I’m alive and well

I’ve had people asking if I’m okay since I haven’t been blogging at all lately. So I wanted to make a quick update to let you know that no, I haven’t been hit by a beer truck or muted by my university or enslaved by aliens. I just decided that I needed a mental break from blogging for a while. All of the drama, pettiness, short-sightedness, name calling, insults, hate mail, and general crappiness was making me miserable. I found myself unable to become passionate about issues I used to care about, because I knew writing about those issues would just lead to even more shit thrown my way.

I understand that you always have to deal with some level of shit when you’re trying to change minds. But I’m human. This blog is a hobby for me. I logged into WordPress and opened up Google Reader everyday to express myself, connect with people, and have fun – not to feel hopeless, worthless, angry, and scared for my personal safety. But with the current atmosphere of the atheist/skeptic movement, the latter is how I’ve been feeling.

So instead of permanently rage quitting, I decided to take a mental break and go back into the Real World for a little while. I saved up enough money to replace my broken desktop computer, so I’ve been having fun fiddling with my new toy. I’ve been playing a lot of Tropico 4 and Civ 5 Gods & Kings (I always name my religion Pastafarianism or Satanism). I went to a wedding. My advisor gave me a paper to review for a journal for the first time, which is kind of like taking off the Grad Student Training Wheels. Sean and I went camping in the Olympic Peninsula.

I’m sorry if I’ve made any of you worry, and I’m sorry for not providing you with your usual blog entertainment. But I felt it was better that I rest and recharge and wait for some of the gnarlier drama to subside, rather than keep blogging out of duty and permanently burn out. I’ll be back.


  1. says

    Okay. I’m fifty. I don’t have any kids. I teach. I went to college. I’ve read a book…maybe two. I started reading your blog because it was smart and funny. I think it’s safe to say that you are therefore smart and funny. And committed. You believe in what you do/write/say. Many of your readers do the same. So here’s my sage wisdom and you can take it for what it’s worth or, if nothing else, get a laugh out of it (I mean it only seems fair as I’ve laughed heartily at more than one of your entries). Ready? Okay, I’m revving up my saginess. I am ready to wow you with my saginosity.

    Fuck ’em.
    No really…FUCK ‘EM!
    I could rant and rave about the idiocy that seemed to grip this country after 8-years of the poster boy for not smoking while pregnant running the country…post 9/11 fear-mongering…rampant partisanship…the blatant abuse of the constitution…the bastardization of words like “patriot” and “hero”…the pimping of our service men and their families…reality TV…the oxymoron that is Fox “news”…

    But at the end of the day it comes down to this…


    Right is eventually gonna win out.
    And there is no greater strenth than the convictions that we hold dearly enough to express and/or defend.
    To quote that great poet of my genration, Steve Perry
    “Don’t stop
    Hold to that fee-eee-lin”( I was gonna go with “All that evil requires is the silence of a few good men”…but it’s Friday, and if you can’t satirycally quote 70’s rock Gods like Journey on a Friday then, I don’t wanna be right dammit).

    Carry on.

  2. Smhlle says

    Mental health is important!

    The fine spectator sport of smack-a-troll took place in you absence, providing many fine hours of entertainment.

  3. Chad says

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for a little over a year now. The use of statistical analysis on boob quake had me rolling. Yes, I’m a stats geek. You could decide to take a year off, and I’d still pick up reading whenever you got around to writing again. You have people out here that respect your work on this blog.

  4. DKrishnan says

    The Olympic Peninsula is such an awesome place to go hiking and clear your mind. I miss your blog posts but I think you did the right thing. Take care of yourself first.

  5. says

    We’re all humans here. I stopped after the last SimCity, too much open ended game-play, don’t have time for *another* one. I’ll be taking my 1 day break in honor of you.

  6. apenpaap says

    Very understandable, I’m sick and tired of the intense childishness of this whole thing too.

  7. ischemgeek says

    Those photos are gorgeous.

    Have fun on your break! If you need to recharge, that definitely looks like a good place to do it.

  8. says

    I’m glad to hear all is well with you, Jen. Sounds like you’re enjoying your break, so I hope that continues. You’ve done so much for this community, I think you deserve a break. Take care.

  9. Lynda M O says

    Good to know you haven’t been abducted or impressed into the foreign legion. I’ll be here when you get back; do what’s necessary for your own mental health.

  10. MNb0 says

    Hope you’re back soon.
    Btw I thought, as an outsider, all the name calling, insults etcetera quite embarrassing – even shocking.
    So I understand your sentiments.

  11. says

    I have no reason to comment except to throw some good stuff your way (although I see that several others have done that already).

    Will we see you at Skepticon 5?

  12. Morgan says


    I’ve never posted here, but I’m a long term admirer. Be well. I’m an old lady “freedom fighter” but a newby internet poster. Take good care of yourself m’dear, we need good women like you on the front lines, but we don’t need you there all the time. And if the front lines get too brutal, there are other, kinder positions to take up. Just be very, very good to yourself. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  13. Kate from Iowa says

    *snorfle* Worried my butt. It’s the middle of summer, when I saw the hiatus, “I’ll bet she went camping” was the first (and pretty much only) thing I thought. Beautiful place you picked, too.

  14. says

    Enjoy your time off! The sudden suspension was a bit disorienting, so it’s nice to see you haven’t been hit by that beer truck.

  15. says


    Also–Diablo 3 is pretty good for wasting large amounts of time.

    See you when you’re ready… (I’ve been away from my blog for the better part of 2 months.. so I understand anyway… )

  16. Rex says

    Hey Jen, glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself. I know that is sucks sometimes to be the lightning rod, but through the efforts of yourself and other,similar voices, things are improving! For the first time in recorded history, a majority of Americans say that they would vote for an atheist for President. Violators of the first amendment run before fighting now. That kind of opinion shift doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Voices like yours are swaying the public’s perception. You are making a difference! Social change is ugly and painful, but you are forcing it successfully! Take as much time as you need to rest and recharge, because we need you! Thank you! You rock!

  17. Wayne says

    I missed you after noticing the absence after a couple weeks or so, wondered a bit then moved on… But so glad you’re doing well. Love the photos. Don’t forget to graduate! :p

  18. Shplane says

    I’m glad you’re doing what you need to make yourself feel better. Emotional turmoil fucking sucks.

    (Next time name your religion Atheism, to please our lord and master Atheismo.)

  19. Shaun says

    This was a way less depressing post when I thought the second sentence said “I haven’t been hit by a beer truck or mutated by my university”.

    It’s abhorrent to think that a movement that relies on people saying unpopular things in search of reality and the truth routinely displays such appalling hostility to people saying unpopular things in search of reality and the truth. Please be safe and keep up the good work, Jen.

    That looks like a hell of a vacation, too. I’m surprised Civ 5 let you have a life long enough to go on one.

  20. says

    Feel better soon Jen. The internet and it’s many problems/bullies will still be around anyway, so rest up and enjoy the summer :) this shit needs tackling, but not at the expense of your mental well-being.

  21. Candra Rain says

    I honestly don’t know how you, Greta, Rebecca, Ophelia, Ashley, Surly Amy and the others do it. Confronting the world with the real “you”, name and all, and facing the dregs of humanity every single day because of it.

    I’m de-lurking to thank you for what you and the others do and to express my admiration for your bravery in confronting issues that affect so many.

    Enjoy your time off.

    And, thank you.

  22. says

    I’m pretty sure you have a much thicker skin than I do – one reason why I can’t imagine tackling the heavy stuff that you do, especially the stuff that should be common sense but that some people just have to make into a big deal. My feelings get hurt sometimes just as a commenter!

    I appreciate your work, and I’m really glad that you are taking a well-deserved break. Looking forward to your return!

  23. Crimbly says

    Glad you’re enjoying yourself! There has been quite a bit of negativity on FTB lately – Thunderf00t; Greg Laden and Justin etc – so I can totally see where you’re coming from. Instead of frequenting FTB as a lurker I’ve been playing Borderlands and Shogun 2. :D

    Anyway – your blog’s great. I wish I could meet any of you at FTB but I live in the UK. The UK, as Mitt Romney astutely pointed out, has tiny houses in tiny villages, so I spent most of my days prostate with my head under a tiny roof, like some kind of latter-day Gulliver.

  24. Arctic Ape says

    I’m so jealous of the scenery! Those are definitely the best “Olympic pictures of 2012”, if you pardon the pun.

  25. Damian Hammontree says

    Glad you’re ok, and your taking a break is absolutely sane and reasonable. Hang in there, take care of yourself, get re-centered, be well. We’ll be here when you get back. :)

  26. Andy says

    You haven’t been enslaved by aliens? Hmmm… that sounds suspiciously like something an alien replicant would say.

  27. says

    I continue to be astounded at the level of intolerance within the ranks of people who should flat-fucking know better.

    Good to know you’re still out there, and remember:
    Illegitimi non carborundum.

  28. Peter says

    Taking a break from the craziness makes perfect sense. I certainly wish you well, and it appears that a LOT of other people do too. Whether or not you ever get back to regular blogging, you’ve made a difference, and in a good way.
    It might be worth pointing out that people don’t get venom aimed at them unless they’re saying something noteworthy.

  29. sharonhawkins says

    I’ve been reading FtBs for a while. Sorry you and the others have had to deal with a lot of crap. I just want you to know that I admire you tremendously. Not only are you an awesome student who is pursuing a difficult program, you are also publicly speaking about things that matter to you. You have done more to affect positive change than the majority of people out there.

    SO … for those who are just asshats, they are not worth any of your time.

    For people who have constructive things to say, they are worth considering.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, take plenty of you-time, and I hope you can find a way to get back to doing what you are passionate about. I recommend kitty snorgling for a boost in mental wellness.


  30. Unbeliever says

    OK, that pic of you and Sean is Just Too Cute.

    As in, we need some kitty pictures just to tone down the cute.

    Glad to hear that, if we have to be deprived of Blag Haggery, at least it’s for a good cause.

    Use that solar energy to charge yourself back up; we’ll still be here when you do…

  31. Aral says

    Glad to hear all is going well; I had just assumed that His Noodliness had seen your sagacity and great sufferings in the Pastafarian cause and had elevated you to His Rightmost Noodle, but a sanity break with grad school (and you know it’s been bad when grad school is a sanity break!) and wonderful camping also works.

    Be well, and take as much time as you need – your loyal minions fans will still be here.

  32. alwaysanswerb says

    I hope your break has been serving you well. I really identified with this:

    I understand that you always have to deal with some level of shit when you’re trying to change minds. But I’m human. This blog is a hobby for me. I logged into WordPress and opened up Google Reader everyday to express myself, connect with people, and have fun – not to feel hopeless, worthless, angry, and scared for my personal safety. But with the current atmosphere of the atheist/skeptic movement, the latter is how I’ve been feeling.

    Best of luck getting your mind back in order — I enjoy your posts and look forward to seeing more of them again soon!

  33. Sandiseattle says

    Glad yer back. Sad it got so bad you felt the need to break away. I just assumed you were busy in real life. Looking forward to your new entries.

  34. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    Hey Jen,
    Blog when you feel it. I enjoy reading your posts and will check back periodically, but real life, staying safe and keeping mental equanimity are far more important than entertaining strangers on the “intertubes”. I know you are involved in school and causes that are important to you, and you can come back to blogging whenever your passion moves you.
    Good Luck!

  35. Gregory in Seattle says

    Next time, please sign off with a brief “Taking a mental health holiday, back in two weeks.” We worry.

  36. Georgia Sam says

    Jen, you have my totaal sympathy. I could never put up with the bullshit myself. I’m glad you’re taking a break rather than quitting altogether. Nice pictures, too.

  37. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The UK, as Mitt Romney astutely pointed out, has tiny houses in tiny villages, so I spent most of my days prostate with my head under a tiny roof, like some kind of latter-day Gulliver.

    In contrast with Romney, who spends all his days with his head under his prostate.

  38. bcoppola says

    I was a little concerned and even prepared to feel sorry for you. But now that you’ve posted the pics of the incredibly beautiful place where you are hiking and camping with your beloved all that has been replaced by RAGING BLIND JEALOUSY!!!11!1!

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