How Cool Is This?

So, last night, I found out that I know someone who was in this picture. How cool is that?

So, SXSWi is over. Tonight was the big party at Bruce Sterling’s house. It was bittersweet for me, the end of one of the best weeks in recent memory. I’d go into it more, but I’m very, very tired. The back porch meeting took a lot out of me… I can’t wait to get home to my family. See why?

Max the wonder boy

Interactive Plugging

I love SXSWi. It’s the most amazing collection of creative geeks I’ve ever seen, and I’m drinking it all in like a chocolate shake. I’ve met some of my blog heroes, heard some of my design muses speak, hung out with cool people who do and think wonderful things, and made more new friends than I can list here.

If you live on the web, are passionate about self-expression and technology, then I can’t recommend SXSW to you enough. It’s like spring break for geeks. I listened to Howard Rheingold speak about smartmobs today. Yesterday, I learned a little about emergent democracy, got a tour of how Google works from a human perspective, and went to Fray, where I heard funny, touching and true personal stories told by the same people I’ve been hanging out with all week.

For me, SXSW is a way to get out in the world, show the world who I am, and see who other people are. We speak the same language here, and it’s refreshing. There’s no explaining the benefits of web standards, there’s a vibe here where everything is cool. Everyone is open to you. I’ve never met more people interested in meeting each other in my life, and I love it. I’m sure I’ve annoyed a lot of people, because I feel like more of myself here. I think I’ve been a little too much of “me” this week… but I’m not sure I can do anything about that.

And it’s not that this is all goofing off. It’s not. The days are full of interesting panels, where new ideas are thrown around like they’ve existed forever – because they just make sense – well, OK, some of them make sense. But, we’re all here just talking about our passions.

I’ll try to come up with a list of all the people I’ve met here, and all the people I’ve hung out with, but I’m not sure I can. There are so many very cool people here. And now, I can’t wait to get back to work to share all the new ideas that have sprouted, all the great things I’ve heard and seen, and the joi de vie I’ve rediscovered while being here.

My Little Homophobe

I’m not quite the sensative, hip and with-it modern man I thought I was. Case in point: Last night at Fray, Lance Arthur told a hilarious story about gay dating, being a hottie, and a gargantuan penis. It was extremely funny, although there was enough detail to make me, someone who thinks he’s very comfortable with his sexuality, squirm just a little. But, it was perfectly told, and funny. And you know me, funny trumps all. So, as Lance comes off the stage, I hold out my hand, and shake his as he walks past.

And then it hits me… I just touched the hand that touched that gigantic penis. My brain went through mini-convulsions for a couple nanoseconds, and then the cool part of me told the little homophobe hiding in the corner of my psyche, “Yeah, but I’m sure he’s washed his hands since then.”

I’ve Been MoPhlogged!

And apparently, I’m one of two monsters of blog …. The picture was taken by George, and the guy standing next to me is Chuck Olsen, who’s making a blogumentary. Oh, and we were all at Break Bread With Brad, which was great. I met a bunch of bloggers I’ve been reading for years, some I’ve heard of, and others who were all new to me. Everyone was super-swell, and I had a great time.

After breaking bread (which I didn’t… I don’t think I ever sat down for more than five minutes), we all went to Polly Esther’s for Karaoke. Watching Smokler cover U2 will be burned into my retinas and eardrums for days.

Big thanks to Michael and Ari for introducing me to folks, and for being great ambassadors for their city. You guys rule.

Oh, and just so Jen doesn’t worry, I did eat dinner. I got two pieces of pizza at Onion on 5th Street at 11:30 as I walked back to the hotel.

Chicken Fried Barbecue

I dig Austin. I’ve now had barbecue twice, and a chicken fried steak. I had a tasty pork loin sandwich yesterday with the Canadians at Ironworks. It was tender, simple, cheap and perfect. Their potato salad is creamy without the dressing overpowering the potatos, and it had just enough onions. The chicken fried steak was at Threadgill’s. It was lightly battered, and there wasn’t enough gravy, but it was lightly fried and not too greasy. Today, I found House Park Barbecue. Wow. This is real greasy spoon barbecue. The mixed plate comes with homemade sausage and pork loin, ranch beans and small portions of cole slaw and potato salad. The sausage was light, peppery and full of smokey goodness. The pork loin had a great crust on the outside, yet was nice and tender on the inside. The ranch beans were perfect (and I don’t normally like beans); the sauce was tangy, full of pepper without being a true barbecue sauce. The cole slaw and potato salad were both decent and everything got eaten.

Tonight, it’s The Iron Cactus for Break Bread With Brad with Michael and Ari. Tomorrow, things get hot and heavy with tons of panels and kickball.

In Austin, Still Fat, Still Happy

I’ve been in Austin since 11:30 this morning and I’ve already met Michael at the airport, while he was waiting for someone else. That someone else turned out to be James, who is stayingg with his two friends in the same hotel I am. James, his friends Paul, Brent and I ate a late lunch at IronWorks BBQ, and later met Michael, Ari and the boys at Threadgills for dinner (country fried steak… mmmmm-tastic).

This is going to be a good week.

Austin Bound

I’m off to SXSW Interactive tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it, even though I’m still jet-lagged from France, not quite done doing laundry, and haven’t even thought about packing yet (and my plane leaves at 8:40am).

I’ll be sure to post pictures, thoughts from panels, etc, during the conference.