My summation of my time at the Reason Rally

I didn’t go.

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Oh, did you want more than that? Um… yeah okay I think I can find a couple of things to say.

I am relatively new to the world of organized skepticism. I didn’t start defining myself as ‘a skeptic’ until shortly after I moved to Vancouver, and even then it was a label that got tacked on among a bunch of others that were much higher on the list in terms of how I saw myself. As a result, I’ve never really felt a strong desire to connect with other skeptics for skepticism’s sake. Vancouver has a skeptic community full of really cool people who I like to spend time with because they’re fun, not because they’re skepty. Things like the Reason Rally aren’t a big draw for me, therefore – there are a lot of things happening in my life, and flying around the continent to stand in a crowd doesn’t have the same appeal to me as it does to others. I think the Rally was a good idea, but just not super tantalizing to me personally.

A few people expressed their disappointment that I wasn’t able to make it to the Reason Rally, and that does bum me out a bit because most Cromrades (at least the ones who post comments) seem like the kind of cool people I would enjoy spending time with, regardless of their skeptiness. Additionally, a lot of the FTBorg was there, and it would have been cool to hang out with Hank Fox and JT Eberhard and Martin Wagner for the first time (not to mention how amazing it would be to meet Greta Christina). So it would have been a lot of fun to be in DC, and if I lived anywhere close by, I would go to the next one.

That being said, there is a nearby freethought conference happening in May that I am glad to be attending. If you live in the area, you should consider being in attendance. I won’t be presenting or anything – I’ll just be hanging around, taking in the scenery, attending the talks. If you see me, you should come say ‘hello’. I will probably say something back. Possibly also ‘hello’.

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  1. Brownian says

    I didn’t go for many of the same reasons you’ve outlined. I do regret missed opportunities to connect with some of the people I’ve met here on FtB and its parent site Scienceblogs, but because I’d like to meet them in real life as people, not skeptics.

    Having said that, I consider myself privileged to live in a place where I can comfortably be ‘out’ as an atheist and skeptic (and I’m talking about Alberta, FFS), so I’m not hurting for like-minded company. I do recognise and sympathise with those for whom skeptics’ meetups are like a lifeline in a sea of irrationality.

  2. chigau (一番) says

    Reason Rally was too far and I can’t do Kamloops, either.
    I guess I’ll have to “make-do” with reading on-line.

  3. Timid Atheist says

    I really do love your sense of humor. Haha.

    I did not go, though I don’t live prohibitively far, unlike say Jen, writer of Blag Hag. But I’m also very new to skepticism, atheism and secularism. And crowds intimidate me. I’d need to at least know one other person. And sadly I don’t know anyone with my new found leanings.

    I hope you enjoy your conference and get to say hello to lots of amazing people who will also get to say hello an amazing person in return.

  4. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    If you see me, you should come say ‘hello’. I will probably say something back. Possibly also ‘hello’.

    I take it you’re not a “hail fellow, well met” kind of guy.

  5. says

    This Ottawa guy went down to that other capital city (not to neglect Mexico City, but I’ve never been there) for the Rally, and stayed for the AA Convention (‘cuz I ain’t going all that way for just a Saturday). Had an awesome time hanging with the Pharyngulite Horde. It wasn’t so much a skeptical event as an atheist one, ie. being identified as a group demanding their rightful place in society, not unlike where LGBTs were a few years ago (Greta Christina made this exact point). “Coming Out” was a main theme of the Convention — one big feature was a panel of (now ex-) clergy who have lost their faith and are trying rebuild their lives, having trash-canned their careers, and often been ostracized by their communities. These are some of the gutsiest people you’ll ever meet.

    BTW (said he, seguing into a hijack), we (ie: CFI Ottawa) are mounting our own conference this fall: Eschaton 2012.

  6. Kev says

    It’s funny, I attended a bunch of Vancouver Skeptics in the Pub a couple or three years back. Railway Club, prior to the Kits and Richmond days… I stopped coming after a while – I always just kind of stood around awkwardly for an hour or two. I am passionately skeptical, and rather sociable (or I thought so prior to that) but it just didn’t seem to work for me, at that place and time.

    To my point, however – I’m thinking I’ll have to venture out again, finally, and for one primary reason: to meet you, shake your hand, and tell you how much I appreciate your writing. (And if Natalie Reed was there as well, I’d be over the moon.) You two are my absolute favorite things in my Reader these days, and the fact that you’re local – Wow!

    Anyway, don’t be surprised if a gushing fanboy accosts you, whether at a SitP event, or a CROWN show. You’ve been warned, and I hope it doesn’t deter you from attending… 😉

  7. says

    Natalie and I are both known to attend SitP in Kits. The next one is next Wed (4th) but I will be playing with CROWN that night at the Backstage Lounge, so I won’t be attending.

    And thank you for the kind words. It’s always incredibly flattering to know that people get something from my work.

  8. Johnny Vector says

    Ah well then, you should come to DC in the fall, and I’ll meet you at the MD Renaissance Festival (the best one in this country, and also in yours since Ontario RenFest closed (and I only know that because some of our people also worked Ontario (I’m not really a RenFest guy, but my wife used to stage manage MDRF))).

  9. says

    If I weren’t already going to the Women in Secularism Conference…*sigh*. Somebody needs to manage all these things better. Oh, well. There will be another excuse.

  10. anthonyallen says

    I didn’t go, either. My excuse is because I don’t have a passport. My reason is because there isn’t enough Ativan in the world to make me calm enough to not end up in a corner somewhere, terrified out of my skull.

    That said, if you ever happen to play a small-ish gig in Calgary, I’d be real interested in knowing about that.

  11. Alice in Wonderland says

    Oh! Ottawa in November! I might actually be able to go to that!

    So I clicked on the link, and saw the headline text, and thought to myself “End of the World? That’s a bit of a harsh characterization of Ottawa. I mean, I could see Middle of Nowhere, maybe…”

    *is from Montreal*


  12. says

    I grew up in Toronto. Even after 31 years here, I still think of Ottawa as the Middle Of Nowhere. I just happen to prefer that to the Center Of the Known Universe (I mean: the traffic! The sprawl!).

  13. Flex says

    Hmm, Ottawa you say.

    10 hour drive from Ann Arbor, or $300 round-trip ticket on Canada Rail from Windsor. Maybe a layover in Toronto for a couple days….

    This may be possible. Or at least something to think about.

  14. Anna Yeung says

    If anyone happens to be attending the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne in less than 2 weeks, come say hi! As the token foreigner on the organising committee, I’d love to see fellow Canucks down under!

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