To the dark side!

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve finally been lured to the dark side. Maybe this was just a moment of weakness caused by the drugs – yes, yes, I’ll blame them – but, well… I’ve joined Twitter. *sobs*

I tried to hold off for so long, knowing the last thing I needed was another internet addiction…but I guess I just couldn’t help myself. Sigh. Well, as long as I’m there, why don’t you follow me? I tend to have a lot of random silly thoughts, so it should be interesting to say the least.

Religion at Purdue’s Graduation

Hey everyone. First I’d like to thank all of you for your well wishes. I’m still feeling crappy, but my fever is gone so that’s a giant relief. I want to apologize ahead of time if my posts for the next couple of days aren’t as well written/coherent/witty as normal. I’ve been writing emails and IMing friends, and after I reread what I wrote I think “What the hell does that even mean?” Or worse, I’ll be in the middle of writing something and I’ll just end up blankly staring at the screen for a while. I guess these drugs are just that good.

Anyway, onto atheisty stuff. So, Purdue’s graduation ceremony (“commencement” technically) has many religious elements that our student organization is going to try to take care of. I have been to graduation for a friend and heard many identical reports from others, so that’s where I’m getting my information. Purdue actually has four separate commencements divided by schools since we have way too many people to fit in Elliot Hall of Music. Each of these contain these general elements:

– A talk by a religious leader from the community. There’s a Protestant, a Catholic, a Jew, and a Muslim. Sounds like a set up for a bad joke, eh? Anyway, each commencement gets one of these, not all four at one commencement. I’ll get back to this.
- Following the talk is a “moment of reflection.” Aka, prayer by another name – the vast majority of the audience prays during this time. But hey, maybe it’s not meant to be religious, right?
- Following this the choir breaks out into song singing “Amen” over and over again for a couple minutes while the backdrop screen shows clouds serenely floating by. Whoops. Guess it is meant to be religious.
- Other songs the choir sings are hymns (a friend had to point this out to me, since I wasn’t really listening to what they were singing).

Back to the religious leaders. The one I saw (the Muslim) wasn’t too overtly religious. He did mention God a couple times at the end though and finished with “Amen” (I guess my standards for “overtly religious” are pretty low). I’ve been told the other speakers were similar. I haven’t seen them myself – Purdue streams its commencement live online, but I could never get the stupid codec for it to work.

They’re obviously picking four different faiths to try to be diverse and inclusive, but this ultimately fails. The day you graduate depends on your school, not your religion – what if you’re a Muslim stuck listening to the Catholic? A Jew listening to the Muslim? I hope this wouldn’t matter, but when you’re trying to seem all inclusive, it doesn’t help when the people actually attending only see one. More importantly, how about the students who aren’t represented? It’s not just atheists – I know Purdue has a fairly significant Hindu community thanks to the Engineering program. What about them? Conveniently they’ve chosen all the Abrahamic religions…

Though honestly, I don’t think it’s worth the fight to get rid of the religious leaders all together. One, knowing Purdue this would be an impossible battle. But honestly I don’t mind having a religious person talk if they’re saying something intelligent. If we could just enforce a rule like not explicitly mentioning God or using religious terminology, I’d be okay with that compromise. If we had a local humanist chaplain I’d suggest having them talk, but unfortunately we don’t. My biggest beef is with all the “Amen” excessive singing and hymns business. That’s obviously completely inappropriate. Let people have their moment of reflection, but don’t beat us over the head with the message that we’re supposed to be praying.

Any advice on how to go about dealing with this? I’m basically thinking a petition or letters from students/staff/alumni about how graduation should remain secular, plus a long main letter from the club explaining why this is inappropriate at a public institution. Tips on successful petitions, who to talk to, what to include in the letter, etc would be greatly appreciated!

Religion at Purdue's Graduation

Hey everyone. First I’d like to thank all of you for your well wishes. I’m still feeling crappy, but my fever is gone so that’s a giant relief. I want to apologize ahead of time if my posts for the next couple of days aren’t as well written/coherent/witty as normal. I’ve been writing emails and IMing friends, and after I reread what I wrote I think “What the hell does that even mean?” Or worse, I’ll be in the middle of writing something and I’ll just end up blankly staring at the screen for a while. I guess these drugs are just that good.

Anyway, onto atheisty stuff. So, Purdue’s graduation ceremony (“commencement” technically) has many religious elements that our student organization is going to try to take care of. I have been to graduation for a friend and heard many identical reports from others, so that’s where I’m getting my information. Purdue actually has four separate commencements divided by schools since we have way too many people to fit in Elliot Hall of Music. Each of these contain these general elements:

- A talk by a religious leader from the community. There’s a Protestant, a Catholic, a Jew, and a Muslim. Sounds like a set up for a bad joke, eh? Anyway, each commencement gets one of these, not all four at one commencement. I’ll get back to this.
- Following the talk is a “moment of reflection.” Aka, prayer by another name – the vast majority of the audience prays during this time. But hey, maybe it’s not meant to be religious, right?
- Following this the choir breaks out into song singing “Amen” over and over again for a couple minutes while the backdrop screen shows clouds serenely floating by. Whoops. Guess it is meant to be religious.
- Other songs the choir sings are hymns (a friend had to point this out to me, since I wasn’t really listening to what they were singing).

Back to the religious leaders. The one I saw (the Muslim) wasn’t too overtly religious. He did mention God a couple times at the end though and finished with “Amen” (I guess my standards for “overtly religious” are pretty low). I’ve been told the other speakers were similar. I haven’t seen them myself – Purdue streams its commencement live online, but I could never get the stupid codec for it to work.

They’re obviously picking four different faiths to try to be diverse and inclusive, but this ultimately fails. The day you graduate depends on your school, not your religion – what if you’re a Muslim stuck listening to the Catholic? A Jew listening to the Muslim? I hope this wouldn’t matter, but when you’re trying to seem all inclusive, it doesn’t help when the people actually attending only see one. More importantly, how about the students who aren’t represented? It’s not just atheists – I know Purdue has a fairly significant Hindu community thanks to the Engineering program. What about them? Conveniently they’ve chosen all the Abrahamic religions…

Though honestly, I don’t think it’s worth the fight to get rid of the religious leaders all together. One, knowing Purdue this would be an impossible battle. But honestly I don’t mind having a religious person talk if they’re saying something intelligent. If we could just enforce a rule like not explicitly mentioning God or using religious terminology, I’d be okay with that compromise. If we had a local humanist chaplain I’d suggest having them talk, but unfortunately we don’t. My biggest beef is with all the “Amen” excessive singing and hymns business. That’s obviously completely inappropriate. Let people have their moment of reflection, but don’t beat us over the head with the message that we’re supposed to be praying.

Any advice on how to go about dealing with this? I’m basically thinking a petition or letters from students/staff/alumni about how graduation should remain secular, plus a long main letter from the club explaining why this is inappropriate at a public institution. Tips on successful petitions, who to talk to, what to include in the letter, etc would be greatly appreciated!

Yay hospitals

So I finally broke down and went to the hospital today. If you know me well, you know I have to be feeling pretty horrible to actually go to the doctor. I was raised by the “unless you’re dying, just suck it up” method, which was fine because I was never really seriously ill as a kid (just colds and such). But once my fever hit 103 and I was continuously hacking up a lung, I thought it may be smart to go. My friend was nice enough to drive me there as I tried not to cough all over him.

While I got in almost immediately, it ended up taking almost 3 hours. Twice I sat alone in the room for 40 minutes just waiting for the next test. I wondered if they had forgotten about me a couple times, and how long a normal person would wait before wandering out into the hallway. It went oddly fast to me since I think I ended up microsleeping a bit, but I felt bad for my friend sitting out in the waiting room. I really hoped he had brought something to do.

Him: Don’t worry, I got through a lot of my book. I thought it might take a while for you to get in.
Me: Well that’s good. What are you reading?
Him: …Twilight.
Me: Nooooooooooooooo my sickness has enabled someone to read Twilight!!!

A lot of things about hospitals are kind of ridiculous. The first time I coughed they slapped one of those flu masks on me. I felt like I was in some weird post apocalyptic movie or something. I asked one of the nurses if they were standard or just for the swine flu scare, and she said they do them during flu season but they were specifically doing them for swine flu now. As cool as it would be to say you survived swine flu, I was kind of hoping it wasn’t that.

They also wanted to do a chest x-ray (to make sure I hadn’t literally coughed up a lung, I suppose) and they wanted to wheel me out on a bed to the x-ray room. A little odd, I thought, since I’m feverish and coughing but I can still, you know, walk, but whatever. Maybe that’s just hospital protocol. So I hop on for the ride…and the x-ray room is literally across the hall. Really? Was that necessary? Though my favorite thing about being female and going to the doctor is how they ask you if you’re pregnant a thousand times.

X-Ray lady: Is there any chance you may be pregnant?
Me: Probably not
X-Ray lady: Probably not? Here they marked you as “no.”
Me: Well she asked if I was on birth control, and I am.
X-Ray lady: *not amused* …Well we can do a quick pregnancy test to make sure. Do you want to?
Me, What I Wanted to Say: Honestly, it’s highly unlikely that I’m pregnant. Yes, it’s theoretically possible even with birth control, but you know what? If I was, I would without a doubt abort that thing. So x-ray away, you’ll just be helping me out.
Me, What I Actually Said: Nah, I think I’m fine.

It’s probably a good thing that she couldn’t see me smirking under my flu mask.

Three hours and many (probably expensive) tests later, the nurse tells me “It’s just (just?) bronchitis.” You know, you think they would have just guessed that when I walked in coughing and feverish, and immediately told them that my friend had bronchitis. Sigh. Oh well. I’m still hacking to death, but now I have a slew of drugs that will hopefully kick in soon. Mmm tylenol with codeine. Maybe I’ll actually be able to sleep tonight.

There is a god, and she hates me

So in less than 48 hours I:

– got a flat tire
- developed a bad cough
- failed to get my tire fixed at Walmart
- got trapped in said Walmart for almost 2 hours
- developed a fever
- didn’t sleep because of coughing and fever, even with Nyquil
- completely lost my voice
- had our water main break, so now we have to boil all of our water
- drank a glass of water before finding this out
- found out my flight to the Evolution conference in Idaho (which someone else booked for me) has a 9 hour layover in Seattle

I’m just waiting for the roof to collapse on me at this point. The fever bugs me the most. I hate the whole “I’m freezing where’s the blanket, jk now I’m sweating, omg I’m freezing again, nope now I’m hot” thing. To add insult to injury, I have Katy Perry’s “Hot N’ Cold” stuck in my head, even though I don’t think that song is supposed to be describing body temperature.

FML

Walmartitis

Not only could Walmart not fix my tire (nail pierces the rim, apparently) and it took them 1 and a half hours to figure this out, but now I have a fever and I’m all achy. I blame extended exposure to Walmart =(

I’m going to go curl into a ball and take a nap and die now kthxbai

Trapped!

Oh god I’m trapped in Walmart for over an hour while they fix my car. Gahhh what do I do? There aren’t even any good videogames on display!!! Aaaahhhh!!

Bah

Hi there, random gushing nosebleed. Man, you used to stop by all the time when I was younger, but I hadn’t seen you in a while! I thought maybe you had forgotten about me. But no, you decided to stop by again – lovely. I would have preferred that you didn’t wake me up at 5:30 am so I had to dart to the bathroom, but I know you’re just unpredictable like that. At least I figured out you were coming before you decided to splatter yourself all over my pillow. And it’s better than those times you drop in when I’m in class, or better yet, during an exam.

Grumble.

Damn you, fragile nasal capillaries in changing weather! My mom got this a lot when she was young too. I just can’t wait until I reproduce and my children are running around spurting blood out of their noses too. Joy.

Rock Band adventures!

With House, Heroes, and ANTM over for the summer, I decided I needed a new fun distraction. I hadn’t bought a new video game since Mario Kart Wii, so I decided to splurge and buy Rock Band 2. I had been debating about it forever, but now my excuse was that I have a job (moola!) and don’t have any classes any more…so great idea, right?

So with the Froommate I go to pick up my Best Friend (his girlfriend, who will be my new froommate in the fall…yay confusing relationships). Me buying Rock Band 2 is a momentous and joyous occasion for all of us, especially them, since they get to reap the benefits without paying any money. As I’m pulling into her driveway, I hear a loud ‘POP!’.

Me: That didn’t sound good.
Froommate: No, no it didn’t.

I get out of the car, and of course I have a flat tire. Thankfully Froommate has Man Training and changed the tire for me, while BF and I stood by and did our duty of supervising. Though in all honesty, we didn’t think either of us would have been strong enough to do it, which is kind sad…and why I’m starting to exercise.

Me: Aren’t you glad you showered before coming over?
Froommate: *sweaty greasy mess* =(
BF: Well, he shaved too, so that wasn’t a waste.
Me: No, the pure manliness of changing a tire produced so much testosterone he’s about to sprout a full beard!

Tire changed, we still made it to Game Stop to buy Rock Band 2, I bought him dinner as thanks, and we played for about 5 hours. Our band name is “Zinc Fingered.” BF and I, both being biologists, think this about the funniest thing in the world. Froommate, a chemist, is probably wondering why zinc is such a humorous element. Oh well.

Tomorrow I get to actually…you know, work and look into finding new tires. I think my replacement isn’t going to hang in there long, and I won’t be surprised if it’s flat in the morning. Sigh. Hooray for the real world.

This Professor business will never end, will it?

After the last cranky email I received from The Professor, I had had enough. I sent the following short email reply to him:

“I tried to explain the reasoning behind my review and even extend my apologies to you, but you chose to ignore that. I have no idea why you think I would be motivated to deliberately misrepresent your book, other than the fact that you simply cannot comprehend that you wrote something bad. These emails only expose how insecure you are, trying to cut down some random 21 year old on the internet. I suggest you take a deep breath and calm down before writing me any more emails, because you’re really not doing yourself any favors acting this way.

And honestly, just because you paid some vanity publisher to publish your book doesn’t mean you’re any more of a professional writer than I am, nor does it mean I am unable to critique literature.

Jennifer”

I sent that on May 5th, and figured maybe this whole craziness was over since I never heard back. Maybe he took my advice on calming down before emailing me, and just was unable to calm down. Maybe I had upset him so much that this poor 80 year old man had a heart attack and died.

Me: Oh my god, I would feel so guilty. What if that happened?
Friend: Eh, I’m sure if he dropped dead one of your internet minions would forward you the obituary.
Me: Hmm, good point. *goes back to drinking their $1 long islands*

Though a note on the above quote: this insanity has become a great bar story when hanging out with my atheist friends. Anyway, I thought it was all over, but on May 15th I saw a new anonymous comment was left on “The Professor responds!“:

“I read the above comments. I still love students but I don’t know why. Think I’ll have lunch and then start my next book to be titled “The Testicle Eaters.” Or “God Likes Baloney Sanwiches.” It could start with two kids walking accross the lawn behind a church and meeting a man with a long white beard (me again) eating a baloney sandwich with mayonnaise. I just posted with the friendly atheist.com. John Harrigan”

I paused as I read the ridiculous comment. The nonsensical, rambling writing style fit him, but really? God Likes Baloney Sandwiches? My friend insisted it was just some commenter trying to pull my leg, but I had never mentioned the testicle eating in the original book (yes, that is something the serial killer does). Only someone who read (or wrote) the book would know that fact. Maybe it was John Harrigan, and his subconscious was trying to admit that he’s full of baloney.

I was going to let it slide, but then Hemant emailed me this funny PowerPoint Bruin Alliance of Skeptics and Secularists had made about the book (includes some hilarious things that I left out, like the testicle eating!). I figured I’d ask him if the Professor had contacted him, and he said yep, he left a long rambly comment on his post about the book. I won’t copy and paste it, since it’s basically his “editor’s” praise of the book, but woo boy. I did find it mildly hilariously that he didn’t think to delete his editor’s phone number…very smart, Professor. Though please don’t go calling the poor guy – the last thing we need is two upset 80 something year old men.

Will this ever end? Probably not, but I don’t mind as long as 1. It keeps bringing readers to my blog 2. This poor man doesn’t drop dead because of me and 3. I don’t get sued (not that he’d really have a case, but I’d just like to avoid the situation). I still think John Harrigan and I could make big bucks off of “gobbler of whangs par excellence” merchandise. If only he was willing to cash in on the accidental ridiculousness of his book!