Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon! Episode 8: Really Cool Street Art Van

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I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

This hour’s post: photos of a really cool street art van.

I like street art. I like art cars. This art van, painted in a graffiti-art style, is two great tastes that taste great together. Especially of interest for the squid-oriented among you. I haven’t posted street art pics in a while: this seemed like a good time to do it.

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Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!

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.

Ugly Renaissance Baby Jesuses

In honor of the birth of Jesus — or rather, the supposed birth of the very-likely-entirely-imaginary Jesus character in the New Testament myth — I bring you, from my visit last fall to the Art Institute in Chicago: Ugly Renaissance baby Jesuses. (Jesi?)

Ugly Renaissance Baby Jesus 1

Ugly Renaissance Baby Jesus 2

Ugly Renaissance baby Jesus 3

Really fills you with a deep sense of reverence and awe, doesn’t it? Or something.

Wrigley Field Demolition/Renovation

Wrigley Field is having major demolition/ renovation work done on it, and when I was in Chicago last week, my brother took us to go look at it. It looks pretty seriously awesome: you get a good look at the skeleton of the structure, in a way that you pretty much never do. I feel like I should make some sort of deep philosophical social commentary about destruction and reinvention and the cycle of architectural life and so on. But really, the pics are just cool.

Wrigley Field repairs 1 [Read more…]

The Chicago Bean, and Some Thoughts on Geographical Icons

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When I first started seeing pictures of the Chicago Bean, and started seeing it described as a Chicago icon, I was irritated. “How can that be an icon?” I thought. “I don’t remember it! It wasn’t there when I was growing up! It just went up in 2006! That’s not a Chicago icon — not like the Sears Tower, or the Picasso sculpture, or…”

Oh. Right.

The Sears Tower and the Picasso sculpture were new when I was a kid. The Picasso sculpture was dedicated in 1967; the Sears Tower was completed in 1973. They both became Chicago icons almost immediately — they quickly started showing up in postcards, in travel brochures, on book covers about Chicago, in vacation photographs of visitors from around the world. And to me, that seemed totally reasonable. Of course they were icons! I’d seen them dozens of times, hundreds of times, I’d been seeing them for most of my conscious life — it made perfect sense that they were icons. [Read more…]

Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago, Part 3 of 3 – Pics!

When I was visiting my brother in Chicago last week, we did a boat tour of the architecture and architectural history of downtown Chicago. I’m posting my favorite pics, in three separate posts so the posts aren’t super-huge and hard to load. Part One is here: Part Two is here; this is the last set.

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Another little bridge house! They’re so awesome!

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According to the docent, this building was inspired by champagne bottles. Normally I don’t like architecture that looks like things — “It’s a milk bottling plant, and it looks like a milk bottle!” — but I have to admit that this is pretty cool.

More after the jump. [Read more…]

Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago – Pics!

When I was visiting my brother in Chicago last week, we did this somewhat touristy but seriously cool thing: a boat tour of the architecture and architectural history of downtown Chicago. Chicago architecture is world-renown for its beauty and innovation: it’s been that way ever since the Chicago Fire of 1871, when architects zoomed in for the chance to rebuild the great city from scratch, and it’s lived up to that reputation ever since. (Well, except for the same bad stretch of boring glass boxes that every other city went through…)

I grew up in Chicago, but have never been on this tour before. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

chicago architecture boat tour 01

chicago architecture boat tour 02

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(More after the jump.) [Read more…]

A Woman’s Room Online: Misogyny, and the Idea That the Internet Isn’t Real

Content note: misogyny, harassment, threats of violence and rape and death, images of same

Here’s the thing. For hundreds of millions of people, the Internet is our workplace: we go there to collaborate, to do research, to promote our work. The Internet is the place where we meet our friends. It’s where we get our news. It’s where we organize charity activity, or political activity. For hundreds of millions of people, the Internet is a central hub of human activity.

Now. Think about what it would be like if every time you went to work, every time you went out with friends, every time you went out to get a newspaper, every time you went on a charity walkathon, every time you went to a neighborhood meeting to plan the new public park, you had people screaming at you how worthless you are, how ugly you are, how much they hate you, how much they want to torture and rape and kill you.

Think about showing up to work at 8:30 in the morning, and sitting down in this room.

A Woman's Room Online 23 [Read more…]

A Woman’s Room Online: An immersive experience of the daily harassment women face online

Content note: images based on threats and harassment

A Womens Room Online photo

This art show by Amy Davis Roth sounds hugely powerful. If you’re anywhere near the L.A. area, I strongly encourage you to see it.

I am building a free standing 8ft by 8ft office space, from the ground up on, the 2nd floor of The Center For Inquiry-Los Angeles. The room is intended to be an average office that a woman would work in. It is simply a normal office space, with a door, desk, chair and a computer and other small objects that one might have in a workspace, but this particular room has been transformed to clearly show the viewer what it can feel like to be targeted in your place of work, over multiple years with aggressive online stalking and harassment.

The room and its objects are blanketed with actual messages sent to, or publicly posted about the women who have contributed to the exhibit.

The messages are all real and were sent to or publicly posted about the women from July 2nd, 2011 up until now.

It’s your turn to read them. What has been sent to us, will now be on display for you.

And yes, before you ask, some of the images for the show come from my own files.

More information about A Woman’s Room Online: An immersive experience of the daily harassment women face online is at the link. The exhibit will be at Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles (2nd floor) 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Sept. 13 – Oct. 13. The opening reception is on Sept. 13 at 7:00 pm. See it — and please spread the word about it. If you know media people in the L.A. area, please let them know.

Blogathon for SSA Week: Imaginative Star Tattoos?

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This post continues my leg of the Blogathon for SSA Week! From now until 9pm PDT, I will write one new blog post every hour. Plus, for every $100 raised during that time, I will post one new picture of our cats! And all donations will be matched by SSA Supporters Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss — so whatever you donate, it will be doubled!

As of 3:02 PDT: 436 Donors, $70,488.02
As of 4:03 PDT: 438 Donors, $70,573.02

So I’m thinking of getting another tattoo. A set of them, actually, to commemorate my surgical scars (five of them, I had laparoscopic surgery, so I have five little scars instead of one big one). I’m thinking of getting stars, one on each scar, so the set of them looks like sort of like a constellation.

Five pointed starBut I don’t want the stars to just look like regular five-pointed pentagram stars. I want them to look more interesting than that, more imaginative. I’m not a designer, though. So I’m crowdsourcing this: Does anyone with tattoo experience — or heck, without it — have ideas on how to do a star tattoo, or a series of star tattoos, that are clearly identifiable as stars, but don’t just look like pentagrams?

If it helps, you can see the scars (four of the five, anyway), and where they’re situated on my body — not great, but you can see them — in this picture. It’s the one where I’m half-naked with the word “MINE” written on my torso in lipstick, the one I did in support of Tunisian anti-theocratic activist Amina. They’re in an arc across my belly and above my belly button, with one more dipping down just below my waistband.


If you like this post — or indeed, if you don’t — please donate to the Secular Student Alliance!