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4.11.2011

2011 AHA Conference Round-up


Last week I was at the American Humanist Association's Annual Conference in Boston. I got off at the Kendall T-Stop and walked through M.I.T. The only thing I thought about while hauling my suitcase is that Junot Diaz works somewhere here. Also, my gaydar was kinda going crazy. Hipsterism is a close cousin to gayness but only sometimes.

Besides running around and getting very little sleep, the 4-day event was a great success. Which shows that if you donatd enough to a great organization (*hint, hint*), great things will happen. The superstars of atheism were all there. Richard Dawkins (honestly, I didn't really care), Margaret Downey (the "Martha Stewart" of Atheism, as a co-worker pointed out), Jay Wexler, and also Rebecca Goldstein.

Goldstein was presented with the Humanist of the Year Award. I said "Hi,"  and handed her an envelope of name tags and meal tickets. Goldstein said "Oh, okay." I was thinking "Ohmygod! Rebecca Goldstein just talked to me!" (The irony!). Her acceptance speech took 30 minutes. I only listened to say 15. The gist was that she has a mad crush on Spinoza. My table asks, "Who's Spinoza?" It wasn't a rhetorical question. Rebecca Goldstein thinks Spinoza was the bad boy her Jewish mother told her never to talk to. This is why, according to Goldstein, Spinoza is sexy.

Judith Norsigian was there too. She talked briefly about labor unions. She had a PowerPoint. She said that she was working on a version of Our Bodies Our Selves for transgender people, to be titled Our Bodies Our Transgender Selves to come out this fall (?).

Steve Wozniak received the Issac Asimov Science Award. He said he loved Issac Asimov as a kid. His speech went on for a while. I kept on thinking that Wozniak knows Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs's sister is Mona Simpson. In essence, it was like Mona Simpson was talking. Also, I didn't know he was on Dancing With the Stars. I imagined how Mona Simpson would fare on Dancing With The Stars.

After that, my coworkers and I went to a bar (my first straight bar!). Jennifer Bardi, the editor of The Humanist, bought me a drink. She is a colleague technically, but still...an editor bought me a drink! Other people did too. By the end of the night I had four drinks. My roommate and I hailed a taxi. Back at the room, I barfed in my mouth, but swallowed it because I didn't want the sleeping roommate to know I'm a lightweight. It was almost as rad as that time Nicola Griffith gave me a beer and we watched the sun set on Mulhullond Drive during last year's writer's retreat...

Remember, applications are due 4/15!!! Get to it! You could be as cool as me:

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