March 20, 2005

I must be the most clueless person in America, because somehow I had never quite gotten the picture that SXSW is all about the party. I showed up about 8PM on Monday night, politely refused all phone calls and SMSes and emails entreating me to go out, soberly consumed a Flintstone-esque beef rib, gravely downed a shot in a totally empty 6th street bar (mostly just so I could say I’d done the Austin thing), and went to bed by 10:30. I was a Wednesday Addams killjoy! Then it was up early in the morning to go over my presentation notes and hustle on down to the Green Room to meet my fellow panelists. As Ernie kept moaning, we’re a sitcom, not a panel!

I feel like I never quite got into the spirit of SXSW — OSCON is really more my peeps, and I felt uncomfortable with SXSW pretty much in direct proportion to its lack of OSCON-ness — but I did enjoy the actual panel quite a bit. Tantek is a genius at shepherding people through complex processes with clarity and kindness. Basically if you don’t take his direction, you have no one to blame but yourself for a suboptimal experience… but if you do what he suggests, everything will work out great. If you ever get a chance to sit on one of his panels, take it and learn.

My trip was so brief that I didn’t have time to hit the LBJ library — thus depriving me of a key piece in my subcollection of presidential refrigerator magnets — but I did snag the long-coveted bat magnet and also one with a photo of the Stevie Ray Vaughan sculpture. Did you know that Austin has an actual bronze sculpture of Stevie Ray? Yeah, me neither.

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