What a way to ring in the new year. I like to check the Alaska webcams each day and for the past week or so, Fairbanks has been in the deep freeze, failing to climb above zero for at least 20 days now. Digging around some, it seems that some of the outlying areas will hit minus 70 this week with Fairbanks only bottoming out around 50 below due to the heavy ice fog that has formed over the city. Of course, once it gets that cold, what's 20 degrees or so? It's 33 degrees here in Louisville and it feels pretty cold, alas that's 70 degrees warmer than the current temperature in Fairbanks. Perhaps I'll throw on some shorts and lay out in the sun.


Going 16-0 in the NFL regular season is no big deal, the New England Patriots did it last year, but running the table in reverse, well, that's impressive. Teams have come close before only to win a game down the stretch but this year was different. The Detroit Lions were so woefully bad that anything less than 0-16 would have been seen as a failure. By losing every single game they played this year, the Lions will go down in history and forever be known as the team that finally did it. No one remembers a team that goes 1-15 or 2-14, but 0-16, well, that's something you just won't forget. Congrats guys, you did it and it's doubtful anyone else will match your excellence again.


The older I get, the more of a homebody I become. I've had a nice visit with my Dad and the weather has been nice and warm, but it's clear that I'm ready to go back home. So, I'll spend one more day here and on Monday morning, I'll load up the car, throw Shadow in the back seat and head north towards home.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

My favorite Christmas song from my favorite Christmas album:

The Hap Hap Happiest Christmas Ever

Jelly of the Month Club

"It's the gift that keeps on giving the year round..."

Fa Ra Ra Ra

Shitter Was Full

The first of several clips today...

Deep South

In Kentucky, especially Louisville, we like to argue about whether we live in the South or the Midwest. Of course that's something that can't be totally agreed upon but when I travel both north and south, it becomes pretty clear that Louisville is perfectly aligned with the rest of the Midwest. Yesterday, I spent 12 hours driving south to Louisiana, spending a great deal of time in both Alabama and Mississippi. I can say with authority that my hometown has absolutely nothing in common with what I say in those two states.

Now I certainly don't want to start bashing particular states, Kentucky gets made fun of enough, but dammit, if I had to live in either Alabama and Mississippi, I'd just do myself in and get it over with. For those who haven't been to the Deep South, well, it's just different. I define the Deep South as South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Now that's not to say that all are equal, they aren't, as a couple of those places have some major things going for them.

Georgia of course has Atlanta and if you've ever been there, you know how much fun it is. Louisiana has New Orleans and while it's not my favorite place in the world, it does have character and lets face it, Louisiana just takes debauchery to a whole new level. South Carolina has Hilton Head and the charm of Charleston. Mississippi and Alabama have, well, they just exist.

It's fascinating this drastic differences between one part of the country and others. I've long been intrigued by regional differences and the cultural implications of place. America is an interesting place and unearthing it's uniqueness is something all of us should do.

I'm Loving It

Yesterday was the last day of the fall semester and the completion of my first 5 months of teaching at an inner city school. For the first 6 years of my teaching career, I taught at a middle class suburban school that largely flew under the radar. Sure, there were a few problems, but for the most part, working out in the burbs was a pretty cushy job. The kids came to school fed, the clothes they wore were new and most came from families that were supportive and still together. Our PTA was awash in money, the teaching staff was top notch and our principal was as good as they come. I was actually very lucky to land my first teaching assignment at such a great school. In a large urban district like this one, new teachers tend to start out at some of the tougher schools. I got lucky and figured that I would never leave, spending all of my 30 or so years of teaching at that one school.

Alas, it didn't quite work out that way as my gender transition forced me to leave at the end of the 2006-2007 school year. I spent last year working as a resource teacher at Central Office before moving back into the classroom this year as a new person with a new gender. The plan was to find me a position that would allow me the best chance to succeed and I was hoping for a brand new unit at a brand new school. That too didn't happen and instead at found myself at a new special education unit at an old, inner city elementary school. When I found out which school I was headed to, I cried like you couldn't believe. It didn't seem fair that in return for giving up a job I loved at a school I adored I would be placed at this school that everyone told me I would hate.

Still, I gave it a chance and went in with the best attitude I could muster. I spent a great deal of time this past summer working in my new classroom, getting it ready for the new school year. When the first day arrived, I was so nervous that it was all I could do to just survive the day. As it turned out, my students were wonderful and my two assistants were amazing. I liked it instantly, at least when I was in my classroom. Leaving the safe confines of my room was a whole different story. I saw things that I had never seen before, heard stories that shocked me and was the butt of jokes, stares and comments from kids that I didn't know from a hole in the wall. After a month, I was already thinking about transfering at the end of the year and my attitude got worse and worse.

A few months later, I'm glad I didn't let it beat me down and get the best of me. The kids have now moved on to far more interesting things, most of the kids seem to like me and I've grown to love the place. You see, it's now occured to me that most anyone can be a successful teacher at the school I was out, but excelling at my new home, well, that was a whole new challenge and it's one that I not only have met, but have exceeded. It takes skill, talent, creativity, compassion and a lot of love to make it in a school like mine. The kids are screaming for attention, most only eat when they are at school and the stories they tell just make you break down and cry. But, despite all that is stacked up against them, they are still yearning to learn and make the most of their lives.

We are doing some amazing things and I'm very proud to be a part of something very exciting. I've found a new home and I can't imagine teachign any place else. I work for a wonderful principal, the teaching staff is tremendously dedicated and our whole staff is focused on one thing, making the lives of these children better. I love my kids, they touch my heart in ways that I didn't know could be touched, and I'm so looking forward to watching them grow up.

I'll enjoy these two weeks off, I need the rest and relaxation, but come January 5th, I'll be more than ready to go back to work. I'm a teacher and I teach at a school I love. It's what I do and I thank God for that every single day.

Radicals on the Right

I agree with Atrios, Pastor Rick Warren, despite his image as a moderate, is a horrible man. Calling for the assasination of a foreign leader is not just wrong, it's evil. It's time that all of us, especially those on the left, stopped trying to win these guys over. Being associated with these religous nutbags is wrong in every sense of the word. f

UPDATE: I somehow missed this but seems that Obama is a real wanker, big enough that he's the Wanker of the Day. Picking Warren to give the invocation at the inaguration is just stupid and wrong. If you're going to be at the inaguration, turn your back on Warren.

That's Heavy

Just saw a picture of myself and it became crystal clear that I need to lose some serious weight. My face looks like a big chipmunk.

The Intertubes Are Clogged Again

Either former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is sending a lot of internets or John McCain is busy logging on to the Google, either way, the tubes are running very slow this evening.

C Cups

Well, I've made the plunge (no pun intended) and on Monday I'll be setting my appointment for breast augmentation with Dr. Z. I've gone back and forth on this for a couple of months, and though I've been pretty sure about filling myself out, I was still a bit hesitant about dropping 5 grand. Alas, I have the money and I really want to do this and so, next June, I'll once again head north to Chicago and voluntarily put myself back on the table. It's funny, compared to my facial feminization surgery, this one will be a piece of cake, but despite how that surgery changed the way I looked, having bigger breasts will seem to be a bigger change than anything else I've undergone. So, come June, it will be two down and one to go on the surgery front.

Not Exactly What I Have In Mind...

I Wish I Could Find Her Under My Christmas Tree

Lena Headey is just yummylicious in so many ways and I just can never get enough of her. If there is a more beautiful woman in the world, I sure hope I get to meet her but I can't imagine that there is. So, here she is as part of Sear's Wishtory:

Don't Lets Start


Details about the stimulus plan President-Elect Barack Obama plans to enact are beginning to trickle out and generally I'm pretty happy with all of it. One of the things that many people don't understand is that deficit spending/national debt, is not such a bad thing, especially during very difficult economic times, like the one we are currently undergoing (Thanks Shrub). Government spending, specifically on such things as infrastructure, are wonderful ways to stimulate the economy, create jobs and get money moving. The economic spin offs are often quite huge and if done correctly, it has the potential to possibly turn things around a lot quicker than they normally would.

That being said, time is of the essence and now is not the time to think small or look backwards. We are entering a whole new era, that promises to permanently change the way each of us lives. With the global production of oil peaking and the threat of catastrophic climate change, the era of cheap and plentiful energy is coming to an abrupt halt. We have but a decade or so to truly prepare, about 20 years less than most of us would like, to somehow avert economic, population and environmental disaster. Things can go one of two ways, we get this right and somehow salvage a chance at a decent life, albeit one that is less energy intensive and locally based, or we can watch the whole system fall apart and see billions of people die, the animal kingdom wiped from the face of the earth and a scorching of the planet.

I want to believe that we'll live to see the first but I'm afraid we'll more likely see the latter. So, I once again give you my proposals for a 21st century stimulus plan, one that works in tandem with Europe, Asia, South America and Asia:

1. Massive investment in alternative energy- This means an immediate build up of wind farms, solar arrays, tidal power generators and other green inititiatives that show promise.

2. Nuke It- Like it or not, nuclear power is our only real hope for keeping the lights on and somehow keeping order. Despite unfounded fears, nuclear power has been remarkable safe. Greenhouse emissions are much lower than coal or natural gas and I'd much rather worry about disposal of waste than cooking the atmospher with coal. France is the world's leader in generating electricity from Nuclear power plants and as a result, they need to take the lead on a global scale. It's non unrealistic to set a goal of 200 new nuclear power plants in this country over the next 20 years.

3. Energy Efficiency- Our homes and workplaces are woefully ineffecient and that needs to change. There are lots of cheap but effective ways to make our homes more efficient. Storm windows, better insulation, energy audits and low power appliances can make a big difference.

4. Rail- The future of domestic travel is not by air or road but by rail. The American rail system is the laughingstock of the world and with good reason. We've neglected our rail system in favor of airports and roads, all to the detriment of our lives. Rail and water travel are the most efficient ways to move people and goods. It's time that we invested a lot of money and work in creating a first class national rail system that is based on electricity and not diseasel. I propose a regiional hub system to connect the major cities, especially over short and medium distance travel. Make New York City, Washington, Atlanta, Chciago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle the hubs and allow them to serve as transit centers. We need high speed express routes connecting the east and west coasts and medium to high speed lines for smaller distances.

5. Massive global reforestation- Trees are the lungs of the earth and yet we keep cutting them down. Healthy forests make wonderful habitats for precious wildlife and serve as great destinations for camping, kayaking and skiing among other things. American city's should lead the way by doing everything they can to help grow our urban forests. We need to expand park lands, set up citywide programs to plant trees along roads and paths, offer tax breaks for planting trees in our yards and permanently preserve open greenspaces.

6. An end to sprawl- It's long past time for Americans to give up on the American dream of owning a home with a big yard in a neighborhood far from the urban core. Sprawl is the biggest misallocation of funds in the history of the world and we need to get serious about zoning that encourages urban in-fill, higher density, development around mass transit and mixed use neighborhoods.

7. End the car culture- I certainly don't want to tell everyone to get rid of their cars, I love mine, but we need to focus more on pulbic transit and less on personal vehicle use. We need to invest in heavy rail in large cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Miami, streetcars and light rail in cities like Louisville, Nashville, Denver, Kansas City, Portland and Tampa and expanded bus routes everywhere.

8. Think Local- Once, people in America ate food that was grown close to home. Today, a lot of what we eat is grown far away in places like California, Mexico and South America. Most food travel over 1500 miles to reach your plate. Lets set up plans to bring back the family farm that feeds the locals. Most American cities are surrounded by prime farm land that is currently being turned into faceless suburban sprawl, lets stop that before it's too late.

9. Worldwide wildlife preservation- We often forget that we share this planet with billions and billions of animals. It's their home too but you wouldn't know it by looking around. A global initiative to preserve all life on earth needs to take place and soon. This means a serious commitment to poor countries in such places as Africa, Asia and South America. Organizations like the UN and NATO need to use military force to prevent the genocide of such animals as the mountain gorillas in Africa.

10. Smaller families- I know this isn't popular but there are too many of us. Serious discussion needs to begin about population overshoot on planet Earth. Currently, we have over 6 billion humans, way too many to live in harmony with nature. All of us alive today deserve to live long and productive lives but lets stop breeding like we are in danger of going extinct. I hate to say it, but an ideal human populatin would be around 200 or 300 million humans, give or take a hundred million. One way or the other, we will get back to that, hopefully we can do that in a managed and peaceful way.

Alas, I'm not optimistic about any of this, but we can dream, can't we?

It's Cold, But It Could Be Colder

Three weeks ago, I was wearing shorts and wondering when it would finally get cold. After a very warm autumn with temperatures often pushing into the 80's, it's suddenly gotten cold around here. Despite an average high of around 50 degrees, we can't seem to get out of the 30's and the nights are frequently dropping into the teens and 20's. These past few days have been particularly biting with a brisk wind, a damp feel to the air and cold temperatures. Still, it could be worse and after checking the Alaska webcams, something I like to do each day, I promise not to complain about any future temps.

The current temperature in Louisville...

And the current temperature and live webcam view of Fairbanks, Alaska (and yes, before winter is over, Fairbanks will see temps near 60 below zero)...

I used to live in Alaska, well sort of, I lived in Anchorage, but it's still really close to the real Alaska. The year we were there was one of the coldest and snowiest in history but we never saw temperatures like they get in the Interior. Dad likes to talk about the time his military unit was doing field operations north of Fairbanks and the temperature never climbed above 70 below zero. Needless to say, the equipment, including the helicopter he flew, kept freezing up and wouldn't run. Six months later, he took a picture of himself crossing the Arctic Circle at midnight under a bright sun, wearing shorts and nothing else. It's a strange place indeed and not just because they elected Sarah Palin Governor.

No Sane Person

As I slowly recover from my brief descent into Hell on Friday, I got to thinking about a couple of things. As I've said before, adjusting to the draastic mood swings that come about from estrogen has been an incredibly difficult thing to come to grips with. No man, despite how much they profess to understand women, can possibly understand what it's like to live under the evil spell of estrogen. This transition from male to female is a whole series of steps and realizations that makes one realize that no sane man would ever in a million years undertake what I and countless others have done. So, for any of you guys out there, here's a list of of sanity breaking steps and realizations from a girl in transition:

1. Estrogen- Good God, why in the hell was this stuff ever created? To make men crazy of course. Words cannot explain the way this stuff makes you feel. At times, this unreal sense of calm comes over you, erasing any past of sex induced testosterone. Other times it makes you cry for no reason whatsoever, snap at friends for minor little things and send you into dramatic mood swings that no man has ever experienced. Add in the fact that no one has ever done long term studies on the health effects of estrogen therapy in transsexuals and it's a real roll of the dice.

2. Electrolysis- I assure you that only the most gender screwed up men would ever undergo hundreds of hours of facial electrolysis to remove the dreaded facial hair. The joke is that electrolysis is where you find out if your man enough to be a woman. So far I am.

3. Makeup- Of all the things that I've had to start doing, wearing makeup is my least favorite thing.

4. Hair- I have to admit, since I went on estrogen and stopped producing measurable amounts of testosterone, my hair loss has not only stopped but started to fill back in. I now have a very healthy head of hair that is as full as any natal chica. That being said, I sometimes miss the ease of fixing guy hair (dry with towel, rub in gel and go).

5. Shoes- I love shoes, absolutely adore them, but a whole lot of womens shoes are damn uncomfortable. Don't even talk to me about heels.

6. Shaving- Shaving your legs everyday is a major pain in the ass and something that I only do in the summer. Now it's well known that I have a real body hair phobia, yuck, and so baby smooth skin is actually pretty cool. As for natal females, this whole going bare down there is just gross and makes me ill. I like some hair down there.

7. Surgeries- So far I've only had one but if all goes according to plan, I still have two more to go. I'm still up in the air about doing breast augmentation this coming summer, but it's going to happen sooner or later. As for the big one, well, that can't come soon enough but I'm short about $15,000. For those who don't know, these are very serious surgeries. My FFS was a 9 hour ordeal and it took me over a year to fully recover and regain my strength and energy. The BA won't be as bad but anytime you go under, you're taking a risk.

8. Increased chances of stroke, breast cancer and life threatening blood clots- Yep, you read that right. All those estrogen injections play havoc with your health. My odds of one of these happening went way up once I started the female juice.

9. The loss of family, friends and employment- It's a fact that being transsexual negatively impacts ones employment opportunities. Unemployment and under employment is rampant among the T community and if one is unfortunate enough to live somewhere that doesn't have civil rights laws protecting transsexuals, well, you can be fired at will. I'm lucky, I live in a city that has one of the most progressive and far reaching civil rights ordinances and the law is on my side. As for friends and families, log onto any T message board and the stories of mothers, fathers, siblings and children turning their back on T's is heartbreaking.

10. A lifetime alone- I have quite a few transsexual friends who are in wonderful long term relationships and quite a few who are married. I couldn't be happier for all of them but I also know quite a few who end up like me, single with zero prospect of ever finding someone. Dating is incredibly terryfiying for me and I don't know if that will ever change. Perhaps the hardest part is the reaction of men to the desires of a male to female transsexual. So insecure are most men in their sexuality that the "gay" panic sets in. In the rare cases where they are cool dating a transsexual, the same guys live in fear that their friends will find out. As for those who are attracted to women, well, the hardcore feminist that dominate the lesbian world often look down on those of us born with a penis.

I could go on and on but you get the point. Deciding to transiton is a life changing thing and I'm pretty sure that no man in his right mind would actually go through with this were they not totally desperate to become who they really are. You see, despite all of these obstacles and the ones I didn't mention, people like me make this decision everyday, not because we want to, but because we must.