The Complete SXSWedu Guide to Tacos #SXTacoClub @Edudemic

Calling Austin a “foodie city” would be like going to Rome and saying, “Yeah, there are a few museums to see.” It is, in other words, a big understatement.

In Austin we don’t just have every kind of food under the sun, but we also serve them in every imaginable manner possible. We serve cake on sticks and pies in jars and chicken in waffles. We’re famous for our BBQ, but we’ve got enough pho to flood all of UT in broth. And don’t forget all of our more experimental chefs, who have made it their personal mission to rehabilitate the least desired parts of an animal into OMG the absolute best.

UT Vendor

In fact, sometimes eating here feels more like a writing exercise.

Menu

Which is to say, if you’re headed to our fair city for SXSW, you’re pretty much spoiled for choice in terms of food and adjective options. But if there’s one type of fare in which you absolutely must indulge, I can only say one thing:

Tacos, tacos, and did I mention…

Tacos

In Austin, you can have tacos for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and hey, why not snack, too? There are upscale tacos at fancy schmancy places and both classics and experimental tacos at any number of food trucks around town. You can get melt-in-your-mouth brisket in a taco or egg and bacon or pulled pork and as much – or as little – cilantro as you so desire.

In fact, we’re so hepped up on tacos over at my job at Edudemic and in the Twittersphere, we’ve put together a map to just a few of the top taco spots downtown, in South Austin and on the East Side.

(Link to map here).

Credit goes to Eric Nentrup (@ericnentrup) and Emily Johnson (EmilyA_Johnson) and LindseyOwn (@LindseyOwn) for this amazing idea.

So, how should you use this map? Let us count the ways!

  1. Use the map completely on your own to grab tacos as your schedule sees fit while you’re in town for SXSW (particularly SXSWedu)
  2. Follow #SXTacoClub on Twitter to meet up with other attendees and chow down on tacos together
  3. Upload Twitter pics of your tacos and/or yourself chowing down on said tacos and tag it with #SXTacoClub, #SXSWedu. Tag it with @Edudemic, too, and we’ll make sure to reshare it far and wide.
  4. After you’ve sampled a few, tweet out the name of your favorite tacos and stands you’ve tried, again tagging it with #SXTacoClub.
  5. Become legendary. You know, like, on the taco scene.

Alright, attendees. You have your assignment. Go! Go! And see you there!

P.S. Are you a native Austinite? Does this map anger you because we missed something? Put down that Siracha spray gun and leave a suggestion in the comments instead. We’ll add it to our map faster than a food truck impresario can serve a line of 50 impatient people at 2AM.

My Wildlife Expedition in Jackson Hole

Ever wondered what it’s like to get up close and personal with bison? And a dynamic bald eagle duo? And a nursing baby mountain goat? In this post I wrote for the wonderful Jackson Hole Traveler, I spill all the beans about what it’s like to encounter wildlife at close range in their beautiful natural setting. I wish I could go back to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone now, but re-reading this article will have to do! Enjoy.

My Wildlife Expedition in Jackson Hole

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Photo Credit: Latham Jenkins

The Travels and Tribulations of a Failed Clown

You meet all sorts of characters on the road, from hard partying hostelers to deep thinking bus seatmates. Sometimes you’ll even meet a great character by the side of the road, like the sole practitioner of this roadside dentistry operation I encountered in India:

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But by far the favorite character I’ve ever met in all of my travels has got to be the failed English clown I found battling his way through a life of abject misery in a Lisbon hostel. Naturally, I felt at once sympathetic, concerned, and a great urge to run away as fast as my non-oversized red shoes would take me.

In The Travels and Tribulations of a Failed Clown, posted on the lovely travel site, Fathom Way to Go, I detail the experience in full nose-honking detail. Go on, click the link. I promise not to squirt you with this plastic flower I’ve pinned to my lapel.

(Sorry, just had to get in one more clown joke. Enjoy!)

Who’s a good little spooky DIY maven? You are! Yes you are!

As you probably all have guessed by now, I wasn’t the kind of little girl that liked doilies and gluing little sparkly things on to other little sparkly things. In fact, I distinctly recall strategically distracting party goers at my childhood best friend’s birthday party with a little stand up comedy routine, just to avoid participating in the upcoming crafting activity.

That’s me in the back, mid-routine. I had just flown in, and boy, were my wings tired!

But, alas, my distractions were more jealousy than anything else. I’ve always admired DIY practitioners, and often wished I were one of them.

Enter Krysten Brown, a designer friend of mine here in Austin. When I was asked to write an article on last minute Halloween DIY decorations, she stepped up to the plate, guiding me through a series of spooktacular Halloween designs until we had just about the coolest DIY house the undead world has ever seen. Afterwards I sat down with my laptop, pulled a mic to my mouth and did a little routine.

Check out the results at the article below, and DIY your own home in the most spooktacular of ways.

Last Minute DIY Guide to Halloween Decorations…of Awesomeness.

Can’t Finish What I Started

I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I’m a master of beginnings. As in, my MFA really stands for, “Master of First Attempts.” But middles? Ends? Yeah, not so much. Let’s just say if my hard drive is a vast desert, story beginnings bounce like tumbleweeds over the horizon. And there I am, dragging my parched, sunburned body along the sand, just trying to capture one of them — any of them — in my maniacal story web. How’s that for dramatic imagery?

Rather than attempting to give this post an end here, I’ll toss you over to Write By Night, who have been kind enough to publish my musings on the subject of beginnings that have no end. Here’s the article. Voila! Go forth! Complete something for once!

The Beauty in the…HOLY CRAP!

The other night, I stopped at the gas station after a long, hard day. As I was waiting for the tank to fill, I stared up at the moon, so sharp and bright in the cloudless sky, and I tried to appreciate the beauty of the world. My eyes fell to a lamp post, where kamikaze bugs slammed against the plastic, fell toward the ground, turned around, and tried their luck again. So eager and determined in their futility.

I tried to write a poem in my mind, to feel the world like I used to when life was slower. Find pleasure at least in words if not in the dry, cracked ground, in the sweat staining continents into my t-shirt. I tried to see the Seattle green in the wrinkled leaves, to see the mountains thrusting jagged snow-capped peaks into the gray sky. The cool of the lake against my skin. Quietude beyond rain-smeared panes.

The gas pumped on, and I began to feel at one with the earth.

And then a MASSIVE cricket the length of my finger and as thick as an OTHERWORLDLY BEAST dropped hard onto my neck and chirped triumphantly.

I dropped the pump, shouted “HOLY CRAP!” and flailed from one end of my car to the other.

And that was the end of that.