Skepticon 5 Report

Now that I’m almost kinda semi-recovered from a very long weekend at Skepticon sandwiched between a pair of 13-hour drives, I thought I’d write up a brief report on the whole thing. The tl:dr version: An awesome time was had, by me most of all.

The first thing that made it great was that my best friend Rick came along. We’ve been best friends for nearly 30 years, since we were in high school. Though he’s a non-believer himself, he’s never had any involvement in the movement and I doubt he ever will. It’s just not something he pays much attention to. Hell, he doesn’t even read my blog all that much. But it was a rare opportunity for us to spend a big chunk of time together for the first time in a very long time, and we had a blast. Lots and lots of great conversation on the way there and back.

The second thing that made it great was that JT Eberhard finally had to pay off the bet we made on the outcome of a poker tournament in July, requiring him to wear a t-shirt that said “Ed Brayton is a poker god.” Never one to be accused of being a good sport, I extracted maximum humiliation from it all and poured a little salt in the wound with this nametag:

I’m not going to tell you what he said when he saw it. I actually had one person say, “Oh, you’re JT’s dad?” Only metaphorically. But I was happy that his delightful girlfriend Michaelyn decided to help me out in these efforts by drawing as much attention to the shirt as possible, even while JT sulked:

In reality, though, I don’t think anything was really going to hurt JT’s mood because he may be the luckiest guy I know. On Friday night, he popped the question to Michaelyn on stage in front of the entire conference. There was hardly a dry eye in the place. It’s a good thing she said yes! Here she is going up on stage to kiss him, in utter shock:

The truth is that she may have been the only one in the place who didn’t know he was going to do this, but we all managed to keep quiet about it. And I’m glad we did. Her reaction was priceless, as was having the opportunity to be there for it. JT has become a really good friend and I couldn’t be happier for him. Thanks for being such a good sport, JT, and for letting us all be a part of your joy.

Speaking of joy, the third reason Skepticon was so great was that I finally got to meet an old online friend in person. You know her as the person who comments here as Gretchen (which is convenient, since that is, in fact, her name). Here we are together:

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