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Michael O'Reilly
Works at IT Guy by day. Maker, photographer, and writer, elsewhen. Lately plays ukulele.
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lives in Austin, TX
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Michael O'Reilly

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Guardian Of The Galaxy (Cafe)

Galaxy Cafe is one of my family's favorite places to go eat, on account of their great food. I love getting a bacon cheeseburger with macaroni and cheese on the side, but my wife would be quick to point out they have healthier food, too, including a good gluten-free menu. As it turns out they also have great staff, willing to do what it takes to defend the premises with a giant sword make every visit a memorable occasion. With awesome people like this behind the counter, you can be sure we'll be back!
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Lee Sears's profile photofreshastrology's profile photoLaila Jannat's profile photoMuhammad Hussain's profile photo
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No doubt, +John F Hinson!
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Something for Nothing Theater - Henry IV Pt 1

Weekend before last my family and I made our annual pilgrimage to Ramsey Park in Austin to watch Something for Nothing Theater's summer Shakespeare production. This year they put on Henry IV Pt 1, and as usual they did a bang-up job. I've mentioned in the past that my favorite thing about their shows is the minimalist feel they bring, with great acting but almost nothing in the way of set and props. All the costumes are straight from the thrift store, the lighting (which has grown a bit each year) is mainly shop lights from hardware stores, and other than a few swords, chairs, and other small items they have just have actors on a flat slab of concrete in front of an audience.

The show itself ends up being immersive, though. The action happens just a few feet in front of the audience, and while Shakespeare's original dialogue is used the actors speak it in a natural way which makes it very easy for a modern audience to follow right along. You're swept into the story and get wrapped into what's happening with the people right before you. The acting and direction are great, as usual, and the cast clearly loves what they are doing.

The show is going on for one last weekend, this Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM each evening, so if you're in Austin and looking for some entertainment for you and your family I highly recommend checking it out!

cc: +Chelsea Bunn
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He Shoots. He Swords!

The other afternoon at the park I ran across these two fellows playing a bit of pick-up basketball. Conveniently enough, they didn't seem to think it was odd I might want to take a picture of them doing so with a sword.

(No basketball players were injured during the production of this photograph.)
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edward.m.mcdowell c.p6's profile photoGretchen S.'s profile photoMichael O'Reilly's profile photo
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Thanks, +Gretchen S.!  :)
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Tragedy...

I have some really sad news to report. Sometime yesterday afternoon or evening, our owl house with the baby owls was invaded by a bee swarm. While I guess it's not impossible that the owls got out, our assumption is that the babies were killed and we have no way of knowing whether there was a parent in there with them as well.

Everything in nature works in balance, and different creatures compete for similar habitat and resources, but it's still sad when some of those creatures you've been watching and rooting for don't make it. I'm very sad things worked out this way, but (other than a brief moment after learning this happened) I can't really be mad at the bees for doing what bees do. They play an important part, too.

We'll figure out our plans for next year, and have hopes that the parents are unharmed and will choose to nest in our other owl box next year. All we can do is look to the future. Best wishes to all of you.
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Peter Lee's profile photoDimitri Vlaanderen's profile photoMichael O'Reilly's profile photoRegina Dickerson's profile photo
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Thanks, +Dimitri Vlaanderen. I hope so, too.
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Papa Owl On Watch

The other day my wife spotted Papa Owl hanging out in a tree overlooking the owl house, but when I was out there later he wasn't there. Now that I know where he likes to hang out, though, I was able to spot him today when I was home for lunch. He's got a nice, shaded vantage point where he can keep a protective eye on things while Mama Owl guards the door.
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Meredith O'Reilly's profile photoMichael O'Reilly's profile photoGiuseppe Moscone's profile photoIron Man's profile photo
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So I have since learned!  :)
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Creepy Crawly For Dinner

We had a break in the rainy weather yesterday evening, so we sat out and watched the owls feed at dusk. I managed to get a few pictures, but nothing great. However, in this shot I noticed that Mama Owl has something pretty crazy looking for the owlets to eat. I don't think it's a lizard (which is a common treat for the babies) and the legs look too thick to be a walking stick, though I guess it could be. I wish I'd gotten her a little sharper so I could tell. Maybe it'll remain a mystery.
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Chad Haney's profile photoLoretta Soto's profile photoMichael O'Reilly's profile photoANGELA BAZAÑES's profile photo
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You too, +Loretta Soto​. :)
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We're Not Out Of The Drought Yet...

Due to the rains brought by the current El Nino, for the first time since mid-2012 Texas is no longer in the "Exceptional drought" category, which is welcome news. That said, it's not time to start ramping up water usage. Here's a chart of the water level in Lake Travis since 2010, showing that Austin's primary water source is a few feet higher than at the same time in 2013 and 2014, but is still 11 feet below 2012 on this date and, more importantly, is still 49 feet below full capacity of 681 feet.

With more people moving to the Austin area every day and further straining the water supply, it continues to look like current lake levels may now be the rule rather than the exception. I sure miss the full lake, and I hope to see it again sometime. Time will tell, I suppose.
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Oh, another example of that - developers in NJ wanted the state to let them start doing mass development up by the area that is responsible for most of the states water supply. NJ (at the time, this may have changed) wisely told them to get bent. So they went on a PR campain...I'd see these huge billboards of young, attractive, concerned looking yuppies, saying "I can't find anywhere to live in NJ". I was like, alright, move somewhere else, then. Is it that hard?
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Michael O'Reilly

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The Sword And The Pizza

Some evenings you're walking past a diner and just inside the window there are kids enjoying pizza. On even rarer occasion, one of those kids is armed with a giant sword. I recently had just such an occasion!

For the sake of full disclosure I must admit that I had something to do with them having the sword in their midst. On the other hand, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves and their parents didn't seem to think there was anything troubling about the idea. That's excellent parenting right there!
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Ah, the good old days of pizzas and swords, +Angel Corral Jr..
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Mama Dove In Her Nest

I was at the park the other evening and spotted this dove overflowing her little nest. She eyed me suspiciously, but seemed willing enough to have her picture taken. It seems to me all the birds are nesting later than usual this year. Must be the weird weather we've had.
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Thanks, +Cali Cow. No farming for me, though we do have a vegetable garden and some chickens out back.
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The Sword And The Throne

The other evening I was taking some pictures with Natasha and the sword, and someone pointed out I should get her picture sitting in the throne. I looked around the corner from where we were standing, and sure enough this thing was tucked away in an alcove. I'm not sure what she's in charge of sitting there, but I'm sure it's something important...
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I have been a bit busy indeed, +SVEsigns: Signs for a New Day. My son's graduation was this past week and we had lots of family in town. Much fun and excitement, but fewer pictures to post. :)
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Laura And The Sword

Sometimes I have to explain to someone why I'd want to take their picture with the sword, and sometimes as soon as someone sees it they're excited and want to pose with it. Laura was definitely one of the latter. Pretty much the instant I showed her one of the pictures she got excited and said "I'm already thinking of ways to pose with it!" Then I pulled it out of its container, her eyes lit up, and she got right to it, hopping up on this picnic table next to a colorful wall of graffiti. That's the sort of reaction to it I really appreciate, I must say!
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حرام صور بنات نزل ذكرالله بدل هذه الصوره التافهه استغفر الله العظيم$$@@
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Feeding Time!

I rushed home from the gym last night just in time to get out back with my camera at dusk. Mama Owl was sitting in the doorway of the owl house, but then within a couple of minutes Papa Owl flew past the house, landed in a nearby tree for about a minute, and then flew in to hand off some food for Mama Owl to give to the owlets. I just got this shot and then headed back in, as I didn't want to hang out there too long and potentially be disruptive. Still, I'm very happy to see evidence that we've got owlets in there and will keep a lookout for their fuzzy little faces peeking out to look at the outside world.

Also, now that I think about it, I need to remove the dead branch hanging down there in my field of view. :)
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Thanks, +Denis Labelle​!
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IT Guy by day. Maker, photographer, and writer, elsewhen. Lately plays ukulele.
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  • IT Guy by day. Maker, photographer, and writer, elsewhen. Lately plays ukulele.
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Austin, TX
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Corpus Christi, TX - Birmingham, MI - Toronto, ON
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Proving the second law of thermodynamics, one offspring at a time.
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I've been known to organize hangouts for people who want to try it, but never have because they are nervous. If you fall in that category, feel free to message me so I can include you.

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    Plan II, Linguistics
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I had a straight-razor shave for my head and face yesterday evening, and it was a fun, pleasant experience. I went from hairy to cue-ball over the course of a bit more than an hour, getting pampered along the way. They have a licensed barber who does the shaves, and she is great. It was the whole treatment, with my head periodically wrapped in hot towels, careful shaving, and a nice shoulder massage as a bonus. All in all it was a good time and good results. I highly recommend it.
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Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week
Craftsman had a good atmosphere, decent drinks, nice outdoor areas front and back, and a truly outstanding food trailer right out front. I had quite an enjoyable time and no complaints. There's even a throne to sit on!
Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
They say this is part of a chain, but it's the only one I've ever seen so I'll have to take their word for it. This place is great for grabbing an inexpensive bowl of healthy Asian food, and gets a lot of business from the gym across the parking lot. The Teriyaki Bowl is really delicious, and everything is cooked to order but still really fast.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
We needed some new light fixtures for the entry way outside out house so we went to Lights Fantastic. They have a very comprehensive selection of lights on hand, and even more available for special order. After going through all the choices we decided to special order some, and the process went very smoothly. They told us the lights would be there in a week, and they arrived just as promised. Great service and fantastic selection.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
204 reviews
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Had their pizza for the first time yesterday and overall liked it. The pizza tastes good, and the slices are huge. If you like New York-style pizza, this is a fine place to get it.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
This place has the best selection of batteries and light bulbs around. When you need that particular battery for your car remote or home alarm system, these guys have it. They also take dead batteries and CF bulbs for recycling, so that's a bonus.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
Russian House has delicious Russian food and an amazingly large selection of infused vodkas to choose from. The walls behind the bar are covered in bottles with all the different varieties, and you can't help but be impressed by it all. To top it off, the entry way has a wardrobe with a selection of Russian outfits you can wear inside to really add to the atmosphere, or for pictures. It's good stuff, and worth a visit.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago