OK, work is done, pictures are processed, and dinner is eaten; now it’s time to tell the tale of Podcamp!
This wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if I didn’t get to go to Pittsburgh to attend. As I mentioned two posts ago, I opted to stay at a hotel downtown rather than stay with my relatives in the suburbs and have to drive back and forth, in an unfamiliar city, in the dark, drunk. I wanted to be within crawling distance, so the William Penn was just the ticket. (See picture in previous post.)
But before I could even get there, I realized it was a regional holiday. Apparently it was Mid-Atlantic Fuckstick Day, because every 10 miles or so, I’d come up on some fuckstick driving squarely beside the car he was allegedly trying to pass. Nothing like a nice moving roadblock when you got to be somewhere. And for some reason, the only term that kept coming to my head to describe these assholes was “fuckstick.” Go figure.
But I found my way to the Penn uneventfully and went directly to the parking garage. Screw your $27 a day valet parking. I got this.
Now since I was getting my room on points, I was expecting one of those little hole-in-the-wall rooms, with space for the bed, a desk, a TV and diddly-squat else. I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice long room that included a love seat and easy chair in addition to an enormous king-sized bed. This room would be acceptable, all right.
Only down side was the view, because there was none. My room was deep in one of the “creases” of the building (again, see picture in previous post) so all I could see was this:
I checked in around 4 and the Carpetbagger was picking me up for the meet and greet at 7, so I had time to kill. So instead of gazing out my window at the brick wall for the next 3 hours, I decided to take a walk arahnd dahntahn. (That’s Pixburgh dialect, for the uninitiated.) Like I mentioned before, for someone that’s visited Pittsburgh frequently throughout life, I’ve spent very little time actually in the city, with time on my hands and no where I had to be.
One of the things I just can’t get over is the decoration on the buildings in Pittsburgh. It’s like every other building has got some kind of ornate carving on the fringes.
I love the claustrophobia of the very tall buildings and very narrow streets.
Another thing I notice is that most of the streets have 2-way traffic. Most of downtown Baltimore is made up of 1-way streets, so it tends to make you a lazy pedestrian. You only have to look one way before jaywalking. In Pittsburgh, you have to keep your head on a swivel. I also noticed that very few people jaywalk. In Baltimore, the maxim of crossing with the light at the crosswalk is taken as a mere suggestion.
First, I found my way to Honus Wagner’s Sporting Goods. That place always has good Pittsburgh sports swag. I picked up a new Steelers hat and Penguins tee shirt. Then, wonder of wonders, I found a liquor store. Nothing like a little Crown Royal for the room, to provide a nightcap if needed. Whiskey in hand, I headed towards “The Castle.”
That’s what I call the PPG (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) building. It’s the one you notice immediately whenever you see the Pittsburgh skyline… the giant glass building that looks like a castle tower.
There’s actually a big plaza, surrounded by this tower and other smaller but similarly constructed buildings. The whole thing is really eye-popping.
It’s like you’re in the Wizard of Oz and the Emerald City has been redone in onyx.
The only thing missing would be the Oh-Wee-Oh Guards patrolling outside, probably wearing Steelers game jerseys. That’s another thing… all over town I saw people wearing game jerseys. This went for Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday afternoon… whatever. In Baltimore, I see maaaaybe a jersey or 2 every week or so, usually on game day. Those Pittsburghers are nothing if not devoted to their teams. It’s nice to know it’s not just my family that has that particular genetic variant.
Next, I made it over to Market Square to have a look around. The place is interesting, if not quite as photogenic as the PPG plaza. It’s still being worked on though… lots of sidewalks and storefronts being obscured, including that of Las Velas, the restaurant owned by PittGirl’s husband. Las Velas would be providing the food for the Podcamp Friday Night Meet-n-Greet.
Right. PittGirl, aka Ginny of That’s Church. My primary objective of the weekend was to finally meet Ginny. I still wasn’t sure what I would say to her, but I knew I didn’t want to be a sweaty mess, so I beat feet back to the Penn to shower off.
I was really impressed by the Penn’s dazzling lobby, but then realized that I wasn’t really going to be doing anything there but walking through it from time to time.
Promptly at 7:05, the Carpetbagger-mobile, containing both Mr. and Mrs. Carpetbagger, swung by to pick me up and take me to the party at Alphalab. They were out of stick-on name tags by the time we got there, so we had to improvise with notebook paper and clothespins.
Immediately I began doing the “Terminator Scan”, looking for Ginny.
I didn’t see her anywhere, so I went for the next best thing… The wine! Luckily for me, the wine was being tended to by 2 of the 3 illustrious bitches from Bitchburgh!
Hot Mama and Wormy guard the wine.
I have to say that I got very lucky in choosing company for the night. Both Mr. and Mrs. Carpetbagger were adept at starting conversations with complete strangers. Then once the ice was broken, I could kind of slide into the conversation with a minimum of awkwardness. They were the perfect wingmen. (Or wing-people… whatever.) If left to my own devices, I'd stand there quietly against the wall, like a geek at an 8th grade dance, waiting for someone to talk to me.
It seemed like every time I looked up, Mrs. Carpetbagger was surrounded by guys. The first time, it was comic book podcasters.
Later, it looked like it was a batch of young skateboarders, probably thinking that they were gonna get some Mrs. Robinson action. Or should I say “Stiffler’s Mother”?
Funny, I didn’t get any pictures of Mr. Carpetbagger. Who would, when you could shoot this instead?
Unless someone was pulling my leg, this dude was just there for the free food and drinks. Not that that’s a bad reason to be anywhere…
Later during the evening, I was approached by blogger, “Uncle Crappy”, who said he wanted to meet me. (ME?!?) He writes a blog by the same name, (which may be found on my blogroll), and we talked Ohio State football for a few minutes. Then later, he showed me a tweet from Red Pen Mama saying she was jealous that he got to meet me. (MEEE????!!?? WTF?) Obviously these bloggers don’t get out much. RPM was the person with whom I cooked up the idea for the Darwinfish Fry, but she was unable to make that date. I’m looking forward to meeting her as well.
I spotted Pittsburgh radio DJ Tall Cathy, whose session I planned to attend on Saturday. Hers was the only session I selected for the sole reason that she’s smokin’ hot. And tall. She was doing a session on Twitter, which I’m not on. But it looked like it would be a pleasant way to learn about it.
Ginny published this shot a while back, of her with Tall Cathy.
Tall Cathy was not hard to find. Ginny, on the other hand, was still nowhere to be seen, no matter how many times I did the Terminator Scan. Now the night was drawing to a close and I was no closer to meeting my blogging inspiration than I was when I was in Baltimore. Earlier in the evening, we met a real estate agent named Kathryn, who didn’t have a blog but intended to start one, so she was attending Podcamp. When the Meet-n-Greet drew to a close, The Baggers, Kathryn and I went next door to the Double-wide Bar where the After-Party was taking place. I had a couple more beers there and a plate of fries.
It was kind of an indoor/outdoor place with a big patio. Outside, I met up with Wormy and Hot Mama. In what would become a theme of my weekend, Wormy began working on me to join The Twitter. The rest of the night flew by in a torrent of yakking and lots of laughs. I met a lot of people whose names start with “@”, like @yay_toast. It’s weird enough meeting and referring to people by their “blog names”, even after you know their real names. The Twitter names are a whole different ballgame.
Round about midnight, we got out of dodge and the Baggers deposited me back at my hotel. I didn’t even bring up the Crown… we all needed to get some shut-eye. We had a big weekend ahead of us, after all.
Next up: My Podcamp Pittsburgh Experience, aka: Stalking Ginny.
Unrelated Note: You can find an encore performance of my Firehouse Belle (Ex gets stuck upside down behind the dryer) post from last month on the humor site, Laugh Out Loud. Please check it out, if you haven’t seen it here already. It’s a hoot. (And if you have, maybe you could click on over anyway, so it looks like more people like my stuff and she runs another one of my posts in the future.)