01 August 2007

Mea culpa

I did BlogHer all wrong this year. I wanted something totally different and because of poor follow-through, I got a big freaking headache and a small existential crisis.

My original plan was to go, miss the conference stuff, and just basically hang out and chat people up as they meandered by. This fantasy also involved a rooftop pool area with cabana boys and fruity drinks.

Then I was possessed by demons and decided to volunteer at the conference, so I had to be there at least half a day each day (beginning at 7:30 AM -- 5:30 Cali time -- on Friday, ooof).

And there was no rooftop pool and certainly no cabana boys.

So, like last year, it ended up being a manic rocket ride, chatting with 300 people for 30 seconds each. Meeting everyone is always good (well, not everyone - there were a couple people I could have lived without) but the frenetic pace was just so wrong for me. I also got on the red stapler portrait train and couldn't get off. I am like a border collie with a tennis ball when I get a project going.

Ironically, the best times I had at the conference were not at the conference.

My favorite memories:
- Wandering the streets of Chicago with Vodkarella herself, Karen Rani and then riding the speedboat with her and the Kaiser on Lake Michigan . I came close to peeing myself when Karen pointed out that the guy in front of us had earlobes that flapped in the wind...it was like being 12 years old again.

- Sitting on the lawn waiting for the lighted boat parade (we missed it - oops) with Suzanne of CUSS, Count Mockula,Alex Elliott, and Super Des. It was so good to be out of the screaming noise and confusion, just enjoying a summer night on the lakefront and bullshitting like old friends, which is what it felt like. Then there were the world's best fireworks. Even I liked them.

- Hanging out on the pier with Devra of Parentopia, Goon Squad Sarah and The Kaiser, just feeling like tired tourists instead of manic conferencers.

If it wasn't for that stuff, the real stuff, I wouldn't go again.

It's not BlogHer's fault, but the event makes me question what the hell I am doing with blogging, and some of those questions aren't terribly comfortable for me.

Am I hiding from real life behind my keyboard?
Am I using the excuse that I have "blogging friends" to keep from interacting with real people?
Am I commenting on people's blogs and linking them just to get them to like me?
What the hell AM I doing?
What IS this?

And I hated the emphasis on celebrity - ooh, Amy Sedaris! Everyone gushes over her even though her crafts are something any 8 year old could do and she said she likes to use "ching-chong" googly eyes to decorate with.

There were 50 crafters in the room who could have kicked her ass at creativity and who could have gotten through 75 minutes without any racist slurs, but whatever, she's semi-famous, so we should just appreciate that she showed up to see lil' old us. Feh.

Can you tell my PMS is kicking in? Yikes.


Anonymous said...

I felt the same way last year about the conferences - I ended up skipping some of them in order to just enjoy my vacation to CA. I'm not going to make any money off my site...so why bother with the biz end of it?

And if I go next year, I imagine I'll just get tix to the cocktail parties.

Secondly, her name isn't Amy Sedaris. It's SisterOfDavid.

Christina said...

I think over half of the fun of BlogHer is getting to hang out in person with the people you hang out with virtually the rest of the year. And that's OK.

Wish I would have had more time to hang out with you!

Anonymous said...

From what I've been reading (and the people I choose to read) most felt as you did, that there was a fair amount of shallow celebrity worship and much squandering of cheap plastic trinkets. But it seemed like everyone had a good time in Chicago, despite the conference!

Just keep doing what you enjoy — doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I missed meeting you in Chicago. I think your post is refreshing, and I'm planning to write one addressing the question: "Would I go again?"

Karen Bodkin said...

Hanging with you was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend too.

Also, I kept asking people who Amy Sedaris was, and I *still* don't get why she is famous. YAWN.

Here's to Mexico in 2008. Oh and got see IzzyMom - she is planning a Mommy trip in Jan 2008 - but you don't have to be a mommy.

Serena Woodward said...

Ummm...who's Amy Sedaris? *laughs* I'm so out of it. I still laugh when I see someone on television and the caption under their name says "blogger", like that makes us some kind of experts now...

You aren't the only one that asks yourself those questions, either. I ask several of them of myself very frequently. My take on it is that as long as you're still leaving the house and doing things that don't involve the computer...you're good.

Alex Elliot said...

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was hanging out with you, Des, the Count and Suzanne. I really think that if I hadn't been able to do things like that I would have felt completely overwhelmed. You already know my thoughts on the Momosphere session.

Anonymous said...

I had a great time and honestly I got a lot out of the panels I went to. Of course, I went to the one about making money instead of the craft one, so everybody go click on my ads!

I'm kidding.

Sort of.

If you don't go next year I'll have to bring my own red stapler or it just won't be the same.

QT said...

I think your experience is pretty common. I mean, for a conference that had 800 people register, I went to more than one panel with only 10 people in the room.

Just sayin -

ByJane said...

In light of your sister's death, I can't imagine any event that would have meaning. The one on one connection is what it's all about--and you're lucky to have had so much of it. I envy you and that Red Stapler because it enables your entry into so many groups that I am too intimidated to approach.

I think the existential crisis is absolutely appropriate to what you're going through, and it would happen willynilly of BlogHer. It's what one does when one has had such a loss. xxoo

Anonymous said...

Ya'll need to stop hatin' on Amy.

She could be the next Mrs. Angel Apologist.

Anonymous said...


There is a way I see things these days........either things are corporate/generic/vanilla or they are grassroots/radical/awesome. I don't see BlogHer as awesome. In theory, it had potential to be but I think it screwed it up for the sake of the founders trying to make a name for themselves and be *something*. I mean, just the fact that it's so cost prohibitive for so many speaks volumes to me.

I think we need to start a grassroots, woman only, blogger community. Conferences every year at your house. :)

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I won't go to such a thing. I mostly don't like people, so really, not gonna put myself in a room with a whole bunch of them unless I absolutely have to. :D

I like your honesty. You blog for whatever reason you blog, and I'll come read, k? :)

Anonymous said...

Yup. I second you and Chase on feeling kind of confused about my blogging identity after leaving the conferences last year. Why does it have to BE something, or make money, or be a business or whatever? For me, it's just a great way to keep being creative and connect with people that I have something in common with that I might never meet in my ordinary existance. But I'll be back at Blogher at some point because, like you said, the real stuff? Like sitting around a table with a bunch of awesome women late at night singing acapella completely unselfconsciously? That's what it's all about.

Count Mockula said...

Hanging out with you and the gals (despite mediocre Thai food) was one of the highlights of my trip. That's what's fun about this stuff -- meeting the people you only THOUGHT were real.

But goddamnit, Amy Sedaris is hilarious.

Karl said...

What I wish is that you'd quit beating around the bush, Suebob. Tell it like it is for once.

ByJane said...

So I guess you don't want to come and visit me so we can get tickets to see The Book of Liz, by David Sedaris and Amy Sedaris. Promo just came in the mail today.

ninjapoodles said...

Conversely, I swore to actually attend MORE panels next year. I volunteered, too, but I missed a couple that I really, really wanted to go to. However, turns out I did not actually KNOW where I wanted to be, because in missing a couple of panels that I wanted to go to, I wound up assigned to panels that were PERFECT for me. Who knew?

And I am thinking (and hoping), from the dozens and dozens of appearances I've seen of Amy S. on Letterman and Conan, that she was using that humor as satire, because what I know of her does not support the idea that she's *just that insensitive.* That she has such a dry delivery adds to the shock factor, I think. I mean, is there anyone on the planet who *doesn't* know how much trouble Rosie O'Donnell got into for HER "ching-chong" joke? I love Amy, so I'm choosing to believe we were in satireville, until I see something that proves different. (crosses fingers)

Suzanne said...

I had a much better time this year because of you and other cool people.

Day Dreamer said...

Is it bad that I don't know who Amy Sedaris is? I googled her and basically, still don't know...

Count me clueless....oh well!

super des said...

I also enjoyed the fireworks.

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