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Fort Lauderdale After Hours

It’s almost 1am Saturday morning, I’m at TAM 5.5 in Fort Lauderdale, I’m pleasantly buzzed, and I’m checking in to say hello. I don’t have long because as I was leaving the pool area here at the fabulous Plantation Hotel/Motel and Conference Center, to get to my computer, one of the attendees shouted to me that his girlfriend was on her way with another bottle of rum, and god dammit the booze and the company so far have just been delicious.

But I wanted to post something for you guys while I’m here, and tomorrow when they strike up the band in earnest, there’s not going to be much chance for blog sneak-aways.

Rebecca has informed me that she’s throwing a party tomorrow night, and there’s no way I’ll have the time or the motor skills to post anything in the midst of a full on party, so a short, after midnight Sam musing is the best I can do right now.

Before you all get the wrong idea, this visit hasn’t just been all boozing and schmoozing, though I’m happy to say, the boozing and schmoozing has indeed had top billing. There has been quite a bit of sciency discourse, along with a good measure of skeptical discussion. I think it’s just the way these folks roll. Falling in with old friends demands the party, but the nature of the friendships nurtures the intellectual passions, and it’s fun to even be on the periphery of either.

Rebecca and I had a little adventure early yesterday, shortly after my arrival. She and I hadn’t seen each other in a while, but you couldn’t tell. We fell back into a comfortable routine, as good friends are wont to do. Then today I attended her seminar about podcasting and blogging, which was very informative. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I also had the good fortune of meeting some other Skepchick bloggers. Masala_Skeptic, a.real.girl, and Stacey are all here, and we had dinner tonight, and I couldn’t be more pleased they let me join their Skepchick cabal. Simply put, they are awesome.

At one point, Stacey and I, along with a group of about five or six others, were immersed in an in-depth discussion about evolution, religion, and politics at the reception. It’s a funny thing about skeptics; the discussion was civil and over-the-top profound while the subjects were religion and politics, but got downright heated the moment we started talking about cartoons, of all things.

I couldn’t figure that one out, but decided my brain power would be better spent trying to decipher the mad ramblings of Phil Plait who regaled us over dinner with tales both tragic and extremely tragic. And for the record, when I say mad, I don’t mean to imply that Phil is insane, though a strong case could be made for that exact assessment. I just mean, he was blowing our minds with hints about what will be in his next book, which apparently chronicles just about every possible celestial event that could destroy the Earth. Real rosy stuff, right? Several people admitted that they would probably have nightmares thanks to Phil’s dinner conversation.

Aside from that, The Amazing One himself entertained us with some good stories and some wonderful magic tricks, and the whole JREF staff and all the forumites that made the trip have been great.

Well, we get into the heart of this thing tomorrow, and if I can, I’ll give you all a report. But if I get caught up in the maelstrom of the day and can’t get to my computer, look for something from me upon my return home. I write much better once I’ve had a few days to dry out anyway.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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