BOLO Night in Ottawa

July 7th, 2011 – Did something different tonight. Did something really different tonight. Hung out in a basement room with a hundred women and ten guys. Possible rounding error but you get the picture. Yes, you read right. Members of my gender were outnumbered ten to one (estimate with some rounding)! And to add to the excitement, most of these women and maybe most of the men were blogging fanatics!

BOLO = Blog Out Loud Ottawa and this was the third year that members of Ottawa’s blogging community came together for an evening of ‘networking’ and listening to fellow bloggers read from their blogs. As funny as this might sound, listening to someone read their blog that is, it really was an entertaining event. Some of the blogs that were chosen for reading related to sad times, some related to happy times, some related to moments of the ‘been there, done that’ kind and still others elicited the ‘wish I’d been there, wish I’d done that’ type of response.

Tech note: The organizers had warned that there would be very little light (an understatement).. To compensate for the low light, I cranked up the ISO to 1600 or so and shot without flash for a while but eventually opted to use the on board flash which helped a bit. Having made that technical comment, please enjoy putting faces to some of Ottawa’s bloggers. My apologies to anyone whose face doesn’t fit with their name or their blog address. Please let me know and I’ll make the correction.

Once the MC had stopped flashing, he did a wonderful job keeping the program moving along.  The first blogger up on the stage was Allison of Bibliomama reading about her adventures as a mother and school bus volunteer on a field trip – a bonding experience.

Then it was the geek’s turn. Well not really a geek! A gyrrl giik! It was Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the Web. No iPad, no iPhone, no i nothing and no mp3. I loved listening to her talking about her rise to geekdom status or lack thereof because only moments earlier she had politely asked me to move out of the doorway because I was blocking her signal from the outer world :-)! You just had to be there. It was one of those moments :-). Tanya was followed on stage by Dani Donders of Postcards from the Mothership with her Crayola crayon tale of woe and lint filters and a few things in between. There is a saying in photography, “See red. Shoot it?” I know Dani from her photography as “Dani Girl”and not from her blogging but after tonight I will understand why her children’s drawings lack a particular colour – RED!
I also found out from here readings that she likes to do  things over and over again, like ironing paper towels, until she gets it right :-).
The next three who came to the podium had competition. I was hungry and thirsty and during their presentations and the one’s that followed, I was somewhat preoccupied with ordering and eating some meatball thing that Sara’s husband had recommended. I hadn’t met him before but he had ordered the same thing. Didn’t look the greatest but it came fast and hit the spot and didn’t have any derivative effects :-). Here I was, ordering something in Ottawa’s Little Italy without reading the menu, and basing my choice on advice from a stranger without reading the menu. Perfect practice for my upcoming trip to Italy!!!

There were no derivative effects but it did mean that my mind wasn’t completely focused on what the next few readers were saying. Vicky B. of Some Kind of Mom, Maranda Carvell of Momicon, and Sara McConnell of My Points of View lost out to the food :-). I remember that someone had scrambled eggs for breakfast and someone was remembering doing up zippers but who did what to whom or with whom is a bit scrambled. Sorry about that. For the next number of minutes, I took a photo, returned to the food, ate a bit, took another photo, ate a bit, etc. until I eventually finished the food. Funny how, in certain circumstances, one word can grab your attention and pull you back into the room. This evening, that word happened to be ALLERGIC. That word always gets my attention. Poison Ivy is my nemesis. I even have an online photoblog tutorial on the identification of  POISON IVY. In Sara’s case, the allergy issue related to horses, not poison ivy, and as as her tale about horses unfolded, it could have easily been the inspiration or catalyst for the making of the current banking commercial about play ponies and real ponies. In Sara’s story, “All’s well, that ends well” would seem to fit despite the allergies and she told it really well – kept everyone on the edge right to the very end.

As with many of my blogs, the photos come first and words come later, eventually, or sometimes never. Saying this now because it is late and I might not get back to this blog for weeks if I don’t get more of it done before the weekend. It was a good evening and I hope that my calendar will let me get to BOLO 2012. While waiting for me to get back to this blog and insert some more words of wisdom or modify whatever words are already entered, please enjoy the photos and the links. Lots of good things being written out there by Ottawa bloggers.
Pamela Stewart of Word on the Beach, Jenn Bennett of 1qtnewf and Karen Wilson of Karen’s Chronicles were next up to the podium and, like the three who got there before them, faced competition for my attention which was pretty tough. The food eating process more or less continued to hold the upper hand.

When I start an evening like this, I always think that I can remember everything and don’t need to take notes. By the midpoint, I usually realize that such thinking was hubris or worse and begin to take a few memory-jogging notes. Took the same approach in University, BTW. At exam time, I always hoped that the important points had been at the end of the lecture! So for the next three I had notes. not long notes, but notes :-). Scribbled on an uneven surface so, for Rebecca Stanisic of A Little Bit of Momsense, my notes were from a slightly different perspective as: Baby Meeting – Hello Mudder!, and then, for Annie of PhD in Parenting, it was: Sifting Through the Propaganda, and then for Amanda Jette of Stay-At-Home Mayhem it was: Motherhood Misteps/One Step at a Time/Listen to Mother. Not the titles that they would have likely chosen but helped me remember the stories that they told.

As I said from the outset, I thought that the MC did a wonderful job. Only problem was that as the night progressed, he began to need longer arms. Seems he had left his glasses at home.

Finally after 12 woman had been to the podium, at last there was a man! Oh good, someone who will read a blog about girls, or fast cars or golf or something like that. What a chance for a good old male stereotype (Man boxes)! Well, Scott Kobewka of didn’t disappoint. He talked about Frames :-). My notes were simple: Copyrighter/Frames/Colombia. You had to be there to understand my notes so without further ado (don’t you just love that phrase), I’ll move on to my notes about the next presenter Krista Gray-Donald of Life in the Hutch. For her presentation, my notes were equally descriptive and cryptic: Traces. KILL MICKEY!. For me, her presentation really struck a chord. one of those “Been there! Done that!” moments. Then along came Nadine Thornhill of Adorkable Thesbian with a mixture of thoughtful reflection, big words (Jazzercize), a bit of rightful indignation, a treatise on the place of rice cakes in society. Personally, I might not have been so kind to the person behind her in the line in MacDonald’s but ….

We headed into the final six presentations of the evening, first with Tamara Manning of Flavoured Echoes leading out with her discussion of her 365 photography project and then Grace of Mothermind got us through one of her sleep deprivation, get me a strong coffee, eyes foggy kind of mornings and then, along came Nat Hansen of From Nat’s Brain. Somehow, Nat managed to combine the phrase “Get Thee To A Nunnery” with some sort of communication strategy for managing things happening or not happening in a back seat of a Fiat on the way to discussing modern day educational movies and pads and kept the audience chuckling all of the way through. I completely lost track of whether or not Jesus was crying or weeping! :-).

Just when things were settling down from Nat’s enthusiastic discussion of things that matter (or don’t), the next speaker arrived on stage, sporting a fashionable fascinator atop a bed of Atomic Pink. I certainly enjoyed Jes Lacasse of Your Sweet Bippy describe the place in society of cheeky shorts and mini-mini’s; and belts, too, for that matter :-), and she had definite opinions about what to do about all of those “what not to wear after 35” bits of advice. If she wants to revert back to Cupcake Pink, well who am I to comment?  Next on the podium was Claire of FoodiePrints with her bottle of champagne. That $47 mechanical champagne opener must have been quite the instrument of mass destruction! Once the cork had been popped Finola Francis of Finola’s Blog got to finish off the evening’s readings with a proper valediction from her delightful selection of Toodle Pip (sp?), Keep your Teeth, Courage, Hermeticallly Yours, GLHF and Keep On Truckin’ to name a few. Certainly more than I had ever considered.

The last requirement of the evening. The Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, moments; the good byes and the see you laters (and a Toodle Pip or two 🙂 ). and it was out into the cloudless night for the drive home.

About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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3 Responses to BOLO Night in Ottawa

  1. Neeroc says:

    Great recap. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself but it was nice to see you in action.

  2. Lynn says:

    Ron! This report is wonderful and your photos are FANTASTIC. Thanks so much for coming out! I was wondering, would it be alright if I took a couple of these shots for the Blog Out Loud website?

  3. Pingback: Blog Out Loud » The Readers

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