The Neil deGrasse Tyson Event, Part 1: Genesis

Early last week Mike IMd me to let me know that the mighty Neil deGrasse Tyson would be speaking at an event on UW-Madison’s campus… Who knew what adventure would follow?

[Please forgive the grammar, punctuation, and capitalization in the following… These are chat logs, and we were very excited]


Wanna go?

me: I definitely do
hang on [checked my calendar]
ok… I have a meeting that goes until 1, but I should be able to go after that
hope it doesn’t rain

Mike: sweet – I have a meeting that shouldn’t go past noon, and I’m taking off the afternoon

me: checking w/ my boss now

Mike: no rain forecast for Thursday in Madison


I hit Molly up on the IMs and get the okay with absolutely no hesitation, of course… Molly’s awesome. At this point I check my list of contacts to see if Jemiah is logged into Google Talk. He is…



Jemiah: DUDE.

me: yup

Jemiah: I’m seriously considering driving to Madsion.

me: trying to get off of work
Mike’s already got a 1/2 day

Jemiah: Really? If you’re going I’m going. 🙂

me: waiting to hear back from the boss

Jemiah: What are the chances Molly will let you go?

me: excellent

Jemiah: I’m checking if Anne needs the car. If I leave by 10 I’ll make it in time. It’s about 4 hrs.


Switching back to Mike’s tab…


me: Jemiah’s trying to hook it up, too

Mike: nice. Think J-love would be interested?

me: could be!


Here I get something like 5 minutes of work done before…


Mike: Jared’s checking

me: cool

Mike: He thinks he can make it and is suggesting we carpool
and is wondering if he should drag Ben along

me: i’m thinking I’ll bring Dillon
he can drive the minivan

Mike: definitely bring D along – even if he doesn’t appreciate it now, he’ll be able to say years later that he was there

me: yup


Again, about 5 minutes of actual work before I get the ok from my boss…


me: I’m in!

Mike: sweet!

me: very
we’ll have to sort out the specifics, but this is going to be awesome!

Mike: indeed

me: well spotted, man!

Mike: only way it could be more better is if he was signing books, but with the number of people that will probably be showing up, I’m guessing that ain’t gonna happen

me: we should find out where he’s staying

Mike: astrophysics groupies

dude, that’s what you should get signed

Mike: no kidding
holy crap, he is doing a book signing after!

me: Sweet!!!

Mike: Imagine the line for that

me: huge

Mike: should we?

me: I think we should try

Mike: agreed
opportunities like that come around rarely

me: yup

Mike: J-love says his accountant has not authorized book purchases
I said we’d chip in for one that he can get signed

me: hell yes
pretty sure we failed on his birthday, anyway

Mike: yeah


Switching back to Jemiah…


me: ok… everyone is in… me, jared, mike, ben, dillon
and he’s doing a book signing after

Jemiah: MAN. We need to find our thug hats!

me: ha! rolling DEEP!

Jemiah: What!? I know you not lookn at us. We got more nerds in this posse than you can handle. Back up.

me: Man! I’l slap an integral out yo’ ass!

Jemiah: Extrapolate dat ass!
Straight from Mortal Kombat!


And Back to mike again…


Mike: Heard back from the event director – she recommends bringing a book with instead of buying one there:

The UW Bookstore will be selling books at the reception, but we cannot guarantee that everyone will have time to make it through both the store line and the signing line. You may want to have your book with you already.

me: good plan

Mike: I’ve got Amazon Prime, so I can get copies on Wed. for only $17.79 ea – you want me to snag you one?
or two?
one for D?

me: one is good… It’ll be something special for D.

Mike: cool, I’ll order a total of 3 then to cover J-Love.

me: sweet… I’ll pay you back thursday

Mike: cool, they’re on the way.


So, that all took place over the course on an hour, and really with a combined total of about 30 minutes of discussion, at most. The whole thing reminded me of another trip that started with a short conversation (“Hey, you going to around later?” “Yeah.” “Cool, I’ll be there in a few hours…” followed by a 6-hour drive from Milwaukee to Minneapolis).

A quick email, 11:30 that night…


 So Anne needs the car on Thursday so I’m riding my bike down to Madison. I leave Tue after work. I should make it by Noon on Thurs.

Srsly, I’m just renting a car. What time are you all planning on getting there? How long are you all staying? I’m flippn’ pumped. I haven’t been back to MadTown in like 8 years.


And Mike’s response 30 minutes later…


I’m ditching work at noon, figured I’d drop by Versant, as Charles has
a meeting until 1.  Jared is leaving work early as well.

We’re staying until we get our books signed (have 3 copies of ‘Space
‘ on the way from Amazon for me, Charles and Jared).  The
event coordinator says books will be available at the bookstore, but
she recommends being prepared and bringing your own book to be sure
that you get in the book signing line right away (“Mr. Tyson is
expecting a galactic shit-ton of you science loving motherf—ers”,
she said.  Well, perhaps not in those exact words, but that was the


And that was that. We had a plan and had only to wait, as you will for the next part of this story.

6 Replies to “The Neil deGrasse Tyson Event, Part 1: Genesis”

  1. That’s gonna be AWESOME! I’ve heard (I listen to the podcast version) him several times on Real Time with Bill Maher.

    Have loads of fun!

  2. He IS awesome!
    This was last week, actually… I’m just posting the adventure in parts. It was a really great trip.

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