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Bison and Antelope and Bears, Oh My!

September 18th, 2008 (10:27 pm)

At last, I am at home, where I have actual access to the Internet. Last week in Idaho Falls I stayed at a hotel with a really lousy wireless network. I could get to some websites, but not others. But mostly I could access websites but not do anything on them. For instance, I could read my blog but I couldn't actually post anything. And while I could see my list of e-mails, I couldn't read any of them. So if you e-mailed me last week, expect it to take me a while to get through the list of 679 messages and respond to them all.

While there, I did compose the following blog post last Thursday night, and then couldn't post it. So here goes:


I'm now coming to you from Idaho Falls, where I've just completed the first day of meetings in the National Federation of Press Women 2008 Communications Conference. [info]astein142 (Allison) and I arranged to fly into the Salt Lake City airport within a couple hours of each other on Tuesday and drove here together from there. Wednesday we took a quick day trip to Yellowstone, where we got up close and personal with a very large buffalo who took a liking to us. I swear, I was about four feet from this thing. I have photos in my camera to prove it, but I don't have a way to download them at the moment. (UPDATE: My 2000 or so photos from the trip are now downloaded but I haven't had time to go through and organize them all.) I'll post some as soon as I can. I also got friendly with a herd of elk, and have some lovely photos of them as well. Somewhere in the vicinity was my father The Great White Hunter, who normally lives in the Chicago area but was out west, hunting. I haven't seen him in more than a year, and by coincidence he was supposed to be very near here this week, murdering poor defenseless antelopes. I had hoped to save a few antelopes by getting together with him this week. Alas, we have not managed to connect. (UPDATE: We never did. Sorry, antelopes.) 

Today was mostly filled with business meetings. As director of the national organization's At-Large Contest, I'm on the National board, so I spent much of the day in meetings. They were somewhat boring, but not nearly as boring as you might expect. We passed a dues increase and elected a new secretary. (Congratulations, Teri Ehresman, new NFPW treasurer!) This evening we had a barbecue (moved indoors because of chilly weather) during which my vegetarian self ignored the meat-related food and stuck with the side dishes. Luckily for me, there was an excellent Greek salad. But the even more excellent bar was good enough so that the food really wasn't so important. I'm afraid to tell you how many Captain Morgan spiced rums I've had this evening, not to mention the Merlot. So please excuse any typos. After the barbecue, we took part in a trivia contest, and Allison and I both performed admirably throughout the evening. I won chocolate, and she won a cheese board.

In other conference news, Dawn Wells canceled out on us! So Mary Ann is not attending our conference. Apparently, after her drug bust a couple months back, she grew skittish about appearing at a conference that would include many newspaper reporters, and decided to stay away. She didn't understand that we're much more interested in her time on Gilligan's Island than we are in her time in The Big House.

There is a very realistic stuffed bearskin set up near our registration area in the hotel. I simply must have my picture taken with Shardik tomorrow.

I have been bookcrossing here as much as possible. So far I've wild-released a book a day on a table in the lobby that's surrounded by comfy couches. Do you know Book Crossing? We are a free web-based community that is committed to the idea of sharing reading material. When we finish with a book that we don't want to keep, we "release it into the wild." In other words, we register it on the Book Crossing site, mark it with a unique Book Crossing I.D. number, and leave it in a public place with a "Free Book" post-it. If we're lucky, someone comes along and notices it, picks it up, and decides to keep it for a while. If we're REALLY lucky, the finder follows directions left in the book, goes to the website, and notes there that the released book has been "caught." If that person eventually finishes the book and releases it elsewhere, you can use the website actually to track your books as they travel around the country or around the world. It's very cool. I try to bring at least a few with me when I travel, so that I can spread them around. 

After the conference, I'm leaving on Sunday for the Post-Conference Tour, which will visit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I'm psyched. See you next week!