It's 11:22 in Newark, at least
Swag in Action

A Businesswoman, a Tibetan Monk & a Mommyblogger Get on an Airplane

The next night I went to bed at 9:22. Party up! Or on, or whatever it is that people who party usually say.

And then the next night was spent watching hours and hours of my life vanish into the time zone map as my very delayed flight home from California turned into an impromptu red-eye (HELPFUL AIRLINE MONITOR: Reason for Aircraft Delay: Aircraft Delayed), during which I really did share a row with a businesswoman and a Tibetan monk, although there is absolutely no punchline to that story, except that the businesswoman was very kind and filled me in on what I'd missed on the in-flight movie during each and every one of my 439 trips to the lavatory, and the monk brought along about 15 chicken snack wraps from McDonald's and you know what? I don't think those things are really designed to be kept in a paper bag for six hours before consuming.

And now I am back on the East Coast, where I remain solidly on West Coast time, going to bed at 3 am and feeding my child breakfast at 11ish and not updating my blog at all, just like all those California bloggers. With their laid-back attitudes and bean sprouts and whatnot.

(Last night I hallucinated that I heard the garbage truck outside at 4 am and shook Jason awake and ordered him to chase after it with our trash and mixed recyclables, which he did not, and my point is, everything coming out of my mouth at this point is a big, steaming, sleep-deprived lie.)

ANYWAY!

I went to California, and all I got was a lousy four metric tons of fancy digital imaging equipment.

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We had to move our PILES O' SWAG to the floor because they were substantial enough to mess with the hotel's wifi signal.

I have to admit that I am generally a cranky old bastard when it comes to anything that stinks of Bloggers! We Here At <Corporation Name> Really Get and Dig What You Do PR tactics. (A lot of those PR tactics tend to be something like GIVE US VALUABLE MARKET RESEARCH AND FREE ADVERTISING IN EXCHANGE FOR...UH...THIS T-SHIRT! THAT IS NOT ACTUALLY IN YOUR SIZE! NO? HOW ABOUT ONE OF THOSE SQUEEZY STRESS BALL THINGS?) And I got the sense that several of the other attendees were expecting to be similarly annoyed by the whole thing, but then the boxes of cameras and camcorders and lenses and camera accessories starting piling up and everybody started ripping things open and the air was full of bubble wrap and packing peanuts and we all looked at each other, frantically trying to get unspoken permission from the crowd to OMFG SQUEEEEEEEE????

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For some reason, I think the view from my hotel room helped improve my usual curmudgeonly demeanor.

At one point, I returned from my 230,293 trip to the lavatory and noticed that almost everybody had been given silver travel coffee mugs. EXCEPT FOR EVERYBODY AT MY SIDE OF THE TABLE. And our eyes got big and ugly and Bilbo-Baggins-like because WE DIDN'T GET TRAVEL MUGS. WHERE'D EVERYBODY GET THOSE TRAVEL MUGS! GAR! SWAG! MINE! NOW!

(The travel mugs were still in the process of being unpacked and distributed. I did indeed get a travel mug, although it's hard to look at, since the polished metal only seems to reflect the blackness of my soul.)

The best part of the trip, hands down, was the fact that Sony did not just hand us complicated A/V equipment and expect us to like, read the manuals. They also gave us the gift of KNOWLEDGE, by bringing in someone who could explain DSLR cameras and aperture and ISO to us in a way we could understand. Also known as drawings on a chalkboard and makeup analogies. (You know how your makeup looks awesome in the bathroom mirror and then looks like ass outside? THAT'S WHITE BALANCE, LADIES.)

(Me Ra, by the way, will be speaking at BlogHer this summer, so if you're as camera-challenged as I am was, she's TOTALLY worth the price of admission, for real.)

It was jaw-droppingly awesome for this blogger/influencer/opinion-maker, who prior to this weekend had never taken her fancy camera out of the green box mode, but who now desperately needs like, seven different lenses and a wireless flash and sent her husband the following email from the conference:

HI GUESS WHAT! I KNOW HOW TO WORK OUR CAMERA NOW! I KNOW ABOUT SHUTTER SPEED! AND ISO! AND APPERATURE! APPEARATURE? APPATURE? I DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT BUT IT'S THE THINGIE THAT CONTROLS THE SIZE OF THE THINGIE THAT LIGHT SHINES THROUGH AND I THINK MY LIFE IS CHANGED FOREVER.

(Yes. I send emails in all caps sometimes. I also call people sometimes just to scream into their voicemail when I am very excited about something.)

(HI GUESS WHAT I AM AT THE MALL AND I GOT THE GREATEST PARKING SPACE IN THE WORLD! I WILL PROBABLY NEVER LEAVE BECAUSE IT'S JUST THAT GREAT! CALL ME BACK, WHORE!)

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Did it just get really smelly in here?

So...at some point I do plan to post something other than camera phone photos. You know, maybe some photos with some of the new cameras that really demonstrate just how far I've come as a photographer and as a person. I will. Just as soon as I get over my current bout of hyper-perfectionism ("well, this photo is lovely, but I just didn't really fill the frame with my subject as well as I'd like") and go back to not really caring about whether Noah is really "in focus" or "not covered with yams."

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This was the sign on the inside of the bathroom door at the hotel's meeting room. I spent a lot of time looking at it (fetus vs. bladder = rock vs. small defenseless insects), and pondering just what are these "other alcoholic beverages" that are not 1) distilled spirits, 2) beer, 3) coolers, or 4) wine. Cough syrup? Xanaxaritas?

I still have so much to learn about so many things. Including how to get all the pretty photos off of my new cameras, and how to stop staring at the camcorder in bafflement because you don't a tape in it. So how does it record? Where do the videos go? Does it involve some sort of gnome? Does this mean I will be significantly less likely to accidentally record over the birth of my second child like I did with my first? Huh!

Comments

Lori

Thank God you're back.
I thought you never woke up from that early snooze.
Amy Van Winkle.

Olga

wow! Am I really the first one to comment? Sounds like a super fun trip :) Welcome back: I've been checking out your blog daily and happy you finally had an update!

DiaryofWhy

So monks go to McDonald's. I learn something new every day on this blog. I still don't know about ISO, but at least now I can say I know what monks eat.

Megan

I saw the view from your hotel room, and I can't think of a damn thing to say. Besides, of course, I'M JEALOUS.

MNK

Is that La Jolla? That looks like the view from La Valencia.
Sigh.

jody

That is amazing. Camera swag? Wonderful!!!

Now I am hoping that Nikon does a blogger party like that and I get an invite. I need a macro lens.....

radioactivegirltori

Xanaxaritas?


You rock and that is only one reason why!

Tiffany

Ah! What kind of camera did you get? I have a Sony Alpha dSLR and I love it. LOVE. Of course, I never take it out and take pictures, but that's just laziness.

Backpacking Dad

I'm going to keep plugging away with my little digital cybershot point-and-shoot until it takes pictures just like the fancy cameras. I think if I push THIS button I'll get the awesome shadow effect...oh..nope...made my subject's face look like cheese.

Dammit.

Sarah

I refuse to believe that the view from your window is real. Refuse, I tell you.

Amy M

I didn't realize Tibetan monks eat at McDonald's either. Hubby & I stayed at a Buddhist temple in Japan & they were vegetarian! Hmmm...

Welcome back! I'm happy with my point-&-shoot camera for idiots.

psumommy

Wait- new cameras? For free? AND a lesson how to use them? How does one get invited to these things, anyway?

And, I'm glad you're back!

-k-

airplace!

Eleanor

"(Yes. I send emails in all caps sometimes. I also call people sometimes just to scream into their voicemail when I am very excited about something.)"

First and likely only thing to make me laugh today. Props.

Jessica

Now that's what I call swag! How cool of them! And that hotel? Nice!
Welcome back!

Steph T

I was over in the land of Sweetney earlier and I saw the DSLR camera you all got and I'm so freaking jealous! I have been looking at them for months now and I can't decide...now I have another one to go look at. Hey Sony...I was going to buy a Cannon, but now I'm going to look at your camera because of these ladies...give them more free shit! :) And I love the signs in California. For my job, I'm responsible for evaluating whether or not we have Proposition 65 chemicals in our products or not...so I just get a hoot out of the "may cause cancer" at McDonalds!

Alex

If you have any control over what advertising ends up on your site, I, and, I'd guess, many other women who have experienced infertility, would be delighted if you'd drop the ad for Baby Mama.

How two women as smart and funny as these actors could make (judging from the trailer) such a dumb and offensive movie, boggles my mind. I am enormously grateful to be entering my ninth week of pregnancy, but still, it has only been nine weeks since that commercial would have made me cry.

thanks for reading. And thank you for your writing - I'm limiting myself to reading Zero to Forty only as my weeks go by. It is so hard not to inhale them all at once!

ac

La Valencia! I didn't know you were coming to my hood! You should've told me, we could've had a drink (or coffee/dessert). Except that I'm a blog lurker /stranger and probably sound like a crazy, but I'm not. Really. I'm actually pretty fun. Or at least could've pointed you to some fun places to check out in La Jolla/San Diego. Okay, maybe I do sound a little crazy.. back to lurking...

Jen

Wow, all the way to California to get a camera? Isn't there a Best Buy a little closer to the DC area? JK- enjoy the swag, girl. Welcome back to the East Coast!

Starbuck

That's awesome!

sheilah

"...other alcoholic beverages..."

Rubbing alcohol? Mouthwash?

Dana

I'm glad you're back. I worry. But not in a stalker kind of a way...just in a worrier mcworry wort kind of a way.

Nicole

great post!
I love it- now I wish I was going to Blogher to find out how to work my camera!

Btw- congrats on the little one on the way :)

misguided mommy

so jealous. must go pout now. need to see pictures of all your loot. very jealous

Amber

OMG,OMG, you got free camera gear?

*seething with jealousy*

Welcome back!

slick

So glad you had a great time - and cool, free camera stuff!! Way to go!!!!
Now, could you please do a blog on this white lighting thing so my makeup doesn't look like ass outside of my bathroom??? LOL.
Ps Very jealous of the camera goodies.

warcrygirl

Well, now you know more than I do about photography. I think I'm still the only one with a serveral thousand dollar camera and I still point and shoot.

LAME!

I'm lucky to get pics of my kids with clothes on, they've both seemed to have become nudists. Oy.

Suze

OMG - free cameras and stuff??? I'm so jealous I've delurked to tell you how much I hate you for all that free stuff. And the room with a view. ANd for knowing a lot more about photography than I do..because I SO want to know...but can't be bothered..

Corinne

I love your shoes. I have a serious weakness for the striped legacy linings. Also, they're adorable.

Me Ra Koh

Amy, I'm laughing outloud as I read your post on our time together! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that your telling people what ISO is!! Good for you sweetie! It really is that easy! yeah!!!! And I especially loved the note you sent your husband and the fact that you now want 7 lenses and an external flash! Can you see how wide I'm smiling!! Especially since we only had 2 hours to teach you--I couldn't ask for better feedback! Thanks so much for making my day! Can't wait to reconnect at BlogHer!!

Mrs. Flinger

OMG! LIKE I HAVE A CAMERA AND ALL I CAN SAY IS POST-SHOOTING-PROCESSING.

I love you.

Maria

I can't wait to hear more about your camera swag.

That view alone would have made the trip worth it.

andrea

i am so jealous of all your camera stuff and lessons and AHH!! the beach....

i had to delurk just to inform you of that - i want a DSLR so bad i can taste it!

Chris

Trip sounds great, equipment is great but I'm truly most envious of those adorable shoes. Cute!

Jamie Bowden

Warning! Being alive may cause death!

I find California hilarious and depressing simultaneously, and I'm glad I don't live there (although, it is a nice place to visit on the company dime on occasion).

Congrats on the camera. I'd like a Nikon D200 m'self, but the Sony's don't suck and hey, FREE!

Ashley

you got a DSLR as SCHWAG? i am so jealous. i just bought my first one and had to like, re-finance my car to do so.

once you get the hang of it, you will be totally addicted!

Kimberly

I want to hear more about your fancy new toys! Especially about the DSLR and the lenses you got, and what they taught you. Can I talk you into a learn-y post? :-)

Heather

I want to LOLspeak your photo of the shoes.

It would say "Shooz. Want."

Kathy

Can we meet for xanaxaritas later? Because I can't think of anything I need more than a xanaxarita. Truly.

K

Aww....the La Valencia...I got married there 3 years ago. Love it! Hope you had a good time!

jennster

how the hell did you get invited to this fucking thing?!?!?!

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