Monday, February 26, 2007

What Passes For Excitement in Austin, TX

Some of you old-timers may remember the "tech boom" of the end of the last/early part of this century.

Oh, those were heady days, in '99 and '00, weren't they? We grooved to Santana, cheered for that crowd-pleaser "Boys Don't Cry," and admired the gumption of that young Britney (who was still in knee socks back then; albeit whorey ones).

Well, 'long about that time, there was this company called "Intel." And they decided they were going to build a huge building smack in downtown Austin, and Austin was going to be one of their major hubs. The tech folks were atwitter, the city planners overjoyed with the powerful job lure such a major player - in an already tech-heavy city- would provide.

Then, somewhere in the early stages of building...erm, well, that boom went bust. Intel waffled back and forth for a while, but then said, pretty much, "Fuck it, we're cutting our losses and taking off."

So, since 2001, we have been looking at this, every time we go downtown:

After that, there commenced many years of haggling over what to do with it. Do we save the infrastructure and build over it? Sell it to a private company or do something governmental?

In the meantime, they tried to hang art on it and tried (unsuccessfully) to make it a cute little Austin landmark. Finally, a few months ago, it was finally decided that the "Intel Shell," as it was cleverly dubbed, would be blown up, and a federal courthouse would be put in its place.

So, the blowing up was to happen at 7:00 yesterday morning. And - seriously, people, it was like a fucking holiday! The news stations had their own "Intel Implosion!" graphic, and they did constant coverage for the whole hour preceding it, complete with countdown. There were hundreds of people gathered on the streets and on all the hip, hot condo balconies, cheering and drinking Bloody Marys. (Of course, this town needs very little excuse to celebrate and drink in the streets, but still.)

Anyway, this is what you saw in Austin, Texas, were you to turn on the T.V. at any point during the day:

To be completely honest, though, I got a little frisson of joy watching that sucker blow. Fuck you, tech boom that took all our money! We're blowing your ass up!


Sal Costello said...


Austin Mayor Kirk Watson’s (now Sen. Kirk Watson) back door deal with Intel cost city taxpayers $7.5 million in subsidies after they left us with the “Intel shell” eye sore (That deal should be a reminder of how Watson’s deals with special interests always costs the citizens more).

Watson’s City of Austin Prop 1, of the year 2000, diverted a whopping $67.2 million of our bond dollars, intended for free roads, into toll roads.

And, today tricky Sen. Watson is pushing Managed Lanes, a fancy way to say toll roads without using the “T” word.

Mags said...

Sal, you are remiss in noting your own identity as part of the anti-Democrat smear machine and not just some random commenter.

Kirk Watson is a flawed politician, as are all of them, but I support him wholeheartedly. His vision of Austin - one in which we drive less and stay in the city more - is one I share.

One should have learned in elementary school that misrepresentation gets you nowhere. (And, modern-day folk understand that trolling on nice folks' blogs is NOT the way to get people on your side.)

Check out

for a more colorful commentary on your crap than I can manage after a hard day's work.

Away with you.

Karla May said...

Smack that bitch down, Mags! Booyah!

Lee said...

Actually, to be fair to Costello (not that he deserves it), he is not partisan in his attacks — he goes after Republicans just as rabidly, if they support toll roads. Rick Perry and Mike Krusee have been big targets for him. However, he is still a major-league asshole who thinks that smear tactics are the appropriate way to push political debate.

Bookhart said...

This is how lame I am. I work 2 blocks from that building and never knew it was the Intel building. I just thought it was taking a long time for the construction guys to finish. So imagine my surprise when I drove by it Monday morning and saw it all blowed up.