Commentary: Moving Forward

Peace Plaza 2
"Gee, I was just there…" Peace Plaza, looking west at the Mayo Clinic – Rochester, MN. Photo by Randy Stern

Yeah, that road trip I took? Well…

When the motoring press evaluates an automobile, we try to put it into everyday situations. To maximize our evaluation scope, a long journey is employed to stretch out the capabilities of the subject vehicle. This is one option available for vehicles reviewed for Victory & Reseda and Lavender magazine. When the opportunity lends itself, I take to the road.

In a couple of instances, my duty to these two publications was fulfilled in fell swoop. When the V&R Garage had the 2012 Dodge Durango R/T, I took it up to East Central Minnesota Pride in the Park up in Pine City. I was assigned to photograph that pride event for Lavender while seeing how the Durango performed on the trip up. Luckily, I had an accomplice along for the ride.

This time, I went solo in the 2012 Toyota Camry XLE (actual review of this car is scheduled to be published in V&R and Lavender this August) to Rochester, Minnesota. The intention was to visit their Pride celebration, one that was a part of a couple of friends’ lives for longer than I have known them. On top of their former duties to the Southeastern Minnesota LGBT community, Clair and Richard host a barbeque for local and regional community members – in particular "bear-identified gay/bisexual men."

(An explanation on "bear-identified gay/bisexual men" would suffice here. However, this is an automotive website. Please inquire directly to the V&R staff, if you happen to be curious…continuing…)

I had a standing invitation dating back to an interview I had with both Clair and Richard in 2008 for Lavender magazine. This was the year to fulfill my invite.

Traditionally, the barbeque was a post-Pride event on Saturday evening. This year, the pride committee in Rochester had to reschedule their space on Peace Plaza to accommodate a merchant's event for Sunday. That meant staying overnight in Rochester to fulfill my visit to their Pride.

I could go on to state how much a great time I had at both the barbeque and at Pride. I could also go on to say how great the people of Rochester were to allow me to photograph them for Lavender and include them on the magazine's website. However, these are not exactly the reasons why this is being written.

This work has been taking some curves lately. I enjoy the automotive work – very much! It is an outlet that provides a license to explore my understanding of the automobile through experiential moments. The number of vehicles I have written about this year has been staggering – with more to come. The experiences and connections I made through doing this work added value in this work beyond my wildest dreams. I am also flattered by the statements made by you in terms of how much you appreciate the work on this and other sites where my byline appears.

However, I am taking on new and exciting assignments and outlets that will add value not only to this site, but for my own work. This week alone, I was assigned by Lavender to do a feature article on next month’s NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series being held in the Twin Cities. It is a fast turnaround, which puts some material on the back burner. However, it is an opportunity to bridge my support for the local softball league, the TCGSL, with this event benefitting both the community and our visiting participants.

Also, my work will start appearing on some others sites. I am unable to disclose which sites they are, but you might not be surprised where they will show up…

While my work is expanding into new areas and other outlets, my home will always be this site. My true passion is the experiential work with the vehicles I drive every day. This passion continues to fuel my primary work in V&R and Lavender, while providing context to the work on other outlets.

I love what I do. It is reflected in what you read here. The lighter volume of work is not because I have been not able to write as much as I would like to. There is a lot going on beyond that. Not to mention my want of ensuring the highest quality of the material you read on here and elsewhere.

How would you be able to see what I have done everywhere else outside of this site? If you follow me on Twitter or happen to be a friend on Facebook, I do my best the post what I have published out there. If it were not the automotive work, it would be my photography or writing for other outlets related to various content matter.

However, I must address something here in regards to the most popular part of my automotive work – vehicle reviews. It is a passion of mine to drive, evaluate and express my feelings about a vehicle. Most of my vehicles come from sources represented by the manufacturer or distributor in this country. I had the pleasure of working with some great people at the most of the brands I have written about since last year. It is warming that they feel the same way as I about them.

Yet, when presented with an opportunity outside of the realm of a manufacturer/distributor, I will need to take caution. Going forward, if the manufacturer/distributor or the media association I am a member of is not present in such situations – there has to be an understanding of exactly the purpose and intent of what I am doing for my outlets.

I am an automotive writer – a journalist, if you must. I have to fair on my views on the world, whether you get the humor or not. If I love something, you will see it. If I do not – it is my opinion and we can agree to disagree. However, I am not a tool for anyone. My job is to add value to the content of a publication. From what you have said, you agree with that summation.

Outside of some current "day job" in an industrial section of North/Northeast Minneapolis, this is what I do. Again, I state my pride when I do this.

For years, I held to something a friend of mine once said: “Live your passion.” What you read here on Victory & Reseda, in Lavender and elsewhere, is exactly that. I hope you can stay on this ride as it gets real twisty here onward.

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