SXSW 2011 Highlights

In an eleventh-hour decision, I cashed in some American AAdvantage miles and caught a flight to Austin for spring break — or more specifically, the 25th annual South by Southwest Conference. With all of the networking opportunities, free food, drink, music and friends – some of whom i only see once a year or so – i’m glad i took advantage and visited the great city of Austin. It was a whirlwind four days but the photos and video below provide some flavor.


See my photos from past years at SXSW

The trip began with an amazing takeoff directly into the fading sun over the Pacific. This would be the last time the sun set before Daylight Savings time kicked in. Got in to Austin and met up with Jory, provider of a fine crash pad for the duration of my stay. Then began a serious of meetups, events, and parties: All Hat III, which was a priceless opportunity to visit with many of the folks I most admire in the interactive space who happen to share a passion and commitment to do-gooding.

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Photos from Denali and Alaska to Oregon Road Trip, Summer/Fall 1997

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Immediately after graduating from the University of Iowa I hopped a ride out to Seattle with friends who wanted a quick getaway before they began another semester of classes. I took a job for a few weeks with Aramark at one of the hotels in Denali National Park. It was an incredibly cool job — I was essentially the bellman, but all I did was sit in a little room reading Outside magazine all day, writing, and holding and distributing bags for hotel guests. Twice a day I’d walk over to the train station where the train from Anchorage came in and would collect or drop off bags marked for my hotel.

The greatest perk of working in the summer in Alaska is that — even after a 9-hour workday, there are countless hours of sunlight left to play outside, hike, explore, and photograph the natural beauty that surrounds. Which is what I did a good deal of with the Canon Rebel G SLR camera that I got for graduation. Once I took off on a solo hike to Horseshoe Lake after a shift at work — not a long hike, but i knew I had to find camp before it got too dark, which was around 11-midnight by late August. I had my tent, a flashlight, a journal, and some other essentials, including my Martin Backpacker guitar. I wrote a song inspired by what I had seen and experienced in Alaska right then and there – you can hear a version of it below.

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Video: TOMS Shoes 1 Millionth Pair Drop at Andresito School, Argentina, 17 Sept 2010

Three short videos from our first shoe drop on the One Millionth Pair trip. Andresito School was one of the original sites TOMS visited in 2006 after Blake Mycoskie and Alejo Nitti launched the movement and made the first shoes in Argentina.

Read more coverage of the trip on the #TOMS1M WordPress blog.

Will All Major U.S. Cities be Connected by High Speed Rail by 2050?

It’s possible, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) calling for a New Deal-like public works juggernaut that would eventually connect all major cities located within 100 and 500 miles of each other.

Here in Los Angeles, we’d be happy to see our long-promised subway to the sea come to fruition (it’s still due this year). Check out the U.S. PIRG report below:


The Right Track: Building a 21st Century High-Speed Rail System for America