I’ve had to decline a heartbreaking number of invitations to come to conventions and/or conferences this year. In several cases, I was invited to speak or lead sessions and I just couldn’t do it. Being in a job situation without vacation contributed a lot, where I would have to not only pay my way plus lose several days pay. Being exhausted for a big chunk of the early part of the year also didn’t help, which led to me skipping some things that I could have driven to. Here’s a tally of things I have said no to, every one of which I wanted to attend:
That’s the downside. Here’s the upside: in the latter half of the year with a new lease on life, a new work situation, vacation days and a little more breathing room I’ll be attending more events.
Podcast Expo y’all know about. Converge South was a big blast last time. It’s where I met Amanda Congdon and Mario Librandi, first met Dan Conover and Janet Edens in person, got to hang with Ed Cone and buy Dave Winer breakfast right after he sold Weblogs.com. My video of the event is still out there. I expect to have a good time and will try to make a point to meet and say hi to Elizabeth Edwards, renew acquantances with the Greensboro blogging contingent, eat my body weight in BBQ at Hoggard’s house and generally pass a good time.
I’m also looking very forward to going to Orycon and participating in the programming. I hope to carry the Marantz with me and interview writers and other people there like a banshee the whole time I’m out there. I went to almost every Orycon when I lived out there, and I’ve returned for a few since. When I was telecommuting to Portland, I made it a point to schedule a work trip that coincided with the con (free flight for me). I’ve been back for one on my own dime, but this is the first in a few years. I’m happy to see that they’ve moved the con from Jantzen Beach to downtown. Jantzen Beach is nice and all, but it was a huge drag to try to do anything in downtown like go to Powell’s – particularly if you didn’t have a car. Since they have this great bustling and walkable downtown, it sucked to not be able to take advantage of it. Now you get it both – hang out at the con at the riverfront and also walk across the Morrison Street bridge to Montage (if it is still open), and so forth. I might even try to renew my favorite lunch jaunt – a bus ride down Burnside to Future Fantasy and gyros at Foti’s (again, if they are still open.) I used to do that every week or two and I miss it. Best of all, with any luck I get to see old friends like Jonny X, Mark Bourne, Mary Rosenblum and the whole PDX crowd.
So, all in all I’m looking forward to working a little more enjoyment and travel back in the mix. Doing nothing but working in your home office 70 hours a week is fun and all, but getting out and about and spending time with my friends and internet acquantiances is good. If you see me out and about, come talk to me!
Update: Added dates. Let’s hang out, PDX folks!