A Resurrection Story

This story was partially written by one of my least sucky groups of players ever, in a D&D game. I changed the characters substantially to work better for an audience unfamiliar with that situation, so nothing should be too confusing here. It is a short story about a resurrection, to fit the day in an irreligious way.

The Virile had a rough morning. This sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen in the city. You go to a magic demonstration and yawn while the party’s arcanist rubs their chin. You don’t go to see your priest’s head explode. There would be a reckoning over this slight because The Virile had a reputation to maintain – the manliest band of heroes in town – but for now the agenda was resurrection.
[Read more…]

WTF Product Placement

Remember these guys?

white hair metal guys with puffy perms and glam pseudomilitary fashion

Autograph – Turn up the Radio

“Autograph” as far as I recall were a one-hit wonder from my childhood / the 80s, who performed this crowd-pleasing jam:

I was just perusing the good old days on youtube when my eyes beheld a surprising sight.

puffy-haired metal guys behold a cool pencil

Autograph – Turn up the Radio
Mechanical Pencils – Papermate

This video was paid for by Papermate mechanical pencils. Because as my partner quipped, “Graphite is forever.” While that is a pretty cool pencil, I just can’t handle it right now. I bid you good day.

Guest Post: The Carmex of Music

I will occasionally be posting for my guest blogger. He doesn’t want a wordpress account so he won’t be making these directly, but I’ll label them as “Guest Post” and put his blurb at the bottom.

(art by Al Columbia)

Don’t hold out on me, Bruh.       (art by Al Columbia)

I told G.A.S tonight that I shouldn’t be allowed to listen to the Pixies with my headphones on. Invariably, I will slowly turn up the volume until it’s maxed out and my brains are dribbling out my ears. This is something unique to this band, and whatever hearing loss I have now I blame entirely on them. It must be some arcane musical wizardry, along with the way their songs always seem to end too early, no matter how many times you listen to them. I liken this phenomena to that of Carmex lip balm.

Once in middle school an outbreak of Carmex addiction hit the seventh graders hard, I among their sad, chapped numbers. If you were unfortunate enough to leave your denim jacket on the back of a chair, you’d come back to parched junkies digging through your pockets for a dip into that little yellow pot. Many the Trapper Keeper and Peechee were edged in medicinal grease after a tube released all over the bottom of a backpack.

I went cold turkey, and to this day I yearn to feel that uncanny burn on my lips. Snopes claims this is a hoax, but they’re obviously in the pocket of big balm. So, I say that the Pixies are the Carmex of music, damaging to your physical health but delicious and addictive. But I ain’t giving that shit up, and they never ruined any stationery.

drawing of the Beast from Seattle, a blue devilG.A.S. told me to write this as a blog entry, so here it is as introduction to me, the Beast from Seattle. I’m a big-time lurker so I normally never comment anywhere or even as much as write on Facebook. I wrote a term paper defending lurkerdom, but I will fight my natural tendencies and write something here once in a while. About me: I was born in the ’80s, am a big queer goth weirdo, and the kind of person who’ll break their keyboard trying to get every last cat hair out of it.

Woofin’ and Beefin’

I used to work with a young lady that described someone else’s belligerence as “woofin’ and beefin’.”  I love that language.  But I do want to avoid fights with others in the neighborhood.  I’ve already had a pretty negative interaction with one other blogger on this network and decided to just drop out of that scene instead of pressing it.  I made my feelings on the general topic clear here (my islamophobia post), but will not address that specific conversation or go back there again.

Likewise, I have been affiliated with and linked to people who have had some rough interactions with another prominent skeptic blog site.  I agree with their point of view completely, but I don’t want to say anything negative about specific other people in the progressive atheo-skepti-sphere, from my little corner.  That is to say, if I have a problem that I feel compelled to address, I’ll do as before and avoid naming names and getting into specific exchanges.  But I will post my feelings on the subject in general.

I hope that doesn’t seem too passive-aggressive or cowardly* to the people who need advocates the most. If it becomes a problem for any of you, let me know how you feel.

*Per a thoughtful suggestion, I might stop using this word on my blog. I’ll have to change the mouse-over text on the tab for the site if I do. Still thinking about it.

Taking the Ableism Challenge

The excellent Ania Bula offered this challenge “for all of (her) blogger friends” – which I take to mean she isn’t expecting randos to participate.  So calm thyselves if riled, randos.  This isn’t for you.  The challenge in short: Do not use any ableist language in your writing for one month. This is not a challenge I am personally accepting because I’m trying to do it forever rather than a short time, and because she doesn’t know me. I’m a rando.

I mention and link it because it lays out the good case against ableism in writing – which in the atheist and skeptic communities is mostly synonyms for “unintelligent” and “mentally ill” being used as insults. A response article by the righteous and mighty Luxander Pickel is also well worth a read. Below are some choice chunks from both articles: [Read more…]

Levitate Me

What Else Is There? – Röyksopp ft. Karin Dreijer

This is a repost from my writing elsewhere.

Trigger warnings? Things that could bother people: the dark mood, time lapse photography of mold (eww), depiction of dead ducks that may or may not have been real, images of buildings falling apart in stormy weather.

This spooky jam is sung by Karin, who is not the lip-syncing floaty model in the video, but rather the tight-lipped weirdo in the ruff collar.  You probably know her from The Knife and Fever Ray.  Music is by Röyksopp.

I’m posting this because levitation.  People sometimes experience a feeling of floating in altered mental states.  Whether you’ve experienced that or not, there’s something about the feeling of it that resonates with a primal part of the mind.  It shows up in a lot of art – song, visual depictions, writing.  I found the use of it in The Lost Boys especially evocative.

I feel like the way an animal learns to move is by willing itself in the desired direction and flailing its body that way until muscle learning catches up to  desire.  In order to want to move the body at all, there has to be an inherent feeling in the mind that movement is possible, which exists before any knowledge of how to make movement happen.  (As always, I could be very wrong.)

Essentially, we’re all natural born levitators.  The only thing keeping us from being able to float towards our desires is physical constraints.  That’s no small limitation – psychic levitation isn’t real or possible, as far as anyone knows.  But the feeling is there.  And maybe the limits of our bodies are the reason evoking that feeling can be so eerie, melancholy, or abstractly powerful.

And on an entirely different note,

Float On – The Floaters

This song is the equivalent of a video personal ad for the singers.
I challenge you to invent your own additional verse for the tune.

Gotdam Windows 10 Rassle Frackle

Our household recently got a new computer with Windows 10. I knew the moment I saw the technomagical commercials about it on TV that I would hate it. Calling programs “apps” now? Having some fake Siri on by default? This is a desktop machine, assholes. We don’t even have a mic plugged into it. But of course, that’s not the worst part.

Restarting the computer to do updates with ZERO WARNING. And the updates taking ten times as long as in Win 7. We started this computer before noon and couldn’t use it for HOURS. Microsoft, I hate you so god damn much. I just hate Macs like 15% more, so keep up the good work. You just might drive me away yet.

If anyone wants to advocate for the libertarian penguin OS or otherwise platform war here, as long as your invective isn’t too ad hominem (against corporations and technology is OK), get into it. Sometimes people can learn something useful from those conversations, and it might be cathartic to gripe about the bastards who make our machines suck.

Also if anyone has a good set of bare minimum mods & setting changes to make Windows 10 cool, holla.

Satan Says: Islamophobia is Real

this is reposted & slightly edited from a previous iteration of this blog
Trigger Warnings – child sexual abuse, racism, islamophobia, anti-semitism, ableism

Deep Rifts 2.0 is about the division between regressive and progressive sides of the atheist and skeptic communities. Before this rift, one notion popular in atheist communities was that we were the free thinkers who arrived at our beliefs by reason and observation, while our opponents – the theists – believed what they were told like mindless obedient dogmabots. It’s a nice idea for atheists – in a society that despises us, we get to feel superior to the mainstream in some respect. Since the rift though, some of us have used this against our atheist opposites. What sense does that make? Where is this dogma codified? Who is walking in lockstep, refusing to question our dear leaders? This casts a lot of doubt on the original premise as used against theists, which is a loss for all of us. (Edit: I now know it’s ableist to think oneself superior on the metric of intelligence, so at this point I’m not feeling that loss so much.)

I’m not going to mirror my atheist opposites’ mistakes and claim they are a monolith, even though their beliefs line up better with the unjust status quo of the USA. I’m just going to keep poking holes in this ridiculous meme. The progressive side of the divide is not a monolith. We have our disagreements, and these are not small ones. Some of us continue to work with or promote people like Richard Dawkins (less so now that when this originally posted), some have joined in the masses ridiculing his ignorance and his strange grudge against Rebecca Watson. Some of us want to find common cause with theists to promote the secularism that can protect us all, some want to keep eviscerating the foundations of faith at the expense of potential allies. Some of us don’t have a decided stance on one more of these essential issues, and some people who generally come down on the progressive side are professional fence riders. All of this can be found within one blog network – Freethoughtblogs – if you look long enough. On the common cause vs. evisceration issue, you can find discord even within the A+ forums, and I am personally riding that fence at the moment.

One of these important areas of dispute – and the topic of this post – is the legitimacy of the term “islamophobia.” [Read more…]

Comment Policy

art by me

Cartoon image of a nerdy non-muscular version of Blake’s Red Dragon, holding a giant gavel.

If I catch a whiff that you are affiliated with the internet’s sundry hate mobs – goobergate, tha swinepit, men’s gripes activists, whatever – I’m blocking you. You have plenty of places to talk shit about us, you don’t get to do it here. Actually, if you’re conservative at all, I just really don’t need to hear your opinion about fucking anything. The difference between social conservatives and fiscal conservatives is whether they want to kill the gays or kill the poor, so even if we’re in agreement about the subject at hand? Not interested. I’d rather have no comments at all than a conservative anywhere near me.

Seriously, I’m annoyed enough that the average jackass I’m sitting next to on the bus is one change of conversation away from saying something racist, misogynistic, or transphobic, I don’t need it here. I’m treating this blog like I treat my house. If you aren’t family or progressive, you’re not welcome. Other people on FtB and even The Orbit might be more accommodating, in the spirit of debate or whatever.

I am open to criticism. I realize I am not the best or most thoughtful writer around here. But that criticism has to be from a progressive position or it isn’t worth my time, because regressives are wrong about fucking EVERYTHING, except whatever crumbs they snatch from the nice people table. There are other places for you to go. Find them. And talk shit about me from sunrise to sunset there if you want to. Follow your joy.

I don’t have a specific policy about ableism yet. I know even for proper lefties that is a hard thing to shake out of your language, so I’ll tolerate a slip up or two. If you’re using “stupid,” “insane,” or any synonyms thereof, please don’t. I might have to block you. At this point I’m allowing intent to count for something despite its lack of magic, but I might have to get more strict. We’ll see.

Lastly, as much as this may seem at odds with the fire I just spit, I’d like things to be less punchy here in the comments than on Pharyngula. If you’ve got something negative to say about someone who is present / commenting, try to make it about their ideas rather than the individual. Example: “I disagree with what you said” rather than “You are crap / fake / whatever.” If it’s about someone who is not present, less of a problem.

I just don’t want people having a personal row here. For my part, I’m trying to be less ragey here than I have been. Blocking fuckos is a first step towards that serenity.

EDIT TO ADD:
I’m turning off nested comments. I just realized how much of a mess they can become. If you want to respond to a specific comment, at the top mention the user name and post number. Do include both because if someone’s comments need to be deleted, what you mean may become misinterpreted.

EDIT AGAIN:
I did receive one comment on this article that seemed likely to be trollfoolery, but wasn’t completely clear. It’ll hang in moderation unless the person in question decides to follow up in some way. –They did and it’s approved. Leaving this note here to explain how I’ll handle similar situations if I see them.