Meta StuffReligion and SpiritualityScienceSkepticism

Howdy, Y'all

Howdy. I’m Katherine, and I figure that I should introduce myself before truly posting anything. So, here goes…

One of the key things to know about me is that I’m a born-and-raised Houstonian, which means that saying, “Howdy!” is completely within my rights as a Texan. Of course, that’s not all that comes with the territory. It also means that I live smack-dab near two things: a whole jumble of NASA facilities and a big mess of churches. You see, growing up near the Johnson Space Center has obvious benefits, even if you’re not an aspiring astronaut. Because there are so many engineers in my area, schools tend to encourage students to focus more on science and math than districts in other areas might. It’s also given me a lot of cool opportunities that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere, like being able to talk with tons of experts in science-related fields. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet quite a few astronauts and, because my family knows some of them personally, I’ve been able to reap the benefits and see multiple shuttle launches in-person.

But, there are also tons of churches down here in Texas. I was raised sort-of Catholic as a result, going to Sunday school every week, but rarely mass. I wasn’t ever really Catholic, though; I just followed the flow of the crowd. So, even though I didn’t actually believe what the youth ministers and priests told me, I didn’t think that I had any other options than Catholicism. That was it, as far as I knew. But, unlike some people, I didn’t have an epiphany. There was no moment when I just went, “AHA!” and suddenly realized that I was an atheist or a skeptic. Again, I live near the Johnson Space Center, so everyone in my neighborhood tends to be up-to-date concerning NASA goings-on. I’ve never been a fan of watching the news–I get my news by reading blogs or official online news outlets–and it was inevitable that I should stumble across So, I suppose that if I had anything even remotely close to an epiphany, that moment was it.

But, I didn’t really officially state, “I am an atheist,” for awhile; people can be unaccepting. It took until Phil Plait was on Penn Jillette’s radio show talking with him, Michael Goudeau (the co-host), and Joe Rogan (well-known for hosting Fear Factor) about the moon landing. Something about Joe Rogan constantly and humbly admitting that he had “zero idea” about many aspects of the moon landing, but was standing up for the hoax theory anyway, was inspiring. Sure, he was wrong. Sure, Dr. Plait was dancing circles around him, in my opinion. But, at least he was able to publicly stand up and shout (loudly and repeatedly, I’d like to add) about what he believed. That was encouraging in a weird way, and that’s when I really became a skeptic.

But, I digress. Seeing as how I’ve basically spilled out a large chunk of my life story, I’ll wrap things up with a few key facts about me.

  • It’s kind of weird that I was listening to Jillette’s radio show, I suppose. But, it’s worth mentioning that Sabrina the Teenage Witch was one of my favorite shows when I was younger, and Penn & Teller popped up in a few of my favorite episodes. I’ve also got ties to Las Vegas and loved the Masked Magician when I was very young. (I am now a fan of actual magicians and recognize the lameness of the Masked Magician, but I was 5 or 7 when he came on TV. Nearly everything impresses kids at that age.)
  • I love Star Trek (Voyager is my favorite series, but The X-Files will always come first. I’ve seen every episode–yes, all 202 of them–and also loved the novels when I was little, too.
  • I am a huge fan of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie and have been since I saw Jeeves & Wooster.
  • I’m an Internet nerd, and probably have an account with every web service that you can name. I watch and listen to more podcasts than television or radio shows and am a tried-and-true web 2.0 geek.

Anyway, hopefully this gives you a vague idea as to what I’m actually like. I can’t wait to see what direction this blog goes in, and I’m very happy to be a part of it.

Also, I don’t usually like using emoticons in posts, but I feel like this is a special occasion.

Discuss! 😉

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  1. July 17, 2008 at 2:10 pm —

    Hooray! Welcome, Katherine, it’s great to have you on board. Seeing as you’re in Houston, I feel I should tell you to please stay far away from Skepchick’s Sam. He’s just not right.


  2. Joy Wang
    July 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm —

    Ooooh! More co-bloggers! W00t! (darn, I can’t get the elongated zeros to show up because of the font–they look like ‘o’s too much. Oh well. Before you ask, yes, I am a tad strange about fonts and numbers and stuff…) You live near the Johnson Space Center??? That’s totally AWESOME! I’ve been there once, Kennedy Space Center twice. Haven’t been there for a loooong time, though, so I’d really like to visit. And you get to see shuttle launches? Not fair! Not fair, I tell you! *sulks in corner, then returns to computer* After seeing the long list of sci-fi and computer stuff you do, I’m starting to feel, well…positively un-geeky. Look forward to more posts in the near future.

  3. July 17, 2008 at 2:54 pm —

    I’m another of those folks who didn’t have an “aha” moment, but rather a gradual realization that the supernatural stuff I’d been taught by churches was just bunk. Welcome to the Skepchick e-niverse.

  4. July 17, 2008 at 3:20 pm —

    Excellent! Always good to see more locals on the winning team. One of the rare few god things about going to school in the Houston area, as I recall, was that field-trips down to the Space Center were not an uncommon thing… Also, we have a sweet-awesome zoo, but that’s neither here nor there.

    I have a lot of science-types among my friends, but I’m the only one who got to stand on a stage at NASA and wear a space suit when I was ten or eleven… although Kelley gets to shrug and say “Yeah, well I’m a PhD researcher at NASA,” and make me feel like a chump.

  5. w_nightshade
    July 17, 2008 at 3:52 pm —

    Welcome, Katherine. I look forward to your first “proper” article!

    P.S. I am downloading the full run of A Bit of Fry and Laurie RIGHT NOW. How cool is that? Man alive, I love the internet.

  6. July 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm —

    @Rystefn Actually, I haven’t been to the Houston Zoo in ages. I’ve always seen zoos as a vacation activity for some reason, so I haven’t been to “our” zoo in ten years or so. Of course, now I kind-of want to go to the sweet-awesome zoo.

    @w_nightshade And I am in the middle of a QI marathon. Woo woo!

  7. July 17, 2008 at 7:09 pm —

    You should go. We’ve got African wild dogs now. They’re so cute…

  8. July 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm —

    Welcome to skepchick Katherine! My avatar sends his regards as well 🙂

  9. July 18, 2008 at 6:14 am —

    Welcome! 🙂 I’m also a huge fan of Hugh Laurie and the effulgent Stephen Fry (he hates that word, I believe…) — Amazon UK were selling the complete Jeeves and Wooster 8 Disc Boxset for £10 the other day! Result!

    Anyway, looking forward to your posts 😀

  10. July 18, 2008 at 12:29 pm —

    @Imrryr OH! OH! I love your avatar.

    @Chris Hyland The cheapest that I’ve seen it in the US is $60 online through Barnes & Noble. Yuck. And, as always, it’s impossible to buy at a brick-and-mortar store. So many Americans are ignorant of its fantastic, addictive qualities, so no stores ever carry it in their stocks. *sobs*

  11. oldmathteacher
    July 18, 2008 at 6:07 pm —

    I feel sorry for those people who only know Hugh Laurie from House. It takes repeated viewings of him as the kind-hearted but witless Bertie Wooster to put that performance into perspective. They are as far apart as human beings can be, but he plays them both so well.

    Let me also say, it is good to hear from young women interested in science and math. My profession is not difficult to discern from my user name. One of my great regrets as a math and science teacher up here in the corn belt is that I have not been able to figure out better ways to get women interested in science (or to admit to their interest). Despite my best efforts, the math club allows ends up being a sausage fest.

  12. July 18, 2008 at 8:10 pm —

    Hey now we’re cookin’. I was wondering how Rebecca was planning on generating content with two lonely contributors. How many will the site eventually have in total, do you suppose?

  13. Zambiglione
    July 19, 2008 at 12:59 am —

    First of all, you can always order Jeeves & Wooster through amazon UK, they ship to America and it’s not all that expensive. Making sure everyone has access to Hugh Laurie is obviously the most important thing I can do today.

    Second of all, holy crap, who knew there were so many skeptics in Houston, although living by the Lakewood Church it is inevitable that many should come to the conclusion that religion is silly (I mean come on, there are multiple Starbucks on the church premise).

    X-Files may have generated unparalleled amounts of woo, but it’s still totally awesome.

  14. July 19, 2008 at 1:33 am —

    @oldmathteacher I agree, both about Hugh Laurie and females in math and science. My current school doesn’t really have a math club, but my ex-high school had only a few guys. The same with my computer science class; I was the only girl in a class of 20 for half of the year.

    @Zamboro Not sure how many Rebecca’s planning on, actually. That’s her department. 🙂

    @Zambiglione I, of course, have a copy… which I left at a friend’s house. I really need to get that back… But, anyway, I luckily live nowhere near Lakewood. Nope! I live near Grace. Judge as you like.

  15. July 19, 2008 at 3:29 am —

    Yeah, I’m down on the other side of town from Lakewood. I’ve got the multimillion mega-church First Baptist instead. Those jerkos have so much money and power, they got the city to build them a couple of new roads when they built the new location.

  16. July 20, 2008 at 4:55 pm —

    Howdy to you too! Welcome. 🙂

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