International JournalCon Weekend -- 02/22/10

Well... Lou is from Ireland and Gordo is from Canada... so that certainly qualified it as being international, right?

And those of you who don't follow Louphoria or Gordo's Brain or Gary's third pottery blog or It's just me...isn't it? (
I didn't put in a link for that one because it is a password protected site and so there would be nothing for you to see anyway) are probably wondering what I am talking about.

Lou and Benny came over from Ireland and officially became engaged on top of a mountain near Kate & Jim's house (who live in the shadows of the Shawangunk Mountains, a ridge of small mountains that runs from the northern edge of New Jersey northward until they bump into the Catskills)... and on Friday Gary & Maude came over from the Ithaca area... and Gord & Bridgit came down from Canada... and I showed up on Saturday afternoon (unfortunately missing Gary & Maude by about half an hour)...

Kate had not told Lou that I was going to be there. When I showed up she called out to Lou that her friend "Bill" had just arrived. My back was towards Lou when came into the room to meet me. I turned around to see Lou with a polite and friendly ready-to-greet-a-new-person look on her face and then she did a double-take as she recognized me from online photographs. Laughter and hugs and it was as if we had all been friends for a long time, which we actually were, although most of us had never met in real life until this weekend. (Well, Kate & Jim had stopped at Gary's pottery studio once, and Gary and Gord are real life friends.)

And there was much discussion of just about every topic one could imagine and endless amounts of photography (including Lou carefully documenting every cute pose by the resident felines and canines), some of which ended up online on the various journals and blogs. There was much merriment and laughter and comparison of accents and vocabulary.

Gather a group of people who have a hobby of posting their thoughts and opinions online for the world to read and put them into the same room with an ample supply of good food and beer and wine and coffee and tea and, as might well be expected, the conversation and jokes and puns and laughter just flowed and flowed on Saturday night until poor Lou's eyes began to glaze over (quite understandable given the five hour time zone shift) and then we picked up again on Sunday morning (accompanied by ample amounts of coffee and bacon and eggs and toast and jam and so on)... until the time came that Gordo & Bridgit had to leave... and then I had to hop into my car and head back to Rhode Island.

And now I can't show you any pictures because I can't get them from my camera to my computer. I don't know if the problem is with my USB connector cable or with the USB connector on the camera, but the camera does not seem to recognize that it is connected to the computer (its screen should light up and ask if I want it to connect to the PC). I went to a CVS early this morning to see if I could move the contents of the memory card to a CD, but their machine only saw one photograph on the card (although there are a couple dozen pictures that can be viewed on the camera's screen). So... I guess I have to see if I know anyone with a card reader or a card slot on their PC. I'll figure something out. In the meanwhile, everyone else has posted pictures (well, except for Lou, we may have to wait until she & Benny get back to Éire).

At some point during the weekend conversations we had talked about driving distances and the relative sizes of Ireland and the U.S. and Canada (yes, and Rhode Island as well). So, having set my trip odometer for my drive home, I can state that from Kate's house to my house was a 198 mile trip for me (which is about 319 kilometers for those of you who like your water to freeze at zero degrees and to boil at 100 degrees). Gordo said his round trip was about a thousand kilometers, so that's about 620 miles. As part of a discussion about the size of Ireland relative to the various Great Lakes, some quick Internet action Saturday night revealed that Ireland's area is larger than any single one of the Great Lakes, although only beating Lake Superior by about half a Rhode Island. (That is Ireland the island; the Republic of Ireland is smaller than Superior but still significantly larger than any one of the other four.)

By the way, the area of Ireland (the island) is 21 times the size of the area of Rhode Island (the entire state, not just the island that holds the city of Newport).

Oh, if "JournalCon" didn't ring a bell for you, it was what they called a series of annual conventions in the U.S. for people who wrote online journals and blogs. I think the first one was in Austin in 2000. I went to the 2004 JournalCon in Washington. I have not heard of one being held in recent years so I could not resist dubbing this get-together that Kate organized as being an International JournalCon Weekend.

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