Friday, April 17, 2009

An autobiography

This being my first day posting and all, I figured that I'd write myself an introduction. For people who don't know me you'll get some idea of who I am, and where I come from. For people who do, maybe you'll learn something new.

Unlike many people I've met, both of my parents are incredibly caring, well-adjusted, and intelligent. I couldn't have asked for better. They have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and weren't afraid to rein me in when I got myself in trouble (often). I have to thank mom for teaching me to be passionate in what I do, dad for teaching me to be logical, and both of them for teaching me patience (those lessons are sticking with me more), self restraint, and giving me a firm foundation of moral instruction.

I have lived in many different cities, states, and in one other country. My father and mother both served in the USAF, with my father serving until retirement after 20 years service. My early childhood included frequent relocations.

I was born at Elmendorf AFB outside of Anchorage, Alaska but left when I was 2 years old. My first memories are from Lompoc, California, outside of Vandenburg AFB. At age 5, I moved to Kerpen, Germany, eventually living in several locations near Norvenich AFB. When my father moved to Sembach AFB when I was 8, I moved to a small German village named Worsbach, and attended school at Kaiserslautern AFB elementary for 4th grade, before moving to base housing and attending Sembach AFB Middle School for 5th.

Before my 11th Birthday, we relocated to Clovis, New Mexico, where my father eventually retired. This became my home until my graduation from High school.

While Clovis isn't the greatest place to live (for residents and ex-residents, you'll spot my gross under-exaggeration), I do have many happy memories of the place. In the Clovis School System's ELP program, I met many of the other nerdy and socially awkward kids my age, and formed friendships that carried me through the rough years in junior high and high school. Unfortunately, I've lost touch with many of these friends over the past few years, and these days, I only have regular contact with one, and erratic but cherished contact with another.

I graduated from High school early at age 16, and went to my first year of college in Lamoni, Iowa at Graceland University. To be blunt, I was an idiot. I followed my high school sweetheart to school, and got burned.

The following year, I moved to Issaquah, Washington (outside Seattle), and eventually began taking classes at Bellevue Community College. Once again, immaturity triumphed, and I dropped out, eventually moving back to Clovis. After a few years of working various jobs, I saved up enough money to move to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I stayed for 3 years and completed my bachelor's degree in biology. This prompted my current move to Dallas, where I am attending graduate school.

Obviously, lots of other things have happened during this time. I have worked many different jobs. I have been:

a student computer tech (twice)
a Starbucks barista
a UPS hub employee
a computer science tutor
a wrench monkey in windmill construction (GE 1.5 MW turbines)
a wrench monkey in windmill maintenance
a new and used car salesman
a student researcher
and a Clovis Firefighter/EMT

During that time, I also met my wife, to whom I've been married for over 4 1/2 happy years. She deserves a lot more than this small note, but nothing I could write here could explain the impact that she's had on my life.

EDIT:  Divorced September 2009.  A lot has happened since I originally wrote this post.  Currently in a relationship with Knitwit.

In other aspects of my life, I have a huge variety of interests. I've been a martial artist since I was 9 years old (Shotokan karate), and after moving to New Mexico I began studying Shorin Ryu karate. At the age of 14, after 4 years and countless bruises, I earned my kurobi (black belt). Self-defense and the righteous use of force are a topic that I plan to go into great detail on.

From the age of 18 onward, I've developed a love for shooting and firearms. I'll be writing a LOT about firearms, their use, and gun control. I am also very interested in bladesmithing, even though I barely rank as an amateur. Hopefully, I'll be buying a house with a shop soon, where I can further develop that hobby.

I'm an avid reader, though I haven't had much time for sci-fi or other pleasure reading lately. My favorite book of all time is Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein. His character Lazarus Long is definitely one of my all time heros.

My political views tend toward classical liberalism/libertarianism. I am a firm believer in individualism and individual rights. I am also a firm believer in individual duty and responsibility. As such, I am vehemently anti-socialist (in all its forms). I believe in minimal government interaction or interference on almost every level. However, I do strongly support a strong national defense. These are all topics that I plan to write about in great detail.

I am religiously agnostic. I say agnostic, because I can't disprove the existence of a god (in any form), but I suspect that modern religion exists because it grants a societal-level survival benefit to communities that are held together by the structure of common rules of behavior and moral training. I don't plan to write too much on the subject.

I do NOT believe in being politically correct.

I do not believe in moral relativism. This will form the bulk of a future post as well.

In the future, I plan to post many stories from my past and further explore my philosophies. Look for more content soon!


Who am I? And what the hell am I doing here?

My name is Eric Archer, and I'm currently a first year graduate student seeking my Ph.D. in Dallas, Texas. For now, I choose not to be anonymous.

So, first things first... what topics will I be covering here? In short, anything that comes to mind. That being said, I decided to start this blog because I have an itch to write about a few subjects in particular, so the majority of my posts will probably be in these areas. As a scientist and science fiction reader, I love to read about new discoveries from all areas in science. So, part of this blog will be dedicated to advancements in science and how they will make a difference in our lives. The one lesson that sticks out more than any other from my undergraduate research mentor was this:

If you want to call yourself a scientist, you should be able to explain science to your grandmother.

In that spirit, I hope that I'll be able to explain interesting discoveries/inventions without using too much of the "Ivory Tower" language that impedes learning.

The other subjects that pushed me to write (in private, and washing my hands afterwards) are current politics and dishonesty in the media. In the past week, I've written or replied to postings by two syndicated columnists because of their blatant failure to research their topics. While this type of response to the media may be nothing new to many people, for me, this feels like a tipping point. I'm tired and angry of reading articles by well paid journos who can't be bothered to fact check before misleading their audience.

I have no problem with anyone who reviews the facts and forms an opinion that differs from mine. I thoroughly enjoy the discussions and debate that can take place when this is the case. However, I have nothing but disdain for a journalist who shrivels under the responsibility of accurately reporting facts to their audience.

For an example, I'd like to link to an article written by's Dahlia Lithwick:

I posted a response to her piece, which can be found here:

For archiving purposes, I'll post my response here as well:

Mrs. Lithwick,

Please visit the following site.

Near the bottom of the page, you will find the following paragraph.

Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.

This exact stance could be seen on before the move Forgive me Mrs. Lithwick, but you have blatantly failed to do your research. This seems to be an unambiguous explanation of exactly what the Obama Administration's gun policies are, especially in relation to the Assault Weapons Ban.

Dianne Feinstein recently spoke on 60 minutes, and when prompted by Leslie Stahl saying "There's some sense that the president has so many crisis issues on his plate right now that the idea of bringing up guns - which is considered part of the Culture Wars - would be such a diversion", she responded by saying that she and her colleagues are merely biding their time until they can pick the time and place to pass more gun control.

Currently, many political factors contribute to a feeling among conservatives that gun control will coincide with over-reaching socialist economic policies and legislation in the "culture war". Many people are preparing for hard times in the future, hoping that they never come. Some nutjobs/extremists are likely preparing themselves for an all-out shooting war with the American federal government. However, this isn't any different from the norm. We've always had nutjobs and extremists on both sides of the political spectrum (ALF). The vast majority of the gun-owning public rightly looks down on these extremists as fools, and are merely concerned with protecting themselves and loved ones from harm.

It isn't my intention to change your mind. But please, become better informed. A site that may provoke your interest is below.

Thank you for your time,

Eric Archer

I don't know that she'll read it. I don't know that she'll care. But I do know that I feel better, knowing that I've at least made the effort to bring some more truth into the discussion.