6 years ago: Posts from March, 2012
Made with Paper
Lola is a cone bone again.
I’ve got to admit, the 8-bit NES Google Street Maps is an amazing thing to see. They even de-rez the street view images! It looks just like the Pixel Pix Super 8 Bit filter!
This is my house and my office as seen on Google Maps.
Ron Swanson, made with Paper
Every day, I am sitting down to write a journal entry, and every day, I get distracted by how adorable my daughter Zelda is. It is gross, how cute she is.
So instead of writing anything substantial right now, I am going to recommend some new apps I’ve been using over the last few days. All three of these apps are totally TITS, and you should get them and use them and send me pictures you make with them.
1-bit Camera is a low-rez camera app for iOS that creates 1-bit images using several different dithering techniques. It takes photos at a lower color depth than Pixel Pix, but at a smaller pixel size — which one is lower rez? WHO KNOWS.
Jittergram is a camera app that makes animated GIFs. You can make 2 frame “jittergrams,” or you can use it to make multi-frame stop motion animations. It has onion skinning to make it easier to line up your shots. I like this app so much, I ordered a special iPhone camera mount so that I can make better use of it.
Finally, Paper is a new iPad drawing and note taking app. It is absolutely beautiful, breaking your drawings up into customizable books. The interface is reason enough to download this free app, but I recommend plonking down the $8 to unlock all the various drawing tools. I’ve tried a lot of drawing apps, and this one is the best. I am excited to try it with the iPad stylus I just ordered.
Go now: Download. Install. Make something.
Pixel Art Nintendo NES console - Rotation animated gif - 16 x 16 pixels - 12 frames
This is SOOOO good.
Last night, I started working on a different way to read Tumblr: chronologically, and in bursts.
I’ll keep you posted.
Born in Toontown (Taken with instagram)
I just bought this for Zelda’s room.
Taken with instagram
Say hello to Zelda Ray Spence Brown.
Today, Katie and I are gonna have a baby.
Bags Packed (Taken with instagram)
YOU: Hey Ben, what are you up to?
BEN: Sitting around, waiting for a baby to be born, writing new jQuery plugins.
YOU: Cool, cool.
This is Barton Springs after the killstorm 9000 swept through Austin last night.
We went swimming here just a few days ago! The water must be up by about 10 or 15 feet - you can see the elevated lifeguard chair in the middle of the photo that is barely peeking out of the water.
Here’s the original of this photo.
Good vs Evil (Taken with instagram)
Drew some pixel art with my iPad.
Took a high rez photo of that pixel art with my iPhone.
Pixelized that photo with Pixel Pix.
Still no. (Taken with instagram)
Taken with instagram
Remember when my app got rejected because of an homage to Mega Man I included?
Here is my latest drawing: the crew of Deep Space 9!
This is Sean. There is a song about him called “Gigantor.”
The notion was that SXSW Interactive was becoming the magic place to get your Web app discovered—akin to the way the related music festival gets bands signed by major labels. Let’s bury that myth: For one thing, Twitter and Foursquare, the two apps which admittedly gained buzz at SXSW, didn’t actually launch there.
There are all kinds of arguments one can make about this year’s lack of breakout hits. Perhaps the class of 2012 just wasn’t that promising.
But I’d suggest another reason: The force of habit. We already have more apps than we can handle, and we’re just starting to learn how to use the ones we have. While our networks are getting faster, no one’s adding bandwidth to our brains.”
Owen Thomas at Daily Dot on SXSW.
In case anyone was wondering, Pixel Pix did not become the breakout app of SXSW 2012.
I really like this photo Erin Sparling took of me.
This was cool.
Let’s just get this out of the way up front: still no baby.
I was expecting to be all babied up by now, so now that we are sitting here, still waiting, I’m not really sure what to do. My parents are here, so I’m hanging out with them, and there is work to do with Adam, so I am doing that, and we are sleeping in “for the last time” every day. We didn’t even have coffee til noon this morning.
My parents and I went to Lockhart this afternoon and had barbecue. Katie stayed at home and vacuumed the entire house 12 times. Tonight, I will stay up late watching Katie’s belly move around on its own behalf, and try not to freak out.
The spring break before the storm.
There was a lot of hooha about my SXSW post from a few days ago. A crapton of internet famous people Twooted at me about it, and BuzzFeed quoted me in a piece about the last “Kick!” kickball game that never happened, and then Mat Honan also mentioned my post in his post on Gizmodo about why SXSW is better than ever because big is good and bigger is better.
Generally, it was an awkward experience watching my post be quoted in and out of context by a bunch of people, especially because a lot of people said something that boiled down to “ Did you see? Ben Brown said SXSW sucks.” And that is totally not what I actually said or meant, and is actually the opposite of what I think.
SXSW is awesome! My 65-year old parents got to be VIPs at a banging party last night, hang out on a roof deck while Nike shot a giant rainbow laser on the sky scrapers down town. That is fucking crazy. Why would I not want something like that to happen in my back yard?
I wish the money came in smaller packets from fewer mega-brands. I wish it was less crowded. I wish there was more art. But hey, generally speaking, bring it on.
And frankly, what I heard from people who actually attended this year was, it was great, tons of things to see and do, lots of good panels, interesting keynotes. But crowded.
I wish the internet famous people had tweeted about my pixel art instead of my quasi-political ideas.
Personally, I can’t wait for the real SXSW to start tomorrow.
Heads up, Tumblr,
The new version of Pixel Pix with the new 80’s sticker pack by Toni Martin, and the new Alien Invasion pack by Josh Grilli is now available! For the next week, there will also be a SXSW sticker pack available, with Texas themed elements to add to your photos!
Pixel Pix now includes more than 200 pixel stickers, and 6 colorful retro filters to turn your iPhone photos into low rez pop art. Be sure to tag your photos #pixelpix so we can find and share them!
After seeing posters plastered all over SXSW, I decided to check out @PixelPixApp. I’m glad I did. Donut’s monocle photo is the best. <3
Oh the charts we’ll all make 20 years from now.
Katie is right now getting acupuncture because we heard that sometimes it helps start labor.
Our due date is Sunday.
I’m sitting here thinking, “I hope people tweet about Pixel Pix!”
And Katie is thinking, “I hope that in the next 24 hours, I will birth a baby from my loins, and that I will be strong enough to do it my way.”
She is amazing.
Yes. That I agree with. But that’s not a new thing, is it? War movies cheapen the months and years of incredibly hard work that go into being a soldier. Newsroom movies cheapen the work of journalists. Top Chef (especially this last season my God) cheapens what it means to be a working chef. Romantic comedies cheapen pretty much everyone involved.
Maybe it’s just our turn?
I do not buy the “everything eventually gets ruined by money and fame” stance.
If it happens, it is because we allow it to happen. We welcomed the marketers and their money to our party, and now we have to wait with them in the beer line. Now, the door is wide open, and Pepsi and Chevy get to blast us with a million dollars worth of completely irrelevant marketing messages.
Zeldman said, “In 1999 it was Razorfish’s money. That sucked too. There’s always been a garish commercial sideshow alongside good indy content.”
I responded, “But Razorfish made websites. Amex makes debt. Is SXSW the product that we consume, or are we the product SXSW sells to Amex?”
How cheap are we willing to be?
I just want to reiterate that I really do love SXSW, no matter how big it gets. It has been wonderful to watch it grow and change. I cherish my involvement with it, and hop I can stay involved.
Several people reblogged my post saying, “This is what is wrong with SXSW.” It was not my intent to demonize corporate sponsors or silly contests. I just wanted to provide some perspective on how the event and the industry have changed.
Thanks for reading!
Wait, what were we talking about? Right, the kids on the buses! You say that “the point of these buses is to see how much of your attention they can suck up with tweets about hastily conceived apps that will ultimately go nowhere.” YES! That is the point. Those kids on the buses are not making products, much less businesses or, god forbid, companies. Those kids on the buses are making media — they are the contestants in the reality TV show.
Remember The Real World? Remember when Puck came along, and changed what it meant to be on The Real World? He wasn’t there to make friends, he was there to become a STAR. He not only changed The Real World, he changed reality TV. He wasn’t there to make friends, he was there to get famous. On the flip side there was Richard Hatch, first season of Survivor. He wasn’t there to make friends, he was there to make bank. And he cleaned up, playing the game on a different level than anyone else on the show.
What I’m hoping is that on those buses are some young entrepreneurs who are recognizing the reality show they’re in for what it is — a reality show. And that they’re there to become stars, not there to make bank. Because it’s not about the products…it’s about media.
I know it’s about media. But what that media is telling the world is, “Starting internet companies is SOOO EASY, strangers can do it on a bus in 3 days.” This is not only untrue, I feel like it is borderline malicious. People will believe this is reality, that great ideas can reach market in a week, and that companies can be formed out of thin air. And then, those same people will go on to lose massive amounts of money chasing a false dream.
If it was called the “Do Crazy Stuff For Fun” bus, I would be 100% in support of it. I believe in doing stuff for no other reason than that it can be done. But it’s called “The Startup Bus,” and they are presenting these “startups” as legit companies.
It cheapens the months and years of incredibly hard work that actually goes in to building a real startup.
Here’s one of the pixel portraits I put up at SXSW. There are three different portraits scattered throughout the convention center.
Featured alongside the people who made the awesome movie, DARKON.
SXSW starts today here in Austin. As expected, it is bigger than ever. Yesterday, I saw three stages being built, and someone has installed two giant domes just off of Congress Avenue, to be filled with who knows what sort of branded advertainment experience. This is the first year that I’ve seen stages being put up for the interactive portion of the festival - most people in Austin don’t even consider SXSWi to be part of the real SXSW, which doesn’t start until next Thursday.
For the first time in 12 years, I’m not attending. In my quest to always have a new and different SXSW experience, this year, I will be helping my wife have a baby instead.
My first SXSW in 2000, my startup threw what was then considered a ridiculously lavish and expensive party. We spent, if I recall correctly, about $10,000 on an open bar that lasted til the bar closed at 2. It was a huge deal.
In 2006, when I ran Consumating, we threw a party at one of the best bars in town.
This year, Jay-Z will play a party sponsored by American Express in a private party tent built for SXSW badge holders who are also AmEx customers. It will probably be one of the most exclusive parties of the year, marked by what will almost certainly be the worst line SXSW has ever seen. That party will probably cost a few million dollars to throw.
I like SXSW. I might go as far as saying I love SXSW, the festival, the people, and everything it does for Austin. But you know what’s nuts?
I woke up to an email from a distant acquaintance from San Francisco. An excerpt, below:
I hopped on a bus about three days ago with 25 strangers - this doesn’t surprise you. Our goal was to pitch ideas, form small companies and build a start-up before we landed in Austin for SxSW.
There are 10 other buses like ours coming from other cities, and each bus has at least 3 teams on them and we’re all competing to define an idea and bring it to market.
The email went on to explain that the 30 new “products” that were created on these buses would be judged by how much “social currency” they earned. There is a celebrity judging panel. You can subscribe to video updates.
So to be clear, the point of these buses is to see how much of your attention they can suck up with tweets about hastily conceived apps that will ultimately go nowhere, burn through a bunch of investor money while adding to the ridiculous spectacle of tech startup culture.
I love a good party. I am in this to make party. But I think we might be getting a bit confused about what it means to launch a product or start a company, and what it means to be on a reality game show.
I am still excited, and I still marvel at what a weird thing we have all built together. I worry about how all of this money seems to corrupt it, turning a festival originally about independent creators into a branded hellscape of VIP-only, RSVP-only partypocalypse.
The world’s biggest hip-hop superstar is playing a concert at the same event where, a few years ago, my friend Dakota was the biggest name act.
I’m not complaining. Laissez les bon temps rouler! But I’m glad I’m not going this year.
PS. I just got back from pixel bombing the SXSW convention center. It was a bit terrifying, but we succeeded. Keep your eyes peeled for my pixel art portraits up on the big concrete pillars, and make your own pixel portrait with my free iPhone app, Pixel Pix. I have created a special SXSW pixel pack for you to use that will be available soon!
In space, nobody can hear you blog about yourself.
Tiny Austin Beerworks cans.
Here’s a preview of the limited edition SXSW sticker pack that will be available next week in Pixel Pix.
Here’s the essay I wrote about responsive web design for SXSW. If you are a web designer, you should be learning all about this incredibly useful and valuable technique now!
See also Breakpoints.js, our responsive jQuery plugin that adds triggers events as the browser is resized.
I think this is the money quote:
Responsive design is not just about getting your content onto multiple devices. It’s a new way to build your service from the ground up.
These are the posters I’m going to hang up around the SXSW convention center to promote Pixel Pix. THOUGHTS?
Professional work environment.
I am still looking for someone who can translate a few paragraphs into Korean, Japanese and Chinese. Let me know if you’d like to volunteer.
I successfully completed the next version of Pixel Pix and submitted it to the app store last night at about 8PM. If all goes smoothly in the approval process, it should be out on Thursday or Friday, along side the 2 new sticker packs, and a special limited time only SXSW Texas-themed sticker pack.
It is crazy to see Pixel Pix continue to spread. This weekend, it hit rocketed up the charts in Taiwan and Japan, and it continues to be downloaded steadily all across the world. As of today, we will have shipped 9000+ copies. By the end of the week, we will surely have blown past 10,000 copies - especially if the new update results in additional attention from blogs or SXSW attendees.
One of the exciting things for me is that our “Frequency and Recency” report looks very promising. This is one of the critical statistics that shows you whether or not your software is actually helping to form a real community of loyal users. The above chart shows what portion of the people using Pixel Pix are using it for the first time, second time, third time, all the way up to people who have used it 100-200 times already.
At the top of the chart is all the brand new users, making up 60% of the use. This is great, lots and lots of new users coming in and using the app for the first time. I want this number to stay high.
But also great to see is the number of people who have launched the app between 9 and 200 times: 6%! Considering that the app has only been out for 14 days, this is a pretty big slice of people who have used the app daily or more than daily. Almost 2% of users have used it MORE THAN 100 TIMES - that means some people have used the app an average of almost 10 times a day since launch!
Obviously, this is just a start. Based on today’s download numbers, the number of people in this most extreme category is still small - about 200 people. What I’m hoping for is that as time goes by and people have more time to spend with the app, a growing percentage of the growing population will fall into this category.
If lots of people use the app a lot, we can continue to release new content and filters, and fund the continued effort with in-app purchases of these new features.
Regardless, it is incredibly gratifying to my team here at XOXCO to see Pixel Pix spread!
I have really been enjoying these daily textual exercises, and I thank you for your readership. I have received several very nice emails from readers like you, and I want to encourage you to reach out and say hi if you’ve got anything at all to say. I plan on continuing to make a daily effort to share what is happening with the Brownce family, XOXCO, and my creative projects. If feels very good to flex my writing muscle again, and I’m looking forward to making writing a bigger part of my day, every day. Please feel free to email me, or ask questions via Tumblr.
Is there anyone out there in Tumblr land who can translate some text for me into Japanese? Korean? Spanish? Chinese?
If you wouldn’t mind translating a few paragraphs about Pixel Pix into your language of choice, email me!
Today, my friend Cris Dobbins has launched her new company, Print Punch. Print Punch creates limited edition runs of art prints at very affordable prices - as low as $30. I feel very lucky that Cris invited me to submit some of my own art to be included at launch, and that a few of my pixel art drawings are now available as prints!
Each print is signed and numbered and is printed on high quality paper ready to be framed. I’ve seen these in person, and they are really beautiful - the colors are bright, the pixels are crisp, and they make me very proud!
FOR TODAY ONLY, if you buy one of these prints and send me a separate email with your shipping address, I will send you a few of the pixel art coffee mug stickers I made to promote my art show. If you like coffee and pixels, you will love these stickers.
Over the last few days, Katie and I have had a few interactions with strangers that I thought I would share. These stories do not fit into a larger narrative or moral - I present them to you here for their mind boggling properties.
Last Friday morning, Katie and I were on our normal dog walk when a car pulled up beside us and came to a stop. One of our dogs, Lola, had just pooped, and Katie was in the process of bending over to pick it up. The passenger side door opened, and a young woman leaned out. She was probably in her early or mid-twenties.
“Those are such pretty dogs,” she said to Katie.
Katie, 9 months pregnant, hands full of hot dog shit, turned around and said, “Aw thanks!”
“CAN I FUCK THEM?” screamed the girl in the car. Then, squealing with glee, she slammed the door, and the car sped off down the road.
She didn’t even wait for an answer. Of course she can fuck our dogs! We wish her all the luck in having lesbian three-way intercourse with our neutered dogs.
Later that same day, Katie and I went to the hospital where she will very shortly be giving birth to our child. As part of the pre-birth preparation, we brought in a check to pay for the hospital costs. We went to the information desk, and they called down one of the finance people from the health insurance company, who came out and met us in the lobby.
Katie is, as I mentioned, 9 months pregnant.
“Do you know what you are having?” said the health insurance rep.
“No,” I said. “We do not want to know! We’ve asked everyone here to keep it a secret from us. It has been a big deal, everyone wants us to know, but we have very carefully avoided finding out.”
“The doctor said he didn’t even know,” said Katie. “It is a secret.”
The health insurance rep looked at Katie. She looked at a paper file she was carrying.
“It’s a boy,” she said. Very matter of fact.
We stared at her in disbelief.
“Oh my god, did I just ruin the surprise?” she said. “Oops!”
We continued to stare at her in complete disbelief. My hands balled themselves up into fists, then continued balling themselves into spiked clubs, and then into laser rifles.
There was an awkward pause, followed by a second awkward pause.
“Of course I don’t ACTUALLY know,” said the woman. “I mean, this sort of information isn’t even in your file! It just LOOKS like a boy.”
“Haha,” said Katie, because she is good natured and kind. I said nothing, because I am not.
My goal for today is to submit Pixel Pix version 1.1 to the app store, so that it will (hopefully) be released just as SXSW is beginning here in Austin. The new version has 100 new pixel stickers in two new packs by very talented pixel artists, Josh Grilli and Toni Martin. I also need to design and send off for printing some SXSW themed posters that we will be hanging around the convention center, and conduct another meeting with a potential new (big and exciting) client. It is going to be a busy day here at XOXCO.
Pixel Pix is being featured on this Taiwanese site right now, which is leading to a lot of new downloads. Above is Google’s translation of the Chinese. I wonder what is getting translated as “gust” and “wind?”
Getting ready for SXSW by drawing some Shiner Bock.
I love how window frames look at 0.0025 megapixels.
My favorite New York Times op ed author.
Testing out a new sticker pack by Toni Martin from PixelsMil.
Textagon, an iPhone app by my friend/collaborator Adam Mathes, is also now free in the app store!
Textagon creates text art that is somewhere in between an image macro and one of those “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters. It is a fun way to add text to images and have it LOOK COOL. And it’s a great companion app to Pixel Pix - pixelize an image in Pixel Pix, then layout text on top with Textagon.
This month, I’m going to become a father.
The first thing I did today when I arrived at the office is write up on our whiteboard, “PRE-BABY PUNCH LIST.” Until this morning, I hadn’t really thought of how the baby’s arrival was going to impact my ability to launch software. But after talking to our doula this morning and working on our birth plan, I realized, holy shit, I am so not going to be able to compile new versions of my app when Katie is in labor. Can you imagine?
KATIE: Oh god, it’s time! Call the hospital! Get our bags!
BEN: OK, just hold on a second. First I need to get a new provisioning profile set up on the iOS developer center, then validate the new version, then set iTunes connect meta data. THEN we can go to the hospital.
KATIE: It’s coming! I can see the head!
BEN: Shit, it says my code signing certificate is the wrong one? How can that be? This worked last time!
So this is good, I have a tight schedule and a lot to do. No messing about, Ben! Don’t spend all morning writing silly journal entries.
THE BABY IS COMING.
7 years ago: Posts from March, 2011
Self portrait in pixels, in the style of Sword and Sworcery
Mario! Seen at the corner of South 1st and Elizabeth.
03/25/11 10:00 AM
This is huge! 3 feet tall at least.
Honestly, “douche bag” is a more polite insult than one I could muster for Governor Rick Perry lately. At the beginning of the year, he made it a priority to pass some new legislation:
The House bill would require many women who want an abortion — even victims of sexual assault — to have an ultrasound probe inserted into their uterus at least 24 hours before the [abortion].
“I commend the Texas House for passing this legislation, which bolsters our efforts to protect life by ensuring Texans are fully informed when considering such an important decision,” Perry said in a statement. “The decision to choose life becomes clear when someone has access to all the information and I look forward to this important legislation reaching my desk very soon.”
I wasn’t planning on posting anything about this here. I’ve been ranting to my friends about it for weeks. With all the disasters going on in the world, it hasn’t gotten much coverage on a national level.
So I think it’s important as a citizen and as a woman and as a Texan to say something when the government moves to restrict the rights of its citizens. Shame on Perry, shame on the House.
03/22/11 4:03 PM
My little brother Simon turns 30 today. This is a photo of us from almost 30 years ago.
We used to call him “Budge.” Now he holds an advanced degree in marine biology.
03/11/11 12:19 PM
Know Your Texas (Taken with instagram)
Katie prepping for her panel!
8 years ago: Posts from March, 2010
Thinks she’s people.
Cool enough for me.
“You could write a book called I Take Out The Recycling Too Much.”
“Oh, yeah, that would sell a ton of copies.”
“And then you could go on a book tour and tell people that you’re a recycling expert. Doo de doo, I’m Neal Pollack and I take out the recycling.””
Do any of my Austin-based net pals want to chat from time to time about how nice the weather is / database searching techniques / tacos? Respondez-vous!
This is good. Every Monday, 1 picture, 1 song, 1 story.
I love new webzines.
Big Red Flag Correction
Apparently my friends, whose names might rhyme with Hen Round and Painted Fence did not actually buy that goofy iPhone skin. It was awarded them free of charge as promotional schwag because they’re well connected Internet People.
Spend some quality time with my dog Bowie.
03/25/10 12:57 PM
This was moments before the train arrived!
My house is about a quarter mile from the train tracks. A train rumbles by every hour or so, sometimes more often.
Occasionally, we’ll be walking our dogs out by the tracks when a train comes by. The trains make great noises as they pass. I always stop and listen.
Tonight, I convinced my brother and Dakota to drag their recording equipment out to a field by the tracks so that we could make a recording of the train. It was a windy night, and this was only our first try, but I am pleased with the results.
My dad is in town for a conference that is not SXSW, but here he is at a SXSW show making “that hand gesture, whatever it means.”
Rock and roll, dad. Rock and roll.
Today, we took the #5 bus downtown to the convention center to go to Flatstock, the screen printing art show. There are a zillion people here, and the streets are filled with music. We wandered around a bit, had a bright blue margarita, then we walked across town to Lambert’s and had some fancy BBQ.
After dinner, we were so stuffed full of meat, we decided we needed to walk more. We walked all the way back down 6th to the Mexican American Culture Center, where we went to the American Apparel Flea Market and bought cheap clothes. Right next door was the surprisingly awesome “I heart comix” carnival. We lied about having RSVPed so we could get in and ride the carnival rides.
I love my new videophone!
A story of a spoiled selfish child as CEO who wants everything for free.
My favorite part of this very sad article is when Louderback calls the very nice volunteers who help run SXSW “conference Nazis.” Those ladies who volunteered to stand by the escalator for days and days while douche bags from San Francisco sneered at them sure are assholes! And I hate all those people rushing around to make sure the sound and lights work! Nazi fuckers!
I had a dream last night that Kevin Fanning offered to publish a book of my old blog entries. I was very excited about the prospect of having my words on paper again.
Photo by Tim.
Today we went to a party thrown by the blog I started in 2005, Austinist.com. It was a big party, featuring a speech by Austin’s mayor and the band White Denim. The streets are crowded with SXSW people. Now that the nerds are gone, the rockers are taking over the city.
Scott & Ben (via Laughing Squid)
6985 Words about SXSW 2000
Thanks to Phil Gyford, I just stumbled upon my recap of MY FIRST SXSW, 10 years ago. SXSW had the first ever panel about blogging, during which I CRIED because, at the time, I believed blogging was going to ruin the internet.
Here it is, unedited. MOST of the links below will probably be broken, as they point to their original, 10-year old locations.
Do you know how many people were here in town this week for South by Southwest? I mean, there were a fucking ton of people in town this week and I know the best of them, and most of them are at least decently cute if not really fucking hot, yet still, still I, Ben Brown, Pop Icon, Folk Hero, did not get a single piece of action. Not even a little in-the-corner-between-panels action. None! Nothing. Not at all. And because none of you, and you know who you are, because none of you took my pants off, you are forever banished from my presence! (Or at least until you decide to have sex with me.)
But seriously folks,
Lane forces me to wake up at like 2am on Friday morning after I’ve been up all night writing code for this thing, that thing I’m building, and I mean, all I want to do is sleep, you know, but the he wakes me up at like 2am and it’s like “We’ve got to go to this venture capital thing and we’ve got to show them POWERPOINT slides and shake hands and NO you can’t wear the big pants, wear something nice for God’s sake, for OUR sake, these are VENTURE MOTHERFUCKING CAPITALISTS, do you know what that means man? Do you know what that means?”
“Lane?” I say, and when he just keeps going, I hang up the cellphone and roll over. There’s nobody else in my bed tonight, so it doesn’t matter.
I wake up again at 9 and drive shoeless to the office where I’ve been told that I must must must be so that we can “strategize our discussions.” “What the fuck does that mean?” I say. “I mean, if they have a technical question, I’ll answer it. If they have a business question, you answer it.”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s all I wanted to make clear,” says Lane.
“Oh. My. God.” It’s hard to wrap your mouth around a period like that, but I’ve practiced a lot so I can do it for effect. “So…”
“We need you to put the 2 ton monitor in your car,” he says, and I realize that Lane misinterpreted the part where it says “Engineer” on my business card and thinks I shovel coal into furnaces to make trains go choo choo.
A few hours later, we’re up to our noses in VC guys asking questions and throwing cards at us. I don’t know who to talk to and who to get rid of, and I’m sure Lane is terrified that I’m going to say something horrible and rude to one of these rich white men who want to give us money. But you know what? Nobody cares about our quest for venture capital.
Starting a company is not hard. However, starting a company is really goddamned annoying and does not make for interesting reading (or writing). Sex is interesting. Booze is interesting. Sex and booze and drugs all at once is interesting, and when there is some rock and roll, my god, even more interesting. So I’ll tell you this, and then I’ll move on to the exciting parts: Things with Deepleap are going really well and you’ll be hearing a lot about us soon.
Friday morning rolls around and Maura wakes me up with a phone call from Saint Louis. “I’m stuck in Saint Louis and I’m thinking about you,” she says. There’s weather somewhere, and pretty much everyone is stuck somewhere. Michelle calls me and she’s stuck in Atlanta, and I can only hope that Jesse isn’t bound for another night stuck in HELL. Missouri! Who would have thought that Satan himself lives under that big boring arch?
I don’t know what to do with myself before everyone comes in, so I toodle over to the office and piss a few hours away fixing bugs which I guess isn’t actually pissing hours away, but it’s not playing with friends, you know, so it feels like wasted time. And then Maura shows up ahead of schedule and we drive around in little circles and she loses her wallet and I’m thinking “oh no, this is going to put a dark cloud over the entire weekend.”
“Maura,” I say. “You lost your wallet. Oh well. Not the end of the world. Someone will buy your drinks for you. Just have a good time.” Advice which it looks like she follows because she comes out to drink with us later that night at one or another of the opening night parties. First one was the official SxSW thing where we met up with Judith from NYC, Phil Gyford, and a bunch of WEBLOGGING DORKS (Hush! I redeem myself later…) I’m basically spending my time trying not to meet Cam, introducing Claire to people, doing my benbrown thing.
“It’s gonna be a bit scary for you,” I say to Claire while we’re getting ready to go. “I’m a bit … wacky when I get around these folks. I’m a bit overexcitable. I’m like a little puppy.” She nods and ignores me. Claire learned the lessons necessary for living with me pretty quickly, and she doesn’t pay me much attention anymore. My office mates are still learning, and so they yell at me a lot, especially when I take my pants off and show them my butt. It’s a nice butt, so I like people to look at it in it’s pure, bare form.
I bump into Heather Champ who I’ve never talked to before, online or off, but she’s cute and I’m kinda desperate, so I chat her up a bit and I offer her a ride to the next party, some thing at a hotel which, well, I don’t even remember what it was for, but it was ok and everyone was there so we went, right? And Heather, well, she’s a charmer, lemme tell ya, but my chances of bedding her were ruined by a) her not-so-single status and b) “You’re HOW young? Oh good Christ!” I may have the body of a twelve year old, but baby, I’ve got the moves of a porn star, I swear! (1) But I still have to finish that sentence I started back there, Heather and I drink a few drinks and then we run into Jason Kottke and then Maura and Michelle show up and everyone decides that the party we’re at sucks and someone yells “FOOD!” and we all rush off to some cafe to eat.
Pableaux pulls some kind of Pableaux magic (2) and we get a special room, reserved just for us super famous web personality types, and soon enough, the crew from Disgruntled Housewife come and sit down at my table. I look around and I’m surrounded by chicks, I mean, it’s Michelle and Claire and these three chickclick girls and, shit, I don’t even know who some of these people are, but I’m the only guy at this table filled with hot girls, so I bring up my favorite pity inspiring conversation topic — My Fucked Up Relationships. Of course, because Disgruntled Housewife is home to the every famous Dick List, I tell them that I’ve always been afraid, ever since I read about the Dick List way back in like 97 when Wired Magazine was still cool, I’ve always been afraid that one of my psychotic exes, (not to be confused with the spate of non-psychotic exes I’ve had recently) will stick me up in there and that I will forever be branded as a dick. They’re the psychotic ex type, those chickclick girls, and so they turn it around on me and say something like “Well, if you’ve got all these ‘psycho exes’ then the problem is most likely yours and you probably are a dick,” so I decide to ignore them for the rest of the conference. Claire pulls me aside and sneers, “Feminists!”
I’m thinking that I’d love to take one of these lovely women home and just, you know, give her a good wholesome humping, but FUCK, I’ve had a lot to drink and the best idea involves passing out as soon as possible, so that’s exactly what I do.
I want to be a glam rock star for the Deepleap party we’re throwing Saturday night, so I drag all my lovely guests (Michelle, JCN, Claire) out shopping with me, and of course, I don’t find anything I want at any store. I want spiked wristbands, I want spangles, I want tight shiney pants, you know, I want Glam! I figure out that Austin has no stores that cater to the glam rock crowd, God, is there a glam rock crowd? I hope not. I end up buying myself a shiney glammy type shirt and settling for the spiked wristbands I already have, and we stop off and get a shiney red feather boa to complete the outfit.
It’s 6 O’clock and the first party of the night, the SxSW Web Awards ceremony starts at 7, so we all try to take 5 minute naps to freshen up, and then we start getting ready. I put a lot of lipstick and glitter on, some eyeliner here and there, and I get myself all glammed up, suck my gut in as much as possible, you know, go for that drug addict look, and we’re off to some other hotel with more free drinks and more lovely fucking people.
I ditch my pals at the bottom of the stairs and rush upstairs to give hugs and kisses to pals like Derek,Lance, Shauna, and Drue, flit around looking for the bar, bump’n’hump Halcyon as he’s on his way into the ballroom to MC the awards. Lane’s nervous because he’s up for an award, so I tell him that he’ll never win with the competition he’s got.
“You’re up against Ana Voog,” I say. “You don’t have any nudity on your site, let alone nice shots of your tits. You’ll never win.”
He fumes because he’s pissed, and rightly so, that Ana is competing in the personal website category. I mean, sure, yeah, her site is a personal site. But she’s got tits! And you can see them on her cam! That’s a proven method for hits hits hits, and it’s just not fair.
Of course, Lane wins in his category and Ana wins in two others, and Ana beats him to death in the Best-Acceptance-Speech category, even though Lane mentions me. I mean, tits! Hello! And after the awards are done (which doesn’t happen fast enough, in my humble opinion. John was funny, but man! Who really cares?) I introduce myself to Ana and invite her to the Deepleap party, pretty much sure that she thinks I’m some kind of obsessed fan and that I’ll be waiting in rubber pants to attack her. But I played it cool, I did the “you know, we’d love to see you there, and well, whatever. Maybe I’ll see you later,” thing, and she makes some joke about how she paid ten grand for her tits and now she gets to go wherever she wants, something like that, I’m messing up the joke cause I didn’t pay 10k for my tits, but it was funny and she was so small and elfish, she’s really just so cute. It’s funny. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So we all piss off to dinner for a bit, I figure I’ll be late to my own party, and I’m chilling with Andy who I haven’t seen in years, God, since CSoTY 97, back when CSoTY wasn’t REALLY REALLY lame, and I dunno, we ate Tacos and if a bomb had been dropped on that taco place that night, most of the high quality independant content on the internet would have vanished all of a sudden and the big e-fucking-commerce sites would have won. (3) It was like we were just a bunch of pals out to dinner, which is what we were, but I mean, it’s just weird cause we live all over the world — New Zealand, California, Texas, Canada, hell, Phil has some sort of British accent but I got no clue where he’s from. But we’re just pals, out to dinner. And there were even some hangers on there I think, a few folks that had just had the guts to talk to someone and had been surprised when they got invited along to dinner with the internet superstars. Cause you know, we’re nice folks.
At 10 I arrive at the deepleap party, only an hour late but there are already maybe a hundred people in the bar and everyone is on their way to being wacky wacky drunk. Bryan has the video projector playing blurred out shots of the super secret product andGregory and Stefan are peddling their wares and everyone is having a really good time. There are so many people there, shit man, too many to even type URLs (and if you don’t know them, I mean, who the fuck are you anyways?) Carl, Justin, Jeff Veen, Betty “Fuckertown” Ray, shit, it was a Who’s Who of the internet. And the best part was that all the weblogger kids were there too, Brig and Matt Haughey and all those folks, there were a fuckload of them too. Even Ana Voog came, and I sat and talked to her for like 2 hours, man, she’s fucking cool. So genuine, so offbeat, you know? Like, she just says these things and I’m thinking “this woman is absolutely off her rocker,” but it’s in a wonderful, innocent way and wow, I guess I’m just really impressed that I’m sitting next to her and she gets like 10 million hits a day and you know, gets naked on her camera. I’ve always wanted to get naked on the internet.
I excuse myself from the table I’m sitting at with Ana and Halcyon so that I can talk to a few more people and I spot Meg in line for the bathroom, so we chat and it’s really good to talk to her and see her since we used to talk like 24 hours a day and then we decided to not “See” each other anymore which I guess means we don’t talk anymore, but that really sucks so I was, like I said, really happy to see her. And we’re making talkytalk when someone vacates the bathroom and Meg says “Hey, wanna just come with me?” and because I’m drinking my second pint glass of gin (kick in the tongue) I say “Sure,” and then I’m sitting on a stool while Meg pees and my thought process was something like this:
“Oh god, why am I in here while Meg is peeing? This is so horribly traumetizing. Oh god, oh god this is terrible. … … Hey, wait. This isn’t at all as bad as I ever thought it would be. Why am I so fucking neurotic? I mean, this is just fine. I’m fine with this. She can pee, I can pee, we’re adults, it’s fine. Oh! But now I’m traumetized by not being traumetized and oh!”
And so, she flushed, and then I peed, and I say something like “Hey, so now that you’ve seen me pee, wanna have sex?” which goes down in my book as the number one thing I regret having said. I mean, if we had not had a thing, it would have been funny and may have actually worked, but we had a thing, you know, and it was just in bad taste and didn’t come out funny at all. So. Oops. But I mean, nothing can be taken serious when the person who says it is squirting pee out of their penis. I mean, really.
(The second thing I said was to Ana Voog. “Hey, if you’re gonna be in town and need anything, you know, heheh, if you need any help or anything, give me a call.” And then I realized that it sounded like a come-on, like “Hey, if you want to fuck me,” right? So I say “Like, I mean, if you want to eat some good BBQ,” which made it seem like I was covering up a too obvious sexual advance which I was, but I wasn’t really, you know? She’s so out of my league.)
People start to filter out eventually, so I walk up to the balcony area where Lance and Shauna and Drue and Alli are hanging out and I start talking about the drug addled orgy I witnessed at Burning Man, man, my eyes have seen some crazy shit, and then all of a sudden we’re discussing how much it would take, how much booze or drugs or what it would take to have me have sex with Douglas in Drue’s room while they all watched. “Lots,” I say, “but not so much if it was Carl…” who hear’s his name and wanders over. Gin + Desperate + Carl = I lean over and give Carl a big hickey on his neck and he screams “What about my wife?!” and we all giggle. God, I wish I could have a little Carl love doll. He’s such a tease.
(the lovely ladies tell me that I’m a big boy tease myself. “You’re such a top.”)
I’m piss drunk and it’s approaching 2am, so I tell everyone to come back to my place, but all I’m capable of doing is serving everyone a beer and passing out. I guess everyone leaves at about 3, but I don’t remember because my brain was just, wow, I was drowning in gin.
I think I must have slept through Sunday. All that I remember is that Bryan talked really smart on his panel.
It’s strange that by monday I had already had three straight nights of drunkeness, or maybe not so strange, but Monday morning was not the happiest of mornings for my guests and I, so we didn’t manage to get to the convention center until about 2 minutes before the panels started, and I ended up standing outside of Peter Merholz’s “Interface Culture” panel. SxSW is great, except that at any given time, there is probably 1 thing that everyone wants to go to and 4 things that some people are like “eh, if I can’t get in, I’ll go to something else,” so I spent a lot of time squeezed in the back, trying to look cool and comfortable while people babbled on about how using the word “Trust” on Epinions is risky business and whatnot, I dunno, interesting to a point but I’m much more interested in the people behind the sites than the sites themselves.
In general, and I’ll switch tenses for a second here, the shit that happened at the conference on Monday was pretty tame. I pimped it at Cocktails with Courtney, Lane got on the news, blah blah, business, schmooze, etc. Again, doesn’t make for terrific reading. Everyone headed to Pableaux’s for some magical gumbo, gumbo so good it can kill a man because he can’t stop eating, can’t figure a way to stop the fork from going into the bowl just one more time, just one more damned scoop of that amazing stuff, Goddamn it Pableaux, you’re going to make me so fat if you keep feeding me like this, and when that was done, most of us headed over to some sort of party thrown by some sort of company, oh, some shitty web app kinda thing that may or may not be vaguely in competition with deepleap, anyways, switching tenses like I switch gears…
So we get to this terrible party at this really good bar with no free drinks, and that’s a shame because the bar really is really good, and there’s this woman on the stage who obviously makes web pages for a living but is trying to break into standup. I don’t even know what she’s saying, but God, it’s not funny. Lance and Derek and Jason and I are kinda looking at each other, looking at the stage, shaking our heads. The girl, whoever it was, God, don’t hire her to write for you, ok? Whatever her name was introduces some other woman and this new one doesn’t even have looks going for her, and then she starts in with her jokes.
“So finding an apartment in San Francisco is pretty hard. It kinda reminds me of Nazi Germany. Like, man, I can’t find an apartment! It’s like when all the jews got killed.”
Ok, so that’s not exactly what she said. She was, however, comparing the difficult of finding a pad in SanFran to the holocaust, and us folks, us extremely sensitive and well rounded folks towards the back of the bar, we’re just horrified.
“So Lance, what I’m getting here is that not being able to find parking in SoMa is like being shoved into a gas chamber with your family and getting baked! Is that true?”
“Oh yeah, it’s really hard.” We giggle uncomfortably because we want to be laughing at this woman, but God, I mean, REALLY, when did it become ok to poke fun at the holocaust?
“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” says someone, so we all walk across the street to some chickclick thing which I’ve decided I won’t like because I don’t like ChickClick, but it’s ok even if the drinks still aren’t free, and I suggest that everyone comes back to my house for a shindig. I guess I kinda just stood up in the middle of the bar and said “Everyone come to my place” because fucking the whole bar follows me out of the club and gets in cabs and comes to my house.
I got beer, Bryan brings over his dreamcast and video projector, so 10 minutes into the party and we’ve got the entire cast of Homepage, The Movieplaying Soul Calibur while it’s being projected, 20 feet high on my workshop. Half of Wired Digital is there, there are people dancing in my living room to Daft Punk, Drue is prank calling Esther Dyson from Justin Hall’s cell phone. And I’m just walking around, dumbfounded that I’ve got these fabulous people in my house, that I can call these fabulous, wonderful people my friends. My friends! These are my people, my friends, my god, I’ve seen some of them naked! I’ve seen Lance’s dick! This is what I was looking for in highschool, this is what I was looking for in college — I’ve got this group of friends who are actively following their dreams, creating their art, changing the world and I’m a part of it and my lord, god, we’re all so wonderful. We’re motherfucking rockstars. (4)
At like 4 am, I find myself sitting in the grass out back with Drue, Lance, Michelle, Fabulous Jennifer, Alli, shit, just a bunch of really good folks, and I’m telling them about Priscilla, right?
“So we went out the first time,” I say, “and we ended up going back to her place and she went and put her jammies on and I was giving her a backrub, but I guess I wasn’t getting any signals so I just ended up going home.”
“No signals?! You’re an idiot Ben! She was in her jammies! Pajamas mean sex, you fucking retard.”
“I dunno,” I say, “I don’t think so. So anyways, I call her a few days later and she was telling me how she was in the process of cleaning her cat, and so…”
“She was cleaning her cat? Oh good christ. You call this girl up and she says ‘Oh hi, I’m washing my pussy right now, do you want to come over?’ and you didn’t pay any attention.” Everyone laughs. “Cleaning her cat! Oh god, you’re an idiot.”
“Yeah, so she comes over and I cook her dinner, and she explains how she doesn’t want a relationship and she doesn’t like to date, and so I guess I just kinda lost interest. I mean, she was dressed up really nice even though she told me that she was all sick that day, but I mean, I dunno. Maybe she just dresses nice. And we were sitting on the couch, but I didn’t know what to do, so she just left and I haven’t talked to her since.”
More laughing as everyone tries to overcome their disbelief that benbrown, pop icon, doesn’t know how to behave around girls. Drue takes my hand and says, “Tomorrow at noon, you are going to call that girl and ask her out, you’re going to ask her out and then you’re going to have sex with her because she’s sending you all the signals, but you’re a retard and you’re ignoring them. She wants to have lots of sex with you, lots and lots of really amazing sex, and then when it’s done, she wants to go home and you won’t have to worry about girlfriends, dates, etc, etc. You’re just going to have lots of sex with her. So you go do that, you go call her, and when you’ve done that, report back to me.”
So I did. The next day, I called her up and I asked her to come out with us to the parties that night, to come and party with us fabulous people, and you know what? She said yes. And Drue hugged me and Jennifer hugged me and we did a little dance. And then, well, I’m getting ahead of myself.
If I don’t particularly like your website, something in me causes me to not particularly like you. This is a really easy thing to do when you are on the opposite side of the country and my only interaction with you is typitytypity once in a while. It gets a lot harder when I sit down across a table from you and talk to you and realize that you’re pretty good looking.
So when I sit down at the weblog panel and look at all these folks who I just poo, I just dislike these folks so much because WEBLOGS SUCK, right? Webloggers are lazy, they’re ugly, they’re terrible terrible people and I hate them so so much! Ooo I hate them! Oh. But look! They’re so nice! And that one sure is cute! Oh what will I do?
And so the people start talking, and what I’m hearing, it’s just killing me. “We do weblogs because we don’t have the time to do anything else! It’s so easy to do and people come back and read it, and you know, I always wanted to have a website, but I just didn’t want to put that much time into it. I had a website once and it was wonderful and beautiful, but man! this is so much easier.”
And my hands start shaking, and I’m sweating, and I can feel my heart beating in my chest. Good god, these people are destroying my dream! Everything I’ve been working towards for the last five years, it’s all being flushed down the toilet by these lazy bastards! And so, when I think I’ve got myself under control, when I think I’m not going to vomit as soon as I open my mouth, I raise my hand and Derek calls on me. I take a deep breath. Everyone in the audience gives a nervous giggle — they know who I am. I’m Ben Brown! I hate weblogs! I’m the Enemy.
I can’t tell if I’m standing up or sitting down, I can’t tell if I’m at a fucking congressional hearing, I’m so damned jittery and impassioned, I just let go:
“I’m gonna try not to cry here… My hands are shaking and I’m having a pretty hard time sitting here. It’s making me really sad to hear what you guys are saying. I mean, a few years ago, people were talking about this internet revolution thing, people were saying that it was so amazing that anyone could go out and publish their own manifestos, their own magazines, people could connect on whole new levels because shit! you can do it all from a computer and it’s so much easier. And everyone can do it, everyone can write their novel, everyone can say what they need to say. And now, good god, now you guys are telling me that the revolution, the way that independant personal content is going is to the WEBLOG? It’s quick, it’s easy, but is a link to a wired news article and a snarky comment content? Is that what you want to be reading on the net? Is that what you want the future to be? Jesus man! That’s not content! That’s the patter for a radio ad!”
I’m shaking really hard, I can barely breath, I don’t know what’s going on. Derek says something like “Are you sure you’re done?” and he smiles at me because he’s nice, Derek’s nice and he’s good, and I say “yeah,” and then I say “No, no wait. A few minutes ago, Derek was saying that the organizers here at SxSW wanted to do a panel on personal publishing, you know, journals, zines, that sort of thing. And Derek said ‘Oh no, that’s so uncool now. Do it on weblogs.’ and see, that’s exactly what I’m talking about here. A year ago, people were publishing zines! 10 people writing these 3000 word essays together, putting them all up online, making some noise! And that was fucking amazing. That was cool. And now, you guys say that the future is these little snippets, these little blurbs, and man. I’m one of two engineers at a brand new startup, ok? I’m building this big huge application, and I still find time to write 3000 (5), 5000, hells, this one here that I’m writing now, it’s like almost 6000 words already and I’m not done yet, you can find time for your art man! Don’t wimp out, don’t write TV Ads! You can write your entire life out online. And that’s a revolution, man! That’s beautiful.”
Of course, it doesn’t sound as good as that when I actually say it. I stumbled over myself and I was tearing up and hells, I don’t even know if that’s what I really said, but it’s mostly what I meant, and then panel ends shortly after that and I stumble outside and I breath. In Out In Out. And after that, calling Priscilla is easy, and I ask her to come to a party with us that night like I said already.
So a few bloggers come up to me afterwards, and I’m expecting them to tear me a new asshole, you know, “How dare you defame our medium!” but they don’t! They come up and they say “Wow, thanks for saying all that stuff. I thought it was really interesting.” Derek and Halcyon and Jason, they come and give me hugs because they know I need it, they know that the death of 0sil8 (or the stagnation, or something) they know that it hurts me, and people are coming up to me and saying “You know, I never thought of it that way,” and all of a sudden, I realize these people are just doing the same things I’m doing. A year ago, you got on the net and it was an obvious choice — you got a geocities account or you used your university account or whatever, and you started telling the world about yourself, you started a zine, whatever. The tools you had made it pretty obvious. But now, the cool tool is Blogger and Pitas and so the newcomers, they’re just starting up a blog instead, and they don’t even realize that they CAN go and start essay sites or journals. They don’t realize they’ve got it in them, they’re scared of being too open, they really just don’t have enough time, and you know? And so, that’s ok. That’s good. And when they realize that it’s not so hard to write something like this, it’ll be a great day. And it’ll happen, and it’salready happening, and it’s fucking amazing.
And all of a sudden, I find myself more compelled to read these people’s weblogs, not just because I met them and they were nice and wonderful and sweet, but because I can delve into their thoughts, read their lives, and now, their links become so much more relevant! Now I care what Brig and Matt and Jack say! Oh god, my daily surf is getting so much harder. Lane is gonna kill me cause I’m not going to get any work done cause I’ll be reading pages all day long.
I go to this party at Bruce Sterling’s house, you know, best selling author Bruce Sterling, and everyone is there and I’m talking to webloggers and I’m talking to journal people, and they’re all wonderful and they’re doing their own thing, and that’s awesome! that’s what the web is about, and goddamn, how did I get so lucky to know all these folks? But 9 rolls around and I gotta go pick up Priscilla so she can meet my amazing friends!
I hop in the car and drive the four or five blocks to her house, but I can’t remember the address so I call her up and her housemate answers. “Hey, is Priscilla there?”
“No,” she says.
“She’s out to dinner and she said she’d call you when she got back.”
Ok, so… “Wait, so what you’re saying is that she’s ditched out on me and my friends and my party, she said she’d be there at 9 and now I’m there and fuck, she’s not there? Well fuck me, fuck you, fuck her, Goddamn it, why are you all so fucking crazy?” … but instead of saying that, I say “Oh, cool. Yeah, have her call me.” I’m so fucking glad I didn’t remember that address because if I had shown up at the door and not had her be there, man, that would have been just fucking great.
I go back to the party and I go up to Drue and I say “in YO face!” cause it wasn’t just me all along, it really is her, she really is weird, and so I go back to drinking as much beer as I can get into my system in one sitting.
So here I am, sitting on Bruce Sterling’s porch, drinking beer with all these wonderful folks, all these great writers and commentators and designers and artists, my god, this is a really amazing thing and the beer, my god, it just keeps coming, and we’re the cream of the damned crop, no matter what kind of stuff you’re putting on your website cause damnit, you took that leap and put yourself out there and that’s amazing. And I don’t care if I got ditched by some girl, cause I’ve got my friends here, my friends around me and with me and in me and through me, and we’re all in this together, let’s have a big love fest.
I’m leaving out the part where everyone goes home and I’m sad.
1: She’s gonna kill me for writing this because I was so not obviously flirting with her, but she was the easiest victim of my lusty internet writings. Plus, she really is nice and she really is charming and I forgot why I started this footnote in the first place, but I might as well tell a little story here. Heather and Claire and I and maybe some other folks, we were sitting at this bar before the second party started, and whatever she ordered came in this tiny little baby shaker thing. So as we’re leaving, she’s like “here, sneak this out,” and I stuck it in my big pants and boom, we were home free plus one tiny little baby shaker. “Wow,” I thought. “Not everyone from Canada is as afraid as Lane.”
2: Pableaux is full of magic. I can not explain it.
3: Drue says “If you’re really so worried about being blown up in a plane, you should bring your own bomb on with you. The chances of there being two bombs on one plane is so small that it’ll never happen.”
4: I realized a few days later, after the interactive part of SxSW ended and the music part started that we are not, in fact, rock stars. The people who rolled in for the music bit, they’re rockstars. But we’re still damned attractive.
5: And for some reason, this magical 3000 number has become this new meme, this new thing to do, and a bunch of folks have started 3000+ sites which is just great and fun, and they’re all linking to me as their inspiration which is also great and fun, but kids! Don’t get ahead of yourselves. The essay format isn’t something new, and it can be done poorly! It’s been going on since the beginning of the net — but that’s no reason to not do it! And it’s not about the magical 3000 number either. It’s about putting yourself up for people to read, saying the things you need to say, not being afraid to go all out and sacrifice some time and energy for something bigger and better. Oh god, I’m starting to sound like some kind of self-help monkey, so I’ll stop. No. One last thing. Take the time to make something wonderful. It’s worth it.
03/08/10 4:48 PM
Through the spunweb.
I slept through the night last night thanks to some 5-year old melatonin pills Katie gave me, and I woke up feeling 98.7% better. And a whopping 4.5 pounds lighter! Thanks, throat crabs!
And thanks to you, Tumblrs, for all your support and pity during my convalescence. I am a pathetic and whingey sick person, and I truly appreciate that you stuck by me through my pathetic whinging.
Now, I am going to eat 15 kolaches.
Fuck yeah, army ants!
For the last six months or so, only one of the speakers in our car has been working. Today, I finally relented and took it in to the car stereo shop in our neighborhood to have it repaired. I explained the problem, and took the technician out to the car to demonstrate. When I turned on the car, all 8 speakers leapt to life in perfect harmony.
Thanks for making me look like an asshole, Volkswagen.
Good news, Tumblr!
I am starting to feel better! Last night, I only woke up like 10 times with crazy feverish thoughts about how the only way I was going to be comfortable was if I squeezed my hands together really hard. This is way down from the previous nights tally.
And even better news! This little bout of illness has caused me to lose 2 pounds! If I can just stay sick for another 4 or 5 days, I will be at my fighting weight for SXSW!
Still sick, Tumblr.
Determined to get some work done today, but I can only sit upright for a few minutes at a time.
Still, managed to push out a release of bug fixes to a site I’m building.
Katie is treating me like a big baby, which is exactly what I need.
Yesterday, I watched the first two seasons of Primeval, a BBC show about monsters from the past and future invading modern day London. It is awesome!
Today, I will watch season 3!
I just wish...
I could take a day off every now and then and NOT be sick.
I am sick! It sucks a whole lot. My head feels like it is stuffed with cheese and I have a painful cough, and I can’t figure out how to get anything done.
I feel especially bad because I have a ton of work to do. Being self-employed makes it extra hard to take a sick day. Here I am, sitting in front of a computer, but I just can’t make my fingers write the code they need to write.
As a result of my intense work schedule and this new ickyness in my brain, I spent last night tossing and turning with visions of failed form validation taunting me! It was horrible. I hate dreaming about technology. It makes me feel like a super loser.
I can barely get this post written, my brain aches so much.
I don’t know how I’m going to make it through SXSW.
PITY ME, TUMBLR.
There is a rip in TIMESPACE behind our house!
(via Katie Spence)
03/01/10 10:13 AM
We had an unusually social and nerd themed weekend.
On Saturday, we went to see Neiliyo sing songs about games at Club Deville. The proof that we were actually out of the house and at a party is above, a photo taken by a real live party photographer. I even wore pants!
And then, on Sunday, we went to Dr. Bleeps Hand Made Music event and built electronic doodads. We were soldering til midnight, like Chinese slave labor. It was great fun.
Lesson learned: Austin is filled with cultural activities laser targeted at me - it is only a matter of time before someone invites me to a minimalist techno concert during which we will be taught how to build an army of remote controlled attack helicopters.
(Photo via ThePeenScene)
Katie puts the finishing touches on her hand made digital delay, the “space baby.” She took to the soldering iron like a pro!
10 years ago: Posts from March, 2008
- Journal post from 03/18: Grain, Grain, Go Away
- Journal post from 03/04: 1000 True Fans
12 years ago: Posts from March, 2006
- Journal post from 03/31: Ben
18 years ago: Posts from March, 2000
- Journal post from 03/06:
- Journal post from 03/27:
- Journal post from 03/03:
- Journal post from 03/21:
19 years ago: Posts from March, 1999
- Journal post from 03/12: in which he and drew go!
- Journal post from 03/08: in which he tries real hard.
- Journal post from 03/29: in which he slacks and doesn't writes one entry over 2 weeks.
- Journal post from 03/17: in which NPR makes him feel guilty.
- Journal post from 03/02: in which he doesn't sleep.
- Journal post from 03/31: