[Podcast] Lost Hominids Ep. 8-Special Guests Andy and I

http://zxh-creative.com/lost-hominids-ep-08-special-guests-troy-and-andy/ With Steve, Adam, and Nick off doing holiday related activities Andrew Scott Hall and  I step in to join Jack in a rousing conversation about art, comedy, and culture.

Troythulu’s Weekly Gnuz Roundup

This will be the first installment of what I hope to make a regular feature on this blog, here posted this day, with plans to post it more often toward the weekend, once each week and preferably each Friday starting next week.

Ideas for regular features have come and gone, like my old, and now defunct series of news item and link dump posts, “Troythulu’s Nu’z,” “Astronomy News of the Week,” “5th Day’s Links Sceptique” (and all of their earlier iterations), My old “Check It!” posts, some of them still extant, and my now discontinued but-still-onsite “Noontide Query” series. This blog is littered here and there with the remnants of my experimentation, some successful, some not so.

Anyhoo, this past month saw some things going on, both onsite and off…

There was, a while ago, the passing of our old cat Gumbyman, the adoption of our new female cat Gorgeous, and now with Mister Eccles, our kitten, we are considering making this once again a full trinity of kittehs by adopting a male who’s part Maine Coon named Rocky!

Today, I got around to adding two new pages to this site for my commenting guidelines and policy, and “What is a Skeptic?” both visible just below this site’s header.

I’m going to add a 5th page for this blog’s site-map and a set of media links to go with it,(Thanks Kate…You’re a genius!) that I most commonly use as my resources and such.

There are several things I’ve planned on doing but just haven’t gotten to…

Two e-books I discussed a while back, on the very best of this site’s posts for the years 2010 and 2011, have not been completed as I had intended them to be over a month ago, and right now I’ve put them on hold. They will be completed, I just can’t say when.

On my blogger site, the Collect Call of Troythulu, I’ve been meaning to start a monthly web-comic on my idiot mad scientist character, Doctor Incompetto (I got the idea for his name from an Enigma song…), only to discover that my artistic ability is not up to par and needs work before I can get things going there. It SHALL get done.

Also, last year, I announced my intention to write my first novella, only to experience first-hand my own ignorance of professional creative writing techniques, so I’m taking lecture courses on prose writing to correct that deficiency as well as making better control of my time and scheduling. It too will be completed, once I’m a better writer.

A couple of weeks ago, or so, I updated the header and background on this site, and you’ve probably noticed the header image randomly changing between page-clicks — that’s deliberate. I’m weighing options on exploiting other options for this blog’s theme, since it’s actually rather flexible in layout. :-)

My study time is important, since I’m preparing myself for actual study at Uni to complete my education and edification, but I enjoy posting things online as well, on all the places of the net that I have active accounts — something worth using well and responsibly.

I’m also working on improving my grasp of pop culture, which is coming along nicely so far. Philosoraptor is cool…


Stat-wise, this site has currently:

154 direct WordPress.com & email subscribers…thank you all!

105,986 or so total pageviews…the collective steely gazes of you, this site’s wonderful readers since December 28, 2008…

1735 posts, up to and including this one…

39 Categories of posts…

2106 post Tags…

1392 comments posted…

about 1456 Twitter followers…

…and 1929 pageviews this month so far.

100,000 Steely Gazes and Onward on the Call!

This blog has just exceeded 100,000 page views just into its 4th year, far, far more than I could ever expect given my blogging habits, and all because of you, my fantastic readers.

To celebrate, I’m presenting here the link to my first E-book*, The Call of Troythulu: Favorite Original Posts of 2009calloftroythulu2009

I’m currently working on the compilations for 2010 and 2011 as well, and you can expect their completion within the month.

Thank you so much, you totally awesome people – BwaHaHaHaHa! *waves tentacles*

*Damn. Sorry peeps, I forgot to add that the book is free! My bad.

Dropping the Bomb [Repost]

Rethink Mental Illness

Image via Wikipedia

(Warning: this post gets a bit personal, but says what needs to be said — because the truth is paramount and I owe it to you, my amazing subscribers. What’s posted here is no great, dark secret that I felt a need to hide, but something that save once before and again here, there’s simply been no occasion to mention. The original post dates back to March 24, 2010, and this repost is identical to the original in text and context.)

Hey, guys. Many of you might have found out about James (the Amazing One) Randi’s recent ‘coming out,’ and it gave me the idea to open up to my incredible readership in revealing a little something that hasn’t been mentioned in great detail in the past, though I’ve occasionally alluded to it from time to time.

Some of you may have suspected it from my writing style, some from my early comment responses, others of you already knew, to more than just a few this may be a bit of a surprise, and some probably just won’t give a crap…

No, I’m not gay — not if any of my ex-girlfriends have a say in the matter — but I do harbor a rather bothersome medical condition that I’m not particularly proud of, nor especially happy about, but which I’ve seen no reason to hide in person, and as of now, here…

I’m schizophrenic.

This condition is one of the most debilitating neurological disorders known to Man (or Woman for you readers of the fairer sex), and something that I have struggled with ever since my early twenties.

My particular condition is one of a family of related disorders, having nothing to do with ‘split-personalities’ as they are popularly termed (That is actually referred to, if I recall correctly, as Disassociative Identity Disorder, an entirely different class of condition) in the media, and this is one of the many reasons among others that I’m a skeptic, since keeping better in tune with reality is a Good Thing™, as this enables me to stay out of trouble more easily than would otherwise be the case.

Is skepticism effective for combating mental illness? I would venture not by itself, and I recommend to others with mental illnesses that you stay on your treatment plan and follow it scrupulously, just to be on the safe side.

You are not alone.

For me though, skepticism is a useful adjunct to my basic treatment. Learning to think clearly is always a good thing with or without a problematic condition.

Few with the more extreme variants of my condition can benefit from skepticism, and many often require physical care as well. But fortunately my illness is mild enough and sufficiently amenable to treatment to allow me to function in daily life and do the things I enjoy, like post on and administer this blog.

I consider myself lucky, to the extent luck actually exists, that I got treatment for my affliction during the early stages before it became too advanced, otherwise I would not be typing this into my browser window for you all to read.

Pushing the ‘publish’ button for this entry was not an easy decision, but a necessary one. Some things are important enough that they need to be said. The Randi-Meister was a big factor in this…

As one of those ‘fervently dogmatic, pseudo-skeptical, pseudo-intellectual (and according to one recent commenter, ‘unread’) debunkers,’ there is no point in pretending to be what I am not and can never be — perfectly normal, ‘just like everyone else’ — since the truth should always be paramount.

Hence this post.

I have little doubt that this entry will be used as a convenient source of ammunition by those online who’ve expressed impatience towards my ‘attitude’ as a skeptic, and that’s fine with me — as long as any disagreement between me and others remains bloodless and gentlemanly — including disagreements with those I’ve annoyed in the past. And believe me, I’ve annoyed quite a few…

For the past couple of decades, I’ve worked at a vocational rehabilitation business as an administrative assistant, only retired as of last December, and this has helped immensely in my personal growth and experience in the workplace.

The people I met and knew there, clients and employees, will always be a reminder how much stigma is still attached to mental illness in this country, as well as others. They will also be a reminder of the incredible resilience of human courage, hope, and ability.

I plan to diversify the subject matter posted on this site to include advocacy for the rights and well-being of those with disabling psychiatric conditions, both like and unlike my own.

I’ve so far immensely surpassed where I was when my illness first popped up some years ago, and I plan to do better still, helping others like me as well. You, my readers both locally and around the world are an absolute joy to write for, and this blog is a wonderful journey & learning experience for my Troythuluness.

Let’s travel and learn together.

Like it says in my collector’s edition copy of the Principia Discordia— Fnord.

It’s Been a Crazy Year on the Call: 3rd Blogoversary

Well, here it is, the third anniversary of this site, launched during a gaming session this day in 2008, and with both the ups and downs, the joy and the sadness, it’s been a fantastic three years that I’ve been posting my crap, meeting incredible people, and expanding my social networking more than in the previous two years.

2011 for me has been the year of the cat, in both bad and good ways:

One of my favorite sites to visit was deleted by it’s owner only this last March, for reasons which I shall respect as I respect the awesome blogger who owned it…

Farewell =^Skeptic Cat^=

…while another of my cats passed away, old Mistykins, the second to go in as many years…

Goodbye, Mistykins...

but we also adopted a new kitten, the diabolical Mister Eccleston, named in a fit of T.S. Elliot and Doctor Who fandom, who is even now sharpening his claws and playing with his toys on my bedroom carpet in anticipation of more roughhousing amusement at the expense of my soon to be shredded hands!

Yay! Mister Eccles!

Also, this year marks the first giveaway contest for this site, of a new, hardback copy of Margaret Wertheim’s book, Physics on the Fringe: smoke rings, circlons, and alternative theories of everything, ending at 12:00 this morning, with the winner to be announced later this day.

My being a gamer, the winner shall be chosen by a roll of polyhedral dice after a number has been assigned to each contestant’s name(I’m looking at a d20 here…). The winner will be contacted by email, and I’ll set up the delivery arrangements then.

This last year has been a blast, and I hope that the coming new year will be better for all of us, at the very least a door for new opportunities, a fresh start, a clean slate, as a year yet to unfold should be.

Terry, Kate, _C_A_T_, TFIY, Carl, Dan, Kriss, Aliman, Marty, Cheryl, Laurie, Gideon, Diane, Katherine, and all those of you not mentioned who’ve commented, all this site’s subscribers who make this blog the adventure to post on it is, I wouldn’t…couldn’t… do this without you, so thank you, from the bottom of my eldritch heart!

[Last paragraph updated as of 12:54 am Dec 28, 2011]

What are My Politics?

A blank Robinson-projection map of the America...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m going to deal this post on something I’ve touched on, hinted at, and alluded to in other posts, but haven’t dealt with directly, my political views.

Every once in a while, I’ll weigh in on some politically-connected topic, often in a less satisfactory manner than I’d like to.

Hence this post.

I don’t ordinarily have much interest in the subject, and my main concern with it lies in the intersections of religion and politics with science and science education, or otherwise when a policy decision somehow and otherwise is important and of interest.

When I use the phrase, ‘I believe’ in this post, I’m not using that to imply that I hold a given view is actually the case in fact, but that it ought to be that way, otherwise I’m committing the moralistic fallacy, confusing an ‘ought to be’ for an ‘is.’

I’m well aware that my opinions, like those of most people, are only interpretations of facts, and value judgments, not facts themselves.

Otherwise, aside from fulfilling my civic duty of voting during elections and referendums, I couldn’t give a rodent’s posterior. Most political discussions bore me to tears.

Bear with me for a bit, for this post will not have the usual opening, narrative, and closing at the end like some articles, and may be even ramble a bit as I’m collecting my thoughts even as I write this.

I consider myself socially liberal and financially conservative. Living on a fixed income, I’m very careful about my spending, but I support social programs like social security and medicare as social safety nets for the retired and financially less capable who need medical coverage.

Also, I believe that the civil liberties of individuals should be respected and protected, but also that in return, those individuals should recognize and carry out their responsibilities and civic duties to the community.

My view of federal taxation is that if you are able to vote in this country and enjoy the other benefits of its rights, laws and protections, and, yes, its privileges, then you shouldn’t bitch about the responsibility to pay taxes in return for those benefits.

I support full and equal rights, and responsibilities, for all, regardless of ethnicity, sex, gender orientation, religion, lack of religion, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, ideology, or cultural and national origin.

I support the separation of church and state, as outlined in the Establishment Clause in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

After all, it protects, at least in writing, believers from not only government repression of their own religion, but also from other religions who may wish to impose their beliefs on or discriminate against those not of their own faith or not of any faith, and it protects, again, at least in writing, from government sponsorship of religion.

While I’m certainly not a big fan of an overreaching government, I believe that a competent, effective federal government should have enough authority and funding to protect those within its borders from unethical, unfair, and unsafe practices by powerful socioeconomic bodies and that the rights of workers, public and private, with or without unions, should be protected.

These are my basic views in a nutshell, and are about the full extent to which I actually concern myself with politics.

When Troythulu gets Angry…

Hieronymus Bosch- The Seven Deadly Sins and th...

Image via Wikipedia

Scattered across this site are entries I’ve posted with a variety of writing styles, hopefully with progressive improvements in grammar, spelling, and presentation as the publishing date of the pieces more closely near the present…

…At least I would like to think so, at any rate, with improvements in my tone as well, but it’s only within the last few months that I’ve found a more consistent ‘voice’ on this site. Consistent, but also appropriate to the nature of the entry or comment response needed as the situation demands…

…But here and there are posts which show a bit of sarcastic evilness, pseudo-evilness, quasi-evilness, even the diet-coke of evilness, with many of these entries displaying a veiled, and often not so veiled, displeasure and even outright anger from something, or someone, who raises my ire to unprecedented heights.

Sometimes it’s a situation outside of my blogging hobby, sometimes an online troll, sometimes a self-deluded wacko or willfully cynical charlatan who promotes rubbish and bunkum to exploit people for personal gain.

As it says on my bio-page, I’m not the nicest guy in the world, not a saint (nor do I believe saints exist), and not nearly as mellow as Carl Sagan could be, though I envy his self-control and tact.

He was a good teacher, nothing more, but that’s what counts.

But I’m not him, and can’t be him… I can only be me, so that’s what I strive for. Looking over my more recent posts, and judging from the feedback I’ve gotten from regular readers, it looks like my blogger abrasiveness index is getting lower with time, and I think that’s a good thing, but we’ll see.

I have three ways of dealing with comments that make me angry: I ignore them or I delete them. The third, banning the commentator, is used ONLY as a measure of last resort, followed by notifying the proper authorities, and I have yet to receive any death-threats, though I think it’s only a matter of time…

…since I’ve gained enough notoriety by now that security by obscurity cannot be relied on.

No matter.

I’m aware of the risks of blogging, especially to us guys. I knew it when I created this site in late 2008, and my now-defunct site earlier that year.

Anyway, antagonizing people is no way to communicate anything but anger, and anger makes people shut down and not listen. You cannot convince people of anything by beating them repeatedly over the head and proverbial shoulders with facts and logic, and I do not engage in debates on religion or politics: Religion is a matter of subjective preference and emotional need, and politics one of personal ideology and choice.

This is why I will not engage in debates with anyone on evolution or climate change, for I don’t consider myself competent to discuss the science, and politics just bores the living frack out of me.

Yes, I get angry sometimes, and as an evolved plains-ape with a distinguished unbroken lineage going back billions of years to the first life on Earth, and an enormous psychological burden of evolutionary baggage, it can’t be helped, can’t be totally avoided, though I can mitigate it, and as time goes on, that gets easier.

Here’s looking at outdoing my anger and mastering it, harnessing it for constructive purposes, one day at a time.