Seriously

Sunday, 27 November 2016, 18:34 | Category : activism, buffalo, equality
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So, I was thinking that I would go in a different direction with this blog. Something outside of the realm of citizen action. At the time I made this decision, I believed that we were going to elect our first female POTUS and continue with another 8 years of change for the better. At that time, I did not realize that we would be left with the most horrible man in that position. A man that is the antithesis of positive change. A man that would rather build a wall than build bridges.

With that – I feel that the original focus of rise up buffalo needs to remain. This space needs to be a place that residents can come to see what is happening in the city of Buffalo and the surrounding area. A listing of current and future events. Posts that discuss topics of interest to the activist community. Moving forward I will try to be more prolific in keeping rise up buffalo updated. I will also be looking for assistance in this effort.

Rise up buffalo has been around for quite a while (10 years as of 18 May 2016!), but has not been active for a while now. This is mainly due to my inability to keep things moving on my own. I have been busy with other things, but there are really no excuses. Going forward I promise to be more on top of the goings on in Western New York activism. As I said above, I could really use some help with this. I am always looking for guest posters, so please let me know if you would like to volunteer some of your words to the cause.

We must stay vigilant and continue to be allies to one another. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep our marginalized friends and family members safe. Continuing to be up to date with the activist community is a good step in that direction. Thank you for joining me on this renewed journey. Our new POTUS may end up being a devastating force, but together we can keep ALL of our leaders in check. We can write letters and make phone calls and assemble in the streets to peacefully resist the future direction of the this most wonderful country. At the root of it all, we are a great country, we just need to be sure that every single citizen has an equal voice and equal rights as we move into the future and away from our disgusting past.

Peace and happy organizing!

Chantale (aka hippiegrrl)

Changing Things Up

Monday, 24 October 2016, 11:55 | Category : activism, buffalo, history, localism, nostalgia
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As you can see, it has been quite a while since the last official post here at Rise Up Buffalo. We have been busy working on other projects and getting locked out of our accounts, but we are ready to pick up where we left off, with a few tweaks to the original theme. Rise Up Buffalo was originally created to be a resource for the Buffalo, NY activist community. Our main goal was to inform the activist community on matters of importance. To spur actions and continue the growth of community building in the city. In the past 5 years, we feel that Twitter has become a major source of this type of community building. The opportunities for activist outreach through Twitter are endless. Coupled with other social media outlets, Twitter has been an excellent resource and continues to move change in Buffalo and across the planet. Humans writing pieces on blogs cannot keep up with the minute to minute nature of actions and Twitter was really made for that type of interaction.

Having said this, it seems that Rise Up Buffalo needs a change of focus. Instead of maintaining a standard of information gathering and dissemination for current actions, we feel that it can be a repository for nostalgia in the Buffalo community. So, as we stated back in March, we want to move forward with the writing series listed on the Series Up pages. This will become the main focus of Rise Up and we hope that you will join us on this new leg of our journey. All submissions are welcome! Please read more about this series and contact us with questions. In the meantime, be on the lookout for the first installment of Buffalo, Then, coming in November.

Peace, love, and activism,
Chantale

2014

Saturday, 4 January 2014, 19:00 | Category : critique, history, internet, life, nostalgia
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20 years beyond 1984. What did we think it would be like? Flying cars? Food pellets? Cars that turn into briefcases? Or just Big Brother monitoring our every move?

Well, we got one of those things. Unfortunately, it isn’t any of the cool, techie things that we thought it might be. We got the monitoring without the flying cars. I guess we can at least be happy there are no food pellets. Yet.

And, in reality, it is a techie advancement to be monitored at every move. It is an advancement that we all bought into, whole heartedly, by purchasing phones with GPS and putting our bank accounts on a world wide network that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

This isn’t meant to create panic, but just to ask, what did we expect? We want convenience and the ability to communicate at a seconds notice, but without all the extra stuff that comes along with it. Yes, that would be nice, but it just is not possible. At least, it is not possible now. It may have been possible in the beginning, but we let it go this way and now there is no turning back.

So be safe out there. 2014 is a whole new year and whole new year’s are a good time to take stock. To look back on the things we did and look forward to the future. It is also a good time to reassess exactly how much of our lives are online and ways in which we can protect ourselves from exposure.

Do you really need those 8 twitter accounts? How about the 3 Facebook accounts you have finagled? Do you need to use google wallet and PayPal? How much information does Amazon really have and do they need it all? These are all valid questions. Your answers are your own, but it is not the worst thing to at least think on them.

I have many areas of presence on the web and for 2014 one of my goals is to decrease the amount of exposure I have. At the end of 2013, my email was hacked and, with that, so too was my main twitter account. This was annoying and cumbersome to relieve. Although it did not spiral into something more, it certainly made me sstop and take stock of my online presence. It also forced me to make up better passwords. And so, it could be as easy as that. Change up your passwords. Make them so tough that you might not even remember them. As long as you have a method of reset, you are good to go.

So, good luck out there and remember. This is what we wanted, but it does not have to be the only way. We have the power to make our online experience exactly what we want it to be. Just like life, our online presence should reflect who we actuallly are. It should have openness and security at the same time. It should be a reflection of who we are as humans and we should keep it safe. I like to remember that movie the net as my reference for what could be. Let’s not let it get there, shall we?

Peace,
Chantale

Nice To See You! How Have You Been?

Sunday, 6 October 2013, 21:17 | Category : activism, equality, feminisim, human rights, lgbt, motivate, positivity
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I realize that it has been almost a year since the last update here at rise up buffalo.  To my readers, I am truly sorry.  Life has become chock full of things to be done and this web journal had to be put on the back burner for a bit.  I should have mentioned that, but sometimes life takes off before you have time to give notice.  Anyway – we are back now and hopefully there will be weekly updates of goodness for you to ingest.  

Here are some of the things that have been happening elsewhere, but are, in many ways, connected to rise up buffalo:

For all you gender studies folks, and those of you that could use a couple lessons in gender studies, we present not just girls, a place to learn and pass it on.

Are you interested in wiping out hatred? Squashing bullying? Eliminating racism and discrimination? Join us at Hatred Be Gone where we will attempt to put a positive spin on the negativity that comes from discrimination and hatred. Moving toward a world without hatred. This includes the hatred perpetrated by those that are discriminating in the name of religious beliefs. This is the worst type of hatred, couched in the words of scripture or a system of belief. Hatred Be Gone! Poof!

hippiegrrl explains it all is up and running! We are finally on our own server. All the old posts from Backwash.com are archived here, as well as the new goodness. Please pop by and check it out when you have a moment to spare.

In the future we will have a landing page for all the “hippiegrrl” properties, but for now we are scattered across the interwebs. Safe travels and see you again soon!

Peace,
Chantale

The Internet and Procrastination

Sunday, 18 November 2012, 17:04 | Category : coding, life, motivate
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I start off on a good note. Looking things up. Reading articles. Doing schoolwork. And then, all of a sudden, something happens. Like a shiny coin in the corner of a webpage, I see a link that takes me away from my original thought. I follow this link and begin reading other articles. Eventually, an hour later, I realize that I am off on a completely different track than where I began. So is the nature of the Internet. So much stuff, so little time. It would be nice to take it all in and get things accomplished, but I feel like only 30% of my time on the computer is productive. The Internet is the best place for a procrastinator. Even as I am in the middle of doing actual coding homework, I get side tracked and end up doing something other than what I began with. Is this so for others? Or am I just bad at keeping on task? Share with me. Tell me your thoughts…

Peace,
Chantale

Are you registered?

Sunday, 21 October 2012, 11:47 | Category : human rights, motivate, voting
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It is almost time to select our next president. If you are not registered yet, please use this form to do so. We need to band together and keep moving forward.
Our country cannot afford four years of another Republican. We had eight years that got us to where we are and now that we are finally coming out of it, we need to keep going on this better path. Obama will get us further down the road to improvements in our economy while maintaining our rights. Romney, as surrogate for the right wing, crazy conservative, tea party influenced, Republican Party, will take away the rights of women through policies that harm EVERYONE!

Register and then get to the polls! It is your right, your privilege, and your duty to do so.

Peace,
Chantale (aka hippiegrrl)

from the archives – just a girl – 6 July 2008

Saturday, 11 August 2012, 15:44 | Category : Uncategorized
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this weekend i had a realization. no matter how old i am or how successful i become – no matter what trials i face in my life and what struggles i overcome – i will always be (to some people) just a girl. someone who is vulnerable and needs to be taken care of. someone who creates worry for others simply because of my gender. someone who is believed to be incapable of certain things because i don’t have the anatomy of a man. someone who does things the way a “girl” does. whatever that means. since i am female i would, ofcourse, do things “like a girl” but that should not mean that it is less than a boy.

you would think that since it is 2008 we would have gotten over the old way of looking at things, but i suppose that is not the case. there are some people that will always believe that women cannot do certain things. case in point – hillary clinton. after she conceded the election i heard a few rumblings from people about the fact that she probably would not have won anyway. this is a sad state of affairs. especially when you consider that her opponent (john mccain) is not the sharpest individual. in fact – he has even admitted that he does not know things that would be important for a president to know. ofcourse, he never puts it that way. his supporters like to call it “intellectual honesty” but it is really just bull crap. at least hillary clinton has actual intelligence and thankfully so does barack obama. hopefully the masses in our country will have learned the lesson of not electing someone who is actually stupid. we had 8 years of it and i do not think we could withstand another 4.

getting back to the girl issue – in honour of my realization – i am dedicating this entry to all the strong women in this world and especially to the girls that will become the strong women of the future. if we ever want to see a woman president we have to start to change minds. starting at home is the best place to do this mind changing, but if it cannot happen right away do not be deterred. changing hearts and minds is a difficult task that we must rise up together and work toward. if we do not do this now – we will continue to be “just girls”. if we do not stand up for ourselves the issues that affect us today will continue to worsen. wage equality will never be overcome. reproductive rights will be further eroded. gender discrimination will be allowed to stand as normal and right. the world will be a worse place for our children (especially the girls). visit one of the links below to join a cause. take a stand – many people believe that this is the only life we have to live so it is only right that we should be allowed to live it as equal to everyone.

peace, hippiegrrl

links for the feminist in each of us:

national organization for women (NOW)

code pink

lucy stone league

equality now

emily’s list

feminist majority foundation

9to5 – national association of working women

feministing

Singing as Therapy

Monday, 11 June 2012, 21:13 | Category : buffalo, life, music, nostalgia
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Back in the day, when I was in college the first time, I used to be able to work two part time jobs while I was studying. This was partly due to the major that I had chosen. See, even though I loved school, I didn’t really care about going to college. My mother was on my case about it and so I chose the easiest school to get in and the least difficult (for me at least) major. Playing instruments, singing, studying theory, practicing. These were all things that I had been doing since I was 3 years old. Some things (practicing for one) I did grudgingly. My mother had to set the oven timer to thirty minutes in order to keep me seated at the piano for at least that long. This would change in college where, when I was supposed to be practicing my singing, I would sit in the practice room for hours upon hours playing the piano. I guess it was a case of me wanting to do what I wanted to do. Per usual. Just like everything else in my life, if someone said I had to do something, I would choose to do something else. Music was not immune to this attitude.

Something I have come to find out in the past month is that no matter what, music is a saving grace for me. If I feel tired or sad or mad or agitated, I can sit at the piano, play a tune and feel better. It is really the best therapy. I inherited a piano from my maternal grandmother (Nana) that has brought many things to my abode. If I want to have a good cry, all I have to do is sit down at the piano and play “Blue Butterflies” and the waterworks start. I have been able to cry a little less with each rendition, but it still provides a release. I can think about how much I miss my Nana and Papa and the music gives me the push to let it go. After a good cry I like to sing a few tunes, usually of the operatic version, and this perks me up again. The piano also brings with it many memories of lessons (mine and other students) and holidays when the family would want me to play. Of days when I would visit and give in to or deny the request to play. It helps me to remember good times, but also times when I could have been quite a bit nicer. What is one song, really, in the grand scheme of things. Now I wish that I could play one more song on this piano, in the old house. And so it goes.

Music is like a drug. It can be an upper, downer, or maintainer. In college, it served as an escape. Forced rehearsals turned into wonderful occasions when the chorus sounded just right. When everyone was in tune and sounding glorious, it could truly lift ones mood. The addition of massive amounts of caffeine probably also had a lot to do with the up mood, but I am going to give music all the credit. Being in a show or chorus or band is an experience that everyone should be able to partake in at some point in their lives. It is cheaper than therapy and gives one the same outlet. In fact, it is sometimes even better, when you get to play out a “character” that is close to your own personality. Working out your issues on the stage is the ultimate in self absorption and whom but the self absorbed needs therapy? Try it, you will not be disappointed.

Peace,
Chantale

Appropriate links:

music therapy association
why music makes you happy
jamiroquai they always make me happy.

May Holidays and Changes

Friday, 11 May 2012, 14:58 | Category : career, holidays, nostalgia
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This week has been crazy. I began a new job and it has been somewhat overwhelming. I love it, but it is taking me some time to get up to speed. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not good with change or being behind the eight ball. I like to know everything about what I am doing and being “in training” is a very difficult place for me. Pushing through will prove to be rewarding but, in the meantime, it is somewhat disconcerting.

At the same time, mother’s day is hovering. All the commercials are about moms and how much they mean to us. Hallmark, teleflora, pampers, etc. all use the holiday as a marketing scheme. This is not a new phenomenon, but over the past four years this May holiday has become extra sad for me. I still have my mom, but the person whom I saw as a second mom has been gone for four years. It is hard to watch these commercials without getting emotional. And with all the changes, it is even worse. I am hoping that a couple days off from the training, a brunch with my parents and the writer, and some time spent in the library will help me get out of the funk.

One thing to look forward to is the end of the month, Memorial Day, holiday. My local drag club (go go gay rights) holds a white party on the Saturday night before the holiday and I will be there with my friends. Good times and a great way to end the month that started with much change (for the better, but still.)

This post may seem frivolous, compared to my usual banter, but I just felt like posting something about me and stuff that is happening in my life. The blog was down for a few days and this is a resurgence for me. Don’t fret… I will be getting back to the politics and human rights posting soon enough, but for now I will be enjoying the rest of May and hopefully everything will be on an upswing from here on out.

March On!
Chantale aka hippiegrrl

Slackers Unite!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012, 15:37 | Category : activism, coffee, culture, environmental, history, sociology
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Troy: what happened to your normal clothes?
Michael: wow! Lelaina, look at you. You look…where’d you get that dress?
Lelaina: Oh, um… I don’t know. I just bought it. But I think I’m gonna go change because…
Michael: No, don’t. You look beautiful. You look like… You look like…
Troy: A doily.
Lelaina: I’m gonna change.
Michael: No, don’t change.
Troy: And don’t go thinking for yourself either, Lainie.

[scene from “Reality Bites”, universal pictures, 1994]

The Art Linklater film “Slacker” has been considered the generation-x answer to “Easy Rider”. Although it is not a road movie, it most definitely defined (or redefined) a generation. If this is truly the case, then we must also consider the movie “Reality Bites” as a defining moment in cinema history for gen-x. Both movies depict a world in which the most intelligent and creative among us become lazy and complacent. In “Reality Bites” the main character, the valedictorian of her graduating class at university, ends up having to work a minimum wage job to be able to make ends meet. Her roommate, who has also completed university, works at the gap and their friend, who has only one class left to finish, would rather loaf on a couch than complete his degree. Philosophically, what is the point of the piece of paper? That is the question asked in these movies and, unfortunately, they were not just defining a generation, but also foreshadowing the future. Smart people with no direction.

How can we better understand our current circumstances through movie depictions of our generation. Of course, we are not characters in a movie, but some movies strike right at the heart of real, living, breathing, humans. The characters in “Reality Bites” are not 2-dimensional caricatures, but fully formed characters. People that we, off the screen, can actually relate to and maybe see in others of our generation. Generation-x, that is. Those of us between the hippies and the hipsters. Those of us born in the 70’s who have really tried to make this country work for us. We are the main demographic for advertising now and we actually have always been. We grew up with MTV, but had to work for our media. We are the generation that was raised with sound bites and short attention spans, but didn’t have ADHD diagnoses to blame for our problems in school or life. We were told to try harder, not take the easy way out by popping a pill. If we wanted to talk on the phone we had to dial a number, but we have also adapted to our current surroundings. Generation-x may be considered a lost generation, now, looking back, but we are still here. We carry with us all the debt the 80’s created and the disillusionment of the 90’s. We carry the weight of the baby boomers as they move into social security years and the burdens of the hipsters who steal away our chances at success in new media industries, even though we were on the forefront of those technologies.

An outcome of slackerdom, or simple complacency, is the pull to stay in one decade. For gen-x, that decade would be the 90’s and, believe me, I have that bug. I would love to wake up at noon each day, go to a coffeehouse, hang out and read a good book, walk back home, stopping along the way to pick up a few items for dinner, and then work, after dinner, on a book or a libretto or something creative that pays the bills. Writing this blog and getting paid for it. Making espresso and getting paid for it. Reading and writing and getting paid for it. But getting paid enough to afford the things I need and want, not scrounging. Back to the days of $1.13 gallons of gas and free meals, 29 cent stamps and Fiona Apple. Back to The Counting Crows and Jewel and Puff Daddy. When Kurt and Left Eye, Biggie and Aaliyah, Tupac and Layne and Shannon were alive. Back in the day.

So how can we make the 90’s happen in the teens? First things first. Find a job that makes you happy. Never settle for doldrums. If you have to scrimp and save and scrounge for a bit to get to where you want to be professionally it will be more than worth it in the end. Working a job you hate just to pay the bills ends you up a bitter person with a sad life. You will look back and only see the paychecks, not good times. Once you are on the road to a better existence through work happiness everything will look sunnier. Each morning will be one that you want to rise to the occasion for, not a struggle to get out of bed.

Next – stop beating yourself up for the things that you have not done or may not do that others wish you would do. Your life is your own and if you do not live it the way you want you will be unhappy in the end. You are living for you, not anyone else, and you have to put your needs and wants first, not those of others. You cannot take care of others unless you take care of yourself first. You cannot love others unless you love yourself first. This includes having children. Children are a huge responsibility and if you are not ready to enter into the realm of parenthood it is never a good idea to move forward. Let go of the things that people say or request of you and move forward with what YOU want. Positivity and moving toward goals will bring you everything you really want in the end. You only get one life. You should live it how you want and not how others think you should.

Finally – always make time to be creative. If you have a talent, use it. Time spent doing the things you love will make you a better person. Time spent alone, concentrating on a creative outlet will make you a stronger and more well rounded individual. Always keep your mind open to new things and do not dismiss the opinions of others. You do not have to agree, but you should at least listen. From one human to another, this is all we really want from each other. To be heard.

So, maybe being from gen-x is not the worst thing in the world. We have a good handle on the future, based on the past, and we are able to overcome obstacles. Environmental issues? No problem! We will reduce, reuse, and recycle like rock stars. Bad economy? Please! We will downsize until things bounce back. Need a new tech? Of course! We will be working on the future of the tech that was introduced to us as children, because that is what we do. We are problem solvers and we will not quit until we have found solutions for everything. Moving forward, making the future brighter, this is what we slackers are all about. Don’t think that slacker is a negative nickname. It is the fuel that we need to change the world. And, mark my words, we most certainly will. We should embrace the titles that older generations have given to our generation. Coffeehouses and grunge music were the beginning of our enlightenment. Don’t worry, Eeyore can still be our gen-x mascot. We will just make the Eeyore in each of us see the future in a brighter light. Eeyore can be a downer and a doer at the same time. It is possible to be a walking contradiction and nobody knows this better than those of us born between 1964 and 1979. Go go gen-x! Rock it out and leave the boomers and the millenials in your dust!

Peace and Happy Fixing!
Chantale aka hippiegrrl

Links apropos
so maybe the slackers had it right after all
how generation x got the shaft but can still keep everything from sucking
eeyore