Mr. Squiggle's Wonder Emporium: Being Dad Zero at Mom 2.0 - Part 2

*This is the second in a three-part series about this outsider's brief experience at the Mom 2.0 Summit held in Houston, February 18 - 20th. You can read Part 1 here.

Part 2: Finslippy, Mightygirl, and more

Because Mr. Lady and I each had prearranged plans, we parted ways at the close of the exhibit, and I headed toward the shuttle bus that would be ferrying people back to the Four Seasons hotel. Prior to leaving, I chatted with A Southern Fairytale writer, Rachel Matthews about her impending move from the south Texas coast, and our exchange was enough of a distraction to keep me from noticing the handful of riders already on the bus.

Thinking about it now, I believe my experiences with public transportation have conditioned me to never look directly at other passengers as a measure to keep from getting my face shot off, and it certainly taught me to never expect that fellow passengers would be anyone of great notoriety. This is why it took me several minutes to realize that the aforementioned handful of riders included LEAP Design Director, Laurie Smithwick; the effervescent Maggie Mason of Mightygirl; Girl’s Gone Child creator Rebecca Woolf; and someone who I’ve always admired, writer Alice Bradley of Finslippy. I’m also quite thankful none of these ladies had in their possession a concealed handgun, or I currently would be sipping meals through a straw.

It’s moments such as this when a sudden self-consciousness jabs you in the eye, making you wish that you had brought along that bad wig and sunglasses after all. I might have been able to blend in a little better had I not been the only male in the group, and I’m sure that at some point during the trip, my presence prompted each of these power bloggers to wonder who the goofy looking chap was sitting in the front seat. The thought of striking up a conversation did cross my mind; however, the tequila from earlier still hadn’t melted my inhibitions enough for me to introduce myself. Instead, I had to rely on the choreography involved in exiting the bus and the distance to the hotel’s entrance to do the work for me.

Once on the sidewalk words did come from my mouth, and despite whatever drivel may have been spewed from my mouth, these ladies were gracious enough to let me accompany them into the lobby. Inside, Mightygirl snapped photos us, and I don’t doubt that the following morning this poor lady (who was also a keynote speaker) had to be wondering why my mug was showing up in the memory of her digital camera. Although, I will say she was quite fond of my purple shirt and blue velvet blazer, and coming from a woman known for her impeccable style, I took this as great compliment. In fact, based on the number of favorable remarks my ensemble garnered, I’m positive it gained more popularity that evening than did my own blog.

Over the next few minutes I exchanged business cards with April Welch of Simply Organized and My Inspiration Lounge creator Misty Gibbs while somewhere along the way, finally explaining in a coherent manner that I was a stay-at-home dad blogger.

“And what’s the name of your blog?” one of them asked.

Well, obviously you ladies have never heard of me. (My life's goal is to be the Steve Martin of the dad-o-sphere.)

In response, I managed to say the name without blushing, while quickly adding, “But right now I’m thinking about changing it to ‘I Am Nobody.’” It was a C+ level quip making it good enough to get a polite chuckle, but not enough to be memorable. Pity my coat couldn’t grant me super-powered wittiness.

Then off to my right someone suggested “Mr. Squiggle's Wonder Emporium,” and that’s when I realized Finslippy was still standing there. “And you still haven’t given me your card,” she said.

From this point the next several minutes turned into a blur for me. Somewhere in my amnestic state I mentioned being a fan of her writing. Then someone lobbed the phrase “greatest fan” into the air like a hand grenade that landed at my feet, the detonation of which coming in the form of a question by Finslippy. “Biggest fan, huh? So what’s your twenty favorite posts?”


This is when I flat-lined and the long, monotone beep of the monitor faded into the background as everything went back.

Here’s where I need to stop and explain things for a moment. While it’s true I am a fan of Alice Bradley, to categorize me as her “biggest fan” would be a misnomer. Such a designation implies leaving creepy comments about puppies on her site, rooting through her garbage for discarded printer cartridges, and lighting candles before reading her latest post. I’m nowhere near that level of devotion.

My admiration has less to do with what Alice Bradley writes than it does with what she and many others bloggers like her have accomplished in being recognized for their talent as writers. With a regular magazine column, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and a body of work found in a long list of books and well-known publications (to include the freakin’ Onion!), Alice’s site represents those bloggers whose focus rests almost entirely on the strength of the writing itself.

While there are many well-written blogs out there providing product reviews and parenting tips, Alice’s “About Me” page states in clear, simple terms what she is: a writer. At the same, even though she distances Finslippy from other more consumer-oriented blogs, Alice manages to do so without alienating herself or losing relevance within the mom blogging niche.

Certainly she’s not the only one who fits this description, and no, there is nothing inherently wrong with consumer-oriented blogging. However, regardless of what category a blog falls under, one fundamental applies to them all: quality written content is king (or in this case queen). This is something the moms at this summit understand.

(Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to Finslippy for that time a while back when I left the comment about the puppies. It was all a big misunderstanding.*)

*Said puppies comment never actually occurred and is intended only as a joke. However, Finslippy, does utilize an unusual brand of printer cartridges in case anyone’s curious.

That too is a joke.

Tomorrow: Dooce

Oh, and although this might not be exactly how the events I just described went down, the video still captures the flavor.

Get a FREE chapter from Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can't Afford Vodka

Mightygirl and Finslippy photos are from the official Mom 2.0 website.

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