The Alder Grove

"In my sleep thought that I was standing in an alder grove of the straightest and fairest trees which the heart of man could think of or imagine."

The Final Frontier...

So, I finally got to see Lawrence Krauss deliver a talk live! And - I got to meet Jason from Twitter! He thanked me for letting him know about the talk. I have the best luck with meeting cool people via science events (especially the physicist in question). After so many occasions where the timing just didn't work out (and not counting that debate in March where I had to listen to all that creationist BS), it was awesome to be front and center to hear Professor Krauss talk science. And we've ... sort of met twice now. Back in March at the "afterparty" when he was done with that debate, he came into the room fairly near to where I was and was heading back to get a beer. Before I could utter a word he said, "I saw you sitting in the front row. I appreciate you coming.". Granted I was right in his line of sight and bedecked with my atheist pins but he rather floored me at that moment. I did get a signature on my copy of "A Universe From Nothing" in between him flirting, talking to friends and fielding a few dumb questions. :) Then there was the brief encounter at the Reason Rally VIP party. Very noisy and not conducive to much conversation. Plus...academics and free booze. Just sayin'. I hear things. Bree and I did get a pic though, which was among the many highlights of the day.

If you haven't yet seen the fantastic talk he gave in Toronto, you should check it out:

Trek Talks: Lawrence Krauss on Star Trek and Science

After answering as many questions as time would allow, he came out to the lobby to sign books. I made him a little gift...because I am *that* much of a nerd, lol. But really, because I appreciate just how much of his time he gives to the public and how much negativity gets dumped on him a lot of the time in return. With all of his writing articles and books, doing public lectures, appearing on TV a lot to communicate recent discoveries to the public and always being willing to respond to emails and Twitter must take serious time out of his research. And yet he does it all with such patience, charm and humour. And people find it necessary to constantly give him grief for his opinions. So, I thought a little "thank you" was in order. I spent a few weeks putting together an album of photography, quotes and some poetry with a personal note on the last page. Though a camera lens is how I view most things. Though as I've gotten older, I find less need to "hide" behind a camera to avoid becoming involved in things. But when you sort of see things as a series of individual moments, you do learn to really take in the small details. I might do a whole blog about that at some point (likely on the Wordpress site). But I am digressing here.

The benefit to having encountered the good professor a couple of times in the past (and not having made too much of a fool of myself either time, shockingly) was that I wasn't quite so nervous this time around. We had a very nice little chat. I told him the gift was for, "never telling me to shut up on your Twitter feed" and he responded with, "At least I know I'll have someone defending me when the hate mail comes in". Yeah, there are a few people who have had serious impact on my life and Professor Krauss is one of them. No way I wouldn't have the back of any of matter what. Got my Star Trek book signed. And I got a little hug so if I kick off tomorrow, I'm good. (Except I wouldn't get to read his new book coming out next year, that's a problem...)

So, after I had dinner and got back to the hostel I was in a pretty good mood. Turns out that circumstances really like to balance that shit out. I quite like staying at hostels the majority of the time. Sometimes you meet really nice people who have cool stories about where they've been, why they're in the city or where they are going. Last night? Not one of those nights. It wasn't in the league of having a crazy lady who talks to herself all night (been there) but honestly, ENOUGH with the fucking plastic bags! What are you doing up there in the top bunk? Eating candy all night? Feel free to put that plastic bag over your head and stop bothering me. One of the other "roomies" came in around 1am and turned on the heater. Note: it's loud. Also, it works really well because by 3:30am when I woke up again it felt like it was 500 degrees in the room and that I could have a heart attack. It wasn't even cold last night! When it hits 0 then we can talk about turning on the heat. It's Canada. Suck it up buttercup and deal with the weather. Off that goes. By 5am, people started getting up one at a time and getting ready to leave. For over 2 hours. And the plastic bag rattling started again. Plus, I swear one girl brushed her teeth for like 20 minutes. By 6am I had given up on the prospect of sleep and by 7am I had reached my annoyance level so I packed up the last of my stuff and went for coffee. Lots of coffee.

At any rate, home now and likely not going anywhere for the most part until after the holidays. We'll see what winter brings us this year. His new book comes out in March and he's back in Toronto in June at Imagine 7 but I can't attend that due to the price of the tickets plus hotel. (That event is more than my entire week in New York for the World Science Festival costs!) Just out of my price range right now considering how slashed to the bone my hours are at work. We'll see what other events he has lined up for his book release as we get closer. And I think I'll end on that note. :)