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Showing posts from 2011

One check or two?

When I was with Karen, anytime we'd go out to eat, we were never asked if we wanted one check or two.  It was naturally assumed that I would paying the check.  Whether we were just on a date or whether we were married, I would be paying.  This is the culture that we live in.  We could even be just two good friends going out to eat together and want to pay separately, but if that were the case we'd have to inform the server ourselves.  Honestly, I find it funny because the whole time we lived here in Tennessee, Karen made twice as much as I did, so while I would be the one who pulled the card out and signed the receipt, it was actually Karen's money that was being used.

Anyway, whenever I've gone out to eat with Conrad, we've invariably (that is, without exception) been asked "Will this be together or separate?".  Even when we've been extremely open about displaying affection toward each other.  I've fed Conrad bites of food from my own fork, held …

Truth seeking

[As an aside, I first want to say that I really want to start using gender-neutral pronouns.  I find he/she, (s)he, and alternating between he and she to all be awkward or ridiculous.  I think it's most reasonable to use just one pronoun when referring to "a generic person", and "they" simply won't do since it's plural.  So, I shall begin using gender-neutral pronouns.  There are many conventions out there, and as far as I am aware, none is more widely adopted than the other, so I will use the one I think sounds best, which is the Spivak convention (ey/em/eir/eirs/eirself).]

When a mathematician has a theory (usually called a conjecture), ey sets about to prove it using all of the tools of logic available to em.  If ey believes that ey has constructed a convincing proof, ey proceeds to share it with peers.  It is then reviewed by peers who determine whether they believe the proof or not.  If a hole in the logic is found by anyone, it is presented and th…

The power of love

(Okay, so that's the Seasons of Love, not the Power of Love.  But it's more applicable than the other to this post and so is the title of the post.)

If I have learned anything this year, it's the true power of love.  Love really is the most powerful force I have encountered in all of my interactions with people.  How do you measure a year?  I'm a mathematician.  I measure everything numerically.  But this year has been so much more than just 12 months, much more than just 4 seasons.  This year I have found love.

My life is so much more meaningful with a man by my side to share it with.  Love permeates everything in life.  I make dinner with love for my husband.  I wait eagerly on the couch for him to come home, ready to pounce him with a burst of love.

A lot of unfortunate events have happened this year.  I have lost several friends.  I have hurt many family members.  I have had quarrels and altercations.  I've had a crisis of faith, ending in a complete loss of…


I can hold a grudge for a while.  Some grudges I've held for several months.  But, even when I have tried to do so, I haven't been able to hold a grudge for over a year.  I just don't have it in me.  I think of myself as a forgiving person.  Perhaps others do not view me as forgiving as I view myself.  But, the truth is that I just don't have the energy or the memory to hold grudges for too long.

Maybe it's not called forgiveness if you simply forget about something that someone did in the past to offend you.  I don't know.  It's probably also required, at least in some cases, to inform the offender that you have finally forgiven them.  I don't think it's any coincidence that forgiving people is one of the 12 steps in AA's famous recovery program.  Forgiving others goes a long way toward personal healing.

I can't speak for others, but I know that for myself, I find that the difficult in forgiving someone is greatest at the time the offense …

Say what you mean? Or mean what you say?

I've recently come to wonder about this saying "Say what you mean and mean what you say."  I probably started thinking thoughts slightly along this train back in high school, when I read Orson Scott Card's Ender series.  I believe it was in Xenocide (although I'm not sure) where Valentine has an interaction with a cripple where Card points out Valentine's very compassionate and empathetic value of responding to what people mean to say rather than the actual words they say.  Since that time, that's been one of my goals and I hope that I've made some progress in that area.  I believe it to be good wisdom.

But, it's only been recently that I've started to think that saying what you mean and meaning what you say aren't necessarily the same thing.  (Of course, from a logical perspective, this is immediately obvious since one is the converse of the other, so I should have known all along.)  The fact that they are not equal means that they can be…

The impact of your actions

I'm sure this will easily sound like a self-pity party, or complaining, but I really don't mean it to be that way.  My hope in writing this post is to cause those who read it to introspectively search themselves and try to understand why they do the things they do.

I also need to add that my family has not been rotten throughout this process.  What I'm about to say might make it seem like that.  On the contrary, I actually have it quite well.  Many families of gay people disown the person when he/she comes out of the closet.  Many have very bitter, angry feelings that they hold on to for years.  I have been treated very well by nearly all in my family.  As far as I know, there are only one or two who may have very bitter feelings.  I'm not even making a commentary about my family in particular, I'm only using my family as an example to illustrate in general the feelings a gay person has.

When I got engaged to Conrad, I wasn't sure exactly how or when to tell m…

Loving your children

While I lived at home with my parents, I had much opportunity to witness how my sister treated her children.  She always encourages them in any interest that they have.  Her oldest wanted to play violin, so she found a violin for him and set him up with lessons.  Her youngest wanted to raise some chickens, so she bought some chicks and my dad helped her kids build a coop for the chickens.  She always does what she can to help her children accomplish things that they are interested in.

As I mentioned briefly before, my mom did the same thing with me.  When I was a boy and expressed interest in learning how to crochet, she taught me without hesitation.  She taught me how to sew, iron, and cook.  And, as I recall, it was almost always because I asked her to teach me.  She taught all of us children how to cook, because we each took turns cooking for the family.  But, I know for sure she didn't teach everyone how to crochet (in fact, I don't think she taught anyone except me).



Those that have seen me recently can tell that I've put on a lot of weight.  In fact, I've gained 80 pounds over the last year and a half.  As you can imagine, I've had many comments about it, of varying natures.

The truth is that I like my body.  I enjoy having a belly that I can grab and jiggle.  It's kind of fun.  I was at Wal-Mart the other day and saw a T-shirt that said "Doughboy" (in XXL, of course) and another that said "Go ahead and pinch me" and immediately bought them.  I really like these shirts, and if I see any more like them I'll probably buy them too.

The reason for this post is to continue along the theme of my blog about raising awareness.  In our culture, there's such a strong push for people to be skinny--to lose weight and to look like the Hollywood star 1% body fat anorexic supermodel.  I think, though, that people are becoming more tolerant and even more educated about fat and fatness, and I want to do my part.


Merry Paganmas

I've known for some time now that Christmas is really just some Pagan holidays enveloped by Christianity.  I've also known that if Jesus was born during the Passover, which the Bible claims, then he would have been born in April not December.  In fact, Mormons hold that Jesus' birthday was April 6th.  So, I kind of chuckle under my breath when people say that it's Jesus' birthday.

At any rate, I'd never really thought before about the irony of Christians now claiming that people are trying to "take the Christ out of Christmas" when in fact it was never there to begin with.  They should be complaining that we've taken the Paganism out of Christmas, because that's what it was to begin with.  I suppose this is just one more example of how Christians can be hypocritical without even realizing it.  They take a holiday away from one religion (or several) and then get all huffy and offended when they feel like someone's trying to take a holiday …

True Christians

The word "christian" is often used as an adjective to mean "having or showing qualities associated with Christians, esp. those of decency, kindness, and fairness." and also as a noun to mean someone who possesses those qualities.  It is that usage of the word "christian" that I wish to use in this post.  In the interest of focusing on the positive rather than the negative, I list here several people I know who are true christians.  If I neglect to mention anyone in this list, it should not be inferred that it is because I believe them to be not christian, since I make no such implication in doing so.

Any list containing kind, selfless people would be incomplete without the mention of my late wife Karen who was, in virtually every way possible, a good christian.  As I discussed in detail in this post, she is beyond question the most compassionate, understanding, humble, and selfless person I have known in my life.

The next person I'd like to highlight…

Traditional values

So, I just posted a link on my Facebook wall about Romney disrupting a date of a gay couple.  Personally, I think it's rather tacky to go interrupt people's dinners in order to do some campaigning, but this particular one turned out rather unfortunate for Romney because he just happened to choose a gay couple to harass.

But, the point of this post is one quote that Romney said to these men, which is
Actually, I think at the time the Constitution was written marriage was between a man and a woman and I don’t believe the Supreme Court has changed that. Wow.  Really?  Ok, so let's go by the standard of whatever definitions and standards were back at the time the Constitution was written is what's right and should be adopted today.  So, basically, black people only count as three fifths of a person (Article I Section 2 of the Constitution), women couldn't vote, and black people couldn't marry people of other races.  Maybe I'm just too "progressive",…

I'm an what?

While I was religious (especially before I met my first atheist friend), I had this image that atheism=hatred of all things religious.  I think many people think things similar to this when they hear the word, which is one reason why I hesitated using it to describe myself for so long.  I'd even use the word "apatheist" to describe myself, since it portrays the meaning of complete apathy toward any deity--not necessarily hatred or dislike, just disinterest.

One misconception I had about atheism was that atheists stubbornly insist that there is no god, the same way most Christians stubbornly insist that there is a god.  While some atheists do this, I find that the vast majority simply assert that they have not seen enough evidence to support claims of existence of any deity that they have thus far encountered.  This is how I feel.  I do not see any significant evidence to support the claims of a god.  The only evidence I ever had as a Mormon was the burning in my bosom, w…

Make noise

This is why I came out.  This is why I will not be quiet.  This is why I make all of these annoying posts that have chased away so many people in my family and so many of my friends.  I will not be silent.  I will not stand by and watch injustice happen.

So many people have turned away from me because of this.  So many have unfriended me, blocked me, or have just simply ignored me, because they don't think that what's happening is wrong, or because they think that I'm too annoying or too vocal.

I will not tolerate bullying--for myself or for any other person.  I will not tolerate bigotry.  I will call out bigotry as often as I see it happening, and I will speak against it.  I look forward to a brighter future.  I look forward to a world in which all people are treated with respect and love.

I have personally only been a very minor target for all of the horrible things that happen to people.  I have had some people call me names, one or two tell me that I'm going to …

Doing good without god

I recently found a forum called the Happy Atheist Forum.  From what I've seen so far, it seems to be a fairly pleasant group of people discussing all sorts of topics, including religion, atheism, philosophy, politics, etc.  One of the threads mentioned charitable organizations founded and run by atheists.  This piqued my interest, since I am a very compassionate person and enjoy helping people who are in need.  So, I'd like to share some information about these types of organizations and to do some advertising for them.

Atheists Helping the Homeless is an organization in Austin, Texas.  They have been running for about two years now.  They have events they call "giveaways" (no, it's not a sweepstakes).  They give food, clothing, toiletries, and other essential items to homeless people.  It's a relatively new organization, but they've helped over 1,500 people so far and more chapters are forming outside of Austin.  This is an organization that I could feel …

A most peculiar paradox

There's something that's been bothering me ever since I was young and has grown increasingly more so over the years.  I was raised as a Christian.   As such, I was taught to love others, to exhibit charity, to treat others well, to share my blessings with other people, and to be compassionate.  I think these are core principles of Christianity wherever it is to be found.

What I find intriguing is that Christianity seems to have become the backbone of the Republican party.  That in itself might become dangerous, since it might lead to establishment of (or favoritism toward) one religion over another, but that's another matter for another day.  But, what's really perplexing to me is that the republican party--the religious right--is fighting so hard against charitable government programs.

As a child, I readily accepted what my parents taught me about religion, and just as readily I accepted the things my dad told me about having small government and maximizing individua…


I just want to make it quite clear before saying anything else, that I am a proponent of polygamy.  I have never had an issue with polygamy, nor do I at the present time.  If multiple people all love each other and wish to enter a marriage all together, who am I to say that they can't?  Now, I also have never had any desire to practice polygamy for myself.  I have never had any interest in having multiple spouses--male or female.  Being in a relationship with Conrad, I have no desire to be with anyone else, in a romantic way.  When I was with Karen I had no desire to be with anyone else either (aside from the fact that I wished it was with a man instead of a woman).  My brain is wired monogamously.  I only want one mate.  But, if someone else has a brain that's wired differently, I won't get in their way.  I won't stop them from being happy.

Now, that having been said, I think there are many problems with polygamy and many ways in which it is (or has been) used for ill…

Faithless courage

I've seen this video going around Facebook, so I thought I'd share my thoughts about it.  Nelson talks about how his faith helps him handle difficulties.  That's great.  That's wonderful.  People who find strength or support in their own faith, go ahead and have that faith.  If it helps you through hard times, that's excellent.  I have no problem with that at all, in fact I think it's good.  Do or believe whatever you need in order to get through the hard times in life.

But, Nelson takes a condescending tone throughout much of the video.  He implies that anyone without faith, without a belief in Christ, is fearful.  Yes, there are lots of fearful people out there.  But, there are just as many religious people who are scared as there are irreligious people.  And, I would be willing to bet that the woman on the plane who was hysterical was also a Christian.  I don't think believing or not believing in a certain deity will make one more or less likely to have…

Happy Holidays

I personally know people who refuse to do any Christmas shopping at stores that say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".  I think it's rather silly, myself--and I always did, even when I was a believing Mormon.  Now that I've seen this video, I think it's much, much sillier.

When I first watched this, I hadn't actually heard of this Dr. Jeffress or his church before (yes, the Baptist church, but not his specific congregation).  My first thought when I heard him say he wanted to do something "positive" by  making a grinch list was "How is that positive?"  Yes, it is definitely taking action, rather than simply complaining about something.  But, it isn't positive action.  Putting a business's name on a "naughty list" because they don't say "Merry Christmas" is a negative thing, not a positive thing.

Also, as the couple in the video points out, it's hardly offensive to wish someone a ha…


I've had some people express confusion over what my current beliefs are, and some even tell me that I've only expressed what my views are not and not what they are.  So, I'll take this opportunity to try to articulate them properly.  I believe that that all of the following labels apply to me, at least partially: atheist, rationalist, and secular humanist.

I am a rationalist because I believe anything that I feel has been supported by a sufficient amount of logic and evidence (which, would also make me an empiricist).  That is, I believe anything that is logical and for which verifiable evidence can be produced.  I accept as fact conclusions drawn from repeatable experiments, from logic and reasoning, and from my own senses.

I am not a materialist, since I do not believe that all that exists is material in nature.  I am open to the possibility that there are things in existence which have no physical form or manifestation.  What such things might be, I have no idea, nor d…

Giving thanks

In celebration of the day, I would like to give thanks for the following things.

My dear, wonderful Conrad, who brings so many smiles to my face.My kind, loving parents who raised me well and molded me into who I am.My fun, excitable siblings for beating me up and playing with me.My friends, who love me no matter what happens.My teachers, who brighten my mind with education.My students, who give me a sense of purpose and inspire me to always be a better teacher.The peace of mind and self-confidence that come with being truly happy.Facebook, to keep up with all of my friends and family.Google, to tell me the answer to life, the universe, and everything.Facetime and Google video chat so I can see the faces of my family even when I live 2000 miles away.YouTube, to entertain me and educate me about the world, science, and current events.The sun to brighten my day.The rain to make my surroundings green. May we all be truly grateful for the things we have been given.  May we show our gratitu…

Lessons from my parents

I'd like to share some of the things my parents have taught me and how I've used them in my life this year.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I am truly grateful for my parents and the way they have raised me.  I wouldn't be who I am without them.  The words of wisdom are from my parents, but their applications mentioned herein are my own.  So, if you don't like them, blame me not my parents.

One thing I can remember my mother telling me several times is the importance of corroborant sources.  She'd always say that if you can find something from only one source, it's less likely to be true, but if you can find other sources which agree with it, then the chances are much more likely that it is true.  I used this advice first in deciding that being gay is not a choice.  I was always at odds with LDS doctrine because it taught that being gay is a choice and my own personal feelings said otherwise.  Of course, if it's a question of me or the church, I'd …