Now playing on iPod: Can’t Go Back to Jersey, G Love & Special Sauce

I’m currently sitting at Austin Bergstrom International Airport, waiting for my flight back to New Jersey. Back to ‘reality’. A reality that includes a hectic job that I love, a comfortable bed, and a vehicle that doesn’t have that odd rental car smell. (You know the smell.) But mostly, work. What it doesn’t have is the instant camaraderie of being surrounded by thousands of like-minded individuals, instant running gags, an exciting nightlife, new and interesting people…well, you get the idea.

SXSW was great this year, albeit maybe a little different. The Interactive conference grew again this year, and the crush of new faces was a bit overwhelming. In truth, I ended up defying one of MJ’s rules of ‘how to rawk SXSW’ and (for the most part) stayed with a close (well, close is a relative term for SXSW) circle of friends. That’s not to say I didn’t meet some great new people – more on them later – but, and I’ll envoke Esin again, this year was about “chillaxin’.” And I was just fine with that – I batted around .700 with my panel choices, made some good contacts, had some excellent discussions about both technology AND scholarship administration, and really enjoyed the parties I chose to attend (which, either despite or in spite of the size of the conference this year, were not overly crowded or crushing). But moreover, this year was about having fewer exchanges and more conversations, and I think I succeeded there.

There’s no doubt as to whether I’ll be back next year – mentally, I’m already registered. Whether work will pay for it again is another story, but one way or another, I’ll be back in Austin next year.

But for now, back to reality.

Side note: As is my custom at SXSW, I have a ton of pictures sitting in iPhoto, waiting for names and tags before they get uploaded to Flickr. The new camera did a fantastic job with the low-light environments of Fray Cafe/Red Eyed Fly and 20×2, and the fancy new batteries performed as advertised. As documented elsewhere, the wireless access both at the ACC and at the Hilton sucked out loud, so doing anything too bandwidth-intensive was out of the question. I will tend to the photos as soon as I get home.