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  • Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    by John M. P. Knox

    "Definitely worth adding to your collection – it’s as good a visual record of the brewing process as I’ve ever seen." -Dave of


Riding a Lamborghini Gallardo on the Circuit of the Americas

What is best in life? Well, I think there are a lot of "bests". But having a new experience often tops my lists. Having three new experiences simultaneously really makes my day. A few days ago I got to:

  1. Sit in a sexy Lamborghini Gallardo
  2. Pull Gs at high speed as a professional race coach drives
  3. Do all of that on the Circuit of the Americas

Rear Wheel Drive

It was an amazing day, and I bet I had a dumb smile on my face the whole time. I'm sure I looked like an idiot in the lets-get-shot-out-of-a-cannon helmet I was wearing. And that's fine because I had lots of fun.

A few seconds after I arrived in the garage, these two Lamborghinis flew past sounding like the space shuttle couldn't keep up. Even with those solid rocket boosters. And if you were close, like I was for these photos, you could smell tire rubber burning. I was standing there, and I couldn't believe it. The tires were nearly on fire!

Track Speed

The driver in the video was Les Betchner, and the Lamborghini was supplied by Lamborghini Dallas. And of course, the track was Circuit of the Americas. Thanks to COTA for inviting me, and thanks to Les and Lamborghini Dallas for one of the coolest SXSW events I've ever been to.



I was fortunate to have an opportunity to tour behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil's Varekai. I took photos during a rehearsal, and they also generously allowed me to take photos during Cedar Park's premier. I didn't take photos during the second half. We wouldn't want to spoil the ending!

It was a lot of fun to wear a media pass and capture a few fun moments while the performers warmed up and rehearsed. It was also a unique opportunity to see some of the behind-the-scenes folk at work: the coaches, the lightning people, and so on.

These folks are such hard working and talented artists and athletes. They looked so happy to be performing too. I felt so inspired getting to see their hard work before the show and then the amazing results in the real performance.

You can tell from the clothing where the rehearsal photos stop and the actual performance begins. Your challenge is recognizing the rehearsal performers in their elaborate costumes.

Coaching Practice Flight The Flourish Sharing a Laugh Talking Through the Scene The Faceoff Eruption He Came From Below Enter the Musicians Icarus Falls The Feather Trapeze in Motion Spinning


Sunday Drive

In case you thought the Gondola was an impractical tourist contrivance, observe these two gentlemen out for a peaceful Sunday paddle. 

Sunday Exercise

See? They're good for navigating the open water of the lagoon, not just bouncing tourists around a narrow canal. I wonder if they're on a grocery run, getting exercise, or if they are just taking a picnic to escape their claustrophobic city.

Past the marshes, you can see a few of the buildings typical of Venice. I wonder if all of the lagoon looked like these low, muddy marshes before the venetians began to build their elaborate cities. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for the first settelers to keep warm and dry?


A Venetian Daily Driver

The Venetian Lagoon is full of water vessels, and many of them are wooden and moved with human power. This specimen from Burano really caught my eyes. The brightly colored interior with the stained wood on the bow and gunnels looks sharp, and the warping, peeling wood shows what a long and tough life you expect on the lagoon.

Daily Driver

Colorful, right?

Almost all of the small boats moored along the venetian canals are secured like this one: a loop of rope around a piling angled a bit towards shore. A nice adaptation that allows the lines to slide up and down for big tides. The funny thing is that you'd probably need serious climbing skills to reach some of the boats. This one just takes a short step from the walkway, but I saw many that were six or more feet below the seawall, or would require shimmying horizontally some distance to reach. 

I have some news for folks who like to read and look at photos on their mobile devices. I personally made a Hop Safari app for the iPhone and iPad. It's a great way to view my photos on one of the most beautiful screens you own. Get the free app here.


Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State

I was sipping a cocktail at my buddy David Alan's peachpollozza party when he told me he had finished his book. I got to flip through a pre-release copy, and it looks fantastic!

Who is David Alan? He is the Tipsy Texan. He is one part cocktail artist, one part beverage historian, one part mentor, and one part curator of an amazing private mixology museum. Forgive me if I have the ratios wrong.

David and his partner Joe have a hand, visible or not, in a lot of the best Austin bars. Hopefully you've already discovered Tipsy's online anthology of boozy tales. See you in a few hours.

As I was saying, David wrote a book called Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State. It's one of those hardcover books that has the cover photo actually printed on the cover rather than onto a dust jacket which will look really ratty the third time you pull it off the shelf and douse it in bourbon.

Unlike that cocktail book you got in college, the recipes here aren't transcribed from some liquor conglomorate's press materials. Tipsy won't trick you into balancing out gasoline-flavored rum with generic cola and lime concentrate. I have little doubt that David tweaked and perfected each recipe until the cocktail started pouring from his ears. Judging from the index, his ingredients are some of the finest craft liquors flowing from Texas distilleries. 

In addition to lovely prose and recipies, the book has been lovingly filled with photos by Aimee Wenske and Michael Thad Carter. If you love looking at fun photos of food and drink like I do, you'll appreciate the visuals inside. David personally crafted and styled each cocktail for the photos. They look delicious, and with the writing tell a great story about what we like to drink in Texas. You'll find plenty of material to build your own sunny Austin cocktail scene right at home.

The publisher was kind enough to provide me with all of these high-resolution photos from the book. If you like what you see, consider pre-ordering a copy. It'd be amazing to get enough pre-orders to spike a local author onto a best-seller lists. I've already pre-ordered my own copy on Amazon*.

*Moving Average Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Buying items through this link is much appreciated!