Building Atheist Community: Help Out Juicy D. Light

Juicy D. Light

Reposted from the Godless Perverts site.

One of the most important reasons that Godless Perverts organizes events is that we think that atheism should make a difference in the lives of people here in the real world. It’s not an academic or intellectual thing for us: any discussion about atheism or sexuality ultimately comes down to how well we treat the people around us.

Now one of our friends is having a lot of trouble with her health, and we’d like anyone who can to help her out. Juicy D. Light is the founder of Rubenesque Burlesque, body positive activist, and an all-around great person. She’s also an atheist and comes to our Godless Perverts Social Clubs in San Francisco. Early in March, she was admitted to a hospital in Oakland with four — FOUR!! — bites from a brown recluse spider. A single bite from a brown recluse can be pretty serious. Four is bad shit. In addition, while she was in the hospital she got an MRSA infection (an antibiotic-resistant variety of staph) and sepsis.

Juicy’s at home now, recovering with the help of a lot of great friends. However, she’s still getting bitten in the ass by the shitty lack of support services we have in this country for people who get sick. Being at home means that Juicy’s not working and that means that she’s having a lot of money problems at the very time that she can afford them least.

This is a really common problem in the United States, and while the system isn’t there for Juicy (or the rest of us), her friends certainly are. They’ve established the “Saving Juicy’s Ass Fund” at GiveForward. The money is going to help Juicy out with the essentials, such as rent, food, and medical expenses. If you doubt that Juicy’s done great things for her community, check out the video below showing Rubenesque Burlesque performing their routine “Camp” at the Burlesque Hall of Fame last year. Definitely not safe for work, especially near the end, but extremely entertaining. Juicy is the dancer second from the left near the beginning of the show.

Rubenesque Burlesque – 2014 Movers, Shakers & Innovators Showcase from BurlesqueHall on Vimeo.

Godless Perverts Social Club Thursday 3/19: Sex and Music

godless-perverts-sex-and-music

The next Godless Perverts Social Club is this Thursday, March 19! On our third Thursday meetups, we pick a discussion topic ahead of time — and for this meetup, the topic is Sex and Music. Rebecca will co-moderate a discussion of kink in popular music and other media. Was your sexuality influenced by the songs and movies of your youth? Are the explicit — and often kinky — lyrics in current hip-hop sex-positive or appropriative? Are bad representations of kink in pop culture better or worse than invisibility? Come discuss these questions and more. If you’d like to listen to some examples, check out the YouTube playlist below:

The Godless Perverts Social Club meets on the first Tuesday and the third Thursday of every month, 7-9 pm, at Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). We do slightly different formats for the two clubs. Our Third Thursday Social Clubs are Topical Thursdays — we pick a topic ahead of time, have a moderator/ host who leads the discussion, maybe even get special guests to guide discussions on particular topics. The first Tuesday Social Clubs are more loosely-structured casual affairs, where we mostly just nosh and sit around schmoozing about whatever topics happen to come up. (Our next First Tuesday Social Club will be Tuesday, April 7.) Admission is free, but we ask that you buy food and/or drink at the cafe: they have beverages, light snacks, full meals, and killer milkshakes.

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion.

Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this. Please let the moderators or other people in charge of any event know if you encounter harassment, racism, misogyny, transphobia, or other problems at our events.

If you want to be notified about all our Godless Perverts events, sign up for our email mailing list, or follow us on Twitter at @GodlessPerverts. You can also sign up for the Bay Area Atheists/ Agnostics/ Humanists/ Freethinkers/ Skeptics Meetup page, and be notified of all sorts of godless Bay Area events — including the Godless Perverts. And of course, you can always visit our Website to find out what we’re up to, godlessperverts.com. Hope to see you soon!

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

In Honor of Pi Day — Greta’s Amazing Chocolate Pie Recipe!

pi plateIn honor of today being Pi Day (3.14.15 — do you have something special planned for 9:26?), here is a recap of my renowned chocolate pie recipe!

This is a ridiculously easy, unbelievably delicious recipe for chocolate pie. And it’s not just me saying so: friends have been known to demand it for celebratory events, and will shed hot tears of bitter disappointment if it doesn’t appear at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It’s very distinctive — most people who try it say they haven’t had anything else quite like it — and it’s one of those rare recipes that seems really elegant and like it would be really complicated, but in fact is absurdly simple. The pie crust is 9/10th of the work.

The recipe came from my mother, but I don’t know where she got it from. I’ve been making it for many years now, and have refined the recipe a bit over the years, mostly in the direction of using better ingredients. I did an experimental version for my birthday a couple of years ago (in addition to a classic version), which was a big hit, so I’m including that variation here as well.

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE PIE
INGREDIENTS
1 single pie crust (this is an open-faced pie). More on pie crust in a moment.
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. evaporated milk
2 squares/ ounces baking chocolate (unsweetened)
Whipped cream (optional in theory, mandatory in my opinion)

chocolateA quick note on the baking chocolate: For the sweet love of Loki and all the gods in Valhalla, use Scharffen Berger’s if you possibly can, or some other seriously good baking chocolate. I made this pie for years using just regular baking chocolate from the supermarket, and it was perfectly yummy — but once I started using Scharffen Berger’s, it amped up from delicious to transcendent. I frankly don’t much care for Scharffen Berger’s eating chocolate, I think the mouth-feel is insufficiently creamy — but for cooking, their baking chocolate is beyond compare.

Bake the unfilled pie shell for 5-10 minutes at 450 degrees, until it’s starting to firm up a little but isn’t cooked through. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan. Add the other ingredients (minus the whipped cream) and mix; you can do this in the saucepan. (I add the eggs last, so the melted butter and chocolate have a chance to cool and the eggs don’t scramble.) Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 325 degrees, until the filling is set. (I usually test it at 30 minutes, but it usually still needs another 5-10 minutes. When it’s no longer jiggling in the middle, it’s done.)

That’s it.

No, really.

I told you. Ridiculously easy. Not counting the pie crust, the actual work you put into this pie takes about five minutes.

I always serve this with whipped cream, as the pie is intensely rich and dense, and I think the whipped cream gives it balance. But many people prefer it with the richness and denseness unadulterated, and scoff at the whipped cream as an unnecessary frill for lightweights. My advice: Make whipped cream available, and let your guests decide. (Don’t add too much sugar to the whipped cream; this pie is plenty sweet.)

EXPERIMENTAL CHOCOLATE PIE [Read more…]

Houdini, 2011-2015

I have some very sad, very sudden bad news. Our cat Houdini died early Wednesday morning, completely unexpectedly, from heart failure. It happened very fast: she seemed totally fine on Monday; Tuesday morning she wasn’t eating and we took her to the vet; she seemed ill but stable Tuesday evening; and early Wednesday morning she went into a rapid decline and died within an hour. The vet thinks she may have had some sort of congenital heart problem: apparently this can happen with cats, they can have heart problems that don’t show any symptoms until they suddenly give out.

Ingrid and I are pretty wrecked. Houdini was a very young cat, just three years old, and this came out of nowhere. We do feel fortunate that we were able to give her a good life, even though it was a short one, and we feel fortunate that she didn’t suffer for very long. But we are having a very hard time with this. We’ve lost cats before, but it’s been a long time since either of us has lost a cat this suddenly or this young.

I know the usual thing in these situations is to post pictures. But I can’t face that right now. I’ll do it when I can. If you want to see pictures of her, you can do a search for “Houdini” on this blog. (Houdini was the tortoiseshell.) If you feel so inspired, donations in her name can be made to the San Francisco SPCA. Thanks.

Greta’s Podcast Interview with Atheist Airwaves!

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGPodcast fans — I have a podcast interview up with Atheist Airwaves! We talk about my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing To Do With God — including ways that atheists can cope with religion at funerals, why religious approaches to death are less comforting than they seem, and more. Also on the show: the first legal gay marriage in Texas and the future of marriage equality, a Christian pastor in the UK claims god will send you to hell for any sexual position, an ex-Scientologist turns to pushing a ‘miracle’ autism cure in the form of bleach enemas, the Pope compares transgender people to nuclear weapons because he’s a full-on bigot, and more. Good times! Enjoy!

Dream Diary, 2/24/15: God

blake godI dreamed that Ingrid and I were hanging out with God. God looked pretty much exactly like the Western cliche of the Christian god: Caucasian, white hair and beard, golden light radiating from his head. The only thing that was different was he was sitting in an armchair. Some other people were hanging out with us, too, although I don’t remember exactly who: some friends of ours, and I think also some characters from “Parks and Recreation.” (I actually had this dream a couple of days ago, and didn’t write it down right away, so some of the details have faded.) It was very clear, in that dream-logic way, that this was not a hallucination or any kind of illusion: it was clear that this was a real interaction with the real Christian God, because dream-reasons.

I was really embarrassed at having been so certain that God didn’t exist, and at first was very apologetic to him about it. But he was cool with it. In fact, he insisted very firmly that even though he existed, it was important that I remain an atheist — and not just an atheist but an atheist activist. It wasn’t at all clear why, though. Dream-reasons.

I woke up at first still feeling embarrassed about how wrong I’d been, and feeling very confused about why God wanted me to be an atheist. Once I started realizing it was a dream, I was mostly baffled at my dream-logic, and was still trying to figure out why my dream-God wanted me to be an atheist.


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

Greta Speaking in Houston, Austin, Reno, San Francisco, and Memphis!

UPDATE: The San Francisco talk on Sunday March 8 has been cancelled.

Hi, all! I have some speaking gigs coming up in Houston, Austin, Reno, San Francisco, and Memphis. If you’re in or near any of these cities, I hope to see you there!

CITY: Houston, TX
DATE: Thursday, February 26
TIME: 6:30 pm
LOCATION: Fox and Hound, 11470 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX
HOSTS: Humanists of Houston
TOPIC: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God
SUMMARY: If you don’t believe in God or an afterlife — how do you cope with death? Accepting death is never easy, and one of the most difficult things about
leaving religion can be letting go of belief in the afterlife. But we don’t
need religion to find peace, comfort, solace, and meaning in the face of
death. What are some secular ways that atheists can handle our own
mortality and the death of those we love?
COST: Free and open to the public. The venue is open to all ages (minors allowed with parent) until 10 PM, after which it becomes 21+.
EVENT URL: http://www.meetup.com/humanism-177/events/219950949/

CITY: Austin, TX (Texas Secular Convention)
DATES: Friday February 27 – Sunday March 1 (I’m speaking Saturday, February 28 at 2:15pm)
LOCATION: Sheraton’s Hotel and the Capitol, Austin, TX
EVENT: Texas Secular Convention
OTHER SPEAKERS: Annie Laurie Gaylor, Jamila Bey, Matt Dillahunty, Katherine McCutchan, Ron Lindsay, Alix Jules, David Smalley, Barry Lynn, Kathy Miller, Rep. Donna Howard, Amanda Knief, Amanda Hernandez, Daniel Moran, Chris Johnson, Dr. David Wiley, Kelly Damerow
TOPIC: Activism Burnout: Prevention and Treatment
SUMMARY: One of the most important keys to the success of the atheist movement is keeping activists engaged for the long haul. But the most inspired and motivated activists are often the ones most likely to eventually burn out. What are some practical strategies for preventing burnout — and for managing it when it happens? And how can activists support each other in not burning out?
COST: $50 – $125
EVENT URL: http://www.texassecularconvention.org/

CITY: Reno, NV
DATE: Monday, March 2
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Room 106, Ansari Business Building, University of Nevada, Reno
HOSTS: Secular Student Alliance (SSA) of UNR and Reno Freethinkers
TOPIC: Secular Diversity & The Role of Women in Atheism
SUMMARY: The most visible representatives of the atheist movement tend to be white men. Is this a problem? If so, should the atheist movement be doing something about it — and if so, what?
COST: Free and open to the public
EVENT URL: https://www.facebook.com/events/418720641617982/

CITY: San Francisco, CA
DATE: Sunday, March 8
TIME: 3:00 pm
LOCATION: Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. (at Valencia), San Francisco
HOSTS: Atheist Advocates of San Francisco
TOPIC: Comforting Thoughts About Death Have Have Nothing to Do with God
SUMMARY: See above
COST: $6

The San Francisco talk has been cancelled.

CITY: Memphis, TN (American Atheists National Convention)
DATES: Thursday, April 2 – Sunday, April 5 (my workshop will be Thursday, April 2, with Sarah Morehead and Muhammad Syed)
LOCATION:
EVENT: American Atheists National Convention
OTHER SPEAKERS/ PRESENTERS: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Susan Blackmore, Marshall Brain, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Jamila Bey, Tony Pinn, Mandisa Thomas, Lindsay Beyerstein, Heina Dadabhoy, Keith Lowell Jensen, Matt Dillahunty, James Croft, David Fitzgerald, Vyckie Garrison, Fade Zu Grau, Steve Hill, Leighann Lord, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Miri Mogilevsky, Sarah Haider, Asif Mohiuddin, more
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other Do It, And Why (workshop, with Sarah Morehead and Muhammad Syed)
SUMMARY: Coming out is the most powerful political act atheists can take. But coming out can be difficult and risky. What are some specific, practical, nuts-and-bolts strategies we can use: to come out of the closet, to support each other in coming out, and to make the atheist community a safer place to come out into? What can atheists learn about coming out from the LGBT community and their decades of coming-out experience — and what can we learn from the important differences between coming out atheist and coming out queer?
COST: $50 – $329; workshops are $99
EVENT URL: http://atheists.org/convention2015

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

Godless Perverts Social Club Thur. 2/19! Discussion Topic: Building Consent Culture, Led By Kitty Stryker

godless-perverts-consent-culture-kitty-stryker-banner

The next Godless Perverts Social Club is this Thursday, February 19! The discussion topic: Building Consent Culture. What would a consent culture look like? How are we, as a community, getting it right, and how are we getting it wrong? Kitty Stryker asks questions about what consent means, from a legal and ethical standpoint, and how we can practically encourage it in our everyday lives.

The discussion will be led by Kitty Stryker. Stryker is the co-editor of ConsentCulture.com, where she discusses alternatives to rape culture and explores how consent works under capitalistic patriarchy.

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers — and the Godless Perverts Social Club is our socializing/ hanging out branch. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever-you-want-to-call-it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us — we meet at Wicked Grounds, San Francisco’s renowned BDSM-themed coffee house, 289 8th Street in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART), the first Tuesday and third Thursday of every month. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. We meet from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. There’s no admission, but we ask that you buy food and drink at the counter if you can. (Their food is quite yummy, with both full dinners and lighter snacks/ beverages, and they have the best milkshakes in town.)

We’re doing slightly different formats for the two clubs. Our Third Thursday Social Clubs are Topical Thursdays — we pick a topic ahead of time, have a moderator/ host who leads the discussion, maybe even get special guests to guide discussions on particular topics. In February, that’ll be Thursday February 19. [Read more…]

Fundraising Drive to Honor Chapel Hill Murder Victims

Deah Shaddy Barakat Yusor Mohammad Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

The Foundation Beyond Belief is doing a fundraising drive to honor the Chapel Hill murder victims: Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. The man arrested for the murders, Craig Stephen Hicks, is a self-described atheist and opponent of religion, who had been bullying the victims for some time before he killed them. Please donate what you can — even small amounts add up — and please spread the word.

All donated funds will go directly to the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation — a charity supported by Barakat, a doctoral student in dentistry who planned to travel to Syrian refugee camps this summer to perform emergency dentistry for refugee children through SAMS. Please give as generously as you can. Thanks.