June 16, 2013 by kittynh
I know where I’ll be going when I am attending the Amazing Meeting in a few weeks. I’ll fly in, check in, dump my stuff in my room, and head to the Del Mar bar.
The Del Mar is the home away from home for most of the people attending, and also speaking, at TAM. The bar staff there is probably anticipating our yearly invasion with big smiles. Skeptics may drink, but we tend to be very civilized. We tip well also.
The location of the Del Mar, in the midst of a sea of slots, is better than it first appears. South Point Casino has a very good exhaust system, so even for someone like myself fairly sensitive to smoke, I find it very comfortable to sit there.
Nearby, is the New York Deli. Lines there are long. The workers are as surly as real New Yorkers are stereotyped to be. The sandwiches are delicious and big enough to share. You can bring your sandwich right into the Del Mar area also. Want something sweet? Try the ice cream nearby, and you can also eat that in the Del Mar area.
The best thing about the Del Mar is when you walk in with your name badge on, people will start talking to you. “Where are you from? How are you liking it? Is this your first TAM?” You will be pulled into any conversation.
Also don’t be surprised is you run into speakers. Favorite speakers stop by and Randi himself is known to hang out there at times. I’ve found myself in incredible conversations with my favorite skeptic writers. It’s an incredible opportunity.
I meet old friends, make new ones and yes even do some networking for my own skeptic work. Last year I met and talked with Robert Schaeffer, one of the best UFO skeptics in the world. He gave me some good advice, told me stories about meeting Betty Hill (of alien abduction fame) and we have kept in touch ever since. His advice has helped me take my own skeptic work to a higher level of professionalism.
In other words, you get to meet your heroes, and find they are more than willing to share their experience and knowledge. While sitting in the audience listening to talks is important, educational and inspiring, it’s the Del Mar where skeptics really connect one on one.
Not much of a conversationalist? There are is more than one game of “Cards Against Humanity” planned (don’t worry, you’ll catch on to the rules very quickly). You just have to sit down, play, laugh and make friends. Just show up.
I always fly into Vegas after having to change planes at least once. I use frequent flyer miles, so I never get a direct flight. I come in tired, cranky, hot, and also a little lonely. I’m ready to let down my hair and just be myself.
The Del Mar is where you can make a joke about astrology, homeopathic medicine, or Doctor Oz, and everyone will laugh. No one is going to say “I don’t know, it sure worked for my uncle!” We have to be respectful and nice almost all year. We have to try to explain carefully to people about why they really should have their child vaccinated, and why atheists don’t eat babies (well, only on Friday nights). At the Del Mar, skeptics have a chance to laugh and just be themselves without fear of losing their jobs or having their great aunt never talk to them again.
Many people say they miss the Del Mar and their fellow skeptics when they go back home and can’t just be themselves. We have to put on our social masks, and decide “Do I really want to explain again why the horoscope in the paper means nothing?”
So come to TAM, and when you do, show up at the Del Mar. Anytime. I have no idea what time the last person leaves the Del Mar. I know I’ve stayed up late for the cheap dinner at the Coronado and then gone back to hang out at the Del Mar some more there has always been a group of people there.(I love a restaurant with a menu that is the size of a phone directory for a small town. Their Chinese food is as good as their Prime Rib. It’s perfect as they have something for everyone!)
Yes people still manage to stagger into the early morning talks. I will say I am hoping my friend who is giving a paper at TAM on Sunday morning doesn’t get an early slot. If he does, there is coffee. A lot of coffee gets drunk at TAM.
When you are at TAM, two places you need to visit. The Forum Welcome Table, and the Del Mar. If you can’t find the Del Mar, ask at the Welcome Table, we’ll probably walk down with you!
- TAM Around the Corner (theness.com)
- Tam 2013 (atheistrev.com)
- The Best Things About TAM — And the Best Things About Las Vegas (gretachristina.typepad.com)