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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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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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I’m responsible for the 10-minute delay at the customs x-ray machines. Apologies to all, especially to the elderly couple standing behind me, their tender tootsies all bare, veiny, and on public display.

The culprits?

DFW airport | What caused the 10-minute delay at customs

That’s right. Leave it to doofus here to forget the gel restrictions are still in place. A total of five perspiring customs and security officers were involved in the incident, just to give me permission to take my 4-pack of Hunt’s Banana Cream Pie pudding cups on the plane. A lot of kafuffle erupted around the desserts, including a staff member running back and forth, relaying information from one employee to another, making it seem like the world was going to end. An assertive lady whisked to the scene, and stated that since each cup contained less than 100ml of pudding goodness, I was permitted to take them on board. She then punctuated the statement by unfurling a Ziploc, noting that all my liquids/gels had to fit in one bag, or I was to dispose of them.

What’s stupid about this is that I already had a ziploc bag full of gels in another carryon that someone else had checked. So I scammed the system and ended up with more than my allotted amount of gels AND four delicious pudding cups for my layover here in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The sun is certainly shining down on me this fine Texan day.

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AUSTIN, TEXAS, HERE I COME!

For someone who suffers from Internet A.D.D., scheduling for SXSW should only be done with the aide of an administrative assistant and a cup of soothing chamomile tea. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me, overwhelmed and quivering in a corner of the apartment.

The good thing about this whole event is that 1. I’ve scored myself a wristband, which, though overpriced and does not guarantee me a single thing, at least offers the opportunity to weave in and out of clubs at leisure and the luxury to move from one group of annoyingly inebriated spring breakers to another. And 2. I actually have accommodation set with an awesome host from couchsurfing.com, which is more than can be said for a lot of last-minute planners who will probably end up sleeping in public libraries, movie houses, or a puddle of their upchucked Pabst Blue Ribbon between gigs.

For other SXSW virgins like me, here’s a list of some useful sites to plan your week full of great music, sore feet, and ringing ears. Maybe you’ll become just as overwhelmed and sick as me. That’s right; I’m bringing you down with me!


SXSW Official Schedule of Bands

Get it.

Donewaiting.com
An incredible site listing great free day shows. If you’re low on cash, you’ll probably be able to see all of your favourite bands if you plan accordingly and are willing to wake up before noon hour. Indie favourites Architecture in Helsinki are playing around 3-4 free day shows, if that’s any indication.

Yaris-SXSW
Need to compare checklists with friends? Need to know where you’re going and if you’ll be able to leave the datarock show and make it in time to see Matt & Kim in time before you have to leave 15 minutes early to see Daniel Johnston and get back to the first club to see Peter Bjorn & John? (Gasp.) This is the place to do it, with Google Map and all.

Austinist
This isn’t specific to the music festival or of SXSW in general, but it does have a lot of great interviews and show announcements for anyone wanting to have fun in the city.

You’re getting sick, aren’t you?

Have fun.

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I got myself a mean Epson scanner yesterday and spent the entire evening scanning in photos from trips of olde. I managed to get my Costa Rica set all prettied up, so head on over to flickr and enjoy:

Costa Rica photos

I apologize, but there are no snapshots of me dancing. Believe me, that’s a good thing.

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Edinburgh, Scotland | On Arthur's Seat

I conquered Arthur’s Seat (a plateau right next to the city, covered with panting tourists ready to roll off the steep hill), but because of my poor health and general wimpiness, I had to stop quite a bit. Unfortunately, it was bitterly cold and a lot of tiny bugs were flapping around my head, so I couldn’t stop for long. I also didn’t realize I had taken the steeper, more challenging route, which definitely exacerbated my exhaustion. Still, espite my whining, it got me some great snaps and was well worth the trek.

I headed over to the Meadows Festival (ed: which has now been closed since 2005) and celebrated my hiking accomplishment by buying Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. For 50p!

The apartment, er, FLAT is excellent. I’m comfortable, my roommates are wonderful, and they can all COOK. They are all boys and they can cook without recipes! I look like such an idiot in comparison.

Speaking of food, the day before Justin left, we headed over to Nine’s for a little get-together with Jen and Lyndsey from London. Lyn made everyone a heaping serving of jambalaya, which was absolutely amazing. Even the Japanese guy who barely spoke English paused, sighed and whispered, “This… is amazing”, as if he were having an orgasm. Unfortunately, a home video was popped into the VCR and my eyes started to water with fatigue. We had to leave early. We got a few ice cream bars and went home.

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