Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Unique Date Night Offering - Ignite Ann Arbor 11

A few years ago, I was looking for something unique to do for date night. I found this event called Ignite Ann Arbor. The premise sounded intriguing, a myriad of speakers and topics, and a time limit of five minutes for each speech as twenty slides advance automatically every 15 seconds.

I didn't know what to expect or knew about any of the subjects about to be presented. Without expectations, I was open to whatever was about to happen.

Not only did I find it highly entertaining, it was as educational, thought provoking and at times offered touches of drama, especially if an inexperienced speaker's timing mismatched the slides going by. We were all pulling for them to get back on track.

The dynamics of the evening was a surprise to me. The first speaker was by a professor that had worked on the Hubble space telescope. her talk was called, Peering Towards the Beginning of Time with the Hubble Space Telescope. I was so happy to hear from a person at the head of her profession, knowledgeable, professional, and as far as I was concerned, a rock star!

I heard from an 11 year-old girl that started a neighborhood newspaper called Murray Avenue Times. Her speech was called Why Your Street Should Have Its Own Newspaper. The poise of this young girl as well as her message was delightful.

The five-minute speeches ranged from a map specialist called Your World Crushed Flat, a teacher and tutor to underprivileged children in a powerful speech called They Can't See Me, and a law student's equally compelling speech called Unequal Justice for All.

Surprise after surprise with each speech presented. Topics ranged from How to Enjoy Shakespeare, Everybody Trolls Sometimes, I am the Commuting Pope, The Depths of the AADL - The Secret Lab, Changing the Way Fashionistas Pay It Forward, Crowd-sourcing your Job Interview and more.

Looking for a different and intriguing evening, then check out Ignite Ann Arbor 11. What is also wonderful about the event is that it is Free.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Run, Young People. Run!

Run, Young People, Run
By E. B. Ambrose
Young people, do you know that you are being played because you are the ones that have no experience or memory of what has gone before.

Young people, being groomed to be commoditized, to be the new feast before the greedy. 

Young people, do you know that a thought of your future was never been on the minds of the elders. 

Young people, do you see what is being hidden from you?  You that are buried with your head hung low, never looking up to see the boots coming your way. 

Young people, do you care that no one cares about you, or what will become of you?  Those whom in your name, cry, “for the children” are used to manipulate, subjugate, and eviscerate your very own futures. 

Young people, do you see them at the edges of your rug, preparing to pull it out from under your feet?

Young people, they played you when they stuck all those pieces of papers under your unsuspecting nose and you signed on the dotted line, without understanding or knowledge of the indentured life they want you to lead.

Young people, they ganged up on you; the mo’ bros and the uni’ cads, collaborating to take from you, your future livelihood. 

Young people, have you ever wanted to actually hold a hammer to build, instead of the abstract action of using the “craft of the mind.” 

Young people, do you see the uniform of uniformity, the helmets of white perfectly parted to the same side, strands never straying from their stations, the look of insincerity in their eyes, the fear and the drive to make the part they play appear true or real.

Young people, do you see and hear their plans for you as fodder, to be plowed under in their fields of unrest.

Young people, do you see they mean never to offer knowledge just to educate you by their own terms.

Young people, build a new world, build something yet inconceivable, establish a new norm, remove the shackles that are slowly and almost imperceptibly being placed around your feet. 

Young people, leave us behind, run as fast as you can away from the decaying, murderous, rotten plot of keeping you down here with us. 

Run young people, run.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dave Helps Himself

Quote, “God helps those that help themselves.”
David in Paris
by Father Wheeler of Catholic Central HS

       Many people do not know how to put themselves in a position to receive. My son does. Of his many talents and traits, he wholeheartedly sets himself up to succeed. Beloved gives himself every chance he can make for himself. He makes his chances. He creates an environment of acceptance.

      He retired for about a month and traveled southward and westward to meet up with old friends and to see more of the United States. He went by himself - Guts. Another goal of the trip was to find a new place to settle. He would size up the cities he visited and then make a decision as to where his new home would be. He chose New Orleans. 

     What amazes me is his tenacity, his quest to find what he wants. He goes through a process of his own making, sizing up employment opportunities and housing possibilities. He’s out there doing it on his own. When he applies for a job, he scouts out the location, the atmosphere and vibe of the place, checks out dress codes, learns about the businesses he visits, checks out the menus for an idea of the direction of the establishment. 

     For the past number of years he has honed his skill sets and his marketability. He repeatedly has been validated, that he is excellent at customer service, offering his employer loyalty and devotion to carrying out the owner’s vision and style.  As an artist and writer, he brings romance and the love of artistry and craft to his every endeavor.  Believing in harmony, a cohesive work dynamic and the building of community, he elevates moral and the work ethic of those around him.  Believing that work even the trivial or mundane should be elevated to the state of artistry allows him the satisfaction and accomplishment he desires. His high work ethic and predilection for efficiency, practicality and simplicity makes him a favorite of his employers. His style and manner energizes the environment for both co-workers and patrons and creates a welcoming atmosphere. His ability to create a sense of neutrality allows those around him to feel secure and accepted.

      David’s confidence that failure (whatever it means to him) is not an option or even a factor makes him a unique individual who has a direct hand in creating his own future.  Even if he falls down, he picks himself up and gets moving again. No matter what, he is always striving forward. 

     He has taught me that a vision can be created and realized.  He is always teaching me things.

     I have no worries. Whatever he learns up to this point in his life will make him truly and wildly successful, not just monetarily but as a human being.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Coldcocked by Fear - When Growling Dogs Chase You Down

       I kissed my mother’s cheek and my father’s forehead. I gave my brother the head nod and told him, “I’ll see you later at home. I grabbed my hat and rambled down their porch stairs heading for my car. Good temperature for nine at night on an early November evening, Cool crisp, skies clear and pure, just beautiful.

       I hear a noise very close behind me, the sound of two dogs running and growling. The sound gets closer, inches from me now. The lizard part of my brain screeched a siren that shook me to the core and rang out, sounding like my voice screaming into the night. A fear and then terror in a matter of milliseconds took over. A quick glance revealed two pit bulls behind me. An ancestor of a hundred thousand years ago screamed up through the centuries at me, “You unaware ass, a predator is about to take you down!” My reaction was intense, instant and visceral. I turned and jumped away, the blood-curdling scream brought my brother out of my mother’s house instantly.

       When I jumped out of the way, I was standing in the neighbor’s sloping driveway, and I fell backwards into the street, my back hitting hard. I screamed again, when realization hit me that fending off TWO dogs meant the stakes had gotten excessively high, my vulnerability stabbed at my psyche, and I was on my back in the street about to mauled. The movie the Omen flashed in my head.

       I raised myself still clutching my purse in front of me, a shield, and my arm ready to be raise in defense, the first part of my body I surmised to be torn to shreds. I see him fully now, as he looks at me. In that second, I realized that my scream and the terror I felt was a sure way to trigger a predator to attack. I just released enough primordial fear pheromones, that surely it would awakened the dogs' primordial predatory wolf pack sensory to go in for the kill. Great, I just hung out a sign saying, “Wounded Gazelle, Come and Get Me.” I waited for the first sign of attack.  

        I get to my knee and the dog skips toward me. I realize my fatal mistake. By trying to get up, I was sitting on my legs. My leg was the only power weapon I could possibly use to kick this dog off. I was in a bad defensive position and could be knocked over easily if the dog attacked just them. I had made myself vulnerable again. Everything I did came back to me as a mistake. At the same time, I knew that the other dog might come at me too. I could only scream at the dog in front of me and forcefully as I could, “Get away from me!” And the dog bounded back from the direction he had come.

       Then I realize the dogs belong to my nephew who lived two doors down from my mother. I saw him, and then heard his voice calling his dogs. The dogs were not vicious. They would not have attacked me. But they had come up behind me growling in the dark and a fear I have never experienced took over my whole being.

       My brother came to me as I was getting up. The trauma about to hit, he hugged me and asked if I was all right. All I could say was yes, and then another realization kicked in, I’m wet.  “I have to go” and then whispered in a matter a fact voice, “I wet myself.”

This is how fucking scared I was. 

       My nephew came up, hugged me too and said he was sorry. I muttered “its okay” got in my car and drove away.

        With 20 minutes to drive home, I lift my ass off the jacket as much as can be possible while I drive a car on a four-lane road going 45 miles an hour.  My mind is racing between the memory, the shock of my reaction, the anger – because I have told my nephew more than once that, the dogs are required to be on leash, the fear, the heavy breathing, the adrenalin dump. I calm myself, telling myself that I was never really in danger. Although my body and mind understand the wisdom of that logic, they can’t process the logic, not yet.

         The door was locked which pissed me off. HEY! I AM VULNERABLE OUT HERE. STRAY DOGS CAN BE OUT HERE. WHY IS THE FUCKING DOOR LOCKED, WHEN YOU KNOW I WILL BE HOME RIGHT NOW. I slap at the windowpanes with frustration and hurt. When my husband opens the door, I fall sobbing into his arms. After a moment or two, I was able to answer his questions.

       “There were dogs”, uncontrollable sobbing, “They were growling”, uncontrollable sobbing, “pit bulls chasing”, uncontrollable sobbing, “I was so scared”, uncontrollable sobbing, “that I fell on my back”, uncontrollable sobbing, “I thought I was going to be mauled” … hyper-ventilating with uncontrollable sobbing.

       I know I will go over this, going over my reactions, marveling at the level of fear, and the analysis of a fear never experienced before. My indignation of the lack of common courtesy or acknowledgement of a neighbor’s sense of well-being and security around two unleashed Heraclians
of  the canine world, triggering a primordial fear of the passion play of death that has existed between predator and prey over milennia.  

I died four times in less than 10 seconds. 
  • I was about to get mauled by dogs, death or disfigurement.  
  • I fell onto the middle of the street hard on my back and imagined I was going to be run over, broken body or death. 
  • I was about to fight for survival, with low probability of success, inadequate survival skill or defensive strength, and the dread of witnessing and feeling that first moment of the dog’s attack, the dread and anticipation of extreme pain and panic. 
  • Then, when it was over, dying of humiliation  and unneccsary, preventable panic.

       This is what happens when someone who doesn’t feel that a leash is warranted or necessary because HE knows his dogs, that the law, this particular law is unnecessary and limiting. Well, I’m here to tell you. It can wreak havoc. It can scare a person to death. It may cause someone to fall into the middle of a street. It can result in injury. It can cause PTSD.  It can create ruin in the mind and havoc to the soul. Leash your damn curious, well meaning, beautiful, playfully growling dog monsters.

       Just imagine if I was not a relative. That I could have gotten hurt or worse. That I called the authorities and had your dogs removed and you ticketed. That I decided to make you pay. I don’t blame the dogs, but the dogs would have been the ones to pay with their lives. It was all so unnecessary, preventable.  Leash them.

Dude, you owe me a year of my life. Can I have it back? No, I guess you can’t really give it back to me. Not cool. Not cool at all. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Barbie Dream Tool Shop - Women Equality? Say it with Tools!

Is this a thing?
  *Disclaimer: I am not a big fan of pink. It’s okay in small doses.

Just before leaving the store, I spied an unexpected color. Way in the back, in one corner of the tool department, a wall of color, in the shade of pepto bismol pink. I had to see what was on with this pink wall, a color so foreign to the typical tool department’s colors of gray and black with occasional accents of red.

I skidded to a stop and took it all in, a Barbie Dream Tool Shop, for grown ass women! A wave of pleasure and nausea hit me at the same time. I couldn't tell if I liked it or not? Talk about your mixed messages. What was this wall of pink tools trying to convey? Is this a thing?
Is this a great marketing ploy?

I can only imagine what was said in the boardroom,
"Females are drawn to anything pink guys. They will be tickled pink (Yeah, I went there) and will appreciate tools specifically made just for "her" to enhance her pink, pink female world".

Let's not get carried away here fellas. Let's hide it in the very back so its hard to see, or better off in a corner. Don't want to scare off our major demographic, "real men." Three steps behind me woman.

But then, Is this girl empowerment?
I believe in girl empowerment. That the roles for girls and boys are not fixed. And here was an example, speaking to that premise, a pink wall of pink tools. Girls can fix, maintain, and create using tools of all kinds, hand or power driven. Rosie the Riveter would love her some of these. You Go Girl!

We are talking about tools for grown women here? Who are they exactly trying to sell? Do they expect little girls to stray by and "want the pink tools too, Mommy," And if they want to attract women, why is the display in such an out of the way obscure spot? And why is pink still used as the cliche universal flag of femininity? Why do we need to get into the metaphorical pink box? Pepto Bismol pink at that. No wonder I felt nauseated, the Pepto must have triggered some unhappy memories. Pretty In Pink.

But then, Does it really reflect equality for women?
The reality is that in this world, pink stuff means girls stuff. So what's a company going to do? How can it get across that buying tools is a women's game too and thereby, increase sales. By promoting, albeit the quietest promotion ever, using the color pink. Could I really blame them for using the obvious? The store is seemingly promoting and supporting the idea of tool equality for women. That's a good thing, right? Equal Rights for Women! Say it with Tools!

But then, What wafflers!
What cowards, hiding the pink tools way back there. The company is testing the waters. How will the pink wall of tools go over? Will the pink invasion annoy the dudes? Will women feel patronized? Will the pink be a winner? We will never know because it is hiding in a corner. Go Sit in the Corner Until I Tell You to Move.

But then - It did acually work?
Just as I was about to walk out of the store, I saw a wall of pink. It was unusual and out of place in this space. I am female. I became curious. I had to know what the hell all that pink was about. I headed toward it like a bee to honey. Was it good or was it going to be bad? Would I feel patronized or feel empowered. Aha! The pink wall. A fanciful wall of pink tools. Pink tools. Heavy duty macho pink tools. Sorta Awesome. I think. Almost.

P.S. But then later, My sister helped me feel better. One look and she said, “I like it. No one will borrow my tools if they're pink. I’ll always find them right where I left them." I was so proud that she owned her own tools. I was even prouder that all she saw was the practical use of pink, as a repellent, a way of marking her territory. Guys, Pink Tools Will Give You Girl Cooties.

Go Pink! I think.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brainstorming Detroit - Detroit Music Museum Village

I have been waiting for inspiration for quite some time.  So my posts will be about my city, Detroit.

Queen Maker and I have been rediscovering our youth by visiting all our favorite places when we were dating.  Ours was a young love so transportation was an issue and so was money.  We quickly learned that the city offered  much and fun could be had with very little cash.

My love for Detroit is rekindled.

Today we went to the Detroit Historical Museum.  It's been over 30 years since I have been there. The museum was free.  It's Sunday so parking on the street is free.  Don't worry we made a donation.  The museum made me feel pride in my city.  So I was inspired to share an idea I have been kicking around in my head for a few years, just brainstorming here.


With such a rich history as innovators in multiple music genres, why doesn't Detroit capitalize on a very proud lineage with an attraction that I think would draw many fans from all over the world.  Detroit is known and remembered for so many things and here is yet another facet of greatness, its extraordinary musical history that has not been fully recognized or honored in any tangible, concrete way. Concrete meaning a building. It reminds me of a big family where the accomplishments of the eldest children are well documented with film and tons of pictures but by the time the youngest child comes along parents have little time or inclination to document the newbie’s every move, no matter how great. Detroit’s music history reminds me of that child.

Detroit still has an energized music scene.  Musicians here have learned to create a synergistic and cooperative community that survives by helping each other and by creating their own opportunities. By honoring the Detroit music scene and history, we may well help in the revitalization of the city. It may also remind us to direct our attention to the talent still here making music in Detroit.  With a new focus on showcasing Detroit’s music, it may rekindle a sense pride in the citizens of Detroit past and present, musicians and audience, because we were all active participants in this rich musical history.  


My idea is to create a historical music park, much like a Greenfield Village, probably on a smaller scale.  But now considering the scope of the history involved it might be quite a large park indeed.  I suggest moving the Motown’s Hitsville USA to this new park, Bakers Keyboard Lounge, and other great venues if they still exist or to re-create them.  The park would represent the different genres of music that Detroit was at the forefront or originators such as Techno, Punk, Jazz, Gospel, Rhythm and Blues from the “Black Bottom” era to Motown, Pop, Rock and Rap. 

I'm not sure where the location should be, maybe not directly downtown. The music park or village should be strategically placed to help revitalize yet another area of Detroit.  We’ll let the planners figure this one out. Also I know this would be a costly project, and I don't have the funds to make it happen, so I will leave it to someone with access to major bucks.  Okay, maybe we could just put up a very nice Detroit Music Museum. Not as costly.

But hey, I'm brainstorming.

Historically accurate buildings or “clubs” built representing each genre or era of music or combine some genres.  Museums where fans can view memorabilia, artifacts, stand in recording studios along with actual music clubs that would draw music lovers from all over the world into the city.  Remember CKLW, the radio station coming out of Windsor in the 60's and 70's?  I can still hear the jingle in my head. Annual festivals or events, music centers, historic re-creations, rock schools, even a speak easy (to represent the prohibition era), club nights where patrons could “hop from club to club” to experience a great night of music.  Let's throw a little Salsa in there as well. My Latin roots require me to mention it. We could also honor so many great musicians that still live in the city before it is too late. I'm not even going to try to name them all. If you are from Detroit you know the list is impressive.

By creating a historical park or music museum instead of an entertainment center, we show the rest of the world how "Detroiters" value and honor the Detroit music scene past and present. It will trigger tourism in yet another area that is Pure Michigan.  So many people around the world view our musical history with admiration and are already great fans.  

When I travel and mention my hometown of Detroit, reactions are swift and my hosts blurt out their first impression of what the word Detroit invokes. Most are very positive which helps remind me of Detroit’s positive historical significance.  I hear enthusiastic phrases like: “The Motor City!” “The Car Capital of the World!”  “Ford Country.”  “Detroit is a great sports town!” “Go Red Wings, or Tigers, or Lions, or Pistons!” “Motown! Hitsville, USA!”  These people live hundreds or thousands of miles from Detroit, but all spoke of Detroit as the great city that gave them cars, great sports, and fantastic music.

I was recently made aware of a new book called Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Five Decades of Rock, by author Steve Miller, coming out in April 2013.  Check out the Detroit Rock City page.  This is what I am talking about.  This is the type of historic documentation that needs to be done on a grand scale and in a very public way.

We have Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum. We have the Automotive Hall of Fame.  We have the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, and other great historic villages and wonderful museums dotted all over the Metro Detroit area.  Belle Isle is a gem.  The river front revitalized.  We have new sports stadiums.  The theaters and music halls around the area have been renovated to their past glory.  They all send powerful messages that Detroit is still a great city and honor Detroit's accomplishment in art, culture, technology, and sports in a big way.  The one area that seems to be lacking is the historical significance of Detroit’s music scene, its originality and innovations, its artists, and their contributions to the pop culture of the United States and its influence on the world.

Some tourists make the pilgrimage to the little house on Grand Blvd to stand in the same studio where so many Motown greats have stood before, but I think we could give them more.  I believe we have so much more to offer.

Here is an opportunity to rekindle the pride we feel in Detroit’s contributions to music in a concrete way, to help revitalize the present Detroit music scene, bring in a new wave of tourism, and revitalize another area of Detroit.  Music is the universal language.  It unites people from different backgrounds, cultures, and race.  Detroit’s music history has its own voice, its own dialect and it should be heard again, loud and clear.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pressure is This

Yeah! Day 5 of the blogging challenge, 1/6th of the way to go before I finish the 30 challenge.  We Work for Cheese has graciously given us a list of topics for the full 30 days.  So grateful, since I've been tapped out for weeks and weeks and weeks.  Today is all about pressure.

Well it's 11:45pm and I have 15 minutes to get this blog done. Hubby is in bed. Stephen Corbert is on the telly. And damn it, I want to eat something sweet.

I'm getting hot, because we haven't put the air conditioner in the window yet. Or maybe I'm getting hot because the menopause has gone from pause to full blown meno.

Or maybe its the glass of wine I just polished off. Yup, that must be it.

So the pressure is on to get this done in record time. So off the top of my sweating head, I'll have to write something quick. I feel the pressure to talk about pressure.

Pressure is putting the squeeze on. I used to do my best work in school when it was the eleventh hour. The deadline was looming and I would have to pull an all nighter. My best work would come at 3am when I was sure an F was going to meet me in the morning.  A+ after A+ gave me the false impression that I worked best under pressure.

Continuous pressure is not a good thing.  Hell! Look at the time. I've got 9 minutes left.

Anyhoo. I once took a health test on a medical website. It asked me all sorts of questions to gauge how my daily actions affected on my overall health.  The conclusion?  It stated, "You are VERY HARD on your  body." So the pressure is on. If I don't change soon, I'll be feeling the pressure under ground.

Oh no, I'm brain dead. Can't think of anything else and I only have four minutes left.  The only thing I can think of is totally inappropriate. The pressure I like is the pressure of my another human being leaning or lying near me. I sigh and feel the stress slip away.

Remember the squeeze is on and I'm going to go to bed and leave this pressure for a more pleasurable pressure, a quick squeeze.

Done.  Hands thrown in the air.

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