I’m putting that in quotation marks because I no longer have a Spring Break because I have somehow turned into an adult. That said, I really needed to catch up with all the people I have been telling I would catch up with for years — and this is the perfect time to do it before I ship out on May 17th. Pretty much everything worked out time wise, so I decided to take off this past Wednesday and head into Austin for South by Southwest (or SXSW), which is basically a festival films, technology, art, music, and food. So, uh, pretty much everything I like in one place at one time!
So, Wednesday I headed to Austin for my first event, a Texas devMeet with a lot of the core staff (and friends!) from deviantART which was put on at the Spider House off Guadalupe. I met a lot of new folks because it drew such a crowd, which was nice, but it was also comforting to see the rest of the Texas devMeet guys from our annual meets. We’re pretty much family now. Lots and lots of history there. Interesting how bonds like that form.
I got to talk to Ryan, the creative/marketing guru for dA, and I think we talked way too long about demographics, but for us it was an enjoyable experience. And, of course, I got to see my former bosses, Heidi and Danie, who were pretty awesome. And finally, I had a few drunken rambling conversations with Angelo, the dA CEO and all around badass. During this entire time, I was working on getting completely plastered, at which I completely succeeded.
Finally, we headed to another venue to wrap up the night and I really can only say that I hope they expected me to be truly a memorable experience. I was all kinds of nuts that night for a lot of complicated reasons. In turn, if I ever get to meet them all again some day, I believe I will be “that guy”. Ha.
Thankfully, I survived the night and found a place to stay. I ended up getting some breakfast with Charlie, one of the elite SXSW photographers this year, and a Texas devMeet regular and had more random conversations about life. Good times.
Following that, I headed into San Antonio to link up with Christian and see if he had been betting his life savings on the field. We hit up Koreana off Rittiman and had the best meal in the entire world. I forwarded this image to Dan and he instantly started crying. What a baby. After that, I linked up with KJ, Dylan, and Craig (and worked in a trip to Taco Taco with KJ the following morning before heading out). Then, we did Bays, like the classic Trinity experience where an entirely hammered Rob showed up. Of course, we managed to get to Crabby Jacks (and didn’t even get kicked out). I got to see Stephanie again, which was nice, even though she lost all of my elite CD collection.
After hanging out with Rob for a while that next day (until Ariel came in town!), I got a call from Brennan, the source of my exploits from last year’s spring break. I headed that way and met him in Austin for a SXSW feature about the future of technology in ten years. Unfortunately, the most memorable thing about it was an egg toss and a four dollar Bud Light, but after this, we were set and ready to party. Along the way, probably the funniest thing possible happened to us. But, as usual, it all went down at and around 6th Street (though there were noticeably less people than usual — I guess they were at the VIP parties).
When I woke up, I called up Scott who I went to Creekwood Middle School with in Kingwood, and ended up reuniting with in college freshman year as incoming Trinity freshmen. We ended up making margaritas and heading to meet other Kingwood friends like Matt and Aaron to swim at Barton Springs, a really beautiful natural spring with a nice park area. Then dinner at Garj Mahal, the best Indian place I’ve ever tried, and then back to the 21st St Coop, an interesting coop with a bar set up and lots of music and places to gather. We listened to some screaming music and drank, but the highlight was just getting to see all the guys again.
I wanted to make this post immediately after I got home, otherwise I would delay it and forget it like I usually do. I had a really, really great time. I think it was such an interesting Spring Break because I had four completely unique experiences: a devMeet, a Trinity-style night, a Sam/Brennan 6th Street rager (Sam was with us in spirit. 5 dollar liquor pitcher? Absolutely!), and a chill reunion with my best friends from my childhood. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
There was a possibility of staying another night, but I really had to get back because of work (and my body had become a living alcohol sponge for days straight). Next week will be cut short too because then I’m heading to Houston to see Emily.
As usual, I’ve slacked off on updating this. I suppose it’s just because I’m busy or just not really caring. Not too much is new in my life, however. I suppose more than usual, though.
I’ve been searching for a job and this whole process is extremely frustrating. Employers treat potential employees like trash for the most part, canceling meetings and not showing up to them (the company in question is called CityVoice in San Antonio). It’s an annoying process and my hopes of getting something in San Antonio have pretty much been erased. I’m expanding my search to all across Texas (at least in major cities) and a few other places. I have something going on with Sam though, and that could really pan out — and Austin is the best location for that. Hopefully it will pan out because I really think Sam and I would do best on yacht being rich, but the market is crowded and it’s hard to bring an idea to reality. But I am hopeful and hope is really what can make or break an idea. We’ve got to keep pushing ahead.
Also new in my life is a girlfriend, Stephanie, who is a really nice girl. She’s fun to hang out with and as weird as I am, which makes things a lot more compatible. I’m really not a girlfriend kind of guy so we’ll see where this goes. I’m currently happy, but I demand a certain amount of space and freedom which seems a little hard to get right now. That said, that’s coupled with all the things that are going on at school and in my personal life.
I’m continuing to work out, although I’ve hurt my left shoulder pretty badly and so I’ve had to relax my efforts. I will eventually get a giant ripped beast, or so I hope, but for right now I’ve got to take it easy for a few more weeks before I ramp up my weights. Of course, it’s hard to have a consistent work out schedule when I’m so busy with everything else. On top of it, Spring Break 2010 pretty much set me back two months. I haven’t drank and partied like that in a long time. It was certainly very fun to be there for SXSW and St. Patty’s, and I had a few of the best days of my college career. However, at the same time, it’s good to be back. I’m not really sure how anyone gets anything done in Austin; how do college students not drop out immediately? I don’t think I could handle doing that sort of thing unless it were my job! Somehow, we need to get paid to party…
I’m back! Actually, I never left or intended to abandon this web log, but the end of Australia and the start of summer followed by moving into my own place and going to school has left me pretty distracted. All of my courses are intense and I’m stuck working on papers and projects pretty much all throughout the week, even the weekend.
Not much else in my life is particularly new or interesting, however. I have my eyes on a girl, not that I have time for a relationship, so we’ll see if anything happens. I’ve been messing around a little with a few girls but most of them are freaks I want to avoid at all costs. Oh well. Been hitting the bars (Bays and Limelight) here and there, and I’ve appreciated not paying for booze at frat parties again.
In other news, that’s about it. I managed to hit a deer with my car, which was scary, but the damage is all fixed now. I pretty much just get up and go to school and come home. Exciting stuff right there.
Finally, I make a real post. It doesn’t seem like that long since I last got on this, and I could have sworn I updated after I got here, but apparently not. I can talk a little more now about the differences between home and here, although many of the differences now feel obvious. Driving on the wrong side of the road actually is feeling more right. Although I am a Texan, my fears of traveling to Australia were pretty much pointless. Everyone here is extremely nice and Americans, while they get a bad rep as a group, as individuals are treated very well. Aussies can’t even tell my accent — I am often asked if I’m from Canada, which is apparently the favorite foreigner for Oz. Don’t ask me!
The yankees from my group turned out to be a really great selection of people for the most part. The guys from Pittsburg are awesome, and they know how to party. I haven’t really stuck with them as part of my crew for the most part, but we’re all on friendly terms still. Cairns was a fun experience in general, and it gave me a taste of Australia. I managed to get kicked out of the bar on the first night so a success in general. But, that whole experience seems like ages ago at this point. We were all different people, slightly.
These days I pretty much hang out by the pool and do some clubbing at night. Monday Norfolk, Tuesday Kardy, Wednesday Newport, Thursday Claremont, Friday Northbridge, Saturday Metros Freo, Sunday Sess at the Cot. Pretty solid party schedule. Occasionally I mix it up, but I’m pretty set on my favorite places.
I took a little over two hundred. It was basically a summary of all the things I’ve seen and all the fun we had. We got a bit crazy at times, but it was all in good fun. Some really beautiful sights!
Here we loaded up all of our stuff at 7 AM and started the trip north to the outback. This day was largely driving and we just sat around and listened to music or slept on the bus. When we finally pulled into our first stop at about 5 PM, we were told it was an active wool shed. We had the option of sleeping in the shed or pitching tents, but me and most of the others opted for the tents because it would be cooler and smell less like sheep. Myself, Allie, Oystein, Nichole, Hattie, and Kevin were all in a tent together. It was a big enough tent but sleeping was a pain since we weren’t used to sleeping bags on the ground. The girls had a shock because the showers were pretty limited, and there were Redback spiders in the bathroom, the third most deadly in Australia, as well as the world!
This morning the flies were especially bad. All of us were donning our fly nets and trying our best not to get covered. It was inevitable, but at least our faces would be fine. Unfortunately, trying to eat breakfast was more than a pain — there were flies covering all of our food. Some opted not to eat. Rusty slapped my back to kill some flies, spilling scalding hot coffee on chest, as you can see from the later photos, but I forgave him. It’s tempting to slap anybody that has 40 flies on their back! After driving for some 7 hours, we pulled into our next stop, Newman, a mining town. We were told to not mingle with the locals as apparently miners can be the rougher crowd. Ignoring this, all of the guys and I went out to find a miner bar to see how miner life is. Sadly, we walked for a mile or two only to find out that the miner bar closes at 9 PM because of their schedules. It’s probably for the best!
Today we arrived at one of our major stops, Karijini National Park at about 2 PM in 42 C (107 F) weather. We set up camp here — everything was red dirt and dry plants. We had no running water, no electricity, and no flushing toilets. We were advised to check the toilet holes before we sat down because that is where giant spiders and poisonous Redbacks live. Speaking of spiders, there were giant ones everywhere. And by giant, I do mean giant. Some were three to six inches long, as big as my hand. Some were hairy and others were camouflaged. I took a photo of one that is particularly creepy. These things are big enough to catch small birds in their webs. Scary. Our water source turned out to be the waterfalls in the rivers. They are some of the purest forms of water in the world and you can drink straight out of them without worrying about anything harmful. We spent the rest of today going through Dales Gorge, finding circular springs and waterfalls to swim in. It was a refreshing experience after climbing down rocks for several hours!
At night, the dingos, a type of wild dog about the size of bull mastiff with a long snout, started to come out and scavenge for food. Since we were the only campers out in this part of the bush, we were a prime target. We thought there may be one or two out there but as soon as the moon came up, we heard a howl on one side of the camp, and then literally from all sides of the camp came another howl. After this, they raided into the campsite to find what they could. They were certainly creepy.
We spent most the day at the waterfalls in the river. This is a relaxing area because there was a deck to lay on after we swam. In the water we climbed up on old trees and got massages from the falling water. You didn’t want to sit still for too long because of the little fish in the water which were related to piranhas. They would give you a bit of a nibble, not enough to hurt but enough to startle you! We also climbed to a different gorge that was literally the side of a cliff. Climbing down was intense, if not a little bit scary. But, it was a good reward because through the canyon was a giant waterfall we could all lay on. It was beautiful. Later that night I helped with dinner by grilling sausages and steaks. I was able to save one sausage for later, and Stein and I, sharing a tent, threw a sausage in the bush nearest our tent to lure out the dingos. Sure enough, they came and we got some photos. It was hard to take them because it was pitch black and those dogs were sneaky, but I’ve got two decent ones. We also looked at the stars that night. They were more impressive than anything I’ve ever seen. They make a West Texas night look like a joke. I had no idea that the milky way had so many colors — greens, blues, and reds.
This day we drove for literally twelve or thirteen hours, not including bathroom breaks and food stops. It was hot and sticky because the AC in our bus went out. Exciting stuff! We finally arrived at another sheep farm. Tonight we had actual rooms which was neat. However, Stein and myself had to kill something like 9 spiders in our room. They were huge and neither of us was a fan at all!
Today we went to Coral Bay. This was a nice highlight because we got to go on a glass bottom boat as well as snorkel. I liked this reef almost as much as the Great Barrier, proof that Australia has some nice places to snorkel. The coral is not as bright as in Mexico, however, because it is a cold water coral. I got to see a 7 foot reef shark, which swam by but was apparently harmless. I also found a sea turtle swimming around, so of course, I had to grab on to it and let him take me for a ride. These are some strong animals. He didn’t seem to mind that I was grabbing on to him. I guess he’s used to people. All of the fish were out on this day because we happened to go on the very day of the coral spawning, which is the one day of the year that coral reproduce. The fish love the spores so they were having a field day. After this, we found a nearby resort and bar. Myself and Ryan split a case of beer and brought it back to the beach. From about 11 AM to 5 PM we continued to drink. All of the sudden I felt dizzy and couldn’t stand.
The guys just thought I drank too much and dragged my to the beach. I asked for water and after just a few minutes I was back to normal. Apparently the 104 F heat had got to me after all day of not drinking water! It wasn’t that scary, but I should have remembered to drink more water in between the beers. Everyone thought it was pretty funny.
Today we got to feed the dolphins on the beach at a place called Monkey Mia, though they didn’t pick me. That’s fine, I wouldn’t want to crush a 10 year old’s dream! I did get some cool photos of them. Then we go to go on a cruise catamaran and see Shark Bay. We were all on a boat and had champagne (as it was the cheapest thing to drink on the boat and we felt it necessary to celebrate surviving the outback). We got to briefly stop at an oyster station in the ocean which collects pearls. Some of the pearls they produced were worth over 6,000 dollars each! Some of the people got to try black pearl meat, which goes for something like 800 dollars per 2.2 lbs in Japan because it’s a power aphrodisiac (supposedly). I don’t think it worked, though. Who knows about those Japanese! After the boat ride we laid on the beach and relaxed. We also had some delicious fish and chips (fried fish and thick cut fries), the most common meal in Australia from what I can tell.
We moved camp to an old telegraph station built in the 1800s. It was near a protected beach full of stromatolites, the oldest living life form on the planet. Basically they are bacteria that form black rocks. The entire beach at this area was made completely of shells, which was neat to look at but painful if they got in your sandals. The ocean here was pretty pristine as well. It was a relaxing area to be in and we got some good photos of the sunset.
We moved camp to our final location, another wool shed. Immediately after setting up tents, I saw a giant black snake about 6 foot in length. It may or may not have been the most poisonous snake in Australia. We never got to see it again to find out, thankfully. At this location, we were told it used to be a convict work camp in the 1800s. We got to scale a giant hill to see the sunset as well as enter an old mansion at night. Nichole found a lantern from the 1800s with a candle still inside, and managed to get it lit. This was the highlight of her trip, she told me later. Personally, I enjoyed the beaches more!
We loaded up for the final time and drove back. It was nice to finally take a hot shower!
So there you have it! Hope you enjoy the story and the photos!
So, now it’s already December. This semester is wrapping up. That is kind of nice, and kind of scary, as usual. The amount of work I have due on December 8th is pretty much ridiculous and I’m definitely not looking forward to it. That said, once I’m done I can go home and relax until early Febuary when I leave for Perth. It’s almost a done deal, and I can’t imagine what would stop it from going through. I’ve heard rumors that it’s a good situation for American guys. I will have to report on that later, though.
I’m quitting work on the 9th. I really haven’t worked much. They offered me a position as a night manager, but I doubt that I would really want to put up with the kids anyway. I’m the oldest guy there, which is sort of sad. The pay is horrible, but it was able to finance a lot of party goods and video games. I will be glad to quit, though.
As usual, I met another person who makes me happy. I sent her my camera. I hope she likes it. This girl is fascinated with birthdays, something that are rarely a big deal in my life. She goes to the extent of remembering half birthdays. In the period of one day, she sent me more cards than I’ve received in the last three or four years. That is pretty shocking. Cards are expensive too, so she must have went all out.
I think I may get some wine or something tomorrow. All we have is rum, which is fine, I suppose. But I do like being able to sip on alcohol instead of pounding shots. I should pick up some cigars too; make it a classy evening.
I’m in a genuinely bad mood lately. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep or maybe it’s something else. Sometimes I just feel like laying in bed all day. I did this a lot during freshman year, but I think that was more drug induced laziness than I am now. I hardly do anything “bad” anymore. I don’t even drink much.
I talked to Logen again recently. After things went sour, I suppose things are held together enough to make it through the holidays on a speaking basis. I miss her. Of everyone on this planet, she knows more about me. And, ironically, she’s been a relatively small portion of my life. A good friend, and definitely one I couldn’t ever stand to lose.
I’ve neglected posting to this, and I don’t really plan on doing much with it. Nothing at all is new with me. Tiger council hearings and parties. The usual stuff. Girl problems. Whatever. It’s just life as usual.