Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Now That That's Out of the Way

My boss is always very nicely dressed. She wears suits most of the time, with either pants or a skirt, and skyscraper heels. She was wearing pinstriped trousers this morning. She's been chatting with a fellow she met via eHarmony, and he called to say he was coming by the hotel to see her. Then she started to fret about her outfit, that she wasn't dressed to meet someone. She said she was glad she wasn't wearing her "hoochie mama" suit, with a pencil skirt. Without thinking, I said, "I used to own a pencil skirt."

She looked at me with a slightly raised eyebrow, and asked if I'm a crossdresser. I told her, "No, I'm trans." All she said was, "Oh, okay."

She asked if I had any pictures of myself. I didn't, and the only site I can access from work that has any of mine on it is here. so I pulled up my profile. Now she knows me as Jaye, and she's cool about it. *Gasp!*

Now I just need to talk to her about coming out/transitioning at work.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I'm still trying to work out the hows of posting my pictures from Photobucket, so I'll just plop in a link to the set.

The first photo is an artillery piece from Fort Nelson Park, next to the Portsmouth Naval Hospital. There are little placards scattered through the Park, but none of them are sited to identify any of the historical objects located there. This gun looks to be either a coastal gun or one dismounted from a ship, sometime from early in the last century. There's a sign at the base of the mount that proclaims the weight of the piece to be 49,000 pounds.

Next up is what is called a "First Order Fresnel Lens". It was once mounted in the Hog Island Light, a lighthouse that was torn down in 1948. It now sits in this glass enclosure on the Portsmouth seawall. The lens is one of the largest of its kind, ten feet high and weighing 2,500 pounds. I like how the light comes down through the facets.

On High Street, there's an apartment building that used to be the YMCA. Outside is a vintage fallout shelter sign.

A little further up High Street is the Hotel Dinwiddie, first opened in 1946. Maybe it's the "HOTEL" sign down the side of the building, but this always reminds me of the "Heart O' the City" dump from The Matrix.

I didn't stop to see what church this was, but I like the Gothic touches, and the oxidized copper trim is beautiful.

A project I have planned for the future is to wander through Portsmouth and take pictures of all the churches. It probably sounds odd, what with my feelings about religion, but you can hardly walk a city block in Portsmouth without tripping over a church of some sort. I think it would be nice to catalog all the different architectural styles.

I Totally Missed It

There's another news story in the title. A week or so ago, I wrote about Keith Olbermann's challenge to Sean Hannity, offering $1000 per second of waterboarding that Hannity had offered to endure. Well, the wait is over.

Last Thursday, conservative radio host Eric "Mancow" Muller submitted himself to waterboarding just for the experience. Mr. Muller is a brave man, as he nearly drowned as a child. After enduring 6 seconds of the "technique", he reluctantly agreed that it was torture, that he'd have done or said anything to make it stop.

I watched this on Countdown the other night, but I missed the part where Olbermann offered $10,000 to Mr. Muller's charity, and went on to declare Mr. Hannity unnecessary.

Bravo, Mr. Muller!

Bravo, Mr. Olbermann!

as for Mr. Hannity - Boo! Hiss!

I now return you to my irregularly scheduled blog about nothing in particular.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Because Everything's Better with Kitties

I changed my header again, to an old photo of Spot. Ain't he cute?

After not really taking photos for months, I decided to wander around my neighborhood and the environs shooting photos of whatever took my fancy. Dad's Olympus D-550 is a clunker compared to my FinePix A330, but it's a serviceable camera. It only holds 21 photos, the merest fraction of what I could cram into the Fuji, so I had to carefully select my photos.

I mostly took pictures that I thought would be of interest to my guy friends (ships, a helicopter and an Aston Martin Vantage), but I managed to take some touristy stuff, too.

There were supposed to be some photos below here, but Blogger's not liking my inline Photobucket stuff, so I'll have to see what I can do to resolve the situation and fix it later.

Movie Review: Let the Right One In

This movie was reviewed by my friend dr. morbius not too long ago, and my interest was sufficiently piqued that I dropped into my Netflix queue right away. Last week it appeared in my Instant Viewing queue on Xbox Live. This morning (yesterday, now) before bed. I broke down and watched it. A review blurb on the cover proclaims it the "Best vampire movie ever." I like vampire movies, when they're done well. This one is.

The movie is Swedish, with English subtitles. Subtitles used to bother me, but I hardly notice them after a while. This is especially true when a movie grabs me like this one did.

Oskar is a preteen boy living in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden in the early 1980s. His parents are separated, and he lives with his mother. He is bullied by his schoolmates, but he tries to make friends with Eli, the androgynous child who lives in the apartment next door. Oskar want Eli to be his girlfriend, but Eli says, "I'm not a girl."

By turns, the two become friends, after a fashion. Their relationship survives the revelation that Eli is a vampire. I'd love to tell the rest, but you'll just have to see it.

I thought the subtitles were a little choppy, but I wasn't sure if that was just the result of translation from Swedish. I've since found some criticism of the subtitling, and I guess you can add my voice. There's a lot of signage that could've used captioning. A big plot element is Oskar teaching Eli Morse code so they can "talk" through their common wall, and little of that is subtitled.

My research has turned up the info that the film is being remade for the American market. Like a lot of import remakes, it could either be brilliant, or horrible. When will American filmmakers learn to leave stuff alone?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mom Confesses to Suffocating Son

The title above is a hotlink to the news story.

There are days when I wake up feeling numb. That's not as often as it used to be, but it still happens. Then I read a new story like this one, and I get bombarded with so much emotion that I wish I could feel numb. This one fills me with anguish and rage. This woman killed her own child because she "didn't want him to grow up with no one caring about him." WTF?

Gah! I just want to wrap my fingers around her neck and... See what I'm talking about? Between news like this, the ongoing flaps about torture, DADT and the little petty crap which makes up my own day-to-day existence, I'm liable to pop. I need something to lighten my mood.

Like the E-Trade "Shankapotamus" commercial. Or the clip from The View where Whoopi called Glenn Beck a "lying sack of dog mess". Maybe the video clip from CPAC showing the bouncing Rush. I'm smiling already.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Words and Music: Another Rant

Here's another bit that's been stewing for a couple of years.

It doesn't seem like so long ago, that women were ranting about how they were referenced in pop music, especially in R & B and hip hop. There was much made of the terms "bitch" and "ho". Sometime after, women sort of reclaimed the word "bitch", and made of it a badge of honor. Witness Meredith Brooks' "I'm a Bitch". "Ho" on the other hand, never lost its cachet as a derogatory term, and rightly so. After a while, I didn't hear that one so much. Maybe it's still out there, but I haven't heard it much lately.

A couple of years ago, I started listening to pop radio again after about a decade of only paying attention to rock stations. I continued to follow certain artists, but I ignored most of the rest of it. I started to hear another word that rankled me: "shorty".

I think I first heard it in a song by Sean Paul. Then it came up in an Akon piece. Next thing I knew, I heard it everywhere, even in conversation. That word drives me to distraction. It popped up in my consciousness again the other day via a featured performer in a Lady Gaga song. AAUUGGHH!!

Knights, Out?

Back in March, I wrote a little about a story I'd seen about Knights Out, an LGBT support group for serving military officers. A First Lieutenant Dan Cho appeared on the show to announce his membership in the group, in anticipation of the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding sexual orientation.

Well, Obama hasn't repealed DADT, and there's no sign that he's planning to do so, and the Army are in the process of dismissing Lt. Cho and a Second Lieutenant Sandy Tsao. The Air Force are axing Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, a decorated 18-year veteran F-15 jock. All of these are talented, well-trained officers. I can't find the story at the moment (maybe someone will help me), but I saw a piece in the NY Times last week that indicated that the military have so lowered their recruiting standards that all of the major criminal gangs in the US now have significant toeholds in the armed forces: Crips, Bloods, Aryan Nation, MS-13, etc. The Armed Forces are willing to recruit trash, while they toss out their best and brightest? WTF?!?

Lessons Learned

Saturday I helped my friend De with her move. Because I was expecting a day of heavy lifting, I went in drab. I wore a tee shirt, a pair of baggy shorts and sneakers, without a wig, makeup, or forms. My only concessions to femininity were a pair of Mom's gold peridot studs and my girly Skechers. This was the first time I'd been out around anyone from NLTO out of my chosen gender. De says she didn't recognize me at first, but I think she was kidding. Everyone else who showed up recognized me. Sugar, De's canine visitor remembered me. Dogs are cool that way.

Anyway, Saturday went from cool and cloudy to rainy, to hot and muggy, to clear and breezy. It took us a while, but we managed to clear the apartment of most of the big furniture and several boxes of stuff. Next weekend, we get the rest of it, and hopefully by then, De will have a firmer notion of where shes going to. I've been in that Limbo of not knowing where I'm moving to, and it's not a fun place.

Sometime in the middle of things, I came to the realization that these friends of mine are some of the best I've ever had. Plus, I definitely know who to call when it's time for us to move.

I'm sure I've mentioned somewhere in this mess that I fancy myself a scale modeler. I used to love building little airplanes and tanks and other machines that sometimes caught my fancy. I did it all through late chidlhood and into my early twenties. Then I got married, and all my hobbies and other interests fled before the terrible wrath of D. In the almost six years that she's been gone, I've flirted with getting back into the hobby. I've collected scores of models, but I've only built a few, and I haven't completed any projects in three years or so. I love to chat about it, and contribute ideas to others projects, but I'm beginning to think that I've lost the mojo. I just completed a kit swap with a fellow in the UK. He sent me an airplane kit (a little one) wrapped in a bubble mailer, about the size of a magazine. Postage from that side of the pond was a little over two pounds; about five bucks. My trade kit went out in a box about the size of an Xbox, and the postage was a little over twenty-one dollars. Where's the smiley for gaping with your eyes wide? That was easily twice of what I was hoping to pay. I didn't worry about it, because I knew Nate was going out to donate plasma later, and he'd be getting some back. Alas, his protein is low, and they won't let him donate for ten more days. I don't get paid again till this time next week.

I won't be doing that again any time soon. Anyone know where a girl can make some fast cash? Besides the street corner, folks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Eye of the Beholder Art Show

I heard about this show via my friend De's blog. I used to go to art shows of some sort all the time when I was in Charlotte. I decided it was time.

I was originally going to dress up a bit for this thing. I had a Torrid corset-style top picked out, with skinny black jeans and heels. Then I thought about it. The Hershee's a pretty casual place, from what I remembered. I changed into blue jeans and a tank top, with wedge sandals. When I first got there, it seemed like I had made the "right choice". Then I got to the back of the club, where the art show was, and there were a ton of people back there in goth/punk gear. Not everyone, mind, but enough that I wouldn't have stood out.

I stood out anyway. I was easily the tallest person in the building, and I was wearing those wedges to boot.

There was some beautiful art there. I really wish I could have afforded some of it.

The only person there that I knew was the hostess, and I only know her as a friend of a friend. I did run into a whole slew of people who thought I was somebody else. That's always fun. Then I attracted the attention of this really drunk dude. He really wanted me. In a bad way. "You're a big sexy thing, aren't you? I bet you get that all the time." Ehh, not really. "Please take your hand off my breast." I suppose I should have felt offended, but I was laughing too hard.

I don't do the bar thing too often. I can only take so much cigarette smoke before I have to go, and after an hour or so, I bailed.

On the way home, I stopped into the Walmart Supercenter for some groceries. I think I frightened a few of the other shoppers, but I just smiled and kept on going. When I left, this guy came up to me, and I thought he was going to start something, but Security conveniently rolled up and asked him to shift it. Whew!

Movie Review: Star Trek

Go see this movie. That's all for this review.

No. I'm kidding. There's more to this, but I had to condense a lot. I'm not a professional reviewer in any sense of the word, and I wanted to share this movie with others without spoiling it for those who haven't seen it yet. So I won't be telling you about _______. Nor will I give out the secret of _______. I think I'm getting the hang of this. ;)

The movie begins with a bang. Never let anyone say that J.J. Abrams doesn't know how to kick off a story. You get an epic space battle, side by side with a scene that yanks the heartstrings, backed by the requisite stirring score. There are a couple of slow bits after, with character introductions and whatnot. Pretty soon, though, the story kicks into gear and runs straight to the end. There are a couple of nifty fight scenes, some more space combat, and even some romantic stuff.

I never expected to hear the music of the Beastie Boys in a Star Trek movie.

Zoe Saldana as Uhura is HOT!!! The little relationship she has with _____ is nice, too.

All of the characterizations are spot-on. The new actors manage to capture the essence of their characters without directly channeling the original cast members.

There are some great lines. One of my favorites is Karl Urban's (McCoy) from the trailer: "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence!" I've heard complaints that Urban doesn't have more to do in the movie, but I enjoyed his performance. Hell, you learn from him where the nickname "Bones" comes from.

I could go on about this all day, but I'll stop here. Like I said at the beginning: Go see this movie. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lots of Stuff to Come

It's only been two days since my last post, but it feels like it's been forever. Perhaps that's because of all that's happened in those last couple of days.

Thursday, I went to see Star Trek, so there will be review. I finished reading Charles de Lint's latest, The Mystery of Grace, and that means another review. Friday night, I went to the Eye of the Beholder art show at the Hershee Bar. Today, I spent all morning and most of the afternoon helping De move.

Somewhere in the middle, I completed the campaign in Halo 3.

Lots to talk about, and I will, but I have to work tonight, and if I don't catch a little nap in the middle here, I'll be no good to anyone.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Visit from a Friend

I'm at work, on the last of eight nights in a row. Unlike the last time I worked eight, I'm only off for two nights this time, but that's okay. I just had a visitor, and I'm feeling fine.

I don't have a lot of friends, not counting you guys. My work schedule tends to interfere with the usual sorts of social activities, and it's hard to make friends at work when who you work with changes almost weekly. That said, I have managed to make and hold onto a few friends.

Raf is a guy I used to work with here, at this job. I actually did a good chunk of his training, and if I may say so, he turned out pretty well. Raf's family, if you know what I mean, so he's always been pretty cool about me being trans. He think's I'm a cute guy, but hotter as a woman. It was mean, but I used to tease him (good-naturedly) about coming up to the hotel in the middle of the night, all dressed up, and...

Let's not talk about that.

Suffice it to say that I used to drive him nuts.

There were some shakeups in management here, and Raf was getting fed up with his home situation (gay and living with parents who are both ministers) and he requested a transfer to a sister property in North Carolina.

We've talked on the phone a couple of times since he moved, and emailed back and forth, but I wasn't sure I was ever going to see him again. Tonight, he showed up out of the blue. He'd just driven up from NC, and he was on his way to see his family, but he wanted to see me first.


Color me flattered. I came out of the kitchen and there he was, standing in the middle of the lobby. He didn't visit long, but we chatted for a few minutes, exchanged current phone numbers and hugged. He said he was going to try to come back, but I'm not holding my breath. Since I'm off the next couple of nights, I might see if we can get together sometime.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not Yet!

No, I still haven't seen the new Star Trek movie yet. I'm going to, sometime this week, I swear. It's not like I would willingly deprive myself of another geek-out session with theangrychihuahua, or anyone else as wants to go at it. After I get my check this week, I'll go see it. Unless Nate gets his check first. I'll willingly skip a couple hours of sleep for this one.

Everyone says Chris Pine is hot, but I don't think I'll ever be able to get the picture of him as "Darwin Tremor" from Smokin' Aces out of my head. If you haven't seen Smokin' Aces, it's a hot mess of a movie. Jeremy Piven plays Buddy "Aces" Israel, a Vegas show magician with ties to the Mob. Aces is reportedly the target of a mob hit. Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta are FBI agents. Ben Affleck and Peter Berg are bail bondsmen. Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson are a pair of very hot assassins. Chris Pine and two actors I don't know are the Tremor Brothers, a trio of brain-dead white supremacist hitmen (Say that three times fast) . Then there's a rogues gallery of other assassins, cops, agents, Mafiosi, etc, ad nauseam.

I thought Smokin' Aces was a decent movie until the end, when it just sort of falls apart. The movie goes along in a certain way, rushing towards a conclusion, when a background character comes to the fore and sort-of retells the story of the movie, only the focus has changed. It's the worst example of deus ex machina I've ever seen.

I've always wanted to bitch about that movie.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Glad to Be Wrong

Back in March, in a post entitled "Something Weird", I wrote about this notion I was taken with one day that I had heard that someone had died. It turned out that that person had not, in fact died, and I was relieved. Well, that person, and their somewhat better-recognized spouse, was an attendee of this past weekend's White House Correspondents' Dinner, and appeared to be alive and well.


Not an Original Idea in My Head

I had a piece all laid out. A few years ago, while working the night shift, I started contemplating the weird relationship that seems to exist between pop music and the practice of stalking. I began to compile a list of songs, some overtly hostile, others more subtly sick. I found lots of fodder for my thinking. I was all set to post it yesterday, as the inaugural bit of my off-topic rants. I just wanted a reference for a song title I was going to mention. In the course of my search, I discovered a number of articles, already written on the subject. They cite all of the songs I listed, and a few more besides. "AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!" as Charlie Brown used to say.

As an adjunct to the stalking piece, I wrote a little bit about the music of Tori Amos. I love Tori Amos. What's not to love? She's a brilliant musician, maybe a little crazy, and a redhead to boot! She originally entered that line of thought because of a song that appears on her third album, Under the Pink. The song is entitled "The Waitress". I wanted to write a serio-comedy bit about playing her music, as a man. I thought it must be deliciously funny to be able to write and play some of the stuff she's written, being a woman. Can you imagine a man singing the following:

I want to kill this waitress
She's worked here a year, longer than I
If I did it fast, you know that's an act of kindness

But I believe in peace
I believe in peace, BITCH!...

See what I mean? A male player in a piano bar would be tossed out into the street, or worse.

Alas, I can't play a piano for anything, and the dream died.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Day The World Went Away

I'd listen to the words he'd say
but in his voice I heard decay
the plastic face forced to betray
all the insides left cold and gray
there is a place that still remains
it eats the fear it eats the pain
the sweetest price he'll have to pay
the day the whole world went away

That would be November 4, 2007. The day my mother died. On this Mother's Day, I find myself missing the love of my mother as much as I did the day she died. We weren't always as close as we ought to've been, but I like to think that our last couple of years made up for the spaces inbetween.

The song above comes from the 1999 Nine Inch Nails album The Fragile. Trent Reznor apparently was apparently inspired to write it by the death of his grandmother. I heard a remix of it a couple of weeks ago in the long trailer for the upcoming movie Terminator: Salvation. I never thought about it this way before, but the "Terminator" series is something that has followed me from my pre-teen years into adulthood. I've never conceived of any parallel between myself and John Connor, but it's hard not to see one now.

If this struggle of ours is a war, I am merely a foot soldier in it, not a leader by any means. Yet I feel like my mother prepared me for it, the best way she knew how. At the end, Mom told me that she was proud of me, that she loved me. She said that in spite of things, or maybe because of them, I had turned out okay.

Today is Mothers' Day. It's supposed to be a celebration of mothers and motherhood, and here I am slogging through a weird, morbid metaphor about a movie with killer robots. Hey, I've got to write what I know.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Waterboard Me!

Regular readers of this blog have probably noted that I am a regular viewer of the MSNBC program Countdown with Keith Olbermann. It hasn't always been so. I used to just watch "straight" news, with little or no commentary. Mom used to love watching Countdown, and it was something we bonded over. I became a regular viewer after I moved back to Virginia, and I try to not miss it. It's not always great, but it's rarely boring (except when Keith is off and David Shuster hosts, but that's a story for another time).

Keith Olbermann is frequently at odds with his "rivals" at the Fox News channel. One particular issue that sticks in his craw is our government's use of torture, contrary to international law. A couple of weeks ago, Sean Hannity, a Fox News personality, "jokingly" offered himself as a subject for waterboarding. Hannity's guest made an aside about using the occasion as a money-raising event for a military charity. The following night, Olbermann made the offer of $10,000 for charity, for every second of waterboarding Hannity endures. Sounds like a good deal, no? Apparently not, as Hannity has never responded to Olbermann's offer. Each since, Keith has counted the days since Hannity's offer, and his own counter-offer. I like Keith, but I'm a little tired of this shtick.

I have a proposal: waterboard me. Don't misunderstand. I KNOW waterboarding is torture, and I have no great desire to be tortured by anyone, for any reason. This ongoing dispute is standing in the way of Mr. Olbermann giving his money to charity. I see no reason to prolong the process. If Mr. Hannity will not submit himself for charity waterboarding, I offer myself instead. I'll admit, waterboarding me lacks the cachet of doing it to someone like Mr. Hannity. I'm just a half-out transgender blogger, while Mr. Hannity is a Fox News blowhard. I also don't represent any charity organization, but there are plenty of military/veteran charities out there, and I'm sure any one of them would stand up for Mr. Olbermann's money.

EDIT: I did not discover until very early this morning that Wanda Sykes covered this in her White House Press Association Dinner monologue. Just in case anyone thinks I was trying to steal her material.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Here's Where I Go Off

I've been at this blog a little over five months now. I've tried to stick to my declared subject matter, but I occasionally wander off the path. This is a warning, to let y'all know that such detours may become a regular occurrence.

I've been holding material back for years. This is what I get for not writing for so long. I open the word-hoard, and stuff starts spilling out. There was a guest piece on Coilhouse last week about blogging. I haven't taken all of the authors ideas to heart, but he did give me some ideas.

One bit I'm working on is an essay which has been festering for years. I originally started writing it as a stand-up/performance art bit, but I never quite got 'round to learning the piano.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dressing Up: A Rant

People who know me know that I live in jeans and tee shirts. Those are my comfort clothes, and I have never grown out of them. That said, I do like to dress up. Sometimes I do it for special occasions. Other times, as this past Saturday, I do it just because I can. Maybe it's because of my own predilection for fancy dress, but I find that I am prejudiced against people who refuse to dress up when the social occasion calls for it.

In the past, when I would go out with a woman, we would only very rarely do anything that required fancy dress. We'd eat at casual restaurants, or go out to assorted nightclubs. The dress code (if indeed there was one) was casual. I'd usually wear jeans, but I always wore a button-down shirt. ALWAYS. I'm a big one for trying to coordinate outfits. A couple need not dress exactly alike, but they should at least dress complimentary to one another.

Working a hotel on the weekends, I see all kinds of people coming from bars or clubs late at night. It never ceases to amaze me how some "gentlemen" dress to go out of doors. All the time, I see women dressed to the nines: dress, heels, bling, and scent of some sort. Invariably, their male companions are wearing jeans and tee shirts. It kills me inside. Just this morning I checked in a couple who were coming from a Sunday night out. She was wearing club wear: a tight vest over a tight tank with "formal shorts". Naturally she was wearing pointy-toed pumps with stiletto heels, and she had rings on every finger, multiple ear piercings and bangles on both wrists. Her friend wore baggy jeans with a tee and a ball cap. *Sigh.* I wanted to say something, but I bit my tongue.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Writing to Write

Last night was my first time at an NLTO function since the March meeting. I had to work last night and tonight, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from coming. That's a long time to go without seeing one's brothers and sisters. We're always connected over the web, but it's nice to see people up close and personal too.

The last few meetings I've dressed casual - jeans and a top. When I came to the March meeting, I wore flip flops. That's cool, because the meetings are casual, but I like to dress up sometimes, and I haven't been out en femme in almost two months. So I wore a dress. Specifically, I wore a black, sleeveless cotton shirtdress. It's got little star-shaped buttons down the front. I wore black patent peep-toe slingbacks, because I was dressing up. They've got, 4.5" heels, but they're actually comfortable to walk in. I wouldn't want to run around in them for extended periods, but I haven't had a chance to wear them out, so I did.

Getting dressed was an adventure. I had originally planned to wear a different dress, but that didn't work out with the bra I had, so I had to make a change. I had time getting into the black dress. It's always been snug, because that's how it's cut, but when I bought it two years ago, I was wearing smaller breast forms. It took me some creative maneuvering to get the dress buttoned over my newer, larger forms. When all was said and done, I looked stacked.

I haven't worn makeup a lot lately, but I didn't have any trouble putting my face together until I was nearly finished. I was putting a second coat of mascara on my right eye when I twitched. My lashes on that side ended up in a clump over the center of my eye. I wiped all the makeup off that eye and started over. Around that time, the Kentucky Derby had started, and I wasted precious time looking at a horse race for the first time in years.

Once I was dressed and made up, I scrambled to get everything together. In addition to my usual purse-load, I had to pack a change of clothes for work, which I headed to directly from the meeting. I packed all of the essentials, but in my haste omitted a few accessories, like a pair of studs to replace the hoop earrings I was wearing out. My boss is pretty open-minded, but somehow I can't see her approving of me wearing those at work.

I am embarrassed to say that I don't remember any of the group business from the meeting. I can tell you how many were there (thirteen, including one new girl I hadn't met before, Shawna, plus the dog De is sitting). After the serious discussion was done, I chatted with Julian and Rebecca about movies. My geek streak was showing, but I don't care. I left out around 2145 so I could get on to work.

I was a little nervous about coming to the job en femme. It wasn't the first time I'd done it, but it's been a while, and I wasn't sure how the associate I was relieving would take me. I came in while he was assisting a guest, and he recognized me immediately, but didn't bat so much as an eyelash about my appearance. I immediately adjourned to the employee break room and set about returning my appearance to some semblance of masculinity. Practice does make perfect, as I was (reluctantly) back in my male guise in about fifteen minutes. *Sigh.*