Thursday, August 30, 2007

Free beer for bloggers, but why?

I have a natural suspicion of commercial television stations and their cut-throat, lowest-common-denominator programming. Their smiley news drives me to the remote off button every time.

So when KATU invited me to a “Blogger Meet-up” last Wednesday, I was skeptical.

What’s in it for them? I wondered.

To find out, on a balmy Wednesday evening I mounted the Chinese Steed and scooted on over to the hulking KATU studio on Sandy Boulevard.

I was greeted at the door, asked to sign in and was handed a name tag.

Someone directed me down a hallway and I wandered through the bowels of the place to a room full of … yikes! … bloggers!

About 70 of us stood around nibbling finger food, drinking wine and beer and talking blogger talk. I was probably the oldest blogger in the room, but no one called me "sir." When I told them about The Red Electric and showed them my card, several actually said, “Cool!”

Some bloggers already knew each other. Several had been blogging four or five years. I've been flogging away at this less than a year.

I met three blogging friends — Christy, Rodger and Terrish — who all have knitting blogs, (yes, you read that right, KNITTING) Respectively their sites are, and

Bill Roberson, who works at the station as its web producer, has a site under construction that will be devoted to old motorcycles and will be called greatoldbikes. He is also versed in scooters. Afterwards I showed him the Chinese Steed, and he showed me his 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000 Z-1R, which, he informs me, was a limited-production motorcycle that was the fastest bike in the world in 1978.

Bill is a big fan of old British bikes like Nortons. The name of the German manufacturer Triumph came up. I agreed to send him a photo of my Triumph typewriter, oddly enough, made by the motorcycle company. Same distinctive logo.

Cat has a site called Fry Kitty. Under the web address,, is the line “Always obsessed with something,” which, come to think of it, applies to a lot of bloggers, including this one.

J.D. Roth is just starting a site, Oakgrove Crossing, for the little unincorporated community of Oak Grove, which is squeezed or nestled (depending on your perspective or mood) between Sellwood and Milwaukie. His site a little like what I’m trying to do with Hillsdale News. We agreed to stay in touch.

A former PCC student of mine, Kyle, was there, but he threw me off because his name tag read “Jake.” I asked him why and he said, “Because I felt like being ‘Jake’ tonight.”

I said, “Cool. “

I think he was there for the beer and finger food.

James Bash reviews classical music on his site. He also writes music reviews for the Vancouver Columbian. His day job is writing arid technical prose. He confessed that the blog and classical music are where his heart is.

Bill Nothstine has a political site called P3. He recommended joining "Drinking Liberally," a group of liberals who apparently do, regularly, nationally, and locally at the Luck Lab on Belmont.

At some point the station folks invited us onto the KATU news set, as if it were some kind of local media shrine. We were directed to line up around the anchor desk for a group photo and told to put our beers away because that would look tacky.

The photo may end up appearing before a mass, tacky-averse audience. Who knows? Plied on shrimp and cheddar cheese morsels, Fat Tire Ale, and good companionship, we didn’t care.

On the way out we were given a gift bag with KATU’s compliments. When I got home I poked around inside and discovered a can of WIRED energy drink, a chocolate bar wrapped in paper sporting the “Blogger Meet Up” logo and a minute Chinese-made 128-meg thumb drive.

I never did figure out KATU’s motive. Maybe, they just wanted to toast fellow communicators.

Or maybe they know something the rest of us don't.

Or maybe we matter more than we think we do.

As if it matters….

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Blogger ...deb said...

Hmmm...I might have gone if I'd knewn you were going. I had my own set of suspicions that kept me away. And I really like Fat Tire.

9:54 PM  

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