life on the funny farm

Saturday, August 4, 2012

BlogHer '12

So I went to the BlogHer '12 annual conference yesterday.

My first.

And I was a little overwhelmed.

I had been to one of their mini-conferences last fall, and there were only about 200 attendees. Nice, comfortable, intimate.

This one?

5,000.

Yes, 5,000.

And I didn't know a soul.

A few of the bloggers I follow were in attendance, but I wouldn't have known them if I'd tripped over them.

So I was happy to hear about the "speed dating" concept they'd scheduled after opening remarks at breakfast.

One big outer circle of women ringing the perimeter of the room, and another circle of women inside that one. The idea was for everyone speak face-to-face for about a minute, and then the inner ring would move down one, to talk to the next person. We could exchange business cards, and network with a boatload of bloggers in a short space of time.

Couple problems. As you can well imagine, 5,000 women all speaking simultaneously makes quite the din. So on my first date, I found I had to lean in real close and shout to be heard. But I had just had my coffee, so I was acutely self-conscious about coffee breath. And it was hot. Like haites hot. I had dressed with icy rooms in mind b/c, well, I'm old and I'm always yelling at my kids "You should bring a sweatshirt, it's going to be cold in the movie theatre!" So I was wearing layers and I started sweating profusely, and it became the only thing I could think about...

"...yes my blog is Life on the Funny Farm and I..."
oh my God I am going to die
"....blog about my kids and ...."
I can feel the sweat pouring down my face
"...and we have a small hobby farm...."
why is she not sweating? I look like a mental patient
"...so there's always a lot going on..."
it is runnning down my back and places only my gynecologist has seen...oh my God, do I smell????
"....where did you say you were from..."
I can SEE my breath. Please God, let them tell us to switch so I can step away from this lovely woman who is looking at me with a mixture of pity and fear....

I could see one of the moderators saying something into the microphone, but no one could hear her. I turned to the woman on my right and suggested it was time to move down. She said she thought we were moving the other direction. Woman on my left? Same thing. The women against the wall? They turned and began speaking to each other.

Leaving the sweaty woman standing dateless.

The next rotation, though, I had it all figured out. I jumped into an empty spot against the wall, so I wouldn't have to stress about which direction my circle was supposed to rotate.

But somehow, every woman moved in every direction but mine.

The sweaty, frizzy, coffee-breath-smellin' reject was dateless once again.

That's OK, though, cuz you know, I had a lot of email to check on my phone, so....yeah.



When that was finallythankGod over, I went into the restoom to wash up. It was kind of a tight fit, though, with so many women and all our paraphenalia. I had a rather large bag, myself. I had found this relic in the attic, and I thought it was just the right size to hold my laptop, clothes, and toiletries (I had stayed at my sister's NYC apt the night before). So it was less of a sleek laptop bag and more of a microwave with a shoulder strap. With the bag and my purse hanging from my shoulder, my already substantial girth was increased threefold, so as I tried to carefully navigate my way back out the bathroom door, everything went black. I looked back and saw about 20 white eyeballs glaring at me. My computer bag had knocked into the light switches, plunging us all into darkness.

I sheepishly flipped the switches back on and made a hasty retreat.


Later we had lunch with none other than Martha Stewart.

And I sat there at my table and I let my worries go. Maybe I had gotten off to a rough start, but here I was in New York City, having luch with Martha Stewart, on her birthday no less, and 5,000 of her closest friends. I was somebody.

I is good. I is smart. I is important.

I... felt something wet and lumpy down my back.

"Don't move!"

The waitress had spilled someone's unfinished quinoa salad down between my back and my chair. If I moved, it would only wedge it in deeper. So I sat quite still while the waitress and some random stranger passing by scooped out the quinoa. I was suddenly feeling very sympathetic to anyone who had ever been wired with a bomb. Finally I was given the green light to stand up, and I stood there as two complete strangers wiped down my backside, while Martha discussed the intimacy of tweeting.



The rest of the afternoon was a blur. All I know is I am home now. I have a notebook full of notes, a bag full of business cards, and a quinoa-covered shirt in the wash.




Maybe I'll go again next year. I'll just have to remember to buy a more up-to-date laptop bag, wear a raincoat to lunch, dress for warm rooms, and pack a bunch of breath mints.








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Thanks!


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In case you didn't know it, I'm like the queen of blog-hoppin' lately. It's kind of like square dancing but without the dated outfits, smelly gym, and elderly caller.

Here's the schedule I keep:
Monday: Homestead Revival's Barn Hop and A Cat-Like Curiosity's Monday Mantras.
Tuesday: Heavenly Homemaker's Gratituesday
and Wrinkled Mommy's Tuesday Archive Link-Up
Wednesday: My Life and Kids Finding the Funny
Thursday: A Rural Journal's Rural Thursday Blog Hop
Friday: Deborah Jean's Dandelion House's Farmgirl Friday
Saturday: Camera Critter's Life With Dogs Pet Blogger Hop and Country Momma Cooks Saturday Link-Up

Since today is Saturday, that means I'm linking my post "Farm Friday - Frightening" with Country Momma Cooks Saturday Link-Up, and my post "Head Honcho" with Camera Critter's Life With Dogs Pet Blogger Hop.
Come join the fun!





40 comments:

  1. Oh,if you only knew how much I needed this post today. I just love drinking my coffee and snorting at the same time. Glad you made it home in one lump....Did Martha mention her confinement? I have often wondered if she had everything all Martanized. Great post! Lol....snort.

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  2. been waiting for this update...well not quite this but you know what I mean. Next time we will go together and I'll wipe sweat, hand out mints and run interference with clumsy wait staff!

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  3. I laughed so much at this. Thanks for the smile!!

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  4. @Rooster: So glad to hear of your drinking/snorting/laughing adventures at my expense.
    @Lori: You will? You'll be my very own sweat-wiping, mint-dispensing PA? Put me down for that.
    @Denise: Anytime, Denise, anytime....

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  5. I thought you'd be here today, too! Bummer! Sorry about the quinoa disaster. (yummy, though)

    I met all of 5 people during the speed dating.

    Next year? We will definitely meet up.

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  6. I would have hated the speed dating. Yikes-way too out of my comfort zone. And the quiona salad. Totally would have happened to me.

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  7. LOL...sorry that was kinda funny. I'm still jealous that you got to go but maybe not jealous of the quinoa. And love the new header btw!

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  8. @Nicole: Maybe next year I'll just go as a buffet table.
    @MamaHen: I'm not alone? I'm not alone! Yay!
    @Emily: I did actually have a good time. Learned a lot. Lots of great speakers. Good quinoa. Thanks about the header!

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  9. This post was so funny! I literally laughed out loud at it. Especially the imaginary conversation you had with yourself. Remember--everything happens for a reason!

    Amanda Rose
    http://sewmuchtosay.blogspot.com

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  10. @Amanda: Reason #1) profuse sweating = weight loss; reason #2) letting strangers wipe down your ass = humility; reason #3) I have no idea....

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  11. I was there!!! I found it overwhelming, too! The speed dating was a bit stressful, especially when the people to the right of me were ready to move, but the left weren't budging!

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  12. OMG, soooo funny! And that quinoa salad was delicious. Did you at least try some?

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  13. @Last Mom, I hear ya'! I'm glad I wasn't alone.

    @Kim, thanks! I have to say, it was delicious. I guess one of my lunch mates didn't agree, since it was a pretty full portion that got dumped down my back!

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  14. I'm reading this now with my irritated, trying to sleep husband complaining that my silent body racking giggles are shaking the bed. A little warning next time?

    I wish I met you at blogher! Speed dating sucked for everyone. I'd have shared my secret of going to a different floor for a quicker bathroom break. And I would have peed my pants laughing about the quinoa. (OK, that last one might not have helped you much.)

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  15. Not helpful, Allison, not helpful at all.
    Re: The speed dating, my son was reading over my shoulder when I was registering, and he said, "Mom. Speed dating? Does Dad know?"

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  16. Oh this is hilarious! And would be something that would SO happen to me! hahahaha Glad you at least made some contacts! lol

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  17. This post is hilarious. I have read a few recaps of the blogger conference and I think that many people were not impressed with how disorganized it was.

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  18. I can picture it all too clearly. Thus one reason I offten avoid things like this. 5000 people is just too many!

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  19. @Debbie: I don't believe that for one minute. Please tell me you are more together than I am! I definitely picture you as such, anyway. Glad you got a chuckle from it!
    @Sara: On the whole, I thought it was pretty organized, but the speed dating was definitely NOT. Good concept, but it probably needed to be implemented on a much smaller scale. And some fans to cool the menopausal masses would have been a nice touch.
    @Bridget: Yes, yes, yes! Too many, at least for a homebody like me. I needed to have gone with a very close, very outgoing friend for this to have worked well for me. Thanks for coming by!

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  20. Oh my word this was hilarious! You have gained yourself a new follower after making me laugh like that.
    I hope that you enjoyed your time in NYC despite all of the craziness!

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  21. Thanks, Dawn! Glad I could make you laugh, and gladder still that I have you as a new follower!

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  22. My son asked me several times, "What's so funny mom? Tell me." When I said it was for adults he tried to read over my shoulder and I breathed on him (I had red onions in my dinner salad). I LOVED this post. Hill-LARRY- US!

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    Replies
    1. Kenya, I liked that you enjoyed my BlogHer post.
      I like even more your technique of breathing onion breath on your kid to get him to move along. Note to self....

      Thanks for coming by!

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  23. Hey, sorry we missed each other at speed dating. I experienced my own brand of awkwardness having to introduce myself as Old Dog, New Tits and explain in only minutes that I, in fact, was NOT porn to what seemed like one very straight-laced blogger after another. It was a great way to jump right into the conference.

    Hope the quinoa stain came out. Great post. :)

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    1. Hi ODNT. Yes, I would very much have enjoyed meeting you, as I'm familiar with your blog. I can see where that would have been awkward, but I'm giggling away at that awkwardness. I think you should have just told them, hell yeah it's porn. Beastiality porn. You have a problem with that?

      Thanks for stopping in!

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  24. Well told. You are an ace storyteller!

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    Replies
    1. So I can now add "ace storyteller" to my resume??? Awesome. Thanks, Caitlin!!!

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  25. Ha! "sympathy for those who had ever wired a bomb."

    Funny funny.

    came by via Finding the Funny.

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    1. I am intrigued by your name and must go check you out in a moment.
      Thanks for coming by!!!!

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  26. Sooo funny. Love the microwave with a strap. BlogHer sounds like being the new girl in high school- except it's an all girls school. Scary stuff. You're a brave woman. And yet, I'm still hoping to go next year. :)
    Stopping by from Finding the Funny.

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    1. Hi Laura, thanks for coming by. It was scary stuff. A very large all girl's high school, that's about right. Maybe next year I can actually MEET some of those 5,000 people!

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  27. Dude. You are so brave to go there not knowing anyone. Maybe next year you can wear some pasta salad in Chicago to mix it up a little.

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    1. I'm actually thinking of going as a salad bar next year. Plenty of food for folks, and a good way to meet people. Win-win. Thanks for coming by, Lisa!

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  28. I plan to go to Chicago next year. As a brand new blogger...that is a scary scary thought. I know ...NO ONE. But I'll happily be your butt wiper..uh not THAT kind but you know what I mean. We all need a wing woman...5,000 is a scary number!

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    Replies
    1. I'll take you on as my wing woman anyday! And I'll introduce you to all the people I didn't meet.

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  29. Hi Anne,
    I agree with everyone, this was one funny post! The part I loved was the bathroom going dark..I thought you fainted!! Lol, so glad I was wrong!
    I'm thinking of the Southern Blogger's Conference in North Carolina in October. Ok, I have to "fact check" on all of the above before I show up in the wrong state at the wrong time!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and I've signed you up for the Mommy Blog Exchange Boards...welcome, happy pinning! Thanks so much! Di

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    1. Hi Di! So glad you could stop by (take THAT, Dr. Suess!)
      This sounds really odd/creepy/stalkerish, but I somehow feel a connection with you. Don't ask me why. And no, I don't say that to every newcomer. Anyway, love your blog, love your Pinterest boards. Glad we got to "meet". See ya' around cyberspace!

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  30. Hi again Anne,
    Meant to tell you how much I love the pic on your header of the freckle face holding the chicken, or hen, or rooster, or ??? He's adorable(and the kid's cute too!) Lol

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    1. Thanks! That's my baby, that is. He turns 13 this week, which I CANNOT BELIEVE! The last of my babies entering the teen years. Stop it. Anyway, that's him last summr, holding his chicken (hen), whom he named "Nugget". Sick sense of humor, no?

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  31. My first thought was OH MY GOD 5000 women trying to do what we teachers call inside outside circles?????? Mayhem can't even describe what that must have been like! I hate it when I got to a conference and get lots of stuff in my bag and then have to haul that bag around with me all day! Good for you for going alone and trying to figure it all out. I'm not going all the way to Chicago next year, so I'll have to wait until it comes east again!

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