sxsw2008

Wait a week

Blog

Andy IM'd me today, asking me if I had any lunch plans. I didn't have any at 11:42 when he first IM'd, though I almost had some when I realized a client's website was down. He offered, "I have a bike and want to ride it over to your house. We can go from there." He mentioned this after asking if I still had my fancy car.

Yeah, well, fancy car, eh? Sure, I still had that one S he knew about, but I also had another S, a more functional car for my life style (think, "carry crap," and "haul dogs," and "extra-large purse on wheels").

And, yes, that would be a Smith boy. Fast car? Smith boy? Yeah, lunch was about to be an adventure. What I didn't realize, however, was that he actually wanted the convertible, top down, wind through his hair. It's a beautiful, glorious, sun-filled day, and top-down was the way to spend it.

Clearly.

So, off we went, though in the purse and not the convertible. We ended up heading to Palo Alto, because Andy wanted to drive and wanted to drive fast. The extra horse power in the purse apparently made up for the lack of convertibleness, and we dashed (literally "dashed at a hundred miles an hour") up to Palo Alto for lunch.

We were all of maybe 10 minutes into our lunch conversation (conversations with Andy are always fun because he always has great stories to tell) when he casually mentioned who he had been dating before he went to SxSw, and who said ex was currently dating.

Can you hear the trumpets?

Suddenly, clouds I didn't know were overhead parted, the heavens opened up, spilling light and music and stark uncontrollably hysterical revelations upon me.

Last year at SxSW, I spent much of my time with a particular friend (go ahead, search the site, you'll figure out which friend that was), initially because he was the only person I knew at the conference, then later because it was fun to hang out with him and meet all of his friends, then later because his group was fun and inviting. That's the way of good conferences, you meet cool people, you hang out with them, sometimes those friendships continue afterward.

This year, said friend COMPLETELY dissed me. He'd talk to me, but was pretty distant, and didn't spend much time with me at all. I was puzzled, but, well, after last year, I fortunately knew other people at the conference, and everything was fine.

Turns out, that this friend is dating Andy's said ex, or near enough that spending time with me, or even inviting me to the same event as new girl would be DISASTROUS. I'm not sure why, but this Andy revelation completely explained everything, solved all of my puzzles and cleared up the lingering WTF I was having from the experience.

I could not stop laughing at lunch.

I think Andy was puzzled about my amusement. I've been trying so hard not to care about knowledge I have no right to know, trying so hard not to pry into topics that I REALLY want to know about. And here, wait a week, and the pieces I needed to complete the puzzle are handed to me, along with lunch, on a platter.

The conversation of course turned back towards various stories, including the lobby backstroke swim contest that gave Andy some serious rug burns on his arms (stupid wall, blocking his victory), and other stories of conquests. After lunch, we drove back to my house, and he hopped back on his bike to ride back to work. I watched him take off his shirt to ride, "Hey, the chicks dig it," and laughed.

As he rode off, I had to think to myself that, in a different life, I could have fallen in love with that man. There are few people I know with such a light soul and bright outlook. It's incredibly attractive and infectious. The ending would have been quite painful, but, damn, the ride would have been worth it.

Grammatical peeves

Blog

I'm sitting in one of the last panels of the day, and I have to say my hunger is contributing to my annoyances with the speakers' grammatical errors. I know that English (and all languages) are ever-changing, and when I was kid, you didn't say bad when you meant good or have run on sentences or non-parallel sentences. No really.

But these two peeves have reared their ugly heads, and they're annoying me.

One panelist said something like,

"it's not about me abandoning one service for another..."

The correct use of the personal pronoun is not the objective case, but actually the possessive case when referring to a gerund. Specifically, in this case, the speaker should have said, "MY abandoning," not "me abandoning". The "me" refers to the "abandon."

Not 10 seconds before that statement, a different speaker made the comment

"It's about sharing data between different networks..."

when referring to a group of six or seven networks. "Between" is referring to a connection of two objects. "Among" refers to a connection of more than two objects. The speaker should have commented about sharing data AMONG different networks.

I'm pretty sure that very, very few people noticed these, or that anyone notices them much any more. As the language evolves, grammar will also evolve, specifically when the common usage because the rule. We don't use thee or thou or, sadly, the subjunctive case in common speak anymore. It happens, the language changes.

Doesn't mean I'm going to stop complaining about it.

So close

Blog

Okay, so, I'm drying my hands in the bathroom, and turn to see a woman in front of me walking out with toliet paper stuck to her boot. This is quite humourous to me, so I hurry to run out behind her, whipping my backpack off my back to get my camera. Why, oh, why did I put my camera into my backpack? Why is it not in my front pocket and easily accessible?

She's out the door, and I'm grabbing the pack handle, hurrying out behind her, a few steps behind.

The woman makes it 10 steps out of the bathroom, and I have my hand on my camera, when another woman taps the toilet-paper-on-the-shoe woman on the shoulder, pointing down to her shoes.

DAMMIT! I was going to tell her about the toilet paper, but only AFTER I had a picture of it.

Austin blooms

Daily Photo

I crack me up

Blog

Have I mentioned how much I hate this game? Probably not recently.

Thoughts from the last two days

Blog

Okay, anyone else think it's cruel to make a person sing if they're getting kicked off American Idol? I mean, hell, all I'd want to do is cry. WTF?

My hotel room doesn't have a refridgerator. Or a Tivo.

Or even a box of kleenexes. What kind of hotel room doesn't have kleenexes?

Is it a rule that you have to be cute to work at PFChangs in downtown Austin? Because, I swear, each and every guy working there tonight was adorable. At home, when my local P.F. Changs says the food will be ready in 25 minutes, I show up 15 minutes later, because I'll have to wait those 10 minutes at the take-out counter before anyone bothers to catch my eye (despite my staring at each waiter who walks by me), stop, and ask if I need help. Contrast that to this evening where I was approached by not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE cute male waiters (and one cute female waiter), asking me if I'd been helped. Holy crap, did I tip well. On take-out no less.

Clearly at a party conference. It's 10 PM and already there are drunk people running up and down the hall. I wouldn't notice, except the wireless is so bad, I have to sit next to my room door to get any signal. If this keeps up, I'm going downstairs to the Starsbuck and jumping on the T-Mobile Intarweb connection.

Austin drivers are crazy. They don't have the excuse of Boston's crappy road system, either. Walking four blocks, I was almost hit three times, even though I was wearing my yellow boarding jacket.

I wish the drunk people would STFU already.

Hmmmm... sitting on the floor isn't so bad. Time to stretch while I work. Should have thought of this ages ago.

I'm surprised at how much I wish I were here with a friend. As much as I enjoy my solitude, I think this conference would be more fun with someone to share it with. On that note, I really wish Kris enjoyed the same projects, interests, and activities (outside ultimate) that I do. It would be nice to share this with him.

Do I type as loudly as the person next to me? If so, geez, I need to practice quiet typing. So should the woman next to me.

Armstrong power! Activate!

Blog

OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG.

Okay, time to cut and paste....

OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG.

You will never guess who I just met!

OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG!

So, I was sitting at the Austin airport, having just made hotel arrangements for tonight (yeah, yeah, I messed up my travel arrangements, but hey! I recovered), when I stood up to gather my bags. A guy walked across my field of view when I turned around to pick up my bags. I paused to look at him. I recognized him, but couldn't quite place him. Damn, the man was tall...

And then it hit me who it was.

Jon.

That Jon

Oh crap.

I turned to look at the woman next to him.

Oh shit.

It was Heather.

OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG!

Oh, what do I do? Crap, do I go up to them? You're not supposed to just go up to celebrities, even Intarweb™ celebrities, and fawn all over them. I knew in passing they were coming to SxSW, but I wasn't planning on going to the meetup.

Oh, what do I do? Walk up to them now? Write this up as yet another missed opportunity? Crap!

I made sure my bags were all okay, and walked up to them, walking around Jon.

"So, do people walk up to you and, 'OMG, I totally recognize you?'" I asked.

Jon laughed. "She does all the time."

"But, it was you I recognized first!"

And then I started babbling. Oh, to remember what I said. I said something about how I'm never sure if I should say hello, that I love her writings, or just let you be. How I went to Blogher to meet her, and chickened out. I must have made some good chatter, as I managed to get at least a chuckle out of them. I must have been excited, because I started talking in the full body sort of way that Paul laughs at me about. I just just so happy to have finally met these two.

After a few moments of talking, Heather stuck out her hand. "Hi, I'm Heather."

Oh, fuck.

You know, my friends do this to me. I write here, and they read this, and they keep up with my life, then send me emails or ask me about things going on that I certainly didn't tell them, or reference something that in my mind they have no right to know. It used to freak me out (and, depending on the friend, still does), but now I have to ask people, "Have I told you this already?" before I start telling a story.

And I just did the same thing to them.

I introduced myself, slightly embarrassed, then started wrapping up the meeting, thinking "OMG, I've met Heather and Jon Armstrong. This trip is already way worth it," the whole time.

As I had gathered up my bags to go catch a cab, I heard Heather ask, "So, was it his clogs that you recognized first?"

"Ah, no. But I was surprised at how tall both of you are."

"He's 6'4"."

"Really? Wow! Is that with or without clogs?"

No, I didn't take a picture. I figured that would be just TOO MUCH. Yeah, I can't believe it either.