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The Chicago Cityguide...


Three people in bed together, with the rumors all flying.

Two consecutive nights where there were approximately 18 drinks in my system at any given moment and about 1.7 hours of sleep between them.

Bjork's swan dress.

Jamba Juice, coffee, decadent olives, great people, scary skylines, toys, homebound blues.

A hotel desk clerk who wants to kill me.

Just another weekend, folks. Just another weekend.



I went to this thing called JournalCon. JournalCon is a convention held every year for people who write online journals. Like this one.

This is the first year I've gone. It was held in Chicago, which was great except that it required actually going to Chicago, which is also great, except that going to Chicago involves traveling there and as you know, traveling to anywhere right now involves prayer and a cell phone.

To make matters worse, a day or two before I was to leave, the government issued a warning that some more terrorist action may be forthcoming. Look, when the government warns you that something bad's going to happen before that fact, that's sobering. It's like being in school and getting told "There's a realy good chance you might get beat up after the last bell on your way home." Your ass is going to want to stay late at study hall, right?

But, like a good American, I tried not to think about all that and boarded the plane as scheduled. My thought was, surely with all the beefed up security, an airliner is a the last place a terrorist would now strike. I get to the airport. One guy at the gate with an intimidating M-16. All the rest of the Reserves (at least eight of them) were standing in line getting bagels at the sandwich shop. I kid you not. In all, it took me 15 minutes to get from the street to my gate. All the while, I kept expecting somebody to search all my stuff and take me to a dark, dank room for interrogation the moment they saw the name "Omar" on my driver's license.



In Chicago, I arrived at the luxurious and spacious (if you're a very narrow midget) Days Inn hotel. They don't like me there anymore.

I was staying with a couple of lady journalers (that sounded very Archie Bunker, no?) who were kind enough to take me in when it was made public knowledge that I have no planning skills whatsoever and that by the week of the convention, I not only hadn't secured a hotel room, I didn't even know what hotel I was supposed to be booking a room in. So these ladies took pity on me and offered to let me crash in their room. I got there and they had these incredible gifts for me. Make-up (ahem), candy, two boxes of Hot-Wheels brand miniature vehicles, glow-stick mouth thingees, a hapy face ring, good stuff. And lots of liquor. Our room was the hospitality suite. And there was a Jamba Juice pratically connected to the hotel.

Little did I know (I lie. Of course I knew.) that that's how rumors get started. And then there's a lovely and very drunk young journaler who kissed everyone at JournalCon and then came and hung out and shared a bed with us and...

Well, that's the part you wanted to read about, right? The three people in the bed?

There ya go. Merry early Christmas.

The interesting part if how much of the Con we spent disseminating rumors from this year's Con and even talking about rumors from last year's convention. It was funny, really, and nobody took it very seriously (at least not that I've read so far), but I think it happens because everybody there writes and part of that writing is observing life, disseminating the information, and then writing about it. Every person there is built that way in some fashion, and we were all waiting for drama to write about.

It was kind of nice being part of a rumor though. As you know from the last year of Terribly Happy, nothing ever happens to me, and it was nice to have some excitement for once.



I kind of want to talk about the conference itself. The panels and the great gifts folks brought and how it was exciting to be in a room with all these minds, all the physical embodiments of all the voices we hear in our heads when we read the journals out there. How it was inspiring to think of this as a movement, the baby steps of a new/old artform that has always existed, but not quite in this way. It was great talking shop, hearing about Journalcons past from witty, observant people, getting to do the group karaoke bonding thing.

All these folks will write something about it, and rather than add to the volume, I'll just say that you should check out these people's sites, not just because they can write, but because they also turned out to be really great people, too.


Page two: The part about Bjork and the guy who will kill me


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