Friday – CONvergence Day 2
Friday was probably the most laid-back day of CON. There weren’t any morning panels that I wanted to attend, so I spent most of the morning blogging, hanging out in the CONsuite and wandering around the hotel. The hubby attended a panel called “Classic Sci-Fi Today” about must-read classic science fiction books. At 1pm we went to the Steam Century Fashion Show, a runway show of steampunk fashion hosted by the Steam Century group out of Madison, WI. I have some video of the event that I hope to edit and get up on the blog in the next couple of days, but I invite you to enjoy these lovely, blurry* photos in the meantime:
After the fashion show the Hubby went to a panel on the new Sherlock Holmes movie. I didn’t have anything pressing to do so I decided to volunteer for an hour. CONvergence is run almost entirely by volunteers, and they have a permanent table where any attendee can stop by and say “put me to work!”. So I did, and they did. I was sent down to the registration desk and for an hour I helped get newly arrived guests all signed in. Easy peasy.
At 3:30pm, I went to a panel called “Bulls**t Detection Kit: Why Pseudo-Science Doesn’t Deliver”. 3:30 was one of those time slots where I wanted to go to almost every other panel – I missed Jim Kakalios’s panel on “The Amazing World of Quantum Mechanics”, a panel called “Is Roller Derby the Ultimate Geek Sport?”, another entitled “Supernatural Chick Lit”, and “the Dharma Initiative: Lost Wrap Up”. Darn!
Anyway, I chose the Bulls**t panel, and that was Ted Meissner, David Walbridge, Greg Laden, Steve Thoms, Bug Girl, Stephanie Zvan and Lois Schadewald. It was cool to see that this panel was packed - there were people in every seat and standing against the walls. The session started with every panelist telling us their “favorite” pseudoscience, and in no particular order they listed Deepok Chopra, Pseudopsychology, Flat Earth belief, Psychics, Creationism, Pseudoscience related to entymology, and alternative medicine. If you’re familiar with the skeptic movement, you may be able to match up the presenters with the pseudosciences!
The following topics were considered to be those pseudosciences which have the potential to cause the most harm: the antivax movement, the global warming/climate change debate, creationism, and the lack of critical thinking and prevelence of erroneous claims about the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
This panel was on the heavier side, but even scientists and critical thinkers have a sense of humor. The funniest exchange of the session was from Ted Meissner in response to an audience commenter asking how we should address a lack of credible, interesting, scientists for the public to look up to. Ted’s response: “We need to get taller scientists.” hehehe. Okay, maybe this is why I have trouble at parties.
Random Exchange observed in the hotel: A large group of people standing in a group and one woman whips out a high-pitched “Heeeeheeeeheee!”, followed by about five seconds of silence. She looks around at the group (and some of us random bystanders) and says, “Sorry about that…nervous laughter always makes everything better.”
After the panel I ran to Target to get some more Coke Zero for the Terry Pratchett Discworld Seamstress Guild cabana. BIG mistake. I violated one of the most important suggestions at CON – never give up a parking space during CON! I drove up and down the aisles for 15 minutes before nabbing a spot. Ugh… I spent most of Friday night hanging out with the Seamstress Guild, which was sponsored by a couple of my friends. I sat on the cabana wall and hawked the party for a couple of hours, convincing random people to come inside and enjoy the sweet tea and orange-infused vodka drinks and tea cookies that we were serving. I was really impressed by the level of responsibility by both the parties and the CON attendees; I saw very few obnoxiously drunk people and EVERY cabana and party room that I visited was carding for drinks.
At 8:30pm I went to Thee Bluebeard Show. It was just okay. The presenter spent the first 10 minutes rearranging the stage and making snide jokes about how great it was that everything was in place for his session. After that the show consisted of him selecting random people from the audience and interviewing them in a sort of radio talk-show style. I left after the first three interviews, but what I did see was alright – in my experience when you take non-actors and try to make them do improv, the result is usually always just alright. He interviewed Dr. Doom, a girl from the audience with the BEST gaffaw-laugh EVER (he spent the entire interview trying to make her laugh), and a evil wraith character from…I believe…Babylon 5.
After that more parties, more Seamstress Guild, more CONsuite for late-night snacks, and we finally headed home around 3:30am.
More CONvergence tomorrow!
*I’ve been noticing that my camera phone is not so hot at the point-and-click photos in less than sunny weather. In low-light situations when there is any action/movement the photos more often than not come out blurry. It looks like I’m going to either learn more about my phone camera or start carrying my old point-and-click.