The Leap into Insanity Tour begins today!

It’s kind of like stage diving into a mosh pit, I think. I’m leaving for Santa Barbara this afternoon, beginning a week-long tour of a big chunk of California. Zeno has cruelly pointed out that my itinerary is a bit convoluted, but I say you take the tour you’ve got, not the one you wish you had.


The amazing thing is that I scarcely know what I’m doing. I show up in Santa Barbara tonight, and I’m hoping I’ll be caught by the locals (you know who you are: you should get in touch with Lyz at the SSA, who’ll give you my secret cell phone number), who’ll show me a couch or a bed or something, and then each day afterwards I’m just sort of expecting someone will show up or contact me and guide me to the next event in the schedule. Zeno is right that the tour leads me all over the place, but from my perspective, it’s all pretty much Brownian. I shall be buffeted by the impact of chaos, and I shall enjoy it, unless I get dropped and end up spending a night sleeping on a sidewalk in Fresno or something.

I’ll be back in Minneapolis on the 29th of January, where the Trophy Wife™ will meet me with a pile of clean underwear so I can repack for my trip to Ireland and the Affront to God tour, leaving on the 30th. I’m still juggling a few of the details on that one, so I’m not going to put up a map just yet…but I will note that when I sketched out the preliminary route there, Dublin to Galway to Cork to Belfast, my son snarkily pointed out that I’ll be making the sign of the cross over the island. I may have to rejigger something, since that would be blasphemous, and we can’t have that, no sir.

A lot of people are asking about social hours after the talks. I HAVE NO PLANS. I am but a feather in the wind. However, I’m also really easy, so if anyone wants to drag me away and ease my parched throat with local brews, I’ll be amenable.


  1. Eileen says

    Had a good chuckle looking at the map. Imagined a private jet with a squid on the tail-fin…

  2. Truckle says

    Hmm, if you squint and turn your paredolia senses up to 11 it looks like you are traveling in the pattern of a clef… being shot by a big arrow!

    Any musical themes to the speeches? Or anyone being shot with a crossbow?

    Clef –

  3. SEF says

    The convoluted and rapid transit path is an important precaution against gods being able to keep up with you to lob lightning bolts. Stay in one place too long on that fault-line and they might be able to muster another earthquake.

  4. JBlilie says

    P.Z., what SW did you use to produce that map? I have a similar mapping project to do (about 40 maps) …


  5. Scott says

    …I shall enjoy it, unless I get dropped and end up spending a night sleeping on a sidewalk in Fresno or something.


    But it looks from your itinerary that you might, at most, merely make a pit stop in my neck of the woods. I sent you an e-mail with contact info if that is the case, but you will obviously be a very busy fellow. Take care and have fun.

    Scott Hatfield, of FRESNO, California.


  6. Jimmy-boy says

    Can you give any more details of your Ireland trip PZ? I’m sure there will be lots who will want to hear you – from all sides.


    Jim (recent lurker -> joiner: very amused to read the whole of the cracker gate episode and comments in 2008 – linked from atheist Ireland. Nice work…)

  7. startlingmoniker says

    Can’t beat the craziness of Jimi Hendrix’s touring schedule– check April 25th to May 16th, 1970–

    Los Angeles, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Madison, St. Paul, NYC, Norman (Oklahoma!), Fort Worth, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Berkeley.

    And that’s in order. Ack!

  8. Pinkydead says

    Ireland’s road system is based on a Cephalapodic structure – you’d like it.

    You have to go Dublin->Galway->Dublin->Cork->Dublin->Belfast.

    So you won’t need to make a cross.

  9. Larry says

    Wait a minute. I think I see jesus’ image formed from the lines on that map. It’s a miracle!

  10. tsg says

    You could always keep the hope that your path, viewed from some angle, in some language, spells a really rude word.

  11. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I show up in Santa Barbara tonight, and I’m hoping I’ll be caught by the locals


    I’m just sort of expecting someone will show up or contact me and guide me to the next event in the schedule.

    Christ on a crutch, Dr. Myers! You had better be more careful than that or you will be hijacked by the woo-ists. Seriously. Some of them walk among us. They wear human clothes and even speak like us. Trust no one! If you disappear, we will all have to go over to Hemant’s blog. No one wants to see that, right?

  12. MetzO'Magic says

    …so I can repack for my trip to Ireland and the Affront to God tour, leaving on the 30th.

    Yay PZed! Thought I was going to miss your talks in Ireland because I’m going for a long hols on the 6th Feb, but now it looks as if your Dublin engagements will be during the first week.

    Jimmy-boy, Pinkydead, and any other Irish lurkers out there. Who’s Dublin-based among you? My contact details can be found on the About page if you follow the link in my handle.

  13. PZ Myers says

    So if I end up on a sidewalk in Fresno, I should just call Scott Hatfield? Yay! I can always rely on the kindness of strangers.

  14. MrFire says

    Zeno has cruelly pointed out that my itinerary is a bit convoluted

    Make lemons out lemonade! Re-title it your Laryngeal Nerve TourTM!

  15. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    unless I get dropped and end up spending a night sleeping on a sidewalk in Fresno or something.

    You might end up in Lodi.

  16. mothra says

    Gee, you just ‘pop in’ to California. . .like a god or something. No jet trail coming into the state. Or maybe you’re traveling to California by bus.:)

  17. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    I do hope you set up the blog to be looked over by other people. I am afraid some of our more persistent trolls are going to be smearing fecal matter on the walls while you are busy traveling, meeting and greeting and trying to catch up on rest.

  18. JJ says

    See ya’ in Santa Cruz! Planning on getting a beer post-talk? I have some suggestions. Also, keep dry and drive safe in the rain, it’s crazy out there right now

  19. Sven DiMilo says

    Nice pick, ‘Tis.

    Well, that’s a pretty fun part of the world in my experience. If I wasn’t as far away as it’s possible to get in the lower 48, I’d participate somehow.

    Have the good time.

  20. bfish says

    I know this is too late to help you, but bring a rain coat!!11!! Or, anyways, buy one at first opportunity. You’re going to see so much rain on this trip that you’ll be thrilled to get back to the white-but-dry stuff in Morris.

  21. JJ says

    Hmmm, a good route would have been:
    Santa Barbara ->Santa Cruz-> De Ana -> Stanford -> Berkeley -> Davis -> Sac. City-> Sierra-> Chico. I wonder how many miles that would save…

  22. Jimmy-boy says

    @ #13 MetzO’Magic

    Sorry if I’ve confused – I’m actually in Jersey, CI. But wondering if I might get over to Dublin (there are direct flights) for one of the talks.

    There aren’t many atheists over here…and given that we still have official censorship and a deeply religious/conservative administration, little chance of touring anti-goddites getting a look in.

    I’ll let you know though if I can get there. I will really try!



  23. anotheroneoftheguys says

    If you end up on a sidewalk in Fresno, you’ll be warmly welcomed by a small cadre of godless folks who would be more than happy to show you that this city has good people.

    Just be sure to let us know which sidewalk you’re staying on. ;-)

  24. Michael W Simpson says

    PZ, don’t forget to bring very warm clothes. It’s been pretty cold in Santa Barbara, staying in the mid-50’s on some days.

    Oh, wait a minute. That’s summer for you. Never mind.

  25. fly44d says

    Looking forward to your visit! That bounce back and forth between Sacramento and Stanford is not a sign of intelligent design. But I hope it is true since my daughter plans to take her roommate to the Sierra College event.

  26. kyoseki says

    PZ’s visit coincides with the worst weather California has had in years! Is that a coincidence!?!?!?

    … (yes, actually, total coincidence, but I expect Bananaman to call it “a sign!”)

    … although I don’t envy the turbulence you’re likely to get on the way in :)

  27. Finch says

    I’m hoping to make it to the Santa Barbara event, despite having 8am class the next day at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. If I can’t make it to that one, I’ll try and show up at the UCSC, or De Anza events.

    As an aside, let me point out to you that getting from UCSB to UC Davis is a highly non-trivial problem. Santa Barbara does have an airport, but that will cost an arm and a leg (and probably involve flying through Los Angeles). For Amtrak, you’d have to get up and catch a 6am bus from the Amtrak station in order to arrive (according to schedule) in Davis before 5pm (and Amtrak has a service alert on one of the lines, and hasn’t been known for keeping to timetables as freight is prioritized on the rail lines).

    So, I hope you have a rental car, and a willingness to drive 6+ hrs (if you hit rush hour in the SF bay area, add at least another hour). I hate to say it since I like mass transit, but that’s probably the best way.

  28. Dodger says

    PZ, Here are some links for some places that may interest you on the south side of Monterey Bay (Santa Cruz is on the north side): The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Hopkins Marine Station.

    MBA – /vi/tickets.aspx

    MLML – (

    MBARI –

    MBNMS –

    HMS –

    The area is stunningly beautiful too, especially if it turns sunny. C’mon down…

  29. caseyhov says

    PZ! If you need a place to crash in the Sacramento area, email me. I’ve got 2 couches and an extra room. I’m totally serious! Email me if you would like my cell phone number, you’re welcome in any time!

  30. MetzO'Magic says

    Jimmy-boy @ 25

    Channel Islands, huh? Well, pop me an e-mail if you think you can make it over to Dublin. Now we just have to wait for PZed to post his Irish itin…

  31. PWBrian says

    From the map it would appear you are crafting some sort of divine spear with which you can finally strike at Oregon’s soft underbelly.

  32. Jimmy-boy says

    MetzO’Magic…I will indeed. I’ve started negotiations at home. I had my thread moved and corrected asking for dates over on the other side – there are dates and places out there now.



    PS Does anyone know if PZ drinks the black? PZ? If you’re away to Dublin, I hope so now

  33. Qwerty says

    If the earth shakes, you can bet Californian creationists will blame…. YOU!

    It’s the one time they won’t say: “God did it.”

  34. CJO says

    I’ll be there on Friday at the Berkeley talk. I missed the last Berkeley appearance, so I’m excited to see Da Man all up close and personal like.

    Pharyngala afterward, surely? Friday night in Berkeley, the students will all be just back from break; could be hectic downtown. Are people thinking Jupiter again?

  35. nejishiki says

    Better to sleep on the streets of Fresno than the streets of Bakersfield. What a sad little town.

    “How many of you who sit and judge me have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?”
    – Homer Joy

  36. MadScientist says

    It looks like a football play from a cartoon.
    That’s an awful lot of travelling, and certainly not organized for the shortest route. That’s almost Creationist Insane.

  37. Jarred C. says

    PZ, when you get to UC Davis, I strongly recommend stopping by the restaurant/bar Little Prague (located less then a mile from the lecture hall you’ll be at), and trying a Black Lion. It’s one of the best dark beers I’ve ever had (and I lived in Germany for four years earlier this decade).

    You can only find this beer at this location, as the owner privately imports it from Czech Republic.

    Heck, I’ll even buy you one.

  38. SQB says

    It’s kind of like stage diving into a mosh pit

    Sounds like you have some experience with that. Please tell us more!

  39. MetzO'Magic says

    Jim, hi again,

    It’d be great if you can make it over from Jersey :-)

    PS Does anyone know if PZ drinks the black? PZ? If you’re away to Dublin, I hope so now

    Somehow… I don’t think we’ll need to be forcing it down his throat. Ireland is without a doubt the best place to drink Guinness in.

    BTW, any other Pharyngulites in the Dublin area? Don’t be shy now.

  40. William says

    God speed! (chuckle)
    You’re gonna get wet, but there is rarely lightning in CA – should be safe from being ‘struck’ down for blasphemy.
    Be safe and enjoy the warmth – I’ll shiver for ya.

  41. Dan says


    Believe it or not, I have made that trip you described many times….in all directions.

    I don’t think many Easterners or midwesterners realize how much we drive out here. I “zip” 3-4 hours to visit friends for lunch or dinner all the time (then back).

    I know every highway and byway in this state, for better or worse.

    Ignore Mapquest. From Santa Barbara take 101 north to SLO (or even better, take the CA Route 154 “cutoff”, much more beautiful and actually a tad faster, usually). Get lunch in San Luis Obispo (I suggest Firestone, personally…I can’t go back there without grabbing their tri-tip sandwich lunch…cannot recommend enough).

    Go north to Paso Robles, and take 46-to-41 to the central valley (you will pass quite a few very nice vineyards, buy a bottle or two while you can).

    Once in the valley (near Fresno), I-5 north is very fast (unless raining, prepare for traffic to be moving around 80-85) and very similar to what the midwest looks like. For the next 150 miles, no towns except fast-food off-ramps, but not a bad drive into Sacramento. About 6-7 hours total drive.

    Hah! I just checked, that exactly the route Mapquest gives. So enjoy our beautiful state, and I look forward to seeing you up here in Sacto soon.

  42. Finch says

    Firestone is pretty good, but I always felt that it’s appeal was more as a “good to watch sports at” venue. If you are driving, I do recommend stopping in SLO, but I recommend the High Street Deli, although it’s a little more out of the way. They make great completely customized sandwiches that make Subway look like No-way. Though, if it’s raining, then I’d go with something downtown, though I think Mo’s is better than Firestone. You can’t really go wrong with Firestone or Mo’s (one block north of Firestone at the corner of Monterey and Osos).

  43. Dan says

    There is nothing at all wrong with Finch’s suggestions about High Street, I must admit.

    That said. When in Rome….

    That means tri-tip, which is a Central California staple (and basically just a brisket cut the wrong way). I know it’s fame has spread of late, but it’s probably still largely unknown outside of California. You cannot say you have been to the Central Coast if you haven’t had a tri-tip sandwich.

    So, somewhere, somehow, have some tri-tip when on the coast. My suggestion is Firestone, but Mo’s is great as well, as Finch pointed out (and the line at Firestone’s is going to be much longer). But their fries and beer selection is better as well at Firestone’s.

    Damn, now I’m hungry. Gonna have to make a tip for dinner tonight now.

  44. says

    It’s now about 4:30PM in Berkeley. In the last hour we’ve had lightning, thunder, hail, torrential rain, serious wind, and a double rainbow.

    Anything to make a guy feel right at home.

    See ya Friday night!

    Ron Sullivan

  45. says

    BTW, I’m assuming your skeptic hosts are providing transportation once you’re on the ground here.

    If you should get stuck in Lodi, this is the best possible time. The wild swans and cranes and their smaller associates winter in the Delta and along the Cosumnes River around there.

    Ron Sullivan

  46. JJ says

    I hear ya, I’ve driven across this state in all directions so many times… I used to make the no too bad of a trek from Santa Cruz to OakTown a couple times a week. Zipping out to CorningChico from time to time. Down to SLO, Pismo, SB… And the always fun drive of Santa Cruz to Laguna (ALWAYS via 101 to 405, I hate the 5, and the 46).



    I’m assuming you mean Firestone grill in SLO (do they have others?) and not Firestone Walker, like in Paso Robles or Buelltin, which is a wonderful brewery. Either way, both are great (I never miss Firestone when I’m in SLO, and always stop i nFirestone Walker when passing through Paso Robles or Buelltin)

  47. Dan says

    @ JJ

    I’m assuming you mean Firestone grill in SLO

    Absolutely that’s the one. They do have a satellite in Fresno (different name, something about Bulldogs, I think, off Shaw IIRC) and one in Cambria. There may be more now.

    In a former life, I paid my way through school BBQing tri-tip and other dead animals parts in the SLO area. I always thought Firestone had the best tri-tip sando, although that wasn’t where I worked. To be honest, it is the Firestone fries that make the meal.

  48. damienk805 says


    we had lightning in San Luis Obispo ALL DAY TODAY… too funny.

    Dan and Finch speak truth about Firestone’s, best tri-tip sandwich anywhere, but there’s also Tsurugi’s for sushi, Jaffa Cafe for mediterranean, and a bunch of great Thai places (Thairiffic, Thai Classic). High Street is alright, (sorry, I just don’t get that excited about deli sandwiches anymore), I go there more for the people watching.

  49. R. Schauer says

    please look for my son, Andy, in Santa Cruz. He has “orders from headquarters” to take you out for a brew or two after your talk.

    Enjoy the warm weather and I hear, rain?

  50. aratina cage of the OM says

    Not such a great time to go to California. There are reports of a tornado in Los Angeles and the forecast is for worse weather Wednesday:

    “With the first two storms, we got lucky,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. “Wednesday could be horrendous. Monday we got the right jab. Tuesday we got the left jab. Wednesday we could get the haymaker to the chin.”

    Stay safe!

  51. sudomabinusri says

    The wild swans and cranes and their smaller associates winter in the Delta …

    +++ Man, how I miss being able to go visit the cranes.

  52. says

    I’m going to be coming down to Stanford for your talk, I’m closer to Berkeley, but have to work Friday night, Hopefully I can buy you a brew after.

  53. says

    Ok, the Yahoo! OpenID doesn’t seem to work very well…LOL

  54. A Schauer says

    Hey PZ,

    Could I Facebook message you my cell so I could take you out for a beer or something after you speak at UCSC (I’m Rick’s son in case it wasn’t obvious!)? I’m really looking forward to seeing you in a few days in any case!

  55. OriGuy says

    Dan@47: For the next 150 miles, no towns except fast-food off-ramps, but not a bad drive into Sacramento.

    Are you forgetting Stockton? Plus, there’s a restaurant worth stopping for in Los Banos. Wool Growers does fixed-price French Basque dinners that are legendary.

  56. Dan says

    @ OriGuy: Are you forgetting Stockton?

    As often as I can! haha!

    Yes, indeed, I-5 does run through Stockton. (Interesting fact, for as vast as California is, with numerous huge towns, I-5 goes about 300+ miles through most of the state without going through a single town between Santa Clarita and Stockton). We can be rural too!

    I have been to, and love, Wool Growers, so OriGuy makes a great point and excellent recommendation.

    At first I thought you were referring that Holland-based concept restaurant right off the freeway in Santa Nella (and Buellton). I would definitely NOT recommend that hole.

  57. Haley says

    I’m coming to see you in Berkeley! It’s currently hailing and thundering, so hopefully that won’t deter others from coming to see you.

    @Steven Dunlap #17- its at 7pm in the Valley Life Sciences Building

    I’m also debating making you some kind of cephalopod plushie, but I have 4 essays due this week.

  58. P. Rovegno says

    A Schauer@61 & JJ @21: If you manage to get in touch with people taking PZ out for drinks after the UCSC talk, do you think you might pass the information along via Facebook? (Assuming, of course, that there is room for one more…)