Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blogher 08 in a (Very Large) Nutshell

Blogher '08 was a whirlwind for me, and from a few glances around my (ever-growing) list of writer friends, it seems it was an exhausting and exhiliarating experience for most of us.

I have not even sorted out all the new cards from my leftover lollipops.
The (non-edible) shwag remains bagged. I have not had much down time ("::blank stare::") since the non-stop Blogher conference. But here is my not very short synopsis.

Since the legendary Blogher pre-parties now start on Thursday (because who could possibly wait until Friday when (squeee) y'all are right in the hotel anyway and hell let's do some hugging!!), too many of us may have possibly given just a tiny bit too much energy to the earlier parties, not taking into account the time release action that would be necessary to withstand the pace of the weekend. Blogher is growing up into a far more sophisticated partier as it evolves into a more intellectually and/or emotionally challenging venue. Call it counterbalance?

So, Thursday afternoon I got to the St. Francis Hotel and I saw a bunch of people I didn't know but I did know who they were, and should I just approach them? And, YES! After I purchased some inner confidence at the store in the lobby, I did approach them. And it may have been the panties, but it was awesome. Aside from one ultimate snub moment in the lobby, (the one in which a rather bossy blogger looked at my card, and without changing her expression, handed my card back to me) most people were very nice to me. Even if they did think I was drunk when I told them about how I went and bought new panties. Not drunk because I was telling them about purchasing underwear, because I assure you that is a perfectly normal thing for women to talk about, but because I was all: OMFG I am so crazy listen to my story about purchasing fancy panties!!

(this is the story:)
I get nervous in big cities with tall buildings because the
buildings make me incredibly disoriented and I can't find my way anywhere.
(Do not follow me in cities, I am probaby lost.) So I got brave and walked
outside the hotel which is downtown San Francisco. Even though I
live not that far away, I live in the mountains. The barely singed
mountains. Right outside the hotel entrance were a few shops, so I walked
into the fancy pants store and tried to buy some confidence by way of
silkies. But there was some other chick who came in after I
and the hottie salesgirl was all 'ooohhhh, let me help you buy some
delicates!!' to her, and I was looking around me for signs of shlumpiness, but the real
problem with shlumpiness is that The Shlumpy can never really tell if they are
shlumpy, or it wouldn't be an issue. Since I knew I didn't stink, and
I knew my pants were covering up my bird-pecked wooden leg, I decided
it must just be shlump. I was all 'oh man I have shlumpy mom written all
over me and they don't even want to sell me underwear' and then the skinny girl
came over to help me (ME!!) and offered to sell me (ME!) some delicates!! I was so
incredibly flattered that I obliged and told her I would take three, and while she
was staring at my credit card with her photographic mind, my gaze wandered to
another exit from the store - one opposite the street side from which I had
come. "OH WOW!" I exclaimed, in my most suave and least mountain hillbilly
shlumpiness voice, "That rug is the same one as in my hotel!"

She smiled at me nicely but uncomfortably, the way one smiles at
a drunk grandma stumbling after thanksgiving dinner. She handed my credit card
back to me, and with it the bag of delicate panties. I was not
shlumpy. I was fancy. I was purchasing
confidence panties at vicky's secret!! I walked out the other door to investigate. The door which led directly back into the lobby of the St Francis Hotel.
(sssssttttt: that? was my hawtness sizzling)

So, not actually drunk but probably earning some reputation in the lobby for being totally drunk, and not sure I was going to be able to handle going to the party coming up with all those people, I decided to go back to my room. To get drunk. Which was awesome because the Boss of Seattle was in town to help us kick-off the pre-party Blogher weekend and she was meeting me in the room so I wouldn't have to drink alone meet all those people alone.

When we got to the People's Party there was no free alcohol left and the lame bar was charging ten bucks for a glass of really bad wine, so instead of drinking (more) we had to talk to people and so we did. We were lucky to meet up with the awesome fun SJ before hand (even though she made us scream loudly), so at least we looked cool when we walked in. I met Jenny that night and we talked for a while. She grabbed my lighter and stuck it down her cleavage and then totally stole it. I don't think she remembers the part where we swapped the spit in our palms and played jumprope games in the hallway but it's okay; I am comfortable with our relationship just the way it is.

Suddenly it was Friday morning and I had to actually work. The hardest part was making it to registration and then to breakfast, considering there were only a few hours between the shutting and opening of my eyes. After that, it got easier because Blogher kept feeding us. There was no way to fall asleep with the incredibly thoughtful constant offerings of maintenance caffeine and sugar (two thumbs up!!). At some point that morning (was it the first keynote slash incredible swag-fest?) I ran into Em and fully squealed. If you knew Em, you would squeal too. Poor Em, she had no room and there were no rooms at the inn. Alas, poor Em, meet my roommate Tricia! Tricia, who has the same 'bring-the-puppy-home' instincts as I do, gave the nod and we gave her the keys to our room and sent her up for a nap. We ended up getting to keep her all weekend!

I pretty much ran the mic at all the parent track sessions, so once I got over my hangover got all the huge amounts of initial swag back up to my room (hello, Blogher? applause again for the 'all under one roof' plan!), I took my place at the mic in tower room A for most of the weekend. I will say this about mic running: I was nimble and it's a damn good thing. You would think it is a damn good thing because I was running that mic around from person to person. Nimble helped for that, but it became absolutely necessary when I needed to outrun the mobs of angry women who didn't get 'their turn' with the microphone and thought it was because of some personal hatred I harbored for them. There was some laptop slamming and cursing.

Hello, women? Manners much? And for those of you who actually did learn how to raise your hand when you want a turn to talk, did you ever think that someone behind you may have raised her hand before you? Grip on patience. Get one.

Other than the unexpected potential hazard of being hardinged, the mic running was the perfect 'fly on the wall' type of job. It also allowed me to whisper sweet nothings and admiration comments to the bloggers I wanted to meet who also wanted the mic (which was in my hand).

I wanted to pay closer attention to the MommyBlogging: Public Parenting & Privacy panel, but it was hard with Chris, Crystal, Shannon, and Shino Tanaka all making so much sense and looking damn sharp at the same time. With the newly missing brain cells, it was a bit of sensory overload for me, but the take home and sleep on this one message was a recurring theme for most who write about their family: Think about what you are writing and write as if anyone involved will see it. It will stick to you.
There was some awesome lunch, more caffeine, and a visit to the eye-popping Sesame Street Suite. Cupcakes, cookies, candy, popcorn! Grover, Abby Cadaby, videographers and puppeteers! I wanted to live there but they locked the room at night and I didn't get to fulfill my dream of sleeping on the stoop of 123 Sesame Street.

The community keynote on Friday evening was phenomenal. Stupendously, tear-jerkingly, pants-peeingly, fabulous.
Standing ovations and much hugging. No judgments. Just applause.
Don't let word get out to those who assume that Blogher is a drama fest; I would hate to rain on their snark parade by showing them the delicious nougat at the center of Blogher.

After this mind blowing show of talent, I pulled myself together for the Ruby Skye cocktail party; I had to work at the door, checking badges and tickets. Apparently this was the hot ticket, because we had to turn a ton of people away. I felt sad for the first hapless few (huh? I needed a ticket for this?) but then Loralee taught me how to say 'NO!' with glee and soon I was shouting at Tanis to get the fuck out. But it was Tanis and damn if that girl just doesn't listen so we had our pic taken together and she made me look all puffy and teletubby-ish but since I love her so very much I will show you anyway.

Loralee and I spent over an hour together before we discovered our dead baby connection, and then there was more squealing. Who would have guessed that would ever be something to squeal over. But when it comes to being in the company of that unfortunate club, it sometimes just is. She is righteous.
Once I was free to leave my new job as a bouncer, I headed into the club. It was loud and fun, and I still had my drink tickets! The BOS and I spotted an old friend and had our picture taken with her, but we were totally embarrassed when we spotted her underwear and realized our mistake -it wasn't Britney after all but some imposter who had slipped by me and gotten into the private party!

I was so shamed by this experience that I hid in the secret smoking room back room talking to Tanis, Biggie, and my new local friend Mindy for the next two hours, opting out of some big party to which I had not been invited but was supposed to attend. Then Chris Carfi noticed that my toes were painted in honor of his emoodicon rings and we were all OMFG LET'S BE FRIENDS! And then another hour or so went by and we realized we were still there!

After this, we met some new friends, went back to the hotel and brought our party to SJ's room, who was a great sport. Even when the chair was stolen from the hallway because, well, we needed one more chair. Some stuff happened, though Melanie will deny it all, and then we went to bed.

Wow. See? Aren't you exhausted already and we haven't even made it to Saturday? I was too, which is, I guess, why Saturday happened in bullet points. It was weird.

  • Starbucks is good for hangovers. Especially when it is free and bottomless and you are denying that you are hungover.

  • I learned that mic running in the ballroom is so much harder because the room is so much bigger and your coffee is so far away.

  • Finally ran into Amy and delivered the secret baby gift I had been carrying around for her. Also unintentionally made her pee herself when I read her baby-naming mind. No, I can not be bribed. (shhh...that's gwendomama at gmail dot com)

  • SWAG FEST: Thought about maybe giving Leapfrog another chance because their sigg-like logo swag bottles were so awesome, and had way too much fun getting free stuff in the 'like it? take it!' swag suite.

  • Loved the MommyBlogging: The Commercial Momosphere: Policies, Ethics and Outreach panel. Not sure why, but I want to hug this woman whenever I am near her, and although Kristen makes me feel small and awkward when I stand near her, I love her and never got enough time to chat with her (about how much more we should hang out).

  • There was some quick lunch and a whole bunch of ass-pinching as I ran through the ballroom. Did anyone else get their ass pinched as much as I did?

  • The afternoon was hard. I realized something about being a mic runner and having asked to work in sessions on topics about which I am interested. Not the most brilliant idea. I wanted to talk. The best panel for me, MommyBlogging: Blogging About Our Children with Special Needs, was also the most frustrating for me, personally. Only because I wanted so badly to say something, but there was never an open moment with the microphone; people always had their hands up. It felt wrong to use the mic when I had it in my hands. So much power. I can't abuse power. I know I'm all big mouthed, but my mama taught me some manners way back when. I had little volcanoes exploding inside each time I handed the mic to the next commenter (who always had something incredibly poignant to say, thus confirming my own suspicions that I should just smile, nod, and try not to cry).

  • I cried a lot during that session.

  • I am a stealth crier.

  • Last panel of the day was about blogging about adoption, loss, and infertility. More crying. But meeting some awesome women.

  • Some other stuff happened.

  • There was a party at Macy's which was...a good idea. I am thinking of starting a Kristy Sammis fan club, so that's all I'm going to say. It seemed like a good idea.

  • I missed out on the free vibrators and k-y samples, but Em did not.

  • She thought the k-y was perfume and thanked the woman at Macy's for the 'new scent'.

  • I saw almost everyone I love at the top floor of Macy's but they didn't trust us with red wine near the furniture so I had to blow out of there after I ate six salted caramel ice cream cones about an hour or so to go to the next party,

  • The cheeseburger party. Which got busted seconds before I got out of the elevator and saw Lindsay with a burger bag on her head pleading with the stern looking security guard (one of five!) who was herding the women to the elevator.

  • I pretended I didn't know them and walked right past but didn't want to get Isabel or Y in (more) trouble so met up with everyone in the lobby of the St Francis where we got quite loud,

  • And Laid-off Dad (aka Doug, easy to spot because of all his DAD-ness) entertained us by juggling cheeseburgers, since there were about eighty cheeseburgers left after the big bust.

  • Rachel (aka a different SJ) and I went on a mission around Union Square at 11:30 pm, dressed up in cocktail party garb, delivering the remaining cheeseburgers to the homeless and hungry. [Me: I feel kind of bad giving them cheeseburgers from mcd's. I mean, seriously. Rachel: BUT WE ALSO HAVE FRIES!!] The driveby cheeseburger drop-off was a highlight of the weekend for me. In sandals. With tall buildings all around. Rachel must have superpowers, because I did not get lost.

  • I have so many new crushes and friends. When I sort through the PILE of cards, I will introduce you to them!
  • SueBob let me have my way with her breasts, err, I mean with her stapler.

  • I discovered that Carmen, if you didn't already know, has fabulous boobs.


Jenny, the Bloggess said...

"She smiled at me nicely but uncomfortably, the way one smiles at a drunk grandma stumbling after thanksgiving dinner."

Reason number one why I love you.

(Reason number two is that you and SJ hiked across SF to give the burgers to the homeless. Serious awesomeness.)

Mocha said...

Sweet Lord, I was gonna comment about something else entirely (and you had a lot to chew on! good reading!) but you gave the burgers to the homeless?

Dude. It doesn't get any better than people like you. I'm in awe. Possibly in love.

furiousBall said...

Mocha does have the bestest curly hair ever, it's understandable.

And were you part of that Jenny/Jen drunk dialing of my happy ass?

Lunasea said...

Oh man, I AM jealous. Next time would somebody please tell me when the good party is so I can make sure I come on the fun day instead of the day where everyone's hungover?

Anonymous said...

I think simply "queen of blogland' is better than what you now have.

And then add a picture of you with a crooked crown on your hair assuming an air of irritation. No joke, it will be good!

Headless Mom said...

I missed the cheeseburger party but got a cheeseburger anyway. I must have been homeless that night.

gwendomama said...

OMG, ANON THANK YOU! That is the most awesome idea and I <3 it!
I wish I could thank you in person, but if you choose to remain anon....boohoo...

Lotta said...

Right back at you sweet stuff! Seemed whenever I needed a lift you were there with that big beautiful smile holding out a lighter/beer bottle combo. Thanks for the good energy!

monkeysmama said...

LOL! I love this post -- you crack me up! And you look pretty sharp yourself lil lady! ;D