This is why I haven’t been blogging

My new distraction: Draw Something for iPhone.

My favorite part: Taking way too much time to draw something where a stick figure would have conveyed the message. For example, my drawing for the word “Obama”:

This is what I did for “alone”:

Feel free to add me – the username is jennifurret.

One Indiana resident’s message to GLBT youth

In summary: “GTFO”

Dear Editor,

Many of us are getting a bit tired of hearing about the demands of Purdue’s so-called gay and lesbian community. I suspect that many of those most vocal are probably out-of-state students. I have to ask why did they apply to Purdue in the first place, if all they are going to do is complain about it? These petulant children have ‘gay friendly’ schools in their home states, and the Hoosier troublemakers (if any) should have applied to Bloomington. As a Christian, I hate the sin, but love the sinner. I see no reason to destroy these people, but they should not be working to destroy our Boilermaker values either. So the best solution for all concerned is for Purdue to set up some kind of Director of Gay and Lesbian Issues on campus, someone well versed in transferring academic credits and the application process, so these young people can be directed to better pursue their values and ‘interests’ unhindered in more accepting institutions, and traditional Boilermakers who love Purdue and are happy with it as it is can better pursue our own values and interests as well.

Boiler Up!

Harlan VanderMeer, West Lafayette resident

There’s part of me that is desperately wishing this is some failed attempt at satire. But then I think back to the 22 years I lived in Indiana, and I remember that nope, this anti-GLBT bigotry is pretty much par for the course. Of course no GLBT people are born in Indiana. Teh Gay only spreads in cultured and intelligent neighborhoods, which we know only exist on the east and west coasts. So those Invader Gays should just shut up and deal with the constant harassment and discrimination they face on Purdue’s campus, or get out of the state.

How about that Christian compassion?

Sin of the week: Gluttony

My friend Mark has been visiting me in Seattle since Saturday afternoon. Mark and I have one of those weird sibling-like friendships that has lasted forever: we met in first grade and proceeded to go to the same elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. But honestly I’m a kind of mediocre tour guide in Seattle. My regular activities involve sitting on the internet, watching Netflix, and playing video games… so suffice to say, I don’t really know how to find entertainment in the city.

But the one thing I do know is where the good food is. So my main contribution to his trip has been dragging him to delicious lunches and dinners. That also means I’ve been in a perpetual food coma since Saturday, and will continue to be in one until I drive him to the airport Thursday afternoon.

Because my food addled brain cannot conceive of any other topic to write about, I’ll share where we’ve been eating. If you’re ever in Seattle, I highly recommend these places. We have hit up or are planning on hitting up:

  1. The Honey Hole
    Location: Capitol Hill
    Description: Do you want a delicious sandwich and great local beer? Yes, yes you do.
  2. The Unicorn
    Location: Capitol Hill
    Description: My favorite bar. I like to describe it as a bar designed by a 5 year old on LSD. The trippy decor is great, but the mixed drinks are great too. I devoured my Mango Drop the other night. And the Unicorn Jizz is legitimately good, and not just because I have the sense of humor of said 5 year old who designed the bar. Also, ridiculous unicorn hats:
  3. Dilettante’s
    Location: Various
    Description: Five dollar chocolate martini happy hour every day? Sign me up.
  4. Some random hot dog stand
    Location: Anywhere there are bars
    Description: If you need to satiate your drunken munchies, there’s nothing better than a Seattle dog: hot dog, cream cheese, and grilled onion on a toasted bun.
  5. Jai Thai
    Location: Fremont (NOT the shitty one in Capitol Hill)
    Description: There are a bajillion Thai places in Seattle, and a million that are awesome. Jai Thai is one of those. I’m sure you can name a better one, but Jai Thai is reasonably priced, has a diverse and consistently awesome menu, nails their Thai Iced Coffee, and is conveniently near by boyfriend’s place.
  6. Brouwer’s
    Location: Fremont
    Description: A Flemish cafe with 64 beers on tap, over 300 bottles of beer, and over 60 scotches. I don’t need to say anything more, but their fries are to die for too.
  7. The Pine Box
    Location: Capitol Hill
    Description: A mortuary that’s been converted into a pub, complete with booths constructed from church pews. It just opened and is a project from the same people behind Brouwer’s, and you can tell. Great beer selection, a randal that infuses a different beer every day with something delicious like coffee beans or cocoa nibs, and awesome pizza.
  8. Beecher’s Cheese
    Location: Pike Place Market
    Description: To paraphrase Mark’s reaction: “I don’t even really like cheese, but holy fuck.” Try the mac and cheese and the fresh cheese curds in olive oil and herbs. Those cheese curds are so fresh they were grass 24 hours ago. So goooood.
  9. La Carta de Oaxaca
    Location: Ballard
    Description: People complain that there’s no such thing as good Mexican food in Seattle, and I used to agree. Then I found La Carta. Holy fuck. This isn’t just good for Seattle, it’s good for anywhere. If you don’t try their mole, you’re missing out.
  10. Molly Moon’s
    Location: Various
    Description: Quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s a close race between Molly Moon’s and Jeni’s in Columbus, OH, and I just can’t decide. My favorite flavors are the Balsamic Strawberry and the Salty Caramel, though the Theo Chocolate is probably the best chocolate ice cream I’ve had the opportunity to taste. And trust me, I’ve tried a lot of ice cream.
  11. Chiso
    Location: Fremont
    Description: I’m not a huge sushi person, but wow. The picture says it all:
  12. Dot’s Delicatessen
    Location: Fremont
    Description: This is honestly my favorite place on the list. I’ve tried dozens of different sandwiches at Dot’s, and every one is tied for “Best Sandwich I’ve Ever Had.” I never knew meat on bread could taste so divine. If you live in Seattle and aren’t a vegetarian, you need to go to Dot’s right. Now. I couldn’t decide on a single photo, so just go here and keep scrolling down.
  13. Paseo
    Location: Fremont, Ballard
    Description: This previously held the title of “Best Sandwich I’ve Ever Had” before Dot’s opened up across the street. But their Cuban Roast is still a damn delicious sandwich. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.
  14. Ray’s Boathouse
    Location: Ballard
    Description: Alright, I actually haven’t eaten here before, but it was universally recommended to me when I asked “Where’s a good somewhat fancy seafood place?” And after drooling over their menu, I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow. Apparently it also has a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound. This place ended up being pretty disappointingly average and way overpriced.
  15. Portage Bay Cafe
    Location: Various
    Description: Do you want a fancy brunch? Then you want this place. Everything is delicious. The french toast, the crab cakes eggs Benedict, the unlimited fresh berry topping bar…dear god

And those are just the places that I can fit into Mark’s schedule. I’d also highly recommend Marination Station (Hawaiian-Korean fusion tacos), Cantinetta (mindblowing Italian), the pupusas at Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria

tl;dr I will have consumed 98474387368 calories this week. Guess who’s going to hit the gym on overdrive next week…

This is kind of awesome

One clever 6th grade teacher (from Indiana!) turned his classroom into a role-playing game, complete with leveling up for completing certain tasks, unlocking achievements, having random encounters, and forming alliances with other students.

Many students were thrilled right off the bat. It was mainly my group of athletic boys, who are constantly driven by competition to do well. The fantasy/sci-fi aspects of ClassRealm drew in other students as well. It didn’t matter why they cared. I just wanted them to care.

[...] Participation skyrocketed on the first day. I had students I never heard from volunteering to answer questions they didn’t even know the answer to. Students who normally wouldn’t even care were going out of their way to get XP from class participation. Every one of my students pushed themselves to focus during the day’s assignments and behave. One student, who earned a bronze level achievement, was even applauded by the entire class. It blew my mind. The amount of XP I was going to give out was undetermined, so I just let them come naturally. Share your maths answer with the class? XP for you. Let a classmate borrow your dry erase marker? XP for you!

I am completely and utterly jealous I didn’t have this when I was in middle school. Hell, I’m jealous I don’t have this in grad school. I totally would have leveled up my “Paper Reading” skill today. “Dissertation Defense” would be the final boss. Sidequests all involve finding as much free food as possible.

I’m not going to lie. I think my favorite part is the Friday quiz battles that are done to Pokemon battle music. Maybe I should just have video game battle music playing constantly at my desk…

Goodbye, Greta!

EDIT: Happy April Fools.

It’s official: Greta Christina will be leaving Freethought Blogs.

I know, it really surprised me too. Greta is one of the first atheist bloggers I read and was major motivation for me to start my own blog. Over my three years of blogging, we’ve become close friends. I wasn’t surprised when she texted me yesterday, but I was surprised with what it said:

“I’m done with blogging.”

At first I thought she was just mad about another dumb internet kerfuffle about sexism, or #mencallmethings. But when I asked her what was going on, I realized she was serious. This wasn’t a temporary desire – this was for real. I tried to talk her out of it because I love her writing so much, but her mind was made up. Because we’re such good friends, Greta let me interview her about her decision.

She wanted me to stress that she had no ill will toward Freethought Blogs – she’s loved the community it has provided, and it’s been a fun experience. But atheist blogging just isn’t in her future. “When I wrote Why Are You Atheists So Angry, I thought it would motivate people to join the movement and become just as enraged about religious atrocities as I was,” Greta said. “But I was surprised when it did the opposite. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I feel so much better. I’m just not that angry about religion anymore. Other people should definitely keep up the fight, but I’ve reached some sort of zen level. Well, except that zen is bullshit. You know what I mean.”

I asked her if this meant she was done with blogging for good. “That’s actually another exciting announcement!” she said. “A reader of mine has a connection with Vogue, and apparently they loved my Fashion Friday posts. I’m going to be contributing to their blog occasionally!”

How about her other atheist activism, like her talks? “It’s the same as the blog. I just don’t have the passion there now that I’ve been able to vent. I hope the atheist movement keeps going strong, but I’m just not interested in being a part of it anymore. I have better things I can be doing to make myself happy.”

How exactly does Greta plan to spend her newly acquired free time? “Spending more time with Ingrid. Snuggling with kittens. Project Runway marathons. There’s a tub of cardamom ice cream that has my name on it.”

…I awkwardly asked if that was it.

“I’ll probably squeeze in some Buffy or Harry Potter fanfiction if my schedule allows. The sky’s the limit.”

Well, as a friend I’m glad Greta’s doing what makes her happy. But I know we’ll all miss her wonderful writing. Maybe I’ll suck it up and read her posts at Vogue, even though I know nothing about fashion.

Goodbye, Greta!