Saturday, August 23, 2008

I met NORM!!!, oh yeah Marc and Kaleo too.

I wasn't going to do it, really I wasn't, but Nicole convinced me, "Look its not that long a line" she said.

I took a couple of days off from work this week and cashed in some hotel award points to go to the IWF this week in Atlanta. Seeing all the really cool machinery and tools was awesome, but the reason I went was to meet and hang out with two great friends that I've talked to and watched just about every weekday since I first met them a year and a half ago. Not growing up in the internet era its strange to have people in your life that you have never shaken hands with or hugged but still you feel close to. Of course many of you will know I'm talking about Marc and Nicole Spagnuolo, the creative team behind The Woodwhisperer. Two nicer people you will never encounter, I caught up with Nicole and Marc on Thursday at the Festool booth where Marc was demonstrating tools to a rapt crowd and Nicole was making sure the live webcam was up and running and chatting with the regulars in The Woodwhisperer chat room. Nicole greated me with a warm hug and almost right away turned to the mic on her laptop to announce my arrival to the chat room "Tree's here" she says, my screen name of course is TreefrogFurniture, better known in chat room shorthand as Tree. We stood around and talked, yes not chatted, but actuallly spoke to each other, while Marc answered questions to all the Festool lusters. Once the last straggler leaves Marc steps over from his little stage to shake my hand and say hi but then is almost immediately pulled away to answer another question. Those Festool guys keep him busy.

I kind of felt like they were busy at the Festool booth so I wondered around the exhibit hall the rest of the afternoon seeing what kind of cool free stuff I could pick up and stopping back in every so often to talk with Nicole and chat with my friends in the chatroom, I even tried to get into the webcam shot so they could see what I looked like finally. We were hoping to be able to catch dinner but the corporate guys had other plans and, after all, it is a work week for Marc. To tell the truth, I wasn't feeling my best and it all worked out for the best, I hit the couch in my hotel room, got some much needed rest and ordered Chinese. Friday morning we met at the Powermatic booth, well booth is too small a word for these things, think, football field. This seemed a much more layed back event for Marc and Nicole, kind of a meet and great instead of a product demo, giving us a better chance to hang out and talk. Many of you will recognize Kaleo Kala who got a chance to come at the last minute talking with Marc and Nicole.
We got the chance to walk over to the CNN center for lunch with a really cool rep from Jet Tools. After walking back over to the hall, did I mention how huge this place was, I again went on walk about and picked up a few more free shirts and at the Delta booth I won a precision router edge guide, luckily I have the router it goes on. I lucked out by walking up to the Delta product demo area just as Scott Phillips from The American Woodshop, was starting a demo of the all new Unisaw, it was me and a few other guys standing there while Scott gave a very in depth hands on demo of the saw. I won't try to describe all the things I saw at the show, I'll leave that to Marc, I'll just tell you that I walked about 20 miles around the show, new cool things are coming out in woodworking machinery, there are HUGE machines out there for production shops, and if you want to fill out your woodworking swag wardrobe, this is the place to do it.
Friday night Marc and Nicole hosted a meetup at a local sports bar and I met some of the nicest people all brought together from The Woodwhisperer site. I had a great time talking with two young couples that lived a few blocks from each other in Atlanta but didn't know it, we talked woodworking, tools, Olympics, and many other things. The food was good, the beer was cold, and the people were fantastic, thank you Marc and Nicole for hosting this event.
I have to say that Marc and Nicole are two of the nicest, most geniune, people that you'll ever want to meet. Nicole is just as cute and sweet as she seems in Marc's videos and on the chats. I can imagine that spending four days at a huge woodworking show isn't on many women's list of things they'd enjoy but she seemed to be having a great time everytime I saw her. She made sure that all the tech was up and running and took the webcam on walk about just so the viewers could get a look at the hall, all the while keeping up a running commentary. She's like your best friends hot little sister that was really smart, but could hang with the guys and probably kick your butt at any video game. Marc is just Marc, he's got the same sense of humor that you see on his videos but when its time, he puts on his game face and is all business about explaining the tools. Honestly, I'm not sure this guys owns a pair of long pants, at the Festool booth, all the corporate guys were in uniform, long dark pants, longsleeve matching Festool shirts, Marc, shorts, The WoodWhisperer t-shirt, five o'clock shadow at noon, its him, take of leave it. You meet him and you know you can hang out with this guy, and you can tell by talking with him for a few minutes that he know's his stuff and you'd like to spend some shop time with him too.
I had great time, I saw some machines I wanted, I got some great new t-shirts, I met some really cool people, and I got to spend some time with two very good friends. Oh yeah I met NORM!!!
"The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."
— Tony Konovaloff


Vic Hubbard said...

It was really cool gettin' to see some of the show via Nicole's laptop. I even got to see Frog. I may be one of the only ones that calls you that, Brad. I'm hoping to get to the Vegas show again, next year.

TheWoodWhisperer said...

Wow man. I am blown away by your write up. Nicole and I read it together at lunch today and she actually welled up with tears. You know how girls are. I just sat there and drank my Dr. Pepper. lol. Seriously though, we both appreciate the kind words. I am glad you got a lot out of the trip.

Incidentally, I too was reluctant to meet Norm back in Vegas last year. Nicole was there to push me into the line and I was sure glad she did. That girl sure comes in handy. Where would I be without her???

Margaret said...

How neat to meet Norm! I always loved watching his "Yankee Workshop" show as a kid (as well as "This Old House," of course!

Aaron said...

So I'm reading the post and all of a sudden thinking "Hey, that's me he's talking about!" I am one of the ATL guys that met some cool folks at the sports bar, including a neighbor and some new friends from around the country!

It was great seeing everyone and getting connected in real life. Thanks also for the great source for craftsman trim details for our bungalow renovation - now if I could just remember the title!