Killer Tribes Mash Up

Killer Tribes exceeded expectations. And my expectations were PRETTY astronomical.

I’m still digesting everything I heard from all of the phenomenal speakers; that post is still being written.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a MUCH less meaningful post about some truly meaningful people. I’m talking about those I can now call by name, or even on the phone if I wanted to, as opposed to calling them by their Twitter handle or blog address.

You guys. YOU GUYS. Killer Tribes had its own Brat Pack. I think it was actually a brilliant plan to combat the inevitable awkwardness. Because I walked into the Friday night meet-up and had an intricately long conversation with the barista because I didn’t recognize anyone yet because everyone’s faces were bigger than their Twitter avatars and I was already staring inappropriately long (I almost asked someone to look slightly to the left and down while smiling, just to be sure). I was kind of a jittery wreck wearing an outfit my mom picked out and hoping my deodorant was still working. (Note: it didn’t last all night. Sorry, friends.)

Who are the Killer Tribes Brat Pack?

Jared Hollier. Clay Morgan. Tyler Tarver. Chad Gibbs. Knox McCoy. Joseph Craven.

I’m almost positive that I shook their hands, despite my disclaimer that I hug a lot. Or maybe in spite of. Hey…I MET THEM ALL. And you guys, I know you are just RAGING in jealousy. All I have to say is, Killer Tribes 2013. WRITE IT DOWN.

Some Brat Pack Highlights: Jared invited me to kidnap his kids (the older one likes fruit snacks). Clay gave me Kinder Eggs via Leanne Shirtliffe and said he likes to touch people (don’t deny that happened, Clayford). Tyler sat beside me during Tamára’s breakout session and liked my notebook (it wasn’t a Trapper Keeper). Chad and I shared no less than a few War Eagles! and he signed my copy of God & Football (including an inscription to my kid). Knox COMPLETELY butchered the Troy-and-Abed handshake (and is FAR less cranky than his internet persona – I hope I didn’t just blow up your spot). Joseph carried a hug ALL THE WAY FROM AMANDA IN CANADA just for me (and has TERRIBLE handwriting).

The first person who came up to me and said hi was the one and only Sharideth. SHE EVEN HUGGED ME, despite warning that she’s not a hugger. I felt like I was hugging the Most Popular Girl in School.

The second person? Oh, just Sarah Mae. AND she said I looked cute. AND I blurted out that my mom dressed me because I was nervous to meet her. (My mom didn’t dress me because I was nervous to meet her, I blurted it out because I was nervous to meet her. Clarity, you guys.)

And then Leigh Kramer and Tamára Lunardo arrived, and I think I hugged them for a solid thirty seconds each. My brain kept wanting to say to people, “So nice to meet you!” but I knew that wasn’t completely accurate. So instead I just tripped over saying awkward things like, “Nice to see your face!” and “You look just like your picture!” I have a real problem, you guys. Leigh and I instantly bonded, like I knew we would, and listen. She has a real warmth to her. Bask in it, people.

After hearing my voice raise several octaves in greeting blogger buddies, I made a note to channel the Men’s Wearhouse guy when meeting someone, so that when I squealed and tried to say three different things at once it would be at a much less painful pitch.

And then I had to find Jamie. My smidget sister. I knew she was around underfoot (get it, because she’s short) somewhere, so Leigh and I went hunting. And I found her in the center of a group of people dominating the conversation. Not surprised. By the end of the weekend, I told my husband that Jamie Golden is my newest best friend, as in, come visit us in Tennessee and sleep in our house best friend. It’s true. It’s going to happen. And I promise not to murder her just because she met me on the Internet and I invited her to my house. (SO DON’T WORRY, GUYS.)

You know what else happened? Cake pops. Speaking of cake pops, I also got to meet Amanda Bast‘s doppelgänger in cake pop form. I can’t be sure, but I think the real Amanda is sweeter.

And I also got to meet Amy Payne, who I JUST missed in DC the week before. She is JUST as sweet and reassuring as she is in the blog-o-sphere, so I think I’ll just keep her around for always. Is that cool with you, Amy?

The meet-up Friday night was noisy and chaotic and a little sweaty and awesome. It definitely helped dispel some of the awkwardness of the weekend.

Saturday was chock-full of amazing. But again, that post is still being written. You’re going to want to stay tuned.

Before the conference started, I FINALLY got to meet Kim Wilson. SHE DOES EXIST! When she was feeling too icky to come to the meet-up Friday, I was beginning to suspect Clay was making up an imaginary “friend” who came with him from “Pennsylvania” to the “conference.” But she was there, and she was toting the Things, the honorary mascots of the weekend.

During the conference I sat beside Erin Moon and Jessica McCracken. Erin smells good and sang about Canadian bears, and Jessica has a GREAT twitter name. I also got to hang out with Elizabeth Hyndman who DIDN’T WEAR A HEADBAND. She’s even cuter without it, though.

After feeding us Cheez-Its, they let us go for lunch, and I had the SERIOUS pleasure of lunching with Shawn and Maile Smucker, Leigh, Kim, Joy and Scott Bennett, Matthew Paul Turner, and Anne Bogel. You guys, the Smuckers are genuinely beautiful people. I basically wanted to follow them around the rest of the day and just soak up their undercurrent of serenity. I know Shawn has been writing about the voices in his head, but listen. (Imma bout to get RILL.) There is an authentic sense of peace all over them. Even if they sometimes lose sight of it, it is real, and it’s magnetic.

And Anne! Sweet Anne. She asks THE BEST questions. Which is probably why she is such a great writer. I actually considered taking notes of the things she asked as Getting To Know You questions. Because I’m kind of horrible at that.

The Bennetts are JUST as lovely as their blogs would suggest. Unfortunately, I sat at the opposite end of the table while rushing to eat my lunch and suck down as much Dr. Pepper as I could, so I didn’t get to chat with them as much as I would have liked, and it was nearly halfway through that I realized the fella who introduced himself as Matthew was actually THE Matthew Paul Turner of Jesus Needs New PR. Hey. HEY. I didn’t get my cross-shaped tract, MPT. Unfortunate.

There were SO many new connections made at Killer Tribes. Here’s a quick 30-second rundown:

Patrick Hearn is a kid who plans on biking across Europe. I know. Crazy. Josh Ellig lied about me. Sam Davidson texted me almost the entire time we were sitting down the table from one another at dinner, and is super generous with his beer and fruit snacks and apparently knows people (I think he meant that ominously). I should have taken Haley Bragg to Sonic for Cheddar Peppers. BECAUSE SHE’S NEVER BEEN, YOU GUYS. I know. Crazy. (Next time, Haley Bragg, next time.) Unknown Jim is SIGNIFICANTLY less unknown, plus he was kind enough to email me notes from Carlos Whittaker’s breakout session. I’ve added Amanda Williams to my list of People To Meet For Coffee Next Time I’m In Nashville. Whether she likes it or not. Don’t be surprised, but Molly Gentry knows a LOT about television shows. I KNOW!


Okay. I think I’m done. At least with the people-meeting stuff. As Sam said at the end of Saturday night, “I’m glad we like each other in person, too.”

YES. That BASICALLY sums it all up for me.



Filed under Humor

66 responses to “Killer Tribes Mash Up

  1. I pretty much stopped paying attention to what I was reading after you met Chad Gibbs cuz my jealous was raging. I wish I could have gone! I’ll certainly be there next year, just as overwhelmed at all the celebrities.

  2. Happy for you!

    And even more incredibly bummed that I didn’t make it. 😦

    Though I’m considerably less impressive in person, and probably wouldn’t have been allowed at the cool kids table. That, & I’m like 10 years older than most of you folks.

  3. Look, that hug was both from Amanda AND from me, cause I knew you were a hugger. But you gotta let the handwriting thing go, okay? I’m aware it’s bad. It always has been. It will not get better.

  4. A) Most extensive recap yet.
    B) We side-hugged at the coffee counter.
    C) Thanks for not mentioning the moment we’ve been referring to as the “Trippocalypse.”

  5. so so jealous – glad you had a good time

  6. So are we going with Brat Pack? And if so, can I be Andrew McCarthy? Thanks in advance.

  7. I’m laughing so hard I spat out my Nutella.

    I so wish we could have attended the meet-up Friday because I have to say I was in the full-on awkwardness of walking in blind on Saturday morning. and I didn’t want to stay glued to Scott’s side because hey — you don’t meet people that way.

    Also, I’d love the notes from @loswhit’s session, as well as from Jeff Goins, if anyone has ’em.

    Can’t wait til next year! Let’s make our own Brat Pack.

  8. I laughed almost all the way through this post, because my sense of awkwardness was so similar to yours. I wish we could have spent more time with you, too! It was my first time meeting all these people. And I agree – it was a lot of fun!

    Can’t wait to read your forthcoming full write-up! 🙂

  9. I was mentioned twice and I didn’t even GO to Killer Tribes. You’re the best, JButt. I WILL meet you SOON.

  10. hopefulleigh

    So first, I’m laughing because hahahaha, my Twinsie is so funny. And then you mention me and it’s so lovely and I get all nostalgic and wish we were hanging out today and now I’m sad. In short (like us): best recap ever.

  11. Holy crap! I feel so left out. Do they let Jewish people come to Killer Tribes or is it like the Augusta of conferences? Honestly, it’s the reason I didn’t even consider it. I’m glad you had a great time.

    You little name dropper. So glad you have a Facebook page now! 😉

  12. You may keep me IF you come back to VA and hang out. As one of my college friends used to say, “Stop not hangin’ out.” 😉

  13. Sounds like an awesome good time, and I’m thinking I follow most everybody you mentioned, so I must be in good, no, best company!

  14. YES! I made your post! Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to you – or anyone – very much. Frankly, it was a little weird to see everyone in person from the neck down and I didn’t really know how to process it all. But I’m glad it happened and it should happen again!

  15. Jess! What a recap! It was so awesome meeting you. I loved this whole group – can’t wait for more events/reasons to hang out.

    • ABSOLUTELY. Although you keep ignoring me when I’m like, hey, you guys should come to Knoxville. DISPLEASED.

      • I got the same treatment when I suggested he come to Phoenix. But to be fair, he doesn’t really know me, & his itinerary isn’t really bringing him anywhere near here.

        Oh, well.

        One my writing rules is “have a support system,” and mine is basically all online.

  16. Nice recap J Butt. And you pretended to not even see us when we rolled in didn’t ya. You play it SO cool. Isn’t Tyler Tarver taller in real person?

  17. Sorry I didn’t wear my headband. Also, I’m changing my profile picture soon, just a heads-up. Good thing you already know what I look like since WE MET IN REAL LIFE…sorry, not met–we hung out in real life. Thanks for liking me even sans headband! I like you in real life, too! (and in internet life.)

  18. Jess, it was so great to meet you live and in person! These comments make me all nostalgic for last weekend (is that too soon for nostalgia?)

    This was SUCH a great group of bloggers! Here’s to Killer Tribes 2013! And hopefully we’ll get to meet up before then 🙂

  19. Wow, you’re the linky love queen! Great recap! I loved everything about Killer Tribes, except all the laughing that produced uncontrollable coughing. I’m glad we can all know that each other’s real and not just some figment of someone’s imagination. I can’t wait ’til we have another reason to hang out. I think it’ll have to be before KT2013!

  20. Glad to know my things were in such good hands, IYKWIM…

  21. Larry The Deuce

    I just lived through Killer Tribes vicariously.

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  23. um yeah, this is pretty amazing. I’m all smiles right now.

  24. Wow, Jess, reading that post confirmed for me that we simply did not spend enough time with you! You are too hilarious, my friend. I shall twist my hubby’s arm and see if we can’t get Knoxville on the itinerary because there is much more fun to be had for all of us! (And that serenity you sensed…yeah, that’s just us after not having to live in a bus and be rough-housed by 4 little people 24/7. I certainly can’t guarantee that aura all the time.)

  25. What the deuce, J-Butt! It SAYS I’m still following you, but you haven’t been showing up in my WordPress reader for ages, so I decided to check in…and look at all I’ve missed! I still don’t have a full grasp of what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks Killer Tribes is, but I know you, Clay and Tyler were there! So it must be an awesome bloggy gathering of, well, awesomeness.

    And now I hear you got Kinder eggs from Leanne as a result of this awesomeness. OMG. Is the 2013 Killer Tribes event (er, or whatever it is) scheduled yet?!?

  26. Pingback: Killer Tribes Conference Reviews |

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