Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More to Come, I Swear.

I'm struggling to get caught up,, but this was a high point for sure. Had a great time with the people and the exchange of ideas, and a horrible time negotiating the facility.

I'm not disabled enough to require a wheelchair for daily life, but the huge amount of walking and stair-climbing here, plus the lack of a checkroom at the venues really created a hardship for some of us. Bless Shash's heart for having the compassion and kindness to walk sooooo slowly with me for the better part of an hour that it took me to make it from the end of the pier where the closing keynote was, to the OTHER end of the pier where the final party was. When we finally got in there, and I was faced with the stairs that led to the party, my spirit just gave out, and I sat on a bench near the restroom and cried instead of joining the party. After a half hour or so, I did make it up to the event, and found a place to sit down and put all my stuff next to me, and managed to snag an h'or d'oevre here and there. Thank you, Cynthia, for sitting and chatting with me, and I sure hope your ankle and foot are beginning to recover!

Not everyone who would like to attend BlogHer is going to be 30 years old, fit as a fiddle, with a completely sound and uninjured body that can take the stress of all that walking and climbing. I loved the experience, and I loved the people, but at the closing keynote, when, referring to the LONG walk we had ahead of us to get to the Children's Museum for the final event, a speaker made reference to our "evening constitutional," I was ready to pop someone.

Until I get my act together and catch up, you can hear the "Art of Crafts" panel here: craftsanity.
A little past 1/3 of the way through, you can hear me in all my hillbilly glory, talking about soapmaking, and if you listen closely, after I mention poodles, you will hear Amy Sedaris calling me "cuckoo." TO MY FACE. And THAT was the most awesome thing that happened to me during a panel. Also, see my flickr stream for waaaay too many shots of Amy than is probably mentally healthy.


  1. That's really too bad that they didn't take the distance into consideration. In my former life, I was an event planner, so that kind of thing always is at the forefront of my mind. If you have a group that large, the odds are you will have someone with some form of disability or pregnancy or broken leg or what have you. Even someone with, say, a heart problem who can walk -- but not 1/2 mile down the pier. They should have had golf cart shuttles or something. I'm very sorry that you had to go through that. It upsets me when other event people miss things like that, even though I had nothing to do with it! :)

    Lesson learned, and if I come next year, I will bring a Segway. :)


  2. Next year you should totally get a wheelchair and I will pack all my crap on the handle bars and run behind pushing you, before jumping on some sort of skateboard thing like that strollers have for toddlers. How awesome would that be? Everyone would be jealous.

    On a more serious note, I am sorry you had such a rough time. I had no idea.

  3. giddy - you are exactly right about "invisible disabilities." And there were LOTS of pregnant women at this thing!

    chris - I would totally trust you to drive my Hoveround. ;-) I feel a little silly even complaining, because there are so many other people with more "legitimate" mobility problems. With my "frankenfoot" (the one that's had multiple surgeries and is full of metal and part of my hipbone), I honestly had no idea it would give me so much trouble, but I had TONS of walking on the way TO BlogHer, that set me up for more trouble once I was there. With my stupid PSD, I think I might be able to get that under control with hormone dosage adjustments. At least I HOPE so. So...you didn't even notice me walking funny? That makes me feel better, because I always feel like people are snickering at my waddling gait when that PS joint gets to hurting.

  4. P.S. It also would have been a different story if I hadn't been lugging the 900 pounds of crap that I was hauling around. NEVER AGAIN.

  5. That was you with the soap & poodles?? I was sitting right behind you!! LOL

    I think the walking was crazy as well esp. with the amount of crap that we were bogged down with. Next year we need a magic carpet :)

  6. HA! You are my witness--Amy Sedaris called ME "cuckoo!" ;-P

    RIGHT. The walking alone? Well, OK. The lugging crap around, in itself? Well, OK. But put them together? BAD DEAL. Seriously, a simple checkroom at the Navy Pier and/or the Children's Museum would have been a lifesaver. There was one room available at the latter, which was just open, and I couldn't see leaving a couple grand worth of computer in there unattended. There were lockers, but after using up all my change in an attempt to lock my stuff up in multiple lockers, I gave up. Back at the ballroom end, there was NOTHING as far as a safe place to stash our crap.

  7. Dude. I took the shuttle to the party.

    Wish I had known that you were downstairs sad. I could have danced around and made funny faces in an attempt to make you laugh.

  8. Kari--you took a shuttle from the Grand Ballroom to the Children's Museum? Because we asked, and we were told that there were shuttles from the Children's Museum to the HOTELS, but that we'd have to walk to the reception from the closing keynote. Hence the "evening constitutional" comment. Or do you mean that you grabbed a shuttle to the hotel and then shuttled it back to the party? I am about to be really upset if I could have RIDDEN to the reception from the ballroom.


    On a side note, had we not walked that LONG way to the reception, we wouldn't have taken those awesome photos or considered riding the ferris wheel. BUT! I probably would have gotten the shot of that R2-D2 mailbox I forgot to go get.

    Belinda, thanks for walking so slow for ME! By then I was beat. I'm still recovering.

    Miss you!

  10. wow, you got to meet amy sedaris?

    I need to go to blogher sometime..!

  11. Dennis, you have no idea. Get permission from wife first.

  12. Hi Belinda (et al),

    So, speaking as the BlogHer event planner, I want to both apologize and explain.

    1. There should have been a bag check/claim/locker situation. Period. (We knew the bags were coming, but didn't know how much stuff our sponsors would be giving out!) Also, it was not our first choice to have the venue and hotel be two different locations, either, and we will try and have that NOT be the situation in the future. But sincerest apologies for the non-bag-check issue.

    2. We tried really hard, given the size of the venue, to ensure reliable transportation would be provided, and that all areas of both venues were wheelchair accessible. (There were elevators for every floor at both the Pier and the Museum.)

    There *were* shuttles from the Ballroom end of the Pier to the Children's Museum. There was a sign posted at the Pier with the shuttle times and pick-ups/drop-offs. We created signs for the hotels as well, but the hotels wouldn't let us post them (they said that their front desk people would share this info instead, but I am assuming this wasn't the case). The shuttle pick-ups and drop-offs were also included in the attendee email that went out on Wednesday. We even paid the shuttle company a great deal of money to have a dispatcher for us all day, to ensure the transport would go smoothly.

    Still, if ever in this situation again, we will do our best to communicate better.

    Thank you for the feedback, and I hope the event was enjoyable otherwise.

    (You can always email me at kristy@blogher.org.)

  13. Kristy, thanks for the input! I misunderstood the closing keynote instructions for sure, because what I heard was that shuttles would be available at the Children's Museum, and that the walk from the ballroom to there would be "our evening constitutional." And then we asked someone (obviously the wrong person), and were told the same thing, and started hoofin' it!

    There were elevators (though sometimes getting to an elevator meant a lot more walking, so it was a toss-up). The first day, the elevators outside the ballroom were inoperable (stuck on 3) for quite some time, but they worked the next day. The only reason I know about the elevators is because on Friday, since I had to come straight from the airport to the conference in order to make it in time to liveblog the session I'd been assigned to, I had ALL my LUGGAGE in tow! And nowhere to put it. So I carried a tote-bag, camera-bag, knapsack/purse, computer-bag (with HEAVY computer), AND lugged a suitcase everywhere I went, from room to room, floor to floor.

    I'm not complaining about the facility or the job that BlogHer did, really (although it sounds like I am), I just wish I'd done a better job of researching ahead of time, and maybe that more could have been in the form of a written itinerary.

    Thanks for your response, and all your hard work. It was one of the best times (body-pain and all!) I've had in ages, and I thank you all.

  14. Thanks for your response, too! I agree, more could have been done in written form, and in overall communicating of how to get around.

    Bag-check-wise, that was just a big problem that shouldn't have been. Never again!

    On a really personal note, ohmygod. It was NOT fun running from the break-out room area to the registration area 9325 times a day, and I am kind of glad I didn't just collapse in a heap in the middle of the Lakeview Terrace. Because I thought maybe I would. So no, not convenient.

    I'm glad I at least got to say hi to you, though! And glad it was overall good, and really do appreciate the feedback. :)

  15. Hi,

    Found your comment over at my place. Thanks for stopping by!

    I couldn't make it to BlogHer this year -- maybe next (fingers crossed)...

    I have, however, been enjoying everyone's conference photos and posts!

  16. I remember you talking about your soap? And I wondered where I could get some? And I had NO IDEA YOU WERE YOU!!!! It must be the breastfeeding.