Come See Me at FtBConscience!

FtBCon starts today and, while I am sad I will be missing Dave Silverman’s opening because I’ll running my bisexual support group tonight, I will be around for other sessions. You can see the full schedule at or on Lanyrd.

More to the point, I will be speaking at a session!

Improving the Image of Atheists

by Kaoru Negisa, Stephanie Zvan, Chris Ho-Stuart, James Croft and Sarah Moglia

Atheists have an image problem. We didn’t create it, but we’re the ones with an interest in fixing it. Let’s talk about the range of strategies for doing that while still fighting our fights.

At 10:00am to 11:00am, Sunday 21st July (Central Standard Time)

That’s right, kids: I am waking up early on a Sunday, which I’m pretty sure nullifies part of the point of being an atheist, just so I can talk to you about how we can show the world that we only eat babies when Evolution tells us to. Seriously, I’ll be talking a lot about the appearance of atheists in pop culture, but hopefully also be listening to the rest of the panelists who, I assure you, are pretty much all smarter and better at this than me.

Other than me, there are a ton of fantastic panels that people will be on, including one on Atheists in Pop Culture (that I couldn’t get on because they already were over their awesome quotient on speakers), a fascinating looking panel on the harm of pseudoscience featuring the inestimable Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner and several other great speakers, a panel on myths and facts about trans* people, one about female protagonists in video games, and those are all just on Sunday after I speak.

So go to their website, follow the con on Twitter, follow along on Google +, look at the schedule on Lanyrd, and go listen to all of the very smart, very insightful people (and me), talk about things, interact with you in chatrooms and via Q&A segments, and generally hang out online with some of the owners of the internet.

New Tag Line

It was pointed out to me the other day that my tag line is not really appropriate. I had originally chosen it as a self-deprecating joke, in the vein of “how could anyone think I had anything useful to say”? Turns out, quite a few of you do, and I am deeply humbled by that.

However, despite my intent, the point this person was making was that even if we take my relative unimportance as a given, the things I talk about are remarkably meaningful most of the time. In fact, some are downright vital.

So, I have decided to change my tag line, and ask you, my fellow Conversationists, for your input. I have come up with a couple of options, and created a poll. Please, take a moment and let me know what you like.

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!

Good afternoon, my lovely Conversationalists!

Well, it seems that some other people have been reading, and after three applications, I have been accepted as a contributor to Queereka, the Skepchick network’s LGBT-oriented blog.

I am very honored by this and hope to do a good job for them.

To you, my loyal, bright, and beautiful readers, don’t worry. I am not going to stop posting here. All of my Queereka stuff will be posted here, at least in part, and I have so much to say about other subjects (and, more importantly, hear your reactions on). We’re really building a great conversation here, making the right enemies, and hopefully getting excited to make some changes in the world, and I wouldn’t want to stop that at all.

Anyway, look for more posts upcoming, including my first crosspost. I adore you all and hope that you will also read my stuff over at Queereka.

Where I’ve Been

I know it’s been quiet around here for a couple of days. Sorry about that. I was let go from my job two days ago and have been doing all those things you need to do to start looking for new work. Still doing a lot of it, but I’m stuck at my car dealership while they determine if what’s wrong with my car can be covered by my warrenty.

Suffice it to say, things have been a little hectic and I’m a little frightened, plus depression. But I’ll be ok and you’ll actually get a little more of me now that I have my days free until such time as I find new work.

If you feel particularly charitable, this is the part where I subtly mention there is a donate widget on the main page. Not a command, but I can promise you a fuzzy feeling if you do contribute, and if you donate and email I will write something about a pet topic of your choice. I know, kinda pathetic, but it’s what I’ve got to give.

In the meantime, I have free internet here, so as long as I’m stuck in a stark lounge playing Fox daytime television, I might as well catch up on some of the stuff I haven’t had a chance to write about while I’ve been dealing with this stuff.

Thank You Ever So Much

I just wanted to share something with everybody. Yesterday was the best day this blog has ever seen, posting numbers that may be small and old hat for a lot of bloggers, but for an otherwise shy guy who’s previous claim to fame was great hair, it knocked me back that so many people felt my stuff was worth reading.

It also helped knowing that so many shared my rage regarding Savita and what happened to her. It reminds me that we live in a world full of people who view justice as something worth pursuing, and life as the possession of those who are alive.

For those who are new, welcome to Reasonable Conversation. You have joined the ranks of the smartest, most attractive people on the internet, so congratulations on that. I hope you’ll enjoy future posts. I encourage comments (see the Comment Policy), like feedback, appreciate tips on topics to write about, and am looking for us all to learn from one another.

Beyond that, just going to leave this screenshot of what you guys did yesterday. This is totally on all of you, and I cannot in words express the deep gratitude I have for your brief attention.

These were my stats from yesterday. 630 views! That's...humbling.

My previous best day was 154 views. This blew that day away. Thank you.

Reddit and Tumblr

Facebook and Twitter I’ve got a pretty good handle on, but I’ve had a Tumblr that’s gone nowhere for a few months now and just signed up to Reddit today. So I put it out to you, my loyal and remarkable readers: How do I handle these sites?

Tumblr, I’ve gathered, has a highly developed culture of its own. How does one break into that culture? Are there rules to follow? Things I should know other than to use a lot more animated gifs and reblog?

Reddit…yea. This seems like the deep end fight club of social networks. Any subreddits that people suggest? Obviously /r/atheism, /r/lgbt, and /r/feminism, but any others that would be a good place to get material to write about and talk about this blog? Any suggestions on how to approach things?

I want to get the most out of both networks and contribute in their way, so I could use a little guidance.

Taking Care of Myself

The thing is, I’ve been really focused on a lot of things lately. I’m a busy guy (many of you know this). Which is why I’ve let some things slip.

But recently I’ve looked at the things I’ve sacrificed in order to accomplish those other things, and I realize that it’s not worth it, especially since I don’t have to sacrifice that much.

What am I talking about? Well, I just made it back from the gym. I’ve been trying to go since last Wednesday and have managed to make it a couple of times. There was a time when I would spend two hours a day working out, but then life happened, I hit a plateau in my weight loss, and I basically gave up. It didn’t seem worth working for nothing and I was able to convince myself I had done enough.

Moreover, I haven’t really been able to afford good meals for a long time. I can now, but it’s been a struggle, and not eating/eating only cheap stuff really took a toll on me. I’ve been tired, my blood pressure has been dropping, and I’ve been sick more often. It’s not a sustainable lifestyle and I have no intention of dramatically spiraling into self-loathing and eventually death. It’s not my style, and as much as the temptation exists, it’s not something I really want to do.

Besides, who would then rant incoherently at you, my dear readers? I’m pretty sure nobody else on the internet does that.

So here I am, trying to get myself back to a place where I can be healthy and happy. It’ll help me with my fencing and my singing (need all the help I can get on those), it’ll give me more time as I will be sleeping less, it’ll keep me more focused.

But I need something from you guys. I need suggestions.

1. I need ideas on things I can combine. For example, I really need to spend some time watching TV shows. It sounds silly, but it’s one way that I relax and keep my brain working that I analyze media, and there are enough quality shows to deconstruct for meaning and style now that I can. I’ve discovered that I can spend time at the gym streaming my shows on my tablet, so that instead of lying in bed watching aimlessly, I’m at least moving. Anything else I can combine?

2. This is especially important. I need large, healthy recipes. I don’t have a lot of time to cook during the week, so I generally make a single, huge meal and bring it to work for lunch with me all week long in portions. However, most of these are a lot of pasta or a lot of rice with some veggies and meat mixed in. I really need to change that ratio without significantly altering the price. So any recipes or tips would be incredibly helpful.
I feel like I’m starting all over again, and I kinda hate it. But I know there are things I need to do to keep myself alive and happy. So if you enjoy my writing and would like to see me continue rather than succumb to depression until I malnourish myself into oblivion, any tips you have would be incredibly helpful.

Celebrating 3,000

Looks like I just broke 3,000 all time views. From what I’ve read elsewhere, this is a blogging milestone. Or was that 3,000 views in a day? I can’t remember.

The new format seems to be working, and people are not only showing up to read, but returning for some unfathomable reason.

Either way, thank you all for reading and we’re going to keep going here until we reach…a much higher number.

If you love me and want to see my numbers go higher, be sure to share, share, share what you read here. You know that impulse you get when you say, “People should read about this?” Listen to that impulse.

Hitting 3,000 all time hits

I am very proud of this. And very grateful to all of you.

Format Experiment

So, I really want this blog to get off the ground (more than it has), and a part of that is consistency. However, consistency is really hard when I write posts that often take hours to research and write, not to mention proofreading, so this space tends to lie fallow for periods, spring to life when I have the time, then once again return to dormancy.

This is not the way to run a blog.

I also realized that on FB and Google +, I often will write long blocks of text to describe my opinions on articles that I post because I don’t like mindless cheerleading. Comment-free articles often come across as just “Yay, Our Side!” cheering to the pep squad, especially when the person has made clear what they believe in advance (e.g. if I post an article about an advance in gay rights, you already know I support what it’s saying, and if I post one on somebody being arrested for blasphemy, you know I’m opposed to the arrest). Providing some commentary gives people a chance to reflect on an aspect of the article or connect some angle of it to another idea.

This also prevents me from posting a lot to Twitter, and I like Twitter quite a bit.

So, instead of posting long, rambling posts to FB and G+, I’m going to post them here and link to them on the social networks. It puts an extra click between my commentary and my point, but I think my readers will be willing to do that because they are among the most intelligent and motivated people on the internet.

This way, I can keep this space robust and trafficked, I can learn to write something between 140 characters and a magnum opus, and the option to discuss on social networks remains in place.

Just as a note: I will still be writing stirring, powerful analyses of the important issues of the day, and will distinguish them in my social network posting by starting with the now familiar “In which I…”, but rather than those being the only thing I post here every few days or so, there will be smaller posts in between to keep things lively.

Please let me know if this format becomes a problem or if you think it’s the most awesome thing ever to touch the intertubes. If this doesn’t work, I’ll try something else, so I need feedback.