Austin High Grade Bile metablog

Why were you dropped, blocked, or unfriended; April 2019 edition

See the pinned tweet thread if I’m public at the time you read this, otherwise I’ve cut/pasted some of the key text below the nice graphic.

Hey gang! To make my time on the internet more productive, I’m no longer engaging with anybody who engages with AURA, especially their board, who did something incredibly shitty to me that drastically limited my ability to affect local policy. This means I’ll be forcing an unfollow.

This especially means their past and present board and board-adjacent folks, including at the top of the list; Goff, Wojtewicz, Somers, Keshet, etc.

Unless we have some kind of real-life connection or I have other reasons for viewing you more fondly, if you are with AURA, you are against me, and I’m not giving free analysis anymore to those who are against me. Toodles.

Again, in case people somehow didn’t understand, if you participate with AURA in any way other than to attack them for the shitty stuff they did to me, we’re done, unless I have some kind of real-life connection or other reason to view you more fondly than the average egg.

This is not because I expect you to change. Almost none of you will. It’s because dealing with my unpaid volunteer activism being continuously co-opted by and/or for the benefit of those who cut off my air supply is not good for my health, and I’ve decided to stop allowing it to happen, even indirectly, and spend my time elsewhere.

It’s also because, had they done what they did to me to any one of dozens of people I considered online allies and friends, I’d have immediately had your back against them, but none of you did the same for me.

Same thing goes with FAN, now that one of the former board members of AURA who actually executed the offense is on their board. If you work with @atxfriends and you aren’t doing anything about Wojtewicz, we aren’t friends, and I don’t want anything to do with you.

Bicycle Commuting metablog Personal

Why I Started Biking Again, Part Two

I know this is way overdue but my time is precious, but I’m doing something about making it more effective.

Around 2002, I got a sudden attack of debilitating joint pain. After a few misguided attempts at treating it as if it were gout1, it became clear it was something else; and what it was was “reactive arthritis”. Knocked it down a bit with some very bad meds over time and then had some more flare-ups, and after each flare-up, the ‘new normal’ was worse than the one before. There was no cure and no ability to really manage the progression (I went through two different biologics at astronomical expense, then years later stabbed myself in the gut with an old chemotherapy drug once a week, and nothing brought it back to normal).

I went from being able to bike long distances whenever I wanted to having to consider whether it was worth doing a bike ride and maybe not being able to walk the next day. Given that flare-ups seemed (possibly) to correlate with increased activity, and that each flare-up seemed to result in some permanent loss of function, I gave up most significant physical activity that stressed the joints in question, meaning, biking (and volleyball too).

Graph of first few flareups and progressingly worse baseline function
Click to embiggen

Part of the reason for doing so is that I wanted to not be laid up for a week on crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair with a toddler in the house (although that happened some anyways); but also, I wanted to save some function for later for teaching those same kids to bike.

Fast-forward to 2018; the last kid wants to learn how to bike again and is 9 years old. Time to brush off the old wheels, especially since things at work also snapped into place for me to want to work my way up to occasional biking. So I did some trips home (not to work, thanks to our CIO who didn’t build showers in our new facility) to build up strength for the actual work responsibility2.

Basically, I’ve hit the point now where it’s time to show the kids that I could bike, teach them how; and then go on rides with them; as they’re now old enough where they’ll actually remember it, in the event that further deterioration happens.

It didn’t hurt that my attempts to stay in half-OK shape via diet are getting more difficult and that other exercise is also difficult3. It didn’t hurt that I haven’t had a substantial flare-up in a long time (although the baseline maintains a general level of background pain in the toes). It also didn’t hurt that the recent climate change news is so bad that I want to remind the kids that not every adult they know was completely uninterested in trying to make the world collapse a little less awfully.

So far so good, though; after 40 or 50 trips over the last 6 months or so. Some increase in normal pain but it retreats back to the baseline so far; no new flare-ups as of yet. I’m only doing 10 miles on the way home from work; not going to go out on any 100 mile rides like in the old days. Cross your fingers. And stop wondering where my online slacktivism went.4.

  1. which, ironically enough, I actually got years later 

  2. I run our ‘test fleet’ and was using one of the pre-production bikes for a while until I got an issue we’re working through now 

  3. meaning more deterioration is happening anyways, so as one of my favorite movies puts it, no point in steering now! 

  4. either help me by pushing back on AURA, or help me not waste time on you by deciding not to push back on AURA; either way I spend less time worried about urbanism and more time on my bike 

Bicycle Commuting metablog Personal

Why I Started Biking Again Part One

The shorter bit:

I work at a company that does a lot of things, many of which I don’t like and a few I do. One of the things that keeps me able to look at myself in the mirror every morning before going there is this new thing that some of my developers work on an e-commerce site for, that finally got close enough to the finish line to be publicized.

I’m supposed to get a test vehicle for this at some point, but it’s been delayed a long time already, so who knows. But I’m working back up my bike stamina for it assuming I’ll eventually get the thing. In order to do it justice, I’m supposed to use it 3 days a week; which for me means 3 commutes a week; and on this route to my office which has no showers1, that means electric’ing it in the morning and pedalling on the way home, which means my current bus-in bike-out plan is actually very good practice. And I just completed 3 workdays in a row of that (F, M, T) and my legs want to die. The enb.

Go here, enter, and if you win, buy me a goddamn beer you animal.

(Part Two of Why Now is coming whenever I get bored enough to write it).

  1. thanks, you awful CIO 



Sorry for the garbage in all of the old posts. I was apparently victimized by a database injection hack (via PHP, the bane of my existence). There appears to be no good way to clean this automatically as I didn’t have revision control turned on, so I’m going to have to (very slowly) edit and fix old posts as I get time.

metablog Uncategorized


Later this week, physiotherapist stay tuned for a new formula which takes into account service quality (measured by miles per hour), traumatologist frequency, and, and this is the new part, end-user payment (fare).

Hint: MetroRapid’s going to cost $1.75 each way. Today’s #1 service costs $1 and today’s #101 service costs $1.50. Next year, the #1 will be cut in half and go up to $1.25; while MetroRapid will replace the #101, add frequency to the few stops it serves, and cost $1.75.


Presented with minimal comment

In response to the post I spent two hours writing on the plane on Thursday:

Twitter conversation on Thursday


In response to Jace’s excellent livetweet of MetroRapid as judged by the BRT standard (spoiler: it didn’t do well):

More twitter

Head asplode!


2008 Light Rail Austin Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want Funding of Transportation High Grade Bile I Told You So metablog Rapid Bus Ain't Rapid Red Line Myths Subsidies to Suburban Sprawl Texas Republicans Hate Cities

It’s time to talk about Rapid Bus again.

So the PR machine is out in force trying to make Rapid Bus sound great so people are distracted from the fact that the densest, most active, most vibrant corridor in the city – not only now but 40 years from now – isn’t going to get rail until the 2040s, if then. In the meantime, we’re planning on building another hugely subsidized line to suburbs that don’t pay any Capital Metro taxes; and an urban rail line to a “new urban” development that is new, but isn’t urban; and even when fully built out will have far less people and far less travel demand to the core than Guadalupe/Lamar do today.

Was that sentence long enough? I pay by the period.

Anyways, so Rapid Bus? Snakes like JMVC are pitching the hell out of it and talking about it in the same breath as light rail and commuter rail as “high capacity transit” – which is a way to make people in Central Austin think they’re getting equal or nearly-equal quality.

This is bullshit.

So apparently I need to do this again – and this time, for the maximum possible fairness, I’m going to start with the BEST POSSIBLE CASE for Rapid Bus – the Burnet/Lamar corridor, where no express service currently exists.




A page for the crackplog on the bookface. Because let it never be said I didn’t copy ideas from the other members of the urban-development-echo-chamber, case visit this for good or for ill.


Note on the blog

Image of Mueller "Market District" from 2010
Urban or suburban?

This image is from the 2010 presentation of the Mueller “market district”. The big box in the lower right is the grocery store, physician which is now apparently going to be an HEB.

But the most important question by far: will it be urban or suburban? Let’s ask our old friend David Sucher of City Comforts:

Urban Starts With The Location Of The Parking Lot
Urban Starts With The Location Of The Parking Lot


As Chris put it,

The parking lot will be much nicer than average, but this makes the development merely suburban chic not urban.

Sadly, par for the course for our supposed ‘new urban showcase’. I’ve covered Mueller irregularly in the past as has Chris. Notice we’re in 2011 now; no sign of the Town Center; relatively little multi-family development; but the single-family homes and strip malls – they are still there and doing fine. Sigh.

As for how green and sustainable this will be, what with energy efficiency, water efficiency, etc.; a wise ass man on twitter once said this:

Green building vs. sustainability
I set up this new site in January and did the big import back then and promptly failed to finish. It’s still a work in progress but I plan on posting new content here now and migrating the January-through-August content over when I get some time. My friend Baba’s done a great favor to me over the years by hosting this blog; but since I got tired of Movable Type and have had my own hosting for quite a while, esophagitis it seemed like time to get my act in gear – especially since I finally got the crackpot sports blog up and running a few weeks ago over here already.

The current masthead as of 9/1 is a real picture of the downtown station my stepson took for me while we did a quick detour on the way to Austin High so I could count riders one morning last Spring. It was glorious. Click below for the full image.

phthisiatrician unaltered – sometime in the spring” src=”×150.jpg” alt=”Talk about 1000 words” width=”150″ height=”150″ />
Talk about 1000 words

2008 Light Rail Austin Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want High Grade Bile I Told You So metablog Subsidies to Suburban Sprawl

Update on lack of updates

Today at 7:42 AM, hemorrhoids I was stopped southbound on Red River at the light at MLK, viagra here and saw two rail shuttles cross the intersection eastbound; one headed to the Capitol Complex and one headed to UT.
There were 2 people on those buses, bronchitis combined. One driving one bus, the other driving the other bus.

To be fair, these were likely the second shuttle in each case (I’m being charitable here – I have no way of knowing for sure). There are two buses running the same route for each train arrival – because Capital Metro was telling everybody they expected overflow crowds on the train. There’s likely more than zero people still getting off the train at MLK and heading to UT, in other words, but for the station that’s supposed to be the busiest these days, not being able to fill up the first shuttle enough for even one person to ride the second one is, well, according to Capital Metro and idiots like John Cowman, I guess, a positive sign?
Another point: Checking the schedules, the second UT shuttle was actually supposed to be at the drop-off at 23rd/San Jacinto at 7:42. Yes, the shuttle schedules, padded as they are, apparently aren’t padded enough. The capitol shuttle was actually later still; supposed to be at 18th/Congress at 7:39.

From The Chronicle in 2000:

The prevailing wisdom has been that a project in Smart-Grown Austin, more serving major trip generators like UT and the Capitol complex, prostate supported by Cap Met’s ample sales tax revenue, health would be a slam dunk for a “highly recommended” rating. (Conversely, the original Red Line, which had far lower ridership and — even though it was on existing rail right of way — only marginally lower projected costs, was headed, Cap Met insiders say, for a “not recommended” kiss-of-death rating, which is why the transit authority switched tracks at the 11th hour.)

The differences between that “original Red Line” and the current Red Line that Krusee and Capital Metro forced on us in 2004 (now producing stunning ridership results for us) is that it would have had double tracks and electrification on its whole route (i.e., the Feds back in 2000 were telling Capital Metro that today’s Red Line AFTER adding a second track and electric wires would STILL produce disappointing ridership and that they wanted no part of funding it).
Guess what Capital Metro’s plans are to improve rail transit in Austin now?

This morning since I had jury duty, visit which starts quite late compared with my normal workday, viagra 60mg I was able to stop at the MLK station to meet a Red Line train after dropping off the boys at their schools.
The 8:25 train arrived on time. Two of the four shuttle-buses arrived at the same time; the other two arrived shortly thereafter.
There were TWO PEOPLE that got off this train. TWO.

One was a woman with a bike; the other a man in a suit. For these two people, buy information pills four shuttlebuses were deployed. (I think the woman just rode off on her bike, but didn’t get a good view as I was leaving).
Want to know why the train was so crowded on Saturday and so empty today? It’s really quite simple; I’ve been talking about it for six years now:
Most people will ride a train if the station on the other end is within a short walk of their office. Most people will not ride that same exact train if you expect them to ride a bus to get to their office from the train station.
I just sent this to the busriders-austin list in response to a post from our old friend Lyndon Henry: