12. April 2010 · Comments Off on What I Saw at the Milblogger Convention · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, General, Home Front, Media Matters Not, Military

Let’s see – I experienced air travel at the end of the first decade of this century. I can report that practically every shred of comfort, convenience, and excitement has been removed from the travel experience itself with almost surgical precision – although the ability to check in from your home computer and print up your boarding pass is a welcome development, and the lavish proliferation of food courts at the major hubs is similarly welcome. Especially as it seems that a tiny bag of peanuts, or a cookie and some juice or a soft-drink of choice is about the only thing served to coach passengers on short haul flights. I expect that the next step in the progression will be that the cabin staff will no longer actually hand them out from the narrow metal cart hauled up and down the aisles. Within a short time, I think they will probably hand them out after they swipe your boarding pass at the departure gate, and save the cabin staff considerable trouble. (It’s still better than MAC flights, though. Not much, but still better.)

The Atlanta airport is presently so big that it could possibly secede from Atlanta proper, and set up as its own municipality.

The area around the mid-Atlantic coast is green, green, green. Even from the air, you can make out vivid blobs of pink from the cherry trees in bloom. The dogwood trees are in bloom, too, and all along the parkway between Baltimore and Washington DC, there were tangles of purple wisteria. It’s very nice, to have belts of trees, along the parkways and highways, separating the housing tracts, warehouses and whatever from the highway. Looking at the ass-end of a strip-mall as you drive along is not aesthetically appealing. Sad lack of ground-growing wildflowers, though. I looked at the verges, which had grass and dandelions in plenty, but not much else, and thought, “Dandelions! Dandelions!!!That’s all you got, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia! Pah!”

I have seen the Washington Monument at a distance and close-up and from many angles, as I suspect the shuttle-bus driver actually circled through downtown DC several times. I have also seen the Capitol Building, and the White House, inspected the façade of the Department of Commerce building, and the quaint brick sidewalks and cobbled streets of Georgetown. We were stuck in traffic, so I had plenty of time to contemplate all of these structures. Teensy brick three and four-story townhouses in Georgetown about the width of a small yawn apparently sell for $500,000 when they come on the market.

This is a beautiful time to visit that part of the country; I am told that only the autumn foliage equals spring for sheer natural spectacle.

The Westin Arlington Gateway is a very pleasant place to stay, as hotels go, although slightly on the pricy side. The rooms are mega-comfortable, being designed around a tasteful luxury-spa theme, with lots of pale green, sage and white. The beds are piled with pillows and a thick comforter – all in pristine white. They have their own very special brand of scented white-tea-aloe soap and toiletries – and have them for sale in regular sizes for those who just can’t take away enough of the little individual bottles.

Contra the usual expectation of bloggers being socially inept loners and introverts, who cannot relate face to face to others of their species – the military version appear to be exuberant extroverts . . . even without having had much alcohol to drink.

No one that I talked to at the conference had been mil-blogging longer than I had. I started in August, 2002 – the Dark Ages of mil-blogging – and am still at it, although I have drifted into wider circles than a strictly military/veteran focus. Which makes me rather famous in those circles, although no one asked for my autograph.

To Be Continued – Garry Trudeau, a blogging 4-star admiral, the most gullible troop in all the world, three young men from Hillsdale, and other observations from the 5th Annual Milblogging Conference.

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