Saturday, November 10, 2007

Blogging Summit, West Coast-Style or When West Meets South

So I get an email with an attached audio file...curiouser and curiouser.

I recognize the sender, so I open it. A baritone voice begins...

Good evening Mister Procrastinator. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to meet up with and extract as much information as possible from Beth, the Southern cultural maven. She will use her charm and vast intelligence to keep you off balance at all times.

As always, should you or any of your IM force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This audio file will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Write.

(cue sound file blowing up, the sound of gunpowder sizzling and the "Mission Impossible" theme)


First, if I invite you out? Unless you own the restaurant, you'll never get the check before me. Never. The sooner you accept this Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and move on to "acceptance," the better.

Second, I know that your ears were burning, you just didn't know why.

So I played phone tag with one Ms. Coffey, but she proved elusive, as she was seeing the sights and painting our town Coca-Cola red. You have to realize that with our hills in San Francisco, two things are an adventure here; phone coverage and radio reception. Email was a far more effective tool in reaching her, though it was sent a bit late on my part.

My original idea was for Beth, Beth's mother, The Missus, Procrastinator Junior, and myself to meet up at
John's Grill. That way we could all have a drink and I could show off the offspring. Unfortunately, Beth didn't get my phone message and she received my email a bit late for all of us to go, as we were having dinner when she called. No problem, we all adjusted and I should've emailed her before she left the hotel that morning.

The Missus and Junior stayed home, and I was to meet Beth at John's because of its close proximity to her hotel and the fact that they have the Maltese Falcon allegedly, what is known to be one of three falcons that they used in the flick. Beth warned me that there was a pep rally crowding up
Union Square and I was counting on taking a taxi anyway.

Speaking of taxis, I called a certain company at 7:49 PM for a cab. Now I know from previous experience that three of the cab companies use the same dispatcher...keep that in mind. I called Beth at 8:o1 and said I should be there in about twenty minutes. Then at 8:10 PM, there was no taxi and I called them again. The dispatcher half-ass apologizes and asks me where I was going, mumbles some nonsense to the cab driver that I'm a regular customer (he meant someone else in the building, because he knew the cross street without me telling him) and for someone to get there soon.

At 8:22 PM I gave up and drove, despite knowing that I would have to contend with the drunken alumnae of the University of Spoiled Children and their pep rally. At 8:25 I called the cab company and said to cancel it, because I was driving and as I said "thank you," they hung up. Wonderful people, them. I called Beth, updated and apologized, "we're not a hick town, honest. Just our cab companies are small town."

I drove through and over the pep people (kidding) and found a great parking place by Macy's.

The wonderful Miss Coffey was outside of John's, catching up with her cell phone voice mail. Now I know I've said this before, but it seems that every blogger that I've met looks much better in person and Beth is certainly no exception. She looks infinitely prettier and younger than her pictures and she had to dress up to the point that I am still self-conscious about my casual attire for the event.

John's is a wonderful place, though it almost as dark a tunnel. We sat down at the second floor and ordered only appetizers, much to the waiter's irritation. He was even more ired when I ordered a "virgin sunrise, please. I'm driving."

"A what?"

"Uh, orange juice and grenadine."

Obviously no Eagles fan, this waiter. I tipped him two dollars past fifteen percent and he neither said thank you nor "goodnight." May he catch something particularly painful and bothersome from Britney.

At any rate, the end of the negativity and on to what you the reader, came for...Beth, Beth, and more Beth. You know, Ms. Coffey knows all and can discuss all. She knows obviously knows music and literature if you've ever read her blog, but she knows much about life, too.

We talked about everything from "Top Chef," to food chains, from shopping to staying home, from commuting to the cost of living, from work to retirement, politics to pep rallies, and from our blogs to yours...don't worry, it was all polite, I said that was the end of the negativity. We talked of everything except The Walrus and The Carpenter. I almost brought up wrestling, but I bet that Beth would somehow know about that too, because you can't stump her.

We talked about what is was like living on our respective cities, some of the places we traveled, Tom Colicchio, and what the Bloggers Three were like in person. Alas, the night wore long and Beth had an early flight, so we departed. Just before we did, Beth inquired as to the whereabouts of the Maltese Falcon, a busboy said it was
stolen. I thought they had replaced it, but I had neglected to read the part about it being replaced after Thanksgiving.

I took these pictures of outside the restaurant...

The "Headquarters of The Dashiell Hammett Society?" I thought that was my house.

The "63" is for the address, though Beth pointed out accurately that they will be celebrating their centennial next year. I pointed out to Beth that her attention for detail is why we have such things at central heating and clothing, because attention to detail is how great minds create great things.

Then it was time for the obligatory behind the back pic...

The first came out blurry, so "take two"-

...which was taken by man of northern European extraction, I couldn't quite place his accent. He cracked us up by saying "smile!" Note we almost have the same curls and you get to see the tip-top of my gray beard.

I had a great time, though Beth will remember more details and she absolutely tell a better version of what happened, as she got a whole lot more sleep than I did. I hope to see her on her next trip through here and certainly I'd love to see Atlanta real soon, as I had promised her that I would have the hypothetical publisher book a stop there on my first book tour.

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Blogger Quin said...

1. drove? i remember 'cars'

2. with the photo, i suddenly realised i've not had a steak in six months.

drove? wow.

come to new york, i'll show you how to get a taxi.

Sun Nov 11, 10:11:00 AM PST  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


Oh, I know how to get a taxi, just not in my town.

I also know New York and I know Long Island, too. Though, I don't get Uptown much and I've never bothered with the Statue of Liberty.

How do you go six months without a steak? Three weeks, maybe, but half a year?

Cars will be a problem in San Francisco in seven years, though not so much on my side of town.

Mon Nov 12, 12:30:00 AM PST  
Blogger Chris said...

Cool, WP! Glad you guys had fun. I came close to meeting Ms. Coffey myself a while back, but alas, it was not to be. Someday we'll need to have a huge-ass blogger rendezvous. I think it'd be a blast.

Mon Nov 12, 06:23:00 AM PST  
Blogger Beth said...

Great recap of our evening, sir! I came across better than expected — and I'm flattered by your descriptions of me! I wish I'd had one more day so our families could have spent an afternoon together.

And I'm already searching for a San Francisco-based conference for next year.

Mon Nov 12, 10:28:00 AM PST  
Blogger Dale said...

Sounds fantastic, except for the stupid cab and waiter thing. All hail WP and Beth!

Mon Nov 12, 02:09:00 PM PST  
Blogger jewgirl said...

I am so happy youse hooked up and became offline bffs. Yas'ah both super intelligent highly entertaining folks.

This is f'n tits. (please note that I've kept it clean, cormac and YOU KNOW how difficult that is for me :)

Mon Nov 12, 07:05:00 PM PST  
Blogger BeckEye said...

I think Beth is coming to NYC in the spring, so we'll make sure to film our Tilbrook-fueled cat fight for you.

Who are The Bloggers Three?

Mon Nov 12, 07:52:00 PM PST  
Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

I love hearing about great bloggy meets! You and Beth have a real mutual admiration society happening here, makes me long for another blogger meeting myself.

Tue Nov 13, 05:15:00 AM PST  
Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

Beth's retelling was good but yours moved me to tears.

Tue Nov 13, 08:49:00 PM PST  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


We need to have a convention like the women bloggers did back in San Jose way back in '05. You should definitely make the time to meet Miss Coffey on the next opportunity.


Like I said, I look forward to your next visit and I wish I came off a little more polished, hopefully I won't be as sleep deprived or wound up next time.


We all have our Elvis-conductors.



"Who are The Bloggers Three?"

Smart aleck, you, Chelene and CP!


Welcome to this dingy corner of the web and you would've dug it!


I haven't even had a chance to check hers out yet.

Tue Nov 13, 09:03:00 PM PST  
Blogger BeckEye said...

I wasn't being a smart aleck. I hadn't realized that the three of us had become so popular! ;)

So, which one of us was juuuuust right?

Wed Nov 14, 09:36:00 PM PST  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


"So, which one of us was juuuuust right?"


Thu Nov 15, 03:58:00 AM PST  

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