March 11, 2006

Big Enough for Texas

We are in Austin, glorious Austin, where the air is hot and the wind is thick and heavy, like huge slabs of meat. SXSW has barely even started, and yet we have already been treated to free beer and free food and free schmoozing in a bar owned by Lance Armstrong, this guy who likes to ride his bike and stuff.

The geek banter is overwhelming and self-referential. Jokes typically involve such things as AJAX and tagging. We have met some amazing people, including a brilliant information architect who used to work as a bike messenger in New York, and who is addicted to the word awesome, which itself is awesome, as this sort of positivism one could never label as a character flaw.

We have also met a fellow that we know as The Butt Plug Guy, and his friend who we refer to as Not The Butt Plug Guy. Given the line of work in question (one that involves software, hardware and robotics) and the panels that these guys are speaking on, these names are justified, if not actually deserved. Accurate, but certainly not fair.

Sadly, we have been in Texas for nearly 24 hours and yet we have only seen one cowboy hat. As our crew was heading down to Lance Armstrong’s bar it passed us on the sidewalk. The whole thing was rather humorous as it was the first cowboy hat sighting for many of us, and in true fashion we completely blew it out of proportion. Jokes about Brokeback Mountain and tagging clouds quickly commenced.

We are out of control, but one more thing. If ever you find yourself in Austin, do not discuss credit with the bums. The mere utterance of the words “18 percent” sets them off like crazy, and they will follow you across the street arguing about interest rates and taxation, all the while sweating at an incredible rate.

Also, let’s say you see a lost pair of pants on the sidewalk, and let’s say you see that same pair of pants later in the night. Do not suggest giving the pants to the bum and laugh about it, as you will instantly be confronted by the bum again, because someone powerful has been eavesdropping on your conversation and he wishes to test you on your word.

You will not have the guts to offer these pants to the bum, so don’t even bother mentioning it.