Zero Wake

It’s the understatement of the century that my life hasn’t gone the way I imagined it would. By now I should have been a year into a postdoctoral fellowship, with my eyes on professorship opportunities in some other city and a steadily growing academic resume. I should have been building a research program around the seven years of work that became my doctoral dissertation, extending it into new directions, new species, and new theories to fit with the interests of my postdoctoral supervisor. I should have been teaching lecture courses, as a guest or full-time, and developing my teaching credentials. I had a plan.

Thinking about it makes my hands shake.

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Zero Wake
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So Am I A Dyke?

I didn’t grow up with the word “dyke” meaning anything to me. The dialects of Spanish that were my first language don’t have ready equivalents for it, preferring euphemisms that only become offensive in certain tones. I don’t know if the people I came from use “perica” or “tortillera” for themselves, or if they borrow the more evocative slurs used for gay men, or use some other language entirely. My mother preferred to stammer out her disgust in English half-syllables whenever she had to mention queer women, and that sense of wrongness stayed attached to those words in my mind. I was closed to this part of myself in those days, unaware of my queer heritage even as I found no room in my heart for their contempt. The queer community where I finally found myself speaks primarily English, and it’s here that I finally met proud dykes.

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So Am I A Dyke?

How Not To Witness to Atheists

It’s a sign of how far atheism has come in recent decades that religious organizations openly discuss how to lure us (back) into the fold. They used to lump us in with non-practicing theists and miscellaneous sinners, but now, we’re worth specific attention. There’s something satisfying in that.

David Robertson of Dundee, Scotland thinks he knows how to convince atheists that being Christian is a better bet, and wrote “Four Ways to Witness to Atheists” for the blog Desiring God. I’ve been mulling over his thoughts for a while now, because they’re a rollercoaster of amusement, bemusement, and insult, and the ride is as incoherent as the text.

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How Not To Witness to Atheists

Why Isn’t Canada Part of the United States? A Primer for Americans

Virtually every American I keep in touch with has, at some point, asked me this question. American history classes do a very poor job of explaining how one region of mainland North America colonized by the United Kingdom became one country and the next region over became a different country, and tend to pretend Canada isn’t even on the map most of the time. I certainly faced this question with confusion prior to moving to Canada and being confronted with its reality.

As it happens, though, the events that led to these two settler states to emerge as separate entities are fairly interesting, and tied into the events that started the Thirteen American Colonies thinking of independence. Continue reading “Why Isn’t Canada Part of the United States? A Primer for Americans”

Why Isn’t Canada Part of the United States? A Primer for Americans

Life of the Mind – A Doctor Who Story

CN abusive relationship dynamics, confronting an abuser

The convenience store clerk leaned on his elbow, idly spinning a yo-yo, eyes glazed. The yo-yo released five yo-yos of its own at the end of each spin, a show he seemed to find uninteresting. Outside, a disorienting array of neon lights clashed with the setting suns, lurid blue and green against the pinkish sky. A woman in a pencil skirt, deep blue blouse, black bowtie, and black peep-toe heels strode into the store, and the electronic bell of the glass door’s movement snapped him to attention. As he opened his mouth in rehearsed greeting, she arrived at his counter, raised a small wallet-like pad of paper, and cut him off before his first word.

“Dr. Karen Almirola, Rollaven District Sanitation Inspector, third class, first degree, matalovu cor Dundalita, I need to see your storeroom, please,” she recited in one breath. The paper corroborated her details

“We’re not due for our next inspection for another three eclipse cycles,” he protested. After a moment’s realization, he added, “and that’s not the next callsign.”

“Look, friend,” the woman answered, leaning forward a bit and letting her dense brown curls hang over the counter, “there’s something going on in that room, and I need to inspect it for your safety and that of the whole Rollaven District, maybe even the rest of the planet. You can make your little scene about the gamma scrats you haven’t been keeping down like you told your boss you would, or you can let me in and deal with the thing before it gets you first.”

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Life of the Mind – A Doctor Who Story