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Photo by Marjil Mason-Horton Lazy Day Creations Photography Liberty Hill, Texasexas

S y Austin c

Austin Sync

14 34 Studenten in Wurstfest Hey Chuy, How You Doin’? 18 Going Orange 30 Museum In Motion

4End This BcS 10 This Blows! 6 No Child Left Behind UT Top Ten

8 Unique Photo Essay 23 The Austinite Horoscope 36 5 Classic Austin Favorites 16 Haunting at the Driskill 13 Best Pizza Meet the Staff! 2 32

Meet Abi M.


Celine H.

Staff! Hannah B. Juli V. Hanuli Abine


bi M. would like you to know that she is so awesome. She is uncertain what else to say. As you can see from the picture, she takes on the “God” role in the group. Despite popular belief, those are actually her hands, not messed up feet, though she is missing a few paired organs. She thinks the Spurs and the Cowboys, especially Tony Romo, suck. However, she thinks that Colt McCoy is hot stuff and hopes to become his trophy wife someday, or at least his watergirl. She contributed “The Best Pizza in Austin,” “Leaving Kids Behind,” and “Going Orange.”


eline H. likes skipping and jumping on the purple paw prints outside the school. She also enjoys climbing trees, but recommends that you do not do that in sandals. Celine deals in black-market Girl Scout cookies behind the school every day, and she is trying to convince Coach McNiel to start an Equestrian Club. She also did not tell Juli what she wanted to have written about her, so Juli took some creative license. Celine made the Table of Contents, “Texas 10,” “Studenten in Wurstfest,” “Unique”, and “5 Classic Austin Favorites.”


annah B. is the regal figurehead of the group who enjoys posing as a saguaro cactus. She loves animal crackers, but she has no preferences to how they are eaten—i.e., she doesn’t bite the heads off first. She also likes to sing opera at the top of her lungs while she is home alone. Hannah contributed the cover page, “This Blows!,” “Museum in Motion,” and “Haunting at the Driskill.” She also exercised her Photoshop skills in the process of making this page.


uli V. is the duct tape that binds the group together and is older than she appears to be… or at least that would explain her obsession with Pink Floyd and The Eagles. She is also in love with Manu Ginobili, which is not a natural thing for a fifteen-year-old girl. She would also like to inform Abi that the Spurs do not suck (as much as the Cowboys do). She contributed “End this BcS,” “Hey, Chuy, how you doin’?” and “TheAustinite Horoscope.” She also wrote the staff descriptions, which is why they’re so good.


anuli Abine is the fifth member of the staff who inspired the page itself. The staff was in the process of taking pictures for this fabulous page when he savagely attacked them, chasing them across campus. While Juli, Hannah, and Celine climbed a tree in order to escape, Abi proceeded to call in a high-pitched voice, “Heeeere, doggy doggy doggy!!” incurring the wrath of the hound and its owner. Undeterred, Abi followed the dog home where he bit her and she contracted rabies. She then wrote her stories. Let’s all send her a fruit basket. Not really. She doesn’t deserve it for being so naïve and foolish. Hanuli contributed nothing to this magazine other than a near death experience of the staff and inspiration. His lengthy biography clearly reflects his superiority in the group. He is also natively Hawaiian.

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Texas Ten By Celine H.

I plodded up the spotted stone stairs of the University of Texas at Austin, unlike the other kids who were bouncing up the same stairs. While most would assume my grumpy mood was because I don’t like UT, it was in fact the opposite. I resented and didn’t see the point visiting the school I loved but had as much chance to get accepted to as a rat has to be a chefi.e., only in the movies. Technically, going to the Liberal Arts and Science Academy should make my classmates and

This law, the top 10% law, guarantees the top 10% of every graduating high school class a spot at UT and every other college in Texas. It has been debated since its placing onto paper, but nothing has been changed-until now. Affecting current 11th graders and below when they graduate, only the top 8% percent of each graduating will be automatically accepted to UT, leaving 25% of the school holistic review. The top 10% law has always been debated, but this has

“It’s a catfight between great students” me much more qualified and ready to go to UT, it’s basically a college prep school. Unfortunately though, a Texas law meant to help disadvantaged students from less than average schools get into college has a serious side effect- its giving a huge disadvantage to students who chose to go to a harder than normal school.

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started a whole new round of debating. Many students are against this change, but I believe that it is a great plan and start to changing and fixing the top 10% law. It will give students from harder schools that might not make top 10% (at no fault of their own) a fighting chance to get into a school that every year

is getting harder and harder to get into, good student or not. The 2009 freshman class at UT was 85% top ten percent admissions- more than ever before since the law started. When that percentage grows, the percentage of holistic review acceptances is less and less, making it extremely competitive. It’s a catfight between great students. The students who are fighting for these few spots at UT aren’t any worse students than the top ten-ers. A lot of things affect who gets in the top 10% and the “quality” of the student. Imagine you live in the middle of the country, where there is one high school in the town with only 50 seniors. The top 10% students here might have a 3.5 GPA and do average on their SAT-not bad, but not stellar. Now imagine you go to an applicationonly school with more graduating seniors than that country school’s entire student body. A student here could have a 3.9 GPA, have a great SAT score and not make it into the top

10%, even though they are technically much better students. Students at harder schools are being punished for going to a more challenging school, even though they should be accepted more readily-they are usually more prepared than the students who make top 10. Top 10% students have been known to drop out of college because it was just too overwhelming & they were not nearly prepared enough. Another huge problem with the top 10% at UT is that too many students are eligible for UT-if everyone who qualified went, there wouldn’t be enough room! UT is forced to accept all the top ten-ers that want to go to there. UT’s percentage of holistic review is shrinking yearly, making the spots nearly unrealistic to get. There are many, many stories of students who got great SAT scores, great grades who would do fantastic at UT, yet they are rejected. They aren’t bad students in the slightestthere just isn’t room. UT is slowly becoming a no-choice school, and the student body is becoming diluted, average. The supporters of the top 10% law claim it allows disadvantaged students into schools they couldn’t go otherwise. They believe that it gives chances they need, and support to work hard in school. While true, it is dis-

couraging students at more competitive schools to not even try- and that is an unfair and unacceptable exchange. Their dreams are crushed. The original reason the 10% law was put into law was to allow more diversity into the schools. The schools were primarily white back then, and they couldn’t accept people based on race at all- it was against the law. Now you can, so the original need of the law in unneeded! I believe UT changing to top 8% is a great start to changing the whole top 10% program. There are many flaws in it that have been ignored, and finally one school-one of the major schools in Texasis doing something about it.


s id

K g n i v a d e n L i h e B

By: Abi M.

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s the TAKS test approach- to specific situations, such as academically acceptable in es, the teachers at Pearce dyslexia, Spanish-speakers, all subject areas because the Middle School are frantically or students that don’t care scores were so close to passpreparing their students for if they pass. The main thing ing. Reagan High School has the upcoming tests. If 73.4% this does not help is students been rated academically unof the students do not pass the that are living in extreme pov- acceptable for several years, English TAKS, and 66.6% but because they have f 73.4% of the students do not shown significant gains in do not pass the Math pass the English TAKS, and most subjects, the state has TAKS, then the school will be closed down for not 66.6% do not pass the Math TAKS, allowed them more time to meeting AYP(adequate then Pearse will be closed down. raise scores. If Pearce had yearly progress) for the received the same courte5th consecutive year. sy, the scores would have What is causing this stress erty. 92 percent of students been increased drastically. on teachers and students? at Pearce Middle School are Another thing that the No The No Child Left Behind eligible for free or reduced Child Left Behind Act does is Act, established in 2002. lunches and most students waste government funding. Since the TAKS test last are classified as low-income. When schools fire their teachyear, Pearce Middle School Although the assignment of a ers, more teachers must be did not meet the AYP for Sci- new administration may help hired. But, because of the ence and had to be re-pur- unmotivated students, it does schools academically unacposed. This means that the not help students that come ceptable rating, teachers are school develops a proposal from bad situations at home. less likely to want to teach to reopen, and fires all adminEven though schools may there. Therefore, schools must istration and teachers in the show improvement, the No pay their teachers more, and area of the failed tests. That Child Left Behind Act still re- in the case of Pearce Middle is a horrible way to School, the administraaddress the probtors were given a very lem of students faillarge bonus to coax ing state mandated them to work there. tests. It is giving This is not helping solve up on teachers inour national debt probstead of trying to lem, and wastes mondirectly deal with ey that could be going specific problems to help poor students. in their teaching. I think that the No It also gives up on Child Left Behind Act students, by blamshould be abolished. It ing the teachers is unhelpful to students and administration and causes unnecesfor problems that sary stress on teachers. may be specific to students. quires them to pass the TAKS Instead, we should focus on Also, the No Child Left test. If the state had given helping individual students with Behind Act does not address Pearce one more year, they special needs and situations. students that did not pass due would have been rated as


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This Blows! By: Hannah B.


ying in bed, barely awake, I concentrate on listening to the soothing sounds of my neighborhood surroundings. The birds are chirping, the neighbors are chatting and theWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!-leaf blowers are at it again... I groan and get up, waving my white flag to the unwanted alarm clock. For as long as I can remember, I have hated leaf blowers. Their sound, their smell, their supreme absence of an actual purpose, all of it repels me. Passing them on the street, I cringe thinking about their users either ignorance or lack of concern to the leaf blower’s many faults. The machines are noisy, stinky, polluting, and for what? To blow some leaves around. That seems like a pretty big waste to me. My biggest immediate problem with the machines is that they are noisy and irritating. The EPA says that noise depletes the quality of life by inhibiting conversation, restricting the quality of tasks, especially complex, and causing general frustration that lasts even after the noise has stopped. According to sound experts at Los Altos, Claremont, and UCD, the noise produced by leaf blowers is irritating because of its particular amplitude, pitch, and lack of control by the listener. Not only is the noise just plain annoying, it can be damaging to your hearing. The average leaf blower is 70-75dB measured at 50 feet away. The World Heath Organization recommends an outside noise level around 55dB or lower, and 45dB for healthy sleep. This means that a even a low noise level leaf blower producing only 65dB would be 100 times* too

loud to allow for healthful sleep. Continuous noise can also be responsible for rises in blood pressure levels as well as heart rate. Though these machines are harmful to the listener, the hearing impairments are even more dangerous for the user. People within 3 feet of a leaf blower (and try using one without being at least that close) are exposing themselves to around 99dB of noise, which, even with earmuffs, is severely damaging to the hearing. With the severity of the problem clearly laid out, it is appalling to me that some people would be willing to risk their own hearing abilities in order to blow every last leaf off their lawn. By making this choice, people are not only putting themselves in danger, they are, unknowingly and selfishly putting their planet in danger as well. The emissions from leaf blowers today are absolutely horrendous. In a report from the EPA based on a 2000 California study, leaf blowers emit 145 more hydrocarbons, 7.5 times more carbon monoxide, and 11 times more particulate matter in an hour than a light duty vehicle getting 15 miles to the gallon, driven at 30 miles an hour. Think about it. That’s leaf blower hydrocarbon emission that, in just half an hour, are equal to the emissions produced from a round trip from Denver to San Diego. When you add it up, that’s 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted each year in the United States. Each year, leaf blowers burn enough fuel to fill 6.4 million barerels of oil. But not all of it goes to actually producing energy. The leaf blower’s two-stroke engines are so inefficient

Each year, leaf blowers burn enough fuel to fill 6.4 million barerels of oil.

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that they release 30 percent of unburned fuel with the exhaust. That’s 1.92 million barrels of oil per year completely wasted. Since 200, the EPA has released “Standards for Small Spark Ignition Hand Held Engines” which restrict emmitions and noise levels. Though this small recognition had been made, many leaf blowers sold today still fail to meet these new standards. We simply cannot possibly support such a wasteful habit. The last thing that really gets me about these lawn maintenance tools is their productivity, or lack thereof. As far as I’ve seen, all leaf blowers do is, well, blow dead leaves off your lawn. How hard is it to just grab a rake and do it yourself? Raking a lawn on a Saturday morning is good, satisfying, exercise. I certainly appreciate a well-raked lawn more if I was the one who raked it. “But it’s time consuming!” people complain. Not really. In a test by the Department of Water & Power Leafblower Task Force, Diane Wolfberg, a grandmother in her late 50s was timed raking different areas such as a porch, lawn, and driveway, against a gas powered and battery powered leaf blower. In all three tests, she (pardon the pun) blew them away. Diane

cleaned the areas faster and better than all of the battery powered leaf blowers, and significantly better and almost as fast as the gas powered blowers. If this grandmother can do it, then you have no excuse. Raking your lawn is only a small bit more time consuming, and it is much better for you, your neighbors, and the environment. All the facts are here, showing clearly that the cons of leaf blowers are undoubtedly overwhelming. They are noisy, stinky, inefficient, polluting, and just overall unpleasant. If you are one of the millions of people faced with these facts that can live with simply turning a blind eye and continuing to use the machines, fine. But for the rest of you, I pose the simple question: What’s more important, the overall health and well being of you, your peers, and your planet, or the satisfaction in the ability to blast that last little leaf into oblivion? It’s your choice. I think you know mine. *The dB scale is logarithmic. An increase of 10 (60 to 70 dB) indicates a noise 10 times louder.

Tips for Greener Lawn Care: Invest in a rain barrel! The free water is good for you, and the conservation is good for the envoronment.

Keep your lawn mower blades sharp! Dull blades cause an unnecessary use of energy and can tear up your grass. The taller, the better! Raise the blades on your lawn mower to 3-4 inches. Taller grass needs less water, holds on to soil better, and can compete better with weeds. Leave grass clippings! They serve as free and easy mulch for your lawn, and you don’t have to rake them.

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Picture taken by surelyitsjohn


End this

B c S! An analysis of the BCS system and its effects on college football players and fans

By Juliana V.


cacophony of sound engulfs me as I walk down UT campus. There are twice as many people as usual, and they are all clad in the same thing-- burnt orange and cowboy boots. Thousands of UT fans are heading to the football game of the day, their hopes high. Today, for a few hours, they can forget about all of the troubles of their lives and the world as they relax, yell at the opposing team and glory in their college football team's success. Of course, the team cannot be successful if the BCS system does not allow them to be. Consider last year's season. The Longhorns were highly successful. They had beaten their longtime, most hated rival Oklahoma, and they seemed prepared to go undefeated. Then, on a last second play by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, that all changed. Harrell threw a touchdown pass in the final seconds, and that was it. The Longhorns were undefeated no longer. The Longhorns had only one loss, but under the BCS system, that was not good enough. Even though Texas had beaten Oklahoma, Oklahoma was allowed to play in the title game instead of Texas. OU lost. If the Longhorns had been able to compete in the championship game, they may have also lost. The fact of the matter is that they

were denied the chance to compete for the national title. The BCS system must be changed. The biggest issue with the BCS is that not enough teams get a chance to compete. Every year, there are at least five or six teams who deserve to compete for the championship, but only two of them get the opportunity. For example, in the Big 12 conference last year, there was basically a three-way tie. Texas beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma beat Texas Tech, and Texas Tech beat Texas. If these three teams had been allowed to have a playoff against other deserving teams, such as Utah, Florida, and Alabama, then there would have been a series of entertaining games and a fairly determined champion. Every year, under the BCS system, there is a controversy because there is no clear winner. For example, even though Florida won the championship, beating Oklahoma, there are still people who believe that Texas could have defeated Florida. This makes for controversy, anger, dissatisfaction, and it is bad for the players themselves, even the winners. It is hard to feel good about winning when most people believe that you did not deserve the title. Many people involved with sports say that there are too many teams in the BCS to create a de-

cent playoff with-- that is, not every team will be able to play in the playoff anyways, and they might as well feel good about life playing in a bowl game. Also, the BCS puts emphasis on the regular season, which is not so important in other sports such as pro basketball and major league baseball. My answer is that not every team deserves to make the playoff. In the NBA, teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves or Memphis Grizzlies do not deserve a chance to get into the playoff, and in the BCS, teams that lose consistently do not deserve to make the playoffs either. But every college football season, there are at least five or six teams with one loss or no losses. They deserve to have a chance to win. Also, the regular season would still be important. If only a handful of teams get the opportunity to compete, then there will still be competition to get into the playoffs and importance in every game. The regular season would not lose its meaning. Another problem with this system is the polling. Currently, three parties get opinions-- the college football coaches, the sports writers, and a computer program that analyzes statistics. There are a few problems with this. Though the college football coaches are qualified, they are still humans. This means

photo taken by TJ Blakeman

Under the BCS system, the action cannot take place on the field.

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they are still humans. This means that there is going to be a bit of bias in every poll. Also, if the coaches are allowed to decide which teams are at the top, it is more likely that distortions will occur. The coaches may persuade other coaches to vote for their team, which makes the poll undependable. Next, the sports writers get a thirty three percent say. This is not a good idea because the media is often subject to its own hype. Every year, teams like Notre Dame and USC are hyped up to be contenders. When the teams prove that they are not very good-- for example, USC recently lost to a team that had previously lost almost twenty games in a row-- the media

are unable to grasp. Also, though the computers are the most accurate of the three polling groups, they make up the minority of the decision. This is unfair and illogical, and it should be changed. Finally, the BCS system should be changed because the fans want it to be. One of the allures of college basketball is the underdog. Every time one watches a playoff game during March Madness, there is a chance that the small school will beat the larger one. America loves the underdog, but in a bowl game, that is impossible. Lesser known teams are denied a chance to compete, and so, even if they are capable of beating that big, bad, Florida,

unhappy, it is time to take action. Here is my suggestion-- a playoff. The top eight teams in the country will be selected based on their records. If there is a tie, then the BCS way of deciding teams can be implemented- however, the sports writers will not get a say. The top eight seeds will be decided, and there will be four games the first weekend, two the next, and finally, the championship game. This way is not long and tiresome, and it still puts emphasis on the regular season, as not very many teams will be able to make the playoffs. Also, in order to let all of the teams play, as in the bowl games, something similar to college basketball's NIT system, so that the other teams

Talk to Congress and the political leaders of the United States, and even they will tell you that the system is flawed. still keeps that team in the discussion. Arguments are made that the team has been good in past years, and therefore it will be good this season as well. Meanwhile, teams like Utah are going undefeated, but unmentioned. The teams who get to compete should prove that they are able to compete. They should not make the championship game based on the opinions of a few unqualified, biased sports writers. The last third of the polling system is based on a computer program. This is the best part of the system, seeing that computers are unbiased and their calculations are based on facts. However, this is not a fail proof method. Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances that computers

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they are denied the chance to try. Talk to the average college football fan, and they will tell you about the controversy surrounding the previous champion, how their alma mater was cheated out of competing, and how the system needs to go. Talk to Congress and the political leaders of the United States, and even they will tell you that the system is flawed. An article off of the ESPN college football site contains this quote. "Too often college football ends in sniping and controversy, rather than winners and losers," Committee chairman Joe Barton said. "The current system of determining who’s No. 1 appears deeply flawed." The fans make the game, and if they are

can feel good about themselves. This way is better than the BCS because all the teams get to play, but more than two get a chance to win the actual championship. My proposal would alleviate controversy, let all of the teams who deserve to compete play, make the sport fairer and make more fans happier. Because the BCS system does not promote any of those outcomes this BcS cannot continue.

Check In...

to Austin’s Most Haunted Hotel


hen room 525 was re-opened in 1998 after years of being bricked off, many strange things started to occur. The walls required repainting 4 times, due to excessive peeling, an unconnected air conditioning vent left on the floor blew cold air, and the bath tub was filled with crystal clear water. The faucet was not dripping, the floor was completely dry, and the door had been bricked off for years!


inger Annie Lennox had layed two dresses out on her bed before taking a shower. 45 minutes later, after primping and showering, she returned to find only one dress on her bed, and one hanging neatly in the closet. She took the ghost’s advice and wore the dress on the bed. Her room had been locked the entire time, and she had the only copy of the key.


he owner, Colonel Driskill himself, is said to roam the halls of the hotel, leaving a trail of cigar smoke and flickering bathroom lights.


.J. Lawless can regularly be seen on the first floor, in and around the elevators. He lived in the hotel for 31 years, working as a ticket agent for International Great Northen Railroad. He can be easily spotted because of his early 20th century ticket-taker’s uniform and his routine checking of his watch, perhaps to check for phantom trains. He is the only of the Driskill ghosts to acknowledge the living, looking at and acknowledging many visitors.


young girl haunts the first floor lobby, the ladies bathroom on the second floor near the bar, and along the stairs leading to the mezzanine. She died while chasing a ball down the grand staircase while her father, a senator, was attending the senate meeting. A few days later, she was back to haunt the hotel halls. By: Hannah B.

Photo Courtesy of The Driskill

Museum in Motion By Hannah B.


hink back to when finger-painting and macaroni necklaces were a favorite pastime. Recall the feeling of sticking your hands in gooey goop, and coloring with crayons until they broke. Remember when you could be anything you wanted, a waiter, a train conductor, or even a bat. All of these wondrous childhood sensations can be found in the urban core of Austin. A place of color, exploration, and creativity, the Austin Children’s Museum continues to delight and inspire kids and parents everyday. Filled with a vast variety of exhibits, the museum is located in the Dell Discovery Center at 201 Colorado St. This is only a temporary home though. Plans for a move to the new Muller development are currently underway. This move will provide the museum with a permanent space of its very own, which is exciting for staff and visitors alike.

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“This is a very big thing for us,” says Julie Almaguer, Marketing and Communications Manager for the museum. “It [the move] will allow us to really bump it up to the next level.” The new museum will be almost twice the size of the Dell Discovery Center and entirely the museum’s own. Prior to this, the museum rented pre-defined spaces, which inhibited the creativity of the exhibits. This will no longer be a problem, since the move will give the museum the opportunity to build the entire structure from scratch, customized to fit its needs. Upon hearing about the move to Muller and out of downtown, visitors have expressed some concern about accessibility. According to Almaguer, this shouldn’t be a problem. “Muller is only a few miles away,” she says. With all these plans for the future, the history of the museum tends to be overlooked. The museum was the product of people who wanted more creative learning opportunities for the next generation. “It [the museum] was known as the ‘museum without walls,’” Almaguer says, “It was a group of parents and educators that would get together to provide a learning experience for kids.” Established in 1983, the museum would

travel to public places such as libraries, parks, and malls to do fun, hands-on activities with kids. These activities were simple, such as experimenting with paper parachutes or making Borax goo, yet there was always something educational that kids would take away from the experience. “After a while, the community started investing in this,” she says. “They began to realize it was valuable.” That support is what enabled the museum to establish its first walls in 1987 on West 5th street. In 1997, it moved into the Dell Discovery Center on 2nd and Colorado. This space was larger still, but obtaining it had been no easy feat. The funding for the move had come from 81 donor gifts of $10,000 or more, and $1 million in lead gifts. This is just one example of the difficulty children’s museums have in obtaining funding. “The museum is funded in two ways,” Almaguer says, “through what we call ‘earned income’ which would be like donations, store profits, and birthday parties, and through various grants and corporation sponsorships.” The need for funding will never be fully satisfied, although the museum is doing pretty well for now. We can’t forget though, that this nonprofit exists purely because of the support and care of the community. The museum’s administrators believe that this is a small price to pay for such a priceless contribution to the community. “Adults enjoy it [the museum] too,” Almaguer says, “It provides educational value beyond spending quality time with children.” Not that the children don’t enjoy it… What child doesn’t like playing doctor, making masterpieces at the creation-station, or being a chef at their very own restaurant? These permanent exhibits are favorites among visitors, who can always rely on the slide and the Austin Kiddie Limits exhibit for a good time. There is a temporary feature exhibit space as well; this designated space takes up most of the ground floor and changes two to three times a year. The current exhibit is based on the PBS Kids GO! TV show, Cyberchase. This exhibit allows kids to use their math and critical thinking

skills to help save Cyberspace from the evil Hacker. However, this exhibit will be replaced soon. “Coming in January, our next exhibit is “Airfare” which explores the powers of moving air,” Almaguer informs me, “Later on that year, Airfare will be replaced by “The BIG Game” which is basically lots of oversized games.” All of these exhibits support the Austin Children’s Museum’s belief that the most important skill children can receive, is the ability to learn. This is an idea that has stayed with the museum through its many years, with and without walls, and will continue to do so through the upcoming move, providing the next generation with the abilities to think, recall, and remember the experiences of their childh o o d .

“It [the move] will allow us to really bump it up to the next level.”

Pictures courtesy of The Austin Children’s Museum



Favorites by Celine H.

1. Barton Springs 2. Congress Bridge Famous for its cold water and unique endangered salamanders, Barton Springs is an old classic of austin. When the heat starts rising in the summer, Barton Springs provides a great escape. Dedicated smimmers can be found all year long swimming early in the morning. Just don’t let the seaweed get you!

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Home to the largest Urban bat colony in America, Congress Bridge attacts tourists and locals alike to watch the bats leaving their home to go feed on bugs. Come with a blanket and some food and have a picnic under the beautiful austin sky. The bats emerge mid-March to November every night at dusk.

3. Whole Foods

The first Whole Foods opened in 1980 in Austin, with a mission to become a natural foods supermarket. Since then, Whole Foods has grown leaps and bounds. The headquarters is situated right in downtown Austin itself. Check out the chocolate fountain, delicious pizzas and gelatos. Come during lunchtime and have a huge, healthy taco made on the spot for you. There is loads to see-check it out!

4. The GreenBelt

The Barton Creek Greenbelt-considered by many as just The Greenbelt- runs a little over 7 miles through Austin. It’s beautiful limestone cliffs, pools of water and much foliage amaze visitors. When the rain fills the rivers, you can go tubing and swimming in the crystal waters. Hikers and mountain bikers visit all year long, along with daring cliffside climbers. The Greenbelt is a beautiful Austin jewel!

5. Waterloo Records

Waterloo Records was established in 1982, when Austin was still a small college town and the Austin area was called Waterloo (hence the name). Waterloo has been one of the best music stores in Austin since established. Some credit goes towards it’s personal costomer service- feel free to listen to a whole album before you buy it in the relaxing atmosphere. Knoledgeble, friendly staff are always available to help you choose a new CD to try out. Live music is hosted commonly. Waterloo is a store that truly helps Austin be “The Live Music Capital of the World”.

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Hey, Chuy, How you Doin’? The story behind Texas’ most succssful Tex-Mex restaurant as told by the man behind the metaphorical wheel. By Juliana V.

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Photo by .imelda,

Photo by Lisa J. Parker at

In the middle of the 1980s,


he aroma of Mexican food wafts through the open door and out-

side, overwhelming the parking lot smells of auto exhaust and fuel vapors. Inside, t-shirts, neon fish, and Elvis paraphernalia cover the brightly colored walls and ceilings. All that can be heard above background music is the jumbled voices of happy customers as they enjoy their meals, and the crunching of chips laden with salsa. The atmosphere is relaxed; the waiters are clad in t-shirts and jeans, and chat comfortably with their charges, recognizing a few regulars on sight. The feeling is hubbub and loosely controlled chaos. It is far from the stereotypical Mexican restaurant of the southwest.

“Most of the [Mexican] restaurants were very predictable - Mexican hacienda feeling - and we were a little different,” says Mike Young, co-founder of Chuy’s Comida-Deluxe, known to its loyal customers simply as Chuy’s. “We want simple, casual, and fun.” We are sitting in the waiting area of the original Chuy’s, the one near Barton Springs. As we talk, Young tips his chair back comfortably, obviously in his element. Average height and middle aged, Young is only beginning to show physical signs of aging. He demonstrates a youthful exuberance that helps him relate to what young people in Austin want in their restaurants. And perhaps that is the biggest reason for Chuy’s success. * * * * *

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Young and his business partner John Zapp owned and managed a fancy Italian restaurant, but they needed a change. We weren’t ‘fine dining’ type of guys,” Young says. “Our personalities were more casual.” So they began creating Chuy’s. It was a while before the restaurant got its name, though. “Lots of Spanish names have nicknames,” Young says. “‘Chuy’ is a very traditional nickname for Jesus, really for Jesse, and so growing up in South Texas, you heard ‘Chuy’ all the time. Nick Child and I were kinda trying to come up with a name...We walked into a bar downtown... and a buddy of mine was upstairs, and he looks up and says, ‘Hey, Chuy, what you doin’?’ And we said, ‘Okay, let’s eat lunch, we have our name.” The first Chuy’s on Barton Springs only cost about seventy-five thousand dollars total to start, which today would probably only cover architectural design costs. The site of the first Chuy’s was an old, worn out restaurant called Shady Q Barbeque. The men’s restroom was outdoors, and the women’s restroom and the office area were in a garage. What is now the Chuy’s waiting area was dirt. “People used to sit out here in the dirt and wait for us to call their names,” Young says. However, once customers started coming, Chuy’s was renovated and expanded. The business, as well as the physical restaurant, has expanded as well. There are now four Chuy’s restaurants in Austin, three in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, three in San Antonio, four in Houston, and plans to expand even further, out of the state. Young’s new chief executive, Steve Hislop formerly worked for another restaurant group based in Nashville, Tennessee. Because of his familiarity with the area, Hislop is overseeing Chuy’s expansion into the Southeast. There are plans

to construct new restaurants in Nashville, Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL, and other locations. Chuy’s has grown rapidly and is expanding quickly due to a few factors, the foremost of which is the food. “We’re very committed to our food.” Young says. Everything at Chuy’s is fresh and homemade, except for the tortilla chips, which are bought. The food is not frozen and stored. A freezer contains ice cream and green chiles, but that is all. “I haven’t had anything there that didn’t taste good... and they make wicked good jalapeno sauce,” says Leslie Engles, a regular Chuy’s customer. She says that the fresh, good taste of the food keeps her coming back for more. Though most people consider Chuy’s to be a Tex Mex restaurant, Young observes that the menu is more New Mexican than Texan. “Really, about a third of the menu is New Mexican,” Young says. “When you’re doing new things, you always want to bring new things to the marketplace. If you go back that far, we brought the first blue corn products into Texas, the first green chiles, just a list of things that we brought in that didn’t exist [in Texas] before.” New Mexican inspired foods that are on the Chuy’s menu aside from green chiles and blue corn products include chalupas – a corn tortilla fried into a bowl shape and stuffed with meat, cheese and vegetables, chile rellenos –

Photo by Freddie Avalos at

chiles stuffed with cheese and spices, and pico de gallo – a cold salsa with chiles, tomatoes, and onions. The variety of Chuy’s menu, as well as its originality, has contributed to the restaurant’s rise in the local and regional food world. “The homemade tortillas just really stand out in my mind,” says Patricia Goubil-Gambrell, another Chuy’s attendee. “I also appreciate that it’s quirky, with the Elvis as you go in... you want to take people from out of town there to show authentic Austin, the quirky, weird, side of Austin.”

Photo by Jon Wiley,

Chuy’s relaxed, playful atmosphere as a waitress twenty years ago and now has her contributes to Chuy’s success and helps it stand apart from the average Mexican restaurant. The walls and tiles are bright and the decorations outlandish. Walk into Chuy’s and there is an explosion of color. Multicolored tiles spiral on the floor, and the walls are light pink. Elvis looks serenely down on the scene, large schools of colorful wooden fish dangle from the ceiling, and brightly colored (and cleverly worded) t-shirts hang from the rafters. “When we started doing this, we did everything you are not supposed to do. Looking back, there were not any wild crazy restaurants. It started with the floor. We were sitting around at Robert Smith’s house and he had all these tile samples. One of us said, ‘Ah, let’s use all the colors!’ So we laid out all the different colors with white and said, ‘Hey, that’s cool, let’s do that.’ Well, once we came up with that, it went from there. It took on a life of its own,”Young says, explaining the history of Chuy’s distinctive decor. For regular Chuy’s patron Katie Silver, the design, as well as the food, is a big reason to eat there. “The food is wonderful, the design is eclectic, and the people remember our odd taste in food,” she says, referencing an experience where a waiter came up to her and mentioned her dining preferences. “I've also been going for my entire life, so it's not only fun, but it's also tradition.” * * * * *

Chuy’s, as well as ing delicious, changes


“We’ve been in business for thirty-five years,” Young says slowly, in a rare moment of seriousness, when asked about his personal favorite aspect of Chuy’s. “We’ve had many employees. I think the best part is seeing how people have used Chuy’s to enhance their lives, to reach goals.” He pauses, considering, and relates how once he was approached (and thanked) during a random meeting on a commercial airline flight by a man who had supported himself working at Chuy’s while attending the University of Texas School of Law, and who is now a successful attorney. Young seems to take special pride in a story he relates about a woman who worked at Chuy’s

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own design firm. Young has hired the design firm to help him with a new business venture. Young relates how another young man wanted to work at the restaurant on Barton Springs because his father met his mother while working there. Then the moment is over, and Young’s face splits open with a huge grin as he contemplates the future of Chuy’s. “Restaurant management is really just managing people, and that’s a skill set anyone can learn. But in the restaurant business, we have a lot of ‘you’re only as good as your last enchilada.’ The success of Chuy’s – of any restaurant – depends on what is in the window right this second. You always have to focus on the customer.” This is something Chuy’s has excelled at, and if they continue what they’re doing, there will be generations upon generations of Chuy’s lovers.

UNIQUE. by Celine H.

Austin, Texas, USA Christmas Tree at ZilkerPark

Austin Pets Alive saving Austin pets daily

Artisan Market

One of many booths

Lady Bird

Park & Lake

Downtown Austin

via the center of South Congress.

Crepes Mille

South Congress avenue delish.

Going Orange for M.S. By: Abi M.

Sherry Sanchez is a the United States alone. nization because volunteers 35-year-old Austinite living “…the MS society is in a are volunteers, sometimes with MS. Even though the learning curve right now, with they show up and sometimes disease does impair her daily how they can best utilize vol- they don’t. I think that if the life, she still finds time to vol- unteers. I think that they have MS Society had a better way unteer for the National MS made steps year over year of tracking who was and who Society. Participating in the with how to coordinate them wasn’t giving commitments, steering comand giving training so mittee for the they could offer posi“83 cents of every dollar raised MS150 is just tions in advance to one of the many does go towards research get people who are things she does more likely to take it programs for people with MS” for the MS Soseriously, and honor ciety. Every the commitment and year, the Texas Chapter of and how to assign roles and actually participate when the MS Society raises over responsibilities better.” San- they say they are going to.” 1 million dollars to help fund chez says about problems she The recent move research that is helping to has with volunteering with the of the MS Walk to Round find a cure for Multiple Scle- MS Society. “That’s [not giv- Rock is another factor that rosis, a disease that affects ing volunteers jobs] the prob- caused less people to ataround 350,000 people in lem with any non-profit orga- tend the Walk this year.

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Instead of Central Austin, where most people can easily get to, it was moved up to the Dell Diamond, a more expensive and less convenient location. In the past, the Walk has taken place on weekends where there is some other big fundraising event going on, such as Susan G. Komen or other cancer societies. Having it on Halloween is also another negative to the MS Society’s planning. But, there are also many good things that come out of volunteering. “I really enjoy getting to know the people and other family members and people living with MS or dealing with the

family members that have had it and some other personal connection, learning more about it,” Sherry Sanchez says. For people living with MS, volunteering is a really good thing you can do because it directly impacts you. “I think they [the MS society] do a lot more good than most non-profit groups because 83 cents of every dollar raised does go towards research programs for people with MS,” says Sanchez. “It directly impacts MS in some way, whereas a lot of other organizations don’t contribute that amount to the actual cure or the cause”. Donating more of the money

they raise is a big factor that leads volunteers to the cause. Some other events, such as the BP MS150 get a lot more attention in the news and are more successful. Thousands of bikers will ride 182 miles from Houston to Austin on April 17-18. This is the major fund raiser for the MS Society, as last year, the MS150 raised 17 million dollars to help fight MS. Even though a cure for Multiple Sclerosis has not been found, you can contribute to research and development to help millions of people living with this disease.

Sherry Sanchez and her husband Michael Sanchez at the MS Walk

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The Best

In Austin By: Abi M.

1 Sync 32

Brick Oven

For those Austinites who prefer a little more upscale dining experience, Brick Oven is the place. Their menu has a wider variety of foods than most pizza places, so the healthier can eat there too. Their pepperoni pizza had just the right amount of sauce, cheese and pepperoni, and the bread wasn’t too doughy. The minestrone soup had a little too much squash and zucchini and not enough other types of veggies for my taste, but in all it was ok.

2 3

The hanging ivy plants that are all labeled with unique names are just one of the pieces that make Conan’s a very interesting place to eat. I found the crust to be a little under-cooked, and the cheese to be unnecessarily thick (I had to eat it with a fork), but the delicious Canadian Bacon and Pepperoni toppings made the experience all right for me.

Austin Pizza Garden

I’ve driven by this place on my way to school almost every day, but I’ve never stopped there. The dark sheet of ivy growing along the front of the building makes it difficult to notice in the light. You are required to pay extra for the crust to be thicker, but it was well worth the extra two dollars. The sauce was very flavorful and the cheese had just the right amount of thickness. When I first looked at my pizza, I couldn’t tell if there was pepperoni, but then I realized that it was just under the thick layer of cheese.

4 5



Salvation Pizza, located in Central Austin, is a great place for families to dine. The service was a little slow, but the pizza was definitely worth the wait. Normally, I prefer thick crust over thin, but this pizza completley changed that view. To make up for the lack of crust, they added a ton of spices such as basil and garlic to make the pizza more flavorful. It was pretty cheap, only 15 bucks for a pizza that 3 people could eat. I also really enjoyed the outdoor dining area.

East Side Pies

Located right by Kealing Middle School, Eastside Pies is a very popular destination for students. Having eaten this pizza once a month for 3 years, it can get a bit tiring. I personally don’t like thin crust, and there is no option for thicker crust. The cheese is greasy and in all, just not worth your time.

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Studenten in wu rstfest


On any other day, being greeted by a man in lederhosen and knee-high socks in Texas would be a strange and highly unlikely experience. But every year, for a little over a week, high socks and lederhosen are barely given a second glance. German classes from all around central Texas bus over to Wurstfest to spend the day in German culture. “When I first walked through the Wurstfest gates, I saw crowds of happy teens, delicious foods, and rides” recalls Sarah Martinez, a freshman at LASA High School. This is the third time she has been to Wurstfest, and while it doesn’t change much, it is still fun, she says. Wurstfest is divided into three main parts. In the center, a portable tent

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By Celine H. holds dancing to live German folk music that absolutely radiates with energy. A man stands in the middle, smiling and laughing while he asks the crowd a multitude of things. “Step left, step right, up and down!” he shouts in the microphone to the group below the stage. A few minutes later, a band takes over, playing songs the majority of the teenagers there had never heard before. Once your hunger catches up to you, the building a few steps away is your destination. Here, Kartoffel Puffers, bratwurst, sweetened roasted almonds are just a few of the options available to buy. If you want a keepsake, little shops sell t-shirts, paint your faces and much more. After your fill of food and music, you can walk back to the

carnival, where there is a multitude of rides, some that you simple walk through and look at your distorted reflection, and others where you go upside down and are twirled around at high speeds (not suggested to ride right after filling yourself up on wurst and pancakes, however). There is something for almost everyone! “Wurstfest is great because it’s a good way to connect with the German culture; it makes what we are learning in German class make slightly more sense,” explains Sarah. German is not the easiest language out there, and especially with its native home so far away from us, it can be hard to get the feel of the language. While Wurstfest is Americanized, it is still a great way to get out of the same old classroom and get a new view on the language you’re are learning. “It’s a rare opportunity for German students to experience Texas German culture right at home” furthers Frau Jaworski, the teacher of both the LASA and Kealing German classes. She has been bringing students to Wurstfest every year since she started teaching eight years ago, and she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. The students love it; she loves it. Ready to show off your fanciest German ensemble? Then head off to Wurstfest, a festival where American and German culture combines to create fun and educational time.

Future Wurstfest Dates 2010 - Oct 29 - Nov 7 2011 - Nov 4 - 13 2012 - Nov 2 - 11

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The Austinite

horoscope Pisces

By Ju liana V.

(Feb. 19-March 20)

Keep being your usual, helpful self and you will be rewarded by tickets to a Longhorns game

Aries (March 21-April 19)

You will destroy a computer at a local high school out of frustration.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

You’ve been too hard on yourself recently: Go frolic in Zilker Park with a kite today.

Gemini (May 21-June 21)

Gather a group of your closest friends and go swim at Barton Springs. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

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Cancer (June 22-July 22)

Watch a movie on the Imax at the Bob Bullock Museum today, and you will find what you’ve been looking for.

Leo (July 23- Aug 22)

We would stay away from the dangerous chemicals in the University of Texas labs if we were you.

Virgo (Aug 23- Sept 22)

Yes, it is entirely possible to catch pigeons on UT campus, but we don’t recommend it.

Libra (Sept 23- Oct 22)

You will win the Texas Lottery!

Scorpio (Oct 23- Nov 21)

Keep Austin weird on your birthday: visit the epitome of weirdness, Toy Joy

Sagittarius (Nov 22- Dec 21)

Head on down to the Frank Erwin center for sports, food, and entertainment.

Capricorn (Dec 22- Jan 19)

Tragedy will befall you on Lake Travis if you don’t wear a life jacket!


(Jan. 20- Feb 18)

The musical Hair is coming to town, and you’ll regret it if you don’t go...

The editors of AustinSync look into the stars and see the future Sync 37


Austin for Teens

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