Thursday, December 08, 2005

Texas Ice and Ribs

This week I am visiting the University of Texas in Austin. Yes, another football school, but they also have a boffo complexity group with Anna Gál, Adam Klivans and David Zuckerman as well as theorists Greg Plaxton, Vijaya Ramachandran and Tandy Warnow.

But what the school can't handle is the weather. Yesterday's high temperature in Chicago was 15ºF, low was 0 (-18ºC). People in Chicago bundled up and went to work as usual. Never in my memory has the University of Chicago closed due to weather.

In Austin, the temperature was a balmy 30ºF with a little rain. So they shut down the university and much of the rest of the town. Drivers in Austin cannot handle a little ice. Pathetic.

But the night was not a loss. Adam Klivans and his fiancée Jean took me to their favorite ribs place in Austin, The County Line. When we got there the restaurant had also shut down due to the weather. But Adam made such a good plea to the manager ("My friend came all the way from Chicago for your ribs"), that they gave us, free of charge, a tray full of beef and pork ribs, chicken and sausage (pictured below). We took them back to Adam's place and a good time was had by all.

Photo by Jean Kwon


  1. County Line ribs! It's been a while since I've had those. Any chance of bringing some home?

  2. Lance, your comment just shows that you have no clue about driving in ICY conditions. At 30F with rain, roads and overpasses stay covered with ice, making driving treacherous. I've lived in a place that's colder, windier, and more-snowing than Chicago, and even there, freezing rain usually brings the city to a halt.

  3. Ever heard of salt?

  4. I used to teach at a university in the north, where, according to legend, classes were not cancelled when a blizzard hit because the president always slept in too late to make a timely decision.

  5. Bad timing for the post, coming on the heels of the news story that a 6-yr old was killed by a poor-weather landing in Chicago . Somebody mentioned salt - I think Texas is just unprepared for icy conditions, so they don't have it in supply like cities in the northern states do.

  6. Strange... Texas bbq without brisket?

  7. More than likely, it isn't that the general population residing in Texas is unable to deal with inclemental weather, it is much more likely that the culture of the residents is functional and operationally existing at a different pace and speed than what you have become acclimated to in Chicago.

    For example, take the state of New Mexico, everything seems to exist at the twilight zone speed of...."in the ma�ana".

    Culture shock is living and working in Los Angeles or New York and
    then MOVING to a state such as New Mexico.

    Drastic and radical culture shock.

    DUDE, What....NO ....QUE....What...Pardon? WHEN?

    No,..... I meant I needed this YESTERDAY, not TOMORROW.....

    Geesh oh pete already.....

    And this is sorta kinda what sounds like, what happened to you...
    although not at any huge level.

    Just some mere ordinary culture shock :)

    And considering the other proferred thoughts.....perhaps the state of Texas ran out of both salt and clay, or the state officials were prudent and
    chose to error on the side of caution.

    New Mexico uses clay, not salt, (at least thats what I noticed for the couple of years that I lived there).

    Additionally, NM's, weather advisories (notices) are fairly stern, blunt, and in your face oblique about NOT venturing out in poor inclemental weather, because the employees of the state of NM will NOT come and get you.

    Which then brings one to a favorite pastime in that fair state.

    Being left to ponder what really equates and constitutes the exact number of seconds and minutes that could possibly
    make up this so called "ma�ana" mentioned by the residents in this state......(and what the heck is a jake brake and where is it at on my car?)
    since one ma�ana can mean three ma�anas to one person, and vice versa, in this state.....

    Yes, I since have discovered that my car does not have a jake brake, and that this is a trucker's term, thank you....


    Not bad for a Florida girl ---->> Los Angeles girl stuck out in booney ville who had to learn how to chop a cord of wood for wooden stoves in mud adobe homes.

    I would imagine in Austin you at least did not NEED to do all of that...

    Even with the snow, I hardly think the situation necessitated that you needed to get a cord of wood and some kindling to cook your ribs...nor was there need for you to roll up newspapers around your kindling, while adding this to the chopped wood in the belly of your wooden stove that you needed to use in order for you to even have heat.

    I would imagine your friends did not ask you to use an outside hand pump to wash with when their water froze due to the inside plumbing lines freezing up....all because someone did not leave the lines open enough...or SUMPIN.....

    Or to shower in...

    And if your friends sent you to the outhouse in those temperatures and you were unfortunate enough to have your cheeks frozen to the seat while your teeth chattered away in the night as the coyotes screamed for your flesh and you were too frozen in fear to move or breath---- ... please email me a copy of that picture, thanks so much.... in advance. I'll add it to my collection of cheeky pictures. (Only G rated pictures please, my virgin eyes...)

    I have been to Austin, ala the venue of both car and plane.... and it is an absolutely wonderful town... with it's fantastic homey airport and its great down to earth people.

    HOWEVER, I just do not recall EVER seeing anything that would suggest similar living conditions for Austin that would be comparable to either Los Angeles, New Mexico, ... Florida, New York, and so on...

    Much of the state of NM exist in a different cultural time... outhouses, water pumps, wooden stoves, adobe and mud homes...

    Contary to popular belief, there are many states that have areas (some very widespread, Kentucky, the mountains in the southern states) that still exist with turn of the century primitive old time back woods living....

    Obviously, I could have totally missed this whole part of Austin while I was drooling over some male in a cowboy hat or sumpin :)

    Darn.......WHAT was I thinking.....

    Gee......hum....Austin, Texas and ribs sure beats being stuck out in the ma�ana" and being SOL in the snow out in the middle of no where land. :)

    Considering all of that.....would it be any
    wonder the residents of the state of NM envision and dreams of aliens visiting?

    There is still lots of room for them, the aliens, to settle upon.

    New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment, afterall.


    Go figure.....

    But hey, just think, at least you were able to return home!

    Aww.....this sounds just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

    There is no place like home, there is no place like home......

    This is just a fleeting sour note of a moment in life......closed universities due to
    yucky weather are a passing transient moment in time, one among many every where, SOMEWHERE on global earth....
    it wasn't ..."horrors" though it was a wild keg party that shut them down....

    Say like what could have been heard to be seen and happen at Florida's school's, :)

    But at least in Florida and California, it's almost always bikini weather time....

    Chicago, hum, I in NM I, or one, could wear a bikini in the snow there, because it was
    dry snow, not damp. And without the water, the incremental factor of heat and cold is less significant due to the thermal
    trapping capacity magnification of H20.

    Hum.....Chicago.... I do recall that Chicago has some titillating cold snow.....brrrrrrrr....
    and the snow is more akin to what is found in Philly and NYC.

    So which would one prefer?

    Wet and cold snow, or dry and cold snow?

    Culture shock, or climate culture feasibility......

    Sooooo, the point is, besides my talk of preferable bikini that we could find something to complain about easily, if we looked hard enough.....

    And.....that there is no place like home.....(although, to some, home is where the heart is)

    :) Sonya (okay---no snowball throwing until I get into my bikini)

  8. Interesting counterpoint, and your response Siva?

  9. As a matter of fact, due to excessive air pollution, city of Tehran got closed for three days and schools for one week !Airplanes fall from the sky and exactly fall on the apartments!

    Have experinced this kind of living?

    But with all these bad things, I like it. Here is always something we can talk about and complain and forget after a while.


  10. I moved from Austin to Chicago back in July. And it's true. We don't know how to drive on ice down there. But we do know how to stay active in 110-degree summers without killing ourselves. And we do know how to barbeque. :>
    Does it ever snow enough to shut Chicago down?