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Technology Advancement and Marketing Practices in Biomass

Things to see and do in Austin
by Jim Armstrong, former SWST President and Texan

A few things to see a short walk from the AT&T Conference Center (from a newly relocated Texan)

Jim ArmstrongWelcome y'all to Texas. (Funny how quickly one learns to say "y'all" down here.) Kudos to FPS for picking Austin for the convention site and for choosing the AT&T Conference Center: great locations both. The Conference Center is on the campus of the University of Texas and is right next to the capital office district.

Hopefully, y'all (there I go again) will be treated to delightful mid-summer weather (high 70s to low 90s). However, it can get into triple digits so use some common sense when walking around at mid-day or in the afternoon.  Stay hydrated and don't forget the sunscreen. Bring a jacket for early mornings or evenings but don't be surprised if you don't use it until you arrive back home.

University of Texas at Austin (www.utexas.edu)

If you exit the Conference Center onto University Avenue and turn north (left), you'll see the UT Tower. It's a nice stroll up the South Mall past the Littlefield Fountain to the Tower.  Turn left at the Tower and you will soon reach the Texas Union. There's some really nice woodwork in the building that I admire because, you know, I'm a wood guy. Across Guadalupe Street, you'll see the University Co-op. If you want to bring home souvenirs or something in basic burnt orange and white to annoy your Aggie friends, this is the place to shop. 

Guadalupe Street, the western boundary of the UT campus, is known as "the drag" because in the 40s and 50s it was Austin's favorite drag strip. It is now home to a lot of the campus eateries. If, however, you turn right (east) at theLittlefield Fountain onto 21st Street or at the Tower, you will soon see the Darrell K. Royal Stadium. (Yes, folks - they play football in Texas.)  Just north of the Tower is the UT turtle pond: mildly amusing, especially if traveling with children.

UT's Harry Ransom Center is on 21st Street a block away from the Conference center. It is the home to one of five complete Gutenberg Bibles in the U.S. The Ransom Center will also feature an exhibition on modern photographic practice beginning on June 11. The Blanton Museum of Art is on Martin Luther King (MLK) Drive east of the AT&T Conference Center. The Blanton will feature an exhibition of prints and drawings in early June.

The Capital District

My favorite museum in Austin is the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. It is located on MLK Drive a couple of blocks east of the Conference Center. There is a $9 admission charge but is well worth it if you're interested in learning more about the state.The IMAX and Spirit of Texas Theaters should also be considered.

The State Capitol is a short walk south of the Conference Center. You can take a self-guided tour but be sure to safeguard your valuables - politicians and lobbyists tend to hang around the building and grounds. The Governor's Mansion is to the southwest of the Capitol grounds at 11th and Lavaca. Tours are available but reservations are required. Check at the Conference Center for more information.

Keep Austin Weird

The slogan "Keep Austin Weird" was originally a marketing gimmick to promote small, independently owned businesses (Wikipedia). It has since evolved to embrace the eclectic nature of the city. Austin is the state capital, a university town, the headquarters of Dell and numerous other corporations, and the self-styled "live music capital of the world." It's a cosmopolitan place.  I've observed that there's something here for most every taste. The weirdest part of Austin is centered on 5th and 6th Streets. 5th Street is known for its art shops; 6th Street for its bars and live music. It's a long walk, especially when temperatures are in triple digits so you may want to take a cab or bus.