The Geektastics » Guest Post of Holding http://thegeektastics.com A safe space to geek out! Wed, 26 Mar 2014 02:57:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 Grab Bag of Holding: Crescendudes Giveaway! /2014/02/26/grab-bag-of-holding-crescendudes-giveaway/ /2014/02/26/grab-bag-of-holding-crescendudes-giveaway/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:45:23 +0000 /?p=5285 Grab Bag of Holding

Welcome to my first giveaway of the year – and I’m doing it in style!  Want to win an amazing album by an all-male a capella group? Me too!  I’d like to introduce you to the Cresendudes!

(c) Crescendudes

(c) Crescendudes

Founded in 2005 with an equal mix of X and Y chromosomes, we are the oldest and only all-male a cappella group on the UCF campus.

3rd place regional winners of the 2008 International Collegiate Championship of A Cappella (ICCA) and winners of Best Choreography for the 2008 and 2009 ICCA South Quarterfinals, the Crescendudes are a dynamic bunch of laid-back guys at the University of Central Florida who enjoy harmonizing, joking, and getting distracted for a few hours a week at the expense of their GPAs.

A close-knit yet very open group, the Crescendudes encourages interaction with audiences and members in a fusion of performance, entertainment, and fun. Rehearsals are built around member schedules and e-mail communication is imperative. If you are interested in joining us, having us perform, recommending a song, or just want to comment, please feel free to write us.

Webpage | Facebook | Youtube | Twitter

Want to win the album? Of course you do! …but I’m going to make you work for it by reading my interview with them first (you’ll be quizzed on it later!)

1. What is the glue that holds your group together? We’re all very different people with different ambitions and backgrounds, but when it comes down to it, we’re all a bunch of college guys who love to sing!

2. How many are currently on your roster? 16!

3. What is the best method of campus transportation? Walking, Bicycling, Tardis, or Bat Mobile? We had to vote on this one – and our answer was tied. Our two answers are as follows – Tardis (You’ll never be late to class), and The Imperial Star Destroyer Executor (Because Reasons.)

4. What is your most requested song? What is most difficult to sing? Most requested? People ask us to do “Fat Bottomed Girls” all the time. Most difficult? We don’t have a specific answer for that – many of our songs are really quite complex, and it’s these types of songs that are hardest.

5. Which is the best Avenger: The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor? The answer was a resounding “Nick Furry!”

6. Do you take requests? If so: Bohemian Rhapsody. Thank you. Yes. No. (That song is… stupid hard. Thanks, but no thanks :P )

7. What is the worst on-campus food? The gum under the desks.

8. Star Wars or Star Trek? You almost caused the group to break up over this one; it was a tough decision, but we decided with Star Wars: one of our members dresses up as a Jedi on the weekend. For fun. So we had to go for Star Wars

9. How does your group keep up with its members as they graduate? Trick Question. We can’t get rid of them.” Most of them are around the UCF area, and they come to our events! We hang out quite a bit.

10. What is your group’s favorite off-campus location to perform? Croatia. Just… Croatia.

11. What is the background of your group’s members? What drove them to join your group? And how diverse are the majors of study in your group? We come from everywhere. We have members from in-state and out-of-state. We have a diverse major-base. Engineering, Education, Hospitality, Film, the list goes on and on. Fun fact: we only have one music major!

12. You are gathering your group for an epic quest through Middle Earth. There is room for one more in your group, it is mandatory that another member is chosen. Which do you choose? An emotionally unstable elf that is known as the best “lock-pick, wife woo-er, and general elf of ill repute”, an agoraphobic wizard that specializes in nun-chucks, an egotistical dwarf that deals in information, a human ship captain who was bewitched to think they are an ent, an archer that is a bipolar hobbit, or an whiny teenage half-elf/human just beginning to learn the ways of the forest?  Our music director (whom we love very much) is pretty much already “a whiny teenage half-elf/human just beginning to learn the ways of the forest.” He’s worked out for us so far, so we chose him!

 

Okay, did you catch all that?  Good! Now let’s win some free stuff!

The giveaway last’s until March 26th.  There are some entries you can do more than once… so, get to it!

(c) Crescendudes

(c) Crescendudes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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Guest Post of Holding: Author Shyla Colt /2013/07/10/guest-post-of-holding-author-shyla-colt/ /2013/07/10/guest-post-of-holding-author-shyla-colt/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 16:21:16 +0000 /?p=4471 Guest Post of HoldingI am super psyched to introduce to you one of my new RomCon friends, author Shyla Colt!  Here she is showing off her writing and new books!

 

(c) Shyla Colt

(c) Shyla Colt

I just wanted to thank Rhianna and the Geektastic crew for letting me stop by! I love this site! I’m always learning something new, laughing, or relating here.

I like it when the heroine gets to kick a little… booty, and be the center of attention in a non-damsel in distress way. Coming up with Laurel K. Hamilton as t the writer I longed to one day be compared to, how could I not? * winks.  When I watched Vampire Diaries I rooted for Bonnie. I preferred the mean girl, book version of  Elena to the watered down, need to be saved version presented in the show. I love Lost Girl because the woman handle their own. I could go on, but I know you get the picture.  Maybe it’s because I was named after Super girl ( No I’m not kidding check  it out here). That female comradery runs in my veins.

My heroine from Keys to Heaven, Heavenleigh, embodies that strong female lead. Now, when I say strong, I mean more than just physically fit. I think being mentally tough, dealing with the ups and downs, disappointments, and pressure that comes with life is just as admirable as being able to run triathlons, maybe even more so. Half angel, half demon, Heavenleigh  has been through the ringer.

Sarcastic, witty, unapologetic, and brass, she hides her vulnerability behind her tough girl persona. Something I think a lot of us can relate to.  When an angel falls to heaven right in front of her, all the rules change. The birthright always thoughts to be a curse turns out to be the deciding factor for the fate of the human race.

I’lll be giving away a copy of Keys to Heaven, and a one of a kind pendent to one lucky commenter who answers the following question.  If you could be any supernatural creature, what would it be and why?

Blurb

(c) Shyla Colt

(c) Shyla Colt

Born to a fallen angel and a demon, Heavenleigh Spirit has never truly fit in. Shunned, tested, and ridiculed, she’s hardened her heart, building a wall around her none are allowed to scale. Carving a life for herself running the neutral bar, Purgatory, she caters to all things winged , clawed, and other. Provided they play nice. When she breaks her middle of the road stance to rescue a newly fallen angel she gets more than she bargained for.

The amnesic angel awakes in the bed of the only woman he’s ever lusted after with nothing more than the knowledge he was sent to protect her. Struggling to remember who he is, and why she’s in danger, he fully embraces the passion between them that blazes hotter than hell fire. When the truth about his mission comes out he must fight to convince her the love they share is real, and he’s not going anywhere.

In an ironic twist of fate the woman cast aside for a birthright she never asked for holds the keys to the worlds ruin or salvation.

If you’d like to follow Heavenleigh’s story you can purchase the book at the following places.

Amazon

All Romance

Want to know more about me and my vida loca?

Shyla’s Author Bio

Told once ‘You have to be an author, then you’re craziness becomes eccentrics’, Shyla Colt has always been in love with the written word and possessed a desire to write. Named after Super Girl in the comics, she often mistakes her mortality for super hero status. So, she holds many hats, Mother, Marine Wife, and writer are her top three. Writing allows her to explore new venues, face her demons, and touch others. A huge practitioner of paying it forward, and putting in what you want to get out, she hopes to inspire, enlighten, move, and entertain you with her work. Mixing humor, drama, and strong women, often with a paranormal element, she continues to soldier ahead in the writing field. One of her favorite things is talking to fans. If you’d like to learn more or just drop a line, please check her out at www.shylacolt.com.

Where you can find her

Facebook :http://www.facebook.com/authorshyla.colt?fref=ts

Blog:www.shylacoltsstraightshot.wordpress.com

Website: www.shylacolt.com

Twitter @Shylacolt

Don’t forget to enter your Giveaway!  One of the items is a signed reading journal, and Shyla’s signature is included!

GIVEAWAY!

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Guest Post of Holding: Erica from The Geektastics! /2013/06/10/guest-post-of-holding-erica-from-the-geektastics/ /2013/06/10/guest-post-of-holding-erica-from-the-geektastics/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 14:01:26 +0000 /?p=4169 Guest Post of Holding

DSC_0017Erica is a geek-girl and mini-blogger for the Geektastics community. She lives with her fiancee and their kitten, and plans their geeky wedding when there’s time. She grew up watching Startrek with her dad, and blames him for starting her on the path to geekiness.

1. We survived Denver Comic Con 2013! YAY! What was your most favorite thing about it?

Getting to meet Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek from Warehouse 13… and guilting Eddie into giving me a hug at the Warehouse panel.
Story time! I was asking the last question at the panel when he pulled the mic away and said “No.” When he have the mic back, I kind of blurted out “You’re so mean!” So he gave me a hug and let me finish. Really though, Eddie is a great guy. At his autograph table he pulled his chair around to the front so he could get close to his fans and hug everyone! Saul was tons of fun, too. When Anthony and I got our picture with him, he put his arm around me and said “I’ll hold on to the girl, you go over there” and pointed behind him. Saul also asked us what we did for a living and chatted for a bit. Nicest guys ever.

2. What was the worst thing about this year’s convention?

The freaking lines. I usually don’t mind lines so much, it’s kind of a given at cons. What I have a problem with is when the con staff lock us out at the front doors for half an hour with no explanation, causing us to miss our panel. That’s just not cool. Also, I can get kind of claustrophobic in big crowds, so Sunday in the Expo Room was rough.

3. What words of wisdom would you provide to anyone going next year?

Spend the extra money and get a VIP pass. You’re going to get into panels a lot easier, and you can get to the front of autograph lines. I know it seems like it’s not fair to others, but if you don’t, you run the risk of missing so much.

4. What was the craziest costume you saw?

Craziest? Like, strangest? There was a huge guy in some kind of death makeup. Not sure what he was from, but it looked awesome. Funniest? The guy dressed as Galactus. He was wearing stilts and had a tiny Earth in one hand. Really impressive, but I bet it was impossible to get around. Laziest? Chick wandering around in a bikini. Not as a character or anything, just a bikini with skulls on it. We figured it was just for attention, which I find annoying. If you’re going to take the time to dress up, put some thought into it.

5. What type of swag did you purchase, or want to purchase?

We wound up with seven posters, mostly Marvel characters. Anthony spent most of the con looking for Nightcrawler pictures, and since he’s not terribly popular, he only found one. I got one with the tenth and eleventh Doctors in front of the TARDIS. The artist has worked on lots of cartoons, so it looks amazing. I also picked up an eleventh Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, which I’ve been dying to get for a long time, and a bust of David Tennant as the tenth Doctor (swoon!). Add to that our autographs from Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, and Wil Wheaton, and I think we came out pretty good. I would have liked to find some anime dvds, but I wasn’t looking that hard. Too much Doctor Who swag to look at.

6. Did you go to any panels, if so – which ones?

You mean the only two we actually managed to get into?! Yeah, only a little bitter. We went to the Guild panel featuring Sandeep Parikh and Robin Thorsen. Pretty funny, Sandeep showed a few videos from projects he was working on. Not bad, overall. The Warehouse 13 panel was the only other one we got in to. Showed up an hour early, almost didn’t get in because of the wave of humanity that suddenly showed up twenty minutes before it started. Thankfully, one of the guys that was waiting an hour with us talked to a staff member and got us in before the other panel ended. I’m glad he did, I almost missed out on a hug!

7. Being a geek girl is awesome. What is your favorite part about being a geek girl?

Cute actors to geek out over. Seriously, look at some of the guys we get to drool over! Nathan Fillion, David Tennant, Matt Smith, David Boreanaz. Yum. I do wish some aspects of geek culture were more accommodating for girls, though. American comics (i.e. DC and Marvel) are almost exclusively made for guys, gaming culture is pretty insular as well. Whatever, I can still geek out over my own interests.

8. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one journal to use: a Moleskin, a comp book, or a 1990’s Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper?

Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper would draw too much attention. If I’m going to keep a journal, might as well use the good stuff. I’ll take a Moleskin.

9. Tell us a bit about your steam punk outfit. It was awesome!

So the steampunk outfit was kind of pieced together from stuff I already had, plus some awesome accessories. The dress came from an awesome website that designs gothic lolita dresses and costumes, called fanplusfriend. I highly recommend them, they do high-quality work. The corset came from the renaissance faire, as did my red-tinted steampunk goggles. My necklace, which I absolutely love, I got from the anime convention, NanDesuKan, though I don’t remember the artist that made it. I still need a ray gun, but I want to make it myself.

10. Do you have any costume ideas for next year already?

Not yet. I know Anthony wants to make some clockwork wings for my steampunk costume, so we’ll see how that goes. I usually wait until the last minute to decide what costume I want to do.

11. Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever. Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

Heck yeah I’m a fan, I have a Serenity tattoo on my chest. Next goal: Have Nathan Fillion sign right above it, and get it tattooed. Jaynestown has to be my favorite episode, mostly because I like the song. But the best thing about Firefly has to be the quoteability.

12. Who has the more dedicated fans: Doctor Who or Firefly?

In many ways, Doctor Who fans are, because a lot of the fans have been fans for decades. That’s true fandom right there. On the other hand, without Firefly fans, we may not have gotten the Serenity movie.

13. What is THE number ONE best Anime of all time?

Mushishi. Beautiful animation, unique storyline, awesome characters. Plus, it’s a great gateway anime. Easy for anyone to get in to.

14. What is THE number ONE best Manga of all time?

I’m biased here, because my first manga was Ranma 1/2. So my answer will always be Ranma. I love Rumiko Takahashi, she’s a true inspiration. Manga-ka for over 20 years.

15. Which is a better medium: anime or manga?

Trick question. There will always be anime that are better than their manga counterparts, and vice-versa. Since anime often starts as a manga series, they really go hand in hand. They can also have diverging storylines, as sometimes the anime starts (and ends) production before the manga itself is complete (see: Fullmetal Alchemist. Two very different storylines).

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Guest Post of Holding: Brooke from Brooke Summer Photography /2013/05/25/guest-post-of-holding-brooke-from-brooke-summer-photography/ /2013/05/25/guest-post-of-holding-brooke-from-brooke-summer-photography/#comments Sat, 25 May 2013 15:45:43 +0000 /?p=3967 Guest Post of Holding

 

(c) Brooke Summer

(c) Brooke Summer

Meet Brooke from Brooke Summer Photography!

 

1. How long have you had a passion for photography?

 The photography bug bit me very young, I have had a passion for taking pictures for as long as I could remember. I went to Washington DC when I was about 12 with my purple Advantix camera – it was a BIG deal because the film advanced mechanically lol! That was the trip that I took about 15 rolls of film, and ended up with only 2-3 pictures of actual people. I went a little crazy with pictures of the monuments and sites, and that made me sad. I had these beautiful pictures of buildings, but not people. That was when I decided I wanted to capture people.

2. What is it like having a home studio?

It can be interesting. One week I will be itching for a commercial space, and then a client will tell me that she feels more comfortable being in someone’s home. There is a certain level of comfort when you’re in someone’s home that is hard to duplicate elsewhere.

3. What has been the most surprising aspect of doing boudoir photography?

(c) Brooke Summer

(c) Brooke Summer

Boudoir is an amazing journey, and I love everything about it! The most surprising thing has been to discover that while the photos can be pretty racy and sexual in nature, the session itself is really more about intimacy. For a woman to undress and bare everything in front of you really requires a level of comfort that takes a lot of cultivating beforehand. A boudoir session is amazingly empowering, and my clients walk away feeling like they can “conquer the world.”

4. Your business platform is based upon women feeling great about themselves no matter their size. When will you be expanding your online portfolio to include plus size examples?

ACK this question is so appropriate and I’m SUPER excited to announce that my new website will be live by July 1. The galleries will have curvy women, skinny women, and women of a variety of ages. All photos that are shared on my website or on Facebook are always released by my clients, and all photos are private unless they choose to share. For this reason, building a portfolio that I can share that has a large variety is not as easy as it is with other genres.

5. How do you choose your photography session locations?

Session locations are highly personal and will really depend on the session, and the subjects! Sometimes my clients have a location that is highly personal to them, even if it’s not the most picturesque location. That is when the professionals are separated from the amateurs – to rock a session in an odd location is difficult!

(c) Brooke Summer

(c) Brooke Summer

6. How do you get women and men in your boudoir sessions to relax and get the perfect shots?

I work for weeks beforehand to help my clients relax when they’re here! We talk for quite awhile to discuss clothing, ideas, and other things, because I want to make sure that they are 100% comfortable when we’re working together. That, and we laugh a lot about highly inappropriate things.

7. What is your favorite boudoir photo session accessory to use?

 Sheer fabric or curtains. To use some beautiful fabric to hide the parts that a client wants to hide turns into a beautiful portrait!

8. What do you consider to be your personal fashion style?

I’m SO not a stylish person, this one is hard. I’m pretty much a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, with lots of bling. I love sparkly things, so if an accessory sparkles, I will add it!

9. Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever. Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

I have never seen it. Our favorite show is Big Bang Theory, and my husband and I always joke that he has to explain the geeky show stuff to me, and I have to explain the computer geeky jokes to him. My geekiness tends to extend more to superheroes and computers.

10. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one method of documenting your point of view what would you choose: writing, still photography, or video?

 First still photography, and because my camera does both which means maybe I can get away with both, I would add in some video.

11. What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

I have a heart for domestic violence victims and safehouses/women’s shelters, as well as unplanned pregnancy centers. I believe so strongly in helping women. We are so powerful and diminish our own value far too often.

12. What age do you think children should start being introduced to photography?

 It really depends on the child. My son has had cameras since he could walk. He didn’t know what he was doing, but sometimes those snapshots are fun. I believe that if a child shows interest in something, trying those things at a younger age can be beneficial and help them learn a little more about who they are, and who they want to be as they grow. Whether it’s a camera or a hobby or sport, learning what they like and dislike, their strengths and weaknesses, can really benefit them as they grow.

13. What is your biggest photography pet peeve?

(c) Brooke Summer

(c) Brooke Summer

This is a can of worms, it will be hard to pick one! Lately we have seen a rash of “professional” photographers that use stock images, or steal others’ images, to build their websites. This is not only unethical, but illegal, and misleads clients into thinking they are purchasing something they are not. This is especially true of boudoir, potentially because of the intimate nature of the photos. I would caution women to really do their homework before trusting someone with private photos. Look into someone’s Pinterest, Facebook, and reviews online. I have personally “fixed” several badoir sessions – yes, that’s BADoir, not boudoir. I have had several clients that went elsewhere because it was cheaper, and had a horrible experience, so they came to me. There are a lot of weirdos out there, work with someone that you trust.

14. What is your current guilty pleasure?

 I just started watching Mad Men on Netflix, and while I wasn’t super interested at first, I’m now hooked. I watch it on my iPad while I’m editing!

15. High heels or sensible flats?

 Everyday, sensible flats. In situations where I don’t have to walk or stand much, high heels with bling baby!

Check out Brooke and her work at www.brookesummer.com!

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Guest Post of Holding: David from OtherLive Art (May the 4th be With You!) /2013/05/04/guest-post-of-holding-david-from-otherlive-art-may-the-4th-be-with-you/ /2013/05/04/guest-post-of-holding-david-from-otherlive-art-may-the-4th-be-with-you/#comments Sat, 04 May 2013 13:25:16 +0000 /?p=3782 Guest Post of Holding
clip_image001David Canavese, a welded steel and mixed-media sculptor, painter, drawer, and digital artist, is based in San Jose, California. He started his studio, OtherLife Art, in 2011. A follower of various fandoms, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, and more, he is inspired to create art by science fiction, as well as by the natural world. He also teaches ballroom, latin, swing and salsa dancing.

1. What will you be doing on May 4th to celebrate Star Wars?

Unfortunately, I’m double-booked!  In the morning/afternoon I’ll be participating in an event called Silicon Valley Open Studios, where hundreds of artists open their studios to the public. On May 4th and 5th I’ll be showing original artwork at a gallery in Palo Alto.

But at 6pm I’ll be rushing back to San Jose for the opening of a Star Wars-themed art exhibit at Current Tattooing. They did a fantastic May The Fourth art show last year and I’m happy to be able to contribute work this year!

2. I recently started playing Star Wars the Old Republic. Do you play?

I do, but I haven’t been able to sign on in a few months due to time constraints!  If I get any free time to myself that’s the first thing I’ll be doing.

3. Which of the Star Wars movies is your favorite and why?

It’s really very hard for me to choose.  Some days it’s the original film, other days it’s Empire. I feel like, even though they’re part of the same continuity, The Empire Strikes Back could almost be set in a different universe. Star Wars (A New Hope) has this great Flash Gordon, rollicking space adventure feeling, while Empire has this great, deeper, moody feel and a great sense of being set in a much larger world/galaxy/universe.

4. When did you start Otherlife Art? What has been the most rewarding aspect?

I started Otherlife Art as part of a project to rededicate myself to art. For a long time after graduating (Santa Clara University, B.A. in Studio Art, with a sculpture emphasis), I didn’t have access to a MIG welder or workspace to create art (or have anyplace to store it). I was very wrapped up in making a living.

Stepping back onto the art path means I’m significantly poorer, but much happier. Nobody goes into art for the money. There are very few people who can make that work. But there’s never been any question that it’s what I love doing. Connecting with people who enjoy my artwork is the most rewarding part, though it never hurts when someone’s willing to back that up by buying a piece! I don’t care about having lots of nice things. I just want to be able to afford materials and food and support myself.

5. What is your favorite art medium to work in?

Welded steel is incredibly fun; it’s like drawing with metal. But papercraft is my other great love; the low cost of materials, the simple tools, the ‘low-tech’ of it is great. But it’s also incredibly versatile and can be quite strong as well. I get a kick out of seeing people’s jaws drop when I tell them one of my detailed pieces is really made of paper.

6. How would you describe your artistic style?

It’s always evolving. The last few years I’ve focused on exploring semi-abstract, organic shapes that look like they could be straight out of nature, like a gnarled tree stump or an intricate coral reef formation. But I’m moving into a new phase of fitting those older works into a larger context of thinking about the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe. I’m also starting to explore “biopunk” — the melding of biology and technology, and the concept of the “ecumenopolis,” or world-spanning city.

7. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one classic rock album to last you through the ensuing years of complete music blackout: Rumors by Fleetwood Mac, The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, or Moving Pictures by Rush?

Tough choice. Tempted to go with Floyd, but the zombpocalypse is kind of a downer already, and if I’ve only got one album to listen to, I’m going to go with the one I’ve heard the least of. Which means I’ll be hearing a lot of Rush as the zombies hurl themselves against the gates.

8. Do you make and sell any Star Wars laser cut wood pieces?

I do have one Star Wars-inspired piece; an original design for a gigantic spaceport. But most of my laser-cut wood prints are in my earlier style of natural-inspired forms. However, just yesterday I was just thinking about doing some more technological pieces. I’m working on some new cutaway views of spaceships and some of them would make awesome laser-cut pieces, so check back soon!

9. Do you prefer the 10th Doctor or the 11th Doctor?

Between those two, I’ll have to choose the 10th doctor, because I’m shamefully out of date on Who. I haven’t even gotten to Matt Smith yet!  But I’m about to. So ask me again in a few months.

10. Was Rory a good companion for the Doctor or just a good companion for Amy?

NOSPOILERSNOSPOILERSNOSPOILERSNOSPOILERS! Just kidding. I swear I’ll watch the Matt Smith episodes soon.

11. Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever. Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

Absolutely. Out of gas is a masterpiece, but it’s nearly impossible to pick just one. Jaynestown is hilarious.

12. What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

I’m not a blind ranty eco-head (there’s a lot of senseless buzzwording and “Green” trendiness about these days) but I do think that we’ve expanded the human race to the point where we have to take care with how we’re managing it or we’ll wipe ourselves off the Earth (or at least decimate ourselves). Science isn’t infallible, but there’s still no better tool for helping us solve those problems.

In the same vein, I think failing to pursue a space program shows a dangerous lack of foresight. “Bigger problems on Earth,” my shiny metal —. It’s ludicrous. Cut a tiny sliver off the defense budget, and use it to quadruple NASA’s operating budget.

13. How long have you been ballroom dancing?

I’ve been dancing since 1998. I taught dancing full-time for about 3 or four years, and I still teach part-time, but I’ve cut down my hours to focus more on art.

14. What is the best part of dancing?

It’s great exercise if you do it enough. You’re more likely to exercise if you really enjoy what you’re doing. The gym’s great for people who think the gym is fun.

It’s also a great skill that you can take with you wherever you go in life. It’s improved my balance and coordination, and it’s social, which has helped to keep me from turning into a total introvert. Just mostly an introvert.

15. Do you take custom order requests through either your Otherlife Art website or your Etsy store?

I do take custom requests or commissions, and the best way to get a hold of me is probably via e-mail (david@otherlifeart.com), but Facebook works too.  I’ll be revamping my Etsy store soon and perhaps trying to integrate it with my website to make everything a little more user-friendly.

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Guest Post of Holding – Tab from Geektastic! /2013/04/25/guest-post-of-holding-tab-from-geektastic/ /2013/04/25/guest-post-of-holding-tab-from-geektastic/#comments Thu, 25 Apr 2013 12:30:58 +0000 /?p=2804 Guest Post of Holding
Meet Tab from Geektastic!

Zombie TabI am a lifelong sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fangirl and I’ve been blogging for three years. I collect zombies, robots and sock monkeys and I spend way too much of my time watching bad horror movies. I’m pretty sure I can drink my weight in Dr Pepper and I am have a wealth of useless knowledge (mostly consisting of movie trivia).

1.Since you are a cinema lover, has there ever been a movie so bad you have walked out of the theater?

I’ve never walked out on a movie before, but I have seen quite a few bad ones in the theater. (They’re usually horror movies.) The two worst ones that come to mind are They (2002) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012).

2.You go to a lot of events every year. What is your favorite all time event EVER? What is your favorite annual event to attend?

I would say Denver Comic Con for both of those questions. Last year was the first year for it and we had a great time, and I think it’s going to continue to get better and better. I’m also a really big fan of the fact that they donate a huge portion of the proceeds to Comic Book Classroom, which encourages childhood literacy and involvement in the arts.

3.Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever. Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

I don’t consider myself a fan because I’ve only seen a couple episodes, but I like Joss Whedon’s work and it seems like a fun show. I’ll eventually get around to watching it, but I’ve got a ton of other stuff on my list right now! I do know it has a huge loyal fanbase, but I’m hesitant to say it’s one of the best sci-fi shows ever, because I haven’t seen enough of it and there are a lot of great sci-fi shows in the history of television. I’m going to cheat the question and talk about why I think “The Twilight Zone” is in the upper pantheon of sci-fi shows. “The Twilight Zone” was one of the first shows to push social and political boundaries and get past the very strict censors of 1960s television. Creator/host Rod Serling was able to do this by cloaking them in sci-fi themes and he introduced thousands of people to the genre that may not have sought it out themselves. The show was also featured the work of many beloved genre writers, including Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, and Charles Beaumont.

4. Do you play video games at all? If so, what is your favorite video game to play with your husband, Kris?

I do play video games, but Kris and I don’t usually play together. I play more console games and Kris is definitely a PC gamer. My favorite game so far is Catherine, a Japanese Choose Your Own Adventure-style puzzle game.

5. You have lived in a lot of different areas – what was your favorite city to live in? What was the worst?

I’m partial to Omaha, Nebraska. That’s where I grew up and spent the most time, and my mom and my best friend still live out there. I lived in Virginia as well, which was awesome because I could go to the Smithsonian museums on the weekend. The worst would have to be Lubbock, Texas. I was four when we lived there, but I remember it being hot and muggy all the time and there were huge bugs everywhere.

6. What is your dream job?

I would love to write professionally, whether it be as a novelist or a journalist.

7. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one one movie to last you through the ensuing years of complete entertainment blackout: Singin’ in the Rain, Titanic, The Empire Strikes Back, or Psycho?

My initial choice was Psycho because it’s such a masterpiece, but during the zombie apocalypse I’ll probably want something a little more lighthearted, so I’ll have to go with Singin’ in the Rain.

8. What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

I’m a big advocate of animal shelters. The Life is Better Rescue here in Denver works very hard to place animals in loving homes and to curtail the growing population of homeless and feral animals. They are a no-kill shelter (unless medically necessary) and they spay/neuter, microchip, and vaccinate each animal that comes through the facility.

9. Which character on American Horror Story OR Walking Dead is most like you?

Gosh, I don’t think any of them are like me! The closest fictional character to me is probably Columbus, Jesse Eisenberg’s character in Zombieland, because I, too, spend most of my time in front of my computer, am addicted to soda, dislike germs, and enjoy following rules.

10. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Is it an African or a European swallow?

11. You are given the chance to ask ONE question to any ONE dead person. What is the question and who is it asked to?

I would ask Forrest J. Ackerman (the man who coined the term “sci-fi” and one of the largest supporters of sci-fi as a significant literary genre) why he felt science fiction was significant and important. (Bonus question: What was your favorite item in your vast memorabilia collection?)

12. I hear you are getting into amateur astronomy. What spark of inspiration got you started and what have you been doing?

I’ve actually always been interested in astronomy. When I was very young, my dad got a telescope and he would take me along to the Omaha Astronomical Society meetings. We went to quite a few star parties and Dark Skies events, which were always really fun. It was something that Kris and I were both interested in and wanted to do together, so my dad got us binoculars, a tripod, and some beginner books to get us started. We’re joining the local astronomical society with a friend, so we’ll be going to local events and have access to the Dark Skies sites here in Denver.

13. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, etc. Which social media platform is your favorite?

I love Tumblr! I find some amazing things on there!

14. Choose one film that you would love to see remade and let us know who you would re-cast as the main characters and who would direct.

I would hope none of my favorite films would be remade, but if I had to choose one, I would say Rosemary’s Baby with Michelle Williams could be great with the right director. Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall) creates amazing surreal films with beautiful visuals, and he could definitely handle the dark tone of the story.

15. If you could program the Curiosity Mars Rover to do one task on Mars, what would it be?

Since JPL has programmed it to do all the science-related tasks I would give it, I would create a choreographed dance program for Curiosity to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”.

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Guest Post of Holding: Jon from The BrownCoats on Blackwing Lair (WoW) /2013/04/15/guest-post-of-holding-jon-from-the-browncoats-on-blackwing-lair-wow/ /2013/04/15/guest-post-of-holding-jon-from-the-browncoats-on-blackwing-lair-wow/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 12:00:09 +0000 /?p=2032 Guest Post of Holding

(c) Rhianna Ulrich 2012Say howdy to Jon! My husband and resident pseudo-leader of our group of friends’ World of Warcraft Guild, the BrownCoats!

1. Congratulations on surviving your first two, of many, years of parenthood! What has been the most surprising thing about being a father?

NOTHING. I went into this not expecting anything, but just being prepared to do what needs to be done. I guess if I HAD to pick something it would be either seeing how quickly my daughter is growing up or longing for the days when she was younger. Yeah that may sound weird to say when your kid is only 2, but there is such a difference and I miss the infant already.

2. You’ve gone to the grocery store to pick up milk. On a whim, you decide to get your spouse a little surprise treat. What else will you buy besides the milk at the grocery store?

Macintosh apples

3. What do you do for a living, and what is the best part about your job?

I work in IT, monitoring computer and network systems. I enjoy being independent where I don’t have people telling me what/how to do my job, but I get to decide what I do.

4. Your wife enjoys making fun of your former Juggalo status. What attracted you to the music and fandom of the Insane Clown Posse? What pulled you away?

A sense of belonging and thug status.

I grew up, and they got religious.

5. Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever.  Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

Out of Gas! There are many different things about this episode that makes it my favorite

  1. The episode contains many flashbacks that go all the way back to when Mal bought Serenity and worked to hire a crew
  2. In classic Mal style, he martyrs himself to save his crew, including Serenity.
  3. The episode shows how much the crew relies on Serenity, because when she dies, the crew’s lives are put in danger.

6. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one science fiction gadget to make reality to help you:  the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, the Star Trek Tricorder, the Half Life 2 Zero-point Energy Field Manipulator, or Firefly’s Vera?

Hard to choose between the Gravity gun, and the Portal gun. I guess for all around usefulness the portal gun would work, so long as the world is not made of “non portable” surfaces. The only problem with the portal gun would be where to dispose of the zombies. (SPOILER ALERT) I guess the moon would have to suffice.

7. What is your shoe size?

13

8. Dexter or Breaking Bad?

Hard choice to choose between these two. I’d have to choose Dexter because he stands for something larger than himself, where Walter is only concerned about himself, and to a much lesser extent, his family.

9. What is your opinion of the new Star Trek movie franchise?

I love it on so many different levels. It provides a good mix of star trek and action which I am a big fan of both of. It also allows the writers to come up with totally new scenarios that don’t, and cant, clash with the original timelines.

10.  Linux is your go-to operating system of choice. What do you like about it?  What are some of the challenges of using Linux?

I don’t feel ripped off. I can’t tell you how many thousands of dollars I have sunk into different windows operating systems and software. With opensource software I feel it has better quality as it is community based, and I don’t have to pay for it.

11. What is one thing you really miss about living in California?

My friends.

12. What is one thing you really DON’T miss about living in California?

Traffic

13. What is your biggest pet peeve?

People using incorrect terminology. When people reefer to a Computer as a Hard Drive or CPU.

When people use And when they mean Or and visa-versa.

When people talk about something using buzz words in the total wrong context or wrong meanings.

14. Being an Atheist carries a huge negative social stigma. Why are you an atheist and what would you tell skeptics of atheism?

God and Religion makes no sense to me. It feels like many people use Religion to fill holes in their understanding (where did we come from, what happens after you die). I am perfectly comfortable saying “I don’t know”.

15. What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

Used to be BSA, but I am distancing myself now that they seem to be standing by their anti-gay, anti-atheist policies.

I support Stanford University’s Folding @ Home program, donating my free CPU cycles to help them solve protein folding scenarios. It is easy to do, and helps them achieve their scientific goals.

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Guest Post of Holding: Charles from Etsy /2013/03/25/guest-post-of-holding-charles-from/ /2013/03/25/guest-post-of-holding-charles-from/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 11:45:38 +0000 /?p=2039 Guest Post of Holding

charlesMeet Charles from charlesvalek!

Who is Charles Valek?  Glad you asked!  He’s a traditionally trained animation major who designs and builds acrylic signs and other assorted knick knacks in sunny, depressing southern California.  You don’t see the connection between animation and plastic signs?  He wishes he could enlighten you, but it’s confusing to him as well…

When he’s not busy working, he can be found reading comics, playing World of Warcraft, or spending time with fuzzy woodland creatures and muttering to himself in an incoherent manner.  Or, typing in an incoherent manner.  He also drinks lots of coffee, which is most likely correlated with the aforementioned muttering.

1.    Amon Amarth or Dimmu Borgir?

Kind of an apples to oranges question, but I’ll go with Amon Amarth.  Melodic death metal based on Norse mythology is possibly the best thing since sliced bread.

2.    What is your opinion on the reemergence of Furbies into the children’s toy market?

I had no idea that Furbies were making a come back…  Sounds like a staph infection.

3.    The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one weapon of short-ranged zombie destruction: a cricket bat, a chainsaw, a prop replica of a Klingon bat’leth, or a machete?

Okay, chainsaws are heavy and require gasoline to operate (outside of Doom), so I can’t go with that.  And never use a replica weapon, even if it is associated with one of the coolest races in Star Trek…  They’re poorly made, don’t hold a good edge, and will likely break if you do attempt to use them.  It’s between the cricket bat and the machete, but I’ll say the machete wins on the principle that it’s not only good for hacking zombie heads, but also quite useful if you find yourself in a forested area.

4.    Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever.  Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

Am I a fan of Firefly?  Is Jayne Cobb a fan of grenades?  DOUBLE YES!!  It’s not easy to pick a favorite episode, because there are so many that are really well written (like all of them, for example.).  That being said, I’d have to say one of my most replayed episodes is Jaynestown.

5.    Since I happen to be a college buddy, what is one thing you miss the most about the good ol’ college days?

So much of college was fun, so it’s also hard to narrow down.  (You’ll learn that I’m notoriously bad at playing favorites.)  Let’s see, there was the senior studio project and late nights spent working on the crack head animations, the brain shaped poo that some inhuman beast squeezed out in the men’s restroom in the studio building…  I also particularly enjoyed turning our figure drawing models into bizarre, unnatural looking freaks on paper, since that’s something I haven’t done in a while.  So many good memories…

6.    What is one thing you were happy to be rid of once college was over?

Hmm…  That’s a harder question to answer.  Um…  Peeing in the sink?  You probably wouldn’t want to know.

7.    What was one of the stand-out college experiences you had?

Why that would have to be meeting my awesome friends.  ‘Nuff said.

8.    What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

 I like being involved with skeptical organizations like the Center for Inquiry and the James Randi Educational Foundation.  For many years, they have been strong supporters of bringing science, and rational thought to the general population.  With all the woo out there, critical thinking is something we need to see more, and I’m glad that there are people who are actively testing extraordinary claims from a scientific perspective.

9.    With St. Patrick’s Day last month, what is your get-drunk drink of choice?

I don’t really do the “getting drunk” thing anymore, but I really dig Old Rasputin.  It’s a hoppy imperial stout that has a picture of a crazy bearded Russian guy on the label.  What more can you ask for?  Boobs.  That’s what.

10.  Would you trade your wood for sheep?

I’m really tempted to make a Scottish or New Zealander joke here, but I’ll pretend that I’m one of those culturally sensitive types.  I’ve got road building to do.  All your wood are belong to us!

11. During your recent trip to Scotland and Ireland, what was your favorite location?

Edinburgh.  Never have I found a cozier cemetery than that of Greyfriars Kirkyard.  I wish I could teleport there every day to just sit back and sketch.  Also, pretty much anything else you see in old Edinburgh looks like it belongs at Hogwarts.

12. If you could live in any Blizzard Entertainment franchise, which would you choose: Warcraft, Star Craft, or Diablo?

I’d probably make an excellent Terran, but I’m going to have to say Diablo, since there’s a warm fuzzy place in my heart for dark fantasy worlds where you slay boat loads of demons and undead on a regular basis.  Wait, how did my heart get all fuzzy?  Oh crap…

13. What is the most overused internet meme?

Do Chuck Norris jokes count?  Barrens general chat made questing there epic suckville.

14. World of Warcraft plug-ins: Necessary or Cheating?

I don’t use them anymore, but when I was part of a guild that raided on a semi regular basis, it was handy to have Recount to see what kind of dps I was doing compared to others.  So, I suppose they can be helpful if you want them, but I wouldn’t exactly call them necessary anymore.

15. SAY BLUE!!!!!!!

BLUE!!!!!!!

il_570xN.343612914Check out Charles’ acrylic goods on Etsy through charlesvalek.

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Guest Post of Holding: Josh from Etsy /2013/03/10/guest-post-of-holding-josh-from-etsy/ /2013/03/10/guest-post-of-holding-josh-from-etsy/#comments Sun, 10 Mar 2013 13:45:12 +0000 /?p=2035 Guest Post of Holding

joshMeet Josh from Clockwork Creations!

Joshua hart, is an artist, author, and an eclectic eccentric man about town, A psychiatric case manager for the homeless mentally ill, he spends his off hours highly involved in the national steampunk artist scene. He has a degree in Experimental Psychology with a minor in art and anthropology, and a diverse skill set from automotive repair and hobbyist hydrodynamic engineering to bar tending and motivational interviewing. Some of his well know accomplishments in the fandom community are the now defunked webcomic Hex’d and his alter ego, the Baron.

1.The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one weapon of mid-ranged zombie destruction: a pump action shotgun, an AR-15, hand grenades, or dynamite?

This is a hard question, not because I have not thought of it, but because I really don’t like any of the answers, but If I have to take one of them it would be the AR-15 because it’s the one with the most accuracy, and highest ammo cap. Best chance at a head shot with it as far as I can tell.   Honest best choice answer for me is a .22 long rifle and a spear.  Lets you shot very accuracy for very little weight, and not much noise. The spear lets you hold a hallway for days and let you stab outward from on high or from being a wall with a hole in it.

2.    I am not the biggest fan of Anime.  What is one Anime or Manga you would suggest to attempt to turn non-Anime lovers to the Otaku side?

That’s a hard choice, I mean there are a lot of good ones out there for people just starting out.  Cowboy BEBOP for its shear freaking awesomeness?  Tenchi Muyo for the humor and harem style, and it was my gateway drug, or maybe something from Hayao Miyazaki, the master of the medium by all measures, l always loved Warriors of the Wind and Porko Roso….no its got to be a series to get you hooked.  So, what’s funny, pulls at your heart strings, made of shear awesome and has a great plot and plus good art?  Trigun.  Yep without a doubt I would say Trigun, its great for people just starting out, and is pretty light, has a lot of humor, and slowly draws you into a very dramatic plot that makes you want to have more answers for the ever growing pile of questions it leaves, plus it has real loss and joy in it that will leave you in tears and the ending actually leaves you satisfied.

3.Fitz’s Root Beer or IBC Root Beer?

Fitz’s for taste and home town pride but not for price and I never really liked IBC but….A&W….now I’ll take that over a Fitz’s any day.

4.    Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever.  Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?

Gods, there are so many…. Why do you ask such hard questions?  Ok, Um….  Our Mrs. Reynolds.  One it’s the start of Saffron, who I truly do like as a villain, not to mention as one of the hottest redheads of all time.  We also get Vera, the special hell, and we get to see Inara kiss Mal and get laid out by it proving that Nathan is  so hot he can knock a girls socks off even passed out.

5.    Who is Baron bon Bar?

My Steampunk alter ego Hannockacotchi / aka Barron Bon Bar/ AKA  The Reverend General Clockwork  Commander  of the sky legion of the Princess of Akon, as granted by the Lord High Marshal the Sky King, Louis the 17th, keeper of the Sun Throne of  Apollo, bringer of the light and dawn.  As always there’s a story behind this.  And once again, this centers around my newest and funniest device, the Bar-Bak TM.  It was the maiden run of the Bar-Bak with a live load of Mister Vat classic brew TM.  Wisely I had filled tank two with water to fend off dehydration and  chaos kitty and I had been walking round for about two hours and had already  drained one tank and were working on a refill of tank one for the second time.  So that’s about 2 gallons between the two of us of good old fashioned sex on the porch.  Needless to say at this point in the night we were completely trashed.  So since I was a little wobbly and the BarBak TM was getting a bit heavy, so we swung down out our table in artist alley and have ourselves a little set at the table while I gave my back a rest.  So here we were at our artist alley table generally keeping to ourselves being a couple of loud obnoxious drunks and that’s when the Dallas PD came over.  As he walked up he took out his ticket book before he even started to talk.  But wait, this is akon, what is a Dallas cop doing here.

Now this year, the hotel has changed hands, and it’s no longer the Adams Mark, and is now owned by the Sheraton hotel chain and they have changed security as well. In the past, they had a private security company and they were pretty cool with treating us like a private party.  This year the new owners hired off duty Dallas PD.  And that means they act like and have the arrest powers of on duty Dallas PD.  Needless to say, a lot of people where getting arrested for little things like drunk and disorderly in public and open containers, etc.   Not the a-kon I am used to, to say the least.

Even in our inebriated state I knew this was bad news, the cop started to ask about all types of question’s about  my lovely back mounted bar and it looked as if your poor drunken hero, might be meeting people and influencing friends in a Dallas drunk tank doing his best not to make a new boyfriend who likes my long “rodeo hair”.  I stammered out something about theBarbak  being  a steam punk prop and what steam punk was, and was quickly cut off by a now amazingly sober sounding  Chaos, who showed the cop her con security badge and started rattling off this complete line of bullshit about how this is a Prop from a anime called Hannockacotchi,  and that the tank with a #1 on it is evil, but the clear water filled ( remember kids, water is your anti hangover) tank #2 is good.  My jaw dropped for a second or two, before I chimed in with a few details.  The cop who s you remember had his ticket book already out, looked at the steam punk glory of the BarBak TM one more time, and then looked at us, smiled put his little book back and wished us a good night.

We were floored, playing it cool we hung out for a few more minutes and with a triumphant yell of Hannockacotchi, we quickly took out leave.  Hannockacotchi became out war cry for the rest of the con. Inside joke for my A-kon friends and security.   The comic co author thought it was so funny making a comic based off the event little steam punk bartender who lives on a mountain and comes in to town get people drunk and get chanced by a inept constable.

But the story did not end there, this same thing happened at Archon in st Louis and at Dragoncon, and several other cons.  Then I heard of other people doing the same thing who had heard the story. Over the years I have taken to collecting the different uses of the Hannockacotchi and they stories of my experiences as the Baron Bon Bar, the personalities involved, as well as the parts they added to the story in to a cohesive story line, which is to be used at  s the base for a manga which I am slowly writing.   So remember the next time your in-between a rock and a hard place, may the Hannockacotchi be with you.

il_570xN.3520227056.    What has been your coolest invention?

I have a lot of them, and I really could not say what’s coolest, only what other people like and what I like the best.  I mean I love the Doom lens AKA the 40 x30 fesnel lens I use to burn things lol,  I also like a lot of the barware stuff I have made and some of the stuff I have done with lasers.  But I think the best think I have ever made by pubic vote is the ShotGun.  It’s pretty simple, just a retro fitted watergun made to chuck any liquor bottle but man does everyone love it.

7.    What has been your coolest garage sale/flea market/craigslist find?

A copy of True Christendom and the Garden of Paradise printed 1736 from the Benjamin Strotleebe press. As you might guess it is kind of rare. Got it for 5.00.   Not often you get 300 year old books for 5 bucks.

8.    What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

I don’t really have a group I support over another as far as a charitable donation type of thing.  Now if you are asking what group out in the great political sphere I support, that would have to be the Occupy movement, they are doing some good work and getting a lot of underhanded dirty deals out into the public eye.

9.    What is your favorite annual event?

Dragon-con without question right now,  Festival of the nations (a massive ethic food and culture festival) here in st Louis is a close second, but Dragon con is something else.  It really is the nexus of everything that is geek in the western world, an expression of the zeitgeist that is geek culture. It’s almost as if every meme from the last year and the year to comes to life and walks off the internet to party for a weekend.  Its really a playground where anything can happen and you get to meet and hang out with expressions of people who until that weekend only live in your imagination.  I don’t think there is any other time or place on earth that is like that.

Its also very accepting, people don’t judge or look down on people or ask why you do what you do, they just accept that you do, and that its cool.  Hell often they just accept that you are the person you are dressing up as, at least in personality and we all just party and have one hell of a time.

Sadly I don’t think it will last, and this moment is time is slowly passing because more and more people are learning about it, and hear its geek mardi gras.  All these new people are now coming and are not part of the culture and are bringing their bad behavior and hang ups with them.  Its spoiling the environment and making it feel unsafe.  It’s also making it so packed we can’t even walk.

11. Everyone has friends in low places. Who is your go-to friend for, shall we say, less than squeaky-white activities?

Now If I told you, I could not go to him anymore.  But when I am in a real bind, I would likely turn to my old friend John Thompson.  He’s a man who would have my back in most things.

12. What was the coolest thing you incinerated or melted with your uber magnifying glass?

I have burned a lot of things over the years, coconuts, brass shells, pennies, and a Bowling ball.   I think one of the coolest things its did was boil water in a bottle so hot that it shot out the top several feet, and there was also the time that I was moving it and it burned my wood fence like a laser from a bond film.   It also made and asphalt puddle.  I don’t think I could just pick one.   Up next is making a whole breakfast with the sun.

13. When was the last time you wore a suit and tie?

3 days ago for a Tarot card gig, I also wore one for new years, Lovely black suit, with white pinstripes. White tie.

14. How long have you been growing your hair? How many inches is it?

I have been growing it out since I was 13 as is normal for Native Americans,  I have only cut it when a family member has died.  Not sure how long it is, I think between 21 and 23 inches.

15. Bruce Campbell has hinted at a 2013 Evil Dead film remake.  What are your thoughts on this?

 Not sure, seen previews and they look to keep it fairly close to the original, but It’s not Bruce so it can’t be as good as the original.  I really liked the original a lot and the effect where part of what it was, and with the new effects I think I might be losing something.  Plus the original shoot was a bit of a nightmare, and the actors felt it they where cold, wet and ready to die for real so it will be hard to catch that in a bottle again.

I will likely see it, and from what I see, it looks pretty good. Also Bruce really likes it, so it can’t be all bad.

Check out Josh’s Steam Punk goods on Etsy through Clockworks Creations: Working Steampunk at Reasonable Prices.

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Bookshelf of Holding: You Lost Me Chat Discussion /2013/02/25/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me-chat-discussion/ /2013/02/25/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me-chat-discussion/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 14:00:09 +0000 /?p=2017 Bookshelf of Holding

Welcome to the first community chat*! This chat was specifically related to the book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. The chat deals with difficult issues of religion and faith. The group present had read the book and were prepared to discuss the topics covered by the author.  Please read the chat log below, I feel it reveals some interesting points of view, and helps verify the gap/disconnect within the book.  I also would encourage you to participate in the survey below to express your point of view, and to comment as well.
Would you like to participate? If so, please fill out this survey:

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

About the book:

You Lost Me_bookClose to 60 percent of young people who went to church as teens drop out after high school. Now the bestselling author of “unChristian” trains his researcher’s eye on these young believers. Where Kinnaman’s first book “unChristian” showed the world what outsiders aged 16-29 think of Christianity, “You Lost Me” shows why younger Christians aged 16-29 are leaving the church and rethinking their faith.
Based on new research, “You Lost Me” shows pastors, church leaders, and parents how we have failed to equip young people to live “in but not of” the world and how this has serious long-term consequences. More importantly, Kinnaman offers ideas on how to help young people develop and maintain a vibrant faith that they embrace over a lifetime.

The Chat:

[20:21] <Rhianna> can everyone say their first name, and one sentence about themselves as a whole, and one sentence about their faith life.

[20:21] <RossBlocher> Would be nice to have more of a balance, but I’m fine.

[20:21] <Rhianna> no  bio-epics, please.

[20:21] <Rhianna> Yeah, i agree, Ross. i would prefer more balanced, but I did my best.

[20:21] <Megan> More balance would have been nice. :/

[20:22] <Megan> but you can only try.

[20:22] <TJP1> Let’s go in alpha order

[20:22] <Rhianna> MattC, you are up first for introductions.

[20:23] <MattC> OK. I’m Matt.

[20:23] <Rhianna> can everyone say their first name, and one sentence about themselves as a whole, and one sentence about their faith life.

[20:23] <MattC> I make my living as a Software Engineer working in Web Applications and Machine Learning.

[20:24] <MattC> Publically, I was a Christian until about 2.5 years ago; privately, I’d been on a journey away from faith for 10 years.

[20:24] <MattC> My only degree is in Religious Education from a conservative Evangelical university.

[20:24] <MattC> Done.

[20:25] <MattC> no worries. It happens in IRC.

[20:25] <Megan> I’m Megan. I’m a registered vet tech with ‘sucker’ written across my forehead for animal sob-stories. I was raised Christian but lost my faith in it when I was 13 after reading the bible the first time and have self-admitted my atheism for a year.

[20:26] <MattC> Megan, how old are you now?

[20:26] <Megan> 30.

[20:26] <Megan> Went to school with Rhi.

[20:26] <MattC> cool, me too.

[20:27] <MattC> 30 years, I mean.

[20:27] <Rhianna> RossBlocher, your go.

[20:27] <RossBlocher> Ross. I was raised as an evangelical Christian, but lost faith when I was 21 (I’m also 30 now). I am what the book would refer to as a head-driven prodigal. Other than my wife of 12 years and my 11-year-old son, my main loves are Animation (my job) and science (my hobby). I co-host a podcast in which a friend and I investigate religions, alternative health claims and the like.

[20:28] <Rhianna> TJP1?

[20:28] <TJP1> I’m Todd – I’m a Librarian at a Medical School…

[20:28] <TJP1> Born and bred in FLa

[20:29] <TJP1> I have been a participant in Roman Catholic Youth Ministry, College Campus Ministry, and Young adult Ministry since I was 13

[20:30] <TJP1> I participated and was a leader -  not much active for the past few years – but still have a heart for it.

[20:30] <TJP1> basically this book was written for me

[20:30] <TJP1> end of line

[20:30] <RossBlocher> Nice. Would you consider yourself a nomad by the book’s reckoning?

[20:30] <Rhianna> I’m Rhianna. imp 31. I live in Colorado and love it. I’d prefer to wait to give my stance until the chat is over. It really is my hope I can remain neutral.

[20:31] <TJP1> No – I would consider myself the intended audience – as a Youth & Young adult, and Campus minister.

[20:32] <RossBlocher> Gotcha.

[20:32] <Rhianna> ready for a starter?

[20:32] <Rhianna> just for reference, I pulled these directly out of the official discussion guide for the book.

[20:32] <TJP1> go

[20:33] <Rhianna> I’ll be giving a series of statements

[20:33] <Rhianna> for the sake of this NOT being the discussion part yet, please reply ONLY with:

[20:33] <Rhianna> strongly agree, agree somewhat, not sure, disagree somewhat, strongly disagree

[20:33] <Rhianna> incoming statements…

 

[20:33] <Rhianna> The Bible has a straightforward answer for every issue.

[20:34] <Megan> strongly disagree

[20:34] <MattC> strongly disagree

[20:34] <RossBlocher> strongly disagree

[20:34] <Rhianna> (doesn’t mean you have to agree with the answer, just that is HAS an answer)

[20:34] <TJP1> disagree somewhat

 

[20:34] <Rhianna> Being “in but not of this world” means separating ourselves from non-Christian influence.

[20:34] <TJP1> strongly disagree

[20:34] <RossBlocher> disagree somewhat

[20:35] <MattC> disagree somewhat

[20:35] <Megan> disagree somewhat

 

[20:35] <Rhianna> I want to use my gifts and skills to participate in and influence culture.

[20:35] <MattC> agree somewhat

[20:35] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

[20:35] <TJP1> Strongly agree

[20:35] <Megan> strongly agree

 

[20:35] <Rhianna> I have a strong friendship with one or two church people from a different generation.

[20:35] <TJP1> Strongly agree

[20:36] <Megan> somewhat disagree

[20:36] <MattC> somewhat agree

[20:36] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

 

[20:36] <Rhianna> I connect with church friends on Sunday, and that’s enough.

[20:36] <MattC> n/a ? not sure

[20:36] <TJP1> Strongly disagree

[20:36] <Megan> N/a…

[20:37] <RossBlocher> disagree somewhat

[20:37] <RossBlocher> (I still go to church(es))

 

[20:37] <Rhianna> The claims of science threaten Christianity.

[20:37] <TJP1> Strongly Disagree

[20:37] <MattC> strongly agree

[20:37] <Megan> strongly agree

[20:37] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

 

[20:37] <Rhianna> There can be harmony between matters of science and matters of faith.

[20:37] <TJP1> Strongly agree

[20:38] <Megan> not sure

[20:38] <RossBlocher> agree somewhat

[20:38] <MattC> somewhat disagree

 

[20:38] <Rhianna> When scientific evidence contradicts a faith claim, we should reevaluate our beliefs.

[20:38] <Megan> strongly agree

[20:38] <MattC> strongly agree

[20:38] <TJP1> Agree somewhat

[20:39] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

 

[20:39] <Rhianna> The Bible’s teaching about sex and sexuality is clear and unambiguous.

[20:39] <RossBlocher> strongly disagree

[20:39] <TJP1> Somewhat agree

[20:39] <MattC> somewhat disagree

[20:39] <Megan> agree (if we’re again not agreeing with what it says, just that it says it)

 

[20:40] <Rhianna> My choices about sex are nobody’s business but mine (and my partners).

[20:40] <Megan> strongly agree.

[20:40] <TJP1> Somewhat disagree

[20:40] <RossBlocher> agree somewhat

[20:41] <MattC> somewhat agree

 

[20:41] <Rhianna> Procreation is the main purpose of sex.

[20:41] <Megan> somewhat disagree

[20:41] <MattC> strongly disagree

[20:42] <TJP1> somewhat agree/disagree whatever is in the middle

[20:42] <RossBlocher> somewhat disagree (depends on the viewpoint)

 

[20:42] <Rhianna> Other people’s beliefs are as valid as mine.

[20:42] <MattC> somewhat disagree

[20:42] <TJP1> Somewhat disagree

[20:42] <Megan> somewhat disagree

[20:43] <RossBlocher> somewhat disagree

[20:43] <RossBlocher> Glad we all agree on that. ;0)

[20:43] <TJP1> wow we have a winner

[20:43] <MattC> (note thats the first question where we all believe the same)

 

[20:43] <Rhianna> Faith should not get in the way of friendships.

[20:43] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

[20:43] <MattC> somewhat agree

[20:43] <TJP1> somewhat agree

[20:43] <Megan> somewhat agree

 

[20:43] <Rhianna> Being fair is more important than being right.

[20:44] <TJP1> somewhat agree

[20:44] <MattC> note sure (depends entirely on context)

[20:44] <Megan> not sure

[20:44] <RossBlocher> somewhat agree

 

[20:44] <Rhianna> Having doubts is a symptom of weak faith.

[20:44] <Megan> disagree

[20:44] <TJP1> disagree

[20:45] <RossBlocher> disagree

[20:45] <MattC> somewhat agree

 

[20:45] <Rhianna> The church is a place where people can ask their most pressing questions without fear of being judged.

[20:45] <MattC> strongly disagree

[20:45] <Megan> strongly disagree

[20:46] <RossBlocher> disagree somewhat

[20:46] <TJP1> agree somewhat

 

[20:46] <Rhianna> It’s okay to disagree with pastors and other leaders on matters of faith or theology.

[20:46] <MattC> strongly agree

[20:46] <TJP1> agree somewhat

[20:46] <Megan> strongly agree

[20:47] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

 

[20:47] <Rhianna> Pastors and leaders should never express doubt.

[20:47] <Megan> disagree

[20:47] <TJP1> strongly disagree

[20:47] <RossBlocher> strongly disagree

[20:48] <MattC> somewhat disagree

 

[20:48] <Rhianna> thanks everyone

[20:48] <Rhianna> so, I have a set of quotes with questions. If we branch from those, that’s fine. But, I may bring us back to a central point.

[20:49] <Rhianna> I have them in no particular order of importance, just by kinda-category.

 

[20:50] <Rhianna> “The book’s title[not this book, a different book the author is discussing that i wasn't smart enough to write down] is inspired by their voice and mindset, and reflects their disdain for one-sided communication, disconnect from formulaic faith, and discomfort with apologetics that seem disconnected from the real world.”

[20:50] <Rhianna> “Millions of young Christians were also describing Christianity as hypocritical, judgmental, too political, and out of touch with reality.”

[20:50] <Rhianna> “A generation of young Christians believes that the churches in which they were raised are not safe and hospitable places to express doubts. Many feel that they have been offered slick or half-baked answers to their thorny, honest questions, and they are rejecting the “talking heads” and “talking points” they see among the older generations.”

[20:50] <Rhianna> discussion question: Why do you feel churches have a reputation for being not safe and hospitable places to express doubts?

[20:51] <MattC> Because they have a history of being inhospitable to even rumors of someone having doubts.

[20:51] <Megan> I see part of it as the exclusivity “We’re completely right, everyone else is going to hell”, fear of being condemned as a non-believer, fear that maybe one isn’t ‘saved’ if one has doubts…

[20:51] <TJP1> Depends on the Church and their style of Catechesis.  And the style of Preaching.

[20:52] <MattC> “A little leaven leveaneth the whole lump” -> Doubters must be “fixed” or thrown out.

[20:52] <TJP1> Generally, people go only to the Sunday service which has a mode that favors one way communication – not much Socratic method or relational dynamic

[20:53] <RossBlocher> Yeah, it does vary based on the church community, but I find that the sense of shunning doubters is pretty common.

[20:53] <TJP1> Often Youth ministries at large churches tend to be “show message” oriented.  And if they are too large not enough individual face time.

[20:53] <TJP1> Sunday School and Catechism class are also in the instruction mode.

[20:54] <RossBlocher> “Slick answers” also resonated with me – I think there’s a lot of quick, catchy-phrase answers to questions that need to be explored more deeply.

[20:54] <TJP1> Furthermore – Youth ministry tend to favor “peer” leadership of strong Christian kids – and “peer” pressure tends to squash the kid that is questioner.

[20:55] <RossBlocher> Or admission that the question is tough, and then a dodge.

[20:55] <Rhianna> I have a tie in…

[20:56] <Megan> I got the dodge a lot, especially in high school.

[20:56] <RossBlocher> That being said, my regular church pastor regularly encourages doubt and says it is healthy, but he never really models it or talks specifically about any doubts.

 

[20:56] <Rhianna> “Overall, knowledge of Scripture, doctrine, and church history is poor among most Christians, not just young adult believers.”

[20:56] <Rhianna> “Technological access allows them to experience and examine content originating from nonbiblical worldviews, giving them ample reasons to question the nature of truth. It generates extraordinary distractions and invites them to be less linear and logical in their thought processes. It empowers them to think as participants, not just as consumers, of media.”

[20:56] <Rhianna> “we[the church] must teach through experience, reason, and authority”

[20:56] <Rhianna> Question: How can the church work to fix the education/knowledge gap?  Will the greater education in the Bible hurt or help numbers?

[20:57] <TJP1> Yep and no – poor catechesis is the problem – Familiarity with scripture is only part of it

[20:57] <Megan> I think a greater education will hurt it a great deal.

[20:57] <MattC> Probably hurt.

[20:57] <Megan> It was reading the bible that killed my faith.

[20:57] <MattC> I had a degree from a bible college before I left.

[20:57] <TJP1> Oh – yes I reread the question – the answer is yes.

[20:58] <Rhianna> Why is education hurtful?

[20:58] <Megan> Church glosses over a lot.

[20:58] <Megan> You get the nice message with a bit of hellfire depending on the church.

[20:58] <Megan> You don’t get Lot offering his daughters for gang rape.

[20:58] <MattC> Re-reading the gospels was a big part of my finally discarding belief permanently.

[20:58] <Megan> That Job’s trials started as a bet with the devil.

[20:59] <RossBlocher> Yeah, I studied the Bible extensively, and that fueled my abandonment of religion. I also think the Internet is the tool that will continue that trend, because as your quote suggests, it’s very difficult to shut out the ideas of others anymore.

[20:59] <TJP1> Greater knowledge of Scripture can’t hurt – if it is coupled with good exegesis and a strong catechesis.

[20:59] <Megan> They don’t really go over the fact that God took away Pharaoh’s free will in order to visit plagues upon Egypt.

 

[20:59] <Rhianna> “Ryan says, “I want to build loving friendships with those in the church, but my main focus will be anyone who cares about the things I believe Jesus calls us to care about, whether they label themselves Christian or not. I’ve had too many negative experiences in church”

[21:00] <Rhianna> “One-third of young Christians (32 percent) identified with the statement, “I want to find a way to follow Jesus that connects with the world I live in.””

[21:00] <Rhianna> Question: Why do some feel there is a difference between that their church teaches, what the bible says, and what they feel Jesus’ message is?

[21:00] <MattC> cf. the quote, exposure to secular content doesn’t challenge the “nature of truth;” it challenges the *content* of truth.

[21:] <TJP1> They don’t see enough positive role models.  Some great people are secret Christians.  Some popular Christians are great sinners

[21:] <TJP1> Heck all of us are great sinners

[21:] <MattC> There IS a difference between what churches say, and what the bible says, and Jesus’ message.

[21:02] <MattC> Jesus’ message isn’t even consistent between the 4 gospels.

[21:02] <TJP1> Jesus had many messages

[21:02] <RossBlocher> “Some great people are secret Christians.” – Interesting! I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that before.

[21:03] <TJP1> Sure – we often feel cull and discourage from showing our faith in public and at work.

[21:03] <RossBlocher> As to the question, I agree with Matt. There is a conflict between Jesus’ message as presented by the church, and the text of the Bible, and what’s expected by society.

[21:03] <Rhianna> What is the difference?

[21:03] <MattC> I don’t want to nit-pick, but The question isn’t about people’s behavior, it’s about conflicting messages.

[21:03] <TJP1> I have often spent year with people I thought were really great people and later found out they were faithful Christians

[21:04] <Megan> I see a major disconnect with how the religious right treats the very people the Jesus of the bible would have been amongst.

[21:04] <MattC> Churches tend to pick-and-choose the parts of the Bible that support their cultural vision.

[21:04] <TJP1> No nit-pick – we find that it is this behavior of people that that are sending the conflicting messages.

[21:05] <MattC> The religious left also glosses over a lot of problems in the bible.

[21:05] <RossBlocher> I believe Jesus’ message has such longevity BECAUSE it is vague and ambiguous. Many denominations and churches and eras have been able to find support for their varying beliefs within Jesus’ teachings.

[21:05] <Megan> True. But what we see most of in society is the right’s disconnect from the bible’s teachings about wealth, health, and how to treat others.

[21:06] <Megan> There is that, Ross. It’s amazing what people can find to support completely opposite positions in the same text.

[21:06] <TJP1> And – people often confuse the churches and mix them up.  They hear a Christian preacher on TV and think that all Christian have the point of view.  – Of course it sounds conflicting.

[21:06] <RossBlocher> TJP – I’d call that the “No True Scottsman” problem. It’s hard when Christians are claiming that other Christians who disagree with them aren’t Christian at all.

 

[21:06] <Rhianna> Do you feel, that for Christians, it is better to be a blatantly sinning Christian or a non-Christian?

[21:06] <TJP1> What do you mean by blatantly sinning?

[21:06] <MattC> better for who?

[21:07] <Megan> But they’re all Christian TJ at the core of it.

[21:08] <Rhianna> either having the viewpoint that ‘I can sin as long as I go to church and am forgiven later’ or sin because they already hold onto the viewpoint that ‘i accept Jesus, therefore I am saved’

[21:08] <TJP1> The general definition for Christian is only a few core doctrinal things… not usually the messages you hear on TV or from the pulpit.

[21:08] <RossBlocher> I don’t think any Christian would ever consider those to be two options to choose from. They want to avoid sin as an expression of their Christian journey.

[21:09] <TJP1> Blatant sinning – No that is not helpful to anyone – it is flaunting and presumptuous.

[21:09] <RossBlocher> They feel Christianity is the only way to truly overcome a sinful nature.

[21:09] <TJP1> Admittedly a sinner – who is trying to do better – now that is helpful

[21:09] <Megan> I think that some Christians do think that way. Namely people who claim to be Christian, but commit crimes.

[21:10] <RossBlocher> Ah, but they think, “At least I’m a Christian.”? Interesting. That makes sense, though how sad.

[21:10] <Megan> And I’ve met some who feel that ‘sinning’ against a non-believer isn’t a sin at all.

[21:10] <TJP1> They would be of the once saved always saved group – not Catholics

 

[21:10] <Rhianna> “One of the recurring themes in our research with young exiles is the idea that Christianity does not have much, if anything, to say about their chosen profession or field.”

[21:10] <Rhianna> “What has God called you to do, in partnership with the community of Christ-followers? How can you be on mission for Christ in the world, based on what you’re gifted to do?”

[21:10] <Rhianna> Question: Does faith belong at/in work?  Giving examples of film makers and musicians are easy to draw a connection into promotion the Christian faith, but what about those who work in finance, IT, sales, and customer service? How are they to make ties to faith?

[21:11] <Megan> I don’t think you *can* make ties to faith in all job fields except for “doing a job well done” as expression of faith… or something.

[21:11] <TJP1> Faith is at the core of the person… it belongs in everything they do – or they would be denying their very selves.

[21:12] <Rhianna> How does one integrate faith at work?

[21:12] <MattC> Faith is a bad thing. If you make decision at your job based on faith, you’re bad employee.

[21:12] <TJP1> If one cannot find a faithful tie-in with their work – then they should find other work – or they should look harder for the tie in

[21:12] <MattC> *a bad employee.

[21:12] <RossBlocher> I have co-workers who are openly Christian (and at least one Mormon), and they know I’m openly Atheist, and we have very interesting, polite and productive discussions. I think its okay as long as it’s done graciously and lovingly.

[21:13] <Rhianna> Giving examples of film makers and musicians are easy to draw a connection into promotion the Christian faith, but what about those who work in finance, IT, sales, and customer service? How are they to make ties to faith?

[21:13] <TJP1> Why would anyone “have to” have a discussion about that at work?  That has nothing to do with tying your faith with your work.

[21:14] <MattC> If the question means, “expressing religious devotion at work,” then I think it should be treated like any other hobby. If it doesnt impact your performance, have at it.

[21:14] <Megan> I don’t want faith to be a part of certain jobs, like doctors or nurses.

[21:14] <RossBlocher> It may be different for other professions, but I work in the creative field. As a very good example, we were talking about how the Life of Pi resonates with believers and non-believers as a story. My Mormon friend and I had a half hour conversation in the hall.

[21:14] <TJP1> Easy – I organize records that give access to medical books that educate doctors that heal people.

[21:14] <Megan> I don’t want a nurse, who is religious, to decided that his faith means I can’t have a blood transfusion, or pain meds.

[21:15] <Megan> I’ve had wanna-be technician interns go “Oh, I couldn’t euthanize an animal, it’s against my faith to kill anything.”

[21:15] <RossBlocher> Agreeing with much of what’s been said above… As long as faith is not adversely affecting job performance.

[21:15] <MattC> to follow Megan, it can be far less “obvious.”

[21:16] <MattC> e.g., how many times has patient confidentiality been broken by a nurses prayer request?

[21:16] <MattC> It may not be life threatening, but it can have serious consequences.

[21:16] <RossBlocher> My sister is a strong believer and a doctor. She refused a Viagra prescription for a man because he wasn’t married. If I were that man, I would find another doctor pronto.

[21:16] <TJP1> Your faith should increase your job performance.  Every endeavor is a vocation within your faith.

[21:16] <Megan> Or being asked what religion and when I said “atheist” getting “Oh, I’ll pray for you.”

[21:17] <Megan> I didn’t want my nurse praying for me, I wanted her to check me in so I could get checked for appendicitis.

[21:17] <TJP1> Why not pray for you and get checked they are not mutually exclusive.

[21:18] <Megan> Because I’m an atheist.

[21:18] <Megan> And praying for me in that situation, with that knowledge, is passive aggressive and unwanted.

[21:18] <TJP1> The real question is whether it is “wise” and helpful to talk much about faith while at work ?

[21:18] <RossBlocher> Good point, Megan. I had a technician tell me she was going to pray for my wife when my wife had cancer. I know she meant well, but it felt very unprofessional.

[21:18] <MattC> Because holding beliefs based on evidence and beliefs based on pious feelings are mutually exclusive.

[21:19] <TJP1> Working with people is about building relationships.  A brief exchange that includes a promise for prayer is a friendly gesture that builds relationship.  As long as it doesn’t get outta hand.

[21:19] <Megan> She was checking me in at the ER.

[21:19] <Megan> I was in pain, and cranky and said I was an atheist.

[21:20] <RossBlocher> Yeah, that was insensitive of her to tell you she was going to pray for you with the knowledge that you were an atheist. I’d say that’s bad form.

 

[21:20] <Rhianna> “…think about which model the church most resembles—the established monolith or the grassroots network—and what that might mean for its relevance in the lives of a collaborative, can-do generation that feels alienated from hierarchical institutions.”

[21:20] <Rhianna> Question: Which is the correct answer? Which do you feel the church is?

[21:20] <Megan> Depends on the church. a little of both.

[21:21] <Megan> Once they start going the “our morality for EVERYONE” they get extremely monolithic in feel.

[21:22] <RossBlocher> To the question, I think the contemporary church sees that its monolithic parts are dying quickly, and so it’s struggling to become more adaptable and networked.

[21:22] <TJP1> As for the Catholic Church is obviously the monolith.  I don’t answer for other churches – I’ve seen little grass roots ones, too.  The question is contextual.

[21:22] <RossBlocher> But I think that as it makes that shift, it loses its identity and becomes more of a social club.

 

[21:23] <Rhianna> The church is: Overprotective, Shallow, Antiscience, Repressive, Exclusive, and Doubtless

[21:23] <Rhianna> Question: Do you agree? Disagree? Why? What is your level of agree/disagree with each of the major topics in the book (listed above)

[21:23] <Megan> All of the above?

[21:23] <TJP1> None – of the above – depending on “the church”

[21:24] <Rhianna> Question: which is the largest that you feel needs to be addressed

[21:24] <Megan> Ooh… that one’s tough.

[21:24] <Megan> A lot of those tie into each other.

[21:24] <MattC> All except Exclusive and doubtless. There are denominations that will accept anybody. The Quakers and some Episcopalians are pretty good about making room for doubt.

[21:24] <RossBlocher> To varying degrees within each church, but I’d say as a whole I agree with those characterizations. You can only be so flexible as a church before you lose your identity.

[21:24] <Rhianna> TJP1 – these are, indeed, generalizations, as the book says. But it also says these generalizations are appearing and need addressing. So, we are addressing them.  What is your take on the problems the church has that the book covered?

[21:25] <TJP1> As for the Mosaics that the author is trying to reach I would say the “repressive” and “doubtless” are the toughest.

[21:25] <TJP1> Although he does identify all of them as areas that need addressing for each of the identified lost one.

[21:25] <RossBlocher> To Matt’s point, Unitarians as well are incredibly open and accepting. So yeah, it depends.

[21:25] <MattC> “Antiscience” is the most important to address, for the good of society in general.

[21:25] <Megan> The antiscience is probably biggest for me.

[21:26] <MattC> Unitarians aren’t’ real Scotsmen. ;-)

[21:26] <TJP1> If “anti-science” is addressed well – would you consider returning?

[21:26] <Megan> I mean, I work with animals but I still get owners coming in who want to pray their dog’s cancer away rather than do surgery.

[21:26] <Megan> Absolutely NOT.

[21:26] <RossBlocher> Antiscience > Doubtless > Shallow – those would probably be my top three in descending order.

[21:27] <RossBlocher> Ha ha, touché. You’re right; Unitarians don’t really fall in the fold.

[21:27] <Megan> In this country at least, we have people in gov’t on education boards and science councils that think the earth is 6k years old.

[21:28] <RossBlocher> No, I wouldn’t return to belief, but I’d be happy that the church is not actively combating progress for the rest of the world.

[21:28] <MattC> TJP1: No. I still think its a bad idea to claim extraordinary beliefs that aren’t based on good evidence, which is essential for the church.

[21:28] <TJP1> The author tries to identify the reasons we are losing the Mosaics – when he identifies the issue – he is trying to assert that if we address he issue – then they would return.

 

[21:28] <Rhianna> “From this generation, so intent on reimagining faith and practice, I believe the established church can learn new patterns of faithfulness.”

[21:29] <Rhianna> “Many people I talk to think it’s impossible to embrace both mainstream science (especially evolutionary biology) and traditional Christian faith. Scientists tend to scoff at faith as being anti-intellectual, while Christians tend to reject scientific conclusions out of hand if they don’t fit with their view of the world. This should not be! Christians, of all people, should pursue truth with a spirit of confidence, and the church should take a more active role in encouraging that pursuit.””

[21:29] <Rhianna> Question: Later in the book, the author discusses the incorporation of science into the church more. What is your opinion on this idea? Is it something that could work in actual practice?

[21:29] <Megan> No.

[21:30] <Megan> Too much of the main premise of the bible falls apart in the face of science.

[21:30] <Megan> Original sin goes *poof*

[21:30] <MattC> Maybe. The Catholics and Anglicans are pretty far along in this process, but I dont think it will bring anyone back.

[21:30] <Megan> If that goes poof, no need for Jesus’ sacrifice.

[21:30] <RossBlocher> I’m all for incorporating science and encouraging believers to embrace science.

[21:30] <RossBlocher> I agree that it will lead many people away from belief, but I’d never discourage incorporating science. ;0)

[21:31] <TJP1> The incorporation can be done.  A subtly of perspective needs to be done about the relationship between the too – but the book doesn’t go into the how.  It merely addresses the need – not exactly the method.

[21:31] <Megan> This is true. I think that if they *don’t* try to keep up, they’ll lose just as many.

[21:32] <MattC> Scientific literacy is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a satisfied non-believer.

[21:33] <RossBlocher> I agree with TJP that the book doesn’t go into the how (until the very end with some contributions from other authors). That was one of the frustrating things about the book for me. The bold, broad statements that weren’t accompanied by specifics.

[21:33] <TJP1> Not true – many an ignorant hedonist non-believer is very happy.

[21:33] <MattC> So, I think churches could strike a “safe” balance for keeping their flock, but it will probably won’t make much difference if they do.

[21:33] <Megan>  The bible gives us a ‘how’ for creation of the world and mankind, for example.

[21:34] <RossBlocher> I agree with TJP on that as well – many non-believers simply don’t give the issue much thought, and aren’t particularly literate when it comes to science.

[21:34] <MattC> TJP1: True. let me revise that to “being deconverted and intellectually honest”

[21:34] <Megan> scientific literacy is a big problem. “It’s just a theory!”

[21:35] <TJP1> The book assumes that the reader is already familiar with youth and young adult ministry and studies and training – he mostly spend time trying to explain the current generational challenges.  I was trained in similar ideas for the GenX’ers – not this book is helping me with the Mosaics/Millennials

[21:35] <TJP1> I mean “now this book”

[21:35] <MattC> i.e., I acknowledge some may deconvert for solely “carnal” reasons, and claim their intellectual doubts, but they aren’t being honest. But it’s very hard for a committed Christian to leave the faith behind without gaining some scientific literacy to answer some of the questions that the church used to answer.

 

[21:35] <Rhianna> “Young people are skeptical about the reliability of the original biblical manuscripts; they tend to read the Bible through a lens of pluralism; their changing media behaviors and vanishing attention spans make a physical medium of Scripture less viable; and they seem less likely than previous generations to believe the Scriptures have a claim on human obedience.”

[21:35] <Rhianna> “Finally, young adults’ location in a post-Christian culture encourages them to reject the authority of the Bible and of spiritual leaders and even to question the existence of truth. Many prodigals and nomads seek and find sources of authority outside of conventional Christian forms.”

[21:35] <Rhianna> Question: What has the church done to propagate this stance of authenticity and authority issues?

[21:37] <TJP1> Authority is a big issue for Mosaics – and previous generations to a bit lesser extent.

[21:38] <MattC> That questions doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t see that the church has encouraged the questioning of authority, except maybe in the anti-government fringe.

[21:38] <Megan> I think part of it is exposure to other faiths… that believe their holy books and beliefs are just as authoritative and authentic.

[21:38] <TJP1> Nowadays the church needs to address some many more of the main issues presented before they can address authority.  It needs to be built up – rather than assumed that any authority can be true.

[21:38] <RossBlocher> I think the culture has swung over to being very skeptical of any authority, and the church is just suffering from that perspective shift. Authority is one of the main pillars supporting faith.

[21:39] <Megan> “Believe us because we says so. We are the Authority on this.”

[21:39] <TJP1> Most Mosaics and GenXers were raised with a very weak sense of authority.  I agree this is tough to overcome since so much of the church rest upon the idea.

 

[21:39] <Rhianna> “God looks at how we shape our children’s hearts and minds to be responsive and obedient to him.”

[21:39] <Rhianna> Question: What roll does obedience play in the church? The book used the example of the story of Daniel, many would consider him to have been NOT obedient to God since he made faith compromises. Where is the balance between obedience and adaptation? Who decides the “line” between obedience, adaptation, and failure?

[21:41] <TJP1> The Family is the first church.  How the family is modeled for a chld will have a strong influence on how the child grows to understand the church (and authority).

[21:41] <Megan> I think there’s too much emphasis on obedience, and it’s biting them in the butt.

[21:41] <RossBlocher> Agreed. Our culture frowns on obedience as well.

[21:42] <RossBlocher> Everyone is encouraged to think for themselves and not be submissive to anyone.

[21:42] <Megan> We’re teaching our children now to think about things. They’re growing up in a time where questioning things has led  progress towards ending racism, sexism, ableism, etc.

[21:42] <TJP1> Obedience can only fow from acceptance of authority.

[21:42] <Megan> Before, people were blindly obedient to what they were told, because it was right… because they were told it was right.

[21:42] <Megan> Our kids are growing up with a wider world view and seeing “what I was always told… doesn’t seem to be true.”

[21:43] <Megan> And they’re *thinking* and obedience doesn’t do well with independent though.

[21:43] <Megan> My *dog* is obedient.

[21:44] <TJP1> Obedience is part of trust in the authority.  Certainly not many armies would survive without that.

[21:44] <RossBlocher> And again, I think the Internet is playing a strong role in this. Kids are exposed to many different ideas and influences, and it’s hard to single just one perspective out as an authority worthy of obeying.

[21:44] <Megan> Many armies commit atrocities because they ‘obeyed’.

[21:44] <TJP1> Your dog has a dimmed reason compared to you – you know what is better fo ryour dog – so he does not over eat.

[21:45] <Megan> Yes. But my future children have minds that are like mine.

[21:45] <Megan> Or *will have minds

[21:45] <Megan> Blind obedience is bad.

[21:46] <Megan> And, to bring up your armies analogy, it’s not ‘trust’, it’s conditioning.

[21:46] <RossBlocher> I think the armies of the world will dwindle for the same reasons the church is dwindling. Which is fine, because the total amount of violence in the world is also dwindling (per the book I’m currently reading, “The Better Angels of our Nature” by Steven Pinker.

[21:46] <Megan> They are conditioned to obey, to not think.

[21:46] <TJP1> Your children, when they are young, have dimmed minds they most first obey not to cross the street before they understand why.

[21:46] <Megan> My parents explained. I understood that rule as early as 3.

[21:46] <Megan> And I knew *why*.

[21:46] <TJP1> And for a retarded child ?

[21:47] <Megan> TJ, don’t *even* go there. You will not like the result.

 

[21:47] <Rhianna> “The problem is not that this generation has been less churched than children and teens before them; the problem is that much spiritual energy fades away during a crucial decade of life—the twenties.”

[21:47] <Rhianna> “Adults identify as Christians typically because they had formative experiences as a child or as a teenager that connected them to Christianity. But that connection is often shallow and on the surface, having more to do with cultural identification than it does with deep faith.”

[21:47] <Rhianna> “Too many are incapable of reasoning clearly about their faith and unwilling to take real risks for Christ’s sake”

[21:47] <Rhianna> Question:  How does this concept, of twenty year olds leaving the church, coordinate with the concept that adults (18+) are able to critically think on their own? s that actually make you a “member”? Can a child actually be “Christian” before they can analyze and agree with the lessons taught? This is more than factual school learning (math, English, etc.) – this is reasoning and theology which is considered beyond the mental capacity of children and taught in college or as a starter high school course.

[21:48] <Megan> I think children can “be” Christian without understanding all the implications simply because they were raised in that faith and absorbed it.

[21:48] <Megan> Just like I’m American because I was born here, and grew up here.

[21:48] <TJP1> Catholics in the early 20th century developed the Baltimore Catechism – it was for children to try to address things at thier level.

[21:49] <RossBlocher> I would like to see an emphasis on letting a child choose his or her own beliefs and not feel beholden to tow the party line. In my perfect world.

[21:49] <Megan> But I do not think they should be ‘confirmed’ or ‘baptized’ until they do fully understand, and demonstrate that understanding.

[21:49] <TJP1> It can be a very helpful thing to address things at the level of understanding.  The problem came in when the kids left and the last theological text they read was that child’s book

[21:50] <TJP1> They went around for the rest of their lives as practicing – and non-practicing Catholics with the faith development of a 10 year old.

[21:50] <RossBlocher> I agree with Megan. Those official pronouncements of belief (confirmation, baptism, even dedication) should be saved for older children at least.

[21:51] <TJP1> I have seen this time and again – people in ministry and practicing their faith – with now more understanding than what they were told in CCD class at age 13.  And they didn’t even get good grades at it.

[21:52] <Megan> TJ, how do you define depth of understanding of the faith?

[21:52] <TJP1> If they are pious – then this is not a problem.  But, when they have doubts and are challenged by life – this childish understanding is simply not enough.

[21:52] <MattC> As for training children, I think if your concern is helping children to know truth, then you’re better off teaching them how to ask good questions, not giving the pre-constructed answers.

[21:53] <Megan> Definitely agreed, Matt.

[21:53] <MattC> And I have yet to see any catechism that I would classify as *good* questions.

[21:54] <RossBlocher> Great point. Teaching a child how to learn is far more important than teaching specific facts/beliefs.

[21:54] <TJP1> The church has a large deposit of 2000 yrs of traditional teachings – why should I not share it?  If I believe it to be true should I not teach it to my children and the children presented to me?

[21:54] <TJP1> Asking questions is good — and presenting good answers is also good.

[21:54] <MattC> but presenting reliable methods for confirming truth for oneself is better,

[21:55] <Megan> TJ, what do you consider proper “depth” of faith?

[21:55] <Megan> or ‘maturity’

[21:56] <TJP1> Good – question – depth of faith would differ for various people.  As we see in this book – various personalities need to have different aspects addressed.  -  Yet – I would say a better understanding of the catechism teachings.  First the catechism of a child and then as an adult.  This is at least a starting point.

[21:57] <TJP1> But – most to the point – the author states the “relationship” is where this all starts.

[21:57] <Megan> So why do you say that some people have a “childish” faith?

[21:57] <TJP1> Without a caring trusting relationship no minister has a chance at reaching out and reclaiming the lost.

[21:58] <TJP1> Yes – I know many people that have a childish understanding of the faith.

[21:59] <Megan> How is that not just a different depth? What if that’s all they need?

[21:59] <Megan> How exactly do you define “childish”?

[21:59] <MattC> So you want adult understanding but child-like submission to authority? Let them have cake and you’ll eat it too. :-)

[21:59] <TJP1> I know this because I have my conversations about the faith with people that claim to be good catholic that went to CCD – and they don’t get the answers right – or they present a childish answer that is clearly unsuited for an adult reality.

[22:00] <Megan> Why were they taught things unsuitable for reality then?

[22:00] <MattC> ..and why is adult reality about religious claims different from childhood reality about the same?

[22:00] <TJP1> They were taught what was suitable at that age.

[22:] <Megan> That’s just silly then, and probably part of the problem.

[22:] <MattC> example?

[22:] <TJP1> Often we use metaphor to explain various things . A metaphor is useless without a frame of reference.

[22:02] <TJP1> A child’s frame of reference demands an apt metaphor.

[22:02] <MattC> like what? Give us a metaphor that expresses something that is true for a child, but not an adult.

[22:03] <TJP1> Birds and the bees – “when two people love each other they get very close and then a baby if formed in the mommy’s tummy”

[22:03] <Megan> I knew about reproduction when I was 4.

[22:04] <Megan> I didn’t need a metaphor. The science worked.

[22:04] <TJP1> This is a “true” explanation and suitable for a 6 year old

[22:04] <Megan> Why is the mechanics of mating not suitable for a 6 year old?

[22:04] <TJP1> A 10 year old needs a bit more.

[22:04] <Megan> Why was I not traumatized at age 4 to learn what sex was?

[22:04] <MattC> It’s also true for an adult; just incomplete. Also, that’s a not a claim unique to Christianity.

[22:04] <TJP1> Its an example please don’t ager about the age that I placed there.

[22:05] <Megan> After all, discovery channel has plenty of shows that go on about mating, pregnancy, parturition and whatnot.

[22:05] <Megan> No, I’m arguing the *necessity* of a metaphor at all for that.

[22:06] <TJP1> Not all children, or people have the same learning style – and understanding style.  For many people metaphor works better.

[22:06] <Megan> TJ: won’t know unless you try the truth.

 

[22:05] <Rhianna> Thoughts on the book?

[22:05] <RossBlocher> Just to state my main gripe… I get that the book was written for believers who are trying to preserve and strengthen the church, but I was frustrated with the premise that the church’s flaws are only a matter of presentation. There’s a big possibility the book is overlooking: perhaps the teachings are simply incorrect, and that’s why people are leaving. I wish that possibility was at least acknowledged for a split second

[22:06] <Megan> The author was painfully condescending to non-believers and those who are wandering.

[22:07] <Megan> I can normally read a book that length in a sitting. It took me the entire time as I had to keep putting it down in outrage.

[22:07] <RossBlocher> I definitely didn’t appreciate the “prodigal” title. The word “prodigal” has a meaning that is very pejorative, and the biblical allusion just makes it sound like those former believers have wandered away and are now wallowing with the pigs.

[22:07] <TJP1> Ross – you are correct.  This book was written for the young adult minister who is a believer and wants to reclaim the lost.  That is the major premise of the book.  It is not a book about addressing the reasons.

[22:08] <Megan> Except that the author specifically mentioned us ‘prodigals’ and that he hoped he could bring *us* back.

[22:08] <Megan> And then writes a book that is condescending in the extreme.

[22:08] <MattC> I agree with Ross. The author could not even consider the possibility that the deconverted might have legitimate, logical reasons for leaving. It is assumed that when someone leaves, it’s because their reasoning or the churches communication was deficient.

[22:09] <TJP1> Yes – he mentioned it, I suppose, he know some might read it.  And perhaps get a better understanding of the information he was presenting.

[22:09] <MattC> I didn’t find the tone to be especially condescending, personally.

[22:09] <Megan> There were some sexist passages, and there was one comment near the end… let me find it.

[22:09] <RossBlocher> I was interviewed at length for the video companion series to “You Lost Me”, and made a lot of those points in the video that the book was lacking. I think the video series is a lot more broad-based in its treatment of the topic.

[22:10] <Megan> Here’s one:  “If you’re a nomad or a prodigal, I urge you to search your heart with the help of the Holy Spirit. Maybe it’s time to return home.”

[22:11] <TJP1> What’s wrong with that – sound like a genuine plea for a concerned Christian.

[22:11] <RossBlocher> Ta da. So… he was at least in part writing to “prodigals”. I’d call it more tone-deaf than condescending.

[22:11] <TJP1> It was, at least a challenge.

[22:12] <Megan> A challenge? To what, ask the invisible pink unicorn to help me?

[22:13] <TJP1> Again the author hopes that all of “the lost” had their reasons.  His premise is that if we (the ministers) build a strong relationship and address the real reason the people left – then they would come home.

[22:13] <Megan> Gah, can’t find the quote, but he at one point says some problem isn’t *just* the fact that the younger generation is shallow, inattentive and exhibitionist.

[22:13] <Megan> I’m not lost.

[22:13] <Megan> It’s condescending to assume I am.

[22:13] <Rhianna> I think the disconnect is who the intended audience is

[22:13] <RossBlocher> I think the disconnect here is that those of us who have left the church already know about the Holy Spirit and all the arguments for belief. He’s acting as though we just haven’t tried hard enough.

[22:14] <TJP1> From his perspective these people are lost They left the church.  He wrote the book from his perspective and genuine concern for these people.

[22:14] <MattC> The real reason (some) people leave is that Christianity makes false claims. It really is that simple.

[22:14] <Megan> You wouldn’t find it condescending to have a stranger come up to you and say “Oh honey, if you would just get rid of that silly faith thing you’ve got, you’d be such a better person.”?

[22:15] <TJP1> I think the disconnect is that often the stated reason for leaving is not the “real” reason for leaving.  And he is grappling with both of those realities.

[22:15] <Megan> I left Christianity because I found the god described in the bible to be *evil*.

[22:15] <MattC> Someone who believes in the Holy Spirit is not really a prodigal, are they?

[22:15] <RossBlocher> I agree that we (non-believers) aren’t the prime target for the book, but I still see the efforts as futile. Even if all the ministers out there took his (vague) advice, I don’t think it would help the church one bit in stemming the tide of people leaving.

[22:16] <TJP1> Someone who believes in the Hold Spirit but does not belong to a church would fit another definition – not the prodigal – perhaps the “Wanderer”

[22:16] <Megan> Agreed.  The efforts are mostly futile in the end.

[22:17] <TJP1> I would hope that if the concerns of those that left are properly addressed that a sincere person would return.

 

[22:17] <Rhianna> I would like to thank everyone for coming tonight, i know it was very late for some of you.

[22:17] <Rhianna> And thank you for keeping it as civil as possible. Matters of religion usually bring out a lot of passion on every side.

[22:17] <Rhianna> It’s almost like the end of a little league game where everyone has to shake hands with the opposite teams.

[22:17] <RossBlocher> Congrats to TJP for holding up under the uneven representation. I’m used to being in the reverse position. I hope everyone felt it was civil.

[22:17] <TJP1> Except we all won !

 

[22:18] <Rhianna> To finish the evening: a statement and a question…

[22:19] <Rhianna> I’m Rhianna. I’m 31 years old and have a Master’s Degree in Adult Learning and Instructional Design.  I’m a happy agnostic who emotionally left the church when I was 17, and officially when I was 26. I was raised Catholic.

[22:19] <Rhianna> Question: What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

[22:19] <TJP1> Asian of African?

[22:19] <MattC> African or European?

[22:19] <Megan> An African or a European swallow?

[22:19] <Rhianna> MattC for the win.

[22:20] <Rhianna> Here’s a juice box and a rice crispy treat.

[22:20] <RossBlocher> 42.

[22:20] <Megan> D:

[22:20] <TJP1> Dang – my answer for a laden elephant !

[22:20] <MattC> lol

 

[22:20] <Rhianna> Again, thank you everyone! This will be up on my blog on the 25th. I will link it. My own review of the book (and my agnostic story) are out March 1st. I hope you all read it and didn’t’ find this venture too torturous.

[22:21] <TJP1> Thanks – everyone – and thanks to our hostess – the lovely Rhianna.  Good Night and (I hope I do not offend) God Bless.

[22:21] <MattC> Thanks for hosting the discussion, Rhianna

[22:21] <Megan> It was quite interesting.

[22:21] <Rhianna> Thank you for joining.

[22:21] <MattC> Good night all, Luck of the Leprechauns to you all.

[22:21] <RossBlocher> Thanks, Rhianna, Todd, Matt and Megan!

[22:22] <MattC> ;-)

[22:22] <Megan> May you be touched by the noodly appendage of the FSM.

*chat has been edited for spelling and grammar, as approved by all those present.
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