Mr. Paul Aints vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes

This past Saturday evening, the Hubby and I went to see a baseball game at the new CHS Field in Saint Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. We’re not really sports people, but this Saturday was a special event – it was the third annual Mr. Paul Aints game!

Photo of the CHS Field Jumbotron. Advertising is on the borders, the main central portion shows the Aints logo - beginning with a large red capital "A."

The Saint Paul Saints is the minor league baseball team in the Twin Cities, but on Saturday the team donned special jerseys and hats and became the Mr. Paul Aints. Minnesota Atheists and Foundation Beyond Belief came together to sponsor the annual atheism visibility event. Soles4Souls partnered with us to collect gently used shoes from attendees; the promotion was called “Leave Your Soles at the Gate.” We had our boxes filled by the start of the game! [Read more…]

Speaking at MVUUF this Sunday

I – along with my partner in abortion advocacy, Niki – have been invited to speak at the Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church this Sunday. According to their website, we’re actually doing a sermon!


Well I’ll be.

As the sermon description implies, we’ll be talking about our experiences as clinic escorts and how to support access to abortion (although what happens on the sidewalk is not a picket line, and we escort for Whole Women’s Health, not Planned Parenthood…but close enough!) This is the second time that we’ll be doing this talk together; the first was for Minnesota Atheists and it appeared to be well received.

So I guess this weekend I’ll be putting on some Sunday finery and heading down to church to spread the good word. Whodathunk?

Last Minute Costuming for ChiFi

Always with the last minute hiccups and fixes. Thanks to a delivery that didn’t arrive on time, this is my night:

Me sitting my bathroom in a bra and jeans, concentrating on cutting a piece of shiny black material.

But it’s okay because the costume is going to be awesome.

The Hubby and I are getting on a train at 8:03am tomorrow morning and heading to Chicago for the science fiction/fantasy convention, ChiFi. I’m excited to be taking part in the “Chicago SkepchickCon” organized by the incredibly awesome Jamie Bernstein. And I’m excited to be taking a train. After a bunch of airline travel last year, Amtrak is going to be like riding first class!

I’m a panelist on Ask A Scientist and I’m moderating a handful of others. It should be a fun time – check back for photos and stories.

…and to see what that costume I’m working on turns out to be!

Die Laughing – An Interview with Tim Wick

This weekend a very special, very weird event will take place at the DoubleTree in Bloomington, Minnesota: Die Laughing 2: Laugh Harder, a 50 hour comedy marathon fundraiser for Fearless Comedy Productions.

The Hubby and I attended last year’s Die Laughing fundraiser and had a pretty darn good time. The highlight was getting a noseharp from MST3K’s Kevin Murphy, and hearing him play noseharp, play ukelele and sing a lyrical version of the Game of Thrones intro song. But then there were all of the local comedians, the improv, the sweet silent auctions, the sleep deprivation. It was a heck of a weekend.

And this weekend they’re coming coming back for more. This Friday at 7pm the intrepid members of Fearless Comedy and their guests will kick off the 3000-minute event. This year I’m volunteering at the box office; I’m excited to support a group that has provided me with many laughs and entertainment over the past year.  [Read more…]

Cons and Cons and Cons, Oh My!

Whew – It has been a month for conventions!

First and most exciting: The Secular Women Work Kickstarter was fully funded on the 19th. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this A Thing That Is Going To Happen! I am ready to work and be inspired. And I guess this means that I get to add one more thing to my 2014 con schedule. Yipee!

Also in February I attended SuperCon and Con of the North. I played a lot of board games at those two. I taught some, and learned some, and a few were added to my ever-growing need-to-own list, including Templar, Downfall of Pompeii and Machi Koro. [Read more…]

Secular Women Work Conference – 3 Days Left!

I am an activist. I believe that change is possible, and that the way to make change happen is to get involved. The manifestation of “involvement” looks different for every person, but I believe that everyone has something to contribute: a story to share, a financial contribution, a vote, time, a helping hand. When we choose to become involved, we become activists.

While everyone can be an activist, a lot of us wonder how to get there, or if what we’re doing is really “activism.” It helps to have a community of people who share our goals, who we can seek out when we have questions, a desire to share resources, or if we’re looking to get our foot in the door to discover how we want to contribute and where we want to focus our efforts. [Read more…]

Godless Gamers Game Night

Tonight I left work and headed over to the Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville for Godless Gamers Game Night,  a recurring Meetup hosted by Minnesota Atheists. A fair number of people showed up – maybe 15-20. We took up four or five tables and played for about three hours. I ran two board games, Tokaido and Lords of Waterdeep. There were a few deck builders at another table, and a series of Avalon that lasted for ages.


Lords of Waterdeep in progress.

Two good friends stopped by, which made my night even better, plus we decided that we have to have another game date on Sunday to play the new Doctor Who game that they picked up this evening.

The FFG Game Center is just gorgeous. They have a kitchen, a beer and wine license, plenty of parking, and a very well-stocked games library that anyone can use. The space has high ceilings,  is well-lit and has huge SF/F-themed murals and artwork throught. Cthulhu in the ladies bathroom y’all.

If you’re local or get a chance to visit, I’d recommend a stop. Or join Minnesota Atheists for our next Godless Gamers FFGC night!

FTBCon3 is Up and Running!

We’re stocked up on Mountain Dew and Funyuns (no seriously…I’m going old school this weekend), I’m in my official FTBCon uniform:

Me in a bathrobe and slippers, big grin and hands on my hips

…all of the tech seems to be in place and opening remarks with Stephanie Zvan and Debbie Goddard are a go!

Debbie Goddard speaking in a Google Hangout

Treating the Brain: Skeptics Talk Therapy and Therapists just started at 5:30pm CST. A full schedule is located on Lanyrd:

You can find the link to the Google Hangout (and YouTube from there) by clicking on the link in each Lanyrd event page, here:

Shows an Lanyrd page for "Treating the Brain" panel and a red arrow pointing to the "official session page" located in the right sidebar.


Other important links:

We hope you can join us sometime this weekend!

CONvergence Programming Is Announced!

I’m very excited for CONvergence this year. Not only is it my first year as an Invited Participant, but I made it onto FIVE panels, including an author reading which I’m organizing (more on that below). Our fearless SkepchickCon organizer and CONvergence volunteer, Melanie Mallon, has been busting her butt for the past several months to help ensure that we are going to have awesome programming, including some killer science, skepticism and social media panels.

Here are mine:

Food Allergies At Con: How to Cope – You have a food allergy, yet are trying to survive from the limited opportunities at CONvergence: how do you cope? What can you safely bring, keep, and prepare in a hotel room? Panelists: Brianne Bilyeu, Richard Wielgosz, Karl Tingelstad, Marie Porter, Renee Petersen

Real Monsters – Reality is stranger than fiction. The deep seas and uncharted lands hold unimaginably bizarre creatures. This panel explores some of the strangest, ugliest, and most unlikely creatures known to live. Panelists: Brianne Bilyeu, Ryan Consell, Matt Kuchta, Siouxsie Wiles, PZ Myers

It’s (Not) Written In The Stars – We’ll explore the myths and beliefs of astrology and why some people still find it convincing in the modern age of science. Panelists: Jason Thibeault, Brianne Bilyeu, Dan Berliner, Matt Lowry, Nicole Gugliucci

Kids Ask a Scientist – Our panel of scientists will answer questions, with the answers geared for the 12-and-under set. Panelists: Brianne Bilyeu, Camille McAloney, Nicole Gugliucci, Siouxsie Wiles, Lori Fischer

Skepchick and Freethought Bloggers Author Reading – Join the bloggers of Skepchick and Freethought Blogs as they share their favorite original writings. Topics may include science, social justice, atheism, skepticism, art, online community, blogging and random geekery. Panelists: Brianne Bilyeu (mod)

I’m geeking out over Real Monsters because Holy Shit Weird Awesome Nature!!! I’m already getting annoyed (in the good way) about the anti-astrology panel, and Food Allergies will be interesting (plus I’m excited about getting to share a panel with the Evil Cake Overlord). I’m probably most intimidated by Kids Ask A Scientist because kids ask weird shit and you can’t just throw out “Rayleigh Scattering” and leave it at that when they want to know why the damn sky is blue. The author reading is my baby.I’m emceeing 10-15 bloggers (including me) who will each read one of their favorite original writings, and they only get 3-5 minutes each. It’s going to be a fast-paced bonanza of Skepchick and FtB readings.

At the time of this writing there are FORTY-SIX panels tagged as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). 46, y’all. That gives me such a happy…I can’t even describe it.

You can see the full schedule here. It’s on Sched, which means you can create a profile, create a customized schedule of the panels you want to see, and take a peek at what your friends are signing up for.

Click here to register for CONvergence. Or click on the giant banner below. Either way, really.