Austin-tatious TCEA 2012 & the Monolithic Home Tour (February 7 - 10, 2012)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Maybe TCEA isn't ostentatious, but Austin, Texas always is.  We left for TCEA (TCEA = Texas Computer Educator's Association) around noon for Austin, and Pamela was nice enough to drive.

We decided to stop for some great spiced poundcake and other pastries at the Czech Stop in West, Texas.  While there I ran into an old Winfree graduate also on her way to TCEA.  She's getting her master's degree now.  I can't believe I've been teaching long enough to have graduates in master's programs!
At the Czech Stop
Our hotel this trip is the Hilton directly across from the Convention Center at the corner of Red River and 3rd Street.  The Hilton couldn't have been closer to the Convention Center...amazing!  Also amazing was the pink poodle waiting for us upon check-in.  The owner let me take a photo.
Yes...that is the poodle's actual hair.
Dinner our first night was at Moonshine which stands in a historic building.

They give you popcorn on the table as a free appetizer.  Love me some popcorn! They also had a firepit to stand/sit by as you waited on your table.

Popcorn at Moonshine
The hotel only has free wifi in the lobby.  Luckily it has a gorgeous lobby with lots of seating..

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Penney and I were roommates and would hit a lot of sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  I'm not going to spend much time talking about the sessions we attended here...that's for work, but I will mention that all of the FISD sessions were well-attended and well-received.
We did go to see the opening session keynote speaker...Tory Bellaci from Mythbusters.

Tory from Mythbusters takes a photo of the audience
The crowd loved him.
Lunch today was at Ironworks.  We passed some neat and abandoned buildings on our walk to this well-known Austin BBQ restaurant.  Tasty!
I don't know why the boarded up windows fascinate me, but they do.
When we got back, before we had to be in another session, we made some technology jewelry.  In the process of rubber cementing, I got some artwork in my glass of soda...had to throw it away.  Klutzy Kristy.
Samples of tech jewelry
My finished creation
The best part of waking up is technology in your cup?
Lori and I met up at 3 pm to test everything for our presentation.  It was at 5 pm, so we didn't expect anyone to show up.  We were wrong.  We had 43 or so.
The lady on the back left seems distracted.
Lori hooking them in as I run the presentation and monitor questions.
The business card I made for our session.
Penney was so sweet to stay with Pam for the entire session.  And, of course, Skitler was there too.
Skitler and the Rockets Around the Globe QR Poster
Afterward, we went to the Old School Bar & Grill at the recommendation of the hotel.  They had the best spinach and artichoke dip I've ever had - completely covered in melted cheese.

Penney liked the welcome sign.
We went back to the hotel and spent time in the lobby drinking hot chocolate and catching up on email.
View from our room on the 13th floor
Thursday, February 9, 2012
I've never been lucky enough to be this close to the location of a conference.

The convenience of staying at the Hilton across from the Convention Center had to be photographed.  It was wonderful!
Standing by our hotel looking at the Convention Center
Looking at the Hilton from the Convention Center
Thursday was filled with good sessions too, but I left a block of time for lunch and visiting the convention center floor where the vendors are located.  While here, I ran into my friend Allie.  Penney, Allie, and I all went to see Moby from BrainPop together.
Kristy and Moby

Penney and Moby

Allie and Moby

We got a lot of loot.

But I think this pig is my favorite.

Skitler liked the squishy stress relievers.
I also managed to score these old keyboard keys which I adore!

Penney and I went to Carmelo's for lunch.  The ambiance is amazing, and the lasagna was tasty.  They gave us complimentary focaccia bread and Italian sausage as an appetizer.

Penney and the photo-bomb

We made it back in time to catch some of Alissa and Sara's Fab 5 and make it to more sessions.
Parachute launch
Penney and I met up with Sue, a relative of Penney's for dinner at Taverna (located at Lavaca and 2nd).  I had an amazing meal called Fiocchi al Gorgonzola e Pera (Gorgonzola & Pear filled Pasta with Walnuts, Arugula & Dolce Latte Cream Sauce). It was unbelievable.

She dropped us off just in time to see a lady dressed up for the boxing tournament going on upstairs in the hotel.  (Some charity event.)

Next up, the group went to Esther's Austin tradition.  Esther's Follies was a hilarious singing/comedy/magical show.  Very fun evening.
Comedy Singer...I liked his song about Kuala Lumpur

Fire and blades in the magic act
Big Hair
Big Lips
Crafting with feminine products
Lady Gaga

Floating Girls

Audience participation
Audience switcharoo

Austin has some great buildings.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Caught an 8 am session before going over to see Penney and Pamela teach about ePUBs.  They had almost 100 people in attendance.  I counted at least 91, and that didn't include the people who kept coming and going.

When we were all leaving after a very successful conference we were able to snag a few conference ribbons.

Then we were off to Dallas stopping at Subway for lunch, the Czech Stop for kolaches to take home in West, and the Monolithic Caterpillar and Starship Pegasus in Italy, Texas.
Starship Pegasus in Italy, TX

Kristy in Italy, TX (it's a whole other kind of spaceship trip)
When we went to Italy, it was just going to be to photograph the spaceship and the caterpillar.  We never guessed that the monolithic community had a home tour.  

Naturally we had to go on the tour.
Italy, Texas Monolithic Home Vistors Center
Monolithic Duplex

Italy, Texas Monolithic Homes - trailer park?

This one runs about $12,000

Italy, Texas Monolithic Homes and Pamela's car - I think her car was longer.
Inside a small monolithic home

Inside a small monolithic home

Outside a large monolithic home with mother-in-law suite

Monolithic Homes around the world
Large, furnished monolithic home

Inside of the large monolithic home

Inside of the large monolithic home

Inside of the large monolithic home - his pantry was something else!
Monolithic Home Manufacturing Plant and largest caterpillar in the world

Monolithic Home Manufacturing Plant and largest caterpillar in the world
 We all made it home safely.
Home sweet home with Pawsitano and Pesto