After finally making my way to the Pepsi Center, I decided to utilize my "media credentials" and explore. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and I hadn't had coffee all day. I was on a mission.
I approached the Press Information Center to ask one of the ladies where I could find some food and coffee. She directed me to three different pavilions where she assured me there would be food...and coffee.
Equipped with my two cameras, I was off.
I knew I was important when I walked out the door and saw the sign to the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.
I felt more news media-ish as I saw the sign to the other news media.
I followed the signs and figured out I was walking around the belly of the Pepsi center. There were flat screen TVs set up periodically...I suppose so all of the behind-the-scenes people could know what was going on so they could get on stage in time.
As I turned to my left, I realized, "Oh my goodness! I could sneak up that corridor and be right on the floor beneath the stage!" Unfortunately, I decided not to be devious and try to sneak up there, but took a few pictures of the tunnel. It's a dark picture, but you can see the stage in the background. Wow. That may not be as impressive from the looks of a dark picture, but it was pretty darn cool!
After finally finding my way outside, right in front of me stood the Luitenant Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele. Though I knew his face, my mind went blank and I couldn't remember who he was...so I was too embarrassed to walk up to him and say, "Hey, I don't remember who you are, but I know you're important. Could I take a picture?" ...so, I just took one of him talking to other people.
I asked security where the media pavillion was...explained I was "press." (I'm sure my confidence in the request assured them I was with someone important!) I headed over and waltzed right in...no questions asked. As I milled around looking for free food, I discovered more important media tucked away in different segmented sections of the pavillion...and then found a break area for the media...where they were making fun buttons that allowed us to feel as if we were running for president. Of course, I had mine made: "Dr. J President '08."
As I was waiting on my button, I snooped around a little more and found Tavis Smiley's door. I was supposed to go to an event with Tavis last night and after getting info that he wouldn't be there, we left...and found out later he was there! So, though Tavis never actually walked out of the door, I felt like I had gotten a little closer to him by seeing his door.
Since I found no food at that pavillion, I headed to the one behind CNN. I ran into a friend outside and we went in to explore. We found the mini-eggrolls and mini-steak kabobs. As we hung out eating, I struck up a conversation with a guy from First Data--a new concept of money to be used like the Exxon passes you can swipe and pay. The great thing?? They were giving out $10 collector pins that doubled as money and could be used in the Pepsi Center! Even better?? After striking up a conversation with him, He gave me an extra one! (gotta love free money) In exchange, I told him I would blog about FirstData. So...for more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. :)
Whew! I had my adventure, got a few free things and was ready to head back in. And wouldn't you know, on the way back in, as we wound through the belly of the Pepsi Center, we ran into Dan Rather! My friend took a picture with me standing behind him (he didn't seem to keen on being involved in a photo op with me...ok, so maybe I'm not *that* important. :) )
And now I'm sitting in the blogger lounge and can only watch the DNC on distant flat screens that I can barely hear. And I'm *extremely* jealous that my friend, Brian, just went out to do an interview and ended up running into and getting amazing video of Jimmy Carter, Barack's sister, and Joe Biden!! Check out his and Shawn's blogging, videos, and twittering at http://www.dallassouthblog.com/. You may not see me blogging much more. I've gotta get out from behind this computer and get a piece of the action!!