It's amazing how easy it is to forget to eat at SXSW. With bands performing pretty much around the clock, food usually plays about sixth fiddle to the music, and sometimes it's just easier on your schedule to hold out until 2:30 a.m. and grab a slice at Heavy Metal Pizza (a.k.a. Hoek's, the infamous Sixth Street window where they like their metal loud and fast) before stumbling back to the hotel. This works just fine for the first day or so, but by Saturday, malnourishment can start fucking with your head. I know I'm not doing myself any favors being a vegetarian at a festival where free BBQ is offered all over the place, but I always hold out some hope that there will be something at a day party for me besides potato salad and beans…

2:16 p.m.: Having just finished a big plate of potato salad and beans, I'm ready to make my way to the front of the crowd huddled under the tent set up at Cedar Street Courtyard. It's been pissing rain since I woke up, which explains why there isn't a ton of people here to see Amusement Parks On Fire. Regardless, the English band plays a great set of anthemic rock that bursts, buzzes, and pays tribute to some of the best alt-rock from the '90s (Smashing Pumpkins, Hum, Dinosaur Jr., etc.).

3:21 p.m.: It has stopped raining, but I'm convinced that another downpour could be around the corner, so I decide to pass on a couple relatively faraway parties and walk a block up to Antone's for a show that seems to have no rhyme or reason. But there's an open bar and I know that at the very least I'll see the publicist who gave me the laminate the night before…

3:32 p.m.: Get my free Shiner, say hi to the publicist, and am reminded that I'm not a big fan of Black Heart Procession's spooky rock.

4:32 p.m.: Get another free Shiner, say hi to a couple of other publicists, and am reminded of how much I now love Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Sort of wish I wasn't the 32,921st person who's talked about how great they are. But, well, it's true.

5:32 p.m.: Pass on another Shiner, but stick around for Goblin Cock and am reminded of the fact that I don't hate ironic rock as much as I say I do. If you haven't heard, GC is a sludgy metal band fronted by Pinback's Rob Crow, and just in case anyone thought that any of the black-cloaked dudes onstage were taking themselves seriously, they toss in a cover of Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels." It sounds so great that I truly hope that Roland Orzabal gets a chance to hear it someday.

5:59 p.m.: That damn website printout that gave me a bunk set time for The Go! Team yesterday burns me again: I'm supposed to be watching Head Of Femur at the Porchlight Pop Festival at Mother Egan's right now, but instead I get Los Angeles indie-rockers Irving. Followed by Los Angeles indie-rockers Silversun Pickups. Granted, I've enjoyed the Pickups the times I've seen them, and I even have a couple of their songs lodged in my head, but I'm already starting to feel burned-out and hungry. Back to Hoek's I go.

8:00 p.m.: After sitting on a bench for a few minutes outside the Capitol Place Hotel, where I enjoy a nice mixture of waterfall and Dressy Bessy (playing at the nearby Habana Calle 6 Patio), I head up to the 18th floor for a great view of the city and a fine set of sweet pop from Mascott, yet another band I had no idea still existed.

9:16 p.m.: Over at Eternal, where things don't seem nearly as crazy as they did on Thursday (more about that later), I'm having a hard time seeing and hearing José González, who, as I'm sure you can tell, is from Sweden. But what I can hear sounds amazing, even as I begin to think that he sounds like Christopher Cross. He plays his cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" (the one from the Sony Bravia commercial with all the balls bouncing down Russian Hill in San Francisco) and pretty much transfixes the entire audience (except for the asshole standing next to me who thinks he's being hilarious by secretly attaching stuff to his friend's back).

11:00 p.m.: I should be able to tell you about The Essex Green's set at the Merge night here at Antone's, but I'm too excited about seeing Superchunk to really pay attention (though I do notice that singer Sasha Bell's Brady Bunch look goes well with the band's easygoing retro pop). Mac & Co. are on fire tonight, playing the kind of high-energy show that made them almost famous a decade ago. As set-closer "Precision Auto" reaches its peak, I begin to think of all the indie-rockers and emo kids who have borrowed heavily from the 'Chunk over the years, and a few minutes later, David Cross jumps onstage and basically says the same thing.

1:05 a.m.: I finally make it across the bridge where all the bats hang out (go here if I've piqued your interest: www.batcon.org/home/index.asp?idPage=122) and end up at some well-groomed party where electro-rockers We Are Wolves (who, if they take my advice via their publicist, will soon be called We Are Dragons, since there are simply too many wolf bands out there) are followed by the wonderful jangle of Austin's own Voxtrot. I certainly have no problem with all the vodka they're giving away, but the fashion police state starts to freak me out, so I head out into the rain and say goodbye to SXSW 2006. But not before I grab myself one more slice at Hoek's and begin reminiscing about…

The Grossest Club At SXSW This Year: The award goes to Eternal, but only for the Thursday-night BBC 1 showcase headlined by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (no, I don't know why a Brooklyn band was chosen to close out the BBC evening). When I arrived at 12:30 a.m., the place was about 178 degrees with 88 percent humidity, and it looked like all the bottles of beer that had been consumed over the course of the evening were now lying on the floor. Things were wet, sticky, and smelly, and I hadn't even made it through the packed labyrinth to the bathroom yet–however, once inside the men's room (which looked like the kind of place where someone goes to die or kill), I could swear I heard someone over the PA angrily instruct the next band to start playing already. Back out on the floor, I was greeted by some painfully generic punky rock played by what the program said was Dirty Pretty Things (though it really didn't sound like that's what they called themselves from the stage), but at 1 a.m. sharp it thankfully came to an end when the club cut the band off mid-song (SXSW does a pretty good job of staying on schedule, and CYHSY was slotted to begin at 1). I couldn't tell if he had anything to do with the band, but some guy next to the stage started fighting with club employees, and if I'm not mistaken, there was a punch or two thrown. I decided I needed a stiff drink, but before I got around to ordering, I noticed the bartender wiping off his hand, and I suddenly started wondering if he was part of the squabble next to the stage. At this point I thought about just getting the hell out of there, but wisely chose to stick around for what turned out to be my favorite moment of the week (more about that later). The next day I couldn't decide if the problems could be traced back to a lawless club or just a bunch of insane Brits, but when I returned to a much calmer Eternal on Saturday and asked one of the beer ladies what was up on Thursday, she said something about "The Flaming Lips." Not sure if that really answered my question, but at least now I know who one of the two "Special Guests" scheduled earlier in the evening were.

Most Disappointing Thing At SXSW This Year: Sticking around for the "Special Guest" after Morrissey, which ended up being nobody (the next day someone told me it was supposed to be Ray Davies, but he never showed up). Adding salt to the wound, it meant I didn't make it to the Twilight Singers show in time to get in, and adding a little Tabasco, from the street it sounded like Mr. Dulli was on fi-ya.

Second Most Disappointing Thing At SXSW This Year: Sukpatch, who, last time I checked, was playing really cool beatsy pop. But Friday's set at Latitude 30 just sounded like really amateurish indie rock. I know I should probably make some joke right here using the word "suck," but I'm too bummed to bother.

Third Most Disappointing Thing At SXSW This Year: David Fricke interviewing Morrissey. Some parts of the Q&A; were interesting (like when the Mozzer said he turned down $5 million to reform The Smiths for Coachella this year, and when he admitted he likes the sound of the Killers record), but it just felt like Fricke wasn't the man for the job. Maybe someone less than 100 years old would have dug deeper into Morrissey's past and present relationships with his former bandmates rather than wasting everyone's time talking about The New York Dolls and David Bowie.

Best Band At SXSW This Year: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Second Best Band At SXSW This Year: Superchunk.

Best Surprise At SXSW This Year: The shuttle I took to my hotel in the sticks every night. At first, the prospect of finding a van at 3 a.m. at the corner of 7th and Congress seemed daunting, but I eventually looked forward to the trips filled with a bunch of rowdy Brits, who would joke with the driver (I think his name was Jonathan–he looked like Anthony Michael Hall circa Sixteen Candles) and each other, and give great reviews of all the bands they'd seen that night. I think I might already miss them