Blogathon: The Recap

Just a heads-up, if you are a blogger and we ever meet in Chicago, you can be assured of a few things:

  • We will visit The Bean
  • There will be tequila
  • I will not drink any

Okay, so this time I really did drink some tequila, just not in its raw, unrefined form. In fact, no one did. We all sipped our Tequila Cosmos and Tequila Mojitos like proper ladies and gentlemen. This was a much more civilized bunch than met at TequilaCon NYC, what with the nonstop pounding of shots and relentless ridiculing of the non-shot drinkers. I WILL NOT BOW TO PEER PRESSURE! EXCEPT IN PORTLAND FOR TEQUILACON ‘07!
But enough about TequilaCons of yore and yon. This past weekend’s event was informally dubbed “Davecago” because it all began when Dave2 told Kevin and me that he was coming to Chicago on business. The boys spread the word, and suddenly there were a dozen people eating pizza and drinking pitchers of beer in Wicker Park. Bloggers and non-bloggers alike, living together in harmony.
I love hanging out with people from out of town because it forces me to approach Chicago like a tourist, and see and do new things. Like eating mashed potatoes on pizza, for example. This is not a topping I would have ever ordered, nor will I ever order it again due to the bizarre texture that was a bit like damp cornmeal, but I believe I am a better person for the experience.
This was kind of like a mystery blogger meetup, because most of the folks I met were completely new to me. But as the beer and wine flowed, we quickly fell into true bloggeek mode, with in-depth discussions on RSS feeds, blog design, how we feel about comments, and how a seemingly innocent entry put Dave on the most wanted list of every clown in the contiguous 48 states.
Our bellies loaded up with carbs, we made our way to Salud – the site of TequilaCon the First, the event that began my love affair with strangers I met on the Internet. For some reason I didn’t get the memo that we were all supposed to drink Mango Tequila Mojitos, so was clearly the odd man out with my Tequila Cosmo.
Except for RW, who was truly the outlander with his Mexican Zinfandel, but he’s a classy guy and doesn’t bow to peer pressure either.
Now, our numbers slightly smaller, we cozied up around the perfect table and discussed favorite authors, and current reads, and Mac vs. PC, and our conflicted feelings about MySpace. After a delightful evening with some genuinely interesting people, we said our farewells and boarded respective trains, planes, and automobiles.
[me, Dave, Kelly, Ariana, RW, Lynne – photo by Gary]
And that was Saturday.
On Sunday (which was, it should be noted, the second of two of the most spectacularly beautiful days we ever see in Chicago – 75˚ and cloudless, slight breeze), I met up again with Dave and Gary to see a collection of exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
After spending a long time reading through the comics/graphic novels in the Chris Ware exhibit, and admiring the Warhol retrospective (Oh look – it’s Liz Taylor! And there she is again, and again, and again…) we moved on to another featured artist – some German photographer.
Before walking in, we were met with two large signs that said, “Warning: contains some adult content. You may want to view this exhibit first before bringing young children.” In retrospect, had I written the signs, they would have said something more like, “Warning: You may want to avoid this exhibit altogether because it will dissolve the right hemisphere of your brain with its suckitude. The highlight is a photograph of a man peeing on a chair.”
Art makes me hungry, as does pretty much everything else in life, including eating, so the three of us headed to the South Loop to grab some food near our next destination – the Printer’s Row Book Fair. This would prove a mistake, since every restaurant in a 10-block radius had lines a mile long. We eventually settled on the shortest line: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and squirty tubes of blueberry yogurt off the kid’s menu at Panera. I know how to show visitors the finer side of Chicago cuisine, to be sure.
We all miraculously made it through the open-air book festival relatively unscathed, although I did have my eye on a 1950’s hygiene guide for boys.
It was clear that no matter how hard I tried, neither Gary nor Dave would get in line to pose with Curious George, so I led us onward to one of my favorite destinations – Millennium Park.
The park was absolutely packed with children playing in the Crown Fountain and adults snapping shots of Cloud Gate (aka The Bean). No matter how many times I go there, I just can’t resist a photo opportunity.
Finally, I heard my four favorite words – “Let’s get a drink!” – so we ended our long day with beers and vodka lemonades and chips and salsa. It was a wonderful weekend with a great group of people, and contrary to what Kelly’s husband predicted, no one was murdered by psycho Internet people. So thanks to all who joined, and I look forward to adding you all to my reading lists!
Kevin (and Katie, Brian, and Jen)
RW (and Lynne)

21 Responses to “Blogathon: The Recap”

  1. RW Says:

    The weird thing about the Wicker Park thing was that the place we had dinner at was two blocks that way and one block this way from the street I grew up on over toward Bucktown – where I now could not afford to live, probably. I wanted to remind as many people as I could that St. Mary’s one block even further is the only Opus Dei parish in the world and that’s. where. I. went. to. school. But with all the mashed potato pizza going around few could actually get their mouths to work at that time.
    I have since learned to only speak to meat-eaters. Hmmph.

  2. jenny Says:

    Okay, so I didn’t read/see The DaVinci Code, but I thought they only let albinos into the Opus Dei sect?
    And trust me, my mouth will never be full of mashed potato pizza again, so next time you can tell me all about how Jesus was married. ;)
    [lightning strike]

  3. Susan Says:

    Did I drink tequila Saturday night? I think my reading comprehension must have taken a big dive, because I thought that the mojito was made with rum!? And I lived to tell about it. I hadn’t had tequila since the early years of the Carter Administration, Jen. It usually inspires more fear in me than a table full of potential psychos from the internet.
    Thanks for welcoming this very novice blogger into the group. I am sorry that I missed out on the blogspeak discussion, though, but not the mashed potato pizza!

  4. Dave2 Says:

    I actually LIKED the mashed potato pizza! :-)
    Thanks for a great time, and I look forward to seeing you in Portland next February!

  5. Kevin Says:

    Again I’ll get your back, Dave. That mashed potato pizza was damn good. I’d eat it again.

  6. jenny Says:

    Susan: Hate to break it to you, but yes, you were drinking tequila! A normal mojito has rum, but pretty much everything on the menu at Salud is their tequila-based adaptation. :)
    Dave: The taste was fine – very much like plain cheese pizza – it was just the texture that weirded me out a bit. Looking forward to Portland!
    Kevin: Looks like Piece has a new spokesperson!

  7. brandon Says:

    Wait a second. I thought Salud was OUR place. You made me feel…special. Just how many other bloggers have you been seei–?
    /looks over at blogroll
    oh, jenny

  8. Jessica Says:

    …and to think I thought I was special. Apparently, you’ll show anyone around Chicago who comes to town.
    Oh well, we’ll always have NY. Wait. There were other bloggers there, too. Sigh.

  9. Steve Says:

    A brilliant recap of a fun weekend, Jenny. As part of the Saturday night portion, I can confirm that this was a very amiable crowd. (Maybe fears that blogged post-mortems and potential photographic evidence hinting at bad behavior kept people in line.)
    Unfortunately, I can’t weigh in on what has now become the great mashed potato pizza debate. We were at the other end of the table where sensible things like basil were the featured toppings.
    Anyway, thanks for making us feel welcome even though we’re new to all this.
    (BTW, from the limited poking around I’ve done, you’ve got a very cool site. Maybe with a little more looking I’ll even bestow uber cool status.)

  10. amanda Says:

    cool photos…looks like fun!

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    I like your rosey apple cheeks in that photo.

  12. jenny Says:

    Brandon: But… you are special! You’re the only person I’ve taken there who had a splitting-possibly-an-aneurysm-type headache. And besides – I tattooed you in NYC. I didn’t do that to just anyone! Oh wait…. I AM A WHORE!!!
    Jessica: Ahh, but you are the only person I took on the nighttime tour of The Bean! And again, I’m a whore, apparently.
    Steve: Thanks – I had a blast! I just wish I had gotten the chance to chat more with you and Susan. Especially now that I know you had BASIL PIZZA!! Yum!
    Amanda: Thanks! It definitely was a good time – those blogger people are all right by me. :)
    Viv: Hee hee. It might have been tequila… :)

  13. egan Says:

    Are you already talking about Portland? Me and Tequila don’t get along. You can ask my wife heartner for more details if you must.

  14. steph Says:

    yea! fresh blog meat…
    and mashed potato pizza? ew.

  15. Mocha Says:

    After reading all the comments I can say I’m now hungry for basil-mashed potato pizza, both run and tequila mojitos, and a whore.
    Scratch that last one.
    Had a fabulous time with you, Jen. You brought me to tears via laughter several times. And you taught me to finish my sentences instead of leaving them in the air with, “Hey, did I…?”

  16. shari Says:

    But Jenny, you do that whore eyes thing all the time so I just naturally assumed… I mean… um, :::crickets::: So, how many people will you be with in Portland?

  17. Dustin Says:

    Mashed Potatoes on Pizza is an abomination to the pallet. I know it. You know it. Soon the world will know it.

  18. jenny Says:

    egan: Look, you and tequila don’t need to get along. I just need you to be civil to each other for the evening. Can you do that for me? For once?
    steph: I can’t get the image of blog meat on pizza out of my head now. Gak!
    Mocha: LOL! I was cracking up all weekend about the “Hey, did I…” thing. And I realized that it reminded me of that scene in Sixteen Candles where Anthony Michael Hall wakes up in the car w/ the prom queen, and says, “Uh, did we…?”
    Shari: Okay, this needs to be said because I can see I’ve upset a lot of people here: I plan on seeing a lot of people in Portland – maybe 30, maybe more. I assumed everyone understood that we weren’t exclusive. I see other bloggers – it’s who I am. You can’t pin me down. You’ll kill the best part of me.
    Dustin: Honestly, it wasn’t the taste – it were the texture that done me in.

  19. Schnozz Says:

    I am ASTONISHED by the coolness of the Bean. I saw it and was like “Must … go … touch … Bean.” Is that the purpose of it? Is it fitted with some sort of homing beacon?
    Cool Bean!

  20. Dustin Says:

    Don’t apologize for the pizza. I don’t care if it was the way the cheese looked at you. It’s wrong. It’s like the 17th commandment..”Thou shalt not put potatoes in mashed form onto thine pizza.”

  21. mike Says:

    re: “bloggers and non-bloggers”
    It occurred to me that “non-bloggers” are just people who don’t have to worry about what they’ll blog about for the first two months of blogging.
    Great pictures… makes me sad that I’ve been out of the blog loop for the last month!