A Personal Look Back At The Decade That Was

You've read my other post, now it's time for a fun one about the decade that just ended...

Best Movie I Saw This Decade

1. Lost In Translation- Just love the ending when Bill Murray whispers into Scarlett Johannsens ear and we just never find out what he had to say. A beautiful film that I'll remember forever.



Best Book I Read This Decade

1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy- I've never read anything so frightening and intense in my life. The story of a boy and his father wandering the road to the coast in a post-apocolypitc America is by far one of the best novels of all time.

Runner Up: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood- This piece of speculative fiction about a world run amok seems to be coming true.

Best Television Series of the Decade

1. LOST- It will come to an end in early 2010 but this series about a group of strangers stranded on a mysterious island after their plane crashes is one for the ages. I better find out what the damn numbers mean.



Biggest Events of the Decade For Me

1. My Father passing- The loss of one of your parents is one of the most difficult things imagineable and it's something I hope I don't have to go through again for a very long time. I think about him every day but it does get easier with time.
2. A new career and a masters degree- I began teaching in August of 2001 and I can't imagine doing anything else. Here's to 9 great years and many more to come.
3. Coming Out- Finally admitting to myself that I was trans was a big deal, coming out to my family and friends was even bigger and just as scary.
4. Facial Feminization Surgery- While it didn't quite turn out like I had hoped, it was still a very big step in my transition from Greg to Kelly. Plus, it really, really, really hurt.
5. Buying a house- I've been a homeowner for almost five years now and I still can't believe it. Not sure that it's for me but it did allow me to get Shadow and my two Border Collies are much happier here than in an apartment.

What I Hope To Achieve During The Next Decade

1. Getting out of debt- I'm making more money now than at any point in my life and I don't have a penny to show for it. That all changes in 3 months when I pay off my car.
2. Getting the right body parts- I live my life as female in every possible way but I can't help but feel incomplete having what I do between my legs. Be gone already.
3. It would be nice to meet someone who isn't totally repulsed by who I am or what I look like. Girl or boy, doesn't matter.
4. Find inner peace- Sometimes, I feel totally dead inside and I want that to go away, to embrace life for what it is not what it isn't.
5. If I can do those things, well, I'll be pretty happy.

Favorite Viral Videos- I mentioned in an earlier post that the internet is the greatest invention of all time. One of the fun things about the internet are the videos that somehow go viral. Here are my favorites of the decade...

5. Antwerp Rail Station Sound of Music Flash Mob- These people look like they are having so much fun...


4. My Dick In A Box- Who knew that Justin Timberlake could be so damn funny...


Which led to Jizzed in my Pants...


Which led to Mother Lover...


3. Try To Watch This Without Laughing or Grinning...


2. Bill O'Reilly Flips the Fuck Out...


1. Where In The Hell Is Matt?

Well, Thank God That's Over

Who knew that this decade, of which we have just a few hours more of, would turn out to be so shitty? I had high hopes for this new millenium but my hope was dashed just 11 months in. So, to say good riddance to a decade most of us would like to simply forget, lets take a look back...

Worst Events of the Decade- It was a tossup between numbers one and two but in the end, number one is the gift that just keeps on giving. I purposefully left off the attacks of 9/11 as I firmly believe that of the 5 things listed here, this wil be the easiest to heal from.

1. The United States Supreme Court selects George W. Bush as President of the United States- Proving once and for all that Americans really are idiots.
2. The Boxer Day tsunami in southeast Asis- A natural disaster of epic proportions.
3. Hurricane Katrina- Thousands lost their lives and damage was in the hundreds of billions. New Orleans was brought to it's knees as the city was flooded for weeks. What made it worse was the reaction, or lack thereof, from Dubya. Heck of a Job.
4. The crash of the global economy- A housing bubble of epic proportions, Wall Street greed, debt and very high oil prices conspired to bring the global economy to it's knees. It will be years, if ever, before things get better.
5. The apparent peaking of global oil production in 2008- Twenty years from now, this will turn out to be the number one story from this decade but right now, very few people seem to be paying attention to the one event that will change the world forever.

Best Events of the Decade- The pickings are slim here but I'll do my best.

1. The dramatic rise of the internet as a tool for social outreach, entertainment, knowledge, porn and most of all, people powered democracy. The internet, though invented decades earlier, came into it's own this decade and is quite possibly the greatest invention of all time.
2. The election of Barack Obama as President- Americans turned out in record numbers to elect the first African-American as President. In doing so, they said no thanks to another 4 years of fear and misguided anger.
3. I got nothing else...

Most Important People of the Decade- For better or for worse...

1. George W. Bush- He fucked up everything that he touched and in his ultimate display of idiocy and arrogance, he attacked the one Middle Eastern Country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.
2. Tony Blair- The former British Prime Minister had so much potential but will forever be remembered for following Dubya on his Arabian Adventures.
3. Barack Obama- His election was a milestone for America and a beacon of hope for the world.
4. Alexander Putin- The Russian leader, despite his current title, has steadied the collapsing Russia that came from Boris Yelstin, but he has done so by cracking down on civil liberties and other social and democratic advances made in the previous decade. Tensions between the US and Russia haven't been this bad since the Berlin Wall fell.
5. Alan Greenspan- Perhaps no man is as responsible for the global economic meltdown as this fool.

People Who Really Need To Go Away This Decade

1. Sarah Palin- Please, just go back to Alaska and get lost in the bush, you are a disaster of epic proportions and I will forever hate John McCain for foisting you on us.
2. Dick Cheney- Please go back to your undisclosed location, you are a grumpy old man.
3. Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and any other right wing talkers- Stop it already and just drop dead, especially you Rush.
4. Fred Hiatt- The editor of the once great Washington Post has turned the paper into nothing more than a right wing talking point. Go away.
5. Osama bin laden- Dubya had him and let him go and now it's up to adults to get the job done. May you end up on a sliver platter.

What We Have To Fear About This Next Decade

1. That Sarah Palin doesn't go away and somehow becomes the Republican nominee for President. God help us if this happens.
2. Catastrophic climate change- What part of this global problem don't people understand? Clearly our leaders aren't up to the task so it's now up to individuals.
3. The first decade of life after peak oil- If the economy ever does recover, it will quickly be wacked back down by rising energy prices. Our world runs on oil and all the easy pickings are long gone. What is left is increasingly hard to get at, very expensive to get at and doesn't have the flow rate of the oil we've been using for a 100 years. But don't worry say our leaders so go ahead, "Party On"
4. A nuclear bomb detonated in an American city- I generally don't buy the whole be very afraid of the terrorist thing but so many nukes from the failed Soviet Bloc are just begging to be taken.
5. We'll all be another 10 years older when it's over.

ReGender

Kara, one of the most with it girls on the net, has an interesting post up about "regendering". One of her friends argues that once a person genders us, we cannot be regendered to our prefered gender. Kara disagrees on this but I'm with her friend on this one..

It seems like we all have to prove ourselves before we're accepted as one of the girls (or boys). Remember that new kid that moved into school in school? When did they become one of the gang? Or that new kid that joined the sports team...when did it feel like they were one with the team?

I've had a recent discussion with a coupe of friends recently about "regendering". One of the women says that once a person genders us, we cannot be regendered. Basically, once someone knows you as male, nothing you can do during transition will ever let them regender you as female. I say hogwash. I think over time, transitioners "pass" these tests that people have made up in their minds which allows them to become one of the girls (or guys). Sure, there are people that never allow a transitioner to pass these tests, but I think there are lots of people that do.


Now in Kara's defense, she "passes" about as well as one can pass. I wouldn't give her a second thought if I passed her on the street and didn't know who she was. I suspect just about everyone would react the same. That being said, not being "read" by a stranger is a whole lot different from being accepted by those who knew you when you were male. In my personal experience, it just doesn't happen, especially with those that are exceptionally close. My Mother, who has done just about everything she can to let me be me, still thinks of me as her son. It's not that she's being mean or disrespectful, far from it, it's that she spent a whole lifetime knowing me as Greg and male. The same goes for my brother and my friends.

The only people that are in my life who think of me only as female are those that I work with and even then, they still know my past and it will always be a part of who I am. I'm never going to be able to "pass" as female and as a result, I'll always be thought of as "really" male. I don't blame people, it's just the way our society works. We divided everything, and I mean everything, into male and female. Once you are in one of those categories, it's almost impossible to fully move into the other. Does it get old? Yes, it most certainly does, but I'm not quite sure that there is anything I can possibly do about it. So, I do the best I can and try not to let it bother me.

Waiting

Yahoo has a post up about secrets your waiter will never tell you. Having worked many years in several different restaurants, including 4 at one of the top 25 establishments in America, I was interested to see what they were. I'll dive into each one of the "secrets" in a moment, but in my own experience, it all depends on where you are dining. In short, you often get what you paid for.

In my years working at The Red Fox at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia, I can honestly say that everything we did was as professional and respectful as one can possibly get. The front of the house staff, all 11 of us, were the best of the best, and took pride in what we did. We took our job seriously and our very generous tips reflected that. Our talent, and make no mistake about it, we had talent, was one of the primary reasons Fodors Travel guide, along with Wine Spectator and other national organizations, always ranked us a top 25 restaurant in America.

Anyways, here's the list...


20 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You

By Michelle Crouch, Reader's Digest

What would two dozen servers from across the country tell you if they could get away with it? Well, for starters, when to go out, what not to order, what really happens behind the kitchen’s swinging doors, and what they think of you and your tips. Here, from a group that clears a median $8.01 an hour in wages and tips, a few revelations that aren’t on any menu.
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What we lie about
1. We’re not allowed to tell our customers we don’t like a dish. So if you ask your server how something is and she says, “It’s one of our most popular dishes,” chances are she doesn’t like it.
—Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

MY TAKE: At The Red Fox, every dish was to die for so no need to lie about it.

2. On Christmas Day, when people ask why I’m there, I might say, “My sister’s been in the hospital,” or, “My brother’s off to war, so we’re celebrating when he gets back.” Then I rake in the tips.
—Chris, a New York City waiter and the founder of bitterwaitress.com

MY TAKE: The Red Fox was at a four season resort and working Christmas was pretty much no big deal. People were on ski vacations and more than happy to part with their money.

3. If you’re looking for your waiter and another waiter tells you he’s getting something out of the stockroom, you can bet he’s out back having a quick smoke.
—Charlie Kondek, former waiter at a Denny’s in Central Michigan

MY TAKE: Yeah, this one is pretty much true.


4. If someone orders a frozen drink that’s annoying to make, I’ll say, “Oh, we’re out. Sorry!” when really I just don’t want to make it. But if you order water instead of another drink, suddenly we do have what you originally wanted because I don’t want to lose your drink on the bill.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan

MY TAKE: Frozen drinks aren't really the kind of thing you want on a mountain top in the dead of winter. In short, we didn't have a blender in the house.

5. When I was at one bakery restaurant, they used to make this really yummy peach cobbler in a big tray. A lot of times, servers don’t have time to eat. So we all kept a fork in our aprons, and as we cruised through the kitchen, we’d stick our fork in the cobbler and take a bite. We’d use the same fork each time.
—Kathy Kniss

MY TAKE: Never saw this once. Ever.


6. If you make a big fuss about sending your soup back because it’s not hot enough, we like to take your spoon and run it under really hot water, so when you put the hot spoon in your mouth, you’re going to get the impression — often the very painful impression — that your soup is indeed hot.
—Chris

MY TAKE: If it's not hot enough, fix it, it isn't that big of a deal
.

7. I’ve seen some horrible things done to people's food: steaks dropped on the floor, butter dipped in the dishwater.
—Waiter at a casual restaurant in the Chicago area

MY TAKE: I've seen in happen, but not at the two fine dining places I worked at, including The Red Fox.


8. If your dessert says "homemade," it probably is. But it might be homemade at a bakery three miles away.
—Charity Ohlund

MY TAKE: At The Red Fox, it really was homemade. Suzi, our pastry chef, was as good as they come.


9. I knew one guy — he was a real jerk — he’d go to Costco and buy this gigantic carrot cake for $10 and tell us to say it’s homemade. Then he sold it for $10 a slice.
—Steve Dublanica, veteran New York waiter and author of "Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip — Confessions of a Cynical Waiter"

MY TAKE: Everything in a restaurant is marked up at least 100%, especially wine.

10. Oh, you needed more water so badly, you had to snap or tap or whistle? I’ll be right back … in ten minutes.
—Charity Ohlund

MY TAKE: Don't you dare snap your fingers at me.


11. We want you to enjoy yourself while you’re there eating, but when it’s over, you should go. Do you stay in the movie theater after the credits? No.
—Waiter at a casual restaurant in the Chicago area

MY TAKE: This is especially so at the end of the night. Go away already, you are taking money out of my pocket.



12. My biggest pet peeve? When I walk up to a table of six or seven people and one person decides everyone needs water. I’m making a trip to deliver seven waters, and four or five of them never get touched.
—Judi Santana, a server for ten years

My Take: At The Fox, water was automatically served.


13. Sometimes, if you’ve been especially nice to me, I’ll tell the bartender, “Give me a frozen margarita, and don’t put it in.” That totally gyps the company, but it helps me because you’ll give it back to me in tips, and the management won’t know the difference.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan

My Take: All waiters worth their weight will do nice things for their guests.


14. If you’re having a disagreement over dinner and all of a sudden other servers come by to refill your water or clear your plates, or you notice a server slowly refilling the salt and pepper shakers at the table next to yours, assume that we’re listening.
—Charity Ohlund

My Take: Yeah, we listen in on all conversations and talk about you in the back of the house. It goes with the territory. If you make a fool of yourself, your going to get laughed at.


15. I get this call all the time: “Is the chef there? This is so-and-so. I’m a good friend of his.” If you’re his good friend, you’d have his cell.
—Chris

My Take: At The Fox, Brian always joked that on Saturday night, everyone on the mountain was his best friend.


16. The strangest thing I’ve seen lately? A man with a prosthetic arm asked me to coat check it because the table was a little bit crowded. He just removed his arm and handed it to me: “Can you take this?”
—Christopher Fehlinger

My Take: Never had that happen to me. Too funny!


17. We always check the reservation book, scan the names, and hope for someone recognizable. I’m happy if the notes say something like “Previous number of reservations: 92.” If they say something like “First-time guest, celebrating Grandma’s 80th birthday, need two high chairs, split checks, gluten allergy,” then I start rummaging through my pockets for a crisp bill for the hostess and I make sure to tell her how much I love her hair fixed like that.
—Charity Ohlund

My Take: Amateur diners are a nightmare best avoided.

18. Use your waiter’s name. When I say, “Hi, my name is JR, and I’ll be taking care of you,” it’s great when you say, “Hi, JR. How are you doing tonight?” Then, the next time you go in, ask for that waiter. He may not remember you, but if you requested him, he’s going to give you really special service.

My Take: Waiters love having regulars and if you become one, we'll take good care of you.

19. Trust your waitress. Say something like “Hey, it’s our first time in. We want you to create an experience for us. Here’s our budget.” Your server will go crazy for you.
— Charity Ohlund

My Take: Absolutely, we love making your experience one to remember.

20. If you walk out with the slip you wrote the tip on and leave behind the blank one, the server gets nothing. It happens all the time, especially with people who’ve had a few bottles of wine.
—Judi Santana

My Take: I'll chase you down in the parking lot if you take both credit card slips.

Damn, I'm glad I don't have to do this shit anymore.

Did I Send These In?

Two secrets I most certainly could have sent in but didn't...



Jolly Old St. Nicholas

This has always been my favorite Christmas Carol and no one does it better than the Roy Conniff Singers...




Jolly ol' Saint Nicholas,
lean your ear this way!
Don't you tell a single soul
what I'm going to say:
Christmas Eve is coming soon;
now, you dear old man
Whisper what you'll bring to me;
tell me if you can.

When the clock is striking twelve,
when I'm fast asleep
Down the chimney, broad and black,
with your pack you'll creep
All the stockings you will find
hanging in a row
Mine will be the shortest one,
you'll be sure to know

Johnny wants a pair of skates,
Suzy wants a sled
Nellie wants a picture book,
yellow, blue, and red
Now I think I'll leave to you
what to give the rest
But give little Billy a drum this year
Drum this year
Cause that's what he likes best

Christmas Laughs

A few short videos to get you in the holiday spirit...

The Hap Hap Happiest Christmas Since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny "Fucking" Kay..


Hey Griswold, where you going to put a Christmas Tree that big?


Shitter was full...


Delicious Shcweddy Balls (a true classic from SNL)...


Christmas for the Jews...

As Seen On Post Secret Today

One of the secret's from today...

Does Death Really Exist? No, Says a New Theory

I'm a firm believer in the Many Worlds Theory, the idea that there are an infinite number of universes and anything that could happen to each of us, will happen in those infinite number of universes. Using this premise...

A new scientific theory - called biocentrism - refines these ideas. There are an infinite number of universes, and everything that could possibly happen occurs in some universe. Death does not exist in any real sense in these scenarios. All possible universes exist simultaneously, regardless of what happens in any of them. Although individual bodies are destined to self-destruct, the alive feeling - the 'Who am I?'- is just a 20-watt fountain of energy operating in the brain. But this energy doesn't go away at death. One of the surest axioms of science is that energy never dies; it can neither be created nor destroyed.


At first, it's hard to wrap your mind around all of this but the more you read, the more plausible it all becomes. Is it a leap of faith? Perhaps, but no more so than believing in the Christian faith or some other religion. Even Einstein might have been a believer...

According to Biocentrism, space and time are not the hard objects we think. Wave your hand through the air - if you take everything away, what's left? Nothing. The same thing applies for time. You can't see anything through the bone that surrounds your brain. Everything you see and experience right now is a whirl of information occurring in your mind. Space and time are simply the tools for putting everything together.

Death does not exist in a timeless, spaceless world. In the end, even Einstein admitted, "Now Besso" (an old friend) "has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us...know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." Immortality doesn't mean a perpetual existence in time without end, but rather resides outside of time altogether.

Dear Santa

To get you in the holiday spirit...

WTF?

It's the first week of December and we still haven't had a very hard freeze. I still have quite a few flowers in bloom and two hanging baskets that look pretty damn good, all things considered. That will all change these next few nights as we dip into the mid-20's for our first taste of cold weather. Alas, this cold weather won't be bringing any snow to our parts. To find the snow, I would need to head pretty far south. Yes, I did say south.

Both Houston and southern Louisiana have Winter Storm Watches in effect with parts of the New Orleans metro area expected to get several inches of snow. As for here, just cloudy and cold and the possibility for a big dump next week (rain, not snow). For being such a snow lover, I sure do live in the wrong part of the country. When I lived in West Virginia, we would average anywhere between 200 and 300 inches of snow per winter with one of the winters dumping an impressive 400 inches of snow. I miss that.

Mike Penner (formerly Christine Daniels) Found Dead of Suicide

I wish I could say that I'm surprised, but I'm not. Mike Penner, a sportswriter for the Los Angles Times, made news two years ago, when he announced that he was transitioning to female and would thus be known as Christine. By all accounts, Christine was pretty happy and was widely accepted in the newsroom. For reasons that never became clear, he quietly stopped transition and returned to being called Mike. This morning, his body was found in his home of an apparent suicide.

I'm not here to judge Mike or Christine but I certainly know the pain he was surely feeling. Transition is an incredibly difficult thing, doing it so publicly even more so, and for some reason, it just didn't work out. Unfortunately, suicide is a common thing among the trans community as so many of us find that life is difficult no matter which gender we end up living in. I know that I often thought of suicide and while I'm glad I didn't, there were certainly moments when I wanted nothing more than to be dead and free of the pain.

Until society is ready to accept us, one look at the reader comments suggests they aren't, it will always be a difficult life. I've been fortunate in that most things have gone well for me, but it's still a very tough life and I'd give anything not to have been forced to live it. I hope Penner has found the peace he has so long looked for but lets make no mistake about it, suicide is never the answer.

What I'm Thankful For

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for...

1. The memories I have of my Father who passed away one month ago today.
2. That I will be spending Thanksgiving with my loving Mother, my brother Jeff and cousin Amy.
3. My three dogs, all of whom I love more than I could ever express. They love me back equally as much.
4. The fact that I own my own home.
5. For a wonderful education. Having both a college degree and a Masters degree places me in the minority.
6. For a job that I love. I teach at an inner city school where everything is more difficult and I wouldn't have it any other way.
7. For 10 students that I simply adore and love with all my heart.
8. For Deeanna and Cheryl, for without them, I could not do my job.
9. For my coworkers who have accepted me for who I am and never really gave any of it a second thought.
10. For my friends who I would do anything for. They are kind beyond belief.
11. For having taken the big step six years ago and beginning what seems to be a never ending transition.
12. For the fact that I live in a blue city, even if it is in a red state.
13. That Barack Obama, despite his faults, is President and not John McCain or George Bush.
14. For winter and the prospect of a snowy winter, something we don't get enough of around here.
15. For electric blankets and my 3 dogs that keep me warm on these cold winter nights.
16. For another winning season for University of Kentucky football.
17. For what looks to be a rather promising basketball season for the University of Kentucky.
18. For a life less ordinary: I've lived in 8 states, been to 3 countries, spent my 20's living life to the fullest, four wonderful years of living life as a ski bum, untold adventures while lost in the woods, road trips that are memorable, vacations that were fun, books that were great and my fair share of crazy hot girlfriends.
19. That I'm a Mac and not a PC.
20. That my car will be paid off in just 3 months.
21. That I live in a country where clean water comes out of the tap, the grocery stores are always well stocked, the electricity works when I turn on the switch and I don't have to worry about many of the things that the majority of the World's population has to worry about.
22. That I'm still aware that others don't live as well as I do. I wish I could do more to change the fact that others don't live as well as I do.
23. For the fact that Lost will be back on February 2.
24. For trivial little things that make me feel like a girly girl: Sexy bras, slutty panties, pink toenails, sweet perfume, black boots, wool skirts, mary janes, bubble baths, smooth legs and Kate Spade knockoff purses.
25. For simply being alive. So many things could have happened that didn't and because of that, I was born and today I am unique and alive.

Know Thy Enemy

For those of us who live in "Fly Over Country", we kind of get tired of hearing about what hicks and idiots we are. This is especially so when it comes to the LGBT crowd, specifically those who live on one of the coasts. They take for granted what they have and don't understand how hard those of us in other parts of the country are working to ensure that all citizens can live a life free of harassment. Our so called friend in the GLBT community are often our biggest enemies. Fuck them. To see what I'm talking about, read the comments here.

I Need To Check Out

I need to quit reading the blogs, watching the news, glancing at the papers and figure out a way to just check out for awhile. Everywhere I look, it's all falling apart, bit by bit and it's only a matter of time till the population at large figures it all out. Life at the end of an empire is both exciting and scary. We are so on the downward spiral and we seem determined to take the whole world down with us. Of course it's not just us, the world is a pretty shitty place right now, but hey, we've been living the high life in this country for way too long and it just isn't sustainable.

For those of us who are paying attention, and I think most of you are, it has the potential to get way depressing and it's times like this that I need to check out and clear my mind of all that's happening around us. I'm trying not to be pessimistic here but if your eyes are open and you've been slightly paying attention for the past decade or so, well, there just isn't much reason for optimism. Just saying.

Back Home

I got back Saturday night and tomorrow I'll be returning to work. This past week was without a doubt, the worst of my life. I've never had to do something so difficult and yet it all seems like a blur. While it's nice to be home, it was nonetheless comforting to be around so many people that obviously loved and cared for my Father. Though Dad and I never really saw the world the same, we often clashed, we still loved each other very much and losing him has closed another chapter in my life. Beginning tomorrow, I'll start trying to live again and somehow get on with this thing we call life.

I Love You Dad

After a long illness and courageous battle, my Father passed away this morning at the age of 64. He was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1945 to Mary Ellen and Fred Armstrong. A gifted athlete, he ran track and graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in History. Later, he would receive a MBA from the University of Louisville. He was a US Army helicopter pilot and served in Vietnam from 1970-1971. He is survived by his wife Lynn, his father Fred, his brother Freddie, sister Joyce and his two loving children, Kelly Joann and Jeffery Todd and their mother Patty.

Dad was a very loving Father and a good man. He loved his family dearly and we were on his mind until his last breath. An avid University of Kentucky basketball fan, Dad was looking forward to an exciting season under new coach John Calipari. Dad loved science fiction (especially Star Trek), politics (we often disagreed) and working in the yard.

My brother and I will be leaving early tomorrow morning to make the 12 hour trip south to New Orleans. He will receive a full military funeral and will be laid to rest near his current home in Louisiana. Family will be coming from here in Louisville, Dayton and throughout the country. While it will be a very difficult week, I know in my heart that he is in a better place and has finally found the peace that has eluded him these past few years. I hope that there is a Heaven and if there is, his beloved Mother was waiting with open arms and welcomed him home.

I love you Dad. Always have and always will!

I Guess I Underestimated That

It's been almost a full week since I last visited this site and when I did, I was just starting to come down with something. Well, I haven't been back to work since, I've had one serious case of bronchitis, an upper respiratory infection and a fever that lasted about 5 days. I'm still not well, but somehow I'm going to find the energy to venture back into the classroom tomorrow. I certainly feel better than I did yesterday and even more so than on Friday or Saturday, but for some reason, perhaps the shitty weather, I just can't shake this stuff.

It hasn't been for a lack of sleeping, drinking fluids and following doctors orders, I've been a model patient, but whatever strain of bacteria that came my way deserves a cruel and unusual death. Hopefully I'm on the road to recovery and by the end of the week things will be back to normal. If not, well, I don't really know what I'll do but one thing I do know for certain is that now that I'm feeling a wee bit better, I'm going to do a much better job of stopping by this place of mine and doing what I like to do, write about useless crap.

Sick

Not sure which is worse, the stomach in knots and the urge to throw up or the cold chills and body ache. I guess it's time to call the substitute line.

Back

I've been back from the mountains since Sunday night but as is usually the case, I need a vacation from my vacation. I had one of the better trips to West Virginia and as is also usually the case, I hated to leave. One of the hardest things to adjust to when returning from the middle of nowhere is the constant noise of the city. When I would step out onto the deck of our condo, the only sounds I could hear were the thoughts inside my mind. For those who haven't experienced it, the sound of silence is the greatest thing in the world. The silence, lack of people and complete sense of wilderness is intoxicating and I'm already counting the days till I head back east.

Short Week

It's a short week for me as we don't have school on Friday. To make it a four day weekend, I'm also taking Thursday off and sometime that morning, I'll load up the car, throw in the dogs and head east towards West Virginia. My Mom and I have a condo reserved for us at Snowshoe Mountain and we're bringing all of the dogs along. While the leaves haven't started to change color around these parts, high up in the mountains, they are well on their way towards peak leaf season. I'm looking forward to just relaxing and enjoying the brisk mountain air. Having a short week at work isn't bad either.

Last Day of Summer

Today is the last full day of summer and soon the leaves will start to change. We'll have warm weather around here for at least another month and probably a bit longer. It seems that fall comes later and later each year. Three of the past four years have found my air conditioner still running at the house, so warm was it in late October. That's not to say that we won't have a cool day here or there, we will, but in these parts, summer tends to hang on a bit longer than places further north.

Growing up and all through my 20's, winter was always my favorite season. I've always loved the cold and snow and hated the heat and humidity of summer. While that's still pretty much true, this summer has been a bit different. We only had a dozen or so days above 90 this summer, far fewer than 40 or so we usually get. For the most part, it's been a very comfortable summer and because of that, I'm actually pretty sad to see it go.

This will be my 39th autumn and 40th winter and for the life of me, I can't figure out where the time has gone. It seems like only yesterday that I was graduating from high school and heading off to college. Those four years flew by and before I knew it, I was getting old. I wish just once that time would slow down and this is the year I was hoping it would. Alas, time is a constant and no matter how hard we try, it stops for no one.

Good bye summer, it was great knowing you and I'll be looking forward to reconnecting with you next May. As for autumn, well, it's usually pretty freaking awesome around here and here's hoping it doesn't disappoint.

Before T. Rex

Of all the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus Rex was always my favorite. T. Rex is by far the most dominant creature to ever walk the earth and I would bet the most famous. Well, everything we thought we knew about T. Rex has just been turned upside down as a new species of dinosaur has been discovered in China. This tyrannosaurid, known as Raptorex, lived about 130 million years ago and is an early relative of the mighty T. Rex. Unlike T. Rex, this guy stood about 9 feet tall at full maturity and weighed as little as 140 pounds. In an unusual twist, the fossils were smuggled out of China and sent to the United States where they were purchased by a private collector.

I Saw Her Standing There

I did a double take when I first saw her, unsure if my eyes were lying to me or not. With a deep breath and a shake of my head, I realized that my eyes weren't a lying and the most beautiful and interesting woman that I have ever had the fortune to know was standing right in front of me. In a different world, I would have once asked her out. Sadly, in this one, I haven't.

Please Help

If you've read this blog for a while, you know that I am a huge animal lover and have a special soft spot for elephants. You see, elephants are among the most intelligent animals on earth. They live incredibly social and emotional lives. That we humans would capture them in the wild and give them a life of misery in a circus is just beyond belief. A life in the circus is essentially a death sentence for an elephant.

Forced to perform tricks that they don't want to do and give rides to fat American kids, elephants often go completely insane as they live a life of loneliness and heartache. They are kept chained up for most of the day, beaten into submission until they perform and forced to live a life that none of us could ever endure. For the life of me, I just don't understand why the circus is allowed to use animals in their shitty performances. Alas, millions of Americans feel totally different and gladly fork over money to watch miserable animals perform for their entertainment.

In the hills of Tennessee, a 2,700 acre elephant sanctuary has arisen and is now home to a couple dozen elephants that were rescued from circuses. The Elephant Sanctuary does amazing work and because of it, a few lucky elephants are able to live out their lives in peace, with their dignity restored. Alas, the recession has hit the sanctuary and they are in need of donations. I know money is tight but if you could, please visit the donation page here, to make a small monetary gift to help an elephant live.

Get Off My Lawn

GOP congress critter Joe Wilson of South Carolina to President Obama during his speech before Congress: "You Lie!"

Classy!

What Hunter Said

Just go read this rant, it's one of the best I've ever read.

Go!

Now!

Get on with it already!

Just Saying

I really, really, really would love to actually go out on a date, with a real live human being.

Just saying.

"Straight Men Want Trannies"

In what can only be described as not surprising, a whole lot of straight men have a thing for transsexual women. A new study is out, based on internet visitors to transsexual dating sites and porn sites, and it seems that when no one is looking, because God forbid these same men actually have the balls to admit they are cool with us, they are flocking to these sites to get their fix.

Research gathered from more than a dozen major sources – including Alexa, Google and Internet World Stats – reveals that nearly 190 million heterosexual men are attracted to transsexual women and actively seek romantic contact with or sexually explicit images of them annually.


You would have to be living in a cave not to notice the increased attention being paid to transsexuals as they now regularly show up on top rated sitcoms and dramas, reality shows and the documentary of the week on cable stations everywhere. Sadly, too many people still think of us as nothing more than porn stars, prostitutes and guest stars on Jerry Springer. Even when they are trying to be respectful about us, they still can't help but belittle and be demeaning...

“You’re now seeing [transsexuals] in mainstream advertising and on TV shows. That and the Internet have made it [socially acceptable for transsexuals] to be out there on display.”


I'm so glad we're now on display, much like the prized cattle at your local state fair. I don't know what it's going to take to make people realize that we are real human beings, with real feelings and emotions, real families, real careers and more than capable of making great contributions to society. I keep trying to do my part by holding my head up high and going out into this world and do what I do best, live.

And Then There Were None

Senator Edward Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, left us last night and today we are all the poorer for it. I know there are those who didn't like him but the truth of the matter is, Kennedy was one of the great ones, a champion for those who had no voice and one of the last true statesmen. With his passing, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia is the last of the great ones and he too will soon be gone.

The Three Brothers

Lest you think that those on the right will show some respect, think again. Rush Limbaugh, the drug addicted asswipe of the right, congratulated himself today on predicting Kennedy's death before a health care bill could be passed.

Real Women

I've never understood why some women want to go for the emaciated look so popular in fashion magazines and on TV. There are few things less attractive than a size 0 woman and when I pass one on the street or in a store, I just want to kidnap them and take them to an all you can eat buffet. Since I began transition seven years ago, I've never been one to go all in on fashion and such. The only "womens" magazine I read is Glamour as it has a real female empowerment message and for the most part, stays away from the crap that is peddled in other magazines of the same genre.

Lizzie Miller looking ravishing in the pages of Glamour

Validating my belief in Glamour is an amazing picture that can be found on page 194 of the September issue. That it has become one of the more talked about magazine spreads in recent memory shows how far we have to go when it comes to affirming the inherent beauty in all women, not just the pencil thin models so routinely featured in magazine spreads. Her name is LIzzie Miller and she is without a doubt one of the more beautiful women that I have ever seen. She is real and judging from the smile on her face, she couldn't be more pleased with the way she looks. Good for Glamour and most of all, good for Lizzie.

On the Today Show and sorry to say Matt Lauer, she's not "plus size", she's just healthy.

Let Those Socialist Countries Have Healthcare


You see, in America we just don't roll that way. We're proud of the fact that are health care system pretty much sucks ass. We're even more proud of the fact that 47 million Americans have no health insurance. Hell, we're fighting like mad to make sure that those benevolent insurance companies, the ones that keep raising your premiums by 25% and make sure to drop you the moment you get sick, keep making obscene profits off of our health. No, we don't need no health care reform in this country because that would take away all the money that we use to kill brown people in foreign lands.

We Need A Picture of Your Genitals

This really pisses me off...

From the Philadelphia Gay News comes this disgusting story of Kate Lynn Blatt, whose employer requested a photograph of her genitalia as a condition of continued employment.

Blatt was working for Manpower, a temporary employment service. After she was asked to leave a job she was on for Manpower in 2007, they told her that she’d have to provide documentation from her surgeon regarding genital surgery, plus a photograph of her genitalia in order to seek further employment through them.

The company (Sapa) lied about the reason she was terminated, and then would not let her return to work and use the women’s locker room unless she was willing to provide the documentation and the photograph. Manpower concurred.


Thankfully, the woman has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and filed a lawsuit against the company.

Teh Stupid really does hurt sometimes.

District 9- Truly Spectacular

It's been a very, very long time since I walked out of a movie theater and felt the way I did today. Over the years, I've seen a lot of great films and even a few that were so special as to stick with me to this day, but I must admit, walking into District 9, I never for a second thought that this would be one of those films. Six hours later, I'm still stunned by what I saw and I imagine it's going to take quite some time for the magnitude of what I saw to actually settle in. In an era where Hollywood trys to hit you over the head and appeal to the lowest common denominator, great films aren't supposed to be made. District 9 is a great film and one that will change the way you think about movies.

I'm a huge fan of science fiction and while there have been a few smart and satisfying films of late, Sunshine being the best example, all too often what passes for science fiction is pure crap. Not since the early 1980's has the genre seen a film that compares to District 9. Ridley Scott's masterpiece Blade Runner and James Cameron's Aliens, are the benchmark for great science fiction and cinimea in general. Blade Runner has long been my all time favorite film with Aliens not far behind. Both movies are visually stunning, incredibly intelligent and as amazing today as they were all those years ago. District 9 deserves to be ranked with both and I suspect that 30 years from now, District 9 will still be seen as a masterpiece.

What makes the film so special is that it is everything that Hollywood is not. Producer Peter Jackson gave $30 million to unknown commercial and short film director Neil Blomkamp and told him to make whatever movie he wanted. The native of Johannesburg, South Africa expanded on his totally cool short film Alive in Joburg, casting unknown South African actors who all deliver a tour de force. Setting the film in Johannesburg, an urban hell hole if there ever was one, was brilliant. The memory of apartheid is always lurking as the movie shows what happens when alien refugees, not wanted by residents of Joburg, are moved into segregated areas of the city and forced to live in deplorable conditions.

If you see only one film this year, make it District 9.

Here is Alive in Joburg...


What the trailers here.

"Keep Louisville Weird"

I was at Kroger tonight and while I was in line, my T-Dar went off loud and clear. No matter how passable someone might think they are, I can usually spot a trans girl a mile away. In this particular case, the girl was very attractive, had a great haircut, had a lot of confidence and had amazing skin. The last part was the tell. You see, she was wearing a top that showed off way too much skin and as a result, her shoulders and upper arms had that masculine tell. No matter how skinny she was, and she was, the shoulders, arms and hands always give you away.

Anyways, I just smiled and thought it was kinda cool that two T-girls would be in the same checkout line. That's when the guy in front of me, a young twenty something who clearly had way too much testosterone flowing through his body, began to chuckle and make jokes with another woman in the line. His money quote was "keep Louisville weird", a play on the movement to support the Louisville institutions that make Louisville what it is. The girl they were making fun of was none the wiser to what was happening behind her and to her credit, the cashier would have none of it. Sadly, I didn't speak up and defend her and for that I feel pretty damn awful.

Home

RedOrbit is one of my favorite sites on the internet. Despite the fact that I was never a good student when it came to science, it's still one of my favorite things. Each day, RedOrbit puts up a new image and when I was going through the archives tonight, I was transfixed by this amazing view of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Click on the photo for a bigger and better view...



Here's what RedOrbit had to say...

The Milky Way blazes above the European Southern Observatory (ESO) facilities at Mount Paranal in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. Paranal hosts the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical observatory, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and is home to two new telescopes for large imaging surveys currently under construction, the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA). Both are expected to “take up duty” in the 2009-2010 timeframe.

This photograph shows an edge-on view of the Milky Way’s glowing plane slicing across the night sky, laced by bands of dust and dark gas. Taken with a digital camera using a three-minute exposure, the photograph also reveals a bit of action on the ground. To the left, a vehicle with its parking lights on stops lets out a passenger. Though bathed by the light of the Milky Way, the high-altitude desert remains quite dark. To illuminate the rightward path to the underground entrance ramp of the ‘Residencia’, where staff and visitors stay, the passenger takes along a small flashlight, seen as a squiggly bright line. In the lower right, the glass dome on the Residencia’s roof reflects the starry sky overhead. One of our Milky Way’s galactic satellites, the Large Magellanic Cloud, is seen hanging above the Residencia in the lower right corner of the image.

The Way The Conservative Mind Works

I've seen this before but thought I would share with you as it's quite telling and probably the most accurate portrayal of what it's like to be a right wing nutcase (via AmericaBlog)...

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

And then I log on to the internet -- which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration -- and post on Freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

Some Mor Pics From The Flood

Just some pictures that I thought really relayed the magnitude of the flooding today. The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), which runs the flood pumps in the Ohio River and Beargrass Creek flood plains, said that one of their stations received 6.5 inches of rain in one hour, making that the heaviest rain ever in a one hour period. The official total at the airport, although far less than areas north in the urban core, set an all time August rainfall record. Here are some of the pics (courtesy of the Courier Journal, WHAS, WAVE and LEO)...

The Watterson Expressway at Manslick Road. I think this picture is just amazing.

Near the University of Louisville campus.

University of Louisville campus

Churchill Downs stretch under water.

Churchill Downs paddock under water.

Cherokee Park in the Highlands. Beargrass Creek is about 10 feet above it's banks.

Beargrass Creek in Cherokee Park. The creek is normally a small stream.

Old Louisville flooding

Old Louisville flooding at 3rd and Magnolia. I used to live at this corner.

These people are sitting on the steps of my old apt. building.

In front of my old apt. in Old Louisville

Round 2

Here comes the next wave....

Fetch Me An Ark

The lightening began early this morning but the rain didn't start till a little after 8. An hour later, 6 inches had fallen, creating massive flash flooding here in Louisville.
Storms moving into the city.

The Weather Channel has a great twitter page about the flooding. Check it out here.

Only once in my life have I seen in rain like this and that was during Hurricane Elena in 1985 when we were living in Clearwater, Florida. Here is a rundown of what's happening:

1. Interstate 65 has been closed most of the day as sections of the highway near downtown have been under several feet of water.
Interstate 65 flooding.

2. The Watterson Expressway is closed in the southwestern part of the city as sections of the 10 lane expressway are under 5 feet of water.

3. Churchill Downs has had to evacuate horses because of high water.

4. The University of Louisville campus is under 3 feet of water.
UL Campus


5. The main branch of the Louisville Public Library sustained heavy flooding and lost over 10,000 books as well as hundreds of computers.
The Library

6. The United States Coast guard is doing water rescues around the flooded areas.
Water rescue.


7. Louisville International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world (because of UPS World Air Hub) was closed for several hours today. Long delays are expected all day.

8. 20,000 homes without power.

9. A fire, sparked by the storm, destroyed parts of an upscale apartment complex in eastern Louisville.


10. Several area hospitals have been flooded.

11. Many intersections downtown are closed.
Downtown streets

12. Area creeks have flooded their banks. This includes Beargrass Creek and Floyds Fork, the two main drainage basins for Jefferson County.
Beargrass Creek floods downtown streets.


Old Louisville

Tron

Okay, I'm totally geeked about this...

Cold War

I am a child of the Cold War and like my parents, it will shape me till the day I die. I just finished watching a very troubling film called Testament and it brought back all kinds of memories. Set in 1983 small town California, it's the no nonsense story of a close knit family who find their world shattered by nuclear war. There are no mushroom clouds, no special effects, no gore or violence, hell, we don't even know why the war started, we just know that it slowly destroys all that this family knows. For those out there who were born after about 1982 or so, you just have no idea how scary it all was. Each night, we all went to bed knowing that it was entirely possible that while we slept, the missles would launch and the bombers would fly. NATO and The Warsaw Pact were both armed to the teeth and fingers were on the triggers, the only question being who would blink first.

In the end of course, the West prevailed and the Soviet Union collapsed along with it's empire across Eastern Europe. We came quite close to all out war in my lifetime and even more so in the lifetimes of my parents. Mom and Dad grew up practicing war drills at school, drills that were abandonded by the time I got to school as it became clear that none of us were going to survive if the bombs did drop. Yes, it was scary as hell and it's something I don't want to go back to no matter what. For those too young to remember or even know what I'm talking about, lucky you.

Just Stuff

Just some random things that are on my mind and of interest to me...

1. The political discourse in this country is seriously fucked up. On the one side we have Democrats who wouldn't know how to grow a pair if their lives depended on it and on the other we have a bunch of batshit fucking insane Republicans who seem to think our President was born outside the country. In between we have a bunch of pussy ass "moderates" who only care about one thing and one thing only, stoking their own ego. To make matters worse, we have a media (pundits specifically) who are too brain dead to figure out which side is actually right. The health care debacle is just the latest example of how our once great country is on the downward spiral. All of which leads me to number 2...

2. In the parallel universe, the United States is a shining beacon of hope in which defense spending is a pittance, all citizens have great health care, our infrastructure is the best in the world, our schools and universities are fully funded and corporations don't exist. Alas, in the universe that you and I live in, none of the above is true. We do almost nothing well anymore. Hell, the one thing we've always excelled at, fighting wars and killing brown people, seems to be something we've forgotten how to do.

Okay, now for some good news and happy thoughts...

3. With just two days left in the month and forecast highs predicted to stay around 80 degrees both days, this will go down as the first July in which temperatures have not reached 90 degrees in Louisville. In fact, it appears that the month will go down as the coolest July ever. I had 8 days this month in which I didn't have to run the air conditioner and my last electric bill was just $85. In a typical summer, the AC runs nonstop from early May till late September or early October. This is a welcome change.

4. Schumi's back. The greatest race car driver of all time, Michael Schumacher of Ferrari, will come out of retirement to fill in for the injured Felipe Massa. Most Americans haven't heard of Schumacher but he's arguably the most famous athelete in the world as Formula One is the most watched sport on television. He'll only race this year and while Ferrari is having a down year, expect Schumi to get more out of his ride than the regular Ferrari drivers. I predict a podium in his first race back, the European Grand Prix. I've seen Schumi race 4 times at the defunct United States Grand Prix and feel blessed to have seen such a talent.

5. Check out these totally cool slideshows over at Treehugger. I especially like the World Naked Bike Ride, the worlds most impressive subway maps and 10 holes that will blow your mind.

Hope This Happens

Could electric powered trolleys or streetcars return to Louisville? It's possible as plans slowly come together for the return of trolleys to Bardstown Road. While the route isn't yet determined, it's possible that it could run from Downtown, up through Phoenix Hill and into the Highlands. This is part of town is very dense and is perfect for this kind of transit. The tracks would be laid into the concrete and the trolley's would run up and down the street sharing the road with cars. It wasn't all that long ago, actually I guess it was, when trolley cars crisscrossed the city and provided wonderful mass transit. The tracks were paved over around World War II as the automobile took over.

Here's a possible route...


Here's a picture of an old trolley car at Churchill Downs...
Photo courtesy of Daves Rail Pix

Idiot America In All It's Glory

Oh my God, this woman makes Sarah Palin look like a freaking genius...

Ah, I Think I'll Pass On This One

I think the worst thing about being trans is having to live with all of the stupid stereotypes. Tonight, ABC airs a special edition of Primetime Live entitled "He Becomes She". I have no doubt that all of the stupid stereotypes will be on full display tonight and judging by the pictures of the girl they are profiling, it will probably be extra humiliating. No, I won't be watching, I'll probably have a baseball game on our something else a bit more in line with my tastes. You see, shows like this are seldom good for the trans community and usually represent a view that I would just as soon not have to see. The further along I go in this process, the less and less I feel a part of any damn community.

I never was comfortable with the whole trans label and I've done my best to just try and blend into society without making a fuss about much at all. Now I'm sure that some will criticize me for this but I really could care less. I'm not an activist, I don't want to be an activist and stupid shows like this do nothing but reinforce negative stereotypes, stereotypes that I've fought hard to fight. I hate makeup, abhor high fashion, can't stand trans girls who go all girly girly on you and I would much rather tie my hair up in a ponytail as opposed to spending an hour getting it all done up. I like football and car racing, I'd rather spend my time getting dirty in the woods and I'll take a great action movie over some silly romantic comedy anday. I like wearing shorts and tee shirt in summer, jeans and a sweatsheart in winter. In short, I'm just me, the same as I ever was, it just so happens that I now have a different name and breasts where I had none.

If one is so inclined to watch, might I suggest the following drinking game from Pam's House Blend via a few others, with some editing of my own...

1. Putting on makeup. Two drinks for reverse camera shot into mirror.
2. Doing anything better done in jeans and sneakers in heels and a skirt. Examples: cleaning the house, shoveling the sidewalk, yard work, walking the dog. Drink once.
3. Before picture shown. Two drinks for picture in stereotypical male mode (sports team, facial hair, military, wedding tux)
4. Camera shot putting on or taking off a bra. Two drinks
5. Photo of any wig, breast form, padding, etc. One drink
6. Surprise disclosure, when a trans woman is introduced and then partway through the piece, her secret is revealed. Two drinks
7. Camera focus on masculine body parts: hands, feet, Adam's apple, height, etc. One drink
8. Any reference to genital surgery that refers to "becoming a woman" or "finally a woman" One drink
9. Minor chords played softly on a piano Two drinks
10. talk show host saying "you go girl" Three drinks
11. any discussion of plumbing or electricity Just chug it.
12. black and white childhood shots, MTF with cap gun and cowboy hat, FTM as ballerina. One drink
13. Trans woman saying, "I am not a crossdresser. Not that there's anything wrong with that." One drink
14. Trans woman clutching large teddy bear in hospital bed. Just shoot yourself.
15. Birthday balloons after surgery. Throw remote through the TV
16. Trans woman with new boyfriend (after shot of tearful ex-wife). Two drinks
17. Trans woman sitting in chair in above-the-knee skirt, posed so you can see what great gams she has. One drink
18. Patient wheeled off to surgery ... One drink
19. ... lingering shot of the hospital bed with the teddy bear (or wife) left behind. Make it stop, drink as much as you'd like.
20. Shot of protaganist sitting at the computer keyboard, looking at a trans support website or surgeon's website.... Ugh, two drinks.
21. Any helping professional teaching deportment One drink
22. Camera in the operating room - just drink the whole bottle
23. Any and all deployments of soft focus = 1 shot
24. Close up of dotted lines in magic marker on pale fleshy body parts = 1 shot
25. Earnest surgeon describes his motivation as "to help [girlname] become the woman she's always really felt herself to be" = 3 shots
26. Before picture with extreme facial hair - 1 shot
27. Before picture in uniform - Military, Football, etc... - 2 shots
28. Video from hair removal session : Laser - 1 shot, electrolysis - 2 shots
29. Before picture - Last time she wore a dress (F2M) - 1 shots
30. Breast binding - 2 shots
31. Taking Hormones - Self-injecting 3 shots, orals 1 shot
32. Did anyone mention an arduous and lonely childhood? Three shots
33. Meeting the school bully as "the new me" at the High School reunion? Grab the Jaeger bottle and chug
34. Looking at the old picture of self and saying something to the effect of "he was a nice guy...." or "Ken was a lot of fun, but his time is over. It's Ginger's turn now!" Two shots
35. Trans woman claiming to have [intersex] chromosomal pattern, an affinity for washing dishes, a sudden dislike of sports, etc. Open door and scream at top of your lungs, pledge to never tell a soul your story.

As I sit here on this ubelievably cool night with all of the windows open and a lovely breeze blowing through the house, I find myself so incredibly troubled by what is going on inside my mind. I have so much here, my home, family, great friends and a job I love and yet I can't help but feel that I'm not supposed to be here. Maybe you can't take a girl out of the mountains.

At Blackwater Falls in Davis, West Virginia

At Dolly Sods atop Cabin Mountain in Pendelton County, West Virginia

Dolly Sods as seen from Bear Rocks. Dolly Sods is my favorite place to go and get lost.

First Dump of Pictures

My first batch of pictures from West Virginia are now up at my Flickr page. You can access it here.

Back "Home"

I got back from West Virginia last night and had a restless nights sleep in my own bed. I'll have some new pics posted on my flickr page by this afternoon but in the meantime, lets just say that moving back to the mountains is at the top of my to do list.

Country Roads, Take Me Home

This will be my last blog post till late next week as I'm heading out of town on a much needed vacation. Tomorrow morning, I'll head east on Interstate 64 to Charleston, West Virginia, where I'll pick up Interstate 79 north to US Route 33 in Weston. From there, I'll head east an hour till Elkins and Route 219. At that point, I'll head south again, slowly gaining elevation as I head into the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, my ultimate destination being Snowshoe, West Virginia, located a mile up on the southern end of Cheat Mountain. It's where I spent the best years of my life and this trip will be my first bag in almost 9 years.

Making the decision to leave the mountains and return to Louisville was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. In retrospect, it was probably the right decision as my Mom and Brother are both here along with a teaching job that I simply adore. I love living in Louisville, it's one of the most underrated places in America and it's probably where I'll live for the rest of my life, but a part of me longs for the days spent living in what is nothing short of the most beautiful and amazing place on Planet Earth. I've stayed away for one reason and one reason only, my fear that once I get back, I won't ever want to leave.

When people think of West Virginia, they picture abject poverty, coal mines, and uneducated mountain folks living in a third world. Now it's true that part of West Virginia is that way, the coalfields of the southern part of the state are as depressing a sight as any I've ever seen. Thankfully, the eastern third of the state, home to the highest mountains and the outdoor playground of the Mid-Atlantic isn't that way. There isn't a lick of coal to be found, most of the people I knew and met were anything but stupid and while there were pockets of poverty, most people seemed to live a life that was comfortably middle class. In short, it's a lot like most places, only the views are to die for.

I'll see you next week and a big shout out to Mom who will be crashing at the Kelly House and taking care of my three kids, also know as Sammy, River and Shadow. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, high temperatures each day are forecast to be in the low 70's.