libraries, turitellae, punk!

I sneaked out of the conference this morning, ate at Las Manitas again, talked to a kid and dad who were on spring break vacation from El Paso and told them about where to find fossils, figuring I wouldn’t get a chance. He was a smiley little kid next to me at the breakfast counter, checking out my hair.

Then off to the library on the #20 bus! I found a ton of good stuff… it was like wallowing in exactly what I had been hoping to find. I need to spend a couple of weeks on the fourth floor, taking notes and typing things up. I wanted to go to the geek lunch on disaster relief but first, went down the hill to meet Dennis at the Geo Library. It was so good to see him! Within 20 minutes he had recommended several new books to me, explained about his horrible battle with cancer, we talked about everyone we knew in common, the library renovation, the Old Days, geniuses, mommyblogging, venezuelan politics (he had some interesting things to say about PDVSA) and more books, the past, present, and future of libraries and technology and university administrations… Well, you see why I loved working there when I was a student. It was better than my classes to hang out with Dennis. (Everyone who has worked for him knows this.)

To the geek lunch! OMG I can’t blog all of this day, it was way too intense! I listened to Bill, Evelyn, and John L. talk about the tsunami, hurricane, blogging, aftermath, databases. I kind of shot off my mouth about the fights over the peoplefinding data and who owned it. But then tried to make a point about how what’s needed is social software and actually… that maps api with it would be very slick… you need a City Directory plus social software. Because almost always, finding people wasn’t direct, but was a couple of degrees of separation away. Geneological research works that way too. But even more so in a huge disaster where no one is thinking too clearly about what the logical thing to do would be or who they should or could call. I see the problems with privacy this creates, but am not sure that’s a reason not to do it. *someone’s* going to do it anyway.

I wished Grace Davis had been there!

It was funny when I said that every family has a dirty secret they want to hide and David Nuñez said “In my family, it’s me.”

Outside the restaurant this woman approached me and seemed like she was going to ask me for money. And she was. i was thinking about the astrodome andn people I met there and feeling sad. Anyway, I listened to Phyllis, who turned out to be very interesting and who had gastritis very horribly, and seizures, and was on the same not-very-helpy ulcer meds I was on last fall, plus dilantin. She was just so shocked to have me go OMG I had that and it was the most painful thing… and not to be able to eat. She was in that same place, only able to sip tepid water, which still hurt, and had lost 40 pounds in just a few months, and nibbling crackers and bread… but unlike me was homeless and has a wad of other medical problems. She lives at the salvation army and got work there and tries to help take care of kids that come through. She’s lived there for 2 years. And wants to try to find a disability-benefits lawyer. I told her how I had one in the 90s and how it worked – they do it all for free for you, and then when you get a payment they take 20-25% of it. But then you’ll get years of back payments all at once and can afford a deposit on an apartment. We had a conversation about not having to justify one’s xtianness or non-alcohol-drinking status in order to deserve help. Well anyway I helped her buy her prescriptions. She had just gotten out of the hospital for the seizures and was wandering around. You see what I mean about my day being intense in random ways.

I wanted to go back to the conference but the library kept calling to me! I had 4 more pages of call numbers to go through. So back to the bus and the strange, endlessly long building which has posters of what look like quaker parakeets all over it. I’m not sure why that’s their logo. I spent a bunch of time in the Rare Books room, and read the rest of María Monvel’s 1930 anthology. It was even weirder and funnier than I remembered, with really catty snarky biographies for all the other poets and for Monvel herself, a two page quote of Gabriela Mistral kissing her ass. I can’t imagine. I don’t see Monvel’s thing, except that she makes a really good anthology. Her poetry was kind of “eh”… I wish I could remember who, at the last translator conference, asked me about women ultraísmo poets because there were several in there and one of them was super kick ass and had the word COMUNISTA in all her poems in capital letters. Annoyingly it was the only book of all the ones i got in the rare book room that said “no photocopying”. It was completely falling apart.

by library closing time at 6pm i was panting for breath (mentally). i could not take the day anymore and felt like collapsing. Also, i forgot to bring a water bottle. And had been standing up at the xerox machine for quite some time. By great good luck I got the bus right away!!! And my knees were still okay! Back in downtown, as I was walking back to the convention center to check my email, I had a wistful feeling like, “Oh hell, and now will be the moment when I don’t find anyone fun and end up going to dinner by myself, which would be okay, but, waaah.” And then ran into Prentiss anad went to dinner with him! And I got him to take me to the creek with the fossils in it and even though it was dark, it was a full moon and I found a huge wad of fossil snails that I think are called turritella somethingensis. We ate at Kerby Lane which was just the same except with fancier food. I got the queso with guacamole in the middle, which was different than it used to be… in some ways better, but i preferred it served in a shallow dish so you could see the guacamole and proportion the guac to queso ratio perfectly instead of blindly fishing around. We talked about a million things. Prentiss was very relaxing to be around even though he is full of ideas. We had all sorts of cool panel ideas and post-sxswi analysis and meta meta meta blahdeblah. My main thought was that this year we had the blogher invasion for women and next year should be the world invasion. Global Voices and the BlogHer world blogroll people should get invited, so we get some more non USians.

I was on the fence.. go back ot my hotel and blog? or go to the Media Temple party? last night’s eff party left me partied out and a bit jaded. We drove up and it looked tempting so I got out… and the party turned out to be awesome! Drinks were free and they were not chintzy drinks like many of the other parties, with lame drink tickets that got you only beer or something gross-tasting. No… it was just free with no fuss and the drinks were good. I hung out with Lanae and ruby and… imprudently shot my mouth off about C. who was weirdly rude to me but I got it that she’s just that way. It was like I was all “hi, are you interesting?” and she instantly began to treat me as if I were licking ass to beg for a job interview with her. arrogant! rude! We got very catty and laughed uproariously, which made me feel better about the whole thing. Lanae somehow instantly comfortable to hang out with which was good since I was tired of people trying to figure out what my deal was or if I was trying to game them in some way or if I was useful or important or a professional contact (I will tell you now… No… I’m extremely ornamental and full of baroque ideas, but useless for most practical purposes.) Then Lanae was going to see sleater-kinney… Again I was exhausted but how could I resist and I figured, my last night in Austin, go hear some really good music!!! I’m so glad I did. We drove around not quite remembering where it was. And then it was super huge and was all film people. Luckily Lanae was on the list and no one questioned my glomming along with her. The portapotties were clean. Miracle! Sleater Kinney started right as we finished peeing and we weaselled up front! It was fucking great. I will blog more about their greatness, I’m sure. I got very excited and nostalgic about old riot grrl shows and stuff and old punk shows i used to go to in houston and austin. Lanae was excited.. but she apparently sees them every chance she gets! She’s all cool and stuff, she has no idea I haven’t been to see any music in the last several years except for that one tower of power show.

Anyway, WTF with the film people because they don’t know how to do anything even approximating mosh and not dancing to great music is just disrespectful! it’s all about the happy breakdown of usual social barriers! I wanted to slam into everyone until I was covered in bruises! Even just some gentle jostling? Bouncing around dorkily on my own was fine though… I was happy except for the knees, which I ignored, because good punk rock is more important than knees.

The show seemed to be over. A lot of people left. A somewhat pathetic knot of die-hards clapped and yelled until the band came back.

Then it was like magic: danah and barb were there moshing around with me! As if I’d believed hard enough in fairies and so the sky opened up for the queer-ass disney fairy to drop down some cute as fuck punk girls ! hot damn! They didn’t play just one or two more songs – it was a whole second set. I was freaking out with joy at the driving velvet-undergroundiness of crazy harmonic noise! The drummer is a frenzied genius! And all of them are cute as fuck. What’s her name’s skirt had ruffles which, when she did a serious ass-kicking leap in the air with her guitar, the ruffles would flap around on her butt in the cutest way. And the other one, i have no words to describe her wiry rockstar butchy hotness!

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