Austin: Day Four

Flash Flood Warning… and
not all from perspiration

The tone for Wednesday’s episode of the trade show was foreshadowed by the two Mexican brown-tailed bat carcasses on the sidewalk of the Congress Avenue bridge. Dead.
The printed schedule said the show was going to run until 6pm. Morning attendance at the plenary session was about half of previous days’. The final drawing, with primo items like a portable DVD player and a grainy mimeograph of Computational Yatta Yatta was scheduled for 4pm for those persistent attendees.

The vendors on my half of the room asked each other when they were bugging out. I made some jocular comment as the exhibit manager came by, so I asked him flat out when we should expect to pack up. His response was wishy-washy, suggesting anytime after noon would be okay, but we were “encouraged to stay for the final drawing.”

I didn’t want to be the first one to tear my booth down. Well, that’s a lie. I did, just not obviously so. Noon seemed like the perfect opportunity to start packing, but the several vendors took extremely long lunches, I couldn’t employ my jedi mind trick and start the process until they came back. Luckily, the “burly guys used with the franchise moving boxes between points A and B” — I can’t think of the name for the group — wandered the hall offering to pull out crates. I have a booth-in-a-tube, and the tube was buried under the $50 rented tablecloth. The other vendors came back, took that as a hint, and started boxing up their crap. I was so outta there.

I changed into civilian clothes. While I basked in the air conditioning, I surfed the Capital Metro bus schedules trying to figure out which bus to take to “Red River somewhere,” home of Easy Street Recumbents, where I was planning to rent a bike. Mike, the owner, runs the business from his house. Because it’s part-time, and Mike has a day job, there’s no address published on the site. Everything is done by appointment only.

Mike gave me a quick, and much-needed walk-through of riding a recumbent. Key points:

  • Start with the pedal at the 12 o’clock position
  • Keep shoulders down, butt in the seat.
  • Look where you want to go.
  • Relax. – controls are very twitchy.

Mike photocopied some maps and suggested a route back to the hotel, warning me of all the hills. The concept of a “hill” is different. If this were Seattle, I wouldn’t have worked up a sweat. However, this was Austin, and it was mid-90s and very, very humid. I felt like I was spewing sweat. The ride back to the hotel went very quickly, and I whizzed by a couple on the “hill,” only to get turned around on some one-way streets.


I put the bike in my room, toweled off, and walked to El Sol y la Luna for eggs, fruit, fried plantains and two gallons of iced tea. The lightning started. Soon, the rain started, and I do mean rain. Water pooled up as the official flood warning scrolled across every cable channel. The fancier ones feature bitmaps like the one above. Texas thunderstorms are spectacular.

If it’s not pouring tomorrow, I plan to get some bike time in along Loop 360, meet with one of our industry “partners,” have lunch with friend Elisa and then fly home.

4 thoughts on “Austin: Day Four”

  1. Ahhhhhh…..we aren’t in Kansas anymore…..

    I actually do NOT miss all that freakish rain down there. I lived in Temple for a year, and absolutely HATED getting stuck in the rain, only for it to end as quickly as it came. And it was always more humid afterwards.
    Enjoy your last day….wishing you enough sunshine to finish your ride!

  2. What’s a “jedi mind trick”, Jim?… Hummm… I’ve always wondered about your mind, Jim. But, a Jedi one never crossed my thoughts :-o)))

    Hug’n’a*

  3. Helena asks, “What’s a ‘jedi mind trick’?”

    The jedi mind trick is a reference to the first Star Wars movie, aka “Star Wars IV: A New Hope.” Luke, who has just been persuaded by Obi-Wan (perhaps by the jedi mind trick?) and his hormones to go to Alderan to rescue the princess — who later happens to be his sister, but I’m getting way ahead of myself here — is confronted with by stormtroopers looking for a pair of ‘droids. To diffuse the situation, Obi-wan employs the jedi mind trick and talks his way out of the situation. To wit:

    Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
    Obi-Wan: (waves hand) You don’t need to see his identification.
    Stormtrooper: We don’t need to see his identification.
    Obi-Wan: These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
    Stormtrooper: These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.
    Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
    Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
    Obi-Wan: Move along.
    Stormtrooper: Move along… move along.

    In the movies, it’s never called “mind trick,” though it’s attempted several times to influence sentient beings to the will of the Jedi. (Thus, you couldn’t make my carpenter ants take out the garbage, for example, but you could make the neighbor’s dog think twice about shitting on the lawn.)

    There is also a drink of that name.

  4. Ok, I can’t believe I’m going to be “that geek,” but, yeah, it’s referred to in later movies as a “mind trick.” I had to Google for the exact quotes, but:

    Return of the Jedi:

    Bib Fortuna: May I present Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight?
    Jabba the Hutt: I told you not to admit him.
    Luke: I must be allowed to speak.
    Bib Fortuna: He must be allowed to speak.
    Jabba the Hutt: You weak minded fool. He’s using an old Jedi mind trick.

    Attack of the Clones:
    Padme’: What, are you going to use one of your Jedi mind tricks on me?
    Anakin: No, they only work on the weak -minded.

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