What to do in Hartford?

I’m going to be flying in to Hartford, Connecticut on 18 June to have a public conversation about The Happy Atheist. I know some people won’t be free at 7pm to join in, and I’ve been asked if there are any other public events planned while I’m there.

No, there isn’t. It’s a real blitz — I fly in on Wednesday morning, and fly out again early on Thursday. But I’m amenable! I’m staying at the Hilton Hartford on Trumbull Street, and if anyone knows of any good nearby places (or we could just meet at the Hilton bar), let me know and we’ll arrange something for post-talk relaxation. I imagine I’ll be free after 9pm, and I just have to be at the airport around 4am, so what the heck, the night is a dead loss anyway. Make it better.

Hangin’ with my homies

While I was in Seattle, I got my picture taken with all of my surviving siblings, my mother, one grand-nephew, and my mother’s dog.

Tomi, Mike, Jim in back; Alex, Mom, Caryn, me in the middle; Bebe front.

Tomi, Mike, Jim in back; Alex, Mom, Caryn, me in the middle; Bebe front.

This is mostly the same crew a few years back.

Caryn, Tomi in back; Jim, Mike, and me up front.

Caryn, Tomi in back; Jim, Mike, and me up front.

We haven’t changed a bit.

Disaster. Catastrophe. Chaos.

This is not good. I have a couple of students anxious to get to work (I’m anxious to get to work), and we’ve been prepping my lab zebrafish facility for an influx of new fish that we expected to arrive this week, and then I check into the Zebrafish International Resource Center, the source for all of our lines, and get this message.

Due to a fire, ZIRC services have been temporarily disrupted. We are unable to provide fish or accept submissions at this time. We sincerely apologize for this delay and hope that it does not seriously disrupt your activities. If you have an order pending at ZIRC, we will be in contact with you as soon as possible. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Yep, that’s us. Order pending. Expected to ship tomorrow. That’s not happening now. Most of my summer research money got spent on something essential that is indefinitely delayed.

Oh, well, I can’t blame ZIRC for a problem beyond their control, that I’m sure they’d rather hadn’t occurred either. I’m going to have to scavenge up some healthy, fecund experimental animals somehow. So my plan is to drive into Minneapolis today and visit a few quality aquarium stores (not Walmart) and scrape together a bunch of mongrel fish that will at least let me and my students do some preliminary practice. Which means my entire day is sort of demolished right now.

At least I can double up — I’m also taping some shows with Humanists of Minnesota this evening, so I’m making a long day of it.

It’s been a family day

I’m neglecting the blog because I’m hanging out with my mother and sisters, which means…getting all sentimental and going through the old photo albums. I’ve now got a whole series of photos illustrating the evolution of the beard. I thought you might be amused to see what I looked like in my teens going on twenties.


I used to be adorable before I got all grizzled and homely.

Shhh. It’s secret. A Seattle secret.

I’m heading off to Seattle today, and I’ll be speaking at Town Hall on Thursday. I’m also planning on a get-together with Ophelia and other interested parties on Friday evening, somewhere in the city, but I’m not announcing where in public — intrusive trolls are even worse in the world of meat than they are in the world of the internet. If you’re in the area and interested in joining us, you’ll have to email me, say a little about yourself, and maybe I’ll reply with the top secret location. Maybe. If you sound nice.

Or if you know Ophelia, you can talk to her. We’re being cautious because I’m expecting a quiet evening of friendly conversation, and there actually are assholes in Seattle, as nice a city as it is otherwise, and they’re not invited. And if they show up, we’ll just be ignoring them.