#BlogConCLT How I spent my BlogCon vacation

**Posted by Phineas

Early last Thursday morning (as in 1:40 AM!), I jetted off for the wilds of North Carolina for the third gathering of the Rebel Alliance conservative bloggers, videographers, and policy wonks known as “BlogCon.” This being my first visit to the state and my first face-to-face interaction with my fellow dangerous potential right-wing extremists (1), I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought I’d have a good time. In truth, I had a great time, and the entire trip far-surpassed expectations.

I’ll break this into topics.

Effusive Thanks Department:

First of all, many thanks to Freedom Works, the Franklin Center, and the indefatigable Tabitha Hale for the offer of a scholarship that enabled me to go at all. It was absolutely unexpected and out of the blue; I had a marvelous time, learned a lot, and met some great people. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Then come equally heartfelt thanks to my blog-buddy, Sister Toldjah, who’s not only let me play in her yard for nearly two years, but graciously chauffeured me to and from the airport, introduced me to as many people as she could in spite of my shyness, and treated me to some wonderful North Carolina barbecue at R&R. (2) From beginning to end, she made sure I enjoyed my stay in her beautiful state and lovely city. Thanks, ST.

Finally, thanks and praise to the Hilton Charlotte Center City, which provided a comfortable room (all to my own), excellent service, and flawless Wi-Fi. And thank goodness the air-conditioning was adjustable. (Why do they always set it to freezing in hotel rooms?)

The Convention Itself Department:

With about 250 people, the convention was a small one (3), but very active and enthusiastic. All the presentations were held in one ballroom, with panels ranging from deep red meat (Stephen Kruiser’s rousing closing address) to matters of policy (Freedom Works head Matt Kibbe on “public choice theory.”) My favorites were the impressive rough cut from the forthcoming documentary about what’s behind the Occupy movement, narrated by the late Andrew Breitbart; “Data Visualization: Telling the Story,” which sounds incredibly dry but was very interesting as presented by Matthias Shapiro and Alex Lundry; presentations on investigative research and reporting by Lachlan Markey, Trent Seibert, Mandy Nagy, and Brandon Darby; and legal issues in blogging, such as suing and getting sued, presented by Kurt “#caring” Schlichter and James Skyles. Tons of good information.

The whole two days was worth it. You can find the whole agenda here.

The People Department:

Aside from learning handy stuff, one of the main features of a convention such as BlogCon is the chance to meet and network with people you’ve only read online. Quite often, you’d introduce yourself by your real name, but the light of recognition wouldn’t go on until you also mentioned your Twitter handle or blog. Then it was some variant of “Ah-HAH! That’s you? I love your stuff!”

There’s something to be said for being among people like you politically and not having to be careful what you say. Must’ve been how the people of Rohan felt after Wormtongue was kicked out.

In no particular order, I want to note some of the great folks I met. If I’ve left anyone out, it’s not because I didn’t enjoy our encounter, but because this post-con head cold has ravaged my brain.

Regardless, it was a high pleasure and honor to meet: Jimmie Bise, jr.; JKinLosAngeles; Amelia Hamilton; Gay Patriot; JCinQC; Gabriel Malor; Jon Fleischman; Tony Katz; Anthropocon; SteveEgg; Melissa Clouthier; AlwaysOnOffense; ExJon; Jim Geraghty; and Andrew Malcolm.

Disappointment Department:

Not introducing myself to Dana Loesch while we were at the post-con bowling and billiards party. She’s a one-woman conservative war band. Next time. Also, the lack of Ed Morrissey, one of my early blogging role models. The woman who was so rude as to have a loud cell phone conversation in the back of the ballroom during a presentation. Learn some manners! Finally, getting my sinuses and ears all messed up by air travel. Argh.

Sudden Unexpected Thrill Department:

Seeing the news flash on my laptop that Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had been forced into a primary, and then hearing a moment later the whoops of joy from Kristina Ribali and the Freedom Works people in the hall outside the ballroom; they had worked tirelessly to bring this about. It struck me both just how powerful the populist conservative movement can be, and how wired-in we’d become. I think we knew before the major news networks. (For the record, I think it’s time for Hatch to retire or be retired, but I don’t bear him any particular animus.)

Freudian Moment Department:

Late night Saturday night at the hotel bar after the convention closed, seeing a group of hot conservative women smoking cigars. God Bless the South.


If you have a strong interest in grassroots conservative politics; if you have a blog, a video site, a podcast, or even just a bunch of post-its; and if you want to meet nice, friendly, and very smart like-minded people, you owe it to yourself to go at least once.

I’m looking forward to next year.

(1) According to Homeland Security, at least
(2) In the infamous North Carolina BBQ sauce civil war, I tried both the tomato-based and vinegar-based sauces. Call me a fence-sitting centrist, I liked them both. I know, I know… RINO!!
(3) For comparison, I often go to GenCon in Indianapolis, which last year drew over 36,000 people.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Prayer request (UPDATED)

I’ve got an ultrasound appointment later on today for an issue that popped up for me in the summer of 2008 that I, unfortunately, have not followed up on until now – mainly out of fear (I know – it’s a stupid reason to not have a follow-up done). In short, I have what’s called a “splenic cyst” – a cyst in my spleen. Supposedly they are very rare and usually don’t cause any problems outside of mild discomfort for the people who have them. I’ve only had the discomfort once (knock on wood) which is what led to the discovery of the cyst.

Anyway, at the time of my last ultrasound, the size was about 3 centimeters. If it hasn’t grown much since then, it will just have to be monitored. But if it’s grown a substantial amount, surgery might be required to either remove the cyst or remove the spleen altogether. Obviously, I don’t want to have to do either. I’ll update you guys later this evening unless I’m too depressed to. Am hoping it’s just broken up on its own but I have a feeling that hasn’t happened.

So … if you have a moment would you please say a little prayer for yours truly on this? I rarely ever ask for personal prayer requests but I’m a little nervous and also know for a fact that the power of prayer always helps.

Thanks in advance.

Oh – and TGIF! :)

Update – 6:45 PM: Thank you for the prayers – both here and on Twitter and Facebook. :) Got some potentially good news: The ultrasound tech couldn’t find the cyst. It was a little bigger than an inch the first time it was seen but now it is nowhere to be found, which I’m hoping my doctor will tell me means I don’t have to worry about it anymore. The icky news is that gallstones were found. Sigh! But they were small so hopefully I’ll have to just monitory them and it won’t be anymore serious than that.

Thanks again for using the power of prayer to help me through my visit this afternoon. I could feel them!

An open letter to my (now deceased) biological father, whom I never met

How is it you can cry over the death of someone you never knew and had never even met? You can if you’re me and you’ve just found out through a little Google digging that the biological father you never met passed away six months ago.

Well, it’s not entirely accurate to say I “never met” him.  He and my mother were only married six months.  I was born after they divorced.  According to mom, he came around to visit the first year, year and a half or so of my life but after she starting seeing and then eventually married the man who I always have and always will call my “real dad”, he stopped coming around, lost touch, and basically dropped off the face of the Earth.

I didn’t find out until just before I turned 13 that my dad wasn’t my biological father.   I was numb for a little bit but strangely not sad, because I loved my dad, still do, always will – he and mom have joked for years that I was one of the main reasons they got married in the first place (mom said he was really good with me, and he thought I was adorable, etc).  He is the only dad I have ever known and even after I found out the truth about things he was the only dad I wanted to know and that has never changed throughout the decades.    He is the one who has always been there for me and mom and my family.  He supported and raised me as if I were his own daughter, adopting me when he and my mom were married so I would have his name.  I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

The last 3 decades or so I was never really curious to find my biological father; even finding out through the grapevine that he had children with the woman he married later in life – which meant I had half-siblings – didn’t make me any more curious.   Part of it was due to suppressed anger and hurt that he had never reached out to me (as far as I know – and I know my mom would not have kept him from me), but the bigger part of it was wanting to leave old wounds unopened.  I didn’t want to hurt my mom and dad even though they told me they would have understood completely if I had wanted to try and locate my biological father.   I figured it was something best left alone.

I’d like to think maybe he felt the same way and that’s why he didn’t reach out to me, but I’ll never know now.  I’ll never know what he looked like, either.  The one picture my mom had of him she tore up out of  resentment and hurt, something she has since told me she deeply regrets doing.

The short obit I read about him didn’t list a cause of death, so I assume it was due to old age.

When I found out the news today after I did my Google searches, I cried.  Not because I “miss” him – I never knew him.  I cried over what could have been, the questions that could have been answered, had just one of us reached out to find the other.   I will have to learn over time to forgive myself for being too selfish in my own life to do that.  But I’d also like to let him know that I forgive him, too.   Writing is an emotional outlet for me, so this is the best way I know to do this.

So, sir,  if you’re in that good place upstairs where you can read this, please know that I forgive you for your absence from my life.   Even now, I can’t bring myself to call you “dad” – I only have one of those – but I can bring bring myself to let go of that anger and hurt deep inside me.  I have to let it go. I’m sure you had your reasons for not finding me,  just as I had mine for not seeking you out.  If God blesses me enough to let me into heaven when the time comes, and you’re there, too, I’ll make sure to ask.



Your daughter S.

Thanksgiving Greetings from Sister Toldjah

I’m here at mom and dad’s this morning, getting ready to help mom finish preparing what we’ll be taking over to my middle sister’s house later on this morning for Thanksgiving.   The house has a delicious smell to it – always does when mom’s cooking. :) Steamed squash, crowder peas, deviled eggs, cherry pie – all being prepped for transport. Yum!

Wanted to wish all the readers of this blog a warm, wonderful, safe Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.  Please remember to say an extra prayer at the dinner table for those who can’t be with their families today because they’re honorably serving their country far away from home.  Many, many thanks for all they do by protecting our freedoms and keeping us safe. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Father’s Day!

Just wanted to take a momentto wish all you dads out there a great Father’s Day. If Father’s Day is being done right, it won’t be YOU out there firing up the grill for those burgers. ;)

Special shout out to my dad, who is celebrating his first Dad’s Day being retired, and who is battling a number of health issues, but who is still staying upbeat about life.

Have an awesome day!

Update on Dad – Good news

Hi all!

First, thanks SO much for all the prayers.  I was telling dad on the way to the hospital yesterday morning that the prayers were pouring in here, at Twitter, and at Facebook for him and he was very touched and wanted me to thank you all on his behalf.  They were definitely felt! And answered, as dad made it through the stent surgery ok.  The hospital recovery time was a little longer than initially anticipated because he was so out of it after the surgery, so we didn’t get out of the hospital until a little after 3.  Mom and I took him home, made sure he was resting comfortably, and then went back out to pick up a prescription for him that the doc. had prescribed for the pain he was going to be feeling once the hospital meds wore off.  I stayed overnight at mom and dad’s just to make sure everything was ok and that he didn’t need any assistance.

This morning, he was in good spirits and he and mom even went together to breakfast at Bojangle’s. :)  So life is getting back to normal, it seems – “normal” for my family, anyway!

I see my co-blogger did an awesome job, as usual. Nice to know this place is in good hands when I’m away.

I’ve missed writing! Catching up on the last couple of days’s worth of news in hopes of being able to write something before I head out later today for a cookout at my sister’s house.  Nothing like some grilled burgers to put me in a good frame of mind. ;)

What are y’all up to this weekend?

Open Thread and Prayer Request

Hey y’all,

Sorry for the light blogging the last couple of weeks.  Life has been a whirlwind for me between a busy schedule at work and personal responsibilities – some days I come home just flat worn out.  I tend to be able to be online in spurts now rather than being able to be on sporadically through the day.  That’s just the way it is for yours truly right now – I blog when I can.  Thankfully, my co-blogger pretty much kicks a** with providing thoughtful content, and has been a real lifesaver for me. :)   I am currently in the process of reprioritizing and reevaluating my average day in order to try and better manage my time.  Hopefully that will aid me in being able to do more of what I love best, which is to write about politics, current events, and pop culture.

Tomorrow, for a good bit of the day I’ll be with my dad as he goes in for outpatient surgery to put a stent in his arm in the event he has to be put on dialysis for his kidney disease in the near future.  The poor guy has gone through so much in the past couple of years with his health, and my heart just goes out to him.  It pains me to see him suffer so much and not be able to do anything about it, and the stress is taking its toll on my mother – even though she would never admit it.  I cry sometimes, and worry a lot and pray a lot.

Would you pray for my dad, too, please?

Hope to catch y’all sometime tomorrow.  If not, sometime this weekend.  Have a safe holiday weekend, everyone.

Celebrating Mother’s Day

I’m currently at mom’s and dad’s awaiting the arrival of my sisters and bros-in-laws to start the official mom’s day celebration. Wanted to wish all the mom’s out there an awesome Mother’s Day! Here’s a photo of my mom and me from last October when we made a business trip (for her) to Durham. Fun times. :)

Mama & Sistah Toldjah - October 2010

Mama & Sistah Toldjah - October 2010

Public Secrets banned from Facebook? UPDATE — ban lifted

**Posted by Phineas

Apparently so. A reader wrote to tell me he was blocked from linking one of my posts there because of “abusive or spamming content.” So, I fired up the seldom-used Public Secrets account and, sure enough, I was blocked from linking a post from my own blog.


It had to have happened within the last week or so, since I recall seeing recent hits from Facebook. It’s no great loss, but I am curious which post outraged someone so much that he or she felt a need to complain. Was it one pointing out the inherent aggressiveness, misogyny, and Jew-hatred in Islam? That’s not being abusive, just honest. My contentions that Eric Holder should be impeached, Barack Obama is a stealth Socialist, and this entire administration a bunch of bumblers out to weaken the United States? Strong opinions, yes, but “abusive?”

And I wonder if it takes one complaint or several?

As for “spamming,” when did I ever try to sell any of you the “Secret Way To Make Money Fast?”

Well, recently, at any rate.

Anyone know how one goes about getting the ban lifted? Not so much for me, but I’d like others to be able to link, if they want to.

UPDATE: It looks like the ban has been lifted.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)


Hey, y’all! Sorry for the light blogging from yours truly today. Last couple of days have been super hectic. I’m out the door in just a few minutes to drive a few hours to meet my friend @bluedevilmsn, and tomorrow she and I will be headed up to DC for CPAC! Looking forward to it. It’s my first trip to DC.

I’ll be able to check in from time to time, but mostly via Twitter and Facebook. Lord-willing, I’ll be back home Sunday afternoon/evening. May get a couple of posts up here and there as well. Be nice to my co-blogger in the meantime, ok? :D

One request: Would you please pray for traveling grace for us on the way up and back? Thanks in advance. :)