What I did at BlogHer

View from balcony at Navy Pier @ BlogHer Saturday party I did the panel. I think it went well. I hope I made sense. I’m trying to remember why exactly I was getting all worked up about THE MEDIA! and AMY WINEHOUSE’S ARM! but I swear there was a point there. The other panelists were great and lots of people got up to speak, and, well, I’ll have more to say about the panel later, but I’m grateful to everyone who came.

Also: I collected eight thousand business cards. I had lunch with Rachel Kramer Bussel. I saw lots of cute little bitty bald babies that belonged to BlogHer mommies. I broke my sunglasses and walked halfway down the pier to a sunglasses kiosk and searche in vain for something without rhinestones or hood ornaments or big gold sconces. I drank froofy drinks with Weetabix and Sarah and KATE HARDING! and Laurie. I met my favoritest food blogger. I deeply hoped the out-of-town-attendees would understand that the rest of Chicago does not have the same techincolor douchebag circus atmosphere that Navy Pier has. I got lots of swag. I met Shauna! Shauna is a punk rocker! I met Jennette, who is indeed awesome from all angles. I met Jen and BlogHer Laurie and SJ and Jennifer and Corinna. I went to the books panel and met Ariel (whose book I blurbed, and yes, you should buy it.) I saw both live and dead birds in the exhibit corridor. I sold about a dozen copies of my books, including the copy of the Mackerel book that I bought myself just so I could give it to Amy Sedaris. I ate Yahoo jellybeans and drank Dove Courtesy Pina Coladas, which tasted like coconut and new-found confidence!!! I bummed drink tickets off of kind strangers. I carried way, way too much. I slept all day Sunday.

Thank you, ladies. I had the fun.

YES I'M SPEAKING AT BLOGHER

And “BlogHer” sure looks mighty Gaelic when you write it all in caps. WI’ NAE WEE BAIRN O’ BLOGHER YE’LL ME BEGET. Oh, I have no idea what that means. But today I had a slight lull in between all my freelance-writing- for-fun-and-profit adventures to post about BlogHer for those of you who are coming next weekend, those of you playing at home, and those of you who might not even know my site at all. Way back in the early days of this site I had a FAQ section that people could read to find out where I was coming from, and it worked pretty well back then. So here’s a few Q’s that I’ll A right here, and feel free to ask more in the comments. Or just, you know, comment.

What’s this panel you’re doing and who else is going to be there?
It’s called Our Bodies, Our Blogs and the description is here. I’ll be on the panel with Laurie of Body Impolitic and Yvonne of Joy Unexpected, and Jenny at Big Slice of Life is going to moderate. Other BlogHer attendees who’ve mentioned they’ll show up and take part in the discussion (and they better) include Kate Harding, Weetabix at Elastic Waist, Jen from Angry Fat Girlz, Shauna (yes, that Shauna) and the notorious PQ. And anyone else who wants to drop a line in the comments and introduce herself (HINT HINT).

What business does a Weight Watcherer like you have being on a body image panel?
Yeah, apparently this came up in a discussion elsewhere. Initially I sort of shrugged off the question and simply pointed out that I stopped doing Weight Watchers about two years ago, just to put to rest any concern that I’d show up and totally ruin everything with my weight-watcherly ways. Like I promised I wouldn’t wear my fancy tape measure cinched around my awesomely trim waist, and I would also try not to get up in the middle of the panel and twirl the hell around like Lynn Redgrave.

Lynn Redgrave!!!

Not like people who do Weight Watchers are actually like that, ever, but still.

Then again, even when I was doing that program I still had things to say about the way our popular culture regards fat women and about the way we appear in magazines and in the eyes of self-entitled douchebags who didn’t like the Dove ads, so maybe I didn’t have all my brain cells completely replaced by POINTSâ„¢.

Though it’s also it’s worth noting that the person who took issue with my place on the panel put the question in such a way that almost suggests that by being “smart, witty and clever,” my weight-watcherness was even more problematic, because God forbid anyone associate That Program with anything other than mandatory self-hatred. I could go on, but instead I’ll refer you to Jen’s and Erin’s reactions, which are much more thoughtful than anything I can manage right now.

Okay, but where are you with all this stuff now?
I gained back the forty pounds that I lost on Weight Watchers in 2001-2002, and all this evidence that most diets fail after five years sounds pretty intriguing to me these days. Intriguing and, um, true.

But I’ve also gradually lost thirty pounds since October from being more active and eating more vegetarian/vegan. It’s true I don’t write about the body stuff as much as I used to, and part of the reason is that I’m simply doing more offline writing than blogging these days, but it’s also because after more than five years of writing online about this, I’ve gotten weary of doing this elaborate dance. You know, where you feel like anything you say about changing your eating habits must be prefaced by the statement that you’re doing it to be healthy and not just a shallow dipshit, and that you’re focused but not obsessed, and that every time you happen to mention pushing yourself a little harder than usual during a workout you must issue the disclaimer that, yes, you like it, and yes, it feels good, and no, you really do not need to just give yourself a big hug right now.

Because yes, people have written in to say things like that over the years. So I don’t put the food and body stuff in my life up for discussion so much any more, which is fine, because I don’t feel like I need to write about them as much. When I do, I tend to write about the stuff that kind of thrills me: the bike thrills me. For fuck’s sake, soup thrills me.

Would you say you endorse WW?
Well, no, there are a lot of things about Weight Watchers that I disagree with. Feel free to ask me if you want to know, but I haven’t felt a need to write about it online. Maybe sometime I will, but I don’t feel like going there now.

Would you say you endorse fat acceptance?
Sure, same as always. I’m never going to be thin. Sometimes it’s not as simple as that, but you know what? Sometimes it is.

Any other advice for BlogHer?
Wear comfy shoes. You’re gonna walk your fucking head off at Navy Pier, you know.

Yes, I know.


It’s been awhile. After my last post you probably thought that I’d gone and strapped on a hemp-fabric parachute and dropped out of society and landed smack in the middle of a drum circle somewhere. But that is not the case. I am angry and judgmental as ever!

Really, all that’s up is that I’ve been juggling several writing projects (one down, two and a half to go, and one apparently canceled: wah, RIP Jane) with weekend road trips to Iowa City and Wisconsin (yea, for we have seen beer signs and mustard museums) with the usual summer-fun dumbfuckery. For instance, we spent 4th of July night on our back porch drinking gin-and-tonics and watching all kinds of Albany Park illegal pyrotechnical recklessness light up and blossom in the sky above the two-flats. Behold the lamest video ever, captured with my camera, in a just-to-see- how- the video- feature -works kind of way, and uploaded to YouTube just see how that thing works. I know it’s hard to tell if those are really fireworks or just someone flicking a lighter in a basement crawlspace, but indulge me here.

I’ll be back next week—or maybe sooner, depending on how the writing goes—with more BlogHer specific stuff. In the meantime, go out and play in the sprinkler and stuff.