SUGAR LAND--I'm relaxing at my parents' house for the next several days, so I'll blog as much as I can (probably late at night like this, since their Internet has a dial-up connection and I don't want to hog their phone line all day). The trips from home to Austin yesterday, and there to here today, were fine, but there was a lot more traffic than I was expecting; evidently, people are predicted to hit the road in record numbers this holiday season. Oh, and the roads were just swarming with DPS cruisers (that's the highway patrol to you non-Texans). I didn't fall victim to any of them, thankfully, but it did cause people in front of me to slam on their brakes a bit too overzealously, even when the cop in question had already stopped somebody else.
I got to see a very cool display last night at Zilker Park in Austin (yes, the site of the Austin City Limits Festival, reviewed two years ago on this site). It's called the Trail of Lights, and it's been going on for years and years. It's a walking tour of the park; the horseshoe-shaped sidewalk goes around the perimeter, and they've basically gone nuts with lights on pretty much every tree that's nearby. Sometimes the lights go trunk-to-top, while other trees feature interesting swirling patterns. In between the trees are various themed scenes--trains, a Nativity, an ice castle, every cartoon character known to man--sponsored by different corporate or public concerns. My brother-in-law pulled the nephews in a big wagon as my sister and I walked alongside it, and he got several cool pictures that will be added to this post once I get them emailed to me. (I'll also have more links up for the Trail itself and what-not; one of the quirks of my parents' AOL is that I'm unable to copy and paste URL's from one page to the next, so I'm keeping that to a minimum.)
Anyway, it's very cool, even if it was a bit crowded at times (between pedestrians and wagons and strollers and dogs) on what was evidently the first mild night in a while. My sister had seen it from the freeway for several years, but it was the first time to attend for all of us. We've been told that the displays don't change all that much from year to year, but I'd highly recommend it at least once (and maybe in five-year intervals after that) if you're in the Austin area this time of year.
We also went out tonight to see the lights in my parents' neighborhood, which were...meh. I hope to get to visit the really cool subdivision that's about twenty minutes from here, since I missed it a year ago.
Oh yeah...Happy Festivus to all! (he says, tongue firmly planted in cheek)
Lights to the nth degree: You may have seen this on a TV commercial--the coolest Christmas light display ever, set to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Snopes has the story behind it all , as well as a link to several sites that have the video. (WMP required; warning for dial-up users: the video took about 15 minutes to load over here, but it's worth the wait.)