Thursday, May 31, 2007

recent good reads and movies

In place of any well thought out content, and mostly because I'm feeling especially lazy at the moment, I thought I'd alert my faithful readers to some good books and movies I've enjoyed recently:


  • A Canticle for Leibowitz: Walter M. Miller - an apocalytic sci-fi classic from the late 50's. This is a perfect mix of speculative future fiction and discussion about the intersection of religion and culture and history and politics and violence.
  • Life: Gwyneth Jones - a brilliantly written work of speculative fiction about relationships and sexuality and gender roles and the struggle of women in science.
  • The Plot Against America: Philip Roth - an alternative history work about if the anti-semitic Charles Lindbergh had become president in 1940 and kept America out of World War II. But much more than that, it is an intimate look at a Jewish family from Jersey from the perspective of an anguished 9 year old boy as it struggles against prejudice and fear and its own internal fractures. It's a perfect blend of "what if" fiction and actual history and personal narrative. I felt like I was there and I cried a few times reading it, too.


  • Secretary: Maggie Gyllenhal and James Spader deliver subtle and brilliant performances in this quiet, dark and romantic peek into two people's intimate exploration of S&M and how if can set you free.
  • Boys Don't Cry: If Hilary Swank's portrayal of the tragic boxer in Million Dollar Baby didn't convince you of her acting brilliance, see this predecessor that put her on the map. It's an equally tragic story of a blossoming but troubled female-to-male transsexual who was murdered.
  • Brick: The spunky teenage son from "3rd Rock from the Sun," Joseph Gordon-Levitt, stars in this ultra-cool , hyper-literate, modern-day film noir.
  • Primer: An almost incomprehensibly dense, but very thought-provoking, low-budget sci-fi thriller about time-travel. I had to watch this twice to undertsand some parts, but I loved it both times.
  • The Fountain: Hugh Jackman and Rachael Weisz star in this brilliantly mystical sci-fi love story by the equally brilliant director Darren Aranofsky ("Pi" and "Requiem for a Dream"). The imagery alone in this film is like pleasantly strolling through a museum of masterpieces, some of which you know contain more meaning than you can discern at first glance.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

mal ochio

If you want to get a look at just how far our government has gone to intrude and record every aspect of our personal, private lives (and also probably get fucking pissed off at these intrusions!), take a look at this FrontLine report:

Here it is in a nutshell: despite specific, concrete LAWS against exactly this: our government can, according to the our current "leaders", and probably has, without judicial oversight of any kind, recorded and combined into a "dossier," at least some of your phone calls, e-mails and web browsing habits, book purchases and library loans, bank and credit card records, as well as travel plans.

There is a wonderful point in the above Frontline program where one guy says that one of the main reasons for the American Revolution was to protest King George's abuse of general warrants, or "writs of assistance" that allowed his men to search inside the homes of whole towns or regions without having any names on those warrants. "They did not ask for proof of guilt; they entered and searched when and where they pleased." More details here:

We Americans need to get waaaaaayyyy more pissed off and vocal about it before our government will take notice and stop these massive abuses of power and erosions of basic civil liberties...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

my hermitage heritage

My most precious commodity these days seems to be that elusive human construct: time. As a result my recent post-surgical foray into the dank, default cubby hole of self-imposed hermitage is poking its nasty head out into and affecting the outside world these days. I have a heritage of hermitage cycles going back as far as I can remember. I sort of figured (or at least hoped) they were a symptom solely of the gender dysphoria, but that may not be the case. Or at least this particular symptom has outlived it's theoretical creator.

Despite wave upon recent wave of good tidings, contentment eludes me. I feel more physically complete and mentally at peace with my physical self than I've ever experienced, but the empty paunch where my gender pain and general misery used to be still roils a little. I think I've stepped forward and upward on the self=confidence meter but I'm still reeling from the new heights, still getting my bearings, and for a lifelong high anxiety addict like myself, the absence of fear is just as dizzying.

To the wayside since surgery sit neglected friends and acquaintances alike and voluntary responsibilities and social contacts I worked so hard to make myself comfortable around and feel proud of. Not to mention I've neglected this blog. I can only hope I've not also somehow tainted the only contact that really matters to me: my lover, my comrade-in-laughter-arms, my best friend, my shining star, my soulmate, Jenn. It seems to be the "somehow" that always escapes me in this Second Life reality called "the relationship." Is it something in me (or something crucial missing?) that in my past drove everyone eventually silently, subtly away? Or is my own fear simply drowning out their voices, their pleas for me to hear them?

This isn't to say I sense Jenn moving away from me in any way - she has more than made it clear in word and deed she's committed to me, to us. I hope I've conveyed the same to her. It's just that I sense an unspoken "something different" between us - an unknown just as likely positive as negative, but as graspable as the morning mists rising from the Hudson across the street. I feel the uncanny pull of certain nano-moment-long panic attacks when this mist arises; clueless as to how to swim through it. Is that an excuse or a reason or just tight words slipping from a loose tongue?

I sit here burdened with elation and buoyed by fear, but I'll ride atop this wave and onto the next trusting we'll work it all out. Hopefully I'll also shake off this general life dysphoria once I've sold my house and Jenn and I have a nice apartment and have achieved a semblance of balance in living together that we haven't had to grapple with yet. We should hopefully have more time to relax, to breathe, and to enjoy ourselves relatively free of ungraspable fears at that point.