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SXSW Music | My last free SXSW beer & lunch @ Yard Dog Gallery, South CongressMy last free serving of meat @ the Yard Dog Gallery, SXSW

I have eaten enough free beef to form a new cow in my toilet. Thank god SXSW 2007 is officially over.

But enough of my bowel woes. For those of you there for the entire 10-day festival, I applaud you for your stamina and ability to get up out of bed by the third morning. For those of you not present, or don’t even have a clue what SXSW entails, please start planning your trip next year and experience the madness for yourself. Interested in film, interactive media, live music, and free stuff including Saucony shoes, food, and beer? Then get yourself ready for one of the most fantastically gut-rotting times in your life, mixed with a lot of good hearted networking and entertainment on the side.

It was life amplified to the extreme, packed into 10 days of constant schedules and activity, and it already breaks my heart to sit here at home, wondering what to do next. I’m more overwhelmed than bored; it was an inspiring time down in Austin, and I’m all pumped to bring all my dying projects to fruition. I just don’t know where to start.

Until I see you all again on 6th Street in the next few years, I’ll be busy reviewing my conference notes, milking this new-found creative inspiration, and labouriously digesting the 50 pounds of free barbecue brisket that festers in my tummy.

Toilet says, “moo.”


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I’ve been a failure with the written blog. Please check flickr for the most up-to-date images from SXSW.

SXSW Music | The Pipettes @ Flamingo Cantina

I can’t explain how amazing this week has been, intellectually, creatively, and socially. Even the entertainment is more than I expected, and believe me, it takes a lot to please this little girl.

SXSW, I’m definitely coming back for more love. xoxo.

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SXSW Interactive | Will Wright at play, in the Interactive Playpen

Will Wright, designer of Sim City, the Sims, and the upcoming evolution epic Spore, works on his own Lego creation for the SXSW Interactive Playpen.

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Daylight savings time sucks. But so does any morning after a bout of careless drinking — which, I suspect, is probably a big reason why most of the panels I attended yesterday were more miss than hit… But today, today, my friends, is a fancy new Monday, and the conference has redeemed itself substantially. If this is what I get for being responsible and sleeping before midnight, then I may just do it again sometime this week. Sometime.

Today’s offerings included a panel on The Future of Online Magazines, a wonderfully content-friendly fiesta, a bonus for someone as technologically illiterate as I, gasping in a whirlwind of open IDs, metafilters, XSLT, and Ajax. (Gasp!) Plus, there was much more to the panellists than others I’ve seen so far, probably because they were all editors and founders of major, reputable online reads: Joan Walsh of Salon, Ricky Van Veen of CollegeHumor, Laurel Touby of MediaBistro, Sean Mills of The Onion, and moderator Rufus Griscom of Nerve and Babble. It’s clear that there was an existing camaraderie among the group, and the tongue-in-cheek self-aggrandizing behaviour was welcome after being subjected to a weekend full of panellists and participants who may take the game way too seriously.

Thanks, guys. I needed this morning laugh.

SXSW Interactive | The Future of Online Magazines

PS. Secret but not-so-secret Nerve/Salon/CollegeHumor/MediaBistro/TheOnion party this evening from 6:30-8:30 at Club DeVille (900 Red River Street), open to all badgeholders. OPEN. BAR.

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I’ve returned with a face full of smiles and a bag full of delicious, good-god-don’t-leave-me swag. But Zefrank’s right — why are the Interactive conference geeks the only ones of the three that don’t get condoms in their bags? Are filmies & musicians more sexually active? Or do they just have more diseases? Hmm.

I prefer to keep my mouth closed on the matter, but will take personal offence at this blatant omission. I mean, I never!

SXSW Interactive | Oh, good lord, it's schweet schwag!

Coming soon: a detailed analysis of the corporate crap mountain stored in the big bag.

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SXSW Interactive, in its first full day of panels, has not only offered a juicy cocktail of industry information but also an inspiring place to meet people who salivate about this thing called the Internets. Internets, we love you!

SXSW, Austin | Audience at the High class and low class web design panel

The buzz is intoxicating, and the panellists have been great… all except for one, of whom I’m not proud to say that I walked out on after 15 minutes. This pains me, especially since the speaker was a well-known and respected fellow Canadian. Gasp!

I like Douglas Coupland. Well, I did when I was in high school and obsessed with Microserfs and Generation X. From my decaying memory, his quirkiness and pop culture references as a writer are wonderful and spot on, and, well, in person, the content’s there, too. It’s just that Douglas Coupland is somewhat… awkward. No real surprise here, considering he’s an author and encompasses the typical quirks and scatter-brained nature that come from being an iconic writer of his generation. He’s definitely an intriguing case for a personality study, but my fellow Canuck here seemed to be speaking more for his own entertainment than for an audience eager to hear about what makes him tick. Again, that’s a noble thing about the man, and listening to this would be great if the context was a free lecture at the Vancouver Public Library. It just doesn’t gel too well for someone like me who has forked out 300 bones to come here and learn something new. I know about pot smokers in Vancouver. I do enjoy hearing about your speaking tours. But those moments of silence were painstakingly awkward, and I could hear the money ticking away.

And maybe that’s why he is who he is. I still like you, Dougie. By all means, feel free to drop by my apartment anytime for an evening full of non-sequitors… but not when it’s on my dime.

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I stumbled into Austin a few hours ago, and already I’m in love. It’s kind of a blind love, really; it’s pitch black outside, and I haven’t been exposed to any of the nightlife that the city boasts. Still, I think it’ll be good.

SXSW | Taking their advice...

My accommodation this evening is situated two miles from the downtown core — that’s about 3.5 kilometres to those of you back home — right along the banks of the Colorado River… I can see the city across the way, yelling something like, “Hey! This is going to be your life for the next 10 days! Love me! Take me now!” And Austin, I think I will certainly love you, but it’ll have to start some time tomorrow. With the day-long interactive conference in full force tomorrow, mixed with free evening parties with free booze and hors d’oeuvres, followed by free concerts at the music festival and more free booze, and then pulling 2:00-3:00am nights in various SXSW clubs, it’s going to be a rough week.

It’s probably best that I just relax on the shore with a chunky issue of The Austin Chronicle, take a deep breath in, and enjoy the balmy evening breeze (71 Fahrenheit / 20 Celsius), since it probably won’t happen back in Vancouver for another couple of months.

Thanks for being my temporary home, Austin!

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