March has been serving itself up to be one of the coolest months (as well as one of the most stressful) in recent history. Much of it has to do with the anticipation surrounding so many things. Seriously, it's like everybody is waking up from winter hibernation at the same time and now all of hell's broken loose. But in every stage of my life, from the releases of new Xbox 360 games and Kingdom Hearts II, to some awesome things that are on the horizon at work - I don't think my mind has idled once since the month started. However, out of all of this madness, there are a few things dear to my heart that I cannot wait to jump on:
The Bowling Extravanganza
I do know where I'll be on Monday, March 13th at 8:00pm — at the Union Underground, for a competition of epic proportions. Myself, along with many many other web geeks will be showcasing our (lack of) talent at the 2006 Avalonstar Bowling Extravaganza. Of all the things going on at SXSW, I think this event is what I am most nervous about. I find it hard to believe that I will actually be in the same room as the guys responsible for designing these websites: A List Apart, CSS Beauty, CSS Zen Garden, ESPN and Newsvine.[Nathan Smith]
There's nothing else I can really say about this other than how honored I am to be throwing it. People like Nathan have been talking about the event recently in high hopes of its success. Even the guys at Digital Web Magazine posted a little tidbit about the prizes being offered! Personally, I think I'm probably the most nervous out of everybody. Really, I could care less if I have my worst game of bowling on Monday (yeah right). I just want to be able to see people I've met, people I've admired and a bunch of new faces just having the time of their lives. Knowing me, I'll be bald before the end of the event because I know something probably will go wrong. I can just see it now, Zach running up to me saying that all of Team Britain ditched him for 20x2. But I'm sure once realize just how large of an event I created, it'll put a bit more than a smile on my face.
By the way, there's no way Team Avalonstar's losing, with or without my tutelage. ;)
South By Southwest
Now as much as I'd like to say that the conference is only secondary to the event I'm throwing, it's definitely not. Ever since I found out about it back in 2004, I've wanted to go. It's been a long time since I've been at a conference; that last one being in Nashville, TN for a national business student exposition. Somehow I know I'll be analogic to a star struck fan that got to go to the Oscars. So if you're one of the people on the list of panels I plan to attend then don't be surprised if a 5â€™8â€ Filipino kid comes rushing up to you (or waits 45 minutes while you talk to others before approaching).
But then I can't forget the parties, and it seems like I won't be getting much sleep with half the 9rules team in the Hilton and Hampton Inn. But is SXSW about getting sleep? No! How could I forget the web awards though?! I try not to talk about them because I have this superstition about awards like this. I have a straight face on while I'm writing this, but it's pretty obvious that I'm giddy inside just thinking about how awesome the whole ceremony would be. Needless to say there's been talk going around to try and get me trashed (and play DDR) so we'll see how I hold up against those
But as for Avalonstar during the festivities, knowing that I won't have much time to type (maybe) will give way to daily podcasts. I wouldn't call them podcasts worthy of the "Live from the 101" insignia, but at least you'll get to hear what's going on from my end. Definitely look forward to the one that comes the night of the 13th. But once it's all over, I'll be back in San Jose with withdrawal symptoms (I can tell you that much now).
I'm starting to realize that not every project I'm a part of has to consist of hands-on work. The Shuttle Project, of which I joined pretty late in the game, is an example of that.
That young upstart Veloso joined us half way through the year to add some insight and youthfulness. I don't know how much "youthfulness" I brought to the team (hell, I don't know how old everybody is) but I certainly tried to inject my opinion and view when welcomed to. I had a hand at doing some of the page-views myself, but I can honestly say that I neither have the drive or the talent that these folks to and I am humbled to be in their presence as well as to be a part of this project. As you'll find in Khaled's entry, time is ticking before the substantial project starts coming to a close. This is definitely something that I, and all WordPress users for that matter, should be looking forward to.
Keeping on the WordPress vibe, I've finally found myself working on something meaningful - a theme. Yes everybody, Bryan's working on a WordPress theme and I'm sure you realize what it's called already. Based on version tweleve of Avalonstar, ChaoticSoul will be my first foray into immortalizing my old sites. As many of you know, there are reasons why I don't have archive files from 2000-2003 and that's mostly because of hard drive crashes (stupid Maxtor).
How about if one day, the Wayback Machine were to just flop? That would pretty much the end of everything Avalonstar before 2004. Jen asked me why I was doing this and it is because I would rather see one of my layouts being whored to the WordPress community than die in the annals of something controlled by Alexa. You can view what I have so far here but obviously it's not completely done yet. I'll be sure to announce it formally and have a download ready when that day does come. Anticipation folks, it kills.
The Aries Project
I'm sure there are a good amount of people who still don't know what the hell this is, and there's good reason for that too - I haven't really explained it yet. As the days go by, my reasonings for doing Aries change. Simply, Aries is a challenge for me to rethink the way that this medium works and to wrap my design knowledge around that. Very vague, I realize that. One of the qualities of this version of Avalonstar that I'm proud of is the fact that this is a WordPress site that doesn't look like it's run by it. I want to push the software to it's limits and my conceptions of design along with it. As of now there are seven sections with completely different content in each, ranging from your everyday blogging article to the new home for my podcast. Each section will try and live as it's own site for it's own audience with subtle (but noticeable) differences in the templates. New users will be able to see an overview of what this site stands for while veterans of the site will be able to jump right to what they want to see. On top of that my art and photographic manipulations will be making a return in the project (to see if I still have it in me).
So after SXSW closes, I promise you that you'll be seeing changes around here. My deadline for this is before the May 1st Reboot, but at the absolute latest, you'll see it then. In the meantime, you'll (hopefully) be able to browse Avalonstar in two ways. The first being the Fruit Salad/Eggroll Evolution theme that you've come to know and love. The second way being the Aries Project while it's in development. It's obvious that as time goes by, the functionality of the former layout will wither in lieu of the new features of the Aries Project.
Other than that, there's not much else I can say or ask you to do but anticipate it. It's coming for sure; just like everything else I've talked about. However, the fact that I still haven't decided much shouldn't alarm you, but make you a bit more interested in what I'll have to offer you in the coming months. As for now, I'm just anticipating that first plane taking off.