Daily Archives: July 12, 2010

The Amazing Meeting Where Amazing Things Happened

Animated me Photo by Dave Fayram

It’s the end of my TAM8 experience. I thought I would write a post before heading off. This has been one of the craziest five days that I have experienced. It all started off so well. Bristol airport was empty last Wednesday and the flight to Newark could not have been any easier. I actually managed to work on the plane by taking notes of Damsio’s book, “The Feeling of What Happens,” for the new book I am working on (more of that later). Anyway, I had a disaster at Newark where I lost my wallet with all my cash and credit cards – nightmare!

It is a major pain in the neck to arrive in another country without cash and especially credit cards. You can’t even make a long distance call back to the lost & found in Newark to see if someone handed in a wallet. I had major communication problems with the lady from Continental’s lost and found in Vegas – she was an idiot. She could not conceive of a foreigner having no access to cash & credit. Alison, the local organizer for the Amazing Meeting, sent Bart, the JREF development officer to pick me up in a multi-seater van. He was not too happy as there had been a cock-up and there was no one to meet me off the plane but we bonded quickly when he realized that he had lost the parking ticket for the airport within 5 mins of meeting me. I was jinxed! Just to make sure that he did not take the wrong turn on the freeway to get to the hotel, Bart turned on the google map on his phone. However, after a quick acceleration of the van, his phone jumped off the dashboard and preceded to skid all the way to the back under the seats. When we pulled over to look for it, it was gone. So I called his phone and we discovered that it had slipped to the gap under the seats.

Weird phone moments was to be a recurrent event. Michael Shermer who was one of the speaker first up described how only that morning he was talking on his son’s iPhone with the headphones inside the hotel lift when he politely gestured for the woman sharing the lift to exist first. He thrust his hand forward but because of the connection to the headphones, the iPhone snapped out of his hand and ended up sandwiched in the gap between the lift and the floor. He described how both of them watched in horror as the iPhone rattled down the gap to plunge down the rest of the lift shaft. His talk was on amazing coincidences!

Anyway, to my talk. The auditorium was daunting. I don’t know exactly how many were there but it was pretty full from where I was. I gave my usual animated presentation –  I hate podium talks – I think this was generally appreciated. I ended up talking about the ADE 651 story which got a spontaneous round of applause. It went well and lots of people come up for autographs – which is ironic after I had just talked the essentialism of collectibles! However, my big thrill was Simon Singh who came up afterwards and said that he enjoyed the talk. He also very interested in the woo bombdetector story. Watch this space. Anyway, got to dash to catch a plane. Thank you Vegas. It was a blast.


Filed under General Thoughts