Proud to be a Man of BlogHer

by D.J. Paris on August 2, 2013

As I drove home from night two of BlogHer I started to cry.

I was lucky this year. BlogHer, the largest blogging conference in the country, was hosted in my hometown of Chicago. This meant easy travel from my condo to the conference. Actually, it was kind of a hassle. Sure I saved some dough by not having to spring for a hotel, but I was traveling back and forth at least once a day. Each time I parked it was $36. I had to go home to let the dog out.

On the first night I was invited to a wonderful dinner by my friend Tracy Beckerman of LostInSuburbia. At the meal were twenty of my favorite bloggers. Some funny, some serious. All awesome. This is my fourth blog conference and over the course of these events I’ve developed relationships that evolve each time we meet.

After dinner my new friend Julie DeNeen took me out for dessert. She gets a mention because she spent $8 on my chocolate molten lava cake.

As a humor blogger I tend to seek out other humor writers. And this conference has a lot. To have the funniest of the funny in one location for three days is damned exciting. Pretty much everyone who’s fun comes to BlogHer.

Last year I only knew three people going to the conference. This year I knew over a hundred. I would say thirty or so are actual friendships. People I actually long to see.

When I first arrived at the hotel I scanned the lobby for familiar faces. I found several. Over the course of the weekend the others emerged. You find that even though there’s six thousand people there, you find your tribe. And it’s a really fulfilling experience for me.

We’re writers. We need to be around other writers. We get each other’s head space. Also, we’re sort of nutso and have boundary issues. It’s okay, though, as we have each other.

The weekend blurred with lots of notetaking during sessions devoted to better writing. You also watch a lot of keynote speeches by famous people. Lastly, you dance. Lots of dancing.

I don’t know how many parties go on at BlogHer, but I bet it’s over thirty. I personally went to six. Most of the private events are invite only and sponsored by brands who want the bloggers to write about their products. I don’t usually get invited to these for obvious reasons.

Oh, while we’re on the subject let’s talk about the guy thing.

I estimate around a hundred guys attend BlogHer. After two years I don’t understand why more don’t. It’s just a shitload of fun. Most of my readers (I believe) are women. Most of my blogger friends are women. And hey, I like women. Makes all the sense in the world for me to attend.

Plus, the ladies have sort of adopted me into the tribe. As a man I get probably more attention than just being one of the thousands of women there. And, for me – the attention tramp I am – it’s a fun thing. Dancing at an all-women’s party is really an experience. You have to realize 90% of these women are married, so it’s a totally non-sexual event. A safe place. Somehow they don’t see me as a threat. I don’t know if that speaks to my masculinity. It probably does.

I got a little weepy (which almost never happens) on the drive home because I realized I have love for many of these attendees. We spend the year chatting online, reading and commenting on each other’s blogs, which are really extensions of our lives. Then, in person, you already know much of what is happening to them. “Sorry you got laid off,” or “Congrats to your kid for hitting the winning home run!” or “Did that bitch Betty ever get fired?”

We all desire connection and love. And two years ago I didn’t have a blog and I certainly didn’t read any. I now have a network of people who stay in touch and reach out. They love me – or at least as much as they can electronically. I love them. And once a year we get to be together to share this love. It’s often unsaid, but I can feel it. To think that this didn’t exist for me up until recently creates feelings of extreme gratitude.

And on the way home it sort of hit me all at once. I had just hung out with people from all over the country that like spending time with me. I consider myself to be very lucky.

The Bearded Iris and I birthing People I Want to Punch in the Throat

The Bearded Iris and I birthing People I Want to Punch in the Throat

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66 comments… read them below or add one

Natalie - The Cat Lady Sings August 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Loved meeting you in person! Trust me, I felt the same way afterward.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I loved seeing the introvert struggling (in a good way) to connect. You were part of everything that was going on – still think it was weird we kept running into each other…

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Suzi Shumaker August 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Thanks for the article about BlogHer. I had heard the name, but didn’t really know what it was all about – it sounds fantastic. I miss the company of other writers since graduating from my MFA program, so meeting like minded people would be great.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:30 pm

As a blogger, it’s your duty to go. So go!

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Estelle Sobel Erasmus August 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Hi D.J.:

We didn’t meet this year, but I was invited to Tracy’s dinner and (sad horns) missed it because I came in on Thursday (what was I thinking). Anyway, would have loved to met you there, but hopefully I will next year.

And by the way, I totally get what you are saying. Bloggers and writers understand each other; humor writers (I dabble but don’t consider myself one exactly), even more.
Estelle

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Yes, we must meet next year – let me know so we can get together!

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Julie Chenell DeNeen August 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Well golly…you got me a little teary-eyed. I happily paid for you lava cake…and NOT because of the mention. It was great to meet and hang out with you in person!! xo

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for the cake – loved meeting you. We’re friends now!

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Sonja Ceri August 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I love your thought of ‘ We’re writers. We need to be around other writers. We get each other’s head space.’ When you enter a room full of writer, you feel home. You feel that you are surrounded by people who understand you, who feel with you, who had the same ups and downs, the same struggle. Being home now on the remotest part of the world, I miss these situations. It is rare to find other writers I resonate with. But if it happens, it feels like home. And home is, where your heart is. Keep the good things up, Paris!

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Thanks Sonja – Australia isn’t that remote! Or is it? Closest I’ve come is Bali. Thanks for the kind words!

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Emily August 2, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Bummed I couldn’t make it to BlogHer — this would have been my virgin voyage to a BlogHer conference…really hope to make it next year (PLEASE be on the East Coast!) and meet you as well!

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm

My guess is that it would be west coast. Last year was NYC. Either way, get your ass there! It’s that much fun. Thanks for reading!

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Kate Hall August 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Aw, this is so sweet. I was so excited to meet you even though I probably didn’t wear that on my sleeve; I save that crap for my blog. I totally agree with you about how you know these people really well even though you’ve never met in person before. As we were pulling out of the parking garage I was relaying the story of your Jaguar to Stephanie. Haha!

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Glad to meet another Chicago blogger in person. You’ve been such a great reader of mine for such a long time. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Now it’s time for me to repay the favor. I promise!

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Virginia (Kissyface) August 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I’m glad I got to run into you a couple of times, and I look forward to getting to know you more online!

Also, when I went to CheeseburgHer, suddenly there were guys around. I was surprised they had come out of the woodwork. Where were they the whole conference? Just hiding behind potted plants, waiting for the cheeseburgers to show up?

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Yeah, where did all those guys come from? It seemed… creepy. Except for me, of course.

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Debi August 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

DJ,
WHen I met you on Wednesday night and completely invaded your “non-hugger” space, it was like I had known you forever. It was so nice to get to put a face and voice to your written voice. That dinner and those people are some of the greatest people I know, you included. It was my first conference even though I’ve been blogging for an eternity. You are spot on we writers, we need to be around other writers because other people don’t get us….especially we AL humor bloggers we are a motley crew. Loved constantly running into you. Can’t wait to see your big smiling face and invade your space again.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm

The only reason I had a non-hugger button on was dumb ol’ Lizz Porter gave me one and I didn’t know there wasn’t another option. I hug and kiss like crazy! I loved meeting you and I’m so glad you made it. Now remember to come for Aiming Low’s thing next year!

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Leigh Ann August 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

The blogging community is amazing. I’ve never been such good friends with people I’ve never met before. I’ve always gotten a little BlogHer envy but this year I really felt I should have been there. I won’t miss it next year for sure.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:47 pm

I hope you do come – I’d definitely like to meet you and ask about the peacock that appears to be just hanging out in your yard.

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Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. August 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. It pretty much made me feel like crying, and I think you articulated it perfectly. Also, I wasn’t expecting you to be quite so friendly in person- is that a crappy thing to say? And also- I’m proud to have taken that picture. It really was great to meet you- thanks for being so welcoming.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Glad we got to spend some time together! You’re great – that photo is just wrong.

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Cassondra Murray August 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I didn’t attend this conference, but you made me wish I had.
Actually I didn’t know this conference existed, though I’ve been blogging with a group of other authors for 7 years. We attend a different set of conferences it seems. No matter. I love your words about finding your tribe. It’s like that for writers among other writers, if you find the write bunch. I felt that when I found the people who get me. And now I want to meet all of you, too.
How we find each other…it’s weird, isn’t it?
You followed me on twitter, and now who knows what will come of it in future years.
If someone had told me, a few years back, that I would feel a real connection to people I’d never met in person, just because I interact with them via a computer screen every day or so, I would have laughed out loud. The world changes.
Good words you’ve written here.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Thanks Cassondra – I’ll check out your blog! Appreciate you reading!

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Jayne @ The Naptown Organizer August 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Love this post! I had a very similar feeling leaving as well. At the closing Keynote, I saw a woman get up and hug her friend, holding tight for just a moment longer than you’d expect, and then walk away with her rolling luggage, crying. I immediately lost it and held on to my roommate and best blogging turned in real life friend just a bit tighter for a few minutes.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Wow – what an amazing moment! Next year we’re meeting. Put it on the calendar!

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The Animated Woman August 3, 2013 at 12:27 am

As many as a hundred men? I only counted 6 including you!

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I was being generous – I think you’re right. Next year the Huz needs to be there. We can bring instruments and jam!

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Sandra Sallin August 3, 2013 at 1:51 am

Hey DJ, where’s the photograph of you with your CheeseBurgHer Hat on? Everyone wants to see that one. Great fun meeting you.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I was the Token White Guy at the party! Sandra, it was a real pleasure meeting you and I know you made some real friends in Julie, Kate and Stephanie!

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Angela Belford August 3, 2013 at 6:59 am

DJ,
This was my first BlogHer. I was a little afraid and intimidated. I never dreamed that I would find my tribe. Thanks for welcoming me with open arms, and maybe it was the monocle that made you look fancy and not the hot girls.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm

You were great! I really loved hanging out with you, and that photo is getting framed!

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Kat August 3, 2013 at 7:53 am

Each year I read posts, tweets and Facebook updates about how wonderful Blogher is and I feel like I’m missing something. One day I will go! I’m glad that you had so much fun and made so many connections

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Kat, yes you absolutely need to go. Thanks for reading!

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Leslie @ The Bearded Iris August 3, 2013 at 8:22 am

This post is perfection DJ. I’m actually relieved to hear you cried, because I cried A LOT this year and was starting to worry I needed to change my meds. This is the second year in a row that I never danced, which is CRAZY because I LURVE TO DANCE, but I was so busy just talking with friends that I never ever got to any of the dance parties. Getting to spend so much quality time with you was one of the highlights for me though. Next time? We are dancing. And congrats on the birth of our beautiful daughter, Jen!

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Wow – what a lovely thing to say! I think we have a great panel discussion for next year’s Type A and BlogHer AND AimingLow Non Con. I’m glad we connected. Love you!

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Jen at PIWTPITT.com August 3, 2013 at 9:23 am

Hey D.J., what a great post. It was wonderful to finally meet you in person after reading you for so long and listening to your podcasts. I was getting worried I wasn’t going to find you, but luckily you and Leslie drifted into the bar and let me photo bomb your picture. You and Leslie can go dancing next year, I’ll just save you guys some seats in the bar for when you’re done.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Hey Jen, thanks for reading. I’m actually dating a Jen right now – tomorrow is date two. None of that is important, I suppose. Glad we found each other. Huge fan!

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Dresden August 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

I love connecting with other writers the most of all. I wish we had talked more. Thank heavens for the Internet.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Bummed that I missed your talk. You rock, as per usual!

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lisa thomson August 3, 2013 at 9:58 am

It sounds like so much fun! I really hope one of these years I get to this, too. I’ve been blogging for coming up 2 yrs. and it’s so great to start connecting with other bloggers. Yes, a joy I hadn’t expected.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm

You MUST come to BlogHer. It’s the best! Thanks for reading, LT!

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A Pleasant House August 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

It was so great to finally meet you- even if it was just for a moment or two- but there’s always next year!

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Yes – we need to spend more time together! I’ll be there in ’14 for sure!

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Heather August 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

The day I met you, you were wearing a toga sporting faux-gina. You, my friend, are a funny dude.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm

You’re one of my favorites. “My kids are assholes.” Brilliant

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Linda Roy August 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Always great to see and hang out with you my friend. Glad you left the hand crafted bits n pieces at home this time. I’d just gotten over the trauma. :) Hope to see you at Type A!

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Loved your song (technically it’s a parody, right?) and thanks for putting me in it! I won’t be at Type A (Bearded Iris and I were too late putting in a proposal to speak about humor – bummer!)

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Abbie Gale August 3, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I am just angry. Am I the only person that did not get Leslie time? I was at the “20 Awesome People Dinner!” This needs to be fixed.
I loved meeting you and finally “finding my people!” We are totally people.

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D.J. Paris August 3, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Yes – I had to Twitter the shit out of her, but I did finally get her. We actually even came up with a panel we’d like to do. Stay tunes!

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Kristina August 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Everyone who posts about BlogHer makes it sound like such a great experience. I always find myself thinking that I’d really like to go one year. Of course, that would mean I’d have to start a blog…

Hope next year it’s somewhere you can blow the extra hotel money and not have to worry about the logistics of transportation!

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm

You can come even if you don’t have a blog. It would inspire you to write!
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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Kir August 5, 2013 at 7:13 am

sorry I missed meeting you at BlogHer this year(although I think I heard you laughing the lobby, GOOD TIMES, Hee) , but maybe next time.
I loved your recap and I enjoyed the conference this year ….
so glad you enjoyed it as much as you did, it is THE PARTY OF THE YEAR for bloggers. ;)

:)

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I was laughing in the lobby? That sounds like me. Let’s meet up this year in San Jose!
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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Jen August 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Hey! Sorry I missed meeting you this year… I missed you last year, but I was a novice, and stuck mostly to my small tribe of unknown bloggers. This year, I would have loved to attended, but alas, you had the home-field advantage. I’m in Upstate NY, and pray that BlogHer’14 is in the city.
Either way, I’ve been a steady reader of your blog, and while we are friends on Twitter, I don’t know if you are familiar to my NEW blog http://www.thehoare.com Give it a look!
Try as I might, it’s hard for me to network with other bloggers, as I don’t feel like I fit into the niche of “mommy blogger” and the like. But I LOVE your blog and tweets. I enjoy your shit, and hope that next year we can actually meet up fo’ real. Keep doing what you’re doing! xoxox~ Hoare

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Travel west this year! Going to be awesome. And thanks for reading the blog and my tweets!
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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Birdman August 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

You’re lucky. I went to Blissdom Canada last year and didn’t have the same experience. Other than Tanis and JC, there wasn’t really any benefit for me. There wasn’t even a humour group when they were matching us all up, it was just different types of parenting, crafts and cooking. Totally not my bag, and I’m not a fan of listening to famous people talk unless they are talking about blogging. It’s nice that you felt the connection that you did, and I totally hear you on the brands thing. One girl at an online classified type site looked at my blog and with a shocked frown told me that I wasn’t what they were thinking of, and they would like it if I didn’t mention them. Something about family values and all that fucking shit.

I was saving my shekels for the Non-Con this year, but that hit the crapper, so I shall sit and dream of not feeling bitter about it, and if there isn’t a Non-Con next year, maybe I’ll head for wherever BlogHer is. You

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm

There will be a non-con this year (I’m pretty sure). Not sure if Tanis will be there, but JC probably will. She was the keynote at the last one. Or you could just come to BlogHer this year and meet both those tramps!
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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Andrea August 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Love your take on BlogHer, and your rationale for going is exactly why I wonder why more men don’t go to female-oriented events like this!

The more BlogHer experiences I read about, the more I want to go. It sounds like an amazing time!

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm

You should go this year – it’s in San Jose. Going to be awesome!
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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Andie August 6, 2013 at 11:57 pm

As a brand new blogger, this has me looking forward to such events. I hope to see you and meet you at one of them in the future, along with all the other amazing bloggers you were talking about.

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Yeah – come to BlogHer this year – I’ll be there! (reason enough to go…)
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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Kablooey August 11, 2013 at 1:22 am

I thought I got away pretty well this year, in that i thought i was going to be depressed and jealous at not having those great shared experiences. It’s my fault because when I started directing again, the writing’s gone all to hell, so I couldn’t justify flying out and spending all that $. But I miss my funny Blog gang of people who ‘get me’ (and people like you, DJ, who seem on first meeting like a decades old friend. and this little post drove it home. I have to find a way to blog and keep reading my wonderful friends’ posts regardless of what else is happening. Good luck w new ventures.

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Yes – you MUST come this year. Going to be awesome in San Jose.
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad August 19, 2013 at 5:35 am

Hey Paris, great write up! I will have to go next year, for sure. M

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D.J. Paris January 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Yes – you must go this year. It’s going to be in San Jose. Come!
D.J. Paris recently posted…Let’s Assess My Production Today (Hint – It’s Disappointing)

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