Well, here I am, back in Cumberland, or Podunk (maybe the people of Podunk would protest that comparison). Since I had not posted anything on the weekend's festivities, I figured now was a good time. Mainly because it is very hot outside, so I come in to do other things when it is hot. Otherwise, I am in the garden or the yard most of the time. (Actually, I am finishing this up at 11+ PM)
First of all, I want to thank the Sorensen folks and Waldo for a great time. They held an event that was not too rushed, varied enough that everyone could get a little of what they came for. There was an easiness to the flow of the workshops and the meals, unlike some other events like this I have been to.
A word about my pictures: they are disappointing to me. The available light photos are hard to get due to slow shutter speeds. I apologize, and I might buy a new camera. I was discussing the Nikon D-50 with Waldo.
One of the many workshops
The obvious lack of familiarity with the blogosphere was almost painful at times during Attorney General McDonnell's speech to open the 'blummit' (props to Josh C.). As someone has already commented, his mispronunciation of basic terms about blogging were hard to listen to. I talked with a few other people that noticed that the blogger crowd, no matter what flavor you like best, were a tough crowd. There was more than one time during the blummit that the response was tepid at best.
Dr. Robert Holsworth got a great reception, I thought, mostly due to his tendency to stay in the world of actuality as it concerns political races in Virginia. His obvious knowledge of both today and yesterday's politics in Virginia gives him a unique viewpoint and he gave us a great trip through the reality-based community.
Dr. Robert Holsworth
Friday night, the dinner was superb, and I got to hear a great man speak. Jerome Armstrong is a leading architect of what has become the netroots. Markos Moulitsas was a contributor to Jerome's blog, MyDD, long before his own site was born. Jerome was kind enough to autograph the book he and Markos co-wrote, Crashing The Gate when he first came into the room to have dinner with us.
Al Weed sponsored a get-together at the Biltmore on the Corner. It was a lot of fun, and quite a few people showed up, including Senator Creigh Deeds. There were some lively and somewhat serious discussions at times out on the deck. Al had his staff there, and even the under-age crowd showed up in numbers.
The pace on Saturday was definitely more relaxed yet. People generally dressed down somewhat, and there was a great meet-up at Bodo's Bagels first thing in the morning in the same neighborhood as the Biltmore. As someone pointed out, it was a great mix of like-minded people in the sense that we are all bloggers. There was a great mix of people sitting at every table.
The workshops were great on Saturday as well. I was really jazzed to meet David Waldmon, previously only known to me as 'KagroX' on Dailykos. We had talked many times over the blogs, but meeting someone who you have talked with for a while is like two friends meeting. The same goes for Josh Chernilia, who I didn't see on the second day. I met Shaun Kenney, and his wife and children had lunch with us on Saturday.
Saturday's Lunch At Darden
I was impressed with Lt. Governor Bolling, who went around the room after his speech and introduced himself personally to everyone in the rooom. His speech was good, much better than the Attorney General. He admitted his newcomer status to blogging and blogs, and rightfully acknowledged their place in the modern political process.
As I look back on the 24 hours or so of the blummit, my best memories are of two people: Vivian J. Paige and Josh Chernilia of Raising Kaine.
Vivian J. Paige and Josh Chernilia
Both of these people I had read at a distance, and both proved to be energetic, insightful people that do the blog thing and the action that goes with it. Vivian is a joy to have a conversation with; she is animated, smart and a great listener. I hope to continue a particular discussion we had at the Biltmore on Friday night. Josh is also smart, energized and committed. He has participated first hand in some of the biggest changes in the Democratic Party's increasing dominance in Virginia. I hope also to continue the discussion I am having with him on the blogs, and in email.
All in all, a fantastic 24 hours or so.