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SXSW Highlights Part Deux

Woke up earlier than most and hit the free hotel breakfast. I was disappointed to find that they didn't have scrambled eggs and salsa, a combination I had come to expect of hotels after staying at InnSuites here in Tucson some years ago. Raisin bran cornflakes would have to do.
I saw <a href="http://jish.nu/">Jish</a> (in what looks like his pjs, no less) and his usual lady entourage, but being the introvert that I was (coupled with the fact that mornings are usually my time of introspection) I sat at another table. The whole problem with SXSW was that it would end when we were just getting all toasty. Even the immortal Jish felt <a href="http://www.jish.nu/2003_03_01_archive.php#90542137">pangs of regret</a>. If only we were bolder and wiser…
After breakfast I took a stroll down Congress Ave and to the State Capitol, where I allowed my shutter-finger to do its thing. I usually scout out new places I go to, making mental notes about buildings to take pictures of and assessing the available sunlight based on a projected time of the day thingie. When my formula messes up, I cling to the hope that the geniuses at Adobe have some sort of miracle cure on Photoshop.
The State Capitol was filled with people who had gathered for the National Day of Prayer. Being the cynic that I am, I surprised myself when I found myself praying with them – with my eyes open, still scouting out angles and photo-ops. Even praying for them. In the face of so much political uncertainty and violence, these people had turned to God, and I whispered a prayer, thankful for the hope and love they had for the people in power, thickheaded as they sometimes were.
I rushed down Red River Ave to <a href="http://www.dashes.com/kick/">Kick 2003</a>. Not having the slightest idea as to what Kickball was all about, I sat out the first game, taking photographs instead. It's a rare sight to see so many cubicle-dwelling, sunlight-shunning geek-people participating in a sporting activity, a sight worthy of photographic capture.
It was during all this photo-taking that we photo-geeks started to gravitate toward each other. <a href="http://michaelbuffington.com/">Mike Buffington</a> had a Nikon D100, and I simply had to check that out. Mike turned out to be the surprise find and we hung out the better part of SXSW.<a href="http://wholelottanothing.org/">Matt Haughey</a> (creator of <a href="http://metafilter.com/">Metafilter</a>, <a href="http://stupidfool.org/">Ben</a> and <a href="http://dollarshort.org/">Mena</a> (makers of <a href="http://movabletype.org/">MoveableType</a>) showed up after the game. I was a little awestruck and forgot to offer my name or even a handshake. It's one thing to meet an accomplished person. It's a totally different feeling when you find out that they're not that much older than you are.
Mike Buff and I had lunch at P.F. Chang's across the road from our hotel. The "Beef ala Sichuan" (can you believe the name of the dish?!?) Mike ordered proved to be a fiery mouthful. P.F. Chang should note that putting the Chinese word for fire (huo3) at what seems like 7pt font may look authentic, but isn't highly informative. And I'm not too sure if western celery can ever be found in the Sichuan province in China.
We rushed to Dave Weinberger's keynote a little late, where Mike and I misled <a href="http://cheesedip.com/">Lia</a> because being male, we reckoned we didn't need to look at the floor map. Good thing we caught her in a good mood, 'cause she packs <a href="http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/liakick.html" onclick="window.open('http://www.tribolum.com/images/posts/liakick.html','popup','width=400,height=300,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0'); return false">quite a kick</a>.
I won't go into details about the keynote speeches or the panel discussions. Being the web ignoramus that I am, I learnt quite a great deal from all of them. Plus <a href="http://allaboutgeorge.com/">George</a> covered them almost verbatim.

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