In This Issue Fall 2009
A Novel is Worth 50,000 Words Page 17
Where are the Experienced?
A Thrilling Occasion Page 15
The Great Cupcake Debate Page 21
Disc Golf Essentials
Austin is Home to a Nation of Discs
Bios Martin H. is a board game fanatic that wishes more people would play with him. He plays games like Tide of Iron, Axis and Allies, Samurai Swords, Risk, and Lord of the Rings. He has his two brothers that he constantly plays with, but wishes for more. Also Martial Arts is what helps him get through everyday. Without it he probably wouldn’t be in the Liberal arts and Science Academy..
Spencer N enjoys sleeping and eating the extra cupcakes from Elizabeth’s and Carmen’s story, “ The great Cupcake Debate.” His parents own the business Disc Nation which he wrote about in “Nation of Discs.” Disc golf is a big part of his life and he plans to join the ultimate Frisbee team at his school, LASA. His favorite food is sushi and he enjoys playing the french horn in band . He also plays the guitar and the drums for fun.
Elizabeth B is a 14 year old girl living in Austin, Texas. She loves to read and make up stories of her own, and probably wants to pursue a career in journalism or another kind of writing. She likes a number or random things, like tea, extremely long books, quill pens, and the swing in her front yard. She also dislikes a number of random things, like math, Twilight, bad grammar and spelling, and Hey Cupcake! You can read her article about the phony cupcake business on page 23.
Carmen A is the “lovable person that our associate is now afraid to put near electronics, due to her absent-minded nature” explains a co-worker. Her favorite color is blue, and has been since she gained independence of the mind. She enjoys sleeping, preferably more than what is allowed by obligations. She also fancies “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” (as well as the movies, of course), and cannot help but laugh at a sketch entitled “Mouse Organ/Musical Mice,” which no one else seems to understand the humor of. She loves the taste of mint.
The Savior Senior Citizens in Mexico that are abandoned by their families might not be abandoned any longer By Martin H
Facing Page: Habitat in Mexico that some Senior citizens are currently living in. Art credit: Martina Hass
“I have a list of twenty people, but 7 have already died,” Martina Hass says. This is just one dilemma that she has to face. From her visits to Mexico she has seen many seniors citizens abandoned by their families, and she plans to give back to them their dignity. Her organization, Casa Hogar Rayito de Luz AC., help the homeless by giving them food and medical attention. Their most recent project is building a home for these homeless citizens. She has to constantly leave her household to go and fight with the Mexican government for some kinds of money to keep the project going. “If I didn’t have the support of my family I won’t be able to do it.” Hass says, “But I have an understanding and a comprehension with my family and that’s why I can do it.” It turns out sometimes that she has to leave her three children alone for a month or two because she has to appear in Mexico to straighten something out. “I love my mom and what she is trying to do, but sometimes I wish she could stay with us a little bit longer,” one of 14 year old teenagers say. While her family is fine with her going and helping senior citizens, the families of these abandoned seniors are not with that. “The lawyers will make a letter that the families will have to sign so they
[the senior citizen] will be given over to me.” Hass says, “From there I can take care of them, feed them, bath them, give them a doctor when they are sick, and get them medicine.” “The lawyers will protect them [the senior citizens] from their families that are trying to get the inheritance or whatever.” Hass says with sadness in her eyes. “[Families] saying that they can take care of them [the senior citizens], but they are not and I can prove it.” One incident of this comes from a woman that she has talked to and taken care of. “One old woman lived under a tree, and her son lives on the corner one block away.” Hass mutters with angrily, “He is always drunk with the bottle in his hand, while his mother is over there under a tree dying of hunger.” Hass tries to help these seniors out with despensas, which contain different kinds of food. “I help them with rice, bean, sugar, oil, and flour.” Hass says, “Sometimes I don’t have enough money to pay for these things so I can’t help them.” Her inspiration comes from her parents. “I always saw my mom, even if we didn’t have money, feeding the hungry. Even if we didn’t have food, extra, she would always make a plate for them.” Hass says, “They [her parents] would al-
Fall 2009 Love Star 04
ways help, and they didn’t have anything, only barely enough to feed us.” To her this was a normal occurrence. “It was normal, to have somebody come and eat part of the little food we had.” Hass remembers. “My father sometimes would go to work and there would be people on the streets, hungry, and he would give them his lunch and would not eat.” Hass says. Even if Hass doesn’t have enough money to be able to help others, she still tries to help those who have been abandoned. “Most of them [the seniors] are deaf, some of them are blind, some are handicapped and they are right there, abandoned.” Hass says, “They [the seniors] eat if somebody brings them something to eat, if nobody does, then they don’t.”
Fall 2009 Love Star 05
This page: Left, Location of food and is the table for the Seniors. Right, basically the living room of the shack, or the biggest room in the shack. Facing Page: One of the Senior citizens that are suffering from hunger and starvation. Art Credit: Martina Hass
agua Austin was originally named Waterloo, because of the Colorado River and all the other water sources in the area. Today, Austinites still enjoy all the lakes and rivers available, and strive to protect them. Photos By Elizabeth B
these pages: Lady Bird Lake
these pages: Lake Austin
Photography by Stacey Neth
Photo by Stacey Neth
Ruining Originality Chuy’s is a famous Austin Icon that has now crossed the line with bad food in a bad location. By Spencer N
Facing Page The new Chuy’s sign that can be seen conveniently from the highway only yards from the resteraunt itself.
You cant beat good Tex-Mex in such a unique location as Chuy’s in down town Austin Texas. So why build more Chuy’s? At first, I was thrilled when a Chuy’s was built just minuets from my home in south Austin, but after several bad experiences, I refuse to eat there anymore. I just can’t understand why a famous Austin company would sacrifice the quality of their food and location just to be there. First of all, the location of the restaurant is just silly. It is located in the parking lot of a Costco. Of all of the places that I would like to have some authentic Austin Tex-Mex I would like to have it most of all in the parking lot of a Costco. And if you choose to eat your meal outside, you get a nice scenic view of the gigantic wholesale store or the highway. Who else likes diesel fumes while they eat? The food is nowhere near the quality of the Chuy’s in down town. All of the times that I have been to the new location, it was very obvious that my plate had been sitting under a heat lamp waiting for the cheese to melt or had been reheated. I remember when I recieved my plate and the food was still cold in the middle. That was the breaking point for me and my family. I believe that the Costco next door has better food than the poorly located eating establishment outside. The new location also lacks the charm and glory of the original Chuy’s down town. They try very hard to replicate it but it just isn’t there. As far as I know, Lance Armstrong hasn’t eaten any meals there and Jenna Bush hasn’t been arrested there… yet. I just don’t see any reason to go there except to get less than mediocre Tex-Mex in a truly inappropriate location. More than 15 patrons on Yahoo travel gave
Chuy’s less than three stars, all of them agree that the food is “horrible” or “bland”, one person even states that “If you like food from a can, this is your place.” My personal experiences have also been just awful. The wait staff is extremely slow and rather rude to their customers who by the way didn’t tip. The food obviously came prepackaged and was frozen, reheated, cooked and then placed under a heat lamp to be served to you Luke warm and stale tasting. Now some people would argue that Having more locations would make it more convenient to have a meal at a famous Austin restaurant or that going down town is too far away just to go to a restaurant. I believe that if you go to any one but the original that you are not eating at a famous restaurant and that it is not an authentic Austin experience. It is merely a shadow of what may be the most famous restaurant in Austin, Texas and for great Tex-Mex, I don’t have a problem going down town. If Chuy’s wants to keep expanding I think that they should stay away from big, developed shopping centers and buy their own land and really make it an original location because it is really a turn off when you eat your meal outside on a beautiful night and there is no scenery to look at, only highway and stores. Just some outdoor décor would make dining outdoors at their new location so much more pleasant. Eating their food would be bearable if they use fresher ingredients and had faster service. I do oppose the development of more Chuy’s locations as none of them can be as good as the original, however if they actually had good food and fast service in a location that is truly theirs, I don’t have a problem going there. Fall 2009 Love Star 12
Where are the Experienced? Young martial artists being black belts while some train for half-a decade to a entire decade before getting a black belt. By Martin H Entering the arena floor where all the competition is going to be happening, I gazed around and saw desks with a bunch of adults around them. I walked over to one table and asked, “Would you mind if I worked with you guys?” Their reply was simple, “Please do. We need a volunteer to take these winners over to the award stand.” That was how the experience of volunteering for the Junior Olympics and Senior National Taekwondo Championship in Austin started for me. First it was the younger kids that were participating, then as the days pass it would go to the older kids, and finally to the adults. Each age group had every rank from yellow to black belts. And they would all compete; it was pretty cool seeing such an interest in this sport of self defense. What amazed me out of the whole competition was that somebody so young could be such a high rank. Maybe I have the opinion just because I have come from a school that doesn’t promote people very quickly, but I still can’t believe a martial arts school would promote a very young kid all the way to the top. Of course there are some exceptions to this opinion, there is most likely some young kids who definitely deserve that rank. If you look up on the internet, Black belt Austin, you will find that most of the pictures involved are about adults, there is a couple involving some young black belts. The issue here is all about the student being taught. Usually black belts tend to have a huge amount of experience involved before they are even considered to be-
come one. Even then, according to Tao of Texas, you have to answer a couple of questions that are given to you by the black belts, and have to write an essay. According to what I have seen at a competition and higher ranking students, I can reasonably state that younger students have a harder time learning and remembering moves and techniques that are involved with higher ranks. Older kids also tend to have a lot more power because they basically have the size to back that up. I train in martial arts because I need a place that will help me with all the problems that I come across. When I get onto the mat I clear my mind of everything I have done or need to do and focus specifically on that one thing. I don’t go around and express my rank to any person that chooses to threaten me. This might be an exception for other people, but people need to train in martial arts because they want something out of it, not because they want to use it as a threat. One thing to do for this problem is simply not promote young kids so fast, let them promote at least once a year, but keep them on the low levels so that they learn slowly and remember everything. Instructors shouldn’t just promote kids because they have been in the class for that long, they should promote on their ability to perform the task given to them, and in the process learn valuable life lessons that will help them reach maturity earlier than other kids their age.
Fall 2009 Love Star 14
A Thrilling Occasion By Carmen A Photograph By Elizabeth B
Limp, pale bodies litter the cement floor. Unnaturally dark circles discolor the skin below most of their eyes, as the pathway of dried blood dripping down necks and cheeks stains their faces. The sound of a door creaking open and slow, echoing footsteps approaching closer and closer, is the only audible sound. The sound of beating drums and a high howl initiate the corpses’ twitching and rise to their feet. They begin with four stiff steps forward. The Thrillerfest has started. People of any age group, from 7-year-oldkids, to middle-aged men, brought Austin’s participant count up to 776. But neither Texas, nor the United States was the only population to attend this synchronized dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Performing at the same time, visible via video, 10 nations, including the United States, joined in the celebration. The grand total dancers were brought up to 23,000, dramatically shattering the previous Guinness World Record for “the Largest Simultaneous Dance,” previously set at 4,600, also to “Thriller.” “Oh, when I found out it was a Seaholm, I was like… bananas!” sings Christina, a graphic designer at UT, as she eagerly approaches the field for dance lessons. The dance was held in the shadow of the unused smoke stacks of the retired Seaholm Power Plant, located downtown near Ladybird Johnson Lake. Beginning around 5 pm, beneath the bright sun, a crowd of people chanted the “script” of the “Thriller” dance, put together by the now-famous Canadian woman, and organizer and inspiration for the two-year-oldfestival, “Ines.” For some people, such as high school sophomore Emma, the evening of the festival is all the practice that she will have, others have practiced multiple times prior to tonight. A script, with strange names for each move has been crafted to aid dancer’s memories. Despite this, Emma V. remains concerned that she won’t be able to remember the moves. “Don’t worry,” the organizers on stage assure the crowd, “the great thing about this dance is, if it’s not perfect, its okay. You just rose from the grave!” Many people believe that Michael Jackson‘s descent of into his final resting
year will attract more people. For some, such Jo Spall, Administrative Specialist at the Austin Waldorf School, this experience was especially profound. “When [Michael Jackson] died, it really affected me it was like a part of my life, suddenly, something was missing and I realized how much of an influence he had been on me and everything I had done dance-wise. So I promised myself I would learn the dance and I would come [to this year’s festival].” The significance of MJ goes beyond earthly significance. “This is how it feels when a god walks here,” she says, “And I use that loosely, because there is a certain kind of presence, and they are able to express whatever they have in that other realm, completely. But most of us don’t have that charisma and that kind of job to do here… most of our jobs are much smaller.” Bianca, a woman who has taught previous “Thriller” dance lessons has spent a long time learning the dance. “My husband has probably heard the video a million times.” She grew up dancing to the songs of Michael Jackson and believes that to be a really big fan; you have to have grown up with his music. Christina agrees with this, “The first record I ever bought with my own money was 45 of Michael Jackson singing “Ben,” in Mexico City, where I grew up. Now, they’re doing Thrillfest. I want to do it; I don’t want to miss out this time.” As well as reaching across borders, MJ’s music has managed to touch people from each age group. “I was like in 7th grade when it came out.” explains one attendee, “We knew the dance way back when. My 9 year old son also is really into Michael Jackson right now.” explains a LBJ teacher. This opinion is held by multiple “Thriller” attendees. Emma V. agrees, saying that the music and death of Michael Jackson was significant to “both the adult generation and their children.” “Anytime you can get [this] many people together, it’s really good for the community and lifts everybody’s spirit and it gives you a high.” Emma says, “I wish it was going on every week.”
Fall 2009 Love Star 16
A Novel is Worth 50,000 Words By Elizabeth B Photo illustration by Elizabeth
Not everyone subjects themselves to a form of torture for 30 days, but several students at LASA have taken this challenge. Some will continue it, year after year. Some petered out at the beginning, but hope to have the chance again. Some will undergo it for the first time this year, supported by other friends with more experience. The challenge in question is National Novel Writing Month. National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is the quest to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. Students at LASA will prepare themselves to do this in between schoolwork, some who have succeeded before and some for the first time. “I’d never written a story beyond five pages long, so I thought it would be really cool to write a story that could be called a novel or an actual book, not just a short story,” LASA sophomore Delaney V said. She participated along with the rest of her eighth grade class at a private school, and didn’t get to finish that time. “I might want to do it again when I don’t have so much schoolwork going on a really have time to create a good story,” Delaney said. She isn’t the only one not to have finished her story. Marissa W, a LASA sophomore, had plans to write last year but in the end it proved too difficult a task. “It was mostly school, and I guess my own teenage laziness. I guess I wasn’t really prepared for it,” Marissa said. Work piled up, and she had to put NaNoWriMo behind her own homework. “I thought it was fun,” she said. “It was worth wasting the time.”
The students who will start this year are a bit daunted by the task. “I have always been unsure of whether or not I like writing, and it was something I wanted to more often, or outside of school,” LASA freshman Emma B said. “I thought that writing a book in one month would be an interesting test of ability.” And an interesting test it will be. Participants are encouraged to write at least 1,667 words a day in order to reach the goal, and ‘win’ NaNoWriMo. However, most remain optimistic. “The worst that could happen would be me losing interest and abandoning the project,” Emma said. She plans to create a sort of support group with a few friends to get together and write during lunches. “I certainly hope I can finish. Being able to work at school will speed things along,” Emma said. As stories of magical cities and runaway children are written out, everyone has a common goal- get to 50,000 words. Tips are provided by the NaNoWriMo website, helpful ideas like when to write and what to do if one has writer’s block. The organization was founded in 1999, with only 21 people, just to see if it could be done. It took off the next year, with about 140 people, and now hundreds of thousands of people are ‘noveling,’ as they call it. “I feel like everyone has to write sometime,” Marissa said.
Fall 2009 Love Star 18
Austin Survives One of the few places left is being sieged because the survivors wanted to save a baby By Martin H Austin is one of the few places left, one of the few safe havens untouched by zombies. Only reason we still stand, is because we sealed ourselves away from the hordes. Our main base happens to be a church that we turned into a fortress. One of the three places that still makes a stand against these immoral creatures. A virus got loose making the normal citizens of Earth go mad. These virus infected humans, look like us, they speak like us, they act like us, but the only difference is they are mad. From far away most survivors will think that one these mutants is another survivor just wondering the street, but if these mutants smell humans they go berserk. *** The smell, that’s what attracts them, if we hadn’t saved that baby on the street we wouldn’t have been in this current situation. Our guns can’t keep them at bay for much longer. The only thing we can do now is wait for the leader to come and blow open our door. Those leaders are insane; they can crush a tank if they’re in the mood. The bad thing is that we don’t even have a full arsenal of weapons anymore, not with the last incident. They had surged forward and we sprayed them with everything we got. The unfortunate thing was that all the sounds of dying zombies riled up even more. We ended up blowing off their heads in order to stop their horrible screechings. “Bob get over here with that 50 caliber. We are definitely going to need it,” Sarge
grunts. “No problemo, by the way are we going to need to wake the sniper squad?” Bob replies. “If they aren’t, I am going to shove their ass’s straight into the horde.” “No worries boss, we were just up here scoutin’ the area for their head honcho.” Charley says. “We you better start shooting cause I can see him a comin’,” Sarge says. “Yikes, get them guns out and start blazin’, or we aren’t gonna ba a sleepin’ tonight.” Charley yells, cocking his gun ready. Sarge mutters to himself, why did we sacrifice the one stronghold we have for a baby, is that baby really important? Or was it just out of pity? Doesn’t matter now, we have to go and man the defenses so that we can sleep tonight. “Sarge! The gates are down!.” somebody shouts. “Well don’t just stand there dillydallyin’ about, blow the beejezus out of ‘em.” said Sarge. That night continued into the next day, bullets ripping through heads spreading blood onto the freshly painted stairways. The screams of the zombies as their flesh is separated and then burned by the flame coming from the nozzle of the flame throwers. By the time it was day, the hall way was completely covered in a red dripping liquid, and the floor had an inch of ash on it. The defenders were all sleepy, but wouldn’t close their eyes in case another one came.
Fall 2009 Love Star 20
Why Elizabeth B thinks Hey Cupcake! is the most mediocre overrated new fad since Twilight.
See page 24
Cupcake Debate Why Carmen A believes there is nothing better than a brilliant Hey Cupcake! cupcake to brighten your day. See page 26
Fall 2009 Love Star 22
Photo by Elizabeth
Hey Crapcake! By Elizabeth B I picked a pink frosted Vanilla Dream cupcake from the box, carrying it to where I sat on the ground with high expectations. It was from Hey Cupcake!, a store that specialized in cupcakes- this had to be good. An extremely thick layer of icing gave way to a dry cake, and it wasn’t what I thought it would be. Both the cake and icing were flavorless, all I could taste was sugar, and I couldn’t finish it. It most definitely did not meet my expectations. Almost every time I have had cupcakes from Hey Cupcake!, they have been dry, with too much icing to make up for it. The icing actually seems to worsen the problem, because the sweetness can leave you thirsting for something to drink even more. And if the cake isn’t dry, it’s nearing the point of mushy. Shots of whipped cream are offered to be injected into the center, but a good cupcake shouldn’t need that. It should be good on its own, with enough creativity and flavor in the actual dessert rather than in accessories you can put on it. The menu at Hey Cupcake! is not very creative, either. The combinations of cake and icing are nothing new to me, just flavors you can buy at the grocery store. Variations of chocolate, vanilla, carrot cake, cream cheese icing are all present, and nothing more. I’ve seen more interesting varieties in bakeries that sell sandwiches and salads. Even strawberry, a classic flavor in the
basic spectrum, does not make an appearance. If Hey Cupcake! was founded as an expression of creativity, I don’t see it. “The reason I started selling cupcakes for a living has to do more with an expression of creativity than it does a good old fashioned cupcake,” says the owner on his website. Well, if it isn’t about cupcakes, why is it cupcakes that you are selling? The heart of the business is mediocre at best. It seems to me that more effort went into the idea than the actual product. Granted, the idea is great. The presentation is wonderful. Hey Cupcake! has gorgeous cupcakes, and the trailers and building are adorable. But nothing should be based on looks alone; the food is ‘sort of okay’ in my book. If what it centers around isn’t worth it, what is? There are other bakeries in Austin with better quality cupcakes, and more variety, where you can tell it’s all about the food. Kneaded Pleasures, Russell’s, the Upper Crust Bakery, are all options. Cupcakes can be easily made and customized at home! For less than the cost of one cupcake from Hey Cupcake! you can combine flavors of icing and cake from boxes and tubs. Recipes are plentiful, designed specifically for cupcakes. This is what I will be doing in the future, and Hey Cupcake! will not receive any more business from me.
Fall 2009 Love Star 24
Photo By Carmen A
Photography by Carmen A
Double Dose of Delight By Carmen A
Disbelief, utter disbelief as I read the last words of a yelper’s review...”Awful. Awful. Awful.” the words echo in my head. But how? I just cant understand how a sensible person could dismiss Hey Cupcakes as inferior to HEB’s out of the box clumps of sugar. This is a personal insult. Each time I pass the the source of my infatuation, I am attracted to the taste pleasures sold for $2.50, Tuesday through Sunday, instant craving strikes me. Recently, while walking down the uniquely Austin South Congress Avenue, my eye is caught by the retro gleaming metal curves of the trailer, parked in the field across from where I stand. Topped by an huge, bigger-than-life twirling cupcake, I am instantly drawn to it. Ah, the beauty of the unknown, the pleasure of realizing the ultimate cupcake, the ideal reward after standing in the heat, waiting for the line to finally lead you to the counter, longing with mounting anticipation. As if life doesn’t present enough hard choices, I agonized over my order. Whether the to order “The Standard,” vanilla cake generously toped with buttery chocolate frosting or, to get the healthier “24 Carrot” cupcake with cream cheese topping, I considered. Yeah, the cream cheese would take the edge off the healthier aspect, but still, its a whimsical vendor appealing directly to my desires and vices. No! I will splurge as the occasion demands. No vegetables will spoil this event - “I’ll take the double dose, Sir!” Yes, I’m all in - chocolate cake with an obscene mound of chocolate frosting. As I wait for my delight to be delivered through the small trailer window, my companion, however is unperplexed- decisively ordering her favorite Red Velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Mouth watering with justifiable anticipation, ready to grasp my little bit of heaven, I am asked if I want a Whippersnapper. “A what?” I excitedly explore. “A free injection of sinful whipped cream into the heart of your chocolate on chocolate
dream,” he says. Well, I thought, if I’m in, then I’m all in, so, “Yes!” As I take my first bite, deep enough to include the cake, frosting and whipped cream, reeling in delight, consciousness fleeting, I think that, certainly, the great cupcake debate could wait. Delivered in a white box, sealed by a custom sticker, within are two dense and moist cupcakes, cradled by cardboard cutouts. My beloved Double Dose sits within. The cool, smooth frosting sits thickly atop the muffin-head, supported by a moist chocolate cake, from which sprout small chocolate chips, intensifying the flavor as well as creating a complex texture. The only question of concern now is: Can I finish this delightful cupcake? This question is answered simply by Wess Hurt, the artist behind the creation,” You only live once. Go for it.” What the trailer home to these masterful cupcakes may lack, such as a stove, dedication and a passion for the lovelier things replaces, driving the bakers to rise at 2:30, and bake for roughly an hour each morning. This means that your purchase is fresh and homemade from the kitchen of some gifted being. Hey Cupcake!’s smiling servers are always more than friendly and ready to engage in conversation for as long as you please, but please, don’t hold up the line. While waiting to be served on a rainy afternoon, the man behind the counter offered me two stories worth noting. The first original Hey Cupcake! is from Austin, but, somehow, word of it has reached two places in Europe. Several Tour De France observers wore its t-shirts, as did some German children. I would ask confused yelpers. how could something so fabulous travel the great Atlantic sea? You can’t always believe what you read. Go try it out for yourself.
Fall 2009 Love Star 26
Nation of Discs Disc Nation is a local company that supplies Local disc golfers with enough Frisbees to fill a store. By Spencer N
Facing page The Disc Nation logo surrounded by Frisbees
50,000 Frisbees occupy the 3,000 sq. foot warehouse owned by Disc Nation. This is the only way that Disc Nation can keep its 10,000+ individual discs in stock at their separate store in Austin. “We could not physically keep enough stock for peak times” says Stacey Neth, co-owner of Disc Nation. “In the store we just didn’t have any more room to stock or receive items and the garage was full.” Stacey and her husband Damon are co-owners of Disc Nation disc golf super store. The company started in 2001 in Massachusetts. Disc Nation sells not only discs, but many different products for the sport of disc golf. Bags made especially to hold discs, conditioning equipment and books and DVDs teaching techniques and showing professional players making great shots are also available. “We wanted to be focused on one particular area and we saw a need in the Frisbee/disc golf market place because there were not really any places to buy those products locally and there weren’t a lot of good online vendors at the time” says Damon. “We wanted to have a home based business and discs were easy to ship, you cant break ‘em” says Stacey. At first, both Damon and Stacey were not sure if Disc Nation would work out. “I thought when we first started it was a good idea with a place in the market but I wasn’t sure how much demand there would be,” says Damon. “I was skeptical but I came around quickly because it was fun,”
says Stacey. Disc Nation moved to Austin in 2005 where Disc Nation is now a flourishing company with four websites, a retail store and a warehouse in south Austin. “We needed more room and we wanted to relocate to a place that had better distribution for Frisbees. We wanted to be somewhere where we could get our packages out to our customers in the quickest time and the middle of the country was the best for that. It was also important to live somewhere where people knew about disc golf and played a lot” says Stacey. Since the company has moved to Austin, it has grown significantly. Even now, in tough economic times, Disc Nation’s sales are up. “Overall its (the economy) been positive because,” explains Damon. “we feel (that) a lot of people are looking for less expensive pastimes because they have less disposable income and disc golf is a very low cost sport.” The expansion of the social awareness of the sport disc golf has also helped Disc Nation grow as a company. Austin has 21 courses with thousands of people playing most weekend days. “I think the biggest (revolution) is the amount of courses that towns are putting in. People are realizing that they can play this sport with their family, schools are realizing they can teach this sport and its easy and its so low cost. I think that’s been the biggest thing,” says Stacey.
Fall 2009 Love Star 28
Even though sales are up overall, January and February are their months of lowest sales. The holiday times in November and December have the most sales of all of the months. “We do a lot of advertising, we send a lot of newsletters to our online customers and we buy as much merchandise before the holidays as possible,” Stacey says. Their business has come a long way since their humble beginnings in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Their order processing system is almost completely automated but that’s not how it used to be. “It was a very manual process. You had to key all the address information - billing and shipping - and often they were different; you had to go out and pick the disc,” explains Stacey “Manually remove that disc from online inventory, key in by hand the whole receipt then hand write the address on the box and log it in the old FedEx book and wait for the FedEx man. So it was a very manual process.” Even though the company no longer processes orders manually, Damon and Stacey’s day can get hectic and crammed. “I would say we focus on the high level operation of business. We focus on large whole sale orders and that line of business and make sure all of the discs that need to be are getting stamped and we make sure the retail store is getting staffed ya know and that all our online customers are getting served. We also do a bunch of administrative stuff and marketing tasks like sending newsletters and fiscal planning, budget planning and buying product. And we have other people processing orders but now its much more automated so we can process easily 100 orders in a day because we don’t have any more routine or anything like that,” explained Damon. Both Damon and Stacey find excitement everyday from their unique job. “Owning and running a business is very satisfying. It’s exciting to take on new challenges every day,” exclaims Damon. “And that’s what makes it fun.”
THIS PAGE Top: The Disc Nation retail store is located
on Slaughter Lane and is literally a minute away from Mary Moore Searight course in Austin. Bottom: Disc Nation’s store is equipped with enough gear to please the pickiest of players. Facing page: The Disc Nation eagle painted on their trailer affectionately known as “Big Red”.
Photos by Damon Neth
Disc Golf Essentials
Discraft Ultra-Star Ultimate Frisbees are large recreational frisbees that are safe to throw at other people. They can be used to play a simple game of catch, or to play a game of Ultimate Frisbee.
Omega SS - 2009 Russian Disc Golf (RDGC) Collectors Disc Collectable discs are the wine of the disc golf world. Some discs gain value over time while others are released in limited amounts, making them collectable.
No. 1 Driver Pro tie-die
INNOVA Super Roc
Drivers are designed to go the farthest of all golf discs. their thin profile allows them to slice through the air with maximum speed and distance.
Mid-range discs are a cross between drivers and putters. They are popular fair way discs because they offer the perfect balance between distance and control for a fairway throw.
DISCatcher Traveler This is a disc golf target and it acts like a hole at the end of a golf tee because when a frisbee lands in it, it marks the end of the hole. Heavier duty models are made of metal, but this portable model is made of fabric.
Discraft Tournament bag This is a disc golf bag. It is carried around by a player and contains frisbees that are not being used at the time. They come in many different capacities from 6 frisbees to more than 20!
Discraft Mini Mini discs are used to mark where a frisbee lands. Marking where a disc lands allows other players to play through and allow you to use the frisbee in consecutive throws
INNOVA Birdie Putter Putters are discs that are normally used to â€œputtâ€? into the basket. Putters normally have large, flat rims that move slowly and accurately through the air.
Obviously of Austin Origin: Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse
Text and Photography by Carmen A
While walking down South 1st Street, the image of a reclining frog sipping coffee, and advertising “Caffeine Dealer,” is instantly inviting. A paved path, lined by cacti and other plants leads up to a glass door surrounded by multiple left-wing bumper stickers. The cold metal door handle is an imaginatively rusted chain, something at which I wonder at upon each entrance. The whole of the small cafe’s exterior is painted light green, with murals and positive quotes. Depending on preference, an outside and inside eating area is provided. Under the shelter, enclosed within the snug enclosure of the walls, small tables sit below independent light fixtures, upon which mangled silverware hangs as decoration. Outdoors, to accompany the walls, windows standing without walls are present, as are multiple other metal experiments.
This atmosphere is artistically inviting, as is demonstrated by the customers who bring their guitars and violins for an aftermeal noodling session and a free show for all. Although I find the environment even better than the vegetarian, and even vegan friendly food and desserts, the food is still very worth wile, as are the drinks. Breakfast is served all day, including a superb selection of omelets, and magnificent coffee (and my personal favorite, chi tea) drinks. Leslie (the oh-so-famous cross-dressing middle-aged Austinite man) could be spotted catering to the customers on most occasions (until his unfortunate encounter and visit to the hospital). Whether your looking for a place to sit and relax, or a good, hot meal, the Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse is the place to be.
Four out of five stars.
Fall 2009 Love Star 34