Category Archives: Texas

Surprising Tapestry of Sessions at SXSW – South By Southwest…

SXSW is a 3-part festival, with Interactive going the first 5 days, Music the last 5, and Film stretched through the full festival.

In regular life, you just don’t get this kind of variety in a 10-day stretch. I love that when I come to South By Southwest (SXSW), I’m not here for work and with a platinum pass, I am entirely free to sample any offerings that catch my eye. With so many overlapping sessions, I couldn’t make them all, and some didn’t really lend themselves to interesting photos, but what rich pickings!

Here’s a taste of what made my short list this week, mainly from the Interactive part of the festival. I’ll talk about Film and Music a bit later.

~Robot Petting Zoo (Don’t Feed the Animals!)

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~Books Are The New Vinyl

~Debunking the Disruption Innovation Myth

~When Your Devices Decide to Touch You Back

~Story Structure Secrets

~Is The Internet Disappointed In Us?

~The Invisible Salary: Why Money Doesn’t Matter

~Wearable Technologies 3 & Will Wearables Bring New Purpose to Fashion?

~Made in Brooklyn: A Craft Foods Revolution

~Failure As A Creative Catalyst

~Dramatic Reading by Programmers of Bug Reports (with Puppets)

~Jedi Mind Tricks For Entrepreneurs

~Can Sports Help End A Culture of Violence

~You Can’t Sit With Us: Craft Beer Subculture

~Minimal Viable Pub: How to Open A Pub on $5K

~Cuddly Drones

~The Future Is Short-Form: Storytelling For Today

~Making Art While Entertaining the Internet

~How To Rob A Bank: The Vulnerablilities of New Money

~ and finally one unofficial 6th Street session that almost pulled me in – less for the title than the first instruction: “Reconsider”twerk 1 twerk 2

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Taking This Show On The Road…

It’s no secret that I’m All Over The Map (Just check out my About page if you want to know) but my Writing/Reading/Swimming Sabbatical (based mainly in Texas) is winding down a little earlier than originally planned and to cap it off, I’m embarking on another few exciting trips before heading back to Toronto and my teaching life – A life I thought might wait until September, but since it won’t (it’s going to be starting up again on March 24), we’re closing off the Sabbatical with a bang (and a highly unfaithful ode to Shakespeare)!  I’ve got to fit a few days in Denver & Dallas, over a week in Austin, (for SXSW!!!) and finally home to Toronto into these suitcases…

Packing to wrap up the Sabbatical...

Packing to wrap up the Sabbatical…

But packing….

Ah, there’s the rub, for in this suitcase we call Big Red, (& her little sister)

What I’ve forgotten, or could not fit despite my toil,

To fill, to store, to bundle, to stow,

must give me pause…

Here’s hoping that anything I forget will be ok until May, when I’m back for a short stint to celebrate Birthday weekend with the husband.


The Heat is On, and Moving On

Instead of a frenzied week of preparation for moving back to Toronto, it’s been more of a slow motion roller coaster – our air conditioning broke – and for a variety of reasons it won’t be fixed before I leave Texas tomorrow. Texas in August with no A/C – I wouldn’t wish it on a mortal enemy. And personally, I don’t stay cool easily, I run a little hot even in winter. So, I’m taking it worse than most. I have been spending lots of time either at the frosty library, or submerged in water up to my neck. I can’t remember if I mentioned the example of a can of fruit exploding in our cupboard on this blog, but that gives an indication of how hot it is inside the house.

In some ways, it’s been good. I haven’t had the energy to worry so much about my year finally being over, and having to leave my husband behind again. Instead, I have been more focused on channeling the memory of this kind of heat back into my writing on Tokyo, where I first experienced this degree of torpid temperature bludgeoning. I’ve also spent time saying good byes to the friends I’ve made here, ones that I wouldn’t have expected, but who made my cultural exchange so much richer.

So, I’m moving again, but this time, back into a house we already own that’s full of our belongings, so really, I’m just packing up clothes and books. Still, there’s always too much, so I’ve got the scale out now. Airlines only accept medium sized suitcases these days and I’m capped at 50 lbs each – so big red will stay in the closet down here.

I am worried about having to set an alarm. I haven’t done that more than 3 times this year, and only then to catch flights, not to get up for work. And I’m worried about the challenge of continuing to write with a very full time work schedule. I don’t want the hundreds of pages I finished this year to be the end of it. But I’m excited about getting home. I love city life, walking everywhere, the constant external stimuli. Friends and family you share history and geography with. Being in this suburb, as much as it has been a learning experience, has also sometimes felt like a trap. There’s only so far you can walk in this temperature without expiring. Maybe I’ll have to work on those driving lessons some more.