(Actually, I wasn't going to post at all tonight, but now that there's possibility of this blog being mentioned in the Buffalo News tomorrow, I'd rather shove that "Hey, the City Mattress guy looks like Clark Kent! Yuk yuk yuk!" post below down the chain a bit.)
The picnic went about as perfectly as a picnic can go, with one notable exception that I'll get to in a minute. It was a very hot day in these parts, but there was a nice breeze moving through Chestnut Ridge, we had a shelter, and our area was in a nicely secluded part of the park with lots of trees around.
Who all was there? Well, let's see:
:: Scott was there, along with his wife. I got some instruction in the finer points of grilling from Scott; he did up a nine-pound brisket that was well-worth the three-hour wait. He should be running his own barbecue-themed restaurant -- or, failing that, blogging about food. It was a great pleasure meeting him under pleasant circumstances. (The only previous time I'd met him was at Little Quinn's wake.)
:: Jennifer was there, of course, and she was delightful as always, full of fun stories about, well, all things Jennifer. Her boyfriend Mark was also there; already ahead of the game by virtue of having moved to Buffalo (because, well, who does that?), he turned out to be a good guy. Thus begins another fine Buffalo couple!
:: Jennifer 14221 was not there. Disappointment reigned.
:: Erin was not there. More disappointment.
:: Kevin and Mark were not there! O the crushing disappointment!
:: Alan was there, however, and thus we had the makings of a party, for he is a Party Person. I got to meet his wife and two daughters, the second of whom is something like thirteen days old. Beautiful baby, fine family. Apparently Alan isn't running for office. Also apparently Alan's stomach isn't as strong as Scott's; Alan spit out the taste of Highly Questionable Fruit Salad Food Product he sampled, whereas Scott swallowed his and pronounced it, "Meh". (Of course, Scott served in the military, so his gastrointestinal fortitude is probably stronger than our Lawyer from Clarence's.)
:: Let's see, who else? Kevin and Val were there. What a terrific couple they are. I already knew they were great people, but it was still wonderful to learn that there are people out there who share my hypothesis about some of the stranger Looney Tunes cartoons (i.e., Chuck Jones was friggin' stoned when he did some of those).
:: Red was there. He was surprisingly down to earth and fairly calm. (I say "surprisingly" because after years of watching That 70s Show, I expect people named Red to be surly folk who bark "Dumb ass!" a lot.) He also has a lovely family, with a baby who nicely slept through one chunk of the picnic (and nicely screamed through another).
:: Ummmm...crap. BuffaloGeek was there. But I've forgotten his real name. Curse me for a poor memory! See, folks, there's a reason why I gravitate toward jobs where the wearing of nametags is required: because I'm horribly bad with names. Anyhow, he's a great guy too.
:: Ditto the In Da Buff guy. Shit, can't remember his name, either. Help me out, fellas.
:: Derek and Amanda from punaro.com. I'd never heard of punaro.com until I read their matching shirts. Now I have. They are bookmarked for an upcoming revision of the blogroll -- until then, we really enjoyed Hillbilly Horseshoes (although I frankly didn't care for the other name this game apparently goes by). And I'm glad to see that I am not the first person to blog about the picnic, as their post predates mine! This makes me feel slightly less geeky.
:: Mark of WNYMedia.net, who nicely reiterated his standing offer of hosting services for Buffalo bloggers. I'm thus far doing fine on Blogger, but you never know what the future might bring.
Some other folks dropped by from another function that was up the hill at the next shelter site, this one hosted by SpeakUpWNY. I'm very unfamiliar with these folks, but the ones who dropped by seemed nice. (They were the source of the five-pound carton of Highly Questionable Fruit Salad Food Product mentioned above, it should be noted.)
Conversation topics during the event ran the gamut: the dangers of standing between Brian Higgins and a camera; the future fortunes of the Buffalo Bills (they'll suck in 2006); the future fortunes of the Sabres (that logo makes our eyes bleed); movies; how to light charcoal without using half a bottle of lighter fluid; George Bush the Boy Wonder; the surprising popularity of Frisbee Golf in Chestnut Ridge Park (our shelter area was quite near one of "the fairways"); the wisdom (or lack thereof) inherent in turning off the A/C when leaving the home (for a room-unit, it probably makes no difference, but for central air, leaving it on is the way to go); and how Buffalo should build a waterfront shrine to George Lucas. (OK, we didn't discuss that last one. But the others came up!) I did have one nice moment of geekness, when Val mentioned that she does horseback therapy at a place called Rivendell, and I pointed out that The Wife does volunteer work at a horseback therapy place called Lothlorien, and sagely pointed out that both names come from The Lord of the Rings. Cue the ensuing silence filled by the chirping of crickets. Criminy.
Meeting the faces behind the blogs is always worthwhile, because as I've noted continually, "The Internet is made of people". If you have a BloggerCon in your town, try and go sometime. You'll be glad you did.
OK, Buffalo Prefecture of Blogistan: when's the next one, and where?
(BTW, I hope it's clear that I'm genuinely disappointed that those named above who were not in attendance couldn't be there. The Buffalo Prefecture of Blogistan is loaded with fine, fine folks, and I've genuinely liked every one of them I've met. Well, except for that guy. Because nobody wants to be that guy.)
UPDATE: Since my brain is basically a giant trap for all kinds of cultural stuff, and since I'm constantly making connections between my real life and stuff that I see on TV or movies or read about, here's the association I made for the Highly Questionable Fruit Salad Food Product: the Friends episode where Monica takes a job developing recipes for another Highly Questionable Food Product:
MONICA: So, Mr. Rastatter, what exactly does this job entail? The ad wasn't too clear.
MONICA: I'm sorry?
RASTATTER: Mockolate. It's a completely synthetic chocolate substitute.
[He pulls out a piece of Mockolate.]
RASTATTER: Go ahead. Try a piece. Yeah, we think that Mockolate is even better than chocolate.
MONICA: All right. Mmm-mmm.
[She tastes it, and obviously hates it.]
MONICA: [disgusted, trying not to show it] I love how it crumbles. Now see, your chocolate doesn't do that.
RASTATTER: No, ma'am. Well, anyhoo, we should be getting our F.D.A. approval any day now, hopefully, in time for Thanksgiving. See, the way we look at it, chocolate already dominates most of your major food-preparation holidays: Easter, Christmas, what have you.
MONICA: [still chewing] Mmm-mmm.
RASTATTER: But, we're thinking, given the right marketing, we can make Thanksgiving the Mockolate holiday.
RASTATTER: Aren't you going to swallow that?
MONICA: Just waiting for it to stop bubbling.
RASTATTER: Yeah, isn't that great?
MONICA: [with false enthusiasm] Mmm.
RASTATTER: Well, anyhoo, um, we are looking for a couple of chefs who can create some Thanksgiving-themed recipes. You think you might be interested?
MONICA: Abso...[swallows hard]...lutely. See, I love creating new recipes. I love Thanksgiving. And, well, now, I love Mockolate.
MONICA: Especially the after taste, you know, I'll tell ya, that'll last ya till Christmas!
Yeah, good old Mockolate!
UPDATE II: I was remiss in noting that Craig wasn't there, either. I hope he didn't feel "politically unwelcome" -- in fact, one of the WNY Media guys said that they really need some Republican bloggers for their burgeoning Empire.