Pilgrimage to Geek Mecca

The pilgrimage of the geek is over and done for this year. I sit writing this with a sunburned body, cramped legs, and a smile deep in my heart for the joy that was upon my son’s face. For the last two year my Liam and I have made our trek to SXSW Interactive in Austin a kind of Mecca for tech geeks a place where someone wearing a shirt that says “I π” is commented on as, “hey that is cool”. It opens its arms out to everyone, embracing you with a familiar touch that says you belong, we don’t care that everyone at your school thinks you are a strange kid, because we know how you feel. So this years trek was to be something special for Liam a year to top last in terms of the experience we could have together, so weeks before we scoured the internet for places to go things that must be seen in our limited weekend.
So with knowledge on our laptops we got in the car for the drive to Mecca, my son of course started the trip off with a bang playing a podcast of Diggnation that was the best ever in his opinion. We drove down the highway laughing, sharing moments of stupid things not to do and how Tequila is dangerous liquor in large amounts (this was my sage advice). Two and a half hours Mecca starts to come into view oh the things to see on the busy streets of Austin Texas hundred of people walking the streets some going home from work, some starting to come in to see SXSW converging in front of my VW. We must park so that we become part of the convergerance slowly we walk to the Center to see what treasures are in there. First stop is to Screenburn where games are showcased to any age we are in awe of Rock Band Nation being there so of course my son must play a song for the fans walking around, I on the other hand must see the many creations with Legos. Looking at the time we must try to make it to our first event of mini golf and firefox, but how should we get there bus of course, but alas the bus didn’t stop for us so we must trek the mile to the venue. Only in Austin would I get more of a workout then I do at home.

We come to event to be greeted by the friendly staff of Peter Pan Mini Golf and FireFox staff welcoming us with great food, drink, golf and of course swag. The event and staff where great and I played mini golf for the first time in a number of years the plus of course was beating my son. As we said our good-bye we waited for the bus to take us back to Downtown Austin for a quick stop at my favorite local find Lucky Lizard and the Museum of Weird every year I buy one piece of art from a local artist this year I got a great John Waters piece. We ate sushi at Geisha Sushi and heading to the hotel for the night for tomorrow was the reason for being there.

Saturday started early trip to Krispy Kreme then off to the Center for more exciting stuff. First up was kickball sponsored by SBnation a website for sports fans, I have not played kickball in some 30 years, but I have to say I had so much fun. Liam was kicking butt and taking names getting someone out while on his back with the ball and making an out in the process taking a 6 foot man with him. I laughed watching him getting down and dirty with people twice his age and loving every minute of it. We left tired, sun kissed and my messenger bag with a couple of shirts. Another round of Screenburn this time I was center stage for Rock Band and Liam enjoying the games also add more free goodies for the bag. Then off we went to stand in line for the main event Diggnation live at Stubbs, this is where we stand in line for 6 hours just so Liam can get up front while mom roams around on the sidelines watching every thing. This year though Liam wanted to go to another event that ran early so I gladly stood in line holding his spot so he could enjoy a moment with Buzz Out Loud. Liam being directionally challenged had a handmade map, cell phone and a few dollars to get him on his merry way, but needed to be reminded that he had to be back by 6 so that he could get a wristband to get in. So he ran a half a mile in the Austin heat to achieve this goal with a round of applause from those standing in front of us. We where about 10th in line same as last year and where surprised to see faces from the same people who happened to be in front of us last year. As the doors opened at 7 Liam made a b-line to the front as I slowly walked to the bar for a drink to hang around and talk with people on the sidelines. Here is where I get to meet Leo Laporte, the whole gang from NSFW as the pictures show they are the most accommodating people. After the show was over Liam made his way to meet his heroes Leo Laporte hugged him took a picture with him and interview him for his live twit cast, the gang from NSFW once they knew what his handle was in the chat room hung around to chat with him the look on his face as he spoke with them was worth every moment I stood in line for. It is a moment like this as a mother you understand what a small sacrifice means the outcome is priceless. He meets Alex and Kevin from Diggnation plus more shirts to stuff in the bag. As we walked back to the car, sore, sun burned and hardly any voice left we basked in the glow of our pilgrimage with plans for next year and how we wanted to top it. Sometimes as our children grow older they seem to pull a little father from us as not to be embarrassed by us, it is because of our mutual enjoyment of Geeky things that we share this time and I hope that each year we can keep making our pilgrimage to Geek Mecca together.

If you want to know more about the show I am talking about:
Diggnation is http://revision3.com/diggnation
NSFW is http://www.twit.tv/nsfw
Leo Laporte is on http://www.Twitlive.tv
Brain Brushwood also does Scam School on Revision 3 http://revision3.com/scamschool
you must check him out he is amazing.
And Buzz Out Loud is http://www.cnet.com/buzz-out-loud-podcast/

3-12-2010

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