor for moving to Texas, even though I’m still a big fan of Galveston!  Hey, it’s all we had to run to for a weekend in Houston growing up.

And, even though it gets hot as “H. E. (Double-Hockey-Sticks)” in the summer time here in Texas, there’s plenty of places to cool off long enough for nightfall to set in. :-)

ANYWAY…. back to the point; water consumption is going to be a huge concern, and I expect to see some serious regulations coming in the next 5 years.

I even think that tracts of land developed for housing will be planned for smaller yards/land-plots and include larger drainage systems to capture and direct rain run-off more efficiently.  So, if you thought you were close to your neighbor now, wait til you see the future of housing-developments (in the eyes of the Austin Greengo anyway)!

Oh well, we’ll just have to wait and see all the different ways the world’s a changin to Green, and I’ll start capturing more photos with the changes I see.

 

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One great thing I love about living in Austin is the never-ending supply of inspiration you can find here.

As the “small business capital of the world” and a thriving startup community combined with aspiring artists of all sorts on every block of the walk, Austin Texas brews motivation every day!  You can always find an event or class for entrepreneurs where a credible business owner is sharing his/her successes & failures, and providing more than life-education for anybody that cares to progress… in life.

Photo picture of Tim League Founder of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas Austin Tx at People Fund speaker series

great story by Tim, Founder of Alamo Drafthouse

Today I was fortunate enough to see Tim League, Founder of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas speak and I must say, his story is one of the greatest entrepreneur stories I’ve ever heard.  You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to get inspired by Tim’s Alamo Drafthouse story because anyone can relate to this guy.  He’s a genuine guy, just doing what he loves, and learning how to do it better as each day comes.

See… Tim’s a big fat failure just like the rest of us, and knowing-this is just one more way to find inspiration in Austin…

because he is also a great success, thanks to his big fat failures!  And yes, I said “like the rest of us” because I know you’ve either failed at something that you’ve tried, or you’ve straight-up failed to try, which is a recurring failure in itself, so… welcome to the party!

Failure was the first thing he talked about, and, it was the last thing he talked about – both times in a “necessity” and “wouldn’t be here without it” kind of way.

“Failing and falling flat on your face is the coolest thing because you get to learn so much!”

Tejon Theatre at Northwest corner of Baker & Monterey Streets circa about 2007

photo from cinematreasures.org

He opens with that line as he tells the audience how at age 24 he leased an old unimproved, under-performed (single-screen) movie theater in Bakersfield California because it became available, and “wow!, I didn’t know one could lease a movie theater just like that.”   This would soon drag him and his (now) wife Karrie through a myriad of painful realizations about business, only to end-up shutting down after a car leaving his theater was gunned down and wrecked back-into his theater!

“Whoever said that Any Publicity Is Good Publicity, never experienced BAD publicity!”

The shooting and death of that driver at his theater was the exact bad publicity that Tim says caused them to shut their doors and move on.   So, with 200 seats, a projector and screen, and a broken improved dream, he and his gal hit the road heading to Austin Tx where they’d try it all again under a bunch of promises to repay friends, family, banks, and credit card companies, the $250,000 they scraped together to open at 4th & Colorado in Downtown Austin, circa 1997, near age 27.

While that sounds like a lot of money, it barely allowed them to secure an abandon warehouse space above a parking garage, outfit it with all sorts of errors and construction mishaps, and then open doors with only enough leftover money to last about 45 days.  This was hellacious scary for Tim and Karrie because 45 days of anything like what happened in Bakersfield would mean closing doors.   But their revamped dream, post-failure, was a hit and the customers just kept on coming, enough to keep the doors open well beyond 45 days.

See… the greatest part of Tim’s Alamo Drafthouse story is the adventure of it all.
Where he lacked in business knowledge, he made up for in trial and error;  where he lacked in professional resources, he made up for it by doing it himself without regard to perfection; where he lacked in funds, he made up for in his own hours of sweat equity around the clock to get it done; and where he lacked in success, he made up for in determination to continue until it would be reached.  At least to put enough money in his pocket to enjoy his dream job.

And don’t forget about his wife Karrie.  While she wasn’t there to speak, she’s owns the story (blood, sweat, and tears) just the same.

The Alamo Drafthouse story to me is all about a dream and a determination that would turn into a “take it as it comes” business venture, bootstrapped and fed fuel until a real business plan would practically create itself.

What I mean is;  It wasn’t until a second location actually called Tim and asked for him to open another Alamo Drafthouse - that Tim would start hiring management and realizing the bigger picture of what his Alamo Drafthouse dream could really be.

After further expansion in Austin, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas was acquired with the goal to Franchise the business, and today Tim owns a few locations and (as CEO) franchises others all over the nation to a small amount of select partners who can continue his (continuing) dream, and now business-model.

Selling the Alamo Drafthouse brand in 2004 surely puts some well-deserved change in his pocket to further his own dream chasing as a movie fanatic, including founding Fantastic Fest, now the largest genre-film fest in the U.S.

At the end of the presentation, during open Q&A time, I think I may have uncovered what happened back there in Bakersfield when I asked Tim, “Did you have food & beverage at your Bakersfield cinema, or when did you incorporate that into the business model?”

He went on to answer the question with a story about how he applied for a liquor license and was discriminated against because he was just a kid in scrubs looking to put another liquor permit in an area that didn’t need another one.  The Alc/Bev Commission turned him down without consideration of his vision.   Tim shared another valuable lesson in this Q&A story when he told us that discrimination is alive and well, and if you want to get what you want, you’re better off to play your cards towards that problem.

When he got to Austin, he played his cards right and he hired a middle-aged man to go apply for his liquor license (probably an attorney).  He got the license.  BUT THIS ANSWER HE GAVE ME REALLY CAUGHT MY ATTENTION!

To me, this is a big ah-ha! moment in his story because I could instantly see that Alamo Drafthouse would have been born in Bakersfield had he not be turned down.  “Booze and Food during a movie” is what was so different about the Alamo here in Austin, and I believe the people here “just kept coming and coming” because of that unique positioning. I know I did!  I’ve been going to the Alamo since their first location on 4th and Colorado for this exact reason!

This unique feature would have been exactly what that Bakersfield location needed in order to thrive.   I think it would have changed everything!  And then, I would have been without the Alamo.  Wheew!   Who’da known discrimination in Bakersfield California in 1994 was going to soon bless Austin Texas with the Alamo Drafthouse.  ha!

Well, It’s a great story that I look forward to following and especially seeing if the Alamo ever sells-out to running advertisements prior to the movie starting - a huge revenue model that would produce a lot more income up front, but as Tim believes, would take away from his vision of a better experience for the customer.

And if the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas story isn’t inspiring to you, maybe you’re easier than me and you can find inspiration in Austin by driving down W. Mary street in 78704 where you’ll see a rotating message on a tree for your inspiration.  Current sign reads “Rampage of Appreciation.”

Photo picture of motivational sign on West Mary St Austin Tx 78704

Rampage of Appreciation

Photo of a sign that says Love Is The Answer

 

Link

Electric Bikes Are For Cheaters?

I just recently discovered a website called CycleLogically, where bike enthusiasts can leave tips and stories.

photo of older couple on electric bikes at rocket electrics of austin

photo from Rocket Electrics of Austin

I saw several posts about electric bikes, from all different ages, which I came across an article by one gal who wrote about how other cyclists are “hating” on electric bikes (e-bikes), as if riding an e-bike is “cheating”.

My response to that is; “they just haven’t ridden an e-bike yet or, whomever they follow in life just hasn’t gotten his/her own e-bike yet.”

The reason I say this is because every experienced cycler knows when to use their e-bike.  And, if you don’t know when to use your e-bike, it’s because you haven’t “experienced” one yet., or the person you follow in life hasn’t experienced one yet, because THAT person (a Leader) would be all-over getting an e-bike!

Lemme break this down a lil bit further for you…

Those that knock, or, in today’s terms “hate” on new/amazing/innovative/unique ideas or products, are always, AND I MEAN 100% OF THE TIME, just followers in life.  They’re the type that just started road biking when they became a Lance Armstrong groupie.  Or, they’re the type that changed their personality and image the day they got a fixie.  Meaning that, biking is a trend for them; an image they liked one day and decided they wanted-in.

Leaders are trend-setters, see, and they make wise decisions while also incorporating the right attitude behind those decisions, which is typically a positive & confident attitude.  This is why I say to the haters “the person you follow just hasn’t tried an e-bike yet, or you’d be all over trying to figure out how to get one after him/her”, because haters are simply followers, through and through.

There’s no way around that equation, and there is no other equation for hating on something so wonderful!

See here, listen up… if I gave those folks the ability to teleport – that’s right, jump from one place in time to the next - they could be across the city in an instant.  And, since there’s no “image” behind that, it’s strictly the ability to beat time, they’d be all about it, because no one would ever see them teleport.

Let’s take this “image” and “follower” thing a step further, because I know there’s some haters out there that have made it this far in my post and are still coming up with more reasons why electric bikes are for cheaters…

Are they cheating Time, or are they cheating Workload?
Well, if you (as a cyclist) are looking for exercise, then yes, it is absolutely cheating you out of workload/exercise when you use the electric function.  You can however, NOT use the electric function if you’re looking to get exercise.

And hey Competitive Road Bikers, if you’re training for something, don’t you want to put some extra weight and work into your training?  Or do you want to cheat yourself out of a WIN by not training harder than what your race bike will give you?

Either way a road biker looks at it, electric bikes aren’t for training or racing, even though they can certainly add more difficulty to your training, which is probably good for you.  Heck, I never understood why road bikers are always training in their full race-gear anyway.  I mean, do you really want to cut through the wind as easy as possible while you’re training?  Don’t you want to add some resistance to your ride, so when race day comes and you put on your full race gear, you end up going faster than you did during training??

picture of resistnace training clothing

this is what I call “resistance training”

It’s kind of like baseball players you see adding weight to their bats to warm up.  Whatevs… you tell me, road bikers.

photo of resistance training on a bike

here’s some more resistance training

Let’s talk about “Image” though, because I don’t think road bikers are really acting as if electric bikes are “cheating”.  I think it’s more of an image thing, and some fixie-lovers with the one-pant-leg rolled up are probably the ones giving (this gal I read about) all the hater heat (and hey, nothing wrong with loving a fixie - i love fixies too, but I’m a bike lover, not a trend follower).

This is an arena I know all too well.  I grew up on bikes with a diverse interest in extreme sports, and I’ve seen the trends.  From bikers to skaters, surfers to wakeboarders, and snowboarders to rock climbers; there’s an image in all of it.  And, it’s all to common for ”just anybody” to enter those arenas because it’s easy to duplicate the look and the lingo (aka – the image).

The talent certainly doesn’t come with the clothing or the lingo, so trust me, I’ve seen a slew of posers come and go out of all those arenas, and it’s always the posers that are doing all the hating.  The “talent” are the trend setters, and they’re always looking for better ways to maximize their talent, despite what current trend it bucks, because they set it in the first place.

Here’s an example:  I remember when Skaters started using (beach) cruisers to carry their skateboards from point A to B, instead of skating there like they use to do.   And, a recent trend with bmx bikers is to own a moped/scooter and lay their bike across the seat, sit on it, and drive it to the park/track.   Both of those trends looked totally ridic, but efficiency was at hand for their performance, not their Image.

So what’s left?  Time?  If electric bikes are cheating Time… well, all I can say to that is, HELL YES!  I love getting places quicker.  So really, what’s your reason for pedaling and hating on the awesomeness of the electric bike?

It’s one thing if you cannot afford one yet, but don’t dis the bliss!  You’ll figure out how to get one when ya can.  Meanwhile, go test-ride one at Rocket Electrics in Austin, or any other Pedego dealership in the U.S.  If it doesn’t change your life or change your commute game, you can always walk off just as happy with your current one.

Wanna play “beat the Leader” – go do something smart, first.
Wanna play “follow the Leader” – just wait.

Either way, I don’t think electric bikes are for cheaters, I just think haters are gonna hate because they’re too lonely to love!  Whatchya think’a bout all that?

Photo of a sign that says Love Is The Answer

Link

Summer is here and Bikes are in, no doubt…

Family Biking Photo From Everstockphoto

The annual down pour after a couple long months of oak wilt pollen here in Austin is how I judge when Summer has arrived!  Sure I know, it’s only April 4th and technically not Summer yet, but knowing (Austin) Texas weather, the heat starts soon, and for now its our perfect summer weather for the next 30 days…

 

pic by oakwilt-help.com

See, every year my allergies go absolutely nuts! in Feb/March due to the Oak pollen (lots of Oak Trees in Austin).  I know what you’re thinking:  “not the greatest asset for a guy outside on a bike all the time”.  Yes I agree, so it’s just a challenge I’ll have to deal with though, right?  I’m sure there’s worse things in life, somewhere?, even though my allergies are sometimes severe enough to want to just hibernate for a month!

In fact, people who know me well also know that every year I talk about how I’m going to “move to San Diego!”.  This cry for San Diego comes annually because my allergies dangle me over death-by-pollen, and I absolutely love San Diego!  I just discovered the other day that San Diego is still on the list of the top 100 cities for bad allergies though, when a friend sent a link to Allergy Capitals.

Where numero uno is the worst, and number 100 is the more tolerable allergy city, Austin Texas came in #64 and San Diego came in number 97.  So, is this good or bad?   Well, its definitely better than Austin, but San Diego still makes the list, so who knows, maybe I’m unknowingly dreaming a false sense of a perfect world?

Oh well, I’ve been dropping that lil tune for about a decade now, so they also know that I’m a big fan of Austin too and something seems to weigh-out every time to keep me in the ATX.
Must be the Alamo Drafthouse where I can watch a movie AND eat dinner/drinks at the same time without a little rug-rat kicking my chair, and without an elbow popping my head from somebody trying to get in or out of the typical 8 inch isles!

photo picture of Alamo Drafthouse sign Austin TxThat’s right, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a dream (BY) movie-lover-adults, (FOR) movie-lover-adults.  See… they figured out that you actually love movies more when you can actually enjoy them.  And, what better way to enjoy a movie than without being body-rocked unexpectedly from behind!  Second, what better way to enjoy a movie than to enjoy with other things people most enjoyCraft Beer, Booze, and Food!

It’s genius, and funny I should bring it up when mentioning Summer is here and bikes are in because…

photo picture of the Founder of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Ausitn Tx

pic of Alamo Drafthouse Found, by peopletalk2013.eventbrite.com

I’m attending a lunch at the Alamo in a couple weeks with the Founder of the Alamo Drafthouse for an entrepreneur’s networking and educational.  Should be quite good, and I’ll definitely enjoy the weather and arrive on my electric bike since it’s in north central Austin.

What I love the most about the (Alamo Drafthouse) story is the success of it.  I mean, what if I told you today that “I have an idea to reduce the number of seats in a movie theater to half capacity, and then offer food and drinks to the movie-goers IN THE DARK with a bunch of wait staff walking in front of people to take their orders DURING THE MOVIE!

Most people would react with something like;
That would never work Austin-Greengo! You Crazy!
 Nobody wants to be disrupted while watching a movie!  People want to actually WATCH the movie, not fiddle with dinner and drinks, and nobody wants to listen to a bunch of hooligans around them chomping on chips n queso while slurping down a soda pop!  And, you’re filling less seats with half the capacity?  What a bad revenue model, it’ll never work Austin Greengo! nah nah na-nahhh nah!

photo picture of the Alamo Drafthouse Austin Tx, serving up guests in the dark

pic by partyends.com

Yeah yeah yeah, I get it nay-sayers… nothing will ever work, unless it has already worked!  Thanks for the pennies; now back to your desk, you need to file something, or facebook someone by now anyway, right? :-)

Anyhow Austin, our perfect Summer is here for the next 30 days and bikes are in, so get our and enjoy it…

So yes, I got my down pour rain on Tuesday, and even though it brought a slight damper in my pamper that night in attendance of an Autism Speaks event with Big Sky Pediatric Clinic downtown at 219West… I still don’t regret praying (in begging format) for the down pour so it can do what it do, and wash away my sins, I mean the oak pollen (sorry, I mixing up prayers).  :-)

And hey, If you’re a runner, Autism Speaks has a race coming up, and as soon as I get the magic link, I’ll update it here.

Here’s a wild photo of the flash flood outside my door.  Could be a fire hazard, maybe more?  Bzzzzt!

Photo Picture of an A/C unit cables under water