Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Year Gone

As of 12/29, this blog is officially a year old. What a year!

A lot of other blogs I've been reading are loaded down with "Top" and "Best" lists, and even a few "Worsts", but I don't have any of that. We're all grown-ups here, so I'll leave opinions of good and bad to those who want to have them. My personal experience is a seemingly random jumble of good and bad. It was a good year for family and friends, but a bad year for work. I tried to move forward in my transition by coming out at work, but I was whacked on the nose with an employee handbook and forced to take two steps back. Acceptance and tolerance turned into rejection and prejudice.

This year is ending in uncertainty, but I find myself looking forward with longing to next year. Changes are coming, big and small. I've talked a little recently about moving to Florida. For a while, I dreaded the idea of moving again, away from all I know and love, but the prospect of beginning again in a (really) new place has an attraction that I wasn't prepared for. Yeah, I'd be moving away from all my friends, but what is this internet thing for, if not for maintaining contact between friends over long distances? It's not as though I'll be gone forever. For all my love of home, I am also cursed with the urge to wander. I think I'll give this thing a year. If things don't come together to my satisfaction within a year's time, I'll come back.

I Saw Avatar Last Night

You'll find no spoilers here. I've had nearly two weeks to soak up assorted reviews and criticisms, but I set aside all that as I went into the theater. Dismiss it as fluff if you want to, but I enjoyed it. I didn't get to see it in IMAX or 3D, so I think I'll try to save up for another go, but it was a veritable feast for the senses. Thus far, I think I've only dared to say this once, but it's good here: "See this movie!"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday. I'll be spending most of mine at home. I get to watch my nephews unwrap gifts (I will take pictures, I promise), then crash till sometime in the evening, when Nate has promised a magnificent feast. Then it's back to work again. I get to work all this weekend and next, so no New Year's parties for me. I'll just have to appreciate what I've got.

Anyway, I hope all of you enjoy your time today.

PS - I was going to write something about religion, based on a quote a friend posted on Facebook, but I'll wait until after the holiday. I'll leave everyone in peace for another twenty-four hours.

Monday, December 21, 2009

RIP: Brittany Murphy

I woke up last night to the news that actress Brittany Murphy had died. In truth, I hadn't seen a lot of her movies, but I always enjoyed seeing her work. She especially caught my attention a couple three years ago when she did vocals for Paul Oakenfold on the track "Faster Kill Pussycat":

I used to put on music while I was putting on my makeup. The summer of 2006, the album that most often went into the CD player was Oakenfold's A Lively Mind, and "Faster" is the first track. So I heard her voice a lot.

A little while ago, I watched her most recently-completed film, a horror picture entitled Deadline, with Thora Birch. I enjoyed it, though the ending threw me off a bit. Wikipedia says it's slated for a 2010 theatrical release, but it's already available to stream on Netflix.

Brittany, we hardly knew ye. You'll be missed.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let It Snow...Not!

The blogosphere has been alive the last couple of days with writings about the nor'easter which churned up the East Coast the last couple of days. Other places got anywhere from three inches to a couple of feet of snow. Here, we got maybe an inch, and as of 0600 this morning, it's hard to tell that it snowed. There are patches and clumps of whiteness in areas that are alee, but most of what fell yesterday appears to be gone, at least around my job. There might be some stuff sticking around when I get home, seeing as it's closer to the river. Time will tell.

I'm going to walkabout the neighborhood after I get home. I'll take my camera. I was hoping there'd be more snow for photographic purposes. We'll see.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blue Because I Can

I was off on Tuesday, and I had a little extra money left from paying the bills, so I treated myself to the works at my local nail salon: manicure, pedicure and eyebrow wax. I last got a manicure in October, and had my brows done around the same time. My last pedicure was in August, before the flap at work over my nails and my earrings.

The lady who took care of me remembered me from previous visits. She joked with me about how thick my brows had gotten. "This is your fault," she said, as she stripped away all the excess. They were running a special, so I got the "deluxe" pedicure for the same cost as the regular treatment. The pampering felt nice. I haven't worn any color on my toes since sometime in September, so I wanted something different. I picked a China Glaze color called "Rain Storm". You can see it here:

Blue isn't really seasonal, but I liked it, and it looks good on my toes. I didn't realize it at the time, but it's almost the same shade as the Na'vi people who appear in the promotions for the movie "Avatar" which opens later this week. I didn't think of it this way myself, but someone else has tried to make this film a transgender issue.

There's another blog, somewhere here on Blogger, which proposes that trans people protest this film, because it's set in the future, but doesn't depict any sort of alternative sexuality or gender expression. Uh, hello? How many other films are out there that depict a future that's more or less just like today, except that there are aliens, or robots, or whatever? There are a lot, too many for this poor blogger to count.

I believe that we have to choose our battles carefully. As i write this, President Obama's big health care reform proposal is circling the drain. ENDA is set to come out of committee sometime after the first of the year, and I'm not as confident as I'd like. If the Republicans, and Conserva-Dems and whoever else manage to torpedo the health bill, they might feel they have carte blanche to block the passage of anything else. These are my biggest concerns beyond my day-to-day life.

I look to film for an escape from everyday cares and woes. At two hours and forty minutes, "Avatar" will make a nice break. I like everything I've seen about "Avatar" impresses me: the actors, the director, the incredible computer-generated effects. Nothing can take that away from me. Not even the off-topic whining of some of my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not the Only One

See, I think I'm onto something here. I've been reading a lot of other people's blogs the last few days, and nearly everywhere I look, I see other people talking about the same things. I've read of others not feeling the community. I've read of people trying to push "others" out of "their" boxes. "You're not like me." "Stop trying to include yourself in my group because you're muddying the issue."

What can we do to fix this? Can it be fixed? Should we even try?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't Get Me Wrong

I'm afraid my post this morning might have led to people thinking that I don't like the idea of transgendered people being included in the so-called "GLBT" community. On the contrary, I do, I just haven't had much experience in the true spirit of community. Most of the time it seems like our community is rather a bunch of disparate factions who just seem to be traveling in the same direction. As Ben Franklin put it in "1776", "we must all hang together, or assuredly, we will hang separately".

In response (or rebuttal) to Ronald Gold's "No to Transgender" piece the other day on Bilerico comes this piece by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss about transphobia in the gay community:

It's nice to get some historical perspective.

Community? What Community?

I spent yesterday on another day project with De. We always have the most thought-provoking conversations. She asked me if, in my internet travels, I had encountered a spirit of "divisiveness". I have.

I hear a lot of talk about the "GLBT community", and including all under a queer umbrella, but what I see is a lot of factionalism, splinters and groups crying out to be separated from one another. Without naming names, let me cite a few examples I've seen or experienced.

When I was in college, we had a so-called "Gay-Straight Alliance" that didn't have many (or any, at one point) straight people in it. When I first started to get active in things, I met lesbians who didn't want to be "lumped in" with gay men. The support group I used to belong to in Charlotte had its dinner meetings at a popular lesbian hangout. The staff loved us, but sometimes the other customers would act like "Why are they here?" At Charlotte Pride two years ago, there were only six or seven trans people (that's including drag performers) out of the thousands who attended the festival. Earlier this year, I read a story about intersex people not wanting to be grouped with transgender people. Then there are the post-op transwomen who say they're not trans anymore, and go "stealth", and sever their ties to the community. Just yesterday a blogger on the Bilerico Project posted a nasty piece that said there's no such thing as transgender. I was going to write a nasty, underhanded rebuttal to said piece, but the editor there apologized, so I'll abide. It's a shame, though, because I had such nice things to say. ;)

Often I've felt like the "T" in GLBT (or LGBT, according to your preference) was a dangling participle. It often feels like we trans people have thrown our lot in with the gay community because no one else will take us. Don't get me wrong. I've got gay friends, and they're among the best and brightest I know. I just don't always feel like the larger community has my back. ENDA was making in-roads with Congress two years ago, and the bill lost its support when the HRC said they were willing to set aside protections for gender identity and expression if that's what it took to get protection for gays. A few months ago they reversed their position, saying they only backed a trans-inclusive bill. It's been tabled by a House subcommittee, and slated for review when Congress come back from their holiday break. With healthcare reform, the wars and all the other issues, I worry sometimes that we'll be set aside again, but I still have hope.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Workin' for a Livin'

I wrote a little about working with De on Sunday. Yesterday we rolled back out to Kathleen's to finish the work on the dock. Some of you may remember me writing about the storm that rolled through last month. During said storm, tides on the river rose so high that Kathleen's floating pier floated off of its pilings and landed on the dock. We fabricated a superstructure for raising the height of the pilings, so that future flooding won't loose the pier. It's not my usual kind of work. It's kind of ironic. I'm trans, and I got together with a trans friend to do supposedly macho work for another trans friend.

After the pier was finished, we hauled a chair from Kathleen's house to Bud's apartment in Norfolk. Bud has the cutest long-haired cat, a critter named "Monkey". Monkey was a little skittish around strangers, but I am an instinctive cat person, and we hit it off almost immediately. I forgot how therapeutic stroking a long-haired cat could be. Monkey liked it. I liked it. I had a hard time walking away. The endorphin rush was HUGE. It left me breathless.

(Yes, I realize I've made petting a cat sound like sex, but I couldn't help myself.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

That Was the Week That Was

It's been a long, long week. Long and stressful. The hotel is as slack as I have ever seen it, even going into a holiday season. The owner's a tight-fisted bastard, so they've been steadily cutting everyone's hours. A month ago, I was working forty-hour weeks. Then they cut me down to thirty-nine hours, so I couldn't get any overtime. I could live with that. Thirty-nine hours became thirty-six, then thirty-four. I came into work two nights ago and found the schedule posted for next week. They'd cut me down to three nights and twenty-two hours. There's no way I can pay my bills on those kind of hours, so the job search has begun anew. While my bosses were looking for ways to save, our business picked up next week, in a big way, so I got another night and about ten hours back, but my days with this place are numbered.

On the positive side of things, I spent Monday helping De move some furniture for some friends, and I picked up some extra cash along the way. The friends live in Norfolk over by the base, so in between loads I was treated to flybys by E-2 Hawkeyes, C-2 Greyhounds and assorted fast movers. Towards the end of the day, De dropped a closet on the back of my head, but I'm okay now.

The rest of the week is a blur to me. Work sucked, and I whiled away my down-time on the net, or reading, and slept a lot. I'm reading Tanith Lee's Piratica , which is a delightful fantasy. Bioware churned out a couple new videos promoting Mass Effect 2, which can't come out soon enough (January 26, 2010, if anyone's counting).

Saturday was my GEM meeting. I haven't been for a couple of months, and once again, there were some new faces. It's always nice to see new people. We had a potluck dinner, and Kathleen did the most awesome chicken legs.

Today I was back at Kathleen's with De working on a floating pier. There was no airshow on this outing, but the display of waterfowl was stunning. There were ducks, geese, cormorants, gulls, a pelican and a number of snowy egrets.

Now I'm watching Robin Williams on HBO and preparing for bed. I'm going back to Kathleen's tomorrow to help De finish the pier modifications.