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Video Bible Stories Coming Soon

February 10, 2014 7 comments

by Noah Lugeons

A while back I decided to start putting the diatribe from each week’s episode on YouTube as a way of spreading our content around a bit.  And then I fell behind on it and then I got caught back up and then I fell behind again.  And then I fell really far behind.

I’m back it catch-up mode now, but we’re still 18 episodes away from up to date and despite getting 4 of them up over the weekend, I fear I might have inadvertently delayed things when I put the last video up.  Lucinda and I were chatting about potential YouTube videos and she was lobbying to put up the “Lucinda’s Bible Stories for Kids” segments.

As much as I liked the idea, I told her that if we were going to do that I’d want to do it with some artwork; a slideshow of story-book style drawings illustrating all the graphic horrors.  And at about the same time, somebody who saw one of the new diatribe videos on YouTube tweeted us suggesting that we put Lucinda’s Bible Stories up with storybook illustrations.  And that’s all the encouragement I needed.

So I went through the first Lucinda’s Bible Story (Lott’s Daughters; episode 20) and made some notes on what pictures we would need to make it happen.  To do what I want I’m looking at about 48 sketches, all of them relatively simple stuff, so nothing that should take longer than a week.  It might make it a bit tougher to get up to speed on all the diatribes, but I’m willing to bet it’ll be worth it.

As I was talking Lucinda through my concept, I drew a couple of samples to give her an idea the style of artwork I had in mind:

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What you’re seeing here is, left to right, god, Lott with his two daughters and a hamster peeking out of someone’s ass.  Why is there a picture of a hamster sticking out of someone’s ass?  Well, that’s just one of the many reasons you should be looking forward to the finished project.

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Overly Prepared

July 26, 2013 11 comments

by Noah Lugeons

(Warning: The following post has nothing to do with anything. It’s sort of a rambling bit of personal reflection loosely disguised as news about the show. )

I have this habit of over-preparing.  Now, I know that sounds like a blatant ego stroke so I feel like I need to qualify it a bit.  Let me give you a recent example.

Shortly after we started the podcast I got an unexpected and very welcome compliment from the host of a podcast I really enjoy.  Cecil from Cognitive Dissonance dropped me a line just to tell me that he really enjoyed the show.  He offered a few words of encouragement and closed the email with a preliminary invitation to guest on his program.  I believe his exact words were, “When you’ve got a few more episodes under your belt we’d love to have you on to talk about the show.”

I’ve been a fan of his show for quite a while and I suppose it’s fair to say that he and his co-host Tom were a big part of the inspiration that got Heath and I started with this whole project.  So needless to say, I was quite excited and flattered by the thought of appearing on their show.

A couple months went by and last week Cecil emailed me again to set up a date we could get together for a Skype interview.  We locked down the date about 6 days in advance.  So I had 6 days to over-prepare.

Now, with that long preamble, allow me to elaborate on what I mean by “over-prepare”.  Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of all the things I did to prep for guesting on their show:

  • I re-listened to their last 6 shows so that I’d be sure to be on point if I needed to refer back to a statement one of them recently made.
  • I went back into  their archives and grabbed 8 different episodes where they interviewed podcasters with the hopes of learning some of the common questions they ask.
  • I wrote out answers to the dozen or so questions I anticipated and practiced them a few times until they sounded natural.
  • I talked my wife and Heath into doing “practice interviews” so that I could work on transitioning from one topic to another, improvising for curve balls, keeping my answers non-rambling and concise, etc.
  • I wrote a 6 stanza poem that incorporated 5 inside jokes about their show.
  • I tested a new set up on my audio rig that would allow me to record my end of the audio without degrading the audio I was transmitting (using 2 mixers, 2 mics and an H4N Digital recorder if you’re interested in that kind of thing).
  • I made two pages of hand written notes, including notes on a news story they wanted to cover with me.
  • I read said news article and found 3 ancillary articles on the same subject in case anything not covered in the original came up.

This is, of course, in addition to running the interview through in my head two or three times a day for the six days leading up to it.

Now, I should clarify something here.  As flattered as I was by the invite, this wasn’t an atypical prep-schedule for me.  I did as much prep work when I appeared on Thank God I’m Atheist and Post Rapture Looting.  I over prepare like this when we record each episode.  I over prepare like this when I conduct an interview for the show.  I over prepare like this when I go hiking or camping or to the 7-11.  It’s the kind of person that I am.

And what’s more, I recognize that most of it is useless.  Of the 12 questions I had prepared answers for, they only asked one of them and I didn’t give them the answer I’d prepared.

In truth, I already knew that Cecil and Tom were damn good interviewers and even if I was woefully under prepared, I’m sure they’d have kept things interesting and funny.  I knew that they’d do all the heavy lifting and make it as easy on me as possible.  And still I drove myself (and my poor wife) crazy for a week with an insane determination to be the most prepared guest in the history of their show.

I suppose much of it comes from just being a control freak.  When I record our show, I’m the editor.  I know that if I don’t like the way a joke sounded or if I say “um” one too many times I’ll be able to cut that out.  I know that if I listen back over it and don’t like the way I worded something, I can re-record it.  If I make a mistake, I can fix it.

Ultimately, my preparation marathon probably made no difference at all on the quality of the interview.  I suppose that most of it could be considered an elaborate nervous tick.   But it fooled my brain into thinking it was in control long enough to convince it to do the interview, and I suppose that’s all that really matters.

Categories: Random

Looking to Heaven for the Answers

June 14, 2013 1 comment

by Noah Lugeons

The other night I was standing on my back porch and glancing up at the thumbnail moon.  New York City is likely the worst place in the world to live for an astronomy buff, but on a clear night we still get eight or nine visible stars.  I glanced from the moon to one of them and I found myself in a familiar reverie.

I don’t know what star I was looking at or how far away it was, and odds are that if it was bright enough to see through the New York light pollution it was way too big to harbor intelligent life, but I found myself imagining it anyway.  Perhaps there was a tiny ball of rock floating around that distant star that had at least the first dustings of unicellular organism.  Perhaps spinning around that celestial furnace was the answer to whether or not we are alone in the universe.

And of course, perhaps there was more.  Perhaps this star was home to some intelligent species; one that might have grown elsewhere and now colonized a small patch of atmosphere somewhere around the point of light I was glancing up at.  In fact, it’s possible that on their way to my eyes, those exact photons had passed right by some being with an intellect I cannot fathom.

Floating around that star or some other there might be a species that has figured out the cure for illness, the secrets of interstellar travel, the antidote to war.  Perhaps when our ancestors lifted their eyes to the Milky Way and hoped for knowledge,  the knowledge was actually up there to be found.

Theist or atheist, we all look to heaven for the answers.  Science has a better track record of actually finding them so I’ll bet on them.  But I often think of these reflections when religious people claim that science robs you of your sense of wonderment.  When I look to the heavens, I’m in no less awe than they.

A Raffle to Help the National Atheist Party

by Noah Lugeons

Got an email last night from an author I admire quite a bit. Darrel Ray, author of The God Virus and more recently of Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality dropped me a line to let me know he was digging the first few episodes of the podcast. I was understandably flattered, as I’ve been a fan of his work since a friend gifted my a copy of The God Virus back in 2010.  I haven’t caught up with his latest, but from what I understand it’s something like Letters to a Christian Nation meets 50 Shades of Grey (that’s not really what it is at all, by the way).

Anyway, I’m not just writing this blog to brag that Darrel Ray listens to the show. That’s just an ancillary benefit. The real reason I’m sharing this with you is to share something he shared with me, in hopes that I can spur you to action. The National Atheist Party has been doing some spectacular cat-herding of late and like many noble efforts in the atheist community, they need all the help they can get.

If you’d like to do a little something for the community and possibly get a little something back for yourself, I encourage you to check out this raffle. The winner will get an autographed first edition copy of Darrel Ray’s new book and everyone else will get the satisfaction that comes with helping swing the political system in the US away from the theocratic precipice it’s balancing on. And I should note that this goal is every bit as important to my international readers as it is to those in the good ol’ US of A.

And if you’d like to learn more about the NAP before you go donating money to them, you can find all the details here.

Contenders for the Next Stupid Fucking Pope

March 3, 2013 1 comment

by Noah Lugeons

One of the many bonuses of writing this blog is that the analytics that WordPress provides shows me what types of things people are searching for to wind up here.  It’s obviously designed to help bloggers track what topics people are searching most, but it also provides an occasional humorous aside when I drop in to check the number of views.

For example, often times people arrive here after googling terms that make it pretty clear that they’re big fans of this Jesus fellow.  I love the idea of somebody googling “reasons to love Jesus” and accidentally landing on the Scathing Atheist blog before turning back in repulsed horror.  I published a fictitious account of a conversation between God and his older brother Mikey and it constantly gets views that are clearly not from people looking for God parody.

I’ve had a few funny ones now and again, but I don’t think any of them matched up to my new favorite.  It came in yesterday.  Somebody apparently found this blog by googling “Contenders for the next stupid fucking pope”.

First of all, I’m amused that anybody just types shit like that into the google searchbar, but more than that, I’m flattered that google’s algorithms determined that our blog was the right place for such a person.  And now that I’ve titled a blog after it, I can guarantee that anyone who ever googles “Contenders for the next stupid fucking pope” will find us quickly.

Now, if you’re enjoying the podcast and the blog and wanted to give a little something back, this affords you a great opportunity to do exactly that. My birthday is coming up this Tuesday. I would consider it quite a gift if somebody was inspired to take the time to concoct the most fucked up possible google search that would still suggest the Scathing Atheist.

No need to send me your favorite or anything. Just think of something crazy to google and if Scathing Atheist comes up, click on it. I’ll see it on the analytics when I check in on Tuesday. And of course, if we get any contenders worth sharing, I’ll share them.