Greetings from San Diego, site of this year’s JournalCon. Beth is here with me and we’re staying at the “fabulous” Westin Horton Plaza with a “fabulous” view of the Morgan Stanley office across the street at 1st and E Streets. Stand by tomorrow for a “View From Here” picture when there’s enough daylight for a decent shot.
So, yeah. JournalCon. First the snark, then the nice, shall we?
Organizationally, this thing is some kind of fucked up. Being handed my registration packet when I arrived gave me my first opportunity to learn what panels are being offered. They’ve had a website up for months teasing what the panels might be, but never actually got around to telling us. We participants are learning by reading the program, which surely must have been printed far enough in advance to have allowed posting the information contained therein to the web. But it’s a small quibble. But not so small that I don’t mention it, apparently.
And the opening night festivities… There was a JournalCon dinner at 6:00 p.m. that we missed because we didn’t get in until 7:00. But that’s on us, so it’s cool. But then the gang decided to adjourn to a nearby bar for drinks and merriment. That’s cool too. But there’s a perfectly good sports bar adjoining the hotel that we all passed on our way out to walk three or four blocks into the heart of the gaslight district to a bar that charged a $5 cover and was so fucking loud that I challenge anyone to have any kind of meaningful conversation inside without resorting to sign language. But again: a quibble. Just because I’m a lazy, half-deaf, cheap-ass bastard doesn’t mean everyone else has to be.
And then there’s this internet connection here in the room that is Pissing. Me. Off. First, it’s trying to charge me for another connection when I’m logging on with my laptop after Beth signed up for it on hers. Then the friggin’ ethernet cord wants to drop my connection unless I manipulate my laptop in such a way that it’s perched on the edge of the desk and I’m doing a naked handstand with Beth’s panties on my head and holding the cord straight with my toes. And finally, every freakin’ site on the mother-freakin’ internet comes smoking down the pipe here like greased lightning except my site, which crawls like Michael Jackson’s new boyfriend. Fuckingpieceofshit.
But let’s focus on the positive, shall we? We’re having fun. Against our natures, even. We both came here suffused with ennui about the whole thing, very neutral about coming and in fact leaning toward staying home. We were going to hate everyone and be bored and it was going to suck and etc. Instead, we’re liking everyone and having fun and having a good time and etc. Go figure.
But my biggest annoyance of the night has been Beth. No, not my Beth, another one, Xeney Beth. Way back when in the dawn of time, when dinosaurs walked the earth and we old-timers did a thing we called “journaling” — which was where we wrote personal-type essays longer than 26 words like the kids do today and call it “blogging” — there were two journals that caught my eye and attention and got me hooked and started me down the road to what you’re reading today. One was a journal whose title claimed that there is no one who has any knowledge on any subject (and how’s that for coy?), written by a woman who turned out to be a dilettante of epic proportions and a snooty bitch to boot, and the other was “Dear Jackie Robinson,” written by this other Beth.
Well. Dear Jackie Robinson totally sucked me in and was one of the best, most personal things I had ever read on the web — and remains so today. And the Beth behind it became very popular in the journaling world, and rightly so. But she wore her heart on her online sleeve and so attracted a lot of nut jobs and flack from said nut jobs and reacted by taking her site on and offline with an almost yo-yo-like frequency and getting into online fights with them. And I eventally stopped reading her because of the drama and the perceived mood swings and I started thinking of her as a Drama Queen and started to kind of not like her. Because I’m open-minded like that.
But I met Beth in person tonight. And, damn it, I really like her. I mean, like, viscerally like her. A lot. That personality that sucked me in with Dear Jackie Robinson was right there in person and it sucked me right back in again. I didn’t get to talk to her for very long, but the few minutes we did talk erased all the conclusions I had drawn and impressions I had formed and made her and all her perceived foibles real as a person to me. And I just really like her as a person. And that annoys me, because I don’t like to be wrong. And I’m admitting it here and making such a thing about it because I kind of feel like I owe her this honesty.
So Beth, if you’re reading this, you’re okay in my book. And I hope I’m okay in yours.