[SXSW2008]: Day 1, Registration, What Made Milwaukee Famous, running into old faces


Yesterday was a day full of harried activity. Owing to the fact that I wouldn’t be in the office this week, I had a few things to take care at the office before I did le grande log-out before going into SXSW. I couldn’t quite figure out what to d, so my solution was to “sprint”. “Sprinting” is a term that I got from Merlin Mann over at 43Folders as being an incredibly important skill in productivity. The fact is this: some time you have to sit down, strap in, turn the fucking IM off, and work until you’re done.

So I did that, my power hours are definitely in the early morning when it’s oh so very quiet. I got up at 0400 and was at the office by 0430. From 0430 I finished off the commentary that was working on on a business requirement document. By 1000 I was done, I sent it off and then bolted out to the Texas Department of Transportation.

I had to go to TxDOT to get a replacement title. To my great surprise I went in, signed in, and then 5 minutes later I was out with a beautiful official looking copy of title. I’m so proud at how efficiently my state handles the transportation matters. California wasn’t as bad as you would think ( being at the most populous state of the union and all ), but Texas definitely does it mo’ righter.

With that I had to put myself into the Federal government’s hands. I had to get a replacement social security card. I don’t know where it is and, as a man in his third decade, you should damn well known where your card is. So, I headed down to the SS administration and I should have taken the parking lot situation as an ill omen.

It was completely full. I illegally parked in an adjacent lot and went in.

I now know what my ancestors must have thought when they arrived at Ellis Island. The poor, the screaming babies, the distracted parents, it was all there.

So I took my number and proceeded to sit. I was 51 numbers away, number 101, binary 5, I sat to wait. Being a bit of a nerd I actually started timing the average throughput. It was 2 numbers per 5 minutes, on average.

Somewhere around the 90th minute I noted that at 1 o’clock, prime time in the afternoon, there were, in fact, only two desks open.

Only the Feds. And the great hope for all of us is that these people are going to give us all health care. I’m sure the insider grifters are giddy with the prospect of exploiting the deltas.

I finished up around 2 and raced back to meet up with my guest Michael Liskin, who is staying with us during SXSWi. Mike’s in town from LA and I decided that he needed an introduction to something unique and special to the ATX experience: Freebird’s. We jetted over to the Tech Ridge / 35 location and had a some great burrito’s and a chance to talk. Mike is a friend of my girlfriend’s from way back and our time to get to talk to one another was really limited during our last get together in Long Beach thanks to the attentions of a gypsy and more pressing events that day.

Mike then took the next hour to clean up and to head over to the Texas Department of Public safety so that I could get a Texas Driver’s license. I am horribly past the acceptable acquisition date but owing to not having a Social Security card and having misplaced a title. Having bravely faced those sling and arrows, I was able, at last, finally to register to get a card.

I rushed back to meet up with Mike and we both headed downtown to catch up with Lauren. We then went down to the Austin Convention Center and got our badges and schwag bags.

Hungry, we then searched for a place to eat and chose Caramelo’s. Mike and I both ate lightly given our earlier tortilla-wrapped east. After this we rested a bit in the lobby of the beautiful Hilton before heading over to Emo’s to catch the musical act “What Made Milwaukee Famous”

A notable opener was Austin’s own “The Lemurs” whose presence and performance was very solid with a lot of thrumming noise churning in the background.

“Milwaukee” was an excellent set: great stage bresence and they got the traditionally sessile and hipper-than-thou austin crowd moving, it was really a great show.

Interestingly enough, at some point before the act I turned around and ran into a girl from my French class in 1999. I had decided to take that class after getting interested in French while living aux Pays-Bas. It was great to see the girl and see how she’d done in the last couple of years it just goes to show one of the funny things about Austin, given enough time spent downtown you’ll eventually run into all the people you know.

Also at the show I had the chance to make acquaintance with an LA-based friend of Mike and an Austin-based friend whose working on her MBA at my alma mater.