Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Welcome to 2013

It's a new year now. Judging by the general trends on other blogs, I think that means I'm supposed to look back over 2012 in a reflective manner and make some goals for this year.

As a blog, I did pretty miserably last year. I've been dropping pretty heavily every year lately. Every year I tell myself that I'm going to write more, but the drive to do so has been pretty much gone. I've grown pretty burnt out on even my pet topics that were the foundation for this blog, which were Creationism and skepticism. It's not to say that I don't think Creationism is a worthwhile topic to discuss anymore. It's just that playing whack-a-mole with idiotic Creationist arguments gets old and causes migraines.

It's not to say I don't think skepticism isn't important either. If I did, I wouldn't attend Skepticon annually. But I've definitely hit a turning point with that too. A few weeks ago I got into a religion debate with a friend of a friend on facebook. He insisted that my arguments were irrelevant because I was talking about how people used to think about religion, but there were all these fancy pants new religious scholars that changed everything and if I'd only read a pile of books, I'd understand it.

In years past, I'd probably have done some research on each book and responded, but as he was making that argument, I had one of the strongest flashbacks I can remember in my life. I remembered an argument from way back sometime around 2006 in which I was still tearing Creationism apart left and right. On one particular occasion I had someone tell me that my arguments were invalid because some fancy pants new researchers had amazing new evidence for Creationism that was changing everything. I'm pretty sure they were trying to point me to the Institute for Creation research or some other such gibberish factory.

And here we are six years later now, and the ICR, AiG, the DI, and all the other Creationist "think tanks" (scare quotes obviously since there's very little actual thinking that goes on there) still haven't come up with a new argument. At best, they slap new names on things, but there's been nothing new.

Suddenly, engaged in the facebook debate, I realized that this was the same argument. I was supposed to buy into something because it was about to be big. And if you believe that, I'd like to sell you some serious stock in my patented wibblets because everyone's going to want one. I promise.

Or not. I've gotten tired of that type of debate tactic.

The Skeptic community tires me too, but for pretty much the exact opposite reason. Whereas debating idiots has turned into a dull monotony, the skeptic community has exploded in the past year or two and is going so many directions at once, I just don't have the energy to get excited by all the directions it's going.

To use another analogy from 2006, I went to San Diego Comic Con. There were so many things to do and the crowds so large, it simply became overwhelming. It was one of the first 5-10 I'd been to and I didn't know how to manage it. Instead of really enjoying the convention as I would do now given that I have a lot more convention experience under my belt, I just sat in the dealer's room for the bulk of the con.

That's about how I feel with the proliferation of topics the skeptic and secular community has been taking. I've grabbed my new pet topic, and I stay pretty up to date with that one, but while I recognize the others are important, I can't summon time time and energy to truly engage in them.

The topic that does occupy the vast majority of my time now is running Naka Kon. This year we're making some big changes, and due to some bumps we've hit along the way (such as a server crash without any sort of backup and several people having to step down for personal reasons without leaving any sort of plan or information for people stepping into the role), we've been doing a lot more work than should strictly be necessary. The majority of my past 3 days has been working on convention planning.

Overall, 2012 was a lighter year on the convention circuit for me. As I've attended more conventions, my expectations have continued to increase and many of the smaller ones lack sufficient programming I care about to earn my attendance any longer. I obviously attended Naka-Kon but also managed to get to Tokyo in Tulsa and Archon. But typically I also attend several of the small St. Louis anime conventions. This year, I missed all of them.

Looking ahead to 2013 conventions, I'm already lined up to attend Ohayocon in Columbus, OH in a few weeks. I'll be giving three talks there. I'll be at Naka again this year. I'm hoping to get to Dragon*Con (although I've been saying that every year for 5 years now), and I'm sure I'll be at Archon again this year.

As far as the rest of my topics for this blog, well, I probably will continue not to write much. It will probably continue to be the epitomes of Creationist inanity that will get posts.

I'll certainly be keeping adding to my list of all the ways our government... I'm sorry, one particular party has been trying to limit womens' freedom and then denying there's any sort of attack going on. So if that's a topic that you care about, perhaps check in on it here and there.

I keep seeing really cool astronomy articles, but aside from bookmarking them for later, deeper reading (which quite often doesn't happen), I have been bad about writing anything on them. Most often because I don't feel that I have anything to add. In particular, I think astrobites has done a really wonderful job of summarizing most of the best arXiv articles, which is where I quite often got things to talk about. Good on them.

So really, I don't think I'm going to make blogging more any sort of New Years resolution. I'm too reality stricken.

Instead, I think my resolutions will be to 1) do a better job of not letting my RSS feed get clogged up (I keep ignoring it for a week and come back to find hundreds of blog posts to read skim). 2) Argue with less idiots. Really. I don't need the migraines.

We'll see how this goes.

2 comments:

Planeten Paultje said...

Welcome in 2013 too, glad you could make it ;-)

Les Jenkins said...

Whatever you take the time to write I'll be sure to take the time to read. Happy New Year!