Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Four (part 1)

Saturday, July 14, 2012:

As you can probably guess, I didn't get much sleep between sunrise and 8:00, but I did show up for Ben Radford's talk, Doomsdays and 2012 Mayan Prophecy.
` Apparently, not only did the Mayans not think that this year would be the last, and not only were there other calendars which 'end' in different years, but they actually referred to dates that were decades and even centuries after the year 2012.
` But who cares what they thought, anyway? It's not as though anyone would be able to predict the end of the world -- plus, everyone who's tried so far has failed, as no one seems to have noticed the world ending!

 TAM 173 - Ben Radford

If you would like to learn more about this subject, and what his talk was like, he wrote an article about it in Alibi, which I thought was really informative. But wait, there's more:

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Three (part 2)

I will not add much text to this post, as it largely consists of videos to begin with, and those are enough to keep one occupied. Also, since I know that since there may be children wanting to look at this post, especially ones who don't like swear words, I will give fair warning of this. (No, really, I will.)

Although the buffet was preferable, at this hour the Steak and Shake was the only place open, so Leonard and I got a salad (which took at least 20 minutes) and brought it upstairs to the TAM hall, where there was a huge line waiting around to get into Penn Jillette's Rock n' Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party.
` After eating said salad, and stupidly trying to clean up oil with water, as Leo pointed out, I discovered that the line was just for donations/T-shirts. No point in waiting in that line! I didn't even particularly want a T-shirt, but since I had already donated 25$ previous to coming to TAM, I got to grab one anyway and headed in.

The electrical kept shorting out around this time, but I ran into the same Swedish guy and he showed me the money -- not as much as it looks, but it has an ant on it, and Linnaeus. Also, I start talking into my camera again a lot, which is really trippy, and then continue to speak like a normal humon:

I do like to put my camera down, but not the whole time, as you'll see, but first, here's a description of this party from Penn, in which he talks about how much cool stuff is going to be happening, and how he's going to be singing badly and swearing and saying bad things about religion and stuff:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Three (part 1)

This post is so big and packed with photos and videos that I broke the evening chunk, with Penn's Rock 'n Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party, off into another post. Just so you don't think I'm cheating you.

Friday, July 13, 2012:

Being Friday the 13th and all, there was a Friggatriskadekaphobia Treatment Center this morning, but I preferred to sleep in until 7:30, when I got up to go see the first Skeptic's Guide To The Universe live recording. I brought my mango smoothie, beef jerky and royal trail mix as protein to help stave off the hunger without making my intestines miserable.
` I didn't bring my badge, but since everyone knew me by then, even the guards, I managed to look so pitifully enthusiastic/desperate about texting Leo to get my badge from the room (assuming he hadn't left already) that they let me in anyway.

Let's just say, SGU is different when the different co-hosts are all in the same room, and when you have the ability to see what's going on -- this is actually the first of two recordings which were later combined into a single episode!
` Since Rebecca was apparently too freaked out to come to TAM this year, they procured Richard Saunders as guest rogue this time (despite my previous offer to fill in!):

TAM 087 - SGU recording
Jay Novella, Evan Bernstein, Steve Novella, Richard Saunders and Bob Novella.

They're talking about the follies of militaries using dowsing rods as bomb detectors that are programmed by inserting a picture of the object that they're supposed to detect. Yes, really. Apparently, as I found out later, this has resulted in many lethal bombings.
` And now for a dinosaur:

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day Two

I really have no excuses as to why I've been delaying my posts, even though I'm working on a lot of things and socializing more than before. I've been really tired, yes, but this particular post is so easy to do! Let's get back to where I left off last post:

Thursday, July 12, 2012:

It was six in the morning, on the seventh floor, when I was repeatedly awoken by what sounded like a guy shouting in perhaps an arabic-type accent, "Atheists! Aaaatheists!" over and over, and in my half-asleep state, wondered if he was planning to bomb TAM.
` Sounding as though he was right outside the door, I was too paranoid to get back to my room on the eleventh floor. Since I was also not taking my Al-Qaeda delusions seriously, I so wished I'd had a pair of earplugs with me so that I could get back to sleep.
` I swear he was saying, "Atheists! Atheists! Aaaaatheists!", or perhaps it was another word in another language that sounded like "atheists" when attenuated through the walls.

This went on for a couple of hours, until such time that it was quiet and I slipped back to my room without incidence, where I greeted my roommate Leonard, and realized that this was the first time I had encountered him in the hotel room we were sharing.
` I took a shower and we went off to breakfast at this cafe on the corner of the hallway adjacent to the blinging, pinging casino. I had a yogurt parfait, which came with a bowl because it was too big to fit into the parfait glass, and finished Leonard's last piece of lox, as protein is essential when trying to stave off hunger.
` Leonard and I spent a lot of time together on our own, although we did get spend some time meeting such people as Ray Hyman, creator of the Skeptic's Toolbox.

TAM 058 - Ray Hyman

 Admittedly, I spent much of this time running around and flapping my arms and jumping up and down -- although considerably less so than the previous night at Skeptics in the Pub -- and basically embarrassing myself somewhat, and amazingly did not perturb Leonard's stoicness in the slightest.

Without being a dork, I also talked to Michael Shermer about writing articles for Skeptic, and how many words they should be. Then I ran into Penn Jillette and one of his associates (probably Mike Goudeau, but I don't remember), and nearly bounced and flapped after him into the Grand Ballroom where he was setting up for his Sunday School podcast.
` I introduced myself and then went back out the doors, discovering that they were locked from the outside -- they must have known I was coming!

And that was just the beginning.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Amazing Meeting 2012, Day One

Not to be too apologetic, but I would have had this post up yesterday if I hadn't been spending so much time learning about the psychology of influence and suggestion from this hypnotist/mentalist guy. As this will one day probably lead to some interesting shenanigans, I don't mind so much the missing out on valuable internet time. ;-)

Based on my BlogNotes for Wednesday, June 11, 2012:

Got up at 6:30 in the morning, packed up all the stuff I had sitting by my bags while the kitten climbed all over my backpack. Also got a video of her being a moron, playing with my hand from inside a toilet paper package, among a few other things to show folks that I meet while abroad, such as the view of Puget Sound from my house, and our three setting suns. (They're in my TAM photo set, along with the rest of the photos you see here.)
` Lucas drove me to the airport, all the while condemning my protein drink for smelling like low tide. (When I opened it the first time he asked, "Did you fart?" just as he asks every time we drive by a paper mill....) Thanks to his help, I was so ready for TAM that I believed that nothing horrible would go wrong (and it didn't).
` Got my boarding passes at the kiosk (didn't even need to use the bar code I had spent so much time trying to correctly print out days before), had a veggie burrito at Q-Doba, listened to some podcasting goodness, and finally made it into the plane, where I had a nice view of Mount Rainier:

TAM 006
And we weren't even in the air, yet!

I'm currently sitting on the plane between two people who are passed out, and am taking pictures out the window across the one guy who is apparently "chasing rabbits". Am continuing to listen to episode 54 of Cognitive Dissonance. Apparently, Iran is killing people for drinking alcohol because they've killed all the homosexuals! That crazy Iran!
` The napkins on the tray tables, which have Life's Ultimate To-Do List include 'Find the Loch Ness Monster'. Somehow, I don't think that one will be checked off by too many people.

TAM 008
Flying over Seattle.

Had a bite to eat in Phoenix, and after accidentally sitting in the wrong row, discovered that my seat had not one, but two windows through which to take video of such spectacular sights as near-collisions with clouds! Even taking off was exciting:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Am writing my TAM posts!

I have been typing in my TAMNotes, as well as being kinda busy, and am about to go out the door to another meeting, from which I will depart early and then go hang out with the cool hypnotist/mentalist guy for some shenanigans! The things we shall learn from one another. Mua ha ha ha!

Just keepin' ya updated with my progress. Do check out my TAM photos/videos on Flickr!

Edit: It's the next day and I still haven't finished transcribing because I've been so busy/out all night. Vegas has truly changed me. In any case, I'm getting back to it...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Still haven't written a word for my TAM posts...

Nor checked much of my email or other online stuff today, except for a few things from people who were at The Amazing Meeting. I suppose I could have done more, but am just so tired from TAM, plus going to the gym, plus karate, plus other things.
` Most of the day has been spent both doing innumerable little cleaning projects around the house, as well as spending a lot of quality time with folks, from the humans and cats that I live with, as well as people I both have and haven't seen/talked to over the phone in a while.

But am I going to start my online duties now? Well, on my way home from the gym, I stopped at the library and found that I am finally off the waiting list (beginning at #21) for a book by Lawrence Krauss, A Universe From Nothing, which was sitting on the shelf.
` Since I have just gotten off the phone with a friend in Ohio at nearly 11:00 p.m. (or 23:00), and then checked some of my emails, and am currently half asleep, I've decided it's best to relax and read this book, while eating some delicious Greek Gods pomegranate yogurt.

Don't worry, I still have my dedicated face on, it's just that I've been more dedicated to people and things in my personal life today. Vada, by the way, is apparently relieved that Lou Ryan hasn't gotten rid of me even though he kept the kitten.

I've literally just uploaded all my TAM photos and videos...

Running until three in the morning, it's been a most time-consuming process, and well-worth it. After all, The Amazing Meeting 2012 has been by far the best experience of my entire life.

TAM 090
TAM-goer asks question at SGU recording. And Geeeeoooooo!

I went to sleep just after my last post, and woke up at 7:30 this morning. After giving all the photos my standard editing with the old (and noisy!) PC, transferring them to the external drive, then uploading them from there to the (non-noisy) laptop, I proceeded to watch and title videos, while finishing uploading some camping videos that didn't upload properly the first time around for some reason.
` This video-watching (and correcting) was interrupted for about four hours while Brianade and I were fascinated by the talent of the speaker at this month's skeptic's meeting (where I got ten minutes of mic time for TAM discussion), but afterwards I finished up the videos, then uploaded and rearranged it all online. Didn't even go to the gym or anything because I was so worn-out from both physically exerting myself and only sleeping about 8 hours at TAM.

A lot of famous people were there, and among the best-recognized were the magician duo Penn and Teller. As you can see, at Penn's Rock n' Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party, there were all manner of recording devices, from cell phones to iPads, and I'm only just beginning to find myself in other people's photos and videos online!

Plus, I got some really bitchin' photos from the airplanes!

TAM 327
It's the safest way to see the top of Mount Rainier!

At least I'm done uploading all this stuff. Post-writing starts tomorrow.

Expect it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm back...

I have much to write about about TAM, and much to import from oder bogs, but first, as I have sept no more than 8 hours this entire time, that must be taken care of first. That, and the puzzing non-functionaity of one of my keys. Can't write very we without it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm At The Amazing Meeting Right Now... (and have been since Wednesday)

...so, I can't come to the blog right now. Am distracted by all the amazing people and events. Was at Penn Gillette's Rock and Roll Doughnut and Bacon Party earlier, have been gorging myself on debauchery for the third night in a row, and currently a dyslexic/sexlexic goat demon is letting me use his laptop, although I probably have WiFi in my room currently, but just happen to not be there at the moment.

Will be back on Monday with all my pictures, videos, and CRAZY STORIES GALORE!!!


(Ignore the 1.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My fireworks photos and such -- if you're into that sort of thing.

This Fourth of July is the first in which I have figured out how the video mechanism works on my camera, thus there will be no more clumsy, blurry long exposures. I insist on videoing everything this year, including the setting sun as the ferry goes across to Whidbey Island, with the sounds of the migratory terns:

As one of the ferries was making its way back from Whidbey, I got some video of it as well as the fireworks going on at the far shore:

Isn't that so superior than just trying to get photos? If only I would have shut up more. Anyway, that's only the beginning:

Friday, July 6, 2012

The interim between the parade and the fireworks...

I've previously posted some photos of Dilly climbing a towel and Vada being a grumpus because she's not the cutest cat anymore, but I didn't show this somewhat post-apocalyptic-looking sunset:

june 2316

Nor did I make any mention of Dilly's habit of sleeping underneath Lou Ryan's guitar whenever he left it on the sofa:

june 2323

Nor did I post this cute video of Dilly chasing a moth. Will she catch it? Let's see:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It was a bright and sunny gay day with the flying spaghetti monster...

As I'm so focused on going to The Amazing Meeting and making sure that I get ahead in some things before I leave, I don't have much time for writing posts -- displaying photos, yes, but little more than that. Luckily, I have plenty of those! Care to be touched by a noodly appendage?

june 2220

What's this all about? Well, on June 24, Brianade and I headed out to the gay pride parade, in which I was featured and of which I took gorb-loads of pictures. The highlights, however should be plenty:

Monday, July 2, 2012

I officially have earned my degree!

This was in my email inbox today:
Congratulations! Your degree requirements are completed.  We have posted the degree to your transcript and it is immediately available for viewing and verification. 
The diploma will be ordered and will be mailed to you soon.  If you change your mailing address, please notify Sydnie Tran at...

If you choose to attend commencement in mid-June, you must RSVP by the posted deadline.
Seeing as it's already July, I don't think I'll make it to that commencement.

In truth, I actually earned my degree about a year ago (so saith my school records), but have been having to take more classes and re-apply for this degree, and despite the fact that my GPA has gone down a little since then, I finally am getting it in the mail!

Now, this transfer degree I've been telling everyone about, including universities that I applied to last year, is no longer a pipe dream, but officially mine, and no one can take that away from me!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Seattle Science Festival thingy at the Paramount

I've been doing a lot of things, partly in preparation for The Amazing Meeting, but thought I'd dig up this post, from back on June 16 when I went to the Seattle Science Festival thingy at the Paramount, with this guy as the headliner:

 june 2091

Although books are generally much more informative, lectures can be more fun to actually see, which is why I bother going to them at all.

The topic was supposed to be on evolution, but for whatever reason, Stephen Hawking was lecturing about things like multiple universes. And as he was the last speaker, I really ought to take a step back and check out the rest of picture before going into that: