Wednesday, I arrived at the Hilton NYC and went to the bar in the lobby. I ordered a double Red Bull and vodka and put a $20 on the bar. The bartender brought me my drink, stared at me, left my money on the counter, and returned with a bill for $27. I looked for the Candid Camera crew, but they weren’t anywhere to be seen, so I paid the bill (eating about half of that day’s budget) and decided that I was instantly cured of any need to buy very many drinks that weekend.
I spent most of the evening in that bar, visiting with too many friends to list, dodging broken glasses thanks to Lotus and Dawn, and watching the bloggers start to drift in while secretly tweeting from Lotus’s phone.
This is definitely Lotus tweeting. This is not @avitable tweeting on her phone while she left the table. And I, Lotus, just pooped my pants.
— Lotus Carroll (@LotusCarroll) August 1, 2012
I talked with Amy and her husband (who doesn’t count) about how we could make the racist Sparklecorn cake more racist (I believe Martin Luther King was mentioned).
— Adam Heath Avitable (@avitable) August 1, 2012
— aaronvest (@aaronvest) August 1, 2012
Thursday, I attended a demonstration of a complete home automation system put on by Savant and CyberSound. There’s nothing like seeing a completely automated living room that you can control remotely or at home with an iPad, from the AC to blinds to security cameras to energy usage, not to mention sound and TV and everything else, to make you feel inadequate in your own home – I can’t even get my remote to work right. I almost hid in the bathroom after the demonstration just so I could live there instead.
Heading back from the demonstration, I rode the NYC subway for the first time ever, something that I would never have done if I wasn’t accompanied by Jessi, Megan, and Briya. I learned that Jessi is always right, Megan doesn’t want to be the leader but leads anyway, Briya’s philosophies on life are admirable, and it was way too fucking hot to walk as far as we did after getting off on the wrong stop.
That evening, I went to a party for Gretchen Rubin‘s new book, put on by Maggie Mason‘s Mighty Media, where I chatted with women who were dressed much better than I was, but at least I was still dressed better than this party-crasher in his boxers:
It was nice to get the chance to catch up with Liz, Georgia, Isabel, Heather, Jessica, and others in a quieter, more relaxed environment. Plus, there were unlimited mimosas, which seemed to make everyone mighty happy:
Thursday night, Amy defied the laws of physics in the lobby bar by managing to knock an entire drink on my head, soaking me from head to toe, with one twist of her hip. If it wasn’t for the fact that I brought 14 outfits for 6 days just in case that were to happen, I may have cried and gone to my room for the night. Luckily, I’m more prepared than a Boy Scout crossed with MacGuyver and it didn’t take long before I was ready for the fantastic People’s Party, followed by the wonderfully relaxing Queerosphere party.
On Friday, I walked into lunch with low expectations. Martha Stewart was going to be speaking while we ate, and I didn’t have any real desire to pay attention, though I had a minor desire to garner attention. Okay, major.
Tempted to streak the stage while Martha Stewart is speaking. But she would probably just bedazzle me. #blogher12
— Adam Heath Avitable (@avitable) August 3, 2012
To my surprise, Martha Stewart was fantastic. She is a strong, motivated, innovative person who seems to have a high regard for the blogging community, and I was fascinated and intrigued by everything she had to say. It was a pleasant surprise, even if I didn’t get to streak.
The day continued with strong speakers at the Voices of the Year Community Keynote, where I got to hear powerful and funny posts read by bloggers and friends such as Neil, Issa, and Dresden. I’m hoping to get up there someday – once again, by means other than streaking. From there, after going through the expo hall with Robin and Una, I headed to the bar to meet up with B.E. Earl and Poppy.
Friday night started off with dinner with Ree, which has become a fun tradition for a small group of us. I had a great time eating and drinking with Cecily, Faiqa, Anissa, Dresden, Katherine, Diane, and Robin, who really loves meat.
We made it to the Sparklecorn party as it was in full swing, and everybody seemed to have a great time, even Ali, though she may not look like it:
The Canadians were out in full force, as I got charged by Loukia coming up the escalator.
Before leaving the party, I took my requisite sweaty party picture with Alli, which has accidentally become a tradition over the last few years, and then a group of us headed out . . . to karaoke.
Karaoke (go here for videos that thankfully don’t involve me singing “Creep” by Radiohead and then bringing down the room by singing “Nothing Compares 2 U”) would have been a complete clusterfuck if Michael hadn’t found the same place we went to two years ago and if Faiqa hadn’t taken control of the night and organized it so everyone would get to sing. I was there with Megan, Karen, Sam, Georgia, Amy, Caitlin, Michael, Deb, Andy, Andy, Kristen, a few bloggers I didn’t recognize, and Roo, who didn’t know any songs made before 1990.
Saturday morning I was surprised in my room by Beth. She was one of my very first readers when I started officially blogging (as opposed to just making a website that I updated regularly), and I’ve read her blog and talked to her and we’ve become close friends over the last 8-9 years, but we had never been able to meet until then! She lives in Baltimore and decided to drive up to attend the conference on Saturday, though I’d like to think that she only drove up to meet me. And The Lorax.
Saturday’s lunch was another pleasant surprise, as Katie Couric was just as interesting and reasoned and fascinating to listen to as Martha Stewart. She talked about her new show and how she plans on involving the blogging community in big ways, and it’s great to see how blogging can be a respected medium if used in the right way (aka, not posting pictures of your testicles dressed up for the holidays).
The Come As You Are Party on Saturday night, put on by Aiming Low and The Mouthy Housewives, was fun, even though I had run out of drink tickets.
Who wants to share their drink tickets? #blogher12
— Adam Heath Avitable (@avitable) August 4, 2012
One tweet later, though, and bloggers came from out of the woodwork to share their tickets. Thanks to Kat, Mary, and Frelle, among others. By the end of the night, I had more tickets than I needed and was able to pay it forward to other thirsty bloggers.
Kristine asked me to test out the photo booth, so I did. Unfortunately, it worked fine.
That didn’t stop me from going back into the photo booth at the CheeseburgHer party, either, unfortunately:
Before CheeseburgHer, though, I watched Erin walk down the runway at the first annual BlogHer fashion show, and it was so heartwarming and inspiring to see her walk and be so happy after she’s been publicly dealing with lupus for so long that I may have gotten a little teary.
— Adam Heath Avitable (@avitable) August 5, 2012
The CheeseburgHer Party was a great affair as it always is, and I love Lindsay, Yvonne, Lena, and Isabel dearly. I have declared myself the unofficial fifth CheeseburgHer member and shall continue to do so until they send me a C&D.
I ended my night earlier than I should have, and missed out on a second epic evening of karaoke that lasted until 5 AM, but the conference ended on a high note, as always, and Sunday, as expected, was a low-key day where I got to visit with Poppy, Dave, and see Faiqa before she left for her new home in Memphis because she moved away from Orlando last year BECAUSE SHE HATES ME.
Sunday night I headed out for dinner with Deb and Michael and met Amy, whose flight was unfortunately (fortunately?) canceled, at this amazing restaurant inside the Nomad Hotel. It was a night of great conversation, amazing food and drink, and I know that I’ll be back to that restaurant the next time I’m visiting New York, which can’t come soon enough.
After a long day of traveling on Monday, I finally managed to make it to home sweet home, where I had laundry to do, work to do, calls to make, and the rat race started all over again.
P.S. This year, I almost wasn’t able to attend BlogHer. A series of unfortunate incidents has resulted in my finances being tighter than they ever have been, and for the first time in a long time, I had to budget and be frugal while also trying to have fun. After weighing the cost of changing or canceling my plane ticket and the lost cost of the conference pass, along with my recently depressed mental state, I knew that I had to make this trip. Things are still tight here at home, and creditors and friends have been patient, waiting for me to repay their kindness and financial assistance (creditors less patient than friends), but I don’t regret going in the slightest. I feel renewed, relaxed, and ready to tackle all of the issues that threatened to drown me only a week earlier. It all seems conquerable now, and I’m optimistic that I’ll be back to where I was in no time. I don’t want to say that it’s all thanks to BlogHer, but if it wasn’t for this community of people and friends, I’m not sure I’d be around right now, so thank you to those who have been there for me.
P.P.S. I know I left out a lot of people in this post, but that’s because of me, not you – don’t hesitate to chime in in the comments and give me hell for forgetting you!
P.P.P.S. Like Casey and Emily and Shireen (you look amazing!) and Danielle and Megan and Jessica and Deb and Maria and Karen and Ali and Kim and Robin and Jim and Tanis and Ben and Aidan and Kate and Jon and Elan and Karen and Marinka and Allison and Kelly!
P.P.P.P.S. Hi, Bon. Nice to meet you.