sxsw 2011. in a manner of speaking.

I had no intention of going to South by Southwest (or "SXSW," for those who love an acronym).  I had spoken at the conference last year (with the amazing Bryan Mason, Lori McLeese and Jason Shellen), and the vastness of the conference was sort of overwhelming. So honestly, given that I'd been traveling so much lately, and it was Alex's spring break, I was planning on spending a quiet week at home.

But then, I found out that a bunch of friends were going to be there, and I got a few invitations to a few events, and ... well, I caved.  Besides, Austin is a pretty special Texas town:  to those who have never been here, I'd describe it as the child that would result if Portland, Oregon had an illicit affair with Texas, and the baby was born on Día de Los Muertos.  It's funky, with cowboy boots.  And honestly, any town that would co-opt "Keep Austin Weird" as its motto is my kinda town.

So at the last minute, Marcus and I booked a pet-friendly place to stay, and the four of us (Rufus' first family holiday!) headed west to Austin.

My first stop was for a lunch hosted by PBS Kids.  Marcus dropped me off at the hotel early, so I took a walk around the grounds, and promptly walked right past Conan O'Brien. I totally did a double-take, and then when, on the second look, he caught me, I totally played it off, like, "I'm cool, and I don't even know who you are."

I don't think he bought it.

For what it's worth, he looks exactly the same eating breakfast as he does on TV, except when he's having breakfast, he wears jeans.

And by the way, the lunch with PBS Kids was awesome.  Secret admission:  I love PBS Kids so much, I'd probably watch it even if I didn't have a kid.  And no, I wasn't paid to say that.

After the lunch, I headed back to Marcus and Alex and did a bit of work.  But after a few hours, we made our way to the Guy/Girl Party at a local landmark, the Scholtz Garten:

This place is like an old VFW or Knights of Columbus hall.  It stands in the shadow of the Texas Capitol building, and I was told that this was sort of the meeting place for legislators back in the day when Texas was run on "bribes, bourbon and blondes."  I have no idea if this is true or not, but damn, I love a good legend.

And there was live music, too.  I almost busted out in a little Texas Two-Step.  And I haven't done that since college.

Anyway, so far it's been a great trip, and so worth it even if I didn't actually attend the conference.  Tomorrow there's one more event, but then, we officially start concentrated Spring Break Family time.  And I honestly can't wait.

Have a great week, everyone.


Images:  Photographed with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens.  first image:  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/3200, ISO 200; second image:  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 400; third image:  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/500, ISO 400; fourth image:  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 500; final image:  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 400.


Song: That's right (you're not from Texas) by Lyle Lovett