MUSIC: Turning to faith, then turning to music. Meeting the Rev. John Merrill Wade, rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Northwest Austin, I expected to hear about a life in the church. And I did, although Wade came to the priesthood rather later than most candidates. The former University of Texas fraternity man shared two passions as a boy: Sports and music. Yet when Wade took the cloth in the 1980s, he lost contact, for a while with non-church music. That completely changed early in this century, when he became a fervent and vocal backer of alt music and, especially, Austin music. Now he helps guide the HAAM series Soul of a Musician at Spicewood Tavern, looking closely at each artist’s lyrics. Among the upcoming artists for the Sunday series: Patrice Pike, Erin Ivey and Wendy Colonna. (Expect an extended profile of his spiritual and musical journey in the Statesman at some point.)

FOOD: Finally taking a swing at Carillon alongside the perfect dining companions. I had admired chef Josh Watkins since his tenure at the Driskill Hotel and cheered his success at the Carillon and throughout the food service adventure at the UT business hotel and conference center. Yet we’d only lunched at the signature restaurant. It took Marc and Carolyn Seriff to urge us into the tall, arced spaces for an actual dinner. The Seriffs — who vigorously support groups such as the Long Center, Zach Theatre and the Austin Symphony Orchestra — are companions with whom to linger with over good food and conversation about books, arts and media. Everything I tried — heirloom tomato salad, complex crab salad, tender short ribs and inventive panna cotta — was divine. (Like the Grotens before them, the Seriffs predicted big things for Zach’s "Les Miz.")

LAW: Despite pressure from the right, San Antonio does the right thing: Reported by the AP’s Paul J. Weber: "San Antonio’s leaders on Thursday approved anti-bias protections for gay and transgender residents, over the disapproval of top Texas Republicans and religious conservatives who packed a City Council hearing and occasionally shamed supporters for comparing the issue to the civil rights movement. The 8-3 City Council vote in favor of the ordinance was a victory for gay rights advocates and for Democratic Mayor Julian Castro, a top surrogate of President Barack Obama. Castro has called the ordinance overdue in the nation’s seventh-largest city, where there is a stronger current of traditionalism and conservatism than other major Texas cities that already have similar gay rights protections." http://shar.es/ib7gS(Time for SA to join the world.)

MOVIES: Polish up those Oscars, the nominees are lining up, including Austin entries. Reported by Joe Gross and Matthew Odam in the Statesman: "After one of the most miserable slates of summer movies in recent memory, we can finally expect some measure of quality to return to movie theaters this fall. Having endured flopped would-be blockbusters, moviegoers get rewarded with Oscar-bait and adult fare like Alfonso Cuaron’s thriller "Gravity," starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and Martin Scorsese’s "The Wolf of Wall Street," starring Austinite Matthew McConaughey. And even though summer has passed, there is still room at the multiplex for hot thrills, such as Ron Howard’s Formula One heart-pounder "Rush" and thoughtful franchise films such as "The Hunger Games" and "The Hobbit." And a Cormac McCarthy-Ridley Scott collaboration? Yes, please, and thank you." http://shar.es/ibu7T(See the list. Then see the movies.)

SCHOOL: But why wouldn’t you want to hang out on campus? Reported in the Texas Tribune by Reeve Hamilton: "Before they took their seats in front of the camera under the warm lights of a new studio, Sam Gosling reminded his co-host, James Pennebaker, the chairman of the psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin, to run down the hall and apply his makeup. Introduction to Psychology was about to go live online as a synchronous massive online course, or "SMOC," a new model of instruction the university is piloting this fall. The territory is so new here," Gosling, a tenured professor, said the next morning. "Are we essentially televising a class or are we trying to make a kind of educational TV show?" The answer, he said, is probably somewhere in between, following a trend toward online courses intended to extend the reach of higher education beyond a university’s campus." http://www.texastribune.org(I spend enough time in front of a computer, thank you.)