After the thrill of running into Heather and Jon wore off (and I had been certain to txt back to Cecily to gloat), I showered and changed and bought an energy drink to run back over to the Westin. Cec was supposed to meet me in the lobby, but wasn’t there, so I wandered around looking for her then phoned her 4 times and texted her once. Heh. Turns out the closing keynote for Day 1 she was in went long (they had something like 20 bloggers reading their “best” entries).
Let me pause here to mention Abigail M. Schilling. I neglected to mention her in Part I because I’m kind of a tool, but also because she kind of deserves her own post. She came and found me at the Newcomer’s party Thursday night and to be honest, until I saw her I hadn’t remembered that this was the same woman who drunkenly accosted me at TequilaCon when I was leaving, hugging me over and over again while saying she wasn’t a “hugger”. What I mean to say is, she is awesome. She will forever regret hugging me in that way in Philadelphia because I AM a hugger, and she has broken the hugging seal, so I will forever more hug her when I see her.
She had Cecily and I laughing constantly when we were with her and was the best staff person there, I’m pretty sure. She was “Staff” even though she had volunteered to live-blog and knew nothing else about the conference. Anytime anyone had questions, they looked for someone with the green “Staff” badge she was wearing. She was in charge of making sure the Internet worked.
Anyway. I think I love her and would hang out with her anywhere, any time.
So! The party Friday night was sponsored by TNT’s dramas The Closer and Saving Grace. That was just odd with its clips of the shows flashing on TV screens all over. It was in some swanky club that seemed to be a converted old theater. The food was delicious but I definitely was starting to feel the pain of not getting enough sleep and being on my feet a lot. We got to meet a bunch more cool women and even had a “fan” squee at our presence and I want to thank Jessica again for being such a doll and including me in the excitement even though I know she was really all about Cecily.
Saturday I got up early and walked past two missions with homeless lined up waiting for breakfast in order to get to Dottie’s True Blue Café, where I waited on line for a more expensive (but delectable) breakfast. That was weird. I was meeting my Flickr friends Dottie and Shane, who then took me to a few cool neighborhoods, which are must-sees in the area. We rode buses and I used a transfer, which was very exciting for me. Riding public transportation in an unfamiliar city is always an adventure, but this was better because I didn’t actually have to think—just follow. We went to The Castro first, and I don’t know why it did but being there made me instantly and extraordinarily happy. Rainbow flags everywhere and men holding hands with their male partners, kissing, just being completely relaxed and open about their lives…it was this beautiful haven and it just lifted my spirits so much to see what could be. I suppose it should have depressed me to know it only exists in small areas like this, but it is something. It felt like what freedom should feel like, being there.
Next we went to Haight-Ashubury which is just a big shopping area with overpriced stuff…a lot like South Street in Philadelphia but bigger, and lots of homeless hippies. I’m glad I saw it, but I was losing steam fast at this point and knew I needed to be able to rest and go back out again that evening. They got me back to my hotel and we said goodbye. I raced back, took a quick self-portrait, freshened up and ran back out to sneak into the closing keynote to hear Stephanie Klein and Heather Armstrong talk about “Living the Truman Show”.
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing them both and think it was an excellent job done. People really enjoy hating on popular people, but especially bloggers, and Heather seems to get a huge amount. I don’t really get people and never have. If you don’t enjoy reading her blog, that is one thing…don’t read it…but to make the actual effort to write hateful things about her and to her?? Imagine getting an email from an anonymous person telling you they are going to find you at a public event you are attending and throw acid in your face!! Seriously. It boggles the mind, as they say. Use your energy in constructive ways, people, that’s all I’m saying.
The party that night was at Macy’s, which was even weirder than the TNT party, but kinda cool. We had roped off sections that were opened just for us and other shoppers were turned away. We felt very VIP…well, I did anyway! Having food around really expensive handbags and then shoes and then lingerie and then furniture totally freaked me the fuck out, however. I couldn’t believe they were allowing us to do that. The lack of true non-alcoholic beverages there was my biggest annoyance…especially when in the first section (we moved from section to section through the store for different food, etc) they were trying to pawn off a cider as a non-alcoholic choice when it in fact had .5% alcohol and smelled like wine. No water anywhere.
I met two amazing women that night and got into a big discussion about our camera remote and marketing and approaches and that sort of thing…much of which made my head spin and I really wish I wasn’t so dehydrated and sleep-deprived at that point! I am really grateful to both of them for taking the time to talk with me and teach me and hopefully we’ll be following up with each other now that I’m well rested.
Cecily and I had a shuttle picking us up at 4am from our hotel to take us back to the San Jose airport, so we went back to our hotel to pack and laze around until then. We didn’t expect to sleep, but I passed out for an hour or so. Then we had a lunatic drive us to the airport. He was one of apparently 4 people born and raised in Berkley, California who is a right-wing conservative—a fan of Bill OReilley, no less! I’m pretty certain he was on the last legs of his drunk from the night before and I was literally scared for our lives with the way he was veering lanes. Then he came down off his high and the whole vibe in the van got sad. It was a surreal hour ride as Cecily told him why John McCain wants her dead.
I had an amazing trip and think San Francisco is one of the coolest cities around. I do hope to find a way to go again and bring my family and be able to see and do more. I would definitely attend the conference itself next year, too, if I could.