Posts Tagged ‘TAM9’

Friday 15th – Mon (The Amazing Meeting! Part 2)

July 20, 2011

Got a little lost trying to meet up with the gang for lunch, and while wandering I bumped into Richard Dawkins.  We exchanged pleasantries, but he was clearly going somewhere and I was lost and late for lunch.  Had lunch with DataJack, Ashley and ZOMGitscriss, although me and Crissy were so stuffed from breakfast that we could only hack coffee.  I then went out to the car to bring out the ‘big guns’:  MY catholic outfit and the communion wafers.  By the time I got back to the convention some talk had just finished and there was a giant table full of giant, and very sweet looking cookies.  So I did what any sensible person would have done under such circumstances, I opened up the communion wafers and added them as a plate on the end of the cookie table!

Rev Tfoot and his wafers!

As people filtered by I accosted them with the words ‘Blasphemy Maam?, blasphemy Sir?’,’Get your celestial zombie flesh here, freshest in town!’, ‘Remember Sir, blasphemy is a victim-less crime’ and so on.  Even went in to find PZ at one point and we muched on communion wafers blessed with the magic words from Army of Darkness ‘Klaatu barada nikto.’  Got through about 250 wafers in the end.  It was a  gloorrious blasphemy !  Spent most of the afternoon chatting with people of one sort or another, mostly from RDF and SSA.  Wearing a priest uniform is absolutely fantastic.  All I had done was put on a dress, and people started treating me with all sorts of underserved respect.  It’s baffling to me why wearing the uniform of irrationality should bring you social respectability but it does, and YES, definitely I was soooo tempted to abuse that underserved respect.  Y’see Chuck Norris was guest of honor at some dinner for a karate championship, sooo tempted to bluff my way in and ask him why he hated the flying spaghetti monster.  There was also a significant amount of debate about who would win in a show down between Norris and Dawkins.  It later transpired that Norris had a security detail to take care of him which really kinda burst the internet meme of the indestructible and unbeatable man.

In early evening came the hot tubing!  Regrettably I didn’t have a swimming costume of any sort, so I did what any self respecting man wanting to show the absurdity of religion would do, and went hot tubing in my priest uniform (having stripped off my pants and shoes of course).  IT WAS FAAANTASTIC!  Not only did everyone love it, but the bubbles were going up my dress.  It was just like Marilyn Monroe in subway season.  The drinks had already started to flow, and I had managed to bring some of the 151 out to the hot tub, and by the time they turned the bubbles off I was already ‘a little bit tipsy’.  It then suddenly occurred to me as I was walking back into the hotel, that I was almost naked, bar my priests dress.  I had no wallet, my pants were in someone elses room, and I didn’t have a key, indeed the only thing I had left was the car key and whistle around my neck.  Other than that I was walking around Vegas, dressed as a priest, with only my underwear to protect my chastity.  Well I guess it’s something to cross off my ‘to do’ list.  Back at Delmars (the bar) the booze continued to flow, till many a drink later, I retired with Liz n Howard to pass out on their sofa.

The next morning (Sunday), this time, much the worse for wear I headed down for breakfast with a craving for pancakes.  Enroute bumped into bumped into Eugenie Scott of NCSE and we chatted for a bit about the possibility of doing an interview or something in LA.  Hooked up with Crissy, Liz and Howard for breakfast.  Service was fairly slow, and breakfast was late, so I had to excuse myself early to a podcast with the ‘Ardent Atheist’.  PZ was there, but damn was my brain ‘morning after the night before’ fried.  I did the trooper thing and did my best to hold it together, but, oooh, could I have done with another 4 hours sleep and some paracetamol!  The podcast was made all the more interesting by a girl who was a theist of some sort.  She was very sporting about it, but ultimately missed the fact what makes science, well science, is the models need some level of predictivity.   Somewhat recovered over the afternoon before helping the RDF guys pack up before heading off to dinner with them (a pleasant sushi house).  Back at Delmars that evening things went in a rather predictable fashion with the exception that people were visibly thinner on the ground.  We took a brief break from the bar as Crissys fans had given her some stuff to do while at TAM before heading back down to the bar.

Randi showed up briefly and everyone in the bar went absolutely ballistic.  Said a mournful goodbye to Ashley, who had been run ragged over the past few days (she had an early flight), but not before giving me instructions to keep Crissy safe and make sure she got back to her room safe (having some knowledge of how these conferences tend to play).  I hung around for a couple of hours but I too was a spent force, and by now in pigtails(!), and after explaining to Crissy my ‘duties’, she made it quite clear that the gesture was appreciated, but she was aware of what these conferences were like, and could handle it, and she looked like it too!  Said my goodbyes to Crissy too, gonna be while before I see her again. 😦

Went up to sleep in a vacated room of one of the folks from the RDF.

On the final day (actually the day after the conference ended, Monday), I was again feeling kinda groggy, but not that bad.  Took breakfast with friends from RDF (M, S and N), before helping them shift some of their stuff.  On walking out of the casino, I suddenly realized I had no plan for what to do next.  None.  Took a brief look at the map and decided that I should head towards California.

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Friday 15th – Sun (The Amazing Meeting! Part 1)

July 19, 2011

Made it on the Road out of Telluride on the 15th at about 9ish with the prospect of the 11 hr drive to Las Vegas for the Amazing meeting, about 600 miles through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.  The road from Telluride to Moab was fantastic though some of the most dramatic red canyonland I’ve seen.  Then came the long grind across Utah.   Turns out in my haste to get on the road I was again worrying short on supplies, most notably water.  The traffic going across I70 is really very light, and for good reason, it’s a road to nowhere across some of the most ‘god aweful’ country imaginable.  Not to say it’s not pretty though, indeed all the rest areas are ‘view points’.  Most of them have vendors selling indian jewelry right underneth the ‘no vending’ signs.  Didn’t see a cop for hundreds of miles, and it’s not surprising, frequently its 50+ miles between gas stations.  The sedimentary rock is very similar to that of the grand canyon half a state to the south.

Got to TAM late in the evening and met up with Crissy and Ashley at Delmars, the bar there.  Soon after I’d met  Mr Deity, Captain Disillusion and many others (W00T!).  Everyone was really friendly, but I was a spent force.  11 hrs of driving in 12 hrs can really take it out of you.


Thankfully there was plenty of booze around and it’s amazing how quickly you can forget about your fatigue.  Quite soon I was whisked off to Penns ‘donuts and ham party’ upstairs.  Great fun all round, and there was quite soon some very drunk and very discoordinated swaying to Lennons ‘Imagine’.  And yeah, this really does sum up the atmosphere at TAM, really friendly and really fun!  Small wonder its growing at 30 % a year 😀

Turns out the casino, while a monument to mankinds inability to do statistics, is a sort of rational oasis, with many an atheist performer.  Ashley knows EVERYBODY and soon my poor little brain, shaken off it’s foundations by a combination off countless hours of driving, worry about having no water in the desert, too much booze,  dancing, donuts, good company and a whirl of new faces n names was overloaded.  Eventually we headed up to Lisa n Howards place on the top floor.  By this time, verily the worse for wear, all I remember was the view was epic, and the main topic of conversation with a male stripper was, ‘was it possible for a man to take his socks off sexily’.

Woke up on Saturday still kinda buzzed, indeed I seemed to spend most of my time in Vegas either drunk or recovering.  In fact now that I think about it thats pretty much how everyone seemed to spend their time at Vegas, well of course apart from the big hitters.  Some real philanthropists at TAM too (thinking of you Mr-DataJack), folks who were ready to invest real amounts of money in the movement, and were more than happy to spring for breakfast.  Breakfast was HUGE and spent it with Crissy and Troy (comedy Jesus).

Well I’d love to say more, but the suns setting here in Barstow, and I’ve still got to find some food and somewhere quiet for the night!

🙂