I’m tired. I’m behind on homework. I’ve got a hallway full of bags to unpack.
I’m excited. I’m motivated. I’m ready to tackle some challenges.
This past week, Jeff and I got to spend time in Austin, TX for the annual TCEA convention. If you are unfamiliar with this convention, check it out here. This was my third trip- and the best one yet. The first year, as a naive little techie, I was thrust into this huge convention center. 10,000 plus other people were crowding the halls and rooms- and I was standing there lost in the crowd, lost in the excitement. There was so much to do, yet the proverbial little time to do it in. I think that year I came back bouncing off the walls. Year two found me presenting on Wednesday, so really that day was just a nervous blur. Then we had bad weather and had to leave early.
Everything went perfect this year. We got to leave on Monday, which meant that I was able to go to the edubloggercon. Something I had wanted to do the previous year, but didn’t get there in time to do. I learned about publishing e-books (which I am starting to think would be a cool way to publish my own book>). At the glogster.edu session, I was at a table with some really interesting people. One of which (I realized later) was a teacher that I had been following on twitter for about a year (@classroom_tech). The sessions were informal and open to the flow of the crowd. We got to talk about the things we wanted to learn more about AND see what others are doing. The BEST part of the edubloggercon was the cool tool duel! Not only was it very entertaining to watch, but I also have a new list of cool tools to try out.
That night I got to go to the networking dinner (thanks to my winning poem on simplek12’s blog!!). There I got to meet a couple of the other winners and we had a great time! The appetizers were exotic looking (the lime green dipping sauce didn’t get much attention at our table). The live music was good (ok, I wouldn’t buy their cd, but listening to music live is always a good experience). But the networking was great! I met two other technologists (Jennifer and Connie) and exchanged contact info by the end of the evening. Overall, I was glad I was able to go! Next year, maybe I will be adventurous and talk to people at different tables, too.
The rest of the convention I spent in sessions (some good, some- well no comment, and some GREAT), the exhibit floor (yay to free t-shirts!), and hunting down the refreshment booth for my $5 chai tea. Between the laptop and the iPad, I got notes on all of the sessions. I was even able to use my iPad to record some of the sessions. It was pretty neat the way technology can be used to capture the moment. I took running notes with google docs, and while they are pretty jumbled and all- I will go ahead and share them. Just be kind and realize that eventually I will go back and clean them up. When my laptop ran out of batteries, I started using my iPad. When the speaker would talk about a website, I would go there, add bookmark to my homepage, then create a folder. When I was using my laptop, I would just go ahead and add them to my delicious account and tag it with tcea2011 (you can look me up on delicious: cassro1014). On tweetdeck, I was following others who were in different sessions and would grab the websites they would put out there. So, thanks to technology and the social network- I have more websites, info, and data that I need to go back to and see what I can use. Here is the link for the google docs, if you try to open it and get an error- let me know. This is the first time I’ve tried sharing docs with users not inside my school network.
TCEA 2011 was a rush! Next year will be better. Next year, at the social, I am going to have to meet some strangers- maybe some people that I already know via twitter, pln’s, and go dancing!! Jeff wouldn’t dance with me…so I sat at the table wishing he would. Next year, I’ll just be brave and do it by myself if I have to.
The second reason why I love going to Austin is…the FOOD! In Paris, we have a handful of restaurants, so anytime we get to go out of town we look forward to going out to eat. Monday night we went to Iron Cactus on 6th street. Or as the sign reads 6ixth. Would that be pronounced sixixth? Our guess was that someone drunk must have designed the sign, because that is exactly what it would sound like coming from the slurred tongue of an intoxicated person. I had this delicious dish: Camarones a la Parilla. Yeah, I know- by the name itself it doesn’t sound delicious- but read the description and know that yes, yes it was gooooooood! Five jumbo shrimp, stuffed with jalapeño pepper and Monterrey Jack cheese, wrapped in bacon. Served on a sizzling platter with our tangy lime butter sauce, Mexican rice and choice of beans (taken directly from their menu).
Jeff and David went to Fogo De Chao. I had NO desire to go there. 1) can’t eat much and 2) not a big meat fan. But they went and every now and then Jeff would just break out into “MEAT on a SWORD!!”
Aside from the learning, aside from the food- there was one more event that I was TOTALLY STOKED about!!!! My favorite chick-flick….Alamo Drafthouse….SINGING!
First year in Austin, Jeff and I were exploring 6th (or sixixth) St and came across the Alamo Drafthouse. And noticed that they were playing Moulin Rouge- sing-a-long w/ props. We went to buy our tickets 45 minutes before the show- and they were SOLD OUT! Bummer. Second year, I planned ahead- I bought my tickets online the week before. We got there and not even halfway into the movie- we had to leave (weather, co-workers sick child in hospital 6 hours away…). I was disappointed, but there was nothing you could do about. This year…YES!! This year…IT HAPPENED!! Not only did we make it through the WHOLE MOVIE- BUT our seats were upgraded to the balcony seats….for free. We got to sit in reclining leather chairs, free popcorn, personal waitress, and there was only one other couple up there. Life. Is. Good.
And now, it is time to go get my girls up and ready for art lessons, finish homework, unpack, and try to come up with a really good word that will get me lots of points on Words with Friends (one of the many apps I downloaded at the convention!!).