Friday, August 31, 2012

It’s Wabbit Season!

I started therapy yesterday.

Let’s face it, I’m fucknuts. I was watching Looney Toons with my kids earlier, and we watched Rabbit Fire. That’s the one where Daffy and Bugs go back and forth with the “rabbit season” “duck season” bit. It’s hilarious, and I’m reminded of the time during an improv group when I basically did that scene by myself. There was one guy who ended up playing Elmer Fudd, and my spastic self played both Daffy and Bugs. He was a bit shy, and didn’t seem to know what the fuck to make of me. I think I scared him a little, but the end result is it was fucking hilarious. I was awesome.


I remember the guy who did that. The guy I was back then. 17 years of bad marriage will fuck you up, and that guy is gone now, and I can’t get him back. I know, I would be a different person now even if I hadn’t married the batshit crazy church lady, but I think there would be more of that guy left.

I’ve thoroughly trashed three relationships since the end of my marriage. Well, in fairness to myself I had a little help trashing them, but still… I can’t seem to pull off a successful relationship. Maybe I’m not dating the right people, but I was absolutely sure the last one was right. I’m still having trouble reconciling it a month later. I should be past it by now, one would think. But I have a fuckload of baggage, and I think I didn’t realize just how much until yesterday.

The therapist seemed to catch on immediately just how much the cult fucked me up. This is something that I don’t think anybody else ever has understood about me. These people did more damage in the couple of years they had me than my wife did in 17. I’m still dealing with it in many ways. On the other hand, had it not been for the cult I might have never examined my own belief systems, and realized that the whole thing is bullshit. I suppose I should thank them for that. But fuck if I will.

Most people seem to blow the whole cult experience off as trivial, except for one or two other people I know who went through the same thing. It’s not like we talk about it though. Former cult members don’t have conventions. We don’t chat on facebook about it. “Hey, remember that time that the one kid crashed his car because he was so tired from sleep deprivation and almost died? Yeah, good times!” There are exactly 0 people that I’ve been able to talk to about this over the last decade. My ex didn’t go through the exit conversion the same way I did. In fact, I’m not sure she ever went through it at all. She’s been looking for a replacement for the cult for the last decade, and I’m pretty sure she finally found one.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is I think this is going to be good for me in the long term. I may not be able to save my last relationship, but maybe I can make the next one not crash so badly. I’ve already realized about myself that my dating experience pretty much consists of my teenage years, a couple of years in my 20s, and the last year. I haven’t had a lot of time to figure this shit out. My marriage was pretty much fucking awful for most of it, so I don’t have a lot of experience in how a good relationship works. I do know that I really wanted the last one to. But first I have to straighten out some shit in my head.

I may not be that guy from 20 years ago anymore, but maybe I can be someone else just as good.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Atheism+: What the F*** is it???

During one of my frequent twitter rants that I’ve come to be known for, I ran across a tag that kept coming up in the tweets of others that I follow: AtheismPlus. I was intrigued. I started asking around, doing searches, and eventually ran across a blog post by Richard Carrier with seems to have started the whole movement. I believe it was this one: Feel free to read it for yourself. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

Did you read it? It’s ok, I’ll wait, I don’t mind, you should go read it first. It’s not the last blog post link I’m going to send you to. Go ahead.

Ok, I’ll take your word for it. So my take on it was: Hm, sounds like they’re taking Humanism and rebranding it as AtheismPlus. But there’s more to it than that. The whole idea seems to be about taking these people and saying we don’t want these other people so we’re going to have a new movement that’s just the people who believe what we like.

Don’t get me wrong, the beliefs they espouse are good ones, and I could easily join the AtheismPlus movement without cognitive dissonance. Richard Carrier is also a writer and speaker that I greatly respect. I saw him at Skepticon IV last year, and really liked his talks. But what bothered me is this: this is exactly what happened to religion. I don’t mean Hindus vs. Muslims vs. Christians vs. Mormons, but Lutherans vs. Baptists vs. Methodists vs. [about 600 other denominations here]. I don’t think this is going to work out the way they want it to. If the atheist movement goes down this path of splintering into smaller and smaller groups, the atheist movement as we know it will falter and die. We are more effective now than we have ever been because we are united, and the religious can no longer ignore us. If we become a bunch of small denominations of atheism, they can ignore us again.

Not to mention the fact that when you add a belief system to atheism, you take one of the more ridiculous arguments of the theists, that atheism is just another religion, and make it suddenly true. I kinda have a problem with that. Humanism starts out with the precept that it’s a belief system, and atheism is one of the ideas that it is based on, but it doesn’t try to rebrand atheism. It’s something else entirely. I consider myself to be a humanist, even though I’m not very involved with them.

So, basically I said all this shit, and a shitstorm came back at me. One side coopted me as an ally, another side told me I just didn’t get it. I managed to avoid some of the hatefulness that seems to be going around out there, but it still freaked me the fuck out.

Many well known personas whom I normally respect in the atheism movement seem to be into this and promoting it. A handful of others seem to be opposing it. Apparently I’m supposed to hate Thunderf00t now. Fuck that.

A brilliant, well thought out blog post by someone I consider a twitter friend is here on the subject:

You didn’t read that, go back and read it now. It’s one of the best posts on the topic I’ve seen yet, and largely sums up how I feel as well. I’ll wait.

I was a little freaked out by all of this, and I don’t like where it’s going, but it seems to be happening all the same. So here’s my final say on the matter. Please don’t come to me with any more AtheismPlus crap after this.

I quit.

I want out of the atheism movement all together. I am not going to pick “sides”. I am not going to pick a denomination of atheism. That’s bullshit. I was on my own before I found the atheism movement, and I can be on my own again. Atheism was already rather disorganized before this and now I apparently have to pick a new denomination. Fuck no. I’m the Cowboy. That’s what I am, and that’s all I need to be. I’m an atheist, I’m a liberal (well, not exactly but just roll with me here a minute), I’m a musician, I’m a lover, I’m a writer, I’m a geek. I’ll watch you guys from a distance and see where things go before I decide if I want back in.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Today I pushed my boundaries.

Every few years or so I seem to go through some kind of change. The best way to describe it is that the answer to the question “Who am I?” changes. I couldn’t tell you what they all are, but I remember a few. A significant one was the one that led me to leave the cult. Another one happened a mere year later when I finally shed Christianity. Yet another happened in May of 2007. That’s the year this blog was created. Another in June of 2008 while I was in Minnesota. The most recent one was November of 2010. I filed for divorce the next month.

Now we come to August 2012. I’ve had a small handful of relationships since being kicked out of my house, ending with the most recent one. I gave her my heart. I couldn’t tell you exactly why I did. Phrases that I put no merit in like “soul mate” and “meant to be” come to mind, but the fact of the matter is I think she and I were a good match. Possible the best match I’ve ever had. We just… clicked. If I could describe my dream woman, a completely made up woman who embodies all of the traits I find attractive, she damn near hits them all.

Then it all went to shit.

Whaaa? Trouble in paradise? How can it be? You two were meant for each other!

No we weren’t. To quote Tim Minchin “If I didn’t have you I’d probably have somebody else.” Relationships start with physical attraction amplified by pheromones and from that point on they take an assload of work. I think that last part is where we ran in to trouble.

So I find myself suddenly single, emotionally hurt, and a bit bewildered. It’s moments like this when you do your best thinking.

I realized that I’m not ready for relationships yet. I got out of a nearly two decade long marriage a year and a half ago. It officially ended less than two months ago. I’ve been dealing with nearly constant insanity from my ex and the court system of the great state of Kansas for what seems like a bajillion years now, while helping my children deprogram themselves and realize that crazy extremist fundamentalist Christianity isn’t the only choice they can make, and trying to reinvent my entire life all at the same time.

It might not have been the best time to decide to invest a lot of time and energy into a relationship.

So the past several days have involved a significant reexamination of my life. I came to a few realizations.

  • Being single fucking rocks, even at 41.
  • Casual dating with no commitment is ok.
  • Friends with benefits doesn’t work. It just doesn’t.
  • I don’t know who the fuck I am.

Oh I know, I exude mucho confidence here and all aspire to even be a shadow of my cool, but the truth is, I haven’t had much time to figure out who I am after the last change. But I do know this: I feel dead inside.

Every day I get up, go to work, and spend the better part of my day in a felt covered box dealing with somebody else’s problems. At the end of that, I might get a little time to myself, or I might have my kids. There’s not much time left for me at the end of that and what little I had I was giving away. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

So today I got up, put on my hiking shoes, went to a local park, and got myself lost. Really lost. This is a big park, and practically nobody else was there. I’m woefully out of shape and I had one bottle of water.

The point was, I was not guaranteed of making it back alive. Sure, the odds were in my favor, but there’s that chance that I might not. That was the key. I pushed myself past my endurance point and found out I had more, so I kept going. I finally reached the end of my endurance again, and found out I had yet more, so I kept going.

By the time I found my way back to where my car was a few hours later, I was drenched with sweat (it’s over 100 degrees here with Kansas humidity), exhausted, thirsty, and a smidge on the loopy side. My legs were so worn out I could barely walk. A few hours may not sound like much to some of you, but I went from completely sedentary to hiking maniac pretty much today. I had no endurance level, and I pushed the fuck out of it anyway.


I mean it did and it didn't, but pushing myself  so far past what I thought I could do gave me a feeling of being truly alive. I found myself laughing and the smallest things and just enjoying being alive.

Later I grabbed an old friend (“old” being a relative term since she’s 10 years younger than me and I’ve known her less than a year) and went back out at night to see the universe. It was awesome. It gave me a feeling of being connected with the universe. It’s awesome when you can look up at the sky, see a lot of stars (even in Kansas City they’re hard to see without getting out of town), and know not only what they actually are, but that your perception of them is really looking backwards in time to several different points time simultaneously. One may be 100 years ago, another only 4, another 6 billion. And every atom that makes up my body, every atom that makes up yours, every atom that makes up every thing on earth that we see was forged in a star like that. Not only that, but the star it was forged in died. It died so that I could be here. And it died over 4.5 billion years ago.


I’m still kind of figuring out where this is going, but I think this could be the most interesting change yet.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Web anonymity is a relative concept

As I’m going though the obligatory post-WTF-Just-happened breakup retrospective, It occurred to me that the Dr. Cowboy persona has a few too many tracks back to me. It’s just a little too intertwined with my real identity. When your girlfriend who just dumped you has a close family member who works for a rather high profile web company which happens to know a lot of information about, well, pretty much everybody, you realize that it’s possible that may have been a factor.

Soooo…. I’ve made a few changes to put a little more separation between the Dr. Cowboy persona and my real life. They need to remain separate for various reasons, not the least of which is I bitch a lot about my life here, and it’s not necessarily a good idea for those close to me to know about it. Anonymity is a good thing. It protects my professional career from my private ranting, and protects those close to me from being hurt. Well, except for the handful of people who know me in real life who also know about this blog. That can’t be helped.

At any rate, the number of touch points between my personal/professional life and the Dr. Cowboy persona has been significantly reduced. It’s still possible to track me down, but it’s a lot harder now. There’s a few side effects to that. The most notable being that past posts are still tied to a blogger profile that I’ve shut down as much as possible. Future posts will occur under this profile, but it’s still me. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Well, I effed *that* up.

Sooo… Cowboy is free again. Come get some sugar, ladies!
Apparently standing up for myself (something I’m not very good at to begin with) was the wrong thing to do in this situation. On the other hand, if standing up for myself and setting ground rules was a problem for her, I think she probably wasn’t for me after all. So, moving on…