I arrived home at 2am, throat sore from talking so much for four days straight, lips parched from the dryness of the desert climate, and eyes half-closed from the lack of sleep in Las Vegas and on the flights there and back. I forget how hard it is to deflate from the TAM experience until I am back home and slowly adjusting back to things routine and familiar.
In the airport on Sunday, Jay was asking us (Steve, Bob, me) for our favorite moments from this year’s TAM. I can’t quite recall what I said at the time, and I’m not sure I even answered the question (I was really half-out of it, exhaustion is sometimes otherwise hard to quantify.)
Now that I am home and acclimating to my day to day happenings again, I can answer Jay with the same statement I made to each and every attendee whom I had the pleasure of speaking with at TAM.
The synergy between the audience and the speakers (not just the SGU – all the presenters) was incomparable to any other TAM. There were 1652 registered attendees (a new record), and for half of the audience, this was their first TAM. Wow, did it show!
During our prime-time stage appearance on Saturday afternoon from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, I had very little official “business” to do on stage (which is unique, I always have to prep at least one news item and/or a “This Day In Science and Skepticism”.) All I really had to do was tell a really bad science joke (mission accomplished), partake in “Science or Fiction”, and throw in my impromptu little quips and observations into the casual conversations.
This afforded me time to “kick back” and sort of take in the moment, so I spent much of that time not only to listening to my cohorts crack me up (if you were there, you know what I’m talking about), but I also watched and listened to the audience with more attention than I am usually afforded.
This TAM audience was attentive (laughs at appropriate times and levels – and applause as the presenters would come to expect), courteous (they did not let non-TAM related issues influence the mood of the conference), and patient (as technical difficulties naturally arise in these kinds of events.)
The audience was engaging. Their participation in games and contests (such as the SGU’s ‘Science or Fiction’ and Rebecca’s patented game show) was great fun. Their well-constructed questions were a relief to everyone – audience and presenters alike. They were responsive to instructions (due in no small part to the leadership skills of emcee George Hrab) and they were friendly to each other (as I understand it, Prilosec saved one pour soul’s very public battle with heartburn.)
When you combine this with the fact that we had the chance to sit down and conduct interviews with the greatest presenters at this TAM, you can see why this this TAM was a special event for all the Rogues.
A few specific names that must be known to the world: Mike Lacelle, Jocelyn Novella, Cortney Bergin, and Doug Sobon. These outstanding friends and family (really one in the same from my perspective) allowed us to perform and enjoy the conference to the extents we did. If you ever run in to them at a TAM or any other SGU event, please be sure to give them a big thank you.
So a huge THANK YOU to all of the TAM attendees. I can hardly wait for TAM 10!