Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rockin' out sappho style

About a week and a half ago Jenn and I made the trek down to Albany for a concert put on by the CDGLCC (Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council), and featuring solo performances by a couple of excellent (I think but am not sure lesbian) rockers; Christine Havrilla from Philadelphia, and the local singer/songwriter Erin Harkes. Having never been to any of this LGBT organization's events I was unsure what to expect (and while the TG is omitted from their title, they do actively support our causes as well).

After making a couple wrong turns in downtown Albany, we located the place and found some parking a couple blocks away. The Community Center is located in a residential area dominated by row-houses, most dating back to the 19th century. I had neglected to bring the announcement with us so I was unsure if the event was to take place at the community center or some other venue. Turns out it was held at the community center - an unassuming row house encompassing 3 floors.

Evidently we we're some of the first comers and so sat down with one of the center workers and watched a bit of Jeopardy. Then we headed for the 3rd floor and found to our amazement that many more had since come in before us. So we settled in the back row (the room only held about 25 seats, so this was still an excellent vantage point). The audience consisted almost entirely of lesbians and a pair of inconspicuous gay men. The room was interesting it itself with the walls adorned by a series of large mixed-media paintings and works incorporating wood and plastics - most with a decidedly lesbian theme.

Erin Harkes took the stage first (the stage consisted of a mic and a couple of amps on the floor, but the sound was clear and at a rock-loud but not deafening level) and belted her way through her catalog of blues-tinged rock songs - singing of jilted love and broken hearts with a passion that was refreshing. She has a powerful and distinctive voice and it really shined on a couple of her songs. She counter-balanced this with self-deprecating, humorous banter and stories with the audience between songs and she came across as a wizened veteran of constant touring and the vagaries of the local music scene. In her own right she is also an excellent guitarist and song writer (she normally has a backing band). Jenn thought she was too "doom and gloom" for her taste, but a tinge of darkness is right up my alley and I thoroughly enjoyed her set.

Christine Havrilla was the featured musician, regaling us with some excellent folk-infused alt-pop rock. She ripped right into some blistering guitar work and really good songs as well. While her voice might not be as powerful as Ms. Harkes, she is also a more polished musician and writer. Her songs were a playful mix of love and sex and adventure and relationships and she integrated her superior and catchy guitar riffs into intelligent lyrics and the song structure seamlessly. She is also a humble but very entertaining storyteller and placed many of her songs in context with a funny story or anecdote. The highlight of her set was when she asked the audience if anyone knew of the hardships of a long-distance relationship. Of course mine and Jenn's hands shot up immediately. She then launched into her sweet (and to us, inspiring) song, The Wire - which deals with the pain of distance and the joys of mutual love and support and just hearing your lover's voice, despite these difficulties.

At the end, Jenn got Christine's newest CD (she has like 5) and I got Erin's. A great show and well worth the trip and the cheap $10 tickets.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Clutch Quote #2

Could've been a swan on a glassy lake.
Could've been a gull in a clipper's wake.
Could've been a ladybug on a windchime,
but she was born a dragonfly.

In the sun she warmed her wings
and listened to the cicadas sing.

-Clutch, Dragonfly

Monday, December 18, 2006

Marquis Moment

Jenn and I engaged in some light BDSM yesterday. I had dabbled a tiny amount in this kind of activity a long time ago (and I was, of course, a completely different person both sexually and confidence-wise back then) but to tell the truth have never really understood the attraction of the whole thing. I have, though, always admired those confident enough in themselves to let go and explore such depths of sensation.

I'm not exactly sure how it started except as a joke, a dare, but then I guess I felt inspired for a new experience. I grabbed Jenn and pulled her into the bedroom along with several of our scarves and she seemed game. She then bound my hands together with a scarf (I don't have any bedposts) and went to work on me. We contemplated gagging as well, but decided against it.

It was a weird experience, mostly because I sort of took on the role of dominant masochist - I was the one wanting the pain but also the one directing the action, so to speak. I'm not certain, but my guess is that this combination may not be one used together very often - in my brief forays into the literature of these subcultures, it seems more common that the roles are more clearly delineated along dom-sadist and sub-masochist lines, but perhaps I am mistaken in that perception.

Anyways, I was loosely tied up and telling Jenn what to do and she found my sweet spot immediately. It seems my nipples are just such a soft target. As I prodded her to bite and squeeze them harder and harder I only got more turned on. Although it must be said that I think Jenn enjoyed her role as well, but probably felt some caution in not wanting to hurt me since she had no idea of my tolerance level. But for some reason I did enjoy the pain and wanted more. I was panting and so wanting her inside me (2 months more for that!!!) and had hot flashes and felt all tingly as well. Needless to say it was a mind-expanding experience.

I didn't expect this exploration to do much for me, but wow was I wrong. I doubt this will become a dominant lifestyle choice for either of us, but I think it is something we can put into regular rotation in the sexual part of our relationship. Maybe next time we'll even have some proper equipment on hand as well and see where that takes us... :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

yo-yo brain twister

The last couple weeks have been filled with major events/decisions/news on several fronts and right now I'm feeling like an emotional yo-yo: going back and forth between joy and sadness/anger, between depression and buoyant elation. Here's an update:

Things have been going swimmingly well between Jenn and I. We are coming up on our one year anniversary and I think I love her even more than when we were in the midst of our puppy love stage about 6 months ago. But the love is now deeper and more mature and stable. Like any relationship we still have issues and differences, but I am confident that regardless of those, we will both work to resolve them or accept them. In the past, this was usually a point in my relationships where doubt set in and I would (unconsciously for the most part) do things to exacerbate those differences and issues and hence give me an excuse to bail. No more. Love is once more a beautiful and exciting thing in my life. YAY! This has been and continues to be a source of strength and grounding for me and I am so grateful to have found my soulmate.

As recently as a few weeks ago I was being told by my boss that the final ok for my requested transfer to one of our college's offices in the NYC metro area (so as to be with my soulmate) was "probable." Last friday, she told me that this was no longer the case. She gave me a battery of excuses for this (office politics, the vagaries of the emotional state of higher-up managers, blah, blah, blah), , most prominent being that one of her bosses had since changed their mind on the matter and that even if the transfer was approved, it might not be permanent. I may be dense, but this clearly sounds like someone is determined that 1) the transfer not happen and or 2) I quit.

The worst part is that I feel totally raped and lied to. For 3.5 years I have busted my ass there for a far below average salary and I think contributed greatly to a large portion of the advances we have made in the library. When I made the request about 6 months ago my boss said we'll see and so I gently kept pushing the issue and eventually she broached the issue with her bosses. I had provided a cogent and logical argument for why the transfer was a win-win situation and had as recently as a couple weeks ago been told that the higher-ups were behind the idea. At the time we were short-handed and looking to hire 2 new librarians. Since then we hired those people and I did the vast majority of their training. No that I'm a bit more expendable, they conveniently decide to yank out my heart and effectively take this dream away from me.

I feel like I've been the target of an elaborate long grift - the old bait and switch: dangle some vague but sparkly goodies in front of the mark's face to distract her while they pilfer and rape her hopes and dreams. I feel betrayed. I love my job - and I have never before in my life felt that way about any job I have previously held, let alone after a couple years in. But now it seems like they only told me what I wanted to hear until I could get the new people up to speed and then all of a sudden I'm disposable. And I am fucking very good at what I do too. I could certainly excel at a different institution, but I am unsure I'll be able to duplicate the great things about this job anywhere else: variety, freedom, some creativity, flexible hours, generous benefits, and just the right mix of tech and traditional duties to keep me happy. The pay isn't great, but then again I didn't get into this profession with the expectation of becoming a millionaire. So for now I will persevere and keep pressing my case and continue to look for other jobs out there.

This has been eating at me for the last couple days, and I mean this crap is literally gnawing on my stomach lining and whipping up all kinds of muffled gurgling and creaking sounds from under my blouse. I may never understand how people can so blatantly and convincingly lie. Today I am feeling really taken advantage of (and not in a good way:-) and under appreciated. I have been a fucking overflowing volcano of disgust and anger about this until yesterday.

Yesterday I received a one page letter from my health care provider informing me (I think, since it is in medical-legalese) that my request for coverage of my upcoming surgery had been approved!!! For the full amount!!! WOW! This was not something I was expecting at all and yet here it was. So it turns out I may not have to put myself on the brink of bankruptcy and even deeper debt to pay for this procedure. I am in shock to be honest and now almost totally on cloud nine.

But, truth be told, I think I would sacrifice the insurance coverage if I could instead be with my girl on a daily basis. Certainly I haven't given up on us coming together geographically, it's just that that plan may have to be put off for a little while longer than anticipated. I have no doubt that we'll find a solution together - just wish it didn't have to take so long!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

clutch quote #1

"I'm ashamed to admit that I've been fooled by the seductions of violence,
people walking around with ugly auras,
at times I'm even tempted to seek the advice of Dr. Laura, but I ignore her.

So I take deep breath and count to ten,
ain't gonna let it get under my skin.
Take a deep breath and count to ten,
think of all the nice places that I've been"

-Clutch, "Careful With That Mic", 2001

It's my (no doubt minority) feeling that pretty much all the collected wisdom of our species can be found in one form or another within the sounds of Maryland's Clutch...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

bleeding eyed liberal

"sometimes I cry 'cause it makes my eyes look bluer,
sometimes I bleed 'cause red is a good color for me"

-"Rock n Roll Never Looked So Beautiful,"
Semi Precious Weapons

Friday, December 01, 2006

strumpeting my know how

A. sleazy a. Sl. cheap, *scuzzy, dirty, foul, *creepy, *raunchy, nasty, sick, gross, *skanky, greasy, oily, disreputable, low, contemptible.

B. slut n. 1. PROMISCUOUS WOMAN whore, prostitute, loose woman, hooker, harlot, nymphomaniac, *nympho, *floozy, *easy lay. 2. SLATTERN *bag lady, hag, frump, sloven

Self-definition (let's face it - we all need one of these): scuzzy, skanky psuedo-slattern

What,a girl can't show off her SUPERTHESAURUS every once in a while?

that's just wrong on so many levels

"Would you rather chop off your right hand or give birth?"

"Wait, would I have to keep it?"

"What, the severed hand?"

"Ya, because I'd like nothing more than to get that thing stuffed and wear it around my neck as a good luck charm, not to mention using it to scare the bejesus out of trick or treaters..."

"Wait, are we talking about the hand or the kid?"

"How about a compromise - I chop off my thumb and just give birth to a baby rabbit?"

a soldier's view of the war

Came across this eye-opening account today of the Iraq occupation and the struggle to train the Iraqi security forces and battle the insurgency. It was penned by a just-returned special forces advisor to the Iraqis. If only more people were made aware of intelligent, first-person accounts like this from the ground, they might have a different view of such idiotic ideas as occupation, "pre-emptive war" and "exporting democracy."

Go and check it out - get informed. Here are a couple excerpts to whet the appetite of those interested:

"Soldiers talk with Iraqis only from behind a gun, from a position of power
and not respect."

"massive deployments of American soldiers fighting a counterinsurgency now
hurts more than it helps. When we focus on the military solution to resolve a
social problem, we inevitably create more insurgents than we can capture or

"We airlift and sealift vacuum-sealed replicas of America to remote corners
of the world; once there, we isolate ourselves from the very people we are
trying to protect or win over. An Iraqi once told me, "How you treat us must be
like how African-Americans felt." If you're an American soldier in Iraq working
as an adviser, ask yourself this: Is the Iraqi I live and fight with not allowed
to enter any American facility? If you are a military adviser or training to be
an adviser, look around where you eat: Are the Americans on one side of the room
and the Iraqis on the other? Do you even eat with Iraqis? Do you go out of your
way to avoid eye contact and thus not greet the Iraqis you walk by? Do you try
to learn their language or follow their customs? Do you habitually expect Iraqis
to share intelligence and then not respond in kind? Do you distrust them?"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

post-surgical post-it notes to pre-self

  1. Masturbate, masturbate, masturbate!
  2. Invest in a top-quality, realistic strap-on dildo - both for post-recovery period dilation purposes and for our exploration - any recommendations people?
  3. Get a double-ended dildo for double the pleasure!
  4. Find a decent gynecologist with experience in ts physiology
  5. Ritually burn last pile of shitty male clothes
  6. Give parents and gf giants hugs for their endless support and love

As my date with the scalpel gets closer, I find myself thinking more and more about what happens after I wake up from the anesthesia and have to live my life free of the last physical vestiges of my old, unwanted self. Basically, my post-surgical life is a giant, black-hole unknown. I know I'll still have a job I enjoy for the most part, a beautiful, loving girlfriend, and loving family and friends. But that's about all I'm sure of.

The biggest question mark for me is how this final physical change will affect my sexual relationship with Jenn. Right now, while the sex is sensual and gratifying and effective, I think it's sort of in a holding pattern. Let's face it, I don't quite have the right plumbing to snugly fit into the world of lesbian sex and we sometimes find ourselves having to do work arounds or stop at the edge of some regions of exploration that just aren't physically possible. She is somewhat uncomfortable with my thingy to begin with and I am not entirely comfortable using it in our sexcapades either. For now, while we do our best to work with what we have, sometimes that aspect isn't as satisfying to me as I know it can be once I have the physical tools that my psyche knows I should have.

The problem is that I have little idea of what to expect sensation-wise. While I believe I've had a taste of extended female-like orgasms a couple times in the past, instigated by lengthy and extensive all-over body touching and kissing and sucking, I have no idea how close to vaginal orgasm they were. My past experiences were low-level prickly-intense and lasted several minutes, each time sending my body into enjoyable shutters, shakes and perma-smiles. But that experience has been hard to reproduce and I suspect but a pale shadow of the real thing.

I worry a little about the real possibility of decreased sensation down south, although it must be said that the sensation level on my outtie for the past several years or so has been low anyways. Besides, I'm not one to fret about factors I have no control over.

Jenn has expressed her fear that somehow getting a vagina will suddenly turn me into a man-hungry nympho - but I have assured her that has zero chance of coming to fruition. Of course, I didn't help my stance by wondering out loud to her one night what it might be like to bring a live dick into our bed for one night - to be shared by both of us, of course. Needless to say, those purely theoretical thoughts outside the box (lol) did not go over well with mi amor. In reality, I've done my (failed failed failed!) experimenting with men and I never want to go back there.

I think every woman about to undergo this surgery goes through a similar process of soul searching. We've jumped through endless legal and medical hoops and survived ostracization and ridicule and the all-encompassing fears of rejection and now, at the very precipice of final closure, we find out that this final step isn't really a final step at all. There is still a wide, wondrous world out there to explore and experience and live free from the confines of society's gender-bondage...

Monday, November 27, 2006

crimson and clover

Jenn and I took a trip back to the 80's (which she only barely remembers being but a child back then) last saturday when we went and saw Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Northern Lights in Clifton Park, NY. I can tell you, Joan's even hotter (and far more lez) these days than when in her 80's prime or even during her shaved head, blossoming lesbian/DJ era a few years back (although I thought that look was very hot as well). And she can still rock to boot.
Jenn and I arrived around door opening time, but since there was a line a mile long, we stayed in the car and decided to wait it out occupying ourselves with scream-alongs to Hedwig, Tegan and Sara, and Bright Eyes songs. An hour later the line had only grown in size, so we headed off to McDonalds to pee and then the gas station because I wanted a 40oz. Back at the show, the line was only inching along so we stayed long enough for me to suck down my 24 oz can of molson (hey - what can I say - this is the 'burbs - all they had were these wimpy cans of beer!).

Turns out the line we worked so hard to avoid was for those who hadn't yet purchased tickets; ours were ordered online days prior and waiting at will call (.e., the other door) and so after standing in that line for 10 min we had to go in the other door where there was no line at all! D'oh!

We missed a good portion of the warmup band, which was a good thing, because they sucked for the most part, especially the (albeit cute) lead singer - she was only a couple more off notes from canine melodies. The rest of that band was decent, once they got fired up. The crowd was a strange mix of balding men and preppy, greying couples and younger punk elements - for once, I didn't feel so old! By the time JJ&BH came on we had positioned ourselves stage right about 6 people deep, with a decent view, although a jackass in front of Jenn insisted on wearing his hoodie throughout the performance.

Anyways, Joan rocked the house, to spout a too-oft used cliche one more time; rolling through a good mix of her classic tunes (I Love Rock n'Roll, Crimson and Clover, Cherry Bomb) and stuff from her new album. I especially liked the tune "Androgynous" which playfully (and earnestly in my view) explores gender and transgender alike. The show had a real punk feel to it, even during her more traditional rock tunes, and her leather and latex outfit (she looked alot like a slightly older Shane ala season one) and backing tattoo-encrusted, spike-haired band helped play up that image. The Blackhearts rocked as well - the guitar player especially. It helped that JJ seemed to stare right at Jenn and I (perhaps the only outwardly obvious non-traditional/lesbian couple out in the crowd) during a lot of her more raunchy lines all through the show. I guess she has that knack for making each audience member feel special. It worked on me...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ultimate showdown

Check this out - amazingly funny animated video with a catchy tune:
The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny:

warning: this is a bit disturbing and violent...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

mapping the medical necessity minefield

First, some definitions, noting that there are widely divergent definitions for all these terms and none are perfect or uncontaminated by the biases of the medical establishment. I picked those I most agreed with:

  • Sex: either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures.(Merriam-Webster)
  • Gender: the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex. (Merriam-Webster)
  • Gender Role: A set of behavior patterns, attitudes, and personality characteristics stereotypically perceived as masculine or feminine within a culture. (Dictionary of Psychology, Oxford)
  • Gender Identity:A sense of awareness, usually beginning in infancy, continuing throughout childhood, and reaching maturity in adolescence, of being male or female or somewhere between.
  • Gender Identity Disorder: A mental disorder characterized by a strong and persistent identification with the opposite sex, coupled with persistent discomfort with one's own sex or gender role, causing significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. (Dictionary of Psychology, Oxford)
  • Medical Necessity: Services/procedures which are approved in accordance with recognized medical standards as effective and appropriate and are essential to retard, reduce or eliminate an impairment. (Dictionary of Psychology, Oxford)

Imagine for a moment the image of a little boy, deformed from birth, burdened by twisted limbs and looking forward only to a lifetime of social rejection and revulsion. Or consider a boy whose face is ravaged by burns, subjected to the full force of society's skin-deep judgements. Fortunately, modern medical science can often offer these children a remedy against that dour future through complicated and often expensive surgery. Would you think that surgery "medically necessary?" What insurance company would turn down covering the costs of the procedure for such an innocent child? What kind of monster would deny that child the right to live peacefully and happily for the sake of saving a little money? The answer is not many at all (but the fact that I can't say "none" speaks to the fatal flaws in our health care system).

Now imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning and your physical body had been switched to the opposite sex you had all your life, but your mind was still of that original sex. A man suddenly forced to live with a female body against his will, indeed, against his very core idea of self. What if there were a surgery, expensive but available, that could fix this dissonance between mind and body and restore the proper bodily sex organs to that man? Most likely, insurance companies would consider this surgery "medically necessary" as well and cover it's cost to the unsuspecting victim, right? What insurance company would deny a man the right to get his proper body back? The answer is again not many at all.

Finally, imagine a little girl, deformed from birth, cursed with a "boy's" physical body - one totally at odds with her self-image. Forced to live life in a gender completely incongruous with her desires and personality because we as a society do not check in any way for this type of disorder in our children. So that girl is forced to live out society's strict "male" gender role and scared to death of the consequences of revealing her true self despite the internal pain, shame and turmoil it causes. Fortunately, it is possible for this girl to overcome these massive cultural obstacles and come to embrace her true gender. And there is a (fairly expensive) treatment for this disconnect between mind and body as well. What insurance company would deny such a girl the right to correct this debilitating physical defect? The answer, history shows us, is almost always the same: complete coverage denial...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Quote of the week: right wing conservatives

"Indecisive and deaf or dumb
tongue-dried in the sun
nervous speech and your mental health
drunk on every detail
loosened up from the moral slide
as though there's nothing to hide
it corresponds with your secret view
and never weighs upon you"

Helmet, "Speechless" [1994]

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Face it: we Americans are the real bad guys

Oh yes we are! Here is yet more evidence that we are the true bad guys in this world. Some stats to prove my point:
  • Of the more than $17 BILLION worth of arms sales to the developing world, the U.S. was by far the top supplier, selling $8.1 billion in 2005 (45.8%, Russia was second at15%) to such shining examples of stability and democracy as Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, Chad, Eqypt, Colombia and Angola. 18 of the 25 developing countries we supply weapons to are involved in an ongoing war!
  • Last month at the U.N., the U.S. was the only country (out 0f 166) to vote against a proposition to study the possibility of a new treaty to regulate the sale of conventional weapons.
  • The U.S. is only one of a small handful of countries to reject the 1997 Landmine Ban Treaty (151 countries have signed it) [est. # of reported landmine casualties in 2005: 15-20,000; there are estimated to be 60-85 million unexploded landmines around the world].
  • The U.S. was the first major power to unilaterally withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
  • The U.S. (under Bush) opposes proposed provisions in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that would provide inspections and verification to ban production of nuclear weaons material. We have also rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. [we wonder why other countries turn up their noses at as when we demand they get rid of their nuclear arsenals - fuck, we are dumbass mutherfuckers, ain't we?]
  • The U.S. and Somalia were the only 2 countries not to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which tasks countries with protecting and ensuring the rights of children.
  • The U.S. is among a small handful of countries (incl. Iran and Sudan) that has not ratified the Convention on Discrimination against Women.
  • We are one of the few countries to reject the Kyoto Protocol on Gobal Warming (and we are by far the biggest polluter and greenhouse gas producer)

If that isn't enough proof for you, my guess is that nothing will change your mind and that you'd best just go back to watching Fox News. We can however, change our bad guys statusd by voting in a new (and sane) president in 2008 and demanding that our government work openly, peacefully, collaboratively, and transparently.

For more information about these statistics:

Friday, November 10, 2006

lost in the ethernet

I just spent the last hour+ writing up what I thought was a fairly inciteful and eloquent dissection and analysis of the temper-tinged mood funk I've been immersed in the last few days. As is my wont, it was a lengthy entry, but illuminating (at least for me) and self-medicinal. I had dug deep into my fears and the cathartic action of exposing some of these fears and worries was helping alleviate them.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fatefully, if you like), as I finished proofing said essay and was about to hit the little submit button in my blog system, my brand new work-supplied laptop burped out a light click and inexplicably powered down...

All lost...
Temper back....

the missing constant

Just a sloppy little poem I put together thinking of mi amour this morning...we haven't seen each other in almost 2 excruciatingly long weeks and 1 week more to go...

the clutter horn sounds and I scramble to hold you
a constant assault on my senses
from space and time-warped worries uncontrolled
this unsolved equation controls me

so my free dreams struggle to summon you
and your fireplace warm embrace
that fanciful place with your arms gently around me,
and your bonny eyes fixed upon me
and we slumber and laugh and sweat and live
comfy and cozy beneath a soothing, swaying heat

this reverie-desire so graceful, so perfectly rounded
so perfectly desired
that I break sound and bend light and kill time
and wiggle my way through this wormhole of worries
to get to you, to be the woman I know I can be

only with you

hoping you patiently wait on the other side
until gravity and the laws of relativity
and the absolute truth that is us, come together

Love you, miss you, love you more,

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

casting the first, I mean ballot

Our hero awakened with a start to the blaring sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers blasting from her radio alarm. She showered, walked the pooch, and hastily donned her corset, crinolines, bell-shaped skirt, lace up boots, gloves and bonnet in preparation for casting a vote in the local magisterial races. The colonial governor was in a heated race for one of those revolutionary rebels who were calling for democracy and freedom from tyranny and our protagonist favored the plucky rebel simply because he wasn't quite as corrupt or venile as his Tory opponent.

That's how I felt once I opened that curtain at 6:30 am to discover that, just like 2 years ago, our precinct was still using voting machinery that was invented in the 19th century! Yes, the venerable pull-lever system was being employed, and it's set-up was jury-rigged in all kinds of creative ways. Not only we the levers not correctly aligned with the offices listed at the top, but the Republican candidate was listed first in every instance. Adding to the confusion was the bizarre practice of the same candidate being listed 2 or 3 times for the same race. When I chose the independent candidate, was that somehow counted differently than if I had chosen the same name under the Democratic moniker above it? I wish I had the foresight to bring my camera and take a picture of that monstrosity, but maybe these pics will give those of you whose counties have moved on to the advanced (but probably not more accurate) technologies of punch cards and beyond:

It looks so clean and clear cut in the idealized picture above, doesn't it? I guess those robber barons at least knew how to run a smoothly fixed election while at least still giving the appearance of logical ballot organization. As it was, I think I was able to successfully choose from 3 Green candidates from among the 9 races (the Green candidates were listed 7th from the top, below even several parties (Independence, Conservative, Working Families) that were filled with duplicate repub or dem names). I stuck with the dems for the rest. This picture is more like what our machine looked like - dozens of levers placed mere centimeters apart and having no correlation to the labels denoting which race it was for above them:

My only consolation was that I got to the polls early and so had no wait at all. I did not have to show ID, but just had to sign a book and then vote. I went to all the trouble of bringing my passport and name change document just in case some bastard repub poll watcher challenged me. All told, it took about 5 minutes, counting the time it took me to park, walk in, sign in, decipher the machine setup and carefully pull what I thought were the correct levers. I can only hope my votes were recorded accurately.

Now we wait and see if all the fears (which I share) about widespread voter suppression and easily tampered with electronic machines turns the probable (dems winning at least the house and probably also the senate) into the impossible (the repubs holding on to both houses of congress). Ahhhh, ain't one-party autocracy, errr, I mean democracy a peach?

Monday, November 06, 2006

All my girlfriends are turning into candarian demons

She finally delivered! - here are a couple EVIL pics that we took just before heading off to the swanky Halloween party last week:

Here is your intrepid zombie crack whore giving Columbia the kiss of death:

Smiles all around - we both get turned on by the scent of blood...

Here I am channeling the pure energy of "the goofiest smile in the world" - perhaps because Jenn herself has turned into an eyeless Candarian Demon and is now giving me the kiss of eternal irislessness:
Yes indeed, Satan was a lesbian...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

On the Shortbus to Sin City (October Travelogue)

Ah no, unfortunately, I have not yet moved down to NYC, although I do hope to be down there permanently by the spring. But I do get down thataway once or twice a month to see mi amour, so here is a little catalog of events we've attended/participated in recently:

  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch shadowcast: last show we put on (yep, I am now officially part of the performing shadowcast troupe, The Midnight Checkout Queens) was in September and the next one is slated for the first weekend in December. It's a total blast to see and even better to participate in! Hedwig rules the fucking universe!

  • Shortbus: John Cameron Mitchell's new movie is simply majestic. It's heartfelt and earnest and smart and funny and revolutionary all at the same time. And the fact that it's frank and honest depictions of sex and relationships piss off the tight-assed religious wing-nuts puts it in even higher regard in my eyes.

  • Evil Dead: The Musical: simply the funniest, bloodiest musical I have ever witnessed! My trusty sidekick and beautiful love, The Culinary Assassin, despite her morbid moniker is more of a theater traditionalist and did not enjoy it as much as me. She hadn't seen the movies, so that didn't help things and was made worse when a spout of blood was aimed directly at her during one scene. I got a good amount of gore on me as well. It;s a sign of the superior quality of a play when they hand out ponchos to those of us sitting in the "splash zone" of the 1st 3 rows. It goes without saying that I refused such a shameful shield against truly experiencing the extravaganza...

  • Green-Wood Cemetery - Jenn and I visited this historic Brooklyn cemetery and park in search of the soul of Leonard Bernstein. Instead, we found the goddess Minerva, and ancient pyramid, and the grave of vice-president and killer of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr. It was weird being amongst all these decaying but still grandiose tombstones and crypts and yet still see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance. We took lots of pics, which you can see on The Assassin link above and even more here on my Flickr page.

  • Halloween parties: Jenn went as the luxurious transvestite alien Columbia from Rocky Horror and I went as either a dead crack whore or else a dead Courtney Love - take your pick. The party was at the luxurious studio of a friend of one of her roommates, a new transplant from Buffalo who obviously has some moola. They had access to a roof with a sublime view of the city. It was too cold to stay up there long, but I'd be living up there come summer if that was my place. Jenn and I were the most extravagantly costumed and were the recipients of many compliments on those as well as our usual sickingly lovey-dovey way of acting in public. I'd post some pics, but my photographer/gf has yet to send me any we took with her camera. We also held a costume party up here on Tuesday at The Bridge, the local LGBT community center I'm involved with. It was lots of fun, and I do have a pic from that showing myself and the center's director, Andrea:

  • Cabaret Macabre: I was really excited about this dinner theater and cabaret/dance event, but was mostly let down. The meal was pedestrian, the drinks were outrageously priced ($24 for a glass of cheap chardonnay and a cosmo?!!!) and the venue was horribly arranged. It was sit-down, and so we couldn't see anything below the waist of the performers. From what I could tell the dancers were excellent, but this seating arrangement was a poor excuse for seeing an artistic performance. It wasn't helped by the woman sitting in front of us who insisted on wearing this ridiculously tall white furry hat with ears on it! If I didn't have on my ankle-length hobble-skirt that only allows half steps when walking, I would have shoved my motorcycle boot up her ass...

  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch - stage production! - this was my first ever time seeing the original stage version rather than the movie version. It featured the wonderfully talented (and based on what I saw in the spandex tights scenes, hung) David Colbert as Hedwig/Tommy Gnosis and the equally great Petra as Yitzhak). We had front row, aisle seats for the show and it was spectacular. The venue was small and intimate and so we got to experience every little nuance of the virtually flawless performances and music. It should also be mentioned that Mr. Colbert also served as the original Hedwig in the first ever performance of the Midnight Checkout Queens. Needless to say, this show more than made up for the disappointment of the previous night's cabaret fiasco. The show was on monday night so afterwards I had to head back up to Saratoga, get 3 fitful hours of sleep at my parents and then head back to work.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

a radical idea?

I came across an interesting article today that highlighted a radical idea. In the current climate, this might be said of any idea dealing with race that goes against either of the two opposing philosophical stances on this sensitive issue, usually represented as liberal versus conservative.

Let me just state here clearly that I don't take all the ideas in the quotes below as fact, but at the same time I cannot dismiss them, nor can I devalue their impact in bringing a fresh perspective for me to the often unmoving beliefs on either side of polarizing issues like affirmative action and economic justice. If you follow the link below, the reporter goes on to point out several and glaring shortcomings of this point of view. But I don't think that detracts from the value of some parts of these arguments. I can say with certainty that the quotes below and the article in general from Walter Benn Michaels, struck some kind of chord in me. Parts of what he says not only shook the foundations of some views about race, justice and society that I unthinkingly accepted (and that I think are widely accepted as fact by most in this country), but more importantly they made me think about this issue in a new light.

The basic premise, from what I can understand of it, is that the issues and arguments surrounding racial diversity are in some ways nothing more than an excuse for those with inherited economic (class) advantages to maintain those advantages and claim a moral high ground because they support some form of "diversity." In fact, issues of racial inequality help divert attention away from the much more powerful and wider issue , and that is economic inequality. I'll let the quotes explain more:
“'The vision that the primary problems of America are intolerance—sexism, racism—is completely compatible with the view that if we could just get rid of that intolerance...we’d be living in a fundamentally just society.' That has not happened...wages and salaries (which include soaring executive paychecks) took the smallest share of national income since records started in 1929, and corporate profits took the largest share since 1950."

"The obligation of diversity is to be nice to each other, Michaels writes, but the obligation of equality is to give up some money. Given the choice, diversity has the advantage of appearing to be morally righteous while at the same time preserving economic self-interest."

"everyone is told that a college education is the key to success. Admitting a diverse student body, especially for the most elite schools, helps to create the impression that upper middle-class and rich students have won this educational ticket to higher incomes fairly, not because they come from families that are well off. "

"'Race-based affirmative action … is a kind of collective bribe rich people pay themselves for ignoring economic inequality.' If class-based affirmative action replaced racial affirmative action at Harvard, and its student body reflected the country’s income distribution, he calculates that more than half the students would be gone, most of them rich and white."

So, read the rest of the article - make up your own mind - post your feedback here (but please don't blame me if just talking about this issue offends you).

from: In These Times, Oct. 2006, pp.29-31 (online version here:

Peace always,

Friday, October 13, 2006

this is how twisted my (il-)logic can be

Big news!!! My surgery date is set - January 22nd. I'll pass over for now all the whirlwind of emotions that came with the realization that this is truly going to happen and soon. Instead, I took a look at the patron saints of that particular day of the year and what they are patron saints of - curious if they could tell me something about the outcome of that eventful date:
  • Anastasius the Persian: protects against headaches (i.e., complications? sehr gut!)
  • Blaesilla: patron saint of brides and widows (hmmm...minus?)
  • Dominic of Sora: protects against snakes and fever (that may come in handy)
  • Laura Vicuna: patron saint of martyrs (not sure I like the sound of that one...)
  • Vincent of Saragossa: patron saint of wine and vinegar makers (sheesh, they'll hand these awards out for anything...)

So I take this in sum as a break even omen. Perhaps a look at how these holy figures died might shed some light on things:

  • Anastasius the Persian: strangled and beheaded (ummm, not a good start.....)
  • Blaesilla: fever (at least it wasn't violent)
  • Dominic of Sora: natural causes (yes!!!)
  • Laura Vicuna: beaten and abused by her step-father - died at the age of 13 (dammit!)
  • Vincent of Saragossa: imprisoned, tortured and burned on a gridiron (ouch)

Luckily I don't believe in such things. This little exercise in pseudo-logic-astrology has effectively strengthened even further my utter disregard for superstition and for astrology. If anyone wishes to take advantage of my fall from psuedo-scientific grace, I have a basket full of rabbit's feet, astrological charts, loadstones, salt shakers and an unwashed t-shirt once spit upon by the esteemed dr. james dobson up for grabs...

metaphorical bungee jump

I'm feeling guilty alot these days. My moods, exacerbated (or as I like to term it: set free ) by the hormonal wars going on inside my body, swing to and fro and up and down wildly. And this is not only for all the good fortune and positive turns my gender and relationship journeys have taken recently and the fact that the same can't be said for many of my fellow trans-sisters and brothers and fellow humans. I also feel guilty because the world around us seems so thoroughly fucked and full of hate and conflict and greed and violence and yet I still feel exceedingly happy and content.

It also seems that the more perceived good that comes into my life, the more stress I feel about losing that good; the more I worry about it all crumbling away and revealing the naked and shivering little girl I feel like in my most vulnerable and fearful moments.

Certainly the fact that I'm doing my tiny little part to further the cause of some of my fellow down-trodden TLGBQ brethren through our wonderful and burgeoning local community center helps. But I keep asking myself how my own self-contentment can so easily co-exist with my exceedingly pessimistic outlook on the future of our way of life, our nation and the ideals it once stood for, and the world as a whole:
  • Our weapons keep getting bigger and more destructive and more widespread.
  • Our apathy and feelings of powerlessness as citizens of a democracy keeps growing.
  • The mainstreaming of increasingly radical, militant and elitist christian bigotry and messianistic world views continues unabated.
  • Acceptance of shameless greed and open corruption into all aspects of society grows.
  • And all the while our life-sustaining natural resources and delicately balanced and interated ecosystems continue to be exploited, polluted and destroyed by this short-sighted greed and spreading conflict.

In the end I guess what I'll continue to do is what I consider myself reasonbly good at (although I have no illusions about the reach of my communications): getting the word out, getting people talking, and pointing out the inconsistencies and falsehoods of the status quo. And hopefully some of you will continue to point out my own considerable shortcomings. Maybe I, WE! can even contribute to some real solutions to these seemingly intractable issues.

But I refuse to carry the whole weight of the world on my shoulders as I once did when I thought about these intertwined and "larger than our own individual lives" issues. I figure I can only deal honestly with and contribute positive solutions and outcomes toward these wider problems if I can first do the same for my own smaller but no less important personal issues. Afterall, our sense of self as well as our sense of community/nation/species will always be a work in progress and perhaps having that recurring and almost ungraspable guilt, as long as I don't let it take control of my life, serves the purpose of reminding me that I'm not alone in this struggle to live life sustainably, peacefully, and to the fullest.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The importance of saying nothing

I just finished listening to our Supreme Leader give an hour-long + news conference on NPR. I liked listening to it on the radio as opposed to television because this medium allows you to concentrate on the actual words spoken. I think that media spectacle and all those similar put on by current and recent government officials serves to highlight a major problem with the current state of our so-called democracy:

Politicians and other civic leaders have perfected the art of saying absolutely nothing of consequence while still managing to talk profusely for lengthy periods of time and still sound to the lazy listener like they are knowledgeable. No one is better at this than Bush. In fact, this is accepted by the public and so is the only form of communication used. No one in the media seems to have the guts to publicly pose tough questions to this president nor point out his most glaring contradictory statements. Bush and his fellow politicians (elephant and donkey alike) do this through a small set of established and brutally effective tools - all those below are taken from the transcript of Bush's conference today:

Generic and insincere talking points and mislabels so general or circular in logic and so vague as to appear little more than rohrschach blotches to the public and repeated ad nauseum:

  1. Iraq's "unity government"
  2. "These are tough times in Iraq"
  3. "Our strategic goal is a country which can defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself"
  4. "making sure the young democracy of Lebanon is able to fend off the extremists and radicals that want to crater that democracy"
  5. "the most solemn duty of the American president, in government, is to protect this country from harm"
  6. "interrogate high-valued detainees"
  7. "Iraq is a part of the war on terror"
  8. "cut and run"
  9. "My attitude is, don't do what you're doing if it's not working; change"

Constant fear mongering:

  1. "brutal killers"
  2. "the stakes are high"
  3. "they want to plot and plan and attack us again"
  4. "a nuclear weapon in the hands of a sworn enemy of the United States"
  5. "the Democrats will raise taxes"
  6. "The American people know that our biggest job is to protect this country from further attack"
  7. "we must take a threat seriously and defeat an enemy overseas so we don't have to face them here"
  8. " if we were to leave early, before the job is done, then the enemy will follow us here"
  9. "If we were to leave before the job is done, the enemy's coming after us"
  10. "it's a war"

Outright distortions and lies and denials:

  1. "restraining spending in Washington"
  2. "we will work with the United Nations"
  3. "this report is one -- they put it out before [estmating Iraqi deaths at 600,000). It was pretty well -- the methodology is pretty well discredited"
  4. "I obviously look at all options, all the time"
  5. "we care about how people live, we care about people starving, we care about the fact that there are large concentration camps"
  6. On Abu Ghraib: "Now the world is seeing that we've held those to account who did this"

Attributing behavior to the enemy that is more applicable to themselves:

  1. "There are extreme elements that use religion to achieve objectives"
  2. "it's a struggle between extremists and radicals and people of moderation who want to simply live a peaceful life"
  3. "they really don't care what other countries think, which leads to further isolation"

Hopefully we'll have these clowns out of office and replaced by slightly less evil and corrupt buffoons soon...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Green eggs and (vegetarian) ham

I left out the traditional "and ham" part because I gave up beef and pork about 2 months ago and it's going great - I really don't miss them, except bacon. Poultry and fish, however, remain on my ok list and may be that way forever - I love chicken and tuna way too much to survive without them.

Anyways, this post isn't about my burgeoning semi-vegetative, er, I mean vegetarian state, or even St. Patty's day, but rather about my recent abandonment of the Democratic party. Yes - I just sent in my new registration and changed my official party affiliation to the Green Party ( and Of course, because our rigged, two-party system of government has enormous barriers to third parties, I had to pencil in Green Party in the "OTHER" party box listing.

I have totally given up on the Democrats. They are, with few exceptions, spineless, corrupt, corporate-beholden, liars; barely distinguishable from those evil, evil Republicans. So I threw in the towel! Time to get involved in the grassroots and cast my votes based on my beliefs in peace and protecting the environment and universal health care and equal rights for all, rather than on who might have the best shot at beating the Republicans.

Of course, there will follow the usual litany of complaints from the peanut gallery that such Green attitudes are what lost Gore the election in 2000 and that I'm just "throwing away my vote." But to those people - I say fuck you and the defeatist horse you rode in on! Your view is as short-sighted as Mr. Magoo in a snowstorm - this corrupt 2-party system has been a major contributor to where we are as a country now. Do you like where we are now? This system feeds the attitude that our representatives can take our support for granted and thus increases their separation from reality and the values of their constituents, and increases the power of money in politics.

To take this point one step further - our government is dominated by white, male, christian millionaires - do ya think they have any desire whatsoever to change the stats quo that has so conveniently placed them at the top of the shallow, materialistic wealth heap?. If you answered yes, or even maybe, Some stats:

  • women in congress: 15% (women making up 52% of the population + the global average parliamentary representation by women is 16.3%, including 3rd world countries! Iraq, Afghanistan, Ecuador, Rwanda, and 64 other nations all have higher percentages of female representatives!)
  • white men in congress: 80% (whites make up a whopping 97% of the Senate!)
  • Openly gay members: 0.6% (zero in the Senate, 3 in the House)
  • Non-religious or religiously unspecified members: less than 1% (compared to 15% nationally, and there isn't a professed atheist or agnostic among this tiny group)
More stats:

So I say revolution. It may be a slow-moving turtle of a movement, but we need to change how things are done as well as remove the dominance of money, and I think challenging the 2-party monopoly on power is the only way to do that. Just like global warming, we need to act now, despite the fact that on the surface things may seem to be ok to some.
[Dana steps down from her soapbox, drops her megaphone, screams for one minute exactly at the top of her lungs, and walks off stage left...]

Friday, September 15, 2006

shake hands with the new, slower me

Two recent events have forced me to reconsider my relationship with my automobile and the roads I travel. Previously, I had a penchant for hurtling my trusty silver one ton Prism down any country byway around here at unsafe, and to some of my passengers - upsetting, speeds. I figured this was allayed at least a little by the ear-piercing volumes of my stereo as it blasted out the varied melodies of the masters of metal, punk, blues and indie as well as the minutes I often shaved off drive times, although I may have miscalculated in that slightly, I'm not sure. I mean, I had shed any vestiges of true road rage when I left Baltimore years ago, but the need for speed stayed with me.

By the way, I should probably preface this by saying that one of my nicknames in high school and college was "A.J." - after the race car driver, A.J. Foyt (I don't know a lick about who he is beyond that I just looked him up in Wikipedia and that states "considered by many as the greatest American race care driver of all time"). My other nickname was "crazy legs" but that is a topic for another day. The AJ moniker was applied to me due to the fact that despite being stone sober, I managed to do all the following in about 5 seconds:
  • flip and total my parents car
  • land upside down
  • with my girlfriend in the passenger seat
  • both of us not wearing seatbelts but neither of us got a scratch
  • not destroy the stereo (Rush's "2112" was still playing on the tape deck as we staggered out through the still functional doors - man it's hard opening a car door when you're upside down!)
  • all on the way to the prom
  • and me without a license (I only had a drivers permit at the time).

Needless to say, that formative introduction to the world of the automobile (as well as proms) scarred me for years to come and I drove like a 90 year old in a cadillac with cataracts for a while after that. It took me a full decade and a couple years of urban driving to overcome that timidity and achieve the kind of reckless speed freak abandon that stuck with me until just a week ago.

But anyways, I usually tried to keep things within 15 miles of the posted limit to be safe but had retained my city-bred impatience with drivers who actually take the time to slow down considerably before making a turn and who are going slow enough to eschew the need to cut the corner of the oncoming lane to do so.

So at this point we come back to almost the present - a week ago. My car had been progressively making louder and more alarming sounds for a couple weeks (loud enough even to be heard above the din of music that always envelops the interior) and I finally was taking it to my mechanic for a look see. Well, for once, I was in no hurry and was not driving particularly fast, about 10 above the 55 limit. However, I was in the process of changing cd's in my stereo and I must have hit the accelerator a little. Just at that moment a state trooper happens to be approaching me from the other direction. He passes and quickly u-turns and pulls me over. How the hell he radared me from the opposite direction, I'll never know (I'm sure it's possible, but perhaps he didn't, just said he did!). Anyways, he said he had me doing 70 and took all my documents back to his vehicle after I explained that the name on the registration was indeed me, just reflected my pre-legal change name. Well I got lucky folks. He must have taken pity on me and he came back and said he would just cite me for an obscured license plate. He left with a stern warning to "slow the fuck down!" WHEW - dodged a big goddamn bullet there!!!

That incident alone may not have been enough to convince me to change my ways, but my mechanic then informed me I needed 4 new tires and that at least my right side wheel bearings needed to be replaced. Even though he said it was just normal wear and tear, I suspect that my driving habits may have played a part in hastening that wear. About $700 later I decided I need to dry out - navigation-wise.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think I have the capacity to turn into that agonizingly laggard grandpa with the golfer's beanie and the feather foot, but I will slow down to more reasonable speeds and hopefully live a little longer and save my passengers a little stress. Who says people can't change, right? :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

new name, new perspective

I decided on sort of a whim to rename this blog. No real reason beyond a slowly growing desire to move away from having the TG label define who I am. To paraphrase and expand on the dorky but sometimes wise Gabbie from the excellent Sundance documentary series, "Transgeneration" (

Being labelled "trans" or TG or transsexual does not in any way encompass who I am - that is just an aspect of the whole me, no more or less important than that I am lesbian or atheist or of Polish-Irish ancestry or the hundreds of other slices that make up this pie called Dana. I do not shy from the TG part of me, but at the same time I refuse to let people define who I am by that single, and usually misunderstood part.


transition update

This summer has been hectic (and fun), so I haven't had many opportunities to write in this blog. Hopefully I can keep creating entries going forward. Here's a little progress report on my transition plans:

  1. Had my consult with Dr. Brassard in Montreal last month - very informative and solidified my decision to go to him. I will be able to actually schedule a date for surgery next week after I send them my first letter of recommendation. YAY!
  2. Will have my first and second letters of recommendation in hand next week! Hope to schedule the date for late January 2007.
  3. My struggles with my eating habits continues, although I think I am making some prgress with the help of my awesome girlfriend who is a dietitian and a vegetarian. I gave up red meats and pork (still eat chicken and fish) and try to eat less junk food now.
  4. My laser sessions finished a few months ago and I love the result, although after surgery I will need to get some electrolysis to get rid of a few straggler hairs...
  5. My breast development while still ongoing, seems to have slowed down and I fear I may not achieve my goal of a B cup (I am fully an A cup now). I can live with this though, especially since it often gives me the option of forgoing a bra!

On a related, general life issues note:

  • I interviewed for a job in NYC and was offered the job, but declined it as it wasn't the kind of work I wanted to do. But just knowing that I can go out there and perform and get a job helps my confidence immensly.
  • I also recently got a raise at work, so things are looking up. I put in a request to be transferred to our NYC center and my immediate boss approves of it, but we need to get permission from her bosses so I'm not toally confident this will go through just yet.
  • My girlfriend and I have been going out for 7 months now and things couldn't be better - I have never, ever felt this strongly about someone!
  • Got to see my niece and her family (my brother and sister-in-law) and lots of other relatives for a whole week last month. Was fantastic - she has grown so much (1 year old now) and her smile lights up the room.
  • I also had a little mini melt-down at the end of being cooped up with all these relatives in our cramped summer camp in the Adirondacks. The constant misuse of pronouns and my name (everyone tried, but since most only see me occassionally, they were not used to it) and feeling sort of relegated to the side of the whole extended family interaction thing got to me on the last day and I freaked out a little. I told everyone I was sick and just sat moping for a half-day until I came out of it. I think I need to find a way to approach my family with these issues without seeming like an overly-sensitive crybaby - it cuts deeply when the prejudice comes so subtley and unconsciously and from family. This was made abundantly clear to me once the photos of the week were distributed. There were about 150 pics and I was in a total of 2 of them, including one of the whole family! Hell there are even several pics of my cousin's girlfriend (a very, very nice person) holding my niece and yet none of me, despite the fact that I sat with her and played with her and watched her many times over the course of the week. And while just about everyone else was asked to pose with the baby, I was not. In the grand scheme of things, it's a minor slight, but hurts nevertheless...
  • Have had to put expensive, major repairs into my car lately and the costs are eating into my surgery savings - arggghhhh!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mascara and Montreal

Ah, sweet Montreal. If you weren't so damn cold in the winter I'd truly love thee, maybe even inhabit thee. Alas, I must satisfy myself with an occasional jaunt across the border as money and time allows.

Here is what I say to the asshole who designed the border crossing traffic control and construction zone that forced us into a two hour traffic jam as well as the border guard who then directed his colleagues to search our car and personal belongings for no discernable reason on the way back from Montreal.

Here is a super-cute pic of my lover wrapped in the Pride flag. We took some naughtier pics as well of me, but those will forever be relegated to the deep archives of my computer, never to see the light of day!

Saturday we began the day hiking a couple miles up to a simply charming little vegetarian restaurant that had a really nice outdoor patio and excellent food. Then we headed back down to the Village and hit the all-day Pride music festival going on there. During the day there was only one stage going, with music with an international flair, but later another stage would start up (SexGarage), with raunchier, harder rock music, as well as the stage where the drag show took place.

When we went into the nearby McDonalds to use the bathroom, I forced Jenn to sit with me and eat some fries - they taste about the same as down here by the way. While we were dining in the internationally-recognized luxery of the typical fast-food joint, an old man bumped into me on his way out (I believe purposefully as became apparent later). As the instictive "pardon" spilled out of my mouth in response, he recognized that we spoke english. He then came over to our table and complimented us on how beautiful we were and then proceeded to tell us, in broken english that was somehow extremely charming and disarming at the same time, some bits about his life as well as grill us about ours.

His nickname was Marcel and I placed him at about mid-late 60's in age. He claimed to be a painter and that his wife had died many years before. He then launched into questioning us and he seemed intrigued (or turned on or both) by the fact that we were lesbians. Through all this he was telling us how great we looked and he was leaning next to me and ocassionally stroked my forearm. I could tell right away that he was getting his jollies out of this touching, but he was about as harmless and innocent as can be, so I let it slide. Hell, I was enjoying this conversation - a little local color. Anyways, the guy was tres charming and after about 20 minutes of conversation and a couple not so subtle hints that we were about to leave, he departed by (first kindly asking our permission to) kiss us adieu on both cheeks. Jenn and I made our way back to the music festival. I wished I had thought to take a picture of all of us together.

When night fell, the drag extravaganza started. Called Mascara, it is a yearly event organized and emceed by the always witty queen of Quebec herself, Lady Mado. Anyways, since Jenn loves to look at the drag queens and I like seeing the good spectacles of bad music, outrageous costumes and clever choegraphy, I got us up close. The show was absolutely spectacular. Each number was intricately choreographed with at least a handful of performers and sometimes with dozens. Songs ranged from Pat Benatar to folk dance to Rent and the costumes, of course, were dazzling. The show lasted 2 hours, but Jenn and I couldn't last that long. When we left, there were thousands of people behind us, most watching the show on a big double-sided projection screen that they had hoisted up for all to see. Some pics of the show are below:

This is Jenn and I at the famous Mado's Cabaret late Saturday night, following a long day of outdoor music, drag show, beers and walking around.

We met up there with my long-time cross-border Quebecois compadre, the always beautiful Jessica. and partied until about 1 or 2am. The next day we headed home and unsurprisingly, got pulled over and all our stuff searched. The border guards were all very nice about it though.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Montréal pour le week-end

Jenn et moi sont dirigés jusqu'à Montréal ce weekend pour le grand festival de Divers/Cite. Je vous verrai la semaine prochaine!

Au revoir et paix à vous tous,

Dana, le bibliothécaire désobéissant

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

quote of the week: hatred

Movements born in hatred very quickly take on the
characteristics of the thing they oppose.

-J.S. Habgood (1986)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

we never heard each other's screams

During the four separate times in my past when one of my grandparents (and my great aunt) took ill and died I was nothing short of a complete and utter coward. I never really felt a connection to these ancient strange people, despite living close to them all, and often sleeping over their houses and eating their food and accepting their gifts. I knew in my heart, even then, that they loved me in their own unspoken ways, but they always seemed completely alien to me. They scared me sometimes even, my larger-than-life grandfathers with their gruff, spartan way of life and sparse, curt, rural conversation styles.

I was an undergraduate, I think, when all these deaths took place and in all but one case, I was too scared to even return home for the funerals. Did I feel ashamed? Did I fear that their closeness to death might somehow allow them to see into my soul, see my anguish and my terrible gender secret? To say the least, I regret this cowardice every day - a regret at least on a par (and perhaps intermixed) with not having the courage to face my transsexuality earlier in my life. I guess I've always had an overwhelming fear of death, far beyond even the fear we all instinctively carry of that great unknown. I have always felt completely out of place when dealing with even the hint of death in real life. Afraid to get too near it else I contract it's foul odor myself, I suppose. When our family cat died, when I was I think in junior high, and I discovered her stiff, motionless body in the basement, felled in the prime of her life by some toxin or chemical that perhaps I had lazily left out, I couldn't deal with it and I stayed as far away from that body as I could until my parents arrived home from work hours later.

I witnessed both my once stout, ex-military, working class grandfathers sucked dry by cancer and lengthy hospital stays; reduced to still-proud, but bent-over stick figures engulfed by the smell of decay. But in the end, I fled them and their obvious need for love, back to the illusory safety of college and constant drinking, unable to give either of them or their grieving wives or my parents and relatives even the barest of support. To this day, I still have little clue as to my selfish reasoning or thoughts then. I was a self-absorbed brat struggling with my blossoming realization that I was "different" back then and I acted instinctually to escape an uncomfortable situation I suppose. And the worst part is I showed so little regard for how this must have affected my grandparents; to see one of their beloved grandchildren flee from them in their greatest time of need.

These days (and for at least the last decade) my deceased grandparents often drift in and out of my dreams and nightmares. Like in life, they say little and walk around with stern faces, like noiseless, shuffling demons, as I flail about in shame and self-disgust and fear inside the memory-faded facsimiles of their once familiar spartan homes. I wander their labyrithine rooms in hazy dawning horror at the complete emptiness and silence around me. I am completely lost and in need of their forgiveness perhaps, but still, after all these years, unable to really talk to them; to truly embrace them. I still fear them, fear their judgement. I was a coward, confused, selfish, alone; the silences, mostly my doing, but not always, always seemed to take a little of our lives away when we were together. So I fled like the mangy dog I often felt I was.

I'm sorry for everything, please forgive me...

Friday, July 21, 2006

the death knell of freedom comes blacking through my mind

Why are so many fucking yahoos out there so full of hate and willingness to sacrifice the very core of freedom for the illusory appearance of order and safety? Are their lives so empty and meaningless that they need to lash out at anyone who holds a different belief than themselves? Some recent news to highlight the increasingly censorious and divided society we live in:

Of course, there have been a few bright beams of positive action on the news front: conservative-proposed discriminatory law against immigrants has at least been put off, N. Carolina's ban on unmarried cohabitation was deemed unconstitutional, the anti-gay constitutional amendment was soundly defeated, and efforts to resist our growing surveillance society is growing by the day. Uggghhhh, still - this entry is NOT helping my negative outlook today!

ps: for you perceptive JC fans out there - yes, a part of this entry title is lifted from the lyrics of his excellent cover of the already brilliantly melancholy Bonnie "Prince" Billy song, "I See a Darkness."

the day is dragging me under

This is a formal complaint to myself! Things I'm working on here seem to be going wrong left and right today and the fact that it's friday doesn't help either. This goddamn afternoon just keeps dragging on and on. These are the times that I dread (and coincidently, these seem to occur most frequently on fridays) - I'm unmotivated, distracted, exhausted, irritated and just fucking bored. My mood has taken an unexpected downturn today for sure. Just swallowed 4 aspirin in an attempt to excise the uninvited drum-demon in my brain pan and I'm struggling to stay awake (and no, I didn't get drunk last night and I also got plenty of sleep).

Thank the gods I have the next week off!!! Nothing but beach and beers and kayaking for me and Emmitt for 7 days. Wish my woman was gonna be there to share it with, but I guess life can't always work out that perfectly, can it? See ya on the other side...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

questions about geo-metro-country acculturation

Jenn and I have been talking about (and taking actions to realize) living in the same city and actually living together. We've discussed this extensively, and I've also talked about it with my therapist and my friends and I can't see any tangible downside. We miss each other so goddamn much when we are apart and we fit together so perfectly and comfortably when we are together. Cohabitating would seem to be the next logical step and it would certainly help us both financially as well. This is in addition to the fact that both of us have at least sometimes felt the desire to change our work environs.

While I love my job and know it will be hard to replicate the great aspects of it elsewhere, there simply is little administrative support for the librarians - we are treated like 2nd class citizens in many ways - our pay scale is atrocious and there is little room for advancement. My boss isn't going anywhere and so there is no where for me to go professionally. Of course it almost goes without saying that starting a new job where my co-workers only know me as a woman is very appealing too. There is also the issue of my house. Were I to move south, I would have to either sell or rent out my house.

Then there is the issue of geography. While I love the countryside, I find myself more and more craving the diversity of experiences and entertainment options of city life. Can I adapt back to all-paved environs and bars on the windows? Can Jenn be happy up here in the boonies, with the bugs and no Broadway? She is originally a Maine girl, so it's nothing she hasn't experienced before, but she is also a city girl at heart and being up here would limit her ability to partake in some of her favorite activities, like the Hedwig shadowcast troupe and going to Broadway plays. On the other hand, I sense that she is sick of the cramped and dirty living and the roaches and the noisy neighbors hanging out on the stoop outside her window until all hours of the night. She isn't really an outdoorsy girl, but I think I can show her, over time, some of the beauty and peace you encounter when communing with nature in the right way; she has already shown me lots of the hidden beauty of the city.

So in the effort to be together, Jenn has been applying to hospital dietician jobs up here and I have been applying to library jobs in the NYC metro area. I still hope to hear about the one perfect job I applied for and Jenn actually has an interview up here very soon. Things, as usual are moving rapidly and in slow-motion at the same time. I want her here sleeping beside me every night right now, but I also realize that living together is a big step and should not be rushed. Jenn has never done so, and my one excursion down the cohabitation road quickly devolved into unmitigated disaster years ago. So while I am completely confident that this will work out, there is that fear lingering in the very back of my mind sometimes that what happened to my past relationship (coincidently with a girl also named Jenn) so many years ago might happen again. But then I realize I am a completely different person and the circumstances are different. I am more mature and confident and more in touch with what I want in life. Money is not so much a dominant and divisive factor and the secret of my gender no longer poses a barrier.
And most importantly perhaps, this relationship feels stronger and far more solid to me than all my past relationships put together.

No matter where we end up geographically, I feel we can achieve a satisfying balance together, through roadtrips and creativity, between those desirable parts of the countryside and those of the city. Things are really starting to gel and hopefully I will soon be spending each night cuddling with the woman I love more than anything in this world. And that, my friends, can never be a bad thing...