Tom Guthery's recollections
The hard part was engineering the terrific weather - upper 70's and sunny during the day. We all went on a lot of walks - botanical gardens, University of Texas at night, 6th street, we saw the bats. Mainly to get out of the hotel (I think we were in the hotel less than half the time - much more fun to schmooze in a garden than in a hotel suite), but also to walk off all those meals!
Here is what I recall about where we went:
Eric, Gary and Jess showed up at my house while I was on the road buying stuff for the schmooze. They called and let me know they were there, so I called my wife to tell her to let this strange group into the house - it was OK (actually she knew them from the SIC in St. Louis). We all stayed in touch via cell phone a lot and everyone managed to make it to the right place at the right time. They needed to kill some time (and Jess needed to use out bathroom, or so they claimed) before picking up Rosemary at the airport (which is 15 minutes from my house).
Next year I plan on having all the schmoozers visit the house "officially" - my living room is bigger than our "schmooze" room at the hotel and we can cook brisket on the back deck.
Chuy's Tex-mex restaurant - the same place President Bush's daughters got carded and busted for drinking. Don Watkins treated us. Thanks Don!
We walked around UT at night - around the tower which was lit up nicely.
Threadgill's restaurant - good down home cookin'. I brow beat most of the folks at my table to get chicken fried steak - a southern staple.
The Austin botanical garden. The weather was great and a bunch of stuff was in bloom. Had to walk off the chicken fried steaks :-)
Barton Springs pool. It's a constant 68 degree spring fed pool. We didn't swim - just watched the nuts who were.
Congress street bridge to see the bats. It was a nice walk along the river from the hotel. The bats did well and flew out at 7:30 (they come out between 7:30 to 8:45 according to the web site we checked). The lovely smell of bat excrement built our appetites :-)
We walked to the Iron Works BBQ. The food was great, it wasn't crowded and there was no waiting to get served - just walk up to the counter and get your grub. I had brisket, beer and pecan pie.
Walked back to the hotel and schmoozed indoors for a while.
Walked to a huge Chinese restaurant next to the convention center. Everyone had Chinese food except me - I had NY cheesecake. The portions were large and you could hold either lunch or dessert, but not both. At least two people took pictures of my cheesecake (which was very pretty and delicious). With digital cameras, folks will take pictures of absolutely everything :-) Jess (DR) and Kevin (ICUII) treated us all for lunch - thanks! Some folks went on an excursion to Fry's Electronics - geek heaven.
Some went shopping for more T-shirts. Jess and Rosemary bought T-shirts every time we stopped anywhere. The picture of them in the "Chuy's Angels" T-shirts is going on the front page above the fold for the Austin schmooze web site. I expect that after that our attendance next year will triple at least :-)
Saturday night everyone split off all over the place. Some of the Texas folks headed home. We ended up with 3 folks in the schmooze room, so I sponsored pizza - good thinking on my part - I could be incredibly generous for only 10 bucks. I think that after all the amazing cuisine folks had had around Austin, delivery pizza was way too tame :-)
Gary and Eric went to 6th street and dropped Rosemary and Jess off. The last I heard they were supposed to find their own way back to the hotel. I guess they got back - I left around 4AM so I could make it to Church, but I ended up sleeping until 4PM instead - "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" - all that schmoozing wore me out, but it was a good wore out :-)
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