What am I doing? I can’t afford that …

This trip back to Hawai`i in April has got me in a covetous mood.

It's not enough I bought an iPod to keep me sane on a 9-hour flight from Austin to Honolulu. It occurred to me as I cut the commercials out of the TV shows I transferred from my TiVo that it would be fun to watch some Battlestar Galactica or Friday Night Lights during the flight as well.

I came to my senses when I realized a portable DVD player would really only be used on a flight, and I don't travel enough to require it.

That didn't stop me from going to Best Buy or Fry's to look at some. As affordable as some players may be, I knew it would be a one-time use purchase and an unwise expenditure.

But a laptop? I could probably bring that on the plane, play a DVD, perhaps even write or work on music. A laptop would be a real investment. And that's how I found myself in the laptop departments of both Best Buy and Fry's, seeing and touching but not really expecting to spend anything.

Because there's nothing to spend.

When I was saving up for my car, I was pretty disciplined about savings. I made sure my Waterloo checks I earned on the weekends would go straight into savings, and after a year, I had 1/2 of the necessary down payment. After I bought the car, I stopped exercising that discipline. I haven't really been saving (nor have I been paying down debt, either.)

I'll try to save, then I find a toy that needs my immediate attention — an old keyboard on eBay, some home studio software.

Perhaps saving up for a laptop will make me disciplined again. Or a trip to Japan in 2008. I just have to resist the urge to get Ableton Live or QuarkXpress.

Or I could just remind myself I can't spend money for which has already been accounted.

My astrologer told me there’d be days like this …

I have a friend who's an astrologer. I like to think that's different than actually having an astrologer. In a way, it is because I can get some his services gratis, although I do hire him for a reading here and there.

I asked him for a tarot reading back in October, and he warned me in February, I'd feel like wanting to bolt.

Well, it's February, and I feel like I want to bolt.

It was dinner. This past week, I've been wishing I didn't have the biological necessity to eat dinner because my neighborhood isn't terrific in terms of culinary choices. I'm a terrible cook, so it's safer for me to leave that activity to the professionals. But I'm pretty much bored with what my immediate neighborhood has to offer, and I don't feel like battling traffic to eat somewhere not in my neighborhood.

Friday was the worst. I realized what I really wanted that night was a bento. Just a light dinner with rice and meat, something I could have picked up at a deli in Honolulu or New York City. A bento in Austin is a huge ass ceramic box with large portions of everything. Typical Texas. I didn't want to wait half an hour for a waiter to serve me a bento. I just wanted to pick one up and head out the door.

Something as simple as craving a bento spiraled into a general dissatisfaction with Austin.

As much as I love the city for offering things that make it distinctive — SXSW, Alamo Drafthouse, a liberal oasis in a conservative state — it can't offer things I would like. And I'm tired of that inconvenience.

I'm tired of having to make my own malasadas and bibinka. I'm tired of having to order all my Asian entertainment off the Internet. I'm tired of the dearth of resources for my interests. (Except for Guitar Center. I like Guitar Center.) I'm tired of seeing gay people only at gay-specific events and places. I'm tired of rednecks, white trash and hippies. I'm tired of the idea that Asian food can only be served in a restaurant setting, because there are some nights I just want a plate of chicken katsu and head home to watch TV. I wish there were a more visible classical music scene.

When I visited New York City in 2005, I didn't want to leave. I could engage my interests far more easily there than I could "back home". And on Friday, I felt like I would have rather been there than stuck on MoPac at 5 p.m.

This funk will pass, and something will remind me that Austin isn't a bad place to live. But right now, it doesn't feel like the right place to be either.