25 November 2011

Bored at work, annoyed with people on Facebook, and sick of having a broken rib.

I feel like I need to post something since it has been a while, and the last entry I started, I was unable to finish before the inspiration and motivation left me. Maybe after posting this one and a couple others, it will come back to me.

I think I'll make this entry about a recent Facebook group I made for the friends in my list. I tend to lose a few friends a week because of my posts about atheism and/or anti-religious stances. It is frustrating, but it happens. Oh well.

Recently, though, I have been losing good friends not because I'm an atheist that likes talking about it, but because of the other atheists that post on my posts. Most of the time I have not posted anything, and they have just taken whatever asshole comment someone else says as my own. That's bullshit! I am not my friends, or anyone else I know. I do not believe in a God, and many of my friends do not believe in a God. That is one thing we have in common, and says very little about who we are. Do not assume I share their opinions on anything, just because we agree on one thing. That is a stupid thing to do.

I created a group to put some of my more religious friends in. Mostly for the ones that seem to get attacked whenever they make a post on something I have posted; but also because I'm sick of getting these dramatic posts on my wall from people I've known since childhood, telling me that they just cannot take my atheist posts anymore. They are just too much for them to handle, and they will still be praying for me and they still love me. They just don't, you know, want anything to do with me. It fucking sucks, and is so frustrating and discouraging.

So I made this group and started putting in people that are offended by atheism. Also, anyone that said they wanted in there because religious posts from anyone is annoying, and they'd rather just look at the funny things that I post.

I got quite a few messages from people thanking me, and telling me I was a good friend for doing this. They were all nice, and so sincere. They were happy I was hiding atheist things from them, not protecting them from senseless attacks from strangers on the internet.

I feel so weak, pathetic, defeated, and hypocritical. Sick to my stomach.

Why does hiding a major part of who I am make me a good person? When did I do something to make anyone believe I was a bad person? How is my not being able to believe in something that has no evidence that it even exists, a bad thing? Not only does it not have any evidence to support it whatsoever, but what knowledge we do have about the universe, is evidence to the contrary of what religion claims. So why is my preferring the truth over fiction, preferring to be good without threats, preferring to love without rewards, preferring to seek knowledge over ignorance; such a horrible thing? I am fucking proud of these virtues. Being thanked for hiding them is disgusting. Becoming too tired to do otherwise, is depressing me.

Let's set that aside, though. Lets excuse their wanting me to keep that to myself as people needing to believe in something for comfort, and not being able to handle any criticism about it. That's understandable, and I am not going to hate on someone for not having faith enough to handle it. I just see that as someone who knows what they believe is bullshit, but they really need the comfort is gives them. I will respect that to an extent. I'll twist some justification out of it.

With that set aside, what still eats at my core is none of the people upset over my atheist posts have thought to make a group that hides their religious posts from people like me. Especially when the updates are excusing hateful and bigoted comments about people of a certain race, sexuality, belief system, country, etc. Or how about the constant posts that these people make about how horrible the father's of their children are, how they hate drama (yet post about nothing else), how they have so many haters (apparently their haters do not understand that they are "REAL and not FAKE"), etc. It saddens me to know that people their age still act and think like that.

Sure, I can block the posts from my news feed and/or delete these people. Simple solution. Well, I have done that. If I don't like the posts someone makes, I block the posts. If I don't like the person, they are removed from my list. That is done. I do, however, go through my list and try my best to keep up with everyone on it. Commenting on photos, links, updates, etc. What's the point in having them on my list if I don't communicate with them at least a little? That's just weird. I don't add people just to add to the number of friends I have, I do it to keep in touch, catch up, and network. I'm damn good at it, too. You'd be hard-lucked to find someone in my list that I can't tell you about. When searching for something to comment on, however, I have to sort through a ton of bullshit. Same things over and over. I make it a point to post more generic and/or humorous things than religious/political so that others do not have to endure the same thing with me. Doesn't take a lot of effort.

The thing is, the ones that get the most upset over what I post, are the ones that I talk with the most. That means they are the ones that know me the best. The ones that [should] know that I am not some evil asshole out to make everyone feel like shit. They know that I am a good person, that I love everyone I meet until given reason to do otherwise. Yet, they forget everything they know about me the moment I say. "I do not believe in God; but I do believe in treating all humans equally regardless of their faith, race, gender, sexuality, or nationality. People should be judged by their actions, not their thoughts."

Funnily enough, they are also the ones that talk the most about how horrible their relationships and jobs are. They blame other people for what goes wrong, they thank God for what goes right and the most ridiculous things ever, and they constantly say the most retardedly cliche things as if they are deep insights that no one else has ever thought before. Things that I ignore when I can't think of anything nice to say. In fact, everything I say outside of my wall is always really nice. Even if I am disagreeing with someone, or correcting them when they say something factually wrong. Or I explain why voting against someone without knowing who will be running against them, is a dangerous thing to do when based on an incorrect assumption about an irrelevant personal thing of the candidate that they oppose. This is even more frustrating since I choose to not vote, and do not care who they vote for and just wanted to help them be more informed so they didn't regret their choice after it was too late to change their mind.

Fuck it. The more I type and read back what I'm typing, the more I realize I'm the only one trying to maintain these relationships. If their idea of trying to maintain a relationship is praying that I'll stop seeking knowledge and start believing in fairy tales, then let them leave. Let them block me, delete me, or even tell me how horrible I am for thinking the Bible is bullshit; even though they agree with me on every other religion being bullshit.

This is the worst entry I've made yet, but it is the one that has felt the most therapeutic. The next one will likely be about religion, and how I came to realize that I am an atheist. Also why I choose to call myself an atheist.

18 September 2011

Choices Schmoices

Living in the Bible Belt, the topic of homosexuality comes up quite a bit. Seems to be a favorite among rednecks and the religious right.

One of the things that comes up the most in this, is how homosexuals choose to be homosexuals. It is among their most used arguments for anything that does not agree with what they do/think. This is especially funny (by which I mean annoyingly frustrating), since none of them made the choice to be straight, religious, etc.

My normal response to this is as follows:

If sexuality were truly a choice, I would be gay.

Quick, simple, and to the point.

If not the person I am talking to, someone who heard will always ask me, "Why?"

I don't say that just to shut up the person I am talking to, because it is a very true statement. One that I was still not comfortable enough to admit until a year or so ago (mostly because I was afraid it would make me sound bitter for being straight, and belittle how amazing my wife and [now also] son are). Also, the people that ask why, are not always anti-gay. Some are very passionate supporters of gay rights, and some are even gay themselves. I always stumble around my answers, and do all I can to avoid it. The situation is never one in which I can really explain why, and I am not always comfortable opening up that much with every person that brings up that lame argument of choice when there is no choice.

I'm going to try and explain now, though.

Like most awkward children growing up, I felt different from everyone else. Like an outcast that didn't fit in, or belong to any group of people. Also, like most children growing up, I had no clue that pretty much everyone else at the time felt this way. Perhaps that can be contributed to how easily we all got along and played in the first 5 to 6 years of our lives, before we learn to segregate ourselves based on things that are almost always beyond our control; at which time we only notice ourselves being shunned, and see everyone else as still going about in total bliss.

Whatever the reasons, it was around this time (the end of 2nd grade) that I truly started to feel different from everyone else. Home life wasn't ideal, but what child of the 80s and 90s can really say their home life was ideal? I was another product of the times. A child with divorced parents being raised by his grandparents. As I got older, I discovered this was far more common in my area than the typical nuclear family.

I was one of the shy kids that didn't know where the middle ground was between being super shy, and being the obnoxiously loud class clown (this did not change until I was in my early 20s, and even now I often have difficulty). I had a couple of friends, but no matter what group of friends I was with, I was always the odd one out. Too skinny, too much of a sissy, too weird, etc. If I was with the athletic friends, I was too analytical of everything (a.k.a. nerd), and with the smart kids I was too dumb. I only really felt accepted when hanging out with my aunt, but she was getting older (she is 5 years my senior) and her older friends all treated me like a baby, which is something people do far too often to those younger than themselves. I really can't think of too many things more frustrating than someone talking down to you because you are younger than they are.

I spent the rest of my academic career like this. Finding a group of friends, and feeling just a tad bit out of place with them. The older I got, the more dumb and broken I felt. I was in and out of special ed until someone mentioned I might have a learning disorder that medication would help, and then I spent the next decade medicated with little to no follow-up by the doctors giving out the pills.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself.

When I was around 10 to 12 years old, I started seeing talk shows that were talking to gay men and women; and noticing movies dealing with discrimination against homosexuals. I watched and listened to these people explaining why they should not be hated for who they are, so long as they are not hurting anyone. It made sense to me, but no one around me seemed to agree. At least not anyone that was vocal about the subject.

After a while, I noticed how diverse these groups of people being interviewed were. How open and accepting they seemed to be of everyone, regardless of where they were from, what they believed in, what color their skin was, etc. They didn't even care if you were gay or straight, just so long as you were yourself and open to loving and accepting everyone for who they were. And on top of everything, not a single one of them seemed to be shy once they were openly vocal about their sexual orientation.

That was all I needed. It was what I had been searching for: A group that wouldn't make me feel weird, that wouldn't see me as the dumb kid, or the eccentric boy talking to rocks. They were like hippies that shaved and bathed.

But I had no clue how to contact any gay groups for the West Georgia area, and Atlanta was a long way for a 12 year old to ride his bike.

Then one day I overheard my mother and sister talking. My sister was on the couch, and our mother at the sink in the kitchen. I don't know how the conversation started, but the parts that I caught were all about me and my sexuality. Apparently my sister thought my being too shy to speak to girls was a sign that I was gay. Now, coming from the area that we do, and knowing how most everyone we knew reacted to things back then, I was shocked to hear our mother say it didn't matter if I was gay or not. She said it was my choice, and no one else's. My immediate reaction was to come out of the hallway and tell them I wasn't gay... Which I did. I felt like someone being blamed for a fart that wasn't theirs, only looking more and more guilty as they tried to deny it.

The comment stuck with me for a long time, though. It was my choice. So I made that choice. I decided if I couldn't fit into a heterosexual world, I was going to fit into a homosexual one. I just needed to figure out how to make myself like dudes.

 As it turns out, that's damn near impossible. I'd like to say it is impossible, but I've met some people that can convince themselves into believing just about anything.

I knew not to call myself gay, because that would get me beat up more than I was already getting beat up, and it would likely be a lot more brutal. I'd seen an episode of Hard Copy (could have been another late night show), that talked about the death of Brandon Teena. I wasn't about to get myself killed over something I had not yet become.

I tried to make myself think about men in the same manner that I thought about women (which was all the fucking time). I couldn't do it. The thought of being with a man physically, even before I had ever been with a woman, was disgusting. You could just say the word "woman" and my mind was instantly filled with the most perverted thoughts imaginable, while my bodily was immediately looking for a place in which to release these thoughts. Try to throw a guy into the mix, and my penis would try to crawl backward inside of me in order to rip out my intestines and shove them out of my ass. The thought of anything entering my butthole made me want to cry, and hesitant to even go to the bathroom.

It just wasn't happening.

I eventually gave up trying to be gay, and gave into my obsession with women. Then it happened again. Two people talking about my sexuality while they thought I was passed out drunk. When I was a kid I was gay for not talking to girls. Then, as an almost adult, I was gay because of the number of women I was with. Apparently I was overcompensating, rather than being a young guy doing what all young guys want to do.

Maybe they were right. Maybe I was overcompensating for regressed feelings that I was unable to bring to the surface on my own. Perhaps I needed to experiment to find out the truth. To bring the Gay out of me, so I could be who I'd always wanted.

Yeah, that didn't work. That didn't even come close to working. In fact, all that did was show me how gross other men are, and how easily my lifestyle and personal hygiene could easily be called "girly" in comparison. Men are filthy whether they are straight or gay, and it makes me glad I was raised in a home full of women. Seriously guys, you're all fucking gross.

It wasn't until I had a conversation with a homeless man (I recommend talking to any homeless person that has not asked for money, given a long bullshit story, or that has something for sale that isn't stolen; like flowers. They'll share a wisdom and outlook with you, that no one else can or will) outside of a bar near Ft. Gordon, that I truly accepted my heterosexuality. He told me how, when he was a kid, his parents sent him to one of those camps that are supposed to make gay children straight. No matter how hard those children tried to be straight, or even how straight they acted; at the end of each day, they were still gay. The only thing they were learning, was how to deny what they were, and how to convince others that their denial was truth.

Then he asked me why I'd want to put myself through the same thing, just to get onto the underdog's team.

Three things hit me then:

1. I didn't need to be a part of any group, especially if it meant changing who I was.
2. I am was more comfortable sitting on a sidewalk talking with a mentally unstable homeless man like Phillip, than I was inside the bar behind us.
3. The only choice in sexuality, is the choice to accept or deny who you are. A gay man having straight sex, is still a gay man; and there are a lot of straight people in prison willing to confirm that gay sex doesn't make someone gay.


That night I stopped wondering if I was secretly gay, and just unaware, and realized I'm just too fucking awesome to fit into any one group.



For anyone that may be reading this and thinking my explanation for why I wanted to be gay but couldn't, is just anecdotal bullshit that does nothing but show how my mind is a little warped and broken; I am posting links below.


Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation

The Science of Homosexuality

Biology Behind Homosexuality

Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture

Because I can't not post a Cracked article

16 September 2011

Assumptions

There are a lot of assumptions that are made about me all of the time. For instance, whenever someone I know discovers Goatse for the first time (yes, there are still people that have not even heard of this), they send it to me with a message saying that it made them think of me and they knew I'd love it.

What. The. Fuck. ?. !.

I've never done anything to make people think that I'd enjoy something like that. At least, I hope I haven't. Sad thing is, that isn't even the worst of the disgusting fetish shit on the Internet that people have sent to me. Just the most well known.

The truth is, I don't search for links to anything anymore. I haven't in years. I don't have to, because people are constantly sending them to me. Everyone else does the work for me. So the content of the things that I post should really be judged by the people that share them with me, and I should get thanked for filtering out the things that I do. ;)

Another example of this is my views on Politics. It is constantly assumed that I am either Liberal or a Libertarian. Occasionally I'll get someone that seems to think that I am a Conservative. I am not any of those things. I am anti-political party. If I had to be labeled a party, it would be a Centrist. Which roughly means I fucking hate Political Parties, and think that the idea of choosing ONE party with any kind of agenda, to run our country; is fucking retarded. Each is flawed, each is wrong; and the lesser of any evil, is still evil.

It is rare to find anyone that is as knowledgeable about the entire Political System (each candidate, what is being voted on, how each option will truly affect our country, what claims being made are true, why the promises made cannot be kept immediately if at all, etc.) as they claim to be. I'd go so far as to say that NO ONE is as knowledgeable as they claim to be. Politically charged people spend way too much time finding reasons why opposing opinions and ideas will not work, rather than actually testing and truly researching the ideas and opinions of all sides to determine why this or that will or will not work. Meeting in the middle just isn't going to happen, even though that is where the answers are waiting. It is no different than the way religious people spend more time justifying their beliefs to others, than actually trying to understand why they believe what they do.

Speaking of Religion...

Religion was the inspiration for this entry. Or, at least, the subject of religion helped to inspire this entry. I'm an Atheist, and the worst assumptions about me are made by other Atheists. Many seem to take my view of religion as being one of Hate and Animosity. While, yes, I do feel that way when it comes to religion and certain subjects that it boils over into; I do not hate the Belief in any God or Gods. If Religion was just a belief system held by people, that had no impact on my life, I would not care about it. Atheists like me get asked all the time why we even care what others think, and then not given the chance to really explain. Usually assumptions are made that we have some cliche reasons for it. That just isn't true at all. At least not for me.

My issues with Religion are not at all with the belief in something that doesn't exist (or that cannot be proven to exist), but with using those beliefs to push an unethical agenda onto others. Using a politician's religious beliefs to convince others to vote or not vote for them, regardless of their stances are on relevant topics; is wrong. Using Religion to influence any kind of government decision, and ostracizing everyone else with any kind of belief system that does not match it; is wrong. Using Religion to define a personal and spiritual commitment between two people, and then making it law so that any two people making that commitment outside of the guidelines set by said religion are unable to make this commitment; is fucking wrong. If Religion is going to have the right to define what marriage is, then the Government should not reward people that are married with financial and legal benefits. Forcing schools to teach the "Theory of Intelligent Design" instead of Evolution, is so retarded I shouldn't even be mentioning it. A public school is paid for with tax dollars from the American public, and they do not all believe in Fairy Tales, and should not have to pay for it. We deserve to have the truth taught to our children, and any religious views taught at home and church. And do the people that call their faith "The Theory of Intelligent Design" even know what a Theory is? No. The answer to that question is "No."

All of those things [and more] impact my life on a daily basis, and have nothing to do with belief itself. Believe in your God, Love like your God says you should love, follow any rules your God gives you (so long as they do not involve forcing your bullshit on others), and keep it to your fucking self. If you want to discuss it with someone, then do so (and allow others to respond), but do not try to force those views on others.

Now for the Atheists that take my being an Atheist as a sign that says, "Hey everyone! I'm an Activist and Extremest in the name of Atheism! My goal is to make you feel stupid because I'm right, and you're wrong!"

That's bullshit. I'm far too lazy and narcissistic to be an Activist or Extremest for anything. I can't even stop eating at Chic-Fil-A to protest their support of Anti-Gay organizations. I know they are not Anti-Gay, and that they do not support those organizations for their Anti-Gay beliefs, but for the other things they support. But they should understand that when you financially support someone/something, you have to make sure you support EVERYTHING that they do. I know this, but I can't stop eating there. Have you had their Chicken Club Sandwich or Nuggets and Polynesian Sauce? That shit is amazing! You can't taste hate. But if you can, and it tastes like Polynesian Sauce, then I might have to reevaluate my entire outlook on Life.

I digress. That's a subject for another day. What I'm getting at here, is that just because I don't believe in God, does not mean that I automatically want to team up with other Atheists to attack the religious without just cause. Hell, I don't even want to do it with just cause. At least not for being religious. If they are protesting abortion clinics or protesting against homosexuality, then fuck yeah I want to attack them. But that is their personality and social mentality more than their religious faith. Their faith is just the excuse they use to justify their hate, ignorance, and fear of the things that they do not understand.

I don't want to be known as Jason the Atheist. I'd much rather be known as Jason. Just Jason. If I had to be given a title, I'd hope to get something better than Jason the Atheist. Something like Jason the Writer, Thinker, Engineer (if I ever finish my degrees), Scientist (again if I am ever able to finish my degrees), or perhaps just Jason the Awesome.

I have no agenda, and I do not want to be lumped into anyone else's agenda based on one asinine opinion that we may have in common.

23 August 2011

When I grow up, I want to be...

This is actually a journal entry to myself, that my wife said I should post here.


When I was a kid, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Every kid is asked that at several points in their life. Most know what they want right then, but forget and change it later. Laugh about it when they're older, and think about how much simpler life was when they just wanted to be a fireman, athlete, ballerina, rockstar, movie star, etc. Others aren't sure what they want to be when they're children, and more never figure it out as adults.

Some, though, know what they want from the start, and they never lose focus. They become exactly what they wanted, and they do not let anyone or anything, get in their way.

Like many others, I'm somewhere in the middle of all of that. I knew very early what I wanted to be, and I never forgot it. But I lacked the motivation and fortitude to work toward it. I let myself let myself give up.

When I was a kid, and I was asked for the first time what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn't hesitate to let everyone know that I wanted to be a Mad Scientist. My aunt will still bring it up every now and then and we'll all laugh.

I still want to be a Mad Scientist when I grow up.

The first time I said it, everyone laughed. Not in a teasing me kind of way, but in the way people laugh when a kid says something unexpected and adorable, because you feel they're too young to truly understand what they are saying (something we never stop doing to anyone younger than us, or newer to something than we are). I held on to this answer until someone closer to my age asked me why I wanted to be a bad guy, and then the laughing started making me feel embarrassed. I thought I had chosen the wrong thing to be. No one else at school wanted to be any kind of scientist.

I wish now, I could have had the confidence to explain what I thought a Mad Scientist was. Maybe if I had, I would be one now. Don't worry, though, I do not dwell on “maybes” and “what might have beens” like this sounds. I wouldn't have the experiences that helped me to build the confidence and philosophical mindset that I have now, if I'd lived any of those other possible lives.

When I first said I wanted to be a Mad Scientist, I was not thinking about an evil man in a lab coat creating homicidal grunts to do my evil bidding. What I was thinking about, was the scientist that did what all other scientists said was impossible. Creating portals through time, into other worlds, genetically engineering creatures that would not exist otherwise; genetically altering people to be stronger, faster, healthier, and happier. Creating life from the lifeless. Regenerating lost limbs, curing Cancer and AIDS (both of which were always on the TV in the 80s. AIDS especially). Finding ways to make people invisible, to pass through solid objects, move faster than light. I wanted to do all of the things that every scientist in every science fiction show has done since the first science fiction show was ever written. Crazy things and not so crazy things. I just wanted to do what I'd been told couldn't be done.

I wanted to be like Dr. Frankenstein, Doc Brown, Dr. Jekyll, Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, Dr. Who, and even the man that built Inspector Gadget. Pretty much everyone that I saw when watching television with my grandfather, or heard about while he and my grandmother played pinochle with their friends.

The older I got, the more I learned about these people, and the more I wanted to be like them. In my entire academic career (which isn't saying much), I have only written 5 essays. One about Baseball that I wrote on the bus ride to school the day it was due (which I'm proud to say I lost points on it, because Mrs. Bryant thought I copied it straight out of the fake sources I listed), one about the movie Blade for my GED test, one about the effects drug abuse during pregnancy does to the child later in life, and two about Albert Einstein. It would have been one about Albert and one about Tesla, but Tesla was taken the second time around and I was allowed to choose Einstein again. One about his life, and who he is; the other about his theory of relativity. Neither of them got me any kind of attention, nor did they say anything about my level of intelligence at the time. I only mention them, because I wrote them. I was a poor student, and I had trouble doing any kind of homework. I was not lazy, and it did not bore me because I was too smart for it. I just couldn't do it, because I wasn't excited about it. But learning about these people I'd always wanted to be like, was exciting and inspiring. I didn't have trouble focusing, or finding the words to use. I probably didn't format them correctly, or present the subject matter in the order that one should present it; but I was excited and motivated enough to do it.

Now I'm almost 30 years old, and with each passing day, I want more and more to be that Mad Scientist that I gave up on as a child. When I turn on my television and see Dr. Michio Kaku talking about how many of the impossible things I dreamed doing, are theoretically possible, I get excited. I change channels and then see Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson talking so passionately about space exploration, black holes, and the creation of our Universe; I get so excited I want to cry.

I am 28 years old. I am an aspiring writer and Mad Scientist. I have only a GED, almost no formal education beyond the 9th grade, and a boat load of imagination. Before my son's second birthday, I will be on my way to becoming that Mad Scientist I said I'd be when I was 4. I will no longer be just a dreamer with goals I'm afraid to follow. I will finish a book. I will get it published. I will earn a bachelor's degree in Mechatronic Engineering, and then a PhD in physics (I'll decide which as I learn more about them all).

I will also own a Delorean DMC-12.

2:30 am, walking my dog, staring at the sky.


When I look up at the night sky and see that bluish, grayish, black sky; with tiny specks of light scattered across it, in the most genuinely random of places, I do not see anything special. I am not impressed by something I can recreate with a flashlight and felt. I see nothing special in giving shapes, names, meanings, and mystical purposes to the twinkling dots above me. Seeing that means nothing to me.

The thing is, when I look up at the sky, what I just described isn't what I see. I have to take a step back from myself to see that. When I look up, I see the vast distances between me and each of those lights. I think of how the planet I am standing on has roughly 196,940,400 square miles of surface on it, and how we have yet to explore all of that. And how that space is less than an insignificant fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fucking fraction, compared to even the space between me and one of those tiny little specks I see.

I think of how that tiny little light flickering above me, is really a burning ball of gas so large and powerful, that it has the potential to create life, heavy metals and elements that cannot be created anywhere else; and it has the power to destroy them unlike anything else in the Universe. I see what may be the final smile of that powerful star, long after it has ceased to exist.

I see a universe so large, my mind cannot comprehend or even see all that it truly is. I see thousands of the possible 70 sextillion + stars in the Universe. Stars exactly like the one[s] that died in order to create our solar system, our planet, life, and the air that I breath.

When I look up at the night sky, I do not see tiny specks of light twinkling back at me from behind a bluish, grayish, black sky. I see the true creators of life. I see the future of mankind. I see more than stars, and emptiness in between. I see the mothers of creation, stars that are, on an atomic level, related and connected to me and everyone else on this planet; and that is fucking beautiful. Truly fucking beautiful.

30 July 2011

About the 11 September 2001 Memorial Museum and Being an Atheist in America

I am a Baptist raised guy from a small town in West Georgia. Son of an evangelical minister, that somehow ended up back in The Bible Belt. I have more Reverends, Pastors, and Preachers in my family; than I do relatives with College degrees (I might even go as far as saying High School Diplomas). Went to church every Sunday growing up, and voluntarily every Sunday and Wednesday night throughout the majority of my teen years.

I am an Atheist. In the words of the late Douglas Adams, I am a Radical Atheist. This merely means that I go one step beyond not believing in a God, in that I am convinced there is no God. I've no agenda, or even a care as to what anyone else chooses to believe in. Only how they choose to believe it, when that method of believing pushes outside their home and mind, and into my pocket and the Government that oversees the country that I live in.

I am not an Atheist because I prayed for something and it didn't happen. I am not an Atheist because I don't believe a God can exist while there is so much pain and hate in the world. I am not an Atheist because of some traumatic experience I had when I was younger. I am not an Atheist because I want to rebel against my family and upbringing. The most religious of my family, and the ones with the strongest knowledge of the Bible, are the ones that are the most understanding and easiest to talk with.

I am an Atheist because I read the Bible. I am an Atheist because I chose to research, fact check, and verify the claims I was told to believe as a child. I am an Atheist because I have to be. It isn't a choice. I cannot choose to believe something I know to be a lie. I cannot force myself to shutdown the logical/rational parts of my mind, or my curiosity and that need I have to learn as much as I can about everything.

But I've gone on too long about that. I'll post another day about my road to becoming an Atheist. This blog is about something that I came across today, that really upsets me.

The American Atheists have filed a suit for for equal representation of all faiths [or lack thereof] at the 9/11 Memorial Site, or none at all.

American Atheists' Communication Director, Blair Scott appeared on Fox News' American Live with Megyn Kelly on Thursday 28 July 2011. Or at least that is when they posted the interview. An interview in which neither Megyn Kelly or Tim Brown ever acknowledge or respond to the fact that the law suit is not to remove the cross, but to either have all faiths represented or none. I cannot think of anything that would represent Atheists in the museum, but not allowing any other faiths to have representation within the museum is making a very bold, and incorrect statement about the United States of America. Not only do Megyn and Tim get very angry, and twist everything that Blair Scott said, but they introduce him after making very biased comments about the issue. They also conveniently had him on the phone, without video. But I will assume that wasn't intentional, and that the photo they used was Blair's choice, and not one they chose because the smile throughout such a serious topic made him seem pretentious (which he is not).

Shortly after this interview, Blair's voicemail and email was flooded with messages of hate and death threats. Even Fox News' Facebook page was flooded with them, and 18 of those were saved before Fox News deleted them all.

Some were much worse than others, including two from a young lady saying, "stupid atheists, I hope God kills them all." and "I love Jesus, and the cross and if you don't, I hope someone rapes you!" [punctuation mistakes were her doing, not mine]

Now, I am fully aware that these views do not represent Theists as a whole, or even those of Polytheists. They do, however, represent the views of those that are pushing for choices in this country that have a direct influence on my life. They push for our government to give a portion of MY tax dollars to religious organizations (mostly Christian).

Now lets talk about what Churches do with money they receive:

In 2007 it was reported that 33.4% of the estimated total giving of people to different organizations, went to houses of worship and/or Denominational organizations (that comes out to $103.32 Billion given to religion, just in case you were wondering).

That is a lot of fucking money. What is happening to this money? Well, let me tell you!

On average, 85% of this money goes toward the internal operations of its congregation. Another 2% goes toward overseas missions, and that last 13% MAY go toward helping give back to the community. These are just 2007. Do you think it has changed any since then? You know, seeing as how the entire country is hurting for money.

Sources: USA Today, Generous Giving.org, Church Stewardship & Tithing Report, and Google

Now let's take into account the survey taken by The University of Minnesota in 2006. This survey was published to the U of M website on 28 March 2006 (Hey! That's my birthday!) and found that Atheists are the least trusted minority in America. The full study was published in the April 2006 issue of the American Sociological Review.

I hate when people that go out of their way to find ways to say they are being discriminated against, but I hate it even more when the discrimination is clear and the ones that are discriminating against others are twisting words and accusing the discriminated of wanting to be discriminated against. Would you ever accuse a rape victim of wanting to be raped so they'd have something to complain about? I sincerely hope that answer is 'no.'

With that, I hope anyone that might accidentally, or purposefully, happen across this will see that placing a religious symbol for one religion into the 9/11 museum, is unconstitutional if all religions are not also represented in some way. Atheism is not a religion, and does not need anything to represent it in the museum, but we do need it to be made clear that this is not a country with one religion or set of beliefs.

America is known as The Melting Pot, but that is not the image we display anymore. Now, instead of showing our acceptance and diversity, we allow certain people to represent us as something we are not. As a nation with one religion, that abhors  immigrants from poorer countries, and only cares about fame and fortune. I know this isn't who we are. I know it isn't who we want to be, but I fear it is who we are becoming.

28 July 2011

The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Shirt on Amazon

The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Shirt

I'm sure anyone reading this has read some of the reviews for this shirt before. They're great!

Well, I happen to work with a man that owns this shirt (and many others like it) and wears it without irony. He has had it longer than these reviews have existed. One of the most interesting people I've ever met. So much so, that I thought I'd write a review for the shirt myself. Mostly so I could reference it in a couple of weeks when I write a review for The Mountain Unicorn Castle Purple Shirt. Link is here.

The title of the review is: I used to be a woman...
It is a one star review.



I hate this shirt. I hate this company. They have ruined my life. I purchased this shirt for my son, because I was sick of watching Blues Clues and wanted him to skip age 2 and go right to age 34. After all, two years is more than enough time for him to grow up and become a man already. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking at the moon for too long, and before I knew it I was wearing the shirt myself.

At first it was great. I felt stronger, more powerful, people ACTUALLY respected me! It was the greatest feeling I'd ever had. Fast forward two weeks, and I had noticed my arms were bigger, my breast had turned into beautiful pectoral muscles that danced when I flexed them, my hair naturally slicked itself back into a glorious ponytail (not unlike that of Steven Seagal circa Above The Law) that had my husband and son worshiping the ground I walked on.  I had grown a delightfully thick beard, that was so amazing, Chuck Norris sent me a letter conceding to its glory. All great things, that I am very proud of. This shirt seemed like the greatest thing I could have ever found.  My life was perfect.

That is, they were perfect. Perfect up until the moment I discovered I had a penis. Actually, it was when my husband discovered the penis that things really went downhill.

At first he was envious of its majesty, but he learned to love it. Sex...Amazing! But it was a few days after the penis appeared before I left the house and discovered the true power of the Three Wolf Shirt.

In fact, it was when I made my first trip out in public with the penis that my life was ruined. I was at the Atlanta Motor Speedway with my husband and son, when we were rushed by a pack of beautiful women. My son and husband were trampled during the excitement, and were killed instantly. The spiked heels of these NASCAR models were just too much for my husband and son's fragile skulls.

I now spend all of my time locked in an undisclosed location, trying to find a way to break this curse and bring back my family. Searching for something that can reverse this curse disguised as a blessing.

Whatever you do, do not buy this item. It has a way of giving you everything you’ve ever dreamed of, at the cost of everything you love.

16 June 2011

Mental Masturbation of the Soul (Facebook Edition!)

The title is meant to imply that I am not really so self-centered and narcissistic as to think that writing a blog entry that strongly resembles a really long About Me section of a Facebook profile shows that I am actually a very deep individual, with ideas and thoughts that will change your ways of thinking. Or that I am the kind of person you think you are, but deep down know you really aren't.

It's a lie. I am that shallow and narcissistic, and I have no original ideas or anything interesting to say. What I am is bored at work and feeling like I need some kind of entry on this page. It's a shame I'm not feeling as inspired to write right now, as I am when I'm laying in bed trying to sleep.

Let's see where this goes!

My name is Jason. Apparently, I look like a Michael. That's my middle name, though I like to tell people it is Montgomery just to watch their face as they lie and tell me it is a beautiful or "unique" name. I grew up mostly in a small town on the edge of Georgia and Alabama. Hated the town, hated the schools, and pretty much hated everything until I was out on my own and living in Atlanta.

At sixteen years old I was kicked out of school for fighting my principal. He had sent me home several times before because of my hair. He didn't like the different colors. I tried going to other schools, but none would accept me. At 18 I decided to get my GED, took the test, received the diploma (if you can call it that), and proceeded to work crap jobs until I was 19. This is when I enlisted in the Army.

I did my time as a soldier. Never went to the desert, but I did go to Korea and several countries in South America. Got out, moved around for a while, and then worked some more crap warehouse jobs.

One Spring Break I took a week off from those crappy jobs and went to Puerto Rico to visit this hot chick I met on a message board (Bolt.com before it became whatever bullshit board it is now, and no, it is not a dating site). Had a blast and the next month she flew up to visit me. Then the following month I up and moved down there so I could actually date her like the normal person I am not.

A few months later she moved back to Georgia with me, and I went back to crap jobs.

When I finally got sick of those crappy jobs, I went into sales. I'd never worked in sales before, and thought it would be fun. It was... for about a week. I stayed in door-to-door sales for a few months, and then went into Car Sales. I didn't think anything would be worse than Going door to door, selling crap. I was wrong. Car Sales was the single worst job I have ever worked. It eats at your soul (and with a soul as short as mine, I couldn't afford to make a career out of it). Spent about two years there before leaving for a decent job with not many hours.

Then I landed my current job at a Helpdesk. Basic IT troubleshooting, and within a year and a half, I'd been promoted twice. Not bad for a fucking GED.

Somewhere near the end of all that, I married that Hot Latin Chick, and last September we had our first child. We spent a few years planning him, and seeing as how rare that is, I like to point it out. His name is Xekan, and he's fucking awesome.

Just look at this punam (WARNING! Better put on a helmet before scrolling down!):


















Yeah, that PERSON used to live in MY BALLS! Took my awesome, mixed it with my wife's awesome, and we created awesome that has caused heads to explode.

Now is the part where I start listing all of the things about me that are unique and junk. Are you ready?! You'd better be, Sally Mae Doofinsmurtz!

I am a midget because I have a short soul. My actual height is something people are always asking me. I think Brutus was awesome, because he stuck it to the man. I hate country music, reggaeton, and southern white gospel. Everything else is at least tolerable. When I taste something, the first thing that I think of is the shape that it tastes like. I recently realized that certain sounds cause physical reactions in me that can change my mood almost instantly. I am an Atheist. My father is/was a preacher. I think the smell of powdered laundry detergent is the greatest and most delicious scent in the universe. I get excited by science, and inspired by the most simple things. I want to be like Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson when I grow up, and hope to have published books that touch people in the ways that my favorite authors have touched me. Authors like David Sedaris, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Coupland, Tiffanie DeBartolo, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Kurt Vonnegut, and Dan Wells.

I have a strange sense of humor, and I could not care less if I am the only person laughing or not. I will laugh at anything, and anyone. I will not treat someone like they're special just because they're retarded, sick, or dying. I lack empathy and/or a conscience. I'm a good person because I do good things, and I do good things because I enjoy doing good things. I look at all of the likely consequences of each choice I make, and I do not have to worry about God or Guilt preventing me from making the correct choice. The first thing I ask myself before most any choice I make is "Which one will have the best story?"

Darkwing Duck has the most passionate theme song of any cartoon I can think of. When everyone in elementary school was listening to Michael Jackson, I was listening to Prince and Stone Temple Pilots. The first thing I ever said I wanted to be when I grew up, was a Mad Scientist. Once I noticed people laughing at it, I changed it to professional baseball player, and left that as my default response until I was out of school. I never wanted to play any sport professionally.

I am a good listener. Scratch that. I think I am a good listener because I was a good listener until I was about 17 and someone actually listened to me. Then I realized, not only how good it feels to let things out, but how much more interesting I am than everyone else. I sometimes talk just so I can hear myself speaking. I have a great voice, and there are times when it sounds so perfect I don't want to stop listening to it. Like a song on repeat, that you just can't get enough of.

I expect people to be who they are, and nothing else. I am never disappointed. I have a pro active way of thinking, and a laid back way of acting. I'm extremely logical and rational, though my mind sometimes shorts out and appears broken. I choose to see the bright side of everything, and that makes this universe so much more beautiful than any other way I've ever looked at it.

I think I'll stop now, since this is getting stupid long, and no one will ever read it all.

26 March 2011

"Children don't know what real stress is!"

This statement, and many other similar ones have been coming up around me a lot lately. From message board conversations, water cooler talk at work, to family and friends at home. I'm going to go on a long, and possibly incoherent, rant about why this is fucking bullshit. I'm running on little sleep, and typing this during my lunch at work. If it seems like I am not holding a thought long enough, bouncing around too much, or not staying consistent... I really don't care.

Maybe I'm weird in not thinking back on life and seeing sunshine and rainbows in my childhood. Perhaps something is broken in my brain that keeps me from glorifying what it was like to be a child and teenager. Was my childhood so bad that I fall outside the statistical average the adult population? I don't think so.

Whatever the reason, I'm thankful for it. As the brother of several teenagers and now the father of a baby that will one day be one; I'm glad I'm not another adult telling them they don't know what stress is, or that they have it made.

It seriously pisses me off when people say that.

How can people so easily forget the hormonal changes they were going through that made life so Goddamn stressful? Or the fact that they had no experience in dealing with the stresses of every day life, and fitting in socially was more difficult and necessary than when you are an adult. You have to do it to survive as a child. As an adult, you have the option of changing your environment to find more like-minded people. As a kid you are stuck with the people in the town that your parents chose, and you have to deal with it until College or at least when you're old enough to strike out on your own.

Let us not forget that as a minor, you do not have the same freedoms that an adult has. You cannot just up and leave the classroom you are in because the people around you are horrible (anyone that doesn't know how cruel children and teenagers can be, has obviously never met a teenager or child, and was probably raised in a lab deep in a German bunker). You cannot go out for a drive whenever you are stressed and need to get away (even when you're 16 and 17, you have a curfew in most states). Making money to buy the things you want to buy is damn near impossible. Especially when you have parents that refuse to allow you to get a job, or that say your grades (I'll rant about why I think the importance people put on grades is bullshit later) aren't high enough to work (even though working a steady job will prepare you for adult life more than straight A's ever will. I know I am not the only one here with a GED that is doing MUCH better than my straight A peers from High School.).

I would also like to point out to the people that say these things to children and teens, that any stress and responsibilities you have now, are the direct result of the choices that YOU made. The majority of a teen and child's stresses are out of their control. Many of them are ALSO THE DIRECT RESULT OF CHOICES THAT YOU/THEIR PARENTS MADE! So don't go telling them they don't know what stress is, when they are having  to cope with your bullshit life choices. They don't need you telling them they have no right to complain about the things they have to deal with because of you.

Adults are the ones with little right to complain about anything. Oh, you have a car note and mortgage to pay? Did someone force you to buy a house or car? No? Well then, why are you complaining about something you chose to commit to? What's that? You have a job you hate? Did you do everything you could to get a job you love? Relationships and children got in the way, did they? So you chose to have those things before you had reached the point in your life where you could work a job you love and afford a relationship and kids. Sounds like a problem with your priorities. By the way, getting pregnant is not an unforeseen circumstance. Getting arrested for a crime that you actually committed is not an unforeseen circumstance. Refusing to pick up a book and educate yourself on subjects that will help you get ahead in life, and talking to people that can help you make connections in the field of your choice, is laziness on your part and you have no right to complain that this was not handed to you. Odds are pretty high that you are in the situation you are in because you decided to take a quick job that you thought paid well at the time, because it was easier and faster than working your ass off for a few years to get the job you dreamed of as a child. Do not hate on a child for still dreaming. Encourage them to do what you didn't, and actually achieve their dreams.

The older we get, the faster time flies by. Time is relative, and the more times you do something, the less it feels like it takes. An example would be making an hour drive somewhere. The first few times may seem like an hour or longer, but after a while, it starts seeming shorter and shorter. Our days, weeks, months, and years are affected the same way by this repetition. Keep this in mind the next time you feel like you've had a long week, and then roll your eyes at that teen that said they know what you mean, because they had a long week to. Their long week felt twice as long as yours did. That means they are going to feel that stress twice as long, mixed with the hormonal changes that makes it difficult to rationalize what is happening to them (not that different from a pregnant woman). Twice the stress for twice the amount of time. They should be rolling their eyes at you.

I'd like to go back to something I said previously about experience. More than anything, this is what makes being an adult much easier than being a child. Experience. This does not mean that you automatically know more than anyone younger than you, because that is total bullshit. What it does mean, is that you have gone through the same stresses more often than they have gone through their stresses. It would be damn near impossible to have not experienced them more. With this experience, comes the ability to navigate and prioritize better (though some people never learn to do this). You are also given more and more respect by others with each passing year. By the time you are an adult in your 30s, you've probably had to deal with most of your stresses many times over. You know if you fall behind on bills, which ones to pay first, which ones to call and work out a later plan with, so on and so forth. You've probably had a few relationships, so you know how to cope with a break up, or how to transition from couple to friends with ease. You aren't learning to do this for the first time. You've likely had multiple jobs and know how to interview, ask for a promotion/raise, or even identify jobs that you will enjoy over ones that you'd hate but sound like they'd be fun when you read about them. With each passing year, these things get easier and easier. This is why so many "mental illnesses" are ones that people "grow out of." After a while, you learn how to cope with it to the point that you don't know it is still there. A child is still learning to do these things, and you patronizing them does not make it any easier. It just makes them feel like they are pathetic for feeling that way.

What I'm getting at is when you tell a minor they don't know what real stress is, remember that you don't know what the fuck you are talking about. You're so caught up in your own bullshit (that you brought upon yourself) that you have either forgotten what it was like to be a kid, or you are too self absorbed to believe that anyone could possibly feel like you do or worse. You're being an asshole, and you need to stop.

14 January 2011

The Definition of Pretentious...

I've been trying to find the time to type this up since it happened over the weekend. Seeing as how it has taken me all week to get to it, you aren't likely to find the same passion I was feeling right after it happened.

My brother was over last weekend, as is often the case on weekends. It was Saturday night, and it was dark out. We were getting ready to take my dog Kale for a walk around the neighborhood, and Brent decided to go outside to wait on us. As soon as he stepped outside, there was an old man walking his dog that quickly snapped at him to come over so he could ask him a question. His tone and body language put my brother on the defensive, but since he was an old man, he walked over to see what he wanted.

The old man didn't want to ask a question. It turns out he wanted to make a statement. You see, Kale stays in our garage when it is cold outside, and we walk him a few times a day and play with him inside the garage where it is warm and cozy. In the summertime he has our backyard to roam around and play in, and when the weather is bad he has his kennel in the garage. We rent, and dogs are not allowed inside. Plus he's a big, dumb, smelly, mutt. Pretty much the most perfect furry friend imaginable.

Well, as you may have already figured out, the old man didn't like this. Or, I should say, he didn't like that Kale stays in the garage. He didn't know any of the other things, or the fact that I work nights, so most of Kale's play time is after dark and before I go to work. Basically whenever this guy isn't walking by my house.

He proceeded to tell Brent how cruel it is to have him locked up in the garage when there are people at home, because every single time he walks his dog by our house he hears him barking. He kept using the word "cruel" like a weapon of self righteousness.

Brent argued that the man was making assumptions based on facts he didn't have, and asked how the man knew the inside of garage wasn't a palace. He asked him what he did with his dog when he wasn't at home. His response was that he let's his dog roam freely throughout their home, and that's what any real animal lover would and should do. Then he said he was simply showing concern as an animal lover. Brent told him to wait right there, while he went to get me so he could say all of this to my face.

I was still helping my wife put our son to sleep, and putting on some warmer clothes. I told Brent I'd be right down, and he went back outside to find the old man walking away. He stopped him, and made him come back to repeat everything to me.

I stepped outside and asked him what the problem was (Brent had not said anything more than he wanted to ask me about Kale). He stood there, with his big pure breed poodle, and let me know how cruel it is that I keep my dog in the garage when people are at home. He did not ask me anything, he just told me. I explained the situation and why he is in there, and he had the fucking gall to tell me that I would understand where he was coming from if I had ever watched any of the animal shows on television.

I interrupted him and asked if he had ever done anything to help animals, or if he'd just watched those shows. I then asked if he knew who Brandon Bond was, and explained to him exactly what he has done to help dogs and other animals everywhere; I told him how my wife and I both do what we can to help animals and how we have fostered animals until we were able to find them homes, just to keep them out of shelters. I pointed out the dogs that were inside other people's houses that were barking at his dog. You know, because some dogs bark when they hear/see/smell other animals, regardless of where they are.

I then told him he needed to leave, and that I was done talking to him. He said he was just trying to show concern, and I let him know that he wasn't. He was actually being pretentious and just wanted to feel self righteous by telling us how he lived his life.

I was told I needed to look up the word 'pretentious'.

I didn't, but Brent did. He's never been one to turn down a challenge.

Pretentious:  
a: making usually unjustified or excessive claims (as of value or standing).
b: expressive of affected, unwarranted, or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature. 
 
I would not have been so upset if this did not happen the night after I heard about the death of Cain, Brandon Bond's pitbull and best friend. My wife and I read his story, and spent the night crying and hugging Kale and our cat Chiquita. For someone I have never met to walk up to me and tell me that I am cruel to animals, while they are wasting money paying breeders for pure breeds rather than saving an innocent animal from dying in a shelter... It gets to me. I hope that man, that old fuck, chokes on his dinner and dies slowly as his poodle pisses on his carpet in front of him.

This is the happy puppy, that apparently shouldn't be happy since we're so cruel to him: