Virtual reality

Well, it finally happened. In stereotypical fashion, I'm blogging in my pajamas. It wasn't intended to be a tribute to Cathy in the Wright, but that's what happened.

I dropped by the latest Minnesota Organization of Bloggers (M.O.B.) "meeting" at Keegan's Irish Pub in Minneapolis earlier tonight. M.O.B. gatherings are organized and publicized by the bloggers from Minnesota known as The Northern Alliance, via their blogs and their Saturday afternoon radio show on AM 1280 The Patriot.

The M.O.B. meeting was the polar opposite of blogging. Blogging is a solitary activity, usually occurring in a quiet office or at home, contemplative, and interactive only via the faceless comments feature of the blog. The meeting at Keegan's consisted of bloggers, wannabe bloggers, and the curious, debating current events, politics, and this afternoon's Northern Alliance radio show, crowded into the close quarters of a cozy, smoky pub abuzz with dozens of loud conversations and laughter, overflowing pints of Guinness, Harp Lager and other such Irish brews everywhere, folks noshing on fish 'n' chips, and lots of real introductions to people we had met only in the virtual world.

Many bloggers of The Northern Alliance were in attendance, notably the inimitable Mitch Berg (Shot in the Dark) and the affable econ prof King Banaian (SCSU Scholars), who like many of the other regulars, were quick to invite newbies into the conversations and make introductions all around. Also rubbing elbows were Cathy (Cathy in the Wright, who made good on her promise to wear her flannel PJs to the M.O.B.), "Flash" (Centrisity, thanks again for the link), Margaret Martin and David Strom (Our House, with photos of the evening now or very soon), Derek Bingham (Freedom Dogs), James Lileks (The Bleat), Craig Westover (Craig Westover), and newspaper people, pols, and others I didn't have a chance to meet. My brush with fame was with Sarah Janecek, frequent political commentator on the TPT show "Almanac" and co-publisher of Politics in Minnesota.

It was a lot to take in, but it was quite enjoyable to meet and greet some fellow bloggers. For me, it made the blogosphere less virtual and more reality (and gave me lots more reading to do). It was open to all, intellectually stimulating, and at times hilarious. Maybe I'll see you at the next M.O.B. Good night, Frau Blucher.

UPDATE: Hats off to Doug Bass (Belief Seeking Understanding) for mentioning our conversation at Keegan's and for linking to this blog from his.

UPDATE: The King and I (Photo: David Strom)

King Banaian and Matt Abe at M.O.B., Keegan's Pub, January 22 (Photo: David Strom)