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Egads! I’ve been nominated (for an award)!

wpid-wp-1441063655909I’d like to express my thanks for The Creative Blogger Award from Babus at the Ajoobacats Blog. My ego and I are not always on speaking terms, and with my people skills such as they are I’m a little unsure of how to accept this gesture gracefully. There are times when I’ve severe doubts about my creativity.
So thank you muchly, whether I feel I deserve it or not.
But in accepting, there are rules, and here they are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them about their nomination.
4. Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do.
Five Facts About Me:
1. I despise eggplant, and have never liked its taste.
2. I once owned a dog, a miniature poodle named Tiny.
3. My first viewing of Doctor Who was of the early episodes of Tom Baker’s 7 year tenure as the Doctor — “Would you like a jelly-baby?”
4. My first viewing of the Doctor Who reboot was of Series One with Christopher Eccleston in the title role.
5. My confection of choice is gummy-candy.
So here I nominate the following blogs:
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A Weekend at ROFCON… a Weekend Well Spent!

Last week I was busy reading, viewing lectures, and taking care of the house, the boys, and roomies Christopher and the infamous and dreaded Nimbus the cat!

Friday and Caturday were different, evenings occupied gaming and collecting cool things at Ring of Fire Con 2015 while hanging out with friends.

Being the terrible, horrible person I am, I even played a game of Cards against Humanity, though apparently I’m not terrible or horrible enough to have won…Oh, well, maybe next year, and then I can more realistically pass as a Bond villain.

It was good that I didn’t get too overstimulated incoming data-wise to enjoy the event, and with nothing in the way of my…psychology…causing problems for me, or for that matter, anyone else.

Caturday night we played a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game, our characters getting both some swag from our exploits in the adventure, and more character points to buy cool and awesome traits!

Will I go again next year? Probably, barring anything between now and then that somehow manages to interpose itself in attending.

It’s been almost two decades since my last convention attendance, with perhaps, just hopefully, many more to follow for the gang and I together, we and our geekish pastimes…

Talotaa frang.

Slimy Great Old One [to the tune of ‘Pencil Thin Mustache,’ with sincere apologies to Jimmy Buffett]

My most recent excursion into being a terrible, horrible person, as I mangle an old earworm, Lovecraft-style.

Checkerboards of The Gods

Now they’re raisin’ horrors from out of the night,

spreadin’ ravin’ madness that no one can fight,

when the stars are right, and the world’s in a rage,

there’s monsters left and right on the cosmic stage.

I wish I knew a slimy Great Old One,

The Great Cthulhu kind, or a

puke-green shoggoth that crushes its masters,

while Hastur curses people who mention his name.

Ia! I remember bein’ human, not very finny,

changin’ to a Deep One, not Azathoth’s dinny.

Ia! I wish I knew a slimy Great Old One,

then I could cause some madness too.

Ia! It’s Yuggoth, Carcosa, the Plateau of Leng,

no blinkin’ at the things I see.

It’s because I have no eyelids, except the nictitating,

and only human cultists were sacrificed while gating, Ia!

Ia! I wish I knew a slimy Great Old One,

then I could cause some madness too.

But…

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, 0:36, January 14, 2015, in General. 1 Comment

Iä! Iä! [Iko Iko Parody]

kjytufkyfrkyrol87rl87rl7rlrkrkrThis started out as an idea to fool around with; twisting beyond the bounds of sanity the lyrics of my favorite tune from the soundtrack of the movie “The Big Easy,” with suggestions from my tweep @ExileDispatches, and long, sleepless dreadful mornings of near-madness pondering the eldritch horrors of the mindless, uncaring universe to which we must all eventually return.

This hideous cosmic blasphemy is sung to the tune of ‘Iko Iko’ by the Dixie Cups, to whom I most sincerely apologize for killing a perfectly good song. ~ Troythulu

My Old One and your Old One, chantin’ by the fire,

My Old One and your Old One are gonna set this world on fire.

Talk about Yuggoth, Yuggoth,

Iä! Iä! R’lyeh.

Azathoth, Shubby, Yog-Sothoth, Ithaqua, Dagon, Yig.

Look at my King in Yellow and rags,

Iä! Iä! R’lyeh.

I’ll betcha my soul he’ll drive you mad, Ithaqua, Dagon Yig.

Talk about Yuggoth, Yuggoth,

Iä! Iä! R’lyeh.

Azathoth, Shubby, Yog-Sothoth, Ithaqua, Dagon, Yig.

Look at that spawn, all squamous and green,

Iä! Iä! R’lyeh.

It’s not a man, it’s an alien thing,

Iä! Iä! R’lyeh.

Talk about Yuggoth, Yuggoth,

Iä! Iä! R’lyeh.

Azathoth, Shubby, Yog-Sothoth, Ithaqua, Dagon, Yig.

Iä! Iä!….

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The Past, the Present, and Future: Toward a sustainably active blog

Arachnofest

Arachnofest

Good morning. I hope that the current run of fiction pieces over the last week or so has proven interesting for you, and if not, that’s okay too — as with the fractal image posts for many of you, not everyone enjoys that sort of thing.

An active blog is an acceptable one, and this site has been active since starting day 1 of December 28 of 2008.

The site has had its ups and downs, and it was most active in 2010, getting some 40,000 pageviews and at least a comment each day that year. My active time spent online and very frequent posting schedule was largely responsible for that, but reality intruded, and I soon discovered that I could not do other things and still keep up that pace.

That was also the year I began building a wider online social network presence, through such sites as Twitter, Facebook, and the paid service blog aggregator BlogSurfer. Then reality intruded, and I discovered the interest to ‘complete’ my education, or at least to come as close as can be done given the years I have left…

…no, I’m not dying any more quickly than most, mind you, but even a long life is brief and precious. I’ve been through 49 complete trips on spacecraft Earth around our stellar primary, and counting.

I discovered the value of lifelong learning, first through introductory college-level courses published by the Teaching Company, and then from other online sources. There was also the use here and elsewhere for the first time of personally-generated fractal art, originally intended only to spice up the other entries on the site but quickly becoming something more.

During the site’s first two years, I’ve posted things that showed poor netizenship on my part, and which today make me cringe a bit upon seeing them clicked on at the stats page when they surface during web searches leading to this site.

But I will keep all of those on the site, as deleting posts doesn’t feel right to me — it seems a not-so-wee bit shady going into this blog’s 5th year and quickly approaching its 2000th comment.

Things got complicated. The bloggosphere got less interesting when my favorite sites disappeared from the web forever, and fellow bloggers burned out and quit blogging. In my own life, educational commitments and new people came into online interactions. My blogging changed, with the decline, some of it recently, of regularly scheduled entries on this site. Many of the regular tools and features now on the site’s admin pages weren’t yet standard WordPress features, and others used then fell by the wayside on constant system upgrades of the servers hosting this blog.

I don’t make a pence from the pageviews this site gets, and I will not if I can help it. Thus, I’ve bought off ads being shown on the site and don’t care nearly as much about pageviews as I once did. I’ve learned that pageviews are less important given my needs, and overconcern for them is irrational and unskeptical.

Sure. Traffic is good to a degree, but online discussion is much more so.

While working on the fiction pieces, a few ideas have presented themselves for this blog’s continued activity, until I migrate over to a different platform for continued posting sometime next year. In the interests of positivity, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, and only afterward, what won’t be done even if and when it has been:

First, I’d like to put out a call for contributing writers for the site, any who might be interested in offering their time for regular or occassional posting on this blog at their option, who will be given full access to this blog’s admin page.

I’m also putting out a call for any parties interested in contributing guest-posts on the site, which I’d definitely like to see more of.

I’m going to reblog posts more often, with permission when required from the original author, of course, as I’ve slacked off on that in the past year or so.

For those on my personal mailing list, by the time this post comes online, I’ll be back to posting links to the week’s entries on a regular weekly schedule, starting now and continuing from then on each Sunday to the hour noted on my ‘to do’ list.

I’m cutting down on reposting onsite items except where necessary, or unless the item has been properly and accurately updated and expanded with newer and better information.

I’ll be bringing back posts once used as regular features, keeping those elements that work and adding new features not found in earlier installments. Some of those will be posted on specific days of the week, like the upcoming return of the series ‘Caturday’s Astronomy Pix,’ and others, though posted semi-regularly.

I’ll be posting material with appropriate commentary when needed on skeptical, artistic, science, and mental illness topics. I’m interested in all to a degree, and have a personal interest in the latter.

There shall be more book reviews and reviews of online and digital media courses I take, more so than has been done.

I’ll also post more on skeptical activist topics, critical thinking, logic, and on skeptical software tools I come across, but not on Atheism+ or the hubbub going on about it, as I don’t think myself knowledgeable enough to comment on it, nor do I care to get involved. That’s not my kerfuffle.

Since I’ve already done so in earlier posts, and have nothing new to add, I’ll no longer post on anti-theistic topics, including activist atheism, or critiques of religious apologists and their arguments.

I’ll no longer post direct attacks on religions, religious belief, politics, or religious faith, as I’ve been there and done that, thank you. Existing posts will be retained. ‘Nothing here to see, citizen…Move along.’

Only when specific empirically testable religious, political, or other ideological claims intersect or interfere with science will I post on them.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of you absolutely fantastic people who over the years have commented on, critiqued, ‘liked,’ shared, retweeted, and otherwise interacted, both on this blog and across many other social media…

…because you all have made this experience what it was, is, and will be. YOU make it worth keeping at.

Thank you, and Talotaa frang*

Troythulu

*”Stay strong, stay well, and be brilliant as the stars” translated from Old High Kai’Siri

A Shift of Direction for this Blog, and Plans for the Future

As I sit at my desk this morning, fueling myself with such unhealthy but tasty things as Halloween themed gummy candy, I wonder where I’m going to take this blog. I don’t know with certainty, except for one thing:

No more posts on organized atheism. Organized atheism is dead where I am concerned. I do not identify as an atheist, for it says nothing at all about me save my lack of belief in gods.

Historically, ‘atheist’ was a strawman invented and argued against by religious apologists since the ancient Greeks, and this was certainly the use to which those like Blaise Pascal have put it. ‘Atheist’ was also a convenient epithet used to accuse and point fingers at rival theists of other religions.

Everything good was ascribed to religion, or theistic belief, or a specific subset of theistic belief, and everything bad to the reviled unbeliever or heretic.

I do not identify as an atheist because it makes no sense and serves no purpose than to point me out as a choice target for conversion, pity, and discrimination by proselytizers and zealots.

I might as well specifically identify as an adraconicist, for my lack of belief in magical, fire-breathing dragons, or perhaps an asidheist, for my lack of belief in Celtic faerie folk, an aZentradist for my nonbelief in ten meter tall alien cloned warriors…

The list of useless labels could go on forever, but you see my point. ‘Atheist’ only serves as a label to point at and judge for theists, even liberal theists, and serves no real function. I find ‘agnostic’ also philosophically and descriptively useless.

I do identify as a skeptic and as a humanist, as at least those actually say something about me. ‘Skeptic’ says something about my approach to claims of fact and the examination of arguments, while ‘humanist’ speaks of my ethical views in a positive way, by what I do believe is right and wrong, not by what I don’t believe exists.

I am a proud skeptic and a proud humanist, but being proud of a lack of belief in gods is just as silly as that of not believing in three-headed Martians. I may as well be proud for not believing in Leprechauns or the Easter bunny! (Thanks, Maria. Your FB post earlier this evening went to good use.).

Pointless!

So, no more written posts by me on atheism or any discussion by me of religious faith on this blog. You saw it here first. I may not even post on logical fallacies that much if at all, as by themselves I don’t think they’re that interesting. Cognitive biases, yes. Posts on effective methods of rational thinking and practical tests for their reliability, yes. Those have some value, and fallacies will be discussed in brief, but really, no longer at length in their own posts on this site.

I’ll continue to do the fractal posts, writing on skeptical issues at times, thoughts that come to mind, reviews of books, movies and the courses I take, and such. But the rest is kind of up in the air. I’d really like to have the *Oomph* to post more on mental health topics, particularly schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, since that’s something important and needed, and something I’ve just never been able to do very often to my satisfaction.

Over the next few days, while I’m sorting out this blog’s future, I’ll be doing fictional journal entries by a character played in my gaming group’s GURPS campaign, Sergei, the ninja who ninjas wish they were.

I’m planning, in about a year, to shift my blog posting over, bit by bit, to my blogger site, since I find the user interface more friendly and versatile than WordPress, but all in due time. I will, even after fully moving over, keep this site online, but inactive for posting purposes.

There’s a lot to do to get that going, and I’ll probably have to purchase extra storage and other options for image files I post on Blogger, but it’ll be worth it.

In the mean time, let’s see what I can do to make THIS blog better! Thanks for tolerating my silliness.

Talotaa frang.

Update:

I’ll have to clarify some of what was said above:

I’ll not post material dealing directly with organized atheism, its activism, and particularly the topic of Atheism+, as I know next to nothing about it and want no involvement in anyone’s conflicts.

I know people on both sides of the argument, and on neither side; good, smart, sensible people, and friendship is more important to me than ideology.

I’ll not post direct attacks on religion, on the matter of religious faith as an epistemology, nor attacks on the arguments of religious apologetics, as I’ve done plenty of those ad nauseam in earlier posts. Also, others do it and have done it far better than I. Seriously, it’s time to move on.

I’ll likely continue to post on some matters of specific secular importance, like issues of separation of church and state, science education, religious and ideological attacks on science, and on discrimination against the rights of religious nonbelievers.

A disclaimer: I do not think that my skepticism, my humanism or my theistic nonbelief say anything about me as a person compared with others, and I can only be better than myself as I was. Skepticism speaks only of the intellectual principles and methods I strive to employ in evaluating claims, humanism of ethical principles I strive to follow, and theistic nonbelief says nothing at all. I try to avoid dogmatic thinking and entanglements in ideology; economic, political and religious, but also other sorts when I can. I recognize that these can be and are toxic, tribalistic, and dangerous, even if and especially when they seem to agree with my prejudices a bit too much.

The Foundation Beyond Belief — Support the Crisis Response

Hey, guys. The Foundation Beyond Belief is a secular charity now involved in disaster relief work in the aftermath of the Oklahoma Tornado. Please visit their site and donate to assist in their efforts at locating and in helping the recovery of survivors in the wake of this horrid tragedy.

“At 3:01 pm CT on May 20, a massive F-4 tornado decimated the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, OK. Scores of severe injuries and deaths have been reported, and intense work is under way to find and rescue those trapped in the rubble.

The Humanist Crisis Response program of Foundation Beyond Belief has opened a donation drive in response to this disaster. Our staff worked through the night to assess the disaster situation and the relief organizations responding. This morning we have selected Operation USA and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to receive our donations. These organizations were chosen for their long records of outstanding work, their high ratings and transparency, and their current direct work in the disaster zone addressing the primary needs of food, shelter, and medical aid.

Donations will be forwarded continuously during the emergency period. FBB retains no portion of donations. All donations to and through Foundation Beyond Belief are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

The staff and board of Foundation Beyond Belief would like to express our deep condolences to the victims of this terrible tragedy and their families and to encourage humanists in this country and around the world to do anything they can to help them put their homes, businesses, and lives back together.”