elliot smith and nick drake

Two of the most incredible songwriters of the last 50 years.
Some of the most beautiful music ever written.
Both lives ended early.

I don’t know how it took me 27 years to really discover both of these musicians.

Nick Drake
Elliot Smith


Throughout the six years I spent in college, most of it was typically isolated. I never spent more than two years at one college or university, driven by my boredom with my situation, discontent of my academic choices, or the inevitable finale of my formal college education.

I made various friends in these six years, none of which ever really pressured me into the stereotypical college experiences of drinking, drugs, sex or rock and roll (that last one was just for the sexiness factor). I was usually too shy to make many “mainstream” friends, never feeling like I could identify with those who needed the “typical”. I never had the curiosity to experience these things for myself, and was ignorant but blissfully happy to never face the facts of human nature.

In particular, I’ve never been much of a drinker. I can take or leave alcoholic drinks. It could be days, weeks or months before I have another drink. For some, the sweet, medicinal feeling of a cold, frosty beer is one of the most anticipated events of his or her day. For me, it’s the bliss of knowing I can go home and sleep, or watch tv, or browse the Internet after a long day of tedious coding or research.

High school never served as a vessel of underage drinking parties for me. I also grew up in a 99% dry household, and my family never drank around us. We didn’t have alcoholism problems like other families I know. Alcoholism was never an issue.

My impression of alcohol when I was younger was rather negative. I was impressionable and probably took a few of those drug lectures to heart more than my peers. I heard what those people said, what they had been through and was determined to never become that person.

It wasn’t until my last year of college that I finally had my first alcoholic drink: a frozen margarita. That’s not to say I might have had a little drop here or there, but this was the symbolic first drink that most people I know had at an earlier age.

I’m always a fan of free money

Chase Freedom CardIf you can trust yourself and your spending habits, I’d encourage you to sign up for the Chase Freedom Card. Not only is it a great deal, but the money just keeps on giving after you sign up. Initially, you get $250 for FREE! Then, as you keep using it, you get 1-3% cash back! Who can complain about that?

People who are irresponsible with credit cards should beware. But for those of us who can handle responsible spending and charging, this is an awesome deal and I highly recommend it! I see no reason why you shouldn’t be apart of such an amazing deal!

sxsw day 5

This day passed by too quickly, and began a little late. I walked in on the last half of Web Typography Sucks with Mark Boulton and Richard Rutter. Sadly, I missed the meat of it. Luckily, they released the notes and slides from it! I think the short of what they were saying is typography for the web is grossly misused and ugly. I agree wholeheartedly and I’m part of the problem. Time to change that!

Listening to Shaun Inman and John Gruber talk about their freelancing lives made me realize that I’m not sure that I’m ready for something like that with web design. I wonder if I an translate that with other areas in which I’m interested? It takes a very big dedication to what you’re doing and discipline that I sometimes lack (thanks to mainstream media and my lack of will to stop that medium from polluting my mind).

After a few sessions this afternoon, we make our way to to the airport for a long ride back home to LA. I shall be buying myself one little pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream before I go! Oh Blue Bell, how I shall me ye.

SXSW 2007 is an event I hope I can make an annual trip (assuming I don’t end up moving to Austin for some reason in the near future). Lots of great people I met, lots of great conversations and ideas discussed, and hopefully some great networking in the future.

sxsw day 4

By far the best day I’ve had here.

The first panel featured the ever so popular web designer Zeldman among others. It was cool hearing everyone’s ideas about how to get unstuck from being stuck in design. The next panel was all about online magazines, such as The Onion, Salon.com, and College Humor. Very entertaining and interesting to hear how they built their communities.

Probably one of the biggest events for yesterday was being able to see Dan Rather up close and personal. He spoke for about an hour and fifteen minutes about the state of journalism, the differences of journalists today, and how online media affects his job. I sat right behind Patrick Norton of dl.tv, formerly of TechTV as well as the guys who created chacha.com (very cool web search site if you haven’t checked it out).

Jason Santa Maria and Andy Clarke gave a very enlightening panel comparing a heist to design. It was one of the most packed rooms of any that I had been in the whole week.

I ended my proper day at a future of internet video panel featuring among others Kevin Rose from Diggnation. The panel looked a little tired and Kevin was probably hung-over, and yet he brought beers for all five of them to drink as they discussed what they see happening to video online.

We ended our day bar hopping amongst 4 different bars, talking to various people from various backgrounds. It was extremely cool and interesting to be able to have so many great conversations with so many talented people! Sadly, we had to end the night just after 1am since we were both worn out.

sxsw day 3

Day 3 was very unproductive. After completely missing the first session, I barely made any appearance at the 2nd session. We tried to get some business cards made up at Kinkos, but after just spending too much money on paper, we felt we had done nothing productive so we left.

My first real session was at 3:30pm, which is 4 sessions into the day. So I attended only 2 sessions and made quick appearances at 2 others.

After the awards ceremony last night, we both decided to call it a night. So I was asleep by 11pm. Kinda sad to realize, but I’m also kinda glad because a couple of hours later, it was pouring outside with a tornado warning in the county. I didn’t bother waking up to check the news so I feel sleep quickiy after waking up.

Day 4 is turning out to be much more productive already.

sxsw day 2

Daylight savings bit me in the arse. We’re now both late to our sessions for the day! D’oh!

After a very early start to the day to get our badges and bags full ‘o crap, we made it to 5 sessions yesterday. It started out with seeing 3 very prominent people in design, Molly Holzschlag, Eric Meyer, and Doug Bowman, and one Microsoft engineer for Internet Explorer, Chris Wilson. It was interesting to hear the decade of CSS and how each of them started with it. It goes to remind you that even if you are watching web celebrities we all come from the same place. Knowing that Meyer still gets confused by display: inline is comforting! This was probably my favorite session of the day.

The next session was with Jason Santa Maria and Rob Weychert talking about inspiration. It’s not that I didn’t know most of what they said, but I think going to get a review of things is a great way to refresh yourself and your mind. And they gave me a really cool idea for a party! : Make up a really wacky theme that everyone has the dress up for, do a lot of promotional items, market it correctly, then film it and have a blast. It’s really interesting to see how these people live there lives.

Texas barbeque for lunch was just what I needed.

The rest of the day was less design oriented as I listened about tags, such as those you do on flickr or del.icio.us, about video blogging, and then I jumped around for the last session of the day between three panels.

The video blogging panel featured most TechTV alum including Patrick Norton, as well as the CEO of Diggnation Jay Adelson. It was cool not only to see them but to hear them talk about where things should be headed with video blogging. I think there will probably coexist regular TV and online programming so that they’re more closely tied together.

After bar hopping all night and getting to see the infamous Ze Frank, we decided to call it an early night on account of daylight savings. Despite an earnest effort to get up in decent time, my phone clock decided to revert back to the wrong hour, forcing my alarm to be a phone call.

“Are you awake yet?”


“It’s 9:30”

Ze Frank

sxsw day 1

After more than three years of knowing about it, I have finally made it to one of the most revered events in web design: South By Southwest (SXSW). The conference I’m attending is technically the Interactive portion, geared towards interactive media that exists online, but it has turned out that a huge majority of the participants of Interactive are standards based web designers.

Delay after delay after delay has worn us out. After an hour plane delay in Houston, our luggage didn’t even make the delayed flight. So we picked up our late luggage to wait on our late shuttle to the hotel. An hour and a half later, we finally made it hours behind schedule to our rooms. I’m patient, but I don’t enjoy being behind on something I’d like to get the most out of.

After enjoying a nice, long dinner at one of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasitos, we headed down to Buffalo Billiards on 6th Street. The majority of its patrons, if not every patron, was a SXSWi participant! Sadly, we felt left out due to our late arrival and not having time to register for our badges. Still, it was really nice to be around great a lot of talented designers. I did recognize a few faces, met with old coworkers and met a few nice new people. I can’t wait to mingle more with others and it’s going to be wonderful listening to and being around such amazing talent.

new layout

In case you’re in you RSS reader, after three years of windmills I decided it was time to change. I love them, I might bring them back but right now, I’m proud of this design and spend long hours for the past week trying to get this up live. There will probably be rough edges here and there, but you get the point.

So what’s missing? photos and illustration. I’ll try my best to get to that when I can but for now, just enjoy the new eye candy.

It’s only the beginning…