archives greymatter top

powazek productions
{ personal log }

austin memories

Sometimes an experience is so intense, so amazing, so about the moment, that it leaves me with little to say. Anything said (or typed) would pale too much from the original beauty.

I've been back in San Francisco for three days and I still haven't come back to my senses. I've been eating nothing but Mexican food and I still crave smoky bars. I don't miss the humidity or the rain, but I sure do miss the friends.

It's a strange thing to know that some of my best friends are scattered all over the world, and I only get to see them at the occasional conference. These precious in-person moments are just enough to remind me why we've stayed in touch in this virtual realm for so long. When you strip away all the email and web pages, the conference sessions and business talk, the a-list and b-list nonsense ... all that remains is plain old friendship.

It's nice to know it still happens.


One of my favorite moments in Austin was when I got to go out to dinner with a few old friends and a few new ones. Afterward, we decided to take a mirror shot in the bathroom. There, for an instant, you can see what that moment looked like through my eyes, Heather's eyes, and Josh's warped imagination. The lighting was strange, the bathroom was cramped, and we'd all been drinking for days, but the images captured something truly special.

My other favorite moments, in no particular order:

  • Fray Cafe. We had over four hours of stories and none of them – not a single one – sucked. We even had a heckler that I greeted with humor. (I stole the bit from Tom Waits: "That's my cousin Earl. I thought I told you to wait in the car!") There was no recording made of the event – it was an ephemeral moment of beauty – so the photos will have to do.
  • The blue cloud wallpaper of our Austin Motel room.
  • All the laughter of Tuesday night. The squirrel song, the jokes that cannot be repeated, the table dancing (but that was just Lance), the honest conversations followed by more hysterical laughter, the sound of one hand clapping....
  • After five years of coming to Austin, finally seeing the bats flood out from under the Congress bridge at sunset, making a black river in the sky, totally on accident.
  • The 25-dollar Dairy Queen dipped cones, and the exasperated taxi driver who took us to them.
  • That first person who picked up a copy the galleys of my book (chapters 1 and 5 in actual print) and asked me to sign it. I was stunned. I poked Jeffrey and asked, "What do I write?"
  • Kissing Heather, finally, in the Capitol.
  • A packed room for my Design for Community talk, and the handful of people who came up to me afterwards and told me they loved it.

It was my fifth year coming to Austin for SXSW. Each year has been totally unique. And this year is by far my favorite.

See you next year, my friends.

{ 3:51pm }



» ahh... i spent this weekend with two beautiful blog-girls -- we jokingly called it "NXNE." oh, how we amused ourselves. we ran in the snow, ate japanese food, took in a 3-d movie. and after it was over, we went home and talked about it online. had we been born five years earlier, we never would have met. oh, internet, let me give you a kiss.

adam  { 3.18.01 @ 8:11pm }

» I was hoping to make it this year.
Looks like it'll have to be next year.

Every year the past 3 years or so I've been reading of SXSW experiences and thinking that I had to go there....we have nothing of the sort here in Europe.

Tom Cosgrave  { 3.19.01 @ 6:20am }

» All the memoirs of this year's swsx event is enough to make me start saving to make it to next year's.

It sounds like it was incredible, and I can hardly wait to catch all the wild tendrils of memory that'll surely be sweeping up over the web for the next while. Yay!

anathea  { 3.19.01 @ 7:36am }

» *sigh*

always the uncle... never the monkey.

Maybe next year you and I can jump in the pool with our clothes on (you can still kiss Heather - I can be a man about it)...

Friends rule.

– Joe  { 3.19.01 @ 2:44pm }

» This was indeed a week of memorable events. It was a great pleasure finally meeting you Derek.

Can't wait til next year's event!

Davezilla  { 3.19.01 @ 5:07pm }

» I mentioned this on my site in my memories of SXSW, but I wanted to add it here too: Thanks Derek and Heather for not only organizing one of the great events of the week, but for also being so kind and welcoming. I glad that the two of you were the first "web people" I've met in person. I hope to return to Austin next year as well and hopefully I'll be a little less wallflowery.

Stef Noble  { 3.20.01 @ 12:58am }

» Joe's right, friends rule.

Happy memories and beginning my countdown to the other touchstone of the year: Fray Day.

p.s. Derek, as I mentioned to Our Mutual Friend Michael Nolan (mista editor man), your community talk made me say "Dang, I really wanna buy this guy's book." Hang in there, baby, you'll make it!

– Dinah  { 3.20.01 @ 4:02pm }

» derek, thanks for organizing one of the best events at sxsw. I find when you take away the business aspect, that's when the most creative conversations begin.

adam, there is an event called NXNE. It's held in Toronto every year (summer, I think), but so far it's just music. Maybe that will change soon...

james  { 3.26.01 @ 6:51am }


« before     { current }     after »

{ news }
» Goodbye old friend.

» Don't miss the photos and audio from Fray Cafe 2.

» Psst. Hey kid. Wanna buy some swag?

{ me.elsewhere }
  My snail tracks on the web.
» DfC profile
» New Riders profile
» Amazon wish list
» {fray} is page
» Mirror Project pics
» FilePile profile
{ new in dfc }
  Gaming the system: How moderation tools can backfire
Sometimes all the widgets backfire, encouraging the very behavior they're designed to avert. The rules have a dangerous side-effect: they create a game.
{ new in fray }
  "I wanted to spend the 4th with someone who always knew the way back home."

Counting Flags by Kevin Smokler.
{ new in sfstories }
  the slow glimmering descent
I've been watching fireworks there for years, but last night was different. And not just because it was clear.
{ new in fray org }
  fray day 6
Fray Day 6 is coming to cities all over the world on September 14, 2002. Come tell your story.
{ see also }