One year of Crommunist at FTB

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my blog’s appearance on the Freethought Blogs network. It was 366 short days ago that I was plucked from my position of relative obscurity and offered the opportunity to blog alongside some ‘big names’ within the movement, many of whom were personal heroes of mine. While the ‘technical’ birthday mark passed some months ago, the calendar reckoning was somewhat overturned by this blog’s migration to the new site with its bigger audience and new traffic patterns.

As I did with the first birthday celebration of the Manifesto, I thought I’d share some stats and thoughts with you. [Read more…]

Kiva project update: August/September 2012

Hey cromrades,

I was unforgivably (but somewhat characteristically) lazy this past period with handling the Kiva project. As a result, the donation to the Sioux expired before I got my act together to donate. Mea culpa. What I have done instead is donated $50 of your money to the Canadian Red Cross’ Aboriginal Outreach program, and matched that donation with $50 of my own. Additionally, we had a windfall of Kiva repayments in the past couple of months, so I was able to direct a number of new loans. There were two pay periods since our last update, so there’s quite a bit of activity summarized below.

Here are the loans we made this month: [Read more…]

State of the Blogion

I feel I owe you an explanation for the disrupted service that’s been going on for the past weeks. Maybe you haven’t noticed, in which case “great”, but if you’ve been missing the schedule of posts, here’s what’s been going on.

As I mentioned some months ago, I started a PhD program at the beginning of September. This means that, in order to fit my class schedule into my work schedule, I have moved to longer days at the office. As a result, I have been trying to bang stuff out on my lunch hour instead of working on it the night before as has been my habit for the past year or so that the blog has been running. Hence why, for example, most of the last couple of week’s posts have been going up at 1300 PST rather than their usual 0600 PST. It also explains why there are fewer posts.

As I’ve also (I think?) mentioned, I have just started dating someone. Because she and I are both busy people, we covet the time we get to with each other, meaning that on weekends I am usually preoccupied with enjoying the living shit out of her company. Weekends were when I was able to get most of my substantive writing done, but that time is now being used for something else. [Read more…]

Kiva Project: Doing something different with our money

It’s the beginning of the month, which means I have a blog paycheque burning a hole in my online pocket. I thought, in light of this morning’s story, that it might be worthwhile to do something a little different this month:

Pe’ Sla is an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota (just west of Rapid City) that is considered by the Lakota people to be the Center and heart of everything that is. It is part of our creation story. It is a sacred place. We perform certain ceremonies at Pe’ Sla which sustain the Lakota way of life and keep the universe in harmony. This area is partly owned by the Reynolds family. They plan to auction off almost 2,000 acres on August 25, 2012 to the highest bidder. It is likely that the state of South Dakota will put a road directly through Pe’ Sla and open up this sacred place for development.

(snip)

We are hoping to buy as much of the sacred sites as possible. Currently for sale is 1,942.66 acres which is in 5 tracts (300 – 440 acres each).  It is diffcult to say how much this land would be sold for as developers may increase the true western “value”.

As much as the idea of ‘sacred land’ irks me, I think the goal of reclaiming ancestrally-held lands is a good one. The more economic power these communities have, the harder it is to ignore their needs and ‘otherize’ them. This campaign is closing in 5 days, so I thought it might be cool to kick this month’s pay to this cause. I will wait to see if there are any major complaints or concerns. Unlike Kiva, this is a donation and not a loan, meaning that when this money is gone, it’s gone for good.

We also got a bunch of repayments in our Kiva account, so go check out any campaigns there that you might like and I’ll pick a couple of those as well.

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Internet notoriety and the blogosphere

I did promise to finish my thought process from last Friday’s post, so I will. After this though, I think I’m going to intentionally avoid blogging about blogging for a while – after all that’s really not what you’re here for and there are more important things to do.

Since joining Freethought blogs (and particularly since the whole #FTBullies nonsense started on Twitter), I have occasionally been accused of trying to gin up controversy in order to gain attention*, and/or expressing opinions for the primary purpose of winning the favour of PZ Watson (because let’s be honest – as far as most of the ‘critics’ are concerned, they might as well be the same fiendish mastermind of a person). My position has been dismissed as being irredeemably biased because of my assumed obligation to defend the FTB network at all costs. I have, in short, been accused of trying to ‘climb the ladder’ in order to sit at the cool kids’ table in the high school cafeteria that is the freethinking movement.

I can’t do anything except roll my eyes at these kinds of aspersions, for reasons I will attempt to flesh out in this post. [Read more…]

Traffic, sensationalism, and internet fame: a rambling omni-post

This morning, PZ Myers posted an examination of the evidence relevant to the claim that bloggers stir up controversy solely or primarily to garner attention and blog traffic. This is a relatively common claim from cynics who believe, for whatever reason, that bloggers are all craven, fame-hungry, unprincipled agitators. I myself have had this accusation thrown at me from time to time, and while I don’t like it, I also don’t give it much time or energy because hey, stupids gonna stupe.

PZ also said this:

What makes a blog grow is 1) regular updates, 2) consistent themes, 3) maintaining the attention of other blogs out there, 4) cultivation of an interactive readership that adds value to your blog, and 5) time (slow steady growth is best, and it can’t by definition happen overnight). Probably also good writing, but I wouldn’t know much about that, and I’ve also seen some gloriously well-written blogs that idle along with light traffic because they ignore my top 5 suggestions.

Which is fine as his personal opinion, but it’s not much more evidence-based than the claim that they’re built by constantly courting scandal. While PZ has built a juggernaut of a blog, and followed that up by helping to build a juggernaut of a blog network, I don’t know that he can really be cited as an authority on what it is that makes a blog successful. Considering that I’ve heard him on many occasions say that the blogging game is random and fickle, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that this was his own observation only, and not intended as a statement of fact.

The main reason why his post rubbed me the wrong way is because of this: [Read more…]

Jamie’s story: three months

My friend and fellow skeptic Jamie’s saga of activism here in Vancouver continues anabated. You can read part one here, and read part two here.

THREE-MONTH SUMMARY: ACTION AGAINST MISOGYNY

My life has become a complete fucking mess this month. Since publishing the two-month summary of Action Against Misogyny (here), one of my former friends has come under the media spotlight and multiple simultaneous ongoing investigations for a) misconduct as an officer of the law, b) suspected involvement (the degree to which, if any, has yet to be determined) in the Robert Pickton serial murder spree of 49 women (most of whom were aboriginal) he abducted from Vancouver’s Downtown East side, and c) being as icky a complete creep as an unapologetically sexist pig could possibly be found to be by a psychologist who has worked with law enforcement for over 30 years. Read about my personal (sometimes intimate) relationship with him here, about the beginning of a localized red herring panic wave about privacy within the pervert community here, and about where I finally lose my patience and ask the same community to stop and think instead of resorting to tearing my own hair out by the fist-full here. I’m also losing my housing and will have to resort to indefinite couch-surfing for the second time in my life, in order to avoid becoming homeless for the third time. Read about how that news made me feel here.

So after Week 7, we decided as a group to try and occupy the intersection on Fridays and Saturdays. I wound up standing there alone (but still down to my skivvies), picketing a huge posse of these misogynist assholes, on the Friday. That was all sorts of wacky and powerful. The cops made it plainly apparent right away that they are there to protect me, I was truly moved that two men who had just been released from prison took the opportunity to stand up for women’s rights when they saw me, and a woman (a fucking WARRIOR) told me her rape survival story. On the Saturday, I was joined by more people, and it rapidly became apparent to us that we are making a difference and they are getting desperate. Read about Week 8 here.

During Week 9, as I limped around on second-degree burns on the bottom of both my feet, utterly desperate pro-lifers resorted to punching and grabbing pro-choice women. My friends. I was fury, bro. It wasn’t enough that a bus driver actually refused me service because my exposed arms and cleavage were offensive to him (I was wearing a bra). But on a scale of 1 to 10, I was only at 10 until the cops showed up and pretended no crime had been committed because the offenders in this case are elderly. Now I was mad out of 10. I took it out on sexist assholes by yelling at them — while wearing a loincloth. Read all about it here.

Jamie is a total BAMF, and you should definitely be reading the rest of this story. I’d particularly like to draw your attention to this post on the overlapping problems of relative privilege, in case you thought that this ‘social justice’ thing was a cut-and-dry issue with clear “right and wrong”.

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I am a non-Prophet!

So yesterday I had to heroically jump in to save Russell Glasser who was stranded without Non-Prophets Podcast co-hosts. For an hour, I chopped it up with him and a handful of others:

Incidentally, if you want to read my takedown of the Black Atheists of Atlanta, you can read it here. Please be sure to read the follow-up as well.

I will have more thoughts on the Wisconsin temple shooting later today.

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My triumphant return

I am (at least physically) back from Tofino after an unbelievable weekend, only some of which I am comfortable describing on the internet :P

It’s going to take me a couple of days to have new content up here, so unfortunately my hiatus continues for a while but (as always) I will get back to my routine as soon as I can locate my frontal lobe. Until then, you can check out my photo album from the trip. I haven’t yet had a chance to resize these pics for those of you without ludicrous-speed internet, so please stay tuned.

There is video, however:

What happens when you throw naphthene on a fire?

We bought fire colourant packages from a park administrative office. Very pretty result:

When our fire got shut down, we started a mobile beach dance party:

I’ve also freed some people from comment jail. Again, my apologies, but it was either that or get spammed to hell. New stuff up soon!

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Movie Friday: Off the grid

I’ll be in Tofino this weekend, which means no phone, no e-mails, and best (or worst, depending on your perspective) of all, no blogging. I will be complontly unplogged for 4 glorious days. This means I will not be supervising comments or posting new stuff for a few days, which means y’all are on your own. I’m sure I’ll come back to a bunch of people with comments in moderation complaining about how I’m “censoring” them and how un-“freethought” that is of me. I won’t care though – did I mention I’ll be in Tofino?

See you when I get back.

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