What is there to do in Sydney?

Hey Australian people. How’s it going? I’m good, thanks. I know we don’t talk that often, what with the time difference being what it is. So, as a gesture of solidarity, I am posting this at a time where many of you are likely to be awake.

I am flying to Sydney on the 29th of June. I’ll be there for about 10 days with nothing to do but explore the city and its environs. Because I don’t really know anything about Sydney (other than the fact it exists, is nice, and has an opera house), I am reaching out to you to ask the following questions.

What is there to do?

Sydney is a gigantic city. I am not suggesting that there isn’t anything to do. I just don’t know what is good to do there (aside from seeing the aforementioned Opera House). Does anyone have any recommendations? When I go to a new place I like to see live music, go to history museums, see parks, and generally do things that I couldn’t do anywhere except the place I am in.

If you live in Sydney, or have travelled there, what kinds of things should I do while I am there? If it is relevant, I am staying in The Rocks.

Who is there?

If any of you have been dying to meet me, I’m certainly up for hanging out while I’m there. There’s a Skeptics in the Pub meetup on the 4th that I am planning on attending. Above and beyond that, however, I’m sure there are lots of opportunities to do social things.

Also, if you have a group that is having a meeting you’d like me to speak at, I’ve got a couple of prepared talks, or I can just hang out and chat with people if that’s easier.

Anyway, if you’re so inclined, leave me some info in the comments, or e-mail me.

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Special Feature: Crommunist goes to Chicago

So as many of you probably know, I was in Chicago this past week, taking part in a panel about atheism and social justice at DePaul University. I also got a chance to discover a little bit about the city while I was there. What follows is a re-cap of my time there.

The Panel

If you haven’t already, you should read the liveblog version of the event from fellow FTBorg Miri Mogilevsky. Unfortunately, there was no video of the talk, so Miri’s recap is the closest you’re going to get to seeing it. Despite what I said in the comments, I was not drunk during the talk – I’m just that incoherent in person.

First off, I have to say what an immense honour and privilege it was to be invited to speak at the event. I was even more flattered to be included on a panel that included Anthony Pinn and Sikivu Hutchinson, two people whose work has influenced my own profoundly. I have had the opportunity to interact with Sikivu before, and she was exactly as brilliant and insightful in person as I remember from our last encounter. She does the same thing that Christopher Hitchens is noted for – she speaks in paragraphs, and her writing could have been transcribed from her speaking (or vice versa).

Meeting Dr. Pinn was a trip, because he’s ‘Tony’, this extremely laid-back and affable guy when we’re just hanging out, and then someone mentions something that is relevant to his work and he becomes ‘Doctor Pinn’ – the Rice Endowed Chair who is dropping knowledge like an over-encumbered librarian. It’s amazing to watch. For the record, I couldn’t tell you which one I like more – both Tony and Doctor Pinn are fascinating and great people to be around in their own right. [Read more…]

A quick reminder: I’m coming to Chicago

In case you forgot (or didn’t know), I will be at Chicago’s DePaul University this Friday night, talking about social justice and atheism. The timing of this week’s series of posts is not coincidental.

Tickets are free, and you will get to see not only your humble narrator, but Sikivu Hutchinson, Anthony Pinn, Stephanie Zvan, and Ashley Miller. It should be a fascinating talk, so long as someone periodically reminds me to STFU so that people who actually know what they’re talking about can speak.

Like this article? COME SEE ME IN CHICAGO THEN!!!

Real World Atheism: Crommunist in Chicago

Heads up to those of you living in the greater Chicago area – I will be appearing on a panel at DePaul University, called

Real World Atheism: A Panel on Godless Activism and Cultural Relevancy

Join the DePaul Alliance for Free Thought, in association with the Secular Student Alliance, Center for Inquiry, African Americans for Humanism, and the Women’s Center at DePaul as we host a panel of some of the best minds in the secular movement to talk about the state of atheism, its current predicaments regarding discrimination, and attempt to chart a path towards greater involvement in the world at large.

This event will be held in room 103 of DePaul’s Arts and Letters Hall, located at 2315 N Kenmore, Chicago, Illinois. The building is fully handicapable accessible, and accommodation can be provided upon request.

This event is free and open to the public.

When the above blurb says “best minds in the secular movement”, they’re talking entirely about my co-panelists: [Read more…]

Catching up, and a study in contrasts

Hey all,

I was in Kamloops and Kelowna this weekend giving talks, so I didn’t have much time for blogging. I’ll get caught up soon, but for now (if you missed it), be sure to read Edwin’s post from late Friday.

Also I want to relate a quick story that I think is pretty cool. When I was in Philadelphia in summer 2011, I went to a place called “Geno’s” for Philly Cheese Steaks. Geno’s is a Philadelphia institution, where you supposedly get the ‘authentic’ cheese steak experience (complete with ‘Whiz’). Of course, because the guy running Geno’s is a fucking asshole, these decals festoon the order window:

Various decals admonishing you to speak English, because this is America, and endorsing Donald Trump for president.

He also sold ‘freedom fries’. Seriously.

Anyway, fast forward to a few days ago, I had to go downtown Vancouver, and as I got out of the train station, I was greeted by this food cart:

A food cart selling Philly Cheese Steaks with lettering in both English and Chinese

I’m pretty confident saying Vancouver for the win on this one. I can’t read (or speak, or understand) Chinese, so I’m secretly hoping the Chinese lettering says “Fuck you, Geno’s, you xenophobic knuckle-dragger! Also, Donald Trump would be a terrible choice for president, and your endorsement of him undermines the credibility of your political opinions!”

But it probably just says “Philly Cheese Steaks”

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Movie Friday: Hari Kondabolu

I got sick this week, and was thus robbed of the motivation to write something. I’ve got a bunch of ideas clogging up the ol’ brain-bin, which SUCKS because I also have a lot of stuff to get done this month. Here’s where you can catch me over the next week:

Thursday, January 10th

Playing a solo gig at the Sunset Grill (Yew @ York st. in Kitsilano)

Friday, January 11th

My first gig of 2013 with Even Handed Odds at the Coppertank (Broadway @ Balaclava in Kitsilano). We’re celebrating our anniversary as their house band, and our first time playing together since mid-December.

Saturday, January 12th

I’ll be in Kamloops, BC, giving a talk about the HPV Vaccine and confronting some of the info and misinfo that’s out there. It’s pitched for a general audience, and will reference the scientific literature without diving into it too heavily.

There is a FB event page here, and an event webpage here.

Sunday, January 13th

I’ll be in Kelowna, BC, giving an extended version of my talk looking at racism in the zombie apocalypse. I felt really rushed trying to cram all that information into 30 minutes, so this longer format (I have two hours, I am planning on talking for the heavy side of 45 minutes, with a Q&A afterward) will be a lot more comfortable for me.

There is a FB event page here, but it doesn’t say that the event will be at the Kelowna Pride Centre on Water st..

And now for the movie! [Read more…]