lady in red A lot has changed in the four years since my last post. To sum it up, I now live in the Bay Area. I have a fiancee, two dogs, three chickens, and two gardens. I work in tech and like to tandem cycle. The rest will come out in these posts…

 SONY DSCThis Saturday we went on a tour of two Napa Valley wineries, Kenzo and Artesa. artessaSimilar in that they both provide hefty tastings, different in every other way imaginable. Owner Kenzo Tsujimoto, whose company founded Street Fighter and Resident Evil, created a $100 million winery that, unfortunately, resembles very little of the 1987 classic.

Yet, the privacy and intimacy of the grounds left very little to complain about. With moves that resembled early power combinations, we jigged through the dark, vast halls of the barrel cave. We soaked in the sun, sipped Yui Rose, scarfed down Bouchon bites, and obviously, pretended it was our home. We left grinning and full and five minutes later we drifted deeply and ungracefully to sleep.

shaw-forest-lumber-custoemrSunday I experienced my first Easter brunch. Being a jew, I am naturally envious of any holiday I cannot regularly take part in and this actually confirmed my feelings.    Cheesecake, hula hooping, cedar hot tubs, dyed eggs, heirloom tomatoes, and exotic champagne based cocktails made me realize I clearly need to embrace all holidays. What was Dimitry and my contribution? Corned Beef Hash- Happy Easter everyone, L’chaim!Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 6.02.59 PM

Sun shine and hula hoops

A Very Sophisticated Weekend

Phantom of the Opera

Friday night, I experienced the enthralling Phantom of the Opera, being performed at the University of Texas at Austin Performing Arts Center. I adored every aspect of this production. The singing, costumes, set, and special effects connected me so well to the performance that I felt as if I was engulfed in a Disney movie. The wonderful feelings rushed back that were first inscribed in my memory when watching the Lion King or Alice in Wonderland. I wonder why lovers don’t make operatic songs to express their feelings. From now on if you want me to tell you that I love you, prepare to hear it in song.

After hearing about the Austin Bat Cave from a TED talk given by Dave Eggers, http://www.ted.com/ (riveting talks by the world’s brightest), I decided it would be the perfect way to spend my free days. Saturday, I went to the volunteer orientation. I expected to be able to tutor in math or any subject in which I am very well versed but quickly realized that they focus on creative writing. Normally this would cause me to back out and run away in fear, but, recently, I have a new attitude. If I want to give up on something out of fear, I must force myself to try it. So far this outlook proved to be very beneficial. So now I believe I will be tutoring creative writing at local Austin schools and at the facility itself.

Greenbelt

Collecting Nala, 10 friends, 4 oranges, and 1 economist, I headed over to the, closest Austin will ever get to a beach, Greenbelt. This place overflowed with young, attractive people and dogs (very Austin). Nala, being the devious, fluff ball she is, would run into the water and come back into the middle of where we were all sitting and then decide to shake. Anyway, it’s a doggy paradise and a great place for people with little responsibility. Just be aware that you will get wet and dress accordingly.

New American Talent/Dance

This wonderful day ended with a giant bang, The American Talent/Dance Competition put on by Ballet Austin. This interactive competition

Dance

showcased the works of three emerging choreographers, Dominic Walsh, KT Nelson, and Nelly van Bommel, and was performed by the magnificent and elegant Ballet Austin Dance Company. As an audience member, you were meant to choose your favorite work. The audience’s choice receives $500 each night. Leaving the show, I could not muster the strength to choose. Each piece differed so greatly and all had such wonderful moments, it would be a cruelty to make me pick just one. Luckily, I was able to watch all three and feel the wonderment and inspiration of the movement. Dance is such a beautiful universal language and I feel so fortunate to be able to converse in it. Catch the last performance today at 3. You will not be disappointed. http://www.balletaustin.org/atb/natd2010.phphttp://www.balletaustin.org/atb/natd2010.php

nala

One of my favorites!!

Oh What Gluttony Coupons Can Bring

This week I rediscovered a devilish foe, the http://www.restaurant.com’s $2 coupons. Let me explain because it is actually an extremely useful website. The normal idea is that you buy a $25 coupon to a restaurant for $10, but they constantly have deals where the $10 you spend turns into $2. For example, if you were to go the website today and enter the promo code CHOW, you would all get $25 coupons for $2. Now the catch, you have to spend $35 at the restaurant to be able to use the coupon. Here enters gluttonous eating. Side note: Not paying full price for anything anymore reflects the effects of the economics downturn, not my inner Jewish nature.

Battle Royale

Lounging on an amazingly comfortable couch with Coconut, Pineapple Hagen Daz and chocolate, orange cookies, I couldn’t imagine being any happier. That was until the Japanese flick Battle Royale projected onto the wall in front of me. This creepy and, at times, hilarious flick depicts three peer’s battle to stay alive as they are hunted by classmates after being forced into a government-run experiment called The Program. Minus the occasional over-the-top gore, I really liked this film. I found out later that it is Quentin Tarantino’s favorite film and I can definitely see why.

LIFE

To all my fellow Planet Earth fans, the new discovery show Life, Sundays at 8, exhibits the same astonishing wonderment seen in its older counterpart. Let’s face it, I can’t really tell the difference between the two. So I suppose those who feel like they could use a little more Planet Earth in their life, check out Life. I sure know I can.

south congress

Last night, I scoped out South Congress First Thursday, a mini, Austin tradition/festival held on South Congress. Basically, SoCo stores stay open late and every now and then provide free beer. Well let me tell you something this little tactic works like  a charm. I went in for the free beer and I left with an unnecessary belt. It’s as if the whole street’s cohort works to charm you in to purchasing completely unnecessary goods. I know after witnessing my roommate’s investment in an overpriced, red bandana that I am not alone in this. Walking away from the store where you can still reason and turn around to return the item, capoeira and drum lines cloud your judgement. Still great fun though.

Karaoke

As you all know about my obsession with the ancient art of Karaoke, I had to stop by the Cedar door again this week to wow the audience with my rendition of both 99 Red Balloons and Hotel California. The highlight of the night was watching John and Jared steal the set-list to prepare a song for next weeks performance. I can’t lie, I will most likely partake in that preparation.

Nala

Weekends are for the Romantic

I spent this weekend engulfed in sunshine, good-eats, and movies.

Peace Park

First, I rediscovered peace park, a frisbee golfer’s paradise. The park included a long stretch of leash free trail that provided a heavenly relief from Nala’s terrible pulling. Flowers, tall trees, running creeks, and large hippies equates Peace park to one of the finer sites Austin has to offer.

After that, I met with members of my new girl band, Gwen and Lauren, to watch a girlie movie and eat Amys ice cream. (Sweet Cream + Strawberries + Marshmallows). We are currently taking suggestions for band names, so far we like Nuvaring, Neuvoring, or Princess Nala.

Cowboy Bebop

Fantastic Planet

I watched two animations this weekend that couldn’t be more different, Cowboy Bepop and Fantastic Planet. I found Cowboy Bepop a slightly less enjoyable version of Samurai Shamploo. Although, the music and drawing impressed, the story line was way too expected. Fantastic Planet, on the other-hand, told an outrageous and interesting story of humans as pets. The  beautiful artwork and intriguing story captivated while the music lacked.

FINO

Brunch at Fino provided the grand finale to my weekend, and I do mean GRAND. My meal of short ribs, truffel oil, egg, potatoes, and garlic gave me a complete out of body experience. I have never experienced such elevation brought on by food before. Thank you Fino!

Nala #4

Shoutout to Penguin Boy!

The Holy Bed

lady bird lake

As my brother’s friend, Brandon Smith, delicately puts it, “the Kawalsky’s are notorious for moving from one bed to the next. They seem to just spend the entire day congregating in different beds.” Yesterday, I packed up three blankets, two pillows, Nala, Jared, and my latest read, The Septembers of Shiraz, and made myself a second bed next to Lady Bird Lake. A lazy day of lounging, reading, napping, and dog wrestling ensued.

live band karaoke

Later that evening, I convinced a crowd of ten to join me for live band karaoke at the Cedar Door. This experience changed my entire perspective on karaoke. Now let’s make it quite clear that I have a karaoke obsession. I can never turn down karaoke and until last night I thought regular karaoke was “the bee’s knees.” Now I know better and for anyone too scared to sing normal karaoke, anyone (and I mean everyone) sounds halfway decent when backed up by a live band. For those of you who already sound good doing karaoke, then prepare yourself for 15 minutes of fame. I got so caught up in the band and smoke machine that during my rendition of Sublime’s Santeria, I brought back the shimmy to stage performance.  Anyway, this happens every Thursday it seems, so if your interested head over there next week (2nd and Brazos).

Children of Men

Proving Brandon’s theory, I returned home and immediately got back into bed to watch Children of Men. I found this movie visually alluring but, unfortunately for Children of Men, I watched it the day after watching the Godfather.

nala #3

How to spend a rainy day

A rainy day can be very tragic or with the right movie, or unfortunate, trashy television series, can become blissful. Yesterday, my room became my paradise with a little help from Marlon Brando and young, quite sexy Al Pacino.

Marlon

What can I say about the Godfather part 1 that has not already been said. The movie obviously meets the criteria for a masterpiece. As my brother says, “it is the quintessential American allegory. It is no accident that the first line is I believe in America.” I felt a strong emotional connection to this film and am surprised it took me so long to see it. So for everyone who thinks the Godfather is a “man’s” movie, give it a try and if you hate it you can blame me.

My brother arrived in Austin down on his luck. When I asked him, “brother, how can I cheer you up?” He responded in jest, “strippers.” Well last night I made his dream a reality. My brother was reluctant at first to attend Tranny bingo night but that was before Saffire laid more then eyes on him.

Jo's brings Bingo

a very intimate moment

As if there was no one else in the room, Saffire serenaded him and gracefully performed her balletic, Swan Lake routine expressing her deep and profound love. (see right picture) In other happenings, I entered the 90’s dance competition and won with my MC Hammer Time moves. Only thing more disappointing then Saffire’s jokes were the unfortunate prizes of car fresheners. Yet, still proved to be a very entertaining night. You can experience it yourself on April 7th at Jo’s coffee shop in Austin.

Bingo

nala #2

Another beautiful picture of the pup Nala

Gilberto Gil defeats my stomach virus

Talented, Squealing Gilberto Gil

After a terrible night of vomiting and emergency rooms (that’s right plural), it was time to fight my stomach virus with the Brazilian stallion Gilberto Gil. The Hogg Auditorium at the University of Texas at Austin provided the perfect intimate setting to forget about my ailments and enjoy my brother yelping along to each song.  He will also be performing tomorrow, March 25th, and I strongly recommend you attend (sick or not).

With limited mobility I decided follow a show with another show, The Usual Suspects.

The Usual Suspects

I found this movie to be extremely predictable. As my brother says, “it’s very unimpressive to show you a fake flashback.” He says also that if I mention The Usual Suspects “mention Rashamon which introduce the camera as a liar and the relativity of perspective in storytelling.” I suppose we all know what to add to our netflix cues.

My beautiful princess Nala

Now to go cuddle the love of my life, my pup Nala