Last night Jayce^ and I attended the first semi-annual Utah Bloggers Conference. I wasn't sure what to expect. After all, blogging is nothing new. This is the sort of thing that I might have expected 3 or 4 years ago, when the word "blog" was said to be the biggest search word on the Internet. Still, free food and t-shirts were promised, Jayce^ offered to drive, and the wife was going to be at a friend's house, so why not?
I think more than just a couple of people were stymied by the food that was being laid out when we got there. A fine selection of CostCo veggies and sugary snacks (more snacks than veggies) were in the process of being unwrapped. Fortunately, pizza showed up as we were sitting down and networking with the other bloggers. I saw no fewer than three other members of the Utah Open Source Planet in attendance, and I wouldn't be surprised if more were there. Speaking of which, I'm amused to discover that the first rule of cheesecake (don't talk about cheesecake) is routinely ignored by those to which the advice is dispensed. Hey guys, you were warned.
Speaking of food, I need to get this off my chest right now. There are a few rules of salad that I need you people to always remember, and to teach your children, so that they may in turn teach their children. First of all, do not dress a salad until just before you serve it. This holds true especially for vinaigrettes, which hold acids that can and will wilt any and all greens they can. Do you want to serve wilty salad to your guests? Do you want to eat wilty salad? And this brings us to the second rule: never, ever, ever serve salad on top of hot foods. Ever! If they weren't wilted before you put them on the hot food, they certainly are now. I'm amazed every time I get talked into going to California Pizza Kitchen (Wolfgang Puck-wannabe extrordinaire) and look at what has eventually become my pizza of choice (with modifications): the Pear and Gorgonzola. This really was a brilliant idea. Caramelized pears, chopped hazelnuts, fontina, mozarella, and of course, Gorgonzola cheese. I always have them add the chipotle chicken from the pizza of the same name. The spice accents everything else, and makes it a truly great dish. I also always ask them to serve the salad on the side. This is the salad of field greens, tossed in the ever-so-original ranch dressing, which is meant to go on top of the pizza. What is wrong with these people? It makes me wish Gordon Ramsey would come and smack a few people upside the head. Repeatedly.
Back to the conference. I ended up sitting at a table with a couple of other foodies and a few other geeks. There was a panel of pros, including senatorial candidate Pete Ashdown. When I first met Pete several years ago, he was much different. His long hair only added to the fact that he looked like he was coming off an all-nighter. Knowing him to be a fellow geek, he probably was. Now he's some clean-cut politician, fighting for digital rights, among other things. I look forward to hearing from him again at tonight's PLUG meeting.
Several other geeks also graced the panel. I was amused to see Tim Stay, one of the founders of FreeServers. There were a couple of Phils there, notably Phil Burns and Phil Windley, both of whom I'd also heard of, if only briefly. Rounding out the panel was its only female member, Cyndi Tetro, whom I'd never heard of before. Still, despite her previous anonymity to me, she was every bit as engaging as the rest.
Apparently, they're planning on making the next conference in 6 months a little bigger event, more of an all-day thing. I'm a little more excited about it, now that I've seen how well this one went over. Then again, I think there's just something about eating pizza with my fellow geeks, with notebooks at hand, that just makes the world feel right.