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]
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: 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?
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
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
Again, about 5 minutes of actual work before I get the ok from my boss…
me: I’m in!
we’ll have to sort out the specifics, but this is going to be awesome!
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
me: “I TOUCHED HIS SLIDE RULE!”
dude, that’s what you should get signed
Mike: no kidding
holy crap, he is doing a book signing after!
Mike: Imagine the line for that
Mike: should we?
me: I think we should try
opportunities like that come around rarely
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
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?
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
Chronicles‘ 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.