After over an hour of fooling around with my wife Elsy’s five-year-old laptop with a broken PCLinuxOS implementation (Synaptic will not update), I settled on leaving Accomplishments, and the promotion/news announcement sites up and leaving my other accounts alone. They would just have to wait until I got home.
Being near Lake Ontario and having some time to kill, I wanted to see my other love — the water. So, I hopped in the car and made the 30-mile one-way trip. I questioned my sanity for doing this after spending the morning battling traffic, but the road was open, drivers were mostly courteous and I was seeing something new and exciting. Ominous cumulonimbus clouds were forming to the north. Bad weather appeared to be approaching.
The area fronting Lake Ontario was all private property, so I could not venture out. Karl Strohmeyer called me. One of my two copies of Going Rogue that were to be signed was destined for him. We discussed how he wanted it personalized — if Governor Palin was going to — and just generally shot the breeze about politics. I met Karl in Scranton, PA in the final 72 hours campaigning for the McCain-Palin ticket — not with my own party, the GOP, but with Democrats for McCain.
By 1600, I was back at Borders. I stopped in for a pretzel and a beverage, checked email, and charged the iPhone. No one had been camping outside like in other venues. Rochester, being rather liberal, I figured turnout would be lighter. I would go back to my hotel room, then check Borders every few hours. I emailed Kristina, Rachelle, and JD Merkel the non-news. Adrienne had secured a position as part of Governor Palin’s event team for the day, a job should would perform with expert professionalism, so I did not bother her with my updates.
At 1645, I met Amy, who had set up a chair and a gentleman named Ed who set up one behind her. Camping had begun!!! I sent a text message to my colleagues and told them to get here NOW! Then, I introduced myself, got my bag and set up behind them as number 3. Barb was number 4. Amy was generous and let me borrow a camping chair (yeah, I did not think to take one of those). I did bring a NASA foil emergency blanket. While it was effective at protecting the front of me, the wind whipped from behind. I needed more protection. I asked Amy and Ed to stand guard and ran to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get a cheap sleeping bag.
I did not drive. I ran across. The cold wind whipped my legs. In my business casual pants minus thermals, I might as well have been naked. I started to second-guess myself. The bag cost almost as much as the room for night — a hotel room I would now not be using. I questioned my own sanity. I had never done this before. Was I now some kind of groupie? Returning the bag and opting for the critter comforts of the hotel room was tempting. But I would not dare! Not being number three on that line! I wanted the front spot? I wanted to be here? I spent this effort to have these books signed? Well…I got re-focused! I had work to do….
Time to Hustle…
As campers began to secure their positions, I went to work, handing out business cards promoting Accomplishments. I also had pinned to me a button I created with the help of a colleague. I ordered 10 and the batch was not in front of my house; so I raised Cain and a replacement was sent to the hotel. Meanwhile, the original batch turned up the night before I left. So, I now had 20. The mission: test-market this logo. If people liked it and bought it, my online store would be promoted and I’d start selling. If there was little interest, I’d abandon the effort.
I had a happy problem: I sold almost the entire batch of 3.5-inch buttons at $6 each before the night was over. I had to save Adrienne’s, Kristina’s, Rachelle’s, and mine. So, I started hand-writing the name of my new store on the back of the blog business cards. North Star Promotions was born…
The atmosphere was very festive….and the generosity exchanged among strangers was amazing. One man brought in a big Sicilian Pepperoni pie. Starving, I dived into that box, and being the chow hound that I am, six slices were gone in no time. I offered to pay for what I took. He wanted a Palin Power button instead. Done deal.
And, so I worked the crowd, passing out cards, belting out SA-RAH! chants, just because. Barb told me about her Thompson Contender with interchangeable barrels. Another lady I met was a huntress. The 9/12 Project was there. A Gadsden flag was erected on a column of Borders.
And to while away the hours, I continued reading Going Rogue, but I had a problem….every other paragraph I had to stop. I was either laughing with Governor Palin or found myself on the brink of openly crying as the story of her life unfolded word for word.
Barb, Amy and I reached an agreement. They would watch my chair. I would go back to the hotel room, and come back in the morning. After we got our wristbands, they would sleep in their cars, and I would watch their setups.
I went back, tried to call my wife, but could not get through. I emailed her my position report, and went to sleep. Amy and Barb said I could be back by 0700. But there was no way I was going to come back that late….
Going Rogue: Rochester, NY, Part VI — Going Home