Here comes TAM9 from Outer Space

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As faithful readers of the blog will know, I am going to TAM in Las Vegas this weekend.  I am currently writing from the airplane because I was bored enough to shell out the $13.  It is the future.

Today, I will land around 1PM and then I’m going to go get food at Baja Fresh.  I’m very excited, it’s been so long since I’ve had Baja Fresh and it’s amazing.  There are workshops going on all day but I didn’t have the money to be going to all of that.  Tonight Rebecca Watson is having some thing that also costs money, so I probably won’t be going. I also don’t understand what the thing is, so that doesn’t help.

OMG trying to use wordpress from this droid browser is going to make me shoot myself. FFS.

Tonight, I am insanely going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at midnight. This is insane because it won’t start until 3AM east coast time, so I’m going to be very very tired. But how often do you get to go see the last Harry Potter the first night it comes out? Never, exactly.

Then tomorrow is filled with all sorts of stuff and I don’t even know what the schedule is. I feel somewhat guilty about that, like I should have paid more attention, but I’m going to all of it, so there’s no real point in looking into it more. Tomorrow night is Penn’s Donut Party, and I’m quite excited about that. I mean, it’s donuts and Penn Jillette, what isn’t to love? I even brought a special party dress! It, alas, doesn’t have a donut on it.

Saturday is more talks that I don’t remember who is when, the third place WWC game is that day between France and Sweden, and I honestly don’t care that much so I probably won’t watch, and then that night I get to go to a double top secret thing that is going to be awesome so you should be jealous, and also feel pretty cheated that I won’t even tell you what it is. On Sunday, I am presenting my paper at 9:50 AM. Awesome, right? There’ll only be like a thousand people in the audience, so no pressure. Then! Then then then!!! USA vs JAPAN, EPIC BRAWL 2011!

I want the US to win, but I have to say I would be really happy for Japan if they won. The team is really amazing, and it’s the first time an Asia side has gotten this far in the WWC. Plus, the whole tsunami meltdown thing. But, I want the US to win so that people will pretend to care about womens soccer for a few more days, I would find that greatly pleasing.

I am on the plane! On the plane! So bored on the plane! I’m on a plane and it’s going fast and I got a aeronautical themed pashmina afghan

Weirdly enough, George Hrab, the MC of the event, is on the same flight as me. I met him originally at the SCA summit in Washington DC where he performed and we took silly pictures and sent a message to a friend of mine who was insane jealous. Mostly because I don’t listen to the Geologic Podcast and he does, so I don’t have a terribly good knowledge of the George Hrabness. Anyway, he’s sitting behind me and threatening to throw things at me, though I think he’s so absorbed in his iPad or whatever it is that he won’t remember to do that. Plus, they don’t hand out free snacks, which is really the best thing to throw at people.

T-minus 1 hour to Las Vegas. Woooooooo!

Hopefully you’ll get lots of really boring updates from me, because I know you’re all really friggin jealous! I’m going to be hanging out with Heidi Anderson, Jenna Marie Griffith, Jen McCreight, Neil deGrasse Tyson (he will hang out with me, dammit, it will happen), and like 200 other awesome people who are awesome.

Alright, enough of this, I’m going to go back to surfing the web in an attempt to find something to write about for social axcess, I can’t find anything worth writing about.

The Internet is Amaz!ng

There is a really cool convention in Las Vegas every year hosted by James Randi, The Amaz!ng Meeting aka TAM.  It is not, however, the cheapest thing in the world.  Registration costs $450 and a room for three nights would be $250 (not really that bad), which brings it to $700 upfront costs.  Also, two days of lost work, gas, and eating out of town.  And if I had an extra $1000 I could eat dinner with James Randi and Richard Dawkins.

Obviously, I don’t have an extra thousand.  I don’t even have the first thousand to go to TAM in the first place.  Suddenly, $50 to eat dinner with PZ Myers makes him seem like kind of a cheap date.

Anyway, I was bemoaning this yesterday, being in a particularly bad mood thanks to a migraine, and Jen “inventor of Boobquake” McCreight over at Blag Hag ended up bemoaning her own inability to pay for it.  Made even worse in her case in that she was invited to speak, but JREF doesn’t cover speaker’s registration, travel, or hotel expenses.  In 8 hours, she raised $1500 dollars.  That’s insane!

Suffice to say I am jealous and astounded, probably in that order.  Because, in addition to Dawkins and Randi, who are both pretty much 10s on the awesome scale, there will also be Penn&Teller and Adam Savage, all of whom are probably 11s.

Grand Canyon; Why I haven’t been posting

I’ve been bad about updating because I’ve spent most of my time the last few days trying to plan a road trip.  And the thing is that I’m horribly nerdy and when I decide to do something like this I have to Have A Plan.  The basic idea is that I have a three day weekend that coincides with Valentine’s Day, and neither F or I have seen the Grand Canyon, so we thought, hey, let’s go see the Grand Canyon.  But then it was like… and what else are we going to do besides drive to the Grand Canyon and back.  And I was like Hoover Dam.

And then I spent 3 days researching what sorts of things there are to do on the legs of the trip and once we got places.  Like I learned of a place called Grand Canyon West, where there’s this horrifying/tacky/awesome thing called the Skywalk, where you essentially walk out onto glass above the Grand Canyon.  Think Indiana Jones’ leap of faith, but less cool.  It’s much much closer to the Hoover Dam and Vegas, but it’s also extremely expensive and not as high up as the South Rim.  I weighed pros and cons and decided that the South Rim was the <i>real</i> Grand Canyon, so I’d better see that.

I’ve been trying to come up with things to do in Las Vegas that I wouldn’t hate, and I’ve had a few suggestions, but you’re welcome to comment here.  Keep in mind that I don’t drink, gamble, or do things where the main objective is to “have fun” rather than do something in particular.  We were thinking we might try to get some tickets to see Penn&Teller, they do the 1/2 price thing like in NYC.  The Erotic Heritage Museum looked interesting, and it’s open til midnight.  “The Chapel Theater will prominently feature Shakespeare’s erotic material. This material has not been performed in four hundred years. Be prepared to be “Bard to the Bone” and  experience Shakespeare in an entirely new fashion.”  Bard to the Bone.  Oh dear.

It also seems likely that we’ll pass through Baker which has two things that are heavily recommended by travelers.  Alien Jerky, supposedly the best jerky ever, I’m not a jerky eater, but F is.  And the Mad Greek.  I’m not necessarily sold on either, but they’re there.

Alterniraries

LA to Tusakan AZ 8 hours
(I-40)
-Drive through Joshua Tree +50 mins
-Visit Grand Canyon Caverns +1 hour (plus visiting time of probably an hour, closes at 4)
-Roadkill Cafe (off the interstate, adds only the time of visit)
NOTE: I think we wouldn’t be happy trying to get to the caverns before 4 on this leg

Tusakan AZ to Las Vegas NV 5 hours
(I-40 to 93)
-Visit Grand Canyon Caverns +1 hour (plus visiting time of probably an hour, closes at 4)
-Roadkill Cafe (off the interstate, adds only the time of visit)
-Hoover Dam (adds only time of visit, closes at 4:15)
NOTE: I think we can’t do the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon in the same day, unless we get super bored with the Grand Canyon early

Las Vegas NV to LA 4.5 hours
(I-15)
-Hoover Dam +60 minutes round trip, +30 minutes if taking 95 (closes at 4:15)
-Drive by Death Valley +2 hours
-Take 95 to I-40 +2 hours; +1:30 if driving from Hoover Dam (if we don’t go by Joshua Tree, we will have driven this stretch already)
NOTE: I’d like to see the Hoover Dam, but we will be driving over it, so if we don’t make it to a tour, I’d be fine.

The Map