05 August 2009

BlogHer notes from an outsider

Since I'm still seeing other people's BlogHer recaps popping up every day, I don't feel so bad about procrastinating this long. For those who don't care, this is one and done.

It probably says a lot about me, especially during my current phase of life, that when a convention comes to town that has HER in the title, I just can't wait to hop on the train and head downtown.

But when you blog about your kids as much as I do, you tend to read and be read by bloggers who also write about their kids. The world being what it is, that means I hang with chicks most the time. Online, anyway.

But BlogHer coming here to Chicago meant that I had the rare opportunity to meet a lot of these people in person, which was at once exciting and terrifying. If I was the kind of person to throw myself into social situations with people I don't know very well, then I probably wouldn't sit by myself writing on the internet so much. I'd probably be running some company that made popular things for popular people. And I'd have a lot more money. And I'd sit on my ergonomic toilet seat staring at magazines with my own face (and abs) on the cover, wondering if I'd ever stop shitting solid gold bricks.*

But whether that's a more desirable life than mine or not is neither here nor there. The fact is, I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday a couple weeks ago showing up with my wife at the Chicago Sheraton without conference passes, and without knowing what venues would be available for us to meet people without accosting them at cabstands and bathroom sinks.

And you know what? It was awesome.

Except for that pesky day in the middle on which I actually wondered if I might die on the bathroom floor at a fancy hotel, just like a life-conquering celebrity but without the drugs or success.

So if you saw me on Friday and wondered why I looked so surly and distant (sorry Neil and Suzanne), it's only because I was intently trying not to vomit and/or internally debating the best position in which to lie in case I got a choice moments before death's icy finger tagged my soul out to send some fresh meat into the Diarrhea Olympics.

Before all that, though, I got to spend some quality time with Middle-Aged Woman (Unmitigated) and Muskrat, meet Black Hockey Jesus and Tanis (Redneck Mommy), and then wonder how the hell I was going to find anyone else in the mass of humanity who wasn't introduced to me by someone else. Heck, we spent well over an hour at the SociaLuxe party playing with customizable name bracelets without meeting a soul I knew. Sure, I saw Jenny the Bloggess and Kristen Chase (Motherhood Uncensored) but was too timid to interrupt their respective series of conversations with nothing but an awkward introduction, but that doesn't really count.

While waiting for the People's Party later that night, I recognized Miss Grace, who introduced me to Matthew from Child's Play x2 among others. Then once the party started I rejoined my wife, who'd spent an hour or two packing swag bags with Middle-Aged Woman, only to find out that she not only had met Jenny the Bloggess (and Nancy W. Kappes!), but she got a Bloggess sticker she was specifically forbidden to give me.** I figure since I was meeting Black Hockey Jesus at that time, it kind of evens out, cosmically.***

I somewhat redeemed myself later by saying hi to Momo Fali, Kristen, and Brittany (Barefoot Foodie), but overall I was so overwhelmed I missed far more opportunities than I seized, which was made especially tragic by Friday's aforementioned chaos. So much for getting my feet wet on Thursday and making the most out of Friday.

I convinced myself on Friday afternoon that despite some stomach pain, I felt okay enough to soldier through the evening as long as I didn't risk eating anything. I hadn't thrown up yet at that point and I figured I must be suffering no more than the effects of eating at IHOP at 2am the night before, instead of battling some kind of flesh-eating virus hell-bent on liquefying my insides, as my foe was later to be revealed.

My late arrival on the scene Friday is the root cause of numerous missed connections with awesome people like Maggie and Mike Adamick, and my lack of organization and outgoingness is the cause of my missing out on dozens more people I should have met somewhere, somehow in the crowds.

After being turned away from the MamaPop party by none other than Mrs. 4444 herself (just doing her duty as the lady with the checklist), I took that as a sign I should give up defiling the absolutely vacant bathrooms (but I bet the lines at the women's bathrooms were epic) of the Sheraton and call it a night at the relatively early hour of 10pm. That hour is for me, unfortunately for my overall health, much like 6:30 is for normal people.

Turns out, of course, we missed the best party of the conference, and a unicorn cake. A unicorn cake!

But the rest did me good (specifically the sporadic series of naps in a bath/shower and the patient nursing of my wife), as did the tentatively resumed ability to absorb small amounts of fluids for the first time in over 12 hours. Fluids make the hallucinations go away! Well, most fluids do, anyway.

So we showed up Saturday evening in time to meet longtime readers MamaNeena and Andrea (Sweet Life) and have a good talk (wishing we'd had more time to hang out that night and earlier in the weekend) before heading over to Quartino for dinner [picture] with Middle-Aged Woman, Vodka Mom, Sprite's Keeper, Stiletto Mom, DeeMarie, Shopgirl, Amo, and Jill-- we hadn't been here before but we definitely want to come back. J- because she wants more of what she ordered, and me because I'd like to go there when I can actually eat food.

We then headed to the bowling alley for BowlHer, which, due to the brain-squashing noise, was not good for meeting people you didn't already know. However, it was very good for getting stuff, since it was co-sponsored by several numerous companies. How can you go wrong with free cupcakes, wine, chocolate, and gift cards?

After deciding we'd had enough of the noise, we headed back to the Sheraton to check out the CheezeburgHer Party, which would have been 10x better if I was better able to eat by this point. We mostly just sat on a very comfortable couch in the presidential suite realizing how tired we were, but we were happy to get the chance to meet Elisa (Unlikely Housewife) after trying to coordinate a meetup all day. We then headed the 32 floors downstairs, where I met Backpacking Dad on my way to the bathroom.

I passed on sticking it out any longer in case tiredness made me relapse, and we reluctantly headed for home with about 30 pounds of swag (thanks largely to all those wine bottles people flying home had to give away). How strange we must have looked to non-blogging civilians on our ride home-- good thing we left the pink feather boa from BowlHer at the CheezeburgHer Party.

Still, with all the tote bags filled with food and pink or leopard print odds and ends, I might as well have been wearing my new blogging shirt and singing at the top of my lungs.

Anyway, if we met you there, we were glad to meet you, and if we didn't, we were sad we didn't. I don't think we'll make it out to New York next year, but that's not for lack of desire. Here's hoping against hope anyway that we'll see you all there!

* Or maybe eggs, more likely, because I'm pretty sure people like that don't have to put up with inconveniences like sharp corners.

** And then she goes and taunts me by just leaving her leftover stickers in the bathroom for normal people to be confused by.

*** Except that I'm still pathetically devastated I never got to meet Jenny.


Anonymous said...

No mention of meeting me - oh you hurt my feeling!

Jenny Grace said...

I loved meeting you!

Badass Geek said...

I'm going to try to go next year. Maybe.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

That was the longest, namedroppingest post ever. Wow.

Chicago seems like the place to be, lately. I wonder when it'll be SLC again. I was too scared of terrorists and nobody much blogged back in 2002 for the Olympics. And I'm not sure what the wine scene is here. DO we have wine? They'll probably hand out 2 Liters of Sprite (which may help your icky tummy).

LiteralDan said...

MamaNeena, I can't believe I forgot to mention that! I've edited the post to add you and Andrea, but now I wonder what/who else I forgot to include.

MamaNeena, Andrea, and anyone else who got left out: This post is so long I lost myself in it, and not making it into my first draft of the timeline does not indicate a relative lack of importance or memorability, I assure you!

If only you knew who and what I forgot until the last minute before publishing, you might feel a lot better.

Redneck Mommy said...

Dude. I'm so sorry I didn't get to spend any more time with you but it was a real pleasure getting to meet you!

Irrational Dad said...

OK, now that I know it's okay for guys to go (I seriously didn't know), I'll do my damnedest to crash... errrr, I mean "go" next year.

Michael from dadcation.com said...

You left out what a pain in the ass it was to meet up with you because you're not on Twitter! Ah well. It's okay.

Glad to meet Mr and Mrs Literal there, and I'm sorry you weren't at 100%. I hope you (and I for that matter) can make it to NYC next year. I think it'll be a good time indeed.

KatBouska said...

What no chick fights? No drama? No swag bag stealing?? What a bore.


Mama Dawg said...

I shat a gold brick once. But it was tiny. And I neglected to fish it out of the toilet before I flushed.

Of course, it could have been corn. We'll never know now.

(Notice how I didn't mention anything at all about what the whole post was about? Yeah, that was on purpose. Cause I'm jealous and stuff.)

Burgh Baby said...

I'll just shut up and keep my jealousy to myself. Hmph.

Midwest Mom said...

Gee, Dan. That was like reading the last page in someone else's yearbook.

What was I thinking traveling the country for the Month of July?? I knew I was forgetting something back here. ;D

Glad you had fun. (Is the irony lost that you left BlogHer with a bagful of corks? ... I know they still had bottles attached and all, but sounds like you coulda used one Friday night. ... just sayin')

- Julia

Backpacking Dad said...

I shan't reveal how upset my own stomach was just before we met in the hallway.

Good to finally meet you, Dan.

Momo Fali said...

I am so glad I got to meet you and that I got a hug. I'm also REALLY glad that you didn't get me sick!

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

I'm so glad I read this AFTER Neena made you add us, because it may have caused me to post the emails and texts we passed back and forth while trying to meet up. LOOK AT THAT, INTERNET! I have LiteralDan's phone number! Want it? haha

Sorry I didn't spend more time actually *conversing* with you. It was such a mad house of people, which makes me all the more amazed that you survived with your insides intact.

Mrs4444 said...

For what it's worth, I didn't get in, either, which is why I was helping with the list, haha.

Maggie, Dammit said...

Sorry for the delayed response, I've had very limited Internet for two weeks.


Just had to get that out. :)

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

For all we know we were both standing outside the MamaPop party getting denied for not being on the "list" at the same time. {SIGH}. Someday.