I’m not sure that this changes everything, but it’s definitely better than the gloom and doom that have lingered around my blog for the past several weeks

Yes, yes, I know: You were hoping for another entry filled with death and despair and angry screeds about the unfairness of life in general, because that’s always a good time, but indulge me for a moment while I reminisce about my funky-fresh trip to Atlanta.

You see, back in February, I went to the Mom 2.0 Summit, which was my first-ever blog conference … and it was awesome … but, by the end of that event, it was quite clear to me that, despite rumors to the contrary, I am not one of the girls. So, when plans for this month’s Modern Media Man Summit — colloquially billed as the first-ever daddy-blogger conference — were unveiled, I knew I had to be there. And when I found out that the men behind Muskrat and Clark Kent’s Lunchbox were attending, I knew I had to dress pretty and get them liquored up and take advantage of them. (Mission accomplished, by the way. Schwing.)

And I almost didn’t go … because, as you may have noticed, my life has been a massive pigfuck the past few months, and we’re still living out of boxes, and the people who sold us this house apparently were from the 1800s, so there’s a ton of shit that needs updating in order to transform this place from the set of “Little House on the Prairie” into an actual functioning home, and the clock is was ticking down to the start of my new job, which I report reported to next Monday TOMORROW today (yeah, it took me a while to finally finish and post this entry) … none of which is conducive to spending three days drinking networking with a group of fellow “daddy bloggers” (a phrase that doesn’t make me cringe or want to puke because, quite frankly, I have bigger things to worry about; get over it already).

Thankfully, my wife — who knew I was disappointed about canceling my planned trip to BlogHer last month — encouraged me to go to M3 … so I did.

Now, if you’re looking for a recap of the conference itself, you came to the wrong place. Yes, I thought it most definitely was worthwhile, and, yes, I absolutely will go again if the organizers should happen to pull together a second edition … but I’m not here to regurgitate the info put forth in the various daytime sessions, nor am I here to to debate the virtues of pimping your blog for The Man (Ron Mattocks, proprietor of Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, has already taken care of sparking that discussion); I’m here to talk about the good stuff … you know, the drinking networking with my peers.

You know what’s dangerous? Being a galactically stressed-out 40-year-old father of two who rarely leaves the house and suddenly finds himself at an open-bar cocktail party with a bunch of other dudes who also find themselves in the rare circumstance of being unencumbered by wives and children for a few days, and, yeah, sure, I’ll have another, thanks!

And so, a few short hours after arriving in Atlanta, Michael, a.k.a. Muskrat; Ron, a.k.a. Clark Kent’s Lunchbox; and Danny, a.k.a. Dad Gone Mad, were pressuring me to consume alcohol, and I was too weak to resist. (OK, so maybe I was the first one at the bar, and I actually started drinking before them — tequila, no less — but, still … those guys are a bad influence.)

In between sips, I managed to shoot the breeze with baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr., whom I could tell envied me and my hardcore-blogger lifestyle. I assured him that if he worked hard and stayed committed, he might one day make something of himself. (Actually, Ripken mentioned during his speech that, while playing in the major leagues, in order to help his pitcher and catcher, he would call pitches from his position at shortstop using a system of covert signals … which I found fascinating … so, despite having to pee so badly that I was sure I’d wet myself halfway through his answer, I asked him to expound upon that, which he did … and he was even kind enough to pretend not to notice when my bladder exploded.)

Of course, by the time we finally sat down to dinner several hours later, I had been imbibing like a mad man for a good five hours on an empty stomach — which, nonetheless, didn’t stop me from downing Hopsplosion upon Hopsplosion, a microbrew beer that, moments after seeing its higher-than-normal alcohol-by-volume content listed in the menu, I promptly forgot was likely to whup my ass. You would think the guy who wrote this would know better. (Having a chugging competition with the waitress didn’t help matters … and the fact that she soundly kicked my ass didn’t help my already-fragile ego.)

And so it was that, the next morning, after logging perhaps four hours of sleep, I looked like the daddy-blogger version of Jeff Conaway from “Celebrity Rehab.”

Amazingly, however, after willing myself to attend the 9 a.m. opening keynote speech whilst sweating and shaking and wondering how I was going to live for another hour, I was able to push straight through until about 1 a.m. (it’s good to know all that Army training paid off; you’re welcome, America), which allowed me to join Muskrat, Doug French (a.k.a. Laid Off Dad), Justine Meek of Brand About Town and several other folks for a private screening of documentary filmmaker Doug Block’s forthcoming flick, “The Kids Grow Up,” which documents his daughter’s last year at home before moving off to college, interspersed with footage from throughout her life … none of which made me almost bawl like a fucking baby multiple times as I visualized my own daughter someday becoming a young woman and leaving me. *sniff*

Thankfully, I took it easy enough on Friday night that I logged enough sleep to feel like a champion by the time the final shindig took place on Saturday night on the roof of a sports bar called Stats … a location that afforded me, Muskrat, Ron, Doug French, Jason (a.k.a. Pet Cobra/DadCentric) and my new BFF, John Cave Osborne (a.k.a. And Triplets Make Six), a terrific view of a completely sick-ass lightning storm (which reminds me: I have a lightning story I’ve been meaning to tell you … and, at the rate I’ve been going lately, I might actually get around to it sometime in the next decade or two … so stay tuned).

But enough about all of that debauchery. The point? The point is that it was way cool to hang with a slew of blogging dudes I’d never before met, and whom I now consider friends. Looking forward to the next time we cross paths, and hoping it’s soon.

Shout outs to some of my new tweeps:

@themuskrat
@CK_Lunchbox
@DadGoneMad
@LOD
@PetCobra
@johncaveosborne
@DadCentric
@DadOfDivas
@thekidsgrowup
@calebgardner
@DadLabs
@jeff_pugh
@cheimbuch
@MOTH_editor
@daddyclay
@daddybrad
@cbarger
@BenSparks
@cc_chapman
@JayGaddis
@kevingainey

I’m SURE I missed a bunch of people … and for that, I am truly sorry. Don’t take it personally; I’m a scatterbrained mess who can’t keep track of my own keys and wallet, let alone the names and Twitter handles and blog URLs of a few dozen dudes. Mea culpa!

PS: I’d show you some pictures of us all partying, but I found out that, unlike the women who attended Mom 2.0, “daddy bloggers” apparently can’t be bothered to pose for group photos. The best I can do for you is a really shitty camera-phone pic of Muskrat and me:

We’re kinda like the Batman and Robin of nerd-dom.

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