Fun times in the Big City

So … this weekend, we had an odd and informal secret meeting of the SciBlings in New York City. This was nothing official, it’s like a whole bunch of the bloggers here decided they ought to get together some time, and a plan slowly crystallized and the precipitate settled out on NYC. It was decided to keep it informal and in-house, or I would have advertised our presence further ahead of time — but with about 3 dozen of us present it would have been too much to invite in a lot of others, even though there were lots of other NY bloggers and readers I would have liked to have met.

I flew in Thursday and had a meeting with a few Seed people, and also attended an art gallery show opening, which was weird: a full size lunar lander mockup with video and sound effects and a little playlet — science and culture in collision, don’t you know. Mainly what I remember, though, is getting to meet David Byrne, and straining to be sure to close my mouth after saying hello.

We met on Friday at the Seed offices to see the staff and all the secret engines of magazine creation, and to drink beer. Then we left to find a few places to sell us food and beer. Then we went to the Adam Bly mansion to nibble on cheese and various other tasty items, and drink wine. And beer. Then we sought out bars and karaoke. This is what happens when you hang around with young’uns — if I’d been in charge, we’d have spent the weekend in libraries and coffeeshops with wifi.

Saturday we had a brunch at a nice little restaurant called E.U., hosted by Seed, who also videotaped our discussions — the video will probably end up on the Seed video page sometime. Video cameras do weird things to group dynamics: one minute everyone’s making dick jokes, then the cameras come on and they get all serious. If Seed wanted to make a really cool movie, they would have lied to us and said the cameras were on when they were off and vice versa. Maybe next time.

I took a few pictures while I was there (they’re below the fold). Both Bora and Mo also have photo sets online right now; I expect more will appear in the next day or two.


I took my seat at the restaurant early, but everyone else just saw the crew setting up and huddled in the back. By the bar. That wasn’t surprising, I guess.


That’s Kevin Beck, with Mike Dunford’s nose and the back of Bora’s neck. Geez, I’m a great photographer.


Josh was the life of the party. He did a little strip tease for us—cameras were flashing everywhere.


Once he put his clothes back on, though, Rob and Mike lost all interest in him.


Mark was in denial. This was the only time I saw Rich looking somber. Lesson taken: Josh needs to take his clothes off more often.


Steve, Mo, and Shelley pointedly ignore each other.


Chris (Yes! One of my accomplishments this weekend was learning how to pronounce “allochthonous”!), Katherine, and Mike emerge into the sunlight afterwards.


Tara and an Evil Monkey play peek-a-boo with Professor Steve Steve.


By the way, Steve Steve has a new toy: a Darwin finger puppet, modeled here against the backdrop of lovely Mike’s spiffy t-shirt.

There was more drinking all Saturday night — the wee little ones found some place where you could get 5 shots for $10, but my weak old flesh could not possibly keep up, so I staggered home to sleep before catching my flight the next morning.


But look! I also got to meet Hank Fox!

A lovely time was held by all, but next time we have to drag along a few more old folks to impose some restraint, decorum, and earlier bed times.


  1. MikeG says

    Huh… Nobody looks like I had imagined them. Except for Bora. Something about him screamed super-tall-super-skinny-gangly-guy.

    But Hank! I’m not sure what I expected. A cross between fierce, well armed and armored warrior and patient, wise school headmaster. I guess he left the armor at home.

    Can’t wait for the viddies.

  2. craig says

    I though scibling was all the flashy stuff scientists buy with all the tons of money they make.

  3. says

    I’d love to see a group of scientists drunk. I wonder if it’s anything like me. My friends and I went to a Hooters, got drunk, and I started teaching a friend a concept of theoretical physics. Another friend across the table picks up the napkin I was drawing on, licks it, and smacks it on my forehead. If another friend hadn’t puked all over the waitress, that would have been the top moment of the night. Oh, good times, good times.

  4. Hank Fox says

    MikeG: But Hank! I’m not sure what I expected. A cross between fierce, well armed and armored warrior and patient, wise school headmaster. I guess he left the armor at home.

    Good lord, no! 99% of the time, I’m an idiot. The process of marshaling my thoughts for blog commenting filters out the idiotness, and you only get to see the “good” me.

    In person, eh.

    But several people noticed I did have the biggest lens there.

    And again, PZ, it was great to meet you.

  5. says

    Hank, we didn’t really meet or get introduced, but I noticed your ENORMOUS lens, and, as an amateur photographer, was impressed.

  6. says

    While you were living it up in New York, I had the odd experience of drinking beer with the Ministry Director of KKMS radio in the Twin Cities. In a bar in Mounds View. KKMS is “More Spirited Talk Radio.”

    I startled him, I think, when I told him I am an atheist. I don’t think that he had ever met one “In the flesh” before. We talked for a long time, and then he decided to pray for me. In a bar.

    I hope that Prof. Steve Steve didn’t cause too much trouble in Sin City.

  7. SEF says

    one minute everyone’s making dick jokes …

    Poor old Richard Dawkins. ;-)

    I noticed your ENORMOUS lens

    Hank also seems to have the biggest, most Darwin-esque beard of all. For what, if anything, would one of those be compensating? ;-)

  8. says

    It used to be like that in the sacristy when I was an altar boy: all the priests making dick jokes, then the organ started (in church) and they all get into role. Gould was wrong. There is an overlapping magisterium. Dick jokes.

  9. Lulu says

    Uh buh wha duh DAVID BYRNE!
    Talking Heads David Byrne?

    I love Talking Heads like nobody’s business.

  10. says

    I didn’t get pictures of David Byrne, sorry. I think you just have to get invited to random openings of art shows in NY, though, and you’ll eventually bump into him.

    And yeah, I felt a bit like an old fogey. It’s not my fault. Most of the scibloggers are so freaking young.

  11. Hank Fox says

    SEF: Hank also seems to have the biggest, most Darwin-esque beard of all. For what, if anything, would one of those be compensating? ;-)

    Here’s a hint: Notice the pic of me standing next to PZ? Notice that even with him crouching down a bit, I only come up a little above his chin?

    It’s MASSIVE short-guy complex.

  12. bernarda says

    Even scientists once they get to NY seem to become fashion victims. Too bad there are no pictures of their shopping forays.