IFBC 2017: Day Two, God and the Rubber Poop Monster

As I sit here trying to come up with a compelling hook, I’m reminded of Kevin Smith.  How many people would say that Kevin Smith comes to mind as a motivator? (well, the person who chose Tom Cruise as her hero for a 9th grade English writing assignment, I guess; I’ll admit, though, that for that one, I do cringe at the memory)

Nothing new here – I’m still having that case of writer’s block.  A shame, really, as I have a lot to say now that the official conference portions are finished.  Overall, I had a great time and think I should write about that.  However, I think about the things that didn’t go as well and feel I should mention those also.  Would that be “career” suicide though (not actually a career since I am doing this as a hobby at the moment)?  Kevin Smith wrote a comedy about two fallen angels trying to exploit a religious loophole and drew the ire of Catholics everywhere; he’s still fairly successful today (TBH, he wasn’t just starting out with “Dogma” at that point of his career).

I do think, though, I need to be thorough.  How believable would my post be if everything were perfect?  I don’t think I’d buy it or I’d think the writer to be a bit of a Pollyanna.  There’s nothing wrong with being a Pollyanna, IMO, but I do think I need to be realistic (and honest without being offensive).

Moving on – Day Two of IFBC.  I loved it; I really did.  This was my first time attending anything like this and, at the time I was considering it, we’d hit a financial low with me being out on medical leave and not receiving any more disability payments and Gabriel being our sole source of income.  We’d had to reassess our financial situation and determine that both of us spending hundreds of dollars on extracurriculars just wasn’t realistic at that point in our finances.  Oddly, at the time I did opt to register after all, we still were at that same point.  I think we agreed to go forward with one thing that was important to each of us – for me, that was attending IFBC (yeah, I hear and read people refer to it as “the IFBC” but using “the” just feels extraneous to me when using the abbreviation).

Anyway, so here I was with a $145 investment in something I had no idea about.  I did attend a Sacramento Bloggers meeting (my first) where I learned the facilitator, Margaret Andrews, is on the IFBC advisory board, and she assured the group that attending IFBC is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about blogging, even for the non-food bloggers.  Still, I didn’t know if it would be a benefit for ME, but it was worth checking out at least once since it was local (for me).

Day One was pretty cool with the giveaways and the food & beverage sampling.  I continue to reminisce about the chilled heirloom tomato soup from Waterboy.  That was my favorite; I even went back for a second sample.  If I were more daring and wanting to stay later, I think I would’ve gone back for more.  That soup had a pleasantly cool creaminess that coated your mouth with a delightful sense of YUM!  I don’t really know how else to describe it.  It helps if you like tomatoes.  There was a sweetness to it that was just the right amount of sweet; it reminds me of the one and only time I had the perfect tomato.  Until then, I never knew what people meant when they’d talk about the sweetness of a tomato (all the ones I tried were either bland or a little sour).  I bought these tomatoes at the Asian farmers market on Broadway.  I went back one Sunday after that but, sadly, tomato season was over.  I never had another tomato that tasted like that until Waterboy’s soup.

(oops, my alarm just went off shaking me out of writing mode since it’s time for another dose of That-Which-Keeps-Away-The-Debilitating-Leg-Pain; reminds me of how Margaret Andrews said she became pro-medication after discovering how much meds helped her own life-limiting health issues – and I’d have to agree)

Anyway, back to that tomato soup that’s seared on my brain and my tongue.  Just checked – I believe it’s on their menu.  If I didn’t have so much to do today, I’d go flying out the door right now dragging Gabriel by the hand in order to partake of a full bowl (or even two!) of that incredible, silky soup.  We’ve never gone to Waterboy, but I do think a visit sometime in the next few days is in order while tomatoes are still in season.

Okay, I continue to digress.  Back on topic.  I guess one great benefit of having no idea what to expect is that I was big-time wowed by most of the experience.  I started out registering for the conference just hoping for motivation to be more regular about posting and walked out wanting to reassess my writing, revamp my photography and revitalize my productivity.  I wasn’t really concerned about picking up followers but now I think, “This could be the ticket to supplementing our retirement income.”  Now that I’ve gone back to work with having lost 1.5 years of service towards my pension and being only 18 years from when we plan to retire, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about how to accumulate enough savings to be “okay.”  We already don’t have even a modicum of a high-end lifestyle so it’s not like we could start saving money that way (by choice and by preference, fortunately, as we wouldn’t have to cut out those kinds of things after retiring since we don’t do them anyway).

Oh, I just keep going off on tangents! (sorry…well, not sorry…well, sorta)

The bottom line is I came to realize I do want to, at the very least, make the effort towards being a successful, money-earning blogger, and now is a great time for me to do so – my new job doesn’t impact the rest of my life (unlike the old job, which caused me to go out on medical leave to begin with).  I’ve determined to put off returning to school until Fall 2018 when I’d be more certain of where I am with my health (and, hopefully, be able to save money towards school).  I now have all this available time to redirect.  IFBC reminds me of what MLM presentations must be like but in a good way (if that were possible); the experience has driven up my enthusiasm regarding blogging.  Anyway, I don’t have anything I need to invest except my own time and energy.  It helps that I’ve always enjoyed writing and taking pictures.  I’ve fantasized about making money writing, but that seemed about as near to me as winning the lottery.

So, I was assessing my inaugural experience at IFBC, right?  I was just reviewing the 2017 agenda online and saw the info I missed as I didn’t look at it closely enough.  I see there were two different types of presentations (sessions, they are called in the agenda) – Discovery and Breakout.  The Discovery ones are the vendor presentations; it makes more sense now why I spent an hour watching what I thought was going to be on food styling in general and, really, felt like an hour-long infomercial on avocados from Chile.  I was at a table near the front so I don’t know what the other tables did but out of 8-9 individuals seated at my table, only 2-3 participated in attempting to make the avocado slices bend to their will (no one succeeded – even the presenter, Lisa Lin, said one person’s avocado was too firm when she rushed over in answer to their cries for help).  I strongly suspect that most of us felt the same way – that this was totally not what we thought we were signing up for.  I overheard two of my tablemates quietly consider leaving for the other presentation but one said it was too late and that they were committed.  “No, not too late!” I wanted to yell back, “Let’s all leave and go to the cow talk instead.”  I was hoping it would get a lot better, but it really never did.  I would say that experience, the vengeful elevator and having to argue for a vegetarian sandwich were really my only not-positive issues at the conference.

As far as cutting into the whole avocados we each got – are you freaking kidding me?  Avocados are like gold right now.  Just a week ago, I could only find avocados about a 1/3 of the size we received, most of them were too firm to be ripe when I needed them and cost $1.47 each.  You bet that large and perfectly ripe avocado went home with me intact, and the same went for most of the others at my table.  We mostly sat there and waited out the presentation.

Other than those three things, I learned a great deal of useful information at the conference AND met several individuals who not only blog about food but seem to have the same concerns and goals as I do regarding addressing food waste, food insecurity and food deserts.  I’d say it was $145 well spent.


Oh, you’re still there?  You say you want to know about the “vengeful elevator?”  There are two elevators at the Convention Center near where we were; I’d stay away from the one on the right (facing them), if possible.  It’s malfunctioning and even though an employee was told about it on Friday, it was still in use all day Saturday (and still malfunctioning) so I’d beware of that elevator.  Three of us watched as it almost closed on one woman because the sensors wouldn’t recognize she was crossing and continued to try to close (and almost completely closed on her).  Saturday, I noticed that, twice, it wasn’t stopping level with the second floor.  It also wouldn’t respond when I stepped in and pressed the button to go to the first floor.  Not taking the elevator isn’t an option for some of us – I have a bad left knee and I saw one attendee in a cast and another on a mobility scooter.  Sometimes, you really do have to take the elevator, just not one that seems bent on trying to damage us (if it weren’t truly a hazard, it would make for a good “scary elevator” for Halloween – there’s a “positive” twist for ya!).

If I go again (which I do hope to as next year’s is in New Orleans!), I’ll know to make sure to thoroughly read the agenda before making my session choices.  I’ll research the participating vendors.  I’ll check out the blogs of those presenting and the topics they’ll be discussing to see if I have any questions I’d like answered.  I’ll have my own business cards! (that was a biggie)

It was wonderful.  It was worth it.  It was a shame it had to end.  The organizers did a fantastic job, and I am so happy to have gone.


Wait – you’ve got another question?  Oh, that’s right – why is my title referencing God and a rubber poop monster?  In Kevin Smith’s 1999 film “Dogma,” we encounter God in the form of Alanis Morissette (no spoiler, really, since she appears only after you find out she’s God).  We also get to see the Golgothan – a human-sized rubber poop monster (seriously, Kevin Smith refers to it as a “rubber poop monster”).  That movie reminds me of the risks he was willing to take and, also, of his initial efforts in making his filmmaker dreams become reality.  He took a chance by dropping out of film school (where he wasn’t getting the education he thought he’d get), took that tuition refund plus getting into about $25,000 of credit card debt and made a little movie called “Clerks.”  He went from working at a mom-and-pop video store (as a clerk) to successfully applying regular effort towards launching his career as a filmmaker.  On the side of that, Kevin Smith also started doing speaking engagements where he’d talk about anything and, really, everything (I’ve found his talks extremely entertaining).  One time, he mentions an exchange he had with Ben Affleck where Affleck wants Kevin Smith to write another script like “Chasing Amy.”  It is that exchange that I think of when I’m having trouble writing.  Ben Affleck passionately tells Kevin Smith, “You gotta write it.  Who else could write it?  You gotta write it.  Write it, man.  Write..write it.  F—k, write it!”  And that, I’d say, is my voice of motivation

#kakainna #IFBCDayTwo #IFBC #socalval


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