Wore a cowboy hat

I have some photos of the Austin trip, some just shot from my phone and others taken by people with proper cameras.

Behold some of us in our costumes for working the convention floor:

sporty

You will notice they consist mainly of astroturf and ping-pong balls. The astroturf scratched our arms throughout the day, although it wasn’t as bad for me as it was for some people.

Most days we only worked a four-hour shift (or even less), so it wasn’t all that bad, although by the end of the one day I worked a full eight hours I was about ready to torch the place. It was a little depressing to see the spotlight shining on greed… how people would flock to the free hats and do everything they could to procure them, the things they would say and do to try and get more than one hat (there were two different colours, and man, was that ever a huge mistake), and how they would scour for whatever other swag they didn’t need or often even really want but could still obtain. I’d label it an American phenomenon but there were people from all over the world at this conference and the visitors were no better than anyone else.

The trip itself was fun but not exactly eventful… we mostly went out during the evenings to eat whatever we could on Microsoft’s dime, then go out to bars or whatever (although a couple nights were spent in hot-tubbing at the hotel and the like). We saw a country band perform at a honky tonk, and an eighties cover band at an outdoor patio bar. The weather was sunny and tee-shirt warm (although it was cold in the mornings). I drank entirely too much, but so did everyone else.

Our final evening we had dinner at Fogo de Chao, a Brazillian steakhouse (or churrascaria) like the one I went to with my parents back in New York City. It was a fantastic and expensive meal… I had a look at the final bill for the thirteen of us (twelve from Unexpected plus Amy the event planner) and sure am glad that Microsoft was picking up the tab for that one!

Other highlights for me included:

  • Seeing a new member of my work team who is wrapping up his affairs in Austin before moving to Seattle. He took me out for what I imagine was the most authentic Texas barbecue I got to experience on the trip. Good stuff!
  • Got to see a guy I knew back in Software Engineering at McMaster. Was a little shocked to realize that it’d been five years since we’d seen each other. I was pretty loaded at the time, though, so that softened the blow.
  • Hung out with Asaf, a guy I studied improv from and performed with occasionally back in New York City. A few people made it out to his show on Thursday but I was too exhausted. :(
  • Tried fried pickles at Katz’s Deli, as well as celery-flavoured soda. Felt weird that I had to come to Texas to get Jewish food.
  • Discovered that Austin boasts free print versions of America’s Finest News Source at just about every street corner and shop. Why can’t we get this in Seattle?!
  • Wore a cowboy hat. Proof is in my gallery. I was surprised at how good it looked on me, but then that hat looked good on everyone that wore it.
  • Found that Austin was generally a very hip city with a much lower cost of living than Seattle and an excellent climate in November… don’t know if I could stand it in the summer, though.

I haven’t had much time to stop and rest since getting home. I’ve taken a little time to catch up on my DVR’ed episodes of Stewart and Colbert, but mostly I’ve been running around doing improv stuff, and consumed by our very compressed rehearsal period for Christmas Carol.

Speaking of which, A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol is one of our company’s most popular shows, and I will be playing Bob Crachit every evening, so it’s a good opportunity to come out and see me play! As the audience, you get to decide everything ranging from Scrooge’s business, to the nature of the ghosts, to Tiny Tim’s ailment, right down to whether or not Scrooge learns his lesson and gets to reform at the end! The format of the show is fairly rigid so as to keep it aligned with the source material, so it’s unlikely to be the most expansive improv you will ever see me do. But the cast and the format are both brilliant and it should provide for a rollicking good time with a true Chistmas classic. It opens Friday, so go see it!

Dan.

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