Saturday, November 30, 2013

Preparing for Sunday

Tomorrow is Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration. Instead of delivering the talk, I will be reading "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas. Gail and I are playing an extended set of duet pieces on the piano. We rehearsed twice this week. We also have a potluck meal which follows the service.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We attend Skepticon 6 in Springfield

We spent a few days in Missouri last week. On Thursday, we drove to Mt. Vernon, MO and spent the night at the Super 8 motel. There is a restaurant in Mt. Vernon which we really like. It is called the Red Barn. They have generous portions of food. We had supper there on Thursday.
We got up next morning and drove to the Springfield Expo Center where Skepticon 6 was being held. We attended a couple of sessions that morning. The most memorable one was about Freethought Exchange. The organizer of Freethought Exchange, Jason Testerman, grew up as the son of a Christian minister. What he does is contact churches and arrange to come talk to congregations about his worldview. What transpires is an exchange of ideas. Jason is not the only one doing this. He has a few others in different cities doing the same thing. Jason lives somewhere in Colorado. He has a website in which he explains what he is doing. We spent Friday and Saturday nights in The Arbor near where my parents live. The Arbor is just north of The Abbey. While in Springfield, we ate at Ryan's. I should say that the various talks given at Skepticon 6 can be viewed on YouTube. Some of the speakers this year were David Fitzgerald, Seth Andrews, P. Z. Myers, Greta Christina, Rebecca Watson, and Amanda Marcotte. We returned to Sand Springs having heard a lot of speeches, some music, and quite tired.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What will I miss if I skip Skepticon 6?

Friday November 15th

10:00 am • Atheist Film Festival hosted by David Fitzgerald Main Hall

10:00 am • How to Swear Secularly with Monette Richards Room B

10:00 am • How to Cartoon and Launch Your Own Webcomic with Dale Debakcsy Room A

10:00 am • Creating the Record: Going Toe-to-Toe with Hostile Administrators and Officials with Neil Wehneman Room C

11:00 am • How to Tell Your Friends Jesus was a Dick with Ben Schuldt Room A

11:00 am • Secular Safe Zone Ally Training with Andy Cheadle-Ford Room B

11:00 am • Atheists Speaking in Churches with Jason Testerman Room C

12:00 pm • Is There a 'Right Way' to Talk to Religious people? With Mark MacLean Room A

12:00 pm • Resume Writing with Amanda Knief Room C

12:00 pm • How to Manage Grief with Rebecca Hensler Room B

1:00 pm • TBD - Someone Amazing Room C

1:00 pm • Public Health: Obamacare and Grassroots Action with Planned Parenthood and Lauren Dow Room B

1:00 pm • Handling Public Criticism - Stephanie Zvan Room A

2:00 pm • So You Wanna Become a Professional Atheist? with Dave Muscato Room C

2:00 pm • Seth Andrews hosting the Thinking Atheist Radio Podcast Main Hall

2:00 pm • Nutrition and Training with Mike Lane Room B

2:00 pm • Helping Kids Out of Religion with P.Ferguson Room A

3:00 pm • Live Podcast hosted by Dogma Debate Main Hall

3:00 pm • What is your SocioSexual Orientation? (SSO) with Darrel Ray Room C

3:00 pm • How to Talk/Write about Skepticism for a Non-Skeptical Audience with Amanda Marcotte Room B

3:00 pm • Atheist Music with Ashley Miller, Dave Muscato, Jt Eberhard, and Shelley Segal Room A

4:00 pm • Islam and Modernity with Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar Room C

4:00 pm • How to Read Media Critically (plus ukulele) with Ashley F. Miller Room B

4:00 pm • Getting It On at the Con: How to Get Lucky Consensually with Miri Mogilevsky Room A

5:00 pm • Dinnertimes!

6:00 pm • PZ Myers: "The Cambrian Explosion" Main Hall

7:00 pm • Rebecca Watson Main Hall

8:00 pm • David Fitzgerald: Sexy Violence! Violent Sex! The Weird-Ass Morality of the Bible Main Hall

9:00 pm • Shelly Segal Performs 'An Atheist Album' Main Hall

10:00 pm • Godless Perverts hosted by Greta Christina Main Hall

10:00 pm • Bar Night at the Convention Center Lower Level Hall

Saturday November 16th

9:00 am • Seth Andrews Main Hall

10:00 am • Aron Ra: Pterosaurs are Terrible Lizards Main Hall

11:00 am • Monica Miller Main Hall

12:00 pm • Lunchtimes!

2:00 pm • David Tamayo Main Hall

3:00 pm • Amanda Knief: Great Godless Lobbying: Why Heathens Need to Be Better Citizen Lobbyists Main Hall

4:00 pm • Richard Carrier: Is Philosophy Stupid? Main Hall

5:00 pm • Dinnertimes!

7:00 pm • Amanda Marcotte: How The Religious Right Is Cranking Up The War On Women Main Hall

8:00 pm • Greta Christina: Activist Burnout--Prevention and Treatment Main Hall

9:00 pm • Keith Lowell-Jensen Main Hall

10:00 pm • Bar Night on the Town in Springfield Springfield, MO

Sunday November 17th

9:00 am • Hemant Mehta: Don't Post First and Ask Questions Later Main Hall

10:00 am • Debbie Goddard Main Hall

11:00 am • Rebecca Hensler: Creating and Defending Secular Space Main Hall

12:00 pm • Lunchtimes!

2:00 pm • John Corvino: Gay Sex in a Disenchanted Universe Main Hall

3:00 pm • JT Eberhard Main Hall

Once again this year, attendance at the above listed events is free of charge.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saturday night roundup

Last Friday we went to Tulsa Town Hall. The speaker was Dan Rather, former CBS news anchor, now with AXS News Cable. For an 82-year-old guy, Rather looked good. He spoke about concerns he has for the future, one of which is global warming. The disappearance of the arctic ice is quite dramatic, as satellite images show.

Afterwards, we ate at Ollie's Station, a railroad-themed cafe in the Redfork area of Tulsa. Model trains circulate overhead as you eat below.

Friday evening I went to the meeting of the poetry group. There were five of us there. We talked about chapter 4 of How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch. Next month we will discuss chapter 5. We meet at the coffee shop in Barnes & Noble bookstore on 41st Street.

Ayla stayed overnight with us last night. This morning we took her to eat at the Crescent Cafe and then took her home.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Chamber music in Tulsa

Yesterday as I was driving to the Case center to walk, I passed by St. Andrew Lutheran church. I read the message which announced a blood drive from 3 to 8 that day. It was just a little after 3 pm so I decided to change plans and give a unit of blood instead. Sometimes giving a unit of blood can take some time, but the Red Cross was not busy. I got in and out in about an hour.

Later, we met Bill and Jackie Dusenberry at White River Fish Market. Marilyn Clarke was there, too. The five of us had fish dinners. I had the broiled seafood combo, which consisted of scallops, shrimp, and sea bass. Along with that I had potato salad and a green salad.

After we finished eating, we drove over to the Lorton Center for a concert by a string trio. On the program was Piano Trio in D major by Beethoven, Schumann's Phantasiestucke, Op. 88. After the intermission we heard Piano Trio in B major by Brahms. The trio consisted of a piano, a cello, and a violin.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Back from another short vacation

We got back home yesterday from a short vacation. I took a lot of pictures and will post some later.

We left on Wednesday morning and drove to Sallisaw. It rained on us most of the way there. As usual, we did some geocaching. The first cache we found was in Akins, OK. It was a virtual cache, meaning there is nothing physical you have to do. Instead of signing a log sheet, as is the usual practice, you observe the scene and then e-mail the cache owner the answers to some questions found on the cache site.

The GPS took us to the grave of Charley Arthur Floyd, better known as Pretty Boy Floyd. Floyd was a notorious outlaw who met his demise at the age of 30. There are plenty of other Floyds buried in this cemetery. I'm guessing he came from a large family. I am wanting to know more about him now that I have seen his grave.

We ate dinner that evening at Shad's Catfish Restaurant south of Sallisaw. The menu is on the wall, literally. The food was pretty good. I had the all-you-can-eat catfish. We spent the night in a motel in Roland, not far from Ft. Smith, AR.

By the next morning the rain had stopped and we went looking for caches as we headed for Spiro. Spiro was the location of the Caddo Indians who formed a government about a thousand years ago. They built mounds of dirt in the area known as the Spiro Mounds. We watched a short film and then took a self-guided tour around the mounds.

From Spiro we went south through Poteau and on to Heavener. We checked into our motel and had dinner at the Southern Belle, a railroad coach converted to a diner. The next morning we visited the Heavener Runestone, a short distance away as the crow flies, but there is a railroad year between the runestone and our motel. We had to drive around the rail yard.

The runestone is fairly large -- something like 14 feet high and 12 feet wide. It is encased in glass now, but in years past it was exposed to the elements.

After seeing the runestone, we drove over to the Talimena Drive and viewed the fall foliage. We drove west toward Talihina and found one cache along the way. We stopped for dinner at Pete's Place in Krebs. Their specialty is Italian food. I had the shrimp alfredo. The unique thing about this restaurant is that each table is in a separate room with a door to a hall. This restaurant is famous for Choc Beer. We left, driving through McAlester over to the Indian Nations Turnpike. We drove north and got home before it got dark.