The Bash Report
Honestly, I was disappointed with the turn-out. Not the quality, which was excellent, but the numbers. Only eight folks turned out. I do know that some had last-minute, unexpected things happen, c'est la vie. I was really looking forward to seeing some folks I'd met last time and meeting some of the "new" bloggers I've recently discovered. Ah well. Their loss.
The roll of honor: Rachel, Chris, Len, Peg, Eric, Alpha Patriot and Marc. Brock put in an appearance, though very brief.
First things first. Yes, Rachel really is that cute. She's prettier in person than her pictures suggest. Just like her blog voice, she's smart with wide-ranging interests and talkative (in the good way). OK.
By virtue of their jobs, Eric and Peg got the brunt of the conversational thrust, but both proved to be good sports about it. No trade secrets were spilled, drat it, but they talked about their industries candidly and knowledgeably. No dirt, though. Sigh....
Alpha Patriot was the other blogger I haven't yet met in real life. Sorry, but no real name for you! He was urbane and passionate and it turns out we both have walked similar life paths. Cool. He was another person whose real speaking style matches his blogging voice. It was a pleasure to finally meet him. Turns out it was his first time getting to talk with "media professionals," and he was amazed by the insider-ish view. I pestered him about posting to Memphis Redblogs and to posting on Memphis politics more (which he'd be great at), but his plate is pretty full. Ah well.
Len was a bit more quiet this time, and he tended to the conversation on the other side from me. I learned, as I feared, that he didn't get to see Sammy Sosa in Jackson. Chris was laid-back and watchful again, but the two of us got into an animated discussion about science fiction television where he proved himself admirably.
Eric was the knowledgeable computer professional, of course, and pleasant with a mild manner. I really need to sit down one-on-one with him to pick his brain. Peg, as I said, got pelted with questions and took the brunt of the friendly media criticism. I kinda felt bad for her not getting to talk other things, but she seemed quite happy and at home, so I never tried to intervene. I once described her as "delightful," and that still applies.
The evening ended around 10PM. Marc showed up just at the end, long enough to say hello and claim attendance. Things broke up pretty quickly this time, with only me, Chris and AP sitting around a while longer to talk politics and bitch about the liberal media. Haha.
Overall, a very relaxed and conversational evening. I had worried at the first one that we might not find enough common ground to talk, but now I see that's not going to be a problem. And again, the overall respect and civility shown was wonderful. Never once did things get tense or heated.
As for our hosts, The Blue Monkey...eh. They had lost (or never got, I'm not sure) the reservation. Though with the sparse attendance it didn't matter. Service was kinda haphazard and slow (though they were pretty busy), and my cheeseburger seemed to have been left sitting up just a bit too long. Plus, I didn't realise how busy and noisy they got. Tons of Memphis' young, successful and sociable were out -- the place was pretty noisy; add in the loud classic-rock soundtrack and I lost some of the conversation a few times. (Although that may just be me. I've noticed in the past year or so, now that I don't go out so much, just how unbelievably loud public places are these days. Lots of noise, lots of volume. No thank you.)
Next time, and yes there will absolutely be a next time, we'll have to find somewhere not so boisterous. Or maybe somewhere we can hijack a VIP room? Suggestions are welcomed. Target date: mid-August.
It's always a surprise and a joy to meet my fellow bloggers. They always prove to be decent, earnest, open, questioning people. And I find myself already looking forward to our next bash.
UPDATE: (10:45AM) Len has his thoughts up.