In Which I Vacate

OK, if anybody out there actually understands Manhattan, maybe you can help me. Here’s the situation: you’re at the American Museum of Natural History, or in other words, 81st Street and Central Park West, and you’ve got to get to the corner of Canal Street and the Bowery, where the Chinatown bus is leaving. The B train is not running. Is there a better way than to ride the C train all the way to Canal Street and then play dodge-the-pedestrians from the south of Soho into Chinatown, weaving through the bobbing umbrellas and the vendors selling improbable knockoffs of everything that shines, as the summer rain begins to fall upon you?

I always get to have the strangest kinds of fun when I visit New York City.

Joshua, Rebecca “NSFW” Watson and I rode down from Boston yesterday morning, ostensibly to attend Lori Lipman Brown‘s talk for the NYC Skeptics, but we arrived too late and were only able to attend the drinking which happened afterwards, coincidentally beginning when Rebecca showed up (for reasons I do not purport to understand). The following eight hours passed hazily by, in the aptly-named Social Bar.

The cheese fries were good, the crab dip not so much. Our waitress did a very good job keeping the Skepchick contingent supplied with libations, and she did yeoman (yeoperson?) service in getting the bar to follow our scribbled instructions for making skeptically-themed drinks: the Buzzed Aldrin, the Moon Hoax, the Sylvia Browne. . . .

I must admit that when I was a teenager reading books by Carl Sagan and company, I did not expect “skepticism” as an intellectual movement to involve showing up at a bar and starting to drink at four in the afternoon.

Anyway, with the weekend well and truly wasted, I’m back in the Greater MIT Metropolitan Area, where the computer I left behind has finished a run of number-crunching and given me something interesting in the results. I’m going to take off a few days and poke these analyses to see what else they’ve got — the SCIENCE IN PROGRESS light is tentatively flashing in my spine. (I’ve also realized that I’ve had a few too many pointless arguments in different corners of the science blagotubes in recent weeks, so I should take a bit to do something more productive with my time. You’re all still wrong, though.) I recognize that I owe at least two people book reviews, and readers have sent me some items of woo that might well be worth debunking, but there’s only so much caffeine a brain can hold. . . .

8 thoughts on “In Which I Vacate”

  1. Darn, I wanted to attend the NYC Skeptics meeting and forgot all about it. I wouldn’t have been much help with the directions from the AMNH, though. I just would have stood there, pointing, saying “But, erm, this is the AMNH!” and eventually wandered off.

  2. I should probably have posted a reminder notice, shouldn’t I? In my defense, I wasn’t sure that I’d be going until basically the day before.

    I had to leave the AMNH a lot sooner than I liked. (When I was about twelve years old, one of my daydreams was to live in the labyrinthine cellars which my heart knew had to underlie a giant science museum. I would be like Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, only more scientific and less homicidal. I have grown older, but I have not grown up.) I’ll admit it: I caught myself tearing up at the reconstruction of the Laetoli footprints.

  3. I think skepticism is defined that way in the dictionary…

    skepticism n. An intellectual movement which involves showing up at a bar and starting to drink at four in the afternoon.

    At least that’s how it is in the dictionary in my head.

  4. Blake; It’s not high-end literature but if you share such fantasies about running amok in the AMNH you should check out Preston & Child’s The Relic. You can skip the sequel (it’s silly more than anything else) but The Relic is a pretty good thriller about a brain-eating creature running around the AMNH basement.

  5. Mmmmm, brains. . . .

    Thanks for the recommendation. I still have fifty bucks of economic stimulus package left to spend on books (and another fifty earmarked for sushi), so I appreciate the input.

  6. Heh, yeah, I’m new to this city, and it does have a bit of a learning curve. You figure things out eventually, though.

    Are you coming back for the NYC Skeptics/Scienceblogs meetup this weekend?

    I’m here by way of PZ, btw.

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