Monday, March 21, 2011

Pay no attention to that Blogger behind the curtain... Unofficial ABC Best Of Awards

It was the weekend where every blogger came to meet up and reveal their true identities. Where they wouldn't feel like furtive freaks for taking photos "to put on the Internets" (like this one, above, which I took with my iPhone over my head, a middle-aged couple frowning on)

After months, and for some of us years, of blogging relatively anonymously from behind a curtain computer screen, this was a huge step for many. A time of letting go the fears of whether we'd live up to expectations, of finding out if our blogs were really "all that." They were. They were "all that" and more. It was like going to meet The Wizard for me. Nay, a collection of Wizards. The great and powerful Bloggers of Oz. Bwahahaha. Cheesy, much? A little. A lot. I'm not too big to wear that.

My one truly genuine hope is that, no matter how our community here in Australia grows, we don't ever lose the wonderful supportive vibe that really revealed itself at the weekend.

So. I know everyone is going to be doing a post (or several!) about the conference. Honestly, I could go on... and on... and on (heh, much like I normally manage to do) about the Aussie Bloggers Conference. But I shall leave it to the other more together members of the community to fill you in (if you were unfortunate enough not to go). For want of a better way to honour this huge event, I feel the need to hand out some post-party awards that really ought to be acknowledged.

The conference itself was excellent. But the biggest excitement for me was to put faces and voices to all of these fabulous bloggers I have at various times envied and idolised and laughed with and cried for and.... Ahhh it was just a real soul-filling weekend for me. Truly.

Now, time for bullet points and being succinct (er, well, my version of it anyway):

• By far, this meet up was one of the highlights of my life. Yes, it was that unreal.

• Not sure if I shattered any illusions for anyone, but I do know that never before have I been in a room full of women (and a few men!) from various walks of life and social/domestic situations and felt more included or such a sense of belonging. Ever.

• The ability to tweet unabated - and have the bizarre knowledge that my feed was coming from people in the room *whispers* "The tweets are coming from inside the house..." - especially while still at the table just rendered me strangely liberated. Whoops, I just accidentally typed "liverated". And I could have been that too, there was free alcohol after all.

• I must preface the following by saying it is in no way a comprehensive list of happenings. Nor is it indicative of all the meaningful and memorable meetings I had. I would need a week's worth of posts for it all to filter down. I think I'm still processing just exactly what I got from the weekend, personal and marketing connections happened on a lot of different levels for me.

ABC Awards, the Sunny Side Up version *

Best Memorable Introduction: NomiePT in the lift on Day One. I think the less explanation about that, the better....But it was memorable for both of us. And I just have to apologise to her once again for even opening my mouth....

Faster than a speeding blogger...
Best Message FAILWanderlust slipping a note under the door of the room next to mine, thinking it was mine obviously, in which it thanked the occupant for a wonderful evening and professed her love (and xxx's) before signing off as Wanderlust... You think the guy in that room might have had some explaining to do to his wife the next morning when she found it under their door? Me too.

Best Tweet: When panelists were discussing trolls ever so briefly and defining for the crowd what they actually were:
"I've never had a troll. I wonder if they taste like chicken," by the inimitable Bigwords. I couldn't breathe when I read that, not least of all because of the hilarity that I was reading what she wrote when she was sitting right next to me. It struck me as very amusing that as internet addicts, we were all sitting around typing what we wanted to say instead of just saying it to the person next to us. Tickled my fancy, it did.

I am Bianca's new No. 1 fan. Seriously. Put Bigwords in your blog roll if she's not already there! Bianca is just a joy to spend time with. Although here's a tip - she is really bad to sit next to in a quiet conference room if you're anything like me and can't laugh without being really obvious. My whole face crumples when I laugh, even more when I am attempting to cover up a guffaw. And between her and Naomi from Under The Yard Arm, I was in a bit of a muddle by that mid-afternoon losing-it point.

Best Lunch Buddies:  Diminishing LucySarah from Just Me and Jenny from Jemikaan. Oh what a great conversation we had! Wish it could have gone two hours on its own, but it was back to the conference room before we knew it.

Best D'oh!-able Moment:  Sarah from Just Me. It has to be said that I will forever giggle a little bit when I see her on Twitter now, she who has been chatting to me for months now. And also is well aware of a certain little blog called Sunny Side Up. And that both may or may not be written by someone called... oh, Kirrily perhaps? It's not all her fault that she spent a whole hour at lunch with me before the penny dropped that *whipping away cloak to reveal the mystery* I was one and the same button pusher! Ta-daah! It may have had something to do with my confusing "brand". I am in the process of rectifying that, having learned a thing or two at the weekend.

Best Dressed: The Thai Airways plane I saw at Sydney airport - man, that airbus totally rocked the runway with the purple and gold on her tail. Such a pretty use of colour, accentuated her tail in just the right amounts.  What? Do you really think I am in any way qualified to pass constructive critique on my fellow attendees on their outfits, let alone give a Best Dressed award? I'll leave that to the masterful Nikki from Styling You - it is her domain, after all.

Best Blogger Convert: Dean from reception at the Bayview Blvd (big shout-out, by the way, to the hotel - the well appointed and clean rooms were superb). Dean has decided there must be something in this "blogging thing" and plans to start writing a product review blog. "I think I'll start with Lambourghini test drives," he told me. And that's a direct quote. I wished him luck. Ah, to have the enthusiasm of a newbie.

Lori, Holly, Glowless cutting a rug
Best Use Of A Wall:  That would be the big hunk o' spunk, Glowless, as she held onto the nearest wall to her during her lesson in the ways of the Nutbush from Holly (Homemaker), with Lori from RRSAHM bringing up the rear in a kick-arse, gorgeous dress. They even lined up in order of height.*

Best Lot Left To Be Desired: The airport shuttle bus that never turned up. Just as I was about to ball up into the foetal position, in breezed Diminishing Lucy and Bianca from Bigwords who said that the car they had booked could take me.

"Fancy," I thought. "Phew," I thought. But... their car never turned up either! At last word, he was going to be "another fifteen minutes." And that was when he was already nearly ten minutes late. 

Best Save: The taxi driver, unfussed and relaxed as you like, who turned up within minutes and spared the three of us a meltdown by getting us to the airport in plenty of time for check-in.

Best Re-worded Song of the Night: Michael Jackson was quite ahead of his time, writing that zombie epic song, Twitter. Oh, didn't you know? It was just a "Twitter... Twitter night. You're fighting not to laugh at all the killer. Twitter(er)s toniiiiiight."

And we can thank Naomi from Bigwords, once again, for planting that play of words in our head whenever we hear Thriller from this day forward.

Best Sentimental Favourite: Meeting (my) Kakka ;P from Menopausal Mama. What a delight that was for me. It was like having an aunt or something there, on my side, providing a soft, familiar place to land. Thanks, K, it was such a pleasure x

Best Hen of the Night:  Veronica from Sleepless Nights. Well, technically, I think she was the only hen of the night but that's just splitting hairs. And what a night to be a Hen!

Best Pocket Dynamo:  Hands-down, has to go to Carly Findlay from Tune Into Radio Carly. Wow. Just wowie-wow. This woman absolutely blew me away. I was captivated by her delivery - she was all the right parts of engaging (and how!), deeply moving, unassuming, self confident, funny, gorgeous and extremely eloquent. My tweet during her address to the audience was that she gets it. I mean, really gets it. She encapsulated easily what it means to write, to blog, and how to reach out. And that is... by simply being yourself.

Most Notable Absence (even if only in my not-so-humble, selfish opinion, it has to be said): Okay, so he's not an Aussie (not that that stopped us all adopting a US-based one!), he's not a so-called Daddy blogger but he is a blogger who's a Dad and more than that, he's a blogger I would dearly love to meet one day - Bloggertropolis. Now, if this blogger is not in your RSS reader, do rectify that soon. He might disagree, but myself and at least one other ABC attendee dub him The Gentleman Blogger. Exceedingly encouraging, devout about leaving awesome comments, witty and such an intelligent writer it leaves my head spinning. He is one follower you'd be lucky to have.

Best Roomy:  Tenille from Help!Mum. Of course! She would get this award on the sole basis of affording me the pleasure of not interrupting me when I am in the bathroom. Fact: While sharing a room with Tenille, I was not asked once whilst performing my abblutions to "watch this" or "fix that" or "turn on this" or rub her hurties if she fell. 

But not only did she endear herself with that, she also got herself dressed and ready without any help and there were no tanties. Not a one. Just the nicest, most unassuming and quietly funny, intelligent woman. Able to brush her own hair and clothe herself. Pure heaven for a mother used to travelling with a toddler. So thanks, Tenille. It was an absolute pleasure to share a ridiculously oversize bed with you :) And uh... I'm wishing for the sake of my shot adrenals that I had taken you up on that lift to the airport...

Best Hugger:  Has to be Brenda from Mummy Time. It seemed every time I saw her, she was embracing someone, in an excited "I'm loving this shit, WOOOO!" kind of way. Unfortunately (or not), to my knowledge there are no photos of the dozen or so times Brenda grabbed me and hugged herself into my ample bust. Sorry. But there it is. The damn things arrive into conversations before I do, it has to be said.

Best. Conference. Organisers. EVER:  Brenda, VeronicaKarenTina, and NicoleGuys, without your vision and your perseverance and planning.... well, where would we have been without you? Love and sincere thanks to all five of you for making this a reality for so many.

* May or may not be completely irrelevant to the actual events of the Conference
** May or may not have been deliberately choreographed that way.

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