Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Last week, I went to Austin for the Austin Game Developers Conference. With my $50 pass, I didn't attend any of the panels or classes, instead I walked the Expo floor looking for game studios that were hiring. Unfortunately, the underwhelming presence of Austin-based game companies led to quick boredom. Since I was there with a few friends, it was all good. I did make some good contacts and get a better feel for the area.

Austin isn't what you'd think Texas would be like. One co-worker remarked to me, "the only problem with Austin is that it's surrounded by Texas" - no offense intended for you Texans. Texas doesn't bother me one bit. Austin felt like a breath of fresh air after living in soulless Orlando. The tourism industry is like a vampire here, leeching creativity and good times. Austin is heavy on the arts and outdoors, both of which I enjoy. The Colorado River runs through it, as well as slowing down to form a few nice lakes, all of which is surrounded by some really cool parks. The restaurant quality was approximately 2,000% better than anything I've had in Orlando. Austin's hippie content was roughly 40% of California's, too. There are eco-friendly cleaners, vegan tea shops and vintage clothing thrift stores. Lots of bike shops, too. I hear Lance Armstrong is from Austin.

Highlights of the trip:

- every restaurant we went to was fantastic! Mongolian BBQ right by the convention center, Kerby Lane's, Amy's Ice Cream (Cold Stone was put out of business in Austin by the original Amy's Ice Cream, where they reportedly ripped off their whole gimmick. Any town that can stick it to Cold Stone has my favor!) You might be able to tell that I'm anti-franchise when it comes to restaurants. I can't help it that most franchises serve nasty reheated food. Yes, even your beloved TGI Friday's and Chili's (I'm looking at YOU, Greg).

- Alamo Drafthouse. Not quite a bar or a restaurant, but both in front of a Theater Screen! We saw "The Ten", which I enjoyed for its incredibly well-written albeit crass satirical humor. That place was awesome, tho. Best Cheeseburger I've had in awhile, too.

- Slow motion automobile accident, between a tour bus and some poor guy's Mazda sports car. I guess bus drivers don't always check their mirrors when taking a slow, wide right turn on a wide street.

- Guy at an outdoors gear store (North Face) describing his elation and security when wearing climbing shoes with 5.10 Stealth rubber. "I was like 30ft up, and like all scared and stuff, then I looked down [at my shoes] and was, like, ah....it's all good!"

- College kids (University of Texas is downtown Austin) look like high-school kids. What's up with that? Am I really that old?

- I'm listening to Cas Haley right now. I watched America's Got Talent off and on, and was really disappointed that he didn't win it all. Who loses to a ventriloquist?? Cas is a fantastic musician, and I really dig his style. I'm just listening thru his website, but I really gotta get his albums. Look up Woodbelly, his band. The other members are very good as well. I'm sure his career is just getting started.

Hopefully this longer blog makes up for the lack of blogging I've been (not) doing. I've been busy with getting my portfolio ready for the conference, and this job search thing takes a lot of effort. Hopefully we will be reaping the fruits of my labors soon....

Thanks for reading! Cross your fingers for me, I really want to relocate to Austin!


Brian said...

Cool. Sounds like you had fun on your trip! The only reason you have such a Hate-On for franchise food joints is because you've worked at almost all of them by the time you were 20. Austin does sound like a fairly neat place to reside. Although I gotta tell ya, Madison has everything Austin has and more! Including snow during Christmas. Huge music, art, hippie scene here (although I could do with less hippies, they say they want to change the world but all they do is smoke pot, and smell funny from never taking a shower). Annnnndd RAVEN SOFTWARE is just on the west side of town. I'm just saying... if Austin doesn't work out, Heidi and I would welcome you guys with open arms to our fair city. Tons of parks, bike paths, and we're surrounded by lakes (so no worries of hurricanes or typhoons). Madison has tons of locally owned eateries, that are excellent and lots of people support small business here (meaning Lissa would probably do well here) and I'm pretty sure the cost of living is waaaaaayyyyyy less than Orlando. You'd live like KINGS I SAY!

Anywho, sounds like you had fun.

dastew said...

You know Albany's got....well it's got....okay it's got nothing but us. Still that should count for something. As to your hatred of chains, I agree with Brian. I think it's due to some deepseated resentment about having to wash yuppie's dishes for so many years.

m3ng said...

Don't get me wrong, I'll still eat at McDonald's and other chains. However, I like having restaurants close by that make me crave their food. Also, good Asian food - authentic is a plus - is a must. The Chicago and Los Angeles areas are the only places I've lived where the food was amazing. Sure, Provo has a couple of spots (Cafe Rio, maybe Gandolfo's) but that's nothing compared to LA. I've also never had a good pizza since I left Chicago. Sorry folks, but New York Thin Crust is for pansies.

Brian said...

Gotta agree with you about the NY pizza Matt. I've been there twice tried several places for a NY slice and was left very dissappointed. It's as if they think making the slice bigger makes it taste better. It doesn't.

Alissa said...

Freak! How many times have I told you that you have to stop talking about the food! I'm dying over here. Gag!

Brian said...

*In my best Homer voice*

"mmmmmm fooooood"

jjohansen said...


I'll have to trust that Austin is better than the parts I've seen.

You guys are really mobile, think you'll start looking to settle down in Texas?

We are going to start looking for a new place to live after our kiddo is born. We might get back westward (just not sure how far).

Definitely not Albany though. ;)