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Nov 16 2013

Wake up and smell the #Skepticon

The second day of #sk6 is going to be funky: the University Plaza Hotel has no hot water, anywhere. It’s going to be interesting, but we shall overlook the reek to enjoy today’s schedule. I’m looking forward to everything.

Oh, yeah, my talk yesterday was immensely disappointing. I was all anticipatory and enthused about the spectacular walkout/rebellion that was going to erupt, and then they all just sat there, listening, and afterwards a lot of people (“my sycophants,” as Rebecca Watson called them) crowded around and asked questions. It was just like all of my talks. And then Watson gave a data-driven talk on the importance of humor…nobody walked out. David Fitzgerald read from the Bible, all of the naughty nasty bits…for sure nobody walked out. Then Shelley Seagal started singing, and no way anyone was leaving.

Finally, at ten, they opened the bar out in the vendor room. Then everyone walked out. I think if anyone wants to organize a good walkout of a conference speaker, what they ought to do is just give away free beer in the hallway — experience shows that that is the fastest way to clear a room.

40 comments

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  1. 1
    cethis

    Wish I could be there. Maybe Skepticon 8.

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    Free beer?

  3. 3
    chigau (違う)

    If you have a microwave in your room, you can heat water one or two cups at a time.

  4. 4
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    I did my part in boycotting all sorts of shit yesterday, by walking in and out of various rooms/buildings. No one is safe from my boycotts!

  5. 5
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    No one walked out? Ah, the daring reverse boycott. The 180 degree walkout. Edgy.

    Eric@4:

    No one is safe from my boycotts!

    Is ‘boycott’ yet another example of just how misandrist and matriarchal our society is? Won’t someone think of the boys?

  6. 6
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    Sanderson’s walk out may have failed again, but he’s still successfully revolting.

  7. 7
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I’m not at Skepticon, but I did walk out of numerous rooms yesterday, some of which contained men with beards, if that makes you feel better.

  8. 8
    Desert Son, OM

    Glad to read you have arrived safely and that the conference appears to be going well, plumbing difficulties notwithstanding! Hope the remainder of the even is likewise an educational and enjoyable one.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  9. 9
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Yesterday, I led a group of people on a walk out of the Visitor Center. Then into the Roundhouse. Then we walked out of the Roundhouse and into the Locomotive Shop. And then I led them as we walked out of the shop and into the Roundhouse. And again, out of the Roundhouse. And I walked out of my office many times.

    Sorry, PZed. I was swayed by the blinding logic of those protecting me from the FTBullies.

  10. 10
    blf

    The hot water is boycotting.

  11. 11
    opposablethumbs

    Hell, I walked out of my house! And out of an arts venue! And right out of a shop, even though it’s my local one. I’m taking this boycotting business seriously!

  12. 12
    Usernames are smart

    the University Plaza Hotel has no hot water, anywhere.

    Not a problem. I take ice-cold showers daily (except when I have to shave) and the secret is as follows:

    1) Turn on cold water, full blast
    2) Jump in and make sure it pours over your head until you are completely wet and numb
    3) Sing John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt loudly while you soap up, and continue singing until you’re completely lathered.

  13. 13
    Rey Fox

    I washed with cold water for an entire week in Mumbai, and so far as I know, I stayed pretty unfunky. It can be done.

  14. 14
    inflection

    Usernames are smart @#12:

    I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If I did that every morning I would be unable to leave the room due to being an ice cube in the shower. Someone would have to come by and melt me.

    (P.S. PZ: Her name is spelled Segal, I think.)

  15. 15
    blf

    On the hot water problem, start a large cauldron heating up in the lobby. Use the hotel’s management for fuel.

  16. 16
    Gregory in Seattle

    How in the world does a hotel run out of hot water? Nowadays, hotels have a small “on demand” water heater in every room. Sure, one or two may malfunction, but ALL of them at once?

  17. 17
    Eamon Knight

    Since I’m not at SK at all, am I boycotting it? Just like I’ve been boycotting TAM, Imagine No Religion, the CFI Summit, SkepTech, all but one American Atheists convention, all but one AAI convention, all but one Humanist Canada convention, every convention in Europe, etc, etc, etc….

    I’m really good at this boycotting thing, you see. All to support….something.

  18. 18
    blf

    Nowadays, some hotels have…

    Inserted self-explanatory caveat. I know nothing of the hotel in question, but the obvious guess is they have a centralized system, which (based solely on my own experiences), is still quite common. Yes, Legionnaire’s Disease (guessing) and cost-controls and so on do encourage retrofitting-to (and new builds with) per-room on-demand systems, but that’s quite different from all hotels having such systems now.

    I suppose if the on-demand system is gas, a failure in the gas system could do it?

  19. 19
    Inaji

    Oh, the hot water is boycotting. Well, partial success is better than none I suppose.

    Sounds like a fun time, wish I was there!

  20. 20
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I hear that at least 7 billion people observed Sanderson’s Skepticon boycott!

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Rey Fox

    The Skepticon hotel is at least twenty years old, by my estimation.

  23. 23
    Inaji

    jeromehaltom:

    @5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Boycott

    Psssssssssst, your humour function may be faulty.

  24. 24
    ChasCPeterson

    Nowadays, hotels have a small “on demand” water heater in every room.

    except, you know, when they don’t. *eyeroll*

  25. 25
    gworroll

    This is one advantage of living within driving distance.

  26. 26
    Inaji

    Chas:

    except, you know, when they don’t. *eyeroll*

    But, but…all the buildings everywhere were just built last month! Right?

  27. 27
    carlie

    Springfield isn’t exactly an up-and-coming hotbed of new construction.

  28. 28
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    What the fuck…

    About 4 AM on Saturday morning, another attendee of the conference made a graphic and direct verbal death threat to me while brandishing a semi-automatic pistol, which this person claimed was loaded.

    http://skepticon.org/security-update/

  29. 29
    Eamon Knight

    @28: Fucking hell.

  30. 30
    Inaji

    Daz:

    http://skepticon.org/security-update/

    ! That’s…scary.

  31. 31
    LykeX

    Sanderson’s walk out may have failed again, but he’s still successfully revolting.

    Oh snap, Jackie

  32. 32
    LykeX

    About 4 AM on Saturday morning, another attendee of the conference made a graphic and direct verbal death threat to me while brandishing a semi-automatic pistol, which this person claimed was loaded

    Holy fuck!

  33. 33
    Menyambal

    The hotel is possibly thirty years old, based on my memories of spending the night there once when I was young and foolish.

    I spent months cleaning off with tepid water, pouring it from a dipper. Cold showers are incredibly wrong.

    Yikes on the incident, but it sounds like it was dealt with well. Would like to know more about preventing similars.

  34. 34
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    <snark> Well, see, the hot water boycotting not only shows that you’re a bunch of bullies, but it also shows that water has sentience, meaning the homeopaths are right and skeptics are all wrong. In fact, you could even say skeptics are all wet… if you have the same sense of humor as a moldy sponge.

  35. 35
    rorschach

    Hot water broken? That’s nothing. Try hotel air-conditioning fail in Bangkok at 35C outside temp! #storiesfromthewar

    About 4 AM on Saturday morning, another attendee of the conference made a graphic and direct verbal death threat to me while brandishing a semi-automatic pistol, which this person claimed was loaded.

    I don’t even…Remind me to never set foot in that country. It’s not worth it.

  36. 36
    flatlander100

    All I can say is that things have come to a really sorry pass when an entire hotelful of Satanists can’t summon forth tubs full of hot water as needed. A very sorry pass indeed….

  37. 37
    JohnnieCanuck

    If you’d stop to think about it, flatlander, you’d realise that there is no water – hot or otherwise, in Hell – just steam. Still, hot liquids are no problem if one is determined. Do you think you would prefer basaltic or rhyolitic magma to get yourself clean? I don’t recommend phreatic because of the mess.

    What hotel management might think about a bathtub full of hardening lava, I can only imagine.

  38. 38
    moarscienceplz

    Skepticon organizers have been fully informed of all details of the incident, and all organizers and volunteers, as well as police and hotel security, have this person’s name and photograph. This person has agreed to leave the hotel and not return to Skepticon this year or in future years.

    Skepticon organizers have been overwhelmingly supportive and competent. I was offered a security escort, which I appreciated, but felt was unnecessary and declined.

    I still feel safe at Skepticon. I have been coming to Skepticon for four years now and intend to continue to donate and to return to Springfield for Skepticon 7.

    I am not going to name the person involved in this incident at this time. Skepticon organizers and American Atheists have this person’s name and information. I will let them decide how to handle informing other event organizers about this situation.”

    OUT THE FUCKER!
    Skepticon is not the only con!
    This shitball needs to be excluded from human society for the rest of his miserable existance!

    (I can’t do blockquotes from my mobile, sorry.)

  39. 39
    David Marjanović

    Sanderson? Is that the guy who stood in the hallway once today, wearing a “SLIMEPITTER” T-shirt? (Yes, with i, not y.)

    There’s plenty of hot water in the Best Western Route 66 just 10 minutes* down the road. That place is cheaper than the University Plaza, too…

    I learned of the person with the gun only yesterday evening, so I was never afraid. *shrug* I’m not up at 4 AM when the next talk is at 9 AM!

    * At my walking speed. Mwahah.

  40. 40
    rachelriley

    According to my husband (I was inside watching the talk about Philosophy) and a couple that were talking together, there was a guy outside who was talking trash about the FTB bullies and Feminists. I dunno if it was the same guy who wanted to organize the walkouts, but I still don’t get why people have to be such dicks.
    Skepticon is simple: You want to watch the presentations, go inside and watch and enjoy to your hearts content. If you don’t, go outside and have a smoke or go check out the vendor area or whatever. It’s no big deal, build a bridge and get over it.

    P.S. Skepticon was a ton of fun and even the lack of hot showers Friday night and Saturday morning at the hotel couldn’t make the day less enjoyable.

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