The Obligatory Introductory Post, or “Just Who the Hell Are You?”

¡Bienvenidos a mi cantina! Mi casa es su casa. Pull up one of the nice comfy chairs, and have a beer. One thing you’ll discover is that geologists are mad for beer. It’s practically a job requirement. If, like me, you’re not quite so keen on beer, I’m assured that gin and tonic is just as acceptable. So is whiskey. Or rum. Wine’s a great geological drink, as geology is so much a part of making it. Or you could – oh, hell, any sort of alcohol’s okay with this crowd. Pour your poison of choice.

Right. We’ll just let the regulars get on with kicking the new furniture, then, and have some introductions. Hullo. I’m Dana Hunter. That’s not the name on my driver’s license, but it’s the name I go by in all situations aside from my workplace and among family members, who haven’t quite figured out that the name I was born with isn’t the one I most frequently answer to. It’s gotten to the point where I’m startled when I see my birth name on something. So, call me Dana, and I’ll know who you’re talking about.

So, we know what to call each other. Now on to the important stuff.

First important thing: I’m not a geologist.

Exploring Doherty Ridge with George’s rock hammer.

Yes, that is indeed me on an outcrop, with a rock hammer. I can pass for a geologist in a good light, I’ll admit. But I’m not a professional geologist. I’m not even in school. I’m entirely amateur. Thing is, I have this love affair with rocks, and I do a massive amount of reading and research. Most of my best friends are geologists, and they send me papers and answer questions and write amazing blog posts and sometimes, when we can arrange to be in the same state, take me out and teach me how to bang on rocks. This is how a total amateur gets away with writing about geology without screwing it up utterly.

I’m a writer. I write blog posts, and I am writing speculative fiction stories, and a novel that I will somehow manage to complete, and a book on geology or two that I turn to when the fiction won’t come. I’ve been writing ever since my mother told me I was old enough to tell my own stories at the age of six, and I haven’t ever stopped. That’s over thirty years, for those of you who are curious. Not well over, but still, over.

I’m an atheist. And not just any old atheist, not even just a New Atheist, but one of those dreaded Gnu Atheists. The only use I have for religion is occasionally cannibalizing the more interesting ones for bits of myth to put into stories, and as fodder for rants. My religious friends have grown used to this, and even occasionally egg me on when I take off after a particularly egregious creationist. You’ll not see me do that quite as often as my fellow Freethought bloggers do – I’ve got other things I’m busy with – but I do love taking the metaphorical rock hammer to Flood geologists especially. Fun as that is, though, I enjoy celebrating atheism far more. Life as an atheist is gorgeous. I’ve seen both sides, you see: I was a Christian (briefly, long ago), and for a while a pagan, and an agnostic, but none of that worked. Atheism works. Life has never meant as much, been so precious or beautiful or worth living, as it has since I finally accepted I was an atheist, full stop. I wish I’d had the courage to do it sooner.

I’m a raging liberal. Got me start in political blogging, actually, and kept on with that until I ran out of new and creative ways to call Republicans fucktards. You will notice, however, that there’s a sleek, shiny implement hanging over the bar. It’s the Smack-o-Matic, and you’ll see me lovingly take it down on occasion and apply it to some deserving Con. I’d much rather blog about science and SF writing and other things that make me intensely happy, but there are times that require furious anger, savage snark, and perhaps even a touch of satire, and I’m never out of practice.

There are some people who will groan (I’m looking at you, PZ), but I own a cat. She is what convinced me to never have children of my own. If she’d been a human, I’d be one of those wretched mothers on the teevee apologizing for my serial killer offspring. She hasn’t actually killed anyone yet, though not for lack of trying. However, she’s beautiful and sometimes disgustingly cute, and I love her beyond measure and blog about her on occasion. Consider yourself warned.

I, along with Ed Brayton, am a ginormous Peacemakers fan. I blog about them sometimes, too. They are my favorite band, and I will sound like a hopeless fangirl, but if you come along with me to one of their shows, you’ll probably not emerge without at least a deep fondness for them, so you’ll forgive me for it one day. The title of this blog, in fact, comes from one of their shirts. In tequila is truth.

That’s one thing that threatens my atheist cred – I practically (I say, practically) worship them. The other threat is Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, people. That’s all I’m saying, and those of you who love the show will know exactly what I mean.

Last but not by any means least, I am a woman. I sometimes write about things pertaining specifically to women, and I’m way past the age where I think we’ve won all the battles and misogyny’s harmless and cute. If that’s something that threatens your sense of self, this is not going to be a comfortable cantina for you. For those interested in creating a world where women and men are on equal footing, you’ll be right at home.

Right, I think that’s enough babbling about myself. I want to take a moment to tell you about my regulars: they are incredible people, a wise and wonderful mix of geologists and bloggers and science geeks and political junkies and atheists and writers and incredible people who make me want to be the best blogger I can possibly be because they deserve nothing less. Without them, my world would be a far smaller, much duller place, and I wouldn’t be writing this right now. Raise a glass to them, my dear new readers, and join me in saying, “Salud!”

Then raise another glass to the incredible folks at Freethought Blogs who inflicted me upon you brought me on board: Stephanie Zvan, whose writing brings me to tears, elevates me to heights of joy, and brings on a nice righteous outrage – sometimes in the same post. PZ Myers, who got me started on this whole science blogging thing and helped me over the threshold from agnostic to atheist. Ed Brayton, who’s not only one of my favorite political and religious idiocy bloggers, but is a fellow Peacemakers fan. Ophelia Benson, who has introduced me to subjects I never thought about and made me care intensely about them. Jason Thibeault, who is not only a fabulous writer but a genius at making this whole migration thing painless. Raise a glass to everyone at Freethought Blogs, those glorious freethinkers who are making this world a better one, one post at a time.

And raise a final round for yourselves. Without you, my dear readers, these words would be nothing more than pixels on a screen. If I ever write something that inspires you, touches you, moves you, just remember: without you, it would be a lonely echo in a void. People like to think writing is a solitary art, but they’ve just failed to notice that magnificent audience, reading and engaging and egging the author on. You lot, you’re marvelous. Don’t ever forget that.

Are we suitably intoxicated? Right. On with it, then. ¡Vámonos!