• The Garage Sale Review: Kittens and fancy kicks

    Yard sale cuisine includes just about any edible substance that you can imagine talking a complete stranger into eating. These hot dogs, charred and delicious, are just one example.
    Yard sale cuisine includes just about any edible substance that you can imagine talking a complete stranger into eating. These hot dogs, charred and delicious, are just one example.

    Editor's note: All photos taken by Gillian Rhodes, Daily Texan Staff.

    Hi, amigos!

    Welcome to another edition of The Garage Sale Review, the weekly Internet column that allows you to get up close and personal with the best of Austin’s garage sale culture without getting your hands dirty.

    Imagine, if you will, that this blog post is a shark cage. You’re lowered, alone and nervous, into the murky, unfamiliar depths of second-hand stuff. You’re cold, breathing through a tube and you have one of those nasty, chafing wet-suit wedgies (in the metaphor, of course, unless you dress up like a diver while you garage sale). Suddenly, in the distance, an object appears. “Wait, what’s that?” you think urgently. “It’s swimming closer. And it looks dangerous.” Indeed, the object is getting closer, but you still can’t make it out. It doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen before. You wait patiently as your heart beats faster and faster and the object looms closer and closer. Finally, the unidentified thingamajig is revealed:

    Don’t worry, young one, it’s not a shark. It’s just a harmless yard sale hot dog! Mmmm mmm good, just like Campbell’s Soup, but with more blended chicken and cow intestines. Just kidding, duh, they’re made out of “meat by-products.” As promised in last week’s Garage Sale Review, Gillian and I managed to wrangle up some fresh yard sale cuisine whilst procuring odd stuff in folks’ yards, and we came out the other side of the meal feeling healthy, invigorated and ready to rumble. Here is what we rumbled up, y’all:

    View The Garage Sale Review: 7/2/11 in a larger map

    3506 Hollywood Avenue

    The first garage sale that we checked out (the one with the hot dogs), was looking a little picked over when we arrived. Paloma, the garage seller, offered us hot dogs and beer and explained the origins of some of her garage sale goods to us. There were a lot of old electronics and a couple of stickers from Hawaii, where Paloma had lived for a little bit. Although the items weren’t amazing, that Hawaiian work schedule sticker sure was hilarious! And by hilarious I mean ‘sort of amusing.’

    Then Paloma introduced us to her newborn kitties. They weren’t for sale, but they were way cute, as kitties tend to be. Or, perhaps ‘terrified’ would be a more appropriate adjective.

    Another garage sale shopper and I played with the cats for awhile and then I eventually took my leave with a longing glance at the rest of that sizzling yard sale meat, hanging out on the grill like cylindrical, pink manna from heaven.

    607 Sheraton Avenue

    At this stop, Gillian and I encountered a yard sale, void of all authority except for the unbendable rule that is the garage sale honor code (exemplified by the sign in the picture above). We, being like medieval knights in the way that we follow codes and crusade around for treasure and burp a lot, gave the garage sellers a ring on the telephone. We were greeted by Brandy, who showed us the items that her and her roommates had for sale. Brandy explained that she designs wardrobes for everything from photo shoots to advertisements as she pointed out some gaudy jewelry and fancy shoes to us.

    You fancy, huh? Anyway, we were about to leave when Brandy told us that she had taken her garage sale advertising to the Internet, which is something I’ve never encountered before. Talking up your garage sale online? This really is 2011. She gave me the link to her YouTube garage sale ad and we went on our way. Here’s the video, where Brandy talks about the items her garage sale had for sale before we got there:

    OK, you people! We’ll see you next week. And as you’re celebrating Independence Day please remember that even though America means a lot of things, it’s mostly all about garage sales. Well, maybe not, but I bet Thomas Jefferson was a mean haggler in his day.

  • Apron Optional: Slow Jams

    For the special red, white and blue holiday, Apron Optional whips up a batch of buttermilk blueberry scones paired with handmade raspberry and strawberry jam for a summer snack that’s both patriotic and delicious.
    For the special red, white and blue holiday, Apron Optional whips up a batch of buttermilk blueberry scones paired with handmade raspberry and strawberry jam for a summer snack that’s both patriotic and delicious.

    My fellow Americans:

    It’s almost the 4th of July, and in the spirit of the holidays, this blog is going red, white and blue — literally. This week, my editor Julie Rene Tran and I made raspberry strawberry jam along with blueberry scones.

    Now, I’m going to go ahead and tell you I’ve never made scones OR jam before and I was a little nervous trying either for the first time. Well—there was one time I made bacon jam, but that is a COMPLETELY different (and delicious) story.

    As kitchens go, mine is pretty small. A few years back, my parents renovated the kitchen at our house (it used to be tiny!). Any time we had a lot of people over for dinner, I never understood why my mom was always telling everyone to get out of the kitchen. After this particular cooking experience, I think I finally understand just how overwhelming it can be if you feel crowded in your kitchen (at one point there were five of us in there, I believe).

    Much to my surprise, both the jam and the scones were delicious. I would say that if you have an electric stove, you’re going to have to be a bit more patient with the jam. The sugar will probably take longer to dissolve, but hastily turning up the heat could result in a mass of burnt syrup in your saucepan with a side of broken dreams (which are not nearly as appetizing on a scone).

    As for the scones, the key is to handle the dough as little as possible. As far as baked goods go, it seems counterproductive to leave lumps and clumps of powder, but resist the urge to continue blending. Mix everything just enough to combine the ingredients, even if you are twitching with the desire to smooth things out.

    After all is said and done, make sure to put your jam in the fridge, unless you have decided to take the proper canning process upon yourself — a task I chose to forgo.
    That’s all for now, I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend! Mine will be JAM-packed with friends, sparklers and some patriotic fruit preserves (and perhaps some better puns).

  • The Basement Tapes: UT alumnus finds fame in world of rap

    Former UT student and local rapper Roosh Williams has opened for music artists such as Bun B, Big K.R.I.T., and Curren$y.
    Former UT student and local rapper Roosh Williams has opened for music artists such as Bun B, Big K.R.I.T., and Curren$y.

    In a fame-hungry generation saturated with entertainment realities such as MTV, American Idol and YouTube, it’s not hard to get your five seconds of stardom. But whether there’s talent to make it beyond the five-second marker, now that’s the bigger question.

    For UT corporate communication alumnus, Roosh Williams, however, his talent in rapping has proven he's not just another wanna-be rapper.

    Born Soroosh Faegh, the Houston native first spit rhymes during choir in middle school. Then last year, his poetic verses, streamed with creative plays on words and rhymes, got noticed and have landed him great successes, such as opening for Yelawolf, The Cool Kids and Curren$y.

    The Daily Texan spoke with the rapper during Basement Tapes about the meaning behind his name and his first interest and performance in rapping.

    The Daily Texan: So your real name is Soroosh Faegh. Why did you decided to add the Williams?

    Roosh Williams: First of all, I don’t think my real name is like ‘fuck yeah.’ Second of all, the ‘Williams’ is kind of expendable. The Williams is the Williams. It could have been fucking Johnson, shit, Patterson, but it’s just to Americanize it basically, cause I feel like that represents who I am, you know? You wouldn’t be able to tell who I am from my real name. It makes it commercial and just as funny, almost kind of like a joke.

    DT: What’s the joke?

    RW: My last name has always been hard to say, so it’s just funny because I have always been a well, decent spoken person, like you wouldn’t be able to tell if you were talking to me, without seeing me, you wouldn’t be able to tell what I am.

    DT: You didn’t want to embrace that you were different?

    RW: Mhm. I also think when I’m rapping it’s not a character but it’s a mode I go into. It’s not representative of my real name. It’s a mode so I switch into gear — not some Batman, Superman shit. Well actually yeah, kind of like some Batman, Superman shit. [laughs]

    DT: So when did you first get into rapping?

    RW: I first began fucking around with it when I was in sixth grade in choir [laughs]. I just noticed I kind of rhyme, ‘like I can do that?’ and so I just started doing it.

    DT: You were telling me earlier of all the rappers you’ve opened up for. What was your first opening?

    RW: I opened for Lil’ Flip on Aug. 1 of I think last year.

    DT: How did that come about?

    RW: It was for some fraternity party and I had dropped my name like ‘yo, if ya need people to perform and stuff like that, let me know.’ And they were like yeah, we’ll give you a shot and they paid me and I did my thing. And it was really good and I got started after that. After that I got booked in Oklahoma City; like I was in Oklahoma City three weeks later.

    DT: Can you name some of the artists you’ve opened for?

    RW: Lil’ Flip, Curren$y, Big K.R.I.T, Bun B, Juvenile, The Cool Kids, J.Cole, Wale, Yelawolf …

    DT: Of all the performances, which one would you say was your best?

    RW: I think it was Yelawolf in Austin. It was at Mohawk. We just rocked that shit. I perform with a drummer so that shit is crazy in real life.

  • Weekend Recs: Fourth of Firefly, Independence Day, Team America

    Enjoy complimentary, hot-off-the grill burgers and hot dogs with America’s favorite sides while listening to the beats of DJ Abe the Assassin at the bar’s patio. Just in case the heat gets to ya’, there’ll be spiked flavored sno-cones!
    WHAT: Fourth of Firefly at Molotov
    WHEN: Sunday, June 3 and Monday, July 4 at 6p.m.
    WHERE: Molotov
    Cost: No cover, 21+

    Cruise into the big screen at Blue Starlite on East Cesar Chavez and watch the American classic sci-fi, Independence Day. This is just about American as you can get! Don’t forget to bring the popcorn!
    WHAT: Independence Day Movie Drive-In
    WHEN: Monday, July 4 at 9p.m.
    WHERE: Blue Starlite Mini-Urban Drive-In Theatre
    COST: $25 per car or $2 walk-in/bike-in

    Possibly one of the most patriotic movie ever made, Team America: World Police is playing at the Drafthouse in spirit of America’s independence. And in place of fireworks, the theater will have sparklers, and cap guns, flags, streamers, and balloons for viewers.
    WHAT: Quote-Along: Team America: World Police
    WHEN: Monday, July 4 at 7p.m.
    WHERE: Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
    COST: $12