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Random yet winding up on a soapbox anyway [Jun. 1st, 2012|09:16 am]
The weather this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. For Virginia in late spring. I only have to qualify that because for a Renaissance Faire, gorgeous would be more like 68 degrees than 78, but I will take 78 and not terribly humid after last weekend’s 90 degrees and fat man’s armpit humid.

I’m taking it as an apology from the universe. Because seriously, the universe owes me an apology. Really. Go test someone else, please, I need an expletive break. I’m not even going to BREED, so it’s not like this is for the betterment of even the species. You’re just dicking with me and you need to lay off before I get testy.


I’ve finally stopped sweating. If by sweating I mean grease oozing out my pores. That’s my “you don’t LOOK that old” secret…I sweat like butter: water and oil in equal proportions. I found some 3x4 inch blotting papers at Target, for which I’m grateful – but really think I need this product to come in large sheets, and on a roll, like paper towels. There is no question why my geneline headed for northern regions. Our response to heat is to break out in acne and grease up like a teenager in full throes of pubescence. It is NOT pretty in a fifty year old. Nor is it easy to concentrate when every fifteen minutes you become keenly aware that your nose, forehead and cheeks are glistening like some ignorant college freshman slicked up with baby oil to “get a good base” on the first warm day of spring. Blot, blot, blot, rustle, rustle, rustle…my co-workers have finally stopped asking me what the hell I’m doing over there in my cube. Of course, after hollering “blotting the oil slick that is my face” across the room, they’re not asking me about anything.

The first weekend I headed out to Faire, I was proud – despite all of the last minute, ten thousand things to remember and do and pack and…the lawn was mowed, the house was clean enough to come home Sunday and host a dinner party. The second weekend, it was still in pretty good shape. Some piles of things not put away yet were growing, but clean enough to come home and host friends who’d seen it worse. By now, I got the lawn done, but not weedwhacked, I’ve still got a dozen plants that need to be potted up, other than the grass the yard is totally out of control, there are dust wombats sneering from the corners of the stairway, I turned on the ceiling fan in the living room and for a minute it looked as if the room was filled with jellyfish. If jellyfish were made of cathair. A week ago, I pulled something off a shelf in the downstairs bathroom and a box of lightbulbs fell off the shelf and shattered on the floor. I just closed the door and am using the upstairs bathroom. I could now host friends whose homes are generally in an equal state of squalor and unlikely to judge. And we’d have to get takeout because the state of dairy in my house is curdled, vegetables are frozen only, and I’m pretty sure that any allium in the house is sprouting and setting roots in the bottom of my pantry. The faire should come sliding into its end right before whichever county agency is in charge of condemning domiciles arrives.

It’s twice now…that completely unrelated groups of people, who had never met me before – friends of friends at one function or another – have struggled to think of who I remind them of, and have arrived at Helen Mirren. I’ll admit, I don’t see it, myself. Unless they’ve sussed out that yes, I could probably rock the older chick in a cocktail dress firing an automatic weapon on a tripod scene. (Although not being able to name said weapon tarnishes THAT street cred a bit) And I could focus on the fact that she’s 17 years older than I am (one woman at the last occasion someone said that, smacked the speaker and said but Helen Mirren is an old lady, she’s like 70-something! Actually 66, but I know, when you’re twenty-something…) but I don’t know that I still wouldn’t be proud to look that good. I’m thinking, though, it’s the pursed lips and disapproving hairy eyeball that we have in common. I’ll take that. It sure beats looking “just like that cashier at the Wheaton Giant” which is the only other “you remind me of someone” I’ve ever gotten more than once.

I have always found the Anne Geddes baby pictures creepy. And not just because I find babies creepy. This link is awesome. (But if you have no idea who/what Anne Geddes is…pause and google a bit, otherwise you won’t fully GET the following:


And then she stopped being funny.

By she, I mean me, not Anne Geddes, who might be a wonderfully funny person, who knows. There are people who choose to spend that much time with babies who are still fun to be around. Once they put the babies away, of course. She might be one of them. But that wasn’t my point.

I haven’t had a lot of time to post, but I have had a lot of time to think (Friday afternoon/night drive down 95 south in Virginia anyone?) and the problem I’ve got here is that the funny is fleeting, so by the time I steal an hour (like today, lunch at my desk just so that I can exercise these dormant parts of my brain before they eat me alive) I’m not left with much funny, only the fruits…or vegetables…of serious pondering about stuff. And I’ve got a bunch of them, although still on the fence how much belongs here. But still – I’m at the age, and stage, of my life where my natural inclination to think about why I (and others) do the stuff I do/think the stuff I think has become extremely dominant. I suspect it’s the bad knees. The time to exceed at swimming fast, throwing myself and a horse at a fence, even kicking some semi-pro badminton butt…has clearly passed; I can enjoy it, but really I’m not going to get any better at it. And my weekday life and weekend life have both given me lots of opportunities to delve back into cognition, behavior, effective management, counseling and other areas of interest that just seem particularly relevant to the next decade or so of my life.

But self-examination, while necessary to self, is not necessarily interesting to others, so behind the cut we go. And I won’t blame you for not being (And yes, that WAS several paragraphs and many dozens of words when I started to segue into the LJ cut…brevity, another thing I will probably never get better at, although I can’t blame that one on the knees. Maybe if I kneeled while I wrote….) I know sometimes people get a little impatient because I like to review the entire thought process behind a decision – the “why”. And we all know succinct is something I can spell, but not be. And while I’d drag the ol’ nugget “the unexamined life is not worth living”, well, for starters, I don’t know that it worked out so well for Socrates, and I can devil’s advocate my way into believing that being self-ignorant still beats being dead…

But I digress.

Total oversharer. That’s me. But it’s usually related to the funny…or the weird…or the awkward. Community service, I’m all about it – making YOU feel less dumb, or weird, or awkward, in comparison to me. Plus, I love the face that people make sometimes when I say things, and I’m pretty sure that the moment of tension when I’ve said something…and most of the people in the room don’t know what to do with it…maybe there’s a stress pheromone that people give off, maybe it’s just my idea of humor, but I’m pretty sure it triggers a flood of oxytocin in my brain. If the Germans don’t have a word for that moment, that specific tension, they should. Although I’m pretty sure it’s the Dane in me that does it.

Coming out as an atheist, though, not so funny or weird…and while I hate to use “coming out”, it seems to have a closer meaning to reality than “admitting” or ‘openly stating” or “labeling myself”….okay English SUCKS at coming up with new words for complicated thoughts.

But whatever. I bring it up more often than I ever have. Which grates on my ears a bit. Because I’m not about belonging. I’m curiously absent of any need to have membership in any group of any kind or proclaim myself as anything.

But here is what I’ve learned on my 49 revolutions around the sun: people fear the thing they don’t know. And it takes a certain level of ignorance and determination to continue to fear and hate a group of people once you’ve worked and lived cheek to jowl with them and seen that really, except for that thing that makes them different, they are just as smart, dumb, crazy, sane, fun, boring, whatever, as you are. That whatever you thought was making them different from you…is actually less important to you than whether they are a Star Wars or Star Trek fan.

So, I’m tired of people thinking that atheists are a group of crazy people determined to eradicate all mention of God at all times. Look, atheists have their Westboro Baptist Church. Any group of people of any size, always has their Westboro Baptist Church – those folks at the fringe who take it too far, too extreme, too crazy, and give everyone else a bad name. Seriously, the vast majority of atheists really could give a rat’s patoot that God’s on the dollar. Or that you want to believe that wafer turns into the body of Christ. Whatever. Just like most Christians are fine with birth control and civil marriage rights, despite what the fringe activists would have you believe. But we’re starting to get a little agitated as we watch separation of church and state get all fuzzy. When not only our rights, but also the rights of other people who may have faith, but maybe not the majority faith, get trampled. When we watch respect for science and knowledge erode. For Expletive’s sake, people, we’re living the Scopes trial…AGAIN. All over the country. Not because suddenly the majority thinks that evolution is bull excrement, but because good people are sitting by and letting an impassioned, ignorant few drive the damn bus. So, yeah, suddenly it’s less about quietly going about my nonbeliever business and maybe getting a little agitated about reminding people that actually, God is a recent addition to the pledge of allegiance. And this nation wasn’t founded by Christians. And that not only is there not a shred of evidence that humans and dinosaurs co-existed, but plenty that says they couldn’t have. And the Bible as inspirational literature is fine – but as a rulebook for daily living, taken literally – by gum, you’d better take it ALL literally and spit out that piece of bacon, Bubba.

And yes, when I hear friends and people that I respect say things like “Well, an atheist has no moral code, without God” or “Atheists are selfish and don’t do anything for their community” that’s when I realize that in most people’s minds Atheists are “Others”. So, fine. Time to do my small part – here, here I am, a strong moral code, with most of my spare time invested in community service, helping others, saving animals, voting, and yes, being supportive of my friends’ faith and beliefs…as much as I’m supportive of anything, admittedly, but that’s not atheism, that’s just me.

I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate – and I’m not about to become an activist. But I’m done with quietly standing by and saying nothing…letting people believe that atheists are some evil tribe who won’t be satisfied until faith has been completely wiped out, and that it’s impossible to be a good person without a faith of some kind. If all I can do is make it a little bit harder for people to really believe that bullshit, then progress. You do what you can.

[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-06-01 01:56 pm (UTC)
FWIW, I told pyllgrum a long time ago that you reminded me of Helen Mirren. She also has that blonde edgy broad get the fuck out of my way if you can't handle it have a tissue and there's your corner sit/stay sorta look.

Sorry we're missing you this year. I know you understand but I still feel the need to apologize.

and now back to MY corner
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-06-01 02:59 pm (UTC)
yeah, well, you stop apologizing and I'll stop feeling guilty for not bringing a dish/social occasion to you to make it easier to socialize. Deal?
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-06-01 03:41 pm (UTC)

btw - on a totally unrelated note - I discovered why I hated salmon all those years. As soon as I mentioned strong smelling and chewy pyllgrum figured it out. Overcooked.

Now to figure out how to cook it myself (we had frozen salmon burgers that were quite tasty) and I'll be a happy Easterner.
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-06-01 02:24 pm (UTC)
"...you’d better take it ALL literally and spit out that piece of bacon, Bubba." No shit- and take off that mixed fiber clothing, too, yes, the poly fleece as well. Grrr!
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[User Picture]From: russell_moore
2012-06-01 02:27 pm (UTC)
I find the bible thumpers trying to force me to believe their way is the only way and if I don't believe that, I am unclean, unfit, and will burn in hell way more inappropriate than anyone else when it comes to religion ... and with them now joined at the hip with politicians, they seem to be everywhere these days

and isn't the whole "freedom of religion" thing supposed to be just that? the freedom to choose your own religious path without being forced into one by others?

seems not only are they generally inappropriate but also hypocrites

so rock on however you see fit
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[User Picture]From: pyratelady
2012-06-01 03:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, the idea that atheists have no moral code is such utter steaming bullshit.

Who do I respect more? People who choose to be and do good because it's good, or because they believe that the Big Bad Bully upstairs will send them* to hell if they aren't good? No contest.

*And that's not even really accurate. They don't really believe they're going to hell. They take great comfort in the belief that thems whot's not like thems (i.e. godless heathens) are going to hell and they are not.
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[User Picture]From: dawntreader90
2012-06-01 07:30 pm (UTC)
i never thought of it exactly this way. for some this is sooooooo true. you just want to say, "you missed the point thar."

but since they missed it the first time around, they would still keep missing it.
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-06-01 03:44 pm (UTC)
Morality has nothing to do with a chosen belief system or abandoment thereof.

If that were the case, we wouldn't have the Catholic Church in hot water and the rest.

Besides Atheists don't use screaming "you're going TO HELLLLLLLL" as a valid argument
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[User Picture]From: ginger_rose
2012-06-01 07:23 pm (UTC)
Dug this up from a post a long time ago -- it was very helpful in getting a clearer view of morality without god:


Enjoy ;) (no offense to the believers out there; this just helped me sort some stuff out when I was departing from the fundicapped faith I was mired in)

Edited at 2012-06-01 07:25 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-06-01 08:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, if only I had saved the thread of the debate I had with a medieval theology doctoral student -- the topic was "Can you have morality without God". Oh, there were several of us on the thread (back in the day, when to have a long-distance debate/discussion with friends, you had to send out an e-mail launching it...then wait for someone to reply to all...then the next person could reply to all...and a kilobyte was HUGE) but almost everyone stepped back when Steve and I got going. My stance was, and is, that morality is actually nothing more noble than an evolutionary survival strategy. Oh, if only I had the data then, that we have now! I was theorizing - but now we've all sorts of studies showing clear altruistic behavior in animals, as well as pack/troop members "teaching" "moral" behavior.

But religion is definitely a way of codifying morality way more efficient and effective than relying on parents and other tribe members to reinforce it. Albeit, open to grave errors of interpretation....

Interesting times!
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[User Picture]From: dawntreader90
2012-06-01 07:36 pm (UTC)
LOL #1 "I’m thinking, though, it’s the pursed lips and disapproving hairy eyeball that we have in common. I’ll take that."

LOL #2 the Baby Manifesto. "How many adults must walk through farmers markets, shaken to tears by the sight of a ripe fall pumpkin on a wooden wagon, before we stanch the flow of newborn models toward Geddes’ potato factory?" omg. and YESS!!!!! those pictures creep me out. i'm not big on babies either, but sleeping babies are fine. they don't make noise. but HER sleeping babies look ... we'll say drugged.
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[User Picture]From: skivee
2012-06-05 06:17 am (UTC)
I could see the Helen Mirren thing.
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