Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blogtrasound - Where's my prize?

My Google search for "blogtrasound" turned up no pages. What do I win?

Seriously.

These days it's nearly impossible to come up with something original that hasn't been written before.

I hear if you get a million views on YouTube you make mad cash. What do you get for empty Google searches?

Of course, now that I've written a blog about my crazy, meaningless, man-was-I-bored search, this moment in time is over. Blogtrasound will point to one page. This one.

The victory is empty, but it is mine. Almost sounds poetic.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Adult-Couples-Who-Aren't-Married Label Conundrum


I am in a wonderful, committed relationship with a woman named Barbara. When I introduce this woman I love, I say "And this is Barb, my girlfriend."

Girlfriend. I'll be 50 in September.

I'm not necessarily a fan of labels, but I'm an analyst by trade. Quantification, patterns and labels come with the territory. As does obsessing over minute details and trivia. And something about the label "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" just doesn't sound right.

In the grand scheme of things, this labeling conundrum falls in between:
  • If I'm really environmentally conscious, why don't I drive a Hybrid? and
  • What is the appropriate second age (preschool being the first) when it's OK to wear shorts and a shirt of the same material again?
 But what's the alternative?
  • My lady - Hello, 1972. Oh, how I've missed you.
  • My woman - Stated like a true man proud of all his possessions, including his '86 Camaro.
  • My partner - Too confusing. Yes, I'm a gay-rights activist. No, we aren't a law firm.
  • My companion - I'm not 87 and she's not for hire.
  • My steady - Hello, 1955. I wish I still had my letterman jacket. If A/V had a Varsity Club.
  • My wife - We're not married. Yes, we'd love to talk with you, someone we've just met, about our personal decision of why, if ever or when.
  • My common-law wife - I haven't checked the Annotated Code of Maryland recently to see if we qualify. If we do, can we share a health benefit plan? And we're not starring in our own reality series on TLC. Yet.
  • My soul mate - Because that doesn't get old at parties when meeting couples who obviously aren't.
  • My friend - Nothing screams non-committal more than this one. It also implies a hidden relationship. "This is... my friend, Barbara."
  • My best friend - Absolutely true but doesn't highlight the romance. I also don't rank my friends. Believe me, I have at least eight best friends. Wouldn't it be fun to do, though? "This is Steve. He's in the Top 10. Oh, that's Dave. He was at three for decades. But then he wouldn't stop quoting FoxNews. He's been climbing up from eight since the election."
  • My confidante - Maybe if I'm sharing my secrets by candlelight with my ghostwriter, in the Renaissance era.
  • My main squeeze - Seriously? Maybe if I was a C.I. for Starsky & Hutch.
  • My shorty - Sounds hilarious coming from me. She's taller. 
  • My schmoopie, cuddle muffin, precious - Not enough Tagamet to even finish this one.
So unless someone comes up with a better alternative, I'm going to stick with girlfriend. Just know when I use "my" it means "in relation to me" not "possession". And she is my soul mate.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Barbara Garcia: Meet Erin DeRuggiero - When Social Media Works


Many of you have been following the aftermath of the EF-5 tornado that wreaked havoc in Moore, Oklahoma this past week. A CBS TV interview with one of the survivors, Barbara Garcia, went viral when her dog, Bowser ("Bowsey"), was rescued during the live interview.

The story doesn't end there.

One of my friends on Facebook, Erin DeRuggiero, felt compelled to do something. So she started a campaign called Home4Barbara on the crowd-funding website gofundme.

She contacted CBS asking how she might contact Barbara. She wasn't the only one.

Yesterday, Erin's campaign had collected $1,500. This morning, after this story aired on CBS This Morning, the word really got out and money is starting to flow in.

It restores my faith in people because we all want to help somehow. And by Erin taking the initiative to just do something, she's making a difference.

When I watched the story on television this morning, two things struck me. The first, Barbara doesn't have homeowners insurance. This campaign was built to help her rebuild before that fact was known. And second, she said "I didn't know that I was that important." I wept. We are ALL that important.

I happily shared Erin's campaign when she first asked me to on Facebook. It took thirty seconds of my time. I'm sharing it again now.

Today is one of those days when I'm grateful for social media. For forming connections with "strangers" who are anything but. Someone I met on Twitter (posting one of my silly jokes, I'm sure) became a friend on Facebook, and made a difference. And allowed me to help make a difference, too.

I've never met Erin in person. But when I do, she's getting a big ole hug.