It’s Friday as I write this, and I have the entire day off. A good thing, yes, since it gives me a three-day weekend. But it’s an even better thing for me since it’s been a major bummer of a week, thanks to taking my (supposedly) sweet little car into the shop not once but twice. The first, unplanned visit was because of a flat tire. On my drive into work on Monday, I had to dodge a little yet quite noticeable something that the construction site across from my place of employment did not sweep up. However, I heard a little “pop” in the back of my car. While I had dodged what I had to dodge, I wasn’t expecting something else in the road — a nail, which I didn’t realize I had run over until my work day ended and I came back to my car. The good news is that there was a tire place literally two doors down from my place of employment, and they were able to replace my tires and get me back on the road that night. (I say “tires” because they got me with the up-sell thing and replaced both of my rear tires, since they didn’t have a single tire in stock that matched the size of the good rear tire.)
Just a brief post to contemplate something important for me: This entire month of September has been and will be quite a busy one, both in my professional and familial matters. So it was only this week that I reflected on a very important step in my life: Fifteen years ago on Labor Day weekend, I made the big move from Green Bay to the Madison area. And 15 years ago this week, I joined my place of employment.
During this busy schedule of mine, and that of my supervisor who is based in another office away from Madison, we took the time to commemorate my 15-year work anniversary this week. It was a very modest celebration, really: Just me (since I’m the only one on my team actually working in Madison); my current supervisor, who made a quick midday drive up to Madison (and brought balloons!); and, as my personally chosen guest, the person who was my first supervisor 15 years ago and who I remain close with professionally, all enjoying lunch and conversation at the Panera Bread next door from my office.
In this post from late last month, I detailed the topic of my general presence online. That post and the one you’re about to read were inspired by one of the “June Jour” topics my WordPress peep, The Finicky Cynic, posted on her site in June: Thoughts about social media use. As I noted in that post, I tend to think of my online and social media presences as intertwined with each other. After that lengthy post about the online life, I will center this post on how I got to the “You Are Here” point on social media, as well as whether there’s too much of it and if I tend to rely on it too much (spoiler alert: There is, and I do).
I will start off by alluding to some relatively personal social media news: I had mentioned once or twice on this blog that I was never keen to establishing an account on Facebook. I gave reasons such as the controversy over Facebook requiring users to use their real names and not their stage name or preferred private alias, to the image of Mark Zuckerberg being a big prick (yeah, I got that from The Social Network). And I still feel a lot of trepidation and hesitance over establishing a Facebook account.
And yet, out of necessity, I’ve established a Facebook account.
Now, you will certainly brand me a hypocrite for joining Facebook after expressing for so long how nice it was to not have done so. But I have two key reasons for doing so, which I’ll get to later in this post. First, I want to start off with my first venture into social media, Twitter. As I mentioned in this post, I had never thought about answering the siren song of social media until a couple of months after getting my first full-fledged smart phone. Before then, I had one of those basic flip phones for a few years, but with the rapid advancement of personal technology, that phone became oh so archaic by the time I bought my first smart phone in 2010.
I need to lead off this post with a confession: This post was originally going to be much longer and much broader in scope than what you are about to read. I was inspired by a recent writing prompt by one of my WordPress peeps, The Finicky Cynic, about social media. However, I originally chose to cover the broad online life in responding, as I’m one who considers my online and social media lives as symbiotic with each other. But once I got to around the halfway mark of my post, I realized… wowzers, this post is turning into a very long read. I also realized that just talking about the social media life is a long slog in itself.
So, to give both of us — you, the reader, and me, the writer — a break from the monotony, I will save the social media ruminations for a near-future post that, knowing me, I will edit and re-edit and re-re-edit before sharing with you… and use this particular entry to talk up the path my female side has taken on the World Wide Web. (Uh, do they still call it that yet?)
I wanted to share a thought with you that occurred to me while writing my previous post about the play I saw last Friday night. As I entered the lobby of the Bartell Theatre to pick up my tickets at the will-call window, one of the folks who works with StageQ greeted me as if they knew me. That’s because, in a professional and volunteer sense, they did know me — Male Mode Me.
Time to get caught up with another of F.C.’s “June Jour” suggestions. This one asks flat-out, “What does the word ‘pride’ mean to you?” Hmmm…
As you can guess from the end of that last paragraph, I have to scratch my head sometimes to come up of a time when I’ve experienced a sense of pride (what F.C. also asks in that prompt). Perhaps the times when I’ve felt the most proud of myself have been when I made a significant accomplishment. Graduating from high school so many years ago is the most obvious moment of pride in my life… although that was tempered a bit by the future that would await me. Oh, I knew what my post-high school plans were; it’s just that I was scared to death of it (the less I have to think about what awaited me, the better). Then there’s the times when I worked toward gainful employment, especially the moment when I was offered the job that led me to moving to Madison, this after several months being jobless.
I made passing mention in my last blog post about this, but it’s time to finally give it the spotlight here: Last Thursday morning (June 1), three members of the Wisconsin State Legislature introduced to assembled media and the public a new piece of legislation currently seeking co-sponsorship from fellow legislators. The proposal, as with any piece of legislation (federal, state, or otherwise), has a grand name: The Privacy Protection and Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. And a press release announcing the proposal succinctly sums up the bill’s importance:
“A bill that would add protections to Wisconsin statutes against discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or gender expression.”
While I was waiting for new lenses to be installed on my eyeglasses, I walked around West Towne Mall (yes, I can still make things out without glasses) and browsed through a couple of stores such as Windsor, where I spotted and photographed the display you see to your right. As you can see, the mannequins are decked out in some awesome looking dresses, and in a respectable neutral color for late spring/early summer (off white). Look, too, at their feet; those are some pretty gnarly heels they have going there.
As you can also tell, there is also some serious gown action going on. You know, the kind of gown that goes well with a mortar board on the head. Yep, it’s the second half of May, which means graduation time. By now, your nearest high school or college will have had or are about to have their annual graduation ceremonies. Here in Madison, the University of Wisconsin already had their ceremony a couple of weeks ago. And this weekend, my oldest niece will walk down the gymnasium aisle, take her diploma, turn her tassel, and enter the post-high school world.
I’ll start this post with a little bit of levity: If you’re from Canada, you’re probably familiar with a CBC Television show called This Hour Has 22 Minutes. For the uninitiated, 22 Minutes is best described analogous to Saturday Night Live and its Weekend Update segment, in that it spoofs Canadian current events and TV news through its delivery of jokes, sketches, satirical commentaries, and man-on-the-street segments, regularly doing so in devastatingly funny and pointed fashion.
When I spent a week vacationing in Canada many years ago, I came across a 22 Minutes episode that included a recurring segment called “Canada in the Morning.” As you can guess by its title, it was a parody of the breezy TV news/chat shows one turns on (for the sake of white noise?) while getting ready to go to work. “Canada in the Morning” featured the fictitious duo of “Finnigan O’Toole” and “Lisa Thomas,” played respectively by Gavin Crawford and Cathy Jones, who in interview segments had a tendency to stray very far from the chief topic at hand.