November 3, 2013

Spiceworld 2013 in Austin, Texas

Spiceworld 2013 in Austin, Texas
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 3, 2013

I had a very busy week, this time traveling to Austin, Texas for Spiceworld which is a huge convention for IT Professionals.  This is a target market for my company so I was asked to go check out the event and learn what makes these people tick.  It was certainly an interesting assignment.

There were 1200 people registered to attend this event.  Some of them were very interesting!

Very, very interesting.  I saw this guy later on in the lunch room without his mask and was surprised to see he had a face fall of facial hair.  I can only imagine how annoying it must have been to wear this mask all day!

I walked around the first couple of days without knowing anyone when suddenly I ran into my old buddy, Byron, who I used to run around with at the Intel Solution Summit tech shows for many years.  Byron lives in Texas and is a Spiceworks community member.  It was great to see him and we hung out together for the rest of the evening.

We both entered the Karaoke contest at the evening party which allowed us to sing with a live rock and roll band.  I didn't do very good, though.  The judges didn't seem to enjoy my version of the Beastie Boy's "Fight for your right to party!  I think they were more into country music.

When the show was over, I had the chance to hook up with Uncle Cliffy, my brother in law from a former life.  He moved to Austin a few years back so we decided to hook up for the evening.  Cliff surprised me with a special treat even!

Cliff was able to obtain us tickets to see the live taping of Austin City Limits which claims to be the longest running music program on television.  It appears on PBS and has featured some of the biggest names in music.  I'm not sure when our episode will be airing, but we smiled and waved to the cameras a lot when they spanned the crowd, so hopefully we'll make the final edit!

The band we saw was called Portugal the Man.  Unfortunately, I'd never heard of them before but they were a good group.  They had an interesting version of Pink Floyd's Brick in the Wall which I really enjoyed.  Although honestly, the whole experience made me feel very old.  All the members of the band and most of the audience were closer to my kid's age then mine.  When the heck did that happen?

On my flight down to Austin, I had a long layover in Dallas which allowed me to spend an hour with my sister, Tracy, and step-mom, Joyce.  Although our time together was way too brief, it was real nice to see them regardless.

I came home on Halloween just in time to see my boys preparing to go to the high school Halloween dance.

We embarrassed Luke and Avery by volunteering to be chaperones at the dance, although we were very good and respected their wishes by pretending not to know them.  It actually worked out pretty good for all of us to just ignore each other all evening!

On Friday night, we had the opporunity to see the finalists of this year's America's Got Talent at Mystic Lake Casino.  It was a great show!

We got to see the winner Kenechi Ebina, Cami Bradley, Collins Key, Jimmy Rose, and the Kristef Brothers.  As well as Tone the Chiefrocca singing B Double O T Y.  But our favorite was Taylor Williamson just like it was on the show.  That guy is funny!

To top the week off, the centerpiece of our backyard project was installed.  We got a screaming deal on a new hot tub on the last day of the State Fair and it was just too good to pass up.  So we stepped in there and now have a new hot tub which should help warm up some of those cold, Minnesota winter evenings.

They brought the hot tub last week, but they brought the wrong gazebo so we had to wait until this week before we could use it as the electrician couldn't hook it up until the gazebo was installed.  It was well worth the wait!

We had our friends the Zitzewitzes over for our first team bath, but we need to figure out a better way to take pictures in here in the future if we're going to be able to show everyone!

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