The Obligatory Introductory Post, or "Just Who the Hell Are You?"

¡Bienvenidos a mi cantina! Mi casa es su casa. Pull up one of the nice comfy chairs, and have a beer. One thing you’ll discover is that geologists are mad for beer. It’s practically a job requirement. If, like me, you’re not quite so keen on beer, I’m assured that gin and tonic is just as acceptable. So is whiskey. Or rum. Wine’s a great geological drink, as geology is so much a part of making it. Or you could – oh, hell, any sort of alcohol’s okay with this crowd. Pour your poison of choice.

Right. We’ll just let the regulars get on with kicking the new furniture, then, and have some introductions. Hullo. I’m Dana Hunter. That’s not the name on my driver’s license, but it’s the name I go by in all situations aside from my workplace and among family members, who haven’t quite figured out that the name I was born with isn’t the one I most frequently answer to. It’s gotten to the point where I’m startled when I see my birth name on something. So, call me Dana, and I’ll know who you’re talking about.

So, we know what to call each other. Now on to the important stuff.

First important thing: I’m not a geologist.

Exploring Doherty Ridge with George’s rock hammer.

Yes, that is indeed me on an outcrop, with a rock hammer. I can pass for a geologist in a good light, I’ll admit. But I’m not a professional geologist. I’m not even in school. I’m entirely amateur. Thing is, I have this love affair with rocks, and I do a massive amount of reading and research. Most of my best friends are geologists, and they send me papers and answer questions and write amazing blog posts and sometimes, when we can arrange to be in the same state, take me out and teach me how to bang on rocks. This is how a total amateur gets away with writing about geology without screwing it up utterly.

I’m a writer. I write blog posts, and I am writing speculative fiction stories, and a novel that I will somehow manage to complete, and a book on geology or two that I turn to when the fiction won’t come. I’ve been writing ever since my mother told me I was old enough to tell my own stories at the age of six, and I haven’t ever stopped. That’s over thirty years, for those of you who are curious. Not well over, but still, over.

I’m an atheist. And not just any old atheist, not even just a New Atheist, but one of those dreaded Gnu Atheists. The only use I have for religion is occasionally cannibalizing the more interesting ones for bits of myth to put into stories, and as fodder for rants. My religious friends have grown used to this, and even occasionally egg me on when I take off after a particularly egregious creationist. You’ll not see me do that quite as often as my fellow Freethought bloggers do – I’ve got other things I’m busy with – but I do love taking the metaphorical rock hammer to Flood geologists especially. Fun as that is, though, I enjoy celebrating atheism far more. Life as an atheist is gorgeous. I’ve seen both sides, you see: I was a Christian (briefly, long ago), and for a while a pagan, and an agnostic, but none of that worked. Atheism works. Life has never meant as much, been so precious or beautiful or worth living, as it has since I finally accepted I was an atheist, full stop. I wish I’d had the courage to do it sooner.

I’m a raging liberal. Got me start in political blogging, actually, and kept on with that until I ran out of new and creative ways to call Republicans fucktards. You will notice, however, that there’s a sleek, shiny implement hanging over the bar. It’s the Smack-o-Matic, and you’ll see me lovingly take it down on occasion and apply it to some deserving Con. I’d much rather blog about science and SF writing and other things that make me intensely happy, but there are times that require furious anger, savage snark, and perhaps even a touch of satire, and I’m never out of practice.

There are some people who will groan (I’m looking at you, PZ), but I own a cat. She is what convinced me to never have children of my own. If she’d been a human, I’d be one of those wretched mothers on the teevee apologizing for my serial killer offspring. She hasn’t actually killed anyone yet, though not for lack of trying. However, she’s beautiful and sometimes disgustingly cute, and I love her beyond measure and blog about her on occasion. Consider yourself warned.

I, along with Ed Brayton, am a ginormous Peacemakers fan. I blog about them sometimes, too. They are my favorite band, and I will sound like a hopeless fangirl, but if you come along with me to one of their shows, you’ll probably not emerge without at least a deep fondness for them, so you’ll forgive me for it one day. The title of this blog, in fact, comes from one of their shirts. In tequila is truth.

That’s one thing that threatens my atheist cred – I practically (I say, practically) worship them. The other threat is Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, people. That’s all I’m saying, and those of you who love the show will know exactly what I mean.

Last but not by any means least, I am a woman. I sometimes write about things pertaining specifically to women, and I’m way past the age where I think we’ve won all the battles and misogyny’s harmless and cute. If that’s something that threatens your sense of self, this is not going to be a comfortable cantina for you. For those interested in creating a world where women and men are on equal footing, you’ll be right at home.

Right, I think that’s enough babbling about myself. I want to take a moment to tell you about my regulars: they are incredible people, a wise and wonderful mix of geologists and bloggers and science geeks and political junkies and atheists and writers and incredible people who make me want to be the best blogger I can possibly be because they deserve nothing less. Without them, my world would be a far smaller, much duller place, and I wouldn’t be writing this right now. Raise a glass to them, my dear new readers, and join me in saying, “Salud!”

Then raise another glass to the incredible folks at Freethought Blogs who inflicted me upon you brought me on board: Stephanie Zvan, whose writing brings me to tears, elevates me to heights of joy, and brings on a nice righteous outrage – sometimes in the same post. PZ Myers, who got me started on this whole science blogging thing and helped me over the threshold from agnostic to atheist. Ed Brayton, who’s not only one of my favorite political and religious idiocy bloggers, but is a fellow Peacemakers fan. Ophelia Benson, who has introduced me to subjects I never thought about and made me care intensely about them. Jason Thibeault, who is not only a fabulous writer but a genius at making this whole migration thing painless. Raise a glass to everyone at Freethought Blogs, those glorious freethinkers who are making this world a better one, one post at a time.

And raise a final round for yourselves. Without you, my dear readers, these words would be nothing more than pixels on a screen. If I ever write something that inspires you, touches you, moves you, just remember: without you, it would be a lonely echo in a void. People like to think writing is a solitary art, but they’ve just failed to notice that magnificent audience, reading and engaging and egging the author on. You lot, you’re marvelous. Don’t ever forget that.

Are we suitably intoxicated? Right. On with it, then. ¡Vámonos!

The Obligatory Introductory Post, or "Just Who the Hell Are You?"

57 thoughts on “The Obligatory Introductory Post, or "Just Who the Hell Are You?"

  1. 1

    Seeing the name of the blog and encouragement for imbibing, I can’t help but post this link:

    Finnish folk-metal band singing about tequila with a little south-of-the-border sound thrown in. I don’t think I’ve ever heard The Peacemakers, so I don’t know if following the link is will be kind to your ears.

  2. 6

    whoa… sorry about the double post — i forking hate it when that happens… i’m gonna blame it on that new bottle… tis 110 proof yanno – that and the new commenting system

  3. 13

    I am humbled that you think I’m anything close to fabulous. Meanwhile, you blind me with your eloquence. How the hell can I live up?

    Right. Booze. Release the Kraken (spiced rum)!

  4. 14

    I finally see the evil plot behind ftb–to make me unwilling to wander from the array of great blogs!

    I’d never been bitten by the geology bug (seems that there are few of that species in southwest Alabama), but I’ve always been a sucker for enthusiasm and knowledge cheerfully and engagingly shared. Browsing back here, I’m finding evidence of both of those in abundance.

    ¡Bienvenidos, Dana!

  5. 21

    You make me blush. Happy blushes! Thank you!

    There’s probably some great geology in SW AL. It’s just buried under a billion tons of biology. Silly biology. ;-)

  6. 24

    Ooo, I likes shared brains! Good on yer for not smoking. I’d say I wish I didn’t, but aside from the potential health issues, and the expense, and the smell, and…. Well, hey, it gets me outdoors on cloudy days. ;-)

  7. 25

    Well I already know who the hell you are, and I was delighted when The Powers said you were joining up. Hooray!

    I’m way past the age where I think we’ve won all the battles and misogyny’s harmless and cute.


  8. 28

    I can’t even begin to express how excited I am that we’re sharing the same network. Attempts to express it have involved a lot of screaming and jumping up-and-down. So so sooo happy to be here with you!

  9. 29

    Silver Fox put me on to her a while back, but I haven’t had time to actually read her just yet. Looking forward to it! Mystery + geology = awesome.

    Thanks for the welcomes and recommendations!

  10. 30

    Hmmm. You like rocks. You have the proper attitude to booze. You like talking about rocks and booze (or rocks over booze. Or booze over rocks). Sounds like a geologist to me :-)

  11. 32

    I’m an atheist. And not just any old atheist, not even just a New Atheist, but one of those dreaded Gnu Atheists.

    Gnu Power! *raises fist*

    Seriously, though, welcome to FTB. This place rocks!

  12. F


    I’m not a geologist.

    But I know your work from the geoblogosphere. Good stuff. So I’m very pleased to see you at FtB.


  13. 38

    Ah, Dana, you’ve changed blog addresses, and you’ll have to put up with me commenting under a new name. But I’m still the same Karen who’s been commenting all along!!! Geocatherder derives from my almost-acquisition of a geology degree (thesis due 10/31), and my neverending attempt to herd cats. The latter has been met with, er, mixed success. (I also used to be an engineering manager, another attempt to herd cats with mixed success.)

    To FTB readers: She’s a geologist. She may not have the creds, but she has the heart, the insatiable thirst for geologic knowledge, the ability and willingness to share it correctly and concisely, and the determination to get out there and break those rocks!

  14. 41

    Oh, Karen, my Karen! Squee! With a handle like Geocatherder, we’ve gotta get you on the new Geokittehs blog.

    Thesis due Halloween? Huzzah and argh! Hope all goes smoothly. I know it’s going to be sheer chaos, probably stressful (although hopefully not much), so if there’s anything I can do to help, just tell me. Home stretch, baby, yeah!

    And thank you. When you say I’m a geologist, I have no choice to believe it! Quick, somebody, bring me more rocks to break!

  15. 42

    This place gets more awesome by the day. My three favourite atheist bloggers (Greta, PZ, Jen) are here, and they’ve been joined by all these new faces who look just as wonderful!

    I’m going to be diving into the writing here, and discovering all sorts of new obsessions. This blog may well become one of my favourites. I love the introduction. Now I just need to find a clone to earn my wage for me while I read FTB.


  16. 43

    Nice to see you on FtB :-)
    Yes I’m still around and still stalking you and various other bloggers in the vain hope of gleaning some speck of wisdom.

    Hopefully I will get some time to post to my much neglected blogs again but as you know work is the bane of the drinking……….. I mean writing man :-)

  17. 44

    Looks like you’re settling in quite nicely, Dana. I wish you the best and greatest luck! Now even more people can have the pleasure of your wisdom, insight, and humor. Keep it up!

    You rock!

    (Hardly original, but I couldn’t resist)

  18. 45

    When I was just a very young cuttlefish, my family vacations *always* included geology lessons (thanks, mom!). We drove 2 hours out of our way once to visit an asbestos mine, where we found core samples of soapstone and asbestos, which are now in the (relatively immense) collection. Another time, it took four of us to lift a massive puddingstone into the back of the station wagon–that damned thing followed us through many houses. A high school teacher tried to gross me out with a coprolite, and was clearly disappointed when I told him it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the ones in our collection. Mom never failed to point out cirques, moraines and other stuff (those two terms stick with me after 4 decades or so). And no, she was not a geologist. She did teach earth science on occasion.

    So anyway, what I’m saying is, your geo posts are like comfy slippers to me. I suppose it is *because* you are a writer and not a geologist, rather than *despite* same. I’ve enjoyed those posts for a while, and am very happy to have them much more conveniently at hand. Welcome!

  19. 46

    (Sets housewarming gift on table, realizes it’s probably the cheap stuff compared to the other bottles) DANA, how friggin’ awesome is this?! So thrilling to see you here.


    A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it. Geologists usually engage in studying geology. Geologists, studying more of an applied science than a theoretical one, must approach Geology using physics, chemistry and biology as well as other sciences. Geologists, compared to scientists engaged in other fields, are generally more exposed to the outdoors than staying in laboratories; although some geologists prefer to perform most of their studies in the lab.

    Oh, a scientist, eh? So what’s a scientist?

    scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method.

    Doesn’t say shit about what degrees you have, what you do to pay the bills, or whether you have a bunch of underpaid grad students working for you, fearing your disapproval, longing for your validation, and talking about you behind your back. Has more to do with how you find stuff out, and certainly (in my conceptualization) something to do with the passion for said learning. Take from it what you will.

    FTB just got a lot more awesome!

  20. 48

    This is why I support human cloning. Okay, yes, I’m kidding, but sometimes I dream. Have also considered renting the cat out as a dominatrix. I think she’d enjoy it…

    And with that disturbing thought, welcome to the cantina!

  21. 50

    Yeah, and guess who else’s wisdom, insight, etc. I’m hoping to see here? I think you know, laddie!

    As far as the rocks puns, geologists love ’em every time. I don’t think there’s a geo pun punned that this crowd won’t giggle at even after the trillionth time. Know I haven’t found one yet!

  22. 51

    I think I fell in love with your mom a little bit right there. And I have always loved you! Best science poet ever, and as for best poet, you give several quite famous ones a run for their money. Photo finish at the very least! Love it that we’re here together!

  23. 52

    Point taken. I shall now print this comment out, and practice arching a single eyebrow. Should anyone question my credentials on science posts, I shall hand them the comment and arch the eyebrow. Perhaps I shall even hum a little tune. ;-)

    I love you so much. And not just for this. You know that your blog is one of the ones that gets right down into my heart and soul and mind and feeds my whole self.

    And, my dear sir, Patron Silver is not the cheap stuff. We impressed the shit out of Roger Clyne hisownself with a flask of that once, I’ll have you know!

  24. 54

    I am surprised nobody has pointed it out yet, but there are a couple of mistakes in the title. First, “tequila” and “verdad” both need an article (el tequila – la verdad). And the verb should be “está”. “En el tequila está la verdad”. Otherwise it makes no sense.
    I’m Spanish, just in case you wonder, and I love science & atheism, and my language too!

  25. F

    To FTB readers: She’s a geologist.


    And Chris Rowan’s smiling face above should be another hint to that effect. Then there’s what georgewiman said. Evidence strongly points to, “Yes, she is a geologist.” Even if one hasn’t read the blog at its old digs.

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