Sunday, January 29, 2006

My Personal TAM4 Report

The picture is of me, Daniel Dennet & Mulan with Eddie, her companion elephant.

I guess I'm breaking my own self-imposed rule about pictures of Mulan on my blog, but since so many people took pictures of her already this weekend, I was thinking it's sort of moot.

I had, just, the most wonderful weekend in Las Vegas at the TAM4 convention. I can’t decide what the biggest highlight was, there were so many great moments. Best of all, is that I’ve been to three TAMs in a row now and I have a group that I have become friends with and it’s really nice to be reunited. Hal, Phil, Ray – I see them during the year here and there, but it’s nice to hang at TAM together.

Hitchens had a good speech to start. The thing he said that’s stayed with me is the allowing the Creationists to call their theory Intelligent Design was a major win for them. Just the name is brilliant in itself. And I think he’s right. ID is hard not to cozy up to if you don’t understand science well.

Daniel Dennet was brilliant too. I can’t wait to dig into his book, “Breaking the Spell.” He’s thinking about religion in ways that I am wondering about – only he’s just a billion times smarter and farther ahead than I am. How awesome to hang out with him.

Murray Gell-Mann was fantastic too. Oh dear, I am going to end up using too many superlatives.

And I’m falling asleep. Drove back from Vegas today. Mulan watched, “Cheaper By The Dozen” on my computer as we drove back. Her tenth time watching it, I think.

I will try a stab at this tomorrow.

But I’ve decided (as far as I can decide anything) one thing that has caused my mind to really settle down. And that is, that I’m going to move to Spokane in three years. That means, when Mulan starts fourth grade. That may seem so abstract as to be not worth deciding, but you have no idea how that changes the hour to hour drama that occurs in my head daily.

I figure three years more allows me more time to make my career Spokane-friendly, it gives me time to make more money and save it, and it still means Mulan would essentially grow up in Spokane.

Also, while driving back, I decided that I just couldn’t send Mulan to the Catholic school in Spokane. I just…couldn’t.

All those things means that I am of a more happy and calm mind. And just how I contructed that last sentence shows me that I should be going to sleep right now.


Sheldon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sheldon said...

Julia! Glad to read that you made it home safe and sound. It was wonderful to steal a few moments of your time yesterday, and to share all of the learning process with you and the other 800 (!) attendees at TAM5. We were a little distracted as I tried to give you my input on your question regarding the re-naming of "Letting Go of God." I have some anecdotal data for ya, and have decided it would make a great question for my students in the coming days ("Would you consider watching a movie called 'Letting Go of God'?" and "Would you consider watching a movie called 'The God Monologue'?" along with a series of distractor questions) I'll let you know the outcome. Pleasant dreams!

Sheldon said...

Of course, I meant to say "TAM4." I got a little ahead of myself. : )

Anonymous said...

Julia, I do think "The God Monologue" would have people fleeing in the other direction. How about "Me & God: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" (or the reverse, "God & Me....etc.") or something along those lines.
Love reading your blog, you're a breath of fresh air.

CyberKitten said...

Wow... You got to spend time with Daniel Dennet... [gulp]. I am SO jealous...........

Sheldon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shannon said...

I would get the hell out of L.A. before an another earthquake hits.

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