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JournalCon DC – Part 2

August 27, 2004

Okay, so where was I? At the Hotel Helix late Friday afternoon just after checking in with this year’s JournalCon powers that be, that’s where. Why has it taken me so long to get from there to here, typing up the story of the rest of my weekend? Partly it’s just life–a boss who thinks I should work during the day, Olympics which demand to be watched (they do!), tasks that piled up while I was away–but partly it’s performance anxiety. I know this entry will get a more readers than usual and that’s freaking me out just a little bit. But am I going to let that feeling keep me from writing now? No, I am not. I am going to forge ahead, knowing that I will no doubt fail to mention some of the people who I enjoyed talking to and will probably link to a few who will look at their referrer logs and say “huh? I talked to her? I don’t think so; she must be a crazy person”.

Anyway, back to the Helix. The few hours after Con check-in were a swirl of feeling happy to see people I already knew and embarrassed for not remembering some people I’d met last year and nervous about approaching strangers, even ones I knew a little bit about from having peeked at their journals ahead of time. I was anxious, but it all worked out okay. Or at least no one rolled their eyes at my social ineptitude while I was looking, anyway.

I think the first conversation I barged into with all the grace of um, something clumsy, was Monty’s, since I recognized him from Austin. He and Sassy and sock-girlie (who has real name, but I can’t remember if she uses it online or not) were nice enough to listen while I got through my initial burst of “oh my god it’s JournalCon” nerves. I ran into Pratt more than once; he gets my vote for JournalCon newbie extraordinarie.

Chickie and E. have the cutest baby ever, and I’m not just saying that because Chicklet smiled at me with her five teeth and didn’t scream when I picked her up off the floor as she was crawling determinedly in the direction of the cash bar in the room where the live performance was held. I’d have liked Chickie and E. even if they didn’t have such an engaging offspring, though–among other things, she was nice enough to offer to let me crash the 3WA gathering and he put up with my mangled Japanese (all three words of it).

I was glad to finally meet Shmuel, especially since I’d never managed to all the time he lived just down the road in Ann Arbor (next time someone comes to grad school here I am so telling my shyness to take a break). He ended up joining up with the small dinner group that I thought was going to eat Thai around the corner and but turned out to feature a circuitous walk to a Japanese/Asian diner over by Dupont Circle. It was rather hot and muggy, but at least the walk gave me more time to spend with Shmuel, Amanda and her husband who I will call Jasper, Lisa, Frank, and Miriam, who cheerfully endured my whining even though she was very jet lagged.

Saturday started with an ice breaker panel which was all entertaining and fun until my number got called, at which point I walked up to the front (side? middle? center? the meeting rooms were oddly configured so it’s hard to say) and rambled and babbled and stammered and blushed my way through an introduction, the oddest part of which was the channeling Amanda moment when I used the term “faffing on”, which I don’t think I’ve ever said out loud before in my life.

The one thing I’d made definite plans for before I left for JournalCon was Saturday lunch. I’d wanted to meet Suzy for a long time and knew a lot of other people did, too, so I had to make sure I got on her calendar. Because it’s nice to share, Suzy and her husband Tony and I were joined at an Ethiopian restaurant by more Suspects and spouses: Amanda and Jasper, Lisa and Frank, Columbine and Debby, Stef, Juliekins, and kismet, with a special guest appearance by MichaelH. I’d picked the restaurant mostly by location and opening time rather than restaurant reviewer recommendation, so I was relieved when the food was actually pretty tasty.

I picked which panels to go to in the afternoon based on which panelists I knew the best, which meant I ended up in the weight loss one in late afternoon. Good thing, too, since if I had skipped it, I would not have gotten the best freebie in the history of freebies–a flying disc that changes from white to purple in the sun. When I picked it up, I only hoped it would be sun sensitive like the one that Mr. Karen’s sister brought to the family reunion last month and which I coveted hard, but it was the right color in the artificial light of the conference room and had a big sun design on the top. I did quite the happy dance when I got it next to window and saw the purple hue appear. Score!

Saturday night’s big event was supposed to be karaoke plus trivia, but after a while it became clear that the bar was not on board with that plan, so the team I was on (the Tim Tams, and we so would have won no matter what the Lushes tell you because we had Miriam and she’s been on Jeopardy) decided to go for ice cream instead. Maybe next year I need to plan OldandCrankyCon where we’ll only go to quiet places. Of course, then we probably wouldn’t see things like two guys in silk bathrobes walking down the street like we did this year, so I might have to think that plan through a little more.

Sunday felt very rushed and hectic, at least until lunchtime when there was nothing more to do but eat and leave. I had to say good bye to people I hadn’t had a chance to spend hardly any time with at all, like Weetabix, who went out of her way to make me a disc so I’d have a complete set of her Austin swag, and Coleen and Minarae and Petrouchka. Then it was time to go to the airport, but I covered that bit last time.

So now I’m home and JournalCon is over for another year and we just have to wait and see who bids for next time. At one point I had a grand vision of rallying the Detroit area journalers to see if I could generate enough interest to have it here, but right at the moment I think that vision is best left unrealized.

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