The “Real” SXSW

The loose notes must make SXSW seem somewhat dry. The real juice happens between the margins:

  • Notice someone on the smoking deck wearing a WordPress t-shirt, ask where she got it.
  • Get invited to a WordPress meetup at a cafe’ six blocks away after the sessions, where I’ll be able to get one.
  • Arrive to find it’s not just a cafe’, but a funky restaurant, and it’s not just a WordPress meetup, but the tail end of this year’s BarCamp session.
  • Discover you’ve arrived just in time to see a 340-lb. robot destroy cardboard boxes in the parking lot with a pair of spinning blades, dangerous enough that everyone is required to stand behind concrete barriers.
  • Find out there’s going to be a pirate-rock band playing later, picking guitars with hooks for hands (missed the band because of prior dinner obligation).
  • Race back to hotel and catch a ride with old friend to the best TexMex restaurant in Austin, and sit under a ceiling plastered with 1970s American car hub caps.
  • At after-awards party the next night, bump into the same core BarCamp group, get into a conversation about the glutinous contents of those now-ubiquitous glow-necklaces, which is now spread in psychedelic swirls across the table. Memoirs of barium enemas. Get a free beer thanks to the fact that one dude wore a kilt and was given a pile of drink tickets at the door.
  • Get into a juicy conversation about problems with tagging and folksonomies.
  • Eric Skiff pulls out an audio recorder and asks if we would mind re-running the conversation for his podcast.
  • Retire to the street for some quiet, dive in to the cast.
  • Halfway through, a couple of passers-by (drunk?) stop to talk, making too much noise. Turn around to see that said drunks(?) are Matt Mullenweg (creator of WordPress) and Ryan King, and who’s going to tell them to shut up?
  • Skiff’s batteries run out, and kilt dude magically produces his own audio recorder from folds of tartan; recording continues.
  • Turn around to learn that the one guy who wasn’t participating (but who cares an awful lot about the state of journalism) has produced an iSight out of nowhere and is webcasting the whole thing live, reflecting to his personal QuickTime Streaming Server.

When the catalog warned not to miss the after-parties, they weren’t kidding. The podcast should be up on GlitchCast once the pieces are assembled.

7 Replies to “The “Real” SXSW”

  1. Pingback: Read/WriteWeb
  2. So you were in Austin ? Cool ! That’s my hometown :) So, just where was “the best TexMex restaurant” ? Want to see if our opinions square up ;) (with the commemnt about the hubcaps, I was wondering if it was Chuy’s over on Barton Springs Rd…)

    Man, I miss Austin. If I could get work out there, I’d be back in a heartbeat…

  3. Ding ding ding! Yeppers, it was Chuy’s :) And it was awesome.

    I’m in a hotel down near the base of 6th and Red River, two blocks from the convention center. I can see why you miss Austin! A feller could get used to this place quickly.

  4. BTW, Yes – I know I’m behind the times with what’s going on in Hackerland. Just got back from a week’s vacation with the family in Florida ;)

    My 6-mo old did surprisingly well at Disney World and my 9-yr old son had a blast :D He rode every intense ride they had, incl the Twilight Zone one at Disney/MGM, and came out of it wanting more…

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