Again I must apologize for the absense of blog articles, but I was off having the most amazing time at SXSW in Austin, TX. For those of you that don't know what SXSW is, heres a brief description. Firstly, SXSW stands for South By South West and it is, according to www.sxsw.com, an "Annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, TX. Includes schedules and band and film lists." I went for the first week to engage in the interactive sessions that start the first week of this whirlwind of a festival. The music follows suite after the Interactive and changes the scene to a concert-like atmosphere. I was appointed to come to this amazing place and attend various sessions (of my choice) held by a slew of intellectuals with different focuses in business, technology, and media. I was especially excited to get out of the cold weather and go to a place I have never been before! I traveled to SXSW with a few of my coworkers including my biffle, Sandal Bullock. I had heard that this place was fun from those of my employers that had been going over the years, but I had not expected the amount of fun and excitement - and of course -valuable learning (in case the big man reads this) that would transform this trip into one of the most amazing yet! Let me start at the beginning...
Luckily, no treacherous incidents happened to me on the plane ride to Austin so I was already feeling pretty confident about this trip - oh wait I did forget the cab driver who drove Sandal Bullock and I to the airport at 630 in the morning and had no shame in telling us he was probably half in the bag from the night before. We did arrive to the airport in one piece, but I swear if I ever see that dude again I'll give him more than a hangover to worry about.
Arriving in Austin, I expected to find many buildings and people in suits ready to attend the sessions on big business and technological expansion, but as we drove to the city through quiet streets with small houses stacked tightly along the side, I knew I was not in Boston anymore. In fact, the first thing that caught my eye when I looked out the window was this:
I took one look at this sign and thought: "hmmm that number is a heck of a lot easier to remember if you are ever in a pickle..." I took a mental note as we approached the 5 skyscrapers that make up the city of Austin and never looked back...well, I did, but on the way home..
Shortly after checking in, Sandal Bullock and I arrived in our hotel room, exhausted and hot from wearing layers upon layers made for Boston weather. In wondering if I had anything remotely weather appropriate to wear, I allowed for my suitcase to throw up all over the floor and wrinkle everything inside it:
...This only got worse as the week prevailed...
Walking to meet our group at the Restaurant, I already started getting the vibes of Austin, TX during SXSW when I passed signs that said this:
Immediatly I knew this was going to be fun
We sat down to dinner at a high end brazilian buffet called Fogo de chao. It worked that there were red and green sided coasters on our table and when you flip the coaster to the green, the waiters (who are walking around carry variety cuts of meat such as Pork Shank, Filet mignon, prime rib, ect. and offer as much as you want until you turn your coaster to red. It was a pretty great experience to sit and converse with our coworkers, while eating amazing food and drink good quality wine...for that moment I almost forgot that in my apartment back home I had been living off frozen pizza, Raman noodles, and boxed wine. In fact, I don't think I could ever go back to those things until im to lazy to cook and am out of money...Fogo DeChao is a chain and does reside in Boston if you feel like checking it out. Click on the Map Below to redirect to a restaurant near you:
When we left the restaurant, the guys took us to the main "bar" street known as 6th Street, which was alive with music and celebration. I could just feel the excitement in the air and got a wave of energy looking around me. However, even at that point this "energy" meant something entirely different than it would the next...when I met this guy:
either this guy is possesed by the devil or had one very "methy" weekend (that's not a type-o, Im referring to the fact that perhaps he smoked a lot of crystal meth over the weekend)...things got interesting from there...
The next day began our session line-up and Sandal Bullock and I went to a session called: Travel Blogger's Meet-up. We had figured since we were bloggers and technically, this was a travel experience, It may be a great way to meet other people and learn ways to get further engaged to our audience. As we walked away from the party on 6th street, we found ourselves off the beaten path a bit as if we had just walked into another state. It was much quieter and there were abandoned buildings to the left and right of us, but I was certain we were headed in the right direction. We got to the blog meet up early and were told to come back so we wandered around a bit and stopped short when we saw this guy:
This guy was standing amongst others of his kind (moustache people) and girls wearing pink. Of course I had to snap this pick and ask him what he was doing dressed like that (not that anything at this point would surprise me since landing in Austin). The guy said that they were spokes people for a new app called Lyft whose premise being:
"Lyft is your friend with a car. Download Lyft in the App Store or on Google Play and request an instant pickup from a friendly, background-checked community driver for less than the cost of a cab. Lyft is currently available for rides originating in San Francisco and Los Angeles."
Pretty cool concept to me, and although not on the east coast YET, I have high expectations that they will be soon. I then asked why the wore mustaches and how they were promoting their app, and they said they are giving away piggy back rides...yes, you heard correctly, piggy back rides. Again, how could I say no to a piggy back ride from a guy wearing a bright pink moustache? Thats like saying when being asked to accept an oscar for an all star performance (which is also on my bucket list, might I add)...so, yeah. I took the ride..
To learn more about the App called "Lyft" got to their facebook page at:
After receiving a piggy back ride from my friends, Sandal and I noticed we still had some time to kill before the meet - up. We couldn't help but notice the loud music coming from up the street and followed it into a bar called coyote ugly...yes, it's exactly what you're thinking...
Before you draw any conclusions (especially you, mom and dad), none of those bras hanging above the bar belong to me! In talking to and befriending the bartender there, she told us that this Coyote Ugly bar is one of the originals outside of the New York location that became known for the movie that took place there. In case you were wondering, this bar really does not serve water. Hence why I had to change shortly after this visit, but all in all it was a very unique experience to say the least. What I liked the best is when our new friend, London, tried to teach us the harlem shake. However, as soon as she saw the moves I was sporting, I think she gave up trying. In return, I got to show her some of my best dance moves, including my favorite, the robot. I think I may have scarred our dear friend with my moves that day, but luckily she was saved by the clock and we had to go to the meet up.
Ok, I think you know why I might have taken this picture...If you dont, this might clear things up:
I guess fitting for the Travelers Blogger club, since he looked like a mongolian prince, but he seemed nice and open to pictures with those who thought he was dressed as captain hook from the Robin Williams feature...either way it was quite entertaining and I desperately wanted - and still want - his hat..
The rest of the meet up went extremely well with Sandal and I. The set up was in an outdoor tent and we went around in a circle telling everybody who we were and what we did. It was nice to see the many different types of bloggers and non-bloggers share their insights and experiences. The tent was sponsored by SXSW through this group that promoted "Free Food Friday." Yep, that's right all of it was free - and no lie, free beer too. Soo yeah I really enjoyed this meeting. Drinking, socializing, learning, drinking...it really was a swell time.
Our favorite part of this meeting was when Sandal and I met a charming UK broad named Vickie who had me when she said "wanker"...uhh huh, we're besties now. Vickie works for UK travelers blog called wayoutfar.com and we were able to talk about our experiences over some beers and then we took our conversation to the next session on google and bing ranking. It's always a good day when you can meet new people, Even if your not a consistant traveler, meeting people from all over is definitely a way to broaden your mind.
Finally, we met up with our coworkers for dinner and hit up 6th street again. I have never seen a place so alive have you?
There are people dancing in the streets, music swarming out of every venue and of course the costumes being warn by various promoters and fellow SXSW fans, were awesome!
If you're not amazed yet, here's one for ya:
They had vending machines where you can buy these as gag gifts...So of course here is my embarassing story of the night:
Saw this machine in the bathroom and thought: Ha ha ha this is so funny that I might actually buy it for my friend Amy as a joke... I put in $10...pressed the button...nothing came. I pressed the button again...nothing. Now it's at this point I realize I am not getting that sheep and I was just jipped out of $10. Meanwhile my friends and coworkers are out in the bar, and im thinking: No way in HELL am I going to ask the bartender for my money back from the inflatable sheep machine that just ate my $10...that's something that I would never want to admit in front of anyone let alone my fellow employees. Of course, I am admitting it now, but it's for the sake of the story!
The next day, we woke up and walked to our first session about Women in the Media Industry...beforehand, we made a pit stop on the way to fill out what we want to do before we die:
My favorite response was: Before I Die.. I want to smuggle midgets over the border
what and interesting concept...
If you are wondering if I jumped into a giant ball pit at 9am in the morning, yes, yes I did. This was at the Chuck Lorrie Exhibit and it represented anti-censorship on TV. Chuck Lorrie created a space where people can be free to exercise their rights without network censorship interfering. I must say, I couldn't have gotten a better start to the day...
Then I wrote our names on the chalkboard:
...but wait there's more!
After a few sessions in the morning, we hurried over to see Elon Musk speak at the convention center. If your wondering who Elon Musk is, LEAVE NOW! - Kidding, but he is only just the most interesting man in the world, inventor of Pay Pal and founder of Space X, a company dedicated to making space innovation a priority. DID YOU KNOW that he has built a rocket capable of landing back on earth? A rocket that can go to space and return safely with the ability to hover like a helicopter? If this doesnt interest you, I can only say that I am a space nerd and I LOVE IT. Elon Musk is possibly the love of my life, but it may be too soon to tell...I wonder if he has myspace orrr...
After seeing Elon Musk, Sandal Bullock and I went to the trade show located on the first floor of the convention center. It was amazing! There were booths lining the entire room representing the latest tech, uncovering brands, and of course, SWAG! The first thing we did is go to the Vimeo booth and was asked if we would box on camera for free vimeo accounts...we did.
After Fighting, I just had to say hello to this guy:
...what a fairy...and an awesome one at that!
In passing, I had to take this pic...Big man, little dog, pretty funny!
We ended our day on 6th Street, and went to a highly recommended burger place called Casino al Camino where there was an hour wait because of how famous it is! It was pretty cool inside, had a gothic feel, and was so dark we forgot it was daytime
Totally worth it....and so were these:
...I kid, just water
Later at another session led by the creator of Tumblr, I found these funny cards on our seats:
After a long day and a fun night with everyone it was bittersweet to say goodbye...Great time. Great people. Great experiences.I would recommend this to anyone out there with a love for culture and an interest in future of technology...oh, and you got to have fun too! Cheers to the best SXSW experience!