Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I can't think of a title

After a several-year break from blogging, some people may wonder what I have been doing. Although The Sinister Porpoise remains in the world, she has been attempting different blogging outlets. As someone might expect, I’m not as interested in blogging about Mormons or Mormonism all that much anymore. It will take some time before the church even recognizes that people calling themselves asexuals exist. (I’m thinking of starting a pool to get the exact year on this. There may be a separate pool to determine what the church’s position will be.)

This does not mean that I have not been busy. I have done quite a bit of writing on the Internet, some of which I would be extremely reluctant to share. I have gotten better. I have delved deeply into asexual issues as well. I’ve covered video games. I’ve written some of these games off on my taxes. I’ve even engaged in a little bit of journalism. I'm not as good at it as I'd lik to think I am, but most people are like tat.

Throughout all of this, I have discovered that while my writing has improved, it’s not a really great way to make money. I’ve also discovered that I really do not like the SEO content writing. In some ways, it is good. I do not have to deal with people much. I can set my own hours and I can go to work naked if I so choose. The problem with the setup is that most of the people you deal with do not care about the truth. They also care about getting content quickly. Some people can write well under these conditions. I found out that it is not ideal for me.

I’ve also been more involved in local matters. I’ve gotten a chance to play journalist, even if no one pays much attention to what I do. While every job has its downsides, I find its nice providing information that people need to know. The downside is that this often means attending local meetings. I am, however, of the opinion that several members of the Vigo County School board need to be smacked as a result of this, however.

Now, there are some interesting things that happened. I’ve had a chance to interview a documentary maker, got to chat with some people who managed to leave the FLDS, and much to my chagrin, even had the FLDS website use me as a source.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This is a strange, strange place

Moving from Pennsylvania to Indiana was a bit strange. It has also sparked an ongoing battle with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. There are a few items that have caused me to experience culture shock and a few things that baffle me. One of the things that will seem strange to many people is the fact that the state has open carry. (I am not opposed to gun ownership, but I think people who insist they need military grade weapons are going a bit too far. U.S. law still requires every citizen to own a black powder musket and 24 balls of ammunition, I think. I'm not sure if that act ever got repealed or amended.)

Attitudes towards guns and other weapons are just one example. There are some things that surprise me. I still cannot get over the fact that you can walk into almost any store and buy beer and other types of liquor. Pennsylvania still has a state-run liquor store model that is a hold over from the prohibition days.

I am also surprised by the somewhat higher level of tact, although I am not sure this was something that was unique to my family. I am used to saying what is on my mind. This is often done without thinking about the consequences. As someone can imagine, this leads to some interesting discussions.

Perhaps the biggest change -- other than going from a small town to an actual city -- is the geography. When I first got here several months ago, I kept looking around to see tornadoes off in the distance. (Someone eventually told me that this was Indiana, not Oklahoma.) It's still strange to see prairie instead of mountains. ON the other hand, one of the best things I love about this place is that it is 700 miles from Shamokin. (Note: The area I'm from is not in the anthracite coal regions. Shamokin, about 30 miles away from my home town, marks the western border. Most of the anthracite coal towns are not pretty, but Shamokin is a very special case in many ways.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I do not know how many of you are familiar with Tumblr. The micro-blogging platform is like an extended version of Twitter. I have used it for promotional purposes for over a year now. I also have had my first and rather unfortunate encounter with people who consider themselves to be part of the social justice community. Tumblr’s social justice community has some very strange ideas, and some people have started to mock it. I agree that mocking certain ideas on Tumblr is necessary. Tumblr’s social justice community has somehow acquired the idea that almost any ridiculous idea is permissible. Without Tumblr, I am sure I would ever have encountered the idea of fictive head mates. I have no idea what this phrase means, but there was one rather entertaining post about how someone killed one of their fictive head mates. Over time, my opinions of the site have changed. I used to view Tumblr as harmless and annoyingly liberal, but there’s a difference between being politically liberal and possessing no trace of common sense whatsoever. After a while on Tumblr, I have come up with my own theories. The founders of Tumblr met in secret, concerned about all of the dangerous and insane ideas that circulated on the Internet. They wanted to contain these ideas in one place so no one would know to take them seriously. It took years of development, but I’m convinced that the result was this popular site. People can check a website and know they should not take anything on Tumblr seriously.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Responses to Orientation

I admit I have neglected this blog. That's one problem with being busy, but there was a comment that I felt I needed to respond to in a few months ago. The easiest process would be finding the post and responding to the comment there, but the person just found the blog.

The post in question had more to do with asexuality and how she thought she could understand it. The response by far is one of the most uncommon ones I have ever seen. Most people when they learn of asexuality respond with confusion, you just have not found the right person, or you must be gay responses. Yet, I have my doubts that the person really understood what I meant. Even worse, I'm not sure I knew exactly what I meant.

I would love to share a connection with someone on a deeply spiritual (for lack of a better term) level, but I do not expect to have the desire ever to jump into the sack with anyone. If I were still a Mormon, this would be problematic because marriage is a requirement to get into the celestial kingdom and entering into such a marriage would likely not be a pleasing thing to most partners.

The good thing is because the organization of asexuals is a relatively new phenomenon, there are no idiotic opinions from General Authorities on the topic. I am sure that if Boyd K. Packer had enough time he could issue an ignorant statement about how asexuals are broken or not a person. The Jesuits, who seemed to use the term asexual to mean a person without a gender identity, have already informed the world that a person who is asexual isn't a person.

But at least it's better to be assumed to be broken and mentally deficient because of a lack of attraction than it is to go through what gays and lesbians go through. If I start to make the transition, I imagine things will be much the same as they are for the latter two groups.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hilary Clinton > Obama

Note: I did not support either candidate. I was not a huge fan of the Republican candidate we ended up with either.

As someone who has been described as a bitter small town Pennsylvanian clinging to god and my guns, I see little reason to support the man.However, it's time for Obama supporters to admit the failings of his administration. Namely, he has announced policies during a deep recession that only serve to lengthen it.

Now, I know Obama did not cause the problem. We can't really blame that on Bush either as it was a global strategy that failed according to a recent special on the history channel, but one of the things you absolutely DO NOT DO during a recession is raise taxes. Money needs to get flowing freely again and the best course of action (as Reagan and Kennedy both did) is to lower taxes.

Of more concern, however, is his foreign policy. His failure to come down hard on Iran or to restate US policy about the use of nuclear weapons on any nation has not done much for the situation with Iran or North Korea. Unfortunately, the elder Bush is a master in this area and both he and the former Bush should have sought out his advice. (Neither of them did, although W has much less of an excuse for his failures in this arena when all he had to do was make a phone call to Dad.)

What bothers me the most, however, is big city elitism. Listen, folks, small town people are not all ignorant red necks. Many factories are still running. Heck, a lot of small town Pennsylvanians don't even *own* guns. There's a reason why Obama lost the primary in this state, and it is that statement. If you want to believe such an offensive statement is insightful, don't tell me about it. Go to your coffee shops and find someone who agrees with you. I'll be too busy buying guns and ammunition I don't need to justify your attitudes. Now, what model of handgun, shotgun or rifle should I get to justify your stereotypes?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not Obsessing

Of course, I have not stopped the habit of obsessing totally, but it seems that Mormon church is simply a major non-factor in my life, except for a few relatives who insist on listening to Glenn Beck. (It is my completely unprofessional problem that many of this talk show host's problems would be solved by ordering his garments two sizes larger.)

I suppose it is a good thing that my life is focussing on other things right now, but because I am who I am, I know I will always be obsessing over something. I would continue this post to take up several paragraphs, but I'm afraid I cannot sustain it in an entertaining fashion, and I simply do not want to bore the reader.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sexual Orientation and Mormonism

I apologize for ignoring this blog, but I have been busy. So much so that I've neglected other blogs. If there's one thing people are still wondering, it's probably what my orientation actually is.

Now, it took me a while to figure this out, but I assumed that gay, straight,and bisexual were the only possibilities in this spectrum. The problem is that I fit into none of these categories. There seemed to be no category for someone who is not interested, even though that one fit me most readily.

I have since learned that this is incorrect.I'm just not attracted to men or women and there is in fact a word for this. Asexuality may seem a strange concept to people who feel that they cannot live without sex, but let's face it, people who really, really want sex will not be spending a lot of time reading blogs anyway.

I have to admit finding out that there are other people who feel this way was something of a relief, although it did not stop me from confronting an editor about it when I tried to bring my own views on the subject of not having a sex drive was not a medical problem to an editor. (Yes, this sentence is awkward, but it's my blog.)

The only problem is that this might doom me to a life of loneliness because it's hard to find someone else who feels that they can get along without sex in a relationship, but at least their our sites out there to help with this problem. (Ace Book is the one that I'm most familiar with.)

And because this is also a Mormon-interest blog, it's important to note that not getting married dooms me at best to the lower levels of the Celestial Kingdom, should I repent of my ways and return to the embrace of the church.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just Finished the rough draft of All is Well

Now, I started this idea a while back and the initial plans for it to be a web comic have been put on hold until I find the motivation to acquire a new artist. (If anyone *wants* to be a web comic artists and deal with sticky Mormon issues, they may feel free to contact me. The only real requirement is that you must be able to draw better than I can. This is not hard.)

But, as I hated to lose all the work that had been put into it, I decided to do a novelization of the story line that had already been worked on. I do not know if there will be any interest in it, and the work is far from perfect in its current form, but if any of my readers would like to read it, they need only to ask me for it via e-mail and I will send them an archived version of the rough draft. This also coincides with an earlier promise to make it available in some form.

The book, which I am calling All is Well is far from pleasant and it is far harder on the church than I intended it to be, but I felt the stories of people often ignored by the church or worse, actively encouraged to change into something other than what they are needed to be told.

Oh yeah, it'll also tell you something about Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, but the book just happens to take place there. It's not really going to be all that useful to someone with a different interest in the place that bills itself as the state's only town.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"It Takes a Lot of Faith to be an Athiest"

I've seen this quote elsewhere. While the religious statement often implies that it takes more faith not to believe in God than it does to believe in him, the typical atheist response I've seen seems to not understand the meaning of the word faith.

Now, I'm not saying atheists are religious, although some do follow their lack of religion devoutly. Saying that it does not take faith to be an atheist or insisting that definitions are being redefined to make that statement is a falsehood. While Creationists often make huge scientific errors in describing the problems of evolution, it seems that the athiest writers of today rely on their own redefinition of terms to make their cases.

It takes no more faith to believe in God than it does not to believe him, but either position is a matter of faith. Both are taking a definite position on a religious viewpoint and declaring a position about something that is at the current time unknowable. Agnosticism is the position that takes no faith. (I'm not saying that this is a good thing, but not being sure that God exists is not making a definitive statement about him.)

Atheists need to not be so afraid of terms normally associated with religion being used to describe their viewpoint, nor get up in arms about it. Having faith that God does not exist is not necessarily a bad thing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Problem With the God Delusion

Richard Dawkins may have written a popular book, but it seems that he should be quite obvious he has failed in his goal to convert anyone who was not an Atheist already to convert to his position.

I may be skeptical about the existence of God or Gods, simply because such a thing has not been scientifically proven, so my point will not be made with the problems that stem from religious arguments, but rather the same problem that always boils down to any debate between someone who believes in God and someone who doesn't.

The basic argument boils down to, "If there isn't a God who created the Universe?" The counter response is typically, "Who created God?" Neither question can be answered with our current level of understanding, and the models Dawkins proposes seem just as ludicrous as the creator, if we are looking at it from an objective perspective.

The God Delusion, along with Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World, have been on my reading list for a long time. I've finally managed to check them out a local library. The ideas presented are interesting, but they will not convert me to his position of hard atheism, but then I am more likely to believe scientific explanations than a sheer religious one for elements that have already been proven -- evolution for example. The origin of life, as of yet, remains a mystery. It is possible that life DID come about by chance, but we need more evidence of this, rather than assuming that a *lack* of evidence of a designer is proof.

Now, Dawkins relies on some inaccurate definitions in The God Delusion, particularly misinterpreting the meaning of pantheism. He also places Mormon, on page 36 of his book, as not being a Christian religion. I can only assume this is ignorance based on lack of research. It can be forgiven because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints features very little into any points of The God Delusion, but there is one area of particular concern when ex-Mormons quote from this book.

I have seen the line, "The problem with religion is that it makes people comfortable with not having the answers" quoted by many former Mormons. These are people who should really know better as part of breaking with the faith is coming to understand that you *no longer* have the answers to everything. The Mormon faith, does after all, provide ready answers to many of life's question. These often follow some kind of internal logic, but most claims that the religion makes can be easily disproven scientifically.

We don't need DNA evidence to prove the Book of Mormon is a product of the nineteenth century. Writing analysis is enough, and only a BYU study has shown that the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants were not a product of the same author. (One was conducted by the UTLM, whose motives I am just as suspicious of as BYU. The secular analysis is harder to ignore.) In fact, what Dawkins meant to say was that religion makes people comfortable with having the wrong answers. It even makes them defend the wrong answers vehemently in light of better evidence. (Science is just as guilty of this, but change happens much faster. Many Creationists who attack Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection do not realize that much of Darwin's notions about the evolution of different species were wrong, but instead of looking into the science, they are more comfortable attacking him as a religious figure, a staus which Darwin himself would not have wanted.

The fact is, The God Delusion won't win any converts. It is a book who appeal to people who are already Atheists, or Agnostic theists like myself who merely want to see what the man has to say. Former Mormons should be a little more leary of quotes like the one above and not include them in their signatures as they had to learn to become comfortable with no longer having all the answers.