What Can We Do in the Face of Such Hate?

We can mourn for the three cities that were attacked: Beirut, Baghdad, and Paris.

Image is a black background with Beirut, Iraq, Paris, and Syria printed in white block letters. The i in each name has been replaced by a lit white taper candle.

Image via Eva Pagiatakis on Facebook.

We can extend our empathy and aid to the survivors of these attacks, and to those refugees fleeing the terrorist violence Daesh has caused in Syria and other parts of the Middle East. [Read more…]

Lookit the Beauty You Got Me! You Are All So AWESOME!

Oh, my darlings, we are back in business! Thanks to you, I was able to get a gorgeous new HP Pavillion last night. Mind you, I only intended to price a few machines and do some further research, but Office Depot had a superfast, superpowerful laptop on a smokin’ hot sale ending yesterday, so here we are today!

Image shows a silver HP laptop still in its protective plastic bag.

Our new baby!

[Read more…]

My Only Means of Earning Income Just Died – Please Help If You Can

****UPDATE**** The replacement machine is fully funded! I’ll never be able to thank you all enough, so I’d better go shopping for the replacement and get to writing my ass off for you all to show my appreciation. You are all so awesome! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

I could not ask for better people in my life. Thank you, my darlings!


My darlings, I hate to ask for help, but I need it.

I’ve been making do with this underpowered, constantly-freezing Acer computer for a while now. Today, it just up and died. I tried to restart it after the cursor froze for the billionth time, and it said “preparing automatic repair” for half an hour, and is now stuck on a black screen. I can’t follow the advice to reinstall the operating system, as it is a machine with no CD ROM and therefore no recovery disk. I have no access to an alternate PC, and can’t repair it on my own.

I have no money to deal with this and no way to make money without it. I can’t write well on a tablet and certainly can’t finish and publish books on it. Applying for jobs will be difficult, if not nearly impossible, without a working computer. I have no idea what I’m going to do if this thing doesn’t manage to fix itself, and it’s not looking like it will.

So if you can help fund a repair or replacement, please use my Paypal account to donate. Even small amounts will help.


Thank you so much for any help you can give!

Image is a tabby kitten with blue eyes, sitting up with its paws clasped under its chin. Caption says, "Pretty please?"

Help Me Track Down this Book!

This is going to drive me mad… there was a book I read as a kid that was about a Navajo boy who was ripped away from his family and culture and sent to a residential school. I’d swear they called him Leo, but of course I could be wrong. I remember them trying to basically turn him white, and one of the major battles was making him wear underwear with his jeans. There were a lot of other struggles and confusion as they tried to remove the Indian parts of himself and he tried to hold on to his identity. I think it was set in either Arizona or New Mexico. There were illustrations, and I know it wasn’t a long book, but I don’t remember if it was a picture book or not. Anybody remember it?

Sneak Peeks from Frenchman Coulee

Waterfall, petrified wood, bighorn sheep, and stunning sunset, oh my! S’s friend R is visiting, and we took advantage of a nice weather break to head over to Frenchman Coulee. Twas glorious! I’m too exhausted to do much of anything but drool over some photos, but I think you’ll very much enjoy drooling with me.

Image shows the peak of Mount Stuart, which is a fan-shaped, rugged mountain. It has a coating of bright white new snow.

Mount Stuart showing off a beautiful new coat of snow.

As we drove through the Cascades, we saw the peaks dusted with snow so new it was still clinging to tree branches. So lovely! [Read more…]

Paranormal Experiences? Yeah, I’ve Had ‘Em. Still A Skeptic

One thing about being in this house: I get to encounter a variety of people. Not that my life is an echo chamber – I certainly run into plenty of people with opinions different from mine online, but in real life, I can’t just groan and click away when my woo-quotient for the day has been met. This leads to me having to explain things. Or flee back to my fortress of solitude when a proper conversation can’t be had. There’s always that option. S is pretty good at warning guests that I’m a hermit, so I don’t have to hurt any feelings by running away.

I’m not sure if he warns them that I’m a skeptic and atheist, but they surely do find out when they make the mistake of asking me for my opinion on certain subjects.

Most of them are quite able to accept the fact that I think their nonsense is nonsense. I’m direct, but I try not to be mean about it. If they’re happy and not harming themselves, they’re welcome to their woo, just so long as they don’t try to convert me. Most of them either drop the subject, or we kind of talk past each other a bit before moving on to other things.

What amuses me, though, is how many of them are surprised by my history. They assume I’ve always been a skeptical atheist. When I tell them I used to be a Christian, they’re shocked. When I share the fact I was in to UFOs and all sorts of paranormal bollocks, they’re amazed. I don’t think it ever occurs to them how much people can change.

Many of them say, “Well, I’ve had experiences, and that’s why I believe in x.”

They’re absolutely astounded when I say, “Oh, I’ve had those experiences, too.”

I mean, honestly, people, why else did you think I’ve been a member of a doomsday cult? [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part Two!


God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)


First half of Chapter 15 is here.


Having gotten the furniture out of the way, God starts in on curtains. He wants ten of ’em, done up in the finest linen with the most costly blue, purple, and scarlet dyes – remember, kids, those colors were hella expensive to achieve back then. He wants each curtain to have cherubim embroidered on it. And he doesn’t want a few simple drapes, no. He’s asking for enormous, heavy panels that are 28 cubits (about 42 feet) long and 4 cubits (about 6 feet) wide. Then the curtains must be joined in two sets of 5, and 50 blue loops put on the edge of each outer curtain; God’s really particular about that. Then you’ve gotta have 50 solid-gold clasps to put through the loops. (Ex. 26:1-6)

If you want to get an idea of how fun this stuff was to shlep around the desert, go to a fabric store, find the biggest bolt of upholstery fabric you can, and carry it around the store for eight hours. Then, as you lay dying, ponder the fact that you had the benefit of air conditioning, and the Sinai did not.

And that’s not all! God also wants 11 goat-hair curtains, 30×4 cubits (45×6 feet), with 100 loops and 50 brass clasps, for an outer covering for this tabernacle of his. And then, God wants another covering of fine red rams’ skins, and yet another cover of finest leather, which the King James people apparently thought came from badgers. In addition, of course, this tabernacle tent required a frame, so God asks for one made of shittim wood, with silver sockets. I’m shocked he finally remembered he asked for offerings of silver as well as gold: I thought he’d never use it. But of course, God wants the frames, bars, and rings to be overlaid with and made from solid gold. (Ex. 26:7-30)

Not satisfied with the curtains he’s already got, God requests another set. His garish color preferences once again assert themselves, as he wants this inner “vail” to be blue, purple, and scarlet linen – with cherubim, of course. And, obviously, he wants its frame to be made from gold-covered shittim, with solid gold fasteners and silver sockets. And he wants a screen made from the same colors, five gold-slathered shittim pillars, and of course solid gold hooks, but this time, he’ll accept brass sockets. Everything – furniture and hangings – should be arranged just so, including specific cardinal directions for each bit of furniture. God apparently likes a bit of the old feng shui for his desert digs. (Ex. 26:31-37)

Having minutely detailed the tabernacle and its furniture, God goes on to specify what kind of barbecue grill he wants built. It must be square, made of shittim, with horns, and everything covered with brass. He tells Moses he wants all sorts of fancy barbecue tools, including ash pans and meat forks, which are all crucial to ensuring properly burnt offerings and a tidy clean-up afterward. He wants a brass net, and of course the whole thing has to be portable, so the nomads will have to schlep this 7.5′ x 7.5′ x 4.5′ hunk of wood and metal around on poles. Happily, God decrees it can be hollow. That must’ve been a relief. (Ex. 27:1-8)

God’s curtain obsession returns in full force. He asks for the whole area to be enveloped in curtains 7.5 feet tall and 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, with a 22.5 x 7.5 foot high entrance, and a 30 foot screen. The curtains he wants done in fine linen, but plain: it’s the screen he wants embroidered in his three favorite colors. No wonder the Israelites were in the desert so long: do you have any idea how much time it takes to hand-embroider that much fabric? And carrying it had to be an unbelievable pain in the arse: just the outer cloth walls and screen come to 525 feet of fabric! Not to mention all the brass pillars with their silver bands and hooks. God also wants all the pegs for hanging utensils to be brass. That’s pretty brassy. (Ex. 27:9-19)

God then advises that everyone should tithe pure beaten olive oil to keep the enormous lamp burning. He wants the lamp placed just outside the vail, and tended from evening to morning by Aaron and his sons, forever. (Ex. 27:20-21)

It’s about at this point that one wonders why Moses didn’t discreetly clear his throat somewhere in all that soul-crushing detail and say, “I’d just like to remind the LORD that we, not you, are going to be carrying all this shi- stuff, around a desert. And, not only does it weigh a ton, it’s going to take at least half the day to strike, and another half to erect.”

But then, he probably didn’t want to see the LORD’s eye twinkle sadistically as he answered, “Exactly. Mwah-ha-ha!”

The LORD will be discussing proper priestly attire and issuing death threats next. I’m shocked he went such a long stretch without!


Image is the cover for Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus. The painting is Charles Sprague Pearce's Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt, showing an Egyptian man and woman weeping over the coffin of their infant.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Coming Soon!

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. I: Genesis is now available at Amazon! Worldwide, even! Pick up your copy today.

Hi again! It’s Karen! And I’m thinking about teachers…

Hi all, it’s Karen, back after a long hiatus. I’m up to my ears in projects, and haven’t had time to even think about posting in ages; sorry!

Dana saw a Facebook post of mine, and suggested it would be a suitable blog post. Since Dana can be very persuasive, I will share the gist of it with you all. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part One!


God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)



The next time someone who considers Exodus to be holy writ snarks at me about gay guys being into interior decorating, I shall have to request they turn to chapters 25 thru 27 in their Holy Bible. God has really put some serious thought into how he wants his living space set up and decorated. I mean, it’s verging on the pathological. It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect the creator of the universe to get hung up on. You’d expect him to DIY if he’s that bloody picky. And even if he chooses to delegate, you’d hope he’d hire an established firm, rather than a ragtag band of freed slaves lost in the desert. But no. He’s got some really detailed requirements, and he expects the Israelites to fulfill them.

He starts by demanding people bring him stuff. See, the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe doesn’t know if you really really truly love him enough unless you give him lots of expensive gifts. But, y’know, only if you really want to. Not like he’d withhold his favor from you if you didn’t, or anything like that.

Oh, wait. Yes he would.

Anyway, God wants stuff for the tabernacle he’s been dreaming of. Sure, he could create it himself. Don’t be ridiculous! Of course he could! He’s absolutely not imaginary at all, and he totally did make the earth, heavens, and everything else in existence in six days. This tabernacle project would take him maybe a few minutes in the morning, tops. But then it wouldn’t be special. (Ex. 25:1-2)

So he tells Moses to ask the people for their (completely voluntary!) offerings of:

  • Gold, silver, and brass.*
  • Blue, purple, and scarlet yarns, and fine linen.
  • Goats’ hair.
  • Tanned rams’ skins (dyed red) and badgers’ skins
  • Shittim wood.
  • Lamp oil, spices for said lamp oil, and sweet incense.
  • Onyx and gemstones for the priest’s fancy breastplate and the ephod. (Ex. 25:3-7)

Next, God says what they should do with all these (completely voluntary!) expensive offerings: the all-powerful creator of the universe needs a bunch of nomads to make him a very heavy large box to live in, plus a bunch of ornate furniture, all of which they’re going to have to pack up and carry all over the desert. (Ex. 25:8)

God’s obviously put a lot of thought into his dream mobile home. He wants it to be built from fancy wood, and plastered with gold inside and out. Also, he wants a gold cover on it. He wants the hardware, like the rings for the carrying poles, to be made of gold, too, which is shiny but hardly practical. The carrying poles must also be gilded, because why be practical when you can be ostentatious? And, just to give you an idea of how micro-managey God is, he makes it clear that the poles are never to be removed from the rings. Why? Because God says so, that’s why. (Ex. 25:9-17)

After giving minute instructions about the beaten-gold cherubim he wants places on the Ark, as if it wasn’t going to be hard enough to carry around already, God then tells Moses he wants a table. Not like a Shaker table or a modern, simple Swedish design or anything nice like that. No, he wants a baroque dining table made of some of the most expensive wood available, acquired from a tree covered in thorns. Then he wants it slathered in gold. And he wants solid gold plates, cups, and bowls for it. Apparently, it’s supposed to always be set, because God wants the shewbread (bread of the Presence) to always be on the table. This will make carrying it around with its gilded poles tricky. (Ex. 25:18-30)

In addition to all that other opulent stuff, God wants a pure gold lamp stand. He’s really put a lot of thought into this thing. He insists it be made of one piece of hammered gold, and it’s got to have six branches with eighteen almond-blossom shaped cups, plus four more cups for the center stem, and he wants an almond bud underneath each pair of branches where they meet the stand. There has to be seven lamps made for this thing, plus solid gold lamp trays and snuffers. The whole shebang is supposed to weigh around 75-110 pounds. Imagine having to carry a 110lb lamp stand around the desert for 40 years. (Ex. 25:30-40)

All the Israelites must have “borrowed” a heck of a lot of jewelry from their Egyptian neighbors before running off, is all I’m saying.

To be continued…

Image is the cover for Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus. The painting is Charles Sprague Pearce's Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt, showing an Egyptian man and woman weeping over the coffin of their infant.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Coming Soon!

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. I: Genesis is now available at Amazon! Worldwide, even! Pick up your copy today.



*Bronze according to the New Revised Standard Version. But I’m pretty sure God wouldn’t go with anything quite so elegant.

Fine leather. Hopefully, God didn’t mean actual badgers, as there weren’t any in Egypt or the Sinai.

Acacia. But feel free to shout “Shittim!” in church. It’s biblical!

Is the West Coast Toast? Let’s Talk Cascadia!

I can stare into the mouth of Mount St. Helens without flinching, begging her to erupt. I can hike up river valleys draining Mount Rainier, and just make a mental note to scramble uphill if it sounds like a mudslide’s coming. I’ve tramped around Mount Baker without once worrying about the fact it’s active. Volcanoes don’t scare me a bit. Okay, I lie, they scare me a wee bit, just enough that I have a healthy respect for their power and refuse to buy property in their hazard zones.

Where I go all white-knuckle and stark terror is on Seattle’s few double-decker roads. Whenever I have to take the southbound I-5 express lanes, I’m staring up at the freeway above, and out toward the Cascadia subduction zone off the coast, and begging it to please oh please not choose this particular instant to rip. Whenever I’m on the coast, the first thing I’m looking for is the quickest route to high ground. See, I know that the Cascadia subduction zone is prone to enormous earthquakes, much like the one that devastated an appreciable chunk of Japan in 2011, and I also know that earthquakes don’t give any warning before they hit. One instant, you’re going about life as usual. The next, the ground is shaking, things are falling, and there’s nothing you can do but ride it out. Well, there’s plenty of safety tips you can follow. But I much prefer volcanoes, which generally give more notice. Also, those generally don’t sink the coastline several feet.

Image shows Lockwood, a man with white hair and beard wearing plaid and denim, standing in the hollow center of a low stump, roots radiating around him through the sand and pools of saltwater.

Lockwood stands on the stump of a gigantic spruce tree at Sunset Bay, Oregon. It was killed more than 1,000 years ago when a massive subduction zone quake dropped the coastline and drowned the forest.

Cascadia terrifies me, people. The idea of it reduces me to a quivering mass of gibbering dread if I allow my thoughts to dwell upon it too long. So I’m glad it’s other people’s jobs to dwell. And they’ve got great news for us! The west coast won’t quite be toast. Our emergency planners are all, we’ve got this. [Read more…]