Good morning, hangover.

Looking on while Alexa marches to the capitol building.

After a day of amazing talks, atheists once again confirmed, by evidence, that they know how to party.  I didn’t feel like a victim of this happy fact last night, but this morning is a completely different story.  It’s all good.  We will go just as hard today.  :)

Cool things about the Madison Freethought Festival so far:

1.  The organizing.  Last year this was one of the best-run events of the year and this year is no different.  Everything is smooth and the organizers are not missing a beat.

2.  First ever atheist pride parade.  We marched down the street to the steps of the capital where speeches were given by Andrew Seidel and Dan Barker of the FFRF, Greta Christina, and myself.  It felt historic.  :)

3.  Getting to meet some of my favorite people.  You guys know that an atheist celebrity’s character is just as important to me, if not more so, than their intellect.  This conference is full of some of my favorite speakers (some of which have become good friends), and I love getting to hang out with them.  It’s such a privilege to get to call people I so admire friends.  It’s always good to see Greta.  Dan Barker is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet.  I got to meet Andrew Seidel’s lovely wife.  Amanda Knief has become one of my best friends on the road and she was here.  And getting to hang out with the Friendly Atheist is always a treat because, well, he’s so friendly.  I could keep going (Katherine Stewart, Debbie Goddard, Darrel Ray, Chris Calvey, all great people).

4.  Meeting new people.  Met Desiree Schell for the first time.  She’s fantastic and hilarious.

5.  Flattery.  Too much flattery makes me feel weird, but a little is still ok.  Andrew Seidel told me he reads my blog every day and Desiree told me that her son reads me regularly.  *swoon*

6.  Arguing.  Had a believer argue for god’s existence with a bunch of lines of bad reasoning, not the least of which was that either someone rose from the dead or didn’t, it’s one or the other, so the odds are 50%.  He also used a variation on the second law of thermodynamics argument.  I told him to email me so I could put our conversation on the blog for the world to read.  He said he would.

7.  Meeting readers.  I love being able to put a face with commenters, and I got to meet Invivomark.  During the latter end of Saturday he was sitting right next to me and I didn’t even know it.  He’s pretty cool.  Smart as hell (as if his comments didn’t already establish that).  That was pretty keen.

8.  Ashley Carter.  She was a legal student here in Madison who started a student legal council.  She is all smiles and cracks me up.  Being around Ashley will instantly make anybody’s day better.

9.  Alexa.  At the SSA conference last year I got to give a voice lesson to an aspiring singer who is attending conservatory.  A year later, she has become a passionate activist.  It’s wonderful for me to get to watch people grow into agents of change – who are still managing to have a ton of fun while making the world a better place.

As much as I’m loving it here, tonight I fly to Kansas and have a little bit of downtime before Skeptics of Oz.  I plan to use it getting caught up on snuggles with Michaelyn, as it has been entirely too long.

I’ll be back to ranting about religious bloggers and current events tomorrow.  I wish you were all here.  In the meantime, you all stay classy.

  • neatospiderplant

    Wow, sounds like fun. I really hate that I couldn’t make it this year. It’s probably one of the closer events to me. Well, probably not, but I’d like to think it is. I really hope I can go next year.

  • otrame

    I lived in Madison a couple of years. Love that town.

  • http://rebewithaclause.com Rebe

    Thanks for entertaining us with all of your card tricks last night! And great talk at the festival and at the Capitol after the parade.

  • invivoMark

    Thanks for the kind words! This year’s festival was a blast, and it was great meeting new people. I even found a bar I’d never been to downtown! And Desiree Schell is indeed pretty awesome!

  • http://www.andrewturnbull.net/ Andrew T.

    It was great to see you again, JT…on the podium and piano alike.

  • baal

    Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
    Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
    Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
    Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
    Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, atheists marching in the streets… mass hysteria!
    Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!
    (Ghostbusters 1984)


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