While I spend the weekend recuperating from a grueling work week, I want to highlight a Wisconsin-related, Madison-related, LGBT-related story I came across this morning. The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is, yes, an organization of businesses that promote economic growth, business opportunities, and blah blah blah. But note the inclusion of the acronym “LGBT” in their name. Yes, in addition to all that stuff about promoting economic growth, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for and promoter of LGBT-owned or -allied businesses and professionals in Wisconsin.
This poem is inspired by the topic I addressed in my previous post, which talked up the closing of a couple of anchor stores at West Towne Mall here in Madison. As I mentioned in that post, the eventual closing of the Boston Store chain, including its West Towne location, first made news back in April (it’s slated to close for good this week). Sometime after that, this poem started percolating in my mind. And in all truth, I finished it pretty quick, or at least quick enough to perform it in an open mic performance the last day of June at Mother Fool’s. (Yes, it was a few days after I lost my job. Yes, performing helped take my mind off my job search a little bit.)
In prefacing this poem at that performance, I asked a show of hands from the audience of about 20 or so, inquiring as to how many of them had the chance to check out the Boston Store closing sale at that point. The response wasn’t 100 percent, but more than a few (60 percent was my guess) put their hands up in the affirmative. The rest of the audience? Well, I think they spend too much time on their computers. (Dang you, Amazon!)
Okay, I promised some stuff I had left over from but didn’t have room in my last post about the 2018 OutReach Pride Parade & Rally that occurred last Sunday (August 19). Unlike that previous post, I promise I won’t even bring up the controversy that surrounded the parade this year. Nope, this will be all positive. The first thing is that though some of the same socialists who despised the police being at pride also despised the presence of corporate sponsorship (no, I’m not gonna get any darker than that in this post), there was, without mistake, a sincere presence of businesses who wanted to show their support of the LGBT+ community. Just as with the charities, non-profit organizations, and church and advocacy groups that also populated the parade, they made it known that they truly support our community and do not venture to discriminate against us. That they also do so with their checkbooks and accountants through their sponsorship of Pride does not (and should not) hurt, no matter what your level of disdain of the corporate world. And, yes, sometimes I do think this world has gotten all-corporate, if you know what I mean. Still, I do understand the necessity of having a benevolent, philanthropic sponsor offering cash. Continue reading
It’s been a full week, one that’s been somewhat busy and very wet, since the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally, but I’m finally ready to share with you some of my experience. As I’ve mentioned here and here, this year’s parade and rally was held under an ugly shadow, not from any rain clouds but under the specter of controversy. A loud contingent from Madison’s LGBT+ community raised a ruckus over the presence of the Madison Police Department at the parade, with some threatening to stage a counter-protest. In the end, parade organizers withdrew the applications of LGBT+ employee resource groups from MPD and UW—Madison Police as well as the Dane County Sheriff. Members from those groups could (and did) march in the parade, but had to do so unarmed and out of uniform. (Side note: The Madison Fire Department decided to withdraw one of their engines from the parade in sympathy to the boys in blue; it was MFD’s decision.) While OutReach’s move to formally eliminate the police entries upset some parade supporters and still likely upset some protesters (especially since the parade permit still required MPD to provide security), the parade and rally (**SPOILER ALERT**) went off without a hitch and without any rabble-rousers causing disruptions.
If you’re wondering, yes, I did march in the OutReach Pride parade last weekend. And, yes, I will have a post on it coming very soon. But at this point, I will thank goodness that the parade took place on the warm, pleasant Sunday we had in Madison last weekend, not the wet, stormy Monday that socked us.
For those of you who do not live in Dane County, we were hit with a massive deluge of rain Monday afternoon into Monday evening. How much rain? Judging from the reports I saw, my particular location on Madison’s west side got socked with about 8 inches of rain. That could be an underestimate on my part, considering that locales to the immediate west of Madison got hit much worse, including just under a foot of rain in Middleton and over 15 inches in Cross Plains. It was, according to county emergency management, the all-time Wisconsin record for heaviest rainfall within a 24-hour period.
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?)