July 26, 2009

Funny Names But Good Times at BlogHer

He arrives outside of the hotel, dressed in a newly purchased outfit – part Banana Republic Outlet, part Target-chic – accessorized with one of five pairs of shoes he strategically fit into his crowded suitcase the previous evening.  He is acutely aware that beyond those revolving doors lies uncertainty and the potential for feeling ostracized and feeling he doesn’t belong.  But the excitement of the moment, characterized by butterflies mingling with the incredibly strong airport margarita he had at his layover in Minneapolis, overtakes any trepidation he feels and, taking a deep breath of false bravado, he swings through the doors and into the lobby to meet people with funny names.

Names that are personal and synonymous with humor, love, and passionate brilliance. Names that although would be absurd to the uninitiated, roll off the tongue and sound as normal as any real name you would hear being shouted across a crowded park on a warm Sunday afternoon.  These names begin to run through his mind from years of stalking following these incredibly talented writers.  Who would he meet?  Where was Bossy and how bossy would she be? Would BusyMom show herself, offering me a tray of champagne? How red is Redneck Mommy‘s neck? Would he recognize Chicky Baby if he saw her in real life?  Would Cheaper than Therapy really fit snugly into his coat pocket?  Is WeirdGirl really that weird?  Is Issa really that crazy? Were Karen’s pants REALLY made of sugar? Would Back To Me sound like she’s from Chicaaaago? And is Backpacking Dad, really that hot?

And suddenly, as if to answer every question, he is welcomed to the first of many parties.  And as he circulates around the room trying not to feel the long-ago anxiety of a middle school dance, he is approached by person after person offering warm hugs, warm wishes and cold booze.  And just like that, the acrid anxiety of not knowing washes away – leaving only the sweet smelling aroma of friendship.  Old friends and new friends and hundreds of little paper business cards stuffed unceremoniously into pockets.

Before he knows it he is 38 years old, celebrating with incredibly-generous-when-drunk bloggers, eating chocolate pouring from fountains, dining on cake shaped like a unicorn and gyrating wildly on the dance floor as 80′s songs flood the room with nostalgia and lousy singing, lasting so deep into the night that it is way past his birthday by the time he makes it to his bed.

Sleep.  This is the one thing that eludes him.  His brother shows up to surprise him and while the benefits are many, the one drawback is the jack hammer-like quality that does the term “snoring” a deep injustice.  But even this obstacle does not set him back.  Before he knows it he is headed to do a panel presentation at this mostly-women conference.  He, along with his brothers-in-arms, Avitable and BusyDad must have been total whack-jobs to accept this role (and this suspicion would soon prove to be true) as I Am Man – Hear Me Roar is sure to cause a stir.  And while the discussion goes remarkably well he is both overjoiced and simultaneously disappointed that he is NOT, in fact, linked to any of the tawdry rumors flying through the conference like those monkeys doing the bidding of the Wicked Witch of the West flying maniacally from room to room on waves of tears and squeeeeeees.

Time continues to fly and before he knows it, the conference is coming to an end to be culminated by dinner amongst new friends, parties with cheeseburgers and hats made of paper bags proudly perched upon his head.  And then, someone has the great idea to go to a night club and before he could protest he is being whisked off to Chicago’s party-zone and sitting in the dark but loud club trying to have conversations as fellow bloggers dance wildly to the gyrating beat.

After the urge to dance is sated, he finds himself in a hotel lobby, the same lobby he had nervously entered just two days prior, having deep conversations with newly cherished friends and feeling contented that there are such good people in the world – even if they do have the unenviable flaw of being a Red Sox fan.

But even great conversation must give in to slumber.  And as he heads back to his hotel room the sky to the east seems a bit lighter than it should for no other reason than morning beckons.  He has crammed as much fun into this time as he can handle and he snoozes into the full daylight of mid-morning.  After rising, he crams as much swag as he can into his suitcase – not an easy task with five pairs of shoes.  He looks forward to seeing his family once again but leaves knowing how many friendships he made, strengthened or cemented these past few days.

And as he sits in his tightly cramped coach chair 35,000 feet above the ground, having paid the $12.95 for airplane wi-fi, he ponders the past few days and can’t help but smile.  And yawn.


  1. I am writing this here one time and one time only:

    You were RIGHT. Apparently I really DO have a Chicago accent.

    I will now carry around a chalk board and communicate that way to out-of-towners, lest I say “bag” “eggs” or “St. Patrick’s Day”.



    Comment by samantha jo campen — July 26, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

  2. And he scores again!

    Comment by Becky — July 26, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  3. The one thing I hate about BlogHer – all of my favorite bloggers are too busy partying to post for the rest of us.

    Glad you had a great time!

    Comment by Stacy — July 26, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  4. It was sooo much fun, yes?
    And a pleasure to meet you.

    Comment by maria — July 26, 2009 @ 7:10 pm

  5. This is definitely one of your all-time best posts! I hadn’t wished I’d attended BlogHer until just now! Glad you had a great time! (Don’t let it go to your head! :-) )


    Comment by Carol — July 26, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  6. So very glad I got to see you in real life.

    Comment by Busy Mom — July 26, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

  7. I am highly pocketable.
    I am just wee, after all ;)

    Comment by ali — July 26, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  8. I’ve had you on my blogroll for a month or two now, but am dedicated to reading your archives (with all my oh so abundant free time) after seeing your panel. Thanks for representing the proud minority so well. ;-)

    Comment by Mandy — July 26, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  9. Which part was Target?

    Comment by Whit — July 26, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  10. Glad I got to meet you and hang out a bit. You rawk dude! Gracias!

    Comment by laprimera — July 26, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

  11. Well now you know the truth: I don’t even wear pants. I’m a dresses kinda girl, late conversion.

    It was lovely and awesome to meet you in person.

    Comment by Karen Sugarpants — July 27, 2009 @ 6:59 am

  12. Please remind me for next time, NO NIGHTCLUBS. Also to go to bed before 5am.

    And I’ll remind you that the next time you pick on my team you’re in jeopardy of being thrown from a moving cab.


    Comment by Chicky Chicky Baby — July 27, 2009 @ 7:07 am

  13. So, just how red is my neck?

    Lovely meeting you.

    Your brother is cuter.

    But you’re taller so it’s a wash in my books.


    Comment by Redneck Mommy — July 27, 2009 @ 8:05 am

  14. You rocked that panel. I am finding that it’s not just the friends I knew BEFORE BlogHer but the amazing people I met AT BlogHer that makes it worth it.

    Comment by tracey — July 27, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  15. Loved your panel – it was actually the only non-keynote session I attended.

    Comment by corrin — July 27, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  16. Meeting you was like OMG! Its YOU! And then you told me the next night that I was awesome when we went to get free whiskey so that pretty much made my day.

    You rock. Glad you had a good time.

    Comment by Miss — July 27, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  17. Wasn’t gonna comment because I didn’t want to repeat myself (nor appear to be stalking, heh) but dammit I can’t help it: You were a salty ocean-wave breath of refreshing awesomeness. Thanks again for the panel.

    Comment by maggie, dammit — July 27, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  18. It was a middle school dance indeed, without the embarrassing boners on the dance floor. Loved meeting you! And what a total dope I am for not getting it was your birthday, despite the card that said so. I blame that on the lemonade martini.

    Comment by ilinap — July 27, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

  19. Lord, there was some fun to be had, no? Bossy loves you because you are game, and that just may be the quality she respects the most. Thanks for the hang.

    Oh, and if Bossy can talk a lounge of people into cabs and to Rush Street at 1 a.m., maybe she is as bossy as they say.

    Comment by BOSSY — July 27, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  20. I’m sorry to say I only just “discovered” you at BlogHer, but I’m so glad I did. It was a blast hanging out with you, and (hopefully) not just because I was drunk.

    Comment by Andrea's Sweet Life — July 27, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  21. I cannot BELIEVE I didn’t get a link in this post, you bastard!

    I am also still harboring a deep resentment that I didn’t know about the trip to the dance club. But I’m going to harass Bossy about that.

    It was so awesome to meet you. Dinner between you and Whit on Saturday night – as well as getting to know you better through your panel – was an absolute highlight of the weekend for me.

    Comment by Miss Britt — July 27, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  22. Um hai, I am as crazy as my title right? Ha. Loved meeting you (finally) and I have to agree with all the rest, you rocked that panel.

    Want me to start a rumor about you? I so will. ;)

    Comment by Issa — July 27, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  23. I got a middle seat for my flight back to SoCal. Sleeping off the tawdry was damn near impossible. But it was worth it. Roaring with you on that stage was a blast.

    Comment by BusyDad — July 27, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  24. Most excellently written summation of the weekend. Can I use it and replace the ‘his’ with ‘her’?

    AWESOME to have met you. I have proof: http://www.flickr.com/photos/awholelotofnothing/3760489164/

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] — July 27, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

  25. oh man, I didn’t know it was your birthday! At least you got a sparkly unicorn birthday cake, no?

    It was great to finally meet you in person. And if you’re not the subject of any tawdry rumors, I can totally fix that for you. Just say the word. And tell me whether you prefer donkeys or orangutangs.

    Comment by The Mother Tongue — July 27, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  26. LOVED meeting you. You’re amazing and fantastic – as was your panel. So glad you came to BlogHer!

    Comment by sam {temptingmama} — July 28, 2009 @ 7:14 am

  27. It was lovely to meet you. I’m a little disappointed no one started some sort of brother-brother, sister-sister rumor. But I suppose there’s always next year.

    Comment by Kirsten — July 28, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  28. BlogHer was definitely an experience! The guys panel was incredibly inspiring (even though you guys play it cool as if you do this kind of stuff every day).

    I’ll say this, shamelessly… I was too chicken shit to talk to you. Plain & Simple.

    As stereotypical as you didn’t want to sound…… I needed to hear that Mrs. PotatoHead doesn’t have one on me!

    (Gotta catch up on your blog and read all the posts you talked about… the stinky diaper left out? Love great writing and storytelling)

    Comment by Sara@MySippyCupRunnethOver — July 28, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  29. Your panel was absolutely my favorite of the whole weekend. I was very inspired during it and learned a lot. I have decided I want to join the ranks of male bloggers, is there room for women there. Y’all are so sane LOL.

    I hope to see you and get to actually talk to you at another conference in the future.

    Comment by Toni — July 28, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  30. I just read the recap of your panel discussion. You guys did all right byt the dad blogggers. thanks.

    Comment by William — July 28, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  31. Remember the definition of humble;glad you had a great time.

    Comment by Grandmother — July 28, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  32. Matthew- it was great to meet you! You are terribly nice, and I hope you had a wonderful birthday at BlogHer.

    Comment by KC — July 28, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

  33. This conference was my first and I too was nervous to meet all of the people I stalked(read) for so long. I hoped to learn a lot from a panel of women. I didn’t. I learned the most from your panel. I learned this insignificance of stats and reminded myself why I started this whole process.

    I will be talking about you guys on tomorrow’s show!

    Comment by Jen Hinton — July 28, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

  34. It was great to meet you in person. The panel was GREAT! Loved it!

    Comment by Twenty Four At Heart — July 28, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  35. I’m just disappointed that I wore my gold lamé thong under my clothes for our final rehearsed strip tease all to no avail.

    Comment by Avitable — July 28, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

  36. It was so awesome to meet you in person, finally. You are great! Not that I would expect anything else.

    Comment by Jenn — July 29, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  37. Dude, you’re hilarious and it was very nice to finally meet you in person. You have great shirts and you’re all class.

    Comment by Backpacking Dad — July 31, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  38. So glad to have met you and sit in on your terrific session … you were fantastic!

    Comment by Karen MEG — August 4, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

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