Category Archives: Personal Stuff
I open at the close.
Advice given to Harry Potter in Deathly Hallows now has a new meaning to my family.
We are closing on a house!
This has been a long journey from us actually deciding to look into houses in earnest. We found this house after looking at quite a few other options. Most were simply not viable. This one was the best option and it sort of clicked when we walked in that this was the place.
We first signed a contract for the house in December but found out a few days later that it couldn’t be sold. Apparently there is a rule about getting a mortgage on a property that had been bought less than three months ago. Three months ago, you ask? Yep, it’s a flip house.
The previous owners bought the property and put some work into it, including a roof, windows, and general cosmetics, in order to turn it around and sell it for a profit. I’m completely comfortable with this because I simply wouldn’t be able to do that kind of work nor be able to finance it.
It’s a 3br/1ba house, about 1100 sqft, a couple mature trees in the front yard (tire swing? yup!) and, one of my leading requirements, a nice flat front yard for playing around.
Going into a nice new house we were going to get newer furniture and will need a washer and dryer but we’ve already graciously been gifted some pieces by friends and family! Thank you all! We don’t really need much but if you want to contribute something small a gift card to Lowe’s or Target or Walmart (or anywhere you want) wouldn’t be turned away, but please don’t feel like we expect anyone to contribute anything! Just a message of good luck and any experiential advice will be welcome.
Keep an eye out for new posts about the house because we have plans to make this a home. I want to craft a loft bed for Sariah, we are planning a cool paint treatment for Sophia, and the kitchen will need some shelving and maybe a desk area. So much to do now. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page and YouTube channel too for videos from us!
So, we have a new part of our life opening at the close of this deal Monday Feb. 22. Wish us well. Thank you for your part in getting us to this point in our lives!
It’s not the gift that matters, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Well, I came in to work this weekend and saw a little present in my mailbox. Honestly, the first thought that came to mind before I touched it, because I instantly knew what it was, was that an old frenemy had made a reappearance.
I was actually surprised to find that someone had slipped a little New Testament in my box.
a bit a lot, for one because everyone knows I’m an out and proud atheist, and two they didn’t leave me any hints or info on who it was from. I’d love to know who gave it to me so I could give them a gift. I was thinking maybe…
This isn’t the first good faith gift I’ve received, see my series of posts about God’s Not Dead, a gift from my grandmother.
I don’t have any ill-will towards these gifts, I know they were given with good intentions and I will never turn away a new book but, please, no more Bibles.
When you see you children conceived, developed in utero and then born thru this amazing process, it doesn’t make you wonder about the mind behind such a design?
I think I’ve said this before but of course I do! Wait, no, I don’t wonder about the ‘mind’ behind it because I don’t see the need for a mind behind it. I am in awe of the process and the intricate details that must be in just the right place and time for the sperm to fertilize the egg, for the sheath to form so only one sperm gets in, for the DNA of the two to combine to form the zygote, for the embryo to attach to the wall of the uterus in just the right place… I understand the process and wonder at it. But there is no reason to explain it away with a god.
Being a parent is more of an experience than I ever thought it could be. Everyday I am amazed at something Sariah or Sophia have done. One day I came home from work and Sariah was in her room reading to herself, I didn’t know if she would turn out to be a reader. Another day I was taking a nap and Sophia found me, woke me up, asked me to bite her apple for her (she can’t take the first bite), and then went to Crystal to tell on me for eating her apple! Hearing her exasperated sighs and explanation in her baby talk was incredible. These are my accomplishments, not your god’s.
How about one last Tim Minchin quote and video link.
And you, my baby girl
My jetlagged infant daughter
You’ll be handed round the room
Like a puppy at a primary school
And you won’t understand
But you will learn someday
That wherever you are and whatever you face
These are the people who’ll make you feel safe in this world
My sweet blue-eyed girl
And if my baby girl
When you’re twenty-one or thirty-one
And Christmas comes around
And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home
You’ll know what ever comes
Your brothers and sisters and me and your Mum
Will be waiting for you in the sun
Whenever you come
Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles
Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum
We’ll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
All the knowledge you hold about the human body and at the cellular level and the intricate detail involved in development and sustaining the metabolic process, you don’t ever wonder if their is an intelligent mind behind that design?
Just as this person said, the details of the processes our bodies go through everyday with zero active involvement by us. It is awe-mazing. I don’t need to use a god to explain these processes because evolution does just that.
I’m sure there is contention in your mind about the idea of evolution but I’ll tell you this, in the scientific world there is evidence enough to have attained the status of scientific Theory (big T).
Evolution is powered by survival of the fittest. This means that the individual or group that is most adapted to the environment will be thrive while less adapted ones die off. I see it as a very simple and logical idea. The main problem people have is the amassing of very many extremely small changes causes a large change over a big period of time.
I once explained it as a clock, don’t know if I came up with this or heard it from somewhere else. If I were to show you pictures of a clock at different hours and told you that the pictures were related but didn’t have a picture for every second in between each picture, you could say you don’t believe they’re the same clock because there were holes in the timeline. If we were then to look at the clock in person you say “See, only the second hand moves, you can’t watch the hour hand move so those pictures must be of completely different clocks.
This analogy relates directly to the erroneous distinction of micro vs macro evolution. Just as the only difference between an hour and a second is time, so to the only difference between micro and macro evolution is time. Extremely small, even imperceptible, changes can add up. So the changes between each successive individual is unnoticeable but if you can look at the difference between individuals thousands of years apart the change could be drastic.
Some advice on reading about this subject would definitely include Richard Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Magic of Reality, or The Selfish Gene. Another great analogy is in the Ancestor’s Tale (I think) where we take an elevator down the floors, each a different step on the evolutionary chain, towards the ancestors. If we stop at each floor along the way we won’t see much, if any change, but if we jump say 100 floors or 1,000 floors the differences would be immediately noticeable.
If the mechanism can be explained then there is no need for a designer. The next book I will recommend is The Blind Watchmaker. When you believe everything is divinely designed what makes anything more amazing than any other thing?
The problem with saying there is a designer is the the design flaws. Glasses and hearing aids are the least of the worries, what about childhood cancer, or cancer at all. It is easily explained with science, why try to give credit to a faulty designer when you can’t also give the blame for the flaws.
Why you think some things are right and others are wrong?
Morality. What is right and what is wrong. Of course I’ve thought about this, I’ve decided to take the burden of deciding what is right and what is wrong on myself, and I think if we look hard enough some theists have too.
To understand my morality I will link a video here that explains the basis for a secular morality. This talk was given by Matt Dillahunty, a well known, outspoken atheist who is one of the hosts of The Atheist Experience, an atheist talk show (now on skype/internet stream) that actually welcomes questions and comments from theists.
Following the dictates of a higher power isn’t morality, it’s following orders. Basically the foundation for my morality is empathy. You know the “Golden Rule”, but just to stop your thought process, this isn’t a Christian idea. Every religion/culture throughout history has had this idea, if they didn’t have this simple thought the civilization wouldn’t last. It isn’t rocket surgery to know murder is bad, but in some instances I think we would agree that the death of one individual is acceptable. This is a very big thing, situational ethics.
Good and bad are within us all because that is what is required to keep our society around. I see no reason to give the credit for our good deeds to a god, especially when we would still keep all the blame for the bad.
Can a deity be both just and forgiving? Forgiveness is to take away the punishment for a misdeed, while justice is the rightful punishment of a misdeed. Seems like a contradiction to me but, then again, it isn’t my god so I don’t have to rationalize it.
If you have a good sense of humor about your belief and could use a laugh check out this video of Tim Minchin’s song The Good Book. The morality part of the song lyrics are here:
Morality is written there
In simple white and black
I feel sorry for you heathens
Got to think about all that
Good is good and evil’s bad
And goats are good
And pigs are crap
You’ll find which one is which
In the Good Book
Cause it’s good and it’s a book
And it’s a book (yeah!)
Do you never wonder about the immaterial things like, why you have a conscience? Why you think some things are right and others are wrong? All the knowledge you hold about the human body and at the cellular level and the intricate detail involved in development and sustaining the metabolic process, you don’t ever wonder if their is an intelligent mind behind that design? When you see you children conceived, developed in utero and then born thru this amazing process, it doesn’t make you wonder about the mind behind such a design?
These are comments that were sent to me recently in an email, they reflect questions that many atheists are asked every day. I don’t think I’ve ever done a post about this particular stuff so here it is. I’m going to break down the quote into each question and address each one individually.
Do you never wonder about the immaterial things like, why you have a conscience?
Of course I do, who wouldn’t!? I just don’t feel the need to answer every question with ‘god did it’. I can’t explain the exact parts that make us have higher brain functions than other animals but I am confident that it is something like Aristotle described it “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.
We don’t know exactly how much ‘feeling’ other primates or other animals have. It has been shown that mice will stop pressing the button that gives them food if they find out it is causing another mouse pain. Sharing and apparent caring have been observed in gorillas. To deny that animals have morality is some sort of special pleading and denial that we aren’t completely unique in this world.
More immaterial concepts exist; love, hate, etc. These are usually brought up so I will address them beforehand. Some people claim that the skeptic can’t be sure of love because there isn’t evidence for it. There is evidence if the love is there. In the little looks and caresses you and your partner share. A kiss feels much different when the feelings aren’t there to motivate it. Hate is much the same, except for the kiss part. A lovely post I came across recently on Imgur.com recounts children’s answers to the question ‘What is love?’
I’ll link this video by Tim Minchin here and the most relevant lyrics below.
But the human body is a mystery!
Science just falls in a hole
When it tries to explain the the nature of the soul.
Life is full of mysteries, yeah,
But there are answers out there
And they won’t be found
By people sitting around
And saying isn’t life mysterious?
Let’s sit here and hope
Does the idea that there might be knowledge
Does the idea that one afternoon
On Wiki-fucking-pedia might enlighten you
Does the notion that there may not be a supernatural
So blow your hippy noodle
That you’d rather just stand in the fog
Of your inability to Google?
Isn’t this enough?
Just this world?
Just this beautiful, complex
Wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?
How does it so fail to hold our attention
That we have to diminish it with the invention
Of cheap, man-made Myths and Monsters?
It is nearing…
I know no one reads this except me. I’ve accepted that. Just as Dumbledore needed his pensieve, I need this blog.
I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.
Eight years old is considered the “age of accountability” in the LDS church. I suppose that means I have to bring up my apostasy again. I don’t know if it will renew the fights that have been known to occur when I bring up the church but I hope it won’t.
I haven’t ever said anything (that I know of) about the girls being taken to church. They have gone both to LDS services and different Christian churches with family members, though I think I could count the number of times on one hand. This seems to be a different issue though. Should I allow her to be baptized into a church that she knows nothing about? Is there even going to be any push-back from the other side? Will I have to fight for my stance? Hopefully all three of these answers are no.
I’ve been online and reading through the thought processes of other people who have gone through this. Some say to be the man that baptizes your kid while others say to take a stand and make the decision wait until it is fully understood by the child. While each side is going to work for some family I haven’t wavered from what I thought I would do before I read all the stories. I am completely unable to do the first as I have renounced my membership and faith in the LDS church, but that doesn’t have any affect on my thoughts.
The fact is that I won’t agree to Sariah, and Sophia in a few years, being baptized into the church at eight. I am steadfast in my position that they won’t be taken “into the fold” until they choose to associate with the church.
Since I’m bringing up the theism stuff again I think I will take this time to share a podcast that I’ve been listening to lately. Unequally Yoked is a show of a couple talking to each other about their beliefs and their journey to where their family is now. I know I haven’t been this open in my relationships and use this blog to get what I need out of my head.
Naomi is LDS and Neal is an atheist. I enjoy their open and honest discussion and am actually envious of it. I haven’t listened to it yet but one of their children is coming up to eight years old and is the first to do so since Neal renounced his faith. I hope to hear their discussion on the topic but I don’t feel that it will change my position on the topic.
I have tried to stay away from religion since the fighting and distancing of family members, as part of that I don’t know where some people stand. I guess it will all come out soon. In reference to that, I’ve been reading about and listening to something called Street Epistemology, another post to follow at some point.
That’s what I’m having currently, an unusual feeling. It’s somewhere in my chest, I know I’ve felt it before but never like this. Don’t be scared, I know what it is and why it’s there; it’s pride.
Yes, I’ve been proud of myself before; Graduation, Marriage, Births of my daughters, their accomplishments, but never about something I chose to do and stuck with. I’ve been attempting to make myself better and I had a lull through the fall but I’ve been back at it and am seeing some results.
I decided, before Christmas, to get back on the diet but to be a bit more lenient with it so I could stick to it better. So far, I’m doing good. I can’t keep a vegan diet; I just can’t, yet. I love cheese, and milk, and eggs, and yogurt. I have cut out meat for the most part and very carefully call myself a vegetarian. I don’t have anything against meat but I think I will save it for those “rare and appropriate” times. I have also tried to keep out processed foods as much as possible, and attempted to cut out as much salt and sugar as possible.
I’m down 32 lbs as of today. I actually saw some change in my face in the mirror a couple days ago. Someone at work knows I am trying to change and has been super supportive. She tries to make note of me changing every day she sees me. I don’t know if it’s her being nice or her actually seeing a change but it is helpful. You know who you are, just so you know, you are the only person who has said anything to me so far. No one has been outright discouraging or mean about it but it feels the same when they simply don’t address it at all or are dismissive of my choice of food.
If you don’t know, it’s hard being the fattest person around. Being aware of the furniture and deciding whether or not it will hold you up. I simply look at a toilet and if its one of those floating ones I just have to hold it in. It’s hard feeling like everyone is watching you and judging every movement. Even if you aren’t wanting to be discouraging, maybe you just want to be silent about the whole thing, being silent feels just as bad sometimes. Don’t go crazy but just for my (and anyone else in my position’s mentality) fake it, act like you are supportive.
To help me on my journey I splurged a bit and bought myself a scale and a watch from Withings. I got the Activite’ Pop in Bright Azure and the Wireless Scale. I wish I had gotten the Smart Body Analyzer now but it’s done. (I got a very, VERY, good deal on these products because of a short time special offer so I can assure you that the price on the website was not what I paid.) If you want to get me a gift I would really like the Aura Connected Alarm Clock. I actually think I will get the Nest thermostat when we get our new home because it can connect to the system too.
I wish I knew more people who were losing weight and had this equipment because it is possible to share your activity with your support structure.
Speaking of support, my links are here. If you are attempting to change your lifestyle or have changed and are looking to encourage and support, befriend me. (I don’t know how to connect or show a link to my Withings stuff but it all funnels into MFP too.)
This isn’t my New Year’s resolution. They hardly ever stick. This is my life changing. Thanks for reading!
I know it’s been a while since I posted, and I know I had planned and promised a lot with my last posts, just know that I am continuing while not as strict as I was in my infatuation phase.
I just finished Wool, the first in a trio by Hugh Howey. I found a couple of quotes that I thought were quite fitting to be shared. Over this past year we have seen and heard of so much violence and death from those that are meant to enforce laws; not mete justice like Judge Dredd.
From the recent ones like Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier to the unthinkable ones like Jeremy Mardis the news reports a new crime to humanity every day. I understand the need for an officer to kill a suspect in the line of duty if his life is in danger, but to think that an officer could kill a 6 year old boy and not be charged with a crime is illogical!
Though not in this year, the most illogical one in my mind is the nearly 2 seconds that police took to shoot 12 year old Tamir Rice. This is recent in my mind because the grand jury came out today to state that the officers wouldn’t be charged with any crime concerning the encounter.
These occurrences have weighed on my brain each and every time I hear a news article or see a video online. I recently finished Wool and found two very fitting quotes. Mr. Howey wrote the book in 2011 which wasn’t that very long ago but I feel that the shootings weren’t nearly as large of a problem just 4 years ago. These quotes seemed to be placed for someone to find as a response to our current situation, not as forewarning of events to come.
The short-term rage to be sated at the end of a barrel was too easy to act on. Staving off extinction required something else, something with more vision, something impossibly patient.
-Hugh Howey, Wool
The book is about a nearly Utopian society that has been forced underground. The population lives in a silo under the earth and each person plays their part in keeping the society running smoothly. As in all things the society begins to crumble and in the resulting, inevitable collapse weapons are forged and used. Some of the characters, and most especially the author, realize the gravitas as seen in the words below.
Killing a man should be harder than waving a length of pipe in their direction. It should take long enough for one’s conscience to get in the way.
-Hugh Howey, Wool
Pick up the book, not only is it a good read but it may just help us see that society is fragile and we all need to work together to keep it functional.