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)


My life-energy has been sapped by long walks in the city, great art, and afternoon beers in the sun, so my full recap will have to wait a day.
However, let me just mention that I spent the weekend with another amazing group of bloggers, and finally, finally, we were able to put aside the petty differences that have divided bloggers for centuries. And this enlightenment was perfectly illustrated by a curious little primate who touched our lives, if ever so briefly. I mean, if the monkeys and rats can learn to love one another, can’t we all?
Can’t we all?
Oh, since I’m all about sharing my addictions (and to distract you from the utter lack of content in this entry), allow me to pass along another recent colossal time-waster: make your own Jackson Pollock paintings. (via boingboing)

Hypothetically Speaking

Hey –
Did you ever have a really great idea to go home and write a play where all the dialogue and characters were based on spam emails you’ve received, but then your friends called to invite you out to dinner at your favorite restaurant so you met up with them and drank wine and ate cheese?
And let’s say that one of the reasons this is your favorite restaurant is because they make the most unbelievably divine pasta Bolognese, but when you got to the restaurant you saw that pasta Bolognese was no longer featured on the specials board and you would cry the tears of a thousand sailors. I’m sure that the waiter would recommend some other amazing dishes like the soft shell crab special and chicken thigh stuffed with couscous and three different desserts, and you would eat them all because they were quite delicious, but still, you would lament the fact that they were not pasta Bolognese.
Maybe you would come home with every intention of writing that play, but still suffering from the disappointment of no Bolognese, and fatigued by the bottle of Spanish red you drank at your favorite restaurant and the glass of scotch you sipped while defragging your hard drive, you would find yourself distracted and unfocused. After a few failed attempts at writing something clever and interesting, maybe you would play Bejeweled for a while, eat the remaining three Oreos sitting on your kitchen counter in a plastic baggie to protect them from humidity, and then ultimately sell out by digging through your photo archives and posting a picture of your nephew holding a tiny snake.
Nah, I’m sure you would never do that.