Cmar-con schedule for 2011

Farpoint 2010 DSC_0113, cc by-nc-nd image by Dan Tabor via Flickr
Farpoint 2010 DSC_0113, cc by-nc-nd image by Dan Tabor via Flickr

This weekend, I’ll be stopping in at Farpoint, where I’ll be giving a talk at 1pm on Sunday about emerging infectious diseases entitled, “Those Who Are About To Die, We Salute You!”. I will also be lounging about both the DIY and science tracks as well, particularly the podcasting and blogging roundtables starting at noon on Saturday. If you want to meet up to sample some interesting beverages, or just to have me roundly mock you, hit me up in the usual way.

Otherwise, I’ve determined which conventions and conferences I’ll be attending this year:

These are a few additional possibilities that are “maybes” at this point, given the limitations of time, energy, money, and madness:

A crazy list, perhaps, but it’s a crazy I will own. What con events are you looking forward to this year?

The Cmar Beard Awards for 2010

(This is crossposted from my column at The Secret Lair. The original can be found here.)

And so, it has come to pass that we find ourselves in “awards season”, wherein fond looks are taken back at the prior year in media, and trophies are doled out for various forms of perceived excellence in movies, television, and music. Much attention is showered upon the festivities and celebrities involved, and much ado is paid to the recipients of said awards. That noted, the Grammys last weekend made one thing glaringly clear – beyond his inability to competently carry a tune or strum a guitar, Justin Bieber cannot grow an award-winning beard.

Now, it is time to give awards to those who can.

Every November, whoever shows up to shave and post a select group of Overlords and Minions come together to sacrifice facial smoothness for mammary health. The annual How Not To Grow A Beard Month event has grown from a mere bit of National Novel Writing Month inspired silliness, into a somewhat larger bit of silliness that has raised nearly $8000 over the past two years for breast cancer research. HoNoToGroABeMo 2010 was the largest yet, both in terms of total donations and number of participants. Pete DiLillo and his lush man-thicket ended up dominating the donation race, earning him the title of current, reigning, and defending Champion of HoNoToGroABeMo. Witness his half-shorn shock:

Oh the horror, image by Pete DiLillo via
Oh the horror!!, image by Pete DiLillo via

Bob’s recap sums up the experience, and as a participant, I will add my own effusive thanks to all who donated. Their generosity for our boob-buffoonery was amazing.

All that said, it is time to bestow The Cmar Beard Awards for HoNoToGroABeMo 2010. These have nothing to do with any donations received, and everything to do with the glorious pictography of crackling virility hedges:

  • Best Beard Photo: There were many entries during the month that stood out for creativity, humor, or photographic skill, but the trophy for best beardy picture goes to Jim Van Verth for Day 14: Abra-abra-cadabra. The facial contorting, posing, and expression convey that he’s not only gonna getcha, but he’s gonna getcha in a way you may never recover from. This is Mr. Van Verth’s second year in a row winning this category, so step it up, gents.
  • I want to reach out and grab ya, photo by Jim Van Verth via
    I want to reach out and grab ya, photo by Jim Van Verth via
  • Man Most Exemplifying How Not To Grow A Beard: One might think that this would be the closest category to judge, but that turns out not to be the case. Even though he allowed his neck beard to stay strong this time around, for the second year in a row, Jeff Greiner takes the prize. C’mon gents, step it down and give him some competition.
  • One year ago today, image by Jeff Greiner via
    One year ago today, image by Jeff Greiner via
  • Best Time Lapse Photo Series: All participants were varied in their choice of poses on a daily basis, but only one of us had enough consistency of follicular posture and backdrop to take this category. Jason Penney, that would be you! (Click through to view the slideshow.)
  • Man Most Exemplifying How To Grow A Beard: As noted above, the ability of many of us to generate a thick face mane is somewhat surprising. While several of us were in the running, Adam Johnson gets the award by sprouting a 30 day untamed jaw jungle, even after some judicious trimming.
  • Got the shrubbery all trimmed on the neck, image by Adam Johnson via
    Got the shrubbery all trimmed on the neck, image by Adam Johnson via
  • Best Use Of Non-Facially Generated Props: Our overall champion, Pete, also is the obvious winner in this category, both for framing his beard on a daily basis with an endless supply of amazing headgear (click through for the slideshow), and for this epic hat-gasm on the final day:
  • Clearly I never win at Tetris, image by Pete DiLillo via
    Clearly I never win at Tetris, image by Pete DiLillo via
  • Daily Commitment To The Task: November is a busy month, and few find the time and the stamina to start on Day 1 and produce a post for all 30 days. Our founder, Bob, led the pack in this regard as he does each year, and finds himself co-accepting this award with Jeff, Pete, Jim, and Jeffery for 2010.
  • Best-Spun Beardy Yarns: Everyone strove to lay down some manner of words each day with their posts, and a few of us were able to tell some good tales. However, as clearly as he showed us how not to grow a beard, Jeff Greiner blew us all away with his sincere and excellent beardy yarns each day. With topics ranging from gaming to education, they are well worth your time to read.

Congratulations to all of the winners! To all the participants, it was a pleasure joining you once again in this endeavor, and to give recognition where recognition is due. To everyone else, I’ll merely note that only 257 days remain until HoNoToGroABeMo 2011, and this whole mad affair will start up again.

The Secret Lair hums to life

The Secret Lair

Astute observers of the Secret Lair will have noted that things have been a bit more… quiet… than usual. Surmising, perhaps, that we had called it quits and abandoned the base. Which is exactly what we wanted you to think.

In reality, the Overlords and Minions have been toiling away in secrecy on machinations most mischevious, and plots perfectly planned. And lo, the time has come to unleash them upon a world lulled into a naive stupor by our determined silence. Behold!

Go here now and visit The Secret Lair, else when the Overlords’ time comes, you will be the first into servitude.

did your kinsmen never bend you over stones until you wept with comfort?

This ones sharper, a cc by-sa image from majcher on Flickr
This one's sharper, a cc by-sa image from majcher on Flickr

Gax has answered more questions, and once again, bears forth eternal wisdom.

You do not say if you have a longer-term goal for your life. Perhaps you wish to fight an animal to the death in a sporting event, as was my first ambition as a pupa.