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Stranger in a Strange Land?

If you looked at the avatar and byline on this post, right now you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s going on here? Who the hell is this?”.

Well, before you stiffen your sinews and summon up your blood, let me introduce myself.

Hi. My name is Sam. I live in Texas.

Now, normally that’s all I would offer in the way of introduction. Telling my name and where I live is a big step for a private person like me. I mean, I usually only open up to my closest friends, and anyone with a computer and Internet access. But since I have a strong desire — actually it’s more of a need — to endear myself to you, I’ll be a sport and let you deeper into my world than you ever cared to go.

So let’s see . . . umm . . .

Well, I’m a Taurus. I enjoy candlelight dinners, warm little puppies, and long walks on the beach. I’m 6′ 1″ and about 185 pounds. I have an interior of rich Corinthian leather, and I can go from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds.

I’m not into needlepoint or scrapbooking, but I would create both a scrapbook about needlepoint and a needlepoint featuring a scrapbook, just to be ironic and kitschy — or “irontschy”, to coin a phrase.

I’m not married and I don’t have any children, though I’m seriously thinking about having some, because I’m getting tired of taking out the trash and mowing the lawn.

I practice critical thinking and healthy skepticism for the aspects of life that are important to me, and I’m ticklish, but I won’t say where.

Oh, and I’m a dude and I’m going to be a regular contributor here.

Anyway . . . .Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s move on to more important matters, like what a man is doing posting here, and what you can expect from me.

As you all know, the line between fantasy and reality can be manipulated depending on the emotional and/or physical needs of the observer. You vigilant skeptics see this dynamic at play all the time, and no doubt read about it here in these blog pages. Whether it be the grieving mother allowing that line to be blurred for one last contact with a dead child via a psychic medium, or a devout shaman in the bush believing that because he extinguishes a fire the moment the rooster crows he’s responsible for bringing back the sun every morning, the line is tenuous for all of us, and it’s always ripe for the blurring.

We humans, given our current emotional circuitry, seem hardwired to view that line through the same lens filter they use for Barbara Walters these days.

Well, I don’t mind telling you that I myself allowed that line between fantasy and reality to become blurred when Rebecca asked me to be the sole male contributor to this site.

You see, I all but erased the line completely and saw only the fantasy, which in this case plays out as follows:

I’m the only dude surrounded by beautiful women. (So far so good, right?) We lounge around all day at the Skepchick headquarters (which in my mind, resembles a delightfully gauche day spa with an open bar, or perhaps the Playboy mansion, also with an open bar) in various states of undress, feeding each other fruits and cheeses, drinking wine, and eating vitamin E like it’s Pez.

Sure, there is an abundance of intellectual discourse in this fantasy. I mean, we’re talking about the Skepchick girls for chrissake. But remember, this is a male’s fantasy, and by law, it must maintain a mostly bawdy vibe.

And so we lounge, and drink, and disrobe, and eat strawberries, and drink, and mingle, and tingle, and then through rapturous sexual inspiration, we spew profound thoughts into the air that are then magically captured and laid down on the Internet as the blog entries that make up Memoirs of a Skepchick.

That’s the picture my mind created when Rebecca asked me to be a writer here, and I didn’t really consider that I had allowed the line between that picture and the way things really are to be erased.

But the mind can be a playful little scoundrel, as I found out when I discovered that the reality in this scenario is quite different. You see, the reality goes more like this:

Where I am indeed the only dude surrounded by beautiful women, there is no lounging around whatsoever. The Skepchick headquarters consists solely of the desks and computers of the contributing writers. There’s no open bar anywhere, and though I’m pretty sure they straightened up a little bit before I got here, I suspect there were panty hose hanging over the shower curtain rod in the bathroom and razors clogged with dark leg and underarm hairs on the side of the tub, not to mention nothing but yogurt and cheap vodka in the break room refrigerator.

So I’ve had to come to terms with reality being somewhat different than what I’d hoped for.

But in this case, I’m not discouraged. In fact, my overactive imagination notwithstanding, I’m extremely pleased Rebecca asked me to be on the roster. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to be part of a great group of people, and a unique chance to write about reality and how my mind processes it. I’m extremely grateful to get to show my chops.

So, what will I bring to the table exactly?

Well, I’ve been a professional writer for over 20 years, having delved successfully into the newspaper and magazine games, as well as into creative writing, and most recently into the technical arena.

I think the scientific method is the single most important and useful tool ever conceived. I revel in and am often in terror of my mortality. I try to learn something new every day, and I am in awe of the universe.

Oh, and did I mention I’m a dude?

Well, those last few sentiments, and the fact that I’m a man, are what I hope will influence my contributions here. I hope to be insightful, profound, and entertaining. I hope to convey to you the things I learn and the things that fascinate me in my own skewed, peculiar way. I’ll certainly do my best to do just that.

But as happens any other time I’m surrounded by women, there’s a very good chance I’ll just end up apologizing a lot. So be forewarned.

The good news is, the women here are all great people. I just hope they don’t mind me scratching myself and walking around in just my underwear.

And I hope the rest of you don’t mind either, because I’m going to be posting here every chance I get.

At any rate, it’s great to be aboard!

Let’s rock!

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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24 Comments

  1. Being from Texas as well I look forward to your commentaries. God knows we could use a healthy dose of skepticism around here. And by healthy dose, I'm looking for a medicine with a graduated plastic cap the size of a Dyson sphere.

    At any rate, welcome.

  2. Hi Sam! I can tell its going to be great being on the team with you!

    In case you're wondering, I'm the one who is going to draw all the Skepchick contributors in all their skeptical glory.

  3. Hey, Phil, as you obviously remember, that's not a plate of nachos at Peppermill. That's a Mountain o' Nachos!

    The thing was huge. When the waitress slid it onto the table it blocked out the sun, like an eclipse. A salt shaker got trapped in its gravitational pull and went into orbit around it. Are you kidding me? I had to hire a Sherpa to get me some of the guacamole that was on top.

  4. Welcom Sam!

    Even if I was opposed, which I'm not, my sinews are in NO shape for a fight right now.

    (I'lll bet even that drunk on the corner, who I've whipped twice, can whip me these days, getting OLD you know, but I haven't given up, yet).

    Be all that as it may…

    Good to see you man!

    rod

  5. Thanks Rodney!

    Yeah, I channel Bill Shakespeare at random times on occasion, but they're just words. I couldn't follow through with it either. In fact, I'm probably that drunk on the corner you've whipped twice.

  6. Welcome!

    LOL I was about to tell Rebecca we needed a roll call link somewhere when I scrolled up to see the "Who's Who on Skepchick" link. I hope that is new and it isn't just that I am unobservant.

    And wordy is good. Without your post to read I would have had to start working by now.

  7. Welcome Sam. I too seem to avoid much work hanging with the Skepchicks, but being a relative newby I'm finding it to be a really pleasant place to hang out and chat. I have no objections to a resident skepdude, especially one who seems at first glance to be witty and entertaining.

  8. Sacrilege! I'm boycotting the site until such time as… as… well, you know. Until you guys actually install a spa with an open bar. Or until Sam puts some bloody pants on, whichever comes first.

  9. Hooray for more skeptical Texans! As your acquaintance said, we need more of em. I'm from the Dallas area, currently doing grad work in Miami. Most days, I'd kill for some good TexMex. Being newer than you are to this site, it's weird for me to welcome you, so I'll just say that I'm looking forward to reading your articles.

  10. Sam, while it's great to have you on board, you don't get to take part in the skepchick pillowfight… so put your pants back on!

    And being the devoted skepchick that I am, I have some debunking to do here…

    1. I’m not married and I don’t have any children, though I’m seriously thinking about having some, because I’m getting tired of taking out the trash and mowing the lawn.

    My husband thought the same thing… now he takes the garbage out for 3. (and picks up after the two dogs.)

    2. There’s no open bar anywhere

    With me around, the bar is always open!

    3. not to mention nothing but yogurt and cheap vodka in the break room refrigerator.

    We have more class than that… we have some pretty decent vodka in the fridge.

    Ball-scratching aside, I do have a feeling we're going to enjoy having you around.

  11. Thanks all for the warm welcomes, and Elyse for keeping the booze flowing. I think we are all going to enjoy blogging here.

    Well, gotta finish packing for TAM 5.5. I'm due to fly out early in the morning. Goodnight all, and I hope to post from Fla.

    See ya.

  12. [quote]Sure, there is an abundance of intellectual discourse in this fantasy. I mean, we’re talking about the Skepchick girls for chrissake. But remember, this is a male’s fantasy, and by law, it must maintain a mostly bawdy vibe.[/quote]

    Yeah, and THANKS FOR RUINING IT with your non-chickly presence. It's like finding a nude spread of Ernest Borgnine in the middle of the Playboy "Year In Review" issue.

  13. {devolve said,

    January 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    [quote]Sure, there is an abundance of intellectual discourse in this fantasy. I mean, we’re talking about the Skepchick girls for chrissake. But remember, this is a male’s fantasy, and by law, it must maintain a mostly bawdy vibe.[/quote]

    Yeah, and THANKS FOR RUINING IT with your non-chickly presence. It’s like finding a nude spread of Ernest Borgnine in the middle of the Playboy “Year In Review” issue}

    Well, I'm glad SOMEONE had the balls to point this out….

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