Sunday, December 18, 2005

Pub grub

Blogging in Minnesota is not about sitting in front of a computer screen, wearing pajamas, and typing deathless prose in the dark (well, not entirely). Credit for this goes to our mentors from the Northern Alliance of Blogs, especially the cherubic Brian "St. Paul" Ward (Fraters Libertas) and the inimitable Mitch Berg (Shot in the Dark). They created and are nurturing the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers (MOB) for the free exchange of ideas, teaching each other the fine points of blogging and RSS, and quaffing a pint of your favorite brewed beverage in the friendly crowded confines of Keegan's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis.

When you show up to a MOB meeting, blogger or not, be prepared to introduce yourself to a lot of people, be introduced to a lot of people, put some names and URLs together, talk, listen, and laugh. It's a highly interactive, pop quiz, social overload kind of time, especially for introverts not in sales for a living.

Mitch reported an RSVP of "over 70" prior to Friday's MOB meeting, and I would estimate easily that many came and went during the proceedings. MOBsters in attendance ran the gamut from the unassuming Kelly (The Patriette), five-months pregnant military wife and my new favorite milblogger; to the very loud, tall, and gregarious Derek Brigham (Freedom Dogs). The latter was there hawking his remaining stock of MOB t-shirts, and keeping us humble ("Hey, look at that, five geeks around a computer!" he said in a booming voice that cuts through noisy pub chatter like a foghorn). King Banaian (SCSU Scholars) and Craig "Captain Fishsticks" Westover of (Craig Westover) held court over a "power corner" of upholstered chairs where the digital literati hobnobbed over a pint of Guiness Stout or Killian's Irish Red. Mitch, "St. Paul" Ward, James Lileks (The Bleat and various other projects), and the legendary yet low-key John Hinderaker (Power Line) rounded out the Northern Alliance crew.

I sought out Doug Bass, whom I first met at last year's winter MOB event. Doug is having entirely too much fun with RSS, OPML, and XML to create an aggregator website (MOBANGE!) of the entire MOB (at least every one with an RSS feed, which is most of them).

The most interesting blogger I met was Tom "Swiftee" Swift (Pair o' Dice). It turns out we share an interest in education reform (school choice, K-12 finance, etc.). Swiftee had some very interesting insights to share about the Saint Paul Public Schools. Articulate, opinionated, with a cowboy hat and a muscular tattooed forearm, he looks like someone you would want on your side in a bar fight!

I was pleased to see David Strom and Margaret Martin (Our House) in attendance, considering David's recent Trip to Hell (and back!).

And what MOB event would be complete without an appearance from political pundit Sarah Janecek of Politics In Minnesota? Janecek will soon host a new daily, afternoon drive time show with liberal Brian Lambert on the new 100.3 FM when it switches formats from "cool jazz" to talk.

More MOB event coverage can be found on various MOB blogs, notably Hammerswing75, with photos and links to even more coverage at other MOB blogs. Read them all, there is so little overlap in content (it was at Keegan's, and Mitch was there) that you might wonder whether all we went to the same party. As widely noted, as the MOB grows in numbers, it is increasingly difficult to meet and talk to everyone on your list, and it's disappointing to not have seen certain bloggers mentioned in the various reports.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. See you at the next MOB event, and keep on blogging.


hammerswing75 said...

Matt, I know what you mean about not being able to meet everyone. I remember seeing you, but didn't know who you were. Know I know and will introduce myself next time.

Uncle Ben

lloydletta said...

It's interesting that none of the reports on this MOB party talk about any politicians being there. Did any legislators, legislative candidates - or 6th District candidates show up at this?

Matt said...

No, this party ended up being just a MOBster's Ball.