The Dancer Uptown
Austin Dispatches
No. 51
June 24, 2003
Dancing is definitely the best way for me to meet women locally. Since the last issue, I’ve conducted tests via Miguel’s La Bodega, the Austin Ballroom Dancing Society, and the Footworks Dance Center out in Oak Hill.1  The results are conclusive enough.

It’s a good way to flirt with attractive women in slinky dresses and high heels. And I appreciate their interest in my interest. They don’t front an attitude – something women have been known to do in other social settings even after fussing for approximately six hours with their clothes, shoes, hair, perfume, jewelry and makeup to make themselves alluring, only to stand around anxious and lonely ‘cause they’re blowing off every guy who tries to make their acquaintance. Of course, my suave, vaguely dangerous demeanor might help in cutting through their usual frost.

By contrast, on May 23, I went to a club on Sixth Street where Maxim magazine was supposed to throw a big party, but the Maxim crew hadn't shown by the time I left at 10:30 after nursing a beer and getting indifference from the few, but admittedly hot, women at the Chuggin' Monkey at that early hour.

Meanwhile, the University of Texas has hindered the e-mail access to Longhorn Singles, a dating service I signed up for a few months ago.2  Maybe if I were getting results from Longhorn Singles, I could muster outrage. All those online dating services can go out of business as far as I’m concerned.

On the other hand, I did have an OK time at the Super Singles Meeting Party at UT on June 6. I learned from the speed dating event I attended earlier this year and disregarded the organizer’s instructions when I mingled.3  After all, who’s paying the bills? So I had an easier time chatting up women, using my repertoire of flirting tricks, and handing out my phone number.

If this keeps up, I might actually agree with Forbes Online’s assessment of the Austin singles scene.4  Surprisingly, that’s one of few good things happening for me in Austin.

I haven’t been so disgruntled since before Phoenix.  Nothing tragic, just constant dissatisfaction in every other aspect.

Last month, I edited a troubleshooting guide for Frito-Lay.5  It was repetitive work, but I chipped away at it. Now, I'm on contract at a company that provides software applications for the automotive aftermarket industry.6  I'm clarifying the company's procedures for its field salesmen. In other words, I’m making the world safer for the distribution and sale of fuzzy dice. But the work isn't steady enough or remunerative enough.  Among other things, that hampers my ability to improve my dancing and meet women.

Neighborhood News

And the job offers aren’t coming in fast enough. Moreover, I’m stuck in my apartment, working the phone lines or waiting for a return call. Of course, I do this in air-conditioned comfort, the hippest jukebox in town enhancing the light filtering through the Venetian blinds, suffusing the apartment with an amber glow that deepens by the hour and then shades into noir, with the slates louvered for the right dramatic pattern from the streetlights.

No wonder burglars hit my complex last month.7  My next door neighbor says she heard somebody trying to open her front door while she was home, but her dog’s barking scared him off.

High End Systems Inc. is moving into the former XeTel Corp. building across the street from me.8 The Austin City Council approved $37 million in tax rebates for Endeavor Real Estate Group to develop The Domain.9  The description of the mixed-use urban village project sounds akin to Jefferson Center on Parmer Lane in Williamson County and the Electric Avenue Arts and Business District in downtown Austin.  The city’s considering more sweetheart deals like that.10

It’s a Helluva Town

Austin really is becoming another New York – only without the culture, sophistication, and dynamism.11  You can’t smoke in bars or restaurants,12 utility rates are going up,13  roads are falling apart,14  and there’s a broadband dearth.15  Soon, only the rich will live downtown, in subsidized trendy urban lofts.16  And if City Hall says there's such an excess of cabs, how come I have to wait more than 30 minutes to get one on the north side of town?17  Austin doesn’t just need regime change.18  It needs an enema.19

Now, I’ve been accused for years of having Attitude.  And not just any attitude – New York Attitude.20  So I should fit in better around here, right? Wrong. I didn’t move to Austin to immerse myself in a declining milieu induced by other people. In such circumstances, Austin ain’t worthy of my presence. If this keeps up, I’m gonna shake the dust of this town off my vagabond shoes and move on down the line.21

For example, I applied to be assistant publisher at Reason magazine in Los Angeles, even though I’m not an L.A. type.22 Based on what I know about publishers from my newspaper days, I’ll earn a salary by drinking coffee, spending all day in meetings, criticizing the performance of my subordinates, and whining about financial difficulties when anybody asks for a raise.

Cultural Canapés

Michael Franks played the One World Theater on May 16. The performance was pushed back from the winter so his fans wouldn’t get “popsicle toes.”23

Dubya’s reactions on Sep. 11, 2001 are being dramatized for a cheesy made-for-TV movie.24  Presumably, the movie won’t include him telling Bob Woodward, “I’m the commander – see, I don’t need to explain – I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”25

Heard the new Red Hot Chili Peppers CD.26  What the hell happened? These guys used to rock. Then they took a break and came back with tunes that are all sensitive, mellow, and introspective. That's not what they’re good at. Maybe they need to take more drugs.27

Media Indigest

Virginia Postrel writes about the TV show “Trading Spaces” rampaging through Plano in the May issue of D Magazine.28 A new book from Frank Sinatra’s former valet details President Kennedy’s cocaine use.29

Business Roundup

The Austin American-Statesman reports Dell's top executives acknowledge morale problems inside the company.30

All the articles on the late Don Regan I’ve read emphasize his service in the Reagan administration.31  He really should be remembered for his work in single-handedly overcoming opposition within Merrill Lynch to make the world safe for non-bank interest-bearing cash accounts:

Regan was not noticeably ill-tempered that day; he heard them all out, didn't call anyone an idiot or bang his fist on the table. "I appreciate your recommendation," he began when they had finished. Then he paused to create the sense of drama he so loved. "But there's been a vote taken here today, and it's one to nothing. I'm the one, and you guys are the nothing. We go forward."32
1 AD No. 50n20 (May 14, 2003).
2 Pope, Colin. “UT Singles Out Site That Seeks Single Longhorns.” ABJ 6 May 2003: A5.
3 AD No. 48 (Mar. 10, 2003).
4 “Forbes Survey Says: Austin is Top Spot for Singles.” ABJ 13 Jun. 2003: 32.
“Tracking Chips.” Food Logistics Nov./Dec. 2002: 12.
6  “CCITriad.” Motor Age Feb. 2003: S24.
7 AMLI at Stonehollow management. Letter to resident, 22 May 2003.
8 Hudgins, Matt. “New Space to Light Up Company.” ABJ 20 Jun. 2003: 3.
9 Apple, Lauri. “Wal-Mart or No, Council Defers to Endeavor’s Domain.” AC 23 May 2003: 16; Scheibal, Stephen. “City Approves Tax Rebates for Domain.” AAS 16 May 2003: B1+.
10 Pope. “A Flood of City Incentives?” ABJ 23 May 2003: 1+.
11 The Encyclopedia of New York City. Ed. Kenneth T. Jackson. New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP/New-York Historical Society, 1995.
12 Heath, Ben. “Smoking Ban Passes With a 4-3 Vote.” DT 6 Jun. 2003: 1-2.
13 Clark-Madison, Mike. “Up, Up and Away! Utilities Ready to Raise Rates.” AC 20 Jun. 2003: 20; Grisales, Claudia, and Marilyn Geewax. “Austin Utility Bills to Go Up.” AAS 11 Jun. 2003, final ed.: A1+.
14 “Study: One-third of Austin’s Main Roads ‘Unacceptable.’ ” ABJ 30 May 2003: 34.
15 Ladendorf, Kirk. “Texas Lags in High-speed Internet Access.” AAS 22 May 2003: C1.
16 Breyer, R. Michelle. “The Top-floor Lifestyle.” AAS 11 Jun. 2003, final ed.: A1+; Osborne, Jonathan. “Downtown Revivalists Put Faith in 2nd Street Retail Village Plan.” AAS 6 Jun. 2003: A1+.
17 Osborne. “Too Many Cabs? City Ready to Cut Back.” AAS 11 Jun. 2003, final ed.: A1+.
18 AD No. 46n19 (Feb. 10, 2003).
19 Batman. PolyGram Filmed Entertainment/Warner Bros., 1989.
20 Barron, Kenny. New York Attitude. Uptown 2741, 1996.
21 Kander, John, and Fred Ebb. “Theme From ‘New York, New York.’ ” 1977. Sinatra, Frank. Complete Reprise Studio Recordings. Warner Bros. 46013, 1995; Memphis Slim [John “Peter” Chatman]. “Everyday I Have the Blues (Nobody Loves Me).” 1948.
22 Meltzer, Richard. L.A. is the Capital of Kansas: Painful Lessons in Post-New York Living. New York City: Harmony Books, 1988.
23 Franks, Michael. “Popsicle Toes.” The Art of Tea. Reprise 2230, 1975
24 Hightower, Jim. “The Made-for-television President.” AC 20 Jun. 2003: 23.
25 Woodward, Bob. Bush at War, 1st ed. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2002: 145-146.
26 Red Hot Chili Peppers. By the Way. WEA 48140, 2002.
27 Fricke, David. “Red Hot Chili Peppers.” RS 25 Jun. 1992: 26.
28 Postrel, Virginia. “The Truth About Plano.” D May 2003: 73-74.
29 Carlson, Peter. “JFK, the Playboy Version and the Political Cipher.” WP 20 May 2003: C2.
30 Schatz, Amy. “The Dell Curve.” AAS 21 Jun. 2003: A1+.
31 Nocera, Joseph. A Piece of the Action; How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1994: Ch. 11.
32 Ibid., 160.