“Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences”
Last weekend I had the privilege of speaking at the Orange County Freethought Alliance fourth annual conference. Although I’ve spoken at The Amazing Meeting (this coming July will be my third such time), and frequently at the Skeptic Society meetings over the years (my “home base”), and made the big AAI meeting when it was in Burbank in 2009, this was the first of the smaller regional meetings in California that I had ever attended. I’m familiar with big events like TAM, with its lineup of all-star speakers and gigantic ballroom crammed with over 1600 people, so this smaller local meeting with about 300 participants was a nice change of pace. The venue was a smaller convention/ ballroom facility in the Fullerton Howard Johnson’s hotel. We were in the heart of Orange County, long the most conservative place in all of California. Since we were just blocks away from Disneyland, as you walked in that morning there was a continuous flood of tourists (mostly Asian) headed out for The Magic Kingdom. Yet the weather was nice (after a record-breaking heat wave on Thursday and Friday), the sun was out, and the swimming pool beckoned to our speakers who had flown from cold and snowy Minnesota or Philadelphia.
I got there much earlier than necessary (I never take chances on LA traffic, and since I was a morning speaker, I wanted to make sure my talk was working properly). The organizer, Bruce Gleason, had done a remarkable job with his small cadre of volunteers running the registration table and badges, handling the AV, manning the exhibitors’ booths in the back, and assigning one volunteer to be the speakers’ “go-fer” and another to give us warning on how much time we had left. The meeting price included catered lunch and dinner buffet style, which was excellent, and very efficient in feeding a large group and getting them back quickly. Continue reading…comments (5)