Friday, January 4, 2013

Conversations Before Sleeping

Often times when we go to bed, Neal and I will tell stories to each other before we fall asleep. After writing down our conversation from last night, I now believe this is why we end up staying up so late, and also why I have so many weird dreams. :)

Anna: "Now I'm going to tell you the story of Independence Day, based on a movie."
Neal (having just told a heartwarming story about a trumpet player in World War 2): "Ok... but why?"
Anna: "I feel we need more spaceships. So, Independence Day. Will Smith was there. And some aliens. and they were going to blow up the White House, so he had to go into space, and leave Sting's daughter behind. With whom he was in love. And Sting sang sad songs about it."
Neal: "Wait, who?"
Anna: "You know, Sting's daughter. Big lips, brown hair. In all the 90's movies. Liz, or Liv..."
Neal: "Liv Tyler? Steven Tyler's daughter?"
Anna: "Yeah! and Bruce Willis was there. And he died in space. And Steven Tyler sang sad songs about it."
Neal: "You just told me the plot of Armageddon."
Anna: "All those 90's movies are the same. Jackie Chan was probably there too. He and Will had some playful race related banter."
Neal: "No. No he wasn't. That would be Jackie Chan and Chris Rock. In some horrible movie I can't remember."
Anna: "Robo Cop? No, wait, that was Arnold Schwarzenegger."
Neal: "That's not at all true."
Anna: "Ok, so what happened in Independence Day?"
Neal: "The White House got blown up, and aliens landed, and Will Smith had to fight them."
Anna: "Oh! I know this! and the aliens got the flu and all died because their immune systems couldn't handle it!"
Anna: "Hey, where are you going? This bed isn't very big. It's not like you can go that far."
Neal (gives up): "That was War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. Nice Victorian sci-fi author shout out, though."
Anna: "And Sting could sing some songs about it."
Neal: "Why are you so obsessed with Sting?"
Anna: "I'm not, I just feel bad for mixing him up with Steven Tyler. And there is nothing wrong with Sting. He could sing, and wear his cool sunglasses and everything--"
Neal: "That's Bono."

A few minutes later...

Neal (starts singing): "I don't wanna clooose my eeeyyyees, I don't wanna faaalllll asleeep--was that the song you were thinking of?"
Neal & Anna sing: "Cause I'll miss you baaaaby, and I dooon't waaannnna miss a thiiiinnggg!"

A few more minutes later...

Neal (whispering in monotone): "I don't wanna close my eyes."
Anna: "What? Stop it. That's creepy."
Neal (whispering in monotone): "I don't wanna fall asleep."
Anna: "No! Don't do that!"
Neal (whispering in monotone): "Cause I'll miss you baby."
Anna: "Neal! No! STOP! I hate you.

A brief struggle ensues, Neal and Anna settle down to sleep.

Neal (whispering in monotone): "I don't want to miss a thing."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Pretty Shows

A while back, I posted about pretty movies, and thought I should follow up with my favorite visual TV shows. These are actually really good shows, but also totally watchable just for the pretty.

Pushing Daises:

Twin Peaks:

Frozen Planet:

Monday, October 15, 2012

In the Closet

In the past, I've often said something along the lines of "I know I recently posted about LGBT rights, but this is really important..." and followed it up with another post on LGBT. 
This is not a post where I do that. 
When people ask me why I write and speak and act so often about LGBT issues, I think about other movements in history. 

The civil rights movement, the women's movement. All the things our country (and others) went through to get us to a place where everyone can vote and marry and work. I think about living in those times and wonder, how could you not be outraged when you saw separate drinking fountains, or when your mother couldn't own her own house? 

Now, we can say, oh, those were dark days. I could never have been complicit in something as terrible as that. And yet... here we still are. Still with people who cannot marry or have children or visit loved ones or walk down the street. We are still involved in a movement. A human rights movement. And too often, it "just doesn't involve" us.

Years from now, when dedicated, hardworking people have sacrificed enough to the Gods of Morality, LGBT rights will be another thing we cannot believe had to happen. And when my grandchildren ask me about living though this time, I want to tell them that I did not stand by and watch it happen to other people. I want to say I stood up in outrage.

With that in mind, here is another LGBT post. One of many. 

Timothy Kurek is a white, straight, male, conservative christian living in the south. It doesn't get much worse than that. Except that Timothy spent a year living as a gay man because he grew so uneasy with the contradictions of his faith--loving everyone, yet hating gays. He kept his secret from everyone, even his conservative family and friends.

"It means that you are a lesser, a second-class citizen, and an anathema. It means that your life is relegated to a single word, and the details of that life don't matter. It means that your thoughts, experiences, loves, and struggles should be painted over because you aren't an equal."
--Kurek, on being called a faggot for the first time.

Kurek is not an author. He hasn't really made any money off of this. He did write a book, rife with the errors of self publication and not particularly good. Cross in the Closet is currently on sale for $5 on Amazon, and I suggest you buy it right now.

"Love your neighbor as yourself, the Bible says. How foolish I was to pick and choose only my fellow conservative Christians as neighbors."

Though the writing is poor, the idea of the book shines through with a clarity that makes even a hardened skeptic like myself love it. It is not a book about what it is like to be gay--Kurek isn't. It also isn't a book exposing the dark underbelly of christianity--Kurek is still conservative. Instead, it is an introspective journey of one man who is openly disgusted with gays trying to understand and love people who, in the end, are just like him.

"We don't need you to rescue us, we need you to rescue yourself."
--A gay friend, upon learning Kurek's secret.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Don't Even BLINK

I had this gray tank top with a little stain on it, so I decided to... distract the eye from it. I'm a nerdy girl at heart, and liked how the quote stood for the TARDIS from Doctor Who without being too obvious. It's vital to find other nerds with secret codes like this.

I made a little mock up of what I wanted on my computer with different fonts, and printed it out.

Then I cut out the words to make a template, and just used acrylic paint directly on the shirt. 
I've learned the hard way that acrylic paint never, ever comes out of clothes.

In about an hour, I made a basically new, ultra geeky shirt! I know you wish you were my friend so I would make you one too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On (not) Being A Feminist

One of my best friends moved home to Colorado this summer, and recently I’ve been unable to get one of our (epic, spanning years and states and relationships) conversations out of my head. This particular topic, feminism, comes up both casually and fiercely in our everyday lives.
We are both lucky to be surrounded by a group of liberal, passionate, and generally wonderful men, and the fact that they just sometimes just don't get it is a source of occasional frustration to us. Right now, I’m remembering something she said to me a few weeks ago:

“Anna, the thing is, they treat us as partners, as equals, and they treat every woman around them the same way. The reason they don't always understand the problem is because they've never been a part of it.

Isn't that kind of beautiful?

The reason for that lengthy introduction is that I feel like there has been a theme in the media and my life lately. People who are pro-gender-equality are also stating that they are not feminists.

Yes, there are the negative views of 'feminazis' and crazy outliers, but that holds true of any group with firm beliefs. People do not stop identifying as republicans or liberals or christians based on a fringe group of people who go too far.

I think one of the main reasons people don't identify as feminist may be because the word implies a certain, ahem, 'feminine' take on the issue, rather than a gender neutral one.

Quite frankly, not using a term because of the way it looks is not a valid reason for avoiding it. Lots of words look like something other than what they actually mean.

Of course, we all realize that at the moment, the gender-equality movement is mostly about females.
There are important male, transgender, and trans-identifying issues, but purely from a numbers standpoint, women are at the top of the list.

The thing is, our society is already prone to using gendered words. Some words we add a 'wo' to in order to make them feminine—postman, repairman, yeoman, snowman, woman. Some words only become gendered when we add a 'ess' to indicate femininity—master, mayor, god, actor, adulterer, heir, patron, hunter.

In some cases, we have adapted to changing the masculine to the more neutral 'person' (i.e. repairperson). Often we just go with the 'masculine' version of identifiers. We go to a party with “hosts” not “host and hostess.” We do not call Governor Martinez “Governess Martinez.”

And that's just English. Spanish, for example, assigns random genders for objects. Books—libros—are always masculine. Chairs—sillas--are always feminine. But men still sit in chairs, despite the feminine connotations of the name.

I think it is very important to challenge the way we use words, especially on an already gender challenged issue. But I think that unless you are challenging all gender assignment words, there is no value in avoiding the term feminism. The definition of an author is a person who composes a book, article, or other written work. The definition of a feminist is a person who supports equal rights for all, with an emphasis on gender.

If the above definition fits you, you are a feminist. You cannot say “I believe in equal rights for all genders, but am not a person who believes in equal rights for all genders.”

I am an author, host, patron, and feminist. Incidentally, I also identify as an Erickson, not Anna Female-Gendered-Person-Married-To-A-Male-Gendered-Person-Who-Is-Also-Not-A-Son-Of-Anyone-Named-Erick.

Sometimes words mean what they mean, not what they look like.

(All photo credits here)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ride, Sally Ride

"I like that we're both on a space kick," Neal calls from the kitchen. He's been reading me excerpts from A Pale Blue Dot in bed at night, and we've been translating the pictures in the book into awesome tattoos for him.

Today, I'm reading him Sally Ride's obituary and subsequent comments, shouting them out from the living room while he cooks dinner.

Dr. Ride was the first U.S. woman to go into space, and the youngest person to go into space. Later, she founded a company to encourage women and girls to become interested in science, including writing several children's books on the subject. To top it all off, she came out as a lesbian in her obituary, because she couldn't let death stop her from braving new frontiers.

A few favorite quotes:

"The impact of Sally Ride and women like her cannot be overestimated," said Amy Mainzer, an astrophysicist who is a principal scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La CaƱada-Flintridge. "She was an 'existence proof,'" Mainzer told The Times. "She proved that it was possible to work in space physics and as a space scientist and be female at the same time. What she did was prove that you could make it all the way to the top and accomplish amazing things in these fields — and still have a pair of ovaries."
--From the L.A. Times obituary

Sally Ride is survived by her mother, her sister, her partner of 27 years, more than 40 U.S. women who have followed her into space, and about a million girls who have been inspired and learned to love science because of her mission in space and her mission in education.
--From Feministe

Neal: "To a bitchin' lady."
Anna: "Fuck yeah."
--A toast from my house.

Thank you, Dr. Ride.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I remember where I was when Columbine happened. In Colorado, you don't have to say "the Columbine High School shootings" just "Columbine."

I was in junior high study hall. A teacher ran in and turned on the TV, and I had no idea what was going on. My mom worked as a teacher at Columbine Middle School in my hometown of Montrose, CO. I spent half an hour thinking it was her school that was under attack.

Thirteen years later, I spent a morning attached to Facebook, waiting for all my friends to check in after another shooting in Denver, where I live. Where so many of the people I know live.

"You drive by there every day." My husband says, hands warm on my shoulders.

"I knew you weren't there, but I needed to hear you speak." My mom says, voice high on the phone.

"We were supposed to go there, but they sold out." My best friend says, looking straight ahead.

The thing is, Denver is awesome. Colorado is awesome. The people here are laid back and full of good ideas and compassion and love and creativity and fun.

It's been a rough year on Colorado. Raging wildfires, and now this shooting. More injuries are cataloged, the death toll rises. And yet, and yet... here we are. Making music, making beer. Biking to work, busing to school. Calling each other, donating time, donating money, donating blood. I look around at this colorful, weird, slightly crazy state, and I think we can do this.

  I think we can do this.