Category Archives: work

TFW your tech work needs a trigger warning

It happens sometimes. I do web work and other kinds of tech support for community organizations, some of whom I work with outside of paid work. Working at this intersection of technology, my activism and my communities means I get shaken up at unexpected times.

Today I was working on a plan for a new website for the Audre Lorde Project, an organization I’ve worked with both professionally and politically for more than a decade now. I was checking out their site analytics to get a sense of what their site traffic might indicate about who’s coming to the site, and for what.

I pulled up a report of their site traffic over the past year and saw two huge spikes. I started looking into the first one. I got real nerdy excited over the rapid increase in traffic, jotting down some notes:

March 30 – 127 visits
March 31 – 340
April 1 – 1167
April 2 – 1586
April 3 – 634
April 4 – 244
tapers off from there

Next, of course, I had to see what was generating all that traffic, what was getting hit and why.

At the top of list of pages sorted by unique page views, I saw this URL:

I felt physically jolted, a little winded. I suddenly realized what I was seeing: the massive flood of people to Breaking Isolation: Self Care and Community Care Tools for our People, a resource that ALP posted after Taueret Davis, a community member I’d known of for years, a dear friend to many dear friends, committed suicide. So many of my friends, fellow queers, community members were amongst the unique visitors generating all of those page views. I was responsible for at least one of those page views.

I alt-tabbed to the work timer I had running and stopped the clock. I couldn’t just work past this. It brought up a barrage of memories and feelings, not only about Taueret’s death but about the other suicides we survivors have lived through this past year.

As I’m wont to do, I turned outward. Talked to my coworkers about it, a few of whom were similarly impacted by Taueret’s death. Tweeted about it. Wrote this.

After I’d expressed the contents of my head and my heart enough to keep going, I returned to work, now with even stronger inspiration for the work, plus a suddenly deepened understanding of why it’s so important to make sure that URLs don’t break when sites are upgraded. can never, ever break.

Like father, like daughter

Dad, circa 1985

Earlier tonight I was on the phone with my Mom, talking about my work, how well it’s going, and how much I enjoy the people part of my work — meeting folks, talking with folks, connecting.

She told me that I sounded like my Dad, and reminded me (though no reminder was necessary) that he always stressed the importance of being out there and knowing folks, meeting folks, networking, all of that. He was a small business owner, too, a general contractor and a damn good one. It’s the job he had my whole life, though it would take a few subtly different forms.

Chuckling, my Mom added that though Dad was a real people person, he was constantly forgetting people’s names or how he met them, though he always managed to pull off a friendly conversation and save face. She said that afterward he’d turn to her and say “I don’t know who the hell that was,” and she’d reply that she knew by the look on his face.

I laughed; this, I’d forgotten, though as she spoke of him it came back to me. Or else, it was so easy to imagine him doing and saying something of the sort that I could conjure up the entire vision in my head. Either way, I could totally see it.

I told her that I find myself doing the same thing all the time. I’m terrible with connecting faces and names and my mind is always racing in a hundred different directions at once, so I’m always getting mixed up and feeling awfully and embarrassed about it. I manage it well enough, I think; usually I’m just straightforward and apologetically admit what’s happening. I’m all about owning the gaffe! But though I like to think of myself as a generally straightforward person, I wonder whether it’s also that I don’t think I’m likely to pull off the smooth fake quite as well as my Dad.

I do like to think that I picked up a thing or two from him, though. (Hopefully a lot more than just a thing or two.)

My mom laughed at me heartily, saying “You’re doing the same shit Daddy used to do.” She sounded proud when she said it. I was proud to think it’s true.

My cousin Yvie took a cameraphone shot of this photo of my Dad and sent it to me on December 11, 2009, two days after he died, for a photo slideshow I was putting together for his funeral. Seeing this photo was one of those funny, bittersweet moments of really remembering his character — one of many during those first few days and in the years since. (Thanks, cuz.)

I’m gonna guess that this photo was taken circa 1985, though it could be a good deal older. He looks familiar to me at this age, but also really young; it’s hard to tell.

The outfit is definitely familiar — white painting pants, painting cap, jacket and boots todo pintado. Standard Dad uniform.

The photo cracks me up. He doesn’t look much older than me here. I like looking at this photo and feeling like I can relate to his early 80s self, nearly three decades later. I feel connected to him. And I’m grateful for it.