Fantastic Fun Photo Op with Our Own Jason and Mount Rainier!

Freethought Blogs’ own Jason Thibeault happened to be in Seattle for Geek Girl Con, and while I didn’t make it to the con, I did get a couple hours with him at the end, before he had to catch his flight. Yay! And it wasn’t pouring rain. Extra yay! And Mount Rainier looked awesome despite the clouds. Super yay! Jason even managed to photograph it with my old machine from the car, which was quite a feat, considering it’s an unfamiliar camera, the lighting contrast was teh suck, and we were going 60mph.

Image shows Mount Rainier looming over I-5, with a freeway sign in front of it. Light gray clouds are piled up around and atop it.

Mount Rainier from I-5. Photo by Jason Thibeault.

I love showing off our local mountain.

If you pull yourself up the full-size version, you’ll note that the cloud at its summit hasn’t developed much. Save that tidbit for later.

I took Jason to our local Herfy’s down in Burien, which is a great place to go if you need to be near the airport, want quick food, but want it to be delicious. I am happy to report that this was a total success. And it was so awesome to finally be able to meet Jason in the flesh. I’ve been following his blog for a long, long time, and I have huge respect for him. I love his writing and his humor and his ability to document tough situations and cut through the crap. Meeting him was a little like meeting a rock star, and hearing him compliment my blog was kind of like realizing, “Oh, hey, shit, yeah, I guess I’m sort of a rock star… mebbe?” and it was also enormous good fun to be able to talk about All the Things. Well, all we could fit in two hours, anyway.

I am now determined to make it to Minnesota if he and his family can’t make it out here. Or we could always do both. I have so much great Seattle stuff I want to show them! And we didn’t get to do Pike Place Chowder, which ZOMG, everyone needs to have Pike Place Chowder at least once in a lifetime.

We got back to the airport rather earlier than we needed to, so we hung about in the cell phone waiting lot enjoying the Not Raining and the views. Views from a cell phone waiting lot at an airport, you ask? Oh, my darlings, yes. Look at this!

Image shows Mount Rainier from the parking lot. The image has the light rail in the foreground, with the lines partially blocking the view, but the mountain is still looming tall and huge. Lenticular clouds are beginning to develop at the summit. A gum tree is getting its fall red in the right foreground, and there's a red-orange tree at the bottom center.

Mount Rainier with some fall color!

And yes, that’s exactly why I’m here. See, I’ve been getting all homesick over Arizona lately, because people keep posting lovely photos from it on Facebook. But then I see this, and I’m like, “Naw, I’m home.” Oh, I want to go back to Arizona again, but only to visit. And maybe if we’re all very lucky, a bunch of us including Jason’s family will form a social justice artists’ commune and go around traveling to gorgeous places and drooling over the scenery and the food. Because, people, I know the places in Arizona that will make your tastebuds weep in gratitude, and the views that will make your eyes weep for the beauty.

(You can apply to the commune in the comments.)

We took a selfie, because of course we had to, and if you look over my shoulder, you’ll see Mount Rainier posing with us.

Image shows me posing with Jason, who is far taller than I am. He's wearing a ball cap and has a most excellent salt-n-pepper goatee.

Lessee… got one o’ my favorite bloggers on my left, favorite mountain on my right… yeah, life’s excellent!

And then, right before we left, the sunset light was hitting Mount Rainier just so, and those lenticular clouds were developing nicely, so of course I took another shot.

Image shows Mount Rainier from the same vantage point as before. The slanted light has sharpened her features, and the lenticular clouds are much more well-developed.

Mount Rainier with her cap on.

Then I took Jason to departures, saw him on his way, and drove home to a very cold kitty who made me take a nap in a blankie cave with her. Perfect day!

I cannot wait for next time.

Tony Needs Your Help! Please Donate if You Can

Tony, who’s one of the best writers I know on the subjects of racism, gun violence, queer topics, and comics, is going through one of those extended dry spells where he can’t find employment no matter how hard he tries. As if that weren’t enough, he just had an emergency with his 15 year-old kitty that resulted in a substantial vet bill. His kitty didn’t make it. So he’s got grief on top of joblessness and bills to worry about. If you read his blog, partake in the Pharyngula thread he and RQ curate, or follow him on Facebook, you know he’s working his ass off to bring us solid content every day. Unfortunately, blogging doesn’t pay the bills. Any of my readers who can spare some cash would be doing him a solid by dropping some coinage in his tip jar. Thank you so much for your help, my darlings!

Image shows a very handsome man with penetrating dark eyes and a regal bald dome.

Tony! Y’all might know him as the Queer Shoop. He is one of the most awesome human beings I know.


You Can Save Atheist Bloggers’ Lives

You may have seen the stories about Bangladeshi bloggers hacked to death by Islamist assholes for being open about unbelief. You’ve surely heard of Raif Badawi, who is being more harshly punished for his freethought writings than another man is for raping a child. If you’re like me, you’ve watched, helplessly, as people die and there’s so very little we can do to stop it.

Now we have a chance to act. [Read more…]

The Level of Awesome Just Increased by a Factor of 11

Jamila Bey just joined FtB, people. She’s one of my idols, one of the most talented people in atheism, so I’ve basically been non-stop squeeing since I found out. I already thought this place was one of the best blogging collectives on the entire internet. Now it feels like it was only quasi-awesome before she got here and made it uber-awesome.

Image is Jamila Bey's blog header, which is a black bar with a drawing of Jamila raising a victorious fist on the right and the words "Sex, Politics & Religion" inside a brain on the left.

You can read her first post here, in which she reminds us that Black History Month includes atheists and freethinkers, and was actually started by one. While you do that, I’m gonna go have a lozenge and then go squee some more.

Welcome to FtB, Jamila!

Alex Gabriel Could Use Your Kind Assistance

Is this you?

Image shows a black and white kitten looking at a coin. Caption says, "I has a money. What I do wif it?"

You could help a writer out! Alex Gabriel is experiencing one of those horrible financial dry spells that happens to freelancers, and could use a hand. If you have a money to spare, do please consider sending it his way.

If need to get some graphic design work done, or require an editor, you could help him whilst helping yourself by hiring him. Everybody wins! I’ve seen how he personalizes his work for each of his clients, and he’s got a definite gift for capturing the essence of a person and their blog.

Thanks in advance for helping a fellow blogger out, my darlings!

Image shows a cat in a box covered in money. Caption says, "Money isn't everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen."


Bienvenido a FreethoughtBlogs! Say Hello to Our Sniny New Bloggers

You know how we’ve been going on for ages about adding new bloggers? You know how we said we’d do it after the big transition to the new site design was complete? WE DID IT!!!

Image is a lot of pastel-hued fireworks exploding over a bay. Caption says, WE DID IT!

Fireworks photo by Booyah Kasha on Flickr. Werdz by moi.

And the network just got that much cooler. See who we’ve got (in alphabetical order because you can’t rank ’em by coolness):

Between a Veil and a Dark Place

Now I’m a queer, kinky, polyamorous heathen who ‘can’t just leave religion alone’. I’m vocal, feminist, and vocal about being feminist. I’ve had a very difficult life to date, growing up with a lot of violence and control (neither my family nor Hezbollah took kindly to the whole attempting-to-escape-and-have-my-own-life thing) and I think it’s all worth talking about extensively.

Consider the Tea Cozy

I’m Aoife (think Eva with an F, but only if you’re pronouncing Eva to rhyme with TREE-vah). If you’re looking for descriptors, I’m a queer Irish feminist with a social science background and a bucketload of opinions. This year I founded the Bi+ Ireland Network, and I ain’t kidding when I say it’s the thing that I’m proudest of. I’ll write about all of those things, but- being honest, since we’re friends here- I’ll mostly be thinking about roller derby. Sometimes you’ve just gotta strap on a pair of skates and hit some people, y’know?

Heinous Dealings:

After all, when it comes to promoting a community currently as small and as besieged as the ex-Muslim community, or viewpoints as oddly controversial as being in favor of social justice, every little bit of attention counts. I’m proud to join a blog network doing more than most others in ensuring representation.

So you should go read them instantly, and I hope you enjoy them immensely (as I do!), and above all, give them lots of ohais.

Image shows a chick hatching from an egg. Caption reads, Ohai!

Brand-New Blogger, Y’all

You may have noticed the list of blogs got one longer. We were lucky enough to snag Kaveh Mousavi, and his blog On the Margin of Error is absolutely fascinating. You know an atheist in Iran has got stories to tell. He’s got insights only a person living under a theocracy can have. Head on over, say howdy, and help me encourage him to post lots.

On the Margin of Error blog header.

The Doxxing of Isis: Selected Links – UPDATED

There are few worse sins in cyberspace than outing a pseudonymous blogger. It’s barely forgivable to do it to someone who was using their pseud to break the law. Doing it to one who did nothing worse than harshly criticize you is roughly equivalent to the Unforgivable Curse. Henry Gee, an editor at Nature, apparently saw a few posts and the occasional sideswipe on Twitter as terrible persecution. I hope to contact Henry and get evidence of this defamation, persecution, and bullying very soon, as I was unable to discover any in several days of Googling. Certainly, it must be severe in order to justify giving a woman’s meatspace name to the public, therefore opening her private life to all of the lovely death threats, rape threats, and endless harassment enjoyed by women everywhere on the intertoobz. Would a white man with power punch down at a woman of color without suffering a campaign of harassment that would put Rebecca Watson’s stalkers to shame?

I wish I could say I think not. But perhaps he’ll surprise me. I live in (cynical) hope.

Whilst I search for evidence of this terrible persecution that was so, so horrible he had a right – nay, a duty – to dox a mouthy woman uppity female critic, I thought I’d share some recent musings on the situation. If you know of ones I’ve missed, please do include them in the comments.

And Nature? After at least three spectacular fails when it comes to the way your hallowed pages and your editors treat women, I’d be seriously reconsidering what one must do in order not to behave as raging sexist assclowns. I will here simply point out that two of the three incidents infuriated women in science and their allies involved your esteemed Henry Gee, and leave it at that. Also, I see Henry’s Twitter page was somehow tragically lost. If you need its contents from the time of the incident in question, I have preserved them.

On with the linkage, then… [Read more…]

Summer Reading That Will Give You the Secrets to Conquering Missionaries

I can’t wait for the Mormon missionaries to show up at my door again. Usually, I don’t have the patience to deal with people trying to sell me religion – I’ve got kittehs to play with, rocks to pound, posts to write, food to savor… Who wants to spend a glorious summer afternoon arguing religion with two scrubbed (in mind and body) young people when you could be lounging on the patio with book, cat, and drink?


After two books and a website, I’m eagerly scanning the horizon for those poor innocent folks. I might even invest in two extra patio chairs so we can lounge outside with the Book of Mormon, the cat (granted neither are allergic), and drinks (non-alcoholic, of course. See – I can be accommodationist, too!).

“Dana!” I hear you cry in my vivid imagination, “what can possibly lead to such a dramatic change?!”

I shall tell you. What’s more, I shall arm you with fascinating, often funny, reading, and questions guaranteed to make missionaries sweat more than the weather warrants.

[Read more…]

Los Links: I Laughed, I Cried, They Became a Part of Me

Some of you will remember Los Links from back in the day when I could spend two days out of every week reading blogs, and then share the linky goodness with you. Life’s been too busy for a while for that, unfortunately. It should have been too busy tonight, but my brain said, “You know what? Fuck you. I’ve been thinking all day.” War at work, y’see: fighting to make things the best they can possibly be at an American megacorporation. It’s fun, and fulfilling, but taxing.

Thankfully, I had posts written (longhand) in advance, but my wrists said, “You know what? Fuck you. We’ve been typing most of the day.” So today ended with me lying about catching up on some freethought reading. If this continues tomorrow, I can bring you a roundup of recent geology posts. I suppose that won’t be so bad, now, will it? And then, on Wednesday, you will be guaranteed an original post of near-epic proportions, because we’re going to talk about why Mount St. Helens melted some bits but not all the bits on the cars. If we’re very fortunate, we’ll end up on Boing Boing again (thank you, Maggie Koerth-Baker!). I say we, because I wouldn’t have written up cars if it hadn’t been for you lot liking things like that, and as it turns out, you’re not the only ones. So, thank you, my darlings!

It’s not all happy fun times, alas. The thing with frequenting the freethought and skeptic blogs that I do is that Things That Are Not Happy get discussed, and if it weren’t for the bloggers and commenters restoring my hope for humanity, I’d have crawled off to a cave and become an official misanthrope by now. Between all of you, though, I am not willing to declare the vast majority of human kind irredeemable arseholes. Only a subset of it. Sigh.

There will be a humorous intermission, and loving comfort at the end. Stay with me. [Read more…]