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March 19th, 2009 By Caleb Mathern | The Morning After | Posted In: Life

SXSW Blog: Hey Mom, I'm Austin-tatious

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A little over 24 hours ago, when I am telling my mother I am headed to Austin to film several showcases with Cincinnati's own PROJECTMILL at SXSW, I tell her my idea for the name of my blog for "The Morning After" would more or less be titled "Ostentatious." In a lowered voice, she questions the originality of the idea. Touche, Mom, touche.

I'm coasting on two hours of sleep. And Hyundai sleep ain't nothin' like the real thing. Pete Ohs, Mandy Levy, Joshua Mattie and I left Northside for Texas at 7 p.m. our time and I got to bring us through the dark soul of the night (that period where there were only one set of tracks in the sand), picking up the 2-6:30 a.m. driving shift while everyone else coasted in and out of a cozy stupor (though Pete really seemed to rock the backseat for all it was worth, netting the group high of six-seven hours of shut-eye). All of my tenure behind the wheel of Pete and Mandy's 2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS went smoothly, though. To those who wonder, she handled like a dream as I weaved in and out of semis' lumbering trails across Arkansas' blacked-out expanse. Mandy scored the best shift (Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas), plowing through a steady pillow of disco fog blanketing the highway whilst popping my cherry of the Killer's new album that I more or less enjoyed.

Mattie pulled the longest haul, bringing us all the way into Austin to our more than moderately disappointing accommodations at the 9102 Burnet Road Econo-Lodge. The much anticipated outdoor pool--nonexistent. The pull-out couch- decrepit and falling apart. Looks like the king-sized bed is going to get more than its fair share of man tonight as Mandy has opted for the couch. Maybe she doesn't trust me. Anyhow, I'm sharing my bed with two other dudes.

But it's not all bad. While Josh tidied up some PROJECTMILL graphics for the Fountain Square Jumbo-tron and Pete and Mandy crashed/burned, I decided to scope out my surroundings. I walked a block south to pick my poison (I figure the only thing to do at this point in the afternoon is drink Red Bull and beer or meet my fate, waking up at 11 p.m. and screwing up my sleeping schedule for the rest of the week). My options were the Highland Lanes bowling alley, an Olive Garden, a Chili's and an Irish Pub called "Bagpipe's." I went with Bagpipe's, not only because I missed out on the St. Patrick's Day festivities last night (Mom's maiden name is Flanagan), but also because it also shares its name with my favorite of all possible prison sex practices. And kids, wouldn't you know it, I struck gold.

I made friends with a gorgeous bartender named Shelly who wore a sort of bagpipe (naturally) version of a catholic school girl outfit, which, though not usually my thing, was my thing as I am tired to the point of hallucinating. Two talls, a Red Bull and an enjoyable call to my ex-girlfriend later and I was pulling a Staying Alive strut out of that glorious happy hour full of ponytails, cowboy hats and major mustaches. I am all squints and grins when Shelly says she hopes to see me tomorrow. I 'm struggling, typing this now. I smell pretty bad and I don't know where we're going tonight, but I am looking forward to seeing Sebastien Schultz of Cincinnati's Bad Veins to ask him how their performance went earlier today. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to put it together when I get back to report on the festivities.

Oh, also I saw a shooting star while looking up into the Tennessee sky and listening to Otis Redding's "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay." You fuckin' bet I made a wish.

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