Archive for category Me

Old Fart Running

This is about my skill level
By Valentin Shustov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Well, attempting to run. Jog. Shuffle. Move along the sidewalk powered by my two feet. Whatever you want to call it, I did it today. This isn’t quite as shocking as it sounds. A few years ago I attempted the Couch-to-5k program and got several weeks into it. I don’t really remember why I stopped. Probably life. At any rate, I turned 41 a week or so ago, I have diabetes and I weigh over 200 lbs, so I needed to do something or I was going to die*. So I bought some new running shoes, re-downloaded the app onto my phone, and hit the road.

I figured that blogging about it would generate some public shaming accountability and encourage me to keep at it. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve been called shameless before.

The good news is I survived. Did less than half the piddly runs and walked the rest of the way, but I did it the whole time. So there’s that.

* Someday. Not next week or anything, in case you were worried.

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Hold on to your butts

Tumbling tumbleweed By EriKolaborator (Own work) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APlantaRodadora.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

Tumbling tumbleweed By EriKolaborator (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been four years since I fired up the old editor and wrote a blog post. That’s 3.57 centuries in internet years. Anyone who used to read this site is probably dead and gone by now. Tumbleweeds blowing across this once fertile cyber-land (do people still prefix things on the internet with cyber-?). I’ve excavated the site from the grave, reanimating its mummified remains, in order to bring you more crap that flows from my head.

Get ready.

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Veteran’s Day

This is the same thing I posted on my Tumblr

My father was an Army Specialist during Vietnam. His father was a Corpsman in the Pacific during WWII. My grandfather’s ship was sunk and he was taken prisoner. He survived a little stroll known as the Bataan Death March. Regardless of my own personal dislike of the way the corrupt political machine running the USA uses the military, I fully support the individual soldiers and recognise the tremendous sacrifice they’ve made. I hope that a day such as Veteran’s Day would be used to honor their service and to promote the cause of better health care and treatment of those soldiers returning from service, both physical and mental. Our government sent these people to the brutality of war, it is only right that they do everything they can to support them once they return.

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Why I’m embarrassed to admit that we homeschool our kids

Being a skeptical, secular homeschooling parent is a tough gig these days. If you don’t want to stay isolated in your basement with your kids, it’s important to find a local homeschooling group. They can provide field trips, educational opportunities, support and resources. They can also provide the lulz.

We belong to a local group that maintains a strong secular focus. They will not allow posts on “potentially controversial topics” such as religion or politics. While I’m all for freedom of speech, some places have to be provided as safe zones where a narrow focus needs to be maintained. And in this group, educating our children is our focus. It is not a place to get bogged down in flame wars about Right vs Left or Jesus vs Zeus (Zeus would totally kick Jesus’ butt in a cage match. One word: lightning bolts (I know, it’s two words. Deal) Just sayin’).

I was going somewhere with this, I swear. Oh, yeah, the lulz. Sometimes a gem slips through the moderation cracks, like this post that just came through. It has to be shared; it is a moral imperative.

The post reads as follows:

Defending your Christian Faith in a Secular World Class For Home School Middle and High School Students
35 week class
Beginning in September 12, 2011 – May 21, 2012
Day: Monday 3:00-4:30 (meet once a week)
Cost: $10.00/ per class; paid one month in advance
Location: Crossings Community Church
Teacher: Mrs. Joanne Whitaker – New Life Christian Certified Teacher and BA Psychology / Education* Home Schooling for 8 years (2003- present )

Wow. Just, wow. As humorous as this is in and of itself, it gets better. Here’s the justification for the need for such a class.

Survey Data from Barna Research Group and USA Today

Most teens and young adults will reject their Christian faith after leaving high school and attending college. Christian Apologist, Frank Turek at crossexamined.org gives the following reasons why Christian youth in America are leaving the church:

• 70-75% of Christian youth leave the church after high school and Intellectual skepticism is one of the major reasons they walk away.
• Most Christian students are not equipped to resist rabidly anti-Christian college professors who are intent on converting their students to Atheism.
• College professors are five times more likely to identify themselves as atheists than the general public.
• More than half of all college professors view Evangelical Christian students unfavorably
• The “new atheists” — Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens — are writing books and are growing in popularity.

The reason for this exodus is that Christian youth in America are not being taught to cross examine the skeptical and atheistic views they encounter when they leave home and attend college classes and also socialize with Non Christians who have a Worldview opposed to a Christian Worldview

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

OH NOEZ! Dem evil athiests be WRITING BOOKS! TEH HORRORZ!

Ahem. Pardon the outburst. I was just terrified for a moment about those Non Christians and their Worldview. Ok, actually it was the Random Capitalization that really frightened me. But seriously, these pious kids are having to “…reject rabidly anti-Christian college professors who are intent on converting their students to Atheism”? I didn’t realize that they were all going to have PZ Myers as a prof 😛 And Yahweh forbid that they encounter  “…skeptical and atheistic views” out in the big bad world! They might just adopt some of that there “Intellectual skepticism” and then the church would really be fucked, wouldn’t it?

Because they want to attract as many lemmings zombies cult members followers as possible, they’ve graciously provided us with the curriculum that will be used in this stellar example of Christian Apologetics.

Class Description

Christian apologetics – is that branch of Christianity that deals with answering any and all critics who oppose or question the revelation of God in Christ and the Bible. It can include studying such subjects as biblical manuscript transmission, philosophy, biology, mathematics, evolution, and logic. But it can also consist of simply giving an answer to a question about Jesus or a Bible passage. The latter case is by far the most common and you don’t have to read a ton of books to do that.

Nope, you only gotta read one book. But it’s a good book, don’t ya know!

For the Apologetic portion of this course, I will be utilizing Josh and Sean McDowell videos. I will also include Summit Ministries Understanding the Times which consists of explaining Worldview such as learning about other religions, Postmodernism, Secular Humanism, Marxism, Atheism, Agnostic, and other various views that oppose Christianity. The third resource in teaching Apologetics is I will provide Scientific facts that rebuke Evolution using Does God Exist? Kit: Building the Scientific Case (TrueU) by Stephen Meyer produced by Focus on the Family.

Ooooooh, not just scientific facts but “Scientific facts”! Who knew that thousands of hours of research, observation, genetic  and fossil evidence could be rebuked by a Kit you can buy? From a hate group called Focus on the Family no less!

Creation vs. Evolution, The Big Bang Theory, Intelligent Design – I will be utilizing Darwin’s Dilemma DVD by Stephen Meyer, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron Evolution DVD (The Way of the Master), and other various resources to give concrete evidence so students can defend their faith to support Creation and rebuke Evolution.

Mrs Whittaker, did you… I mean… you actually are going to show this with a straight face? Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron? Srsly? I mean, c’mon, the banana? The epitome of intelligent design? I literally busted out laughing at this. This has got to be a poe, right?

Furthermore, utilizing Dr. Kent Hovind and Eric Hovind – beginning in 1989, Dr. Hovind’s ministry continues to grow as he has spoken more than 900 times each year in public and private schools, churches, university debates, and on radio and television broadcasts. His humorous, fast-paced, illustrated seminars provide documented evidence against the unscientific theory of evolution that goes against Scripture. The information presented concerning dinosaurs in the Bible (including a few that are living today) reflects his extensive study in the field of Crypto zoology. Dr. Hovind’s mission is to strengthen the faith of believers, to confound and to convince the evolutionists, and to win the lost to Christ.

Apparently grammar is not critical to “confound and convince the evolutionists”. Neither is obeying the law. And I gotta say, I had no idea these loons were delving into “Crypto zoology” to back up their ridiculous claims, though I suspect they really mean cryptozoology. Did you know Mr and Mrs Bigfoot were on the Ark? It’s true, I read it in the bible. Or something.

I know, this is getting tl;dr, but it’s just so chock full of goodies I can’t help myself!

Christian Psychology – My major in college was Psychology; therefore I am going to educate the class on the theories and theorists that they will be learn about in college; however using a Christian perspective. The various areas of Psychology will include: Behavior; Nature, Nurture, and Human Diversity, Developing Through The Life Span, Personality, Thinking and Language, Intelligence, Social Psychology, Perception, Learning, Emotion. Many of the theories are Atheistic and we will be discussing; the difference between a Secular World view and Christian View of each theory. Psychology, Science, and History are the main courses that require students to defend their faith.

Again, grammar and sentence structure are NOT important for defending your faith in an imaginary sky daddy who loves dead babies and foreskins.

Hey, did you know that “Personality, Thinking and Language, Intelligence, Social Psychology, Perception, Learning, Emotion” are Atheistic? You will after you take this course!

Ok, we’re in the home stretch now.

World Religions – we will be studying other religions so that we understand what others believe so that we can rebuke other religions and also witness to other people about Christianity. It is easier to witness when you know what other religions believe (Scientology, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc…)
[emphasis mine]

In conclusion, after completing this course students will be able to attend college and defend their faith instead of questioning it or even turning away from it.

Home School Students will receive ½ semester High School Psychology Credit and a ½ semester Bible Credit for taking this class – both elective credits

I would SO love to go to this class but I know that I wouldn’t be able to keep my smart-ass mouth shut. Besides, I’m probably already blackballed  by this homeschool group for previous transgressions. So if anyone wants to go and write about this, I’ll fork over the bucks and post your results here.

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Dragon*Con, baby!

A year ago, a man embarked on a quest of self-discovery. Introverted, anxiety-ridden me decided to confront his demons and went to Dragon*Con by himself, one of the largest sci-fi/fantasy/pop-culture cons in the country. There, he braved the scourge of social anxiety and successfully defeated it. If by defeat one counts cowering in a corner of a hallway between tracks and silently tweeting about people instead of actually speaking to them. Still, it gave him a sense of what could be and encouraged him to become what he had feared most: a social creature.

Fast-forward to today. Throw in some anti-anxiety meds and a good deal more self-confidence and a very different CyberLizard is heading to Dragon*Con. I have been introduced to the joys (and pains) of Joss Whedon’s creations; I can sing along with Dr. Horrible. I am a Level 13 Jive Pillager. I have slain an archdemon. I converse casually (electronically) with astrophysicists, authors, adult performers and sex workers, computer geeks, gaming geeks, musician geeks. I have debated, mocked and ridiculed purveyors of woo and confronted theistards who strive to deprive people of their rights.

I have lost some friends due to their lack of support and understanding of some life choices I have made and my beliefs (or lack thereof). I have made a great many more new friends. The love in my life has increased exponentially in the past year. I feel fantastic.

So on that note, I’m going back to Dragon*Con this year. Wifey is coming too, as is my Day-glo Pterodactyl. Unfortunately, my Canuckistanian sweetie and my PGFB will not be there, but they can live the event vicariously, digitally, through me. As can you, right here and on Twitter (<subliminal>follow @CyberLizard</subliminal>).

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What should I write about?

Seriously, I have no idea and I’m completely unfocused. There are tons of things I want to pontificate on, but I can’t seem to break through the thought patterns that tell me that it’s all been said, much better than I can, by other people. So if there are still subscribers to this lonely feed that have even a smidgeon of interest in my peculiar (and perverted) point of view, give me a shout in the comments. Tell me what you want to hear about: Atheism? Sex? LEGO? Politics? LEGO minifig politicians having sex with atheists? Or maybe I should turn this into an advice blog: Ask the CyberLizard…  Heehee! That would be fun! I could really screw with peoples’ heads that way! Mwahahahahaha!

Ahem. Anyway.

Let me know. Even if what you want to hear is silence. Because then I’ll know I’m really ticking people off by blogging!

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Follow me at your own peril

A friend of mine (@Joreth) posted the following as a series of tweets. It really resonated with me and is going to serve as a model for my standard disclaimer.

if my opinions here insult or offend you, you’re better off not following me. I will not say anything here I wouldn’t say to your face…

but I probably won’t say it unless you ask because we have to work together & it does no good for me to create a hostile work environment

However, if I compliment you or say something nice, it will always be sincere & I am not being two-faced.

I can like & even admire someone while thinking certain beliefs are silly

If you’re content to agree to disagree at work, then so am I. I won’t get in your face unless you insult me at work first 🙂

Feel free to make fun of me in your own online spaces, just be civil at work & don’t sabotage anyone’s career just for personality conflicts

I would extend this beyond the workplace. Actually, I’ve never had any conflicts at work as a result of things that I’ve posted or positions I’ve taken online. No, I think this applies more to some of my IRL friends and family.

It seems perfectly logical to take this position. There are a large number of people in the world with whom I will never share certain values and/or beliefs. That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. It doesn’t even mean we can’t be good friends. It just means that there are certain venues where I express myself in ways that you probably won’t like. I don’t go visiting your church, trolling for things you say there that I disagree with. My twitter stream and my blog are spaces where I express myself, good and bad, happy and angry. They are not places where I spout socially accepted aphorisms and conform to the “appropriate” mode of behaviour.

That said, I’m not apologising at all for my values, nor am I going to sit down and shut up about them. There are things that I care passionately about and I’m going to talk about them, possibly in a number of venues. If you are uncomfortable with that or with the things that I say, I would suggest that those might be subjects where you’d want to think past your knee-jerk reaction and see what’s really causing your reaction. It may very well be that we just fundamentally disagree on things. OTOH, you might just find that my hyperbole and vicious language may expose an underlying bias or insecurity in your own thinking that could use some pondering. At the very least, you will have thought about it rather than just reacting. And that’s a Good Thing ™, right?

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Profound Absurdity

I left this comment on my friend Tall Penguin’s blog in response to her musings on the absurd nature of her life:

Absurdity and over-the-top awesomeness seem to be major themes in my life right now, while simultaneously being incredibly profound and meaningful. All that stardust coalescing over billions of years has led to this? How fantastically absurd and amazing! I can honestly say that I love my life 😀

I don’t usually go on in great detail about my personal life here. I’m much more comfortable snarking at the religiotards or railing against stupidity. But sometimes I will stop, take a hard look at my life and say, “You know what? Life is pretty fan-fucking-tastic! How in the hell did I end up here?!” Where ‘here’ is this astounding place where I am loved and where I love.

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Ignore the previous post

Yeah, that’s right. Ignore it. Everything is fine. And dandy. Along with peachy and keen. So don’t sweat it, your conduit to the stuff falling out of my brain remains intact.

Also, boys and girls, always remember:

I see you masturbating

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Dragon*Con 2009 Recap

So I went to this little shin-dig in Atlanta last weekend; a little something called Dragon*Con!

Per their web site:

Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US.

In other words, it’s a geek nexus, where Star Trek redshirts rub elbows with Star Wars stormtroopers while steampunkers and vampires look on. It’s loaded with tons of panels covering everything from Hello Kitty/Wolverine mashup fanfiction to how to make your Twilight sparkle more realistic. The panels are organized into tracks covering common topics. But even more cool is that there are tracks covering science fact as well as science fiction. Robotics, science and space were some of the covered areas.

Skeptrack!

Skeptrack!

The track where I spent most of my time, however, was the Skeptrack, featuring panels made up of such skeptical luminaries as Dr. Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy blog), Dr. Pamela Gay (here’s her summary of the con) and the Dr’s Novella of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe.  The Skepchicks were well represented, as well as a bunch of other awesome bloggers and podcasters.

I decided to start the trip off right by going out the day before Dragon*Con started and attending a Star Party hosted by Dr’s Phil Plait and Pamela Gay. It was held at the Bradley Observatory on the Agnes Scott College campus. The event was sponsored by the Atlanta Skeptics benefiting the American Cancer Society. The fundraiser was in honor of Jeff Medkeff, also known as the Blue Collar Scientist. Jeff succumbed to liver cancer in August 2008.

Through this blogging thing and hanging out on Twitter, I’ve gotten to virtually know quite a few people, several of whom were attending Dragon*Con. It was at this party that I got to meet my first virtual friend in person;

Surly Amy!

Surly Amy!

Surly Amy of the Skepchicks! After finally managing to screw up my confidence to the point where I could overcome an acute attack of social anxiety, I was able to introduce myself. Fortunately, I survived the traumatic experience of speaking to people and went on to have a great time. It was terrific to see Amy’s jewelry in person. I got to hear fantastic talks by Dr. Plait and Dr. Gay and then I got to see Jupiter for the first time with my own eyeball through a telescope. I could even see the cloud bands! How cool is that?

The next few days were an exercise in complete sensory overload. All memories are getting mushed together. I was prepared for this, however, and took notes summarizing what I did.

But you’ll have to come back tomorrow to hear more exciting tales of CyberLizard at Dragon*Con!

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