This weekend, Seed Media, our benevolent and beloved corporate overlords, sponsored a Scibling gathering: ScienceBloggers from all over the country (and outside) all gathered in New York, ate, drank, and partied.
It made for quite an interesting weekend. I didn't end up being able to hang around nearly as much
as I would have liked (I missed the drunken Karaoke! As someone who never gets drunk, watching
my drunken sciblings singing badly would have been a kick!) Alas, as the father of two small kids,
I'm subject to the schedule of family/babysitters, so I couldn't hang aronud. (Plus, to make matters worse, my wife became sick friday night, and I started feeling sick saturday afternoon. I'm writing this from bed.)
But I did manage to meet quite a lot of folks, even in my limited time there. It's quite an odd experience in its way; between our blogs, and our back-channel forums, we've become a tight-knit community, and the people there were my friends, even though I'd never seen them before. It
was a whole lot of fun. My impressions are below the fold. They're just off the top of my head; I'll probably edit this
later as I remember more.
By the way, that ScienceBlogs mug that Seed is offering to give away in the subscription ads? They gave us each one as a gift, and theyre great. It's a very nice, heavy glass mug that looks like a cross between a mug and a beaker.
- Kevin Beck, from Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge: A whole lot mellower than I expected. On his blog, he comes up as very acerbic. In person,
he's a terrific guy, rather soft-spoken, and a pleasure to be around.
- Suzanne Franks, aka Zuska: pretty much like I expected, only smaller :-). When you read what she writes, you get this sense of someone with an imposing physical presence. When you meet her, she's a pleasant mellow person. Talk a bit, you can definitely see the intensity, but not in-you-face like on her blog. A delightful, passionate person. Definitely the kind
of person you'd want on your side in an argument.
- Bora, aka Coturnix: definitely the most completely hyperkinetic person I've ever seen. The guy never stops moving. I never saw him sit down, or ever stand still. Seems like a nice guy, but he never stopping jumping around long enough for me to have a conversation with him.
- Orac, of Respectful Insolence: the guy who inspired me to take up blogging. I've met him before, but it's always a pleasure to see him: he's amazingly personable for a box full of blinking lights.
- Janet, our resident ethicist: a very funny, fun lady. Nothing like what I expected. (Not that I didn't expect her to be fun; but I didn't quite expect the hyperkinetic part of it.) She's crazy, but delightful. The image that sticks in my mind: Friday, as we were leaving Seed for dinner, we were having elevator trouble, so there was a gang of 20 of us standing it the tiny elevator lobby outside the Seed office. About a dozen piled into one elevator, which refused to move. After several attempts, most of them came out. As we were standing there, smashed together, waiting for an elevator, Janet with a big goofy grin on her faced shouted "I love this! I'm with my people!"
- Grrlscientist: pretty much what you'd expect from her blog, except a bit more bouncy. Her personality comes through in her blog more than anyone else that I met there.
- Greta Munger, of CogDaily: one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. A very mellow, pleasant woman. Seems like the perfect college
professor: passionate about her subject, but also passionate about teaching, and not just about
teaching, but about sharing her enthusiasm with her students. I didn't get to see her husband, Dave, this
- Jake Young, of Pure Pedantry: a laugh a minute; a non-stop fount of bizarre stories. He can take the most mundane of situations, and somehow turn it into a story that has you rolling on the floor. Also has good taste in beer; he took us to a brew pub for dinner
that served one of the best oatmeal stouts I've tasted.
- PZ: very much shyer than I expected. I tend to be a painfully shy person, so I'm rarely the one to start conversations. The two or three times PZ and I ended up next to each other, we both sort of sat there looking awkward, like "who's going to say something?"...
- Razib of Gene Expression: Razib almost gives Bora a run for his money in the kinetic energy department. Once he gets started on a subject, he talks a mile a minute - a pure bundle of enthusiasm. Definitely fun to be around.
- Carl Zimmer: Nothing like what I expected. I'm not sure quite what I expected, but he wasn't it 🙂 He reminds me of someone that I used to know, but I can't figure out who, and it's driving me crazy. But a very nice guy.
- Chad: Big guy. Really big guy. Towers over everyone else; he must be a solid 6 foot 7 or so. I didn't get to talk to him, so no personal impression other than size.
- Shelley: I barely got to talk to her; one of the people I wish I'd had more time to hang around with.
- Rob Knop: I might have some competition in the next geekoff. At the Seed offices, Rob broke out the dry-erase markers, and was drawing pictures on a whiteboard explaining second life to someone.
- Mo, from Neurophilosophy: I was a bit nervous about meeting Mo, because we'd gotten into a bit of a fight in the back-channels, because I overreacted in
an egregiously annoying way to something he said. But he was a great guy in person.