Monday, October 20, 2008

Had a Wonderful Time; Wish You Could've Been There

Well, this past weekend was the Great Midwestern Blogger Gathering of 2008. Which is pretty grandiose-sounding, for 13 people getting together in a pub, and assorted other evening festivities. 2amsomewhere gave his account of the Saturday evening activities, so I'll try not to duplicate too much of what he said. For my part, the bottom line is, that Molly and I had a great time meeting and getting to know everybody, just a little bit.

Last week, 3M offered me tickets to the Michigan State-Ohio State football game (he has season tickets; must be nice); both teams were 6-1 heading into the game, and my Spartans were entertaining thoughts of possible bigger and better things than we've recently been accustomed to. But, I declined the tickets to be with my blog-friends. So, I hope you all feel very special. When I told FTN my dismay at having to forego the game, he consoled me by saying that, heck, they'd probably lose by four or five touchdowns. By the time we left our hotel room, they were already behind 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. So, I could relax and give the gathering my full attention. Still, I hold FTN personally responsible for the five-touchdowns-plus-a-field-goal drubbing that we eventually took. (*sigh*) (But seriously, that's a pretty impressive gift of prophecy, dude. . .)

I'll start by saying that it's going to be a little bit difficult, at least for the next little while, to stick to protocol, and remember to use people's blog-names, and not slip up and call FTN 'Engelbert', for example (because, well, 'Humperdinck' is just so, you know. . .) So, if I screw up, y'all can just sort of discreetly let me know via e-mail, and I'll go back in and add your cell-phone number. . .

The group, once we were finally all together, consisted of FTN and Autumn, RS and Therese, Taja and Brady, Drama, Fusion, Trueself, BJ, the aforementioned 2amsomewhere, Molly and me. I thought it was very brave of the non-blogging spouses to come along, since they've been talked about in what might be considered to be embarrassing detail, from time to time. I was pretty sure that anyone who'd ever been to my blog would be eager to meet Molly, just because, well, I try to put her in a positive light. Which is, honestly, pretty easy to do. But I've thought for a while that Autumn has to be the most misunderstood person in our corner of blog-space (not, to be clear, because of anything FTN has ever said, but extrapolations made by other folks from what he's said). And, I've got to say that I'm pretty sure now that I was right. I mean, heck, we even talked her into flashing her tattoo. . . Honestly, the two of them are a really sweet couple, and complement each other in some really good ways. Molly thanks you, by the way, FTN, for introducing her to Snakebites. Um, and I thank you, too, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).

We occupied our booth at the pub for close to five hours, having a relaxed good time, telling stories and joking with each other. Calls were placed to faDKoG and XH, and the phone passed around the table (and I apologize to both of you that I'm not quicker on my feet than to say anything wittier than, "Uh, hi; how are you?). Molly was eager to head to the 'gay-friendly sports bar' for some karaoke (and just the concept of 'gay-friendly sports-bar karaoke' has my head spinning just a little bit), but we wound up heading to a game/arcade/pool place that was a shorter walk away. I got to watch Therese and RS kill zombies, while Molly and Drama had a long conversation upstairs. We walked around Monument Circle, which was pretty cool (OurTown doesn't have anything nearly that cool), and then headed back to the hotel, where we gathered in FTN/Autumn's room for Guitar Hero and American Idol. I'm on the recovering end of a cold, so my 'Idol' rendition involved much more cracking of the voice than I'd have hoped (and trying to keep up with the streaming lyrics to 'Satisfaction' got a little challenging once or twice). (And, no Beatles in a 'karaoke' game? Are you serious?). And I'll say that, unless you like to be thoroughly humiliated, you do not want to play 'Guitar Hero' with Autumn. . .

We finally got to bed about 2AM (and I suppose that, technically, we were 'somewhere', but that's a different blog entirely), but Molly and I still woke up early enough for our Sunday Morning Tradition before Mass (she even packed her Silver Anniversary Outfit special for our trip, which added a nice celebratory touch to the festivities).

RS had done some research, and found a Tridentine Latin Mass not too far from our hotel, so we joined them there, which was a wonderfully rich experience.

The group gathered again at a nearby park on a beautiful Sunday morning, for some more relaxed conversations, played with Taja's puppy, and took pictures of each other, in various combinations and configurations. A few of us caught lunch together at the mall food court, and then we headed home. (Molly and I had a minor adventure on the drive home, which I might post about sometime in the future).

As I said, we really enjoyed the time. It was very cool to meet the people behind some of the blogs I read - to get a sense of faces, gestures, tones of voice, and all those things that we miss in a text-only environment. It was a pleasure to meet each and every one of the folks there, even the folks whose blogs I've not visited terribly often. And I appreciate the effort that everyone made to be there (especially RS/Therese and Fusion, whose travel involved airplanes).

Thanks to FTN for being The Organizer, putting the bug in everyone's ear, making the pub reservation, and even doing quite a bit of legwork on hotels, and such. And thanks to 2AM for being our tour guide for the weekend.

One more time, with feeling - we had a wonderful time with you all; it was a pleasure. . .


Add October 21 -

I'm the least bit curious - those of you who were there, what did you think of Molly? I know I put her on a pretty tall bloggity pedestal, but how did you think the reality compared with the picture I've painted?

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Get a Little Highbrow (With Help From My Friends)

This is probably as close as I’ll get in this blog to political commentary. . .


Choruses from ‘The Rock’, by T. S. Eliot


It is hard for those who have never known persecution,
And who have never known a Christian,
To believe these tales of Christian persecution.
It is hard for those who live near a Bank
To doubt the security of their money.
It is hard for those who live near a Police Station
To believe in the triumph of violence.
Do you think that the Faith has conquered the World
And that lions no longer need keepers?
Do you need to be told that whatever has been, can still be?
Do you need to be told that even such modest attainments
As you can boast in the way of polite society
Will hardly survive the Faith to which they owe their significance?
. . .
Why should men love the Church? Why should they love her laws?
She tells them of Life and Death, and of all that they would forget.
She is tender where they would be hard, and hard where they like to be soft.
She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts.
They constantly try to escape
From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.
But the man that is will shadow
The man that pretends to be. . .