Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What happens if you google "Gay" today?

Hey there,

So on their Facebook page,'s status just 15 minutes or so before this post was:

"Google the word 'gay'. Just do it :)"

As of the time I saw it, it had been shared 384 times, and liked 1,656 times. And this is what happens:

The rainbow visualization of the search bar also works if you Google:

  • lesbian
  • bisexual
  • transgender
  • lgbt
In case you didn't hear via one channel or another, I'll just quote the Reuters piece that pops up first in the search results:
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for gay rights on Wednesday by forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in states where it is legal and paving the way for it in California, the most populous state.
You can read the rest here.

Will post about my own personal experience singing with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington only minutes after we heard about the rulings outside the Supreme Court later, but just wanted to blog about this awesome example of Google's constant efforts to show how aware and engaged they are with the lives of their users.

- JR

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

At the Supreme Court for Marriage Equality

Hey there,

So this is a bit of a hip shot, a term I first learned of regarding reviews for the Capital Fringe Festival, that weren't necessarily comprehensive, but whose priority was immediacy, to get the word out and something up online as soon as possible, with integrity.

That being said, I wanted to post something on my first day on the steps of the Supreme Court, with particular interest on the outcomes regarding Prop 8 and DOMA, yesterday. And the reporters were lined up and ready, as there were a number of rulings that would be made this week.

I even changed my profile pic the night before, to once again join the Human Rights Campaign's red picture equality campaign.

Actually attended a wonderful event organized by DC Chapter of AIGA, a professional craft and design membership organization, hosted and presented by HRC, called "The Art of Advocacy", which I still have to blog about, and will do so in the next week or so.

But I digress.

It was great seeing Aram Vartian, on staff at local LGBT publication Metro Weekly with their multimedia, in action.

And there were a number of community members representing, either with signs of their own story or waving the rainbow flag with pride.

And very grateful I got to join my friend, Sklyer Mays, a friend and service member from Arkansas. He was actually quoted in this Huffington Post piece from March, among other media outlets and platforms.

Oh. And that gay mormon in the picture earlier?

One of two gay mormons who are members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, David Baker. He's actually one of our newest members, and a fellow gaymer. I didn't want to interrupt his advocating, but he indulged me with a photo.

As did Aram, as we were calling it a day, finding out that the rulings on Marriage Equality would not happen until later in the week.

But still glad I was there. Even if to help record and document that first day, just as a member of the public. Which is honestly a bit empowering, being there with other citizens, this collection of LGBT folks, allies, interns, tourists & reporters.

There was even one guy across the street who was not in support of same-sex marriage...and that's really all the space he deserves.

And although I got to call it a day, having heard what I needed to about the issues I was primarily there for, I had nothing but respect and appreciation for the reporters who are seemingly forever poised to do their job, even if it means waiting at length, just for something to happen.

What's that quote about a well-informed electorate?

Anyway, just wanted to post this, before getting ready for day 2!!

Really grateful, on days like this, that I live in Washington, DC.

P.S. You can see more photos:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My first burn: Freeform Arts Festival

Hey there,

So I went to my first burn related event last weekend, Freeform Festival. The best way to understand what the festival was like, would be to check out the Event Guide. And if you're not familiar with burns and burners, it refers to and is related to Burning Man, to varying degrees.

What I thought was really cool, were the principles set out in the guide, a foundation of expectations for this event:
  • Volunteer Based Community
  • Accountability
  • Inclusion and Expression
  • Gifting and Zero Commerce
  • Self Reliance
  • Leave NO Trace
More details in the guide.

Here's a vlog from the day I got back:

As you can tell, I was almost speechless. It was just an amazing experience.

Just a good time with good people.

If you're interested and on Facebook, I highly recommend that you "Like" Freeform's Facebook page:

More posts to come, as I process different aspects of my first burn, so keep an eye out for them.

In the meantime, already looking forward to my next burn, which might be the big one!!


Thursday, June 06, 2013

A mobile Capital Pride

Hey there,

Lately I've been wondering how to live a mobile-optimized life. Yes, the bulk of this is examining just how many of my financial transactions I can make paper and plastic-less.

And so this particular post is geared towards Capital Pride. It was actually inspired after going to the website and seeing that they had an app, available at Apple's iTunes store & Google's Play store.

Obviously I had to download it and check it out. After all, a mobile app represents (if done well) represents significant buy-in from leadership as well as time and resources devoted to it's development, implementation, and management.

So, for any other app folks, check it out, let me know what you think in the comments.

My next couple of apps are actually venue specific, because they're the only LGBT establishments I know of, that use 'em. But obviously please correct me, if I'm wrong.

The first is one of my faves, TabbedOut, which you can use at Nellie's Sports Bar. It's funny, it's name
almost screams LGBT Pride. But that's just a coincidence.

What I love about this app is:

  • it opens up a tab simply by providing a code, so no having to give your card
  • it keeps track of your orders on your smartphone
  • it allows you to close your tab via your phone, even AFTER you've left
  • it even lets you split up one tab among any other friends who have the app set up on their own phone
So Nellie's. Yeah.

I actually blogged about it with a walk-through of the whole process back in January, if you want to check that post out.

The other app is a new discovery, AMI. It's a jukebox app. And I discovered it at Dupont Italian Kitchen, known as D.I.K. Bar by the locals.

It made me very happy a couple of nights ago. I realize it's probably a control thing, but it was just very nice being able to request songs from wherever I was sitting.

And last, but not least, is actually an app for people who don't want to drive, but also might want
something a little more cost effective than Uber, and more community oriented. For that, there's Sidecar.

I actually blogged about it when the service had just hit the streets of DC, in a post from April. A disclaimer, I'm actually a driver too. And if you want, you can use my Jumpstarter code, "JR14597js", for a $10 credit for signing up!!

The app provides a suggested donation at the end of the ride, which you can pay exactly, less, or more than, 80% of which goes to the driver. All drivers go through an in person training after submitting ID, registration, and insurance information, and the drivers and riders each rate each other after reaching the destination.

Anyway, that's it. Any apps you use, which you'd recommend others check out in particular, for this weekend? Please mention 'em in the comments!!