Category Archive:

A Plea to the Minnesota Atheists

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(Crossposted at Kajed Heat)

The religious often accuse atheists and other reality-based folk of being emotionless half-Vulcans, incapable of appreciating art and beauty.

This billboard by the Minnesota Atheists does not help our case.

Being an underemployed graphic designer, this kind of infuriates me. I would love to do an atheist billboard mockup. Pay is preferred, of course, but I have volunteered my services for atheist and political causes in the past. And I’m not the only one. Hell, a few months ago JT Eberhard had a contest for a Secular Safe Zone logo. He’s gotten a lot of entries and I certainly hope most of them aren’t as bad as this.

Even if you’re stingy with hiring a designer, there are options such as JT’s method. There’s really no excuse for this.


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This is What Social Anxiety is Like

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(Crossposted at Kajed Heat)

This is an embarrassing comic, and not just because of the shitty Photoshop filters. It also exposes a nasty little secret of mine. I hastily drew this when I was in college to convey what social anxiety is like. It’s basically like every moment of your life, with few exceptions, is a job interview where the potential employer, receptionist and janitor are giving you the stinkeye the whole time. Also you’re onstage at the Apollo. The whole time.

“Interesting, if TMI disclosure about your mental illness. Now what does this have to do with Skepticon?”, you ask.

Yeah, I’m not going to do slides of my trip to Skepticville after all. Sorry. Just going to talk about feelings and such.

I attended Skepticon for the creation museum field trip on Friday, and the first day of talks. And I had personal goals to accomplish:

  • Give out business cards (say, have you visited my store? It’s ace, and skeptic friendly!)
  • Make friends and don’t be an avoidant dope. I refer to this constantly as “schmoozing,” to make it sound less like a basic skill most normal people have and more like X-treme Advanced Socializing for the Master Social Engineer. Please bear with me. It’s my insecurity talking.

There were many high points, schmoozing-wise, at Skepticon, such as getting the nerve to chat with Joe Nickell and sending him on a wild Strafford chupacabra hunt (I hope it went well). I even got on that little video I posted previously. But you can’t force your brain to rewire, otherwise ex-gay therapy would work.

The hardest part was when I got myself invited to a secret dinner with some of the headliners. (Long story, but the short version: I just happened to have a car with empty seats at the right time). I drove some people to the location, and we were all gunning to go to this place, and we arrive and get some drinks…

And my brain completely shuts down. I should divulge my typical reaction to meeting up with someone I know peripherally.

Me: Oh hey! I know you! You’re that person I know off the internet!

Person I Know Off the Internet: Oh, hello!

Me: *CATASTROPHIC SOFTWARE FAILURE*

I then resort to pathetic attempts at tedious small talk, and hover around in the hopes that they will learn to love me via osmosis. This reaction I have doesn’t just apply to e-celebrities, but also anyone that I have met on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail. I want to leave, but I can’t. I just shut down and stew in an effort not to cry.

What’s ironic is that at this dinner I was sitting next to JT Eberhard. If only I had known. But his speech is Sunday evening. I go home Saturday.

—————–

On Thanksgiving night after Skepticon, I have a breakdown. It’s not unusual, but this is the first one I’ve had in front of my boyfriend. I didn’t want him to ever see this, but it was inevitable. That may be part of the reason I’ve never had a significant other until a few years after college.

I just goofed up big at my onstage-at-the-Apollo job interview. Here it comes, whatever “it” is.

It doesn’t come. One of the perks of having an awesome boyfriend is that he doesn’t tell you “you need to just get out more.” Don’t have to stew in silence anymore on that front.

Afterwards I notice JT’s talk is up on the internet. Me and the BF watch it together.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI-YvrHZVvk]

I tell the BF. “I’m crazy.”

I hear something I didn’t expect. “I’m crazy too.”

More crying, only it’s happy crying now. The imaginary Apollo audience goes “awwwww,” the imaginary receptionist averts her eyes and looks ashamed.

Skeptics know more than most how the human brain can betray you. They should take up JT’s word and start championing understanding of mental illness. Next year, I will not try to stew in silence. Who knows who else is trying to do the same thing you are.

I have social anxiety disorder.

I’m crazy. You might be crazy too.

And that’s OK.


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Skepticon Ponies: The Final Hour

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(Crossposted at Kajed Heat)

You know what I’m thankful for? I’m thankful that I got all these goddamn ponies done.

Darrel Ray in pony form

Darrel Raycehorse

David Fitzgerald in pony form

David Fitzgeegee

I’m especially grateful to the ones who use iconic logos in their work. Instant cutie mark!

Hement Mehta in pony form

HePinto Mehta

Also, those rumored to be involved with babies somehow.

Eliezer Yudkowsky in pony form

Elippizzaner Yudkowsy

I have no idea if this pun works or not. I think I went mad and just started lumping letters together.

Dan Barker in pony form

Dan Bronco

Dan Barker is NOT jumping. In fact, he is in the middle of an epic pratfall that he hasn’t realized is happening yet.

Richard Carrier in pony form

Richard Carriage

Richard looks all hardcore. But I imagine anyone with Joss Whedon tattooed on their ass would.

Spencer Greenberg in pony form

Prancer Greenberg

I had never heard of this guy and didn’t get to attend his talk, so all I had was a small photo and a rumor that he liked tea. I hope to make up for my lack of knowledge by giving him badass steampunk wings.

Did I get everyone?

Kaje (me) in pony form

It's my pony, and I'm sick of puns. So Kaje it be.

If you recognize my cutie mark, I’m willing to bet that you did NOT play with My Little Pony when you were little. Unless you borrowed some for your dinosaurs to eat.


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Thanks for Skepticon

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(Crossposted at Kajed Heat)

The last batch of Skepticon ponies will come. I still have to do Dan Barker, Richard Carrier, David Fitzgerald, Spencer Greenberg, Hemant Mehta, Darrel Ray, and Eliezer Yudkowsky (thanks Wikipedia!) and it looks like I have my work cut out for me. I’m not familiar with some of these people, as I didn’t attend the last day. If you’re one of these people and have a horrible horse pun or cutie mark in mind, let me know! I will also have a post on how critical thought affects my social anxiety, and vice versa. And the Skepticon post proper.

But! Have to work! So here’s a video for Thanksgiving. It’s about skeptics giving thanks, shot by the Dallas Fellowship of Freethought. I pop in at the 8:30-ish mark. Enjoy!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53j_pNgEfy0]

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More Skepticon Ponies

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I didn’t expect the previous ponies to take off like they did. I mean, I plugged the hell out of them on Twitter, but still. Anyhoo, I made some more before I have to go to work.

Jen McCreight in pony form

Jen McCrydesdale

You have no idea how tempted I was to make the cutie mark a pair of quaking boobs. But then she was all like “NO BOOBS” and then I was all like “AWWWWWWW!”

Sam Singleton in pony form

Sam Singletony

Sam Singleton doesn’t get a cutie mark, because he makes people hate crime us.

Julia Gaylef in pony form

Julia Gallop

How can Spock be a special talent? Julia Galef knows how!

Amanda Marcotte in pony form

Amanda Marecotte

The last two are cheating, because they spoke at Skepticon 3, not 4. But this pun was so obvious. A good half of the work in these things is coming up with horse pun names. Also, Amanda was in the audience so I’m counting it.

Debbie Goddard in pony form

Debbie Godd-Herd

Another Skepticon 3 speaker. Did you know that in MLP:FiM, black people are zebras? I think that’s horseshit. Normal (read: white) ponies can be unicorns, pegasi, earth ponies…black people are stuck with zebras. After all, we must other the non-whites even in kid’s cartoons! Well, fuck you canon. Debbie is a earth pony.


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