I have returned from spending a weekend in Tennessee with a bunch of truly amazing bloggers and great friends of bloggers. If solitude and silence is your thing, a blogmeet is not for you. Get a bunch of half-assed writers in one place and the alcohol-fueled bullshit never stops flying. In addition, if such events were ever filmed (perish the thought!), a laugh track would not be necessary, because someone always seems to be laughing at any given time.
In addition to shit shooting, there was pool shooting (John Cox, artist extraordinaire, and Ken, my bodyguard pretty much ruled the roost at the table), pistol shooting, rifle shooting and shotgun shooting. Oddy, Erica and Elisson (Erica and Elisson being firearms virgins) dazzled the crowd with some kickass shooting.
John Cox, with the help of Johnny O, made a great fire, which provided a primo place to shoot the breeze and check out the stars. The fire also served to keep Dax warm at night, Dax being the only outdoor sleeper among us.
Zonker, probably the best known former blogger ever, gifted Ken and me with some Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. I had read about the stuff at Joanâ€™s place [fixed the incorrect link] and immediately looked on the web to see if it was for sale in Jersey. No! By a strange coincidence, Usual Suspect and fellow vodka hunter, Captain Art, called me while Ken and I were driving to Tennessee to tell us about the outrageous vodka he discovered while golfing in Myrtle Beach. Yep, it was Firefly. I told him that we would not be able to buy it in Jersey, so imagine my delight when Zonker handed me the gifties. Quite a guy, Zonker (and we share a birthday, so if figures he would be a cool guy).
Speaking of gifties, Recondo 32 and his wife, The Amazing Georgia, both longtime friends of bloggers and lifetime friend of the Late, Great Rob Smith, presented Zonker, Denny and me (all birthday boys) with gifts that â€¦ well â€¦ hmmmmm â€¦ some of what happens at a blogmeet stays at a blogmeet. Thanks youse guys for the gift. It was quite an eye opener.
Of course, Denny (the younger half of the Elderly Brothers) and I did our thing (John Cox handled the percussion, while Dax played guitar in the background, providing some class to the act), and on the second night we cleared the room faster than a beer fart. I think my singing a Bobby Vinton song in Polish did it. It was either that or when I swung into an Ink Spots number Mayyyyyyyybeeeee, yooooâ€™llllll think of meeeeeeâ€; Iâ€™m not sure. I guess we played before people were completely oiled.
Other great bloggers were in attendance:
Bou, was there with sister, Morrigan and Sissy (who hasnâ€™t blogged in a while). They arrived like the Marine Corps on Friday and whipped up a gorilla stompinâ€™ batch of Eye-talian food for Friday night (speaking of food, Oddy brought homemade pies to die for). Bou, who could pass for a twenty-something and who is deadly funny and scary smart, is always a treat to be with. Morrigan, who may be the most radiant pregnant person I have ever seen, is as funny as Bou, and together they are simply deadly (I love how the exchange *blinks* upon hearing some goofy shit). Sissy is more reserved, but is as about as nice as they come.
Redneck (they tell me his site has caught a virus, so no link) was on the case, decked out in his Ohio State regalia and keeping the night shift at the Budweiser Brewery working. On the way home from Tennessee, Ken and I stopped at a Fireworks Superstore to marvel at all the explosives for sale (theyâ€™re contraband in New Jersey, you see), and who the hell was in the store buying stuff to blow up, but Redneck! Great minds.
I was very happy to see Jerry, because it gave me a chance to model the wonderful farmer duds he gifted me with last year. Even with the overalls, the Farmer Boy shirt and Indy Tractor hat, I just donâ€™t think I could â€œpassâ€ at the local feed store. â€Yo, how youse guys doinâ€™? Yo, whadooo I feed dose bigass things out there? All dey eat is frigginâ€™ grass. Dat canâ€™t be good.â€
Big Stupid Tommy took some time off work to hang with us. Heâ€™s big, but his very short on stupid and long on deadpan wit. Very good peeps.
Elisson and SWMBO were there, and they always light the place up. I believe I could shoot the shit with Elisson, who can whip out some doggerel at the drop of a colander, and who seems to actually know a lot about everything, and I say that in a good way. Hell, he may even know more stuff than I do, which pisses me off. Elisson was in charge of the Sunday eggs, while SWMBO made a Kugel that was so good I believe that several people were considering conversion.
Teresa arrived with her traveling companion, the Wiseass Jooette. Never was there a more unlikely pair of traveling buddies. Teresa executes her traveling arrangements with the precision of a drill sergeant, while Erica is about as together as a soup sandwich when it comes to travelling and keeping all her shit in one sock.
Teresa: I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s keeping her. I texted her 8 minutes and 47 seconds ago, and she said she would be here in five minutes!
Itâ€™s a thing of beauty, I tell ya.
One of the great treats of attending a blogmeet is meeting new peeps. This year, I got to meet Richmond, who drove in from Wisfarookinâ€™consin. She had me in stitches out by the fire doing her Fargo-Sarah Palin accent shtick. I also learned something about her that truly amazed me. She said in the course of a conversation where it really fit â€“ no really, â€œI can whistle really loud.â€ So, naturally, a couple of us by the fire said, â€œWell, let one rip. We wanna hear.â€
With that, she put two fingers in her mouth and whistled so loud my ear drums rattled. Caused the dogs within a quarter-mile radius to start barking, it did. Amazing, that. She ought to enter a damned whistling contest. I look forward to seeing her again.
Ericâ€™s pals from the area, Gary and his wife Connie stopped by. Gary, originally from New Jersey, now sounds more southern than Eric. Wassup wit dat? Speaking of accents, Garyâ€™s wife Connie is from Switzerland, and she has spent years speaking English in the South. You wanna hear a great accent!
Finally, a word about Eric, our host, and Mrs. SWG, our hostess. It is impossible to imagine anyone being able to make a gang of reprobates feel completely at home for an entire weekend, but they pulled it off with grace. When Eric wasnâ€™t giving tours showing all the neat stuff he has assembled (while sporting his new pith helmet, which led to lots of â€œpithâ€ jokes â€“ â€œOooh I have to pith!â€ he was serving as the firearms/safety instructor. When he wasnâ€™t doing that, he was grilling up ten pounds of his special country-cut, boneless pork REE-yubs covered with his signature sauce. I thank them both for a great weekend.
The worst thing about blogmeets is how much it sucks when they are over.
Note: If I have forgotten anyone, I shall blame it on the fatigue and the refreshments. Drop me a note and I will correct the omission.