I Have Gone Very Slightly Mad…

It’s that madness that happens when you planned to do something simple, but kept enlarging upon the idea, and then expanding upon those enlargements, and embroidering the details, and so on. A sort of positive feedback loop takes effect, and your life becomes dominated by something that started out very simply indeed.

I really only meant to make one simple cloak. That’s it. When I told my coworker I’d help him dress up as Captain TMI for Halloween, I meant I’d make him a cloak and design a logo. I didn’t mean to make the mask and the boots and a shield and all the accessories. And I didn’t mean to dress up with him. I have to sew this shit by hand, forfuckssake. But here we are, it’s the weekend, I’ve spent the entire weekend working on these costumes (with a brief aside for cooking and cleaning the kitchen), when what I’d meant to do was spend the weekend doing research.

I haven’t even welcomed Avicenna and NonStampCollector to FreethoughtBlogs. Although I have, now, watched nearly every video NonStampCollector ever put out. Whilst my hands and eyes are busy with stitching and painting, my ears have been busy with various videos on science, atheism and reason. Without those, I think I might have gone completely mental.

Those of you with sewing machines, please tell them how much they are loved. All of you pause for a moment to remember the inventors of the sewing machine with fondness. I’m amazed people ever wore more than a piece of cloth wrapped round their sensitive bits: this hand-sewing stuff takes forever.

And now I’m back to it. Just popping in to say why some things are going to be quite late, and why it’s a damned good thing I had some substantial posts pre-written. I just hope my coworker lets me put photos of him up here. This costume, my friends, is bloody epic.

New at Rosetta Stones: Questions About Comments

I’m wanting to know what readers think about commenting at Rosetta Stones. There’s even a survey! Whee! You needed to waste a few minutes, right? Go have fun and give me an earful.

Commenting here appears to have become more difficult for some folk, so if you want to vent your woes in the survey, there’s a bit at the end for additional comments. You can let ‘er rip there, but please be sure to mention you’re talking about ETEV when you do. I’ll pass along your choice words to our webmaster.

The S Has Hit the F

So, you know that feeling you get when your rage button has been pressed so hard for so long that you hit that nice plateau where you’re furious, but happy? It’s that one you get to because you’ve been pushed beyond hoping the finger will stop jabbing. It’s the place you arrive at when you realize you have nothing to lose, and you have donned your warpaint, chosen your warpath, and embarked upon it with your best warhorse.

I am there. It took five years and quitting smoking, but I’m so there.

That’s why I haven’t been around the past couple of days: my company, after five years of spectacular fuckups, decided no cool-down period was needed between sessions with the rage button. And I realized: there are many jobs I’m qualified for open right now. Sure, they don’t have cushy union benefits, and I’ll lose that scrumptious extra week of vacation, and I’ll have to move, and I won’t be close enough to come home to the elderly cat on lunch breaks. But still, jobs. Other jobs. Elsewhere. With good pay. And if I get fired for rocking the boat, even if I can’t land another job immediately, I have been with the company so long they have no choice but to pay unemployment. Tee-hee. Freedom! Freedom to yell repeatedly and loudly at people rather high up, freedom to stand on principle, freedom to tell them to shape up or watch it come down to a question of will I find a job I like elsewhere before they find a bullshit excuse to dismiss me? All the while, being cheered on by those who have too much to lose to fight. And I’m staying not just for the cushy union benefits etc., but to fight that last good battle for those who can’t.

This, mind, is the kind of freedom Republicans don’t want peons to have, but I’m in a Blue state working a union job, so they’re out of luck.

And if the higher-ups listen, it will be good for the company anyway. Happy employees, happy customers, etc. They want that. They keep telling us that’s exactly what they want. It just seems that the jab-employee-rage-buttons reflex is so strong it overrides their stated desire to improve. And that’s fine. If they can’t get past that, I can certainly get past them.

Things may become chaotic for a bit, but I have my battle plans, and they include divesting myself of extraneous responsibilities at the workplace in order to concentrate on what should have been most important all along: you and my cat. With winter on its way and duties cut down to only those included in my job title, I should be able to devote plenty of attention to you both.

The last adventures of the summer season will soon be over: we have my boys tomorrow, and then maybe a small local bit o’ fun Sunday if the weather entices, and that October trip to wherever-it’s-best with Lockwood, then done. And do I ever have a collection of things to present to you this winter. Oh, my darlings, you don’t think I run around outside merely for fun, do you? Okay, well, admittedly, bringing you treasures is fun, but it’s also my job.

So look forward to that. And do be sure to lay in a supply of popcorn. You’ll be needing it.

A Further Update

Oh, my fuck, you guys, I just finished our dragonfly porn, and it is a masterpiece. Now all that’s left is to hope the musician checks his email and grants his permission to use his music for this purpose, as I’ve bloody well gone and lost his phone number. Sigh.

If he withholds permission, which I hope isn’t likely, I’ll need someone musically inclined to whip us up a bow-chica-wow soundtrack. Don’t worry. You retain all rights to your music, but you don’t have to reveal your real name if terminal embarrassment prevents you from using other than a pseudonym. I can help you think of a suitable ‘nym if you haven’t already done that “what’s your porn name?” game with your friends.

Either way, this will be brilliant, one of the most entertaining things we’ve ever done here at ETEV.

I can’t bloody wait!


Some of you have already noticed, but FreethoughtBlogs has been forced to put countermeasures in effect against various and sundry trolls who thought it the height of funny to pretend to be regulars saying disgusting things. If this has an adverse effect on your ability to comment, please let me know at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.

(Trolls need not let me know, because they’ll end up spammed whilst I laugh and laugh at their pathetic selves. Sad, really, that some people are such ineffectual losers they are reduced to lurking around blogs hoping their misbehavior earns them a cookie from other misbehaving dumbfucks. If I myself had such mad playground taunt skillz and the ability to lie with abandon, I wouldn’t be wasting them at FtB, but would be selling them to Fox News or the local Republican party for cash money. But I suppose that’s just because I don’t have the soul of a Troll Artist.)

Anyway. Onward.

A request has been made for the dragonfly porn to be displayed forthwith. But you cannot rush these things. Not when you have just the right soundtrack, and needs must only combine same with photos just so in order to create a masterpiece. Believe me when I say it will be worth the wait.

Also, interest has been expressed in the status of my nicotine habit. It has now, officially, been a month, and I am still smoke-free. Yes, I still want a cigarette at times. Yes, some people in my life have noticed my lack of patience with stupidity. But I think they’re putting irritations down to quitting that don’t belong there – I’ve always been like that, it’s just that they’re noticing for the first time because I no longer smell of stale tobacco smoke.

What I have wanted more of is solitude, and food, and Doctor Who, all of which I provided myself with in abundance over the weekend. Currently, I’m gorging myself on P.G. Wodehouse novels. Yes, while I’m supposed to be blogging. Yes, while my email lies horribly neglected, even so. It’s a reaction to work, which has decided they desperately need a weekly newsletter. Being run off my feet writing, I am. Not to mention fighting with recalcitrant text boxes in Word. Don’t talk to me about Word. Especially don’t talk to me about the fact that Word is, presently, the only publishing program I can weasel out of my employers. Do you understand now my anomie, my anguish, my desire to bury myself deep in British literature and television?

Don’t worry, I’ve also written some blog posts. They only need to be typed and pictures appended to make them complete for your viewing pleasure. But first, Wodehouse. And some more Doctor Who.

Don’t rush me, my subconscious is busy working on dragonfly porn.

A+, Plus Drool-Worthy Geology, AW #49 Info, and Other Bits

Blowing the dust off ye olde computer to say “Allo, allo, I’m still alive!” Taking a break, still, although I’m dipping my toes back in to a desultory bit o’ work. Like, this post.

First off, I just want to throw my support to Jen McCreight’s brilliant Atheism + idea. When my brain is back from its temporary vacation, I’ll have something more to say than “Woo! Count me in!” But this, plus the overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception, reminded me once again why I’m so damned proud to be a part of FreethoughtBlogs, and why I won’t ever give up on the atheist movement. People like Jen see problems that almost seem intractable, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.

Judging from some comments I’m seeing, at least a few folks are going to say, “Huh huh humanism!” with a greater or lesser degree of snark. So allow me to provide some links to read before too many people start protesting that A+ is just a snotty way of saying secular humanist. I have helpfully put the links most focused on the humanism vs atheism+ discussion in bold, which means you should read them carefully before launching into a tirade.

How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism


Why Atheism+ and not Humanism?

Atheism+: It’s time to walk the walk

A new atheism

Standing on Our Own

A new dawn

The difference between “atheism+” and humanism

Atheism Plus: The New Wave of Atheism

Is “Atheism Plus” Just Secular Humanism?

Atheism, Plussed And Nonplussed

The New Atheism +

I hereby join my fellow atheists +. This is it. This is the right spot for me. Although I’m a rebel and just had to change up one of the logos to suit myself, because I don’t like red and blue juxtaposed. Deeep riiifts!

A+ logo by by One Thousand Needles, with one minor modification by moi.

I like this. I feel very good about this. And I hope Surly Amy gets to work on the A+ Surly-Ramics ASAP. Want.

Right. Position staked, on to other matters. I’m in week 3 of nicotine withdrawal, for those interested and wondering how that’s going. Answer: nawt too gooood. I think this is the week where The Addiction Strikes Back, because it’s being a bastard. I still, however, am not smoking, although at the moment, I’m not happy about it. I feel like most of my personality has been cored out. That’s the trouble when a not-insignificant part of your identity was tied up in a particular habit. I will adjust, and I am definitely enjoying the fringe benefit of not coughing all the damned time, but it will take a while longer before the physical addiction subsides and I have managed to reinvent myself. In the meantime, I’m staying mostly offline and away from the usual routine. I’ve chosen to spend the majority of my time reading classic freethought and atheist works, in between bouts of cooking and eating all the food in the universe, and sleeping. Lotsa sleeping. Soooo much sleeping. It’s as if a twenty-year sleep debt has tracked me down and demanded paying. Chantix combined with ordinary pre-Aunty Flow fatigue, I’m relatively certain. The cat’s mostly enjoying my immobility, except when she becomes bored by it and amuses herself by yowling in my ear.

The dreams continue apace. Some have been rather dramatic, some have been prosaic (I hate the dreams about work. Chantix makes each dream more vivid, so I feel like they should be paying me for this shit). Some have been wonderful sci-fi extravaganzas I hate waking up from, because I want to know what happens next – and for some reason, I always wake up on a cliffhanger. And then there was the wonderful one where I was talking to a theist, one of the sorta mushy-gushy mystical ones, who dramatically announced that religion is the moon and stars, then asked me what atheism is. I thought about it for a moment. Then I looked up at the blue infinity above me, held my hands up to compass it, and said, “Atheism is the sky.” And I believe he got my meaning: a bright, clear place where a person can breathe and think and is not boxed in by old myths.

I quite liked that dream.

Food-wise, this has been an adventure. One side-effect of quitting I didn’t expect was a sudden interest in vegetables. Seriously. I’m craving things I don’t ordinarily crave: squash, spinach, corn and the like. I’m more of a meat-and-taters person, so this is rather odd. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, and since quitting smoking, I’ve wanted sweet stuff even less. To the point, mind you, where I even like water. In moderation, of course. Let’s don’t get too crazy. Water’s still mostly for washing in, but I’m drinking more than before. Weird.

And yes, I’ve put on weight. Not much, but some. There are a few bones I can only feel if I prod for them now. Judging from my father, I’ll end up looking malnourished, though: pot belly with chicken arms and legs. That’s just how our side of the family rolls.

Now, I promised you some eye-popping geology. Courtesy of Hexidecima, here ’tis, and I’m shamelessly stealing a teaser photo so that you’ll go read the post and look at the others and begin to drool with soft noises of ecstasy, as I did.

Looking westbound. US 322. Image courtesy Club Schadenfreude.


And this brings me to a point: those of you who write geology posts should always be bold and pimp them in the comments, even if unrelated to the current discussion, because I like to drool.

Also, if anyone wants me to start open threads to encourage jibber-jabber and such sharing between cantina regulars, I’m happy to. Say the word, and it will be so.

A quick note on Accretionary Wedge #49: some of you have never encountered the Wedge before. It’s basically geobloggers getting together monthly to post around a common theme, chosen by the host of the month. The host announces the theme, those of us inspired by it write a post about it, plunk the link into the host’s comments, and then, ideally, the host gathers all links together into a single post for all to enjoy. Does that mean you have to have a blog to participate? No. If you haven’t got a blog, but want to write up a little something on otherworldly geology, I will be happy to put you up as a guest post right here. Just send the draft to me at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com. Make sure you have the rights to any pictures you include, because this is a commercial blog, and copyright rules are important.

And, finally, it’s time for the arachnophobes to avert their eyes, because Jean Gogolin sent me this link. Yes, that’s a new spider. Yes, it dwells in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, it has wicked claws. And yes, I’m going to be looking for one! I’m hoping to catch it using its claws on some poor unsuspecting prey, so I can make a new discovery for science. Hopefully, I won’t be announcing it eats humans….

That’s about it. I’ll probably be going dark again, have to get some research done and fight my poor addicted brain a bit more. Thank you all for your support and understanding. I’ll be coming back refreshed soon, and then I will present you some geology that will make your eyes pop.

Especially if Lockwood and I end up following Trebuchet’s footsteps into the John Day Fossil Beds this fall… Yum!

Stuff and Nonsense

I hate doing this, but circumstances insist: I shall be going to a somewhat light to virtually non-existent posting schedule over the next week or so. I’m getting me arse kicked by research, my darlings. On top of this, I’m still adjusting to a lack of nicotine, which seems to involve endless eating, sudden bouts of inertia and exhaustion, and other such woes. When I attempt to concentrate, my brain wails, “But I haven’t had a smoke in almost two weeks!!” and I have to stuff it with non-taxing stuff to get it to stop sniveling. My memory is shot, my concentration ditto. The weather is, by Seattle standards, blazing hot. All signs point to dialing back for a bit.

So I’ve been avoiding the computer. Which, alas, means neglecting you. But that won’t last forever! Soon, you’ll get some posts I’ve written but haven’t yet typed up, some of which will contain substance.  And you’ll get a few things like this:

Moi at Meadowdale Park, pausing at the exit of the pedestrian underpass to gawk at the creek flowing out from underneath the boardwalk. Image courtesy Cujo359.

Random outtakes. Yes, indeedy. And your UFD, and probably Mystery Flora, and perhaps a reader-submitted geomystery, if I’ve got one I don’t have to attach many words to.

Anyway. Outtakes. Meadowdale. Yes, my intrepid companion and I decided to go there on Sunday because hey, we’ve never been! And it turns out it’s a long bloody walk to the beach, and my lungs are readjusting to this oxygen idea, and it was exhausting. But the view of the Olympics was nice, and the itty-bitty estuary was pretty, and there were trains, and I saw UFDs.

Moi stalking UFDs. Don’t worry, I didn’t upset them any more than the kids chasing them with sticks did. Image courtesy Cujo359.

You notice I’m paying bugger-all attention to the train, but never fear – I shot a video of its arrival, and if a few of you clamor for a train video, thee shall have it.*

This is one of the few times you’ll ever see me in flip-flops. Enjoy.

Moi getting ready to wash sand off my feet in this very convenient creek-under-a-boardwalk. Image courtesy Cujo359.

I’ll be back to more intensive posting soon. Never fear! We have enough delicious geology to keep us busy for the next few years – I just need to get it studied and organized for you.


*I’m using Terry Pratchett’s version of thee/thou etc., so don’t bother to correct it. I can also speak Elizabethan English when talking Shakespeare. I just find this more charming.

Items of Interest

Some quick updates and interesting items before I get to some epic post-writing:

  • Via Skepchick: a tale of cyber-woe, and some good security tips. I’ve spent a few moments tonight hardening myself as a target – do yourself the same favor. Also, do not rely on companies’ policies for over-the-phone account management to keep you safe. Social engineering is alive and well.
  • At Skepchick: a very nice answer to people you suspect are JAQing off, or engaging in a little hyperskepticism. Not that they’ll listen, but if they don’t, then you know you’re dealing with a doofus and/or douchebag and can respond accordingly.
  • Stephanie Zvan makes me blush quite a lot. Also, she has a post up that connoisseurs of fine fundie fuckery will wish to see if you haven’t already – learn why fundies hates teh maffs!
  • Craig daGeek would like some input on a grad-school funding idea: “Okay. So here is a thought. I got knocked out of my masters degree by being financially dependent on a homophobic and bigoted professor last year. I am thinking I want to return to grad school, but I am ambivalent about accepting funding and being trapped by the whims of unethical profs. I was thinking of giving Indiegogo a try to self-fund at least partially my next go around. I was going to tell my story of harassment, bullying, discrimination, and unethical behavior I experienced as my selling point. That way I have more say and can keep the ability to fight back hard and fast in my hands alone. I was totally brutalized last year and wish not to go through that again. I need feedback from earth science folks in particular.” You can leave comments here if you don’t have a G+ account – I’ll ensure he gets them. Also, if you know of good resources for math practice for the GRE online or off, please let us know!
  • And on the quitting front: the deed ’tis done, absent any backsliding. I had my last smoke on Saturday night. Despite work doing its utmost to make me return screaming to the loving arms of nicotine, and my bronchial tubes informing me they believe the nice coating of tar was a protective against asthma, I’ve not had one since. I reserve the right to the occasional fumble in these early weeks, but mostly because that opt-out has kept me from opting back in. I am now going to go stand on the porch for three minutes sucking a sour straw candy in lieu of a smokie, because I bloody miss those breaks on the porch, and it just ain’t the same without a reason to be out there. We’ll see if that does the trick. The cat will be thrilled – she was getting pissed about this never going outside with Mommy at night anymore. (Also, yes, I have gained weight, for those who might be curious.)
  • Finally: I’m about to begin an epic writing session for Rosetta Stones. You know what’s coming. Grab tissues and possibly something to bite down on, and stand by for Volcano Day.

Off to the Blast Zone

My intrepid companion and I are off to Mount St. Helens for the weekend. We’ve got a full dance card: quite a bit of hiking on Saturday, and taking Suzanne for her first look at the mountain on Sunday.

View of blast zone from Johnston Ridge, Mount St. Helens, WA. September 2011.

This means I’ll have limited access to the intertoobz, and first-time commenters will be stuck in moderation until I can set you loose. Sorry! If it’s any consolation, at least you’ll have lots of delicious photos of one of the most geologically fascinating places in the continental US soon.

I’ve got posts pre-loaded, so the blog will chug right along. Wish me luck getting some great St. Helens UFDs. At least there aren’t so many trees for the little buggers to hide in…