Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

CRUISING CONVERGESOUTH

Crashing ConvergeSouthJust when I thought I'd escaped undetected, Ben Hwang posts photographic evidence of my role at ConvergeSouth. That's me, wolfin' down a muffin. What can I say? It was one of those free Ganache whoppers you gotta unhinge your jaw to accommodate. Besides, a photog needs a little fortification after sharing air with the techies, civics geeks and philosophers that make up ConvergeSouth. While I'm never sure how I fit into this equation, I've willingly attended the (un)conference since its inception and probably always will. Why exactly is hard to say since so much of what's covered doesn't apply to me: I'm not the least bit interested in vlogging or podcasting, don't wear an 'Barack for God' t-shirt and have yet to even build my first robot. Still, I find this pack of hacks and savants genuinely stimulating and rarely regret spending a limited amount of time with them. That's saying something: I don't even like chatting up my neighbors at the mailbox.

That's not to say ConvergeSouth doesn't have a lot to offer. It does. Since its original iteration four years ago, this annual gathering of internet enthusiasts has morphed from a straight up computer geek conclave into a pseudo-hip summit of madmen, filmmakers and musicians. From where I squat that's usually a good time, even - like most everything else these days - ConvergeSouth has grown increasingly political. That's to be expected among such an educated crowd, but I could do without quite so much proselytization. Yes. I know: Bush is Satan Incarnate, McCain's a senile menace and Obama's gonna pay my broadband bill. Now can we just move on before I express my lack of political conviction and catch a red hot Blackberry to the forehead? Thanks...

All that aside, I really enjoyed the keynote speech by social commentator Chris Rabb. Unlike so many deep thinkers, Rabb is naturally funny and knows how to hold an audience's attention - especially when he's explaining how to grow one's 'digital capital' (something I'm very interested in). Though only tangentially aware of who Rabb is, I now count myself a fan of this man's frontal lobe. Is that wrong? I'd ask the guy beside me but he's way too busy twittering his breakfast menu to his legion of fanboys to answer a luddite like me. Next up, I wanted to attend Scoble's standing room only session, but a certain episode from last week convinced me I'd be better off in Jonathan Bailey's Avoiding Plagiarism talk. I did and learned lots. After that, it was off to Tom Lassiter's workshop on better web video - where I promptly pawned off a few NPPA mantras as glimmers of my own brilliance. Is that wrong? Yes - it probably is.

Of course, no review of ConvergeSouth is complete without mention of its premiere event: the annual cookout at Hoggard's. That man cooks a mean pig and I'm just enough of a redneck to gnaw on it until my wife elbows me in the gut. When she does I wipe my mouth and move on, for there's always someone interesting to talk to. Dan Conover, Janet Eden and David Slusher held up their end of the discourse and Joel Leonard reminded me why I liked him so much. N&R reporter Joe Killian entertained us all with tales of being bitch-kicked by an angry McCain supporter; a true life account that's earned him more press than he's probably wanted. I also chewed the fat with YES! Weekly editor Brian Clarey. I like Clarey - and not just because he wants me to write for his free newspaper. No, he reminds me of the kind of cat I used to hang with during the Lost Weekend era of my life. Hell, I'd still like to team up with him for a tri-state spree of irresponsible living - were we not both such fine, upstanding family men these days.

So there you have it: what stuck with me two days after attending ConvergeSouth. Much love to Sue Polinsky and Ed Cone for helping grace our humble 'burg with this forward thinking assemblage. If my distaste for electioneering colors my opinion, do forgive. I've just interviewed w-a-y too many candidates to trust anyone pining for political power. Don't think for a minute it'll stop me from crashing next year's version of this seminal event. In fact, I'm gonna clear my calendar for late October '09 right now!

Just as soon as I polish off this last croissant...

8 comments:

carolyn said...

mmmmm. Buffalo.

Jonathan Bailey said...

Glad you liked my talk! Let me know if there is anything that I can do to help!

Chris Rabb said...

Echoing Jonathan Bailey, I'm glad you liked my talk.

I have considered replacing my frontal lobe over the years, but now I'm having second thoughts. : )

Seriously though, I appreciate your warm comments.

Be well.

yesweekly said...

Okay, dude... I'm in. I just need a bit more notice than I did in the old days. Also, a lost weekend is out... but I can spare a few hours on a Saturday night. And I have to get permission first.
— Clarey

Joel said...

Hey man!

Up in cleveland speaking at an engineering conference. Believe it or not they played the Maintenance Crisis song at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hope you can join us in Statesville on Friday

Joel said...

http://thegreatheadsofstatesvilleexitpoll.blogspot.com/

Details on Fridays event

Darkmoon said...

And you thought that you could escape me, Stewie. My photog skills are gaining! Gotcha with a muffin! harhar.

in-gun-ear said...

I MISSED IT AGAIN! No one told me! Damn! Next year I guess.