Californian who wrote viral op-ed attacking Austin life tells Austonia he 'didn't include the positive stuff'
The California exodus has made headlines for several years now, and even more recently, with thousands of West Coasters seeking tax relief, less-expensive real estate and a simpler lifestyle in Texas' capital city.
However, a California man's scathing review of Austin, which was published in Business Insider on Wednesday, reveals that some are less than satisfied with their move.
In Brett Alder's piece, the sales executive cites "punitive, militaristic" public schools, "oppressive" heat, "reptilian brain terrible" Austin drivers, and a "monoculture" as some of the reasons he moved from California to Texas—and back again.
The one similarity? Alder said that the only thing Austin had in common with California was the one he tried to escape: a high cost of living.
Alder wrote his op-ed as a warning to Californians like himself who had visited the city but found it wasn't the right fit.
"I had visited Austin several times, and everyone was super cool," Alder told Austonia. "I attended great restaurants in Austin, I experienced generally good weather, so I guess I was surprised at some the things I didn't expect before going there."
In the op-ed, Alder admits that he upgraded his home in the move, doubling his square-footage and adding in a pool for relatively the same price. However, cheap housing was unable to mitigate sky-high living expenses. With a $400 monthly power fee, Alder said his family was still "uncomfortable" and that San Diego's water charges were "cheaper during a drought... from two states away."
Despite coming from sunny California, Adler also complained about Austin's heat and humidity.
And the "annoying cold." While Austin's rain makes the "greenery look great," Adler said it did not make up for allergies, mosquitoes and quickly spoiling food.
To add to the heat problem, Alder said that lack of public land made the bunch feel even more "cramped and cooped up." Even Enchanted Rock was not immune to the family's distaste and was dubbed "Disenchanted Rock" after a weekend misadventure. Travel was also a no-go, as getting "anywhere interesting" involved flying expenses or several hours of driving.
Finally, Alder's general dislike of the people and culture was enough to drive the family back to the Golden State. Although he ran into Matthew McConaughey at a flag football game and met some "very wonderful, friendly people," many others he was less impressed with. Alder found service to be worse than anywhere he's been and said even the "car washes were lame."
Austin's general culture, according to Alder, was a "monoculture that doesn't even seem to be aware of its own blandness." Older, native Texans tended to fit seemingly negative stereotypes, and networking by "attending the local high school football game with the guys" was not his cup of tea. He disapproved of the area's public schooling as well and compared the school his three children attended to a "micro-managed military academy."
The post was actually posted to a medium blog by Alder in 2016 as a way of venting about his complaints and giving Californians advice.
Five years later, the piece was tweeted out and later picked up by Business Insider. Texans across the state were up in arms about the op-ed, with Austin Instagram account 365thingsaustin posting, "Headline should read: Culturally Unaware Douchebag Doesn't Make Friends in Austin, Blames City."
Alder said in his interview with us, he actually has enjoyed some of the jabs Texans have given him.
"A lot of people have blown me up in very clever, witty fashion, which I greatly appreciate," Alder said.
Alder said that the post was more of a reminder to himself to not move back to Austin than a diss at the city itself and that he would have included the positives if he knew it would get traction.
"I never knew that that piece was going to blow up, that it would be read by people all over Texas," Alder said. "I didn't include the positive stuff, like how our neighbors left us brownies or invited us to New Year's parties, or things like that."
Although Alder was ultimately against the Californian Texodus, many Californians have stated that the opposite is true.
Austonia spoke with multiple newer Austinites this month that said they really enjoyed their new way of life in Austin. California native Adam Prishtina said he was surprised at the upgrade in the quality of life his family was able to afford upon moving to Austin.
"We said, 'this is crazy,'" Prishtina said. "We should look at an opportunity to be able to live in a house with a front yard and a back yard, to just have room for the family to grow and expand."
Technical writer Joyce Fee said that her new Austin neighbors were both friendly and accepting to her and her partner.
"We were afraid because we are a gay couple and we thought, 'Oh, man, are we going to go to Texas and get murdered or something like that,'" Fee said. "I remember those first few months, the neighbors were so warm and welcoming, (asking), 'How y'all doing.'"
In hindsight, Adler said he understands some criticisms he is receiving and that ultimately his personal values may have gotten in the way of the best experience.
"Some of the criticism I'm getting is that, 'How could Californians have not known this about Texas before you moved here,' and that's totally legitimate criticism," Alder said. "I think Texans understand their state and the advantages of their state much better than Californians do. I think that's a big part of it, and I think another part of it was a lack of fit."
Whether Alder's experience truly was shaped by Austin's flaws or was just not the best match, the Californian's views on Texas' capital city are certainly not universal.
- Migration insights of Austin, who is moving to the city and who is ... ›
- UPDATED 8/9 Joe Rogan moving to Austin, Texas next month says ... ›
- 1. Austin really is a 'Hotel California' - austonia ›
- California's Texodus: They came for business and stayed for paradise ›
- Joah Spearman responds to a California's man hate of Austin - austonia ›
- Californians love Austin, but does the city love them back? - austonia ›
- Californian man writes another op-ed on what he would do differently in Austin - austonia ›
- Is the "Texodus" over for storm-damaged Austin? - austonia ›
- Californian Texodus is affecting Texas on a national political scale - austonia ›
- California drops in population for first time in its history - austonia ›
- San Francisco Chronicle say Californians driving Austin's housing boom - austonia ›
- Even with porn ban suspended, Austin OnlyFans creators say they won't forgive too quickly - austonia ›
- Stolen Fonda San Miguel fountain returns from its unexpected getaway - austonia ›
- Tesla follows Musk to "Silicon Hills," announces Austin as new HQ - austonia ›
With two weeks of rest, a dream team lineup and nearly 20 scoring attempts in the match, Austin FC could have come away with a three-match home win streak against Minnesota United on Saturday.
Instead, missed opportunities and an equally boisterous opponent forced Austin to leave Q2 with a 1-0 loss to Minnesota.
Austin FC brought what appeared to be their strongest lineup to date to the pitch after their two-week break, including breakout stars Sebastian Driussi and Moussa Djitte. But even with dozens of shots between the two teams, the home team couldn't find their footing in the back-and-forth match.
After landing a brace in the team's 2-1 win against Real Salt Lake, Austin's Cecilio Dominguez struck first in the match with a shot on goal in the eighth minute of play. The scoring attempt opened the floodgates—in just three minutes, teammates Moussa Djitte and Sebastian Driussi would follow suit with their own looks at goal.
Just seconds later, Minnesota bounced back with a shot that forced Austin keeper Brad Stuver to jump for his first save, but a bad sendoff from the Verde and Black left Stuver unable to block another as the Loons' Franco Fragapone scored from close range in the 16th minute.
Despite a wide array of scoring attempts—from Djitte's blocked high-fliers to Tomas Pochettino's many near misses— Minnesota would stay on top for the remainder of the match.
A few flops from Minnesota, including a poorly-acted fall from the Loons' Emmanuel Arriaga (which was unrewarded and resulted in an Arriaga yellow card) and a controversial foul given to Moussa Djitte as he nearly made a solo drive to goal added to Austin's woes.
The Verde and Black's final attempt came as Austin center back Julio Cascante placed a close-range header in the final seconds of regulation, but the home team was unable to capitalize on their many attempts.
Both teams shared over 30 shots in the match, with Austin making eight shots on target. Austin FC held over 65% possession and received 12 fouls to Minnesota's nine.
It could soon be impossible for Austin FC to reach the playoffs, but Verde fans still have two chances to catch their team at home. Austin's first season will wrap up with five final matches, including a 4 p.m. Sunday game against the Houston Dynamo on October 24 and an 8 p.m. Wednesday match against Sporting KC on November 4.
80' Austin makes first subs
With just over 10 minutes left in regulation ,Austin FC made some late-game subs, swapping Diego Fagundez for Austinite McKinze Gaines and Sebastian Driussi for forward Jon Gallagher. Both have a history of clutch performances for the team: Gaines scored just 10 minutes in to his first match of the game back in September, while Gallagher was Austin's first scorer at Q2 Stadium.
It's looking more like a draw at best for Austin as the time continues to tick down on the match.
61' Djitte loses chance after controversial call
In the 61st minute of a less-cohesive half for Austin, Moussa Djitte found himself alone near the goal with a good chance at making the home team's first goal. But referees had another ideas, making another controversial call on the Senegalese striker.Refs stopped Djitte's menacing drive after Minnesota's Michael Boxall appeared to flop in a run-in with the striker, curbing Djitte's attempt to boos from the crowd. It's Djitte's second foul of the night and the team's ninth foul in the match. Both clubs host a yellow card, with center back Julio Cascante holding the home team's sole warning call. Minnesota's Emmanuel Reynoso holds the away team's yellow after an obvious flop that left him rolling on the ground for minutes, waiting on a call.
Blown whistles for both sides have slowed the match's tempo and left both clubs reeling as Austin looks for its first goal.
At the half: Austin still can't finish
45' still left to play. pic.twitter.com/39J1XnvvOc— Austin FC (@AustinFC) October 17, 2021
With minutes-long shooting sprees and more shots on goal than Minnesota, Austin could easily have the lead in the match. But each crowd-raising attempt has still been slightly skewed as the home team ends the half with nothing on the board.
In just 45 minutes, both Austin and Minnesota have reached the double-digits in scoring attempts, but Minnesota's ability to infiltrate Austin's penalty box has given them the leg up in the match. The Loons have sometimes found themselves nearly alone alarmingly close to goal, and they've capitalized on their chances with a 16thb minute goal by Franco Fragapane.
Austin FC, however, has not. The club has seen close calls from Dominguez and Driussi, headers from Djitte and near-misses from Tomas Pochettino, but missed opportunities and a few strokes of bad luck have left them scoreless. The team will need to shake their age-old scoring issues if they hope to get back into tonight's game.
16' Minnesota nabs 1-0 lead
Austin may have struck first, but Minnesota won the first points on the board as Franco Fragapane got one past keeper Brad Stuver from a close range in the 16th minute to make it 1-0. The Loons tested Stuver just as Austin did Miller, making two anxiety-inducing shots before Fragapane struck gold.
This goalie-vs.-goalie match has already seen three shots on goal from each team and a relatively quiet midfield as each team dukes it out in the box.
11' Austin tests Minnesota first
Austin FC has taken no time to threaten goal. In a three-minute span, the home team has racked up three shots, two of which are on goal, as the ball bounces between Austin attackers but can't quite find the net.
Dominguez strikes first as he looks to find his third goal in three matches in the eights minute, but Minnesota's Tyler Miller fights back with a clutch save. Djitte then tests Miller just seconds later, while Driussi takes a final shot from farther back that just misses the top left corner.
Austin's Fagundez and Pochettino were the playmakers of the three-minute shooting spree, but the club still came out scoreless. Minnesota soon rebounded with a shot of their own that was blocked by keeper Brad Stuver.
This may be Austin FC's most popular lineup— even the crankiest fans are commending the strong starting XI on Twitter. Tonight's starters are the same as in their win against Salt Lake.
New standouts Moussa Djitte and Sebastian Driussi are in alongside double-scorer Cecilio Dominguez up front, while fan favorite Diego Fagundez, Captain Alex Ring and Designated Player Tomas Pochettino take the midfield.
With Matt Besler still out on concussion protocol, Zan Kolmanic, Jhohan Romana and Julio Cascante take the back along with Hector Jimenez, who is in for right back Nick Lima. As (almost) always, Brad Stuver holds it down in goal.
- All brakes, no gas: Austin FC plummets to bottom of the West in 3-0 ... ›
- Austin FC takes home first win at Q2 with 4-1 victory - austonia ›
- Third time not quite the charm for Austin FC in 2-1 loss to LAFC ... ›
- Despite a comeback attempt, Austin FC falls to rivals FC Dallas in 5 ... ›
- Austin FC's Q2 Stadium is the biggest party in Austin - austonia ›
An Austin-based program manager for Apple Maps and one of two leaders for the #AppleToo activist movement said she has been fired after a suspension.
According to the New York Times, Janneke Parrish said she was put on suspension for several days while the company investigated her activities before she was fired by a human resources employee via phone call on Thursday.
Parrish was under investigation for allegedly leaking a recording of an Apple staff meeting to the media, which she said she didn't do.
The report said the company told Parrish, who is 30, that she was being fired for having deleted files off her company-issued phone and computer before handing them in for examination. Parrish said the files she deleted contained her personal and financial information.
Among the files she deleted were the Robinhood app, which she said was to keep Apple from seeing "how much money I lost investing in GameStop," the Pokemon Go app and screenshots of programming bugs she was fixing.
Parrish said she believes Apple was retaliating against her efforts in organizing #AppleToo, a group of employees working to expose the company's "culture of secrecy" that has been "faced disproportionately by our Black, Indigenous, and other colleagues from minoritized racial, gender and historically marginalized groups of people."
Parrish had been publishing weekly accounts of workplace problems that had been shared anonymously with her from other employees, though she did not verify employment on all of them. The accounts she received were in the hundreds, so Parrish said she was hopeful her termination would lead to some justice within the company.
Employees at tech giants have been more outspoken than usual in recent months—with former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen speaking out against her former employer—and Parrish said the company's desire to keep under wraps has eroded trust by discouraging employees to come forward with issues like harassment or wage disparity.
Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock commented on the matter: "We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace. We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters."
Additionally, the email detailing her termination, which was obtained by the New York Times, said Apple had determined that Parrish "engaged in conduct in violation of Apple policies including, but not limited to, interfering with an investigation by deleting files on your company provided equipment after being specifically instructed not to do so."
- Thousands of Austin's tech workers will soon be back in the office ›
- The Oprah Conversation has Emmanuel Acho's 'uncomfortable ... ›
- Apple shipping iphones from Austin domain northside store - austonia ›
- See Austin's new Apple campus under construction - austonia ›