A Welcome to New Readers and Paeans to the Old

Oh, my.  When one gets linked by PZ Myers, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Neil Gaiman in the course of a few days, traffic suddenly goes through the roof, and new readers show up.

Allow me to quote Rowan Atkinson: “My god, there are a lot of you.”

Let me just state this clearly and upfront: you are the reason writers write, and I’m incredibly grateful too see you all here, whether you’ve come for a single post or plan to stick around a while.  Without you, I’d have nothing to drive me onward through those lonely dark hours, no reason to strive for the right word in the right place at the right time.  I’d still write for only myself, but not half so much or half so well.  So, thank you.  I’d pour you a drink of your choice, only we’re in cyberspace, so I’m afraid you’ll have to pour one for yourself.  Hopefully, some of us will remedy that someday.

So, introductions would seem to be in order.  You’re very likely busy people without time to delve the archives.  A few facts, then:

I’m Dana Hunter, which isn’t the name on my drivers license but is the name I go by in all situations but legal transactions and at work, so I consider it my “real” name.  I started out using it because my birth first name got filched by one of my characters, who won’t give it back, and my last name is awesome but leads to horrible retail jokes.  And Dana Hunter is now more than a ‘nym, but me.  But if you really want to know my original name, I’ll tell it to you when we meet in the physical world, and you will probably laugh.

Those wanting the story behind the ‘nym, see here.

I have a homicidal cat.  If you stick around, you will be subjected to pictures of her.  Fair warning.

I’m not a professional geologist, but a passionate amateur with a lot of friends who are professional geologists.  I write about geology a lot.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and came from Arizona, which both have the kind of geology that leaves you awestruck by the magnitude of it.  But that’s not the only science that catches my fancy, so you’ll see bits on biology and chemistry and physics and whatever else grabbed me by the lapels and said very firmly about an inch from my face, “NOTICE ME.”  I research my posts as thoroughly as I can and try not to say inaccurate things, but if you catch me in an error, by all means say something.  I don’t like letting mistakes stand uncorrected.

I write SF.  Someday, I will even publish SF.  Those who want an advance peek at my fiction and non-fiction projects can shoot me an email and become a Wise Reader.  Yahoo knows me as dhunterauthor.  For those in the audience who like reading about the craft, I do up a Dojo right here on ETEV every Tuesday, wherein writing is discussed and the wisdom I’ve obtained from others and via my own experience is passed on.

I’m a Gnu Atheist.  That’s “New Atheist” to those without a sense of humor.  I am not fuzzy and accommodating to religion, but if you’re one of the faithful and your religion is tough enough to take it, we’ll all be fine.  This is just by way of fair warning (which the folks who arrived here via Pharyngula don’t need): I write about atheism and religion, and I do not do so moderately.  Oh, and I’m a liberal Democrat.  I started out as a potty-mouthed progressive political blogger and sometimes return to my roots.  If those two things don’t scare you away, then we’re a good match. ;-)

I read each and every comment on every post, but with two book projects, this blog, a full-time job that has nothing to do with either, an erratic but existent social life, a weird paranoia that acknowledging one person means I’ve just disrespected the others, time management skills that can only be described as teh suck, and the memory of a brain-damaged gnat, I don’t respond as often as I should.  I’ll try to do better, but I can make you no promises.  Just know that I do actually appreciate each and every comment.  Live for them, actually.

Right, I think that’ll do as an overview.  Now on to the really important matters: the readers and fellow bloggers who have been here for a long time.

If I tried to get specific, I’d miss some of you and feel horribly about it.  So I won’t try just now.  You know who you are, and you know I’m talking to you right now: all of you geobloggers, my long-time Twitter tweeps, my intrepid companions and my cherished commenters and friends.  All of you who have been there mixing it up in the comments threads and saying things on Twitter that make me tear up while punching the air, because to have done something that made you happy, to have written something you liked, is the ultimate.  You know how much I love my cat, but if some freakish circumstance forced me to choose between you and her, I’m afraid she’d have to go.

You’re everything I ever wanted when I began writing, all alone, oh so many years ago.  You are the wise and the wonderful people, so often smarter or kinder or more talented than me (or all three), who somehow yet find something of worth in the words I write.  You egg me on and lift me up and apply the judicious prod to the buttock when necessary.  You correct me when I’m wrong, and give me sound advice, and cheer and jeer and basically just provide me all the reason I’ll ever need to brave carpal tunnel and all the other hazards of the writer’s life.  You make me believe that this whole writing-for-a-living thing may just be possible.  And you show me wonders.  You give me intriguing new paths to explore.  You inspire me.  You make me do things I’ve never done but turn out to have been a fabulous idea.  A lot of you ends up in what I write, and a lot of what I write is for you.

Without your links and retweets and recommendations, this blog would be nowhere.  I cherish each and every one.  I’m always astonished and flattered and incredibly grateful when you deem something I’ve written as worthy of sharing.

And if my wildest dreams come true, and fame and fortune are achieved, I will never, ever forget you.  You’re all coming with me.

It can never be said enough: Thank you.  Thank all of you.

And now, introductions and paeans achieved, I shall get on with giving you all the very best I am capable of, because you damn well deserve it.

One More Night

Nightwish best expresses my sentiments tonight:

One more night to bear this nightmare.
What more do I have to say?


Ocean Soul – Nightwish

You know what nightmare I’m talking about.


Let no locked doors thwart George W. Bush as he gets the hell out of our White House. In fact, let’s make sure there’s doorkeepers standing by, just in case.


Thank you, President Obama, for ending the nightmare. Come on in.


You can laugh a lot
And bring out that smile

For now we’re hanging in
Even though we’re blessed with sin
You make my heart…
You make my tired heart sing


Tender Trip on Earth – Tristania

As ridiculous as it sounds, you do indeed make my tired heart sing. And judging from the evidence, I’m not the only one.

I Think I’m Running Out of Alcohol…

There’s an astounding number of new faces in this cantina. Hello and welcome! Whether you swung by from Pharyngula, Reddit, or Daily Kos, arrived by way of a blog that’s gotten wiped off of Sitemeter by the general stampede, or clicked in from a blogroll, pour yourself a drink and allow me to do my level best to keep you entertained. Good to see you!

Muchos gracias all for the visits, the comments, and the shout-outs. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying having you about the place.

Muchos gracias especial to those bloggers who linked here yesterday. Really unexpected, and definitely appreciated.

While you’re here, take some time to get to know my regulars. They’ve got astoundingly good blogs, and if you haven’t sampled them, you’re deprived. You can find their links in the blogroll or their names. As for knowing who they are, well – any comments on a post before today likely come from the brilliant, beautiful people who frequent this cantina.

I’ll trust my regulars to point themselves out in the comments here. I’d put together an actual list myself, but there’s this little Carnival of the Elitist Bastards coming up on Saturday, and this captain has to get her arse busy making sure the ship leaves port. Please stop back by on Saturday evening and enjoy the delicious elitist bastardry – we’ve got some truly amazing submissions for our second voyage.

Right. Let’s get on with it, and hope the alcohol doesn’t run out…

Salud!

Hello, You!

I knew something was up when Sitemeter went batshit insane. Dana, I said to meself, I think the Pharyngulites have arrived.

Checked referrals. Sure enough, it was you. Hello, you!

A Blog Around the Clock picked us up as well. Hello to you, too!

I’d like to turn the floor over to Rowan Atkinson for A Warm Welcome:

Your response has been overwhelming, and overwhelmingly encouraging. When the HMS Elitist Bastard sails once more, it seems we’ll be going forward with a fleet. I can’t wait to have you aboard! My swarthy crew and I will be honored to have you all as shipmates.

Thank you for supporting us in this endeavor. I’m sure you know by the entries, but each and every one of my crew members deserves all the recognition they can get. I’m stealing this opportunity to say, publically and as profoundly as I can, how much I appreciate them.

They made this happen. Without their enthusiasm, their effort, and their encouragement, there never would have been a Carnival of the Elitist Bastards. From graphics to random quote generators to excellent elitist entries, from plugging the Carnival to putting their backs into hoisting the sails, they’ve done an amazing amount of work. And they believed.

Even the atheists. After all, while we don’t believe in gods, we sure as hell believe in each other.

They believed in the purpose behind this Carnival: to take back the word “elite,” to glory in brainpower, to celebrate intellect and resist ignorance. And I do believe we’re going to be victorious, even if the battle is a long and bitter one.

I believe this because I believe in them.

The best thing about writing this blog isn’t the chance to pull the Smack-o-Matic off the wall and let myself go. That’s fun, don’t get me wrong. But it’s nothing compared to what’s ultimately happened because of it: it’s the people who come here, who comment, who help me create carnivals and have so much fun running with ideas, who make this so rewarding.

I’ve met some of the best people in the world doing this.

I know I’ll meet many more.

Hello, you. Mi casa es su casa. Come on in, pour yourself a drink, and join us when we set sail again next month.

Special thanks and a tip o’ the premium tequila (or drink of their choice!) to PZ Myers and Coturnix for their spectacular shout-outs!

Bienvenido a Mi Casa

For those of you who no hablo espanol, Welcome to my house!

Introductions are likely in order. I’m Dana Hunter. I’m an SF writer in Seattle. Don’t bother looking me up on Amazon just yet – there’s a reason I call myself a writer rather than an author: not published. We’re working on it.

This is my cat, Misha:

Do not pet the cat. She is a homicidal maniac.

Of course she looks too cute to be homicidal. That’s her modus operandi.

Don’t fall for it.

You’ll notice the place is still under construction. Bare bones, alas. But we have a full bar, so we should do all right. Pour yourself a drink and get comfy.

Right. Let’s get this party started.

Bit o’ a tour, to start. You’ve met the homicidal beastie. Down at the bottom there, you’ll note the Video Bar, fully stocked, of course. To your left, I’m slowly but surely building links to places I find fascinating, and playing about with various and sundry interesting bits for you to explore. You’ll notice that big red A right off, I’m sure. That stands for Atheist. It doesn’t stand for anti-religion, mind. But if you’re a morbidly pious sort, or a right-wing evangelical prostelytizing judgement-passing fuckwit, you’re probably not going to be very happy here.

Ah, yes, I should mention the language. There will be language here. Plenty of it. If you faint at the word “fuck,” you should probably move on. There was a time I tried to be more polite in public, but that was before the Bush Regime radicalized me. Now I’m true-blue, and I use the same color language.

You’ll have noticed by now I lean left. That’s not a lean, it’s a sprawl, caused by being shoved rudely from the middle by aforementioned regime. I reserve the right to inch back toward the middle if and when such an option becomes available, but for now, the left is where I stay, and that’s where you’ll hear my voice screaming from.

And there will be screaming. Feel free to join in.

You’ll notice from the links (sadly sparse right now, but check back later) that I love science, and I’ve become something of a political animal, and I thrive on snark and oddities. I hope you’ll enjoy those blogs as much as I do. There’s great stuff in there, a lot of great people who restore my faith in humanity, and I invite you to go strike up a conversation with them. We get outrageous at times, I admit. I don’t always agree with the views expressed. But that’s the beauty of the First Amendment: it allows for a variety of voices, a cacophany of choices, and a plenty of challenges to entrenched ways of thinking.

Which brings me to another point: comments. Time was, I’d have requested a civil discourse, discouraged flame wars, and pleaded for you to avoid name-calling. No more. I do moderate comments, but there are very few things that will get your comment banned. Let’s go over those, shall we?

  1. Threats.
  2. Hate speech. Yes, I know it’s a limit on the First Amendment, but it’s mi casa, and I won’t tolerate racial slurs, ethnic attacks, and other such nonsense.
  3. Sexual harassment.
  4. Stuff that should be taken outside. Which means that if you want to talk about some personal quibble, you email it. It doesn’t belong in comments. An example of this would be, “Dana, you left your underwear sitting on my kitchen counter.” Dirty laundry doesn’t belong in the comments section, are we agreed?

And that’s about it. If other things become problems, we’ll revisit this, but I think we’re all adults here. We can argue and hurl insults and laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the world without crossing the line into the grotesque.

If someone expresses a view you don’t like, refute it. I don’t care how much dirty language you use and how much name-calling you do, but please, address the issue rather than attacking that person’s gender or background or what they eat for breakfast. Wikipedia defines ad hominem for us:

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.

And this is what I’m talking about. Let’s try to keep ad hominem to a minimum here. Enough said. Go forth and comment prolifically and with abandon.

I know, I know. Right now you’re asking yourself: Dana, what the hell am I supposed to comment about? You haven’t written anything.

Muy verdad, mis amigos. However, there’ll be plenty to come: science and pseudoscience, atheism and religion, writing and reading, and catblogging, for a start. There’s a poll, there, just to your left, asking – nay, begging – your opinion. There’s a comment section just waiting for you to put your own two cents in. Use it. Let’s talk. I enjoy a good talk about Life, the Universe, and Everything.

You see that blogroll, over there? You, too, could be listed! Send me the link. Don’t have a blog? Create one. Don’t blog enough to create one but came up with a fascinating diatribe you just know we’ll all love? Email it. If it tickles my fancy, you’ll end up a guest blogger, with all the fame and – well, with a little more recognition than you had this morning, anyway. And maybe someday, my snark will count for something and guarantee you a wider audience. Stranger things have happened. Just look at 2004.

While mi casa’s under construction, I invite you to amble on over to my alternate sites: MySpace and danahunter.net. If you’re truly bored, you can even read my previous rantings along with more recent outpourings and, gods help you, my old short stories which are lurking around. Just remember that yes, the views I professed then are not necessarily the ones I hold now. People get older, they get jaded, they get new obsessions, and their minds change. Don’t hold the me of two years ago against the me of now. I’m not a politician: I don’t have to be consistent, right?

Right.

Not that I’ve changed that much, mind. Just gotten a lot less patient with woo, embraced a more skeptical outlook, and various other minor course corrections. Change is good. Especially when it’s larger coins.

Anyway. The rambling must cease. Again, welcome, and enjoy your stay!