adventure

I’m now on the Center for Inquiry’s speaker’s bureau!

Which means…well, it doesn’t really mean anything new – I still probably would have spoken to your group if you asked. But now I’m in a database that people can skim for new speakers, so maybe some new people will find me!

Because, you know, I’m not already busy with a bunch of speaking events. There are five more future events that aren’t on that schedule yet because the details haven’t been completely worked out. Oi.

People ask me how I can do this while being in grad school. Answer: I have no freaking clue.

Upcoming speaking schedule

…Yes, PZ’s post reminded me that I should do this. I’m not nearly as busy as he is, but I’m still pretty sure I overbooked myself for this quarter. Yikes.

4/22/2011
Eugene, OR
Alliance of Happy Atheists at the University of Oregon
God’s Lady Problem: Breaking up with abusive supernatural beings
7pm in Lawrence Hall room 177
Facebook event

5/7/2011
Kamloops, BC
Imagine No Religion Conference
Kamloops Centre for Rational Thought & CFI Okanagan
Registration required
Also featuring PZ Myers & Mr. Deity!
5/21/2011
Oakland, CA
American Atheists Rapture Regional Atheist Meet
Registration required
Also featuring Greta Christina, Mr. Deity, Matt Dillahunty & Rebecca Watson!

I’m not going to lie… the last one is a win-win situation. Most likely the rapture won’t happen, and we get to go neener neener at the people who predict the end of the world. But on the minuscule chance that we do get left behind, at least I’m stuck there with a bunch of awesome people. You know the party will be great!

And then I get to frantically finish up the quarter and have a relaxing, atheist-conference free June. I love doing this, but it’s hard juggling it with grad school. To celebrate, I’m seeing Tim Minchin…twice. Wooooooo!

Now, to figure out how I’m getting to Eugene since I’m currently still sans-car keys. This may be interesting.

EDIT: OMG OMG I FOUND MY SPARE CAR KEY! IT WAS…in my car. WTF. I literally screamed “WHY WOULD I PUT YOU THERE?!?!?!” when I found it in the valet key compartment. The locksmith is my new favorite person for unlocking my car for free. Plus he was quick to unlock my apartment on Saturday. Seattle people, I highly recommend Ballard Lock & Key.

Off to Boston tomorrow!

Though I’m technically not arriving until Friday. Yay cross country flights! I leave at 2:30pm and land at 1:10am. I’ll make sure to wake up my roommates as obnoxiously as possible as I bumble around our hotel room in the dark.

More importantly, why am I going to Boston? For the American Humanist Association annual conference! Wooooo!

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this conference from people who’ve attended in the past, so I’m super excited. I get to see my godless activist friends like Greta Christina, Debbie Goddard, Chris Stedman, Sharon Moss, Darrel Ray, and of course everyone from the SSA (August, Lyz, Jesse, JT, John, Shelley, and Leslie – phew, it’s like we have a miniature army!). I’m also looking forward to finally meeting people I’ve somehow missed so far, like Margaret Downey, Elisabeth Cornwell, Greg Epstein, and Roy Zimmerman.

Oh, and I heard something about student leaders getting a special breakfast with Richard Dawkins.
What am I doing there? The SSA is having a student leadership tract, and I’m going to be on a panel about increasing diversity in the secular movement along with Greta and Debbie. Yes, we get to tell everyone how not to fail when it comes to race, gender, and sexuality. Hopefully the in-person response to suggestions isn’t like the online response, or else I may be running from some pitchforks and torches.

Though I’m not going to lie…most exciting thing about this trip? I think JT and Greta and I are hunting down a place to do karaoke, and Chris Stedman promises me some gay bar birthday shenanigans.

My life is kind of awesome.

I survived Minnesota! …barely

Man, do those Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists know how to party. My talk went really well and had around 80-90 people show up – and about 30 of those joined us for the pub. Then, proving that CASH knows their guest speaker very well, we headed to The Gay 90s in downtown Minneapolis for a drag show and dancing.

The upside of being the guest speaker is that alcohol continuously appears in front of you out of nowhere. Unfortunately, that’s also the downside. Sweet Jesus, I haven’t had that much to drink since my 21st birthday. I also haven’t been that sick since my 21st birthday. Augh, my liver. Why did someone bring me tequila shots? Why?!?

Even though the night didn’t end well for me, it still was a good time. I got to meet a bunch of my “internet friends” (Hi, Biodork, Ruby Leigh, and Jafsica!) and hang out with student leaders I hadn’t seen since the last SSA conference. Oh, and throw dollar bills at CASH officers as they pole danced.

…Again, they know how to party.

Oh, and JT? I am so not getting drunk with you at AHA in a couple of weeks. …At least that’s what I’m saying right now, while I’m still in “I’m never drinking again” mode. Give me a couple of days. Though after you speak there next week, you may be feeling the same way.

Alright, time to go be comatose for a while.

So, tell me again why I’m going to Minnesota?

Well, drat.
You know, there’s a reason why I moved out of the Midwest. And no, it’s not so I would miss the snow and cold even more when I returned. Oh well. All these times I’ve watched PZ tweet about getting stuck driving in blizzards… it’s only appropriate that I get to experience it myself. At least this was a good reminder that yes, I should actually pack a winter coat, and gloves, and a scarf, and layers…

…I’m still banking on a group from Hawaii inviting me for next spring break. Anyone down there listening?

Upcoming Minnesota speaking schedule

If you’re near Minnesota, make sure to check my talk God’s Lady Problem: Breaking up with abusive supernatural beings next week!

Tuesday, 3/22
St. Cloud, MN
7:00pm in Atwood, Cascade Room

720 Fourth Ave South
Host: Secular Student Alliance at St. Cloud State University
Facebook event

Wednesday, 3/23
Morris, MN
Host: UM Morris Freethinkers
Part of Pride Week programming, woo!
6:30pm in HFA 6

Thursday, 3/24
Minneapolis, MN
7pm in Murphy Hall 130
206 Church Street SE
Host: Campus Ath
eists, Skeptics and Humanists (CASH) at UM
Facebook event

Unofficial pub nights will likely follow (at least Thursday for sure). Nothing is set in stone, but I’ll let people at the event know and I’ll tweet where we’re going.

I hope PZ’s ready for our slumber party. I’m sooooo excited to paint each other’s nails while plotting atheist world domination.

Haha, I’m just kidding. Like I paint my nails, pfft.

I’m going to Vegas, baby

…because I’ll be speaking at The Amaz!ng Meeting 9!

I’ve been dying to announce this since I found out, since it’s an honor to be invited to speak at such a large and truly amazing skeptical event. And it’s even more of an honor now that the speaker’s list has been announced, and I see what awesome people I’m listed with (and I made it in before the “And many more” cut!):

Elyse Anders
Greta Christina
Rachel Dunlop
Pamela Gay
DJ Grothe
Harriet Hall
Jennifer Michael Hecht
PZ Myers
Steve Novella
Bill Nye
Jennifer Ouellette
Penn & Teller
Phil Plait
James Randi
Adam Savage
Eugenie Scott
Michael Shermer
Karen Stollznow
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Rebecca Watson

…Just to name a few. Go check out the whole list here. The weird thing about my life is that I’ve actually met or even befriended most of that list already – I’m mostly excited because I know it means it’ll be an excellent conference. …Well, and I’m still flailing about meeting Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. BILL NYE! *swoon*

Oh, and I should add that 24 out of 49 speakers are women. Way to go, TAM! See, who says these amazing skeptical women don’t exist? And no, I’m not just going to be speaking on the panel on diversity (though it’s great they’re having that discussion). Isn’t that awesome?! EDIT: Sadie Crabtree, Communications Director of the JREF, just informed me that the women actually outnumber the men as solo presenters this year. I think that’s a first for a skeptical conference! Go TAM9!

TAM9 Goal: Get Phil in the hot tub again, along with as many other speakers as possible.

I hope I’ll see you there this summer!

Upcoming speaking schedule

Over the next couple months I’m going to be making my way from coast to coast. Here’s my current schedule, in case you want to catch one of my talks:

2/19/2011
Thousand Oaks, CA
Secular Student Alliance Southern California Leadership Summit

Then my Spring Break Minnesota Tour!

3/22/2011
St. Cloud, MN
Secular Student Alliance at St. Cloud State University

3/23/2011
Morris, MN
University of Minnesota Morris Freethinkers

3/24/2011
Minneapolis, MN
Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists at the University of Minnesota

Woooooo, partaaaay! …Wait, doesn’t everyone go to Minnesota for spring break? No? Hey, any SSA affiliates in warm states, you know you totally want me to come visit next winter.

I’ll release the specific times and locations for the Minnesota talks once we get closer.

4/09/2011
Boston, MA
American Humanist Association Annual Conference

I may have a trip to North and South Carolina thrown in there, but those aren’t completely set in stone yet.

…Yes, I know, I’m crazy. Also, my PhD is going to take 24 years to finish.

It's a sign

Apparently God hates feminism. Or at least, God hates feminists talking about how God hates feminism. My talk last night was effectively canceled due to massive amounts of unseasonable snow in Vancouver. It wasn’t too horrible to drive in if you went slowly – more slush than the black ice Seattle got. But SFU is perched on top of a mountain, so they canceled afternoon classes. Which meant:

1. No buses were running to campus. Apparently some of my readers attempted to get to my talk, but couldn’t because of this issue. Sorry guys!
2. College students happily ran home to play in the snow/sleep/drink heavily early. Or to make sure they could get home at all with the snow. I don’t blame them; I probably would have done the same.
3. The office in charge of unlocking projectors refuses to unlock the one in the room I was speaking in since classes were officially canceled, so no PowerPoint for me and the hardcore students who still showed up to my talk.

Thankfully I wasn’t required to illustrate my talk through interpretive dance. Instead we went to a restaurant on campus to eat and drink. I ended up giving an informal version on my talk on someone’s laptop, but most of the night was spent educating me on everything Canadian. I think I have a vague grasp of Canadian politics now. Though of course, they could have been making everything up and I wouldn’t have been the wiser. Those wiley Canadians.

The rest of my talks should still be on, since what seemed to be a foot of snow magically melted overnight. Apparently God is totally cool with me poking fun at the Creation Museum, but not the Bible.

Vancouver or bust!

I’m leaving for my Canadian speaking tour this morning! Here’s my schedule, as a reminder:

Simon Fraser University Skeptics
Thurs. Nov. 25 3:30-5:30 pm in AQ 5037
Atheism and Feminism
Hour talk followed by Q&A
Free & open to the public
Likely impromptu pub night to follow

University of British Columbia Freethinkers
Fri. Nov. 26 7-9 pm in Buchanan A203
My Trip to the Creation Museum
Hour talk followed by Q&A
Free for members, $2 for general public
Post talk drinks and fun somewhere

CFI Vancouver
Cafe Inquiry with Jennifer McCreight
Sat. Nov. 27 11 am-1 pm at SFU Harbour Centre
Tentative topic: Closing the gender gap in skepticism
20 min talk followed by discussion
Free & open to public (donations welcome)

British Columbia Humanists
Sun. Nov. 28 9:30-11:30 am at Oakridge Seniors Centre
Boobquake & Its Aftershocks
Hour talk followed by Q&A
Open to public & donations welcome ($2 suggested)
The pub nights are up in the air (apparently one of the planned places closed, whoops), but I’ll announce where we’re going via Twitter as soon as I know.

Well, that’s assuming I get there at all. Apparently it’s snowing all between Seattle and Vancouver. Gulp. Leaving early and driving slowly…

Canada, here I come!

I’ll be speaking at four different skeptical groups in Vancouver next week*. Here’s my crazy schedule (links go to facebook events):

Simon Fraser University Skeptics
Thurs. Nov. 25 3:30-5:30 pm in AQ 5037
Atheism and Feminism
Hour talk followed by Q&A
Free & open to the public
Likely impromptu pub night to follow

University of British Columbia Freethinkers
Fri. Nov. 26 7-9 pm in Buchanan A203
My Trip to the Creation Museum
Hour talk followed by Q&A
Free for members, $2 for general public
Post talk drinks and fun at the Frog and Firkin

CFI Vancouver
Cafe Inquiry with Jennifer McCreight
Sat. Nov. 27 11 am-1 pm at SFU Harbour Centre
Tentative topic: Closing the gender gap in skepticism
20 min talk followed by discussion
Free & open to public (donations welcome)

British Columbia Humanists
Sun. Nov. 28 9:30-11:30 am at Oakridge Seniors Centre
Boobquake & Its Aftershocks
Hour talk followed by Q&A
Open to public & donations welcome ($2 suggested)
I’ve never been to Canada before, and I can think of no better way to pop my Canada-cherry than hanging out with a bunch of skeptics and heathens. Especially since my other option for Thanksgiving break was sitting in my apartment dreaming about all the delicious food I’m missing out on since I wasn’t going home this year. A mini-vacation to Vancouver is a wonderful alternative, even though I’ll probably spend my time between talks working on homework. At least I’ll be working on homework in Canada.

…Though to show how much of an ignorant American I am sometimes, it didn’t originally dawn on me that Canadians don’t have the same Thanksgiving holiday as us. I promise to keep the stereotypical questions about bacon, hockey, and Celine Dion to a minimum.

*And by next week, I mean in two weeks. I have no concept of time, apparently.

I don't get fashion

The clothing information from my photoshoot just went up. Holy crap.

Strenesse cotton wrap top, $220; Pamela Robbins, 914-472-4033. Joe’s Jeans cotton blend jeans, $158; joesjeans.com. Old Navy synthetic ballet flats, $20; Old Navy. Her own necklace.

Just to remind you, this is what that outfit looked like:
$158 for a pair of jeans? $220 for that shirt?! I’m glad I didn’t know that when I was putting it on, or I probably would have destroyed it due to my nerves of trying not to destroy it. I just… don’t understand fashion. I’m not paying more than $30 for a shirt that simple, and when I’m splurging on jeans I’ll shop at The Gap when they’re having a sale.

I could probably concoct that identical outfit for less than 50 bucks. Are these pieces incredibly durable? Are those super famous brands that I’m just oblivious about? Is this like when I watch America’s Next Top Model and don’t understand why they’re screaming happily about something?

The only thing in my price range were the Old Navy shoes, and those were casually destroyed during the shoot. They didn’t have flats in my size, so the just cut the backs off of these. I was wondering why they were so unfazed by destroying their property – it’s because they were worthless compared to everything else!

Oh, and the necklace isn’t mine – it was one of the staff’s. I was wearing my gray Scientific Method Surly Ramics that day. I tried to negotiate getting it in, but failed. Sorry, Amy!

EDIT:
And my outfit was cheap compared to the rest.
Most expensive dress: $1,250
Most expensive shoes: $1,095

I think everything in my closet isn’t work a thousand dollars. Gah.