Floyd Loves Janice: True Love Forever

John, Jenn, Fifi and Bob Cat, off on another adventure!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TAM 6: Jenn's Journal Part 3

TAM 6: Jenn's Journal Part 3
Sometime around 10PM
Meet and Greet Cocktail Par-tay! Wow. Cinderella has returned from the Ball, except at the end of the night there is only one Pumpkin (our friend Dorothea whose screen name is littlepumpkin) and a whole lotta princes and princesses! (Also lots of yummy alco-ma-hol!)
First of all, everyone is really really cool. The reception was wonderful. Hal Bidlack and Mr. Randi kicked it off with a bit of a toast to a great TAM. There were about 300 or so people there. Guestimations on the number of TAMmers this year is about 900, the most ever!!! I met the following folks:

Phil Plait- OMG!!! He's the smart girls Jonahs Brothers, except there is only one of him, but three times as cool! He was really really nice. He got a kick that I had his pic near PZ Myers pic in the scrapbook. The two of them have a very friendly science bloggy rivalry. He also loved the fact that I was married to John Young: "Dude, you look really good for a guy who walked on the moon thirty years ago!" Phil totally was my wing man to meet Richard Saunders- Dr. Saunders loved my book and gave me a small pink oragami pigasus (his mascot) to put in it.

The SGU. Although we met Jay and Steve during the daytime on Wednesday, it still was fun hanging out with them. At one point, someone passed out at the party. Luckly, the person was surrounded by 9 doctors- a neurologist, a former flight surgeon, a gas passer (anthesthesiologist) etc. , 3 EMTs, and at least one nurse (me), at least, that's what Hal told us. Both Steve and Harriet Hall were by the persons side within seconds, and the person recovered nicely. The SGU were really nice. And it was so funny matching the voices from the podcast with the people standing in front of me. Steve was really nice and answered all of my nerdy neuro questions. They all signed my book. One of the pages had a picture of late New England Skepticical Society founder and SGU rogue Perry DeAngelis. I thought it was important for him to be there in some way, as the first person I really remember from the SGU, other than Rebecca, was Perry. All the SGU expressed that they loved the picture, and the boys signed next to the picture. While chatting with Richard Saunders, we met Rebecca Watson. I really love her, and was so glad to meet her. She looked through my book and signed next to the pic I had of her and Jay.

Swoopy from Skepticality was a person I had been looking for most of the party. Thanks to another volunteer, I was able to meet her. She signed my book next to a monkey sticker and took a picture of me. She's a bit taller than me, and the way she put her arm around me had me sort of nuzzling her. She didn't seem to mind though. It was really great. She is beautiful!!!

Michael Shermer. By the time I met the editor of Skeptic magazine, contributing columist of Scientific American, and the author of How We Believe and Why People Believe Weird Things, I was a bit tipsy, giddy, and a little overwhelmed after meeting so many others. I totally geeked out. From what I remember, Dr. Shermer looked at me the entire interaction with a bemused expression on his face. The interaction reminded me of the old Coke commercial ("Wow- thanks Mean Joe!") Except Dr. Shermer was very pleasant throughout. Here's what I think happened:
"Wow you're so awesome Michael Shermer- Yay you!" Is what I thought my greeting was. That is, if I said anything. I think I just stared.
"Hey there, Kid! You want me to sign that?" He motions to my book.
"Yeah Dr. Shermer! Wowsy! Thanks!" He signs my book right next to where PZ Myers signed. Then, Michael Shermer puts his arm around me and I try to pull off being cool and pose for the picture John snapped.
"No problem, Kid."
Dr. Shermer, if you're reading this, please excuse my overall dorkiness. Also feel free to give your interpretation of the event. I am hoping it might be a bit more flattering on my behalf. If not, that's still okay.

Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The Dr. Tyson. Cooler than Iron Mike. Smarter too. Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York. The host of NOVA. By this time I am very starstruck, also having nursed a very nice full-flavored merlot- which was not my first of the night. But everyone was having fun and no one seemed to judge. Dr. Tyson from what I remember was very tall. Apparently he had just arrived to the conference. I was standing watching he, Hal, Shawn, Jeff, Mr. Randi and Linda discussed logistics of the keynote speech for the next day. In a second wing man experience, Hal noticed me standing off to the side and told Dr. Tyson that I was a very nice polite young lady who had been collecting autographs. Again, I'll reiterate that Dr. Tyson is very tall. He blinked at me, smiled and took out a very nice quill and proceeded to sign his name very carefully in a beautiful wedding-invitation like script. It was then he noticed that my scrapbook page had a science sticker on it that I had placed on there from Ben Franklin Gifts that was a parody of the Periodic Table of Elements.
"Miss, do you know...your elements?" He asked me in a dramatic voice. I was completely caught off guard.
"Well, um. I really didn't like chemistry in high school. But. Um. I do like science." I practically whispered.
Hal smiled, but jokingly groaned about my chemistry remark. "Oh come on! Chemistry rocks!" Dr Tyson turned back to me.
"Well, Miss, will you be in my lecture tomorrow?" Again, very dramatically.
"Oh, yes sir!" I answered. Dr. Tyson smiled and I thanked him very much for his signature. He smiled again and joked a bit with the others around him that were also waiting to meet and greet him. I thought to myself "I'M NOT WORTHY! I'M NOT WORTHY ala Waynes World. My next thought was "I gotta be front row center at his talk tomorrow!" My third thought was "Hal Bidlack was totally my wing man!"

At one point we ran into our volunteer friend Carl from England. He had 411 on a scotch and cigar party by one TAMmer at Caesar's Palace. I was giddy and ready to go. Luckily, John's critical thinking skills were still intact and he was able to debate why we should just go back to our room and sleep:
"Hon, okay. I know there is a Bring Your Own Scotch Party, but you know the SGU breakfast podcast is tommorrow, and I will wake your arse up at 7AM!"
His argument was very convincing. In fact, his science was so solid, it leads me to my current location- in my hotel bed watching a PBS documentary on Henry Ford.

Next update- Notes on lectures, The SGU dinner, and meeting new friends.


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