Finishing up JournalCon…

First of before I even get into this entry. If you are one of those fundamentalist wierdos who feels the need to tell others how to live thier lives? Go away. Don’t leave a comment, don’t email me, don’t fucking bug me. Especially when you write on your site about how God will give you gills to swim, then they turn into lungs on land. I believe in God but, if he really wanted to help me I wouldn’t be disabled, broke, and unable to actually see a doctor to help me.

Be gone with you, you zealot.

Ahem, as I was saying. Part OnePart TwoPictures

After the end of the first session we met up with a bunch from The Usual Suspects for lunch. A couple blocks away from the Helix was this small, rundown looking restaurant called Ila Bella (or something similar.) Now, Tony and I are not all that adventerous when it comes to food. We had never eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant before.

Nor, did we know what to expect. Well, I knew about the eating with your fingers bit. The menu went into great detail about each dish. Which is a good thing as I was worried about my allergies (Even though, Karen had checked them out, I’m a worrier, it is my nature and really I can’t help it.) It wasn’t until the ride home on Sunday that I realized obviously Ethiopian food wouldn’t involve seafood or mushrooms. I mean, duh, in a country that has had massive years of drought, where the hell would it come from?

Hey, I never said I was the brightest crayon in the box. I ate lamb something or other and we talked with those close to us. The lamb? Oh my, just thinking about it makes me want to drive to DC to eat that one dish again and again. It was just fabulous.

I had to leave the group to prepare for my panel with Jen, Weetabix, and Mo. Now, these three women are rock stars. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with. I mean, hell, I did ask them. But, really they carried the panel. I don’t think any of the JournalCon committee actually made it into the panel, which is a disappointment as I was hoping for their feedback. Everyone there seemed to enjoy the panel and the mimosas, which I heard were good but, I do not do champagne so I left them for everyone else.

Mo, Jen, and Weetabix, I need your addresses as I would like to send you all something to thank you. I thought the committee would do that but, who knows? Email me.

The rest of the day was a blur. The sex panel was interesting, we had a little while to relax before dinner but, not nearly long enough. We met up with 3WAers at RFD. RFD has their address wrong on their website but, the cab driver found it for us. Even though he overcharged us, it was worth it. (You think he could tell we were tourists? Duh).

After dinner came the cab ride from hell. Now, this driver was seemingly nice, but, dude when you have to turn the wheel half way around, constantly, to just keep the damn car going straight? You need to get your steering fixed. On top of that he proceeded to cut off every car in sight and drive about 20 miles an hour above the speed limit.

Now, I’m a control freak, I do not like to ride with others driving in the first place, that nearly sent me over the edge. I maintained, we got to where Karaoke (yes, the infamous Karanoke) was supposed to be held.

Here is where things went to shit. Now, I had constantly reminded people that things had to be accessible. I’m a gimp. I’m on a cane or in a wheelchair. That’s my life. I know this and I also know that most people never even think about that unless it is part of their life.

Well, I knew from when the initial discussion for this year’s JournalCon came up that I would be in attendance and that so would others who have mobility issues at times.

The bar we were at? Not only inacessible but, it had a large flight of stairs up to it. I came so close to just bursting into tears. And, really as I’m sitting here now, they are burning the back of my eyes.

All this time, all the money, all the anticipation and another fucking obstacle thrown in my path. The Helix was barely accessible, without Tony I would have been in a world of hurt. There was no way he could carry my big ass up that many stairs.

But, I refused to give in. By using my arms and my good leg, I made it up stairs. I hurt, good God, it hurt so fucking bad. I’m stupid though and refused to show how much pain I was in. I collapsed into my chair and just looked at Tony. He knew I was hurting but, also knew how much this weekend meant to me.

I had a couple drinks, talked to a few people but, really I was done for. I was trying to enjoy myself but, I hurt, the music was too loud, the bartender was just fucking bitchy, the alcohol was bad (hello, I drink cheap vodka, the vodka at this bar tasted like rubbing alcohol), there was no karaoke, and I knew that to escape this place I had to go back down the stairs.

Again, on my arms and my good leg, I hobbled back down the stairs, collapsed in my chair and we went back to our room. A couple people had given me their room numbers but, I just couldn’t do it. I was tired, I hurt, and I just wanted to be left alone.

And, now I really feel like shit as I really do like Kalamity, Russiagirl, and Booger but, the bar situation just sucked. If you are ever planning on hosting JournalCon, or hell anything like this, please go to the places you have talked to, make sure they are accessible. Don’t take their word for it. This is the second internet gathering (RABcon was the first, fucking hotel owners that lie) I have gone to, where the organizers have been lied to about accessiblity. In fact, this is the reason, I haven’t met more people that from online. I can’t take the chance of driving for a couple hours than not being able to actually get into the joint. JournalCon was the last time I’m risking something like that. If it is not accessible I will not go in, fuck it, I’ll go back to the hotel and party with others.

Okay, I’m down with the whining. Sunday morning was good, I attended the invited readings, read an old entry of mine (that you can find here), listened to some other wonderful entries, then went to the parenting in the online world panel. Rob, Erin, and Whitney did a hell of a job on their panel but, I felt odd as the only nonparent there. And, I had to miss the redesign panel so, I didn’t get a Hussified.com koozie, that really makes me sad as, I just adore Coleen.

After the panels were done, everyone was wandering off, I got to talk to Kat for a few more minutes as we waited for our lunch group to get it together. Kat has the sweetest voice and she’s just really incredibly nice. Not to mention how gorgeous she is. Eventually our group got it together and we wandered the streets of DC looking for a place to eat lunch.

We stumbled into the Filibuster grill where we got the worst service, a clueless waiter, and a staff that took 30 minutes to figure out how to split our check up. But, I got to meet several people that I had been wanting to meet. The list is up over here.

Following lunch, we got the hell out of dodge, heading home to VA in a round about manner due to bad directions (again, the evil mapquest) and 95 being like a parking lot.

Would I go to JournalCon, again? Yep. Other than the bar, I enjoyed myself. And, the people I got to talk to at the bar (Sassy, Sockgirlie, Chickie, Shmuel, etc. etc.) made it worthwhile. What would I do differently?

– Panels aren’t the end all, be all. Next time, I will spend more time talking to people less time at panels.

– Room parties. Fuck the bar, I’m getting a suite and drinking with as many people as I can fit in my room (or taking people up on the offer to go to their rooms.)

– No more Mapquest. They fucking suck.

– If it isn’t accessible, it isn’t worth it.

– Sleeping pills, take some.

– The people are what makes the weekend worthwhile.