Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A new ski resort!

New to me. Alpine Meadows has actually been around for 44 years.This is the view from the top of the Lake View lift. If you squint, you can see the slopes of another resort across Lake Tahoe - Diamond Peak (previously Ski Incline).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Church sign

This sign is in front of the church next to my gym. What a wonderful, loving god these people have. If you don't accept our loving god, YOU WILL BURN IN HELL FOR ETERNITY! Nice. They probably don't realize that their god would consign literally billions of people to hell. Do they realize how hateful that is, and what a completely evil god that would be? Do they care? Using fear tactics is always a good way to win over converts, too.

I'm currently reading godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker. Bill got it for me for Christmas :-) It's extremely interesting so far, but one of the things that struck me was something his mother said. She and his father were born again Christians who raised him in one of the Charismatic churches where they spoke in tongues, and "healed" people. Because of his explanations about why he didn't believe in God anymore both of his parents eventually became atheists.

Within weeks Mom concluded that religion was "just a bunch of baloney," as she told [a] reporter. She felt a "tremendously great disappointment in God." She began to do some reading and thinking of her own, and eventually started calling herself an atheist. "I don't have to hate anymore," she said happily.(emphasis mine)*
Doesn't my new phone takes good pictures, though!
*Pg. 58

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On misanthropy II

In a previous post I talked about how much I like to be alone.

This may be one reason why I've never had very many friends. Wherever I've lived, I've only had at most 3 really good friends at one time - sometimes just one or two. My son and Bill's daughter live for friends - especially Bill's daughter. She seems to think that the reason for going off to college is to make new friends. Hopefully in her case, some non-Christian ones, although that seems doubtful. The easiest place to find friends is apparently church. Especially when you need friends to help reinforce the supernatural bullshit they're feeding you. I always thought the reason for going off to college was to learn enough to eventually be able to get a good job.

I just don't understand the need for lots of friends, because I just don't have a need for lots of friends. It's a foreign concept to me.

The number of friends prior to high school with whom I have kept in contact

High school
One. My ex-husband, David. And honestly, although I'm very fond of him, we probably would have drifted apart if it weren't for William.

College (B.S.)
None. Never made any friends.

Job during college
Two. Claire and Carol, the husband and wife for whom I worked, although I haven't seen them since my wedding. They actually went to both my weddings.

First job after college
One. Noel, although I haven't seen her since my wedding, either.

Graduate school (M.S.)
One. Kia. We keep in contact mainly via our blogs, although I have invited her to come skiing/boarding sometime...After January when the kids are all back in school and we have extra rooms would be good.

Graduate school (MBA)
None. Never made any.

State career
Several, but only two really good friends. M and M (I have three friends M. You might notice there isn't another name starting with M here. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent). UPDATE: I guess I should probably include Bill here. Oops.

Not quite random
Pete, because he has been David's significant other for 15 years and helped raise our son. And he's a really great guy.
I was just talking with Bill about the fact that I have a couple of friends that I worry about more than I worry about the kids.

Although some people might not agree, I am very much an introvert. I was one of those kids in school who was sometimes labeled "stuck up" because I was too shy to talk to many people. I've learned to be much more outgoing over the years, but I can still suddenly become awkward, even with friends. Some situations are stressful enough that I become physically ill later, although it took me years to connect the dots.

I find being in groups of people to be very stressful, sometimes even if I know some of the people. Bill and I went to a birthday party for the 1 year old child of a friend of ours (Ok, she's not on the list but we don't see her very often now that we don't work with her). There were lots of people there - mostly her relatives, and when we got home I said, "Whew. Well that was stressful, wasn't it?" Bill said,"No, not really. Why?" Hmm. Maybe it's just me. Booze helps.

Another time (eons ago) I had just gotten my first job after college, and David, William (then two) and I went to the holiday party. We were all leaning against the wall in a row, and as one of my new coworkers walked by, she exclaimed,"Look! A whole family of wallflowers!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Am I a hardcore atheist?

Short answer - yep. Friendly Atheist posted this list and asks how seriously you take your atheism. Things I've done are in bold.

1. Participated in the Blasphemy Challenge.
2. Met at least one of the “Four Horsemen” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) in person. Richard Dawkins - twice. And I have pictures to prove it
3. Created an atheist blog. Um. Yeah.
4. Used the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a religious debate with someone. Sort of. More just used the FSM in conversation.
5. Gotten offended when someone called you an agnostic.
6. Been unable to watch Growing Pains reruns because of Kirk Cameron. They still show Growing Pains reruns?
7. Own more Bibles than most Christians you know. Nope. Just one. I've tried to read it, but found it excruciatingly boring. No pun intended.
8. Have at least one Bible with your personal annotations regarding contradictions, disturbing parts, etc. I have trouble defacing any book. Even the Bible.
9. Have come out as an atheist to your family. Not really necessary as I wasn't raised in a religious household.
10. Attended a campus or off-campus atheist gathering. Atheists and Other Freethinkers. Nothing to do with a campus at all, though.
11. Are a member of an organized atheist/Humanist/etc. organization. The Brights, The Skeptics Society, the American Humanist Association.
12. Had a Humanist wedding ceremony. Two of them. I would have called them Secular, rather than Humanist, though.
13. Donated money to an atheist organization. Several.
14. Have a bookshelf dedicated solely to Richard Dawkins. No, but I have about 6 of his books.
15. Lost the friendship of someone you know because of your non-theism.
16. Tried to argue or have a discussion with someone who stopped you on the street came to my front door to proselytize. Jehovah's Witnesses, of course.
17. Had to hide your atheist beliefs on a first date because you didn’t want to scare him/her away.
18. Own a stockpile of atheist paraphernalia (bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc). And it keeps growing.
19. Attended a protest that involved religion.
20. Attended an atheist conference.
21. Subscribe to Pat Condell’s YouTube channel.
22. Started an atheist group in your area or school.
23. Successfully “de-converted” someone to atheism.
24. Have already made plans to donate your body to science after you die. After any usable parts are given away. Note to self - MAKE A WILL
25. Told someone you’re an atheist only because you wanted to see the person’s reaction.
26. Had to think twice before screaming “Oh God!” during sex. Or you said something else in its place. Unfortunately, "Oh Flying Spaghetti Monster!" or "Oh Invisible Pink Unicorn" just don't roll off the tongue very well.
27. Lost a job because of your atheism.
28. Formed a bond with someone specifically because of your mutual atheism (meeting this person at a local gathering or conference doesn’t count). Well, both Bill and I had a lot in common. Homosexual ex-spouses for one, but the both being atheists was a big part.
29. Have crossed “In God We Trust” off of — or put a pro-church-state-separation stamp on — dollar bills. No. Defacing US currency is a crime. I want to show people that atheists are good people, not feed their misconceptions.
30. Refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I recite all except the "Under God" part, and have done so since at least high school.
31. Said “Gesundheit!” (or nothing at all) after someone sneezed because you didn’t want to say “Bless you!”
32. Have ever chosen not to clasp your hands together out of fear someone might think you’re praying.
33. Have turned on Christian TV because you need something entertaining to watch.
34. Are a 2nd or 3rd (or more) generation atheist. 2nd. My father never really believed any religious bunk.
35. Have “atheism” listed on your Facebook or dating profile — and not a euphemistic variant. I have "atheist" on Myspace, but "Pastafarian" on Facebook.
36. Attended an atheist’s funeral (i.e. a non-religious service). I don't know if she was an atheist, but her funeral was certainly not religious.
37. Subscribe to an freethought magazine (e.g. Free Inquiry, Skeptic) Skeptic
38. Have been interviewed by a reporter because of your atheism.
39. Written a letter-to-the-editor about an issue related to your non-belief in God.
40. Gave a friend or acquaintance a New Atheist book as a gift.
41. Wear pro-atheist clothing in public.
42. Have invited Mormons/Jehovah’s Witnesses into your house specifically because you wanted to argue with them. Nope. Just talked to them outside the door. See #16
43. Have been physically threatened (or beaten up) because you didn’t believe in God.
44. Receive Google Alerts on “atheism” (or variants).
45. Received fewer Christmas presents than expected because people assumed you didn’t celebrate it.
46. Visited The Creation Museum or saw Ben Stein’s Expelled just so you could keep tabs on the “enemy.” No way. I wouldn't want to give either one my money.
47. Refuse to tell anyone what your “sign” is… because it doesn’t matter at all. I don't tell them because I can never remember it....because it doesn't matter at all.
48. Are on a mailing list for a Christian organization just so you can see what they’re up to…
49. Have kept your eyes open while you watched others around you pray.
50. Avoid even Unitarian churches because they’re too close to religion for you.

~21. Not bad.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On misanthropy

I've always enjoyed being by myself. I love just sitting alone and reading a book, messing about on the computer, or even taking a nap. I like going into the office really early, because there's nobody else around.

I've never minded going to restaurants alone. I just take a book. Once, while I was getting my degree in Indiana, my parents were in England, and my son was with his dad in California, I was alone for several weeks. I was working on my thesis, but I decided to take a break one night and go to Grindstone Charley's, a fairly nice restaurant. When I mentioned it later, my mother was shocked that I had gone to a restaurant alone. I, in turn, was shocked that she had never been to one by herself in her life.

I've also gone to movies alone several times. I went to a late-night showing of Jurassic Park when it was still in one of the huge domes of a Century Complex theater. I think they've since subdivided all those into smaller screens. There were three other people in a ~500 seat theater and they all sat down in the front. I had pretty much the entire theater to myself, so I sat back and put my feet up on the chair in front. When the velociraptor lunged for Laura Dern's feet as she was yanked up through the ceiling, I actually jerked my feet back. Embarrassed, I looked around but there was nobody to see....whew!

I used to ride horses a lot, and I loved going out with only the horse for company. My 3/4 Arab 1/4 quarter horse, Thalj Najmah and I would go out for hours just enjoying ourselves. I could talk to her, and I could justify it as not just talking to myself. She was always willing to do whatever I wanted, from suddenly taking off at a mad gallop to herding a neighbors wayward calf back through a hole in the fence (which probably looked odd with my English saddle and jodphurs, but hey)(did I mention I lived in Texas at the time?). I did have a few human friends, but if you ask me who my best friend was when I was a young teenager, I would have to say Najmah.

Now, most of the time I go skiing and ride my bicycle, I spend literally hours alone, and surprisingly to me, find it just as enjoyable as riding a horse. I always thought I had the horse for company, but maybe it's always been just me. Don't get me wrong; I like going with friends, too, but if I waited around for someone to go with, I'd never go.This is the only picture I could find of Najmah. I'm sure my mother has others. The white pony was our much loved Pony of the Americas, Paleface. And there's the Mirror dinghy that my father built one winter when we lived in upstate New York.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Well, we got our Christmas tree today. We brought it home on my car, and I just thought this was a funny juxtaposition: A Christmas tree on a car with a Darwinfish, Invisible Pink Unicorn, and this bumpersticker: Note that the COEXIST magnet has NASA images rather than the usual religious symbols. I just didn't want all those religious symbols on my car.
From the side:Enlarged side view:Gee. Those water spots really show up. You can tell I'm not very fastidious about my car. Or about much of anything, really (anybody who knows me is nodding right now).