I went to the 2009 Milblog Conference a couple of weeks ago and realized that life was moving so fast that I had not even written my recap of the conference. This was my second milblog conference that I have attended, and the first one in Washington, D.C. (the birthplace of the Milblog Conference four years ago). The one I went to in Las Vegas was a great time and fast as heck, but I felt like the conference was an afterthought in the shadow of the Blog World Expo that was going on. So I was glad to see the Conference go back to D.C. and to be the only thing going on.
The Conference started on Friday with this site (Bouhammer.com) and SOG Media (sogmedia.net) sponsoring the showing of Scott Kesterson’s movie, At War. Prior to the debut of the movie, my wife and I ran over to a local restaurant to grab a quick bite. My buddy CJ stopped by to visit with us and then I had to take off and run back to the hotel so I could coordinate with the audio-visual (A/V) guy at the hotel to set things up. I left my wife with CJ, and asked him to walk back with her. Once I got back to the hotel I ran through the bar where I ran into Jimbo and Matt from Blackfive, Greyhawk, Concrete Bob and a few other folks. Of course they were in the bar making sure that the bartender had things to do. I ran up to my room, changed clothes real quick and then back to the ballroom to set up things.
The A/V guy and I worked on stuff for a while, and a couple of his staff helped too. We ran into a problem with the DVD player not being able to play the HD DVD of the movie correctly. Luckily I had a backup plan and had a copy of the movie burned to my computer’s hard drive. So after about 30 minutes of checking video, audio, etc. my wife pointed out that we were a few minutes past 6PM. Boston Maggie was doing a great job of being the door guard, so I had to tell her to go ahead and let people in.
After doing my short intro and then showing a new trailer from Scott that shows new footage for his new film he is working on, I started the movie for what was about 100 people in the room. As the movie played, the audience grew to about 150 -170 people. Some had to get up and walk out as it was too much for some to see. The comments I got during the showing were all very positive and much more so after the showing. TSO and Sniper thanked me for showing it and kicking back up their PTSD. The Sniper also commented about there being no sandbags in this room to start building up his fighting position.
After the showing and about half an hour of questions and comments from people in a one on one basis, I got out to the cocktail hour. Quite honestly the cocktail hour(s) went by in a blur. I didn’t even drink a lot, not because I didn’t want to but because the cocktails were $9 and I have a problem spending that much money on a tumbler of whiskey and coke, so I went to straight whiskey on the rocks. I figured if I was going to spend that much I better get my money’s worth.
Scott Kesterson called me from Afghanistan during the cocktail hour and we talked about 20 minutes about the showing, where he was and what he was up to. I saw Matt from Blackfive walk by so I called him over and handed the phone to him. Matt and Scott talked for about 10 min about the movie and some collaboration efforts.
The rest of the night at the hotel was bouncing from person to person, talking about the movie, meeting people for the first time, seeing old friends I haven’t seen since Vegas, meeting Kim Cameron who provided some live entertainment and was a guest on CJ’s and my You Served Radio show and just trying to catch up with folks. So many of us in the milblog community talk a lot on the web with each other, but rarely get to see each other face to face, get to hug, get to toast each other. My wife, being the great woman she is, had no problem meeting people and developing new friends on her own. At some point around 11PM she told me she was heading up to the room because her feet hurt. I kissed her goodnight and kept on talking with folks. Somehow I slipped getting arrested in the jail and bail fundraiser, and it was not easy as Boston Maggie kept eyeballing me trying to find a reason to arrest me.
At some point, the few of us left; David Stanford, the Blackfive boys, the USO girls, Greyhawk, Eve, the RangerUp boys and several others all moved to the bar downstairs. We were not there long before getting throw out, or at least that is what Jimbo said. I think his exact words were “They don’t want our kind around here”. We left the hotel and started walking down the street. We ended up at a bar called “Union Jacks” I think. It was a half-bar, half-dance club. The dozen of us hung out there until that place closed at 2AM. We were there when the lights went up. As we were leaving, one of the RangerUp guys was joking with some guy standing outside with his girlfriend. As were were walking away, the guy tried to talk smack to the RangerUp guy about wanting to fight him. There we were, about a dozen of us with only 2 of the 12 being women and the rest men all looking at each other trying to make sense of this one guy wanting to get into a fight with one of us. We laughed at him, and I think I said something about either of the girls could kick his butt and we stumbled our way back to the hotel. We were only a block and a half away, but boy was that a long walk back.
I eventually made it back to the room and crashed for the night.