I think this is pretty much the best thing someone has ever called me

Occasionally I like to wander around the internet, checking out blogs that have linked to my posts. Well, one of those was The Good Kentuckian, which I’m 99.99% sure is supposed to be a Stephen Colbert-like satire (though one can never be to sure when it comes to Poes). My blog is listed under what is quite possibly the best group name ever: FeminiNazi Nation of Christ-Haters.

Yessss. I’ve made the big time! The only thing that could make that better is if the blog was sincerely conservative. But you never know with the internet. I’ve definitely heard real conservatives say stupider things than what they have in their posts.

PZ and Hemant are also listed, but I think my group name is still the best. Pharyngula made “America-Hating Blogs to Watch Closely” and Friendly Atheist unfortunately got “Atheists & Homosexuals – Evil Intertubes Run By Demons.” Sorry Hemant, I guess you’re giving these guys the wrong signals!

And while we’re on the topic of blogging accomplishments, apparently my blog is blocked at someone’s work for “objectional content.” I’m not sure if it’s the atheism, occasional swearing, or random discussions about sex, but I think this is hilariously awesome. Well, not awesome for the people trying to read my blog at work – sorry guys – but I’ll consider it an honor!

Oh yeah? Well our atheist club has superheros for officers!

I finally got around to doing a little housecleaning around the Society of Non-Theists’s website. Freshmen should start poking around for club information in a couple weeks, so I wanted to make it look like we actually do stuff (which we do!). And I finally got around to updating the Contact page with some officer bios so it looks like we’re actually normal (well, relatively) human beings with actual personalities.

It amuses me to no end that we have a blonde, brunette, and red head. It’s so delightfully stereotypical. I keep having images of Charlie’s Angels or the Power Puff Girls or any superheroine trio. And having three women as officers is definitely going to help club attendance – girls will feel welcome, and boys well…yeah, I don’t need to explain why boys will come.

Now if I can only convince my fellow officers that we all need matching spandex outfits…then club attendance would increase by 1000%.*

*If I hear about people contacting the officers in order to be creepy instead of real club business, I will smite you.

What atheists wish would happen at the Creation Museum

What atheists wish would happen at the Creation Museum (I partially blame Mark for this insanity).

Click the images for a bigger image (it’s so big I couldn’t fit it as one comic).What did I learn from making this? …It is impossible to draw Ken Ham NOT evil looking. I mean, seriously. Compare this comic to a photograph and you’ll know what I mean.

And I know Cthulhu fhtagn is two words. My handwriting just sucks. Sigh.

EDIT: Shirts of this comic available in the store!

Science can cure disease and make things adorable at the same time!

A recent study by the University of Rochester Medical Center has found that the same chemical used to color blue M&Ms and blue Gatorade can also be used to heal spine injuries. The chemical, Brilliant Blue G (BGG) blocks P2X7, known as the “Death Receptor.” This stops the signal that tells motor neurons to undergo apoptosis (cell death). When rats with spinal cord injuries were injected with BGG, they were able to walk again with a limp.

How awesome is that?

And BGG has the added benefit of making rats extra adorable. They go from this:
To this:Want. Now.

Novel writing and dream crushing

I just received an update email from NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.

Sigh.

You may have possibly noticed, or at least guessed, that I enjoy writing. I think you sort of have to enjoy writing to have a blog, unless it’s entirely made up of videos or photos of lolcats. I don’t claim that my blog posts are novel quality or anything – to be perfectly honest, I only give them a cursory proofreading before posting, which is why you see the occasional typo or nonsensical statement (heaven forbid). Here I write very stream of conscious-like, more like how I would talk to you then how I’d write formally.

I’ve always loved writing fiction stories. When I was in second grade I wrote a story about a kid who made a time machine out of a cardboard box and befriended a talking brontosaurus (based on a giant paper mache dinosaur we made…I should really find the picture of me standing with it!). In third grade I was writing my own variety of Goosebump books. In 5th and 6th, the story of me and my friends’ Pokemon journey (a fanfic writer at an early age, I guess). Then in 7th grade I concocted The Story.

Why does this particular story get the infamous title of The Story? Because it started a trend that still annoys me to this day – starting to write a great story and then never finishing it. These stories aren’t just a couple paragraphs scribbled on scrap paper as an idea – with my stories, I’ll get 10,000 words in and emotionally invested in my characters. And then I stop, with my chapters just sitting on my computer, waiting for me to add something to them. Occasionally I’ll feel a spark of creativity, or maybe just pity for neglecting my literary children, or maybe guilt for not being able to complete a project, and I’ll go work on them for a while. Even The Story, which started as stereotypical ideas from a 13 year old girl, is still around today (granted, with many many face lifts). Why have I created so many abandoned stories?

I blame NaNoWriMo.

Okay, blame isn’t entirely the best word. I know there are probably maybe reasons why I don’t finish them. I don’t have the time, I don’t think they’re good enough, I don’t think anyone would want to read them, etc etc. But NaNoWriMo definitely has encouraged part of it. NaNoWriMo is an event where you attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The catch is you have to start from scratch – no adding to preexisting work. If you thought I was insane for doing Blogathon, then you have to be absolutely out of your mind to do this. Which is why I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo five times.

The reason why I have so many stories is that I’ve failed five times.

I had my classic fantasy adventure (The Story)(2004), a second failed attempt at the same fantasy (2005), the dystopian future of cloning and organ harvesting (2006), the Greek Gods humorously causing havoc on a modern day pagan and atheist (my favorite story so far)(2007), the corrupt religious scientists infecting a population with the “God gene” (2008).* All of them patiently sit at 5,000 to 10,000 words, waiting to be finished.**

And even with all my failures, I know I’m probably going to do it again this year.

It’s absolutely insane for me to even consider attempting it. I’ll be a senior with hard classes, a class to teach, research to do, grad schools to apply to, a club to run, a blog to update (don’t worry, I won’t abandon you guys) – and I still want to write a novel? NaNoWriMo is like an abusive husband that I can’t will myself to leave. I don’t know why I keep going back and getting slapped around. Maybe it’s the hope that one year I’ll actually have the motivation to finish. One year I’ll plan ahead so when November rolls around, I’ll have a helpful outline and solidified ideas. But really I think it’s because I don’t know when I’ll ever have this sort of time again. College is hard, but the “real world” is harder. This is my chance to instill good novel writing habits, or I’ll never do it. It’s always been a dream to get a book published, but I kind of need to actually finish a book before I do that.

And now that I’ve typed all that, I’m really not sure why I did. Maybe for someone to tell me how crazy I am and dissuade me. Maybe for someone to wave the pom poms and tell me to do it. Or maybe I have a reader who has also been repeated raped by NaNoWriMo and can sympathize. All I know is if I do decide to do this crazy shit again, I need to start planning now, or I’m just going to be whining again come December.

*Dear lord these all sound horrendous typed out in uber-summarized form. I promise you they’re better than they look. Really.
**And it’s not that I’m unhappy with them – I like all of them, and I’m super proud of how the Greek God one started. I think I’m just too afraid to ruin it at this point.

Don't forget to make your donation if you pledged

If you sponsored me in the Blogathon, don’t forget to actually go and make your donation! It would be a shame to have $530 pledged and only a fraction of that actually get donated. Click here to make your donation. If you don’t remember the amount you pledged, go sign into your account at the Blogathon website. If you’re still having trouble, let me know and I can look it up for you.

Please try to make your donation by this Friday! All donations are going to be matched until then, so you’re effectively doubling your impact. Thanks again!

Don’t forget to make your donation if you pledged

If you sponsored me in the Blogathon, don’t forget to actually go and make your donation! It would be a shame to have $530 pledged and only a fraction of that actually get donated. Click here to make your donation. If you don’t remember the amount you pledged, go sign into your account at the Blogathon website. If you’re still having trouble, let me know and I can look it up for you.

Please try to make your donation by this Friday! All donations are going to be matched until then, so you’re effectively doubling your impact. Thanks again!

Creationism abroad

Hmm, this line of thought sounds very familiar:

“If their name is uncertain, however, their mission appears clear enough: to overthrow the Nigerian state, impose an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and abolish what they term “Western-style education”.

In an interview with the BBC, the group’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, said such education “spoils the belief in one god”.

“There are prominent Islamic preachers who have seen and understood that the present Western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam,” he said.

“Like rain. We believe it is a creation of god rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.

“Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism.””

Oh wait! That’s the same paranoid creationist garbage we hear in the United States! Except, you know, the US is one of the most advanced nations in the world and Nigeria is an undeveloped nation home to corruption and scandal and unrest and disease and and and…

Good to know the Nigerian Taliban isn’t much different than our Fundamentalist Christian Taliban. Crazies no matter where you are!

Homeless Atheist leaves Millions of Dollars to Charities

There’s a great story over at NPR about a homeless man who surprised them by leaving them $4 million dollars when he died. He had to money to live luxuriously, but instead he lived the simplest life possible:

“When Walters retired, he evidently retired from the world of material comforts. He didn’t have a car.

“He just gave up all of the material things that we think we have to have,” Belle says. “You know, I don’t know how we gauge happiness. What’s happy for you might not be happy for me. I never heard him complain.”

Evidently, among his few possessions was a radio. Hence those announcements listeners hear now and again on NPR stations.”

He also donated smaller sums of $400,000 to various non-profit organizations, including a Catholic mission where his best friend worked.

“Belle stayed with Walters when he was ill. She became his nurse and ultimately the executor of his estate — as well as one of the beneficiaries — despite fundamental differences between them.

“He was an atheist and I’m a very profound practicing Catholic, and I’d never met an atheist,” Belle says. “And that just blew my mind that somebody could not believe in the Lord.””

I really love seeing stuff like this, but especially when it involves an atheist. It’s only more proof that you don’t need to be religious to be a good, charitable, self sacrificing human being.

And an extra special bonus? He was a Purdue alumnus! Go Boilermakers for producing the occasional awesome person.

This should be fun

So I was lamenting earlier about my failure to come up with interesting group activities for my atheist organization. The same member quoted in that post just came up with a great idea – a Photo Scavenger Hunt! Grouping up members and making them take photos of themselves doing silly things or in front of silly things before a time limit runs out. “That’s not as awesome as an orgy!” you say. Well I disagree! Why? Because it’s going to be a Freethinking Photo Scavenger Hunt! With wonderful items on the scavenger hunt list like:

- Depict evolution somehow
- Laugh/cry in front of a place of worship
- Act out your favorite ridiculous scene from a holy book

etc

Now all I have to do is finalize the list by Sunday…but I figure a lot of you here are even more creative/hilarious than I am, so I’m going to ask for your help. What do you want to see on that scavenger hunt list? Email me at jmccreig(at)purdue.edu.

DO NOT LEAVE COMMENTS WITH IDEAS IN THEM BELOW OR I WILL DELETE THEM AND SMITE YOU WITH A FIREY HEATHEN RAGE! General comments about how awesome this idea is are okay, but I don’t want club members getting a sneak peak at the list (especially since a lot read my blog). You’ll probably get some of the best photos posted here, so put those thinking caps on!