Monday, February 9, 2015

Birthday Cake

This was the cake Beth had made for my Birthday Annual Survival Recognition Day cake for my party Saturday night. In case you're unsure, that is a ninja riding a unicorn, and each of them is holding a lightsaber.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Today I turn 40 years old. Today is my 40th Annual Survival Recognition Day: my 40th revolution around our sun. I, like Solomon Grundy, was born on a Monday.

If I believed in luck, 3 would be my lucky number.

Tonight my fiancée and I will celebrate with cake and presents. My big party will be this Saturday. That's saying a lot, because I don't normally acknowledge or celebrate my birthday. I realized this year that I never celebrated my birthday because I never felt I deserved it. But 40 is a special time, and I have many reasons to celebrate.

To be honest, I have no idea what 40 is supposed to feel like or look like, but here I am this morning. Aside from the sinus infection I get every year around my birthday, I feel great. My life is filled with happiness and love, and it's been a long time coming.

I've said that I spent my 20s pretending to be someone I wasn't; I spent my 30s figuring out who I am; I'll spend my 40s seeking out who I should become.

I'm looking forward to my next decade of life.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Leelah Alcorn, May Your Death Not Be In Vain

"We don't support that, religiously," Alcorn's mother told CNN on Wednesday, her voice breaking. "But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy."

- Carla Alcorn, speaking about her daughter, Leelah Alcorn [x]

And that's why Leelah committed suicide.

I'm sorry our world is still full of people stuck in the dismal past of bigotry, closed-mindedness, dogmatism, and fear. May memories of you give us strength to keep fighting for what's right, Leelah.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A comment on #BlackLivesMatter, #Ferguson, et al.

I posted this comment on another person's blog. Thought I'd share it here...

My policy is as follows:

1. Be a skeptic. Don't believe everything you hear/read.
2. Nothing has only one cause, and there are always shades of grey.

That said, I am convinced that the system is broken. Racism still corrupts the machine. This isn't about any individual.

This isn't about any particular dead person or individual gun-wielding cop. There are plenty of good cops. There are genuine bad guys out there of every color. This is about a culture that is slanted against certain types of people.

There needs to be an overhaul, a reboot. Drastic changes need to be made. If I am to err, I prefer to err on the side of overreacting rather than the side of saying "calm down" while another person is killed unnecessarily.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Carl Sagan Day 2014

Today is Carl Sagan Day. Last night we held our 6th Annual Springfield, Illinois Guy Fawkes Night Celebration, also known as A Bonfire Celebration on the Pale Blue Dot, because we also take a moment to remember, remember, the 9th of November, Carl Sagan's birthday. Dr. Sagan would have been 80 years old today. And while we at the Carl Sagan Google Doodle Campaign have been trying to convince Google to create a Google Doodle in Sagan's honour for the 9th of November, today is also the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I posted the following to the CSGDC's Facebook page:

Carl Edward Sagan would have been 80 years old today, the 9th of November, 2014. While another Carl Sagan Day has passed with no Doodle remembering Sagan, perhaps Carl would have preferred this, considering that today's Google Doodle is actually a video in honor of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Sagan urged us to think globally; to see people beyond our self-imposed borders and dividing lines; to move beyond our ingrained prejudices and elitist attitudes. With that in mind, I wish you all a very happy Carl Sagan Day.

— Bud


"The choice is with us still, but the civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity. As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenure on this planet we've accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage — propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders — all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we've also acquired compassion for others, love for our children and desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence — the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity. Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits us. There are not yet any obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours always rush implacably, headlong, toward self-destruction. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. Travel is broadening."

— Carl Sagan

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Annual Bonfire Celebration on the Pale Blue Dot

In 2009 I hosted the first Springfield, Illinois Guy Fawkes Night Celebration. I've written something each year about each party I've hosted, which you can find using the Guy Fawkes tag. Last year we changed tradition a bit, and incorporated Carl Sagan Day into our observations and celebrations. Instead of celebrating on the 5th of November (Guy Fawkes Night), we now find a date somewhere between Guy Fawkes Night and Carl Sagan Day (the 9th of November), preferably a weekend, so more people can attend. This year's party - the 6th Annual Bonfire Celebration - will be this Saturday, November 8th. It's the perfect date, not just because it's in between our two recognized holidays, but because this is the one weekend in which my friend "the Brainsaw" and his family can attend. Brainsaw (not his given name, btw) has created our Guy Fawkes Effigy each year, but has only been able to attend once. This will be the very first time the rest of the Saw family will be able to attend, which makes it extra special.

My friends know how important this event is for me. It's one of the highlights of my year. You may wonder why it means so much to me. Why should an American care about Guy Fawkes night? What does Guy Fawkes have to do with Carl Sagan? I wrote an answer to that question last year, so I won't go into it here. I will talk briefly about why it means so much to me. I chose Guy Fawkes Night because it was something different for people in my part of the world to do. I chose to make it an annual celebration because it's my way of showing my appreciation for my friends. I don't really do birthdays or holidays for reasons that go beyond the scope of this blog entry, so the Bonfire Celebration is my way of celebrating the friendships I have. It means a lot to me when my friends make time to be there. The themes of the party mean a lot to me as well. How often do people get a chance to come together and get excited to hear a history lesson? How often do people get excited to learn a little bit about science? The Bonfire Celebration is that and more, because in the end we get to set something on fire... and who doesn't love that?

I will post pictures of the party at some point when I'm not so busy. Until then, see you around the Pale Blue Dot.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The 9th of October is #SaganGoogleDoodle Day!