What You Haven’t Read about SXSW

Here’s what you haven’t read about my trip to Austin, TX for SXSW so far…


Last week, I had the pleasure of spending seven days in Austin, Texas. Not only was it great being in Austin, but it was also a pretty popular time to be there. South by Southwest (or SXSW) is the interactive, film, music, and comedy festival that completely takes over the city for almost two full weeks. As part of the completion of my interdisciplinary degree at Columbia College, I was able to attend the festival as part of the AEMMP Digital Distribution & Promotions Practicum course. For my project in class, I was able to incorporate something I was planning on doing down there, anyway. I got to write about all of the bands (good and bad) that I was able to catch, and it was published over on Atwood Magazine. If you’re interested in the music portion of my experience, click on the day-header for those ramblings. This post will serve more in the nitty-gritty of the trip, and what you won’t find on a publication. Thus, “What You Didn’t Read about SXSW Already”

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Year in Review: 2016

Wow, what a freakin year. As I went through pictures this time around, I found an astonishing amount of goofy selfies and embarrassing snapchat screenshots of my friends, so the fact that I was able to pull as many “normal” pictures as I’ve got in here is nothing short of a miracle. As I was writing this blog post last year, I knew there’d be a lot to talk about… but I never imagined to have the year shake out like it did. Anyway, here’s 2016 in somewhere around 6,000 words. Stay with us.

Taking in an overlook in Tennessee

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Last-First-Day of School Eve

I’m a huge fan of goals and lists and sentimental things, which I think is why I loved my senior year of high school so much — I got to be as sentimental and sappy as I wanted to be without too much judgement. But this senior year is different. Sure, it’s probably just about as exciting as the senior-in-high school about to embark on the last academic year where you live at home and are surrounded by the people you grew up with… but on the eve of my last-first-day of school, I can’t help but sit at our kitchen table in a panic.

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Rambling: On Blogging

Obviously, I’m not going to talk about the entire internet, but just my experience with the internet in the past week. Because man, let me tell you, the internet is giving me some thoughts lately.

First off, we have the YouTube stuff that’s thrown me into a weird vortex of confusion and emotions and lots of other things I’m really not sure about. I talked about that in another post, so click on that hyperlink to see more about that if the mood so strikes.

So there I’ve got a not-so-great perception, and I want to be angry and frustrated and boycott the internet. But also last week, I uploaded my digital story on drum corps and shared it in the group on Facebook for Spirit of Atlanta (I was a member there in 2013,) and the response I’ve gotten back so far has been astounding. I can’t thank everyone enough for sharing it, watching it, commenting, liking – everything. The support is amazing, and the project is due today, so I’m really excited and somewhat nervous as to what my classmates will think of it. But the fact that it as almost 1,000 views already is so cool, I can’t even put into words. Check it out here:


Anyway, the third thing I wanted to talk about was this blog. It’s kind of the first and second put together, I mean, not completely, but bear with me. 

I started blogging in early December of 2013, on a different blog, with a different motive – to watch movies and write something at least a little entertaining and interesting on it. I got the idea after watching My Week With Marilyn, an Academy-award-type of film, and one that had been on my ‘to see’ list for quite awhile. After I watched it, I had so many thoughts and feelings that I wanted to share with someone…but it was in the middle of the night on a Sunday or something, and nobody else I knew had seen it, or even willing to talk about this movie at god-knows-what hour. So what did I decide to do? Start a blog. I knew I was going to be having quite the dull and unproductive winter break and J-Term, so I decided to make a little movie-blogging project on it. And the J-Term project came to be. Now, the problem with this is after watching movies and writing about them for about two or three weeks, my attention span dropped and movies weren’t as enjoyable, even if I was doing a project-type-thing with it. So that project nose-dived pretty quickly. 

Then J-term ended and my blogging stopped…for about three days. I realized I missed posting to this little thing, writing in this box, and getting emails from “someone subscribed!” or “someone liked your post!” and even checking my stats a few times a day, just to see if someone else was out there reading at least part of my writings. So I decided to make a new blog – this one – towards the end of January. At first, it was just going to be a place to post radio things (which is why the URL is ‘Erika’s Radio Ramblings’), but it quickly evolved into more of the “ramblings” than the “radio.” I think it has something to do with my senior year of high school – I would write and produce an audio essay every week through my senior year of high school. And I think deep down inside, I miss having that outlet. I miss writing a little blurb of something, and then making something greater out of it. Sure, I’ve had my production stuff and yeah, I’m in two writing classes so sometimes all it seems all I’m doing is writing, but there’s something about just thinking of something, punching the right buttons, and then someone else reading it that brings me a weird sort of joy. 

Anyways, back to my point.

I love the response some of my blog posts get, and I love checking the stats of them. Yesterday, we had people from five different countries clicking on a link or maybe even reading what I wrote. FIVE COUNTRIES REPRESENTED! That’s so cool – I can’t even quite wrap my mind around it. And really, all this is, is my feelings towards certain things and sometimes something cool that happened the day before. 

Maybe this is turning into more of a thanks for subscribing/reading, but either way, it brings me joy. So thanks for staying tuned and bearing with me in the second semester of my first year of college. Y’all are fabulous. And you help me keep my faith in things like the internet, which can indeed be a scary, weird, and strange place.

Rambling: WE DID IT! and some other thoughts

This weekend I successfully ran my first half marathon. Yes, after all the long training runs, eating raw almonds, icing my shins, waking up in the morning with hurt knees, lacing of the shoes, wearing tights and braving the chilly Chicago wind… I did it. I completed my first half marathon under my goal time – in fact, with ten minutes to spare. (2:20:00)

During the run, I couldn’t think of much besides how excited I was to get that medal, see my friends as I crossed the finish line, and how to keep going/how much farther until the end. Maybe that’s normal. I did read something on how most runners think during the race “how much longer until it’s over?” but once it is over, the question of “how much longer until the next one?” is the first thing that comes to mind – and that was completely true for me, too. In the last few miles I found myself thinking more of ‘what can I do differently for training next time’ and ‘well I can’t wait to start lifting weights to make this easier.’ All of that was a new sensation completely.

Another new thing was living the rest of the day. For a few hours after I finished, I wasn’t even really hungry, but I knew I needed to eat. I feel like I ended up eating a lot that day, but I actually don’t think it was quite enough, either. The race was on Saturday, so I still had all day Sunday to recover. With the weather being super cold, I decided to just go for a little bike ride, since my knees were still hurting, and that ended up feeling pretty good. Now, on Monday morning, I’m finding myself in a bit more pain but it’s still pretty manageable. Um… I think that’s about all my thoughts on the immediate things. I’ve hung my medal up with my DCI Finals and my second-place skiing medal from a few years ago, so that is looking lovely. And I’m thinking more and more about getting a tattoo, which you can find out more about here. 

Alright, now I’ll be referencing the feelings I expressed in this post.

At the beginning of the year, I actually started to enjoy running. It started out as training for another activity, and now it’s training to train to run more. Which was really weird for me. Now that I’ve completed this thing that I never thought I’d do – running a half marathon, enjoying it, and planning to do another one – I feel like I’m starting to fit more into the idea of an ‘athlete’, which is not really a word that I would have ever used to define myself. I find that I’m worried about both eating too many carbs and not getting enough carbs, my knees hurt more often than they should, shin splints are a pain the in ass and kind of secretly badges of honor to have, and best and worst of all, I find myself making sure I get at least some exercise in the day, and I’ve found that I feel really crappy if I don’t get the chance to sweat, burn off energy, and move a little. 

I guess I feel like now that I’ve done this major thing, I feel more like I deserve the title of athlete or runner or one of those other words not really used to describe kids at art school. I’ve found that I regret not doing track/cross-country in high school, and I’m putting races on my bucket list/birthday wish list. I’m trying to figure out how to do all the things I want to do in such a short amount of time, but that’s what’s bringing me joy and helping me keep my life rolling, for some strange reason. 

So that’s what’s up, I guess. There’s a lot more going on too, but that’s my thoughts post-race. Next up: Grandma’s Half Marathon in June – Duluth, MN. Training (13 weeks this time instead of 5, woohoo,) starts in just one week. I can’t wait.