Of course we had it tough....
I had to get up two hours before I went
to bed, drove for three and a half
weeks each way without stopping to use a restroom even once, ate a
handful of cold gravel and gummy bears on the way, only managed to say,
"Please put your name and phone number on the top of the ticket and keep
the other half" to most of my fellow BCers....
But seriously --- WOW --- What an awesome
experience. In no special
order, since I am still somewhat sleep deprived, here are some quick
impressions of Julie Fest:
* We were, as a group, a wonderfully average
(but not mediocre) collection
of normal humans. The demographics of those present should be a point of
worry for GOP pollsters. I heard time and time again how people had been
suddenly shocked into political awareness by the brazen and shameless
actions of the far right.
* Noted with pleasure the presence and support
of staff from Buzzflash, Ampol,
Allhatnocattle, DU, MWO, Bartcop E! and Bartcook! (and those were just the ones I met)
* David Brock, who made a career of bashing our
'side' until his recent book,
was greeted warmly and respected for his honest and very public
revelations about his past. I suspect that Freepers bear a grudge far longer
and more deeply. He was apparently worried about coming to the event
because of how he might be treated. I won't bring up old misdeeds - go and
read his book, "Blinded by the Right" for details.
* The number of lurkers. No offence meant but
I was intrigued by the proportion
of folk who attended but are 'read only' forum members. Go on, say what you're
thinking - you are amongst friends and it will make you feel better.
* The extraordinary efforts and sacrifices made
by some who were there -
driving or flying huge distances or using savings that had been earmarked
for home renovations and so on. The daunting travel arrangements award
must go to Chines - more hours spent travelling than spent in DC, no sleep,
had to rent a car and drive back and forth to Baltimore's airport, living on
adrenaline and snack food until she finally found an eatery that was open
some while after midnight. If you see her in chat, give her some encouragement
in her bid to stop smoking - very sensibly set to start Thursday since everything else
seems to start on Mondays..... or did I misunderstand that!
* Putting faces with handles. I won't name names
but some of you look like one might
expect from your writing style and handle, others - hah!, you had me fooled.
* Instant conversation. This was the easiest mingling
I have ever managed
at a public function. I'm not a shrinking violet in social settings but this was
so easy - just start talking and it was an instant bond of common interests.
* How fast time passes when you are having
fun. I was mixing chat with
T-shirt/raffle ticket selling and only got the briefest of time with some
people with whom I have had long and interesting web exchanges. It will be
a few days before people manage to regroup after this effort but those who
were not there, keep your eyes open for a sale of the very limited number
of T-shirts that were left over.
* The number of volunteers. You have read
the names of the main figures
and I applaud them for all they did but want to also thank the others who
stepped up to the plate to make this happen. From web stuff to tickets,
from photos to videos, from chocolates to hand drawn signage, Crossfire
planning to arranging lunch; the list is long and I throw out my gratitude to
everyone for adding so much to the experience. (Step up to the plate,
throw out my gratitude - see? It's not a mixed metaphor, as if anyone cared)
* Special personal thanks to Slipz, J-P
and A. Onehandle for their help on car pooling
from Jawja. Steve - Thanks for splitting a room, hope your trip on to NY was a success.
Faun (JF #188)