This past weekend, I got to go to one of my favorite places and spend time with some of my favorite people. How in the world does one begin to sum up such a happy occasion? I’m not sure I can do it justice, but I’ll try.
I Love to Fly and It Shows
As some of you know, I am not a good flyer. That became exponentially worse after a horrid flight involving gawdawful turbulence and two aborted landings in March. When I found out Right Online was being held in Vegas this year, I knew I had to go, but I gave some serious thought to finding another means of transportation out there. It didn’t take long to realize, however, that you really can’t get there from here. Unless, that is, you relish the thought of a 25 hour drive or 27 hour train ride, both of which would actually have been more expensive than my plane ticket was. I booked the flight and told myself that, with the help of a Xanax, and the excitement about the event itself, I could handle it. I checked ahead of time, and was relieved to see there was no bad weather predicted between here and there. That didn’t cut out about 30-45 minutes of more-than-moderate turbulence, however. To put it mildly, I was a wreck. I am not proud of it, but there were tears involved. And as close as one can come to curling into the fetal position whilst seated in a plane seat. The flight attendant had pity on me and brought me two beers (when he wasn’t required to be seat-belted in, that is.) I don’t know that they really helped all that much, but I appreciated his concern.
I’m Snarky and I Know It
The good news is – we did make it in one piece. And on time, which made me very happy, as I had plans to sit in with my friends @FingersMalloy and @IrishDuke2 while they broadcast a special two-hour episode of FTR Radio’s The Snark Factor from Vegas. Anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows that I am a devoted follower of the show, so I was excited at the prospect of getting to watch them on the air. Also, I had a bit of a practical joke up my sleeve which required me to be present during the show: In the weeks preceding the trip, Duke had frequently joked that those listeners who showed up Thursday night during the show would be treated to a free drink by Fingers (who steadfastly denied he would be accommodating this.) Fingers, in turn, put out the word that their good friend @TeriChristoph (Co-founder of Smart Girl Politics and Co-Chair of She-PAC) would be doling out special wristbands that would entitle folks to a free drink, and encouraged people to contact her about this. I enlisted the help of friend and fellow Snarkster @e2pilot (a/k/a “Hammy”) and came up with a special wristband for the occasion, ordered 30 or so of them, and contacted Teri to see if she’d like to be in on the joke. She graciously agreed, so as the show began airing, she tweeted:
Teri Christoph @TeriChristoph
Not at #RO12 for the live Snark Factor show, but the drink bracelets did make it! See @SmoosieQ for yours. Drinks are on @FingersMalloy!
The two hours of show time went by quickly. I was honored to be included as one of the guests, but could not, for the life of me, tell you what we talked about. I blame Residual Plane Effect. (I hear Fingers saw them open for Air Supply in 1978). I’ll link to the podcast once it’s posted.
I was happy to see and catch up a bit with my friend (and travel companion extraordinaire) @rjhornsby of “Flyover Country”, and the ever-ebullient @LaurenFakes, along with “blonde momshell” @KristinaRibali, Director of New Media for FreedomWorks and one of the hardest working people I know. Also enjoyed meeting friend and fellow #Snarkster @Mr_Fastbucks and the RAWR-licious @bankofkev, as well as FTR Radio host ThayroneX and his lovely wife, Linda. Then there was the indefatigable @emzanotti — so glad to finally meet her, as well. Several of the AFP crew were there for the show, too, including @stephfont, whom I know worked her tail off to help put together a great event!
Out on the Town
After the show was over, the delightful Elizabeth Crum (@ElizCrum – Publisher/Editor of http://www.NevadaNewsBureau.com, Co-Host of “The Agenda” on NBC Affiliate KSNV-TV, and Co-Founder of RFCRadio.com, which later became FTRRadio.com), took Fingers and me to the best part of Vegas – Downtown! We enjoyed our time at the El Cortez, then eventually headed back to The Venetian where we discovered that The Bourbon Room not only plays fantastic 80’s music (has a great beat, you can dance to it), but also charges roughly $15 for a RedBull and Vodka. While there, we were joined by several more friends: The aforementioned Hammy — handsome, charming and a fantastic companion for the majority of the conference events. (He also lent me his Wi-Fi, saved a seat for me more than once, and put up with my endlessly chattering teeth in the main conference room without giving me too much grief.)
Then @SeanHackbarth (a/k/a “The Sean” — in fact, my favorite The Sean ever), @LunaticLair (sweetheart and fellow Virgo), @CajunConservatv (a favorite new friend), and the stunning and marvelous @Veribatim joined us. Caveat: It’s possible I’ve omitted someone from this list. If I have, please feel free to smack me upside the head and I will happily correct my oversight.
When we tired of the 80’s, we headed to the center bar of the casino, and some folks tried their hand at the slots and/or video poker. I, recognizing my limitations, trundled off to bed, and I believe managed to sneak in 4 hours of sleep, or so.
Sun, Fun and…More Sun
After waking Friday morning, I decided there was no better way to start the day than by lounging at the pool. Which, by the way, happens to be a very nice pool.
No one joined me, though, and I quickly grew bored, so headed back inside to grab a bit of lunch at The Grand Lux Cafe with Teri, Fingers and the ever-charming @TonyKatz (Host of the Tony Katz show, and new regular on 97.1 FM Talk, here in St. Louis). After that, it was back outside for more pool time. I was happy when my birthday-girl, roomie @Somethingabtjen joined me, along with @LunaticLair and @CajunConservatv. Later, we were also joined by @Veribatim and @Mushkat. Also, Ted Kennedy’s twin was there. #TrueStory – Jen, Ree and Greg can vouch for that. By 4:30 or so, I’d soaked up all the sun I could handle, so I headed back up to the room to shower and change for the kick off of the conference events. I met my other roomie, the sweet and lovely @scvbuckeye, and got ready for the evening.
Started it off right by picking up a copy of @MichelleMalkin ‘s “Culture of Corruption” and receiving a big hug and very sweet inscription from her. I love that lady — love her energy and her fearlessness! (Again, a big thank you to Hammy for saving my place in line.)
After, that, we wandered into the Andrew Breitbart Tribute Reception, where several of the Breitbart crew, including his life-long friend, Larry Solov, and Breitbart editors @dloesch and @LarryOConnor, paid fitting tribute to him. I really cannot emphasize enough how much his presence was palpable throughout the weekend’s events. I’ve seen him described many times as “larger than life.” After seeing the ripple effects of his legacy in action, I would submit he is also larger than death. As AFPF President Tim Phillips put it later that night, in response to his last words to Breitbart, “I love you, man,” Breitbart responded with, “You —-ing well should.” We —ing well all should.
The Welcome Event that night featured greetings by Phillips, and other AFP folk, including Tracy Henke and Adam Stryker. These were followed by a phenomenal speech by Sarah Palin. I’ve now seen her speak in person three times. She never disappoints. She was followed by my aforementioned hero, Michelle Malkin, who proudly claimed her #JustABlogger title. (As an aside, I have to wonder how many times Juan Williams has replayed their appearance on Hannity last week in his mind, “real reporter” that he is?)
Fitting that the movies screened that night were so closely tied to one of the craftiest critics of the “dead tree media” Palin referenced and a stalwart champion of the New Media JustABloggers: Breitbart himself. @HatingBreitbart filmmaker Andrew Marcus previewed a 15 or 20 minute clip of his upcoming documentary on the man, and left us all wanting much, much more. This was followed by the debut of Stephen K. Bannon’s “Occupy Unmasked,” which, as with his other films, peeled back the layers and thoroughly delivered on its title.
As I sat there that night, a realization hit me:
Occurs to me I’m in a room with some of the most amazing people on the planet.
Some may pooh pooh that as schmaltzy. But I’d challenge you to sit in a room with hundreds of motivated, focused and dedicated people and realize you’re aligned with some wondrously talented and courageous patriots and not have it move you. Since his passing, Breitbart has inspired a number of Twitter hashtags: #War, #IAmAndrewBreitbart, #BreitbartIsHere. As to the latter, I can attest to it — he most certainly is. And to that, I say, “A. Men.”
….To be continued…