Volcanic Ass

Sid and I spent this week excitedly prepping for our trip to New York for NECSS, after which we planned to see Philly skeptics and visit my family in South Jersey. Everything was coming together beautifully. We broke out into song at random moments. Tiny birds and squirrels flew through our windows and helped me get dressed and they didn’t even cop a feel. It truly was a magical time.

As Sid was getting ready for work Thursday morning, I opened my laptop and spoke the fateful words: “Cool, a volcano erupted in Iceland! . . . Oh shit.”

Since then, as you may know, London has been enveloped in the warm, ashy fart of Iceland’s volcano, and all the airports have been closed. Because no ultrafast boats are leaving for the US anytime soon, Sid and I are stuck here in London and will be unable to make it to NECSS today.

This also means our chances of making it to Philly tomorrow are . . . well, pretty much zero. The airports are definitely closed until 7pm tonight but NATS says it’s only getting worse.

I’m unbelievably bummed out about this because I was so looking forward to hanging out with Skepchick readers, SGU listeners, and the good friends and family I haven’t seen since last year. I even have a suitcase full of souvenirs for my Boston Skeptic homies.

I’m so upset, in fact, that the headline you see on this post is the best I could do. I know. To make up for it, I also made the following based on a satellite image of the smoke sent to me by my Icelandic friend Hjalti:


Screw you, volcano.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

Related Articles


  1. I’m in Denmark and this assy volcano is affecting nearly everyone I know. My in-laws are stuck in London (ok, I guess that’s not that bad…), a bunch of my friends are separated from their spouses and/or missing work for several extra days at least. Screw you, volcano!

  2. I don’t know if it’s the inner anarchist waking up in me but i find this volcanic event awesome. It’s perfect – as far as i know there’s been no deaths, people just have succumbed to the great forces of nature in a pretty much harmless way. No one is in control, so it’s a great time to chill out and try to see the big zoomed-out picture – lots of little humans running around trying to get to their important meetings that aren’t really THAT important.

    There’s really no one to complain to, and if we want some information we talk to the people who really know something – the scientists. And if we want to conquer the problem we all know once again that it is science that will be the answer. I suspect tests are already being made somewhere to develop the first prototypes of volcano-proof aircraft.

    But that is just me. Sorry for your missed meeting Rebecca – i’d fix it if i could!

  3. I feel bad for you, it must be so disappointing to be close to visiting home/friends, only to be unable to at the last minute. As someone who is very homesick (for Australia) right now, I can fully sympathise.

    Damn geology, always trying ruin peoples days :/

  4. Yes, all will bow before Eyjafjallajökull, destroyer of plans! Look upon his ash and despair, mortals. Your puny airplanes stand no chance against his wrath. Mwahahahahahaaaa!!!

    *On a marginally more serious note, I think that it’s clear that Eyjafjallajökull is a tool of the European ferry companies.

  5. I too live in Denmark and have no plans of going anywhere outside the country in the next few weeks at least. But I will be enraged, enraged I tells you, if this volcanic ash cloud interferes with Diamanda Galás’ ability to come to Copenhagen to perform on friday. I’ve been looking forward to this concert for a long time. Enraged!

  6. That, blows… chunks. Out of all the things you could have thought of and planned for that would have kept you from going; volcano has got to be pretty fucking far down the list. Just a few spots above Sid being pregnant and Jesus coming back.

  7. I’m sorry to read this. I recently missed out on a good friend’s bachelor party because of the nor’easter blasting up through Jersey just hours before my scheduled flight. Nature, while lovely, can be a dick sometimes. :(

  8. That sucks that you’re missing the trip.

    My husband is stuck in London. Our 4 year old was already not pleased that he travelled to that magical land of awe and mystery and large clocks and Great Fires without her, and now he’s late returning, so she’s really pissed.

    He says flights might be going out on Tuesday, but that’s probably too late for you.

    Bummers all around.

  9. Aw #$%^! Commiserations, and to the squirrels too.

    But look on the bright side. A plume of ash has been vented over one of the most densely instrumented corners of the planet. What a data bonanza for the climatologists!

  10. I was on the last plane out of London on Thursday. Since I was simply sight-seeing in London, totally unexposed to media ( intentionally ), I simply looked up at the departure board when I arrived at Heathrow and smiled when I saw my ON TIME departure. I thought nothing of the ordinariness of this check in. It was only AFTER I checked in did I hear someone say that a volcano was wrecking havoc with outgoing flights. I thought, ” volcano .. huh …duh … bleb bleb.” Truly, that was about what I thought. It did not register. No one in the waiting area even discussed it. We were all oblivious. Only when we were up in the air did we learn from the attendants that we were the last flight out of London. And THEN I went to NECCS. As the post card says, Rebecca: “wish you were here” as well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button