As Mike pointed out, we did a lot of yakking with guests Friday and Saturday. For the most part, our video stream was there but even with the massive amount of bandwidth laid into the hotel for the weekend at the Hilton Minneapolis, thousands of online activists at both RightOnline as well as from the Netroots Nation (think MoveOn.org) chewed it up pretty quickly. To boot, RightOnline was streaming both Main Sessions and the Policy Track (click here to see).
Why mention this? Given that I forgot a couple of cables, and the Radio Row noise, using our "recording" camera was out of the question so we had to rely on UStream.TV servers for recording. Given that they are "touchy", some of the videos segments came out OK and others not so much (i.e., if you lose the connection, the recording gets corrupted). I have a whole bunch to review to see what might be worthwhile to post, so that will happen over the next few days.
Thoughts – I guess that the highlights for me would be (in no particular order):
- Getting to see a number of the Samsphere bloggers for the first time in a while. Emails are great but seeing the face and talking was way better than typing. These are all smart folks (including a couple that earned AFP Blogger of the Year awards: Bob Weeks and Maggie Thurber).
- Big hotel: decent accommodations with prices to match. Good food at the Lobby bar/grill!
- Didn’t get to a single Track meeting or session, but given the rang of folks that strolled in, didn’t matter. Both the RightOnline folks and ‘Grok friend Chris kept us well supplied. Often, Mike and I would agree to take a break, start to stand up, and then yet another would plop themselves down in front of us, and off we’d go on another interview!
- "Biggest" blogger interviewed: Michelle Malkin
- Taxi rides – more expensive than parking my car in Manchester Airport.
- Most intellectually stimulating interview to craft:
That would be when we had started up with Harris Kenny of the Reason Foundation sit down and a couple of minutes in, James O’Keefe sat down. Given that James exposes corruption in organizations (e.g., ACORN, NJ Teachers unions, others coming) via Project Veritas and Harris is a policy expert, it was hard to find the common ground (AND the tax laws that hamstring who can talk about what). But we found it, and afterwards, I saw James and Harris intently talking with each other (gee, do I have a future as a goy yenta?), so who knows what will happen?
- Thanks to new friend Scott (and to Mike for arranging the contact) for the Pelican cases for schlepping the electronics to and fro (and for a tip on TSA procedures that makes sure that no slippery fingers got into the cases while in transit).
- While I normally say "travelling light is for wimps" while driving around NH, I quickly realized "not so much through airports". I HAVE to get back to designing that case to hold everything and do it easily.
- The Conservatives I met were rather happy campers. The Liberals, I met, for the most part, seemed to only scowl at anyone with a green lanyard (for holding event credentials) around their neck.
- Speaking of which, I thought the colors were apropos:
- Green for the capitalistic Conservatives
- Red for the Socialist Liberal / Progressives
- Martha Zoeller from WXKT was fun to talk with!
- Former Lt. Gov. from NY, Dr. Betsy McCaughey, a leading Obamacare law antagonist, seemed to like us a LOT and will be joining us on GrokTALK! sometime soon. Heck, almost all of the folks we interviewed, we are going to have back on. Ever talk with someone that just naturally raises your own game? Yup!
- John Hawkins of RightWingNews – hard weekend for him as he continues to battle with RackSpace who did "something" to his website and it still is not fixed (but was gracious to yak with us anyways).
- Tony Katz – had me on his PJTV show a bit ago and we had him on this weekend. Truly a funny guy and the proprietor of the best and most luxuriant male locks at RightOnline (inside joke). Happy to help him out with some equipment as well.
- Katie Harbarth! We met when she was a staffer for Rudy Giuliani during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Now, she’s working for Facebook! Yes, we her seat was a tad warm as we talked about the issues that are concerning the Right concerning Facebook. Nice thing – she’s willing to meet with NH based groups to learn how to use Facebook better. Stay tuned!
- Most surprising interview that I liked that came out of the blue: Conservative childrens author Melanie Angell Elliott and her new book "Why Am I Conservative: 24 Topics for Kids or Anyone"
And of course, I thank Tim Philips (AFP President), Erik Telford (AFP Director of Online Strategy and Sampshere blogger), and Corey Lewandowski (AFP NH State Chapter Executive Director) for hosting the weekend and allowing us to attend and participate.