Roughing it:

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So last Friday night I stayed over at a friend’s house. It was later on in the evening when I got there – 8:30, maybe – and she and I had a great time eating delicious food, drinking delicious wine, paraffin waxing our hands, and dancing to music on her iPod. She passed out around 11 or 12, but I, ever the night owl, decided to stay up and do some work.

And finish the wine.

Whatever.

After about an hour or so of Lightroom and Pinot Noir, I decided to go outside for a cigarette. And you know that feeling you have, sometimes, right before something goes completely wrong? Like, that moment where you catch your breath and realize a mistake is in the works, JUST AFTER it becomes too late to stop the pendulum from swinging braggishly toward disaster? It’s a little hiccup, a certain slowing of time, before everything clicks back into place and you realize you’ve just locked yourself out of the condo.

Locked. Out.

The doorbell was no use – my dear friend, it seems, is a very sound sleeper – and anyway the buzzer is two floors down from her bedroom. To make matters worse, I could SEE her cell phone on the granite countertop just inside the door. My options were limited.

Inside the condo were my purse, license, cash, credit cards, laptop, hair elastics, and the rest of the wine. Outside, I had my car keys, a pack and a half of Camels, my iPhone, and a case of Diet Coke. Also a bottle of vodka and a jar of tomato sauce. But I didn’t see how those last two things were helpful.  I retreated to the car to think things through.

My parents lived nearby, but it was almost 2am. And I was kind of drunk. Plus I didn’t have my license. For the same reasons, driving home to Revere wasn’t a viable option. As if to concretize the situation, I turned on the Yaris and realized I was running on fumes – the gas light blinked eyelessly from the dash as my phone buzzed it’s 20% battery warning. I lit another smoke and contemplated my fate. I’d done this before, I thought, that time in the hospital, with less battery life and certainly less Diet Coke. People bivouac on the sides of mountaintops. Come on, we’re just in the suburbs here. We can do this. It’s like a vision quest, but without the peyote.

After a moment of rummaging I came up with an iPhone charging cable and my trusty DC converter with dual USB out, but the gas situation was problematic and it was really, really cold. Plus, I figured I wouldn’t be able to get inside until at least 6am. I browsed idly through my apps, trying to find something to occupy my mind for the next 4-6 hours. Music would be nice, I thought.

And then, it happened. I downloaded Spotify. And somehow, by some miracle, I got a free upgrade to a premium account. For the uninitiated, this basically means that not only did I have “some music”, I had *ALL THE MUSIC*. I mean, almost all the music. But still, SO MUCH MUSIC. Feverishly, I began to search. I found a Bassnectar remix of Underworld’s “Rez“, which led me through both their entire catalogues, which somehow led me to my old favorite Akufen, which brought me to a multi-disc mix called Up All Night, which brought me back to Bassnectar. And then, dear friends, then it was sunrise.

The snow was falling gently as I clomped through the drifts up to my friend’s doorstep. I rang the bell, firmly, once every three seconds until finally I heard her start to stumble down the stairs.

“What the – ”

I grinned like a moron, shaking snowflakes out of my hair.

“How long have you BEEN out there?”

Best night ever? MAYBE.


On Going Viral (which is happening):

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OH MY FREAKING GOD PEOPLE.

OH MY GOD.

So I work for this non-profit part-time, doing social media management and IT infrastructure. And today, this thing we made we went viral. Totally viral. We’ve front-paged on Grist, HuffPo, WaPo, GIZMODO, Reddit, Daily Mail, and on and on and on. I can’t even list the links, there are so many. Our website just reached 100,000 visits today. We’ve already had to scale up our servers once. Our Facebook fans are set to double, we’re seeing more action on Google+ than Google+ has probably ever seen, and I’m hammering out tweets like I’m getting paid for it.

Oh wait. I am.

The best picture ever

OK so whatever, anyway, this is completely overwhelming for me. One second I’m giddy with excitement, the next I’m ready to pass out, and the next I find myself out back on the porch, chain smoking and reloading my Pages app… not in a healthy way. So I’m just putting this out there, giving out some free advice for my peeps: this going viral business? IT IS NOT ALL FLOWERS AND ROSES.

Gleeful and nauseous,

Erin

 

 


(Not) Getting a Cab in Austin: Part 3

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So when we left off, I’d just spoken with the owner of Yellow Cab Austin, and given him the sensible advice to not make promises he couldn’t keep. That night I had the opportunity, once again, to call upon Yellow Cab for transport – my flight back to Boston was at 9:40 the following morning. And lo! Behold! I was greeted with a recording giving a disclaimer about their dispatch service malfunction! I’d effected real change, it seemed!

Nevertheless, I made my reservation for 6am, and called Lone Star Cab as backup for a pickup at 7.

Me being me, I slept through my alarm. I woke at 7:30 to my phone ringing, with the taxi driver from Lone Star on the other end of the line. This is 7:30am, mind you, which is neither 6 nor 7. “Where are you?” he asked me, in a thickly accented voice. “I can’t find you on the GPS.”

“Um, maybe try a map,” I suggested, not unhelpfully. “I think it’s off Airport Boulevard, but I can’t be sure. I don’t live here.”

“OK, OK, OK,” he interrupted. “I be there soon.”

I got up, brushed my teeth, and set about packing. Half an hour later, as I was finishing off the last of the Diet Coke and smoking the day’s first cigarette, he called back.

“OK, so you are coming off I-35 from downtown, and which way do you turn off the exit?”

I mean, was I  UNCLEAR earlier about the ‘not living here’ thing? “I really don’t know,” I said, “I’ve never been to Austin before in my life. I think you turn right.”

“Right?” His tone was almost accusatory. “You sure it’s not left?”

“What? NO, I’m not sure! I DON’T LIVE HERE. But I think it’s right.” I stubbed out my Camel Light and huffed inside the house.

“OKOKOK, I call you back.”

I hadn’t yet had time to put the empty 2-liter in the trashcan when my phone rang again. But, instead of the cranky cabbie, it was a pleasant audio recording informing me that my cab was approaching. Yellow Cab Austin! My chariot had arrived – and only two and a half hours late!

Lone Star called back one more time, but I didn’t bother answering. It was my last cab ride in Austin. I wanted to enjoy every second.


(Not) Getting a Cab in Austin: Part 1

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So I just got back from SXSW, which it’s actually difficult for me to type without a hashtag, and I had like, an 85% great time.

Only 85%? But SXSW (#) is supposed to be, like, Geek Mecca! Nirvana for the nerd set! Hipster heaven!

And it was all that – and more! It was awesome like a music festival, minus the sleeping outside and the mud, and it was inspiring like church (if you’re into that sort of thing). Late nights, early mornings, and a wealth of information it’ll take me weeks to sort through. But I can break that other 15% down for you in four simple words: The cabs there? SUCK.

The first day was fine, actually. Totally cool. I went online and ordered a cab for 8:45am, and, at about 9am one showed up. Perfect! That night, I booked a cab for 8:30, just to be safe, and drifted to sleep thinking how convenient the whole thing had been.

At 9:15 the following morning, I was not finding it so very convenient. My friend’s husband, roused from bed by his groggy wife for the purpose of driving me to the convention, was not finding it very convenient either.

I’d called the cab company at 8:45 to inquire as to the status of my cab, and was told, in a slow Texas drawl, that there were no cabs avaliable.

“But I booked online!” I said, my heart rate accelerating. “You HAVE to have a cab for me!” I’d been so nervous about this very thing – the cab just never coming, being late to my first session – and here it was, happening! The power of negative thinking? SHUT UP.

“Ma’am, I don’t know what you want me to do,” answered the dispatcher.

“What do I want you to do? What do I want you to DO?” Practically shrieking, for sure: “I WANT YOU TO GET ME A CAB IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO!”

“I am doing my best, ma’am, but there are no cabs available.”

And that’s about when my head exploded. By the time got to the 9:30 session “The State of Social Marketing“, there was a full house and a line out the door for seats. But, bonus, the session I wound up going to instead had mimosas. That didn’t really make up for it, though. I’d really been looking forward to the social marketing session.

TBC dudes –


And then I saw it:

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Rural Pennsylvania, 8am on Sunday, and I’m shooting an actual nuclear power plant. Nuts! See more on Tumblr.


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