Bright and early Thursday morning I am flying out of the ice-caked ruins of Austin for the not-all-that-less-cold-but-at-least-not-icy glitter of Lost Wages, Nevada. The occasion? James Randi's The Amazing Meeting 5, damn it! The great skeptic's conference hits its fifth year, with appearances by such luminaries as Michael Shermer, Penn & Teller, Richard Wiseman, Phil Plait, Eugenie Scott, and wait for it Trey Parker and Matt Stone!
Been waiting for this for a long time, and when it turned out to be in the budget I leapt on it. Now, I am hoping I say hoping to be able to liveblog all this for you. But that will be contingent upon finding someone in Austin within the next 24 hours with a laptop they're willing to loan me. (Hint! Hint! Hint! Hint!) My plan to have a shiny new Macbook by now didn't run on schedule; ironically, part of that budget went toward the trip. But if I don't get to liveblog it, be prepared for a bombardment of posts upon my return Monday, accompanied by an outright visual assault of photos.
Now, just because I'm going to Vegas, all you jealous Austinites needn't think I'm escaping to some tropical clime. The forecast out there is for highs in the low 50's and lows around freezing at night. But at least I will be escaping this:
Them bastards are huge! Those of you reading this in northern and midwestern states probably think us Texans are a bunch of big babies. But really, this kind of display is rare down here. Sure, we get ice around January fairly regularly but this is the severest ice storm we've had in some time. And as for the snow that fell this afternoon, well, shit. I've lived in Austin 20 years and I think it's snowed twice in that time.
Still, it's interesting to see icicles looking exactly like they do in comic strips, all pointy and dangerously vertical, as if they're just waiting to snap off as you walk innocently past and impale your brain. And then there's always one like that big sucker in the middle, looking like some alien triffid that's about to hatch ghastly spores to turn us all into zombies.
Okay, so I have a rich inner life.
Update: Wed. 1/17, 6:12 PM: Laptop situation solved, so liveblogging will occur! Come back here all through the weekend for a major flurry of new posts from the Meeting! w00t!