Come 730a, the body was less than electric, needless to say. The bus rescued me from a light drizzle, as I finished up the end of the last audiobook in the Twilight series—yeah, whatever, I think it was pretty damn inventive and my curiosity got me sucked into listening to all four books in about two months time (mostly in the car during my daily two hours of commuting). After all was said and done, I couldn’t connect to my media server for some reason, so I just listened to some metal album that I happened to have on my phone for the duration of the bus ride. Ghetto dude sitting in front of me turned around and said something indecipherable over the Sunday morning ruckus in my ears.
“Excuse me?” I replied.
“(Mumble mumble)…,” he reiterated.
Still baffled, even with my headphones pulled out, “Sorry, what did you say?”
He made some lazy bouncing movement with his hand, affirming at an only slightly more audible level, “Sup sup.”
Really? All that foreplay for this? “Uhhh, nothing really, just riding the bus.”
A moment passes. “(Mumble mumble mumble).”
Not expecting anything much more interesting than the last exchange offered, I busted out, “Sorry, but you’ll have to speak a bit louder—I can’t understand what you’re saying.”
“Where… you… goin? You on your way to church or somethin?” he annunciated.
“Haha… Uh, no. On my way to a conference downtown,” I explained.
“(mumble mumble),” he replied.
“What… Kind… Of… Conference?” he stressed, though still mumbling.
A second or so later when I made sense of his retort, I explained that it was for “web design”, hoping that it was a bit more easy to guess the meaning of than “web development”. Nope, the conversation continued.
“What’s that for?” he asked, kind of shocked and somewhat defiant now—as though I were crazy.
“Well, hmm… I don’t know man—for fun? Because I like learning new stuff about the things that I like to do?”
This seemed to pacify him, and he went on to make more basic conversation with the dude across the aisle from him about what build was outside of his window. This new conversational participant was way less interested in talking to the guy in front of me than even I was—he wouldn’t even look at dude in front of me when he spoke to him, he just glared straight ahead. Dude in front of me eventually gave up trying to engage those of us that surrounded him on the bus at like 830a on a Sunday, resigning to pull his hood over his entire face and just lean against the rail in front of him.
The conference was pretty rad today, learned lots about ARIA, CSS3, and some more technical topics like version control. The highlight of the day came with the last presentation—or performance really: Gary Vaynerchuk. For those of you that have not yet heard of this absolutely awe-inspiring individual, long story short, he started up a daily video blog about wine a few years ago and has risen to be a fairly wealthy and heralded business man as a direct result. I witnessed his sheer presence last year at the SEED conference in Chicago, and was rather confused about this new comer who wasn’t a tech dude that had somehow gained the headlining slot at the conference.
Within the first five minutes of his SEED presentation, the dude had me laughing uncontrollably, tears streaming from my eyes. He is seriously amazing! If you EVER get the chance to see him speak anywhere about anything—seriously, anything at all: paper bags, mud puddles, slingshots, whatever—you have to go see him. It will be worth every penny, every second, and every inconvenience it may cause you to do so.
Today’s presentation was no exception. The primary difference is that he has caught like wildfire amongst techies since last year when I saw him, so he only spoke for about 15 minutes, and then just took an hour of Q/A from the audience. There were two lengthy lines of attendees waiting their turn just to plug themselves/their sites/their Twitter name (what the hell is it with these people? I’ve seriously heard the word Twitter more times than I’ve heard the words “the” and “and” combined over the last several days. I don’t get it man, I’ve really honestly tried to get into it, tried to find a purpose for it, but it has been to no avail. I hate the character limit, as well as the fact that you can’t edit the damn entries—it drives me crazy, and yet people just totally have this insanely fanatical affixation with Twitter. I mean, I’ve really tried, and I just don’t get it. After failing to see its purpose, I tried to find a use for it as like a Delicious substitute because Firefox’s Ubiquity plugin makes interfacing with Twitter super easy, but that was pretty lame, so my Twitter account lay fallow for a few months before I had the bright idea today to capture the super random snippets of conversation that I glean when I walk past people sometimes. Totally priceless, check out my Twitter for some examples haha [@douglasgraves]).
I left the conference with a renewed vigor to tackle Veggie Heaven again—I’d just laughed for over an hour straight, Gary built everyone up sky-high, and the sun was shining out for once, so off I marched to the bus stop. Arriving to a mostly packed house at the relatively small Veggie Heaven about forty minutes later, I grabbed a table for one—sigh—and set to the task of narrowing down the many mouth-watering options. The veggie ham and fried vegan spring rolls caught my eye, and I decided to have my first bout with bubble tea after hearing about it and seeing it for several years.
Talk about efficient, their wait staff brought all of my items out at the same time, along with my check! It seriously took them less than ten minutes, and it was kind of awesome to not have to wait for the check at the end. So usually when you go to cheap Asian restaurants and they say “spicy” on the menu, its just the right kind of spicy for me: a little bit of kick has been added for flavor, but it is not “hot” by any means. This was not at all the case with the veggie ham unfortunately—about three bites in, my mouth was like a goddamn inferno. No, seriously, I’m surprised I could even taste the food because it just felt like biting into napalm every time I spooned some more in. Sure sure, water doesn’t help—eat some rice. Well, the rice didn’t do a damn bit of good either, actually, it felt even worse. See? Totally the edible equivalent of napalm.
Though I wasn’t much of a fan of the consistency of the never-ending supply of tapioca balls in my strawberry soy milk bubble tea, the strawberry soy milk part was damn good, and it oddly enough neutralized the glowing embers on my tongue. All in all, a good experience despite the fire, and fairly inexpensive as well.
I was in Hyde Park, so of course there was no direct route back to Nick’s. This time, Google wanted me to go back downtown (south), so that I could transfer busses and head back north. Ridiculous, but I learned a bit of a lesson last night—looking at the map, I noticed that the main street that runs to Nick’s is just on the other side of the UT campus. Cool, I could just walk for a short distance and catch the bus that goes directly to the casa. Well, let’s just say this: UT’s campus is goddamn gigantic because it took me half an hour to walk across it. I made it to the bus stop with about eight minutes to spare, but ended up having to flag-down—and subsequently chase—the bus that did not show any hint of stopping for me. Dude stopped eventually, apologizing profusely because he “never picks anyone up from there this late at night”.
It was an uneventful ride back, and here I sit—legs sore and unhappy, mostly in the shin region.