October 10, 2017: SpiceWorld 2017

DuoLingo Streak: 38 Days

Two hours of sleep and awake, showered, packed, and dropped off at the Trinity Mills DART station so that I could catch the train downtown.  It is about a forty five minute ride from up this way.  But only $2.50 so there is really no way to beat it.  And it is comfortable.

I got to St. Paul and walked four blocks to the East Transfer Station where you pick up the MegaBus to San Antonio (which stops in Austin.)  I didn’t have long to wait, maybe half an hour.

The MegaBus, getting last minute, online tickets, is just $17 to get down to Austin.  Way cheaper than gas and driving.  It is just $20 total for the bus and the train to the bus, to get there.

The bus ride was fine.  So many people asked me how the wifi was, but there was no wifi on the bus.  They advertise that heavily, but there wasn’t anything.  But I had my cell phone so didn’t really care.

I was exhausted so did my best to basically nap on the drive, which I mostly did. I had my seat and the one next to me so it was comfortable enough.  The ride was super easy and we made amazing time arriving in Austin nearly an hour early.  The whole drive was barely over three hours.  Faster than I normally drive it.  The bus doesn’t need to stop for gas, so that is extra handy and saves a good percentage of the time of a trip of that length.

I got dropped off at 1500 San Jacinto, near the Texas State Capital, and walked to the Embassy Suites in SoCo.  That’s about twenty blocks.  The weather was great today, though.  Perfect for walking Austin.  And all that I had with me was my backpack, so walking was extra easy.

In front of the infamous garage

Tracy was waiting for me at the Embassy Suites.  He was pretty surprised when I arrived on foot, instead of in an Uber.  It really is not that long of a walk, though.  And such a nice day.

Austin Downtown Riverfront

The Embassy Suites in SoCo is really nice.  I’m sad that I won’t get time to hang out in it.  There is a huge atrium with restaurants, bars, a waterfall, and more.  Really nice.  The room was huge, too.  Room 422.  The suites have double views, one view from the bedroom out to Congress and the living room view into the atrium, which was actually the nicer view.

Tracy and Scott in Austin

I didn’t want to walk immediately back to the convention center and Tracy had some friends (from Dallas) meeting him at a bar basically right next door to the hotel, Zax, so I walked over there with him and had a couple of beers before heading to the convention center.

I got to SpiceWorld at the Austin Convention Center, got checked in, got my swag bag, and set off for a walk around the convention floor.  It was a short walk, as there were so many people to see.  So I made it about halfway around the room before just standing still and hanging out with people.

The convention feels about half full compared to previous years.  I know that many of our regular crew were unable to make it out this year, or had deprioritized the event, so we were very short of the “old guard” right off of the bat.  But the event itself felt very sparse, compared to what I am used to.

I did not hit any booths at all this year, but Dashrender made me swing over to Webroot and present a “secret” passphrase to get a super nice stainless steel growler.  Dominica is going to be happy with that, that will go great on the bar at home.

I hung around for the “happy hour” at the convention, then when that wound down and people were heading out to go to the official party, Tracy and I walked back to the hotel to drop off our bags and stuff from the convention and then headed straight to Manuel’s on Third to meet up with the Scale crew for dinner.

Collier and Scott at the Scale Dinner

We had a great time at dinner.  Great food and drinks.  Nice to get the small groups away from the main conference.  A chance to actually hang out.

The walk from the Embassy Suites to Sixth Street is more than double the walk that I am used to doing from the Hilton or the Hyatt Place.  Lots of exercise for me this year.  Even missing the early days, I am probably getting in more walking than usual.

Scott & Tank on Sixth by Touche

We got to Touche and were almost the first ones there.  Very small crowd as we got there super early while people were still having dinner.  We are full sponsored tonight by Strongarm.io, which is awesome.  All drinks are on the house.  Mitch, our bartender for about six of the last eight years, just started a new job last week and is doing the overnight shift there (he is in IT now) and could not make it out – which is a major shame both because we miss him and now because he is missing a major event for a major convention in his new field!  But new bartenders Hutch and Jo were there to take care of us.

We had a good turn out tonight, probably near record numbers.  The party is pretty legendary at this point.  It was a really good party.  We didn’t break, or attempt to break, any Flaming Doctor Pepper records.  It was just a good, solid party.

Shots with the Touche Crew

Tracy and I were, as custom dictates, the last ones to close down Sixth.  We got hidden in the back and got to hang after closing so it was around three when we finally set off to walk the long walk back to the hotel.  A long, blurry walk.  With pizza, of course.

As always, it was great seeing everyone.  This once a year reunion is just so much fun.  So sad that so many of our core group were unable to come this year.  The makeup of new to old has shifted more this year than in any previous year.  It was great, but not the same.  Very interesting how the people have shifted over time.