From late 2000 through early 2003, I worked as a secretary/receptionist at a small office in the Philadelphia suburbs. The office focused on agriculture and horticulture in the county, and I was the only “city kid” who worked there. In contrast, my coworkers were current and former farmers, evangelical and conservative Christians, white, homophobic, active Republicans from rural PA who weren’t used to anyone different. (I’m pretty sure I was an Affirmative Action hire.)
The job coincided with me discovering and volunteering in the freethought movement. Besides getting involved with groups in my region, I volunteered as the Publications Director for the Campus Freethought Alliance (now CFI On Campus) in 2001 and drove down to DC for the Godless Americans March on Washington in 2002. I didn’t talk to my coworkers about these activities, but my activism was motivated partly by that stiflingly conservative, overwhelmingly religious, homophobic, and somewhat racist work environment.
I dealt with pent-up frustration during the workday by engaging in secular activism on my lunch breaks. Although I didn’t have much experience and my efforts weren’t well-planned, they felt very rewarding. I contacted student groups, made dozens of phone calls, and wrote letters, which is how I ended up with the reply below. Continue reading →
Here’s another elementary school assignment I typed up. In this one, I had to try to cram in examples of descriptive language and identify them for the teacher. Blah. I left my old notes in. I’m pretty sure from the language used that I didn’t take the assignment too seriously—and after reading the teacher’s notes, it looks like I didn’t follow the directions too closely, either.
I left in any grammar and spelling mistakes I may have made. I’m pretty sure I had trouble keeping the tense consistent at this time. It’s all over the place! Continue reading →
This post sat in my Drafts folder for more than a year ‘cuz I’m a chicken who generally prefers to avoid spending time in internet debates on contentious topics. But now I’m trying to clean up my Drafts folders, so here it is.
A couple days before Martin Luther King Jr. day, a skeptic friend of mine posted this on Facebook:
It’s been a while since I felt compelled to try getting a good cheesesteak in the Buffalo area, but after jonesing hard for a tasty sandwich this week, it was time to make another attempt. A coworker today suggested I try the sandwiches at Elmwood Taco & Subs, just a few minutes from my apartment, so I stopped by on the way home from work tonight.
Recent pictures suggest that Justin Bieber is not a kid anymore. A few nights ago I wondered if his voice has broken yet and how that might have affected his singing—or does he still sound like a chipmunk version of Usher? Because I generally don’t give a crap about Bieber, I didn’t know, so I decidedto spend some time online looking for an answer. What can I say? The Internet is great for that sort of activity.
A quick YouTube search for “justin bieber 2011” turned up this treacly bit of holiday fluff:
Today I sat down at the computer to see a new IM from a potential new friend. I didn’t recognize the screenname, but that’s not unusual. I considered briefly that it may have been from a spambot, but “mattp204” didn’t seem like a sexbot’s screenname, so I responded. After a couple of lines, however, the text coming in turned pink and the conversation turned familiar. I gotta say—some of the responses really surprised me.
mattp204: I got you now !lol was up CFI Debbie: ? mattp204: hi cutie what’s up? CFI Debbie: Just working. Do I know you? Continue reading →
On Saturday my coworker and roommate reminded me that there’s a CFI community potluck on Wednesday! It’s like the best day all month, with all sorts of tasty noms for eating and a fun crowd to hang out with. He plans to make pork and vegetarian dumplings, although I can’t believe he’d want to spend so much time pinching so many little dumplings closed. I have little cooking experience (or interest), so I usually bake desserts instead. For some reason, I’m completely willing to spend hours baking—I even enjoy it!—but cooking for more than 20 minutes seems like an unnecessary chore.
The cake with raisins is two layers (nine-inch rounds) topped with cream cheese frosting from scratch, chopped pecans on the sides, and some almonds thrown on for decoration. I got impatient so didn’t smooth out the top as well as I could have. (It still tastes fine, I’m sure.)
When I moved from Philadelphia to Buffalo a handful of years ago, I thought I was pretty prepared for the major dialect differences. Pronunciation-wise, I had steeled myself for the Western New York pronunciation of words like car and crab shack, and I knew I wouldn’t be understood if I asked for a glass of water the way I was used to. (Check out the fantastic Super Grip Lock commercials on YouTube for examples of the accent here.) They say garbage where I say trash, pop for my soda, and they’re generally clueless about hoagies—but at least they don’t say tennis shoes or youins. Continue reading →
(Last week, this was my first post ever on my newish Tumblr account. Then I realized Tumblr doesn’t do what I want it to, so I will probably never use it again. Therefore, I am reposting here.)
A few times in the last few months, I’ve received random unsolicited IMs from spam accounts trying to get me to go to their stripper webcam sites or something. Last week I was contacted by a repeat offender from an account I recognized. So after engaging for a bit, I looked up the old conversation and pasted it, along with the new one, below. Continue reading →