I am a geek


1. I just bought this:I love Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, dinosaurs, and surrealism. How could I not resist?

2. Next weekend I’m going to PAX Prime, the ginormous gamer festival that’s the brain child of the guys who make the webcomic Penny Arcade. When I say ginormous, I mean ginormous – over 60,000 people have attended in the past. I’m a huge video game geek and haven’t been to any sort of geeky convention since ACen in high school, so I’m looking forward to it. The tournaments haven’t been announced yet, but I’m hoping at least something I’m good at will pop up. Mario Kart plz? Or if we’re going esoteric, Pokemon Puzzle League?

And unlike the poor shmucks who are flying in and have to deal with hotel, transportation, and food confusion, I can just hop on my same ol’ bus to downtown! Huzzah!

Upon further reflection, I just realized I’ve been reading Penny Arcade for over 10 years now. I feel old.

3. I became overly excited when I found out that there’s an unofficial Pokemon League taking place during PAX. Yeeessssss! Time to tweak my party in Pokemon White, charge my DS, and prepare to get my ass kicked. Seriously, I’m great at in-game battles, but I’ve never played competitively. People get pretty hard core about Pokemon. IV breeding and EV training lolwut?

If you’re going and can hunt me down in the crowd of 60,000, feel free to challenge me to a battle (or say hello, if you’re not a Pokemon geek like I am). I’m sure I’ll be tweeting the whole time, making con-stalking even easier.

4. Speaking of Pokemon… I’m currently constructing my cosplay as Hilda from Pokemon White:Don’t judge.

I have to give a shout out to my mom, who’s dealing with my geekery. I made her hunt through my old bedroom for my Burger King Pokeballs (which apparently suffocated small children) and mail them to me to complete the costume. Now I’m just trying to hunt down some cheap boots and a hat that I can alter with pink paint. May have to give up on a pink purse. EDIT: Boots and purse acquired at thrift store! Now just for the hat, shoelaces, and wrist band thingies. I AM GOING TO BE SO COOL.

5. And if that’s not enough, I just bought my ticket to Geek Girl Con in October.

I am in geek heaven.

I think he takes landLORD a little too literally

It’s no secret that I hate my apartment. tl;dr I have no privacy, I’m getting ripped off on my electric bills (which he once refused to pay), I don’t have control over the heat or internet, and the place is infested with spiders. Seriously, I’ve killed about one a day since I moved in. Last night a hairy one CRAWLED ACROSS MY CHEST WHILE I WAS LAYING IN BED.

Sorry, my terror deserves all caps.

The upside to all of this is that I’m finally moving in two weeks. Hurray! I found a wonderful new place in Capitol Hill (not Washington DC, the Seattle neighborhood that’s filled with gays and hipsters and awesome food and bars). But that also means other people are checking out my apartment. I missed most of the viewings this weekend since I was in Omaha, but today one couple from out of state called me to ask how it was.

Thanks for giving my phone number out to random strangers, landlord.

Anyway, they were really nice, and I told them the truth about the place. I was in the same situation last year – moving from out of state and unable to find anything – and I wish I would have had someone to ask about the place (the current tenant had already moved out). When they asked if I felt comfortable here, I relayed the story about the time my landlord found out I was an evolutionary biologist and proceeded to debate me for twenty five minutes about how creationism was correct.

She paused. She said it wasn’t surprising, since he had made some anti-Catholic remarks at the end of their phone call, and that her husband was Catholic. And he had also asked them if they were church goers – they weren’t (like many Catholics?).

I shouldn’t be surprised that he was dumb enough to say anti-Catholic stuff on the phone, since he’s had no problem ranting to me about creationism or how horrible unions are. But the latter makes me wonder. Is it because of me? Is my landlord running around fretting that he has a Dirty Atheist living in his basement? It’s obvious if you look at my bookshelf or glance at my mail that arrives in our shared mailbox – lots of letters from the Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, and Planned Parenthood.

I better not see a fee for exorcisms or blessings come out of my security deposit.

The reason why you’re single

No, it’s not because you have reasonable standards of attraction and Seattle is just filled with ugly bitches who are deluded into thinking they’re prettier than they are.

It’s because you’re a self absorbed douchebag.

This seems like a brand of Nice Guy Syndrome, but slightly different. “Nice Guys” focus on how women don’t appreciate all of their nice acts, despite said nice acts being shallow manipulative ploys so Nice Guy can stick his dick in you, rather than genuine kindness, empathy, or respect. No, this seems like “Not Ugly Guy,” where he has reasonable standards of who he’s attracted to, but a city of over 500,000 people happens to be full of nothing but ugly women. Ugly, “dumpy” women who spend their free time sitting in (metaphorical) circle jerks talking about how pretty they are and concocting plans for tricking attractive men to stay in miserable relationships with them.

Slightly different, but there is a common denominator: Passive aggressiveness and pure delusion to avoid the possibility that you, Oh Perfect Penis Bearer, could have any sort of flaw.

It really boggles my mind how so many men can’t comprehend that the way to get a date is to treat women like human beings, rather than some monolithic hivemind or dungeon level that can be easily solved with a strategy guide. Or worse, an item they quite obviously deserve, despite being raging dickbags who can’t take a hint when their friends are saying they have too high of standards.

Translation: That’s the nice way of saying you don’t deserve the women you’re aiming for. Probably because you’re a raging dickbag whose justification for 13 years of singledom is blogging not-so-thinly-veiled misogyny.

Oh wait. I just disagree because I’m not pretty enough. Right. I always forget that.

EDIT: The author says he received a death threat because of his post. If this is true, that’s despicable. I hope it wasn’t any of my readers who did that, since we just got done talking about how that’s not okay. Shred someone’s arguments to pieces and point out their idiocy, but never threaten them.

Greta Christina in Seattle tomorrow!

The perpetually fabulous Greta Christina is coming to Seattle tomorrow! Well, technically she’s here now, but you don’t get to see her tonight unless you can stalk us down and figure out where we’re eating dinner (please don’t). But you can see her tomorrow at the event by the Seattle Atheists:

DATE: Saturday, August 6

TIME: 1:30 – 4:30 pm, including my talk, Q&A, and panel discussion

LOCATION: 2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave. S., Seattle, WA

TOPIC: What Can the Atheist Movement Learn From the LGBT Movement?

SUMMARY: The atheist movement is already modeling itself on the LGBT movement in many ways — most obviously with its focus on coming out of the closet. What else can the atheist movement learn from the LGBT movement… both from its successes and its failures?

COST: Free (donations accepted)

The panel discussion will be on women in the secular movement. I’ll be on it as well, along with some other local godless ladies. And snacks are usually provided at Seattle Atheist meetings. What more can you ask for – snacks and awesome atheist women!

I hope I’ll see you guys there!

Translating apartment hunting lingo

I’ve spent the last month trawling craigslist for a 2 bedroom apartment in Capitol Hill. Yes, my escape from the Apartment From Hell is nigh! While I haven’t found a replacement yet, I’ve learned a lot about what the various lingo on apartment ads really mean:

  • “Cozy” = Tiny
  • “Old world charm” = Ancient and falling apart
  • “Homey” = Ugly, probably wood paneling
  • “Basement” = I hope you’re under 6 foot tall and don’t have seasonal depression
  • “Near the bustling…” = Noisy
  • “Parking available on street” = Parking never available
  • “Unbeatable prices” = First floor apartment that will get broken into / Next to a fire station / Someone was murdered here
  • “Great location” = If you don’t leave the two block radius around your place
  • “Near Capitol Hill” = A 20 minute bus ride from Capitol Hill
  • “Beautiful” = Not in your price range

And if it seems perfect in every way…the landlord is probably crazy.

This is post 16 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

I’ve relocated!

The last two blogathons I was trapped in my apartment because I only had a desktop. Thankfully I have a laptop now so I’m free, free! I built up enough buffer time with posts that I was able to grab lunch at Ranchos Bravos (yes, mentioning it in an earlier post made me crave it). Now I’m settling into the corner of the awesome little coffee shop by my place:That drink is the reason I keep coming back here. $2.85 for a large everlasting iced coffee. How is it everlasting, you ask? The ice cubes are made of coffee, so as they melt, you get more coffee instead of a sad watered down drink. And they take a surprisingly long time to melt. Perfect for when someone needs a steady supply of caffeine for many, many hours.

Now the real trick will be to still have buffer time when I need to go back to my place.

This is post 15 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

My very own Creation Museum

Speaking of evolution denial in the Pacific Northwest, apparently someone thought I missed the creationist craziness from back home. They went and build me my very own creation museum, this time in Idaho! How…thoughtful.
What is the Northwest “Science” Museum?

What is the Vision?

The vision for this museum is to present a “Natural History” museum from a Biblical point of view. This museum would display similar exhibits to the well known natural history museums (i.e. Denver Museum of Nature and Science, American Museum of Natural History, Chicago Field Museum) but interpreted from a Biblical world view.

What is the purpose?

To lead people to a better understanding of God by viewing His creation. To show that creation science can explain the evidence we see in the world around us and that it is not just religion. The Museum is devoted to understanding and explaining origins, history and our present world as revealed by scientific discovery interpreted through the worldview of Biblical truth.

What is the Mission?

To share the everlasting gospel through God’s creation with people here in Treasure Valley, the entire Northwest, the entire United States, and regions beyond.

And of course, it has a fascination with dinosaurs:

Seriously, with all the dinosaur-loving creationists do, you’d think Jesus was martyred by velociraptor attack instead of a crucifix. Or was a velociraptor.

Honestly, it makes as much sense as what these “museums” are teaching.

(Via Friendly Atheist)

This is post 5 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

I’ve lost my appetite for Dick’s

Now that I have your attention…Dick’s Drive-In is a burger chain in Seattle. There’s one right by my house, and I was pestered incessantly to try it when I first moved here. I’m not sure what the fuss is about, because it’s woefully mediocre. I have a feeling it’s typical drunk food (in which case it would probably taste much better) or the product of years of childhood nostalgia. When I say I don’t really like Dick’s, Seattlites get kind of offended.

After they’re done giggling.

But now I have another reason to dislike Dick’s, not just because of their crummy cheeseburgers or stale fries or tiny (though undeniably delicious) milkshakes. James Spady, the owner of Dick’s, is also on the Board of Directors of the Discovery Institute, the Intelligent Design pedaling, evolution hating, intellectually dishonest shame of Seattle. Lovely.

Oh well. I didn’t need much more motivation other than taste to avoid Dick’s. Seriously, if I want cheap delicious food, why would I even walk past Rancho Bravos to get to Dick’s? Now I have even more motivation to stick to Mexican.

This is post 4 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Goddamn kids

I don’t believe in karma, but this is one of those moments when I wonder. I guess your lovely donations to keep me from flying to bufu nowhere (thank you!) after Skepticon tipped me over some cosmic balance. Because today I went outside to discover my car was no longer where I parked it.
Hoping I was having a senior moment and had really parked somewhere else, I walked all the way down my street and then up the adjacent one. No car to be found. But when I got back to my spot, I finally spotted a towing sign that I had failed to notice. Definitely better than my car being stolen, but not exactly great either.

Turns out my usual parking spot outside my apartment turned into a tow away zone because Saturday morning was the Wallingford Kiddies Parade. CURSE YOU, KIDDIES!

I’m kind of pissed though. There’s no special permit to park on my street, and I’ll often leave my car there for a week or two – I rarely use it. I parked there last Sunday, so the sign was put up after my car had been sitting there for a couple days. And I didn’t see the sign because, well, it was on the other side of my car. It’s not visible from the entrance of my apartment or the path I take up the sidewalk. So, there goes $105.89. (EDIT: Damnit, I just realized that was for towing alone. I still owe another $42 for the ticket! Argrgrhghghggh!)

I can contest it, but I don’t know if I have any chance. They probably will tell me I should have been diligently checking around my car every day. But what if I had gone on vacation for a week? What if they decide to turn my parking spot into a towing spot while I’m in Vegas? It all just seems very stupid and unfair.

The cherry on top was that the lady at the towing service told me the wrong address, which resulting in my friend driving me all the way downtown before I called and realized we actually had to drive way north of Seattle. Blarrrgghh.

tl;dr #firstworldproblems #lifelessons #ThereGoesMyVegasBoozeMoney

Thank you for listening to me whine. Blag Hag will now resume it’s regularly scheduled programming.

Attention Seattle science fans!

The Department of Genome Sciences at UW (aka, mine!) is starting its summer public lecture series, Wednesdays at the Genome. Tonight is the first talk on “Recent adventures in human evolution” by Dr. Josh Akey. I did one of my lab rotations with Josh, and I can assure you it’ll be an interesting, fun presentation. Here’s some more info:

The UW Department of Genome Sciences played an important role in determining the sequence of the 3 billion letters of DNA specifying all of our hereditary information and is now one of the leading centers where the human genome is being interpreted and where new technologies for this analysis are being developed.

To share these advances with the public the Department of Genome Sciences hosts a ‘Wednesday Evenings at the Genome’ public lecture series each summer. These exciting discussions assume no background knowledge in genetics or other biological subjects and provide opportunities to chat with our presenters.

Presentations begin at 7:00 pm in the W.H. Foege Building Auditorium (S060) and will be followed by refreshments at 8:00 pm just outside the auditorium.

ADMISSION is free and the public is especially encouraged to attend!


• July 13 – Mike Bamshad – Confessions of the genome: solving rare disease mysteries

• July 20 – Elhanan Borenstein – Meet your tenants: A genomic tour of your inner microbial zoo

• July 27 – Harmit Malik – Paleovirology: ghosts and gifts from ancient infections

Hope you enjoy it!