Chapter 44
New Texas
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

New Texas and New Texans

20040925

Saw a New Texas Cowboy today. In full dress: hat, boots, jeans, belt. Tall guy, rail thin. Bowlegged, too, fersherr. Moseying across the parking lot instead of the pasture. Even a holster on the belt, but now it contains a cell phone.

Saw the New Texas Mountains today. They're not what you think, but they pass for mountains in this neighborhood. When they build the overpasses and ramps for new roads, they put fill under them like causeways. Cheaper than putting a roadbed on I-beams up on stilts. And they're building a ton of new toll roads in this area, so mountains of fill appear almost overnight, twenty to thirty feet high.

At one particularly large intersection, they built a mountain probably forty feet high and several city blocks in area. It sat there for three or four months, then suddenly disappeared almost overnight. They tore it down to use for other mountainettes all over the neighborhood.

At night, armies of dump trucks come and move the mountains. And these aren't the usual dump trucks that I remember from other places. These are squarish trucks with straight sides, but trailers with very long beds. The beds are U-shaped troughs from front to rear, with a couple reinforcing ribs, and they are lifted to extreme angles by giant hydraulic cylinders. Why is there such a cultural difference in the shape of dump trucks? Is there a different kind of dirt to be hauled?

Of course, moving that much dirt around means broken windshields. You see a lot of them around. In other places I've lived, it's illegal to drive around with anything more than a little point ding. A crack more than a few inches long and you have to get it replaced. Not so here. Here It's common to drive around with spider webs across the entire windshield. I recently went for several months with a hairpin crack about eight inches long. That was after the first star-shaped ding. It wasn't until the third ding that we bothered to get it replaced.