Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Yr killing me Texas, but you, Houston, yr not so bad

Houston, at least, is a world class city.  Maybe I'm just a sentimental gal, but I've always thought Houston was more fun than Austin.  I grew up in Houston.  Before I hit the diamond studded road to L.A., (or so I thought), I never understood how people could think Austin was so much better.  I never bought into that hype, which is why I'm probably having such issues still today. To me, back in the day, I thought Austin was the type of place that either had naked people swimming at Hippie Hollow, or office gals who wore natural colored pantyhose in the office.

Last weekend we packed up the family and hit the road for the three hour car trip to  spend a weekend in Houston.  After stopping about an hour out of Bastrop for a quick break (where upon opening my car door all I could see was a swarm of crickets like mini transforming bug bots scurry across the parking lot to greet my feet - TOTALLY ICK TO THE NTH DEGREE!) we made it to  Houston adjacent.  WTF Katy? When did you get to be so big? There's a downtown Katy?  That's funny.  Then after Katy,  finally hitting the Memorial area and taking the loop to Post Oak was d-i-v-i-n-e!  You don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it anymore.  It was so nice to be around buildings that had more than two floors!  And those futuristic street signs around the Galleria? Genius.  I've been seeing these commercials playing in Austin for the "MyHouston" ad campaign.  First there was ZZ Top - super cool to see those guys thumbing their nose up to the music industry who thought they'd never make it if they left Houston.  Then, my favorite is Jim Parson's of The Big Bang Theory talking about how he's seen more horses in NYC than he ever did in Houston, and he's seen more Art in Houston than he's seen in NYC.  Such classy ads for an often knocked city.  I seriously think if Houston wasn't in Texas, the rest of the country would give it more respect.  Yes it's ugly in places.  Yes they have too many billboards.  Yes there is crime, and yes, it can be way too humid for words, which is how you explain that H-town doesn't just stand for Houston, but Helltown as well. 

At least in Houston you can find pretty much anything you want. You can eat at your choice of a gazillion (ok, didn't fact check this one) 5 star restaurants. You can find a million family things to do that weren't built for outside use because they realize, unlike Austin  city planners, that it is flippin' hot there so they've planned accordingly. You can be at the beach in 45 minutes.  You can have your choice of museums, technologically advanced medicine,  libraries, and nightlife.  And yet, no one scoffs if your yard isn't perfect.

Maybe that's my problem.  I don't particularly like the outside.  Maybe it's because I'm from Houston and I like my A/C.  People here in Austin are outdoor folks.  People in Houston are indoor folks.  Maybe to me, sophistication means dressing up and not sweating.  Sure there are a lot of activities for families here in Austin, but most of it requires being outside...and sweating.

The poor teenagers in our area have nothing to do.  Which, now that I think about it, maybe that's why every girl is on the dance/cheer team, and every boy has to do sports.  I was talking to my sweet babysitter who is a teenage girl in my neighborhood.  She agreed with me and told me that most kids go walk the outside mall.  For crying out loud, we can't even give them A/C to hang out in when they do nothing.  This has caused me to seriously consider opening a business out here to give them something to do besides sneak into their parents liquor cabinets while the parents are out at the country club.  How about a little retro roller rink, somewhere along TX HWY 71.  I've already named it "Bible Skate" (Trademark coming soon bitches, so no stealing it.)  However, because I do not want to get boycotted, I will probably have to think of another name I can use for the public.

Sorry for going off topic.  The point is, maybe it's not Texas that is sucking the life out of me.  Maybe it's Austin.  Sorry Austin, I am a Houston girl.  Much like you, Houston, I'm more of a city slicker, I like to shop, I find the crime and the massive overbuilding a little exciting, and yes, I'm a little ugly in places too, but most importantly, Houston, you and I understand the value of air conditioning.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Commercials that Make Me Wanna MOVE

You can tell a lot about a city by its local commercials.  In L.A., the ads were all for liposuction and teeth whitening.  In the Bay Area it was either luxury cars, patent attorneys or the occasional bail bonds spot that came on during Cheaters.

 I thought this city was supposed to be so hip?  If you move here, be prepared for an overly  embarrassing onslaught of amateur hour at the ad agency. It's so hard not to go all Elvis and shoot the tube.  Here's a sampling of the local commercials that dispel this rampant rumor.

The first time I saw one of this guy's car commercials it really icked me out.  I mean, good for him for being a good old boy who thinks he's funny, but DUDE, your commercials are as dated as the SGI Lipsynch's of the 1990's, (rim shot).  Too bad too, because I actually like Toyotas, and am doubly impressed that you aren't afraid to sell something other than big ass giant white trucks. (More on the truck business in another post. I'm far too tired to unleash that beast today.)  From the creative geniuses behind this dealership, I bring you the man that dons cheap suits as Austin Powers, Elvis, Ghostbusters, and something that borders on insanely jerk-hole racism. What year is this again?  Maybe I've been in the Bay Area too long, but I don't see this ad going over real well in San Francisco.  You be the judge:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWWXKoAS1rQ or this one


Not to be outdone are all the ambulance chasing accident attorneys.  Ick. Is there a lower life form?  (Oh right, I forgot about family court attorneys.  There's a special place in hell, folks, a special place in hell...)  If you are home for more than 15 minutes during the day, I guarantee you will have to suffer through no less than a dozen of these slimy ads. "My cli-unt got hurt in a cur accidint. I got her one hundred and thirty two thousand dollahs. Now listen, I cayn't guruntee that kind of settlement, but if yer in a car accidint, don't go it alone, just tell them to CALL MU' LUWYAH!" 

Another embarrassing thing about the local markets is how they love to put their own family in the ad as the spokesperson, and I'm not talking about some sweet little country kids.  There's some chick who sells leather couches, or sofas as they are called out here. I can't figure out what's more buggy, her face or her voice.  Either way, some people need to realize the power of HD and give it up. There's also the bugger in the Specs Liquor commercial - who ironically looks to be maybe 18, and last time I checked, that's still illegal, even in Texas.  If she's over 18, then good for her, but she still is way too West Lake High School Head Cheerleader to make me want to dance-walk down to my local Specs.  Bring back the bunny.

And now I will leave you with my favorite commercial stars currently steaming up my television screen....I'm trying to talk my husband into dressing like them with me for Halloween.  The trouble is, I don't know if they are sisters or mom and daughter, either way, the lackluster excitement of a tandem voiced "and we're the gold gals" makes me laugh-cry every time it's on.

On the positive side, I don't have to see those Bad Boys bail bonds ads telling me my mama wants me home.