AI: Muse me

Sorry this is late, peep holes, I just got Chelsea’s message:

Cover my AI today? Arrested at the mall. Some lady was telling a kid Santa’s real. Had to cut a bitch. Who handles Skepchick bail when Rebecca is in Australia?

Oh…. Chelsea… you’re such a hardcore skeptic. Attorneys are on their way.

2010 has been a pretty amazing year for me. I’ve done more than I ever imagined… from making more people to accidentally founding a nonprofit to running a 5k… no, running THREE 5ks in a week and a half only after climbing Willis Tower. I can safely look back on this year and be proud of what I did with it.

But I only was able to do this because of being a Skepchick. Interacting with these amazing ladies every day, you quickly realize you have a choice: do awesome or get the fuck out of the way. For my first two years here, I think I mostly stayed out of the way. But eventually, they forced me to get in the way… and cool shit happened. And I love them for helping me make things happen and inspiring me to do things I was otherwise afraid to do and pushing me… because I’m a lazy ass mofo.

Hug Me was my pipe dream passion project, and thanks to the skepchicks, it’s a real thing! It’s actually happening! We’re actually doing work to help people understand why vaccines are important. It’s kind of great, yeah?

Who inspires you? Do you have a passion project? Do you have a dream project that you need inspiration to launch?

All the Skepchick lovers in the house say HEY-O!

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. HEY-OH indeed!

    I would like to run for office some day but my lack of tact precludes it so I will settle for a blog that might make a difference one day.

    I’ll have to get right on that.

  2. I can’t attribute my inspiration to any one person – it’s like saying one single celloist is responsible for the orchestra.

    I work on 2 projects – DADT repeal and pet welfare. I’ve always wanted to be relevant, and I suggested to a GLBT social group that I’m in that they need a blog. Can you believe they didn’t have a blog! No one wanted to do it. I’m the kinda guy that doesn’t like to sit down and say “Yep, there’s a problem, alright. Someone needs to fix it.” I just kinda get up and fix it myself. So, I told Bryan that I would run the Dulles Triangles blog ( After that, I realized what I could do. I could relay messages. Tell other people what they need to do to get DADT repealed. Mondays are devoted to DADT repeal and Gay Marriage.

    I also work on animal welfare. As some people may know, I got a cat, and I guess Tang was inspiration for that. He’s such an awesome kitty, he made me realize that no cat deserves to be on the street. Since my condo will only allow me a max of 2 cats, I have Tang, and I foster one. I’ve done some soul-searching, and found I didn’t have one. But, if I did, it would tell me to disregard what Dakota’s Dream supplies me, and support the faster cat myself. Food and litter aren’t that much, and they should use those supplies on the cats kept in kennels, not on me.

    I know, these probably are the dictionary definition of slactivism, but, I feel I’m doing more for my community, both local and the GLBT community, than I was 6 months ago.

  3. HEY-O!

    I’ve only really gotten involved in the skeptical community in the last 6 months or so, and I am regularly inspired. It’s great to have groups both in person and online that challenge me to be a more critical thinker and advocate for sanity.

    All that said, I don’t have any great projects up my sleeve. ALTHOUGH! Does throwing a huge Rapture Party on May 21 count? I’m thinking about organizing one with/for Minneapolis skeptics and atheists. Because if our eyeballs are going to melt from our sockets, we should at least be properly snookered, no?

    If you didn’t know the Rapture’s time and date had been pinpointed, see this post on Friendly Atheist.

    Thanks, Skepchicks, for all you do!

  4. Right now I’m trying to stay as valuable as possible to my employer so I can stay employed. Taking on a dream project would be like taking on a second job. I just don’t have the energy for it. Some day I’ll retire and pull one of these projects off the shelf. Or maybe I’ll get laid off and have the courage not to seek a new job right away.

  5. Who inspires you? I’m rarely inspired by any one person for longer than a day or two; and typically it’s the idea someone has that sticks in my mind, not the person. People are so much more fickle and likely to disappoint than a good idea anyway.

    As for passion, projects and dreams I have lots of those. What I’m really looking for though is some passion for completing projects I’ve already started. Where the hell do you find that stuff?!?

    My current favorite passionate person however is the divine Ms Elyse. I really wish I could say Elyse’s running and fitness efforts have inspired me, but that would require regular as opposed to sporadic exercise on my part to be more than a BS statement.

  6. HEY-O!
    Inspiration! I’m inspired on a daily basis. Seriously. I’m lucky enough to be an artist living in one of the most art-tastic cities in the world and not a day goes by where I don’t see/hear something that gives me a new idea (not all of them are good mind you).
    I’m inspired by my brilliant wife, who is, for the first time in her life, attending college. It amazes me the way she doesn’t take any of it for granted, the way I did when I was young and silly. Whenever she sits down to work on a painting for class I think, ‘stop playing Angry Birds and make some art!’ And I do!
    I’m inspired by the wonderful Skepchicks and by lots of the commenters here. You all make me think much, much harder and more critically than I ever have.
    I’m inspired by all of the great science/art bloggers I’ve met since I started my own science and art blog: *coughplugcough* */coughplugcough*
    And since I’m feeling all warm and gooey, I’ll take this moment to thank all you Skepchicks and fellow commenters for making my entry into this thing called Skepticism so pleasant and welcoming. I really do feel at home here, even though Elyse makes fun of me because she thinks I’m Mexican.

  7. Elyse, you are an inspiration to me, and to skepticism. You kicked more ass this year then I thought was possible from one person. (And I slept in your house this year, so that puts you over the top. Sorry Australian and UK, Skeptics: until you house me for a night, Elyse will continue to beat you).

    Victory stories often get me motivated far more then losses. I don’t get the sense that losing ground to pseudo-science emboldens me to fight harder. I’ve been beaten a few times by pseudo science, and I’ve not yet learned to roll with the punches as much as I’d like to think I have. I need a Spartacus to stand up before I do. Then I’ll happily stand up next. Call me a coward, but it sucks getting your name bullied in the media (mainstream and otherwise), particularly when you play a role in the local community, where your reputation, even on something entirely unrelated, can make or break ones entire income.

    As one of the founding members of Skeptic North, my dream project has already been planted, and taken off (complete with mixed metaphors) better than I could have hoped. So I’m searching for something a) new in skepticism to dig into, or b) some way that I can work my profession (music teacher) into skepticism….it’s hard to be skeptical about music education, so I need something new. Or I could sack-up and keep doing what I do…..

    which is….?

  8. The Who? part is rather simple: Richard Dawkins.

    I first read his “Selfish Gene” in the 1980s, when my interests were mainly in a different section of the human endeavour from science and skepticism. And later on I kept reading books by him, or in some ways stuff that he had inspired me to read.
    Well, it’s a long story (see my “Why a skeptic and an atheist? Always one? What was there before?” if you are really curious).

    But before going to my pet project, I have to say that there has to be some kind of “community” (for lack of a better word) that pulls the threads together, and I feel that and all you people play that role to a great extent.

    Speaking for myself, as a man, I find here an arena where various aspects of the human quest for knowledge and happyness are handled a bit differently, with an emphasis on the women’s side of it all – I’ve never been the macho type, but still, especially growing up in Italy… – and that’s means being constantly compelled to reason more about the ins and outs of things. Also the way in which you constantly link to other stuff on the net, which at times tests me one way or the other.

    What I’d like to do is something I’ve been working on and off for years now, and I don’t think it’ll ever materialise: I’d like to make “evolutionary psychology” a real component of the intellectual atmosphere in Italy. Very hard, in fact next to impossible. You in North America and Britain might complain that there is all sort of B/S being spread around under that rubric, but here it’s worse, it’s ignored… But this again needs expanding.

    Finally, I want to say this:
    @Elyse: you have been lately so much of a powerful inspiration; thank you!

  9. Hey-O!!!

    I’ve been away, but I’m back. As for inspiring, I find so many people inspiring. Elyse, for one, also a bunch of independent designers and people who have struck out on their own and succeeded.

    I am an artist in a scientist’s body (or vice versa, whatever) and I am constantly swinging this way and that, wondering if I should pursue another degree or go out on my own and open the bakery of my dreams…

    It’s something I struggle with daily, and yet, here I am in my ever faithful lab, doing what I’ve done for the last 6 (or 20) years (depending on what algorithm you’re using).

    But I have Skepchick as a constant inspiration.

  10. The whole kickin anti-vax ass skepchick movement was really inspiring to me this year and became something I was really passionate about.

    My “passion projects” for the next year include my fashion school thesis (a female empowerment-break all the rules-big women/transgender women/lesbians/every colour of the rainbow women portrayed in no way as sex objects or animals or vulnerable or child-like fashion magazine)

    and starting a ryerson skeptics club (SKEPTICLUB!!) because FOR SOME REASON WE DON’T HAVE ONE. and hopefully an atheist club.

    and by the way you’re amazing!!! and AoA should feel very bad about being mean to you.

  11. I’m inspired by childhood curiosity, the stuff that is systematically beaten out of us through the way we teach science in the early years. How do we tap, foster, and possibly restore that magic?

    I want to expand my lab’s programs to reach more kids with the most kick-ass science fair projects. Check out and . Both of these are underutilized and I want to do more more more more more more.

    And I want all of my lovely lefty friends that deny the science of GMO utility and safety to come around to reality. You look like anti-climate teabaggers, ID proponicists and anti-vaxers.

  12. @kevinf: It is hard to tap the ‘magic’ in adults. I believe the magic stems from seeing how someone does something that is totally different from how we know of how to do something. This could mean a novel outcome or a novel method. Once we are ‘in’ on how the novel effects are achieved, it is just a part of our culture as cracking eggs on the little end.

    I guess what I am saying is that the magic inspires us to learn more. Knowing more, culturally speaking, makes things less magic. This is true until you’re old enough that you see magic everywhere – which I believe only comes through having loved much. /PSA

  13. My younger sister inspires the hell out of me, she’s part of the reason why I ran 2 marathons this year and why I will most likely continue in the future (got 2 planned for May, would like to do the MCM again, still fleshing out the last 2 of my planned 5 marathons for 2011).

    I always have project ideas in my head, from blogs to sites to film and art projects, I just don’t seem to get motivated enough to do them. I may try to change that shortly.

    The 21st of May? well that sucks, I may be in Montreal for Kinetik. That’s also a week before the Bayshore Marathon. The end of the world time is a week before Marine Corps Marathon, we can’t be having that now can we? :D

    Oh, and HEY-O and what not.

  14. @slxpluvs: Should have known that. As a computer programmer, we’re always (for very small values of “always”) talking about big-endians vs little-endians. I myself, having cut my teeth on PDP-11’s, am a confirmed little-endian, all others are infidels.

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